Sunday, August 9, 2015

2015 Bracebridge Sprint Triathlon Race Report

If you haven't noticed by now, I like going back to the same races year after year, especially the ones that I enjoyed a lot. This race seems to fit well in my schedule since we've been sending the boys to camp in Muskoka. Last year it was my first ever sprint distance and an automatic PR, so it was only natural to see if I progressed in any of the disciplines. I wasn't necessarily planning on beating my PR, but I was hoping to see at least a better swim time since it's been the trend lately. But let's not get ahead of ourselves and see how it went, shall we?
Because of the 2h drive to the venue, this race had me waking up before the crack of dawn. Alarm clock went off at 4:30am, and we left just shortly after 5am. It was too early to have breakfast at home, so the plan was to stop by a Tim Horton's Drive Thru and eat on the go. And it's exactly what we did. I ate 2 boiled eggs that I brought from home, a raisin bagel and an orange juice. Saved a banana for transition, just before the start because it's tradition. We arrived on site at 7am and I quickly grabbed the race bib, chip and got body marked. The transition area seemed fairly empty and due to lots of people being late (they got a spanking from John Salt), the start had to be pushed back by 15 minutes.
This gave me plenty of time to set up, chat my anxiety out, go for another portapotty break and finally wrestle with my wetsuit. I even got time to strike a pose to showcase the awesomeness of my shredded armpits. Time for a new wetsuit, you think?
This one is obviously dead and the ROKA I have in the closet doesn't fit me anymore. I am however waiting to receive another cheap one from XTerra to replace this one. Thankfully I managed to buy it during one of their Flashback Friday sales. Can't beat $119 US bucks. I got 3 good years out of this one, so it's not bad for a wetsuit under $200, right? Anyway, I don't think the rips slow me down that much, but the suit is certainly uncomfortable for being too tight.

Rubber bits and all, I went to the river to warm up. Took a few strokes out and back, then went to give a kiss to hubbs. We chatted for a few more minutes, then it was my time to line up in the time trial start. One person leaving every 5 seconds. 2... 1... Go. I felt fast for a bit and then not so much. Unlike last year, I didn't have to zig zag to pass people, but once I reached the turn around buoy, it was like a hit a wall. Could have been in my head, or just the current... But I felt tired. I pushed as hard as I could and it felt like forever to reach the transition mat. I looked at my watch coming out of the water and saw 15:45. Decent result, but I knew in the moment that I didn't beat my previous time in Bracebridge. Oh well, no biggie. Moving on...
I struggled to take off my wetsuit, as usual. However I knew that I had a very shitty transition time last year, so my next goal was to beat that. I moved as quickly as I could with the heart beating out of my chest and eventually got to the mount line, then on the road where I had a sudden brain fart. Do I have to go left or right?? I am glad that cars were blocking the road on the right, because it helped with the split decision to go left and not embarrass myself asking the volunteer which way to go.

Legs were feeling fine but not great. Particularly my right piriformis was giving me grief and I could feel it with each pedal stroke. I definitely need to go for another bike fit, as Zin thinks I am still doing weird things with my hips, especially in aero. I chose to ride "conservatively hard", knowing that this route had its share of hills. No gasping for air this time, but settle the heart rate and ease into it. The first big hill came at 4km in, and I spun up in my lowest gear. I felt bad for another athlete whose rear derailleur broke half way up and was waiting for someone to pick her up.
Then the rain came. I like biking in the rain, but not as much when it involves the Muskoka hills. Another reason to slow down a bit, but ... just a tiny bit. I could not wait for the turn around - I don't know why but my anxiety kicked in. I was still trying to go as fast as I could and pass people, but any race with a time trial start is a rather lonely one. There may be some people in your AG around, but overall it's hard to know where you are in reference to them. I don't remember any girl in my AG passing me, but I imagined a good number of them being ahead of me. I saw Phaedra around km 8 flying downhill in the opposite direction. For sure I wasn't going to get the top spot that day, hahaha.

On my way back I tried going a little faster and I think I succeeded, at least according to the Strava flybys. See how my effort compares with that of last year. Coming off the bike, I was convinced that I beat last year's time, but Strava does not lie. On the road segment, I was slower by 17 seconds. Hey, every second counts (which should have been the title of this race report).
Back in transition, I remembered my goal of going as fast as I could through them. Decided to go sockless again, only the second time in a run since Lakeside Tri. It was just a 5km run after all and my feet were not in bad shape to start with. As usual at this race, the way out of transition and onto the road is UP. A 200m hill which takes your breath away and feels like death. Surprisingly enough I recovered ok after that and kept pushing through. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor during this race, so I was going completely by feel. 5Ks are supposed to be hard, and once more, I chose to keep an eye on the pace and take it from there. I was targeting a pace between 5-5:30/km, but I only peeked at it once I got to the turn around. I was feeling strong and the legs were having the best day ever. So I tried to push a little harder and found another gear. Now that was a surprise.

Here is how it compared with last year. Definitely a faster run (and a longer course by 200m! - does not include the first 100m uphill out of transition because it took that long to switch sports on my Gamin watch).
2015 run
2014 run
The last km was hard though. I could not wait to reach the finish line, especially as I could hear Steve Fleck announcing the finishers from across the river. So close yet so far... Despite being all downhill, the last 200m were not easy - the grass was wet and I was very careful where I was placing my feet. I didn't want to roll down the chute, but run through it, you know. I was so damn happy when I saw the finish mat, I raised my arms up high and celebrated with every ounce of energy left in my body.
It took a little time for the Sportstats results to upload and I had no idea what my finish time was, but eventually Zin told me "you go it!" and gave me my new PR time : 1:28:52 - best time by 8 seconds!! In the end I had a slower swim and bike (by mere seconds each time), but faster run and transitions. Given that the run course was shorter last year, it makes the difference even more significant. I am stoked with my result, especially since I wasn't hoping so much.

Little by little, the legs are coming back!! Next tri, the Wasaga Olympic distance at the end of the month. But for now, a little bit of rest for my hips and glutes to feel 100% again.


  1. Congratulations on a great result!! A confidence booster I'm sure. Love the pic. That's a great finishing shot.

  2. Congrats on your PB! I'm so happy for you! I think you also got a PB with your race report post. Haha. My xterra wetsuit is experiencing the same shredded armpit issues. Do you know if there is a brand that'll last more than two seasons?

    1. Haha!!! So true!! Not many races are on Saturdays and I have nothing to do on Sundays. So it worked out well. To be honest, I don't know why some wetsuits do this and others don't. I think it depends where the stitches are. Also, his wetsuit resisted the time much better than mine, so I think it has something to do with how tight it is and mow much you are stretching it.

  3. Great run! And awesome finish line pic!! Congrats on the PB. See you at Wasaga Beach!