The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Canadian 113 Triathlon - Race Report

The Splits:
Swim (1.9km)0:34:0601:48/100mGot a great (legal) draft0:34:06
T10:04:32Very long transition at this event0:38:38
Bike (90km)2:46:4432.4 km/hrActual distance was ~93Km3:25:22
T20:02:32Long transition back, but didn't waste time3:27:54
Run (21.1Km)1:52:0005:18/kmFelt good, faded on last 10K5:19:52

Bike Splits via SportStats
Surprisingly Even
Run Splits via SportStats
"Classic Phil" (Slower by the Lap)

Race "Nutrition" Report:
Breakfast: 1.5 bowls of cereal
Pre-Swim: 1 large chunk of Banana Bread
Transition 1: 1 Gel
Bike: 4 Gels (@ 40mins each), 3 Bottles of Gatorade (continuously sipped), 1.5 Bottles of Water
Transition 2: Sip of water (felt a little too sugared up, decided to stick with water for a bit)
Run: First 2 laps: lots of water. 12 k mark, a gel, last 2 laps: Gatorade at pretty much every station (4-5 cups per lap).

In retrospect that seems like a lot, but I was never feeling low on energy. A few times, I felt a little over-sugared, but I dialed it back, and resumed when the feeling passed. I was surprised to have had so much Gatorade on the bike, but I was giving a pretty good effort, and it was very hot. When I was finished the race, I still had an insatiable craving for Gatorade, and finished off about 6 full cups.

The Swim:
(A beach start) For some reason, I found myself at the front, just behind one other person. Usually people are jostling for a good start position, even seeding themselves completely wrong just to get some kind of advantage. My plan was to be a bit cheeky and start ahead of where I should normally be, just so I would have clearer water and a good shot at the buoy line opening. Nobody wanted to come up closer when the announcer called out 10 seconds to start. I wanted to run as far into the water as possible and dolphin dive as much as possible before I started to swim. This plan was contingent on the guy in front of me doing exactly that too -- which he did: the swim start was perfect.

My next goal was to swim fast but save as much energy as possible. Since I was close to front, it was easy for me to catch a draft - and even though I was slipping back in relation to the pack, my net forward progression was at a good speed and exertion level. Eventually, I slipped back enough to the point where everyone was swimming my pace; so I just tucked in behind and let them do the work. It was perfect. I didn't need to sight one bit.

The only unknown on the swim was when my bathing cap would pop of. Not if, but when. It has happened at every open water swim and race so far this year. At this race it held on for about 750 meters.

I exited the water at 34 minutes. Perfect.

The transitions at this venue are a necessary evil -  long and precarious. I stripped the wetsuit as soon as I hit the grass, and was able to run quickly up the path into the T-zone. My left foot was hurting on the top, a nagging "undetermined" injury left over from the Cornwall Tri. I momentarily thought about how terrible the pending half-marathon would be with this (pain-scale: 6) irritation; but, then the more immediate discomfort of running over a good assortment of sharp rocks and gravel en route to the grassed infield of Terry Fox stadium focused me onto getting T1 over and done with as soon as possible. Soon enough I was at my spot and getting ready for the bike. I had pre-planned my T-Zone setup in my mind the night before: helmet open on aerobars, 1 gel in helmet, race belt open in helmet, sunglasses in helmet ready to go; bike shoes open, 2 gels in each shoe -- no socks, socks in running shoes ready for the run. I put on my glasses, my belt, sucked in my gel, stuffed my back-pocket with the 4 gels from my shoes, shoes-on; unhooked the bike;  off and running to the bike course.

