Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sept to Jan = The base season starts!

Well... the last 'A' race is done!

Now for a "relaxing" Sept to Jan of base building and ~maybe~ some strength work.

My goals last year were picked out way back in Jan 2011:
1. Points leader for the Triathlon BC Race series
2. A high overall finish in the Kelowna Apple Nationals at the end of August

and so... the 2011 season in review:

May 22 Island Runner Team X Westshore Sprint Triathlon
3rd overall and 1st Age Group

May 23 North Shore Spring Sprint Triathlon
3rd overall and 1st AG

June 19th Iron Mountain Triathlon
2nd overall and 1st AG

July 3rd Triathlon of Compassion
Tied (!) for 1st Overall

July 31st Self Transcendence Triathlon - BC Sprint Champs
2nd Overall and 1st AG

August 21st Kelowna Apple Triathlon - Canadian National Short Course Championships
1st Overall

... and winning the points series: check the Men 40-44 group... (yes, I'm that old)
Perfect 2011 season - better than I had hoped for!

Tentative goal next year: Triathlon World Chamionships in New Zealand!

Thanks to my sugoi and supportive wife Satoko and Coach PC + VEC teamates!

Kelowna Apple Nationals - The big one!

Kelowna Apple Short Course National Champs August 21/2011

Drove up a day early to relax and enjoy watching my niece Kaitlyn race in the kids of steel on Saturday. The Sprint Nationals were to be my 'A' race of the season so I was pretty inspired. Pre-race goal was to win AG, and a hopefully a high place overall. Kelowna was buzzing with a couple thousand age groupers and pro triathletes cruising around town all weekend, a good racey vibe.

Lots of races over 2 days: kids of steel, junior elite, sprint and Olympic distance nationals, elite Olympic distance nationals...Overall this race is well organised and has a beautiful course - highly recommended.

Woke up to awesome weather on Sunday morning, not too hot or cold, so everything suited my tastes. Bike into transition area the day before, which makes race morning a bit less arduous and more relaxed.

Heats for the sprint race started at 7am and left every 5 minutes. Several heats for the ~450 competitors. I was in the large third heat, Men 40+, so there was quite a few old codgers there with me. Water temp was ~just~ cool enough for a wetsuit, which suited me since I always feel all water is too cold.

National anthem was sung and then the first heats were off! I killed time with a quick swim warm up and then set up in the front row when the call to the line was made.

Ours was the 3rd heat, so after 10 minutes building tension waiting for the first 2 heats to go, the gun went for us and it was on!

As usual, it's a crazy sprint at the start, everyone to hoping to get to the clear water at the front. I felt quite good and didn't get bashed around very much in the initial jostling. By the second buoy we were starting to pass slow swimmers from earlier heats, which can be a bit disrupting to the pace when you almost slam into someone at a standstill in the water.

By about the halfway point I had locked onto a pair of fast moving feet and could follow them safely around the latter portion of the course. 3rd out of the water in my heat, passed my cheering family, and went into the abyss of the transition area.

With so many AGs the transition area was huge, but I had a pretty good mental route mapped out: straight down to the 3rd tree, left turn, down long row to last tree in line, 2nd bike to left...

Onto the bike (a speedy new P4, thanks from Jeremy at Speed Theory) ... a flat portion initially made this a good course to leave shoes on pedals and it was easy to get the feet in while riding. 2 laps of 10km. Hit the first steep hill in my big ring and carried speed up at least half of it. Was passing hordes of people because the earlier heats were now spread out all over the whole course.

Spotted another fast guy about 400m in front of me and started reeling him in. Steady progress... by about 1/2 through first lap, I had caught him. Annoyingly, he was pretty shameless about using slower riders for drafting, staying directly behind them as long as possible. Because there was an unending stream of slower riders, it translated into continuous drafting from each rider to the next.

This made getting past him difficult. I passed him twice, but I suspect he was drafting off me as well because he wouldn't go away. Annoyed, when we finally got to the hill again, I put the hammer down and that put an end to his free ride on my wheel.

Rolled into T2, racked bike, and then after getting briefly lost - I couldn't find the run exit - headed out for the last 5km. Pleasant run, mostly along scenic waterfront seawall. I made wrong turn at an un-marshaled y-intersection, then had to re-pass the same people I had just run by.

Despite feeling quite slow, nobody passed me and I passed several, so I felt things were probably going well. 5km always goes pretty quick, then the sweet music of the finish line and announcer's voice greeted me as I rolled in.

