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Niagara Falls Barrelman - Triathlon


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Niagara Falls, Ontario
Canada
MultiSport Canada
20C / 68F
Sunny
Total Time = 4h 49m 12s
Overall Rank = 15/483
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 5/42
Pre-race routine:

This race was going to be a race + vacation for us and we decided we would drive to Niagara Falls rather than fly. Google and my Garmin GPS predicted 18-19 hours of driving so our plan was for me to pickup Tab at work on noon on Thursday and leave from there as I had the car all packed up already. We drove about 8 hours that day which got us a couple of hours inside of Quebec. My goal for driving the next day was to avoid the Montreal traffic during rush hour which we did successfully. From there, the GPS was predicting a 5:30pm arrival time which would have been nice. Unfortunately I didn't think about what time we would be in the Toronto area and it ended up being right around 4pm. What a cluster F of a traffic nightmare! I can't imagine living in that area and experiencing that on a regular basis. I think that added about 1.5 hours to our driving time, GRR!

Saturday morning, we went for a short run and ride on what was the final few KMs of the bike course. After that, we drove the 20 kms or so to where the race start / T1 was (bike is point to point) to check in and drop off the bike. That all went quickly and smoothly. Also while we were there we went and checked out the swim location. I saw that there were people swimming in the canal so I figured I would do the same. This gave me a chance to try swimming in my new Pearl Izumi Octane trisuit. I'd had lots of opportunity to try riding and running in it but not swimming so I was glad to do so. It turned out to be no issue at all and I was about to get in about 15 mins of swimming. It was quite windy and there was a lot of choppy waves. I knew that if it was like that come race time it would be an advantage for the swimmers. The forecast was calling for high winds so I knew this was likely. It was also calling for rain later in the morning and early afternoon. I was hoping it would hold off for the bike.

When we woke up on race morning, the forecast was quite different. Suddenly the rain was coming early and then letting up later in the morning. It looked like it would be wet up to the start of the race and then clear up. Ultimately this is what happened, it rained up until 9am or so and by the time I was on the bike, I didn't see any more. The forecast also changed wrt the wind. Suddenly it wasn't predicting 30-50 km/hr but rather fairly light winds. This however turned out to be false, it was very windy on the bike!
Event warmup:

I have a bad habit of not leaving myself enough time to get in a good warmup so I made sure we were at the race site with plenty of time to spare. I went for a short run of about 10 minutes (still raining pretty hard) before heading down to the canal. They had told us at the race briefing that they were going to get people out of the water for the warmup by 8:50 so I wanted to get in with enough time to get at least 10 minutes in and was able to do so easily. Turns out they didn't call people out of the water at all, everyone just stayed in the area behind the start line towards the last section of the swim. Since the waves were only from 9:00 to 9:15, everyone would be started before anyone was coming back around to finish. As a result, I got back in the water 6 or 7 minutes before my wave started and did a bit more of a warmup before heading to the start line. I felt well warmed up, much better than Mont Tremblant or Miami last year.
Swim
  • 27m 56s
  • 2000 meters
  • 01m 24s / 100 meters
Comments:

I lined up on the far left, just outside of the buoy that was setup for the start line. They had said we were allowed to swim inside the buoy lines as long as we went around the turn buoys so this seemed acceptable. Another guy swam over to me and asked if we were allowed and I just said that was my plan and he did the same. While we floated there, I heard two guys beside me talking about how they used to swim varsity in the mid 90s and I figured I was parked in a good spot then. :)

When the gun went off, the pace was high but I was on the correct side of things as all the swimmers seemed to have been over near the left as well. Within a minute or so, we all started to drift together and formed a bit of a pack. The pace was higher than I was going to be able to sustain for the entire swim but I was hoping it would settle down after a few minutes. I parked myself at the back of the group to get the best draft I could. As we were nearing the first turn buoy the pace was still a bit high for my liking and it was about this time that the group caught a couple of swimmers from the previous wave. I didn't see them coming and the group went around them on the right while I was caught a bit off guard and had to go around on the left. Boom! I'm off the back of the pack and on my own with no hope of catching back on. The rest of the swim was on my own and I just made my way through the swimmers from the previous waves. I felt great and was pretty sure I was going at a good pace. I got a bit caught up in a group as we went around the final turn buoy and had to go a bit wide that probably cost me 10 seconds or so but it was otherwise very uneventful.
What would you do differently?:

Go right instead of left around those two swimmers! Who knows if I would have been able to stay with the pack the whole way but I sure would have tried. I'm very happy with the result though. It was a faster time than either MT or Miami and it was 2000m vs the usual 1900m or at least that's how they reported it and based on the top swim times, it's likely fairly close.
Transition 1
  • 03m 3s
Comments:

There was a 300m run from the water exit to T1. As I was running alongside a women who exited the water at the same time as me, she was looking around and said to me that the only thing her kids really wanted to see was when she got out of the water and she hadn't seen them. I told her that I was sure they were there somewhere and sure enough, just as we entered transition they were there screaming for her. Kinda cool.



