Racing in the Okanagan, in Canada’s Vineyard. I have two main thoughts. First obviously there should be wine, second, there should be heat!
Me who has been constantly freezing for the last 12 years, sometimes more (thank you Edmonton winters) sometimes less (thank you Kootenay summers) will finally be able to race somewhere warm, maybe, for once I will actually feel my toes on the bike…
The drive to Kelowna alone is promising – it is 31 degrees outside, about 38 in the car, naturally the air conditioning has found the perfect time to quit working and we get a sauna like experience on the trip over. Somehow I am the only one loving it – the kids are less excited, but can be bought with continuous bribes of ice cream (perfect pre-race food, right?)
The Kelowna Apple Triathlon is one of the more famous triathlons in Canada; famous racers like Paula Findlay and Simon Whitfield have raced here. Finally we found some time to travel to a race with the complete family, plus Brynlee and our neighbour Heather to step in the great’s footsteps. I have been planning on doing this race for quite some years and am extra excited to finally toe the start line.
Little do I expect that with heat also comes warm water and with warm water comes a no wetsuit rule. Wetsuits are the poor swimmers life jacket, not only keeping one warm but also supplying copious amounts of flotation, which – for notorious poor swimmers like myself make all the difference. Bottom line – without a wetsuit I am in trouble. But then, this is supposed to be a practice run for the World championships in Cozumel in 4 weeks, and there it will also be a non-wetsuit swim (I am desperately hoping for the amazing flotation effects of salt water but I may just be a tad too optimistic on that one).
So on race morning I am carefully optimistic that I will be okay on the swim – the gun goes off and I find a good spot clear of elbows and feet and find a seemingly good pace. Man this is good, I am rocking this swim, I feel all relaxed, breathing is good I have almost no people around me…wait a minute, why is there no people around me? I start looking around under water and the few people I do see around me are like a summary of all youtube videos about poor swimming form. I clearly am in serious trouble! Ah well, doesn’t matter – I wanted to feel relaxed and I did (only after the finish, looking at split times did I learn that this is by far the slowest swim I EVER did – probably a good thing they didn’t have a clock at the swim exit I would have been too depressed to go on.)
I hop on the bike and enjoy four high speed laps on the challenging course. One steep climb every lap and a lot of gradual downhill for the rest of it makes this a super-fast and fun course. Given that I learned from my mistakes in Calgary I watch my nutrition – interesting challenge, opening a pack of gel while bombing down some road at over 50km/h make no mistakes and come into transition in exactly 1 hour (for 40kms). I am happy.
On to the run, the part I am most worried about after my horrible experiences in Coeur d’Alene and Calgary, I force myself to start off slow and controlled but realize soon that I am doing well and pick up some speed. I cruise through the 10 km at decent speed and without any problems.
Given that there is all kinds of different races happening at the same time and different start groups stared with up to 30 min difference I have no idea about my placement at the finish line, But I am overall happy with my performance (well that was before I saw on paper how poor the swim was).
At the finish line Antje and the kids tell me I should be around 16th overall and should have placed in my age group as well, which comes as a surprise to me. And indeed they didn’t count wrong 15th overall and 3rd in my age group, which treats me to a provincial bronze medal, given that this race also is the BC championship.
Off to the last 3 weeks of training pre worlds – clearly I have to work on my swim, so do join me in the Kimberley pool every morning from 7-8 as of now, I will be there!