Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Woodstock Sprint Triathlon Race Report - May 26, 2013

Race Details:

750m Swim
20K Bike
5K Run

This year, the Woodstock race was only a one day affair and the triathlon was only a sprint.  I generally do better the longer the race goes, so the short race wasn't in my favour when compared to all the super fast young dudes who focus entirely on this type of distance.   Needless to say, I would treat this as a nice speed session and give it everything I had.

It's crazy how much the weather has been fluctuating this spring.   Last Monday we did Victoria's Duathlon, and on the second run, the temp was pretty much 30 degrees Celsius.  When I got up this morning just after 6am, this is what we were greeted to:

A slightly cool morning for a triathlon

Needless to say, I was a bit concerned about getting on the bike after coming out of the water.   This made the the clothing decisions race morning much more difficult.

I arrived at Pittock Conservation area shortly before 8am and did all of the necessary pre race duties and then decided to just go for a short jog, rather than getting on the bike when it was still pretty chilly.   As we got closer to race time, I got my wetsuit on and went over to the lake to check out the water.   Surprisingly, when I put my feet in, it didn't seem too bad (likely cause it was still fairly cold outside).   It was cold enough that the race organizers made the swim a wetsuit mandatory one, which might have put a few racers over to the duathlon.   I couldn't imagine doing that race without a wetsuit though!

I did decent warm up to get the blood flowing and eventually made my way to the start as the first wave of athletes went off.   I was going off in wave 2 this morning.

From the sound of the horn, I put in a good effort to try to distance myself from some of the chaos and contact that we usually get at the beginning of the swim.   This worked well, as I pretty much had free and open water right from the get go.

As we headed out to the first turn buoy, I think I might have gone a bit further right than I wanted, but nothing too bad.   I made the first right turn with a few other guys and I tried to get a draft going, but one guy took off and the other fell back, so I was pretty much solo again.   I could tell however that someone was on my feet pretty much the whole way around the swim.   Good for him, but it would have been nice if he made an effort to come up and pass so I could do a little drafting too.   It's a lot easier to draft in an Ironman when we all start at the same time.   With only 50 or 75 in my wave, this didn't help my cause much.

After rounding the second buoy, I made a strong push back to land and when I finally stood up and checked my watch, I was happy to see around 11:30 or so on my watch.   That was well over a minute faster than last year, which is definitely good news!


It was  a decent run to the transition zone where the timing mat was, so my official swim time was 12:03, but here is my Garmin file (not the most accurate with the distance though)!

Garmin Swim File

T1 was by far the worst part of the race for me.   Some days I have no problem getting the wetsuit off and sometimes it just won't come off my ankles.   Today was the latter unfortunately!   Once off, I then struggled to put arm warmers on and also gloves.   Things seem to get stuck when you are wet!   T1 was a terrible 1:34, about 45 seconds slower than I wanted, and the worst part about it, was that I couldn't pull my arm warmers up my arms when I got on my bike, and would later find out that I really didn't need them at all.

The run to the mount line in Woodstock is a bit tricky.   It's uphill over bumpy grass and lot's of posts that you have to navigate through.   I eventually made it to the mount line and got on my bike, but you immediately need to go around a tight turn and up a big hill.   Because of that, I didn't end up getting into my cycling shoes until we were about 300m into the bike race.   Once I did though, I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder from my sub-par transition and started hammering past other racers.

The run out of transition
The first 3K of the race is generally uphill, and at this point, my power was just over 300 watts, which is pretty much my FTP.    Once we crested the top of the first hill, I did let it come down a bit, as 300+ is not sustainable really.

I continued to pass lot's of racers, as we faced a nice little headwind as we traveled up to the first turn on country road 33.   Once on #33, we were forced to deal with some bumpy road conditions, but at least it didn't last too long.   After only a few K, we made a right hand turn and were on some smooth road conditions again, and had the benefit of a nice tail wind all the way down to the turn-around point.

As you can see, I didn't even bother pulling  my arm warmers up my arm
After the turn, it was back into the headwind and a slight uphill all the way back to #33.   I continued to pass racers, but at this point, they were more spread out, so there was a lot more solo riding.   Not one person passed me though on the bike throughout the entire 20K ride.

We finally made it back to the park and I took a quick glance at my computer before we headed into the no pass zone.   I had held 297 watts until about the 19.7K mark of the ride.    After that, I lost a tonne of power  as I had to more or less coast down the hill and make the turn into the park and to the dismount line.   In the end, I averaged just over 37kph and around 282 watts, but this of course includes the long run on the bike from the transition zone to the mount line, where I had no power and not much speed.  Here is the garmin file for the ride:

Woodstock Triathlon Bike File

T2 was quicker in only 44 seconds, as I got into my running shoes and headed out on the run course.   My only problem now was that my feet were pretty numb.   I thought that was strange, since they didn't really feel cold on the bike. Needless to say, it felt like my insoles in my shoes were bunched up and the middle of my foot was all tingly. This made running feel very weird.  So much so, that I almost stopped to check if the insoles were out of place (in the end, I don't think they were, and my feet were actually numb!).

