Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Challenge Knoxville Race Report

My season kicked off last weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Challenge Knoxville Half Distance race, but before I get started there I will give a quick background of things that have been going on in the last few months.

The first thing and the most exciting is that Ang bought a house, and I moved in with her. This happened the end of April right after we got got back from training in Vegas for a week. Lets just say that April was a bit of a hectic month as I had to be out of my apartment in London before leaving for Vegas, but we didn't get the house until we got back. This meant doing essentially doing 2 moves in 3 weeks. Training during that time was hit and miss but I will say it gave me a bit of a taper going into the race. The other couple of changes are that I have a few new sponsors that I will be working with this year. They are Nineteen Wetsuits and Ciclowerks bike shop in Waterloo.

Now to the race!

I have raced in Knoxville 3 times before this, but they had all been the olympic distance put on by Rev3. With the new name came a new distance for the pros to race, but it was the same excellent race experience. In true Knoxville fashion or maybe it is only when I race there the rain started coming down race morning. Setting up transition it was just a light drizzle, but during the swim the rain picked up significantly.

Full results can be found here.

Swim - 28:11 ~12th out of t1
2 years ago when I raced in Knoxville the water was, a take your breath away, 50 degrees, but this year was like jumping into a warm bathtub with a balmy temp of about 73. This meant the pros would be swimming sans wetsuit. Unfortunately, because of the history of Knoxville I didn't think I would need a swim skin. I will be contacting Nineteen asap to see if I can get a swim skin before my next half just in case. I'm not sure if it was in my head but as soon as I jumped in it felt like a had a bit of a parachute on my torso. One of the downsides to being a 125lbs is that it is hard to find skin tight tri suits. Oh well nothing I could do about it and it was time to focus on the swim. It took what seemed like forever for the gun to go off as we all waited doing the usual tread, scull, creep forward that occurs on the start line. The gun finally went off, and we were gone for 4 hrs of racing. I was trying to find AJ Baucco's feet as he has been swimming really well this year, but it turned out his goggles and contacts got knocked off so he was at the back fixing those before swimming through a lot of us. So I settled onto some other feet and let them pull me to the turn around. I feel bad for however's feet they were because I have a really bad habit of swimming to close and touching feet every few strokes and I'm sure they wanted to kick me in the head. I felt comfortable during the swim, but I had a feeling it was not a fast one. I have to thank Vorgee because even with the cloudy skies and rain I always knew where I was since my goggles were so clear. I exited the water with a group of guys who I was out swimming by about a minute last year. I was a little worried my race was essentially over here as they would out bike me by about 8 minutes last year, but I kept it cool knowing Rich and I have worked hard on my bike all winter.

Bike - 2:23:55 11th out of t2 
Strava file - https://www.strava.com/activities/306557760/analysis

