Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Welland Long-Course Triathlon 2017 Post-race Report

Leading up to the race

Getting the bike ready to go
The Multisport Canada Welland Long-Course Triathlon was my first A-race and first long-course race this season. More than any other season, the focus of my training over the past 8 months has been on long-course racing. That means more lonely long steady effort intervals at a pace that's just slow enough to be boring but just fast enough to be difficult. That being said I really like long-course and think it really suits me.

Welland long-course triathlon is perfect for anyone looking to build up to the longer half-iron distance races. It's distances (2k swim, 56k bike, 15k run) are a nice stepping stone from the standard distance. You add that it is flat and fast, and Welland becomes the ideal early season race for the those looking to get their feet wet (ha, puns) and test the waters (ok that's enough) of long-course racing and for others looking to hone their skills, pacing, nutrition etc. to be competitive in a future half-distance race.

The swim

It's amazing how spectator friendly the swim is at Welland and how many spectators come out to watch. The grandstands that overlook the Welland Canal were full of people which made for a very fun atmosphere. My swim has been feeling good in the past few weeks so for the first time I was excited to get into the water as opposed to nervous. My goal was to catch a draft and hope to swim around 1:35-1:37/100m. Also, for the first time ever I was just as worried about those who would be chasing me out of the water as I was about those I had to try and catch on the bike and run. I'm usually the hunter not the hunted (which is just a cool way of saying my swim sucks). But with guys like Matt Straatman (who ended up having the fastest bike split) and Chris Balestrini (who ended up having the fastest run split) coming out of the water after me, I had to be ready for a role reversal.

Once the gun went off I ended up catching a draft off of someone going about 1:30/100m and challenged myself to stay on their feet as long as I reasonably could without burning too many matches. I stuck with them on the way out and was dropped at the first turn (so about 900m out). I swam solo on the way back and averaged 1:37/100m for the swim. Overall, a good swim in my books (and over 2mins faster than last year). I'll keep working hard in the pool and maybe at Kingston Long-Course in August I'll be able to stay on the draft for the whole time.

The bike

The bike course is flat and fast. That being said, we had a decent head wind on the way out and a tail wind on the way back. It was important to be disciplined on the first half so you didn't burn all your matches for the potential speed gains on the second half (wind or no wind there's not much you can do if your burnt out). For some perspective, my average speed on the way out was 36kph and was 46kph on the way back (not including the loop). I was able to catch about 5 people throughout the bike, and was passed by Matt Straatman at about the 40km mark. I knew that his wave started 1min behind mine, so I worked hard not to let him pull away too much because not only would I have to pass him on the run but I would have to put another minute on him on top of that, which is not easy.

The run

As I started my first lap of the run course I looked up into transition and saw Chris Balestrini coming in off his bike. It was difficult to stay disciplined in the first km of the run knowing he was coming after me and that I had a few people ahead to try and chase down. I'm going to pause here and say that this is one of the things I love about the Multisport Canada races, that they attract strong local competition but do so in a friendly supportive atmosphere. It makes for very fun racing.
Look at those Zizus shine
Anyway, back my story. Chris passed me at about the 9k mark. He was flying and I wasn't feeling great so I wasn't able to stick with him (which would have been a tall task even if I was feeling amazing). Matt looked very strong for the first 10k but faded in the last 5 and I was able to reel him in to secure 4th place.
Top 5 of the day


Overall I am very happy with my race. I took 10 minutes off of my time from last year, improving in all 3 disciplines. Multisport Canada put on a fantastic race and it was very fun to race with everyone who showed up. Many of us who raced today are racing in Gravenhurst on July 15th, which promises to be equally as fun and exciting. I would like to thank LPC and the Hurdle Project for all of their support, Multisport Canada for putting on this amazing race and supporting me as an ambassador, and Zizu Optics for the awesome sunglasses that helped get me through the grueling 15k run.
John's entourage