Thursday, 22 June 2017

National Age-Group Standard Triathlon Championships 2017 Post-race Report

Leading up to the race

The hotel had Cinnamon Toast Crunch!
                I was very excited for this race. Not only was it the first triathlon of the season, but it was Nationals, it was in Ottawa (meaning I got to make a really fun trip out of it with my LPC teammates), and my race was the first of the weekend (meaning I got to relax afterwards and watch the other races). I raced in the age-group standard distance event Saturday morning. The other events were the age-group draft-legal sprint distance race on Sunday and the elite/pro draft-legal race (which was split into super-sprint distance qualifying heats on the Saturday and sprint distance finals on the Sunday, and involved current and future Olympians – I know right, exciting!)

                I arrived in Ottawa Thursday early evening with Jack (Laundry), did some wandering around the city with James (Loaring), Ben (Rudson) and Garrick (Loewen) – who were my hotel buddies, and relaxed on Friday playing Facebook Messenger games before going to do some very easy race prep on the course that evening. Then it was off to bed early with the impending 4am wake-up Saturday morning.

                A goal of mine for the past couple of years has been to break the 2-hour barrier in the standard/Olympic distance triathlon, and this was going to be the race I did it. I anticipated I would have to swim 1:35/100m (23:45 over 1500m), bike at least 40kph (1 hour over 40k) and run 3:30/km (35:00 over 10k). I was hopeful that doing this would also get me the win in the race. When we got to the race site Saturday morning I was ready to go.

The swim

I liked my new goggles so much I couldn't take them off
                A few weeks ago I did a fun local event in Guelph called the Stroke and Stride; a laid back swim-run race. My T1 was ridiculously slow as I was on the ground struggling to pull off my wetsuit. I could not afford that wasted time at Nationals so prior to heading down to the swim start I loaded so much pam on the lower legs of my wetsuit it would have made even Mr. Christie cringe. Another change for this season was the switch from the cheapest goggles I could find to a pair of reflected Speedo Vanquishers (a difference of only like $12 to $25). This has made a HUGE difference in my open water swimming. I never realized how important being able to see was.

                My swim went exactly as I had hoped. I caught feet early and drafted the entire thing to an average of 1:35/100m. After ~1450m (the course was short) of recklessly thrashing at Nick Kolodzie and Adam Doxtator’s feet while trying to draft them it was off to the transition zone to grab my bike. The pam worked great by the way, wetsuit slid right off.

The bike
My sweet new Zizu sunglasses (thank you Zizu for the support!)

                I was onto the bike knowing I had the tall task ahead of chasing down Adam and Nick (who were 20 seconds up and historically faster cyclists than me), Ben (who was a bit of a wild card on the bike and was about 3mins up on me) and a small group of others whose skillsets I knew nothing about. I focused on holding a consistent effort and getting my average speed up above 40kph. I surprisingly caught Adam about 10km into the 2 loop 40km bike course (I think he was having a bit of an off day). Nick and I traded the lead a few times throughout the course. I put in a gradual surge over the last 10km to create some separation from Nick and Adam and hopefully bridge the gap on Ben as best I could. He actually ended up putting time on me vs me catching up to him. That was not a part of the plan.

The run

                I started the run with my legs feeling a little heavy, but this went away about 1km into the run. I was in 6th place starting the run. James and Mark yelled at me that I was only 2 minutes down from second place. The run course was 4 loops, each starting with a hill. Knowing it was a slow course I focused on my effort level and didn’t even look at my watch. Slowly but surely I started passing people, gaining confidence each time, and worked my way into 3rd. On the final loop I looked at my watch and saw my average pace was 3:30/km, and I was feeling good. I picked up the pace a little to see if I could bridge the gap on 2nd place (though ultimately was not able to do so), and go after that sub 2-hour goal. I got my average pace down to 3:27/km, checked my time as I went down the final hill towards the finish line and realized the run course was short of 10km (it was more like 8.5-9km). I crossed the line and was greeted by teammate (and race winner) Ben. My race time was 1:55:29, which was actually sort of unfortunate because breaking 2-hours doesn’t really count when the course is short. Based on my paces I would have been very close to breaking 2-hours, but this is here-say at this point.

Reflections


                Overall it was possibly my best race ever and was an amazing trip. This weekend both gave me confidence and motivation moving forward with this season.
My attention
quickly turns to the Multisport Canada Welland Long-Course Triathlon this up-coming weekend. I would like to thank LPC and the Hurdle Project for the never ending support, Multisport Canada for having me on their Ambassador team for a third time, and my newest supported Zizu Optics for the amazing sunglasses! Look for me at Welland this weekend sporting my Zizu’s and ready to have a big race in my first long-course event of the year.