After a very humbling race two weeks ago in Kelowna, I came into the Vancouver Triathlon with a little higher hopes. Having worked nights shifts on both friday and saturday nights, I was probably a little under rested. I rolled into transition very early on race morning, as I always do, just so i can be a little more relaxed in set-up and warm-up, and not have to rush so much. After getting everything set up, and a short warm-up run, i returned to my transition spot for final prep before the race. There i saw Facundo Chernikoff, a friend of mine and fellow elite triathlete, who also let me know that Mike Adams was racing as well (another elite ITU athlete.)
I knew it was going to be a tough race with these guys here, both of them being more experienced than I, as well as WAY better swimmers than me, Mike Adams being a phenominal swimmer.
The start was very hairy; huge rocks covered in barnicles and broken shells littered the shoreline and the first 50m of the swim (which was probably about 1.5feet deep.) Many of us got pretty beat up in the beginning, half the people swimming, half dolphin diving, EVERYONE jumping on top of everyone else. It was mayhem, but that’s a typical triathlon swim start for ya. I had a bad start and couldn’t quite get into a good pack; I ended up swimming most of the swim by myself.
Coming out of the frigid water and up the beach to T1, I was told I was in 8th place by my friend Jeff Seeley, who was waiting to start his sprint race. I had yet another bad swim.
I knew i had some catching up to do on the bike.
This time i was a little more careful getting onto my bike, so I didn’t bail again. The weather was freezing out, i think winter might have come early this year, it was about 10 degrees C out. I went into the bike with a plan to get faster each lap, and I did just that. Even with torrential rain, on a very technical course that required me to coast and slow down a lot more than i would have liked to, my average speed for each lap increased. Having the aerodynamic edge with my Jamis Xenith T2, and Pro-Lite carbon tubulars that i borrowed from my pal James Fry (thanks Jimmy!) i was able to post the fastest bike split of the day by about 1:30. A good hit of energy from an E-Gel right before the end of the bike and I was ready to try and close the gap on the leaders.
Coming into T2, I was told I was in 3rd overall. Facundo was just putting his shoes on as i came in to rack my bike, and he took off right after. Going into the run I could see him way up ahead, and the chase was on. I know Facundo can run, he generally runs about the same times as i do, so I knew i would have to have a fantastic run to catch him. Cruising in my New Balance 205KIM’s, I was slowly gaining on him, and at the turn-around point in the first lap i had closed the gap considerably. By 2/3’s through the first loop i pulled in behind him, paced him for a bit, and then put on a big surge to go by. By this time i had taken a fair chunk out of the leader’s gap, and set my sights on catching Mike. By the start of the second loop i had taken about 1:30 out of his lead. I started to run harder, and at the turn-around of the second loop i wasn’t that far behind him. Mike made a huge push for the end of the race, and i just wasn’t able to catch him. It was awesome to be racing with all my friends and hear all their support for the chase out on course, as well as from the people watching. I finished second to Mike, a result I am happy with. Having the fastest bike and run splits of the day was a big confidence boost.
As for my swim, it was pretty slow. I need to put some major miles in the pool over the next few years, as ITU racing is a swimmer’s and runner’s game. I’ve been swimming for less than 3 years, and it shows, but I’m confident i will make some big improvements in the next year on my swim.
Guess it’s back to the drawing boards for the off-season.
Thanks again to everyone who made racing this season possible, especially to my parents, who made it out to the race despite the ugly weather, and who have made it to almost all my races this year. A thanks goes to New Balance Vancouver, E-Load, Secret Cycles (who’ve bailed me out a few times this year with last minute emergencies,) Popeye’s Supplements Coquitlam, and Jamis Bikes (for all the sweet race rigs they’ve supplied me with!)