Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Woodstock Triathlon Race Report – May 27, 2012

Race Details:
750m Swim
30K Bike
7.5K Run

The Woodstock triathlon is relatively new, being around for only 3 years I think.   Previously, other races have kept me from doing this race, which is so close to home.   This year, I finally decided to do it to get my first triathlon experience of the year.

The day started off with nice temps and just a little bit of rain as we drove down to Woodstock from New Hamburg.   Once arriving, we made our way into the park down the twisty, bumpy entrance road and found a place to park the van.  

After getting the tires all pumped up, I grabbed my gear bag and bike and made my way to transition to check my bib number and rack my bike in the appropriate spot.   It was actually a nice spot, at the far end of transition from the swim entrance and close to the bike exit.

After dropping everything off, I made my way through the regular registration process and got body marked, my timing chip and my race number and swim cap.

After getting back to my bike, I got my stuff laid out and put on my cycling gear to go for a short ride.  It was about this time that it started raining somewhat steady, and with the little bit of wind we had in the morning, I was actually feeling very cold.   I cut the ride a bit short and just came back to transition to get ready for the swim.

I took one final washroom break and got my wetsuit on and headed down to the water to get warmed up a bit and get some water in the suit to adjust the fit.   I kept the swim fairly short and came back to the starting line with about 10 minutes before the horn was set to go off at 9am for the first wave that I was in.

After a few final race remarks by John Salt, the RD, the horn sounded and we were off.   I hadn’t been in a swim start since Muskoka last year, so it was good to get going and just get the butterflies out of the way. 

I found the start pretty good.   There wasn’t too much contact and I tried to get on some feet early, but those seemed to disappear about as soon as it started.   I should have really focused on doing a bit more drafting, but instead, I think I felt better just finding some open space and swimming my race.   I’ve been feeling pretty good at the pool lately, so I was hoping for a swim time in the 12:00-12:30 range…factoring in the 100m run to the first timing mats as we exited the water. 

By the time we reached the first turn buoys, things were fairly spread out and I was just focusing on maintaining a good stroke to finish out the first leg.   There wasn’t much else exciting the rest of the way, and I finally made it back to shore.   I had my Garmin 310 under my wetsuit sleeve, so couldn’t easily see what the time on it was, so I just kept running into transition.  By the time I got to my bike, I had the suit down to my waist (but again, getting my left arm out was difficult).   When I got to my bike, of course I knocked my helmet and glasses off of it.   I also struggled a bit with the suit around my ankles.   I think I seriously might need to get a new one.   My full sleeve suit is a Zoot, but I also have a sleeveless Xterra suit, and It seems much easier to get on and off.   I always have difficulty with my full sleeve Zoot, and my first transition's always take a hit because of this. 

Anyway, looking back at my swim split on the sportstats website I finished the 750m swim in 13:25, meaning I likely came out of the water in 13 minutes or so.   This put me in 7th in my AG out of 22 athletes and 35th out of 180 participants in the entire race.   This is definitely not what I was hoping for, given the extra speed of a wetsuit.   Always something to improve upon at least!   

Given the bit of wetsuit difficulty I had at the bike and knocking my helmet and glasses off, my first transition took 1:08, well off the mid 30 seconds of the leaders in the race.   That’s a smoking fast first transition! 

Eventually, I was off with my bike up the fairly long hill and run to the mount/dismount line where we had to go through a bunch of wooden posts in the ground.   Luckily, I avoided crashing into any of them, and got on my bike and was off on the 30K ride. 

By now, the rain had stopped and the weather was warming up.   It was actually pretty nice conditions on the bike as I made my way back up the windy road out of the park and out onto the nice country roads north of Woodstock. 

I was familiar with the course, since we basically drove it coming down to the race from New Hamburg.   The first 3 or 4 K were mostly uphill as we headed north on line 13.   Right away, I had a few racers up the road that became targets.   It didn’t take too long to overtake them, and focus on the others that cycled up ahead of me.   When we turned right onto county rd 33, we faced a stiff little headwind.   I just tried to stay down in the aero position as much as possible and fight on through it.   Eventually, I passed a few more riders and made the left hand turn onto line 16, which we would take all the way to the turnaround point, just north of county rd 8. 

