The Goderich Duathlon has always been a race I have wanted to take part in and this year I was fortunate to get a cancellation spot! The race is limited in size and often sells out rather quickly. I had it planned from the get go this year but it slipped through the cracks and I ended up on the wait list. With just days to go I got the email and was granted a spot on Sunday to race. After hearing the good news Wednesday I quickly shifted my weeks workouts into taper mode and eased up on intensity knowing that Sunday my goal would be to beat the existing course record of 1:24:36 set last year.
I set one goal for this race and that was to beat the existing record even if that meant not coming first I just wanted to have fun and do well. On paper I knew it was possible to be at least 10:00 faster with a small chance of 14:00 faster. I ended up hitting my goal with a finishing time of 1:14:17 successfully setting a course record by over 10:00! This indeed carried with it first place and the course proved to be challenging with all that wind.
The format for the race was a 5km run, 28km bike, 2.5km run. This meant there would be fast times with a trail style run followed by a longer bike (my speciality). What I didn’t plan on was the wind that showed up early that morning and blew strong all day. Gusting up to 40km/hr from a North West direction the swim was canceled due to 6′ swells. The entire event turned duathlon and I must say it is great to hear people say I didn’t realize how hard duathlons were! I even had a few tri people come ask me what they should do pace wise on the first run in order to have legs for the bike. I was honest with everyone and said if you want to do well you have to run as hard as possible both times!! I suggested that they could dial it back 10-20 seconds per/km on the first run because after all most triathletes legs are not conditioned to run first. The Olympic Triathlon (Turned Du) started with two waves and then the duathlon took off in a mass start, followed with the try a tri.
I researched the course online with Strava and google street view to get an idea of the elevations and grades the night before. This would typically help me determine my gearing but honestly after the weather being calm and quiet the days leading up to the race I went with a “flat” course setup. Fat 88mm front wheel, rear disc with a 12-23T cassette. I had been warned about the hills and rollers on the course but I was confident that my legs could handle the big gears riding a 54T up front. When I arrived Sunday morning I immediately got nervous when I stepped out of my car…. the wind was insane and I started to second guess my deep front wheel!! Ever racking my bike in transition I only saw one other disc (Michael Gratton). I could see people taking off their deep front wheels and putting on their trainer wheel because it was so crazy.
RUN 1 – 5K
The first run started and it was quickly evident that the Dan Hilbers <19 was going to take the first run. It was an uphill run for 400m before turning off onto and old rail way line. This path was grassy with thin gravel patches and it ran along the old rail yard before turning to run up and across a wooden foot bridge open to that crazy wind. By the 2km mark I had lost sight of Dan he was flying down to the turn around. The next time I saw him after the turn around was not until I was out on the bike. He finished with a crazy fast time of 17:20 for Run 1….. I though I was racing a mini Larry Bradley !!! just kept driving forward up and down the gravel and navigating small hills and slick grass before defending down the main hill to transition. Because of the positioning of the finish I had no reference to the start clock and looking at my watch I couldn’t believe it 18:50 for a course that is anything but flat I was pumped and ahead of my target. Anytime I can run under 19:00 I am happy and officially have never broken the 17:59 clocking for that distance…. although I am working on it.
Once I had my bike and helmet it was out of transition and flying mount !!!
Leaving the main beach area you climb up a steep 500m hill with a grade of up to 12% before turning off and riding out through the residential neighbourhood towards the highway. Reaching Hwy 21 we turned north and a fast downhill section over across a bridge and right into another climb this on being about 1k and the winds just whipped through blowing me all over the road. With the steepest climbs behind me I settled into a good rhythm pushing north at 100rpm at 240watts. Right around the 5k mark I saw Dan and he was riding hard but his road bike was no match for the winds that day. Turning right onto Blyth road there was finally a break from the gusting side winds. With the tail wind pushing and now out in front I knew I wanted to extend my lead as much as possible and this 5.5k section due West was where I was going to make it happen. Despite the grade being a constant uphill around 1.5% I pushed 250watts @ 45 km/hr passing fellow athlete Abe along the way. He was on the olympic course and riding hard on his new FELT! At 11k you turned South with another long straight section that lasted 5.5k again. I eased up the watts here because I was able to keep my speed similar to the section before and I knew that there was chance that once I turned back North West I may have a head wind to deal with.
Once I turned back into the wind it was a long 7.3k section or door that was mostly downhill but the wind was really strong. I pushed hard to maintain my above 40k/hr average but I was no easy task. The last major turn meant I was now back on Hwy 21 and returning to transition there was on last 8% grade hill to climb and then it was home free. Looking back there was no one in sight behind me so I eased up a bit letting my heart rate come down as much as possible. This last 4km section brought me to the transition area where I jumped off and racked my bike. Running out of T2 on the second run I was all alone in the duathlon, just me and a whole bunch of tri-turned du athletes out on the run course.
RUN 2 – 2.5K
The second run was uneventful and I pressed on with my goal of beating the current record! At 3k I finally saw Michael Gratton who was being chased by Steve Beasley, man can Steve run!!! I hope when I am his age I still have the gusto and fitness to compete like that. Off the rail trail it was a fast downhill to the finish. Crossing the line I looked up at the time clock for the first time in a long while and saw it 1:14:17!! Steve crossed the line 5:00 after I did and must have just got Michael who was just 30 second behind him.
What a race, I had an excellent first run and even better bike given the windy conditions. I accomplished my goal so I couldn’t be happier.
CONCLUSION / THOUGHTS
This was an excellent tune up for this weekends Duathlon in Wasaga Beach. I will be heading back to the MultiSport Wasaga Beach Triathlon / Duathlon weekend to defend my win from last year. I am in top shape currently and despite being 6-7lbs heavier than the start of race season my 5k split at Goderich was quick. My resting weight is typically 138-140lbs my 5K PB was when I was at 135lbs……. last month I met with my nutritionist Jennifer Broxterman for a follow-up and review of my current diet and food intake. That meeting was excellent and I have been right on the money with veggies and good fats but she decided we should try to push extra calories! Now aiming for 5000/day which is no easy task let me tell you, I pretty much eat around the clock at this point…. After a month of eating like a WWF all-star I have put on 5 lbs now I sit at 144-145lbs on a daily basis. Thanks Jennifer for all the advise and support… and the higher grocery bills 😛
So looking forward I have just 2 duathlons left and then my first ever half -trail race. Wasaga Beach is this weekend and Lakeside follows just a few weekends later.
A huge thank you to the organizers, volunteers and sponsors of the Goderich Triathlon/Duathlon the venue was fantastic and everything was very well-organized. I will certainly be back next year and most likely with more duathletes in tow to ramp things up and bring even more competition to a challenging course.
See everyone at WASAGA and remember if you don’t or can’t race MultiSport Canada is always in need of volunteers to help so get in touch and I can get you all the info!
Thanks to the following people for your continued support.