Each year before the racing season begins I sit down and carefully plan out my year. I have two or three “A” races, the ones I build my whole season around, a few “B” races, races I would like to do well at, and any others are just things to do along the way. Having said that sometimes you just have to go with the flow!
One of the athletes I was coaching, Nathalie, was trying to qualify for the Canadian Team at the World International Distance Age Group Duathlon Championships in Spain in 2013. She raced at the Canadian Championships in Toronto, placed 2nd in her age group and qualified. We were both thrilled but she was a little disappointed when they announced that the race was being moved from Spain to Ottawa. I on the other hand had an idea…I discovered that there was one qualifying race left in the season and it was in Cobourg the following weekend. I had the weekend off so I talked my daughter into coming with me to keep me company and we headed to Cobourg. I had never actually been to Cobourg. The only thing I knew about it was that it’s the home of the giant apple on the side of the 401.
The race was Saturday so we drove to Brighton Friday night and spent the night at the KOA. With an early start the plan was to sleep in the back of the van so we did not have to deal with taking a tent down at 5 am. When we pulled into the campsite my daughter’s comment was “Mom we look dumb, everyone else has a tent!” She was very relieved when I took the bike out of the van for the night to make room. My children have been known to suggest that I love my bike more than I love them it’s not true but bikes rust in the rain and children don’t (kidding honest). It was a little warm in the van and my theory that you could tape fly screen in the van to cover open windows did not work too well, but it did not rain so my bike was OK.
I have to confess that I had never actually done a Duathlon before so I looked to Nathalie for advice she warned me NOT to go too fast on the first run. I had done lots of Triathlons so I figured I could work it out. I was doing the international distance 10k run- 40K bike- 5k run. The first run was two loops around a residential area. Basically flat but already kind of hot. I thought I didn’t but when I got on the bike I realized I went too fast! The first 10k of the bike course was painful my legs and my bike just did not want to work together. There was a headwind but it could have been downhill with a tail wind and it still would have hurt. The bike course was out and back with a side loop. Rolling in places with a couple of hills but nothing major. The second run was one loop of the first so it was familiar, even hotter than the first time but a local family had their hose out and there were three water stations.
When I crossed the finish line a young woman who was doing the triathlon which was going on at the same time came rushing over to me and asked if I had won the race. I said no I was third (I always count the women in front of me, it’s not weird I know lots of other people who do it!). Her response will remain with me for many years. She said “ Wow, that is so inspirational I hope I can still do this when I am as old as you are!”.
As winner of the 50-55 age group I qualified for the Worlds. I also got a nice series winner jacket for being the fastest woman over 45 and there was cold chocolate milk as a post-race snack so I may have been old but I was happy. We actually stopped at the giant apple on the way home, bought an excellent pie and fed the lamas!