Sunday, June 14, 2015

Welland Half

At the beginning of the season Rich and I had picked out Welland as one of the local races to focus on this season. I had 3 goals going into this weekend 1 go after Cody's record, 2 if I fell short of that I really wanted to go sub 4, and the last one was to get the win. Especially after coming second last weekend I REALLY wanted a win. However, things got flipped on their head about mid-week.

Wednesday morning Ang woke up with some pain in her stomach, but we didn't think about it to much. The pain intensified all day and that night around 12:30 we decide to go to the ER. We left the ER around 5:30 in the morning with orders to return at 8 for an ultrasound because they thought it might have been gallstones. The ultrasound didn't show anything so they shot her up with some drugs and sent her home. The pain wasn't gone for long and before you know it we were back at the ER to figure out what was going on once and for all. A CT scan revealed that her appendix was inflamed and before we knew it she was in surgery. All of that was a whirlwind of 48 hours of going back and forth to the hospital. Not the ideal taper before a race, but sometimes life comes first.

Saturday was the first time I was able to workout so I got in a quick bike and run with a couple of race pace intervals. I was pretty close to throwing in the towel and skipping the race. My bike felt like i was pedalling through slop, and my calves started getting tight running just 60s at race pace, but after much debate and Ang pushing me I decided to suck it up and race.

The Race
Driving to the race I was texting with Rich, and we kind of decided to scrap goals 1 and 2 and just focussing on getting the win. If I just focussed on that the times would come if they were meant to. My dad and Ang's mom got a bunch of pictures so I'm just going to use those to describe the rest of the day.
Swim start - there were only 6 people in the elite age group/pro wave and we started a minute ahead of the 39 and unders

It was pretty overcast and chance of rain so I went with clear Vorgee Missiles to compliment my Nineteen Rogue

I came out of the water 3rd. After trying to make a couple moves and shake Andrew I decided I should just conserve some energy and moved to Andrew's feet. Some guys from the wave behind us caught us at about 1500m and we moved onto their feet for a fast last 500m.

The ride was pretty uneventful. I pulled away for about 60k, but Andrew reeled me back in around 65-70k. I sat in for about 10k before making my final push for the finish. Once again with the cloudy skies I swapped out the lenses on my Smith PivLocks for clear lenses just in case it started to rain again.

Heading out on the run. 1st 10k were pretty solid before it started to fall apart. I've been getting a tingling left foot in the last 2 halves so I think I will try to loosen my shoes a bit next time. Hopefully that will be one less thing on my brain.

I kept checking my watch as I knew the 4hr mark was close. I could hear Steve Fleck counting down, and I tried to pick it up for one last kick. We thought I broke 4, but later found out the clock started with the age group wave 1 minute behind me. I just missed sub 4 going 4:00:40.

Breaking the tape

Celebrating what we thought was a sub4 performance 

The cheering squad. Mom, Dad, and Ang

Once again Multisport Canada put on an excellent race, and it is always fun racing with so many friends. There are always things you want to do better, and I think I have the ability to go sub 4. My swim was 90s slower than last year, my bike power was a bit lower than Knoxville, and I think I lost some mental focus on the run when it seemed the win was locked up. My next chance to really break the 4 hour barrier will be at Barrelman, but before that I will be racing Muskoka.

Thanks for reading. I will try to update things a bit more tomorrow with power numbers etc, but I wanted to get something posted before calling it a night.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Woodstock Race Report

This morning the Ontario triathlon season kicked off with the Woodstock Tri. Woodstock will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first "real" triathlon I competed in way back in 2010. Luckily my last name is mis-spelled so my result will always be a secret . . . Over the last 5 years I have steadily improved with a big time improvement when the race was shortened from the Ontario distance to the tradition sprint distance. I have won this race twice as well and was going for the threepeat this weekend. If you want the short race report I ended up 2nd after winning a sprint finish between Andrew Bolton and Mikael Staer Nathan while Jack Laundry was up the road. Full results are here. Here are some pictures from the race, but if you want to read more about the sprint finish scroll beyond the pics.

Entering T2 thankfully no crashes this year. Thanks Ryan Power for the photo.

Winding up the kick. Another photo by Ryan Power

My bro captured this one turning the corner into the finish shoot

@multisportcan posted the picture of the pro podium

Now the long version of the blog . . .

Ang and I arrived as usual with lots of time before the race. I love getting to sleep in my own bed the night before the race and with only a short 40 minute drive to the race I slept in a bit 5:15. However, it was like a family reunion at the race. Being the first race of the season I found I spent most of the morning catching up with friends I had not seen in probably 8 months. Racing locally seems much more laid back. About 50 minutes before the gun was to go off I went out for a short warm up run with 2 athletes I have been coaching, Andrew Flanagan and Ben Snider-McGrath. Next, I slid into my new Nineteen Rogue and headed down to the water for a nice swim warm up.

