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Gravenhurst Triathlon - Olympic Course - Triathlon

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Gravenhurst, Ontario
MultiSport Canada
30C / 86F
Total Time = 2h 24m 4s
Overall Rank = 22/278
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 4/42
Pre-race routine:

My wife and I stayed at the in-laws about 30min from the race site and got up early race morning and got to the race at a good hour. We were going to be staying the night with friends at a resort after the race, and they had already arrived on site. For whatever reason I always get a case of nerves right before a race, and I think this was heightened by the fact I was racing a small group of friends and was putting pressure on myself to do well.
Event warmup:

Got myself checked in and setup as quickly as possible and headed off for 20min on the bike. I rode part of the run course so I could remind myself what it looked like since I’d only been out and back for a short run a month before. Just as I remembered – exposed to the sun, and hilly and winding. It was going to be a tough run.

The race doesn’t actually start until 8:30am, but it’s a unique venue because they take everyone out in two big paddleboats, drop you in the middle of the lake, and you then swim back in. They have to cap the race at a max of 300 people, so all the men + elites under 49 were on the first boat, which meant the 4 guys in our group were all going off together.

We all got suited up and chatted on the ride out to the start line, then a short jump off the side of the boat, and we swam over to the start and got ourselves ready to go.

  • 29m 31s
  • 1500 meters
  • 01m 58s / 100 meters

I seeded myself in about the 3rd row of swimmers, and found that I was treading water right behind my friend Craig and his brother Neil. The horn sounded and I paused for a moment to try and avoid taking feet to the face from everyone going horizontal in the first two rows. Then I was off and moving.

The swim had us head across the lake for 400M, make one left turn and then aim straight for shore. Even though there were some good sized buildings on the dock, I couldn’t sight any of them from further back, and focused on the buoys. I felt like I was getting left behind a bit at the beginning, and was maybe taking it a little too easy. I focused myself into a better rhythm and tried to keep pace with one swimmer matching my speed. When I realized we were pretty evenly matched I slotted in behind him and tried to draft as much as possible. I hoped he was sighting well and did my best to stay with him, but after about 10 minutes I realized that he was moving all over the place, and kept pausing to sight. I decided it was time to let him go, and I moved off on my own. This actually let me find a better pace and I passed him, and found that as we were approaching the dock I was gaining on some other swimmers. Once we reached the dock there was a long run down the dock, and across the street into the transition area. I felt good getting out of the water, and was happy with my swim considering it remains my weak link.

What would you do differently?:

Not sit on feet just for the sake of drafting. May (or may not) have cost myself a little time doing this.
Transition 1
  • 01m 15s

Ran to the rack and found that Scott’s bike was already gone along with others in my AG. I really struggled to get my wetsuit off my legs and lost a bit of time, but otherwise things went fairly well. But in this race, I was assuming every second would count. Ran past the rack with Craig and Neil’s bikes, and as expected only Neil’s bike was left.
What would you do differently?:

Get the suit off faster - lost a few seconds here.
  • 1h 09m 8s
  • 40 kms
  • 34.71 km/hr

I didn’t have an absolute power number in mind, but I was aiming to try and be in the mid 220’s for this race. I had ridden the course about a month earlier and knew that while it was a pretty lumpy undulating course, it was also reasonably fast. My goal was to simply push as hard as I could and catch Craig and Scott and anyone in my age group.

That plan didn’t last too long as two guys in my AG went by me within a few minutes. I kept the power high and passed them both back, but eventually they passed me again, and I didn’t go by them again. I made the mistake of letting them go, and in hindsight I should have pushed to keep them in sight. At km 6 I caught and passed Scott – he’s usually a good cyclist, but it turns out he had no legs for the ride on this day and struggled. So now I just had to catch Craig.

When I pre-rode the race course the most scenic section was in really bad shape – but luckily most of this had been repaved which made for a really nice ride. There were still some crappy sections, but for the most part the road was good.

As I was within a few km of the turn around I started to see the leaders coming the other direction. I was specifically looking for Craig since I figured he had about 2-2:30 lead coming out of the water. Within 200M of the turn around I saw him coming the other way – and he looked surprised to see me. I figured I must be having a really good ride at this point to catch him, but it turned out I was only 45 sec behind after the swim. It took me another 6-7km of chasing to finally catch and pass him.

I felt like I had pushed to catch up with Craig and once I passed him, I didn’t have quite the same impetus to keep going hard. Looking back at my power numbers, I really hadn’t ridden as hard as I should of for most of the race. Within a couple of km, Craig passed me back, and then I had to repass him. I also got passed by someone else in my AG, and this forced me to work a little harder and get ahead again. But truth is the legs weren’t feeling like they could go much harder. AP = 211, NP = 216, Avg HR 169, 1561 feet elevation gain. I attribute the weaker power to simply not riding enough over the past few months.

