Sunday, July 22, 2012

Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic Race Report

I usually have a photo of me crossing the finish line ... but that will have to wait until the race photos are posted.   But here is a photo of me right after I finished the Olympic Distance at the Inaugural Toronto Triathlon Festival this morning along with my dear Hubby who raced his first International Distance Duathlon!

I didn't really plan much for this race as it landed on the weekend after my first official week of Ironman training.  It was sort of weird that I didn't taper or stress or really prepare for this race aside from my regular scheduled training.  Last night I packed my triathlon backpack and this morning got up before 5am.

We don't usually spend race morning at home but since this race was here in Toronto, we had our coffees, cereal, packed our drinks and out the door we went.  Picked up my second biggest fan, Carole, and we were on our way to Ontario Place at 5:30am!

Parking and getting into transitions was fairly easy.  This was my first race where I had a numbered spot for my bike and it could not have been better.  Seriously - I had the best bike rack in transition - right on the end of the rack and the closest to the bike out.

Barry's duathlon start was about a kilometre from the swim start so we said our good byes as I lined up for the porto-potties.  The first FAIL of race organizers - over 1000 racers and only 8 potties inside transition and 7 just outside.  The line ups were terrible.  I never saw Carole after I went into transition, and didn't see her again until I returned from the bike.
Nice photo Carole!

Time passed quickly and they were closing transition and starting the swim waves before we knew it.  Simon  Whitfield and Paula Findlay, our Canadian Olympians had a little exposition race that started 2 minutes before the boys started at 7am.  I was in the last wave, us old ladies 35+ didn't start until 7:20.

1500m in a harbour - not as bad as I expected but it could have been better.  It was a funny shaped course and  for some reason there was an orange "turn" buoy along the back side of the route that should have been a yellow lane buoy.  I had a serious goggle FAIL with terrible fogging and we were swimming directly into the rising sun on the back half of the course - where said orange bouy was misplaced.   Since I could hardly see, I focused on that orange turn bouy just to find out I had another orange bouy up ahead.  The course was very crowded and a little physical.  With all that said, I had a pretty good swim of 29.10 (1:57/100m).

The swim exit was right at the entrance to transition which is nice but I ended up at my bike with my cap and goggles still on my head and my wetsuit barely pulled off my upper body. I'm used to more of a run-up to transitions to give me time to remove my earplugs, cap, googles and suit.  I felt like I bobbled my way through T1 and escaped in 1:28 but felt like forever!

The Bike out to the mount line was up a very steep pedestrian bridge - quite tricky with cleats on.  I cannot (I have not even tried to) pre-clip my shoes so I gingerly made my way to the mount line.  Hit the mount line and away I went through the EX grounds and onto the Garder Expressway.  The first part of the ride was a bit congested and I passed a lot of people.  It's quite a nice ride east along the Gardner and then north along the DVP to Eglington.  It wasn't nearly as hilly as I expected and the apparent tailwind helped on the uphill way out.  I was happy to make the turn but was not expecting the headwind when we turned around into.  I don't know why I can never tell I have a tailwind ... until I turn around into the headwind! I expected the back half of the bike to be much faster than it was. I completed the bike in 1:17:13 (31.1 kph).

Because of the steep ramp I decided I was going to dismount barefoot, for the very first time ever ... ever.  It went well enough I guess.  I didn't get my right foot on top of the shoe and it scraped the ground but I got it sorted quickly and I have no bloody knees as a result.
coming in on the bike - barefooted!

Again I felt like i bumbled transition ....
But I was only 1min. Even with the watch band FAIL.
I've got my watch in my hands but no band to attach it to!

The run course was nice but crowed - not only with racers but it was an open recreational path with many bikers, roller bladers, strollers and the such.  Also the sign-age was terrible.  There were markers for the duathon 10k, the Olympic 10k and the sprint 5k.  But they were not clear at to which race they were for!  Since I had a watch malfunction (I didn't have my watch band in transitions - another FAIL), I had no idea what was going on.  I thought I only had 1 km but actually had 3 to go!  I felt good in the run but could carry on a conversation so probably could have gone a little faster.  I took 2 waters at every station except for one, drank a little and dumped the rest on me.  While I never felt like I was going to overheat, I wanted to keep my body temperature as cool as possible.  Because of the sign-age and my watch FAIL, I was never confident as to my pace or how far I had to go.  I wanted to break 50mins for the 10k so I have to be happy with a 49:48 (4:59/km).

Official results - 2:38:37, 6/18 in my AG, 17 minutes faster than my only other Olympic at Wasaga Beach last year.

It was great being part of the Toronto Triathlon Club and having such great support on the course.  I wish I had gotten better photos after the race.  Unfortunately, unlike the Multisport events, there was no Hero Burger at the finish line.  We were allowed to take half a banana, a slice of orange and a half of a bagel and one bottle of water.  So while I wanted to hang out and wait for the sprinters to come in, I was desperate for some food so we trekked the kilometre back to transition and packed up and headed home.

Thanks to our photographer and cheerleader!

This could be a great race in the future if they get a few things straighten out.  The run sign-age must be fixed and the post race food options should be considered (along with a beer tent) and more Port-o-potties at transition  The swag was pretty light (though I do love the Tshirts) and the expo was crowded.  Besides the wait in line to pick up race packets after the mandatory meeting, the event was managed very well with transition security well run.  I must say I never did see the bag check truck but was happy enough to leave my transition bag along the fence - it's what I do in all the local races.

Finally, a huge thank you to all the volunteers - these races would not be possible without them!

I will race this race again next year if it fits nicely into my schedule!

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