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Subaru Banff Triathlon - Sprint Course - TriathlonSprint

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Banff, Alberta
Subaru Western Triathlon Series
24C / 75F
Total Time = 1h 55m 7s
Overall Rank = 268/303
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 29/30
Pre-race routine:

First triathlon! (for both me and my wife)
Drove up to Banff on Friday with the kids, plus grandma & grandpa. Lunch was a less traditional triathlete's meal (Wendy's drive thru!) while we had pasta with sausage in our hotel room for dinner. Spent most of the evening sweating over the logistical details and preparing our T1 / T2 bags.

Woke up at 6:15am, got dressed and had some peanut butter toast, banana and orange juice. Headed down to T2 for a very quick setup (a running hat!) and hopped the shuttle to T1.
Event warmup:

Got to T1 about 90 minutes before race start -- still quite chilly with the sun behind the mountains. Wife and I sifted through our various bags and got ourselves set up -- then spent some time chatting with neighbouring triathletes -- some tri veterans, and a couple of newbies, but all really friendly and helpful.

Eventually we put on our wetsuits and headed down to the water to get acclimatized. First experience wearing a wetsuit and a neoprene cap -- given the water temperatures, they definitely did their job...

Headed over to the start beach for the male sprint wave start. All the ladies (starting 3 minutes after us) gave us a big cheer!

  • 14m 47s
  • 500 meters
  • 02m 58s / 100 meters

Felt like I did very poorly. In the first 50 meters, I tried to go too fast, bumped into a few feet and knees, tried to maneuver around but never really found a groove. Then after ~100 meters I took a mouthful of water and it was game over. After that, I had trouble breathing and couldn't do front crawl. The rest of the swim was mostly heads-up breaststroke, with a little bit of backstroke thrown in.

I was clearly near the back of the men's wave -- after ~250 meters, I saw the first pink caps from the women's wave. Apologies to any of the ladies who needed to dodge the slowpoke!

Last 200 meters seemed much faster -- maybe an illusion but I felt confident enough to try front crawl again. Overall, despite the problems, my time ended up being surprisingly average for me (comparable to the pool) -- and thankfully never got so bad that I had to take respite on the canoes.
What would you do differently?:

Practice open water swimming. Why oh why did nobody on BeginnerTriathlete warn us about OWS?? :-)

In particular --
(1) steer clear of other swimmers, especially at the start
(2) work on breathing, particularly in cold water -- felt like I couldn't even do 2 strokes between breaths
(3) pace myself in the first 50-100 meters
(4) develop a better way to recover from taking on water

Surprisingly, other than breathing, the cold water was a non-factor -- taking 5-10 minutes to get acclimatized was great to do. First time swimming in a wetsuit was also easy -- bigger things to worry about I guess!
Transition 1
  • 07m 32s

Walked up a steep hill (about 2-3 min) into T1. Felt that I had done a good job in setup -- put on my glasses, removed the wetsuit, threw on my clothes and helmet, and went on my way. Had a bit of an indecision point about whether to wear my long-sleeve shirt -- ultimately wore it, which was good as most of the bike course was shady and a bit windy.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. It was a bit slow, but felt OK. I could have jogged up the hill to T1, but I was winded after the swim and wanted to settle myself down a bit.
  • 58m 41s
  • 25 kms
  • 25.56 km/hr

Bike portion was quite straightforward. It mercifully started with a long, mostly downhill portion -- great way to settle nerves and get into a groove. I managed to pass a few people on the downhills, then saw them again when they passed on the uphills. After a while, I found myself mostly alone -- at least 30 seconds buffer to the front and back -- gave me a great chance to enjoy the mountain scenery.

Toward the final lap of Minnewanka Loop, I start to get passed by some very expensive bikes -- ahh, the first of the Olympic wave! Lost them when I turned back into town -- uneventful finish to the ride.
What would you do differently?:

Would have liked to go faster, but hard to pinpoint anything specific. Perhaps would have done some longer training rides -- I maxed out at ~26-27 km training rides, and I felt like I was dragging a bit toward the end -- perhaps some rides of 35-40-50 km would help?

Losing a few pounds probably wouldn't hurt either :-)
Transition 2
  • 01m 26s

Had a slight hiccup at the dismount line -- for some reason I was expecting two dismount lines (i.e. a dismount zone) but the screaming volunteers seemed to indicate otherwise. Managed to bring the bike to a screeching halt with about 2 inches to spare...

