I had one race left in the season, which was to take place at the Lakeside Triathlon Weekend. With my two 3rd place finishes at crucial bonus point events, I was sitting in 3rd for the series points championships. I needed another top 3 finish to challenge the 2nd place racer and finish the season off with a bang! When we had arrived at the race site, it was only 12 degrees and nearly 35 km/h wind gusts. I took my spot in the transition area and laid my gear out for success. I had a chance to talk with a few of the other racers about how their seasons had went and wished them good luck as I made my way back to see my family before the start. My friend Justin was on route to the race against us in the Duathlon for his first time and had an unfortunate tire blowout on his SUV, causing him to abandon the day all together. I decided to wear my cycling jacket and leg warmers throughout the first run so that I could warm up my muscles efficiently. Both the run course and bike course were brutal. After a 5km run down hilly dirt roads, followed by a 20km ride down a roller coaster of a rural road, we would hit the unforgiving dirt road for a second time.
As we took to the line, a huge crowd surrounded the start line. Bang! We all shot down the road like a stampede of elephants. I tried to stay on the heels of the lead group as they slowly slipped away from me. These racers we’re going all out and I was going to have to work overtime on the bike course If I was going to keep it close. I made quick time into the first transition in 40th, throwing my leg warmers and jacket to the ground.
I launched out onto the bike course with gloves and sunglasses in hand. The mount/dismount line was a jumbled mess of athletes in cycle shoes slipping and sliding trying to make contact with their bikes while dodging other athletes fumbling all over the place. I kept a solid pace, passing as many people as my legs would let me trying to gain some ground. Just after I had hit the turnaround, I had noticed a large group of riders getting really close together, riding three wide. Now in a road race, it is hard enough to keep yourselves from crashing into each other, but throw aerodynamic triathlon bikes with aggressive riders into the equation and bad things are inevitable. I saw the disaster coming before it happened and As I looked up from my cyclometer there was bikes and riders piled on top of each other all over the road. I made a quick maneuver onto the shoulder nearly clipping a rubbernecker that had slammed on her brakes.
I made it back into the second transition in 28th unscathed with swollen knees, burning legs and knew I was nearly 3 minutes ahead of the guy that was gunning for me. I took off on the run trying to hold it together. I could see him gaining on me as I hit the turn around. It was time to fire it up. I blew through the last kilometre and a half and jumped on the tail of another racer making a break for the finish. She looked at me and said ” time to burn some rubber!, give it all you got and you can collapse at the finish line! “. We both laughed and started to sprint. As we crossed the finish line, we shook hands and went on our way. I had taken my third, 3rd place podium finish of the season and would have to wait to see the results from the next day’s races to see where I had placed indefinitely.
I took the 2nd place spot overall for my very first race season in the Multisport Canada Sprint Duathlon 25-29 age category points championship, out of 26 competitors across Ontario. I could of never imagined to have such a great amount of success this year and I am thirsty for more. I invite you to follow me on my journey to one day qualify for the International Triathlon Union Duathlon Championships, on my blog at marklawrenceduit.wordpress.com thanks for listening!