Sunday, June 28, 2009

Relays!!!!




Oh my goodness. The relays were just so much fun. Actually this whole trip was so much fun. Thanks so much TriCanada for bringing us down here and giving us this experience. Like Sarah-Anne said, "It was really nice of them to take us here even though they knew we would come last." Well our C team may have been a bit back in the results, but we were definitely not last- and we killed the American development team!! ok so here's how it went down:

The World Team Triathlon Championships consisted of 4 person teams (2 girls and 2 guys) who would each do a super sprint triathlon before tagging off to their next team-mate. Canada brought the national team, and two development teams. We didn't know until the day before the race which team we would be on. And since Sarah, Marianne, and I are all very similar -none of us could guess which one of us would end up on the B team. I think we were all pretty impartial to which team we ended up on though because B team meant a lot of pressure whereas C team would be more fun (although slightly anti-climatic as it was destined to come last(ish). In the end I was chosen to lead out the C team, and Marianne got to join Paula, Kyle Jones and A-Mac on the B. For some reason I had been expecting not to have to lead, so when I heard I was leading the C I freaked out a bit. I would be racing the fastest women in THE WORLD, and somehow I would have to hold on long enough that we wouldn't be out of the race before any of my teammates even got to start! ok so much for C team being less pressure..

As we stood behind our flag bearer I had mixed feelings of "this is so exciting!" and "Oh my god what am I doing here!". My C team was ranked third to last to start, so I didn't really have much choice on the pontoon. The wind was blowing very strongly to the right, and in warmup we had all noticed that it was making for a strong current. Pretty much everyone had lined up on the left side of the pontoon to avoid having to swim against the current. So I had a choice: choose a spot right smack dab in the middle of the pack and fight my way to the first buoy, or pick the spot second to last on the right and swim against the current. I chose the far right spot. I don't know if that was the right choice but I did have perfectly open water the whole way to the buoy! I absolutely gave it my all, but even though I was right up front, I lost some distance from having to swim towards the left as well as straight. And then coming around the buoy was a huge fight as the whole packed funneled together around it. I didn't take the turns very tight, so coming around the second buoy I was still on the outside of the pack. I knew I needed to get on some feet, but I couldn't push my way in anywhere. Finally I realized that I should stop worrying about drafting, and start focusing on swimming fast, but by that point we were pretty much at the beach. I came out of the water only a couple seconds back from Lauren and Paula and the leaders. 'Ok this is good! Just need to run fast up to transition.' I just kept telling myself 'sprint, sprint, bridge the gap!' But my legs could only go so fast- and everyone else was sprinting as fast as they could too. I had a pretty speedy transition, but when I ran up to the line to high ho silver I just ran into a big pack of 15 girls wobbling around on their bikes trying to get their shoes on at the line. The mount line was in a pretty inconvenient place: right in the middle of a chicane- so it pretty much corralled all the girls who were mounting their bikes into one small area. Since there was absolutely no where left for me to jump on my bike, I just kept running with it. Dodging all the swerving girls on bikes (Seriously!! They are supposed to be the pros!) . But by the time I finally found space to jump on, all the other girls had got their shit together, and were biking off without me. Ugh! I got up and hammered my way past a few stragglers onto a really big girls' wheel. We were so close- there was only a tiny itty bitty gap in between us and the whole pack of leaders. Like almost no gap. The girl I had latched onto was a tank, so I thought we'd bridge up for sure. Unfortunately it turned out that her helmet strap wasn't done up, so she was more focused on trying to do it up one handedly rather than hammer the first few minutes of the bike (Seriously!! They are supposed to be the pro's!). Not only is that worthy of a DQ- it sucked for me. I was pulling us as hard as I could to close the gap, but I really really needed her help, and she was too busy sitting on my wheel trying to do up her helmet to help me. She eventually got her strap done up, but our opportunity to catch up was gone. Now that she was focused on riding though I was doing everything I could to stay on her wheel. Luckily I was a bit stronger on the corners, so she didn't gap me there, but as soon as we got to the straights there was no chance of me taking any pulls- I just put my head down and sucked her wheel to the best of my ability. My corners were actually really great Minus one 180' turn where I was in too hard of a gear going around it. That turn happened to be the one where Phil was watching. As I turned the corner he yelled, "Gear down, gear down- you're in too big of a gear." And I was like, 'how does he know- I haven't even pedaled out of the corner yet', and then I stood up out of the corner and could barely move, and I was like, 'oops! definitely way too hard of a gear'. I didn't make that mistake again though. ( it was by far the most technical course I've ever done. 20 corners in the span 3.3km including 2, 180 degree turns and 2 wicked chicanes)! I had been terrified of the chicanes when we practiced, but in the race they felt great!

