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ITU World Championships Switzerland September 2019

I am thrilled to be able to write a race report on the ITU Standard Distance Triathlon Age Group World Championships in Lausanne Switzerland on September 1st, 2019 because both my daughter Kathryn and I qualified last year by finishing first in our age groups at Wasaga Beach.

Travelling overseas with 2 bike cases was intensely difficult, because we had to learn how to disassemble and reassemble our bikes, then lug them through the airport and on multiple trains and busses in our travels.

We were able to enjoy 5 days of sightseeing and pre-race activities before the race, including a team breakfast, a parade, and course recons. On race day, we woke up at 5 am, took a shuttle to the race site, set up transition (lost chip, but found it again), confirmed that the water was too warm (no wetsuit for the swim), walked to the swim start for Kathryn’s start at 7:26. I cheered for Kathryn at the swim exit, bike start, and halfway point on bike (finished 1st loop of 2). Then walked back to the swim start in bare feet, did a 3 min warm up in the water, then into the corral to dance with others in my wave, which started at 9:26.

Choppy, wavy, and swells through the entire swim portion – hardest swim I have ever done. I managed to pass swimmers from at least 3 waves, and had to do breast stroke once when I lost sight of everyone. More buoys would have helped.

Tired already, I took a few breaths at my bike, tried to start my bike computer but it fell off so I tucked it into my bento bag. First hill was tougher than I remember it from the recon ride, maybe because I’m not used to kicking so much in the swim. I had to brake on all of the downhills because there were sharp turns at the bottom of every hill. The flat sections were fast and fun – just went my own pace since I didn’t have my computer (could have checked my watch but just tried to push when I could). The motorcycle official told me to tighten my chin strap, then warned the guy in front of me he was too close (drafting warning). Lots of officials out there! I lost my straw just before halfway, and saw it again on the second lap but chose not to stop (got it after the race though!). Luckily I had GU electrolyte mix to get myself through the second 20 km, which was harder than the first lap. I also ate some GU chews for carbs and energy – perfect for the bento box on my bike!

The run was extremely tough, with 3 short steep hills (x 2 laps) which we already knew from the recon run. I passed a teammate going downhill at the 4 km mark, but she passed me at the 9 km mark as I was struggling with a stitch in my side. Lots of spectators cheering “Go Team Canada” as we ran past – it was amazing! I saw Kathryn cheering at the halfway mark – so great to have her there too! I grabbed a flag from our team captain to wave as I crossed the finish line – what a great moment! The weather cooperated – original forecast was 25 mm of rain, but it held off (a bit warm, but pretty much perfect!).

Final times were: swim 28:42 (1:54 min/100 m, 12th), bike 1:17 (31 km/h), run 50 (5 min/km). Transitions were slow (even relative to others). Final result: 22/81 and top Canadian in my age group. Found out later that the 2nd place woman in my age group was the winner of the 2000 Sydney Olympics gold medal in standard distance triathlon!! Would have liked a faster swim, but thrilled to pieces, and even more special because my daughter was there too. It was definitely the experience of a life time!

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