Let's start by saying that the weather in the early part of the season here in Vancouver, well... sucked! Low teens for temperatures and rain more often than not was the norm. Before Oliver, my training buddy Gen and I managed to go to Lake Sasamat twice. The first time we lasted 20 min in the water and had other people telling us how impressed they were with that as they went out of it after 5 minutes! I know my eyeballs were frozen after that and I was drained of all energy. Nonetheless we ran 2.5 (or so) hours in the Balcarra region afterwards and this was the suckiest run of my life! The second time we went with peeps from the North Shore Tri Club and SpeedTheory in Vancouver and while the waters were far from warm, it was bearable for some real swimming.
OK, back to Oliver. So the one nice weekend in BC happened to be on race day. 30+ degrees! Great as IMC practice, but still a bit of shock to the system as we haven't had a chance to train in anything close to this.
I carpooled with my buddy Esther (no, not my WIFE Esther who has seen all of triathlon she ever wanted to see and then some) and we planned to leave on Friday at around 1:00 PM. On Thursday night I got my bike ready and noticed to my absolute shock that the crack was somehow stuck. Not so much that it would not move, but enough that it was really (!) hard to move. So on Friday I got myself a ZIP car and made sure to be at SpeedTheory by 10 AM on the dot. Ever helpful Jeremy opened the door and looked after my bike. He did the best he could for the few minutes we had, but at the end the crank was still moving much harder than it should do or did normally. OK, this has got to be good enough. Drove home and finished packing.
Esther picked me up pretty much on time and we headed off to Oliver. We arrived in the early evening at the Cactus Tree Inn in Oliver. Since I tried to get a hotel room late, I ended up with the only room they had left: the "Romance Suite. No kitchenette, no fridge, no nothing -- not really: big bed and a large jet tub in the room - all to myself. Whooheee. Oh well. I made due with ice and the fridge in Gen and Eric's suite.
Saturday was all about the mini-tri to get through the motions, picking up the race package, getting the bike sorted and into transition, and attend the pre-race meeting. The crank was still a bit stuck but there was nothing I could do about that now.
Lesson: Check these things well before travel day.
What I should have done is go through the gears one more time before storing it in transition as the bike was in the car again after the mini-tri. As it turned out, they were quite a bit off. Nothing unmanageable, but annoying during the race for sure.
Lesson: After the last bike assembly always give a test tun through all the gears.
Saturday evening was Game #2 between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks and Esther, Gen, Eric and I met in Gen and Eric's suite for dinner. I brought white elbow pasta with a bolognese style sauce I made with little veal and lots of assorted vegetables and spiced it up some with chipotles. Yummi but as it turns out, just because it is all ground up, it is still full of fiber... more on that later. We stayed until the game was over early in OT when Vancouver scored the game winning goal.Time for some sleep now.
Lesson: Really constrain all fiber intake days before a long race.
I got up at some ridiculous early time on Sunday to have breakfast and get ready. The transition and body-marking opened at 5:30 AM which is when Esther and I left the Motel and headed over to the race site.
Setting up transition and going through the usual pre-race motions and also tried to get all the Right Shoe athletes together for a group pic. Gen and Eric were already down by the lake already so we took the picture without Gen. Doug from SpeedTheory found us a photographer. I still don't know where those pictures ended up.
Thankfully they changed the cut-off for the "geezer" category for this year and so despite being in the 45-49 category, I got to start with the first group, men under 50, and didn't have to wait around. So very punctual at 7:00 AM the race got underway.
Swim: as we all know, swimming is my nemesis discipline, but despite this I was hoping to swim the 2k in about 35min. I listened to all the good advise for weak swimmers to position yourself away from the front. So I did and ended up in the washing machine of swimmers how sucked at this almost as bad as I did or even worse. Couldn't get any rhythm going the entire time and exited the water in 39:32 - boo!
T1: pretty long run from the lake to the transition area but everything worked out pretty well and I was pleased with my time 4:44.
Bike: I felt good on the bike right off the get-go and try to keep it to my planned power output of 220 watts and ended up with 215 watts average. I also think that I negatively splitted, but have no proof for that. Another thing I don't have proof for is that the fact that I am certain that although my power reading was 215 watts, I outputted probably much closer to 230 or 240 watts with the remainder being chewed up by the crank. As my power is measured in the rear hub, anything that gets chewed up by the drive train is not actually measured. Not a big deal normally as it is always roughly the same, but in this case it was not the same due to the crank issue. Anyway, it was what it was and I still enjoyed the bike ride tremendously. Not too hot (yet) and not too cool and really beautiful scenery. With the time of 2:41:47 I was very pleased too.
Lesson: none really, just need to look better and sooner after bike maintenance.
T2: really pleased with this transition too - for once: 1:32. And I was really surprised to run out of the transition with Paul at the exact same time.
Run: It is now right around 10:30 AM on the hottest day we have experienced this year. With Paul running ahead of me I just motored along when at the 2k mark Gen came shooting past me. The first 4k felt quite good and I made sure to keep the pace easy as I knew this was going to get tough soon enough. And it sure did. The sun was starting to get to me and I went from feeling really good to really crappy within a matter of seconds. I also noticed that I seemed to be closing up to Paul... Paul is a much faster runner than I am and closing up to him is was only possible if he was really suffering. Sure enough, right around 5k I passed him and he was not having a good time.
As I kept trudging along I noticed that the funky feeling in my tummy did not just seem to be temporary and started bothering me quite a bit. I tend to get slight tummy issues in long races that require me to go to the bathroom. That is why I started to take Immodium AD in the morning of a race and another one at just before race start. I had a third Immodium in my fuel belt "just in case" -- this one I took earlier in the run when I first noticed that the rumbling didn't want to go away. Now at about 7 or 8k in I had to stop at a porta potty despite the three Immodiums.
The porta potty was cooking all day in the sun but was thankfully not used much and/or the chemicals used really work well. So I was siting there in this shit-house sauna, hardly being able to breathe, and I was thinking "I am too old for this shit!" from now on I'll race for the fun of it and don't care about being competitive with anyone else or myself anymore.
From there on I continued the run much more relaxed and perhaps a bit slower. But it was still hot as hell and what got me through were cola, water, and sponges at every aid station. At 19k or so I saw Paul again up ahead who passed me while I had my nature break. I picked up the pace to catch up and even thought I run it in with him. Boy oh boy, he was really suffering and I there was no way that I would slow down to his pace. So I just kept going and finished the run in an abysmal 2:03:36 (with the potty stop being about 4 min)
Final Race Time: 5:31:08. A little faster than in 2009, but slower than last year.
Summary: So-so swim, good transitions, great ride, and totally crappy run (pun intended).
Yes, I know it is now almost a month after the race... I just came down with a nasty bout of a cold and wasn't able to do much of anything today - least of all a 6 hour ride followed by a 45 min brick. So I guess I had some time to finally write this up.
Thanks for checking in.