Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Ingonish Sprint Triathlon

First sprint race of the year for me. I didn't do the others that were offered as they conflicted with Duathlons and also were pool swims. I would rather not do pool swims.

So an open water swim in Ingonish. Last year I did this race and the water was a bit cold to get into and I really needed that warm up time offered. This year the water was really quite warm, so I used the warm up time simply to get a little more comfortable in the water in general.

I am not the greatest swimmer, or even a moderate swimmer. I am a weak swimmer, but you all know that. Still I managed to do this race in just shy of 15 minutes last year so I had hoped that I was slightly stronger than during that race and could pull off closer to 14 minutes.

So into the water we went. Last year I was caught up in swimmers that were slower than myself, so I thought I would wade out with the stronger swimmers then fall into my proper pace (that's me in the gold coloured cap).

Well the start of the swim went well. I was tucked behind another swimmer. I received a few bumps but nothing too hard or worrisome.

But as I rounded that first buoy I realized I had gone too fast. Well if this were the bike or run, letting up means relaxing a bit but this is hard for me to do in the water. I let up the pace a bit to rest and was promptly paced by a number of swimmers. Still, I just had to finish this thing to get to the bike. So off I went.

Just because you have a bad leg of a triathlon doesn't mean you give up for the rest. So I picked up the pace to finish the swim hard then tore out of the water and across the timing mat.  I was 42nd at this point out of 53 people with a swim time of 16:45. Ugh. Now I will say that this year the swim was a bit longer than last year, but I don't know if it was long or correct. Regardless it was the swim everyone else did. But man did it hurt.

So off to T1 I went. For Ingonish that means a 500 meter run on a gravel path. Many people stop and put on shoes before the run. I don't. That means I do get to pass a couple of people at this point. Then a quick change out of my wetsuit and into my cycling gear and off I went.

This is a great ride, rolling hills, 23 kms and this day, cool air. I had stuffed some arm warmers into my tri suit front in case it happened to be too cold on the ride, but never needed them.

I quickly tucked and took off. Here is where I make up most of the time I lost on the swim. I know that I can't make up the 6 minutes or more on the fastest swimmers who are probably darn fast cyclist as well. But I pushed anyway.

In the end I made up a few spots and posted the 8th fastest bike split of the day. This included the run from the water as well (T1). It took me 45:57 to cover the 23 kms of this hilly course. So my 30 km/hr average was good enough to pass 27 people. Phew.

I am now getting more comfortable with the flying dismount. though I will admit to having a close call getting my foot out of one of my shoes and almost took a spill. But I survived and dismounted. Soon I will be more comfortable getting up to the line before dismounting. Wow, from this picture it looks like I am 500 meters away. Oh well.

I zoomed into T2 and luckily only saw a handful of bikes. That made me happy.

A quick change into my shoes and I was off. This was my second race in the New Balance 890v2. But this was my first race in them sockless. I had socks in the TZ but opted to go without to save those few valuable seconds. It turned out to be fine as these shoes are very smooth inside.

I didn't even spare the seconds to don my Garmin 305, but I did take it with me (I had turned it on before the race started). I am sure I can run without it, as I did for years. But I wanted that extra little bit of hurry up from the numbers on the screen.

I quickly caught a runner in front of me. Then I caught a hill. Ouch. It wasn't a big hill, but still, it hurt. My speed dropped from 3:50 to 4:15. Not good. So I kicked it up a notch and took off again.

The run course is nice. A 5km loop, so no laps and it is uphill out and downhill back.

I soon saw another runner in the distance and fought hard to catch him. By the turn around I was there and past. At this point I saw no one else ahead of me but kept my pace as high as I dared to salvage a good time from this event.

But then with 1 km to go I found one more runner. He was doing well enough but I could see the gap closing. I didn't care about saving anything at this point, so I picked  up the pace and passed him at the corner with less than 500 meters to go. I pushed harder and when the finish line was in sight I pushed once again.
I crossed the line at a nice 2:37 km/min pace for a grand total run time of 19:52. A sub 20 min 5 km to end a sprint is rather nice. My official time includes T2 and is 20:33, which was the 5th fastest run of the day. And that makes me happy as I have more speed int he run and made a few bobbles in T2.

So it seems I need to work on that swim again. I see part of my mistake as deciding recently to work more on form rather than endurance. And I just don't have the base in me yet to ignore endurance. So to the pool and lake I go before my next event, which will likely be the Bridgetown Tri this August.

Oh and I beat the rain. Whew. For those in the Olympic Distance event I feel for you as the sky opened up.

And thanks to the Sportwheels gang for getting that new chain all nicely setup on my bike. I love Shimano chains for riding, but I hate installing those blasted things.
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