This year has been unbelievable for me, having smashed all of my personal bests and I am continuously seeing improvements from the high training load that I have put my body through. To have shaved 10 minutes off all of my races from last year has not been easy. Sure losing 40 pounds of body weight has played a huge role, but that can come at a cost as well. I owe it all to the dedicated training and those mornings I forced myself out the door to go for a run or ride, which we all know is the biggest struggle in any athlete’s life. I am just about to roll the clock on my 5,000 km cycling goal for this season, with months to go yet, I have increased my run training over 400% from last year and my nutrition is on point. The possibilities are endless in how much further I can push myself!
For those of you who don’t know, Lakeside is located in the country, close to Woodstock and having raced there last year I had a good idea of the punishment I was in for this time around. With a two week break in between Wasaga and lakeside I took some much needed recovery time. This was the first year I had attempted back to back races, a week apart and I give credit to guys like Spencer Summerfield for doing it numerous times throughout a season. It is a lot harder then it sounds and my body was screaming for mercy lol. After my token 5 hour sleep the night before a race, I loaded the car and my wife Sam and I started our journey to the race site, just under 2 hours away. As soon as we hit the highway the skies turned from overcast and windy to aggressively angry and it began to pour down rain for our entire trip. I am still getting used to this time trial bike, after my 3rd race with it and the thought of throwing wind and heavy rain into the equation, rattled me a little bit. Sam spent much of Friday night laughing at me as I paced around the house trying to decide on what the most appropriate wheel and tire combination would be for success. Thank you hunny, glad I could amuse you lol.
We pulled into the familiar race site and parked our car at the equestrian farm that was nice enough to open their gates once again this year to allow all of the athletes and spectators to park for the day at no charge. At this point there was not a single person who wasn’t completely soaked from head to toe and we made the walk down to the race site as quick as possible hoping to hide under the vendor tents for even a minute. The race crew was hard at work and I had a chance to say hi to our race director, Chris who would be also taking over all of John Salts duties while he was away. I dropped my bike and gear off at transition and headed over to pick up my bib, timing chip, race kit and get body marked. Despite the weather, it was business as usual for everyone and the rain had been reduced to a sprinkle about a half an hour before race start. After watching my bike get thrown around on the rack the entire ride up I opted to check it out and head out on to the course for a warm up ride to see where the potential problem areas were on the high traffic road leading in and out of the race site. Recon complete and I headed off to take my Recharge With Milk racer of the day, picture before heading to the start line to take my spot.
Veteran Duathlete, Scott Finch was here to uphold his blistering course record set years before and Spencer was hungry for the win he had been chasing at this venue since 2012. The run course was paved road for about 600m then hit hilly rural dirt roads, which made for quite the challenging and sloppy mess coming into the transition. We awaited the countdown and we were off! I moved my way up the pack to 5th running between 3:55-4:15 /km pace for the first km and a half but had to tone it back to 4:30-4:45 for the next km to the turnaround. My oh so infamous cramps appeared again as I started the run back and found myself having to slow right down every 400m to try and recover from the pain. I hit the final stretch to transition and had slipped to 25th overall and had run a 24:04 5k. I had a lot of work to do on the bike if I was going to challenge my PB once again this race. I made a 1:40 transition which was quick for me and grabbed my bike and started running to the mount line.
