Monday, 30 July 2012

Calgary 70.3 – The highs and lows of racing!

So perhaps this was a race that just wasn’t meant to be. It was a disappointing result with a couple positives to take away from the experience. 

We headed to Calgary on Friday morning did the athlete check-in Friday afternoon and then checked into the Super 8 in Cochrane. 

Saturday morning I headed out to Ghost Lake and did a short swim(cold but not freezing), followed by a short ride and finally a light run. My right ankle has been bothering me ever since the move to Cold Lake so I was anxious to see how it would do with a few excels. It felt ok but was still a little stiff. 

I headed back to the Super 8 and spent the rest of the day with Claudia and the kids at the Calgary Zoo.

Sunday morning was an early start and it was at this time that I started wondering how the day was going to unfold. My stomach was quite upset, I felt like puking, but still managed to get half a breakfast sandwich and a coffee downrange from Timmies. After we headed to the race start at the Cottage Club I was starting to feel ok. I did the usual routine, drop my fuel off at the bike, check my tires, etc. and then spent a few minutes hanging with friends, Ian, Joanne, and Greg who had come down from St Albert (all members of the St Albert Road Runners and Triathlon club.) Side Note: This was Ian's first race back after suffering a collapsed lung following a bike crash at Summerside in late June.
Ian and I talking before the race.
  At shortly after 0700hrs I headed down to the water and then waited until 0720hrs to jump in for the start. I started to the left as I knew the first turn was going to be a bit of chaos. Thankfully I made it to the first turn buoy without must contact and quickly round the buoy and started into a groove. I caught a set of feet here and there but was more concerned with a strong rhythm then getting a good draft. The swim was quite uneventful and I was happy to see the swim exit and a time of ~35:00 minutes on my watch. That would be my best swim yet…perhaps my swimming is actually improving (positive number 1). 

Heading out on the bike!
 Transition was relatively quick and then I started off on the bike. Rear wheel was rubbing a bit so I quickly jumped off loosened and retightened the rear wheel and that seemed to do the trick. I tried to settle into a rhythm and start pushing on the bike but despite my HR rising to normal levels my power was low. I just figured I was cold and would push as hard as I could for the time being. The first forty minutes went by fairly quickly and just went I was starting to push the pace I heard the dreaded sound…poof. I knew right away that my tire had done flat. I thought no worries a quick pit stop to change the tube and I’ll be back racing. Wrong!!! I got off changed the tube, tried to inflate, and then realized there was a big gash in the sidewall of the tire. At this point I knew I had no choice but to wait for race support and hopefully get a new tire. 

Tech support arrived about thirty minutes later. Spence and Paul from Speed Theory were a great help. They first tried just fixing the sidewall, no luck, and then gave me a new tire.  The support these guys provided was superb…thanks! At this point I figured the race was probably over as I had lost 45 minutes on the bike. I thought I would just push the remainder of the bike and at least get a good workout in. I thought I would analyse my time going into T2 an if I still had a shot at going sub 5hrs then I would continue racing. It didn’t take long for me to realize sub 5hrs just wasn’t going to happen. The remainder of the bike course was uneventful with the exception of a bee flying into my aero helmet!

I rolled into T2 knowing that I would be saving me legs for another day. I had a 2:26 bike split (if you remove the time I spent on the side of the road) my fastest yet in Calgary by about 6 minutes (positive number 2). I knew my ankle was still sore and pounding 21kms out on pavement was probably not the wisest move considering I have leg 4 of the Death Race to run next weekend.  So I called the race. My goal for the race was to push the bike and hopefully get a chance to race in Las Vegas. Seeing as I had accomplished the first and the second was now out of reach I thought the smart move was to call it a day, avoid the impact on the ankle, and save my energy for next weekend. 

Mentally I was drained. I was frustrated that things just didn’t go as planned, but hey, that is part of racing. It's sometimes a roller coaster a great performance in CdA and then a mechanical at Calgary. I was thankful to see friends from St Albert and the opportunity to spend the weekend in Calgary with the wife and kidos!

As always I am thankful for the support from Brian & Jill at Grasky Endurance, Jonathan and Karen at Compressport Canada, and Brian at Brainsport.