I was pretty chilled about this... I'd taken a while to recover from Placid, and up until the middle of the week before the race was going to treat it as a training day, but I finally started to get some power back on the bike, so had a two day taper and thought I'd see what would happen, as well as try a slightly different approach to nutrition.
I arrived in town late on Saturday afternoon, just in time to register and rack the bike, have a quick drive to see if Dwight Beach was fixed, have a quick swim, and and head to the hotel to get the nutrition ready, catch the athlete forum on the Rogers community channel which was neat, review race plan, and pig out with carbs.
Sunday was pretty low stress too... it generally is if your bikes all racked up already. Coffee, breakfast, drive, park, bus, pump, unpack.... I had a warm-up swim, realized my favourite googles were leaking, so switched to my back-up pair, was coralled... stood at the left of the start and was off.
I didn't have a great swim to be honest... I've been working on technique a lot recently, but today I couldn't really hit it. I kept drifting off to the right as well, so went pretty wide, as well as missing out on any draft opportunities... out in 40.03, 113/214 AG, 584 overall... B- must try harder.
I'd had an awful, awful recce of the course a few weeks beforehand, despite stopping for a rather nice lunch in a cafe in bayville, so was going to be careful not to overdo it too much.. and soon settled into my usual routine of taking it steady up the hills and being passed before bombing past the passers on the flats and descents. I managed to lose my concentrated carbo-pro at some point, so had to switch to my crazy supercaffinated booster gels as the main supplement to my clifbars.
Have to say I loved it along the dirt bit of North Portage... visions of Paris-Roubaix in my mind.
At this point I caught up with Kev from TTC. I thought our paths would probably cross in the race, but I had quite forgotten about him up until now.... with only about 15k to go on the bike, he was going to be lot closer to me on the run than I would like, as having seen him at Peterborough, I know he's a demon on the run leg.
Back up the lolipop stick to transition... embarrassingly end up plowing into the draft zone of someone and pulling out of the pass just in front of the NRG coaches.... oops!
2.53 32/214 AG, 120 overall. Executionally I was really pleased with it, particularly considering the course, as reviewing the power graphs post-race showed that I'd kept the average power levels pretty steady throughout the rided, and pretty much avoided any powerspikes.
I felt pretty good going into the run... smooth and light... and ticked off the first few ks in aroun 4.20s... again I was trying to take it easy up the hills, although despite this strategy, I was finding them particuarly hard. At the turn on the first out and back I was dismayed to find Kev no less than 50m behind... I don't look back, so i can' say whether he'd been on my tail all way through the back end of the bike, or had pulled me back on the run... either way race on....!
I think the pace was upped a little for the next few km, but I went through a bit of a bad patch on the second out and back, and he was past, and quickly built up a good 100m lead or so. However, once we hit highway 60 the course flattened out a bit, and I was feeling better and gradually reeled him in... I think he'd slowed a bit too, and took him back just at the turn. Throughout the rather nice windy path bit through the woods it felt as if I was on my back the whole way (again, I don't know if it was him or not for sure).... but I eventually seemed to be on my own again, and hopefully in the clear.
However, once we got in the golf course, I started to find things a little tougher, and was no longer overtaking and my quads and belly were starting to complain. it was pretty tough mentally, as you could see and hear the finish, but everywhere you looked you could see lines of athletes running up and across the hills.... I was reminded of this painting for some reason....
On one of this switchbacks I sneaked a look down to see that Kev was back... I tried upping the pace off the tops of the next few hills.... but with 2-3k to go he was past me and I was done to struggle in a couple of minutes behind the stubborn fellah...
1.40... 16th AG and 78th overall, to finish in 5.18.43.. 98th overall and 19th in AG... and pretty knackered with big blisters.
The weather wasn't great after the race so I didn't hang around the finish, but caught up with Maverick, Homey, and Irondog which was good... sounds like they had tough races.. I definitely wished I was staying the night at the resort as few post-race beers would have been good, but instead it was a case of packing up the wet things and driving back through Ike to Toronto, with just a stop at Webers to look forward too.
Anyway... I probably won't rush to enter next year, but will either be up to watch or compete if I can enter nearer the time... course is tough, but doable, particualry if you don't overcook it, and the crowds and spectators were really excellent, and it's a great event. Congrats to all who took part, put it on, or supported.