Last weekend I drove 1000km to Saguenay, Quebec for the "Triathlon Saguenay". Some of my childhood friends and I try to do this triathlon every year. This year there was 4 of us boys signed up for the sprint and 3 girls signed up for the relay. The relay was olympic distance so each leg was still quite a race.
The weather has been miserable up there and that morning was bad. It was cold and rainy. Three of us were driving together, so we met around 6am for coffee and there was an underlying sense that if anyone dared suggest it, we would just go back to bed. The day before, we had go in the river to test the water and we knew it was frigid. Unfortunately for them, I had driven too long to back down so we ended up in our wetsuits with cold water upto our neck, waiting for the start. It was pouring.The river had a decent current and the course was such that we were going downstream in a counter-current that didn't push us down, but we had to come back against a fairly significant current. That second half was a killer. I swam only once this year and that was at my only other tri last month so my swim was lackluster. I finished 22nd out of 42 sprint swimmers, about 3 minutes behind my friend Marc. The other two guys were a few minutes behind.
The bike course was 3 loops of 7.7km for a total of 23.1km instead of the usual 20. It was still raining quite hard. Racing in loops is a lot of fun because you get to see the others and you can judge whether you are gaining or losing. Quite frankly, we didn't care about the others in that race. After one loop, I knew I was gaining on Marc and as I met him, me finishing the loop and him starting his second, I yelled "I'M COMING!!!". I knew he had a decent bike but he was weaker on the run, so I had decided (and told him before the start) to thoroughly bust my legs on the bike. As expected, my thighs were on fire and I kept remembering that guy on the TDF commercial: "...you have to be the ... maso-hist... if it hurts, you know you are good...". Damn you Versus! So I kept up the pressure. To keep my mind off the burn, I kept trying to think of something to yell at my pal at the next turn: "you swam too fast, you're tired", "you didn't swim fast enough!". Eventually I passed him with about half a mile to go but he kept pretty close and we got off the bike pretty much together so I erased his swim advantage. I knew by then that the other guys were about half a loop behind. This was the best bike race I ever did. My legs were thoroughly spent, but I wasn't really worried.
The run was out and back, downhill to the turnaround and then a nasty uphill to the finish. I transitions in the heavy rain and my feet felt completely numb in my running shoes. Still, I had an ok run and gained about 4 minutes on Marc. I finished 18th out of 42 participants, 14th/25 men, 4/8 in the 45-49AG. Best of all, I finished 1st of our group of 4. After the race, we stayed around to encourage the girls doing the relay.
Triathlon Saguenay is a small race but people are serious about it. We are basically the only people doing it for the fun of it. We're trying to convince people we know to train a bit and do it for fun. This year, we got the girls to sign up for the relay. Next year they are doing the sprint. Another friend is signing up for the sprind with us boys. We're going to take the thing over!
This was great fun. What else were we going to do on a freezing, rainy day?
Then it was time for the post-race party at a friend's cottage. That's another story!