Race Tune-Up at the Squamish Triathlon

I planned to race the Squamish Triathlon, a non-drafting Olympic distance event in Squamish (a town halfway between Vancouver and Whistler) as a pre-race tuneup for the 70.3 in Sonoma next week. The added bonus of doing the event was the chance for Ross and I to spend some time with Malaika and Peter. Peter is this pilot we know that does death defying runs on the North end of Vancouver Island in float planes who in a past life won three Hawaiian Ironmans along with a crapload of other races of note. They are cool. The race in Squamish is gorgeous and winning it for my second time was great, especially after setting a new bike record after a really tough week of training. Things seem to be on track for next week… even though I am VERY nervous about the last five kilometers of that run! On for the stories from the week….

My week of training was great but when I got to Friday I was crushed. Ross dropped me on his cross bike while I was on a road bike… in an hour easy spin. Ross was also riding with one hand since he still has a bit of metal in his thumb so it was hugely pathetic. The past eight days were tough. I did the race in Canmore and the next day did a 90 minute hilly trail run with Sean. My legs were actually pretty good despite the race and the travel so the run was awesome. I got a massage straight after and did an easy spin and an ice bath on Monday. Tuesday was a hard swim followed by intervals on the trainer (8×5 minutes at 85% MAP) on my time trial bike. This effort equates to about what I could hold over the course of an hour in a time trial. The next day was a long ride of four hours with 45 kilometers at my half Ironman pace. I was pleased with how I felt doing that long a ride (this was only my second ride outdoors on my BMC TT02) and I ran off the bike for 40 minutes with 20 minutes of steady state (not too fast, about 4:10/km speed). Then I did an open water swim.

Thursday was my last key run workout and I cracked to a fafillion pieces. I was running on the treadmill for 90 minutes. I started with 35 minutes at 3:55/km pace which was too hard for where I wanted to be according to the heart rate monitor (this was supposed to be a long base run but it was approaching steady state and higher intensities). I should have started at 4:10 and dropped it down to 3:55 but because I was already done for I just kept it at the same pace doing 35 minutes straight then 5x3minutes with 2 minutes rest followed by another 5×1 minute with 2 minutes rest. So I got through 55 minutes of quality in a 90 minute run which was super hard and solid. Especially on a treadmill!! Needless to say, after the three straight days of blasting myself Friday was ridiculous so Saturday morning I had a choice. Do nothing, try to recover and be flat for the triathlon on Sunday or go do something with some hard efforts and try to blow the crap out of my legs. I opted for the second choice (knowing that I was tired but also knowing that I could recover from that much work) and I was glad I did. I did our local Burnside group ride which essentially is echelon from 15 minutes into the ride so I could ride at 40km/h on a wheel for a solid 2 hours. It was actually not as hard as I expected and the group disbanded early so I really was motorpaced rather than challenged. I quit early to catch the ferry to Squamish and head up to the race.

We spent Saturday evening with Malaika and Peter after he flew himself in from the Island. They have a cool radio where Malaika can hear if Pete is coming in to the airport in Squamish. Cool. We shared some dinner al fresco with a sweet bottle of 2006 Herder Josephine (yum!) and Peter regaled us with stories of flying through fogbanks navigating by the shoreline. I am a frightened flyer already so hearing his stories did not help the issue! It was super fun.

The next morning we got up early to catch the Tour de France, eat some Nature’s Path and have a coffee before I had to pack up and head to the race start. I rode over to registration to get my numbers, set up T2 (there was a swim/bike transition next to the lake and a second transition to the run) and then rode my bike up to Alice Lake. I did a quick warm up in the water, got my Profile by Aquaman wetsuit all adjusted (I have the new Goldcell and it is AWESOME!), figured out the swim course and then waited until the start.

Okay my swim was terrible. My wetsuit was super comfy, my arms were turning over but I was going nowhere. The women start last so we end up behind EVERYONE so within one minute of the start we begin swimming through the field. This is not an excuse but more the reason why I thought I was swimming fast when really I wasn’t. I was moving through people all of the time but it really wasn’t that hard to do so since every beginner other than women beginners was in front of me. I exited in a glacial 22:20. YIKES! I am guessing that my week of training was a bit part of that because there was a theme of “tired” to my whole day.

I went out onto the bike and started the descent carefully. I wasn’t sure how fast I could ride in aerobars, wasn’t sure about cornering, frankly I was a little nervous riding fast in aero position. Added to that was the fact I had not seen the course at all so my first lap was pretty slow. However riding my BMC TT02, with my cool Lazer aero helmet, with fast DuraAce wheels was very fun. I went very slowly through the corners and wasn’t that aero most of the way on that first lap. We did four laps of a loop that included a steady descent, left turn to another false flat descent, left turn past transition up a short climb, right turn downhill on a very bumpy road, left turn to a short climb back to Hwy 99, then a long climb up Hwy 99 to turn left downhill again. Hwy 99 is probably about a 4% climb, maybe a bit more in sections so it is still big ring but slow for time trialing. Plus there was a decent headwind up the hill and after the first lap you are lapping people so it is a tricky course to be really fast because you overtake people in corners and need to be careful trying to pass on the right. I believe the effort I did on the bike was about what I could do for another 50 kilometers because I finished the bike tons of bike legs left.

Off the bike onto the run course, again running blind, I ran the first lap steady but not too hard. I was feeling okay but not snappy. That was my whole day really. When I went through after the first lap Malaika told me I had six minutes on second so I just relaxed and ran it in. My second lap was considerably slower than my first because I stopped running hard! Basically I figured if I didn’t have to dig deep I should save it for next weekend so I just jogged it in. It was a cool trail run which was fun and it was again very hilly so I am confident I am running pretty well for next weekend. Well, at least I am sure I am going to be able to finish next weekend (I really wasn’t sure how I was going to do on a time trial bike) so mission accomplished. I took home another Squamish Tri title along with the $1000 prize purse, fastest swim/bike and run split of the day and a fun trip to the mainland. Anne Marie Madden was second and Molly Hummel from Colorado was third.

After the race Ross and I blasted back to Victoria with Peter’s advice: RECOVER!! So that is the plan. A crapload of nothing on the training schedule this week. Including a lazy morning on the couch this morning drinking coffee and watching Cadel Evans take the yellow jersey.

So until next week… wish me luck! Here’s hoping my first 70.3 event is fun!

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