On Saturday hubs and I raced the Huronia Olympic Triathlon Relay as Team “Quality Time.”
We were up and out the door (sadly leaving Miles behind this time) by 5:30AM for the drive to Penetanguishene. It sprinkled rain on the drive there and I realized that I had not once checked the weather forecast (there’s a first). Turns out, we were expecting rain and possible thunderstorms. Yikes.
It was raining lightly when we arrived on site, but we were able to pick up our kits, get body-marked and set up transition without getting too wet. And then the skies opened up. With 45 minutes or so until the race start, it was pouring rain with occasional thunder. The race site was absolutely flooded with water and I was getting very concerned about the ride. Officials were keeping an eye on the bike course and assured us that while they would be wet, water was not collecting anywhere on the route. I was still nervous!
The start ended up being slightly delayed since they won’t start until 20 minutes has passed without thunder. The rain let up as we were waiting on the beach. They ended up changing the swim from one loop to two in order to keep us safely away from a fishing derby that was taking place (also delayed due to the weather). I was a nervous wreck about the bike, but it was time to focus on the swim first.
Relay participants started in the last wave (there were only 3) with the 40+ men and women, and we started just as the first wave were approaching the final turn to make their second loop. Uh-oh, it looked like we had a good chance of being trampled. Nothing to do but swim!
As usual, it was tough to find a groove at the start, but I didn’t have too much trouble finding space (except at the turns). The lake was weedy and I was literally pulling through weeds for the first couple hundred metres – blech! We did end up getting passed by some yellow caps (first wave) on their second loop, but the were separated enough that it wasn’t an issue at all. The water was nice and calm, I was swimming fairly straight and felt like I was having a decent swim overall.
We swam close to shore before heading out for loop 2 and I noticed many people around me were standing up and run/walking through the water. I knew that would be less efficiwnt overall so I just kept swimming and hoped I didn’t get stepped on. The second loop was uneventful and I felt strong. I even had some luck following feet a few times, which I never do since I am so afraid of getting kicked.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw 26:XX on my watch getting out of the water, which would have been an unbelievable 1500m time for me. I found out later that the course had been cut to 1400m according to official results – I’m not sure how or why. It still turned out to be my fastest swim to date!
1400m – 26:37 – 1:54/100m
Official Results: 27:01, which includes run up to transition. (Differential added to T1)
I made quick work of getting in and out of T1. Running end to end took the most time; it was a long transition area with a separate section (closest to bike out, of course) for the pros and a long run on a mix of grass and pavement to get to the mount line.
(I need to practice pushing my bike one-handed. I always seem to be using two hands [based on pics] and it looks awkward and inefficient.)
T1: 2:20 (differential from swim added)
We had a short hill to climb right out of transition and then headed out onto the wet roads of the course. I had expected to face a lot of congestion since I was in the last wave, but it wasn’t too bad at all. There were just the right number of people to pass to use as targets for motivation without being a nuisance. I think the hills of the course really helped to split everyone up. This was a challenging course with some serious hills to face. On one hill I honestly thought I was going to fall over because I could barely pedal as I crawled up. I was in my easiest gear on the big ring but couldn’t move my hand to change to the small ring without losing what little balance I had left. Not fun!
While tough, it was an absolutely gorgeous route with many of the roads lined on both sides by thick forest. I only remember seeing a couple of cars and there was always pretty scenery to look at.
Unfortunately the skies opened up again and I was dumped on with rain for the better part of an hour. The droplets were stinging my face, I could barely see and I was terrified that I was going to wipe out on this winding, hilly course. I would pass people on flats or uphills, only to have them pass me on downhills or approaching/rounding bends. At least that gave me a chance to chase them down again.
The last 5K was fast and I finally let loose, knowing I was on my way to the finish. Final 5K split was 6:47, compared to 10:01 for the first 5K! It was great to roll into transition and see hubs standing by my rack. I said something along the lines of “That was hard!” as I racked my bike, he took the chip and headed out on his run.
40.6 KM* (25.2 mi) – 1:12:27 – 33.6 KPH (20.9 mph)
*This was a slightly long course for Olympic distance, as per official results.
T2: 0:47 (differential from swim added)
I took a few minutes to gather my things and clean up our transition area, checked my phone for updates on friends racing Muncie
70.3 37.2 and had time for a shorty 3K run before watching for hubs to finish.
He finished us off with a 41:13 10K, also good enough for 1/5 in the division. We cleaned up!
Overall Time: 2:23:08.7
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was to let someone else finish the race I had started (actually, it was kind of nice to get off the bike and not have to run… even though I did sneak off for a shorty brick run myself), although it definitely left me itching. In a tri relay, only the runner gets to cross the finish line, so now I know what it’s been like for Erin all those times we raced together. It was a lot of fun to do the relay with hubs and we definitely plan to race as a team again.