Friday, 26 July 2013

Toronto Triathlon Festival-Age Group National Championships

Its funny how progress tends to come about.  Getting injured and not running for half a year is not typically viewed as a way to get faster, but oddly enough, I seemed to make it work for me.  This past weekend I competed in the Toronto Triathlon Festival.  I finished second overall and won the 20-24 age group, making me a national champion (feel free to address me as such).  I also managed to throw down a personal best time in the Olympic distance (1:55:48), and had a way better race than two weeks ago in Huronia.

Fantastic picture of the race site

I had been getting in some really good training in the weeks leading up to TTF, so I was feeling pretty optimistic heading into this race.  More than a couple people asked me before the start of the race if I had a certain time I was aiming for or any podium goals.  I pretty much just told them I was going to go fast and see what happens (so in other words, no).  Seems like it went pretty well...


I got a drive down to the race on Sunday morning from my coach Derek, who picked me up at the crack of dawn right at my front door (what a great coach)!  Once at the race site, I did a quick warm up on the bike, and also some stretch cords (since there was no official swim warmup).
It is also worth noting that TTF had some deluxe out-houses (flush capabilities, running water, ect..) which I took advantage of before the race (maybe this is where my entry fee went...)

A very scenic view of the swim course
The swim started less than a minute after I jumped in, and wow was the water cold.  Even after a few attempts to spread some warmth (you triathletes know what I'm talking about), I was still feeling like my lungs were constricted.

Right before the start (I am on the far right)

The gun went off, and I found my way to the front.  After a few hundred metres, I was still struggling to find my rhythm and I was really not enjoying myself.  The swim continued on, and things were going okay, until one of the members of my group decided to whack me in the head.  I took a quick glance over, and then realized it was Simon Whitfield, so I didn't get too upset.  When I got out of the water, I heard a big round of applause (am I really that good), but figured it must have been for Simon coming out right behind me (but not in front of me).  I was glad when the swim was over.

I knew I didn't have too much ground to make up on the bike, and quickly moved into first place within the first 5km.  There was a decent headwind heading out on the bike (mixed with some uphill), so I kept cadence high and just spun the legs.  I was accompanied by a couple motor bikes as I led the bike, one of which was taking pictures from the side (only better thing would have been a helecopter...).

Leading the bike (and looking sharp)
The second half of the bike course was downhill with a tailwind, so I decided to increase my pace and go fast (and man was I flying).  I was biking more conservatively than I did in the race two weeks ago (to avoid a crash on the run), but I still managed to have a pretty fast split (56 minutes) and was in the lead off the bike (not an optimistic lead though, because I saw Lionel pretty close behind) .

Coming into T2 in the lead
After a painfully slow 41.5 minute 10km in my last race, I knew this race I wanted to be going faster.  I was able to get into my rhythm early, and was feeling strong with good leg turnover.  I knew Lionel was coming, and sure enough after about 1-2 km, he went by (fast as usual).  The course was pretty flat, with only one real hill, and was mainly concrete and asphalt surface.  I was feeling good at the 5km mark, and got a chance to see if anyone was gaining on me (it was an out and back course).  From what I could see, no one was close (although I knew a few people would be running fast behind me).  Unlike in my last race, this race I opted to race without any technology (my trusty Timex), and just focused on how I felt.  I was still running strong with 1km to go, and I knew I was going to have a safe shot at second.

The home stretch
I finished second overall (I think this is becoming a trend) and had perhaps one of my best races ever.  I felt great, had no issues with my leg, and really enjoyed the race.  And now I get to call myself a national champ...just saying

First 4 across the line: Lionel, Andy, Keith, Paul

The Overall
Overall, I really enjoyed this race (although it was pretty expensive...and no prize for second overall...)!  I had a great group of supporters (see all my supporters under the tab at the top) come and cheer me on, which included my parents (who seemed a bit more interested in me getting them a free burger than me finishing second...), my brother Dan (who is my most medium supporter), my coach Derek, and my friend Raffi.  Also, my friends Chris and Brad from Yorku were also at the race doing the relay, and came over for a picture.

With the Parents,who are truly great supporters (and picture takers)


Simon Whitfield was also walking around at the awards, and he was totally down to earth and happy to take a picture with us.  He was definitely a super nice guy, and it was a pleasure to meet him.  

Paul, Simon, Dan, Andy, Raffi

Finally, I want to note I am not coached by Nigel Gray of NRG (even though I wear his kit).  I got my suit with his logo on it as a gift (at a time when it didn't matter what I wore), and if it ain't broke....  I know it does create a conflict of interest, which is why I am shirtless for most of the pictures (its not to show off), and why I am getting a new kit (which is on its way).

So that's it for the 2013 Toronto Triathlon Festival.  Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.  Next on the race lineup is this weekend at the Bala Triathlon (the much hyped retro race).  I have been growing out my moustache for about a month now (so much work, so few results...), and I have some really cool retro pieces of kit.  Stay tuned for a very interesting race report from Bala.

1 comment:

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