Sunday August 6th was the third stop of the MultiSport Canada Triathlon / Duathlon Race Series this summer. It marked the 34th annual Cumberland Private Wealth Management #MSCKTown #MSCKingston Triathlon & Duathlon. I was completing in the long course bike/run which consisted of 56km bike and a 15km run. The course is known to be a challenging one and to be honest I had no idea just how punishing it would be. I got to Kingston of Friday which gave me time to scout the course and help set up the F2C Nutrition booth.
Saturday as people trickled in the town I went out for a short gentle run because me legs were feeling quite stiff form the 6.5 hour drive the day before. The venue was right downtown between city hall and the water in confederation park. The town was buzzing with activity and if felt like everyone from tourists to athletes were converging in the park. It was a great opportunity to spend the afternoon working with Kyle and John in the F2C Nutrition tent as people came by to sample and purchase product.
Luckily my hotel was just steps to the race site so it made everything more convenient. Saturday seemed to go by so fast and while it was quite windy Sundays forecast was for lower winds and sunshine.
Sunday morning rolled around and I was actually able to sleep in past the usual 4am race morning alarm. After heading down the elevator it was right into transition where I racked my bike beside the legendary Daryl Flacks. The man knows how to push himself, suffer and keep the pressure on. We have been battling all year at the long course bike runs and I managed to take the win in Welland he would take Kingston in the end. The weather was cloudy and a little cold not to mention it started to rain a little bit when I was setting up my hydration and what not. After talking with all my fellow athletes in transition it was time for the triathlon to start and people headed down to the water. My bike run race was set to start in transition at our racks. We were allowed to have helmets on bikes off the racks. Our times would not start until we crossed the “Bike Out” chip timing mat.
Heading into the race I had one goal and that was give Daryl a run for his money. I knew he was going to push me and vice versa. We got the count down and it was time to start running our bike to the mount line. At this point we were already mixed into the triathlon traffic that was heading out of transition. Crossing the mount line I ran my bike quite a ways passed it to clear the congestion and hopped on. Knowing Daryl would be hot on my heals I pushed hard hoping to break free from him early on. Dancing on my FTP power as we left Kingston and headed out to the highway I was surprised to see Daryl go flying by me just 5km into the race. I knew he meant business and we continued to trade-off as I caught up to him on the hills and he went past me on the down hills. I did not want to work as hard as I did that day and Daryl kudos my man you were riding VERY strong pushing me all day. The expression ride it until the wheels come off floated around in my mind as we pressed on kilometre after kilometre.
The Kingston bike course while not technical it has lots of elevation change. Constant and un relenting rollers are throughout the entire course. It seemed to be just as you would recover from one climb there was another one after one. Reaching the halfway turn around Daryl had let up a bit and I hoped he was beginning to fatigue. I led the bike for a little longer once we turned but then shortly after there he was passing me yet again. Now with about 28km done I did a quick check of my ride average speed was great 40.6k/hr @ 250W avg…. that last metric for me was a little concerning because I typically don’t use that much power for something this distance. I wish there was more to talk about but it was the same thing the entire way back to town, Daryl and I playing cat and mouse and neither us giving into the other. The last few kilometres before entering T1 Daryl sat back and let me lead, smart on his part because he had successfully pushed me out of my comfort zone. In hindsight he rode me legs off me but I didn’t know it. We both reached transition at the same time and I knew if I wanted to win I was going to have to push the run.
I set off on whatever pace my legs would take me which was surprisingly decent. As I worked my way around the course I realized that there were a lot more hills than I had anticipated. At 6k I was still leading but started to feel a little niggle in my right leg. My vastus lateralis located on the outside of the quad started to get tight. Most annoying as there were a lot of climbs and turns on the run course and with every passing minute it got worse. At the 7km mark I had to slow and rub the leg to try to work out what was shaping up to be a full muscle spasm. At this moment I knew Daryl had seen me falter and made his move. I continued on but the pain would not go away and Daryl seized the opportunity as ran up a hill leaving me in the dust. Even as I reached the top and headed back down my leg turn over would not let me run past 4:00/km downhill…. my legs were too tight. Reaching the bottom and heading back to town I was 8.5k into the longest 15k run of my life. I had fallen off the pace and did everything I could to plunder on. By 10k both my right and left legs were in rough shape and both now in spasm in the same place. I have not experienced this discomfort before and I was more frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t make my legs go any faster than I was about the pain. Physical pain is something you can get used to and like a lot of people have run through it before but this was a whole different ballgame. My muscles were so tight that they would contract / relax properly hence the inability to run. I struggled through the last 5km and was upset that perhaps I had ridden to hard trying to keep pace with Daryl or perhaps it was just not my day.
They thing about racing is that you truly get to see how your training has been going and what your body can do. Going over all the what ifs in my head I can’t blame myself for riding too hard or not being my day as heres why. Running hills in training is something I have neglected too much and when you combine that with strep throat (which I had while racing) and you get what you would expect. I have since gone back to the drawing board with my coach and am now running hills more than anything. Leg strength is important and living in London is not conducive when you want to do elevation or hill training. We have devised ways to do it and looking back now I can see I was juts not prepared for that punishing course.
Daryl took the win and I lumbered across the finish line still managing to take 2nd OA for the day. Kudos Daryl we are 1 to 1 now and thanks for pushing me as much as I pushed you in Kingston. That was an epic battle and I only wish i had been able to keep it together to the end and truly had a photo finish with you. Next time !!
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Huge thanks to all the support volunteers, Police, EMS, F2C Nutrition and the entire MultiSport Canada Team for yet another safe.
- Laura and Harper – Love you both.
- Coach Gabbi Whitlock – Balance Point Triathlon
- John Salt – MultiSport Canada
- Chris Day – 3SIXTY5 Cycling
- Greg Cohen – F2C Nutrition
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