Race Report: Guelph Lake I Subaru Sprint Duathlon, 2nd OA, 59:10

Sunday June 19th marked the 2016 Triathlon Ontario Club Championships where I competed in the Sprint Duathlon alongside my triathlete club members of Balance Point Triathlon.

The 2016 Club Championships will be contested at the Subaru Series’ Guelph Lake 1 June 18/19, 2016.  The events counting towards point totals will be the individual Sprint and Standard distance triathlons, Sprint duathlon, as well as triathlon and duathlon relays.  In order for a relay result to count, all members of the relay must be members of the same club.

Our club has a history of 4th in 2014, 3rd in 2015 and hopefully top 3 again this year. Prizes include: 1st Place $500, 2nd Place $300  and 3rd Place $200.  Guelph is not usually on my radar and I have only raced there one time previous. Anyone who has raced at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area knows and remembers the rolling course that makes up both the run and bike portions. Back in 2014 when I raced the sprint duathlon I had a similar result 2nd overall with a time of 1:00:46. I have had a bone to pick with this course ever since that second place finish where I failed to place first overall by just seconds.  I had two goals going into this race, 1)Have fun and enjoy the club championships, 2)Go sub 1hr which had not been done since 2012.

I managed to accomplish both because after a great day of fun racing I hit my time goal despite letting up in the last 1k finishing in a time of 59:10. This was my first back to back weekend event so far this year and after suffering 3 days of DOMS after racing the MultiSport Canada Woodstock Sprint Duathlon I wasn’t sure if I would be able to race Guelph. The week leading up to this race was a tough go, with my legs being that of a 90-year-old and some blood work that showed anemic blood levels there was a chance I would not make it to the start line.  I felt an obligation to race in the club championships on behalf of Balance Point Triathlon. After talking it over with coach she left the decision up to me, knowing that I am stubborn and very strong-willed she agreed to be “ok” with me racing if I felt up to it. To combat the DOMS I did hardly anything in the week leading up to this race. I attempted one track workout and one brick workout but that was it just 2:30 of training for the whole week.  By Friday I had made up my mind I was going to be racing, my legs had finally returned enough that I was not hobbling along like a senior.


sunriseSunday morning hit and I was on the road by 5:45am, driving right into the rising sun. The 1:45 drive to Guelph was quieter than usual because Laura was absent from the passenger seat.
She was staying home because the forecast of 35+ humidity is anything but comfortable for a pregnant lady! With my music cranked and windows down I took the back roads to get there and this gave me time to go over all my plans and goals for the day.

Arriving at the Guelph Conservation Area I had a nostalgic feeling as I parked in the large field, this was the race I had lost by seconds just two years ago….. and that wasn’t happening this year. I grabbed my bike and headed to the transition area. Our clubs tent was just outside of transition and after dropping my extra stuff there I went down to registration for timing chip, race number and swag bag. I returned and finished buttoning up my bike making sure it was in an easy gear and that my shoes were suspended by my elastics. The transition area in year prior has been a grass field but this year it had been completely covered in sharp gravel. To be honest this was the talk of the morning because everyone had to run down mats placed at the end of the racks to try to avoid sharp gravel. I felt bad for the triathletes because surly their wet feet would get covered, not to mention it could be painful. It wasn’t until 24 hrs after the race that I discovered bruises on my right heel that must have been from running through transition. In the heat of the moment I don’t remember stepping on any large pieces of gravel but there is no other explanation.

I completed my run warmup going through some drills and sprints. I didn’t get a bike warmup in because I was talking with fellow athletes………which is not like me but I don’t think it was too detrimental overall.

