Saturday, June 27, 2009

Triathlon Trois Rivieres - Race report

Today was my third Triathlon of the season, I woke up around 5AM to start the day. Prepared myself and grab some toast and oatmeal for breakfast. After that I finished packing the car, stopped by a coffee shop and then we drove 1h15 or so to the race.

Once there I stopped to get marked and grab my goody bag. Then I found a nice spot in the transition area and started getting ready slowly. It was still early, probably two hours to go before the start of the race so I was in no rush. Unpacked everything and I went inside to change into my racing clothes.

After that I went for a test drive around the track to see which corner were tricky and where I would have to push hard. I was a bit in a rush at that point because they were about to close to bike course because the Duathlon was starting an hour before us.

After my quick ride I went for a warm up run, and then headed to the pool, yeah the swim was in a huge outside pool. The pool was 100 x 50 yards, with the buoys inside it was probably something like 90 X 40 yards. We had to swim 3 times around the pool plus one length of 90 yards. that should give around 750 meters they said ;) According to my calculation it was more around 820 meters or so. So I went for a warm up, I did one lap around the pool. The water was not that warm, probably 68-70 and it was a no wetsuit swim which made it interesting.

After that I went to chat a little bit with my wife while watching the duathlon until the race director called us for the pre race meeting. Once we got there he gave us some explanation about the swim, bike and run courses and then we had to get ready. There was three waves of swimmers, but because it was in a pool they decided to wait until the women and relay finished their swim before letting the men start. The 34 and lower started first and then we jumped in the pool 2 minutes later for our start.

The swim was like most of my swim, by the time that I got out of the pool there was not that many people still in it, I would say 5 others swimmers were still in there to make me feel better about myself ;) Here's a proof of it, not like I think I need to prove that I almost finish last on my swim though ...

The run from the pool to the transition zone was long, according to my estimate I would say 200 meters or so. Once I reached my transition spot it went really fast. I was in and out in a couple of seconds, since I didn't have a wetsuit it really helped with the length of the T1. Got to my bike, put my glasses and helmet on and I was gone. I decided to let me shoes on the bike one more time to try and get better at it. It went really well today to be honest, I guess that practice finally give me some results.

After that I hammered the bike as much as I possibly could, the course was speedy and I knew that it was my place to gain some spot back. I don't think I got passed more then three times maybe. There was no hills at all, it was flat course with only one turn where we had to slow down more than the others. So I rode as fast as I could without even thinking about my legs for the run. It worked really well because I gained a ton of places on the bike. I had my new wheels on the bike and I can tell you that either they are really fast, or it's mental and it really works ;)

We had to do 8 laps on the track, which was around 21km from my bike computer. the race director said that it was 22.5km but I don't believe him ;) I was so fast that even the camera couldn't get a clear picture of me ...

I didn't see any incident but my wife told me that she saw three crashed on that turn, people were trying to gain every second possible there but it was not a good idea.

When I was about to finished the bike portion I removed my shoes on the bike and dismount right when we were entering the transition zone. One guy in front of me lost one shoe right there and he had to stop to get it. Transition 2 went really well too, I ran to my transition spot racked my bike, remove my helmet. Grabbed my 305, my race belt and a bottle of Cytomax to drink on the run and I was on my way to run that 5km to finish the day.

The run was four laps of 1.25 km each, easy run all flat. I had my fluid bottle on me so I didn't stop by any aid station except for one time to put some water on my head because it was getting hot out there. The run was ok, not my fastest but I gave everything I had left after that super bike leg.

For the entire duration of the competition I was sure that we would have rain, but it held up until we were done. Sadly for the other competitor who were racing later today the rain really started to get stronger after that we left.

Overall I am happy with what I did, I knew that the swim wouldn't be my best event but I am still happy with what I did. I really kicked ass on the bike, this is mostly where I am strong but today was better than any other competition I did so far. As for the run, the fact that I have been injured the last 6-7 weeks didn't help me. I guess I lost some speed if I compare with my results from earlier this spring.