Everything was just so fast though. Definitely had no chance to do up my biking shoes- and the water bottle on my bike was useless. By the end of the bike me and the girl who was pulling me had caught two of the girls who had been dropped from the leaders. My T2 felt fine, but the run felt rough. In warmup Simon and Kyle had showed me what they thought the loop was. So I had that loop pictured in my mind as I headed out. I was super thirsty and hot, but the water station was at where I thought the turn-around was, so I thought that taking water would slow me down too much- and we were almost done anyways. But then the run went way longer than I had imagined- and my legs weren't working, and I was thirsty. I really wanted to pick it up because I expected myself to be able to sprint the whole run, but I think I was going my 5k pace. I'm pretty disappointed with how my run went because I know I could have been able to keep up with the two girls I left transition with. At the end I finally found my extra gear and sprinted to the tag off, but I wish I had found that sprint earlier because then Connor could have left for the swim with two other guys rather than by himself.

So that's how my part of the relay went down. Ha that was longer than most people's full race race reports. It was so exciting to watch the rest of my team and the other canadian teams finish the race. Especially when Brent and Kyle came around in the lead pack together! Looking at Marianne waiting to be tagged off by Kyle, I was just like, " oh thank goodness I lead out!". But Marianne did Awesome, and held her fifth place position! And Andrew held it too!!! So in all Canada came 3rd, 5th, and 13th! So Great!

I guess I didn't talk much about Saturday's racing- but that was so cool too. Simon wins Gold, Lauren Bronze and Brent right up there too! Yaaaaa Baby!!!


Friday, June 26, 2009

This is Sooooo Cool!!

Well It's actually very very hot here. But Des Moines is sooooooo cool! I'm having a lot of fun. After Couteau de Lac we spent another 4 days training in a little town outside of Montreal called Rigaud. That part of the trip was pretty chill. We were in a cute family owned inn that would cook us whatever we wanted for breakfast in the mornings. For half the trip we were the only ones staying there. We swam in both the Couteau de Lac river and the local school's pool. We had to drive to the next town to find restaurants, but it was kind nice to be training in such a relaxed place. The roads for riding were beautiful, but really bumpy and cracky from their winters ( that’s how I broke my race wheel- I wish I had a picture of the death pothole to put up.. looking at the hole afterwards I was pretty surprised that I hadn’t died when I hit it). Coming here was a huuuuuge change from Rigaud. We went from old little town inn in the countryside to a super fancy new hotel in the middle of a brand new shopping and restaurant district. It's Great! We're right beside a Super Target which is like.. an even better version of a US Walmart! It has absolutely everything. I had to refrain myself from buying every unnecessary yet fun thing I saw- Snow Cone Mix anyone? We also have a neat health foods market right around the corner that is great, so I was able to stock up on gluten free treats! They even have a little restauranty thingy inside that we’ve eaten at twice now.

So anyways- I came charging back into my room to tell Marianne about the best grocery shopping trip everrrr, only to find that they had delivered us each big gift bag things full of treats and shirts and bath/body products, and just so much stuff, plus 4 flats of water and propel to each of our rooms! It was sooooo cool! ha. We both couldn’t stop talking about how exciting everything was. The hotel pool here is half outdoor, half indoor. We weren’t able to get in for a swim anywhere yesterday, so Paula and I tied ourselves to poles with our stretch cords and swam stationary for a while. I just had fun sproinging backwards every time I stopped swimming.

Presents!:



I think we all felt a little out of place at the pre-race meeting. Not only were we the youngest by far, there were so many big names… and then there was us. Most of the athletes there got to watch themselves in the ITU promo video they played before the meeting. Its weird being at a race meeting with the people you usually only watch on tv.
Apparently they spent more on the race set up here than at the Olympics (2.5 million!). There's a huge grandstand, advertisements and vendors everywhere, even walkways above the transition zone, so you can watch from above. Not only is there $200 000 for winning ($1000 just for finishing) - there is a $5000 swim prime, and 3x $500 bike primes! And you don’t have to finish the race to win the prime. Definitely a very exciting place to be.