I got to my bike and quickly got my wetsuit off and stuffed into the bag they provided to transport it back to the race finish. Helmet on and shoes on and off I went. I decided to put my shoes on before mounting as my rack position was about 30 feet from the exit and the section of road immediately after the mount line was narrow so the potential for congestion was high. I figured it would be quicker to put the shoes on and then I could just clip in and go. I think it was a good choice.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much, I probably could have saved a few seconds but not a ton of time. There were lots of faster T1 times but I suspect a lot of them were from people who run faster than I do and covered that 300m better than I can.
Bike
  • 2h 28m 8s
  • 92.5 kms
  • 37.47 km/hr
Comments:

Once out on the bike, it became immediately clear that it was going to be a very windy ride. Fortunately it was a SW wind which meant that we were looking at about 30 km of a headwind, then 6-7km tailwind, then another 3-4 headwind and then it would be pretty much all tail wind to the finish.

The plan was to start out riding in the 205-215w range for the first 20 minutes and then 220-230w for the next 2 hours. A bit more than that into the wind and towards the low end of the range downwind. Because of a last minute course change due to road construction, the course was actually 92.5k instead of 90 and the first few KMs were on roads within the city and some turns so I used this area as a bit of a warmup. As soon as we were out on the roads outside of the city it was straight into the teeth of the wind so I had the power up earlier than the 20 minute mark. Power through the first 20 minutes was 223w. I was passing lots of people sitting up due to the winds but I was able to stay down in the aerobars other than some of the turns. Power for the next 25 minutes was 227w and I was feeling pretty good. At that point we made a 90 degree turn that shifted from a direct headwind to a cross wind and shortly after that another turn that gave us more of a tailwind. Somewhere in here, my left hamstring/glute started to complain and was feeling rather uncomfortable. As this was downwind, I backed off the power a bit, hitting 222w for the next 20 minutes at which point we turned back into the wind. I tried bring the power back up over 230 for this section but it made things uncomfortable in my leg so I kept it at 220w until the turn back with the wind. For the last 50km, it was pretty much all tailwind with the odd short section of cross wind. My hamstring was still bothering me quite a bit so I couldn't quite keep the hammer down for fear of being unable to run at all! From an aerobic/power point of view, I felt fine and think the target of 220-230w would have been very doable. I averaged 40.7 km/hr over the last 50 kms on 208w - thank you wind.

Somewhere in the last half of the bike I ejected my rear water bottle. That has never happened to me before and I have no idea when exactly it was. There were a few bumpy sections so I can only imagine it was there. I noticed somewhere around the 75k mark. It didn't affect me though as it was really just some extra calories in case I needed them.

One thing that surprised me was how little I was passed. One guy passed me about a minute out of T1 but there weren't any other passes until the 45k mark and then another around 70k. I kept expecting a train of guys to come by me but it just never happened. The guy that passed me around 45k never got more than about a minute or so up the road as I often caught sight of him when there was a straight section of road.

http://www.strava.com/activities/197748286



What would you do differently?:

It would have been nice if my hamstring/glute had cooperated and let me ride a bit harder but overall I'm happy with how it went.
Transition 2
  • 02m 15s
Comments:

Not the best T2 I could have done but not terrible. When I got to my rack, my bike to run bag was there but they had tied the string off! Had to fumble with it a bit to get it open. There was a volunteer right there telling me to not worry about putting everything back in the bag as she would handle it which was nice.

Got my socks and shoes on, glasses and visor on, grabbed my race belt and watch and took off. I'm not quite sure how that became 2:15 other than the longish run through transition but whatever.


Run
  • 1h 47m 53s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 05m 07s  min/km
Comments:

Ahh, the run, Le Sigh....

First of all, the run was short. Comparing the published course map and what we actually ran it appears that they put the turnaround in the out and back too early. It was close to a KM short.

Primary goal for this race was to put down a good solid run for once. Other HIM runs haven't been terrible but not great so I was hoping for a good one here. Out of the gate I felt pretty good but I really wanted to keep things in check starting out. 4:50-5:00/km starting out was the goal. My watch didn't sync up right away (it's always about 3 seconds at home but it didn't seem to like that area and took a couple of minutes - grr) so I was unsure of my pace for the first KM. Once it started, it was telling me 4:40 and I tried to relax a bit and back off but the first two KMs were right around 4:40.


