Thursday, July 26, 2012

Magog Report

Last weekend I was in Magog, Quebec for my first draft legal race. This race has been on and off the schedule since last summer depending on how my swimming was going. After Knoxville I was worried that I was not going to be able to swim fast enough to keep myself in the race, but I really wanted to get some experience in the draft legal format. With Magog being a 5 lap bike course I knew I would have a better chance of not being lapped than a race like Buffalo which is 8 laps.  Cliff, my brother, and I traveled up Thursday, spent the night just outside Montreal, and arrived in Magog early Friday morning. Upon arrival we drove the bike course then suited up for a short ride and run to shake out the legs after sitting in the car. I knew the bike course would be challenging, especially the 4 and 5 laps, with one bigger climb and a couple rollers, but the run course was 4, pancake flat loops. That afternoon was a quick swim to find landmarks for sighting and the athletes meeting. I thought I accidentally went to a meeting for a volleyball tournament because it seemed like I was the shortest guy there and surprisingly not the skinniest.

The elite men's race was not supposed to start until 11:45, and I ended up waking up early so I went out for an easy run in the morning to get the legs ready to rock and roll. We rolled down to the race site around 10 so we could catch the start of the Women's race, but the races had been delayed in the morning so we were about 30 minutes behind schedule. No biggie, something is always bound to not go according to plan so you just adapt and move on. I found a nice tree by the start line and got off my feet. Once the girls were out on the bike course we were able to set up our transition area and start warming up. I felt completely calm and cool before the race, compared to Knoxville where I was nervous and antsy. Warming up I was feeling great and knew it would be a solid race.

The Swim
Damn, I was really hoping to swim faster. 3:30 down on the main pack and 3 minutes on the chase pack is nearly impossible to shut down. I felt like I had a decent swim and the last 1/3 of the race I found some feet to draft in on. Coming out I was glad to see some guys around me, and I just hoped some of them would be able to ride.

The Bike
40k of riding scared for my life. The only goal coming into the race was not to get lapped out. Being down by 3:30 I thought we would be safe, but I did not want to take any risks so I went straight to the front of our group and was not going to wait for anyone. Good thing I did because the guys that came out of the water behind us and one guy from our group got lapped. Myself and one other guy were working well together for the first two laps and gaining on a couple guys ahead of us but going up one of the smaller hills he dropped off. I kept riding on and picked off one more guy. While I was hammering away the guys that had dropped off formed a pack of about 6 and started gaining on me. Starting the last lap I saw they had almost caught me, and I had the option of keep hammering and get caught by the end of the lap or ease up a bit and wait for them to catch me. I decided to ease up a bit as this would allow me to save up the legs a bit for the run and gain some experience in a pack as that was what this race was all about.

The Run
After a bit of a rough t2 (I have struggled with my running shoes all year) I was out on the run. The 4 lap run course had its pros and cons. Out and back 4 times is mind numbing and tough to stay focused on the race at hand, but it was nice to have crowd support all along the course when you feel like dying. Two guys that were a lap ahead caught me just after I started the run so I attempted to stay with them for a bit, but they ended up running 32 mid and 33 low which ended up being a bit fast for me. However, they pulled me up to a guy that was on the same lap as me. We ran together for most of the 3rd and 4th lap, but after hitting the turn around on the last lap I put in a surge got away. After losing a sprint finish a couple weeks ago I was not going to let it come down to a sprint again. I ended up running about 10s faster than Huronia. It is tough to compare races though especially when trying to compare draft legal vs non-drafting.

Next up will be the Tecumseh Triathlon. This is a solid local race with some prize money that usually draws out some of the stronger triathletes in Ontario and Michigan. Time to get back on the tt bike.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back At It

I feel like every post begins with me saying I am going to try to blog more often, but I am a busy guy so blogging sometimes falls on the back burner.

Since my last update not much has changed. Still training away and putting in hours at MultiSport Zone so I can pay for all my racing and equipment. Training has been going really well with one minor hiccup last week when my ankle/Achilles flared up after running on some gravel roads. Luckily Jenn Entwistle fixed me up and gave me the go ahead to race this past weekend at MultiSport Canada Huronia Olympic distance triathlon.

With nasty weather rolling in overnight we were in for an interesting race. Luckily I arrived early on Friday and was able to drive the course. I knew there would be some slick corners, and I would have to be a bit cautious. 

With fear of thunderstorms rolling in the swim was shortened to two loops and when this was done the course went from 1500m to about 1400m. I wanted a proper 1500m so I made sure to swim all over the place. Really I just could not sight to save my life which is weird because usually I am pretty decent at swimming straight. I came out in 19:51 which is the slowest pace I have swam this year. However, I did not know the course was short until after so when I heard 19:50 I was like damn I am flying lets get rolling on the bike.

Coach Cliff wanted some power data from this race so he lent me his powertap disc with the instructions of staying around 220w. Racing with power is so much easier than RPE especially on a hilly course like this one. I was a bit below the goal of 220w as my average was 210w with a normalized power of 215w for a time of 1:05:23 for 40.6k. The first 5k of the course were pretty much uphill and struggled to get into a rhythm here. After that though I managed to lock in and push away. Managed to stay upright through the slick corners even though my rear wheel did start to slide out on one corner. Unfortunately not everyone was so lucky and there was quite a bit of road rash and stories after the race.

Coming into the run I was in a similar position being down approximately 3 minutes on the leaders. I did not panic just made sure to get out at a strong pace. I thought the run was tougher than the bike with some short steep rollers where you would go down, cross a slick wooden bridge, and then back up. If you have ever run a course like this you know how hard it can be to get in a rhythm and unlike the bike there is no power meter for running. At about 3k I passed fellow MultiSport Zone athlete Derek Quick, and he told me the others were just up the road. This was one of the more competitive run fields I have seen at an Ontario race with 8 of the top 10 running under 40 minutes. Unfortunately my 34:38 was only good enough to lose a sprint finish for 2nd.

Next up is my first ITU Continental Cup in Magog, Quebec in a week and a half. I am looking forward to racing some of the best young triathletes in Canada as this is the Canadian U23 National Championships.

I am off to the track to crush some intervals. I am going to try and post a couple more updates before Magog.