Armed with a series of improvement plans I entered the Foothills Charity Triathlon in Okotoks. After Wednesday's race I was determined to have better transitions and to really push the bike again and see what would happen.
I was one of about 5 people that I saw that decided to do both races and during a warm-up in the swim I could feel it in my arms, they were tired, sore and just a little reluctant to get going. Not that I really worked them in Turner Valley. However, I had my own goggles again and celebrated their custom fit around my wrinkled eye sockets. No leaks today I was convinced. Bernie and his daughter were at the race today and due to a flight down east Bernie convinced the race director to let him swim in the women's heat. So much for my hope to push Bernie along in the race - not that he needs me to push him.
Bernie took off like a rocket in the women's wave and despite his eclectic zig zag directional abilities he managed to come first out of the water in that wave with Tamara Solomon (sp) on his heels. after watching the rest of the women's wave finish I took my favored outskirts starting location for the lake mass swim start only 30 seconds before the start to find myself in the middle of a mass of bodies who decided my line was the one they wanted as well. Next thing I know after the guns goes off I am getting pummelled by over zealous swimmers going over top of me but quickly I got into some open water and chased a pair of feet in the surprisingly warm and clear water. (Kudo's Crystal Shores Lake).
As the eager swimmers started to fade from their aggressive start I continued to work my way up the field and exited the water fairly along except for one other guy. Then the race really started to come together for me. First, I nailed the transition and was out and away of the bike post haste. Hammering fast off the mount line I red lined at my max bike HR of 163 and stayed between 157 and 163 again. The legs wanted to keep my arms company and also decided to reluctantly push and I knew that I had not yet completely recovered from Wednesday's race. However, no worries as my intent was to ride to exhaustion (again) and see what I could do on the run after pushing that hard.
I liked the 3 lap bike course with gradual hills, although slightly windy today, and looked around to see if anyone else was even close to me and didn't notice anyone really. The busy bike course due to the women's earlier wave made it difficult to identify who was where especially with some teams also in the mix. However, I was pushing the highest possible gear while spinning 90 rpm and was moving through the crowd. Near the end of lap one a team cyclist went by me and mid lap two I caught another team's cyclist and we played a bit of cat n mouse through the 3rd lap. I knew I had a good one going but didn't find out until I looked at my Garmin GPS later to see that I rode low to mid 34 minutes and the three laps were about 11:05, 11:15 and 11:40 each. So while I faded it was not catastrophic AND I was definitely going to find out how the run would go.
The run started off feeling "really" ugly as on flat terrain I struggled to average 4:09 per km. I focused on catching the runner from the team that I had played cat and mouse with and after passing her started to feel better. the only part of me NOT feeling better was my feet which went numb during the swim and stayed that way for the rest of the race. Even the 5K run didn't help and it wasn't until 20 minutes after the race that feeling came back. I also loved the run course for its ability to see where you stand, the T shaped out and back course allowed up to three chances to see your competition and one one end of the T I could see I was gaining on one guy, the other end of the T gave me a look at first Tony Smith, then Leif Baradoy, Alec Gill, Gord Brost and a couple of the team competitors. I was not going to catch any of them so I focused on the one realistic target and ran him down with about a mile to go.
From the first wave Bernie ended up 1:40 ahead of me and Tamara 2 minutes. I would have loved the chance to have at least given Bernie a scare that I would run him down but that will have to wait for another day another race. I finished 7th overall and 3rd in my age bracket (Tony Smith and Bernie the two beat me).
The stats - 7th overall (10th swim - 10th bike - 5th run) - 3rd age group (3rd swim - 3rd bike - 2nd run) see link here . The best part is my killer transition speed - based on what Bernie's bike time and my bike time was it looks like I out transitioned Bernie by almost a minute. Now I just need to get more speed / power on the bike.
All in all - a great day.
PS Bernie's daughter had a GREAT race finishing first in her age group, 8th women overall. I think she will be a force at the IM 70.3 in Calgary.