KM 3 had a short out and back section followed by a steep little hill that stung a bit. I tried not to push hard up it (I was going to start mountain goating on lap 2 if need be). Time for this KM was 5:00 and then 4:54 for the next and then I made a BIG mistake. Somewhere along here I decided to take a gel, which I had in the pocket of my fuel belt. I was trying to get the zipper open and it wasn't cooperating so I stopped running and walked for a few seconds while I fought with it. Dumb, dumb, dum. Once I started up again, I felt like crap and things went downhill mentally from there. I walked again about 5 minutes later for no reason at all. I went by a cop manning an intersection and he asked if I had a cramp and I said no, I'm fine and started running again. After that, I was in a dark place mentally and it became easier and easier to walk for short periods. Physically, I really wasn't tired and felt ok but I couldn't get myself to push.

The second time I went up the early hill, I walked a big chunk of it with a 6:37 km split. When I got to the top, I told myself to suck it up and at least run the rest of the way, no matter the pace. I managed a 5:08 for that split and then was back to short walks after doing so through an aid station. After going down a long hill and walking through the aid station I again told myself to just run it out and managed to actually do so. Even through there was a long gradual uphill, I was able to run at a a steady pace up it and then the last 2k or so were fairly flat and I was able to pick things up again to a sub 5 pace. I was kicking myself at this point as I was clearly fine to run that pace as it felt fine to do so. I was able to finish strong - 21 seconds stronger would have moved me to 4th AG.

Had I somehow convinced myself to just hold a 5:00/km pace the whole way I would have moved up to 11th OA and onto the podium in my AG.

http://www.strava.com/activities/197747909


What would you do differently?:

Run all of it
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around for a bit with Tab and then got the food packs they were providing. I had a bit of trouble getting the sandwich down but the cookies were great. Then we went into the beer tent and the beer went down way better than the food. Who would have thunk?

I was still a bit bummed about the run at this point but then Tab brought up the results and showed me that I had finished 15th OA and after having been only 13th out of the water, I realized this was not a normal progression for me so it wasn't all bad. My typical race would be, early out of the water, maintain on the bike or lose a bit and then fall back on the run. This race I think I even moved up on the bike and only fell back a bit on the run. In hindsight, not too many people actually ran by me, especially on the first loop.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Mental toughness

Event comments:

This was an excellent race and would definitely do it again. Everything was very well organized, information was very easy to find and the venue was great. The run course is pretty neat, going right by Niagara Falls twice. The swim was in a good location with good clean water. The bike was flat and fast if that's your thing.




Last updated: 2014-09-13 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:27:56 | 2000 meters | 01m 24s / 100meters
Age Group: 4/42
Overall: 13/483
Performance: Good
Suit:
Course: Counter clockwise rectangle in a fresh water canal
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 17C / 63F Current: Medium
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 03:03
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
02:28:08 | 92.5 kms | 37.47 km/hr
Age Group: 3/42
Overall: 13/483
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course:
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 02:15
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
01:47:53 | 21.1 kms | 05m 07s  min/km
Age Group: 10/42
Overall: 49/483
Performance:
Course:
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2014-09-30 10:10 AM

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Elite
7783
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PEI, Canada
Subject: Niagara Falls Barrelman


2014-09-30 6:08 PM
in reply to: 0

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Pro
4482
20002000100100100100252525
NJ
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Arend, great race and report. You may have felt like it was a mental struggle but it sure seems like the hard work on your run and bike really paid off. I had friends racing there (waaaay behind you) and they said the wind was really tough. Congrats!

Edited by kcarroll 2014-09-30 6:09 PM
2014-10-01 8:19 AM
in reply to: #5055307

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Master
3204
20001000100100
ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Great race. Great race report.

How do you like the PI suit? I have been considering ordering one but have been dragging my feet. Worked OK on the swim and run? I have been worried about how I would like the sleeves. Sorry to hijack your race report
2014-10-01 8:24 AM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Elite
7783
50002000500100100252525
PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

Originally posted by wannabefaster Great race. Great race report. How do you like the PI suit? I have been considering ordering one but have been dragging my feet. Worked OK on the swim and run? I have been worried about how I would like the sleeves. Sorry to hijack your race report

Thanks!  

The sleeves don't bother me at all (although it feels weird under a wetsuit).  For the swim and run, the only thing I have to do is unzip it as I feel a bit constricted across my chest.  Oddly enough I don't feel that at all on the bike - I assume because being hunched over on the aerobars removes the tightness across there.

