Monday, 22 June 2015

Toronto Triathlon Festival: 1'st OA 1:54:30

Racing at Toronto Triathlon Festival this past weekend was a great way to cap off three solid weekends of racing.  I raced in Woodstock two weekends ago, in Welland last weekend, and then at TTF this past weekend.  I wasn't sure how I was going to recover coming off the half iron (Welland), but I was feeling good and ended up having a great race!

Race backdrop


The half iron in Welland last week took a lot out of me, and I spent the entire week trying to recover and gain back my lost weight (I was down to 142 lb from my pre race 146 lb).  Luckily by race morning, I had my weight back on (thanks to some delicious Mexican food).

Race morning was a bit weird.  I woke up to find my nose bleeding pretty good (which luckily didn't continue), and then I found out I was starting in the fourth wave (usually I'm right at the front).  Luckily, after having raced so much recently, I was pretty relaxed heading in, and I just rolled with the days events.


The water was pretty cold on Sunday, and for a pretty lean guy like me, I never tend to do well in the cold.  Luckily I took some DIY precautions, and was able to stay warm.

I was in the fourth wave...but got some fast feet!
I started back in the fourth wave with the rest of the 20-24 age group and also the 35-39 AG, and had a pretty clean start.  I really wanted to find a good pair of feet to sit on, and I was able to find one swimmer (not sure who) who was swimming at a perfect pace for me.  We swam perfectly straight, and I didn't leave his draft once (I never touched his feet so he probably didn't know I was even there).  The thought crossed my mind where I wondered if I was just being lazy or just becoming a bit of a smarter athlete...

Ready to go ride


We had passed a lot of people in the swim, so by the time I was on the bike, there were not huge amounts of people to go by.  My race day got a bit weirder when my water bottle decided to fall out of its holder at the beginning of the bike...I didn't even get one sip.

It was fun to have people to chase down on the bike, as it kept my interest and focus up though the ride.  I was near a few other strong cyclists, and I rode back and forth (with the required gap) with Kirk Hopkins.  I just told myself just to ride steady, and that the race was going to come down to the run.  Cam Black was out in the front of the race with the escort (since he had started in the first wave), and I was about 2:30 down on him going into the run.


I was feeling good coming off the bike, and after last weeks half iron, only having to run 10km seemed like nothing.  I was with about four other guys, and we started the run all together.  I got out into the front and got to work chasing down Cam in the front.  

Staying relaxed and getting into my stride
At the turnaround, I was only about 40 seconds back, so I knew I was making good progress.  I caught up to Cam with maybe 2.5km to go (aprox) and quickly moved into the lead position.  It was a cool experience to be leading the run (with the motorcycle and bike escorts) heading into the finish (in many past experiences, I have been the lead runner who has been caught/passed).  I kept running strong and crossed the line first for my first overall win of the season!!

Crossing the line first and winning the race!!

Post Race

It was a great feeling to win the race with a strong run.  I have been working incredibly hard to improve in that discipline, and today it payed off (and I even had the fastest run split)!  
It was also great to have my family at the finish and also have Catalina and her family there to cheer me on.  It was so nice to have their support!  Unfortunately my dad couldn't make it to the race, but I'd say a win was a pretty solid fathers day present.

Family shot (minus papa bear and Matt)!  Nice face Andy...

And to make my day even better, I won the prize pack from Toronto Triathlon Club (from the draw I entered the day before).  What a day!

I just kept winning today!
Receiving my trophy!

A big thanks goes to all those who helped put on the race, and also to Multisport Canada and eLoad nutrition for their the continued support.  Also a big shout out to all the Mettle athletes at the race!!

Also, if the words and pictures didn't quite do it for you, here is some exclusive video footage of my run into the finish and post race.  


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Rose City (Welland) Half Iron Triathlon: 4:12:54 - 2'nd Overall

I tried to write this race report yesterday.  I woke up close to noon Monday morning and after eating a huge breakfast, I sat down at my computer, looked at my screen for maybe 20 minutes, and then realized I needed to go lie down.  I was just out of it...this race took a lot out of me.

This was my first real attempt at a half iron triathlon.  I did try the same race three years previously, but I was quite underprepared.  I blew up on the run, but I did finish.  This year, things were feeling good.  I've been training more for longer distance races, and I was ready for another half iron triathlon.

Pre race

I was feeling good leading into the race...good taper, good fitness...things were good.  Race morning was pretty typical, and after a bit of a swim warm up, things got underway.


It was a pretty calm swim for the pro/elites since there were only five of us starting in the first wave.  Alex Vanderlinden and I were up at the front of the race, and we took turns pulling.  Neither of us were very inclined to push the pace, so it wasn't a surprise to have some fast AG athletes catch up to us (they started a minute behind).  We both tucked into their draft and sat in for the rest of the swim.

Taking a turn in the front

Out of the water

Heading up to T1


Alex pulled ahead a bit on the run up to transition, and he had a bit of a lead as we started out on the bike.  I had to keep reminding myself I didn't need to panic and ride hard to bridge the gap...there was 90km of riding to go, and I just wanted to ride steady.  About 45km into the bike, Alex was around 50 seconds up on me.  I decided it was probably a good idea to narrow that gap, and I caught up to him just after 65km.  We rode together for a bit, and then I started to tighten up at around 80km.  The last 5km of the bike was glutes were burning and I just wanted to sit up and get off my bike.   Alex went ahead and put about 30-40 seconds on me going into T2. 

