Monday, July 28, 2008

Bala Falls Triathlon

First let's get the numbers out of the way. I'm a bit of a math freak so let me get it off my chest.

Long Course Sprint

Swim (750m) -- 15:46 (2:07/100m)
T1 -- 1:43
Bike (30km) -- 57:55 (31.1 km/h or 19.3 mph)
T2 -- 1:13
Run (7.5km) -- 35:43 (4:46/km or 7:40/mi)

Total: 1:52:19

69/340 participants
17/39 in M40-44 AG

A few months ago I had signed up for the Bala Falls triathlon. Because of my kids schedule, it had looked like I wouldn't be able to do it. We were all supposed to drive down to New York city to pick up my 16 year old daughter who was away at camp there. Don't ask. Anyway, my wife ended up flying there and I remained home with my 14 year old daughter. With a little bit of cajoling, I was a ble to convince her to come with me to Bala and volunteer while I was racing. I might have failed to mention that we would have to get up at 4:30am to make the 2:30 drive up there.

The site was very nice, although a bit wet. Quite a few mosquitoes, but I never go anywhere without my 30% DEET spray. Bugs just LOVE me. I racked my bike and got my bib and swag while my daughter went to the volunteer line. She ended up preparing the food tables with some others.

I must admit I wasn't feeling the love. The previous weekend's race was still fresh to mind and I wasn't sure I wanted to go through the grinder again. Well I was here so I prepped my transition area and walked around a bit. I actually went to the swim exit and memorized where my bike was. In all previous races, I have had difficulties finding my spot. I did the same from the bike re-entry. The pre-race email had clearly stated that there were no AG assigned rack so I picked the first good spot I saw. Now I noticed AG signs on the racks. I'm in the 25-29 rack. Well, I'm not moving.

Swim (750m) -- 15:46 (2:07/100m) - 16/39 in AG

As they start the pre-race meeting in the transition area, I start slipping into my wetsuit. I'm still not feeling it. Only when I finally got into the water did I finally start to get excited. The feeling of excitement cannot be denied. The pros started, then the first wave. I was in the 4th wave and all of a sudden it's time.

I had decided to pick up the pace a bit to see what happens. GO! This is the biggest race I've been in and I'm having a hard time getting started. I started too far back and now I'm following feet that seem like they are barely moving forward. A few minutes of that and I'm swimming. I just go a tad harder than usual but I try to maintain my "TI" technique. My goggles fog up a bit toward the end and I've having a hard time seeing where I'm going. That anti-fog spray isn't woth $h!t. All of a sudden, I'm passing white caps from the earlier wave! Allright! I push a bit at the end, although I didn't feel like it made me go any faster, just more tired. I get out, lift my goggles cause I can't see anything, pull the zipper cord and unsuit my top. I'm running!

T1- 1:43 Bike (30km) -- 57:55 (31.1 km/h or 19.3 mph) -- 23/39 in AG

I enter the transition area and find my bike faster than usual. Someone has thrown his wetsuit and towel all over my stuff. Asshole. I get out of my wetsuit, I put my belt number on, I "sock-sock-shoe-shoe-glasses-helmet" and I'm running toward the bike exit.
And I'm running. And I'm running. Where is that mount line? I get there eventually and jump on my bike. Rolling hills they said on the email. They weren't kidding. Although there were no monster hill, there were very few flat sections. Pretty much always going up or down a hill. I kept an eye on my 305 to make sure I didn't do anything stupid and kept my HR mostly under 160 which I feel is close to my LT, although I never got tested. Before the race, I moved my seat up by about an inch and moved it back down about 1/2 an inch. Well, forst the first time ever, I lost all feelings to my package. Maybe it was because there were mo monster hills and I rarely got off my seat but the fact of the matter is, that seat is going back down before my next ride. Anyway, got passed by more men than I would have liked, passed a few others. Road surface was pretty good. Anyway, 30k isn't that long and I just did my best, which isn't much. I get to the dismount line and run to my spot.

T2 -- 1:13 Run (7.5km) -- 35:43 (4:46/km or 7:40/mi) -- 10/39 in AG

The thing with the bike is that you have to manage it. I could go faster, I think, but I might blow my run. I think that the bike is where experience pays off because it's a very fine line. When you get to the run, you can just let it all out. By now, I've forgotten about "not feeling it". I've got the freshest legs ever after the bike. I can actually feel them! I have my Garmin secondary brain, I didn't forget it on the bike mount this time (see precious race report). I just start running at almost my 10k race pace. Of course, after the bike, I feel like I'm barely moving but my trusty 305 is there to reassure me. I'm passing people left and right. There's a guy with a 50 on his right calf going pretty much my speed and I latch on.
I'm number 218

I remember being passed by only two or three people during the run, one guy and one chick. Faster athletes were already in front I guess but me and my buddy passed dozens. At the turn around, my rabbit looked like he was fading a bit so I figured I would be the rabbit for a while and passed him. I didn't really feel him and I assumed he had slowed down. The return leg is a bit tricky because there are two little detours on unpaved cottage roads with fairly steep hills, just to make sure they break your spirit thoroughly. For the fits time ever, my right IT band burned a bit. I cleaned up my form a bit and it helped. Hit a bit harder, leaned forward, ... anyway I got it under control but I slowed down a bit going down a steep hill. All of a sudden, my buddy just blows by me like I'm not even moving! I decide to take the challenge and I follow. Anyway, we ended up finishing the race together, edging each others and trying to hold a conversation using only one-word sentences. "500 meters?" "600" "Shit" "sprint?" "can't!" "come on!" "ok" "go" "arrgh".
Finally, a picture with both feet in the air!

We finished pretty much together although he was in the next age group and had started after me so he finished about 2 minutes before me overall. I'm number 219 by the way, the good looking one with the blue shoes.
My Garmin says that I reached my max HR at the end. Although I was more tired at the end of last week's Olympic, I was in more PAIN at the end of this one. My daughter was trying to talk to me when I finished and I could not stop moaning "ahhhh ahhhh ahhh!". Took a few seconds before I came back to life. I kept looking for a spot to crash which wasn't too muddy.

I grabbed some food and drink and consumed all of it quickly. My daughter wanted to go so I just grabbed my stuff and we drove home.

This was my best race yet I believe. I made me feel like I kind of know what I'm doing now. I definitely need more work on the bike. Problem is, I'm a runner so I like to run. Cycling requires so much road and so much time! Anyway, now back to regular training and specially, back to Marathon training. I see you Toronto Marathon.

This might have been my last tri of the season. My kid's canoing season is entering the final throws, which means divisional, provincial and national competitions, all in August. Maybe I can squeeze the Toronto Island Tri on August 17th.

2009 will be the Year OfTthe Bike.

No comments: