Sat. Aug 16, 2014 at Clear Lake, Manitoba
Clear Lake is a beautiful National Park in the middle of Manitoba with great accommodations, picturesque scenery and all the amenities you could want. It is the closest triathlon for us to go to; about a 3 hour drive so it is always on our "to do" list. It is also the location of the largest triathlon in Manitoba with usually around 500 participants. This is my second year as a triathlete but I have attended 3 times prior, participating in the duathlon.
Our adventure started on Friday with the hubby (roaring runner) and I and our 2 girls and niece leaving home and arriving at Clear Lake middle of the afternoon. We took the camper and got things set up pretty quickly and started with supper. Supper the night before a race usually consists of chicken with either pasta or sweet potatoes with a cooked vegetable.
We were heading into town (a 5 min walk or 2 min drive) by 6:00 to register and pick up our timing chips and packets. Our loot this year was a great toque and a few samples of stuff.
We walked around town then for awhile. And yes, much to my dismay, there was frozen yogurt. Now not complaining cause I love frozen yogurt, but it isn't really in my night before nutrition plan. Roaring runner and I decided to share a small. Yum. Good decision. Back at the camper, we spent time getting everything set out for the next day and went for a spin on the bikes to ensure everything was working to our satisfaction. I lifted my saddle a bit and loosen the shoe clips. My worst fear is trying to get my shoes unclipped and not being able to. It has happened before- a good story for another day! I have had a bike fitting and don't like to tinker too much but I am unsatisfied right now with my ride and am not sure how what to adjust so I am experimenting with small changes to see if they make a difference.
Race morning was sunny and warm. Temp was 16 Celcius and water temp was 18 Celcius. This tri has a late start time of 9:00 am so the alarm didn't ring until 6:30. Breakfast was gluten free cinnamon bread with almond butter, water and a part of a banana. We rode our bikes with our bags to transition which opened at 6:30 and as usual I had enough pre-race jitters to light up the whole town. Worried I would be late, the conditions would be tough, I would panic, I would get a flat, I would bonk. GOSH! It takes so much energy to keep me calm and focused without doubts creeping in. I keep clinging to the hope that more practice will make it easier for me to be confident.
Because there are so many athletes, bags cannot stay in transition so we packed our gear in a reusable bag so we could just fold it up and stick it under our gear and not worry about where to put it. Kinda defeats the whole idea of the tri bag I spent good money on a few months ago but better that than the worry.
Transition was pretty quiet. We were both doing the Olympic distance and it was a mass start so it was so nice to park beside each other and get set up. We went for body markings first before it got busy, then set things up. I had 1 water bottle, 1 bottle of PhD battery, and though I filled up a bottle with Perpetuum; I decided to leave it at the camper. It hasn't settled in my stomach well and I just didn't want to try my luck today. I also cut up a coconut bonk breaker and had it in my bento box. I also had half an almond butter sandwich in my box. I planned to take a Hammer gel with me on the run. So, I was set. Next stop- the porta potty. Not a big line here yet either. The prerace meeting was at 8:30. We got our wetsuits on prior to that and lubbed up with lots of product. I use triglide to make the on/off of the wetsuit easier. I also use tons of body glide on my neck to stop the wetsuit burn. And this year, I put on a zinc oxide product (basically baby diaper rash cream) on my neck because last year, both roaring runner and I got the itch from this swim. He says it wasn't bad but I HATED it. Don't know if this cream will work, but figured it was worth a shot. Only drawback is that it makes your skin very pasty white. When you research what swimmer itch is, pasty white is no big deal.
Swim warmup 8:50 and then we were marshaled into a coral so we could be accounted for; basically role call. The coolest thing about this is they have bagpipes playing the whole time from when we get marshaled until the horn starts the race. Roaring runner and I wished each other luck and fun, kissed and were off.
We had a 2 lap course in a clockwise route. There is some maneuvering to swim around some boats that were anchored and a bit in the way but past that, I could get into a bit more of a rhythm. I am still not very confident in my swimming and seem to always start myself too much to the back. I do freak a bit with so many people around me in the water but hate that it is the only discipline where it is SOO hard to pass others. So when you start in the back, it seems you stay in the back. I had no trouble rounding the buoys and next thing I knew, I was starting my second lap. The water was mostly calm the first lap but a bit rougher second lap for the going out part. Coming out of the water, I could see the girls cheering and heard their bells ringing! My swim time was 38:37. Need to seriously work on my swimming. Wished for around 35 min so close but no cigar. Winter work cut out for me.