Some dorks sprinted me to the line, I guess not realising we were in different heats and I was in fact 5 or 10 minutes ahead of them.

After relaxing a bit with my family and downing some post race coffee and several yogurts (those Greek yogurts are good!) we wandered off to check results - low and behold - it seemed I had taken the overall win! Sprint distance national champion - expectations exceeded!

Perfect ending to the season! - a success shared by my wife Satoko.
Kelowna Apple Sprint Overall Results

Thanks to Coach Paul Cross and training partners Chris and Jon!

Thanks also to Mom, Sara, Kaitlyn and Robyn for providing the cheering!
Video shot by Sato on iphone then edited on same iphone:

Maple Ridge Iron Mountain Triathlon

Iron Mountain Triathlon June 19/2011

The Iron Mountain Triathlon, centered around Whonnock lake, way way - way out in Maple Ridge. Whenever I go out to Maple Ridge it seems to be pouring rain. Thus, despite being 'summer' on the calender, it was about 10 degrees and a downpour when I rolled up.

The race started at 7am (!?@%*!), so when I arose from bed at 4:45am to a black rainy morning Sato wisely rolled over, told me to have a good race, and went back to sleep. I got to the lake a bit late and had to run about frantically to set up in transition and get into the wetsuit. Luckily my small car meant that I could park in the closest possible spot that no one else could squeeze into.

Seeing people assembling at waters edge I ran down and joined the fray - unfortunately no time for a warm up, though I'm not sure warming was even possible in those conditions. It was a beach start, so after the drama of running down the sand and a few hop steps I hit the water.

May-vember and June-uary this year meant that despite usually being described as a 'warm' lake, the water was FREEZING. Swim felt long, two big loops with a short beach run in between.

I felt pooped out a bit at the end as I haven't been doing much swim training, especially for the longer distances. Came out with several people in front, but that's fine, I always like chasing people on the bike.

Managed to shuck the wetsuit without too much drama then bounded out of transition in my tissue paper thin racing suit for 40km of biking in the rain and cold. Within 1km, all I could think of was how great it would be when this awful bike was over, it was soooooo cold.

The course had lots of descending and sharp corners in the first 10 or 15km, on which I took some risks and passed several people. At about 20km I stopped catching people and assumed the ones still out front were total hammers that I would never catch anyway.

As the ride continued I ended up having a motorcycle following alongside me, which I thought was weird when they should be up at the front following along with the leaders. Another nuisance was that every intersection I came to, which were quite a few, the marshall was in a car, or otherwise out of site, so I had so slow right down, or stop to wait for direction.

I couldn't blame them given the conditions, but it was painful to apply the brakes when it took so much energy to get going again. It was a very hilly and challenging course. Finally rolled back into transition.

My hands had gotten so numb that changing gears was becoming impossible and my core temp was starting to drop significantly. The numb hands were a burden again when I couldn't activate the clasp that held my helmet on, making it a distinct possibility that I would be doing the run wearing a huge time trial helmet. Random luck got it off then I was off for the final 10km run.

Mostly a street run, there were quite a few spectators (people coming for the sprint race that started at 11am) and I was surprised at the enthusiasm they cheered and high-fived me with as the run began.

At about 2.5km one of the volunteers told me I still had a good lead and to keep it up - it finally dawned on me (the motorcycle/ absent marshalls/cheering... etc) that I was actually in first place, at that point!

This was a new experience! Shocked, I just hoped not too many would pass me before the line. At about 6km or so another runner passed me, though it was more like a bicycle flying past me.

No illusions about locking on as he went past, he was running at about twice the speed I was. Shocked, I tried to hammer the rest of the way and clung on to second place. Yay! Second overall is my best ever placing in a triathlon - so I was still super excited with that result.

Looking later at the results, I was amazed about about the guy that had won the race - he had run a 33 minute 10k - I speed I can't fathom at the end of a hard Olympic tri.

Nevertheless, I got a nice trophy for winning my age group and was super excited about getting second overall - all in all, it was a great day, in retrospect!

Iron Mountain Triathlon Overall Results

no video on this one, videographer Sato had the day off  :~)

The season openers: both on the same weekend!

The tri Bc points races are usually separated by weeks, but for some inexplicable reason they had 2 points races, in 2 different cities (Van and Vic), in the same weekend! Arrg! Since I was worriend about late season races (when my call schedule got worse) I figured I better try to squeeze in both of these events.

