Thursday, July 31, 2014

Earning the Cake in this One - IM CDA RR

Well...another one is in the books. Coeur D'Alene m-dot course is no-doubt one of the most scenic races I've done. Clear waters to swim and scenic run. This was my 6th iron-distance and probably the toughest to date. It was a fun race and well supported. The community really embraces this event. 

I don't think I could have done it without all my training partners, especially since this race is so early in the season. Tyler, Jamie and I stayed a bit out of the downtown area about 10km outside in Post Falls. We enjoyed the quietness away from the expo. Here's some random highlights.

During drive back in Washington near the Columbia River along the drive from CDA. Some very scenic volcanic rocks. 

Team Cervelo at Post Falls

The Cedar floating restaurant...we had to had to go....right? (that wasn't a question)
Race morning smiles
Post race slurpee + relaxing

The swim was a beach self check-in start within a 20 minute period much like a marathon run start. I started with the 1hr - 1:15 group about 3 minutes after from the first AG start at 6:40am....super early I know! Tyler started near the front and Jamie about 40 seconds back. The plus side I had plenty of space to swim. It was nice not worrying about the ensuring blood bath that was to occur. It was actually enjoyable minus the choppy swells generated by the winds. It turned out that these winds will be met again on the bike.

The swim split was the only PB on this day. Squeaked in a sub 1:15 :)

Legs needed some HTFU but no luck.
The winds were getting stronger as the day went on. There were parts where I was averaging 20km/hr for a 30km stretch. It wasn't pretty to say the least. The 30kph winds made the two climbs felt like one long continuous one. Hindsight is a bit 20/20 but I think more mountains climbing is required to master this course. Nice smooth steady continuous brute force.

After that tough bike leg, the run felt a lot easier in comparison. Shaded and along the lake. There's one stubborn hill that we do 2 times with a front and back side. I didn't push the pace too much because my knee had been hurting all week in the leadup. I saw both Jamie and Tyler on the run course a few times both exchanging leads. It was fun to watch them go strong into the finish as I started my second lap. It was fun running along the neighbourhood. One house had a microphone and someone would say encouragements along with your name. Another house pumped loud music and felt like a dorm house filled with so many people. 

What a relief. What a day of suffering. A face of a lot of hurt.
Overall, it was a great race. A tough course keeps the competition fair and I definitely got my monies worth. Still ranked into the top 10% of the field. Hopefully next time I can come better prepared for the tough hills on the bike. No more early season excuses. :)

 Can you see my age still on the calf? This is just a taste of the horrible tan-lines awesome souvenirs I got from this one day. :/

Friday, July 11, 2014

Poor Knees - Victoria 70.3 RR

It's always fun coming to Victoria for this race. Great race support, friends to go with and visit, and fast course. Thanks again to Theresa for hosting us.

Well this year was no different on the fast time department, however no longer can I make ground on the run. I guess my right knee has been acting up ever since the marathon in Toronto last month. So my strategy coming in was to do the "damage" on the bike and then "cruise" in the run.

There were also some slight changes with the new wave start for the swim instead of the mass start in previous years.

The swim start was a bit comical for my group, the first wave after the pros start. The horn went slightly two or three minutes after the pros start; however there wasn't adequate warning in anticipation for the horn. We kinda looked at each other and probably thought, "seriously was that the start??" The horn sounded a few more times a few seconds after to ensure we heard it I guess and we were told by the announcer to indeed start. Go along now...children. Past the point of no-return...shucks.
Me looking stunned at the clock. There was no freaking chance that my swim was that fast, must had been short by a hundred metres or so. :)

Well the bike was a huge improvement this year. It felt like this.

Here's the times breakdown, but what's more "kewl" (or super nerdy) is the graph that follows comparing the rank to the entire field. You'll notice my swim is craptastic as per usual but in the top 50% striking range for once (hey I'll take it)! But the run and bike are pretty comparable, where as in contrast in previous the run was always stronger than the bike. Poor knees!

Also the run course was slightly upgraded to the legit 21 km distance from 20km in previous years (haha it's a bit cruel to make the extra out and back stretch uphill).

Blue - pre 2014 route, Red - 2014 version

Ted Car, someone I recognized from racing the Subaru series was quickly running me down. We encouraged each other the entire way, luckily he wasn't in my AG...yet. :)

Interesting the ferry back, a bus load of tourists (including me) were taking pics of our bikes.