During the swim the rain really picked up, and I knew this would play a factor while descending some twisty mountain roads. I'm pretty confident in my bike handling so I knew I would maybe have to take a couple risks out there. Turned out the lead group went the wrong way at the first turn so we all came together about 3k into the ride. I'm not sure who all made the group, but I'm going to think it was about 10 guys with another 4-6 close behind. Rich and I had a race plan of trying to have a normalized power of ~220w by the end of the ride and try to keep the spikes under 260 to be sure not to burn to many matches. This quickly went out the window when I found myself in the group. I was determined to stay with them for as long as possible. Every race I enter I go in with the mind set that I will do whatever I can to win the race so I was going to ride until I blew up as long as it kept me in striking distance, and if I didn't blow then perfect. At about 4k there is a downhill, and at the bottom there is a set of railroad tracks followed by a left hand turn about 30m after them. Going over the tracks my water bottle popped out from between my bars, spun 180 degrees, and I managed to snatch it out of the air and put it back in my cage without slowing down to much. Lady luck was on my side here, but she would make me pay later. I guess playing with those finger skateboards as a kid payed off, and I might be adding that to some of the athlete's I coach training plans. I believe in the first 10k my normalized power was about 230w, and I had a max power of 360w, just a little above . . . At about 10k the first big climb of the day starts. I was still sitting in the lead group (4 guys were still up the road), and I told myself if I could make it to the top of the climb with the group I would be good for a bit as it was a long descent afterwards where it would be hard for the group to separate. Unfortunately, lady luck made me pay for the water bottle save. Somehow a link on my chain got kinked and caused the chain to fall off when I switched to the small ring. I'm not sure if this was because of water and grit or what happened, but all I could think of was FUCK!!! I tried to finesse it back on but since it kinked instead of just falling off that wasn't happening so I quickly unclipped pulled the chain back on, and tried to get going again on the hill. By this time the lead group was long gone, and I didn't think putting in a huge surge at this point to try to get back on was going to be a good idea. The second pack (most of the guys I swam with) caught me pretty quickly, and I was hoping we could get back to that lead group. Last year a lot of these guys would just ride away from me so for the first half of the ride I played it safe usually sitting 3rd or 4th wheel while Ryan Bates and Mike Hermanson did a lot of the work on the front. *I have mixed feeling about the stagger rule that USAT races use, but if it allows me to get a bit of extra draft I'm going to use it. We had a moto on us most of the way so everyone rode within the rules, but it definitely is an advantage to have a group of 4 or more guys*. At about 30k I really had to pee so on one of the descents I sat up assuming the guys would pass me, and I could drop to the back and pee. 2 guys went off the front when I sat up, but no one else went around me. I didn't want to pee in the middle of the back but I was getting uncomfortable and it had to be done. Thankfully it was raining heavy at that point and don't worry I did wash my bike after. When I noticed though that no one went around me I assumed people were being hesitant on the downhills. Having raced the olympic here (part of the courses overlap) I knew there was a technical descent with about 10k to go, but the turns were actually wide enough you could carry pretty good speed. When we reached the climb I put in a little attack to get to the top 2nd in my group and then hammered the descent trying to get a bit of a gap. This set me up to be able to ride a bit more conservatively for the last 10k to set up my legs for the run.

Run - 1:20:08 Finish 11th
After a quick transition I was first onto the run from my group. I started out quick averaging about 3:30/km for the first couple of kms before settling into pace. Finishing off last seasons with 3 rough races, and especially my epic blow up in Muskoka where weighing on my mind a bit so I made sure to feel relaxed and controlled in the first 5k. I knew the middle ~10k of the Knoxville course were the most difficult so I told myself I would hold off on picking things up until the 2nd half of the race. I just hoped some other guys from the front group would go out to hard and blow up. I was about 3:35/km through the first 5k, but then the climbing started. The next 10k was around 3:45 pace as we ran the hills of Knoxville. I managed to catch one guy just after the turn around, but no one else was coming back. The last 5km was starting to get really tough, but I knew I was either barely in the top 10 or just outside so I didn't want anyone to catch me. We joined back up with the olympic course, and as I passed people doing the Olympic I would tell them "good job we are almost there." I think I did this more to try to convince myself, but maybe some of them were feeling the same way I was and it helped them get to the finish.

All in all this first race excites me for things to come this season. I'm now swimming with the Waterloo University varsity so hopefully my swim comes back, and I think I will keep improving on the bike and run.

Thank you for making your way through this entire race report, I know they can be lengthy. Thanks to all my sponsors, and a special thanks to my parents. Also thanks to my brother and his girlfriend for coming down and watching the race in the rain. It is their fault there aren't any pictures though because they were to hungover to grab the camera.

Next up will be Woodstock and Welland in preparation for Muskoka 70.3.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 is here

Well 2015 is here so I have no more excuses not to update my blog a bit.

