Saturday was a pretty chill day that included some race prep, typical Saturday chores, as well as watching some of the bike time trials along Dallas Rd in the evening. We were having dinner after watching the TT’s and all of a sudden it was like “oh yeah, I’m racing in the morning”.
Sunday morning I definitely started to feel a bit anxious, and with the late start time for the sprint (9:15am) there was definitely a lot of that “hurry up and wait” feeling.
After checking my transition set up over and over (and over and over again), it was finally time to don my wetsuit and take to the chilly waters of Shawnigan lake.
Surprisingly, the water wasn’t too bad - cold yes, but not as horrible as I had been expecting. The first stretch of the swim was really rough and I definitely had trouble finding a rhythm. That said, I think that “rough start” was partly just because I picked a bad starting spot behind some people that were slower than me. Once I made the turn around the first buoy, I was able to find a little more space and relaxed a bit.
500m is so short! It felt like the blink of an eye and the swim was done. I was pretty happy with the time coming out of the water, but I know if I push it a bit harder I can easily bring that time down a bit.
My T1 was pretty good. My wetsuit came off fairly easy and I only had a short second where I felt a bit dizzy (I always feel kind of dizzy when I first get to the racks). I had a couple wasted seconds where I was trying to decide if I was going to put on my long sleeve or not before I realized it was warm enough without it (which turned out to be a very good decision indeed as it was definitely warm out).
Helmet on, bike un-racked and I was off running toward the road and the mount line. My bike mount went really well (I was really happy with it actually). Before I knew it, I was on my bike and gliding down the road, my feet slid into my shoes relatively smoothly and away I went.
Ahhh, the bike… I was pretty pleased with the bike leg overall. The sun was shining and the bumpy roads were rolling past. Usually I get passed a lot on the bike (or at least I feel like I get passed a lot), and I definitely did get passed during this race, but I think most of the people passing me were guys on flashy aero-bikes that I’m not even sure were racing in my distance, so I was okay with it.
One negative to the bike leg was that I think I started to slow down a little toward the end of it (maybe the last 5k or so?). During this time I definitely got passed by one girl who was in my race (she went on to place 3rd female overall). We jockeyed for a bit (me going past her on the uphills and her killing me on the flats) before she finally just kicked and pulled away from me in the last 2 or 3k.
My dismount coming into T2 wasn’t great. I got my feet out of my shoes no problem, but the part where you actually get off the bike, well, I just didn’t execute it like I know I can. Mainly because my legs were a bit wobbly, but also because there was someone right in front of me and I just envisioned a crash (note to self: never, I repeat, DO NOT picture yourself crashing in a race).
I made good time down the ramp to the racks and slid into my runners with ease (I think I even passed a few people who had entered transition before me - yay!).
Unfortunately, the run was my least favourite part of the day (or at least the 1st km of the run was). There is a little uphill trail out of the provincial park to the main trail where the majority of the run is held and well, frankly, it just hurt. My calves were really tight/sore and for that first km or so I just struggled. I think a lot of it was mental though and that is what bugs me the most – I don’t know what I need to do to make myself just push through that discomfort and not think about it. (More brick workouts perhaps?)
In this early stage of the run leg I got passed by two girls (one that I had passed with ease early on in the bike and another who I’m pretty sure I had just passed in transition) so that was a bit frustrating, as I just couldn’t seem to reel them back in!
All that said, I did eventually loosen up and once that happened I felt pretty good and think I was moving at a decent pace (for me that is).
The finish at Shawnigan is always sweet and Sunday was no exception.
Overall I feel like it was a really solid effort. I feel like I did really well (especially for the first race of the season), but I also see areas where I can improve and maybe shave off a bit more time, so that is super encouraging too.
In the end, I placed 3rd in my age group (my first podium finish ever), 8th female overall and 26th out of everyone in the sprint.