Friday, August 12, 2016

BC Sprint Tri Champs 2016

The BC Short Course Triathlon Championships - Self Transcendence Tri (Victoria BC) July 31, 2016

This is one of my consistently favorite races.

 An awesome post race spread with (almost) all you can eat spelt pancakes, maple syrup, butter, berries, whipped cream, melons, ... etc.. and an awards ceremony which I don't think ends until all in attendance have won something.

Another perk: the overall winner of each of the Standard Tri/Short Course Tri/and Duathlon gets a trophy not unlike the Stanley Cup.   With that in mind, I was shooting for the overall win.

Luckily my old tri buddy Jon lives 5 minutes from the course and is generous to a fault, so there was a great mooching option available for us to stay at.

Arriving fashionably late at this race start is possible: it was declared the day before at package pickup that is was a 'no wetsuit swim' and bike rack positioning was preordained and labelled with our numbers.  No strategy needed for bike placement, you were stuck where luck put you.

All the swim waves all started within a couple of minutes of each other.  Olympic fast swimmers first, then Olympic slow swimmers, then Sprint fast (me) swimmers and lastly Sprint slow.

There was a few other odd waves mixed in there:
- those who chose to wear wetsuits despite the almost hot water (and thus were not eligible for BC provincial prizes)
- and the various relay teams that turned up

                                             1 or 2 swim waves gone with a few more to go

Shortage of porta potties and huge line ups necessitated a visit to the woods, lots of dense woods here 👍.  

Then I ran down to join my heat (baby blue swim caps) already lingering in the water.  Enjoyed a chuckle with a crusty old tri guy at the decrepit state of many peoples' tri suits, lots with holes and discoloration and bagginess issues.  Nice that people want to save their favorite suit, but they really need to update occasionally.

There was at least a 100 of us baby blues caps lined up... the countdown began... the slowest swimmers inexplicably pushed to the front...  GO!!!

The usual bit of swim rugby ensued, then things got easier.

It was a well marked swim, on dead flat water, without any harsh bright sun reflection... more like a pool swim than an open water (except for a weeds and a muddy bottom).  

After a hundred meters or so I got in clear water ... and could still see lots of people well ahead of me!  Unfortunately, I had no idea if they were super-fish from my heat, or super sea slugs from a former heats.

Eventually found myself drafting a guy, which seemed awesome and easy!... then... too easy?  Am I now going too slowly?  should I pass?  This is too easy - I think I'll pass.

I hit it and go for the pass!  OK. now he's drafting me... AND annoyingly tapping my feet every 8 seconds..  Maybe should have just drafted...

Arrived back at the beach and ran the 100 or meters to T1.  No wetsuit so nice and quick. 

Couldn't decide on flying mount or a regular step-over mount, so did a mix of the 2 and almost crashed.  It put me in the wrong lane with some wild swerving, sweet.  Didn't fall or take anyone out thankfully.  Practice your flying leaps people, if you plan on doing those.

Started riding and put on my glasses - one lens had fallen out.  Crap! threw the frames onto a guys lawn and hoped I could find all the bits again later.  No glasses ride today.

This bike course was - hilly, rough, curvy, rough... It was very hard to apply steady even power.

About 2 km into the ride and having passed several people, I noticed people on the roadside often yelling something like: "way to go guys!" when I rode past.

Little weird, I'm by myself aren't I?  

Eventually I realized I wasn't, when at around 8km when the road flattened and straightened out and the chap who was nearby behind me suddenly passed.

Kind of shocked getting passed, so I held on about 10m back until on a hill I passed him back again.  

Unfortunately I went too red zone and then he passed me quite strongly and moved ahead and right out of sight.  Blerg.😞

          End of bike:  "Do I turn here?"

Toward the end of the TT, it got curvy hilly technical again. - suddenly my nemesis was in view again and I was gaining on him.  Basically with aggressive cornering and not braking anywhere I caught and passed him just before going into T2.   Less power but more aggressive riding✅

T2 was quick and I held the same gap of about 3 seconds over my nemesis who I was gradually suspecting was the ex pro who beat me here a couple years ago.  Who also happens to be my age group.  Who would kill my chances to win the AG medal if he passes me.  Crap, don't let him pass!!

As we started down the trail we passed some walkers off to the side and one yelled "go Mike!"

This would make that person Mike Neill, who I feared/expected it was.  So... the race was on!

I kept running scared and ~seemed~ to be holding him off.  Couldn't shake some pessimism since he had smoked me at this race last time.

But run turnaround - he seemed farther back..!  Maybe at least 10 or 15 seconds? No way!  I controlled my breathing enough to say a very calm sounding 'good race!' when passing him headed back.

I knew I had to hold pace as the first sign of catching me would probably inspire greater speed, so kept hammer down and drool out the whole way back to the finish line.

Approaching the line, a glance back confirms nobody -Huzzah!!!  Final sprint not required!

Had a major pig out at the post race feast and stoically lasted through the super long awards ceremony (everybody wins something here) and amazingly they still do a random bike give away at the end.  

I managed second overall with an AG win.  It turned out Mike was now in a different age cat than me (I had moved to the next older one, he hadn't) so it wasn't quite as important to beat him.

Food line getting long - but they never ran out of food!

Annoyingly, there was no prize for 2nd overall, and the enormous 1st place trophy went to a 25 year old Victoria guy who was very speedy, especially in the water, alas.

Fun day and a fun weekend on the island with friends and family!

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