2014 did not end the way I wanted it to so after about a month of doing absolutely nothing it was time to start training again. Back in November I started working with Rich Pady of Healthy Results, the real reason for this is that I look great in orange, and their team kits are orange. No, in all seriousness Rich is extremely knowledgeable, has been in the sport longer than I have been alive and after spending time with him in Vegas and at his house in Orangeville last summer I felt like I would be able to work well under him.

In the past my weakness has always been my swim, and last season (thanks to Ken, Paul, Cliff and the Mustang Swim Team) my swimming was no longer my number one limiter. I wasn't coming out of the water in the lead at major races but being only a couple seconds of the main chase pack and leading out of the water at local races was right where I hoped to be. That means this winter I really get to focus on my bike where I was losing huge amounts of time. My skin has really thanked me however the stock of cocoa butter lotion has dropped significantly. At only the end of January I am already feeling more confident with my cycling. The last time we tested was back in December, so I am anxious to see if the numbers from a retest will confirm how I am feeling during interval sessions.

As for swimming I had a bit of a dip in November and December where I wasn't feeling comfortable in the water. I was only swimming 3x a week for about 3-4k which was a big drop from the prior year where I was doing 5 swims of 6-7k. We have also been trying to change my stroke by increasing the strength and efficiency in my pull, and limiting my kick. In the past I had always had a strong 6 beat kick and after trying to swim hard to hang on the back it would take a while to get going on the bike. Raleigh last year was a perfect example of this where I think I avg'd 10 or 15w higher in the 2nd half of the bike. The goal now is to come out of the water in the same time or faster but feeling more relaxed.

Running is running. Being that it is my background and traditionally my strength I never get to really put in a run focus. November and December was mostly spent getting some miles back in my legs with some strides or a  couple short (30-45s) intervals thrown in the run. I ran a 5k on the track Dec 23 and went 16:40. I wasn't to happy with this time, but I knew the season was still a long ways away. In January we added a couple "longer" interval runs in (aka a whopping 6x1min) and some tempo off the bike. This week I retested the 5k this week (this time on an indoor track so in my opinion a little faster) and went 16:04. That is pretty close to my official pb as I have an * next to my time from du worlds.

2015 will once again focus on the half distance. I am hoping to go to a couple of the challenge races, but with Muskoka and St. Andrews being the same weekend I think I will stick close to home and save some travel money since a pay check is never guaranteed when racing. I am going to kick things off this year at the Awake Chocolate Indoor Tri at McMaster University on Feb. 28th then a couple local running races before the season starts most likely in May in Knoxville. I am going to try and race a bit less than last year, especially less long races in back to back or back to back to back time frames. I think having a lot of long races at the beginning of my season bit me in the butt at the end.

The last big change for 2015 is that I am officially an NCCP certified coach. I am now working for Healthy Results. If you are looking for a coach to help you reach your goals feel free to contact me or fill out our questionnaire Here. Also, head over to our Facebook page (HR FACEBOOK) and give us a like. Any information about training camps and mega days gets posted to Facebook, as well as, interesting training articles we come across and tips to make you a better athlete.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter Running Tips

I wrote this up for the group I coach at Western University, but thought I would share it here as well.


Here are a couple quick tips for running outside during the winter.

Clothing – layers are your best option because temperatures can change quite a bit throughout a run especially on a windy day. Avoid cotton as this will hold moisture and make the wind chill even worse. Most of our tri club runs will be when it is dark so wear something that can be seen such as clothing with reflective or visi clolours. Don’t assume because it is a lighter colour such as white it will be easy to see you because that is not the case.

Shoes – I really like to use trail shoes in the winter. I like a trail shoe because it is still a rubber sole so if you end up running on a bare road or sidewalk for part of the run you don’t get the awkward feeling of running on something harder. For really bad days or if you don’t want a specific winter and trail shoe there are a couple other options. One is to buy something that goes around the outside of your shoe like a yaktrak that will give extra traction, or if you like a diy project short screws can be drilled into the bottom. Fellow Ontario pro Cody Beals has a good blog on how to do this at http://codybeals.blogspot.ca/2013/12/traction-control-screwy-shoes-yaktrax.html.