Line 16 was a pretty smooth road that started off with a nice flat section where I was able to get the speeds up in excess of 40kph for a period of time.   I continued to pass more and more riders as we made our way up and over the rollers just before county rd 8.   Approximately 1K north of county rd 8, we hit the turnaround point, where we headed straight back the same way we came.   I counted the riders as they came back past me from the turnaround, and I was in 14th place I think, and still behind Angela Quick, the lead female, so I had some work to do! 

After the making the turn around, the next group of riders were about 400m or so up the road.   I pushed hard, and likely caught them within a few minutes and had moved into 12th place.   Just up the road a bit more was Angela quick, and I passed her shortly before turning right onto county rd 33.  Once onto rd 33, there were two more riders just up the road.   I ended up passing both while we enjoyed the nice tailwind on this return section, despite the fact that the road was pretty bumpy. 

I finally made the last turn back onto line 13 for the final push back to the park.   At this point, I could only see one rider up the road.   He was a fair distance ahead and I figured I didn’t have enough real estate to reel him in.   By the time we hit the park, he was likely only 150m ahead of me, so I made some good time on him in the last 4-5K.   Coming back into the park, it was a no pass zone, so I was lucky that I wasn’t around anyone, and therefore didn’t have to slow down for any overly cautious riders.

I hit the dismount line and got off, with my bike going on one side of the various roadway posts and me going on the other.   I could easily see someone coming in hot and crashing into these.   That would have been both funny and dangerous!   

My bike split ended up being 47:52 for the 30K, good for 7th overall in the race and 1st in my AG.   This works out to 37.6kph, but also includes the run to and from transition zone to the mount line.   My garmin GPS which I started and stopped right around the dismount line had me at 38.4kph for the ride. 

Once back into transition, I quickly racked my bike, took off my helmet and put on my shoes/visor and was off.   37 seconds later, I was on my way out and starting the run.   T2 was much more in line with the top guys in the race, compared to my slow T1 (wetsuit issues!). 

As we exited transition, the rider who was just up the road as we came into the park, just snuck out before me.   As it turns out, his name was Brendan Howard.   I had never heard of him before, but he could certainly run.   I stayed within 50-100m of him for the first K as we made our way over to the dam across a combination of bumpy grass and gravel roads. 

Just past the 1K marker of the run, I knew I likely wasn’t going to catch him today, as he just slowly put more and more distance between himself and me.   In the end, he ran the 7.5K run 45 seconds faster than I did. 

At about the 2K marker, as we began running on the crushed limestone trail, I ended up passing my first runner.   At this point, I could see nobody else up ahead except Brendan, who continued to pull away slowly. 

Once I made my way up the short little hill to Tecumseh street, we did a quick right and then a left into the nice trail section in the park.   This section was pretty flat, and once we got to about the 3.75K point, it was mostly tree covered and shady.  It had warmed up quite a bit from the pre-race rain showers we had, so when the sun was out, it was actually quite hot.   I found the air in this tree covered section a lot more humid and “thick” so that sort of offset the shade that we were getting. 

In the lower trail section by the river, I passed a few aid stations and one medical volunteer on a bike, but other than that, I was alone and at times, wondering if I was going the right way?   The good thing is that they did a great job of marking off any trails we weren’t supposed to go on, so getting off course likely would have been difficult. 

I finally made it back to the shared trail section, where I started seeing other athletes coming towards me.    This helped push me along, as you wanted other people to see that you are still looking strong.    At about the 6K point, there was a short little hill before we got back onto the dam.   I was feeling a bit tired and hot at this point, but there was also another runner just up ahead about 75-100m.   I pushed hard back up to the dam and about halfway across, I caught up to him and gave him a congratulatory “nice running” comment. 

With only about 1K to the finish line, and somewhat downhill, I pushed hard along the final gravel/grass sections.   There was nobody else to catch, so I was really just looking to put in the best time I could.  As I approached the finishing shoot, both my sons, Holden and Tate popped out and ran with me through the finish line.   Holden is fast enough to keep up for the final sprint, but little 4 yr old Tate, ended up coming in behind us.   Mike Cheliak of My Sports Shooter, who took all the pictures of the event, took a cool picture of me finishing with Holden right beside and Tate coming up from behind.   I chose this picture as my award photo for winning my age group.    You can see it below. 

I ended up running the final 1.5K at a pretty good 3:53 pace, finishing the 7.5K run in 29:16, good for 9th overall in the race and 1st again in my AG. 

