Over the weekend Lisa and I headed to Montreal to race the Demi Esprit Triathlon. The race consisted of a 1.9k swim in a rowing basin (almost like swimming in a huge pool), 21 laps riding on the Grand Prix track (90k), and 4.5 laps of running around the rowing basin. This race has the potential to be very fast.
- The leadup to the race wasn’t exactly ideal. I’ve been dealing with some lower back pain for a couple months and Tuesday my back flared up really bad. I was able to get into a physio on Wednesday, and after lots of stretching and time with a heat pad it was feeling much better by Friday, but I hadn’t done any of my normal race week workouts. At least I knew I’d be well rested
- Lisa and I headed to Montreal Friday morning. We picked up our race kits Friday afternoon, I got in a quick 10min swin in the basin, and then it was time to put our feet up
- Saturday morning we were up just after 5:00. I had my normal breakfast of a bagel with almond butter and honey. We packed everything we needed for the race and left at about 6:15 to ride the 5k from where we were staying to the race site.
- Transition was easy to setup, and then it was just waiting until 7:50 for my race start (I had my typical honey cruller donut about an hour before the race).
Swim – 28:40, 1:31/100m, 9th fastest
- The swim was a beach start. I’m typically poor at these and this race was no different.
- There was a surprising amount of contact over the first 400m. Likely because everyone wanted to be close to the rope you can see under the water that lines up the buoys. If you can follow it you don’t really need to sight.
- By the 400m point I had made up for my bad start and was in open water. I could see a group about 15m ahead and tried hard to bridge up, but I just didn’t have the speed.
- I made the turns hassle free, and headed back to shore.
- The swim back was uneventful.
T1 – 1:34
- I had a prime spot in T1 right next to the bike exit. You could pick your spot in transition, and I decided this would be a good one because it was easy to find, and I wasn’t leaving my shoes clipped into my bike (forgot elastics), so I wanted my run in bike shoes to be as short as possible.
- It was a relatively long run to my bike. Only excitement in T1 was I broke (technically re-broke because it was shoe goo-ed on) the finger loop on the back of my shoe, so it was a touch more difficult to put my shoe on.
Bike – 2:05:32, 43km/h, 259W AP, 264W NP, Fastest Bike
- Out on the bike course I was ready for some fun. Being in the first wave I figured I had at least a couple laps before it got congested.
- It took me a couple laps to learn the layout, but after that I got into a rhythm. The course got more and more congested as time went on, but passing (which is on the right here) wasn’t too much of a problem.
- About 5 laps in two cyclists came past me, these were the first two people to pass me. My power was easing down because I was more concentrated on passing safely, and less concerned about my actual power, so this was a good reminder to stay on top of it. I never let them get more than a couple hundred meters gap on me.
- Over the next 10 laps we seemed to stay in the same general area. I didn’t look back when I was in front of them, but they would come by me every 2-3 laps, and I would make sure to not let them get too far ahead.
- With 5 laps to go I upped my power to the 270-280W range. I wanted to see what sort of power I had in my legs now that I was a couple hours into the race. Again, I didn’t look back, but from chatting after the race I think I dropped both of the guys.
- I had no idea if I was leading the race, or if there was 1 or even a couple of guys going at about the same speed as me halfway around the track so that we never crossed paths.
*I think the race organizers made a mistake on the bike. There was a big screen near the end of each bike lap that would show your name after lap 5, 10, 15, 20 and 21. In the pre-race briefing we were told to ignore any bike computer we had, and when the board showed 21 we exit the course. When I was finishing lap 4 it showed my name. So really when it showed 21 you should do 1 more lap and then finish. This is what I did, but many others didn’t. To make matters worse, according to Lisa later on apparently they fixed the board to show what lap you’re on (the way the board should have been set up from the beginning), but at this point most people had figured out the mistake. As far as I know they didn’t display any message on the board to say what they were doing.
T2 – 1:23
- I came into T2 and learned I was the leader. I swapped my bike and helmet for socks, shoes, sun glasses and my bib, and I was out onto the run.
