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Cultus Lake Triathlon – What a day!!!!

Race: Cultus Lake Triathlon

Location: Cultus Lake, BC

Date: May 11, 2008

Distance: Sprint and Olympic

By: Lisa Coleman

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Well this race was definitley an interesting one. I started out my day bright and early getting up at 5am and leaving for Cultus Lake, BC at 5:30 am. Cultus Lake is very close to Chilliwack, BC and about 1.5 hours east of where I am currently living (Port Moody, BC). Cultus Lake is known for being a cold lake even in the summer so given the cold spring we have been having in BC I was not looking forward to this race and the cold swim. I planned this race as a preparation race before worlds in June. I wanted a chance to get into my wet suit, have an open water swim and go through the transitions once this season before worlds.

The day started out at 5 degrees celsius and the water temperature was 10 degrees celsius. There were rumours around the transition area that the organisers might be cancelling the swim. The hour before the race I was wondering what have I gotten myself into, and was dreading having to change out of warm sweats and into my wet suit. Just before the start of the race there was an announcement, the swim was going to be shortened due to the water temperatures. The sprint swim was shortened from 500m to 200m and the olympic distance was shortened from 1000m to 500m. They also gave the option if people wanted to skip the swim all together and do a bike/run event instead.

I figured since I had driven all the way to the race and at the point of the announcement was already in my wet suit I might as well go for it. Besides, even if the water is cold I thought 200m is nothing i could suck it up. Well the water was defintley cold. The cold took my breath away getting into the water. Because of the cold water and because this was a preparation race for me I decided to take it easy and actually did the whole swim with my head out because the water was just that cold. I ended up with probaby my slowest swim time ever 4:45 for 200m…wow…and not to mention the slowest transition time after the swim. Running out the water, changing and putting on bike shoes was all very difficult with frozen hands and feet and that was apparant in my all time slowest transition ever.

I layered up because at this point it was still very cold (my running free arm warmers came in handy!) and headed out on the bike. I actually started thinking, I have a good pace going, this is going to be a good race…….but then i looked down and noticed that I had blown a front tire. I have only changed a tire once so I thought here is my chance to test it out in a race for the first time. The frozen fingers made it a little difficult and I soon realised that I didn’t have a CO2 cartridge for my bike pump because I had to take it out of my kit when i sent my bike to BC on the plane. I kept going anyways, changed the tire and kept asking fellow racers if anyone had a spare cartidge. Eventually someone tossed me a cartridge and I got my tire pumped and was back on the road. After all that I figure i lost 15-20 minutes (I told you I had only changed a tire once before I am definitley not quick!). I picked up the pace and started to pass some racers at the back of the pack, at this point the leaders in the olympic distance that started 30 minutes after the sprint race had started to pass me as I was stranded at the side of the road. The rest of the bike went well and so did the run. The run was a beautifull route. It was a gravel trail out and back along Cultus Lake. The lake is surrounding in mountains and you could still see the snow at the top of the mountains.

I finnished the race and was proud of myself for not letting the flat end my race and for enduring the cold. After looking up my results online I was suprised to see that I place 3rd in my age group and was the 6th woman. So overall it was not a bad placing considering the obstacles.

I will definitley not be forgetting this race any time soon. It was my coldest race ever, first flat tire and first triathlon on my own out in BC!!!!

Next up is world championships June 6th. The swim is in the English Bay so I am hoping the weather warms up a bit so we don’t have a repeat of our chilly swim this past weekend! Cultus Lake was a fun race and I guess you can never tell what will happen when you sign up for a tri in the un predictable month of May. You never know what the weather will bring!

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  • I’ve heard the water is going to be cold @ World’s too. I am not looking forward to that either. At least you have experienced the cold water at least once. I’m glad to see that I am not the only slow one changing out tubes. Maybe it is a girl thing? Haha! I am coming out to World’s for the Olympic distance, so maybe I will see you there. Anything you want me to bring you from Running Free?

  • Can someone teach Lisa how to change a tire before the worlds!?!?
    speaking of the worlds, i heard about the letter sent to the canada triathlon head master about the cost for the race entry, Canada racing suit, etc…Is this true that this is totally innacceptable and a rip off??

    Good luck for the world!

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