A total of 40 competitors took part in the Welland Half Swim/Bike on June 15th, and as always is the case with this race, a few Elites and top age groupers show up to get in a good hard workout without beating themselves up with a run – mostly done as a final tune-up for another upcoming race.
Even though my main race is a few months away, I was in the boat too. I logged a fairly heavy run week so I didn’t need to do another 21.1 km. Plus, skipping on that run means I can get right back into training the following week.
Last year I swam a pathetic 50 minutes thanks to zero swim training. I’ve been swimming somewhat regularly during the winter and getting back to my old abilities. However, a pool shutdown due to yearly maintenance and some other things in life have messed with my regular routine since May and I hadn’t swam in three weeks. So a big reason to do this race was to get in an open water swim and see where I was at and how bad I could get after missing three weeks of swimming.
2 km Swim – 43:55 – 2:12/100 m — Worst swimmer in the Welland Canal
I got in the water 5 minutes before the race start and got in a few strokes to warm up. The new wetsuit I was wearing felt more buoyant and flexible in the arms so I had good thoughts of pulling off a good swim……that didn’t happen.
My stroke felt all over the place, and I kept drifting left. Then after about 15 minutes, my left side started getting numb and my left deltoid started to get achy. My navigation issues continued for most of the race, and I tried ramping up the effort during the final stretch because I wanted out of that water. Officially I was out un 43:55. I was not happy with that given what I’ve been doing in training (40 minutes should have been my max swim time), but it also showed me that I need to keep the swimming going if I want to swim to my potential.
Once out, I ran to my Crocs that I set aside so I didn’t have to run in barefeet for that long run to T1. I also took of my wetsuit by seconds after and then ran to T1.
T1 – 1:22 (includes the long run up from the water)
With the wetsuit already off and my Ignition Fitness Tri top and Running Free Bike Shorts on, I quickly put on my socks, helmet, grabbed my arm warmers and ran out with my bike quickly to make up for that horrible swim.
90 km Bike – 2:27:07 – 36.7 km/hr — 5th best bike
I spent the first few minutes getting my feet in the shoes, and mainly in getting my armwarmers on the go. Once I got going I started reeling people in and was not passed by anyone all day – thanks again cruddy swim time.
The first 30 km went ok. For whatever reason I did not feel like riding my bike. My legs felt tired and achy. However, thanks to some tailwind I was able to cover 30 km in just over 48 minutes. That provided some motivation that I needed at that moment. I did the math in my head and realized I had a shot at riding sub 2:30. I really wasn’t riding close to my abilities so surely I could ensure 60 km of harder riding?
I still did not pump out my goal wattages (the changing winds had a lot to do with that), so I ditched looking and riding to wattage and simply just rode hard and tried to pass as many people as possible.
I battled a stiff wind in the final 15 km and but having that carrot of sub 2:30 helped a ton, I let it all go for that stretch. During that time, I almost rear ended a car after a vehicle decided to go a few feet and then suddenly stop after a policeman had waved him through. Why he stopped, I’ll never know, but I am glad the policeman yelled at him to keep coming through. I had my hand on my brakes anyway since I sensed something weird was going to happen, but I was protecting myself from a possible left turn into me.
I got into T2 and crossed the timing mat to end my race.
* I was running low on Honeymaxx so I only had 240 calories split into two bottles. I consumed both of those, plus a bottle of water on course from an aid station, and grabbed a Hammer Gel at the final aid station for the last push home. That extra bit of sugar was a nice little treat.
Some Bike stats:
Time: 2:26:58 / Avg Speed: 36.4 km/h / Avg HR: 159 bpm / Avg Power: 193 W / Max Avg Power (20 min): 203 W
Normalized Power (NP): 195 W
Time: 2:33:53 / Avg Speed: 35.1 km/hr / Avg HR: 156 bpm / Max HR: 171 bpm / Avg Power: 189 W / Max Avg Power (20 min): 212 W
Normalized Power (NP): 192 W
Total Time – 3:15:31 — 9th overall, 3rd among men 40+
I was fairly happy with my bike ride, knowing that I have it in me to go faster. But the swim definitely bothered me. The good thing is that it will encourage me to not neglect my swimming for the rest of the season. Congrats to fellow Ignition Fitness teammate Shawn Marshall who edged me out by 16 seconds, and to all the Ignition and Team Running Free athletes that competed on the weekend. Once again the MultiSport Canada crew pulled off anther outstanding race.
Nutrition: Pre-race: 1 bottle of Boost+ in the morning, plus some black coffee on the drive to the race. During the race: Honeymaxx in my Profile Aero HC System. Both available at Running Free. Make sure to use the code 11296 if you are shopping there. It will save you a few dollars.
Post-race: 500mL of Chocolate Milk courtesy of the Recharge With Milk Recovery Zone, and 2 slices of Pizza.