Like my previous report on the Lakeside Sprint, I will start with a brief description followed by my rather long race report.
To see a description of the Lakeside venue, please see my race report on the Sprint distance. The setup on both days was the same, with the only difference being the bike course being longer and going on a different route. This was the first time doing this course and I would say it is fairly easy overall when compare to areas such as Muskoka. Road 96 was newly paved in sections which allowed you to fly. They warn you when you are on Road 6 that there is a gradual climb, followed by sharp downhill where you turn right at the bottom of the hill so need to be careful of your speed. I actually found I could take it fairly fast. The bike course doesn’t offer a lot of shelter so on a windy day, you need to be careful!
Lakeside International Distance Duathlon – Sept 13, 2015 (detailed race report)
It was the morning of September 13th. I just finished competing in the Sprint Duathlon the day before and which resulted in a PB for the course and the overall win. I celebrated by going to a wedding and spending time with friends. My wife and I got home about 1:30, but we were able to sleep in until 7 am as the race didn’t start until 9:55 am that day. Like the day before, we took the same route, and arrived at around the same time. The difference this day was I was missing my Sprint buds. No Spencer or Jeremy to chat with before. On the drive to Lakeside, I searched what the course was like on my phone. I knew what the run course would be, but had never done the 40 km bike route. Driving into Lakeside, we were actually able to drive a good 10-15 km of the course which helped prepare me mentally. Arriving at Lakeside it was overcast, windy, and cold. I was having a hard time trying to figure out what to wear, but in the end went with my tri “supersuit”, calf and arm sleeves. I loved how comfortable the supersuit was and plan on racing Worlds in it. I figured it was important to have the practice and figure out what to wear, even down to which socks. I got ready and did the same warm up as I did from the sprint the day prior. I thought I was sucking wind the day before, but with how strong the wind was for this event, I swear my warmup was closer to a 5 pace! But, my legs actually felt pretty good. The Milk Pant contraption thingy I tried the day before must have helped! The rich food from the wedding on the other hand, didn’t help. It was delicious, but I obviously ate too much or something didn’t agree with me as my stomach was not happy. In dealing with my upset stomach, I ended up having to rush to make the start! I didn’t even have time to put my watch in multisport mode before the gun sounded and we were off! Just like yesterday, everyone took off fast, but unlike the day before, there were only three of us in a group out front. I didn’t recognize the two with me from any previous race. This was likely due to the fact that I only had ever raced the International Distance once before. The great thing about today’s race was that unlike the Sprint yesterday, today was just about training. I wanted to practice the distance and feel what it was like to race on tired legs. I was tucked in behind the second place guy, who I would later find out was Daryl Flacks. Just as we turned the corner to the first hill, I passed Flacks and mentioned there was nobody even close to us and that the days winner would likely come down to one of the three of us. As the runner in front of me would pass water stops, I would check my watch and see how many seconds he was ahead of me. By the time we were finishing the second loop, I had put a good distance on Flacks (about 40 seconds I would later find out), but Brad Arndt was still about 20 seconds in front of me (according to my calculations). I finished the first stage of 10 km in 39:36 (3:57/km) which I was very happy with, considering the effort I put in the day before.