Routes – this could be the most important decision on the run, where to run. I really enjoy running the trails. I find the snow gets packed down from other runners and walkers that you get good traction. The trees all around also block a lot of the wind making it significantly warmer. If trails aren’t your thing check the wind direction before you head out, and try to pick a route that is headwind first. The headwind will be the coldest spot so if you run it first you wont get that chill from freezing sweat if you do it after a tailwind.


This should get everyone started, and if you have any tips yourself feel free to share them or if you have any questions ask Andrew or I.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MultiSport Canada Training and Racing Series: How To Draft In The Swim

As a member of the MultiSport Canada Ambassador Team I have been asked to write an article that will help new and experienced triathletes with training or racing. Here is what I have to say about drafting during the swim.

With the end of the season races here we are all looking to get the most out of them. One way to save some time or energy is drafting. While drafting is viewed as a deadly sin during the bike, during the swim it is completely legal. The two main forms of drafting during the swim are drafting on the feet or on the hip of the swimmer in front of you. There is some conflicting views in the swimming world about which one is more effective so I would go with what you are most comfortable.

Catching the draft

The first and most important part of drafting is that you need to catch the draft. You have two options at the start of the swim, you can go out hard to catch faster feet or go out comfortable. I think a lot of this depends on what you are racing for. If you are racing for the overall win or age group win you probably want to try and get on the draft of some faster swimmers. If you aren't aiming for the win, I would suggest not "burning a match" early on and start out at a comfortable pace. We all know the first 200m of a swim can be a bit of chaos so I don't worry about trying to find a draft here. Just focused on trying to maintain a comfortable stroke and composure in all the splashing. Once things calm down a bit I will look for the person for me to draft. This is where having some good goggles that don't leak or fog will pay off. When things start to calm down I will sight a couple strokes in a row this will allow me to make sure I'm on course then to find someone within a couple of meters to draft.  This is where not going out like a maniac can pay off, if someone is only a couple of meters ahead I will put in my surge here. This is also where you will decide to go for a hip or feet. If you are surging up to someone you will probably try to get on someones feet, and if the person you want to draft is more to your side you might look to get on their hip.

Drafting the hip

When drafting the hip you are going to position yourself between the lead swimmers belly button and knees. Some of the advantages to drafting on the hip are that the water you are catching is much cleaner because you are are on the hip there isn't as much turbulence coming off the head and arms compared to the feet. This allows you to feel like you are anchoring into the water more efficiently just like in a pool. It is easier to site when you are on someone's hip because you can still see ahead. If you don't trust the person you are drafting will go the right way this will allow you to stay on course *side note it is more efficient to draft someone going slightly off course then swimming alone perfectly straight, this will be another game time decision you have to make. The hip allows you to ride their bow wave and will pull you along slightly. Lastly, if you do start to fall off pace you can slide onto their feet and get a 2nd attempt at keeping in the draft. The downside to drafting on the hip is that if you only breathe to one side you will want to make sure that you are breathing towards them. If you are breathing away from them you are more likely to bump them or not realize they are pulling away. The other is that if you get to close you are likely to get hit by their arms so keep an eye on the flailing arms especially around the buoys.

Drafting the feet

Drafting the feet is when you stay about twelve inches off the feet of the person swimming in front of you. Drafting in this position is the most hydrodynamic position so it can be the most efficient, but it is a bit more sensitive to position. If you get to close to the feet, and the leader is a heavy kicker, the water here will be very turbulent, and it will tough to catch the water.  Also, if you get to far behind the benefit of the draft start to dwindle.

One thing to watch in both positions is contact with the lead swimmer. If you are constantly hitting their feet or bumping their arms you are disrupting their rhythm, and it will slow you both down. I know if someone is continually bumping me I will ease off and let them take the lead even backstroking a couple strokes if I have to.

