So my first race in Canada... and also my first race this year, actually. I was really looking forward to it. Coach Sheri even gave me the day off the day before the race, just so I could go really hard! She did drop a bombshell though - I was not to use my watch! Now if you know me, I'm not a high tech gadget person, but I do like my timing splits. I'm a habitual watch-looker, even when I'm not working out. Anyway, she wanted me to focus on my form and technique and I guess the Olympic distance is short enough for me to go really hard without having to worry about the time.
Guelph is about 1 hour 40 minutes drive away. As the race start was a late 8.50am, I was able to leave on the race morning itself without having to spend the night in Guelph. It was pouring heavily as I was driving down. I hoped that it would stop when I got to the race venue but it didn't. I arrived at about 7.30am, did the usual race pack and timing chip collection, bike racking, last minute toilet visit etc. It's been a while since I've gone through this ritual.
|If you look closely enough, you can how wet my bike was. After I came out from the swim, that yellow towel of mine was brown with mud!|
The swim was a one loop - rectangular course, going clockwise. The water was pretty calm and visibility extended up to the end of my fingers. For some reason, I was swimming mostly on my own. I thought I swam pretty well - I kept close to buoys. Although my time wasn't really a reflection of what I felt. I came out of the water in 25:22 but looking at the results, only one person swam under 20 minutes today, so I guess I wasn't too bad. Sheri was hot on my heels coming out in 26:12!
Into the muddy transition area. Had my helmet and sunglasses on without much drama. Onto the bike, it still hasn't stopped raining. It took me a while to get on the saddle as the road out was a bit bumpy. It stayed rough for about 5kms or so. We had a couple of sharp corners before the 10km mark. With the slippery roads, I played it conservatively and really squeezed on my brakes far before the corners. I was feeling pretty good up until the turnaround point. I was clocking over 35kph on my bike computer, it was the only digital feedback I had for this race! Hey, she didn't say anything about not using a bike computer.
But in the second part of the ride, I started feeling really cold. And the chill I was getting from the rain water on my arms were causing me to shiver so badly I couldn't steer properly. It didn't help that I noticed Sheri coming in the opposite direction just shortly after the turnaround! I eventually got back to transition in 1:10:34 and true enough the emcee announced Sheri coming in just seconds after!
And I bolted! Probably started off the run a bit too quickly but I soon got into a rhythm. One by one I was overtaking some of the guys ahead of me. I was feeling warmer and much better now. The rain stopped too. I managed to extend my lead over Sheri a few more minutes. Finally, I crossed the finish line with run split of 41:43 and overall time of 2:20:19 - missing out on my PB by 1 minute. I was 37th overall out of 297 and 9th out of 29 in my age group. And Sheri? Well she finished just 5 minutes after, 2nd overall female and almost an hour ahead of the next person in her age group! Full results here.
|Looked like as though I went for a trail or adventure race!|
|Hopefully better weather next year!|