Monday, June 11, 2018

Bridgewater Michelin Tire Trot 5km - 2018

A free race you say? Sure I'll sign up. I said that many months ago and finally that day arrived. The week leading up to it, I wasn't sure if I was going to "race" it, or just run it since many others in the BLT Runners were headed up that way. I mean, I had just finished a tough Duathlon the week before, hadn't really trained for a 5km and well, I was tired. But the few days before I decided sure, let's give it a go.

My goal was "simple." Let's aim to run a sub 18 minute 5km. Based on my results from earlier races this year, I had a sub 18 in me, but wasn't able to show case it. So this "moderate" terrain course was a good chance. And really with a switch to trail running, maybe the last great chance I had.

So a bunch of us met up for a carpool and headed down. Upon arrival, we signed in (super easy) and were delighted with the lovely weather. Or should I say, concerned about actual heat. It was 8:30 and the sun was high and bright.

Sarah and I did a course recon and were happy to see that much of it was going to be shaded, so that was a relief. It meant we could stand around in shorts prior to the race and not freeze.


Okay I guess I'll take the jacket off

A kids 1 km race was held before ours, and it was fun to watch close to 100 kids have a great run.

Then we were up. Run NS gave us some great opening remarks (there were a few issues with the course). Then just like that we were off.



The race starts with a sharp downhill for 200m, the a sharp 90 degree turn, so I knew I wanted to be out in front and not caught up in anything. And based on the course recon, I knew the first kilometer was a gradual decline.

Quickly we left the pavement and hit the crusher dust that made up 90% of the course. A quick glance back and I didn't immediately see anyone, but didn't want to take any risks as I know some people hold back. Then there I was, pushing hard to keep my pace up on the soft ground, occasionally enjoying the scenery, and just like that I was at the turn around.

As I turned to come back, I finally saw the next 2 guys. They seemed to be maybe 20-30 seconds behind me at that point. I am really bad at judging the turn around, so off I went trying not to be caught.

Now I had to go back on a narrow path with about 300 runners coming at me. I must say that most everyone was great at getting out of the way. A few waves and cheers, a few high fives as I pushed along. I appologize that I can't really focus much when racing on individuals, and I certainly can't do a lot of chatting back, so sorry if it looks like I am not paying attention to those cheering.

There were a few groups of runners that I actually had to run through the middle of, but luckily it all worked out. Welcome to out and back racing on a tight trail system.

By the time I hit the final kilometer, I knew that it was looking good for me as I couldn't see anyone behind me. My focus had to go back to not winning but getting a sub 18. So I had to kick up the effort. The soft ground and now consistent up grade were taking their toll. But soon, I popped out of the woods, back onto the pavement and to the finish. A hard kick up the last little incline and I crossed the line with the win and my goal. 17:56 officially. 


I credit the really short shorts with the win

So that was that. A manged to wait at the finish line for many other runners, cheering them home. And so many BLT Runners as well. A quick stop at the local Timmies for a post race coffee with the car pool and we were off to home. 



Now a few more multisport adventures and then it is trail season for the most part (MacPass Mile will likely still show up and maybe another MEC Race). 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Shearwater Navy Duathlon 2018 - Sorry no photos

So as I have done for many years now, I awoke on an early June morning to take part in the Navy Duathlon at Shearwater. The event has been going strong for awhile and combines what is usually the first Sprint Triathlon of the year (as they have a pool) and a Duathlon. Back when I started doing this we would have 20-30 people in the Duathlon, as everyone else was excited about being wet. In later years our numbers have slipped from that peak.

So this year I woke up and the wind was howling. It was June but the ambient temperature was a paltry 4 degrees and with the wind, I fear lower than that.

As I arrived at the race venue an hour before my start time (due to the pool swim it is wave starts) and was greeted by the news that the pool swim was  cancelled. The Race Director and TriNS Officials felt it was too great a risk to have athletes come outside wet from the swim, jump on a bike and probably end up getting hypothermia. So now everyone was in the Du! Competition! What likely would have been 8-10 people was now 104. We were still going to race in waves, so the results overall would have to wait until the end of the day though. 

So the start time came, we had a briefing, we almost blew away and or froze to death waiting to start the race (a few helmets blew away for sure in some of the gusts). Eventually we were off. As the event was 2.5 km run / 20 km Bike / 5 km run, I knew I needed to get off to a fast start to get ahead for the ride. I am a decent cyclist but by no means one of the faster guys out there. And on a hilly course with so many corners, I knew that I would need any lead I could get.

*the distances are the official ones, but each leg was slightly short, so I'll just give my paces / speed

I pushed out at the start and took off, hoping to come in first from the run. I like to do that. At only 2.5km, it was short and fast, I averaged a 3:30 pace and came in first (though officially 3rd as other heats had some faster people).  It was a hard but manageable pace on crusher dust.

I popped off my running shoes, grabbed my helmet and then tried to grab my bike. The wind had made it intertwined with the bike next to it. So after freeing that up, I ran to the mount line and popped on my bike. Not a super fast transition, but at 38 seconds it was okay for 10th place.

I took off on the bike, starting with a big climb to get to the course. Then I started out with a fast first section, which was a tail wind. Then a switch back to a head wind. The wind was brutal, at times you were soaring at crazy speeds (over 50km/hr on the flat) and at other times crawling along at 20 km/hr. Also the cross winds almost knocked me down a few times.

By the end of the ride I was really happy to only been passed by 3 people and held many other at bay. In fact the last person to pass me only did so right near the end, so I didn't drift too far from him. I hit the next transition having averaged about 30 km/hr (slower than previous years, but with good power output for me). I then proceeded to almost zoom through T2 (my shoe had blown away) and got out finally to start the final 5 km run.

I passed the 3rd place (in my heat) runner and then proceeded to turn up the heat on positions 1 and 2. Really though, they had a big lead and at only 5 (really less than 5) km I didn't have a huge chance at catching them.

Eventually with a few hundred meters to go, I had reeling Kevin B in but still cross the line 5 seconds behind him. It was a really good comeback, but he had made up too much time on that bike for me to mount a true challenge. I managed an average of a 3:50 pace for that run and crossed in what would become 7th place overall.

It was a tricky race, not know where you were relative to others, and dealing with the wind, the cold and sometimes the heat. Even the run was tricky in the cross winds. Still it was fun having such a large duathlon field. Hopefully we can get that more often in the future.

Thanks Navy, for hosting for another year.