Before I begin, I want to acknowledge Meyrick who took most of these photos. He modestly says his sport photo taking ability is improving. I say its pretty phenomenal. Thanks a lot MJ, these will provide great memories for me of the race.
To see all his photos from the race check out his picasa album. Its worth taking a look.
We once again were blessed with amazing weather for race weekend. Jody and I joked that we bring good luck to races because this is our 6th race together with next to perfect weather.
One poor habit we have developed traveling together is pushing the limits of stuff we bring. I remember when I first started racing triathlons I went with shoes, bike, helmet, speedo, goggles. Now just look at the car. I've got two helmets, 4 wheels, wetsuit, 4 pairs of shoes, pumps, tool box. Enough is enough already Vince. Oh well.
Me getting close with my bike. It was an intimately close drive.
We arrived at the race site Saturday afternoon and picked up race packages and checked out the venue before heading out for a bike ride of the course. Derek was so excited race season was upon us he could hardly contain himself!
Derek rendered speechless by his excitement of race day approaching.
After all of our Saturday race day prep activities were finished with we headed back to Dereks wonderful hospitality to relax and have dinner. Relaxing included a big afternoon of watching Bend it like Beckham. Jealous?
Chops working on Jody's calf while watching the spectacular Bend it like Beckham
Chops also shaved his legs for the first time, however, I promised not to post those photos. I never got a follow up as to whether it made him faster or not.
After the movie and a fantastic dinner made my Dereks mom, we settled in to head to sleep. Earliest sleep I've had in a while, 9:45pm and I was out!
Waking up far too early for my liking (4:15AM my friend Paul in Vancouver was comparatively out partying the entire time I was asleep), I got up and headed downstairs for my typical 3 cliff bars and juice breakfast. It was shaping up to be a great morning. Beautiful sun was rising and very little wind.
As you can see from the photos, it was already nice and sunny come 6:30AM.
Ceilidh gearing up for his first Half Iron!
Nick putting the finishing touches on his transition setup.
I was having a little trouble with my shifting when I put my disk on, so I brought my bike over to the mechanic and he lubed and adjusted my cables and shifters so that they were working perfect. Unfortunately I didn't catch who the bike support sponsor was so if anyone knows, let me know and I'll give them a shoutout to them.
Rocking out the casual wear prior to race
Waiting to have bike looked over by supremely awesome mechanic.
Candid shot of a group of friends in transition. L to R Jeremy Hopwood, Richard Knowlton, ME, some guy, Derek.
I had a pretty spectacular spot in transition, right next to the exit. And unfortunately Patrick Waters wasn't racing but had registered, so as a result we had extra space in transition which made for a smooth morning.
There were a few big names at the race on the weekend. The first, the always recognizable voice of Ironman Canada Steve King! He's probably the best race announcer I've ever had. I've heard he keeps notes from races he does and that way has extra tidbits of information on athletes to announce. Its really motivating coming out of transition and having him announce your place and also your past results and goals for the day.
Another noteworthy person, you may have heard of, he's been around in the racing season for a few years was SIMON WHITFIELD! Unfortunately I didn't know he was there so didn't get to meet him however, a bunch of my friends did and I'm super jealous. He did the half iron swim for a relay, then the swim/bike for another relay in the Olympic.
RACE REPORT START!
As always, I was a little late getting started. I'm going to blame this on having to fix my gears, however, in reality, it was just because I was wasting time talking to people and picking up Derek a white distressed swimmer bathing cap (which I forgot in transition so couldn't even give him).
6:58 and I hit the water. Did a good job of filling my wetsuit to make sure it was on more or less right and the gun went off. I'll try and keep the race details brief. Swim was more or less uneventful other than two mistakes I made. I was off to a great start but then bumped into someone pretty hard. This didn't really bother me, I just kept my head down and kept pushing through and had nice clear water in front of me. Turns out there was a reason for this. I was swimming 15* off straight. After 30 seconds of swimming I clue in to this and try and regain touch which the lead group of 5-6 which proves impossible. Unfortunately as a result I swam about 5-10 meters back of a group for the whole first lap. Only once they started to tire and someone behind me caught up about 1200 meters in did I get a teammate to work with. My second mistake came shortly after this. The sun on the way out was directly in your eyes. Not being able to sight very well and not taking the time to sight properly I turned at the wrong buoy. Didn't slow me down much but made me drop off the pack I was leading and had to fight real hard just to get back on. Real stupid rookie mistake. Finishing off the swim I wasn't very happy with my performance.
I came out of the water with a time of 29:38. The exact same time as last year. I've been swimming a lot more and a lot stronger than last year so I was somewhat pissed about this. However, looking back, my race report describes last year as being an amazing swim that I was overjoyed with. Considering that, and the fact I felt lousy in the water Sunday, I guess that works out. With my two mistakes I probably lost 20-30 seconds from the groups etc. So oh well.
Coming out of the water I was curious to know where my competition would be, I knew Nick would be close behind or just ahead of me.
I'm actually quite pleased with my swim/bike transition. I've got most of it narrowed down now for simplicity as can be seen by this photo, 3 seconds out of the water and I've already started my change.
To answer the question of where Nick was, I just had to look back. There he was right behind me. His girlfriend Hannah snapped this sweet photo of the two of us.
After a very uneventful transition with minor difficulty getting my wetsuit over the timing chip I was off on the bike.
