Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 Belwood Triathlon Race Report

Race Date - July 20, 2013

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

I like the Belwood venue.   I did it 3 times when it was a Subaru race, but starting this year, Multisport Canada took it over.   The venue and the courses were nearly identical to what it was in the past, except this year it was a shorter swim (750m vs. 1K) and longer run (7.5K vs 7K).

I arrived race morning a little bit late, but still with plenty of time to get things sorted out.   After parking, I got my bike in transition, registration and kit pickup taken care of, bike setup and a short run to the washroom, which would work as my warm up.   

With only 15 minutes to the start, I got into my wetsuit (decided to go sleeveless, as the water was pretty warm given all the hot days we've been having).   Once down at the lake, I warmed up for a few minutes and made my way to the starting line for the 8:30am start.

I decided I'd go pretty hard off the start for the swim to try and get out of any trouble and then try to find some feet.   This worked well, and I had no issues.   I then was able to get onto some feet, that I more or less followed to the first turn buoy, where we had to go left.   Once making the turn, there was a little bit of chop hitting is from the side, and I found myself off and on the guy's feet in front of me.   

After hitting the second turn buoy, we had the benefit of a slight tailwind (yes tailwinds help in swimming too) and I pushed the pace back to shore.   For the most part, I ended up swimming this part solo, but I did come together with another guy that I swam beside for a bit to the swim exit.   When I stood up, my watch said 11:50 or so.   I was really hoping for about 11:30 to come out of the water, but overall, not too bad.   My official swim time was 12:52 including the run up to transition.   This was good for 9th best in the race.

Exiting the swim
I didn't really know what position as I was in until I heard Steve Fleck start calling us out as we were coming into T1.   As I entered transition, I think I was in 5th overall, so a pretty good swim in fact.   I managed to get out quickly and move into 4th place overall starting the bike.

Starting the 30K bike
I saw the 3rd place athlete up the road about 500m or so, so I set out after him.   My target power for the ride was between 275-285 watts, which was pretty much what I was doing as we made our way to the first right hand turn at the 4th line.   Once on this road, we enjoyed a nice tailwind and average speeds of around 42-44kph.   I pushed the pace and eventually passed the guy in front of me to move into 3rd place overall.

A little further down the road, we had to turn onto Wellington Rd. 22 and complete an out and back section.   At this point, we were into some rolling hills and a cross wind.   As I approached the turn around, I saw the first place guy (Alexander Hinton) was way ahead of everyone, but I was only a minute or less behind 2nd place, which turned out to be a female, Leanna Lee, who had a great swim and was riding very well.

I ended up catching her on the hill just past the 4th line.   At this point, I was in 2nd overall in the race with absolutely nobody left to chase down.   Alex was so far ahead I couldn't even see him.

From this point forward, I just focused on my own race and watched my power levels closely.   We eventually made a left hand turn onto Wellington Rd. 26 and right into a decent headwind and some steady uphill sections.

I felt like I controlled my efforts through this section of the course and we eventually got back onto Wellington Rd. 18, which was flat and took us right back to the race site.   I took advantage of this section and just put my head down and got some nice speed with some higher cadence efforts to get ready for the run.   

When I got back to the race site, I stopped my garmin at 46:38, which had the course slightly long at 30.43K.   I managed to hold 39.2kph for the ride with an average power of 282 watts, so a pretty good ride as it turns out.

I had a decent second transition and was out quickly starting the final run.    To start, we have to run on a gravel section as we crossed the Shand Dam, and we were right into that headwind again.

Starting the 7.5K run
I felt OK starting the run, but knew some of the guys behind were solid runners, so there was work to be done for sure.   It was also a bit hot and my first kilometer as we did a short out and back section was only at 4:06.   My plan was to run 4:00/K's or slightly less, so I knew I had to pick it up a bit.

After making the turn around, I could see the 3rd and 4th place guys coming up fast.   Once back on the main trail, Devin Wittig flew right passed me, and I knew I had no chance of staying with him.   He was running about 3:30K's, so it didn't take long for him to move out of sight.   That put me back to 3rd with Adrian Lawson not far behind.   I knew he was a good runner also and could tell that he had made up some time out to the first out and back section.

I got into a decent rhythm as we made our way out to the furthest turn around point.   The course was pretty flat, so it was easy to just keep a consistent effort.   My 2nd, 3rd and 4th K's were all pretty close in time at 3:59, 4:00 and 3:58.   As I made my way around the last turn, I was able to see where I was at, and noticed Adrian hadn't gained as much ground as I thought he might have.   I still had him by about 30-40 seconds as we headed all the way back to the finish line.

Finishing up the run across the Shand Dam
My 5th and 6th kilometers were in 4:02 and 3:59, and I knew at this point I had to push the pace a bit, as a few shoulder checks allowed me to see that Adrian was gaining.   With only 1.5K left, I pretty much just gave it everything I had.   The 7th kilometer went by in 3:51 as we had to make our way along the gravel trail to the finish line.

With the finish line in sight, I was going pretty deep and ran the final half K in 1:47 (a 3:49) pace, which felt much harder than that.   

I ended up finishing the run in 29:42 and holding onto my 3rd place overall finish with a time of 1:31:31.   This I believe is the first time I have ever finished on the podium in a race overall, so that was exciting!   I did end up winning my age group by about 13 minutes, and was the first overall age group athlete (non elite anyway).

Crossing the finish line in 3rd place overall
If the race was any longer, Adrian would have caught me for sure, as he only ended up 10 seconds back in 4th overall.

I'll be the first one to admit that it was a pretty depleted field, as a lot of the faster guys who normally race in this series were at the Toronto Triathlon Festival races which were happening the next day.   Regardless, I did have a solid race and met (slightly exceeded) my own race expectations.

2013 Belwood Triathlon Overall Podium Finishers
So after finishing the race and chatting with a bunch of other racers, I took a bit of a dip in the lake before the awards ceremony and heading home.   Not a bad day overall.   Next up is the 3rd leg of the EndurRun as part of the Health and Performance relay team.   A 30K trail run at Bechtal Park in Waterloo.   That one's going to be interesting!