Monday, June 27, 2016

Race report: Welland sprint triathlon 2016

Yes, that's two swim caps and two bibs. Why do just one race when you can do two?

When I was thinking about my race season this year, I knew I wanted to go back to Welland again. The timing lined up well with Muskoka, it was my first triathlon last year, and I was eager to revisit the race with a year's experience and training behind me. The fact they shortened the long course from a half iron to a sort of 30% iron meant it would be a good way to get in a last intense training weekend before taper.

Then Zindine suggested also doing the sprint (which was also shortened this year, to a 750/20/5), and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. By doing both races (sprint on Saturday, long course on Sunday), the total distance would be close to a half iron, I'd get some experience on the second day racing tired, and the chance to practice transitions twice. Brilliant. Sign me up!

(somehow, I was the only one he convinced to join him in this plan. What the hell?!)

Prepping the gear Friday night. The cat is an essential component of pre race preparations. Or possibly he was just wondering if I was going to feed him dinner any time soon.

Saturday - Sprint triathlon

I was certainly more relaxed than my first time through this race! With a lot more race experience I didn't feel like I was going to jump right out of my skin. Just normal race nerves. Everything went smoothly with getting to the race site. I didn't forget anything or have any last second screw ups. And I found $20 in the parking lot! Not a bad way to start the day! (although sucks for the person who lost the $20).

I swear I rotated this picture. Oh well. It looks like every other photo of a transition setup taken ever, really.

Pre race selfie!
I met up with the handful of people from my tri club who were also doing the race, and of course Irina and Zindine, who were both doing the sprint.

The smiles of people who have not yet tried to run a fast 5k in 28C weather.
Got into the wetsuit, hit the water, and swam to the start dock. This race uses a time trial start in order of age, so I had some time to kill (last year I got to start as 101 - this year 145. Geeze I only got a year older! A lot more people did the race this year, though).

Spotted Meghan, one of the new triathletes in our club this year, waiting her turn in line. Thanks to her husband Norbert for the picture! She did her first ever tri last weekend and just had to do it again - how awesome is she? 
Swim (750m): 13:28 (includes run up to transition)
Overall place: 136/368
Gender: 45/158
Age group: 9/25

The swim went really well. The time trial start meant there was pretty minimal contact with other people, my sighting was right on target, and it was overall uneventful. That's definitely how I like my swims!

Ugh how do I get this thing off again?!
I can't directly compare against last year, since the swim venue moved to the flatwater centre and the timing mat wasn't right at the swim exit this time. However, it is nice to compare my placings. Last year I was 138 out of 240 people (58th percentile) so being 136/368 (37th percentile) is a big improvement!

T1 - 1:34

Into transition, out of the wetsuit with no problems, and onto the bike. Not a bad transition although I could definitely be a little more efficient there.

Bike (20k): 36:47
Overall place: 84/368
Gender: 11/158
Age group: 3/25

Gosh I wonder what my best sport is. HA.

There was a really long run out to the mount line after the timing mat, which since this distance is so short lowered the average speed a surprising amount -Sportstats says my average speed was 32.62 km/hr, which was only a hair faster than my average speed from last year, when I rode 30k. But because of the long run out, it's not really a fair comparison. The Strava segment someone created that covers the majority of the course is a better representation - over 34 km/hr. Basically, as soon as we got to the main road I settled into aero and commenced passing everyone I could see.

In my happy place
It was awesome. Touch of tailwind on the way out, touch of headwind on the way back, but I was loving life and bikes and the sun and my hydration fluids and birds were singing* and it was glorious. Even the slight burning in the legs was awesome. Pretty sure no women passed me, either, which is always my secret goal in shorter races!

*that was probably actually the sounds of aero wheels as the fast dudes passed me.

Norbert caught me heading back into transition. Yay IronCanucks!
It was almost over too quickly, and then back to the long run into T2. I may not start doing flying mounts this season, but I really need to start trying flying dismounts I think. That run into transition would have been a lot easier if I wasn't still wearing my bike shoes.

T2 - 1:10

Run (5k): 26:16.7
Overall place: 111/368
Gender: 27/158
Age group: 4/25

Ah the run, always the part of every tri that makes me question why I do this. But this run was only 5k, so how bad could it be?

Well, to be honest, the first km felt awful. But then I started to settle into a groove, and to my surprise the heat wasn't really bothering me much. By the time I reached the turnaround, I was feeling downright...good.

And I just kept pushing and the pace got faster. And before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line in front of the grandstand and shaking John Salt's hand.

Hey! Get out of my way!
And feeling really, really amazing.

Total time: 1:19:15.8
Overall place: 110/368
Gender: 26/158
Age group 4/25

Since I've never done that combo of distances before, hello PB. Kind of sucked to miss out on an age group place (in fact I was listed as third for a while, but because of the time trial start a late registrant who started towards the end eventually bumped me off the podium), but I honestly wasn't expecting to be that close. When I saw how many people were registered in my age group I thought I'd be farther back. So it's disappointing but in a very mild sort of way. And far outweighed by how happy I was with the execution of the race, and the fact that when it was over, after a refreshing dip in the canal, I was feeling energized and excited to tackle the long course the next day.

Sweaty post race hugs with Irina (who really left it ALL out on the course, heh). I think this was before we jumped back into the canal to cool off. We must have smelled delightful.
Not a whole lot of time to bask in the glory, though, as I had to pack up my stuff, head home, and immediately commence eating and rehydrating to be ready for the long course tri on Sunday!

Jelly beans are a key component of all good nutrition plans.

Race report on Welland Part II: The Wellanding coming up soon!

1 comment:

  1. Back to back triathlons off the bucket list! :-) This was a neat experience and we did so well! See you in Muskoka next week! Next week? Oh my!