Friday, July 28, 2017

Multi-Day Multi-Sport - Oliver WCOC & Half RRs

A weekend of triathlon in Oliver 

The next event in the Dynamic Series was the Oliver triathlon.  It was the same weekend as the Victoria triathlon, so the race was a lot smaller than in previous years.  Despite this, Oliver was still the BC Championships for long course triathlon and attracted a range of many local veteran and beginner athletes. Again, there were many familiar friendly faces from the Abbotsford tri club, which was nice.

Athletes had the option to race the sprint or standard triathlon on the Saturday, and the half Ironman on Sunday.  Generally, athletes are not allowed to race two multi-sport events within 36 hours (after the ITU introduced a new rule back in 2015... which I learned the hard way :( ).  But, Tri-BC made an exception for athletes provided they got medical permission.  Having dangled the carrot of two races, I took the bait!  After all, I had already paid for the season pass, so might as well get my moneys worth :D.

Saturday was a fast day.  The swim was a long straight out and back course in scenic Tuc-el-Nuit lake.  Sighting was difficult as the sun was in my eyes on the way.  Luckily I was able to swim straight and found the buoy in good time.    The bike course was fast and flat.  Mikey Ross was right in front of me on the bike (having not worn a wet suit).  It was fun trying to catch him, but he was just too quick.  The run was all along the road.  It follows the same portion as the half; all flat meaning that I could make up ground on my competition.  I was averaging 4:04/Km.  I finished 8th overall and 3rd in my age group!  The nice thing about racing the sprint was that I was finishing just before the temperature heated up.  This was perfect for helping me recovery and prepare for the half Ironman the next day.

This was my first multi-day, multi-sport.  My road trip partner, Andrew, has previous experiences with this from racing the Ultra-man in Penticton and Florida. Also Stu had some expertise as well as he also supported Andrew in his Ultras.  I tried to tap into their knowledge.  So when I checked in my bike after finishing a race, it felt really funny.  But there were several athletes doing the double, so I wasn't in lone company.

I woke up early Sunday morning feeling ready race.  The sprint from the day before was long gone.  My legs felt fresh and my energy was on point.  As we were gathering at the swim start, I noticed that Mikey Ross was wearing his wet-suit today.  That means that he was here for  serious business.  No more monkey business.  The swim was a double loop triangle course in a clockwise direction.  The final segment from the swim was the same as the sprint.  Having experience from the previous day, I knew that you could swerve along the lake front to cut some distance.  The water was super calm race morning.  Not a ripple to slow you down!  My swim was as expected.  I haven't been swimming as much as I would have liked leading into this race, so my time was a bit slower than usual.  Oh well, at least I'm still good at transitions. The transition from swim to bike was a long one to get to the elementary school where the bikes were located. 

The bike course was two and a half loops passing through the Golden Mile.  It was a scenic and enjoyable ride.  The first half loop along Black Sage Road was really fast, and I was averaging 45 Km/h.  But coming back along Highway 97 was where the men were separated from the boys.  The conditions were very windy and this slowed us down a great deal.  For reference, I was probably averaging not much more than 20 Km/h.  Whomp, whomp.  A couple friends advised me to get a power meter to help my cycling this year.  It is beneficial to judge your bike efforts based on power output - especially on hilly or windy courses.  I did my best to hold just under 200 Watts, but the wind wore me down on the second loop.  Seeing the drop in power, I guess I should have been more conservative on the first loop as my bike training was more geared towards shorter distance this year.

Heading into T2, I couldn't have been happier to see my running shoes.  Last year, I got a FR 735XT Garmin, which provides heart-rate data.  This was the first race where I judge my pace efforts based off of my heart rate.  Where I noticed the greatest impact was in the final 5Km of the run.  Normally, I would be fading very quickly here.  But I was able to still hold a consistent effort and finish strong.  Time-wise it wasn't a huge difference, but the execution was much better.  I just missed the podium for the BC champs, finishing 21st overall and 4th in my age group.

The post race food at both Sprint and Half were incredibly delicious. We had pancakes and sausages after the Sprint, and a choice between chicken or beef burgers after the Half with beer! I picked the Chicken burger and I still remember the juicy goodness. One of the best post race meals I have had in recent memory.

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