Now I got to get ready for next week 90km ride on my relay team :)

Swim 750 meters / 820 yards : 15:27
Average : 2:04/100 meters
99/120 Overall - 9/10 Age group

Transition 1 : 1:14

Bike 22.5 km / 14 miles : 33:40
Average : 40.1 km/h - 24.9 mile per hour
14/120 Overall - 3/10 Age group

Transition 2 : 1:22

Run 5 km / 3.1 miles : 22:42
Average : 4:32 min/km - 7:17 min/mile
63/120 Overall - 8/10 Age group

Finish time 1:14:25
45/120 Overall - 7/10 Age group

Friday, June 26, 2009

Birthday gift - 3 days in advance :)

Today my wife bought me a wonderful birthday gift. A new race wheelset! Just in time for tomorrow's triathlon, now lets see if I can push them hard enough to get some interesting speed ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to spend a holiday triathlete style

Yesterday was a holiday here in Quebec, and the coach had a really good idea how we could spend it. We were joining him at the lake at 7h15 in the morning for a quick swim, then a bike ride and we would finish it off with a run.

When I got there I put my wetsuit on and started stretching while waiting that everyone gets there. Then we headed to the lake to swim, the coach looked at the lake and said, since we are already late we will cut the swim a little bit. He then explained to us where he wanted us to swim, from my estimate that was about 1.5km or so, after checking later on I can tell you it was 1.6km finally. The water was really good to swim in, and at that hour in the morning it is cool because there not a single boat on the lake yet.

After the swim we quickly changed into cycling clothes and we headed out for an easy Z1 and Z2 ride. Here's the elevation of that easy ride ;)

My guess was that we had different opinion on what is an easy ride, but anyway the weather was gorgeous and it was really fun to train with other people. After all the hills the coach made up two different pack and we did practice pack riding with people opening then sliding to the back etc etc. It was really cool to get some experience with that.

Here is my heart rate chart from the ride, it seems like I didn't follow the stay in zone 1 and 2 rule finally ;)

And here are a couple of pictures of the ride.

By the time we finished that 81km ride it was time to head out for a run. Some people were going for the loop around the lake, the same lake where we had a triathlon last Saturday. But I decided to only run a 4km, mainly because the doc still want me to take it easy for my ITBand and also because my left calf has been unhappy with me for the last couple of days. So I decided to do a quick 4km run just so I had a triple workouts but still taking the easiest way to make sure I don't hurt myself before my triathlon on Saturday.

Overall it was a really nice day, weather was as good as you can ask for on a training day. And to be honest the beer next to the pool after was as good ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First swim with the Triathlon club

For the last couple of months a friend of mine who is in the Triathlob club of the University here in Quebec has been talking me into joining the club. I was not too sure, I felt that I was too slow to go train with those people who place on the podium at almost every races. After taking the time to think about it, and two races under my belt now where I could compare myself to the others I decided to give it a try.

I contacted the coach last week and talked with him a little bit, he offered me to join them for a week to see how I like it and after I could make up my mind. Today was the first day of my test week.

Like most of you already know, I am not that good of a swimmer. Reasons are that I don't enjoy swimming as much as I enjoy running ad biking. And also the fact that I started swimming like 8 months ago doesn't help either.

The practice in the pool was at 5h30AM, that meant I had to get up at 4h45AM. Yeah you read that right, 4h45AM, I don't know why but going from 5h something to 4h something was big in my mind. Finally I go up without any problem, drank a coffee and headed to the pool. I could see athletes all around me that usually finished way ahead of me at races and it was impressive. Caoch told me that the lanes were from fast to slow people, so I headed to the last one ;) I knew I would fit better in the slow lane.

The swim was 1h45 with a ton of drills, kick, pull, paddle etc etc. We swam 2750 meters, now my shoulders are not happy with me. I had a lot of fun though, people were nice with the newbie that I was and it was cool to swim with other triathletes.

Tomorrow is a holliday here in Quebec, and the coach had the good idea to schedule us with a OWS at 7h30, then a 3 hours ride and a run to finish it :) This should be fun!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lac Beauport Race Report

The Lac Beauport triathlon has been my first contact with the wonderful world of triathlon last year. Me and a friend decided to do the duathlon there to get ready for our big event last year. We did it and I got hooked, one year later I was going back there to complete my second triathlon of the year, and of my life.