Here are my Garmin splits for the bike and run:

Overall in the race, I finished 9th and 1st in my age group as I mentioned.   So other than not having the swim I wanted and a slow T1, I was pretty happy with the result in this race and the first triathlon of the year.    This was the third race for me in as many weeks, going back to the Hamburger Hill 7 mile road race.   I’ve placed first in my designated category in all of 3 races, so I really hope this is a sign of things to come as we progress through the summer racing season.   

The bigger races are coming up fast with Ironman Mont Tremblant my next race likely, on June 24th.   I hope to put in some good training miles between now and then, and hopefully continue on with the success I’ve had to date.  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Victoria's Duathlon - Race Report 2012

Race Details:

4K Run
30K Bike
4K Run

This being the first race of the multisport season, the weather for the race is often unpredictable.   I’ve seen hail, wind and cold temps to sun and high humidity.   The weather on this day was pretty darn good.   Some would say it was actually pretty hot, but other than the last 4K run, it was a non issue.   Even the wind didn’t play much of a factor on the bike (although it was definitely there!).

I arrived at the race site at Creekside Church, just outside Waterloo at approximately 8:40 or so with Darryl Huras, who was doing the running side of a relay team with Brian Scott from Waterloo.    After arriving, I quickly pumped up the tires and dropped my bike and bag off in transition and went through the standard race registration process.   I elected to bump myself up to the first wave to compete with the elites and faster age group athletes.

It should be noted that I just got my new Argon E118 only a few days prior, after spending nearly 7 hours at the Braun’s Cambridge store having it built up and fitted for me.   I did a short 45 minute ride on the Saturday before the race, and a simple 15 minute ride on the bike on race morning.   That’s all the time I’d spent on it before the race.   Things seemed pretty good on those rides, so I was hoping for good things during the 30K bike portion of the race.

At about 9:50am, we started to assemble at the starting line for the first wave that was to go off at 10am.   I situated myself near the front beside Scott Dickie and a bunch of other Running Free athletes.   The race started right on time, with the horn going off right on schedule.   As usual, a whole winter of built of energy releases, and people fire off the start like crazy.   It’s only about 100m to the first left hand turn, where things were pretty tight.   I just tried to make sure not to get caught up in anyone’s feet and make it to the first downhill in a safe position.  

The first K of the race you get a fast downhill, followed by a short little uphill.   By 1K, there were likely 20 or so guys in front of me and I went through it in 3:35, so a pretty quick pace.   It is a very gradual decent followed by a flat stretch to the 2K turn-around point at the end of the Laurel Creek Reservoir.  

By this point, everyone seemed to settle into their pace and I actually began to pull some runners in and pass them, as we retraced our steps back to transition.   When we finally made it back to the transition zone, I was likely somewhere around 12-15th overall in the first wave.   I finished the first 4K run in 14:34, a 3:39/km pace, good for 19th overall in the race and 3rd in my AG.

I quickly took off my shoes, put my helmet on and grabbed my bike and was off.   T1 only took 35 seconds, which was pretty good.   I haven’t mastered the running flying leap onto my seat as of yet, so once past the mount line, I carefully got on my bike and started the charge down the road.   Once out on the road, I quickly got up to speed and then got my feet secured into my shoes and strapped in.

The bike course once again has changed in this race.   Previously, we had to do a rectangular loop to Bamburg and then turn right to a turn-around and come straight back to transition.   Last year’s GPS of the race had it about 1K short, given we couldn’t go much past the turn-around due to a gravel road.   This year, instead of turning left into Bamburg, we continued straight, all the way to Hutchison Rd.   The distance turned out to be 30K right on, so that’s good.

Similar to all other years, we had to head out on Erbsville Rd. before turning right onto Kressler and hit a couple of pretty steep hills right off the bat.   I didn’t find these too bad, especially the second one, which I almost didn’t feel since I really pushed the downhill hard.   Once past the second hill, we turned left on Hessen Strasse road and would take this all the way to the turn-around.

By this point, I had passed a few more people and was sitting around 10th or 12th in the race.   I worked with another rider for a few K until that fell apart.   I can’t remember whether I passed him, or if he pulled away from me.  

