Well it seems silly to be doing my first Tri Race report for 2012 in September but at least I have one.
Registering for the Cultas Lake Tri was really a last minute decision My leg is slowly healing and I can honestly say that this is by far the most frustrating injury I have had to date and you are talking to someone who has fractured her heel and been hit by a car!
The process of recovery is very slow and well honestly I have been quite tentative because I am not quite sure how I tore it so I find myself being much more cautious and pragmatic in my training – my confidence has been shaken which has meant increasing my distances and adding intensities to workouts has been very tentative. Which for those who know me know is not in my nature.
I registered for the Sprint Tri at Cultas lake because I needed to prove to myself that I could do a race, that a catastrophe would not happen, my calf muscle would hold up and that I was going to be able to still do the stuff I love.
Outback Events is a group from the interior of BC who run a number of events and I am a big fan of Joe and Sarah Dixon, the owners. I have done several of their races and find them extremely organized: community support is great, volunteers awesome, the courses are gorgeous and challenging and the overall vibe is just fantastic. It is apparent they love what they do and care about the athletes. I would highly recommend doing any of their races.
This was my first time at Cultas Lake – I could have done the Vancouver Sprint Tri the previous weekend but I like to support the folks I know and I trust they will put on a great race - I feel safe on their courses.
The swim is in Cultas lake and it was quite nice – wetsuits are approved - yes I did wear mine. The one draw back is the shore and lake are very rocky so it is not a running start. You wade in about 30 feet or so and start from there. As you all know I do not like to start at the front or the middle. I like to be last, so it was a little tricky to do this but I managed it. Here is the thing the 4 months of intense pool work paid off – I was quickly in the middle of it and I did NOT panic. There were people all around me and I just went Zen and kept swimming – glide glide breath, glide glide breath – sight and repeat. Based on previous races I planned for around 20 minutes for 750 swim so as I was coming out of the water and heard 17 min and change I was like – holy crap! Now again trying to exit was a bit tricky because of the rocks but I swam right up to the point where my hands started brushing the rocks which meant I only had to navigate about 2 feet of rocks before I hit the green mat on the beach.
Here is my only complaint and it is something I noticed at Oliver this year to. No wet suit strippers. I asked if there were strippers and was told there was but none around – if you have ever tried to take a wetsuit off by yourself out of water it is very hard and time consuming. So I was trying to get the damn thing off quickly and not having a lot of success. Fortunately this lovely lady who was also racing noticed my struggles and said drop – and helped pull it off – then I returned the favor and we were both on our way.
The bike course is awesome it is a 20km out and back course – I am not a big fan of loops so another reason I chose this one. Going out there is nice downhill leading into flats to the turn around. At this time I kind of wished I had put my tri-bars on because there was a pretty good headwind but instead I just went into the drops and Eddie Mercx’d it. I had an awesome ride – 20km is great because you can treat it like a time trial so you get up to speed and then just settle in and with only one climb back to the finish you really can stay in the drops (or tri bars) all the way. Only 2 people passed me – both guys – other than that I passed a whole whack of peeps and it felt great. My riding back and forth to work 3x a week was definitely helping. Bike time 42 min and some change. A little slower than I wanted – I wanted 39-40 min but overall I was very pleased.
The Bike-run transition went a lot smoother and I was off for a 5km run. This was going to be the real test since I hand only really been running for about 4 weeks and had not done any speed or hills. I have been running 3x a week and been taking a very pragmatic approach. The run course is very pretty – you run down to a trail beside the lake and I was in heaven for the first km or so and then the next thing you know you are literally running on the beach in sand. At first I was okay but after about half a km I was not so thrilled – my footing, of course, was not stable and I was worried about rolling an ankle and/or hurting my calf. During this I got passed by about 10 – 20 people and that was frustrating but not unexpected. I was never so happy to see pavement in my life. Next time I would wear trail shoes for the added stability, As I suspected the run was my weak link – 33+ min. However the positives were I ran the entire 5km, I finished strong and my calf/ankle felt fine.
Overall time was 1:38:46 which I am more than happy with. As usual Outback did a great job with post refreshments – Fresh hot pizza and beverages as well as the usual chips, fruit, etc. Finisher shirts and free towels were a nice treat. Most importantly I feel like I got my Mojo back – next race is the Buntzen 5 peaks Trail race – Sport Course – Sept 29 – should be good.
I would definitely do this event again and if you are looking for a first time event or to wrap up your season next year then this is the one for you. www.outbackevents.ca. These folks also host several races including a Gran Fondo bike race this coming weekend.