Monday, 12 August 2013

MSC Bracebridge Post Race Report-2'nd Overall, 1:56:01

It was time to get back to some serious racing this past weekend at the MSC Bracebridge Olympic distance Triathlon.  After breaking out a retro speedo two weeks ago for the Bala retro race, I was happy to be back in my wetsuit and regular race attire (although the speedo was quite liberating...).  Going into the race, I was feeling strong (I am a national champion after all), and I was really hoping for a good fast race with the possibility of getting my first overall win for the season (this 2'nd place thing is getting a bit repetitive...).  Well, despite a solid effort (and even a swim PB), I walked away with another second place, this time to the speedy Cody Beals (perhaps we could call him my arch rival...perhaps...).   

Top 5 Overall

But to be honest, another second place doesn't sit too negatively with me.  This is partly due to the fact that I like to be optimistic (a pessimist might say I was the first loser...), but is also due to the fact that this was NOT a slow race!  Lets break it down and see how it went.

I have always managed to have a good swim in Bracebridge in my three years doing the race, and this year was no exception.  With the water as smooth as glass, and a course that is outlined by the shore, a fast time was just asking to be had.  

Yes folks, that is one fine looking Nineteen Frequency

This event has the unique feature of a time trial start, which means it is everyone for themselves (no packs, and no real drafting).  I knew the course, and was feeling good in the water, so I knew I was going to have a fast swim.  How fast of a swim I actually had however, still surprised me, as I was just able to duck under the 19 minute mark and finish with a big PB of 18:59 for the 1500m (2 seconds off the best swim of the day)!  Can't complain about that...

With only Cody and Mike Greenberg ahead of me (due to the time trial start), I got to do some chasing on the bike before I caught up and passed both of them at maybe 7.5-10km into the bike.  Now in the lead position, I was able to get into a good rhythm and start putting some distance between me and my chasers.  I don't have much to report in the way of watts, speed, or other such numerical statistics (No computer for me), but I can tell you I was going pretty quick, rounding out the 40km in a solid 58 minutes and change.  Now, I did have a bit of a scare on the bike when what looked like a Pitbull ran into the middle of the road without a leash or owner in sight.  Luckily, there was no issue with the doggie, and I went by without an issue (he was probably realized how fast I was going).    

Heading into T2, and looking flashy with my new eLoad kit

So, just like last years race, it was me in the lead with Cody chasing (except this year I had a time buffer due to the TT start).  I went out strong, and was able to settle into a good pace.  Just after the 5km turn around, Cody caught up, and put distance between us.  I knew I had the buffer to work with, so I tried my best to banish any negative thoughts that surfaced as I watched him gradually pull ahead.  I ran hard (and was happy with my effort) but in the end it was just shy of a first place, and I had to settle for another second place finish.

Crossing the line 

Post Race
Like I mentioned in the beginning, this was not a slow or easy race.  The pace for the swim was really cooking, and the bike had its fair share of hills.  Although the run was relatively flat, both of the previous efforts made for a tough run to finish off the race.  Second place is nothing to be ashamed of here.

Top 5 Overall M/F (showing off my MSC/eLoad gear)

I was really happy with my time.  My overall time for this years race was far superior to my last years time (and was even much faster than Cody's time from last year), so I know I put in a good effort and raced well (and am making progress).

And to top off a good day at the races, my family and I headed down the road to Santa's Village for some go-carting before the drive home (maybe a new tradition in Bracebridge...).    

Getting ready to rip it up

Concluding Remarks
A big thanks goes out to all the people who have helped me get to where I am.  Both my coaches Brent and Derek have been amazing teachers, knowledgable guides, and have really help me to learn and improve.  New support has also come with a sponsorship from eLoad, who have given me backing and supplied me with some fantastic sport nutrition to train and race with (and also a fancy new kit).  A big thanks also goes to Multisport Canada for putting on another great race, and for the opportunity to race as a member of the MSC Development Team.  Thanks is also extended to Nineteen Wetsuits, who helped me with the purchase of my frequency (which has been a fantastic suit for me).   
And lets not forget my amazing family, who woke up super early to come and watch me race (and take some great pictures).  Both my Mom and Dad are big supporters, and my brother Dan (who you should watch for in a few years)...well...we call him my most medium supporter...

Thats all for now everyone.  Look for me at both the Wasaga and Lakeside Olympic distance tri's in just under a months time.  An appearance at the Provincial Time Trial may also be a possibility.  
Thanks for reading

Monday, 5 August 2013

Bala Falls Retro Race-Post Race Report

Triathlon racing is one tough sport.  Us triathletes are super disciplined and focused individuals, and racing really brings out our strong competitive nature.  This was especially true for me in the Toronto Triathlon Festival a couple of weeks ago  (full report available here), where I was totally in my zone and focused on the race (sorry to all of those people cheering me on who I completely ignored...I used to hate when triathletes did that to me, but now I understand).  This is just the way things are for competitive racing, but is it truly the way to enjoy triathlon?
This past weekend, I decided it was time to inject  bit of fun into my race season with the Bala retro triathlon.  I had been thinking about this event for quite a while, and I knew I really wanted to give the retro triathlon thing a go.  This past weekend was the cumulation of many months of preparation, and it was finally time to showcase my collection of retro gear (mainly from value village and Running Free) and to have some fun!