It was about that time that I looked back and saw Scott Dickie, working his way through the bike course.   He has been riding very well lately, so once he eventually passed me, I was hoping to be able to stick with him.   I did for a short period of time, but eventually he pulled away and I couldn’t keep up.   Now I found myself on my own, and just focused on my own race.  

For the first 5-10K of the ride, my power was up over 300 watts on average.   I usually start some of my rides on the high side, but not 300+ high.   I decided to back off a bit, rather than keep pushing a pace I knew I likely couldn’t hold much longer.

The course this year I’d say is generally tougher than last year too, as there isn’t much flat ground at all.   We were either climbing or descending.   The hills weren’t huge or anything, but there were lots of them.

A few K from the turn-around point, I noticed someone had got on my wheel and was sticking pretty close to me.   Before I even had a chance to say anything, another rider passed both of us and called this guy out behind me for cheating.   I think after that, he dropped back a bit, because after the turn-around, he was no longer with me.

I think I averaged just under 38 kph to the turn-around point, which was ok, because I knew it would be slightly better coming back.   The wind was mostly out of the south, but I think there was a little bit of westerly in it, so I think it helped more coming back, then it did going out.

Things really were spread out by this point, and I believe I counted 12 riders in front of me at the turn-around point.   For the most part, I was working totally alone, which is never good, but eventually, at about the 20K point, I caught up and passed one other rider.    I eventually made it back to Kressler and tackled the two rollers before turning back onto Erbsville for the final push back to transition.  

A friend from Waterloo was at the top of one of the hills and snapped a few cool pictures which you can see below.

I made it back to T2 in 47:20 with an average speed of 38kph and 288 watts for the 30K bike ride.   This was good for the 10th fastest time in the race and first in my AG.  T2 took 38 seconds which is ok, but I could definitely look to shave a few seconds off here.   I quickly racked my bike, put my shoes back on, grabbed my visor and was off.

When I started the run, I saw my son Holden, who said I was the 13th person to come in off the bike.   As it would turn out, there was a relay athlete ahead of me, so I was really in 12th I think.  

I quickly made my way down the hill and was feeling generally pretty good at this point.   There were a few runners just up ahead, including Dickie, who I could see around the corner.   I was likely 250 or 300 meters behind him at this point.   I went through the first K in 3:59 and hit the aid station for some water.   The first cup I drank, the second went on my head and down my shirt, as it was getting warm.  

I started to approach and then pass a few other athletes as we approached the turn-around at 2K which I went through in 3:50.   At this point, I believe I was in 10th place, with another athlete about 20 meters ahead.   Eventually I caught him, but at the same time, someone was right on my heels.   As it turns out, the guy I was about the pass was the guy who yelled at the guy that was drafting me on the bike, and the guy right on my heels, was the guy that was drafting me on the bike!   When we passed him, he yelled out to the guy behind me, “still drafting eh?”.   I heard the guy behind me say something like “I’ll talk to you later about it”, which I’m sure he never did. 

Once we got past this guy, I was technically in 9th, but running almost stride for stride with him.   It was actually good (for a while) to have him beside me as we ran back up the hill to the corner to make the final push for the finish line.  

Unfortunately, as we started running down the hill, he snuck in behind me and was actually running so close to me, he kicked my feet.   Not once, but twice.   The second time really pissed me off, so I had to yell out at him.  To top it off, about half way up the finishing hill, he decided to pull out from the draft behind me and start his finishing kick around me.   I tried to respond, but didn’t have the energy in the legs to keep up

The last 200 meters of the race is over some bumpy grass, which makes it a bit hard to sprint really hard.   Despite that, I pushed on, and actually ran past my son Holden, who decided he wanted to run with me through the finish line which you can see in one of the shot below.  

In the end, I did the final 4K run in 15:27 for a 3:52 pace and 14th overall in the race and 1st again in my AG.   Overall, I finished in 1:18:31, a new PB for this race, but given that the bike course was different again (both in the course and actual length), you can’t compare to other years, but generally, I’d say I have improved, since the bike course was tougher and longer.

After checking results, I saw that I did crack the top 10 overall, finishing in 10th place out of 406 participants and 1st in my AG out of 40, so a successful start to the 2012 multisport season and hopefully a sign of things to come.

