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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Race Report: Muskoka Triathlon (Long Course)

I was overdue for a disaster race, and today was it.

2000m, 55k bike, 15k run. I had this as a “B” race, I didn't taper for it but was still hoping to do well. My goal was really to learn and hopefully gain some confidence for Ironman.

I learned, but not the easy way!

The Preparation

We were warned by organizers that the water for the swim was so cold they were considering shortening it. I didn't think the temperatures they were talking about were too bad (60F) but figured I'd double up the swim cap just to be safe.

Other than that, I didn't deviate much from my usual CHECKLIST.

On the way to set up my transition area, I accidentally got my wetsuit bag caught in the spokes of my bike... while I was riding it. This was a stupid thing to do, I almost wiped out. The brakes started rubbing the rim, I straightened them, tested it, seemed OK... more on this later.

Set up transition and walked over to the swim start. Struggled my way into my wetsuit and was ready to rock! The water wasn't really that cold, and it was very calm, so I was cautiously optimistic that this would go well.

The Swim

If you mapped my swim it would look like one of those Jeffy cartoons from Family Circus... I was all over the place. I started back on the outside knowing I was one of the weaker swimmers. But where I really got confused was when we went from the lake to the river.

I thought you had to keep the buoys to one side or the other, and out in the lake it was buoys to the left. But the river was very not straigh so that no longer made sense... and the people were all over the place. I assume they took the straightest shortest route... I sure didn't! Not sure what my final distance was but it was well north of 2000m.

My swim time was horrendous – way off my pool pace - but it felt pretty OK. I was comfortable at least, not panicky, and got through it. I think the extra distance was a factor, but I was expecting to be in the bottom 10-15% and I'm quite firmly in the bottom!

Swim time: 56:45 (2:51/100m) 645/672

The Bike

The course was beautiful, the hills were fine, it was an excellent bike course.

But this is where things got weird.

Cycling is my strength. And at the start of the bike, despite feeling pretty bagged from the swim, I was picking people off and moving well.

But at some point it changed. I was getting picked off. I was struggling for pace, I was sluggish getting up hills, I just couldn't figure it out. Something in the back of my mind told me to stop and check my front brake from earlier, but stupidly I ignored myself. I figured I was just tired from the swim, or that the hills were worse than they looked...

It wasn't until after the race that I figured it out. I went to roll my bike out of transition and the front wheel wasn't moving.

I have no idea what my bike pace could have been. All I know is I finished the bike feeling dogged with an average speed that wasn't up to snuff. How I finished ahead of 222 people is beyond me!

Bike time: 1:56:34 (28.3km/h) 450/672

The Run

The run course wasn't as scenic as the bike, but I love the finish line. I can't wait to cross it next year after a successful race!

After my struggles on the bike, I had nothing left for the run. Of course I didn't realize I had a problem with the bike, so I let it really mess with my head... I just had no gas, and started to wonder how on earth I would do Ironman if I couldn't even get through this shorter race without suffering!

I drank as much Gatorade as my stomach would allow at the aid stations and took my walk breaks. I abandoned my goal pace before I hit the 2k marker. And by the end I didn't even do my finishing kick, I just trotted across the line and finished in disgust.

Run time: 1:30:34 (6:03/km) 531/672

Overall time: 4:30:18 50/54 in Men30-34 and 550/672 overall.


What can I say... disaster start to finish.

I should have been more diligent in understanding how the swim course worked. If I had taken the shortest path through the river section I'd have done much better. Even so, my pace isn't up to snuff, I need to do more work in open water to catch up to my pool pace.

The bike – not sure what to say about it, I thought I'd checked my equipment and it was working, but when I squeezed my brakes it must have started rubbing again. When things aren't going well, sometimes it's better to stop and figure it out rather than push through it assuming it's in the legs I guess. I don't know, just unfortunate.

I really want to do this race again next year, it was an amazing venue and very well organized.

Oh well, on to the next one!


Boris T said...

Sorry to hear that you had a bad day at the races.

Certainly from your report everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

E said...

Everyone has a bad race, sometimes many. Learn what you can and keep going, the next one can only be better!

Shazam said...

Good for you to persevere - take the lessons learned and go from there. By doing this you have found some things to ensure are okay for Ironman and really you got the "training" session done.

Robin said...

Sounds like you didn't do too bad all things considered. I was there on Saturday to support/watch a friend competing in the Sprint Triathlon. The water presented some challenges for a few I think. Congrats on not giving up!

Jon P said...

Thanks all... I've decided to do the 1/2 Iron in Peterborough to recover some lost confidence, they have a "Swim+Bike" option I'm going to do. No 1/2 marathon = easier recovery!

runwuf said...

It's probably a good thing that these happened in a B race, that would make you lean from mistakes and do great in your A race!