Transition was quick- 3 min. I don't have exact time as I messed up my laps on my watch.
Didn't need any extra gear for the bike, temp was warm and I wasn't the least bit cold. I was happy to hammer on the bike up the hill to the main highway. I took a long drink of water and a piece of bar within the first min. I tried to keep my pace consistent but it is difficult with the set up I have going on. My watch on my arm and I don't see the speed or cadence regularly so it is very hard to tell if I am on track. There is a lot of rollers and hills on this bike course and the road is in pretty tough shape in quite a few areas. It takes concentration at the best of times in an open bike course to keep yourself in the right area, going the right speed but you add in some nasty road conditions and my pace seemed to get the least attention. My time was 1:36. I was secretly hoping I could do the bike in 1 1/2 hours. I know I should be confessing that I was pushing hard and had my Agressive face on- but my confession is that I was pushing and working hard but really enjoying myself and the adventure I was on. I felt quite alone on the road until the turn around, passing a few people but then really pushing hard coming back and catching up to the sprint athletes. Just before the turn around point, I met Terry heading back. He told me to put the hammer down. It then became my life's mission to attempt to catch him. Wishful thinking on the bike but if I played my cards right, I could do some damage on the run. My watch timer was set for every 15 min and I took in some calories each time with water whenever needed. I drained my 2 bottles and ate all my cut up bonk breakers. I ate 1 piece of my sandwich but not the other and wouldn't do that again as it was too dry. Need to use a bagel or something less crumbly. I also rode my bike with the Rudy helmet we gave my husband for his birthday which he says squeezes his head too much. It was suggested that maybe this was all part of the plan for it to be "handed down" to me. I haven't really tried it out and this seemed like the right time. This is just another thing I tried new on race day that fortunately for me didn't backfire.
T2 time was around 3 min again and this was with a bathroom stop before starting the run. I had my gel tucked into my back pocket of my tri shirt and I had a fleeting thought to ingest some of it before leave transition but just wanted to get going. A minute after hitting the trail, my gel was MIA. Obviously lost it in the potty. Kinda defeats the purpose of the pockets in my tri shirt if I lose things anyway. Sent me in a bit of a panic as I was counting on this to keep my energy up and momentum going. Decided quickly to drink the gatorade at each station and I would be fine. Sent all thought of doubt packing. It was doing to work! I had a guy to catch! The run course is on the lake side path and is breathtaking! There is a big hill to climb a mile and a half in and then the run resumes on an old paved road which parallels the lake and is in almost complete shade both ways. And thank goodness as it was getting hot. The turnaround point is by the golf course and is the only spot in full sun. I saw Terry just before the turn around point and immediately picked up my pace. Some quick calculations and I guessed him to be about 3/4 of a mile ahead of me. At the next aid station, the volunteers told me they were told to give me lots of fluid and to encourage me to take a walk break by a guy ahead of me in a white shirt. Did I know him? Oh,fuel for the fire!!
The last 2 km of the run course has 1 big hill up and down followed by another small uphill which then takes you home! It is always motivating to hear the music pumping and the announcer bellowing! My pace increased from the big down hill and I kept it going as fast as I could. How sweet the finish line was with the girls on one side cheering and my hubby waiting right across the line for me. The announcer told me to give the guy a hug so I did.
Riding Mountain Tri has an awesome food spread; bagels with tons of toppings, dessert bars, fruit, yogurt and this amazing frozen fruit slush. I grabbed 2 cupfuls and hit some shade. I went to transition and grabbed my shaker bottle with Vega Tropical recovery and filled it with water and ice. I also had a Quest bar.
We packed up, gave the girls some money for cinnamon buns and agreed to meet back at the camper in a few minutes. The cinnamon buns are from a local bakery and they are almost the best reason to come to Clear Lake. We bought 2 dozen the next day to take home.
I know I don't need to tell anyone how wonderful the shower feels. Or how great the large soft serve frozen yogurt was a couple hours later. Or the piece of pizza we shared an hour after that. And then another round of frozen yogurt. Or the awesome volleyball rally we had with the girls along the beach for a hour or so. Or how great triathlon is!
Awesome time, great company, amazing adventure.