Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Du before the Solar Eclipse - Penticton ITU Worlds - AG Standard Du RR

Me @ Penticton Finish Area

This year's world championships stage marked the inaugural multi-sport festival in Penticton, combining 6 championships events for the first time ever with various categories including elite, junior and U23, para-athletes and age groupers. I had the opportunity to represent Canada at the standard duathlon distance, which oddly enough happened on the same morning as the solar eclipse.

Taking photos of the photographers before the Parade of Nations
The parade of nations included a team picture, a walk down the scenic beachfront of Okanagan Lake and a pasta dinner. The atmosphere brought back the vibes of the old ironman. We met some cross tri and sprint du athletes in the mix.

Hanging out with fellow Canadian athletes at the Pasta Dinner

Athlete's Village and information about the weekly events

Run! Bike! Run!

The race course for the age group athletes was completely different from the elites.  I guess they wanted to challenge the elite athletes with 5 loops of a very technical and hilly bike course (not to mention starting them in the afternoon, when the temperatures were well above 30 degrees!).  Our run route was in the heart of the town with 4 clockwise loops in the first run and 2 clockwise loops for the second run. The bike was a fast and flat out-and-back along the beachfront of Okanagan Lake, which we completed twice.

The race didn't go as well as I had hoped. 

The first run was really crowded as we started half an hour after the first 3 heats. On the bike I had to deal with a couple mishaps including a crash (gentle fall) at the turnaround.  I later realized, after completing one loop of the bike, that my front tire was  completely deflated, likely a result of a slow leak. This race had a rule that you couldn't bring your own bike pumps into transition race morning, and it was my totally my fault for not checking the valve when the volunteers pumped them up. I completed one lap and realized something was wrong as a lot of people were easily biking past me. I think I lost about 5 minutes on the bike, but it felt like this world championships field was gone in that time. 
After these drawbacks, my heart wasn't in it for the second run. I finished 21/26 in my age category. Kept my head high, and knew that I have better races to come.

Jen was also racing the standard du.  I saw her before the race warming up and wished her luck.  She had her boxing gloves (bike gloves) on and looked ready to go.  The ladies got to start their race before the men (27 min before my heat).  It's not very often you get this role reversal.  I got a couple updates from Allen about Jen, and learned that she was doing very well early in run.  However, he failed to comment on my progress :).  Jen had a good race, just missing the podium for her age group by 5s.  This had it's silver lining though, as she ran and biked better than expected.

We got to stay the weekend with Kara, up on a mountain near Penticton.  She was a gracious host and we definitely appreciated it!  A fellow duathlete, Mike Fertuck, was also staying with Kara.  It was fun talking about the race beforehand and discussing a couple strategies with him.  Nerding it up.
Locked on the bull's eye

You get this neat scarf for finishing. I happily traded my Canadian uniform with a athlete from Mexico as they had the best clothing of all the nations! Not long after the solar eclipse came and we saw a little dimming of the sky. Perhaps representative of how my race went, i.e. it wasn't my brightest moment. I'll bounce back in the next one! 

Enjoying the "lazy" river

I had the yummiest ice cream, could you believe this was only the child size?

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