6 am, the morning of the Niagara Triathlon it was 26 degrees and 25km/h wind gusts. I had the car loaded and my bike on the rack ready to hit the road. I had purchased a pair of BLADE carbon 88 mm wheels to throw some aero advantage into my game plan as well as a new garneau diamond race kit.
I was feeling great until we got to the race site. It was 29 degrees Celsius with 35-40km gusts by the time we got there, with absolutely no where to hide from the sun. I kept my nutrition plan the same as the last race but had 2 times the water ready for whatever happened due to the heat. I had a great first run, taking off through the front of the pack and keeping myself in the top 15 racers. The run course was half pavement and half hilly trail run, which I had not prepared for.
I made it back from the run in 31st of the 104 competitors and made a quick time for me out of the transition onto the bike course, but I was still slow at the changeover compared to all of the seasoned athletes. As I left I could feel the tail wind and took full advantage of it, powering as fast as I could to the turnaround. I had noticed about 5 crashes and nearly 8 people walking back to the race site from either mechanical or punctures. As I spun around, things came to a halt. The wind was now in excess of 50km/h and I could see everyone ahead of me struggling. I cranked up my cadence and kept my pace consistent, passing other racers every 4 minutes or so. Once I finally made it back to transition I was in 58th and immediately ran to the water station and filled my bottles. I chugged 1 bottle and drenched myself with the other trying to cool myself down. I could feel the fatigue set into my legs from the torture the wind had just put us all through. I got out onto the final run as quickly as I could trying to pull it together. It was so hot out that the locals had their garden hoses out spraying us all as we ran by. The sun was so intense that nearly 50% of the racers were walking for a few minutes and sprinting for a minute trying to just make it through the last 7.5 km run. I kept my effort constant walking through every water station while taking in as much fluid as they would give me. About 2km from the finish, I found myself next to three other racers that were struggling. I started to motivate them all and kept saying “come on guys, your so close! You can do it! We all picked up the pace and about 500 metres from the line my little brother came out of nowhere and ran besides us cheering us on. There was a non alcoholic beer waiting for all of us as we crossed the finish and took off our time chip. It was the perfect way to finish such a difficult race. I had hit the finish line in 70th out of 104 and 4th in my age group with a time of 2:07:10. All in all, I was happy with the result. The weather had tested my endurance and I had came out reasonably unscathed. It was time to train harder then ever before for what would be my most important race of the season. Thanks for listening, stay tuned!