Aug. 15, 2006

Cobourg Race Report

Out of the water, Cobourg TriathlonLast Sunday I raced the Cobourg Triathlon. Cobourg was the first triathlon I ever entered, roughly a year ago today. It was interesting to revisit the course. This year the race had two versions, presumably triggered by construction that forced a change to the bike course. The "short" version was held on Saturday, consisting of an unchanged 750 m swim, a 20 km bike instead of 30 km and a 5 km run instead of 7.5 km. A "long" version was held on Sunday, consisting of a 1 km swim instead of 750 m, a 32 km bike instead of 30 km, and the same 7.5 km run as last year. It was mildly annoying that I couldn't do an exact repeat for comparison purposes, but that's life... The entrants were pretty much split between the two distances.

Because I had volunteered to help the Kids of Steel race on Saturday afternoon I didn't have a chance to ride the new bike course. I did drive it though which was very helpful. There were some tricky new corners and plenty of new hills. Knowing what was on the other side made it easier to face the climbs and taught me which descents to exercise caution on.

OK, here's my stats:
Overall: 1:58:13, 42/162, 7/13 in 45-49 age group
Swim (1000 m): 5/162, 15:50, 1:35/100 m, T1 - 2:37
Bike (32 km): 56/162, 1:04:02, 30.0 kph, T2 - 1:15
Run (7.5 km): 52/162, 34:30, 4:36 min/km

Race day started a tad cool as I peddled my Cervelo down to Victoria Beach at 7:00 AM but it was sunny and warm during the race. Perfect... The water was cool, calm and clear. Also perfect! I had two club-mates racing in the same wave with me, Duff in the 55-59 category and Kathie in the 35-39 category, so we had a chance to chat before the race. I had to scramble to buy a new race belt though, as mine seemed to have vapourised and Duff couldn't find his spare one. Oh, and I had the embarrassment of dropping my timing chip before the race and having my name called out over the P.A. to collect it!

My two young nieces decided to volunteer on Sunday (Popsicles! Popsicles!) and the older one, nine years old, did my body-marking. Later on the run I was surprised to see my son was chipping in again at a water station. He got a quick kiss as payment for the cup of water.

I was a bit nervous about the swim distance, as I'd never raced 1000m open water before. In the end I was fifth out of the water with a time of 15:50 (1:35 per 100m), so I didn't have much to worry about there. The swim felt good, and I came out of the water relaxed, or so I thought. I had a bit of trouble getting my cycling shoes on though as the adductor tendons in my groin started to twinge. I still managed to improve my transition a bit (2:37) and the problem went away once I was moving again. I've got to get serious about transitions though, as I'm losing the better part of two minutes compared to some other racers. Maybe I should practice them...

The bike course was great fun. It started off flat but out in the countryside there were quite a few challenging but interesting hills and some technical corners. Although it was "fun" the bike leg is still my weakest, I got passed by way too many riders and I ranked 56th on that leg with a time of 1:04:02 (30.0 kph). A huge drop from fifth... On the final flat section coming back into town one of the riders crashed fast and hard right in front of me. I couldn't see what caused it, maybe a flat or broken fork, or maybe just inattention. The road was pretty smooth at that point. Two racers stopped to check on him, I alerted the medical staff at the next checkpoint. I don't know if he continued, but I saw him after the race walking about. My second transition was pretty quick, 1:15.

Cobourg Finish LineI started the run feeling surprisingly strong. In all my previous races the run has been pretty much a death-march, alternating mostly running with some walking. This time though I managed to keep a good steady pace the whole way. I'm not sure if it was due to the slightly milder weather or the fact that this time I wasn't waterlogged from guzzling eLoad at every water station. I actually paused for a moment as I approached the finish to give the girl ahead of me a cleaner finish photo instead of trying to pass her. My time was 34:30 (4:36 per km), which ranked me 52nd.

My final time was 1:58:13. Three minutes slower than last year! Well not really as the course was 1/3 longer on the swim and 2 km longer on the bike. Converting last year's pace to this year's distance works out to a time of about 2:03:00, so it's actually a five minute improvement. Duff and Kathie both placed fifth in their age groups while I could only manage seventh. They both won prizes too. That massive 40's cohort is a bitch...

My next race is this weekend in Orillia, and then comes my season-end "goal" race, an Olympic-distance race at Wasaga Beach.

Listening to: Run by Snow Patrol from Final Straw.

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