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Subaru Banff Triathlon - Sprint Course - Triathlon

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Banff, Alberta
Subaru Western Triathlon Series
50F / 10C
Total Time = 1h 46m 8s
Overall Rank = 233/326
Age Group = M3539
Age Group Rank = 24/30
Pre-race routine:

This was my "how far have I improved" race -- did this race last year as my first tri. Spent the last 12 months upping my fitness, losing weight, doing longer distances (HM, Oly, Granfondo) -- time to see how it's paid off!

Unfortunately -- the month (or so) prior to the race, I did minimal training. I had eye surgery in early August which put a crimp into training -- then left for two weeks on a road trip to SoCal. Road trip diet consisted of many burgers, Diet Coke and Skittles -- and unless schlepping around Disneyland counts as training (and it's certainly an endurance event of some sort!), I was not quite in peak form.

Three goals going into the race: (a) Under 1:40 (b) 3rd quartile performance (c) no walk breaks on the 5K.
Event warmup:

Weather forecast was lousy -- calling for 44F and rainy which was a bit intimidating... Tried to ensure that I had the right gear, but this is my first wet race...

Woke up at 6:30am, breakfast (PB toast, banana, OJ), and headed out. Got my very simple T2 set up, then hopped on the bus to T1. Got there about an hour before the horn -- plenty of time to get set up, put on wetsuit, chat with others, etc. Lots of first-timers in the group -- hard to believe that was me a year ago! Tried to do my part calming the nerves of others.

Went into the water with plenty of time to warm up, do some practice strokes, etc. (learning from struggles last year)

And... go!
  • 12m 40s
  • 500 meters
  • 02m 32s / 100 meters

Tried to seed myself toward the back & outside, but I don't think it was effective. Felt like the busiest / most congested race I've done yet. Every time I got going on a good front crawl rhythm, I'd run into someone's legs. Never got hurt, but it was distracting and prevented me from focusing on the stroke. Lots of shifting back over to breaststroke -- plenty of others were doing the same.

Good news -- the swim felt very short, now that I have two Olys under my belt! Swam to the first buoy and turned - second one was very quick to come. I checked my watch at the 2nd buoy and it was 7:30 which surprised and pleased me. Swam back to shore without difficulty.

While I wasn't too happy with the swim while I was doing it -- felt like many of the same problems as last year -- I was pretty happy with the time...

2012 time: 14:47
2013 time: 12:40
Improvement: 2:07
What would you do differently?:

More cold-water swim practice, and positioning myself more to the outside.
Transition 1
  • 06m 12s

T1 involves a big climb up to the parking lot. Didn't feel dizzy or winded after the swim, so I felt more confident -- actually jogged a bit, and managed to partially remove my wetsuit on the run.

T1 was more congested than I remember last year -- a good sign I guess!

Only significant snafu was putting on my top -- I had left my shirt & sweatshirt together in an effort to save time -- backfired on me as I managed to put my arm through the sweatshirt but not the shirt. Ah well.

2012 time: 7:32
2013 time: 6:12
Improvement: 1:20
What would you do differently?:

T1 is always slow for me. Need to start using my Yankz and other time-saving tricks.
  • 56m 16s
  • 25 kms
  • 26.66 km/hr

Last year during the bike, I felt lonely most of the time -- not a problem this time! Felt very much in the thick of the pack for most of the bike. Right out of T1 we got a nasty little uphill -- not long, but an unkind way to kick it off.

Soon, we flipped around, and started on a very long downhill. Wheee! Downhill is fun for bigger folk like me -- I managed to take advantage and passed a few folks. We'd go back and forth for a while -- good fun.

Then, the long trek back up (15 min or so, mostly up). I was quite worried about this portion, but it ended up not too bad -- bike training helps -- who knew?? This is also when the rain starting coming down -- thought it would hold off, but no such luck...rain got increasingly worse throughout the bike. Started to splash into my shoes and my rear end -- not looking forward to a squishy run!

Ride down from Minnewanka Dam was downhill, fast, twisty and wet -- perfect conditions for a crash -- but no problems for me or anyone else. Except for the poor soul who dropped her drink cage, and had to stop and backtrack...

Last portion, more-or-less flat into the town of Banff.
Overall time -- better than last year, but not quite as fast as hoped. I pin part of this on the new course, and part of it on the rain. (Can't blame myself for anything, of course!)

2012 time: 58:41
2013 time: 56:16
Improvement: 2:25
What would you do differently?:

Would have been good to bike the course ahead of time.

More training on long uphills (as opposed to the rollers I usually train on)

Do a sun dance!
Transition 2
  • 01m 2s

I LOVE T2!!!! My favourite event. Probably because I just wear running shoes on the bike -- so what is there to do? Rack the bike, grab my running hat, and go! Evidently I was 22th place on T2 -- first time I can legitimately claim FOP on anything!

2012 time: 1:26
2013 time: 1:02
What would you do differently?:

  • 30m
  • 5 kms
  • 06m  min/km

Seriously?? 30:00 flat? Couldn't even give me a lousy second to post a sub-30? Way harsh, timing chip people!

Goal for the run was no walking, and quite proud that I did it. Got helped along by the best little cheering section in town -- my wife and 3 kids, who managed to cheer me on in KM1, KM2 and KM5. (Kids demanded that I give them high-fives -- happy to oblige guys, but you probably cost me my sub-30!)

Also had a, big surprise on KM2 as a beautiful big stag pranced right across the run course, about 10m ahead. Didn't see any wildlife out on the heavily forested bike route, but right here in downtown Banff, it's a scene out of Bambi.

Also ran into an issue with my Garmin -- I noticed I was falling behind my "virtual pacer" and was quite worried about the time -- until I finally realized that the virtual pacer was set to 5:30/km not 6:00/km!

Made it to the last block, and my time was 28:00 -- tried to turn on the jets (esp in the last minute down the finish chute) to break 30:00, but instead hit it on the nose.

2012 time: 32:42
2013 time: 30:00
Improvement: 2:42

Overall 2012 time: 1:55:07
Overall 2013 time: 1:46:08
Improvement: 8:59
What would you do differently?:

Practiced running in the rain. I'm used to cold, but I almost never run in the rain -- in truth, we don't get much rain! (or when it does, it comes with lightning)

More practice at when to start the final kick -- I keep starting too late.

Overall I was a bit disappointed with the run -- given that I managed a 27:09 standalone in training, and that my Oly training has increased my endurance, I thought maybe I would do better on this 5K. Ah well.
Post race
Warm down:

Made a beeline for the car -- too rainy to hang around. I found that I was a lot less sore and tired vs. last year -- more good news.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

1) Weather
2) Weight
3) Head issues on the run

Event comments:

Despite the weather this year, this is one of my favourite races. Very well run, volunteers are fantastic, and the scenery can't be beat. Looking forward to doing it again in 2014 -- keeping my fingers crossed for sunshine!

Last updated: 2012-11-25 12:00 AM
00:12:40 | 500 meters | 02m 32s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/30
Overall: 217/326
Performance: Average
Course: One loop, triangle. Water was chilly, but not as bad as 2012.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:12
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:56:16 | 25 kms | 26.66 km/hr
Age Group: 0/30
Overall: 0/326
Performance: Average
Course: Different from last year -- course was re-routed due to flooding earlier in the year. Rather than the ups-and-downs of last year, this year had a very long downhill portion, which then turned around into a very long uphill. Course is net downhill.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:02
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:30:00 | 05 kms | 06m  min/km
Age Group: 0/30
Overall: 243/326
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-09-08 1:09 AM

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Calgary, AB
Subject: Subaru Banff Triathlon - Sprint Course
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