Run – 1:23:47, 3:58/km, Av. HR 174bpm, Fastest Run
- Out onto the run I did some fast math in my head and realized a 1:22:50ish run would bring me in under 4:00. I hadn’t dreamed of breaking 4:00 at this race, but the conditions lined up perfectly to that point for me and I had a chance. I wasn’t going to run to try to protect my lead, I was going to go for it.
- My first couple of km’s I was likely a little more excited then I should have been, laying down 3:42 and 3:48kms.
- The first aid station I ran by seemed to still be getting ready. It was getting warm and I was looking for water and Coke!
- A mistake I made on the run is I was relying on the aid stations for my fuel. The run consisted of 4.5 laps of the rowing basin. Only 1 of the aid stations on the course had Coke, and we only went past it 4 times. Early on I realized this could be a problem because I was going to be burning a lot of fuel trying to run low 3:50s, and I had 4 chances at Coke, and then water to keep me running (I didn’t even have a gel in my pocket)
- Through 14k (about 3 laps) I was 54:42, or 3:54/km. I was on pace to run what I needed to in order to break 4:00. But at that point I started to feel really hot, and my tank was almost running on empty. As I ran out to the end of the basin a 4th time I really tried to dig deep, running 4:01, 4:03, and 4:02 km’s, but I just couldn’t get my legs to run under 4:00km anymore.
- At that point I cracked, both mentally and physically. I just didn’t have the energy to pump out 3:50’s over my final 4k to come in just under 4:00. I ran 4:10, 4:09, 4:13, and 4:13. My average HR over those final 4k was 179bpm.
- The final loop I only had to go half the distance of the basin, and then I ran across a bridge on the water. At this point I was getting a little light headed and I felt like I might actually fall in.
- Every step in the final half lap was difficult, even when I saw a sign for 200m to the finish it felt like a long way. I didn’t savour the finish like I would have liked because I felt like I needed to get to the finish, get some cold water, food, and sit down.
- I broke the tape in a total time of 4:00:54, just 55 seconds too slow! (This was my 3rd overall win, but my first time there was finish tape, which made it a little more exciting)
Total – 4:00:54, 1st Overall
Post Race Thoughts
- Overall happy with the race and all 3 splits
- I felt comfortable through the entire swim. In the first 400m there was a lot more contact then I usually have, but I didn’t have any anxiety, I was able to focus on continuing to push.
- On the bike I think I did a good job on the technical side of riding the course. I’ve never been in an environment where it’s so important to hold your line through a corner while trying to carry speed.
- This was the first time in a race when someone passed me and I consciously thought I don’t want them to get away. I was able to keep my power under control, but not let them get away, and it really helped from a pacing perspective.
- Overall it was a good run for me; my first sub1:24 half iron run split. The last third of the run REALLY hurt! But even after I cracked and just couldn’t run sub 4:00/km I was happy I was able to hold a decent pace.
Where I could have found 55 seconds
- Hindsight is great because it lets you scrutinize everything you did without any real accountability, so here are some mistakes I made, or areas I could have done things a little better:
- I expected to be faster on the swim. I swam 28:01 in Tremblant and I’ve done a lot of work on my OWS since then. Also, I had a line to follow so I didn’t really have to sight. I had a slow start, and maybe if I didn’t I could have bridged up to the group of 5 in front of me.
- In T1 I didn’t have my shoes clipped into my bike before I forgot elastics.
- On the bike I didn’t stay on top of my power the entire ride. I was happy with my ride, but I wasn’t watching my power like I usually would, and some laps it drifted down. I also feel like I could have added targeted a higher power target than 260W.
- T2 went well, so I don’t think I could have done much there.
- On the run I think I went out a little too hot. I should have settled into 4:00/km pace and then aim to negative split (I did this in Quassy and Barrelman). Instead I went out fast and then suffered at the end.
- I should have carried some fuel on the run. I expected Coke at every aid station, but most only had water. I was pushing the pace and burning a lot of fuel, if I carried a gel or two I may have been able to hold on a little longer.
Up next is the big one, Ironman Maryland, in 3 weeks time.