The start of the run was a bit slow, as I battled the feeling in my feet and the gravel path that we had to run along for the first K.   As I got over the dam, I saw the lead guys coming back, and realized they were pretty far ahead of me, despite starting in the second wave.   It was also at this point that another racer passed me.   Given his speed, there was no way I was staying with him.

Super close up shot from Mike Cheliak on the Run!  Cool!
Just before the turn around, another racer passed me, but this time, I was able to hang with him a short bit until he eventually pulled away as well.

After making the turn and heading for home, I was feeling a bit better and picked up the pace a bit, running just under 4 minute K's.   Finally, after passing the 4K mark, I pushed just a bit harder towards the finish line which I eventually crossed in a time of 1:08:02.  My final run was 20:37, but my GPS had the run at 5.2K, at a 3:58/km pace.   That was a little slower than last years run which was 7.5K, but not too bad though.

Woodstock Triathlon 5K Run File

After finishing, I grabbed some chocolate milk and a hero burger (Man I love the post race sponsorship at these races!).    I chatted with some other folks for a bit and then decided to check results which were posted.   In the end, I did grab my M40-44 AG win and finished 19th overall.   As I said earlier, this series is attracting some fast young guys (and gals), so 19th overall isn't too bad, given my key races this year are a couple of half Ironmans and then Ironman Arizona in November.

Here are the results:

2013 Woodstock Sprint Triathlon Overall Results

Podium Shot!   Cool new medals this year too!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013 Victoria's Duathlon Race Report

Race Details:

4K Run
30K Bike
4K Run

Given the unpredictable weather we have had this spring, I wasn't sure what to expect race day.   This year, we were pretty lucky and were greeted with above normal temperatures.   In fact, this was the hottest Victoria's Duathlon I'd ever done.   It was well into the 20's at the start of the race and by the end, was getting close to 30 Celsius.

This race has a slightly later start at 10am, which is nice.    I decided to move up to the first wave with the elites, which would allow me to race with most of the faster athletes in the race.   Right at 10am, the race got under way, and we were off on the first 4K run.

Start of the race - Wave #1

I wasn't feeling quite as "fast" as last year, as I really haven't been doing as much speed work.   The first K of the race is pretty much downhill, followed by an uphill.   It went by at a pretty quick 3:34/km avg. pace.   At this point, there were likely 20 or so athletes still in front of me.   The 2nd K is mostly downhill to the turn-around point at 2K, which went by in 3:37.  

After making the turn, it felt much warmer, as the wind was out of the south, so running north without the wind made things warm, plus it was uphill.   The 3rd and final K of the race were a bit slower in 3:49 and 3:50.   I finished the first run in 14:43

Finishing up the first run with Scott Dickie

Victoria's Duathlon Run #1 Garmin File

I entered transition with another Waterloo racer, Scott Dickie, and made the quick change to bike gear and was out on the road in only 36 seconds.    I quickly got into my shoes and up to speed on the bike as we made our way out of the Creekside Church parking lot.

Starting the bike

By now, I figured I was in around 12th place or so, and I began passing a few athletes as we made the grind up the Erbsville hill.  Still up the road though was at least one athlete that I knew was in my age group, Ming-Chang Tsai.   I eventually caught up to him at around the 5 or 6K portion of the bike.   We went back and forth a few times, before I decided to put in a bit of an effort and see if I could drop him.   This worked, and he was not able to catch up after the last time I passed him.

By now, there weren't too many riders up the road, but I believe I slowly picked off a few more before we got to the turnaround at the end of Hessen Strasse road.   One of the guys I made my way past was Larry Bradley, shortly before the turn around.   He is a solid duathlete, so I was happy to make my way around him on the bike.

As I made my way around the turn around point, my average speed was just over 38kph and my power was pretty much about 270 watts for the first half of the bike.

The wind felt a bit tough on the way back, as I believe it was out of the southeast slightly.   I worked hard to try to keep the power consistent on the trip back.   Unfortunately (or fortunately), there weren't too many riders left up the road, and I believe I only passed one other racer, just before we hit the steep hills on Kressler Rd.   This was the last person I passed on the bike, as I powered my way up and over the hills and back to transition.

As I approached the dismount line, I heard one of my kids yell out that I was in 7th place overall.   I finished the bike portion in 47:19 with an avg. power of 269 (NP 276).

Victoria's Duathlon Bike Garmin File

T2 went taking only 35 seconds and I was out starting the final 4K run.   By now, it was noticeably hotter out there.   As I made my way down the first hill and up the second, I heard someone coming up pretty quickly from behind.   This was the same guy I passed near the end of the ride.   He was flying on the run and I couldn't keep up.

