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Age-Group Sprint Triathlon Nationals – Brampton

Date: June 30, 2007
Description: Sprint Triathlon (750m/20km/5km) for Pros, Juniors, Age-Group, AWAD, & Relay; qualifying for 2007 or 2008 World Sprint Championships
Location: Brampton, Ontario (Professor’s Lake)
Race Name: Sprint Triathlon Nationals
Sport: Triathlon
Race web site:; results at

This was a day of firsts for me for the year: first open water swim, first triathlon, first time racing in a triathlon national championship, first time racing in Brampton….you get the picture!!

I was nervous all week because the word on the street (aka. at Guelph Lake….) was that wetsuits would not be allowed for this race….a MAJOR disadvantage for me, a definate sinker in the water. I hadn’t done an open water swim without my wetsuit since my very first summer doing tri’s…back in 2002. As well, with my recent shift in focus to the duathlon scene, I had only done one tri in the past year….yikes!! I really had no expectations going into the race, just my typical triathlon race plan (a no-brainer for me!): survive the swim, and play catch up on the bike and run!!

I found the race website seriously lacking in the driving directions department. Mapquest was no help either. So I left the house on Saturday morning with the plan of driving to Brampton and then just following the bicycles to the site! A race start of 10:00am allowed for a breaky (the usual muesli) at the reasonable time of 6:00am and out the door by 6:45am. The first part of my driving plan panned out with no problems (arrived in Brampton) but the second part kind of fell apart as I didn’t see the usual line of roof-top bicycles making their way toward the race site. Luckily I was able to find the school mentioned on the website and opted to park there and ride my bike with some other athletes the km or so to the race site. There turned out to be lots of little streets much closer to the race site to park on, at least I’ll know for next year!

The transition area for the age-group athletes was located quite aways from the swim and finish line. This made for lengthly T1 & T2 times that were incorporated into the bike split. The Elite/Junior transition was located right in the finish line area, the typical kind of set-up for a draft-legal ITU event, and very cool. As a result, the race courses were slightly different so you are unable to accurately compare the times between the elites and age-group athletes.

I found there was lots of room in the transition, split only into racks for men, women, and relay. Lots of porta-potties there as well, but being in a park setting, there was also plenty of leafy coverage if need be! After setting up I headed toward the beach to pick up my race kit and start my run warm-up. I was running a bit behind so didn’t really have the time to study the courses or flow of transitions like I usually do. I did however hear the good news that the age-group athletes would be allowed to wear wetsuits! SWEET!!

I grabbed my kit and did my usual warm up routine of a 20min jog followed by 10mins of drills & accelerations. With about 20mins to go I headed back to transition to grab my wetsuit, swim cap and goggles and head down to the beach…a long walk in bare feet. Completed body marking, grabbed my chip and wrestled into my wetsuit with about 5mins to spare….just enough time to dip into the water (I never do a swim warm up…seriously, I need to save all my swimming energy for the actual race!)… discover that my brand-spankin-new goggles were leaking!! So, with the starter calling everyone out of the water and giving last minute instructions, I frantically tightened the strap as much as I could, stuck them on, and prayed for a better seal!! Note to self: don’t be an idiot and try out new equipment first next time.

The Swim: 750m

I have to say that Proffessor’s Lake was lovely to swim in. Warm temps, relatively calm, easy sighting, sandy start, no complaints there. My wave included all the age-group women. I started in my typical position…..on the far side of the starting area, way out in no-man’s land….ahhh, relative safety. Unfortunately, I seemed to stay way out in the boonies for the entire race! I was looking for a clean start and then a pair of feet to draft off. Well, I got my clean start, but where were all those feet? Other than being sandwiched between two ladies between the first and second buoys which resulted in a lot of accidental bumping and feelings of frustruation, I swam completely alone the whole rest of the time. Granted, I did not go out and actively search for a pair of feet, but didn’t have any cross my path. I had no idea how I was doing on the swim. On the one hand, there were always swimmers to my inside, but on the other hand I could also see the yellow caps of swimmers WAY far ahead! Looking back though, I am happy with my swim. Typically my arms get really tired and I am just gasping for air, but I felt very much in control of my breathing and escaped my usual dead arm feeling. Of course, there is always the possibility that I just didn’t push myself as hard as usual, but hey, for the first swim of the year, I’ll take it!!!