I woke up early, 5am or so to pack my stuff since I had to work late yesterday night and I didn't get home before 10pm. After everything was packed I had breakfast, 2 toast and oatmeal with two coffee. I drove to the lake, 20 minutes or so drive, this place is really close to home and this is where I go to swim in open water. I got there early so I had a parking spot right next to the transition area. I found myself a nice transition spot, parked my bike there then I walked around a little bit and waited that the rain stop to set my transition area.

People started to arrive slowly, we finally were around 450 people doing the triathlon, the duathlon and the relays. It was really cool to have that many people even if the weather was not that perfect. We had almost all the possible weather before the race started, drizzle, rain, some sun.

For the last week or so I had been debating which bike I would ride for this triathlon. I finally decided to go with the TT bike instead of the roadie. The weight difference between both is not that much, maybe 1.5lb or so and I love to race in aero position.

Around 8 or so I decided to start warming up, I didn't want to get in a hurry like at my first triathlon. I jumped on the bike and ode a little bit, I wanted to make sure that everything was smooth before the start. I wanted to get the legs moving a little bit but not too much though, I knew that the big hill there would once again be my biggest problem of the day.

After that I went for a quick run, maybe 1.5 km or so. Over the last 6 weeks I had to cut most of my running training because of my ITBand injury and I was scared that it would show during the triathlon. I tried to warm the ITBand as much as I could before the race, stretching and slow running.

Then it was the time to put the wetsuit on. The guy next to me in transition told me that when he did that triathlon for the first time he had to remove his wetsuit in the middle of the lake because he was unable to swim. That same guy does half Ironman, really inspiring. Once I got the wetsuit on I headed to the lake and swam a couple of hundreds to warm up and get the water in the suit.

Then it was back to the beach and wait, we got a little speech from the race director, the triathlon Quebec official and then the waves started.

The swim was a run start from the beach, three waves. 39 & - men, 40 & + men and then women and team. We had two minutes in between each start. When my wave started I was kinda in front, not too sure how that happened and why though ... Anyway, since I was there I tried to give my best to make sure no one would pass over me.

At first when I looked at the course I was sure that it was shorter than 1000 meters, but I can assure you that after swimming it it was 1000 meters ;) I swam a little bit over 1000 meters for sure because I had some problems sighting for the first 350 meters or so. After that it was a bit better, I drafted as much as I possibly could during the swim to help me. I succeeded for maybe 50% of the swim, which is not too bad.

At around 350/400 meters in the swim I saw a woman next to me, this is where I realized that she was from the wave behind me. Damn two minutes in that short of the swim. And what if she was not the first one to pass me. Ok I am in trouble there I got to swim faster. I can think that I need to swim faster, but that doesn't help the fact that I am damn slow in the water anyway. My thinking didn't help much because I saw a couple of women pass me during the swim.

I did succeeded in my goal of not having anyone passing over me. But I had a lots of trouble to swim straight. I need to work on sighting more while in the water. I do look every 4/5 strokes but it's like I am sure I swim straight and I always have the buy in front of me, but at some point I realize that I am like 10 meters away from the group.

I don't like the fact that most of the triathlon here don't give you transition time. It makes my swim time longer and I seem even more slow ;)

I had problems getting out of my wetsuit, it got stuck on my heels and it took me some times. I decided to put my bike shoes and run with them because there was a gravel road from the transition area to the bike start and I didn't feel like running barefoot on that.

The course is three lap around the lake, every time I go there I can not believe how riding around a lake can be so hilly. I mean a lake should be flat no, so the road around it should be too ...

Anyway here's a picture of the profile.

Hills are not my strength, and today's race proved me right sadly. I had a hard time on the biggest hill, almost every time I got to that hill people would pass me and as soon as I would get up the hill I would pass most of them back.

The good part of going up a hill is that you eventually have to go down, here I am trying to take advantage of it.

The rain was more intense at that point of the race, go figure the only leg of the race I was hoping that the rain would stop was the bike and it was the strongest. There is one really sharp turn on that course and today it was not that fun to turn it. Pavement was all wet so we had to brake and get the speed down a lot to turn. This sure didn't help the avg on the bike since right after that turn we had a strong head wind. What else can you ask when you have to get back up to speed ;)

Here is a satellite view of the bike and run course.