I made my way down to the turn around point, where Dave Rutherford was there and snapped this picture.

The turn around on the 2nd run

As I made my way back up to the 3K mark, I finally passed one other racer, to put me back into 7th place from the first wave.   I would have liked to push the last half of the race a bit harder, but the motivation wasn't really there, as I was neither being chased, or really trying to catch anyone.

As I made the final run towards the finish line, my kids were there and they ran with me for a bit and I crossed the finish line in 1:19:09 with a final run split of 15:58, a fair bit slower than my first run.

The final turn to the finish with Tate running along side

Victoria's Duathlon Run #2 Garmin File

Overall Race Results

Another local athlete Florian Ong, who started in a later wave actually had a faster overall time than I did, so he finished ahead of me, pushing me to 8th place overall.   My time this year was about 40 seconds slower than last year, which isn't too bad, given the hotter and tougher conditions, both on the run and the bike, so I was pretty happy with the result.

Post race shot with the boys!  Tate wasn't too happy!

Friday, May 24, 2013

2013 Hamburger Hill 7 Mile Road Race

Going into this race, I wasn't feeling quite as fast as I was last year.   With my goal race not until November, I hadn't done a whole bunch of speed work.   As a result, if I could be reasonably close to last year's time, I would have been pretty happy.   Really though, the main goal was to win the Wilmot Township division, given this was going to be the last year for this race being run locally.   Starting in 2014, Ted Seyler (local race director) is handing it over to Lloyd Schmidt of the Waterloo Running Series.

The conditions this year were not nearly as good as last year.   It was only hovering around 6 degrees with a cool, stiff wind out of the NW, which meant the 2nd leg of the out and back section was going to be tough!

The race got under way promptly at 9am with a blast from one of the local fire department trucks.

Right from the start, there were 4 of us running pretty close through the first kilometer, as we enjoyed a bit of a tailwind.   There was myself, Ken MacAlpine (who I considered the guy to beat), Greg Dyce and Peter Vandriel.

Eventually Ken and Greg began to distance themselves, once we started heading down the hill at Erb Transport, and I found myself running just behind Peter Vandriel.   Just as we made the turn onto Sandhills to   tackle "The Hill", Peter pulled off to the side at an aid station and I made my way into 3rd position, which is basically where I stayed the rest of the race.

As I made my way up Sandhills, at a pace that felt a lot harder than last year, I pretty much knew I wasn't going to match last year's time.   I was already about 5 seconds per kilometer slower, and I hadn't even dealt with the hard part yet.

Eventually I made it up and over the big hill and tried to push hard down to the turnaround point, which is pretty much at the lowest point on Sandhills before we had to turn around and retrace our steps all the way back to the Wilmot Rec Complex and the finish line.

As I made my way around the turn around cone, I was greeted with a nice stiff and cold NW wind, which slowed the pace down and certainly made things seem so much harder.   The next 1-2K back to the top of Sandhills was really tough going, as I tried to keep the pace up, but the uphill, cold headwind was really taking it out of me.

Eventually (and thankfully), I reached the top and got to enjoy the fast decent back to Gingrich road.   At this point, we were still dealing with a bit of a cross/headwind, so the climb back up the hill by Erb Transport was tough again, but this was pretty much the last of it.   Once we got to the top, we were at least sheltered from the wind by some trees until the last half K to the finish line.

Unlike in prior years, where I was being chased and had some people I could legitimately catch ahead of me, this year I found myself totally alone for 3/4 of this race.   So although I wasn't taking it easy, I wasn't forced to push myself just that little bit extra, which likely cost me a bit of time.

I eventually made my way back to the rec complex and around to the back of the arena, where we got to run inside to a finish line on the arena floor, which was cool.  They did this the first year, but haven't done it since because of issues with the timing chips on your ankle (didn't work well on concrete floors).   With the chips in the bibs this year, it meant we had a finish line much like the Around the Bay in Hamilton.

I crossed the line in 43:21, 3rd place overall and 1st place in the Wilmot Township division.   Last year my time was 41:39, so about a minute and a half slower.   I believe this is partly due to less speed work and partly due to the colder and windier conditions.

Here's the Garmin file for the race (didn't hit stop right at the end however)

While I was off doing the 7 Mile race, my oldest son finished 4th overall in the 3K, which was another big improvement for him.   After my race, I did the 1K fun run with my youngest son Tate.   He pushed hard and had a great time as well.

So looking ahead to next year, there will be some big changes to this race.   The course will be slightly different (and much harder) going to the top of the aerial hill and back.   With it being a Waterloo Running Series race, there should also be a lot more people racing it out in New Hamburg.   I'm really looking forward to that one!