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...

1 comment:

  1. Maybe try a tie-dye speedo next year :p