Sunday, September 13, 2009

Triathlon Esprit - Race Report

Yesterday was my A race of the year, the race for which I have been training for the last 6 months. I decided to do that race in February to raise money for Leucan, and I decided that it would be for my first Olympic triathlon.

We left Friday afternoon, drove to Montreal to get there in time to pick up my race bag. After that we went for diner, had some pasta and some veal with a cheese cake for dessert ;) then it was off to the hotel for a good night of sleep before the big day.

I woke up around 5h45, my race was not starting before 11h30 so I was in no rush to get to the site. We got ready and left the hotel around 7am, stopped by a coffee shop and I grab two bagels and a coffee. After that we headed to the race site, since it was still early we had a good parking spot. I watched the HIM and IM racers for a while, then the start of the Duathlon, and the first wave of the Oly. I was in the third waves, so with an hour or so before my start I went for a warm up run of about 10 minutes. I probably ran around 2km, my legs felt fresh and I was pretty happy with that. There was no way to warm up on the bike sadly, so after my run I got into my wetsuit and headed to the start line.

At that point I ran into one of my wife's friend who was there since her BF was doing the Oly too. I knew his secret plan was to beat me since I out ran him in another triathlon earlier this year. He asked me what I was aiming for and I told him between 2h30 and 2h45. I didn't want to tell him about my secret sub 2h30 plan ;)

After that I headed into the water and swam a 100 meters to get used to the water, which was really clear and nice to swim into. I talked with some other guys from the tri club and then got into my bubble trying to get ready for my race.

I hadn't swam in the last week, last time was last Saturday. I was not too sure how 6 days without swimming would, but I was about to find out.

And then the horn blew and off we went, it was really like a washing machine, we were about 100, maybe more trying to squeeze into a place where we could not all go at the same time. I was feeling really good and my swim was good, at least that's what I was feeling. I got into a good rhythm and started drafting from someone who was swimming exactly at the pace I needed to go. I had no idea how long a 1500 meters would feel like into a race since this was my first, but I just swam at a speed where I felt good. After what seems to be really not long I swam by the turn around for the sprint, at that point I realized that I was swimming at a good pace because it felt like I just started swimming. Then before not too long I swam by the Oly turn around buoy, I was still drafting from those feet and I was pretty happy about my swim at that point.

Starting around the sprint buoy I could feel that my wetsuit was chafing on my neck, I wanted to stop and try to fix it but I didn't want to lose any time and I didn't want to lose those feet to draft from either. So I just HTFU and kept going. My plan for the day was to race it under 2h30 and I knew that to succeed with my dream goal I had to swim under 30 minutes so no way I could stop and lose time.

Me and the feet in front of me played mouse and cat on the last 600 meters, I was swimming faster and he would draft off me for a while, then he would pass me and I would draft off him. We passed a some people on the swim, which is unusual for me and it made me happy.

When we finally reached the end of the swim I looked at my watch and I saw 31:30 or so. At that point I knew I would have to be faster that I wanted on the bike to get those two minutes back in the bank.

At the swim exit we had to go over the run course, climbing stairs when getting out of a 1.5km swim ain't that easy, believe me!

Then it was into the transition zone, we had a long run to do. When I finally reached my bike I removed the wetsuit as fast I as I could, grabbed my helmet and my bike and off I went. Jumped on the bike when I crossed the mounting line, thanks to the coach who made me practice the flying mount :)

The bike course is a 4,4km loop that we had to do 9 times, it is on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. The pavement is perfect, and I mean really perfect. Not a single bump, crack or anything on it. I started to ride hard, as hard as I could. I knew that I had to go under 1h10 including transition to be able to reach my secret goal of sub 2h30. First lap I was around 7:30, I did some math and realized that it was all possible at that point. I kept pushing and the second lap was faster than the first.

At some point I saw a crash, and another one. Imagine 500 person or so on a 4.4km circuit at some point. Add to that 50 from the IM and some of the Sprint people who started to ride with us at some point. The circuit was crowded, and I mean really crowded.

The bike part went really good overall and I was really happy when I check on my watch and saw that I was going into T2 with a 1:04:xx split.

Went into the transition zone, raked my bike removed my helmet, put on my running shoes and grab my running belt and off I went. Really good transition in my opinion.

Now I only, yeah only, had to run a sub 50 minutes 10km to do it. I decided to run without my Garmin for this race, just go by feeling. I started running and after a kilometer or so I saw some guys from the elite, who started 20 minutes after me, passing me like I was sitting on a bench waiting for the bus. Damn those guys are fast.

For the first 3 or 4km I was running with a guy, but at some point I think that my pace dropped a little bit and I lost him. I kept running and pushing as much as I could. I remember looking at my watch at the 5km mark to see I was around 22 minutes. I kept doing maths in my head to make sure I would be under 2h30.

At that point I kept pushing hard, trying to make sure my pace was not going down too much. With less than two kilometers to go I passed that guy who wanted to beat me. He started in the wave after me so he was 20 minutes after me. I had less than 2km to go and he had almost 6km. I knew he couldn't run that distance in 20 minutes and at that point I knew I would beat him. Made me happy :) I then proceed to run by him with a really good pace and I never saw him again before the finish line.

I finished with a time of 2:26:37 for my first olympic, I am really happy about it. And I beat my wife's friend by 3:08 ;)

Swim 1.5km - 32:11 (2:09/100 meters)
45/62 AG 334/456 OA

T1 - 2:08

Bike 40km - 1:05:01 (36.9 km/h - 22.94 mph)
13/62 AG 92/456 OA

T2 - 1:31

Run 10km - 45:26 (4:32/km - 7:17/mile)
13/62 AG 123/456 OA

Finish in 2:26:37 :)
19/62 AG 138/456 OA


  1. Congrats on a job well done! Sweet PR! :-)

  2. Great pics and congrats on the 2:26!! You killed your 2:30 goal. Did you beat your friendly rival?

  3. man you have a super competitive AG ! congrats on the race ! awesomely done :)