After 4 weeks off racing, I took part in the K-town triathlon weekend. This was a last minute decision to get me prepped for Timberman 70.3 coming up in New Hampshire on August 19th. This local race began in 1984 and has been going strong every year since then. I was very happy to be a part of it!
This was going to be a particularly hectic weekend. A wedding to go to on Saturday morning, the drive to Kingston, race Sunday morning, drive home to Toronto and then the wedding reception on Sunday night. I also knew that I wouldn't be at my freshest as I had just finished a HUGE block of training (more than I had ever done before). Consequently, my only goal for the race was to have fun and just get some racing in.
Luckily my sisters decided to join me for this particular trip and we began our road trip to Kingston at 2pm on Saturday. Highlights of the drive were the playlist that included songs that went all the way back to high school, seeing some pretty trucks (an F-350 that would look very nice in Bee and Thatcher's garage ;) ), making fun of/trying to avoid the MANY bad drivers, my outfit of a sari and baseball cap to match!
The hotel was very nice (we had a suite) and once we checked in both me and my sisters were on a mission. I needed to check-in, get my race kit and find bagels and they had to find an LCBO! We headed out in the CRAZY heat and humidity to get our errands done. I was also able to pick up my new Tri suit for the race from Olivier at Kiwami.
We then got to relax at the hotel. We were joined by Annalisa who decided at the last minute to come to Kingston to watch the race. My coach also decided to make the trek to Kingston to watch the race! He had almost his whole team of athletes racing...me, Faye, Tim Lychy...so it was great that they were able to come.
Bianca made an amazing pasta for my pre-race dinner and we all ate dinner watching a re-run of the Women's Olympic triathlon...not much better motivation for a race than that!
Race morning I woke up at 6am for my usual pre-race routine...shower, coffee, breakfast, coffee. As soon as I stepped out of the hotel with my bike (and almost got blown over!) I knew there was going to be race day trouble. I rode my bike cautiously over to the transition area, careful to not get blown over in the process. As soon as I reached the race site I saw the HUGE white caps in Lake Ontario, where the swim was supposed to be. Oh no! I remember seeing this in New Orleans last year when they cancelled the swim. My heart sank...out of all three sports I felt I was most prepared for the swim portion of this race. I have been swimming all summer with Bob Hayes at Summerville Pool and had noticed huge improvements since I started. Sure enough, the call was made that the swim would be cancelled and we would run a 7.2km run instead of a 2km swim. I was not mentally prepared for a 22km run and had no idea how a run before the bike would effect me. Obviously I was upset, but nothing could be done, so I just tried to reset my brain and get it ready for a duathlon. It helped that Bill and the team at Urban Athlete was keeping me injury-free, so I knew my body would be able to handle the extra mileage.
Before the start of the run I lined up next to Canadian super-star triathlete, Beth Primrose, who was a Canadian champion about 20 years ago and is still a super strong triathlete. She had beat me the two times I had raced her last year so I knew that I could use her to pace myself for the first run. Before I knew it we were off, running into a heavy cross-wind/head wind. At first there were 3 of us running together, but by the 2km mark there was just Beth and I. She led for the first half of the run, but I was right on her feet. I had no idea how to pace this run so I decided I would let her, the more experienced triathlete, do it :) I ended up beating her back into transition by a hair and was out of transition and off on my bike 10s ahead. A sub-4:00/km run to start off was a good sign.
A few kms into the bike we had to dismount our bikes to cross the Causeway because the cross wind was so strong it was deemed to dangerous to ride our bikes across. We had to cross single file with our bikes across the bridge. I was caught behind an amputee, which is so awesome that he was racing, but meant I had to cross the bridge at a very slow pace and about 10 people caught up with me (including Beth) as a result. After the bridge I hopped on my bike and tried to make up for lost time. The only problem...my bike legs seemed to have decided that they were not going to wake up. Not only this, but the cross-wind was incredibly intense and it was taking a lot of energy just to stay upright and in a straight line as the wind pushed me all over the road. These conditions definitely made me happy I had got by biked tuned recently (thanks Enduro Sport). Beth passed me at the 10km mark, but I made it my goal to not let her out of my sight. My legs were burning and my heart rate soared if I pushed any higher than zone 2...but I did manage to pass Beth at the turnaround and I think that this was also the point when my legs decided to wake up. I pushed hard for the next 10km and then it started to rain. HARD. Cross-wind + downpour + trucks passing you made me so mad! I think I was swearing out loud. I wanted to get back to transition as fast as possible just to tell my coach how much I hated this race and how mad I was. I'm not sure if that's why I was able to find a harder gear to go hard back into transition, but the last 15km was definitely my strongest leg of the race!
I came into transition a little shaky from my windy and stormy ride, but I was greeted by the smiling faces of my sisters, Annalisa and Coach. Soon I was out on the run, running back into the strong cross/head-wind! Coach was on his bike as I ran, telling me I was doing great and at least 2 minutes ahead of second place. I relaxed at this news, until I heard my coach say that I still had to push it...damn...no relaxing for me. At 7.5km I reached the turnaround and I couldn't believe I would have to run another 7.5km. It really did make it easier that I had the wind at my back on the way back. I would see guys running in front of me and made it my goal to catch and pass them. I ended up crossing the line with the second fastest 15km time overall - including the men! And first female by about 15 minutes. I guess the race didn't turn out too bad after all - despite the crazy weather and a cancelled swim :)
All WattsUp athletes had excellent results. Faye was 2nd in her age group, Tim was 3rd in his age group, Claire came 1st in her AG, Claudia was 2nd in her AG, Irene was 1st in her AG! Awesome job to all the athletes!
Thanks again to Sara, Bee, Annalisa and my coach.