I decided to keep my shoes on again since the road was not feet friendly ;) Racked my bike, removed the shoes and then put my running shoes on, I had a hard time since I was all wet from the rain. Transition probably took me around 2 minutes.

I took my race belt and start running, after maybe 2 minutes I checked my 305 to see my running speed just to realize that I AM DUMB ... forgot my 305 on the bike ... I had no idea of my speed so I just pushed as hard as I could but trying to keep enough energy to climb all those hills. The run went by pretty fast, at least in my mind.

At kilometer 6.5 or so my friend Steve was standing on the side of the road, he told me "Go get them, there a bunch of peeps to pass in front of you". I really wish that I could have do what he told me, but I was just trying to keep running as hard as I could to get to the finish line as fast as possible. Sorry Steve ;)

I was at less than 100 meter of the finish line, and damn happy to see it ;)

Here's the run course profile, it was one loop around the lake again but the other way around.

My ITBand injury for the last 6 weeks did cut my training by a lot so I didn't have as much speed as usual today. I was still pretty happy with my time though, I was aiming a sub 40 run, and I did it :) The good side is that the ITBand didn't hurt at all during the race.

As soon as I crossed the finish line I had to pack my stuff in a hurry since I was working at noon and it was 11am ;) S toped by my house for a quick shower and drove to work. I got there 5 minutes late and my boss asked me "So, what was your finish time?" Good boss :)

Swim 1000 meter and T1 - 22:58
Ride 23.3 km - 45:15
T2 and run 7.7 km - 39.36

Total time 1:47:48
AG 16/25 OA 106/203

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Celebrating one year

Saturday is the Lac Beauport triathlon, this is the first event in which I participated last year. Me and a friend did the relay duathlon, it was our first for both of us. I remember seeing everyone with their wetsuits and being amazed that some people could do that. They were to swim a WHOLE kilometer then bike 22km and run a 8km to finish it. At that time I was just starting to ride my bike, I mean seriously, I maybe had two months of serious riding done. I was not running at all and I was not even dreaming about swimming 50 meters ;)

To see them get throught the race was simply amazing, swimming, riding and then running. It was just crazy in my mind ... at that time at least. Two weeks later I had my second relay duathlon, there was a double Ironman, a Ironman and a half Ironman and this is where I fell in love with that sport. Just to see people do an Ironman in between 9 and 17 hours just amazed me and I decided that I would complete one one day. On July 7th I started running, the day after the second Duathlon and I completed a couple of duathlons and runnign events last year. Then I started swimming in September with the intention to complete a triathlon this summer.

I did complete my first triathlon on May 23rd this year and it was an amazig experience, but going back to Lac Beauport this week-end, where it all started will be special. In two days it will be my birthday in the sport, and I am really happy about it. Now I just hope I will celebrate a lot more of those in the upcoming years. And the Lac Beauport's triathlon will always be a special one because of that.

Now I will take it easy for the next couple of days to give my legs a break before Saturday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mini triathlon

What a wonderful week end we just had, the weather was perfect both days.

Saturday morning I went out for a ride with my wife. Pierre Lavoie was in town for his 1000 kilometer in 48 hours. For every team it was a relay with teams of 5 people but he on the other side decided to do it alone. The guy rode 1000km from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon to raise money to help with children sickness. He also wanted to help people realize that we don't do enough physical activities.

He was stopping in Quebec for a quick speech with the mayor and a lot of celebrities before continuing his ride. This guy is impressive, he has won Kona 3 times in his AG. Competed in almost 20 Ironman around the world, and now he finds other goals every day to keep going. What an awesome and incredible person, I am a huge fan of him.

After that ride I knew I needed to swim a little bit but I was not feeling like going to the pool with such a perfect weather outside. So I just jumped in my pool, I figured that the pool is 10 meters long so I "only" had to do 100 lengths of it to swim a kilometer. So I did, it was actually really fun to swim in my own pool, by myself with no one to push me or to slow me down. I had my own lane, and I really enjoyed it :)

At some point I had the brilliant idea to do a triathlon Sunday. I packed all my stuff and headed to Lac Beauport, where I have a triathlon next week. Once there I put the wetsuit on and jumped in the lake. The water was probably around 65-66, it was perfect with the wetsuit. I started to swim, I was not too sure what to do and since the buoy for next week were not installed yet I couldn't swim the course yet. I went and swam for around 15 minutes, not a full kilometer because I am not that fast yet, but I would say I swam around 700/750 meters.