Lining up at the start line I waited for the start of the duathlon. In those last few minutes before race start there was a tap on my shoulder and to my surprise it was Chris Howe, he is an excellent runner,cyclist and triathlete. I knew I had not seen his name on the start list the night before and was surprised to say the least. He had changed his registration late because his triathlon bike suffered damage just days before. He was racing on his road bike which turned out to be just as fast on this day with disc wheels. Jeremy Carter then popped out of no where, he was the overall winner of the international duathlon from the day before. We all talked about race times, injuries and whatever until it was go time. The horn went off and Chris took off like a rocket and in that moment I knew I was in trouble if I had any hopes of winning.  Chris set a blistering pace for the opening 2km and while I was quickly in pursuit he just kept pulling away from me.  By the time we crossed into T1 Chris had a lead on me and I was quickly followed by Michael Emke and Jeremy Carter.  Running to my bike I buckled my helmet and grabbed my bike but it was stuck. With all the weight of the other bikes on the rack the bar had sagged and I had to push my bike out backwards and duck under the rack to get it out on the other side of the rack.

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Finally out on the bike it was winding and speed bump filled roads for about 1km until you clear the park gates and get to actual municipal roads.  I let me heart rate come down and peddled easy over the speed bumps. Knowing that the course has lots of rollers on it I was confident I could hydrate and get settled on my bike before I started to push big numbers. It’s also tough to ride fast out of the park with the speed bumps and congestion of other riders from the triathlon wave already on the course. Once out of the conservation area it was a 4km shot to the first corner. The familiar terrain of rolling hills came and went as I spun my usual cadence of 95rpm, pushing 260 watts @ 37km/hr for this section. Turning right I poured it on to catch Chris who at this point was riding scared and must have been pushing big numbers himself trying to get away. For this 2km stretch I upped my cadence to 100rpm to ease the strain on my legs and to work my lungs more. Holding 255 watts I pushed 46km/hr before turning right once again. From this point it was downhill rollers and a solid 4km to the turn around. It was in this section that I caught Chris finally. I pushed 267 watts for another 2km @ 42km/hr down to the turn around.  By this time I knew I had used a lot of energy to catch the leader who was riding furiously to keep me behind him. After the turn around it was back up the rolling hills and I pushed threshold watts for this section trying to shake Chris off my tail. Looking back every so often I could see him still there… I had made up a lot of time but Chris was out for blood. As we climbed back up the rolling hills slowly working our way back to the conservation area my best efforts had given me a lead of a few hundred meters but it was just not enough. Entering T2 I knew that the last run would determine the winner. Quickly racking my bike and putting on my shoes I could see Chris coming now just 50 meters away.

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The last run was a tough go, I had given so much effort to the bike that I knew my last run was going to be anything but spectacular. I had made the decision during my ride to keep hard on the gas to try to stretch out a lead on Chris, this proved to be perhaps a premature decision on my part. Around 1km Chris had passed me and started to pull away, I ran hard but could only muster a much slower pace than anticipated. The last 2km of the run I could see Chris disappearing over every rolling crest. I had fought hard to catch him but he was running in top form that day. Me, well I was running in quicksand and going no where fast. With 1km to go I eased up mentally and my legs followed, there would not be a win today for me but a podium finish non the less.

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Crossing the line I glanced at the clock and sure enough managed a sub 1hr time of 59:10. My mission was accomplished break an hour for this Sprint Course. Shortly behind me came Jeremy Carter who gave an impressive performance after placing 1st the day before in the long course race followed by the two Michael’s to round out the top 5 of the day.

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Overall I was pleased with the result, like I mentioned earlier sub 1hr goal accomplished, have fun, accomplished. Our presence as a club (Balance Point Triathlon) at the Club Championships was a huge success with lots of our members on the podium. Kudos to Chris Howe the winner of the day and great competitor. He reminded me that I have lots of work still to do. I guess its more brick training for this duathlete and working hard to improve my running to match my bike skills.

Next up was supposed to be today in Welland, the Duathlon / Long Course Bike Run from MultiSport Canada but with my wife’s due date being today that was off the table. The little one has not arrived as of yet, she is already proving to be as stubborn as I am 🙂 None the less I did manage to get in some solid training close to home today in the blistering hot sunshine. Congrats to everyone who raced all over the province today and those of you tomorrow. STAY HYDRATED!!! I lost 4lbs on the bike today for just 50k…… it was a scorcher!

To all my supporters a huge thanks for being a part of #TeamSummerfield

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