Muskoka 70.3 Race Report

Well the pain has almost left my legs so I figured it was time to write my race report for Muskoka 70.3. Muskoka wasn't originally on my schedule, with the long hard bike ride it doesn't suit my strengths, but with some bad luck before Steelhead it was the option that made the most sense.

Pre-Race

A couple weeks before the race I came down with a nasty stomach bug that put me on the couch leading to the race. Even the Thursday before Muskoka I had to cut a run short and spent more time in the bushes then running. Lets just say at the pro meeting when they said there would only be port-a-potties every 2k I was a little nervous. Also, I wasn't sure where this break had left my fitness, and long course racing is about being as mentally prepared as physically.

Friday afternoon I made my way up to Muskoka with my mom and dad. Saturday involved a short bike ride on the first part of the course, registration, pre race meeting and all that fun stuff. Ang was supposed to race in Wasaga Beach Saturday, and she was able to make the trip up to Muskoka Saturday night. My support team was all there to cheer me on.

Race Morning

Come race morning I woke up, prepared my usual rice cakes and bananas, and went about packing up my race stuff. I decided to leave my bike racked over night so come race morning all I had to do was pump up tires, set up my shoes, and calibrate my power meter. After a quick run it was time to get my wetsuit on and hit the lake. I really thought I had a good shot at top 5 and my first pay check, but I knew it was going to be a tough race.

The Swim

With a small pro field and large start line we all had lots of room on the start line. Usually I'm aggressive on the line and try to hang on to the front as long as possible. Confidence was a little bit on the low side coming off very little swimming so my plan was to try and jump onto Cody's feet and hang on. I was feeling pretty chill, on what I thought were Cody's feet, but unfortunately it was someone else. By the time I realized the lead group was gone. I finished the rest of the swimming cursing myself for this mistake. Good news is the swim felt really easy so I was ready to make up for it on the bike (mistake #1 never try to make up for something just move on). I believe I was 6th out of the water with 2 other Canadians right with me. My 2XU wetsuit and Vorgee goggles did exactly what I want from them. When you have peace of mind in your gear thats one less thing to stress about.

The Bike

After the tough run up to transition it was on to the bike. I was feeling good, but I knew I had some work to do. The first 10k was spent exchanging pulls with fellow Ontario athlete Ed Cyr, and we were caught by Kyle Pawlaczyk around 15k just as we were getting onto the highway. When he went around me Ed came up quickly right after. I settled in at the 12m, and I was to get pulled for a bit on the more open highway roads. A gap started to open between Kyle and Ed, and I had to make a decision at this loin: to I try to ride with Kyle or do I just stay back. I was riding within my power and feeling good so I decided to try and go. I hesitated a little bit to long though and by the time I got around Ed the gap to Kyle was to large to close. However, this surge put me within I sight of 4th place. I didn't know at this point what place I was in, but the racer inside of me took over. I knew we had gained on 4th during the first 15-20k so I kept pushing on hoping to catch him. At this point my power just started to increase. With the exception of Welland where I only did the swim and bike, my best bike split was at Syracuse this year where my ap was 197, np 207, and best 20 min was 225 well at Muskoka thing might have been a little bit higher. Ap was 214, np 220, and best 20 min was 229 (this was mistake number 2 coupled with a max of 448w whoops). I moved into 5th place at around 65k, but this was short lived. Once I caught Tom Eckelburg he counter attacked on a longer climb, and I had nothing left to go with him. This was when I was starting to wonder if I rode to hard. Tom managed to put about 30s on me in the end.

