Monday, June 27, 2016

Race Report: Welland Long Course

What a day in Welland! I had forgotten how hard long course racing is, how important nutrition is and how much more time there is for things to actually go wrong. Nonetheless, I am very happy with my performance in Welland. It's been a long road back from injury and it feels like I'm inching closer and closer to my goals.

1. Pictures:


Run: Wow! This was hot. I knew that I would have to be extra focused on this run. I stayed cool with sponges, water on my head, ice down my top...everything to stay cool. I definitely got a boost at every aid station and would slowly fade until the next one. I made up about 3 minutes to Angela on the run, but it wasn't quite enough. Still good for 2nd!

Finally, the finish!

2. Highlights:

- The first 1300 to 1500m of the swim! (See learning points).
- All the people on the course cheering my name! The NRG guys I've been training with were super supportive, as well as some of the athletes I knew from WattsUp, and the volunteers! Every time I heard my name I got a little boost of energy.
- The venue and course itself. What a beautiful place to host a race. Accessible, clean, showers on site, swim and run were spectator friendly and the bike course was on relatively smooth roads with little traffic...this makes me VERY excited for Barrelman and Welland is definitely a race I would like to repeat.
Learning points:
- I need to take in more nutrition. 320 calories on the bike and 150 calories on the run was too little for the 1700 calories I burned during those to segments of the race. I thought I would be able to tolerate more on the run, and I was wrong. So...during Calgary 70.3 I am going to aim for 650 to 750 on the bike (eLoad and JUJUBES!) so I can afford to consume a bit less on the run.
- I need to swim more than 3km in a workout. I was in a draft pack of about 4 guys. Unfortunately, my lack of swim fitness showed when I was dropped in the last 500 to 700m of the race. So, I likely need one longer swim of 4-5km once per week, with a 2km race pace set on another day.

3. Interview with another participant: MURRAY

Q. Name, Age, One word to describe yourself?
A. Murray Cass. Age 61 (although my triathlon age is 62 apparently). I think the word would be stubborn. I'm sure my "friends" would choose a less printable word.

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. My first triathlon was in 2006. I did a kayak/bike/run because I could barely swim. Triathlon was my wife's idea. I had no interest. Triathlon seemed like a dumb thing to do. I just did as I was told.

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. Well it was my first age group win. That was big, but more importantly I executed my race plan really well - a rarity for me. I am still a weak swimmer so I just tried to get through the swim. My cycling these days has not been up to par for some unknown reason. I actually have been training. So my plan was to just have a decent bike to set up a solid run. The forecast was for a hot day so I figured being small I would have an edge on the bigger guys in my age group. I left T2 about 10 minutes down and ended up winning by over 6 minutes. You might think that in the M60-64 age group competition would be easy. In triathlon competition is never easy.

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
A. McDonald's hotcakes, hash browns and tea. I also had a bowl of fruit. My preference would have been bacon, eggs and toast, something I've been training with lately but it's hard to eat when you're not at home.

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. It must have been last year when I crossed the finish line at Ironman Copenhagen. Michelle Vesterby the top female shook my hand and asked whether I was ok. I thought i was fine so I casually said "yup." A couple seconds later I threw up. Just missed her.

Q. What did you think about on the bike today?
A. Great question. I was focusing over and over again and how bloody lucky I am to be able to compete in such a fun event. I've had a rough year with friends' and relatives' illnesses and I am just incredibly grateful for being able to swim, bike and run. All my complaints are so trivial.

Q. What is one thing you are proud of about yourself, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. I do not have an athletic background. To me athletes are those other guys, the guys who lapped me - with a smile - on the track in gym class many years ago. I feel uncomfortable when anyone calls me an athlete. So I am quite proud that I can actually participate in triathlon. Having gotten through three brain tumour surgeries between 1982 and 2002 and being seriously injured while cycling when hit from behind by a drunk driver doing 100 km/hour back in 1976 makes it even more special. I consider myself extremely fortunate. A nice thing about triathlon is that, although the details of my history are unique, the theme is fairly common: people, often overcoming adversity, to extend themselves and accomplish what they never thought was possible. That makes for an interesting group.

Q. What/when is your next event?
A. I am registered to do Ironman Maastricht in the Netherlands. It's in five weeks so this was my last prep event.

Q. What do you like best about the MultiSport Canada race series?
A. The races are very well organized. John Salt is responsive and cares about the participants. (See. I can't use the word athletes.) Personally I like being greeted by John at the finish line. The new Welland Rose City course is one of the best I've raced on. Again, my wife's idea.

4. Course Information

5. TrainingPeaks/Quantitative Race information for those interested

WARMUP: 10 minute bike, practicing getting my feet in and out of shoes while they were in the pedals, 550m swim warmup with 3x40 strokes fast

SWIM: 2093m, 28:51 (~1:23/100m), ~ 39 strokes/min

BIKE: Speed - 36.8kph, NP - 186W (3.4W/kg, 90% of FTP), Avg Power - 183W, Avg HR - 167bpm *including stop*, Avg Cadence - 85rpm

RUN: 15km, 1:08:27 (4:34/km), Avg HR - 172bpm, Elevation gain 192m


- My parents for their love and support throughout this crazy adventure of mine. Papa has always encouraged me to make a career about what I am most passionate about. That happens to be triathlon, and I couldn't do what I do without my parents.
- All my readers for their support and for following me in my triathlon endeavours
- MultiSport Canada and all the volunteers
- Fellow athletes at the race and training partners, especially those at WattsUp!
- My coaches: Adam and Kim and Nigel from NRG
- My sponsors: High Rock Capital Management, WattsUp Cycling, MultiSport Canada, The Urban Athlete, Fitt1st Bike Fitting

Next up: Ironman Calgary 70.3!

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