Squamish Triathlon Race Report

Team Ossenbrink flying their colours at the Clinic

After learning of some health implications a week prior to the Squamish Triathlon, I went into the race with no clear idea of how my body would perform. Being my first olympic in, oh, 3 years, I also had no idea how I would go anyway! So many unknowns, so many questions.

Fielding some questions with Rachel

One week prior to the race, we held a training clinic to help prepare the athletes for open water swimming and transitions. By we, I mean Coach Björn, Rachel McBride, and myself. We had a really great time, and I can tell you it was fulfilling to impart some knowledge to the athletes. There were a lot of questions, and it feels like just yesterday I was the one asking all the questions (well, if you asked Björn, he’d say it was THAT MORNING that I was asking him all the questions!) Helping athletes learn more about the sport, and how to improve their own training and racing with regards to different aspects, really gets me excited. It was absolutely perfect weather, a foreshadowing of the weather to come on race day.

RACE DAY

With a 9:30am start, I felt quite spoiled to sleep in so late. Generally used to waking at ungodly hours for Half Ironman races, at hours reserved for sleeping and late-night washroom breaks by about 99.7% of the world’s population, it was lavish to be getting up around the time the gun normally goes off. Setup went smooth in the morning, and I made it to the start line feeling relatively alive.

Pre-race shenanigans mandatory. Ready to stretch out the Nineteen Rogue!

The swim was what I normally expect, trading blows with a few guys for more than half the swim, shoulder to shoulder combat that feels more like a kick-boxing event than a swim. At the halfway mark, the guys I was following started to swim towards the wrong buoy, and after a few meters I realized and changed course. It gave me a few seconds over some of the other guys, getting me out of the water somewhere in third place. Only being the second time I have worn my brand new Nineteen Rogue wetsuit, it performed incredibly well as expected, helping me keep a solid pace the whole way through.

Coming out in a good spot

When I hit the bike, that’s where it all kinda went sideways. I did my best to muscle my way through, but when the body decides it would rather be sitting on a couch than a saddle, it’s all you can do to push like a freight train hard as you can. With my average wattage far below that of Oliver Half Ironman (only a month previous,) I chalked it up to experience and hit the run course with, what else, a smile on my face!

Photo courtesy of Petra Walter Photography

The run course was amazing to say the least. Closed in trails and wooded fields, it was a change of scenery from the usual blacktop run courses. A hard charging Aussie (in town with a few of his teammates for training the last few months,) was throwing down the kung-fu hustle, and try as I may to hold on to him, he was outta-sight, outta-mind fairly quick. I just put my head down (or, if Björn is reading this, I put my head slightly forward, not too far down or up, and kept my chest from sticking out,) and went as hard as my legs would let me. I can tell you I was cursing myself for neglecting any form of speed work this year!

Yes, rocking the old-school look. Why wouldn’t you?
Photo courtesy of Petra Walters Photography.

Rounding out the podium in third, I was happy with my efforts on the day. The race itself was fantastic, I had a solid experience, and with all the people out there cheering me on I was just feeling great to be supporting a fine local race like Squamish. The two Aussies came in and did a fine job, evidently their training has paid off (I never saw the winner, he led from start to finish.) I have to thank all my teammates and especially Jenn, who RODE to Squamish on her bike, for all the support and massive cheers out there.

On a side note, my ever-so-studly teammate Rachel McBride not only won the women’s race (and beat most the men,) but also set a new course record! By 4 minutes!!! Talk about a sunday quickie.

A happy bunch.

Race one of the three-weekend trio (Squamish Triathlon, Vancouver Half, and Lake Stevens 70.3,) went well, keep your eyes peeled for a few exciting announcements in the next few days!!!

Happy training everyone, enjoy the SUN!

Nathan

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