Coming in to the last few bends before a big downhill to T2 I slipped out of my shoes and got ready to run. My wife really cheered me on when she saw I had passed the other two on the bike, and that gave me a little extra incentive for the run.

What would you do differently?:

Push harder. I have not been using my PM to my advantage this season.
Transition 2
  • 00m 58s

Racked the bike quickly and got rid of both the helmet and sunglasses. I decided to just wear a hat and hope that any breeze would cool my face during the run since the temps had really climbed. Had a really hard time struggling with my run shoes, and finally got going.
What would you do differently?:

Feet were hot and the shoes just wouldn't go on. Not sure how I avoid this in the future.
  • 43m 15s
  • 10 kms
  • 04m 22s  min/km

As soon as I exited transition, I was side by side with Craig as he had a quick transition. In our last Sprint race we ran within 4sec of each other over 5km. I figured I was in for a hard run near the end to see who would get the bragging rights. He surged ahead at the beginning and I decided to just hold my pace rather than respond. I unzipped my trisuit as far as it would go and just aimed to stay cool and relaxed. Within a couple of minutes I had passed him back. As I ran through the first water station I found one of the 2 guys that had passed me on the bike, and went by him.

Now I found myself all alone. I didn’t dare look back because I didn’t want to know how close Craig was – just focus on my own pace. That said, I do better when I have someone to chase, and in this case there was no-one around. It’s a tough run course with very little flat, and you’re either going up an incline or down a decline (423 feet elevation gain). The road also winds around, so you can’t see into the distance, hence the feeling like I was running alone. I only took on water at each of the aid stations as I’d had a gel halfway through the bike and knew that would hold me till the end of the race. But I could have done with more water stations. The other thing about this run is that it is mostly exposed to the sun – which was pretty hot on this day (luckily no humidity).

As I reached the turnaround I knew this is where I’d find out how I was doing. I turned, and saw nobody, ran around the first bend, and still no-one, and then on the second bend Craig and I passed each other. He looked like he was suffering a bit, and at this point I knew I wasn’t going to be caught by him. By km 6 my quads were starting to protest a little from all the ups and downs, but still I had no-one to chase. Finally running (shuffling) up the last of the bigger hills at the km 8 marker I passed someone in my AG who had been relegated to a walk. I didn’t feel very strong at that point and only hoped they wouldn’t find some new energy and pass me back. I looked over my shoulder a couple of times in the final 2km just to make sure no-one was catching me, and pushed the final km as much as possible. Avg HR 173 for the run.

What would you do differently?:

Pay more attention to pace and allow myself to push a bit more.
Post race
Warm down:

Cooled off, found my wife (she found me), and waited for my friends to finish. I won the group race by just over 3min, so bragging rights were mine. Drank an absolute ton after finishing, and tried to stretch my glutes which were pretty sore and tight. Other than that it was time to relax after a tough race.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This race awards medals to the top 3 in each AG, and I was 4th – I wanted a medal, and missed out by around a minute. With my swim, I wouldn’t change much, it was pretty good by my standards. The bike was a bit weak, and I should have worked harder to keep the AG guys in my sights after they passed me. I felt I should have pushed harder was on the run. Even though I was tiring towards the end, and HR said I was near my limit, I think I still had a little more to give. Enough to catch third place, I don’t know, but I feel like I could have tried just a bit harder.

Last updated: 2013-05-27 12:00 AM
00:29:31 | 1500 meters | 01m 58s / 100meters
Age Group: 15/42
Overall: 65/278
Performance: Good
Suit: Nineteen Pipeline
Course: Across the lake 400M, turn left and swim straight to shore
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 01:15
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
01:09:08 | 40 kms | 34.71 km/hr
Age Group: 7/42
Overall: 26/278
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 87
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:58
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Bad
00:43:15 | 10 kms | 04m 22s  min/km
Age Group: 5/42
Overall: 17/278
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-07-18 9:56 AM

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Subject: Gravenhurst Triathlon - Olympic Course

2013-07-18 10:22 AM
in reply to: #4807715

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Subject: RE: Gravenhurst Triathlon - Olympic Course
Neil, nice job! Sounds like a fun race. While you may have missed on the hardware, you won the bragging rights with your buddies. Congrats!!!
2013-07-18 10:50 AM
in reply to: kcarroll

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Gravenhurst Triathlon - Olympic Course
Nice race-really good splits across the board on what sounds like a tough course. Well done!
2013-07-18 10:53 AM
in reply to: #4807715

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Gravenhurst Triathlon - Olympic Course
Great job Neil!
2013-07-18 11:49 AM
in reply to: #4807715

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Gravenhurst Triathlon - Olympic Course
Nice race, Neil!  Really great run!
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I looked at the swim buoys and start thinking, "Man! How am I ever going to swim that? That looks like a very long distance from the bridge. I have never done it in one go." There's no turning back.
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