Sunday, 28 July 2013

Toronto Triathlon Festival

The Toronto Triathlon Festival is in its second running in 2013, and serving as the age group national championship for the Olympic distance for the first time.  It's also my hometown race, which is pretty fun as you can sleep in your own bed, and roll down to the start on your bike on race morning.

This was my first tri in 13 months, and accordingly I acted like a complete rookie - left the house a touch too late, was racking my bike as they were announcing transition was about to close, got down to the swim start and realized I wasn't body marked, nor did I have my race belt and bib (they were tucked safely away in my backpack that was not with my bike).  A few minutes of scrambling later and I was jumping into the (FREEZING) waters of Lake Ontario with the third swim wave, M35-39.
...and they're off!  Photo credit: Kim Astley
Swim - 21:21, 3rd M35-39, 11th overall
The plan for the swim was simple - ride Mike Greenberg's feet the entire way.  Mike and I swim together at U of T, and if I had swum more than once in the last month, this would have been an achievable goal.  Mike and Lee Hart set off together after the horn blew, I got trapped behind another swimmer and lost their draft after 100 meters.  The remaining 1400 was a solo slog, sighting directly into the sun, weaving my way through waves two and one, and having a couple branches and full-on logs of wood hit me in the face before exiting the lake.  The announced lake temperature was in the 60F range, but it was reported that sections of the lake were measured at 46F...yikes.  

T1 - 1:00, 6th M35-39, 39th overall
Remember the comment above about acting like a complete rookie?  I vaseline'd my lower legs to aid in the wetsuit strip, but it didn't help - after attempting to stomp on the suit to get it off I still had to sit down and pull it.  The top guys were out in 38-45 seconds, so this was unfortunate.

Bike - 59:52, 4th M35-39, 16th overall
I had the bike at 38.5KM instead of 40.0KM - which doesn't take away from the fact that this is a super fun bike course.  I'm not a huge fan of the winding section at the beginning and end through Ontario Place, but once out on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, it was an absolute blast.  Winds were out of the northeast, making for headwinds on the way out and tailwinds on the return.

Looking at the Strava details for the back half of the ride (17.1KM from the top of the DVP to the start of the out-and-back at the bottom of the Gardiner) I was only 3 seconds off Keith Marchant's time, when for the full 38.5KM he outsplit me by 2 minutes.  I was probably too cautious on the climb up to Eglinton and should have put out more watts, seeing how I spun out my 53-11 on the downhill a couple times.

Overall average watts were 277, which equals my previous best output over the Olympic distance from 2011 at the National Capital Triathlon in Ottawa.  At that point I weighed about 6KG's less than I do now so the W/KG was significantly more impressive!  Strava data:

T2 - 0:56, 5th M35-39, 50th overall
Execution was fine here, my legs were just so smashed from the bike that I had to hobble with my bike to the rack, then shuffle out of transition. 

Run - 36:27, 1st M35-39, 8th overall
The smashed-quads feeling lasted for the first 1500 meters, then I was able to find some running rhythm.  With virtually no speedwork on the run for two years, I had no idea how fast I could run this 10K.  Carrying the extra weight and not being very fit I was pretty happy with the run split. 

Happy to be done.  Photo credit: Kim Astley
Overall - 1:59:34, 2nd M35-39, 6th overall
Congrats to Mike on a great race to win our AG in 1:57:11 - in the end the swim did me in, losing 1:39 there and another 0:28 in transitions.  Also an impressive performance by Lionel Sanders to win the overall title, smashing the field.  Pretty cool story here on Lionel for those that don't know it - the guy has come a long way in a short amount of time.  

The night after the race I was back down at Ontario Place for a very different type of gathering - Phish was playing Toronto for the first time in 13 years.  Less spandex, more crazy bad dancing, and much better music than the TTF the day before.  A night filled with raunchy jams and a scrumptious griddler!

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