Thursday, June 25, 2009

Victoria International New Balance Half Iron Race Report

Wow what a lengthy title. Hopefully the report isn't the same.  My lead up to the race was a little different than normal. As a result of the bike fiasco we went over to the island Friday night and stayed at Dereks place again. Waking up Saturday I need to send a bike thanks towards Noa for doing the emergency bike fit for me. Without her help the race would have been a disaster! 

After the bike fit we went for some lunch then set up at the race site. Was really nice seeing everyone at the race, so many people out this weekend. Did a quick ride on the bike, felt weird but wasn't straining anything so after a monstrous 8km ride went back to pack it in to transition. Here I discovered my first little snag with the new bike. The rear brakes are hidden under/behind the bottom bracket. As a result to change the brakes, you can't simply use a Hex key on the chainring side because the pad is hidden by the chainring. Instead I needed a really small wrench. See this photo for what I mean.

Changing the fourth brake would have to wait till the morning once I got the right tools from Dereks.

After the pre race meeting, we drove the course (from memory) without problems and headed to Dereks for an awesome dinner prepared by his mom. Thanks!

I mentioned before that I was going to do things differently race morning. After a pretty decent 5 hours of sleep with only a minor interruption from a phone call at 1 Am (thanks Suz), I woke up and got ready for the race. The change I made was basic food instead of this high tech sport nutrition. I had a bagel with jam and some juice. Thats it. I didn't want to get an upset stomach again, and since I eat that probably 6 days a week, I figured it was a safe bet.

Arriving to the race 75 minutes before the gun the only challenge was the bathroom. The brakes took no time to fix but already 45 minutes before there was a 20 minute line up. Yikes. 

I managed to get into the water 5-10 minutes early and swam over to the start line (~150 m away). No sooner did I get there than the gun went off. This is twice now I've missed the countdown and I know I wasn't the only one. Amy was mid sentence when we head the cannon go off. Fortunately its loud and hard to miss. 

The swim was uneventful. Got into a good pack, followed an old man who kicked a whole lot which made it easy to follow him. I tried a few times to gap to the next group but it never proved successful, anytime I pulled away I got reeled back in, so I decided since we were doing a good pace to just sit there. Downside, he had really gross cracked feet. Every time I touched them it made me cringe. 

D-Rock was first out of the water in spectacular fashion once again. 

Followed shortly after by Pat

On Pats toes was Erich who was doing his first Half Iron on 10 days training. More on that later. 

Then about 90 seconds later, I came out. Now this is fun, at the last race Nick Gottfried was just behind me, to gauge how well I had swam I looked around for him. Figuring if he was nearby then I had done a pretty good swim. Sure enough I look to my left and the person I had been pumping into for the last 100 meters was Nick (not the guy with the gross feet). My swim time was WAY fast. 25:44 for 1:22/100m. Significantly faster than I've ever gone. So was most everyone else though, so the course was for sure short. But by how much I have no idea. I'll take it as a good swim either way. 

I don't think I have ever looked so cheerful out of the water. Too bad Nick got cut in two. 

Nick running out of the water

After the swim I had a fairly smooth T1 and was onto the bike about to ride my first km on the new bike (excluding the 8 easy km the day before). To say I was worried was somewhat of an understatement. I don't know if I've ever been in the water thinking to myself I hope this last longer! For the first 15 minutes on the bike I got into a really good groove. The bike felt good and I wasn't feeling sick (which I often do out of the water). I pass Erich and Pat on one of the first climbs and Sheldon shortly after. At around 10k unfortunately Nathan Killam and I make a wrong turn. Not critical, but cost us probably 15-30 seconds. More disturbing than anything else. We quickly catch back up to Lance Watson and Nick and the 4 of us leapfrog each other for the next 60k. 

Nick looking like a machine on the bike. He had a minor 10k slump in the middle but clearly rallied and put the hammer down at 70k dropping me pretty hard. 

Me looking aero and dorky! I don't think my glasses match.

Derek was pretty sick all week, hacking up some lovely green stuff. He probably shouldn't have started the race but competitiveness wins over in the end. I caught up to him about 25k in to the bike, considering how sick he was, he put out a really impressive effort. 

Derek demonstrating mind over matter on the bike

Sheldon after a few chain problems getting things going.

Amy in her first half iron pushing through in 2nd place overall female!

Andrew in his first half iron

Erich Riding on guts, because we all know he had no training

I was feeling really good on the bike, despite two missed turns on the first lap, I still went through 43k in 1:12 (36kph). I made it about 70km into the bike feeling great, thinking to myself building confidence that I could cary this through to the run. My confidence was so high that I was actually thinking of dropping the guys I had been leap frogging with all day. 

Unfortunately this didn't last long. Right around the 70km mark my legs just gave out on me. My guess is all the little stabilizer muscles that weren't used to the bike fit finally just had it. It was a funny experience. Although I felt fine energy wise, I just couldn't push. I must have slowed down to 30kph (I didn't have a speedometer so this is all based on feel). People really started passing me at this point. Over the period of 16k, I lost 3-4 minutes on the people I had been riding with. YIKES!

Oh well. On to the transition, my energy was still high and I knew I had hydrated well. I drank nearly 3 bottles on the bike, 1 gatoraide, and 2 water. 

While in transition Scott took this fantastic photo of me. Quite possibly the dorkiest I have ever looked!

Look at that, crooked aerohelmet! Dorky face. AMAZING!

