Saturday, September 18, 2010

Race report: Subaru Banff Olympic

Date/Time: September 11, 2010, 9:15 am
Weather: 5 to 10ish, water temperature freakishly cold at low 10ish, rain and pockets of sunshine
Distance: Olympic (shortened swim)
Gun time: 2:16:37
Swim: 13:08 (1:46 per 100m pace)
T1: 8:21
Bike: 1:10:32 (32.3 km/hr)
T2: 1:36
Run: 43:02 (4:19 min/km pace)
Age Group: 2/8
Overall: 54/343

This past weekend, the much anticipated showdown emerged at the Subaru Banff International Triathlon. There were many humbling surprises and stories to tell in this great expedition to Banff National Park.
First surprise came when the team learned that one big name and gglg opted to not bring his TT bike due to the trivial inconveniences such as changing the brakes and putting on race wheels. Weaksauce was brought!

This meant my TT bike would be the obvious choice for a grand theft auto. I was having second thoughts.

As the evening grew darker, we crash the night for our beauty sleep in the area of Sicamous plus or minus a town – ninja camping style.

Ghost train. Or what looks like the light at the end of a tunnel.

The next morning, we hastily packed up our tents and booked it to our neighbourly province to the east.

Welcome to Albertaville!
Cool guys don’t need to watch where they are going, apparently. Watch and learn kids!

Don’t be fooled, the turquoisesie colour water at Lake Louise owes much of its look to the fine particles suspended in glacier waters. This is a kind way of mothernature giving you the visual warning sign for things to come for the swim at Two Jack Lake.

Cold feet anyone? Zeeeee feet izZz freezing!

The pioneer effort of hosting a first ever triathlon in a national park with a glacier fed lake is not without its share of controversies. The day before the race, the race director announced that the swim would be cut in half after ‘consultation’ with none other than mothernature. We realized this was no joke, the swim and the subsequent air temperature for biking will be crazy cold.

Hypothermia was a threat.

We stayed at the designated camping grounds at Two Jack Lake. What a beauty.

The night before the race, my primal instincts kicked in during a dream. I realized the only way to stay warm for this tiny 135 lb physique is to layer up – the superhero way. I should survive this adventure by keeping all the sensitive areas warm, such as head, toes, hands, and the tighty whities area of course. Now I understand the underwear layer method, it’s all about speed. Get out of the swim and your only choice without butchering minutes for what seems like hours in the transition area is to layer up with your preferred choice of undies.

Now theory to practice...


The swim.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG the swim was chilly. Despite the reduced distance, this was truly a MAN test, an exploration to the unknown! I had no trouble weeing in my wetsuit in the water after doing a warm up lap (above ground). I broke the swim into three survival stages as each stage was a side of the triangle. My chin got so cold, the skin in that area no longer feels as smooth as what it used to be. I did the two swim caps method and even opted to swim with a white cap indicating I was a distressed swimmer. I’m still a terrified swimmer, but I passed so many swimmers, backstrokers, breast strokers and even freestylers. Nobody had great technique because their head were held way above the surface to avoid the bone chilling slap in the face. It felt great!


Not very often I can laugh and say 8:21 was the time it took me to t1. The guy next to my transition with bright neon orange cycling shoes had enough time to exchange at least 3 jokes before we left transition. I was in survival mode, doing everything necessary to enter the bike leg as warm as possible. Arm warmers, inner tri top, outer shirt, and rain jacket and...
Top right: swim cap
Top left: black briefs
Bottom right: gloves 
Bottom left: toe covers 

The Bike.

The bike course was a little wet. I felt great for the bike, not much can be said other than watching out for sheep and elks on the course and riding gingerly over the Texas cattle gates. I was super stoked I got to race on my Cervelo, but my puffy yellow rain jacket probably screamed DRAG but oh well. This was a sweet deal, mountains in the background and racing on the outskirts of civilization.


Trying to jump out from your cycling tri shoes was a difficult matter, especially if soaked I’ve learned. There was a suction issue and I couldn’t yank my foot out in time, losing some precious seconds.

The Run.

The 3 apex very ITU run course meant that I got to see my Subaru series rival Andrew Wight nearly six times in 10k. I have learned that for the first time in the race that he was within 2 minutes ahead; however despite this gap, and running 3:50 to 4 minutes pace, I couldn’t hold it for the second lap. Typically I can settle in the half iron distance and catch him at my comfortable pace (2 minutes would have been an easy catch in the half marathon). It could have been due to shortness of breath from the elevation gain and the super flat run course.

Andrew is learning quickly and using my own classic Winstorm secret race tactics to beat me this time (gradually getting faster as the race proceeds on). I knew by the 4th apex, I wasn’t going to close the gap. It was a great race though; I was beat fair and square. Scott and Vince finished less than 10 minutes ahead, so it was a pretty close race all around. Hey, no more double digits spanking, guys! I like this!

Also congrats to a youngstar of the future, Eddy for finishing strong in his Olympic.

It’s all about consistency. Bridesmaid position again! Congrats to Eagle for taking the 20-24 age group.

I didn’t win the blue triad frame, but who’s to say I can’t say this weekend was a huge success. A great Canadian rockies adventure for sure, and overall what a great road trip with the UBCTC team. Congrats to all who raced. Also a big thanks goes to the entire team for keeping my Cervelo in such good shape, I really appreciated it. =D

Mike used to be a ballin’ ballerina, I suspect (or still is judging from this photographic evidence). =P

Live obstacles: A male elk along the bike course.

Vince gives two thumbs up.

Trash talk from Ceilidh? Looks like he will be trouble, he already copied my killer smile.

The 2 Cool Club which consists of Celeste, Me, and Eddy for having such awesome numbers
 (blogger won't let me rotate this picture, it's kinda uncool!).

1 comment:

  1. this is probably one of the most amusing blog pots i have read in a while, Storm. this was great.