So I had the opportunity to spend the last week in San Diego. I flew in on 18 Sep and spent Mon-Fri at the Marriott in Mission Valley attending a Lightning Aerospace Short Course offered by the University of Kansas. The remainder of the CAF Long Course Team flew into San Diego on Friday. Everyone arrived without incident, but Martin and Isabelle’s bikes didn’t make the flight. Thankfully the bikes showed up on the flight Saturday morning.
|Canadian Armed Forces Long Course Triathlon Team|
I was able to rent a couple houses in Chula Vista for the CAF Long Course Team. We had two small houses for our group so quarters were tight, but everyone managed.
We completed check-in for Superfrog 70.3 on Friday afternoon. Thankfully there were no line-ups and we were through the process in a matter of minutes. Saturday morning, we (Alex, Ben, Dave B., Eric and I) headed down to Imperial Beach to check out the course. (Note: John, Isabelle, Martin went to the airport and did their activation workouts in the afternoon.) We did one loop of the bike course and then about a twenty-minute run. After the run we went for a quick swim. The surf was pretty bad, but it was nothing compared to what was to come on Sunday morning.
Going into the race I didn’t really have any expectations or goals. I didn’t peak for the race and had put in a solid four days of training from Mon-Thurs. My intent going into the race was similar to Challenge Penticton, to just put in a good effort, treat it like a training race, and use it as a final prep before Kona. Going in I was expecting a 30-32min swim, a 2:15-2:20 bike, and a 1:25-1:30 run. I was expecting the run to be slow given that about 8km of the race was on the beach.
We were all up shortly after 0400hrs on Sunday morning and collectively we made our breakfast of eggs, bagels, coffee, and orange juice. We headed down to Imperial Beach shortly after 0500hrs, unfortunately parking was at a bit of a premium so we had to walk about 1.5km to the beach. After finishing up with my bike and gear in transition and hurried back to the van dropped off my bag + pump and went back to the start.
|Ready for the start (absent Dave B. - he was warming-up).|
The swim was a TT start which was probably the best option for this race. The swim consisted of a two loop swim with a 150m beach run in between loops. Getting through the 10ft wave surf was pure chaos. I got pounded by a couple of the waves and was left wondering what I was doing. For a second I seriously thought about calling it a day. I then thought about the athletes who weren’t confident in the water and could only image the nightmare they must be living. I finally managed to get through the surf and continue through the first loop. I couldn’t see anything on the way back to shore as the sun was directly in my eyes. On the way back in I got picked up by a crashing wave and was slightly disoriented. I came out of the water about 50 to 100m farther down the beach than I should have but oh well. And then it was back into the water for a second loop. Thankfully I managed a little bit better but I still took a little bit of a beating. I was happy to be out of the water and ready to start hammering. Swim time was 29:10. I think the swim was a little short and they had orientated the loops so that you had the current in your favour.
|The turn-around: heading out for another lap!|
I was happy to be on my bike and done with the chaos of the water. I was optimistically aiming to hold about 230W, but my legs felt a sluggish )probably a combination of the training earlier in the week and the hard effort in the swim). I eased my way into the first loop and occasionally monitored my power on my Garmin Edge 820. I was holding a little less than I wanted but decided to just roll with it. It was a flat fast four loop bike course. I saw a little drafting happening out on the course, but for the most part people appeared to be trying to ride legally. There was definitely a few people deliberately drafting, but I made the point to pass any drafters definitively so that they wouldn’t jump on my wheel. Final bike time was 2:18:57. Average speed was 39.1km/hr for the 90ish km ride. Power Average 218W, Normalized Power 222W.
And then it was onto the run. I was looking forward to the run, but I was a bit uncertain of how running on the beach might affect my turnover. The four loop swim consisted of about ~1km of soft sand running, 1km of compact sand running, and ~3km of pavement running. I used similar pacing effort to what I had done in Weisbaden. I ran the first two loops at a steady/mod-hard effort and then tried to increase my effort through the last 10km. It seemed to work out very well and I was even able to put in a solid kick up the finishing shoot. Final run time was – 1:27:29 which was the fastest run split of the day.
Final Time 4:19:24.
Overall 1st M30-34, 1st Military M30-39, 6th Overall.
|Alex, John, and I with our awards and Kona coins!|
And with that I punched my ticket to the 2017 Ironman World Championships. And not only did I punch a ticket to Kona but Alex Boulé(Military M40-49) and John Giguere(Military M50-59) both won their respective military age groups and punched their tickets to Kona! Looks like the CAF Triathlon Long Course Program is producing some excellent results! Alex and Ben G. also picked up slots to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga.
A special word of thanks to Chantal, John's wife, as she kept us all well nourished throughout the weekend and ensured we had action pictures.
Now I am heading home for a few days prior to heading to Kona next Sunday with my wife.