I like it a lot and while very subjective, I did a few long training rides with it and my speed did seem higher than what I would normally get for a particular power.  My only minor gripe with it is the chamois pad is very minimal compared to the Desoto stuff that I usually use.  Nothing that some getting used to didn't fix though.

2014-10-01 9:03 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
3204
20001000100100
ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Originally posted by axteraa

Originally posted by wannabefaster Great race. Great race report. How do you like the PI suit? I have been considering ordering one but have been dragging my feet. Worked OK on the swim and run? I have been worried about how I would like the sleeves. Sorry to hijack your race report

Thanks!  

The sleeves don't bother me at all (although it feels weird under a wetsuit).  For the swim and run, the only thing I have to do is unzip it as I feel a bit constricted across my chest.  Oddly enough I don't feel that at all on the bike - I assume because being hunched over on the aerobars removes the tightness across there.

I like it a lot and while very subjective, I did a few long training rides with it and my speed did seem higher than what I would normally get for a particular power.  My only minor gripe with it is the chamois pad is very minimal compared to the Desoto stuff that I usually use.  Nothing that some getting used to didn't fix though.




Great info. Thanks.

One last question (sorry): fit true to size? I wear either a small or medium in most suits. I have an old PI one piece that is a small and is really tight. I love it but not sure if I would want to go that small if it had sleeves.

Again, sorry to you and everyone else for hijacking your race report.

Just to keep it on subject......Is this race worth doing next year? I think it is only a 6-7 hour drive for me so I am seriously considering putting this on the schedule.

Congrats again.

Edited by wannabefaster 2014-10-01 9:03 AM
2014-10-01 9:14 AM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Elite
7783
50002000500100100252525
PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

I wear a medium in just about everything and also a medium in this.  I looked at the sizing chart on the PI website and I was pretty much right in the middle of the medium range.  When I'm on the bike, I feel like it could be a tiny bit smaller to maximize the aeroness, I get a couple of small wrinkles in spots.  If I was worried 100% about aerodynamics and didn't have to swim/run, I'd consider trying on a small.

As for the race, it was great.  Very well organized, everything was right on time.  As I mentioned in the report, the bike is very flat so make sure you like that sort of thing.  But since there were only 500 racers, I didn't see any drafting at all and the swim or run didn't feel crowded.  The run is not flat, nothing too bad though.  



2014-10-01 9:54 AM
in reply to: #5055307

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Elite
3779
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Ontario
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

Great job Arend - really nice overall and AG placings, and your bike is now a real strength.  I feel your pain on the run/walk - once things go south mentally it's really tough to recover.

2014-10-01 2:13 PM
in reply to: #5055307

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Veteran
1677
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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

Nice race, Arend!  Your swim's always been impressive, but your bike and run have come so far.  Rusty once mentioned to me that it's good to hit those dark places and struggle, and then eventually realize that there was a big mental component in there....it makes you realize that you can push through next time.  Looking forward to seeing how you put these lessons to good use!

2014-10-02 8:21 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Master
1927
100050010010010010025
Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Very nice Arend! Great spit on those watts! Would like to see that position. Great report!
2014-10-02 8:24 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Master
1927
100050010010010010025
Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Great job Arend.....great time especially for carrying those huge calves around with you the whole time
2014-10-07 3:51 AM
in reply to: #5055307

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Champion
9407
500020002000100100100100
Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Arend, great race and great report!

Shane


2014-10-09 4:08 AM
in reply to: #5055307

Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman
Great race and report.

I never knew this existed, it's four hours away for me. It looks like the run goes on those paths up around the old power station, is that true?
Joe
2014-10-09 4:15 AM
in reply to: Puppetmaster

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Elite
7783
50002000500100100252525
PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

Originally posted by Puppetmaster Great race and report. I never knew this existed, it's four hours away for me. It looks like the run goes on those paths up around the old power station, is that true? Joe

This was the first year for the race, it's a great option for you being that close!

I don't know the area well enough to know what you mean by the old power station but the only time we ran off the road was in Kingsbridge Park.

2014-10-09 11:33 AM
in reply to: #5055307

Master
10208
50005000100100
Northern IL
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

Good job Arend! Really moving on the bike!

2014-10-09 1:47 PM
in reply to: brigby1

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Master
3859
200010005001001001002525
Toronto
Subject: RE: Niagara Falls Barrelman

Hey great job! Glad you enjoyed the race - nice results - even if you feel the run didn't go all that well! 

I did Welland half this year which is the same swim and part of the bike - i agree - Multisport Canada is a great organization. Really personal touch from the race organizers in putting together their races, so i am glad you enjoyed it! 

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