Tuesday, September 20, 2011

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  :~)

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