The day started off very early, as I decided to drive down to Toronto from New Hamburg, rather than pay $150 for a hotel room. So after the alarm went off at 4:45am, I quickly grabbed a bite to eat, took my 7Systems supplements and hopped in the truck for the trip down the 401 to Toronto. At 6am on a Sunday morning, the traffic was light, and I made it down to the ferry terminal by 6:45...plenty of time to catch the 7am ferry over to Centre Island.
Once over on the island, it was a good 3/4 km walk/ride over to the transition zone. By this time, I had to go to the bathroom pretty bad, so I quickly put my bike and bag in transition and took my place in line for the port-o-potties. From there, it was over to get my chip, body marking and tee-shirt (note to self - you are not a medium, so get a large shirt next time! Deanna will be using this race shirt, not me). After getting all my stuff, it was time to get organized in transition and get on the bike for a quick ride. I rode the first 2-3K of the bike course to get a feel for what the roads would be like, as this is not your typical bike course. It was a 3 loop 10K course on closed, but relatively narrow roads with ALOT of other riders and pedestrians. Once back from the bike, I did a quick run. I normally run a bit longer, but this morning is was ridiculously humid out, so just moving around was causing me to sweat! Back from the run, it was pretty much time to head down to the lake to listen to the race briefing and get a bit of a warm-up swim in. Back to that humidity....As most triathletes will know, getting a wetsuit on can be difficult at times. Throw in a sweaty body and 95% humidity, it makes it almost impossible (at least it was to me). I got my legs in, but couldn't get much else on, so I headed down to the lake to get the rest of it on in the water. I must say, this was the hardest experience I have ever had getting into a wetsuit. Eventually it went on, and I did a bit of warming up until our wave started.
Lake Ontario was pretty choppy race morning, which isn't something I'm used to. At 8:24am, our wave went off, and things started off ok (for a while). I quickly found myself getting unusually tired, due to the waves. I'd go to take a stroke and there would be no water, or try to breathe, and get a wave right in my face. It also made sighting the buoys a lot harder. I found myself having to stop, look around and regroup a few times, something I haven't really had to do this year yet. By the time I got to shore, my watch had said about 12:45. So despite what I felt was a "horrible" swim, I was really only about 20 seconds longer than some of my more recent 750m time trials in the pool, where I was averaging about 1:40-1:43/100. In this race, I just couldn't find anyone to draft off of, which makes a big difference. So despite not liking to see my average time of 1:55/100 for the swim, it really wasn't too bad. The long run to transition is what makes the average time not what I'm used to seeing. Despite this, I still need to make improvements in this discipline. Overall, 35th out of 424 in the swim.
After the 300m or so run back to transition, it was onto the bike. As I mentioned, this is a 3 loop 10K course. The first lap went well, and I likely had about a 38kph average going, and I was flying past everyone. Onto the 2nd lap, there were more riders out on the course. The road for the most part had about 3 meter lanes (on each side), but there were sections that were narrower. My average speed just kept going up each lap, as it was motivating to be passing so many people, and passing them so quickly. I'd say that the average speed of most riders was around 30kph or less, and I was easily doing 40kph in the straight-aways. Despite the congested course, I never really had any 'incidents' on the bike (except for missing one large pylon by a few inches). The bike course was pretty sheltered from any wind, so that also helped get the speeds up. On the far end of the course, the turn-around is like a cul-de-sac, so you could keep the speed up while turning around. The turn-around by transition was a complete 180 turn, so it forced everyone to slow right down. Take that away, and the speeds would have been even faster!! By the time it was done, I think the bike course was slightly short (say 29.5K instead of 30K), as my garmin had me at about 39.5kph, but the race results showed me in 4th overall with an average speed of 40.4kph. Anyway you look at it, it was a good ride!
After getting off the bike, I was completely soaked with sweat. I don't think I have ever been that sweaty after a bike ride in my life. Luckily, the sun still hadn't come out, but it was crazy humid. It was like I just walked out of the lake! A relatively quick transition and it was out onto the run course. This was a two loop 3.75K course. It had a little bit of everything, including running on grass, pavement and sand. I was feeling pretty good, despite the humidity, and was averaging a little over 4 minute K's. I can't really think of anything too memorable about the run course, other than the fact that I didn't like completing the first lap, and having to do the whole thing over again. I missed a few kilometer markers for checking my laps, but I do think I held a pretty consistent pace throughout, and when the finish line finally arrived, I was happy to see it.
Checking the results afterwards, I was surprised to see how fast so many other people were at this race...and a lot faster. I was disappointed to see my average for the run at 4:13/km. I knew I ran faster than that and confirmed it using the gmaps pedometer, since I wasn't using my garmin for this race. I think the run course was definitely long at about 7.8K, rather than 7.5K, which would still keep me at a little over 4 minute kms. This link is somebody else's Garmin data for the same run course, and it shows 7.8K.
In the end, I finished 14th overall in the run, 8th overall in the race out of 424, and 3rd in my AG as 1st and 2nd overall in the race were also in my AG :(
Patryk Biegalski, in my AG photo above, was the overall race winner in a time of 1:29:33 (2:25 faster than me), so I ran some numbers compared to him. He put 1:36 into me on the swim and only 49 seconds from T1 to the end of the race. So clearly, if I could have stayed close to him in the water, it would have been a pretty interesting finish. I certainly think if I had him in my sights on the run, I might have been able to push a little bit harder. Always something to work on I guess!