The Bike:
4 x 15 K loops: downhill 7.5 K into a slight headwind, 180 degree turn around just past Ottawa U, 7.5 K slightly uphill with the wind at my back, nice swooping turn around at the top of Hog's Back. The bike went well, I had pre-ridden the course in my mind the night before, everything went to plan except for pulling my chain off the big ring again as I started my first down-hill decent on loop 1. Crap! (actually, I said the F word out loud, very unsportsmanlike unfortunately). I finally managed to get it back on, and vowed to myself to stay BIG RING the whole ride, even if it meant cross-chaining to ascend the slight hills.  Despite the slight wind, and the terrible pavement, I was hovering in the 32Kph range going downhill and 38Kph range going up hill.

Looped courses fun, especially when your spouse is participating. I was happy to see Guylaine shortly into the bike ride, she was about 10 minutes behind me. She would call out to me every time we would pass, as I would have my head down most of the race.

Mostly uneventful. I was surprised and happy to not see many bikes back on the racks.  I quickly put my socks on (my feet now being mostly dry), I slipped on my shoes. Emptied my back pocket of garbage, grabbed two more Gels, took a hit of water, put on my hat, and off I went.... But not too quickly, I didn`t want to set too fast a pace for the run on my exit from T2.

The Run:
Here's a little secret. In the week preceding this event, I did 3 back-to-back 50K bike rides, and I was feeling pretty confident with my overall fitness. So much so, that I had entertained the idea of again doing the Esprit Triathlon in Montreal... on Sept 7. When I was swimming, I said to myself, "Damn, I wish I was doing the Full"; when I was biking, I said to myself, "Damn, I wish I was doing the Full"; but, when I started the run... I said to myself, "Thank God, I'm not doing the Full!".

My main goal on the Run was to try and keep my enthusiasm in check, and start the run at a conservative pace. Every triathlon I have ever done, I have broken the world-record for 100m coming out of T2.... and almost every triathlon that has resulted in an eventual blow up. This was going to be different. And it was, kind of.  I hit the first K marker at 4:51 - which although is still pretty fast (for me), it was definitely not sub-4 minute fast which would have meant looming disaster.  The next sign was 1.5K (as it was used for the Try-a-Tri turnaround), I hit that again 2:20-ish; I was staying on pace. Other than that, there were no other mile markers. I would use those 2 signs each way on the out and back to do a quick 500 meter check on my pace. Generally, it looked like it was holding pretty steady (in retrospect, looking back, I think I was sub-consciously running faster through those segments, because I knew I was timing myself).

Overall my run felt pretty good. I stuck to water for the first 2 laps: drank plenty of it, and doused myself as often as possible. I saw Guylaine start her first lap as I was starting my second lap. That was a relief, as I knew she made it through the bike okay, without any mechanical issues (a huge improvement over last year). At the turnaround of Lap 2 I grabbed a gel, and then for Laps 3 and 4 I was grabbing Gatorade whenever possible.  On the backstretch of one of the laps, I was passed by eventual winner, _EH_, who introduced himself to me - he had previously sent me (via an online forum) a low-rise dust-cap which allows me to "Slam-my-Stem" on the bike. [Thanks again for that! That was kind of you to send me that!]

And so now, on the final lap, I had that conversation with myself. "We're definitely in half-ironman PB territory, by a long shot... should we open up the Suitcase of Courage, and let 'er rip???"  ... and this is when the Esprit Ironman thought has finally fully been processed in the back of my head ... "Phil... Good News, you can cruise the last 5K, 'cause we're going to Montreal next weekend Baby!"

And that was that, I savored the last lap of the Run, and began planning my next race.

I entered the track, with 5:19:20 ish on the clock... and decided it was worth the extra effort to make sure I got in under 5:20:00, I put on the jets a little bit, and crossed the line @ 5:19:52. My Mom and Dad were there to cheer me in, and I was so happy. Happy for me, and happy for Guylaine, who was still only 1 lap behind me.  I knew she'd be finishing within the next 30 minutes... and she'd have a real good shot of going way under 6 hours... which she did.


I ended up with 9th overall, and 3rd in my Age Group. Guylaine (having shaved off 34 minutes from the same race last year) was 5th female overall and 1st in her age group .