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Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon - Olympic Course - TriathlonOlympic

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Victoria, British Columbia
The Subaru Western Triathlon Series
11C / 52F
Total Time = 3h 47m 51s
Overall Rank = 274/307
Age Group = 60 - 64
Age Group Rank = 6/7
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 4:00am crawled out of my tent and walked over to my friends trailer where I cooked some omelettes and had a bowl of oatmeal. Drove over to the event site and walked about a kilometre to the transition and marking area. Got marked, stowed our gear with the bikes and went to the portapotty line-up.

It was very cool and threatening to rain at any moment so we brought a variety of clothing to wear should we need some warm gear. Happily put on my wetsuit to get warm and walked over to the beach to wait for our start.

My friend wanted to get into the water and have 20 minutes to acclimate and get ready for the swim. There was some controversy as to where our swim was supposed to turn (we were told to turn at a red buoy but there weren't any). Got it sorted out but kind of wondered when they were planning to tell us.
Event warmup:

Got into the water about 6:55 and puttered about. The water didn't feel too bad at first but I found my teeth were chattering very quickly and I was uncomfortable. Our swim time was approaching and we moved to our starting positions to wait for the horn...
  • 33m
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 12s / 100 meters

The race organizers had a Royal Canadian Artillery Corp cannon on site to signal the start of the pro wave at 6:45am and then used a horn to start the HIM waves. Then we were waiting for the time for our wave to start. I didn't realize until too late that I had gotten into the water too early and my teeth were chattering and I was feeling really uncomfortable.

We had a little light relief when 9 young ducks swam in amongst our anxious swimmers and they couldn't get out of the way. Then another group of ducks came into the same area. A mother and her group of babies. Finally, the swim leader on a paddle board had to herd them out of the area before our start.

So now we're waiting for our starting horn and BOOM. They fired the cannon again, completely unexpected and instead of swimming everyone startled and looked over to the gunners, then realized what had happened and we started swimming.

I was immediately in the thick of things and I took a light hit to the right side of my head within my first three strokes. I was quickly struggling and uncomfortable in my breathing and just short of having a bad case of "nerves" which is very unusual for me.

I was working hard to calm myself down and swimming to any more open areas that I could see but they never lasted long and then other swimmers would close in around me and I'd have to pause swimming to look around for a new opening. I was also being buffeted by waves going over my head and causing me to lose a breath or swallow water. This all went on for the first 650m until I reached the first turn buoy. Maybe it was just psychological but as I rounded the first buoy I immediately felt better. Perhaps I was just getting warmed up.

Then I turned the second buoy and headed to the finish line. I was starting to feel like my old self and I was moving faster but frustrated because I couldn't seem to catch up to people that had just passed me. I felt a lot better and just decided not to worry about catching people.

My sighting today seemed pretty good even during the first leg when I was struggling to keep going and even breathing was difficult.

I'm always glad to reach shallow water and grasp some sand then stand up and moved very quickly (for me) to transition.
What would you do differently?:

I will be very careful not to get into cooler water too early. I also think I need to practice swimming in choppy conditions so it isn't as much of an impediment. This should have been a better swim for me and others had no problems at all.

I also need a couple more easy orientation swims in a new lake just to get more comfortable with it.
Transition 1
  • 04m 14s

In transition I found my equilibrium was "off" so I was staggering like I'd had a few. Even when I sat on the ground to put my socks and shoes on I was still falling over (there was a slope to the ground that made me awkward). I got changed quickly and decided not to put on my bike gloves (easily saved me two minutes in T1&2). Before I grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line I turned on my Garmin and left it with my gear.
What would you do differently?:

Many kilometres out I realized I had forgotten to put on my race belt and bib number. I'll have to put it where I can more easily see it and put it on. Otherwise I was amazed at how quick I was. Now I just have to figure out how the really fast people do it.
  • 1h 52m 53s
  • 45 kms
  • 23.92 km/hr

I crossed over the mount line and hopped on the bike. As soon as I started peddling my equilibrium problem I had had in Transition was gone. In transition I made the decision not to put on any of the warm clothes I had because I was feeling pretty good even though my tri-shorts and top were wet.

The course is a lot of small rolling hills with some modest climbs and quick downhills. When we drove the course a couple days before the race I thought I would be able to finish the ride in about 1:40 and I misjudged the route as mostly flat.

Soon after I started riding the sun came out and we were well protected from the wind by all the trees along the side of the road. This was where the fun really began. There were lots of other riders and good natured banter back and forth. I found myself playing leap frog with quite a few people. I would pass them on the flats or downhills but then they'd pass me again on the uphills. I learned not to stop peddling on the downhills unless I spin out. This helped me pass many people.

I was really enjoying the ride and at the one hour mark of my ride I clocked 26.1km which is a good pace for me. Unfortunately, I then came into a more open area and the wind now was a strong headwind which slowed me down. I also found a few times that people unintentionally got in my way so that I had to slow down at times that I wanted to accelerate.

