Calgary hosted the 1988 Olympics, continues to host the famous Stampede, the Flames hockey team, lots of energy companies (the province of Alberta is Canada’s oilpatch) and this past weekend, a group of hardcore Ironman types looking to race a really tough half. Home of the oil cowboys of Canada, Calgary is posh and fancy but likes to dress itself up casual. I have to give a side note to my American friends: only here do Canadians call a road a trail. In Victoria, trails are skinny and not meant for cars. For this 70.3 event the weather was spectacular all weekend, the course was gorgeous and the spectators were awesome. Thank you to Paul Anderson and his organizing crew in Calgary for such an amazing race and big thanks to Rose and Madi Serpico from Tri-It Multisport for such a fun homestay. I will be back for more.
Every half Ironman is tough and the competition at this year’s event in the women’s pro division was formidable. However, I underestimated how hard just racing this course was going to be, let alone meeting the challenge of my competitors. I was very happy to share the podium in third with women’s winner Magali Tissyere who had a strong race start to finish and Heather Jackson who continues to impress this season with her very close runner up position. Following girls who have earned podiums at the World Championships is excellent. Two speedy Canadians Sara Gross and Lisa Mensink took fourth/fifth. Another interesting fact is that all top 5 females had blonde hair so rest assured blondes are all having more fun tonight.
The biggest positive I can take from the race was the bike. First a big thank you goes to Ridley’s Cycle in Calgary for sorting out some pre-race mechanical issues, due 100% to my poor mechanical skills. I earned the fastest bike split on a pancake course (well there was maybe a tiny uphill here and there but I wasn’t out of the big ring even once so that is a FLAT course in my books. Last season I had my arse handed to me on ALL flat courses no matter how fit I was on the bike so this is promising and I can work with that.
Looking at my race in the overall picture I wasn’t flying but because of some strong riding my race result was excellent. I didn’t have the kind of day to challenge Magali or Heather for the win in the end and I am greatly disappointed my run was appalling. However, I am stoked to have been part of the front of the race that day. I am pretty sure there are a few things I could tweak that may result in immediate improvement for my next event. I know that although my splits for the swim and run are the only signs of weakness, the bike was tough as well. Getting it all together is really, really difficult and the frustration motivates me greatly. This is why this sport is so addicting!
In the end I think I underestimated the altitude. I know my body and know that altitude requires respect if I am going to do well…. I just didn’t check the precise altitude where the race started or that of the race as it rolled back to Calgary. The last 10km of that race was so hard and I was thinking that each kilometer of the last 10km felt like two. Mostly because each kilometer was taking me close to the time I normally take to run two of them 🙂
To earn the fastest bike split of the day I rode my Trek Speed Concept 9.9 size small with Di2, the Hilo saddle and an Aeolus 5 with the disc wheel built on a Powertap G3. That is a fast combination but I think I would have gotten away with the Aeolus 7 as well as the wind wasn’t as gusty as I expected. Sadly I messed up my bike cockpit before the swim and couldn’t actually gather any data on race day. Blonde moment I guess.
I think it was an excellent result on a day that wasn’t really as strong as I am know I can be. Onwards I go, off to Colorado to give it another go next weekend with more acclimation. No matter what, these races are going to be good training for me going into Worlds this year.
Thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Rudy Project, Shimano, AVIA, Powerbar, Polar, Powertap, Champion System, Hwy 19 Wetsuits, USANA, ESI Grips, TP Therapy and Saltstick. Another podium place which is adding up to a lot of podium spots this season. Hope to keep the streak running. I still would love to see the top step at a 70.3 this year again. Thanks to all the awesome athletes and volunteers for making the race in Calgary so special and thanks to Paul Anderson for running the pro podium in time for me to attend and make my flight out… so appreciated!! Sorry I had to miss your speech Rasmus… big congrats again on your win!
I am now in Vail at my friend Kevin’s place relaxing at elevation. Looking forward to visiting altitude ace Sara Tarkington in Boulder and her fiancé Doug. Next up Boulder is 70.3, so stoked!!
It’s good to have friends 🙂