GPS Data for the various segements:
Victoria's Duathlon 4K Run #1
Victoria's Duathlon 30K Bike
Victoria's Duathlon 4K Run #2

Next up for me is the Woodstock triathlon on May 27th.  It’s just a semi sprint with a 750m swim, another 30K bike and a 7.5K run.   It seems like a long time since I’ve done a Multisport race.   In fact, I haven’t done one since 2010 (Lakeside I think).   I’m looking forward to it, especially now that one of the primary sponsors is Recharge with Chocolate Milk…in fact, that’s the name of the series now.   It should be a blast!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Hamburger Hill 7 Mile Road Race - Race Report

Being a race in my hometown, I did not have to get up any earlier then I normally would have.   After getting up, I got a bit of food in me and then headed out on my mountain bike to just “wake up” the legs and get a bit of blood flowing.

The kids were also racing today, so once we got everyone packed up, we headed over to the Wilmot Recreation Complex where the race took place.  

After arriving, we quickly looked up our bib numbers and got our race kits.   You’d think that with how many races I’ve done, I’d have this process down pat, but for some reason, I forgot to grab my timing chip.   I didn’t notice this until about 5 minutes before the start when someone pointed it out and I had to quickly run inside and grab it.   Luckily, it wasn’t far, and it didn’t take long before I was back at the starting line.

Prior to the race, I just spent some time hanging out and talking with people and doing some stretching and warming up.

This year’s race was the third time I’ve done this race, so I know the course well.   It starts out flat for about 1.5K, and then it’s basically hilly the rest of the way.

At just after 9am, the horn of the local fire department truck went off, and the race was on!   Here are a few pictures from the start.

For the first K of the race, we enjoyed a slight tailwind and the pace was pretty quick.   There was a group of 4 of us that took off out front as I basically lead the small pack through 1K.   In this group was myself, Matthew Ort, Ken MacAlpine and Joe Harker.   Joe is from another small town in Wilmot township called Baden, and he won the Wilmot Township division last year with a pretty quick time.   I wasn’t really competing for that last year, as I did the race twice as a long training run in preparation for Ironman Austria.   This year I wanted to compete for the win!

After 1K, Ken started to pull away for the three of us as we headed downhill past Erb transport.   Joe and Matthew also started to pull away from myself, leaving me in 4th place.  

As we turned right onto Sandhills and faced the steepest climb of the race, Matthew began pulling away from Joe and I started to slowly gain some ground on him.   Up and over Sandhills, I slowly picked away at the distance between Joe and myself.   After Sandhills, it is a fast decent to the turn-around point at about the 5.5K marker.   At the turn-around, I was only about 10 meters behind Joe.

Not long after making the turn, I caught up to Joe and began pulling away from him as we began the climb back up to the top of Sandhills.   This left me in 3rd place, and Matthew Ort also caught and passed Ken, leaving him in second place.

Before the race, Ken told me he ran the Toronto marathon the weekend before in 2:47 (smoking fast!) so I was hoping there was a chance his legs were going to get heavy and maybe I could catch him.  

I worked hard on the downhill section after Sandhills and back towards the Rec Complex as we fought a bit of a tough headwind.   By the time we reached the climb in front of Erb transport, I was within about 50 or 75 meters of Ken and I had put about 300-400 meters on Joe, sitting comfortably in 3rd place.

Amazingly, Ken’s legs stayed strong, as I worked as hard as I could really, but could not catch him before the finish.   He finished 2nd and I got 3rd overall out of 59 runners in a time of 41:38, for a 3:43/K pace and captured the fastest Wilmot male category, which is what I was really after today!

Here is the 7 mile race results:

Here is my garmin data from the race:

As I said previously, my kids were also racing.   Holden did the 3K race, where he did great again and finished 8th out of 51 runners with another sub 14 minute 3K.   Below is a link to the 3K race results:

2012 New Hamburg 3K road race results

Below are some pictures of the kids doing their race.   Tate, who is only 4 did the 1K and did an amazing job.   He ran the whole way and was very determined to push hard when he was starting to get tired.   Amazingly he even beat a bunch of kids that were 9 years old!   Awesome job Taters!!!

Next up for me is the Victoria's Duathlon, which is actually tomorrow, since it took me a week to get around to doing this race report.   The weather is looking awesome so I'm hoping it will be a great race.   I finally got my TT bike from Braun's and so I hope I can hammer out a fast 30K at the race tomorrow.   We'll see how it goes!