Friday, February 27, 2015

Tri the Oval 4, 2015 Bite Me Winter

So last Sunday (yeah I know I am slow writing this one up) was Tri the Oval 4. Ever since we had an outdoor long track speed skating oval installed in Halifax, the wonder MC has hosted a race, and she puts on a quality show. Skate, bike run makes for a crazy fun time and a great non traditional triathlon.

Every year we get some sort of crazy weather show up on race day making this race a challenge to put on, but so far we have never had to cancel the skate. This winter looked to be a great heading into the race.  Cold temps, tons of snow....the Commons were primed. But the night before rain. Seriously, the temps went up and rain came down.

So we showed up and the ground was ice and wet. Except where the snow was, that was deep mush. As I stood chatting with some fellow racers, MC and the volunteers were hurriedly trying to alter the course and prep things. The oval was under a couple of inches of water and a huge wind was blowing.  Volunteers were using snow  shoes to try and create a new course. All was very crazy. I wore a rain suit and was getting hot.

By the time it was race time a few brave souls had decided to get on with things and give it a good race (while we watched the street flood).

At this point it was announced that the lap counting system was broken (likely due to all the water) so we had to count our own skating laps. Yikes, but them's the brakes.

We were off and I watched Greg zoom away on his speed skates. The headwind was fierce, the tail wind carzy fun. The water was so deep in areas that my feet were instantly soaked. Brrrr. I pushed hard and was hanging with the leaders in the skate. I think ultimately I was in about 4th place. The 5K skate was the only part of the race that wasn`t cut short. After I counted 13 laps I stepped off the ice, only to see that I had fallen to maybe 10th or 12th place due to my inability to count. Ha ha on me. Dang.

Still, I didn`t cry about it, switched to my sneakers and ran /shuffled to the bike, passing a few people at that point. I grabbed my bike and headed to the mount line (by the way transition for the bikes had to move as the regular spot was under water). At this point it became apparent that actually riding the bike wasn't going to be easy. The sow was deep, knee deep in spots and super soft. So we were all running our bikes. I tried a few times to get on and ride, but it always lead to failure. Still I was passing others and managed to ride in an icy spot for a bit. I yelled with joy, then I had to get off and run some more.

By the end of the first lap on the bike, we were told to head straight to the run portion, as watching us push bikes around was very sad to see I guess. I had now moved myself up into 4th position.

Hey clear ground to run on!

I hit the run course in second, and then more deep snow. This time it was more calf deep, bit oh so hard to push through. Still I ran as best as I could. The run course was shortened and was just a little over 2 km. I finished it in just a little under 12 minutes. Ouch.  I finished in 38 minutes and it was the hardest 38 minutes I had ever raced. I was about 1 minute down on the winner, which considering my extra skate lap (and the fact that he lapped me 3 times anyway on the skate) felt really good. I guess my deep snow running is quite good.

Having an event like this makes winter a little more bearable. It forced me onto speed skates for the first time (and I love them). And regardless of the crazy race day weather, it is fun. 

Chatting with race winner Greg at the end (he was soaked)

See race done still smiling

My custom medals and race bib (disregard the date) 

The ever in demand Tri the Oval Winter Hat 

 Coffee from Java Blend, uber important to warm up
 The real reason we race, cookies


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