The Run

This was the first time I got an update on what place I was in. Someone told me I was sixth, and when I heard that the turbos went into to action, shoes on and Smith sunglasses and I was on my way . I was getting my first top 5!!! Legs were feeling ok and at 6k I moved into 5th. Tom and I exchanged leads over the next 6k with neither one getting much of a lead. This is when then went from great to terrible with the flip of a switch. On a small hill Tom put in a surge, I clawed my way back onto his shoulder just in time for the next small riser, this is when Tom put in another surge and put the nail in my coffin. From about 12k to the finish it took all the will powor I had to keep going. There was a pretty big gap to 7th, but I knew they were coming up fast. Only a few times have I felt absolutely powerless, and this was one of them. The only thing keep forward motion was a slightly forward lean and just catching myself before I landed on my face. With about 2k to go the race directors do a really mean thing. You're running on the final road towards Deerhurst Resort when they make you turn right and drop down a hill just to add one more nasty up hill. At this point the train started to catch me. I was broken I had nothing left and as people started passing me I started walking. I never thought the day would come in a race when I would walk. I thought I was a failure and I wanted to quit. How can I call myself a pro while I was walking. I tried to start running again, but every time the road turned up all I could do was walk. I was so happy to finally make it to the finish line. There was a 2 minute difference in pace between my first 11.8k and from 11.8 to the finish. I had dropped from 5th place down to 9th in the pro field. This is still my best finish ever, but it was a little bittersweet after being in the top 5.

Post race analysis

In just the few days since the race I have already learnt a lot. 1) I'm not invincible - I used to think that no matter how things got I would always be able to finish strong. Never before in racing had I pushed my body until I couldn't go any more, I didn't end up in medical though so maybe I could go a bit harder. 2) Pacing is key in long course racing. Most cramping issues are either from pushing to hard or messing up nutrition. I don't think nutrition was the cause of my issues, and my Infinit served me well. However, I think I pushed a little to hard on the bike especially from about 35-60km. 3) I can't get down on myself. It has been a tough year with some bad luck, from mechanicals to crashes to illness, but there is something to learn from each of these. Next year I will come back stronger from this season.

I have one more race left at the MultiSport Canada Barrelman race in Niagara Falls. I was going to keep racing into October, but after being sick I am ready to pack it in. I am coaching the Western Triathlon Club again, but I am hoping to only be in London until December. I am really hoping that I can get away somewhere to put in a big early season training block. I am already starting to get excited for next season.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Big News!

A couple of you may have noticed a couple new edition in my support section. I am super pumped to be part of the ambassador teams for both Smith Optics and Vorgee. I have been using Smith sunglasses now for 2 seasons, and Vorgee goggles since I was introduced to them in the winter.

Smith Optics

As I said earlier I have been wearing the Smith PivLock sunglasses now for 2 seasons. I found these to be the perfect glasses for training or racing, running or riding. The lack of frame really opens up your field of view when in the aero position, and the pivlock mechanism makes changing out lenses, when the weather changes, quick and easy. When I crashed, and lost one of the arms, the customer service was awesome and I had new set in my possession before I could even start riding again. With numerous performance and lifestyle options you are bound to find something that fits your style.

One of the upcoming products I am most excited to get my hands on is their new Overtake helmet. I used to think crashing would never happen to me, and for 4+ years I had never crashed, but one day it happened. Having probably suffered from some minor concussion symptoms brain protection has become more important in my choice of helmet. This comes without much downside with wind tunnel testing showing it faster than the Giro Air Attack and slightly slower than the Specialized.

Vorgee

Vorgee goggles were introduced to me last winter at MultiSport Zone. I will be honest, at first I was a little hesitant. Sometime I feel like with how much time I spend on Slowtwitch and other triathlon sites, that if I haven't heard of a product I become a little skeptical.  However, once I tried their Missile goggle it was love at first dive. I had alway struggled with finding goggles that fit my face and was left with "swedish" style goggles where I was trying to trim the string to tie as the nose piece, but with the Missile goggle Vorgee offers 4 different nose pieces which seems to fit most faces. And don't even get me started with goggles fogging. Previous goggles would maybe last me a month before they started to fog, and I would be trying every trick in the book to no success. I know all goggles will eventually start to break down especially when used in nasty chlorine, but my Vorgee goggles seem to last forever. After swimming ~10 hours a week for January - March I finally retired my first pair in April, but they probably still had another couple months (I actually gave them to someone to test out, and they ordered 2 pairs of their goggles a few weeks later). If your someone that doesn't like a goggle that sits inside the eye socket check out the Vorgee website (link on the side or above) for a wide selection of goggles.