I hit the bike hard and took my usual line down the left side to overtake the mix of triathlete’s and Duathlete’s that were ahead of me. I would really like to stress the importance of athletes listening at the racer meetings for both Triathlon and Duathlon, because there seems to be some confusion every race on where you should be riding on the road. Treat the right side of the road like a two lane highway and if you are not overtaking another athlete, please stay to the right! This is for your own safety and those who are moving quicker then you. I witnessed over 20 athletes in the first 4 Km’s of the ride who were riding against the centre line of the road, as well as riding two and three wide, refusing to move as a few of us were shouting “on your left”. On a dry day that is dangerous riding, but add rain and wind into the equation and your asking for disaster. Please read the beginners guide and rules and regulations before you race. Safety for all of us is the number 1 priority. As I approached the turnaround I knew I had passed 7 Duathletes, but was going to need to pass a lot more to put myself in a great spot for the final run. We hit a head wind on the rollers leading up to the last turn and I took the opportunity to pull on as many athletes as I could, passing another 7 as I rounded the last corner. I had one more Duathlete ahead of me that I could see and passed her just before the dismount line. I had passed 15 Duathletes and put myself back into 10th place coming into transition with a time of 34:40 at 34.49km/h average. Not my fastest time, but considering the weather and hilly terrain I was happy. Mentally I was being a lot more cautious then I had planned, but as I continue to get comfortable on the new bike, it will subside. I made a quicker 1:29 transition and switched back into my completely soaked and muddy running shoes, before heading out onto the final run.
I had come out of transition and hit the road as I heard the announcement that Spencer had taken the win and I could see Scott about 30 seconds down the road behind him. I was now back behind the last athlete I passed but caught up to them about 800m in and did my best to keep a gap between us, all the way to the turnaround. My heart rate had shot up to 193 and I had to do short jogs and fast walks in between every 400m or so to try and reduce it for almost the entire way back to the finish, from the turnaround. I had only given up 3 positions and knew I was in second in my age group. As I approached the last 300m, I could hear someone right on my tail and they were hustling. Not wanting to chance losing my 2nd place, I gave it every ounce of strength I had left, lengthened my stride and accelerated away from him right into the finish chute and hit the line with my second best time of the season of 1:15:07 and I had finished 2nd in the 30-39 age group, 10th out of 30 Men and 13th overall out of 63 competitors! After a thumbs up and a jumping high five to race director Chris (he’s really tall!) lol I was congratulated by fellow Multisport Canada Ambassador, Billy Bostad, who was volunteering at the finish line. The athlete who was hot on my trail hit me on the arm and said ” great race man!” It turns out he was in the triathlon lol no sweat after all.
Mission accomplished! I had secured a 2nd place finish and grab the points I needed in my 30-34 age group. I had also grabbed my first podium in the 30-39 age group of the season and was bringing home some hardware finally! Since moving up to the 30-39 age group this season, it has been a very tough task to accomplish and I couldn’t be happier. After the race, Sam and I headed over to the Recharge With Milk Tent for my “Racer of the day” picture and be there as an MSC ambassador for any of the athletes who may have questions. I then had a chance to chat with friend, fellow athlete and ambassador teammate Spencer Summerfield before we received our awards and took our pictures on the podium. It really has been an extraordinary privilege to be a part of Multisport Canada and Recharge With Milk as an Elite Ambassador this year and I look forward to the opportunity in the future, if they will have me again! As an athlete new to the sport myself last year in a foreign environment, it truly has been amazing for my wife, daughter and I to be welcomed by everyone the way that we have and have the privilege of being able to meet so many of the athletes who share my passion and the continued development of our sports!
If my calculations are correct, I will have secured my 3rd place finish overall with 375 points in the Multisport Canada Recharge With Milk Sprint Duathlon Series Points Championship for 2016. Coming off my 2nd place overall in 2015 to a much more competitive age group, full of a lot of amazing athletes this year, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. Consistency is key! I plan on tackling some run races and cycling events before the year is over and I invite you to follow me through my social media, strava and through my blog posts as I train harder again this off season to keep beating my personal bests, improve my strength and chase my goal of a top 5 overall race finish for 2017. Thank you to my supporters, Sam, Fiona, my family, Sport Chek, Blade Carbon Wheels, County Cycle (Garneau), Multisport Canada, Recharge With Milk, 2XU Canada, First Endurance, Ride The Earth Cycles (Code Custom Drawer Race apparel) and all of the inspiring athletes I am constantly chasing after. Without you I would hit my goals year after year. Happy Training!