Saturday marked the MultiSport Canada Duathlon season opener and it was a huge success. Lots of new faces as well as returning friends came out to race. The weather forecast in the week leading up to the race was solid thunderstorms, but luckily race morning brought overcast skies and no rain. The sun came out just before noon it really added to the high temperatures of the day 30+ humidity!
As per usual I was up at 5am getting things ready like race shoes, transition bag, elastics and fluids. After a quick 45 minute drive we arrived at the Pittock Conservation Area. Right away I ran into fellow duathletes Larry Bradly and Garvin Moses and Howie who were jovial and joking from the get go. Veteran and friend Scott Finch was already in transition and getting set up, good to see him out after a year off. After racking my bike in transition it was off to race kit, body markings and timing chip pickup. With my birthday just a few days ago it was the first time I have had the number 30 on my leg… entering a new age group. A little relief comes with the jump in AG because to be honest it is getting harder and harder to compete with the youth of today.
After a run warmup I headed back to transition for the pre race briefing where John Salt introduced me and the rest of the the 2016 Ambassador Team. Another quick warm up after this and it was race time.
Lining up on the start line were lead through the course changes, rules and regulations of racing. Larry, Garvin, Jeremy, Scott, Mark and the rest of us exchanging “good luck” and fist bumps. The run course changed from last year and I think it worked for the better, running through the frisbee golf course instead of navigating the wooden posts of the parking lot was just better. The horn sounded and we were off ! We all funnelled down to single file by 400m the order was clear from the start. Two young guns out front followed by Larry, Garvin. Garvin, kudos to you the pace you and Larry set was solid. After leaving the soft packed gravel it was a short run on 800m of asphalt. Following that it was a rolling path or almost “chips and dust” mix before heading out on the road and down to the turn around. I managed to stick on Larry and Garvin up until the turn and at that point I knew I was going to have to work extra hard on the bike. Pacing was ok… not as consistent as I would have liked but none the less a solid first run. Run 1 was 19:20 on a course that is not known to be fast. This time meant I was in 6th place and down exactly 2:00 from the leader Daniel TONEGUZZI.
Heading out on the bike everyone had to run a long distance from T1 to the mount line. I got settled in my shoes before the the climb and “no pass” hill out of the conservation area. As soon as I reached the top the road surface becomes pristine. I settled into my now preferred high cadence at 100rpm and pushed hard to catch the leaders. The first stretch of 4km I held 245 watts managing to keep my speed at 37km/hr. The wind was blowing a lot and I knew it would be a factor in the second half as I rode back towards it. After the first corner it was a another 6.5k but there was a tail wind helping. As my speed climbed and I held a blistering 48.5km/hr average for this section and upped my cadence to 105rpm all while lowering my wattage to 230watts. It was in this stretch that I did most of my passing and to be honest it was so gusty out that I had lost track of the leaders in the packs of people. I remember passing Scott but wasn’t sure where anyone else was out there. My heart was pounding and a lot higher than usual. It was so hot and humid out that breathing was difficult and I did my best to drink fluids to trying to cool down. Average temp was 30 but felt like 40… and soupy. After that fast section it was a turn to the south and I expected to slowdown a lot without the wind assist but honestly my speed didn’t drop as much. It was around the 7.5k mark when I saw a glimpse of Garvin’s red race number. I kept steady and pushed big power all the way down to the 10k turnaround again averaging a speed of 45km/hr for this section. As Garvin turned at the traffic cone he caught a glimpse of me and I think it startled him. After the race he told me how his heart started to pound when I just showed up out of no where, this meant I was now within just a few hundred meters of him but he stood up and pumped what I can only imagine was in the range of 300-500watts hundred watts to pull away from me. #silenthunter
What I didn’t realize until later was when I came up from the aero bars I must have hit the pause button on my Garmin because it stopped recording. Apparently I didn’t look at it for the next 6km as I pushed big numbers to keep Garvin in my sights. I wish I had the data from this effort because I am sure my power numbers were up at threshold or above for most of it. I did my best to stay in the aeros on my bike in the gusty conditions and it made all the difference as far as keeping my speeds up.
