Sunday, 7 July 2013

Canadian Armed Forces Triathlon Championship 2013 (Gatineau, QC)

So once again I found myself racing an Olympic distance triathlon. As I have said repeatedly before it is not my race of choice, but given that this was the CAF Championship I wanted to race just to test myself against some of the best in the CAF. I have to be honest, I am actually starting to like the distance a little more…you don’t feel trashed afterwards and you are practically back to normal the next day.

I travelled with Alida Stockermans from CFB Cold Lake on Thursday departing at 0600hrs and arriving in Ottawa shortly after 1800hrs. My Dad picked me up at the airport as I prefer staying at my parents then Ottawa University. Settled in Thursday night and put my Argon 18 E-118 back together without incident.

Friday morning I did a light 1km swim at the Nepean Sportsplex and then spent the rest of the morning helped my Dad, a general contractor – Master’s Touch Enterprises, with a condo he was working on. Before lunch I did a light ride and run with a few intervals to get the legs firing. In the evening I went to Ottawa University to attend the mandatory CAF athlete dinner and briefing. It was a good evening meeting old friends and also getting to know a few more. This is probably the best part of any of the CAF Championships, you get to meet old friends and catch up a bit.

Saturday morning came too quickly. I am not sure how much sleep I actually got as I tossed and turned for most of the night. I got up at 0430hrs and had eggs, toast with jam, a banana, and of course a cup of coffee. My parents and I headed to Lac Leamy at 0530hrs and arrived there shortly before 0600hrs. I setup transition, got body marked, picked up my timing chip and then hung out with my parents until the start of the race.

This year the CAF athletes raced with our civilian counterparts so there was ~140 athletes in the male Olympic wave. The start was fast, but the field quickly spread out. I went out pretty hard and at the first yellow buoy I was able to find a pair of feet. I was able to hold those feet for the remainder of the first and the second lap. I knew I would be back a couple minutes of the leaders coming out of the swim, but was hoping to minimize my losses. I was happy to see 23:25 on my watch as I exited the water (official time 23:45 though the timing chip was at the entrance to transition). I was happy with that considering it was a non-wetsuit swim...though I still need to improve to be somewhat competitive.

Traversing the 4 x 90 degree turns!
A quick transition and then it was onto the bike. My PM had been intermittent and seeing as this was only an Olympic distance I had planned to race by feel. The bike course is an almost pancake flat 8 x 5km loop course however the difficultly of the course is increase by 5 x ninety degree turns and 1 x one-hundred and eighty degree turn on each loop. It’s definitely not my favourite course as it’s really difficult to get into a groove. The plan was to aim for a 1hr split or 7:30/lap. The first lap was a 7:45 and then after that the laps were fairly consistent at ~7:30-7:35. As I entered the technical section before transition my Garmin Edge 500 beeped indicating I had been riding for 1hr. As I came off the bike I knew I had biked just over the hr (actual was ~1:00:30… shows 1:02:46, but that includes both transitions). The irony is that despite my PM not working all week it decided to work on race day (NP 250W, Avg 240W).
Transition 2

Heading out for another loop.
My legs felt heavy at the start of the run, but knowing that I was 5th in the CAF and 8th OA was motivation enough to keep pushing. I knew Martin (about 3 minutes up on me), Alex, and Dave would be hard to catch but I figured I’d just go as hard as I could.  I was aiming for sub 36min on the run..comparable to what I had done in Edm two weeks earlier. As the run was 4 x 2.5kms it was easy to gauge where you were relative to the other athletes. I was clawing back a little time on Martin,  staying consistent with Alex, while Dave was moving ahead slightly. I didn’t know all the CAF athletes but was pretty confident that if I ran a sub 36 none of the other guys could reel me in. I was happy to see 2:02:XX on the clock as I approached the line. Final time was 2:02:17 with a 35:48 run split. 
Finally done. Dave Lacombe and Alex Boulé talking at the finish.

Very happy with my results: 5th OA, 4th in the CAF, and 1st M30-34. 
M30-34 podium...2nd and 3rd place decided not to show!

The CAF National Triathlon Championships are a great venue to test yourself against the other CAF athletes in Canada however I’d like to see CAF put our best up against the best in Canada. I’d like to see CAF move our race to correspond with the Cdn Age Group Championships. 

Thanks to Mom and Dad for putting me up and feeding me so well!