T1 was rough. I staggered out of the water and struggled to undo my wetsuit was immediately passed by 4-5 women on the long run to the transition. Once in transition I lost more time as my wetsuit refused to pass smoothly over my ankles and my timing chip came flying off in the process. Got that back on, wrestled a little getting my socks on and from there it was smooth sailing. I really need to learn how to put my shoes on while on the bike, but as I have yet to master this skill, I donned my shoes and CAREFULLY ran to the bike mount line!

The Bike: 20km

The bike was a pancake-flat 4x5km loop that contained 7 corners/lap, 3 of those being 180 degrees. Not really suited to a hill-loving, corner-fearing (ever since watching my Dad slide out of a corner when I was young…) kind of girl. BUT, good practice for me! My goal for the bike was to give’r and try to catch as many women as possible before doing the same on the run! The first lap was bliss….we were the only ones out on the course and I immediately started catching people. The loops and corners also allowed me to keep an eye on the leaders to gauge my progress in making time on them. As the rest of the women and then the later waves started to join us on the route, it became more and more congested, and a little confusing to know who was on what lap! I just tried to keep track of my own! I also found that the whole rule of staying to the right was not adhered to by many, with riders strung out across the entire road (made possible because the course was closed to traffic). While the road was closed to traffic, it was not closed to pedestrians or recreational bicycle riders…which lead to my most memorable incident on the bike course. Speeding into a left-hand turn I suddenly encountered a kid on a bike attempting to cross the same road ahead of me. It readily became apparent that if we both kept going at our given speeds we would meet each other smack dab in the middle of the corner. We simultaneously braked, which didn’t help the situation (one of us should have kept going at the same speed while the other slowed down) and resulted in me having to reef on my brakes as hard as I could in the middle of cornering (a huge no-no!) and feeling my back tire fish-tail like crazy behind me. The kid kept going. I basically came to a stand-still, but who cares? I was just happy to still be upright!

I worked really hard out on the bike, especially on the sections that were into a strong wind, and my inner quads were really feeling it, especially with the lack of changes in terrain. However, by the end of the 4th and final lap, I had done my job and entered T2 right on the heels of the top woman.


A lot smoother than T1, must be all the duathlons and brick practices! In fact, was able to take the lead of the race heading out of the transition and onto the run course. The only I forgot to do was take a GU with me….I ALWAYS carry a gel on the run, just in case, but then figured I should be okay for just 5km….

The Run – a long 5km!

Felt surprisingly smooth, if a little tight starting out on the run. It is a special feeling to be the first out on the course, you get the added boost of so many extra cheers, and they are very much appreciated! Once we made our way up to the finish area/elite transition, the run consisted of 4loops of just over 1km, making for a long 5km course. I swear that on the website it said the age-groupers were doing a 2-lap run course so as I came into the transition area at the end of my 1st lap and the announcer said I had three more, I actually had to stop and clarify before continuing on. I actually kind of enjoyed the loop course…out-and-back courses can sometimes get a bit lonely, but this time there were always other runners around! 3 short (painful) laps later I crossed the finish line as the National Sprint Champion for my age…and actually the first woman overall!! A successful first triathlon of the season!

Post-race I made sure to do a good cool down (30min jog, 45mins stretching, 10mins walking in the water) as Chris and I were signed up for a 10km Canada Day road race and I wanted to try and minimize leg fatigue. I also hung around to watch the elites race, which was pretty cool.

Nutrition Notes:

Breakfast: muesli at 6:00am

Bike: immediately had a JustPlain Gu and took sips of Gu2o about every 5km on the bike – total maybe 500mL

Run: a couple sips of water

Results: Felt good; no cramps or sloshing stomach

Next Up: Wolfe Island 10km Road Race, July 1 2007

Thanks for reading!

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  • Wow, first tri of the year and your national sprint champion. Great job and keep up the good work

  • Thanks Myles! I was lucky to have a good enough swim to keep me within “striking” distance of the competition. It will be interesting to see how I will do in the Olympic distance when the time gap to overcome will be a lot larger!

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