I haven't used any of their equipment, but I have some on the way. Everything looks to be of a higher quality and I can't wait to hop in the pool with it.



If you have any questions about either of these lines let me know, and I will either find the answer for you or get you in contact with someone who can.

The 2014 season isn't even over yet, and I can't wait to see what 2015 brings.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Final Build - Toronto Island Report

Last weekend I competed in the MSC Toronto Island sprint as my final tune up before Muskoka 70.3. Leading up to the race I put in a solid cycling block between St. George, Bracebridge, and Orangeville. I was feeling more confident in my bike and run, and I really wanted to see what I could do.

However, the Wednesday before the race I came down with a bug and spiked a nasty fever. Thursday I layer on the couch all day and just never felt quite right, Friday I tried taking something for relief but this led to a night on and off the toilet, and Saturday all I could do was chill in the hotel room. I really didn't want to race, but with the point series my choice were race Sunday, race Lakeside in between Muskoka and Barrelman, or give up on the bit of cash available for the MSC series. I told myself I would start the race and see how I feel, if I needed to drop out I would.

Sunday morning came and I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel good either. I heard the bike course was narrow and could get hectic so Andrew Taylor, Cody, and I hit the course to scope it out. For some of the horror stories I have heard about this race I think MSC did an excellent job this year spreading the race out with larger time gaps between waves. I didn't do a run warmup because this is what was aggregating my stomach the most, instead I put on my 2XU wetsuit and went down to the swim start. The water was a balmy 13 degrees and the swim was shortened to 375m. With the water being so cold I wanted to get in early so it didn't shock the system. A lot of people make the mistake of not getting into the water until the race starts and when you hit the cold water it takes your breathe away. 

The race

Well even getting in early, I didn't feel ready to go when the gun went off. Usually, I can get out fast to avoid some of the thrashing, but with the strong field at the race I was right in the thick of things. After taking a couple bumps to the head, I needed to get to the outside, aggressively made a path to the inside of the buoy and got some clear water. On the back stretch Cody and Mikael pulled up beside me and I sat in until the finish. I haven't had many races this year with dolphin dives, and lost a bit of time on the exit. I was about 10s back of the group leaving transition.

Once on the bike I could see Mikael, Andrew, and Aaron up the road with Cody a bit further up on them. I knew I had to catch this group or they could possibly ride away from me so I put my head down and focused on catching that group. Cody rode away from everyone in his typical fashion, but I was able to catch the rest of the group by the 5k turnaround. The 5m draft box is really to small in my opinion, but I will take every advantage given to me so I sat in a bit to recover before launching my move. I went to the front of our group around 7k to see if I could get away, but when Mikael was still there I eased up a bit and let him take the lead back. At this point I was getting a little nervous it would come down a running race, and I wasn't sure how my stomach was going to react.

After a little bit of confusion in T2 Andrew, Mikael, and I hit the run hard all leaving transition within a couple of seconds of each other. I went to the front and told myself I was going to run as hard as I could and either blow up spectacularly (legs and stomach) or take 2nd place. I managed to hold on for 2nd and had the fastest run split. 

I was really happy with the way the race played out in the end despite stomach issues leading in. I'm still not feeling 100%, and I have a drs appointment on Friday. Hopefully everything will be figured out then, and I can get in at least a couple days of training before Muskoka to get a feel. I'm not to worried about loosing fitness in this time, and I am telling myself a little extra rest leading in is what I need.

A sigh of relief as I crossed the finish line without an "accident"

I kept the top of my wetsuit on as long as possible to warm up after the chilly swim