The evening before the race, I was able to stay over with some very hospitable friends at their cottage (which was like 2 minutes from the race site), which made race morning a lot easier, and was very much appreciated.

Me with my gracious hosts, the Chisholm family
So here's where the fun begins.  When you really get down to it, there is only one thing to wear for the swim in a retro triathlon.  That would be the good old speedo folks.  Nothing like a tiny, black, European cut speedo to showcase that authentic retro look (and mine also had a chamois).  In the spirit of the race, I didn't even bring my wetsuit along, since it would take away from my retro look (water temperatures looked to be almost at the point of having a non-wetsuit race anyway...).  Turns out it decided to pour rain the night before the race, and the water temperature dropped a good 3 degrees Celsius, which made for a very cold swim (Seriously, I was freezing...and the only one without a wetsuit).

Just making sure my suit is still attached....
After a quick transition, it was onto the bike in full retro style.  My "speedo" was actually an authentic retro triathlon bottom, so it did have a chamois in it (which made for marginal comfort gains).  I also put on my retro sunglasses ($5 at Value Village) to complete my look.  I did opt to use my regular race bike for this years retro race, as my plans to get a vintage road bike were not able to come together.

leaving transition and looking good
I moved into the lead on the bike, and put in a decent TT effort for the 30km out and back course. Riding in the speedo was surprisingly comfortable, and even quite liberating (maybe a bit too liberating when I had to stand...).  

Rolling into T2 and getting ready to change into my run gear
After a solid swim and bike in the speedo, it was time to showcase some more retro gear on the run.  I tried to change as efficiently as possible, but to be honest, this was not designed to be an ultra fast transition.  I quickly put on my vintage Running Free singlet and vintage Adidas shorts (Value Village), and topped off my outfit with a zebra strip hat (some have called this a pimp hat), which was from salvation army.  I decided to run in some neon nike shoes (which I use as regular trainers) opposed to my regular racing flats (which are blue, and not retro).

Running out of T2

Another shot of my run outfit
I just ran at a steady effort and tried to make sure my hat would stay on (which it actually did quite well).  I held the lead of the race until the closing km's, where I was passed by a speedy Chris Balestrini.  He put a bit of a gap on me, and ended up winning by 15 seconds (pretty solid racing by this guy). 

Taking a pose post race (one of many)
Post Race

Now here was the part of the event I was really looking foreword to; the judging of the retro outfits.  The best men's and women's outfits were walking away with a fancy Timex GPS watch (where the winner of the race only gets a handshake), so I was obviously exited at the chance for free gear (I definitely get this from my Dad).  The winner was determined by crowd applause, and as it turned out there was only three of us competing for the prize (I have to win now)!  I went up there, and put it all out there, willing the crowd to cheer for my outfit.  After a mediocre applause for my retro speedo look (I think there was some enthusiasm lacking), the guy beside me got a greater applause for his tie dye T-shirt (he must have paid some people off).  So for all my effort, I again walk away with a second place.  Allison (with her retro RNH suit) actually won the most retro outfit for the women, so a congratulations goes out to her.    

I am definitely the most retro, but the guy in the middle got the watch 
I was actually pretty disappointed about not winning the retro competition (much more disappointed than not winning the race), as I really did put in a lot of effort and planning into my look (and even lost the race because of my dedication to the retro look).  Luckily though, I didn't spend too long lingering on what could have been (only the whole ride home and the rest of the day) so I was able to get over it and start thinking about next year.

General Comments:

I was surprised at how few people actually got into the retro spirit, with only three guys and maybe 7 girls.  I was really hoping more people would go old school, and bring out some super cool vintage triathlon gear.  Even though I didn't win the race or the retro competition, I'm hoping my commitment to the retro look opened up some other triathletes to trying a race in something wacky and retro.

All the retro racers (like I said, not too many)

Maybe to grow the retro race, there could be a bit more of an incentive to coming out as a retro racer, like a discounted race fee or a special wave.  What might really be cool is if the race was made mandatory for all the members of the Multisport development team, and retro gear (including bikes) was also made mandatory (just a thought...).  Regardless, I am already making plans for next years retro race, in which I will be sure to top this years effort.

Thanks for having a read, and I hope you enjoyed the pictures (courtesy of Shaun Chisholm).  A big thanks also goes out to Multisport Canada for a putting on a fantastic race, and for hosting such a cool event.  The next race on the calendar is in Bracebridge for the olympic distance tri.  No crazy outfits are currently in the works, although a speedo would be ideal for a non wetsuit swim...