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Provincial Duathlon Championships – Guelph Lake

Date: June 24, 2007
Description: Provincial Duathlon Championships: 5km/43.5km/10km
Location: Guelph Lake
Race Name: Subaru Triathlon Series, Guelph Lake 1
Sport: Duathlon
Race web site:

Guelph Lake 1, part of the Subaru Triathlon Series, played host to the Provincial Duathlon Championships on Sunday, June 24th, at Guelph Lake Conservation Area.  The race consisted of a 5km run, 43.5km bike, & 10km run.  This was one of my higher priority races of the summer, so the week prior to the race saw a reduction in both strength training and overall training volume.  Friday was a rest day, while on Saturday morning I did a short, easy brick consisting of some 30sec harder efforts on both the bike and the run…just to keep the legs moving!  The afternoon was spent giving my bike a much overdue cleaning….some of those bug guts had been baking on the frame for months!! 

I opted to drive up to Guelph in the morning so my alarm was set for the ungodly hour of 3:50am.  Well, I felt like I was wide awake for the entire night with the exception of when my alarm went off, because somehow I slept through it!!  Fortunately I bolted upright in bed (isn’t it amazing how that happens?!) about 20mins later and managed to leave the house by 5:00am.  Unsure of how long it would take me and stressed further by a detour off of the 401 around Ajax, I sped my way to Guelph (I drove embarrassingly fast, so I won’t go into details) and thankfully arrived both safely and on time! 

I staked out a spot in the transition area, picked up my race kit & chip, got body marked, and visited the porta-potty.  Set up my transition and headed out for my warm up (20min jog followed by 10mins of drills/accelerations) which left just enough time for another visit to the facilities before heading to the start line with just a couple minutes to spare! 

The Course:

The run in Guelph follows a road heading through the conservation area past camping sites before turning onto an old asphalt trail.  It is rolling to start and flat once the trail is reached.  It is typically very hot and has a tough finish where the last km passes the finish line and heads up and down one final hill.  The initial 5km of the duathlon is an out and back on this 10km route basically consisting of the rolling section and skipping the flat trail and the final hill. 

The bike in Guelph is also rolling to flat.  It has a mix of lovely, smooth roads interspersed between painfully bumpy & deteriorated sections.  This year it really seemed more bumpy than smooth to me!  However, the strong winds I remember from previous years were not particularly noticeable this time around. 

On to the race!
Run #1: 5km

As this race would take a couple hours to complete, I was in no hurry to trash the legs in the first 5km!  I started slow and picked up the pace throughout the run, ending up with a strong but conservative initial 5km and coming into T1 as the top woman.

Time: 19:16 

Bike: 43.5km

The legs were definately a bit rusty for this, my first multisport race since I did Queen’s Duathlon WAY back on April 1st!  Although I’ve been doing time trials and brick workouts in training, I find it hard to get up to the same intensity that you do when racing.  Immediately onto the bike I could feel the quads (especially good old vastus medialis) tighten up and they remained quite sore throughout the ride.  I had to stretch them out several times during the ride and was a bit concerned about how the following run would feel.  Keeping the cadence on the high side seemed easier on the legs, so thats where I spent the majority of the ride.  I think once I have a few more multisport races under my belt, the legs will come around and I will be back to feeling nice and strong on the bike.  Initially the bike course was a very busy place.  I felt like I was being passed by everyone and anyone!  What I didn’t realize was that the triathlon, which had started 5mins before the du, was one big mass start!  So I was being joined on the bike by all the top swimmers (mostly big, strong, men!) who were powering by me.  I was also passed by 3 women (from the tri) out on the bike, which normally does not happen, and furthered my feeling that I was under-performing on the bike!  On a positive note, OAT officials made their presence known out on the course, doing, what seemed to me like a good job of enforcing the no-drafting rule.  On 3-4 occassions I was passed by groups of riders who were obviously riding as a pack and had OAT appear and stop 1-2 of the riders, effectively breaking up the bunch.  Much appreciated in the name of fairness!

Time: 1:13:50 (35.3km/hr)

Run#2: 10km    

I’ve never had a strong 2nd run at Guelph, but my running has really improved in the past year, so I was unsure of what to expect for the 2nd run.  I definately did NOT expect the stellar result that I got!!  I’ve been working on my turnover in my running, especially when running after biking as I find it SO much easier to get the legs going again this way.  So that was the plan for the 10km.  I knew I had a couple ladies from the tri ahead of me to catch (I was still leading the du) so I started out strong, with the goal of catching them.  I felt surprisingly good..the quads were a non-issue, and my breathing was well under control.  The hills were no problem, and the heat didn’t seem too bad this year.  By the 4km mark I had caught the two ladies and just had the top pro woman from the triathlon ahead of me.  I wasn’t thinking too much about her, since she had seemed pretty far ahead of me at the turnaround, but at about 6km a racer went by and said “go get her, she’s hurting”, probably thinking I was the 2nd place woman in the tri.  Well, I can never resist a challenge, so I really pushed it through the final km’s, and while I didn’t end up catching her, I did manage to bridge the gap quite significantly, finish strong, and pull off an amazing 10km time!

Time: 36:45

Now, I don’t count my running times in multisport events as PB’s because quite often (more frequently than not) the distances are not correct.  I am not sure about the distance at Guelph Lake, although I have had several long-time racers tell me they are sure it is very close to 10km.  I find this hard to believe as this time would be a 10km PB for me by A FULL MINUTE!!!!  Either way, it is something I can be proud of, as only the Overall winner of the duathlon had a faster 10km time.  I was the only female in either race to break 40mins!! 

I finished the day 4th Overall in the duathlon, top woman and provincial champion for my age-group. As well, looking back at my results from previous years, both my biking and running have improved significantly.  My “poor” bike performance was 4-5mins faster and my 10km run a whopping 8-10mins faster!!!!  Needless to say, I am very happy with my efforts! 

A note on nutrition:

Finally got to Running Free to pick up our gu energy gels as well as some Gu2o.  I know you’re not supposed to do this, but I was trying Just Plain gels and TangoMango Gu2o for the first time on race day.  One word: AMAZING! 

Race Day Nutrition Plan:

Pre-Race: 4:30am breaky of home-made muesli (yum!); no fluids other than small sips of water

Run #1: nothing

Bike: Immediately ate one gel and began to drink one waterbottle of Gu2o; drank about every 5km with second gel consumed at 25-30km and the waterbottle finished by 30km.  No further nutrition consumed in last 13km of bike to prevent sloshy stomach and digestion issues on the run.

Run #2: Sips of water at most water stations; carried a gel but did not use.

Results: Felt great.  No sloshy stomach or GI issues.  No cramps.  LOVED the taste of both the gels and the energy drink.  Both have very subtle flavours that were easy to get down and settled with no problems.  I am looking forward to using both products more in the future!   

Up next: Age-Group Sprint Triathlon Nationals, Brampton, June 30th

YEP, I’ll be swimming….YIKES!!!! 

Thanks for reading and happy training!

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