5:45 AM, my alarm goes off and the temperature shows 3 degrees Celsius (not a typo – that is three!! degrees) pretty tough to get motivated with the perspective of hopping onto a bike wearing nothing but a too tight wet piece of lycra covering about 50 % of my body. Yeah…triathlon is fun!!
On the good side of things the sun is out and the forecast predicts it will be a warmer day. Why exactly do all triathlons have to start at ungodly hours in the morning? Race start is at 8 – I am sure it would be fine to start at noon. A guy could sleep in and would be much warmer.
No point in complaining, I have a quick breakfast, find my winter coat in the basement, grab my pre-packed bag and head to the race venue.
It is cold, but the sun has some heat to it, so in a moment of bravery (or senselessness?) I do not put out any extra layers in transition, I can do this in my race suit only, right? Surprisingly, the water is quite nice – I guess 20 degrees water temperature feel almost hot in 8 degrees air temperature – hooray for physics.
The gun goes off and we are on our way. After an uneventful swim I find myself much further in front than anticipated – maybe all the early morning swims finally paid off? The first kilometer on the bike is in the shade of some trees and I highly doubt I will survive this bike ride. Fortunately the sun has some strength to it and it turn out okay. First turn around I scope out the competition. I am somewhere around 12th position and can see the lead police car about 500m ahead. It is only 20km of biking so this is going to be a challenge. I pick off one rider at a time and the next turn around comes much sooner than anticipated. Darn 20km is really short! I am in 4th position and not really gaining on the first two. But number three should be possible. I push a little harder and pass the guy around km 17. Now I have to put enough time into him to hold him off on the run….
Starting the run in 3rd position is pretty cool. The Wasa folks even have a cyclist going with each of the top three, so I have my own little escort – makes me feel very special. Out to the first turn around I realize that I am gaining slowly on second place but also the guy behind me is gaining on me…only 2.5km to go I should be able to hold this. But reality strikes too soon, at km 4 I hear breathing behind me and sure enough I am caught. This is even worse than average here because I am also losing my escort – gone is that special feeling.
I cruise the last km (not gaining enough on the second pace guy to make a difference) and finish 4th overall and 1st in my age group. The guy in second turns out to be Joel Wilkinson from Alberta I have raced (and lost) against him before, its a small world 🙂
Overall this first test went pretty well, there is clearly room for improvement but I felt good and put some decent speed out. Let the season begin!
Next up will be IRONMAN 70.3 in Coeur d’Alene in two weeks. Main objective here is to learn the course because this will be the race I will attempt to qualify for the half distance world championships in 2017. So the plan here is to swim and bike well and take it easy on the run.
For a few race pictures check out the gallery.