I feel this requires mention, Derek, although didn't win the swim outright. He had the fastest individual time. Behind only the relay of Simon Whitfield. Not too bad being beat only by an 2 time medal winning olympian (now you see why it would have been funny if I gave him the distress bathing cap)!
Passing one person out of transition I was on my bike. I had a lot of trouble getting into my rhythm. I was a little distressed with Nick right behind me. I know he was stronger than me on the bike and I think as opposed to doing the smart thing and trying to work my way into a good tempo, I went out flying trying to hold him off and dug myself a little hole. He flew by me after 5 minutes and was never seen again until the run. Oh well.
About 3/4 of the way through the first lap of the bike Rachel Kiers who has passed me on the bike in every half iron we have raced together, caught up and passed me once more. I figured this would happen and I knew that I had improved from last year so I decided to forget my pacing and decided to simply try and follow her. Let her set the pace and see how that felt because what I was doing clearly wasn't working.
It was a little frustrating because with the disk I was more aerodynamic on the flats and descents but she was much faster on the climbs, as a result for 2 laps she, Lance Watson and I kept leap frogging each other every few km. I felt kinda like a jerk for being passed and then passing right away following a hill but I'm sure she understood and talking to her later I was right.
I finished the bike right on target 2:30:05. Pretty pleased with this especially with the slow start. I actually negative split the bike by nearly 2 minutes.
I really need to get a TT bike, my drop is embarrassing. My back is nowhere near flat despite having my handlebars dropped as low as they go.
Rachel Flying through a lap
T2 once again uneventful, but I did catch Derek at this point. As a result of having Lifesaving Sport Nationals this coming week and Commonwealth Games the week after, he wasn't going to push the run. This turned out to be a good thing for me because I was feeling really sick and so for the first 5km I just ran easy with him trying to settle my stomach. We stayed within 10 meters of each other for the first few km and then actually ran together talking for the next bit. I think this helped me settle down a lot. He kept me running at a steady pace (not a very fast one, but steady nonetheless). We talked until about 6k and then told me he didn't want to run this fast and then let me go. At 10k I look back he is still 10 meters behind me. I kept yelling back that he was supposed to slow down (he asked me to), but he kept assuring me he felt fine and this was "easy". Jerk... just kidding. He looked really strong.
I kept running a steady but slow pace (~4:45 pace) through to 19k. At this point I realized I wasn't the only one who was hurting. In 11th place I could see I was closing in on people ahead of me. I decided since it was only 2k to go. If I threw up it didn't matter so I went for a long kick (also because I was worried with Derek 10 meters behind me that if we got too close to the finish his instincts may kick in). I pushed hard and ran the last two km under 8 minutes catching 3 people in the process. One guy, the one right behind me in the photos of the finish came flying up and at that point my cross country running background kicked in. I just tucked in behind him and hoped to outsprint him in the end. He led me right to the shoot at which point I took off.
Was a good finish to an otherwise crummy run.
Run time 1:38:53
Total race time 4:40:50
1st Age Group 20-24
5th Male Overall
Kamal in the sprint with a great 2nd place finish
Chops on the run
Me running through ~11k getting some great encouragement.
Steven Kilshaw heading to the finish line for the overall victory!
Sprinting to the finish shoot trying to outkick guy behind me
D-Rock loving every minute of his first Half Iron
D-Rock loving every minute of his first Half Iron
My little dig didn't make me throw up, however, it did make me a little sick. I started getting really empty breathing and started feeling really bad. With Dereks suggestion I went to the medical tent (a first), and actually was given oxygen for about 10-15 minutes. Apparently when I got there my blood pressure was super low and HR was really low as well. Under a few blankets and bottled air to breathe and I was good as new. I guess going from a heart rate of 140 to 190 after 4.5 hours of racing isn't the best idea. Ooops.
After all the post race stuff was done we settled in for the awards. It was still such an amazing day outside with the weather and so laying out on the field we gathered to collect all the swag myself and extremely talented friends won.
Amy Kirkham wasn't there to collect her prize (1st overall Olympic), so Derek went up on the podium and shockingly they took his photo.
Facundo Winning his age group in the Olympic good for 2nd Overall
Half Iron Overall Winners
Men and Women Top 5
Post race thoughts.
The biggest two things I need to work on are:
1) More Brick Workouts.
I was really suffering when I hit the run. the mental toughness wasn't there to really push hard. I need to work on this if I want to do better next race.
2) Much more fluid intake.
I only drank 2 bottles on the bike and being a hot day I think I suffered a lot for this. I was having a whole load of G.I. problems on the run, and I think it was because I was dehydrated. When dehydrated you don't absorb Carbohydrates as well which then just sit in your intestines for bacteria to have fun with. I need to drink at least 1 more bottle of water on the bike. I'll have to pee but it will be much better than what I went through.
Overall it was a great start to the 2009 season. I'm particularly excited to see Derek race hard the whole race in Victoria. He showed so much potential at this his first completed half iron, that I think he could really do something big next time.
Congrats to everyone,
Facundo: Olympic Second Overall
Amy Kirkham: Olympic 1st Overall
Kamal: Sprint Second Overall
Jody: Half 25-29 2nd
Choppy: Sprint 20-29 5th
Derek: Half 20-24 2nd (fastest swim)
Ceilidh: Finishing his first Half
Rachel: Half Second Overall
Nick: Half 25-29 2nd
Jeremy: Half 25-29 3rd
Once again thanks Meyrick for the cheering and great photos, and Derek for the amazing hospitality.
Don't know a better way to start off 2009