In transition, I had my normal 30 something second T1 but it was a bit slower (34 seconds T1) as I couldn’t get the strap on my helmet done up. Just like yesterday, I cleared the mount line, passed other triathletes trying to get on, and jumped on my bike. Off I went determined to get my shoes on fast than the day prior. As you can see by my bike photo, I was again unsuccessful. I just have to keep working on that. It is going to take a while to get better and break the muscle memory I have been doing for the past three years. Now that I was on the bike and finally had my shoes on, it was time to take numbers. Before I could really get going it was time to slow down and turn right. Only 850 m after that, I was turning around again. This short out and back was to make the course exactly 40 km. It sucked as the turn around was at the bottom of a hill so you couldn’t really fly down as fast as you would like. Then you lose your speed turning around and have to get back up the hill. Oh well, everyone has to do this and at the bike course for worlds, there are a lot of out and backs due to it being 4, 10 km loops so this was good practice for me. Once I completed the short turn around, I knew it was straight for 10 km and I just needed to push it. The fact I knew I was in second also gave me motivation. I had no idea how good the bikes would be of Flacks (behind me) or Arndt (in front of me), but I was going to try to push as much as I could. On this 10 km straight I took the time to fumble around with my watch and switch it from run mode to bike mode. I wished I would have had the time to put it in multisport, but without my techie (Spencer) at the race, I didn’t figure it out in time. With my garmin in bike mode I could tell how fast I was going, often over 40 km/hr along that stretch. This allowed me to catch Arndt just after we turned right from the 10 km stretch. He looked strong and it wasn’t like I was blowing his socks off. I just kept focusing on myself, never looking back. I figured if either of them caught me, then they deserved it. The thought of trying to pull off a “Double Du” had never been a goal or crossed my mind until much later in the race. The wind on the bike was crazy and at times I thought it was going to knock me into the farmer’s fields! I was making sure to take nutrition in the form of GU, gatorade, and even practiced taking some salt pills while riding. I feel that I slow down to much when taking the GU and salt pills, but yet I need them in order to keep going as hard as I want to. The entire bike I was picking off tri atheletes. I was getting annoyed at times when I would come across people drafting and obviously didn’t care. I saw this the day prior as well and have a hard time understanding while people don’t just compete honestly. Either way, I would make a point to blow by them to make them feel small especially when they are cheating and still going slower. I had made it to the last 10 km stretch and before turning to head into the final stretch, I heard “on your left”. It was Flacks! Crap, he was in third and I thought I had a good lead. As he passed me I yelled how far back is third to which Darryl responded he passed him a while back. Perfect I thought. Now that I knew where my competition was, I noticed he was slowing down on hills so I closed in, and took back the lead again. Remembering my experience from the race the day prior, I decided to wait longer before taking feet out of my shoes. I didn’t want Flacks to blow by me like Spencer had done the day prior. I ended up getting my feet out with lots of time, swung my left over and was coming in hot. The race officials were motioning quite violently to “slow down”. I was sure I still had more room, but the way they were acting made me dismount prior to when I wanted. Oh boy…I had a lot of speed! I ended up grabbing my brakes to slow down, but gripped the front brake to hard and up the bike went. I have done this before so just released the front brake, but on this occasion, the bike pivoted at the wheel, taking the bike and myself with it! WIPEOUT!!!! I let go of the bike, put my hands out and rolled with it. I came to a stop, jumped up and all the time thinking I hope I didn’t rip my new Team Canada supersuit. I grabbed my bike as people were asking if I was all right. I think I responded yes, but with Flacks close behind I just grabbed my bike and ran into transition. I mounted the bike, took off my helmet, put on my shoes and ran as fast as I could out of there.
My arm hurt and was bleeding, my shoulder hurt, and both feet felt like they were on fire (remember, I just had socks on when I wiped out). The only good thing about this was the pain of those parts meant I wasn’t actually feeling the pain in my legs like I normally would. It might have positive thing, but I don’t plan on trying that again to find out. Time to dig deep. I knew Flacks was close but I also knew I beat him on the first run. I didn’t want to slow down and let him back in this race. I just focused in front of me and kept thinking that my training day might have just turned into a “Double Du” performance! I was trying to keep to a 4 pace but my watch was still in bike mode so I had no clue. I wasn’t going to slow down to figure it out and put it in run mode. With the last stage being just one loop of the 5 km course, I knew that after the hill I would be able to look for second place and see if I could coast in or not. I wasn’t worried about a specific time like the day before. Today was training and I had already put in a good effort. I now had a goal of the double du! As I turned to start going down the hill at 2.5 km, I noticed a red bib at the bottom of the hill. It was Arndt! He must have taken Flacks on the run. I think I swore and remember thinking I can’t let off now. Seeing Arndt so close made me kick it up a level. I don’t know if I was actually going any faster, but I definitely wasn’t slowing down. I never looked back, just kept running as hard as I could but was exhausted. I figured if Arndt caught me, then he is the stronger person and deserved to win. He definitely had the stronger first run, but could he close it? As much as I wanted to reach my new goal of the Double Du, I had to realize that I just raced an all out effort the day before, had maybe 5 hours of sleep and wasn’t feeling well. Later I found out that when he saw me, he thought crap, I was looking strong and might have eased up. I continued to run as hard as I could and as I saw the finish line I clenched my fist and pumped it. I was so excited and proud as I crossed the finish line. Double Du complete with a second overall victory in 2 days! I completed the third stage (5km) in 19:59 (just under my 4:00/km goal), having the fastest run of the stage, and finishing in a time of 2:06:52. This was a new PB for me, and another confidence booster going into Worlds!