Getting on the run, I was surprised at how good my legs felt. I was expecting them to be crushed after the bike, but I was getting a pretty good turnover going. I started off fairly slow. 23:30 for my first 5k but then pick it up for the second 5. Unfortunately at km ~8 my left knee started to hurt. I never get knee pains so I figured this must have been a consequence of the bike. Oh well, lets see what I can salvage. I go through the 10k in 43:29 (Pretty good km 5-10!). At 12k it really picks up and by 15k my knee forces me to slow down drastically. I come in the last 5km in 24 minutes for a 45:12 second 10k and a run split of 1:28:40. I was slower than last year but considering my last km this year was nearly on 5 minutes and last year it was on 3:43, I'm not too upset. This means I ran faster over the first 19k and simply didn't have the pep to match last years result based on my knee. Talking with Noa after she said that this result was no surprise based on the new bike and that she was actually shocked that this was all that bothered me. 

Nick stormed off on the run. Having an amazing run split 40:47/40:43 for a 1:21:30. WOW! Even if I had of had the best run of my life there was no catching him. Incredible! He really showed me the work I've got to do between now and our next meeting in Vancouver 3 weeks from now. 

Nick Coming in to the finish

Me coming in to the finish, 4:27:22, almost 3 minutes faster than last year

Is my calf thicker than my quad?

Jeremy having to guard a potentially injured hamstring pushing hard to the finish.

Sheldon had a pretty awesome finish. He had to sprint it out with some guy. Those cross country running days really kicked in. Check out these next slew of photos. 


Derek pushing through the sick amazingly coming in only minutes behind me. He followed by a lengthy stay in the medical tent. Hats off to you Derek. You definitely showed me what it means to hurt on Sunday. 

Amy in her first half iron coming in 3rd overall female! 1:26:50 20k run!

Andrew Squeaking in under 5 hours in his first half!

Erich finishing in an amazing time of 5:07. 10 days of training... Including taper
Stupid? Yes, awesome? Also YES!

Here is a fun story, Ceilidh told his parents that he thought he would be finished around 1pm so thats when they should come watch him finish. While racing he realized that he was going too fast and they wouldn't see him finish. So what did he do? He slowed down for his second lap to make sure they would see him. Mom, Dad, I can honestly say I probably wouldn't do this for you.

We had a few sprint distance racers as well. Unfortunately I can only find photos of Choppy (Sorry Claire and Scott). I don't know many details of their races, but I know Chops had the best finish so far of his triathlon career with a 9th overall and seconds out of 7th. Check out this sprint finish photos.

Coming off the bike into transition, I think Choppy works out.

A for effort

All round a great day for racing. I finished 2nd in my age group. I know, sadly my first defeat since moving to BC. oh well, Five 1st and one 2nd is good enough for me. Like I said, just have my work cut out for me next time. 

Big congrats to our first time Halfers, Amy, Erich, Andrew.

Here is the breakdown.

Nick Gottfried 4:18:15 1st AG (25-29)
Vince Lavallee 4:27:22 2nd AG (20-24)
Jeremy Hopwood 4:30:26 4th AG (25-29)
Sheldon Clark 4:35:43 3rd AG (20-24)
Derek Westra-Luney 4:36:10 4th AG (20-24)
Amy Kirkham 4:42:24 3rd Elite Female 3rd Overall
Andrew Wight 4:58:57 7th AG (25-29)
Erich Schmitt 5:07:04 8th AG (20-24)
Winston Guo 5:33:00 9th AG (20-24)
Ceilidh Curtis 6:14:25 12th AG (20-24)

Patrick Waters 
Unfortunately DNF, vomit all over the bike followed by a flu. Hope your feeling better now buddy. 

Choppy Somjee 1:09:06 6th AG (20-29)
Scott Chris 1:13:54 12th AG (20-29)
Claire Toffelmire 1:48:50 16th AG (20-29)

Now to steal something I saw on Jeremys blog, a breakdown of my time compared to the winner, in this case Jasper Blake. 

3:54:59 (Jasper) vs 4:27:22 (Vince)
12% slower

23:48 (Jasper) vs 25:44 (Vince) 
8% slower

0:44 (Jasper) vs 1:01 (Vince) 
27% slower

2:18:34 (Jasper) vs 2:30:59 (Vince)
8% slower

0:39 (Jasper) vs 1:01 (Vince)
36% slower

1:10:57 (Jasper) vs 1:28:40 (Vince)
20% slower

Can't wait till Vancouver!


Tanis said...

I love the picture of you coming out of the water! You look so happy and sportsman-like! I also love the dorky shot of you holding up your bike. Very funny. Way to go champ!

MJ said...

Enjoyed the report... (worth the wait).

Great character development too, starting to feel like I know these guys!

Good job on the race!


Ulyana said...

Great race and great report! I loved the photos!!!!! I'm yet to have such a good race photo of myself, dorky or not ;)

Nick Gottfried said...

I'm loving the race report. That pic of you in transition look like you're jacking a bike. "I choose this one!" Thanks for the love and it's definately motivating to try to run fast when I know there's guys like you and Jeremy behind me. Looking forward to Vancouver my man.

Erich10 said...

The look on that guys face when your buddy sheldon passes him feet from the finish is priceless

Erich10 said...

Ps, if you find yourself in that bathroom line again next yr, walk over to the gas station at the intersection on the highway instead... it saved me.