West Des Moines itself is beautiful. . I lovveee the lake/river that the race is at. Everything is very green and clean. And hot. Water temperature was 29 degrees yesterday- In normal circumstances I would be absolutely ecstatic to swim in a lake that warm, but since it’s so hot outside a little bit cooler would be nice. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this kind of heat+ humidity before except for maybe in the heat chamber. Just jogging outside the other day was really hard. Fingers crossed that it’ll be a bit more bearable for the World Cup tomorrow.

At the moment an outdoor concert thingy is going on outside our hotel. I'm thinking maybe I should go check it out, since there is no way I'll be falling asleep anytime soon. The boys are also on this Tetris kick, so I might just have to go show em how its done.
I was given the choice to either watch the women’s race or the men’s, so I think I’ll go cheer on Paula at the women’s tomorrow. Pretty excited!
oh and ps. helmet was found. So the casualties from my trip to Rigaud only include one broken race wheel, and one floor pump left behind at the race course.

Me at the hotel pool:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hi from Rigaud

I don't really feel like writing a super huge race report right at this moment. My race didn't feel easy and relaxed like the last few. I struggled the whole way through. And I think my win was very muchly due to others. Stevie who worked with me to Bridge up to the leaders, and Christine who powered us all through the 20k bike. Buuuuut it's been fun. Unfortunately it is turning into an expensive trip. So far I have managed to crack my front Zipp race wheel, lose my pump at the race course (that's the problem when your pump becomes the team pump), and at the moment my helmet is temporarily lost as well. aaaaaahhhh I must have left my brain back in Victoria. Although the breaking my wheel was more my not quick enough reflex's fault rather than my brain..
Ok here's some pictures stolen from Craig (in reverse order):


(apparently I race walked through the finish..)


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why my sport is more badass than your sport

After this morning's pre race prep I came to the realization that us triathletes- we're pretty badass. Especially the Canadian ones. It all started with kids of steel racing...

Take the Calgary Kids of Steel race being held this weekend: Snow warning for race day? No biggie. Those four year olds can handle it. Their training wheels can give them a little traction on the icy corners.
You winter sport athletes think you're so tough- We have our kids ride around soaking wet, in the snow, wearing nothing but their bathing suits.

Those Kids of Steel days just helped build character for the Jr Elite, and Elite races. Like Edmonton ITU a few years ago..
No other sport can compare to riding down Emily Murphy hill at 70+ km/hr on the skinniest possible tires, nearly touching wheels with 20ish other athletes, on slick roads from the pouring rain. That downpour was followed by torrential crosswinds that pushed a few of the athletes right off the road into the barricades of the bridge. And the race finished off with the Elite women running through big pellets of hail. The spectators all huddled under inflatable tents while the water levels rose to their knees- causing the racers' helmets and shoes to float away from the transition zone in the foot of ice water.

The experts say that ice bath temperature should be around 10 degrees. Water temperature at World Champs 2008: 12 degrees.
... I'll admit they did bring in helmet removers for the elites though. Since the juniors were unable to remove their chin straps with their numb hands. I vote that even with helmet removers we're still leading in badassness.

Or how about PanAms in Mazatlan last year. The beaches were all closed due to dangerously high waves. "But no worries those triathletes can handle it. Hell, we'll even have them do warmup before the sun comes up, so they can use their 6th triathlete sense to anticipate the incoming 15+ foot high swells in the absolute darkness." Only about half the field had to be rescued by the lifeguards on jetskis- see not bad, not bad- Us triathletes, We're badass.

(waves in Mexico):


We're so tough we don't even need the roads to be paved- we hardly even noticed the 50 billion cracks and potholes from our aerobars

You're not a real triathlete until you sport road rash scars on your elbows and hips.

Or what about PanAms in Oklahoma this year: E-Coli count was over 500. In Vancouver the beaches close if the count is over 80. But no worries- having a stomach of steel comes with being a triathlete. Just as long as there is no gluten, dairy, eggs, fat or sugar involved.

Or Colorado a couple years ago. 35 degrees at least, on an open road, no shade, and only two water stations for the Elites on their 10km run.

I thought about all of this out at the course today. The water temperature at the lake was 12 degrees. The air temperature at the time we will be racing at is 2 degrees. It felt even windier on the bike than it was in Oklahoma city the day the tornadoes rolled in. We can't take the time to put on clothes in transition, but we'll manage. Because we are damn badass.

oh sigh.