After that I jumped on my bike and started riding, at first I wanted to do 2 or 3 loop around the lake but at that point I was running out of time and I finally decided to do only one lap. It was fun to ride this course again, and to realize that the hill is still one big hill. I am starting to wonder if I would be better with the triathlon bike or the road bike for this course. There was a lot of people there that were getting ready for next week. I saw a bunch of people on there tri bike, which we usually never see around here.

After the quick bike ride I changed again and off I went for one loop around the lake on the run. That was my longest run in a while, with my ITBand injury I really had to cut down the running in the last 6 weeks and I needed to get out there and test the legs on this hilly course. I went and did a 5 minutes/1 minute run walk pattern for the entire run. I was not there to beat a time or anything, I just wanted to run the course once before the race. I must say that this is by far the place with the most hills that I have ever run. My calves are not happy this morning, I guess I made them work in a different way that they are used to.

When I got back home my wife and her friend were heading out for a ride so I asked if I could tag along, which I did. We rode for maybe 35km easy, which was kind of like a cool down for my legs after my mini triathlon.

I really had a blast with this mini triathlon training thing and I will do it again for sure, now if the hills could go away around the lake so I could head there every week end and ride/run on a flat course ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

I need to find a way to like swimming

To be honest I don't dislike swimming, but it's by far the sport I prefer the less between the three sports of Triathlon. I am not really effective in the water and I am far from being really fast. I have not been swimming for long though, I started last September and I am honestly really happy with the progress I made from September to January or so, but since then I feel like I have done close to no progress at all and this really doesn't help the fact that I don't enjoy swimming that much.

The only way to swim around here are public pool. I can't go swim whenever I want, I must go when the public pool are open. Usually when I go swim we're in between 5 to 8 sharing a lane, and this is in a 25 meters pool.

I guess that all those little things don't help me love the sport too much. But I would really like to enjoy swimming as much as I do enjoy running and riding. When I am injured and I can't run I miss it, I really do. I miss running those long run during the week end, getting up early and go run outside to start the day ... Same for riding my bike, I miss getting out there and enjoy the ride.

But for swimming, everytime I can find a reason to skip a workout I do it, and I don't like that. And even when I finally hit the pool I find a way to get out after 45 minutes or so instead of staying a bit longer and doing more drills. Maybe this is because swimming in a pool feels like the treadmill, which I dislike so much that I go out and run during winter in -40C temperature.

I need to find a way to start to like this sport as much as the others. Maybe I should try to get more OWS and less pool swim. If you have any suggestion let me know.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And one metric Century race done :)

I got up early, had breakfast then I headed to my friend's place to pick him up.

Not much of a warm up, I rode for maybe 1 kilometer or so then got back to the car and talked a bit with Martin. I saw Steve who was there so I went and talk with them a bit.

It was a really hilly course and I am not a hill type of guy so it was not that easy.

That was weird, we had a start then rode for 5k and after that we stopped and wait for a second start, but this time only those in the 100k started. The 50k had to wait 5-10 minutes before they could start.

The start was in the middle of a hill, I have no idea why. I mean half the people there almost hit each other while trying to clip in ;) After that I lost Martin, he's way better then me climbing hills and I knew that today would be his day.

When we reached the top of the first hill I saw a pack maybe 1500/2000 foot in front of me and I decided that those would be my friends for the race. So I started accelerating to reach them and some people decided to follow me. Nothing like a free ride ;)

I stuck with them for a while, after maybe 10k I saw Martin next to me. I was not too sure why he was there, in my mind he would be way ahead of me already. We rode together for a long while, with that pack that i decided to adopt earlier. At some point we were at the bottom of a hill and someone said that the aid station was up that hill. I was happy because one of my bottle was empty at that point.