Then I reached the turn on to Oldfield road. A short climb and then a fast downhill and flat for the last 3km before a short ride to the finish. It was now beginning to rain very lightly so not too much of a problem.

I was accelerating down a hill when I see a fellow in a pick-up truck on my right and he is accelerating to race me to get out onto the road ahead of me only we're going to arrive at the same moment. I hit both brakes hard. My rear wheel on the wet road starts sliding out to my right. He hits his brakes. I YELL an "expletive" and he pretends not to look at me and looks as though he is looking past me to check for traffic behind me. Somehow as my wheel slid to the right (I think I let go of the brakes) the wheel found traction and I really can't believe it but I didn't fall over and I carried on.

The last two kilometres is on a very winding narrow road and inspite of the wet conditions I flew through this area and dismounted running into transition where I see my friend just heading out on his run. As slow as my day is going this is a huge achievement for me. We are in a dead heat against each other. A very big first for me. Of course he is a runner and I'm not.
What would you do differently?:

Although my time wasn't as good as I had planned I felt really good about my ride. I passed a lot of people and really enjoyed it. I need to try aero bars and I need to climb hills faster.
Transition 2
  • 02m 9s

This really seemed fast to me. The longest item was putting on my Garmin watch but I was out of the T2 area within 30secs after my friend. I basically switched shoes, put on a hat and headed for the exit. On my way out I saw my wife and gave her my sunglasses (it was overcast so I wouldn't need them). Then on the ramp down to the run path I passed a 60yr old fellow I had played leap frog with and he was finished his part of his relay team's ride so he cheered me on.
What would you do differently?:

Remember to put on my race belt.
  • 1h 14m 47s
  • 10 kms
  • 07m 29s  min/km

I started running and felt pretty heavy right from the start. Perhaps I had worked my legs too hard on the bike ride but I just kept running. As usual I tried to encourage anyone who looked like they were struggling which seems to help me as well.
The run was a lot of fun along hard packed trails with minimal root systems blocking the way. It certainly wasn't flat like I expected and I did walk up a couple steep parts of the route but overall this was less than a tenth of a km so I feel I ran the whole route.
I'm really not a runner but I tried to accelerate and catch anyone who passed me which was only to try to run faster. It started to rain heavily but the trees offered protection so the rain actually felt good.
Then the far end of the lake came in to view and I could see the last 2km. It wasn't pretty but I just kept running and as I got closer it just kept feeling better and better. I was then running up the chute to the finish and I didn't feel like I was finished. I could have gone on longer if I had to.

In the finish line photos of me I look strong at the finish and I know how good I felt.
What would you do differently?:

I need to get stronger at running off the bike. I know I've improved but I still need to get stronger.
Post race
Warm down:

This was a change-over year for this race. It has always been affiliated with Ironman but now the WTC has taken it over officially. Because of that the post race was decidedly lacking. I was looking forward to 7up and pizza at the finish line but instead found bagel bits, orange wedges, watermelon, Perform and Power bars. So I satisfied myself with some watermelon.

I also went and found the fellow that had cheered me on my way out on the run and we had a quick chat and I thanked him for his encouragement.

There was no expo to speak of so I walked around a bit and we left soon after.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This is my 3rd season and I am slowly getting stronger. I just have to keep at it.

Event comments:

I'd give it another chance but there were some glitches.

Last updated: 2014-06-18 12:00 AM
00:33:00 | 1500 meters | 02m 12s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/7
Overall: 0/307
Performance: Below average
Suit: Blue Seventy
Course: "U" shaped clockwise course.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Bad Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:14
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
01:52:53 | 45 kms | 23.92 km/hr
Age Group: 0/7
Overall: 0/307
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong
Course: One loop zig sagging all over the Saanich Penninsula. Mostly good roads with a few rougher segments but really not bad.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:09
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:14:47 | 10 kms | 07m 29s  min/km
Age Group: 0/7
Overall: 0/307
Performance: Good
Course: A trail run through thick brush around Elk and Beaver lake.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
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? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2014-06-18 2:58 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Penticton, BC
Subject: Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon - Olympic Course

2014-06-18 9:36 PM
in reply to: #5014348

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St. Louis
Subject: RE: Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon - Olympic Course
Awesome race and race report! Good work out there.
2014-06-19 2:29 AM
in reply to: ransick

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Gold Coast, Australia
Subject: RE: Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon - Olympic Course

Fantastic report, George! Sounds like a lot of fun, and it's always a good feeling to finish strong.

2014-06-19 9:56 AM
in reply to: Taringa

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Subject: RE: Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon - Olympic Course
Great Race report George. Glad to hear the tire caught for you and the truck incident did not prove to be something more serious.

- Todd
2014-06-19 11:13 AM
in reply to: trei

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the alamo city, Texas
Subject: RE: Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon - Olympic Course

sounds like a fun race!  congrats!

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