Team x tri in victoria: May 22/2011

Sato and I and Meggie bombed over to victoria the on Saturday morning (for Sunday morning race), I had screwed up my fery reservations (wrong weekend) but luckily the ferry wasn't full so it didn't matter. We stayed downtown and toured around victoria and the racecourse that afternoon, decided we still quite like victoria and would move back if it is in the cards sometime.
It was a beautiful course around Fort Rod Hill park in a suburb of Victoria. I was nervous the night before as it was freezing cold and rainy (like our entire spring season), not optimal conditions for a frosty like me. Morning weather cooperated and it was just overcast and cold.

Good swim, I just sit in and try not to lose too much time. Bike was a hilly course along the waterfront, I managed to catch the several faster swimmers pretty quickly and settled into a nice rythm. Second lap of the bike I passed the guy with those tri spoke wheels in the video. Run was prett much solo. I had one guy close behind me at the start, but by the turn around he had disappeared.

It was nice trial run on a barkmulch trail, feather soft landings when pounding along tired with poor form. Cruised across the line by myself, the 2 guys ahead of me were way ahead, the guys behind were way behind, so no sprint was required, just look composed for the crowd at the line.
Extremely happy with the race, my goal was to win my age group (which I did), but to be on the podium for 3rd overall was better than I had hoped for!
Team X Triathlon Results

Followed the awards with a frantic drive to ferry trying to make the 1300 sailing as we had to make it back to vancouver in time for package pickup for the North Shore tirathlon (pickep closed at 1600pm) the following morning!

That evening I was pretty pooched, but I was careful to hydrate and refuel well after the victoria race. Didn't sleep great, despite being quite tired and dragged myself and team manager Sato out of bed at 6am to repeat the process we had done the day before.

North Shore Spring Triathlon: May 23/2011

North shore race is a pretty big scene: they close mount seymour parkway (a big 4 lane road) and there is tons of people racing, supporting there familiy memebers and the kids of steel division has tons of kids competing. As a result the whole area around the aquatic center is a zoo of bikes, kids, families and warming up racers.

Lots of running around in transiton setting up my kit while Sato went off to find parking about a mile away. Last year at this race I got screwed because they started the heats about 40 minutes early, so I had to swim with a lane full of non-swimmers.

This year I was nice and early and when the inevitable time changes happened I was in line and ready to start with the '10-12 minute per 750 meter' grouping. Bang the gun goes off and away we go. Swim goes well, though as usual, I swallowed gallons of water. I can't figure out how to avoid this problem, it happens in every race. Swimming is my weakest of the 3, but I'm quick enough to not lose too much time, and then I can usually catch the pure swimmers on the bike and run.

My lap counter got mixed up and I didn't get the signal of when I was done. My counting always get mixed up when I'm bashing away with a lane full of people, so when I was pretty sure I was done I stopped and stared at the counter girl. She didn't know, but another girl leaned over her and shouted at me that I was done and to get outa there.

Sato was a little worried I had swum and extra 2 laps, but in hindsight I don't think I did. Outta the pool and onto the bike! There was a lot of people (maybe 10 or 15) in front of me after the swim, but after the first bike loop (of 4 total) I had passed several.

By the 4th bike loop I knew there was only a few left in front of me, so I was hopeful it would stay that way until the line. Good quick transition and off on the run. Run this year was a street run, which was good, as last years trail run was super confusing.

My run always starts slow then gets faster, so I had one guy that I passed on the bike catch up to me, then we ran together the remainder of the 5km. He pipped me at the line, but I didn't mind that much because he looked fairly young and was probably a different age group.

After going for a nice pancake breakfast at the nearby holiday inn we returned to partake in the awards. Lo and behold - when I checked the results I had met my goal of winning the age group, but also got 3rd place overall! Needless to say I was really stoked for so high an overall finish!

North Shore Tri 2011 results

So, it was a great weekend of racing - not dumping rain or crazy cold (well maybe a little crazy cold) and I had exceeded expectations in the results! Yay! The 2 firsts for age group meant I was off to a great start in the points series as well!

Video shot by Sato on the iphone and then edited on the same device, while flying to calgary to visit dad :-)

Sound levels were a bit wacky for this vid - it was my first attempt and didn't know how to change the settings :-)

2011 Tri Season - off to the races

Training this year with Paul Cross and VEC!

Goals are winning tri BC points series for my age group

and a high overall finish at the Apple National race in Kelowna in August.

Off we go!