When we reached the top of the hill there was one woman there with 2, maybe 3 bottle of water. and I was like WTF. I had no way to grab one of them so I decided I would get one next aid station. I knew we had only two aid station. Honestly I was not that happy with that, damn why there were not more people then her to give water ...

Then we had another hill, climbed it and when we reach the top I saw ... a aid station with ton of water and people. I then realized that this woman was there to give water/food to her team and no one else :o

At that point I had the feeling that the pack was a bit too slow for us, so me Martin and some others just dropped them and we started pushing.

We had around 50k done, it was about time to turn and go back to the start line. When we turned I realized that the wind, my friend, decided to start blowing much stronger that t was supposed. The weather man said 10 km/h, it was like 22 km/h ... Twice as much, I was not that happy about it. That made me realized that I could not afford to lose my little pack at that time.

We rode for another 20 km or so and then we reached the hill. It was a real bitch, 8km or so of climb after 70km ... man that was not necessarily. Anyway, when we started climbing Martin and one girl decided that they were heading first and I lost them pretty fast. That hill killed out pack, when I finally reached the top of it I was all by myself. There was two guy in front of me, maybe 2000 foot, and a lot of people still climbing. At that point I had to make a decision.

Either I slow down and wait for a new pack to get together, or I start accelerating and try to get back with the pack in front of me. There was 6 of them from my estimate and they probably had at least one kilometer on me.

So I decided that I still had enough energy to push and get back to that front pack. That's where I was happy with all that triathlon training. I am used to ride by myself and I can push some really nice speed. So I started hammering the pedals trying to get back to the front pack.

It took me maybe 5 km before I could see them, at that point I was all by myself. When I reached the last aid station I grabbed a bottle of water and kept pushing.

When I got by the pack, I saw that Martin was in there so I rode next to him and started trash talking him a bit. For the last year he told me how he would kick my ass on that race etc etc. And there we were, 20 km for the finish line and I was still there, pushing him.

For the next 15 km it looked like this, I was pushing and trash talking him and we were having a lot of fun. Then we reached the last 5km, I knew there was no way Martin would let me finish ahead of him, he's way too stubborn for that ;)

At some point he did escape me during a climb and took maybe a 1000 foot advance on me. I tried to keep with him during the last couple of climbs and at some point I was pretty sure I would get back to him. On the last stretch, I was right behind him. Maybe 200 foot and I was pushing everything I had to try to beat him but he finally crossed the finish line 14 seconds ahead of me.

I was really hoping that I would beat him, but 14 seconds is a win for me. At that same date last year he would have beat me by at least 20 minutes. So I am happy :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Managed to squeeze a ride

Yesterday I had one of those long day at work, I cam in around 8h30AM and I knew I wouldn't get out of here before 10PM. So in the morning I figured that I would probably be able to squeeze in a ride during diner time.

I removed the wheels on my Opus and put it in the trunk of my car with all my cycling gear. As I was planning around 4PM I got ready and went for a ride close to work. I was finally able to ride for a little bit over an hour.

Here is a picture of Quebec city from the other side of the river.

It is always nice to see your city from the outside, and every time I find it even more beautiful :)

I finally finished with a 29km ride, nothing great but at least I did something during the day even if my work schedule was not workout friendly yesterday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Restarted running slowly

Last week I met with my doctor and he gave me the go to restart running slowly. He said nothing over 6-8km and as soon as I get over 3km I should have walk break here and there.

So last Friday I went for a 3km run, I did 10 minutes run, 1 minute walk and 10 minutes run to test it out. I felt some minor pain on my left knee but nothing too bad. After that I figured that it would better to go down to 5 minutes.

So Sunday I went out again, to test the ITBand and my new kick ass shoes :) I did a 5km with walking minute break every five minutes of running. It was ok but I could still feel some minor pain, nothing that would stop me from running but definitely not 100%.

I went back this morning and it was mostly the same, less pain this time but I tried to run slower to make sure It would be better. I am still not 100% satisfied with it, I have an appointment Thursday with my doctor, I will talk with him about him and see how he feels about that. I might have to stop running again, or he will keep me running small distances to keep the legs moving. we will see soon I guess.

Until there, I will ride my bike more ;)