This morning I was up at 4:15 - a few minutes before my alarm went off. I rolled out of bed, showered and scarfed down some granola and yogurt before hitting the road to Sylvan Lake. We hit the parking lot at the community pool at about 7:45. There was a pretty long line to check in and the bike racks were looking pretty full so I set my bike up in transition first since I had my bike check done last night here in town. I found a fairly non-crowded spot in the middle of the rack, set the bike up and hung my helmet and gloves just off of the bike. All done it was back to the line for registration, goody bag pick up and body marking. We got a couple of triathlete magazines, a Hammer Gel, a water bottle with the race logo on it and another bottle of water. After everyone was checked in it was time for the athlete briefing. The fellow doing the briefing was awesome - you could tell he was enthusiastic and encouraging and had a terrific sense of humour. Afterwards the triathletes headed to the pool and the du would get started about 15 minutes later. I would say that two thirds of the field were in the triathlon, the rest in the du. There were plenty of first timers there, so I definitely wasn't the only one! A few of us chatted at the start until the airhorn went off and it was time to start.
Run #1 - 3k
We all took off down the street. I didn't want to start too fast, but I wasn't feeling like I was pushing things too much so I just went with the pace. Initially I looked back and only saw two other people behind me. A few folks in front of me couldn't keep the pace so I went past them. I saw a fellow in a red shirt ahead of me I really wanted to catch. He had obviously gone out too fast and was feeling it. He stopped to stretch his calf, but then he looked up and saw me coming and took off. Guess he didn't want to get chicked! I eventually caught up with him and asked him how he was doing. He replied that he could be doing better, then asked in such a forlorn voice if we were the last two. Nope, there were more people behind us! I ran on and had my sights on a rather tattooed body builder guy but I wasn't quite able to catch him by the end of the run.
It was easy! I found my bike, put my helmet and gloves on, then rolled the bike to the mount/dismount line. Done! Because of they were staggering the tri starts transition wasn't crowded at all.
Bike - 26k
The bike portion of the race started on an uphill out of town. I kept the bike in a fairly easy gear and took it pretty easy on the uphill. I got passed by a few folks and as they passed they all yelled out encouragement. What a terrific bunch! We rolled out of town and turned on to Highway 11 that heads west toward Rocky Mountain House. We had a massive shoulder to ride on so there was plenty of room to pass and no worries about cars being too close as they sped by. The wind out here was wicked and we were riding straight into it for what felt like forever. I got into my drops, geared down and started getting a lot of power out of my legs and I started passing folks (including the body builder guy I couldn't quite catch on the run). The ride along Highway 11 felt like it was going forever - my saddle was complaining and my hands started to hurt from my position in the drops. When I moved up to the hoods I could tell the difference riding into the wind so I sucked it up and by the time I hit the turnoff to Highway 11A my body had stopped complaining. I hit the aid station and grabbed a bottle of water, which I realized I had nowhere to put soon after. I hung on to it for awhile, but realized I was losing some speed because I couldn't shift gears so eventually I had to say a quick "I'm sorry" to the environment as I had to cast it aside. I hunkered down, picked up some speed and sped back toward Sylvan Lake. I was amazed at how fast the ride back into town felt!
1:01:14 (16.58 mph)
There were a ton of relay tri and du folks hanging out in transition cheering me in. I got off the bike and rolled it into the transition area, then realized I forgot to hit the lap for T2. I racked the bike, took the helmet and gloves off and started running.
00:25 (except that isn't correct)
My legs felt like jello as soon as I started running. After a few minutes I decided to take a quick walk break just to give the legs a chance to catch up to the rest of my body. I hit an aid station and stopped to drink some water and some Heed and thank the volunteers, then I continued on. My legs still felt like they weren't connected to my body but I ran on. The finish line was a welcome sight and I kicked in a final sprint to finish strong. What an awesome race!!!!!
As soon as I crossed the finish line a girl was ready to throw a medal around my neck and another little girl very politely asked for my chip back. We all got a nice sweatshirt at the end as well instead of the usual cotton tee. I hit the refreshment table for a Nanaimo bar (my favourite which makes a great race in my books!), a cookie and an orange segment. I hung out watching the finishers roll through and cheering them on. I have to say, I think the race was really well organized, especially considering this was the first year the race has been held. The environment was fun and encouraging. The medals and sweatshirts were a terrific surprise as well. I had a blast. This multi-sport thing is pretty exhilarating!
The final time: 1:37:58.