Friday, September 18, 2015

Georgina Sprint not-a-Triathlon - September 13th, 2015

Showed up at the race site in 10c/50f and it's raining bloody sideways.


We see a bunch of people packing up their bikes and heading out. They clearly have at least as much NOPE as I do for this race, but I decide I'll go pick up my kit and see what the story is anyway...mostly because we'd rolled out of bed at the buttcrack of dawn and driven 2hrs to get there. I actually struggled into the lower half of my wetsuit in the car just to keep me warm on the way to kit pickup, leaving most of my clothes in the car to stay dry while I threw on my MultiSport Canada hoodie and wrapped a space blanket I found in my transition bag around me..

I get my first look at Lake Simcoe and see three foot breaking waves. My NOPE level increases dramatically. As I line up to pick up my race bag, though, it's announced that the swim is cancelled - this triathlon just turned into a DUathlon, consisting of a 5k run, 20k bike, and another 2.5k run. Gee, good thing I put my wetsuit on. 

I resolve to at least start the damn thing. I rue the fact that I'd given a long, hard look to my Vanderkitten vest as I was packing up my bag the day before, but decided against bringing it because I've never actually bothered to stop in T1 before to put it on (despite having done some seriously cold racea). I pull out a pair of air travel socks with the toe seams snipped that live in my transition bag - a.k.a. my ghetto arm warmers - and use the scissors that I keep in there to cut myself a chunk of space blanket, which I unceremoniously stuff down the front of my trisuit in an effort not to freeze to death.

Purple scarf chick is not amused.

With less than 20mins to the start, I toss my bike, my helmet, sunglasses and cycling shoes into a rack spot in transition (leaving everything else inside to stay dry), then line up with my wave in the corral by the finish line to start this bit of madness. Oh, and I slapped on my usual smiley face, because what the heck else can you do at this point but laugh?

It's hard to draw on the back of your own calf.

I start at the back of the pack, and having run almost 19km the day before, figure I'll probably stay there. I just trot along as easy as possible, knowing I'll need to save some legs for what promises to be a terrifying time on the bike. I hadn't done a duathlon since Victoria's back in May of 2010, but I remember how my legs felt like they were filled with cement after the first run then.

Behind me is the reason the swim was cancelled.
The water safety team couldn't even get the course marked.

It was pretty damn humbling being less than 2km into the first run when the M40-49 men started coming past me like I was standing still, having started 3mins behind me. I did pass one or two people along the way, but certainly wasn't in any danger of being competitive. I sure wasn't going to sneak up on anyone, either - my space blanket wrapping made a loud rustling noise with every step, bounce and jiggle...and there were a lot of those.

Just floatin' along - nothing to see here, folks.

The run course was nice and flat, which meant the extra insulation I'm carrying around wasn't the liability it could have been. With nothing but a bit of silver saran wrap, a couple of socks and my spandex to trap bodyheat, this was taking #TRUSTTHECHUB to a whole new level, but fortunately there was plenty of it in which to put my faith. I did eventually make it back to transition, doing what I do best.

Acting the insufferable fool.

5k run: 30:18 @ 6:03/km
166/194 O/A - 60/80 W - 8/11 W35-39

Into transition, I toed off my tri loafers only to have the insole of the right shoe pull halfway out. Damnit, I'm going to need that again. I bend down to straighten it out and my hamstrings stage a protest at what they feel constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. To complete the experience, I nearly rip off my hanging-on-by-a-thread right big toenail while putting on my cycling shoes, then dump a puddle of water on my head as I put my helmet on. Welp, nothing here is working out - might as well ride.

T1: 01:38

So the bike course would be incredibly beautiful in nice weather. Most of the first half is along Lake Road, hugging the Southern shore of Lake Simcoe with the view of the water and endless beaches only occasionally interrupted by a hedge, fence or a few trees. This, of course, meant there was precious little shelter from the 40kph/25mph wind gusts coming off the lake as they tried to blow my bike flat. Triathlon Ontario had gone so far as to ban the use of disc wheels for this race due to the conditions, but even with standard road wheels it was sketchy as hell in the blowing rain. I nearly got wiped out by some guy coming past me without any warning as I was about to dodge a frost-heaved manhole cover (seriously people - is it THAT HARD to say "on your left?"), and I played airborne caterpillar with a couple of people. I wasn't pushing things too hard, partly because I was fearful of overspending my traction budget (horizontal track stands suck) and partly because I didn't want to roast my legs. Once I made the turn onto Metro Road to head back toward the race site, though, I took advantage of the flat course and more predictable wind patterns to make up some time. I left it in the small ring but spun up to just over 30kph and started passing a lot more people in front of me, trying to offer a kind word to my fellow competitors out braving these ridiculous conditions. I thanked the police & volunteers profusely, too - a chilled as I was on the bike, it would be so much worse standing around in that weather just to herd a bunch of spandex-clad idiots around a course. My space blanket breastplate was probably the only reason I didn't go hypothermic, and while it bunched up uncomfortably by my left hip at one point, I was able to get it sorted back out without leaving the aerobars.

20k bike: 43:05 @ 27.85kph
142/194 O/A - 42/80 W - 6/11 W35-39

Safely to the dismount line, it was no time to start taking chances, so I once again came to a complete stop and gingerly stepped off before lumbering back into transition. I couldn't feel my feet, but that's nothing new for anyone who's raced Lakeside before.

I swear I'm actually running here.

Back into my tri loafers after ditching my bike, helmet & glasses at the rack, then on to the last leg of this foolhardy little adventure.

T2: 01:30

Still illin'.

Feeling the chill from the bike as I set out, there was no longer any reason to try to save anything and plenty of motivation to work hard in order to warm myself up. I'd forgotten to put a gel packet into my bento box on the bike, so grabbed a cup of sport drink (at least I was told it was spoort drink - it tasted like plain water) from an aid station in an effort to get a bit of a carbohydrate boost.

I was actually feeling pretty good and passing a number of people along the way - the flat course and chilly weather was well suited to my post-injury flabbiness.

Puddle jumping

Through the turn-around and back down a very mild decline toward the finish, I threw down with all I had left in my meagre stores of fitness and endurance. I did actually manage to tiny bit of a kick as I approached the muddy chute.

My smiley face got a bit grubby.

2.5k run: 14:05 @ 5:37/km
138/194 O/A - 41/80 W - 5/11 W35-39

Across the line with no flair or flourish, I had to admit I was glad I hadn't just packed up and gone the hell home. Against all odds, I'd managed to enjoy myself out there!

But still so, so done.

Official time: 1:30:35
138/194 O/A - 41/80 W - 5/11 W35-39

Having now done one with more than a single season's racing experience, I may consider racing a duathlon intentionally again in the future. I also wouldn't hesitate to race at Georgina again; on a more pleasant day it would be a very fast course for PR or benchmark chasing, and the views of Lake Simcoe on the bike an run courses are simply breathtaking.

I don't know what it says about me, though, that upon seeing a girl out running in our town just after getting home my first thought was "Gee, I should really get out for a run.."

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