I traveled to the race with Deb and Gord (my in-laws), and we 'camped' out at the Wasa Lake Campground in their trailer. I'm not much of a camping person, but I enjoyed myself immensely! Okay, so a trailer is not considered *real* camping, but it's pretty darn close for me! It was awesome to be out in nature, cut off from distractions like technology, internet, and social media. We arrived on Friday, around 6-ish, but Deborah and I actually got dropped off on the side of the road, about 40k from the campground, did a quick change into biking gear and just biked all the way to the campsite. It seemed like a perfect way to get in our ride for the day. Of course, it ended up that we had a headwind the entire 40k, but that's just how things work out sometimes.
During the trip out, we saw this mother bear with her baby bears on the side of the road, munching on dandelions. The 2nd baby is hidden behind the mama - the babies couldn't have been more than a week or two old! Crazy
My home for 3 nights/days, complete with Bella and Dante, the bichon's!
Saturday was a day for some light pre-race workouts, including a 30 minute run and a lake swim, but there were some gong shows with Deborah's bike which necessitated a trip into Cranbrook (about 40km) to get some tech help at Gerrick's Sports. By the time we arrived back 'home', got the run done, and ate lunch, it was well into the afternoon and we still hadn't done our lake swim. I absolutely needed to get in the lake to try out my wetsuit, as it was brand-new and I had never even swam in it. We finally got in the lake at 5pm! A little late to the party, but no worries. A 20 minute swim and we were all set! The lake was absolutely gorgeous, with clean, clear water and a balmy temperature of 19C. I was happy and relieved that my Orca Sonar wetsuit turned out to be just perfect.
Race morning arrived and it was pretty awesome to just walk our bikes and gear over to the transition, which was about 1km away from our campsite. It was an incredible day with blue skies and blazing sun, and a high of about 26C I think. The men's wave was starting at 8:30am, with the ladies scheduled to start at 9am. I loved that set up - we had 30 minutes separating us and the men, which meant the course was completely clear and open for us. So much better than the typical 3-5 minutes at other races, which means the faster females have to swim through all the slower men.
Swim - 1st Female - ??Time??
I had a great start and had clear water immediately, and no contact with anyone else. Women are so much more civilized than men when it comes to swim starts - lol! I swam the entire 1-loop course on my own, and put some distance between myself and the 2nd swimmer, just the way I like it - clear water and not giving anyone a free ride! Haha
Unfortunately I found out later I didn't actually get a swim time for whatever reason, probably the timing chip malfunctioned or something. I did not wear a watch (until the run), so I'm not sure what time I was but figure it was probably 21-high? No clue, that's just speculation. The course may have been about 100m too long as I know I should be faster than that and I felt great. Anyway.
Bike - 1:07 - 2nd off bike
The bike course was awesome, it was basically a short out and back, and then a large out and back section with 3 decent hills on that portion. There was a headwind coming back. I tried to focus and concentrate, and got some idea of who might be creeping up on me at the out and backs. It's hard to gauge that sometimes. In the last few kilometers of the bike, I was passed by another female (Tanya Salomon), so came off the bike in 2nd place by a few seconds.
On a side note, for a while now in races I've been noticing that I'm always running out of gears on my bike, and most of the time I'm in my absolute biggest gear. I only use my small chainring on the steep uphills. Is this normal? I feel like it's not, so I decided after I arrived back home that I need to get a different cassette. I talked to Geoff about it and it turns out I have an 11-25 (whatever that means?), so I'm going to get an 11-23 put on my race wheel and see if that makes any difference. I'll report back with an update on how it turns out!
Run - 45:56 - 4th after run
My transition from bike-run was smooth and quick, and I ran out of transition just behind the 1st female. I probably went out a bit too fast and started paying for it a bit later. I would say I ran well for about 5km of the run, and struggled for the other half. The first 8km is an out and back on a beautiful trail along the lake, and then you wrap around the transition for an out and back section for the last 2km. After a few km's, another girl came zooming by me, running in a different time zone. Turns out she ran like 37-something and won the race! Wowza! Anyway, I was running in 3rd for a while, and after the turnaround saw 4th place coming for me. She ended up passing me around 6 or 7km? and she was in my sights for a little while but that was when I was feeling like crap with those sharp stitches in my upper trapezius and ribs. I was under 45min pace the first half, then slowed down the 2nd half.
I managed to hold off 5th pace (she was around a minute behind at the finish) and ran through the finish chute in 4th place! They had prize money for the top 5 overall females, so I ended up with $200 in my pocket, which was great as it paid for my trip.
Finish - 2:16.50, 4th OA female
This was an awesome result for me, and a PB at Olympic distance by several minutes, on an honest course. My run could certainly have been better, and I think my bike should have been faster as well. So lots to improve on for next time!
There was somewhat of an awkward moment at the awards ceremony, when they announced a prize for the fastest female swim, and called someone else's name, the 2nd place swimmer! I was like, 'hmmm, pretty sure i was first girl out but i'll just wait and go up to say something at the very end'. But Deborah had other ideas! She went up and talked to Steve King and one of the race organizers 'behind the scenes'. Steve King knew I had been 1st girl out of the water, but my time had not registered and they had to go by the results. But a little later on, they made a special announcement about the female swim times/placing, and presented me with another beautiful flower planter. It was a bit embarrassing but I was very happy to receive the gift. Not sure where they got a second one from (the first one had been presented to and accepted by the 2nd female swimmer). And it was HEAVY! Like 50 lbs or something. It was lucky that Deb and I decided to drive the truck back to the awards as we were tired and didn't want to walk, as there's no way we could have walked back carrying that thing!
OA Women's podium, with 1st-5th lined up from far right to left
Deb and I at the awards ceremony - she cleaned up and was the winner of W50-54 age group!
Our 'pad' all decorated with the flower planter. Some guy walked by and said "wow, you really went all out in decorating your campsite - you even brought flowers!" LOL
So the first triathlon of 2013 is in the books! This race kicked off a series of 3 races in a 4 week period for me. Next up is the Edmonton ITU this Sunday!