Swim - 2nd 10:12
Every year at this race Ang and I start on the far right side and all the other guys start on the far left. I'm not sure if I am picking the wrong spot or they are. After about 5 strokes I had clear water all around me, and so I kept the head down and kept pushing for about 200m. I generally use 200m as the point where I look around (thanks to my Vorgee goggles I feel like I can see everything) and get my first idea of how the race is unfolding. Today, one swimmer who started on the other side had already opened a gap, and I was swimming even with the next group. I thought the swimmer up ahead might have been Jack because I heard he was swimming well this winter, and he swam further than me at the indoor tri this winter. I didn't want him to get to much of a gap as I knew he was a serious threat on the bike. Usually I would be one to sit in the draft and try to save some energy for the bike, but I decided I would take charge and try to chase. There was no pulling back the lead swimmer, and I exited the water in 2nd. As I entered transition I was glad to see the lead swimmer wasn't Jack and that they only had about 30s on me.

T1 - 37s the race is on

Bike - 30:53 3rd into T2
The Woodstock bike course starts with a nice climb right out of the park. This is where you get to see just how hard you swam and how your legs are feeling. Mikael was right on my wheel up the hill with Bolton and Jack just behind him. Once at they went by me one at a time, and I told myself I had to go big here or kiss the race good by so I just pushed the pedals as hard as my legs would go. I was just holding onto the back of the group of Andrew and Mikael but Jack was already pulling away up the road. After the first turn my legs were starting to come around so I surge past Mikael and would stay in 3rd for pretty much the rest of the ride. Coming down the hill into t2 I eased off a bit more than usual, but after crashing there 2 years ago I didn't want to do that again.

T2 - 33s always seems a lot longer than that

Run - 16:34 2nd (fastest run)
Leaving transition Andrew had a bit of a lead and Mikael was right with me. Mikael and I were in the situation a few times last year at both Syracuse 70.3 and Toronto Island, but a new year means new fitness and you never no what the other guys really did over the winter. On the first section of gravel road Mikael pulled just in front of me, and then I reposed again on the bridge. We were slowly pulling Andrew in, and I could just see Jack off in the distance. I knew to pull back both I would need to have the run of my life and hope they both imploded terribly. The next kilometre on the crushed gravel from the dam to the road not much changed. I finally pulled up beside Andrew just before the turnaround, but Jack I guessed Jack had about a minute on us and the gap wasn't coming down fast enough. With Mikael still right on me, and Andrew running stronger than in the past this is where the race started to get tactical. We had already swam (7s separated us in the swim) and biked (about 10s separated us) together so no one was going to let the other get away on the run. This is where having raced the course so many times came into my favour I think. I tried putting in a small surge after the turnaround, but it didn't do much. When we got back on the crushed stone I eased up a bit and Mikael went to the front. I knew if someone was going to try to make an early attack it would be on the small but steep climb up to the dam. I was prepared to cover the move, but it never came. The part was the dam; the dam always seems to have a headwind as you run across it. I was just biding my time and trying to have as much patience as possible sitting at the back of the pack. I was feeling relaxed, but it was hard to tell how the other guys were feeling. You could almost feel the tension as we approached the 1km to go sign. Andrew was the first to go basically as soon as we hit the 4km mark, and I went with him just sitting on his hip. I wanted to counter attack this move, but I told myself it was to early. I was still feeling good, but I wasn't sure about a 1k kick. Andrew's surge let up about 150m later, but it was short lived. He quickly attacked a second time with about 700m to go. With about 500m to go I said now is the time! I counter attacked. I was pumping my arms as hard as I could and just put the pedal to the floor. It's probably been about 10 years since high school track where I had my last heads up kick (I got out leaned in a tri a few years ago but I was kicking from behind and rand out of room), and during high school track I had my fair share of wins and loses in these kicks. One thing when your kicking is there is no 2nd or 3rd chance. When you commit you have to go all the way, either you make it to the finish or you tie up before and risk not making it. All I thought about was go go go. When it started to hurt I told myself go some more. Do not look back just keep running! Coming into the final turn I made a quick shoulder check just to make sure I could take the tangent, and it wan't until here I knew I wrapped up 2nd. I think this is probably one of the funnest and most exciting races I have had in my tri career. There is nothing better than going head to head to head with 2 other guys for about an hour with never more than 10s between you.

After the first race of the series it looks like this summer is going to be a great one in the MultiSport Canada Series. I can't thank John enough for giving us the opportunity to race in an elite series for prize money. It has elevated the weekend to weekend racing so much in the last 3 years. Last year we had Lionel and Cody put on a clinic, but Jack was only 3s off lionel's time from last year, and I think today was a tougher day with some chop on the water and wind on the bike.

I'm looking forward to the rematch with Andrew next weekend over 4 times the distance at the MSC Rose City Half in Welland, and hopefully there will be a few more awesome match ups over the summer.

I'd like to thank Nineteen Wetsuits for the brand new Rogue wetsuit, it felt fast on the swim today. Vorgee goggles make open water swimming much easier when you can see where you are going. Smith Optics for keeping the sun out of my eyes before during and after the race as well as helping with my style. Rich from Healthy Results for whipping me into shape this year, I'm looking forward to the future. Lastly, my family, I had the whole gang out to watch today mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, my brother, and of course Berlin, who cheers the loudest.