I had the great pleasure of competing in the Rose City Long Course triathlon in Welland on June 25, 2022 with my daughter Kathryn (who will turn 24 in November). We decided to make a week-end out of it, and booked a room in the Niagara College residence Friday night, and stayed with family Saturday night.
We usually race Wasaga Beach in August, but there was a conflict with a wedding, so we decided pretty last minute to race at Rose City. I prefer Olympic distance triathlons, but Rose City only offers the sprint and the long course, and since I don’t like sprint distance, we agreed to do the long course distance: 2 km swim, 56 km bike, and 15 km run.
It was a very hot day, and they were short volunteers and police officers, so the bike course was shortened to 50 km. I cheered this announcement because it meant we would be starting the run about 10 minutes earlier than planned, and would mean it wouldn’t be quite as hot.
The swim leg is in the Welland International Flatwater Centre, and is by far my favourite swim venue. The swim is clockwise in a narrow canal, making it easy to swim in a straight line. If you position yourself in the right spot, you can swim directly over a yellow rope anchoring the rowing buoy markers, so you can keep your head facing down and follow the rope, which works great! I was out of practice, but managed a 1:53 / 100 m pace, and came out first in my age group (out of 11) and 3rd female (out of 74). I found out later I had a 4 minute lead on the second person in my age group.
The bike course had to be re-designed due to some construction and the lack of volunteers as listed above. We were forced to do navigate between 2 poles to access a narrow path and I nearly hit the poles, even though I was almost at a complete stop. We had to do 6 u-turns in total, but that meant I got to wave at Kathryn a few times, which was great. The roads are flat, so we can go very fast, and my average speed was just under 33 km/h, even with the u-turns. I was still first, and I was feeling pretty good at this point.
However, the run was not fun in the heat (probably compounded by my lack of training for the 15 km distance). I was drinking fluid at every aid station, and they had wet towels that I put under my hat and around my shoulders. I saw my daughter a few times since the course has some out-and-back sections. The last 3 km was really tough, but I managed a 5:21 pace overall which was slower than I hoped but I was glad to be finished! I was very dizzy and had a big blister, so I limped over to the first aid station where they bandaged my blister and let me sit until my dizziness passed. I jumped into the canal to cool down more, and then waited for my daughter to finish.
I found out that I ended up 2nd in my age group by only 12 seconds. I was especially frustrated that the first place finisher had made an error in her registration, and got to start about 15 minutes before me, so she got to swim with the faster swimmers, and it was a bit cooler for her run as well. I was still pleased to be on the podium though! The big highlight for the results was that they created a new “Other” category for athletes who don’t identify as male or female. My daughter Kathryn, who now goes by Kayden, finished first out of 3 athletes in this new category and received a gold medal!
Overall, Rose City is one of my favourite triathlon races, but I need to make sure I train properly (and hopefully it won’t be as hot next time).