Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cobourg Olympic Distance Triathlon 2008

I can't believe that people actually do HIM and IM distance triathlons. It also pisses me off because it prevents me from using the tri-specific term "epic" when describing my race. I'll settle for "ball-crushing" or BC for short.

This being my first year at this crazy sport, I had never done the Cobourg tri so I wasn't sure what to expect. The pre-race email described the bike course as "under-appreciated", "steeper-pitched rollers" and something about bragging to my friends. I'm not much of a cyclist (yet) so I was worried. The run was reported as being nice and flat. The swim was in lake Ontario, a large body of water where water temperature can vary from 55 to 75 degrees. I had done a lake swim in Toronto 3 days prior and the water was friggin' freezing, at about 60.

Cobourg is about 100km from my house and I needed to go get my Zip rental car at the nearby lot, so I got up at 4:30, ate a Cliff bar, drank a quick expresso, got dressed and jumped on my bike to ride to the Zip lot. A hooker and her pimp were still working their trade from the lot. I stuck my bike in the back of the Subaru Forrester, drove back home, packed the car and went. Uneventfull drive and I got there with lots of time to spare. I racked my bike in the 40-44 rack and went to get my swag bag and body markings. This tri series, the HSBC Tri Series, gives you a nice technical t-shirt. I saw the potty line was starting to form, so I got in line and took care of business.

There were 200 people signed up for the triathlon and somewhat less than that (100?) for the duathlon.

Swim 1500m: 35:57, 13/25 in AG, 109/200 overall

"The sea was angry my friends...". For people who only swam in pools, the swim was a challenge. This was the biggest surf I have ever swam in. I saw only 2 people without a wetsuit. I later saw one of them on one of the lifeguard's surf board, although he did get back in. I swam much slower than usual. I usually swim 2:10/100m and this time I went 2:23/100m. The surf did have some effect, but I just didn't swim hard. I also had to empty my goggles at least 4 times. I did enjoy the swim though. There was quite a long run on the beach to get to T1.

T1- 2:11
Bike 40km: 1:28:10, 17/25 in AG, 138/200 overall, 27.2 km/h

T1 went ok, but I just didn't feel like I was racing. I cleaned my feet real well to make sure I didn't have sand in my socks because of the annoying seeping blister I have on my right big toe. As I run to the mount line, I hear something rattling. It's my second bottle holder that's coming unscrewed. Tightent all screw, they say. Sh!t. Looks like it's going to hold so I decide to get going. I jump on my steed and go. My strategy here is to keep my HR below 160, or about 80% of my maxhr (which is a ridiculously high 196bpm).The first few km are flat-ish. People are passing me much more than I'm passing. What can I say? Cycling is not my thing. At about 5k, it begins. Hills. Nearly all of them going up. At about 8km, my bottle holder packs it in and falls to the ground. I stop, go back, try to put it back on but it's broken. Time lost: 2-3 minutes. I have another bottle, with water/gel, so I take a few big gulps on the bottle that's fallen and get out of there. Up, up, up, down, up, up. Finally get to the 20km turnaround. Nice downhills now but a surprising number of uphills as well. Are we in a geologically active area? Did those hills actually grow in the last few minutes? At about 25k, I see some poor smuck walking his bike, people zooming past him. I slow down and ask him if he needs something. I says he needs a pump. Shit, I have one. And I have gas cartridges so I have no excuse. I stop, give him my pump. I tell him my bib number and my rack so he can bring it back after. Time lost: about 1 minute. But I fell good about helping so who the f@#k cares? I jump back on "My Precious" and get going. At about 35k, I see a HUGE uphill. I did remember hitting 55km/h early in the ride. Ah! Time to pay the piper. Ball crusher. Up the Everest and then it's an easy ride to T2. All in all a good ride, I got both gels in and drank plenty of water.

T2- 1:43
Run 10km: 50:38, 11/25 in AG, 54/200 overall, 5:04/km pace

First of all, I'm pretty certain they screwed the pooch on the distance. My Garmin is reporting 10.5k. It reported 2.25k for each loops and it's pretty accurate so I'm sticking with it. But for the record, I could have done without the extra 500m.

T2 was ok, I took the time to take a felt gulps of my backup Gatorade bottle, switched shoes, put my hat on and went. I decided to run with my Nike Free 3.0 and they are not quick-lace friendly. I spent some time putting them on and double-knotting. First thing I notice is that I had put my wetsuit on the rack ABOVE my running shoes and that it dripped directly in my right show, which squishes like crazy. Is that going to be and issue? Also, on the bike, I tried to pee but just could not do it. Now I have to piss like a race horse, but we're running in a residential area with little kids making the waves to edge us on. The parents would not approve if I pissed on the wheel of their car. It's getting hot. I have to piss. I'm tired. It's a 5k loop that I have to do twice. I hate loops. I'm getting grumpy. I have to piss. FINALLY at around 4k, a wooded area! I don't even slow down, I run directly into the woods and take care of business. I'M A NEW MAN! I get to the drink table and grab two cups of water. I drink one and empty the other one on my head. They have HEED but I just can't drink the stuff. Tastes like something you should be taking in a hospital before some high-tech investigation of your insides involving a 12-foot long camera. I have to re-pass some people because of my impromptue trail run. I end up running with someone from my age group. We run more or less together for a couple of km in the second loop. He walks the drink areas and catches up on uphills. I'm a bit conservative on uphills. I don't like to get too out of breath. At the last drink table, I turn it on a notch while he's walking. It IS a race, after all. With 500m to go, I decide to be an asshole and go after the girl about 50m in front of me. Her marking says 21, so I figure she's fair game for an old fart like me. That will be a lesson for all the 21 year olds calling me "mister". As I get closer, she hears me and tries to pick it up but I have no mercy. I pass her 30m from the line.

Final time: 2:58:12, 13/25 in AG, 93/200 overall

This was a nice race. I enjoyed it more than my previous Olympic where I went harder and really suffered at the end. I definitely have to work on my bike. On my next race, I will try to ride at a higher hr, maybe 170bpm. More to be gained on the bike. After my fall marathon, I'm turning to the dark side and training hard on the bike until the Spring.