Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Race report: Subaru Sooke Half-Iron

Date/Time: August 8, 2010, 7:30 am
Weather: 10ish partly sunny and slight winds
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 5:04:53
Swim: 40:39 (2:09 per 100m pace)
T1: 1:59
Bike: 2:45:32 (31.2km/hr)
T2: 1:08
Run: 1:35:37 (4:34 per km pace)
Age Group: 2/4
Overall: 17/88

Recently, as many already know, I purchased a noble human-pedaling machine that can turn even the flabbiest page into a knight or dame of regal conditioning.

However, before formally introducing this spiffy-aero-sexy carbon-fibre engineering masterpiece onto the regular racing scene (and hence absolutely pulverizing the competition as previously witnessed), I’ve decided to not risk scratching it up just for the time being and put some adequate effort to see what kind of damage my old mechanical monstrosity ‘baby-blue opus’ could still do at Sooke Triathlon this past weekend.

Of course this sparked outrage. Minutes in and hatemail/fanmail were already burgeoning on Facebook.

All superstars receive their fair share of fanmail and hatemail. No need to discriminate here, I embrace all comments. Everybody matters to me, because we are all connected on this tiny world.

I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say some weren’t as pretty and involved a question of man-cards.

There weren’t as many of us competing in Sooke. Ceilidh tried the sprint in prep for IM Canada, Melanie and Derrick geared up for the Olympic distance, while Vince, Andrew and I suited up for the half-iron distance.

So, no pb this time as anticipated with the hillier bike and longer run courses, but it was surprisingly a blazing flash of fun and excitement with both the run and bike courses in the heart of the community of Sooke.

This race was my first race with two different locations for the transition zones. This would be a great dry run for the race in Banff in less than 5 weeks also with two transitions and dubbed the tri-season ending showdown among the big contenders from the club. More on this race later!

Hopping onto the shuttle with Andrew, I had a short moment. Did I forget anything, my tri-top? [Looked inside blue bag] okay thank goodness [phew]. I bet this was going on for many others on the bus shuttle into the T1 area.

We didn’t have much time setting up. Vince hurried down the green carpet near the start, as Andrew and I followed a few steps further back as the last ones getting to the lake.

Canon started. I swam as hard as I could, but my lean runner’s arms started to give per usual. Realizing that my swim wasn’t going to improve for this race which was a bummer, I soon made it my mission to catch everyone that passed me on the swim. Similar to the race in Vancouver, this became a game of real-life PacMan.

T1 was uneventful, however I did somehow managed to get the fastest half-iron split on the record at least.

The bike was a fascinating 4-1/3 loop system. I made most of my ground on the competition climbing up the hills between kilometre 15 and 20 of the course. It did feel like I was soft-pedaling on top gear going downhill at times. I had my nutrition shortly before the climbs and recovered my heart rate shortly after summiting. This proved to be a good strategy. Not bad, baby-blue opus fought well with the big guns.

Lap 6 (4th lap on the bike) also includes T2 time.

T2 was a little bit more hectic than T1. Everybody had their stuff strategically scattered in my way (courtesy of my rack neighbours Vince and Sheldon) and I had to gingerly make room for my MECHANICAL MONSTROSITY. Yep you heard me, I said those words again, haha LOVE it. =)

The run was the reason why we compete in triathlons. The community support was unreal, kids with “GO GO” signs and trying to give you the high fives, and aid stations well distributed and packed with dozens of fans cheering phrases like “you’re our favourite”. The hilliness of the run course was distracted by the people cheering me on, heck even random runners on route were cheering my number and said “You’re flying no. 1-3-2-9!!” Thank you, you guys are awesome! I felt like I was Craig Alexander in Kona out there.

Winstorming away! (Blue gust added for dramatization)

I was trying to chase down my companion Andrew during the entire day who at this point converted more than 8 minutes up on me. He had about 7 minutes on me from the swim and about another minute from the bike. Andrew had a solid first 5km and was up 10 minutes by the time I got to kilometre 6.

Mark Shorter, a respected veteran in the sport of triathlon (now a lifesport coach) and my formal intervals coach at NSA, was looking really strong and cheering me on. I guess it’s the beauty of our sport, great to see older guys can still handily beat younger guys like me.

Half marathon run splits

My final run time was 1:35:37 (7th fastest run split of the day, only beaten by two fellow age-groupies!). I’m pretty stoked about the steadiness of my run pace, which will bold well for my current marathon training.

It ended up being a really close race; I didn’t catch Andrew until the 18km mark, even though he humbly claims he wasn’t racing me. This was his best race of the season, great to see Andrew earning himself a spot on the podium with less than a minute advantage over 4th place in his AG.

Vince had a solid race too, despite destroying his goggles before the start, and then smoothly recovering to finish on top of the podium with the 8th fastest run split.

UBCTC takes 1st and 3rd. Congrats guys!

 2nd in my AG!

Despite competing in a competitive 10 year category age group, both Derrick and Mel had very solid times in the Olympic distance. I’ll need to keep an eagle-eye out for them in Banff, with all the extra practice they have on me over the shorter distances.

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