Otherwise a very simple transition -- I used the same shoes for bike and run. Just needed to rack the bike, remove the helmet and my long-sleeve shirt, pop on the hat, and I was off.

According to the stats, T2 was the only segment where I managed to finish above average (ranked #110/303 -- hey, I'll take good news where I can!)
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Using the same shoes was very helpful.
  • 32m 42s
  • 5 kms
  • 06m 32s  min/km

A little bit disappointed with the run segment, as I'd been hoping to minimize the amount of walking -- but ended up walking through all the aid stations plus another half-dozen times. Tried to limit any walking to 30 seconds or less, which helped contain the damage. Despite the frequent breaks, my time ended up being respectable for me -- my standalone PR is 29:45, so keeping it under 33:00 after a swim and bike felt pretty good -- I'm guessing that adrenaline might have had me running a bit faster than anticipated!

Good news was, the other runners and the volunteers provided LOTS of encouragement.

The kids (along with Grandma and Grandpa) were right near the finish line to greet us. I gave them a high five as I went by, though my son (age 5) was upset that I ran right past -- sorry little guy, but the finish line is still 100 meters that way!

Cross the finish line, and the clock read 1:45:00 -- felt pretty good, until I realized later that this was the Super Sprint clock -- so add 10 minutes... oops!
What would you do differently?:

Train more without the iPod. Amazing how reliant I've become on having the tunes playing... need to maintain motivation without the ear buds.

Get psyched up for the final push -- could have done a better job maintaining a good run pace during the last 500 meters or so, and possibly passed a few people.

Brick training was really helpful -- I didn't do a lot (just a couple of 1-2K runs after a bike) but enough to get used to the feeling. It went away after 5 minutes -- after that it was just regular pain not brick pain :-)
Post race
Warm down:

Minimal -- grabbed some water at the finish, and walked back to meeting my family and wait for my wife to finish. Once she did, the kids were a bit cranky so we took them ASAP to lunch at McDonald's. (A surprising number of triathletes seemed to be having their post-race meals there!)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Didn't ever do a training run equivalent (or even close to) the 2 hours of exertion -- my longest one was 1hr15.

General fitness level -- I started training back in May, starting from a very sedentary baseline. Still need to lose 30-40 pounds and get my cardiovascular health up -- but this has been a great start. And hey -- as the saying goes, I've just set a PR to beat next year!

It was also a bit strange to compete without the Garmin watch -- my wife and I share one watch (hers), and she used it for the race. Guess what's at the top of my Christmas list :-)

Event comments:

Fantastic race -- couldn't have pictured anything better. Racing through the most beautiful scenery in Canada, very enthusiastic and helpful volunteers, friendly competitors, very well organized -- I think I've been spoiled!

Last updated: 2012-05-15 12:00 AM
00:14:47 | 500 meters | 02m 58s / 100meters
Age Group: 28/30
Overall: 266/303
Performance: Below average
Course: Out to an orange buoy (about 200 meters), then 100 meters across to another orange buoy and turn back for the 200 meter homestretch.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 15C / 59F Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 07:32
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:58:41 | 25 kms | 25.56 km/hr
Age Group: 29/30
Overall: 261/303
Performance: Average
Course: 1.5 laps of the Minnewanka Loop (quite hilly with lots of turns), then a long straight gradual downhill into the townsite of Banff.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:26
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:32:42 | 05 kms | 06m 32s  min/km
Age Group: 29/30
Overall: 272/303
Performance: Average
Course: Very complex run through the town of Banff and along the river -- mostly on gravel trails.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2012-09-08 11:30 PM

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Calgary, AB
Subject: Subaru Banff Triathlon - Sprint Course

2012-09-11 11:56 PM
in reply to: #4401879

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Extreme Veteran
Penticton, BC
Subject: RE: Subaru Banff Triathlon - Sprint Course

Hi Hoos.  Congrats to you and your wife.  And, thanx for a great race report.  I saw your comments on your swim in another thread then stumbled on your RR when I was looking for mine (I wrote one for my Kelowna Apple Sprint in August and then my Summerland Sprint a week ago).

After reading your RR I'd like to do the Banff Sprint myself.

I had a similar experience for my 1st sprint swim as you describe and I had practiced OWS doing 1800m comfortably in Okanagan Lake but on race day I figure I got a bit too much adrenaline going so I couldn't seem to catch my breath.  In my 2nd sprint my swim went much better and I knocked a few minutes time off my swim time.

I look forward to reading your next RR and I'll bet you knock off some time as well.

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