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McKellar 1 Olympic Triathlon

Date: July 22, 2007
Description: Olympic Distance Triathlon (1.5km swim/40km bike/10km run)
Location: McKellar Community Centre; McKellar ON
Race Name: McKellar One
Sport: Triathlon & Duathlon

Although the main focus of my season this year is the upcoming World Long Distance Duathlon Championships in Virginia this October, another one of my goals is to qualify for next years World Age-Group Triathlon Championships being held in Vancouver. As a result, I have been swimming a couple times/week (nowhere close to the time a dedicated triathlete would spend!) since the winter, and have planned on competing in several triathlons throughout what will mainly be a duathlon/running intensive season. Sprint Nationals in Brampton was my first triathlon of the year, and McKellar One this past weekend was the second.

McKellar is a small town located 20km east of Parry Sound, ON. It is organized by David & Marianne Bialkowski of Bialkowski Trysport in Parry Sound. Bialkowski Trysport is a main sponsor of the triathlon team I am on, Team Nuw Theory, so it was a nice opportunity to meet up with David, show some support, and get in a good race in a new locale!

As Parry Sound is quite the drive from my home in Roseneath, I couldn’t do my usual early morning commute that I am so fond of (not!), and instead left for the Sunday morning race on Saturday afternoon with an invitation to stay at teammate Gina Demczuk’s family cottage. This worked out perfectly as Gina’s cottage was only about 15mins from the race start, saving valuable travel time in the morning for what was a very early start (7:45am!). Not to mention the great company and hospitatility that I received from Gina nad her family which made the trip so much more enjoyable. Thank you Demczuks!

The Course

Based out of the McKellar Community Centre, the swim took place in the calm and refreshing waters of Lake Armstrong.  The 1500m swim course consisted of 2 laps of a 750m loop.   The 40km bike course was out-and-back along gently rolling Hwy #124 , which was not only beautifully paved and smooth for the entire route, but also featured a wide paved shoulder!  Basically it was bliss on a bike!   The 10km run was also out-and-back, this time along a windy and hilly country road which made for a challenging end to the race!

Race Morning

Left the cottage around 6:00am to arrive at bit early in order to help David and his crew of volunteers with race morning set-up.  Helped a bit putting up some signs and banners before it was time to go through registration and start warming up.  Did my usual pre-race jog with drills and accelerations.  Stayed out of the water for as long as possible, which is typical for me.  I usually head in with just a few minutes to go just to get wet and dunk my head under.  Seriously though, I just don’t want to waste what little swim power I have in my arms on a warm up! 

The Swim – 1500m

My second triathlon (first Olympic) of the year, and my first time swimming a 2-lapper.  The plan was to start strong, try and find a pair of feet to draft off, and to negative split on the second lap.  I started wide as I usually do but almost immediately found myself entirely alone.  Which I guess I should have expected in a smaller race (the Olympic Triathlon had 27 competitors).  Actually, this isn’t exactly true.  I did swim almost to the first buoy with another triathlete close beside me on the inside.  It was a little frustruating because we kept bumping arms and bodies and I felt we were a little wide but couldn’t move in because he was right beside me!  Finally I got fed up and just up and stopped to let him get ahead so I could move over to where I wanted to be.  After that I was alone for the rest of the swim.  Sighting the buoys was a bit difficult due to the glare of the sun off the water…I have yet to learn how to sight during a race by using the position of the sun or other landmarks.  During the swim I concentrated on sighting less often (I have the horrible habit of sighting with every breath) and also experimented with breathing every stroke instead of every three.   So I’m not sure if this affected my time and ability to stay on course.   I felt a bit disoriented throughout the swim, especially with no one around me,  and could really feel the effort in my arms by the end.  I know my time of 26:13 (13th overall), which includes the run up to transition, is nothing to throw a party over, but I am very happy with the effort and the result!