Putting in some power

Heading to T2


I came into T2 with burning legs, which felt very stiff as I started to "run".  Really...the first couple km's were brutal.  I just had to tell myself to hold a steady pace, and that I was going to finish this race.  There were more than a few moments when I questioned why I thought this was a good idea.  Alex put a lot of time on me on the run, and I came across the line about 10 minutes back for second place.  
Starting 21.1km and already hurting

Tanks empty

Post Race

After crossing the line, I realized I could hardly in addition to burning glutes, my quads decided to shut down as well.  I hobbled to the recharge with milk tent with the assistance of Catalina (who was wonderfully supportive and also an amazing cheerleader).  I managed to get seated in a bean bag chair, and got hooked up to the recovery pump for my legs.  I was pretty out of it at this point, but after some chocolate milk and a bit of food, I managed to get back up and walk around.

Sitting down never felt so good

Nice way to refuel after the race


I finished this race with nothing left...this was my first real stab at a long distance triathlon, and I put out a solid time and came away with a second place.  I gained a lot more understanding for what it takes to race at the longer distances, and I think I will be able to learn and improve for future long course races.  
Second place on the day...still taller than Alex one step down

I need to say a big thank you to my chauffeurs for race day Juan (who had a great day of racing himself) and Alicia.  A big thanks also to my wonderful girlfriend Catalina who was cheering me the whole way and who insisted on carrying my rain soaked bags after the race.
Also a big thanks to all my supporters back home who couldn't make it to the race (Mummy, Daddy, Danosaur, Coaches: Derek, Christine and Brent) and many others as well.
Also a continued thanks to my sponsors Multisport Canada and eLoad.

I'm taking this whole week off training.  I'm going to spend my week off in my garage restoring an nice wooden bench and also an old tool box.  If I feel good to go on Sunday, I'm going to be racing at TTF in the Olympic distance race.    

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Woodstock Sprint Triathlon-3'rd OA 58:50

It was a great day of racing out in Woodstock Ontario yesterday.  This was the first race of the season for myself and many others, and we couldn't have asked for a better day to race.  This is my first of three back to back to back races (Woodstock, Welland, TTF), so it was nice to see my other Multisport Canada Ambassador Team members Mikael Staer Nathan and Alexander VanderLinden out to race.  Jackson Laundry also made an appearance, so this shaped up to be a nice competitive day (and there was a pretty epic showdown at the end).

After a typical race warm up (some light biking and a swim), we lined up and got ready to go.  Off the gun, one swimmer pulled out in front, and set a pretty fast pace that no one decided to match.  He went off the front, but the rest of us (Mikael, Alex, Jack, and I) formed a pack and pretty much kept it steady for the whole 750m.  Out of the water, we were all together.

After a short but steep uphill to the main road, we began to battle it out on the bike.  Jack moved to the front pretty early on, and none of us matched his pace.  He pulled ahead, and the remaining three of us stayed pretty close the whole ride.  I seemed to be in the front (of our group of 3) for most of the 20km...Alex moved ahead of me just after the turnaround (maybe to try and prompt a response that would help us close in on Jack), but we didn't catch Jack, and we all came into T2 pretty close together.

I've had people tell me over and over again..."it's all about the run" or "bike for show, run for the dough".  Pretty much, you have to have a good run to be competitive when it counts.  This wasn't my thing.  In previous years, I've had a pretty big gap off the bike, but then got chased down on the run.  It's easy enough to say "just match their pace when they catch you", but that never happened, and I usually lost it in the run.
This race was a bit different.  You see, I kinda got tired of being run down, so I got faster at running  over the winter (and stayed injury free).  So when Alex and Mikael caught me at 2km in, I just tucked into their group and stayed with them.  This turned the race into a 3 WAY SHOWDOWN (for 2'nd)!!!  We all ran together for the next 2km.  It was almost a surreal was super fun to be hanging with both these guys, battling it out head to head.  With 1km to go, I was feeling pretty good, so I tossed in a bit of a surge.  I ran hard for maybe 10 seconds, which proved to separate our 3 man pack.  Mikael got gapped, but Alex stuck with me.  After re-grouping with Alex, I did another surge, but he was able to respond again.  Then he attacked, and put me on the ropes.  I stayed with him for a bit, but eventually a gap opened, and that was it.

This was probably the most fun I've ever had at a race.  It was really exciting racing, and also a super supportive atmosphere.  Mettle Multisport (who I have started coaching with) was out in big numbers at the race, and it was great to cheer on all the Mettle athletes, and also have them cheering for me.  It was also great to be out racing with my girlfriend Catalina (who had a great race after returning from injury), and to have the support of her whole family.
Thanks also goes to Multisport Canada for their continued support (and for hosting a great event), and to eLoad nutrition for keeping me fueled in training and racing.

Close race!

Exiting the water

Nice form!


All smiles post race

Overall winners