Entering T2 it was Garvin and I leaving transition almost one after the other and he was determined to keep me at bay. I ran hard out of T2 hot on his heels but unfortunately this is where my day went from good to bad. Not even 100m out of transition my left calf charlie horsed, I mean it locked up and suddenly bringing me to an abrupt stop. I looked down at my leg which was rock hard and spasming, my left toes were pointed at the ground and I could not move my foot. I thought that this can’t be how my day ends….. One particular women from the crowd was on the sidelines and yelled at me to keep going and honestly she is the only reason I did. In that moment and after trying to run on a pointed foot I felt defeated and thought I was going to have to stop there. I massaged my calf and once it finally released after much time had passed I started to run again. Only seconds after it locked again….. after some cut words and more down time I managed to get going again but it was too late Garvin was gone and I knew I couldn’t catch him now. This went on and on the entire run only being able to muster a pace around 4:30min/km. Every time I tried to push the pace my calf would spasm and bring me to a complete stand still. This was not only frustrating but embarrassing having my sights set on top 3 for the day and knowing I could run faster I got more and more angry as 2nd slipped out of reach and then 3rd. Scott Finch sailed past me with 800m to go and despite all efforts my leg was not having it.
I have only ever had to walk one time in a race before and it was soul crushing just the same. Maybe I am harder on myself than necessary but I was so committed to catching a podium spot and defending my win from last year, my body let me down. I am not using that as an excuse but it happened so unexpectedly which is what sucks the most. As I hobbled across the finish line I tried my best to not let the frustration show. I managed the same time as last year 1:04.
Rounding out the top 5 men it was Larry, Garvin, Scott, myself and Jeremy.
I was happy with my first run and very happy with the bike having the fastest split of the day but that last run is when it fell apart. This second run seems to me my crutch every race and it is certainly something I will be reviewing with coach. I may have to change up some training and place more emphasis on my BRICK training but I am optimistic for the future.
After catching my breath it was off to the Recharge With Milk Recovery Zone for some cold chocolate milk and swag! All the while hobbling on this aggravated calf I managed to smile for some pictures and talk with other athletes in the recovery zone. With the race over everyone was back to their usual fun loving selves and jokes flew around about a snapping turtle that was on the course near the end thank goodness no one got attacked! John introduced the ambassador team for 2016 just before the awards and we got to hear from the champ Lionel Sanders who did a little Q&A. The day ended on a high note with the sun out and the competition over all my frustration faded from my mind and life was good. Myself and a group of ambassadors all went to the Try and Tri race brief and helped the first time athletes by answering questions, mechanical bike help and general advise and guidance! It was a great feeling knowing that I could provide help to people who are getting into the sport of triathlon / duathlon. Kudos to MultiSport Canada for coming up with this for 2016 because I believe it helps encourage people and newcomers insuring they feel welcomed and positive.
Normally I would include more details of my race data but because of the Garmin malfunction and a lack lustre second run I will forgo it this time. Click below to see my Strava data for the day if you like.
Next up for me in the MultiSport Canada Series is Belwood July 9th, I was hoping to race Welland on the 25th but that is my wife’s due date so I will be playing that by ear! A huge thanks to my super wife for sticking it out in such hot conditions (super pregnant…) and to all my supporters a huge thanks. #TeamSummerfield
- Coach Gabbi Whitlock – Balance Point Triathlon #OrangePower
- Chris Day – 3SIXTY5 Cycling – Fastest bike split for the day !!!! #Fat88’s
- Synergy Center Physio – John Smallwood
- Pursuit Health Management – Jan & John Barry
- Oxford Dodge Chrysler Jeep – James and Elizabeth Bennett
- Canadian SADS Foundation – The Canadian Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation
- Jennifer Broxterman – Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutritionist, NutritionRx Founder & CEO