By the time I got to T1, most of the bikes were already gone as the Sprint Triathletes, all the Duathletes, and half the Olympic Distance racers had already sped in and out.  I certainly didn’t make up any time here either, having difficulty unzipping and stepping out of my wetsuit!  I’m sure I looked quite amusing hopping around on one foot while trying to free the other from the confines of my wetsuit!  Finally I was free and heading out on the bike to play catch-up!

The Bike – 40km 

I love the bike portion of the triathlon.  But lately I have been plagued with saddle sore issues and as a result, already had several very sore and sensitive areas before heading out for 40km in chamois-free skimpy triathlon shorts!  OUCH!  Thank God at least the pavement was smooth! 

Other than the agonizing pain in my nether regions, the bike went well.  Immediately I took a gel and starting getting some fluids into me.  Unfortunately my bike computer was (and is!) on the fritz so I had to go mostly by feel instead of using RPM’s, Speed, and Distance to help me guage my effort.  Annoying, but probably a good lesson in listening to one’s body.  I started hard knowing I would have quite a bit of time to make up from the swim.  I had no idea at this point how many women were ahead of me or by how much….just that there were very few bikes left in transition when I left!  Initially I was alone for a very long time.  It was challenging to push myself being all alone with no one even in sight!  I knew they were up ahead somewhere, but where!?!?  As I neared the 20km turnaround I finally passed another racer…none other than Gina, whose cottage I had stayed at!  We shared some words of support and encouragement before I continued on.  Meanwhile, the top racers were now passing by on their way back to transition.  I think I counted about 7-8 men ahead and spotted another woman…ahh, incentive to keep pushing the pace!  I moved into the lead of the women’s race around 25-30km into the bike and managed to catch 1-2 other men as well.  Around the 30km mark I took a 2nd gel and made sure one waterbottle was empty before the end of the bike.  I finished the 40km bike in a time of 1:09:22 (7th overall) and a good effort…it may have been fast and rolling but let me tell ya, my quads were complaining! 


I don’t remember much so I’m assuming it was uneventful!!

The Run – 10km

I was a little worried about my legs coming off the bike – they seemed a bit trashed.  And throughout the run they felt quite heavy, with some shin tightness/pain for the first half of the course.  Overall, I didn’t feel very speedy but just concentrated on keeping up a high turnover (the theme of my running this summer!) .  Luckily I started the run with two men a bit ahead of me, so reeling them in gave me something to focus on initially.  It seemed to take FOREVER to reach the first water station and the sprint triathlon turn-around….and according to Len Gushe (my reliable source for all things race related!) the course became hillier from about 3-7km.  Sure enough, it did!  Again, it seemed to take forever to reach our 5km turn-around, I was sure I was running the slowest 10km of my season!  On the way back in though, I was spurred on by the cheers of my fellow competitors, seeing the second-place woman looking strong, and catching few more men.  In the end I finished with a very surprising time of 37:42 (3rd Overall) and ended the race as the top female and 5th overall in 2:13:16. 

Results available at:

Post-Race Festivities

Competitors were treated to a wide selection of bagals, condiments, cookies, fruits, and drinks.  Age-Group awards were Marianne’s famous painted rocks….a very cool race tradition, while the top overall racers received gift certificates to spend on toys at Bialkowski Trysport. 

Race Atmosphere

Although this was a small, low-key event, I was totally impressed with the caliber of not only the organization, but of the volunteers, race venue, and competition.  It was a great mix of first-time multisporters on mountain bikes to top age-group and elite athletes!  Everyone I spoke with had a wonderful experience!  Hats off to David and his crew, it was well worth the drive. 

A Note on Nutrition:   

Breakfast: muesli at 5:00am

Bike: 2 Gu gels & 1 Gu20 waterbottle

Run: sips of water, carried a gel “just in case”

Result: Felt good, no cramps, no sloshing stomach

Next Race:  Bluewater Duathlon July 28th, 2007

 Thanks for reading!!

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