The Short Version:
No medal, but I did place 5th in my age group and I now own Tri shorts with my name on the bum. Running first is hard work, Duathletes everywhere: I salute you!
The Long Version:
It’s kind of nice to be able to ride your bike from home to the bike check (I didn’t actually do that but I could have) and to have every piece of bike and run gear you own plus the resources of your local bike shop (Bushtukah of course) on hand right up to race day. Having to go into downtown Ottawa for the various team activities was kind of neat too because I got to play tourist in my own city. Living here we tend to take for granted what a great city this is. I actually watched the changing of the guards on Parliament Hill for the first time ever!
Race morning was nice and cool and a 7:25 start gave us a good chance of not having to run in the heat. Unfortunately the wind was absolutely howling, I can’t recall the last time the wind was blowing like that on the Ottawa River Parkway. I arrived in the T-zone to check on my speedy little Trek Speed Concept only to discover that the value on the tube in my rear tire was slightly bent; the tire didn’t feel too bad so I decided not to risk it and I didn’t pump it up.
The first run was 2 x 5K loops. The plan was to take it easy and I did, might have been a little too easy but who knows. I finished the run 3rd in my age group but as all the women started together I had no idea at the time.
The bike course was 2 x 20K loops on the parkway which included a more technical piece in Tunneys Pasture. For reasons I don’t entirely understand we were to keep left on the bike course. It was not an issue on the Parkway but as soon as we turned into Tunneys Pasture everyone’s instinct to ride on the right kicked in and there were riders all over the road. The loop around Tunneys Pasture was also much more technical than I was expecting, turns out that cruising around it on an easy pre race pedal is much easier than trying to make those turns at speed. The hay bales were my first clue!
The parkway in the wind was actually pretty challenging. I kept waiting for a tail wind to match that headwind! I lost 2 places on the bike one to an American Rider who flew by me so fast I knew I would never catch her and a second to lady from Great Britain who I thought I might have a chance of catching on the run if I got lucky.
The second run was one 5k loop and I felt pretty good. I passed quite a few women but none of them were in my age group. So I crossed the line 5th in my age group, which I’m pretty happy with.
The day did not end there. Harold, my husband, had been volunteering at a water stop since 6:00am and when I checked in and talked to Joan she told me they were a bit short on volunteers so I figured as I had no other plans for the day I would go see if they needed help. They did, so we hung out and passed out water until 3:30 pm when there was a break in the action. Some of the older athletes on the course were amazing and truly inspirational Edward Maruna from the USA over 85 years old and he finished the Sprint distance, 5 men and 1 woman in the 75-79 categories as well! We got moved to the T-zone for the U23 and Jr races at 5:00 where we waived flags to point athletes in the right direction. The men’s race in particular was super fast! After a sub 15 minute 5K, it was a lightning speed transition for these guys. They were absolutely flying around the course doing some amazing draft-legal cycling, and it was cool seeing some of the pack tactics on the road. Great to see the future of the sport.
I have to add some thanks here: First and foremost to the volunteers, organizers and officials with the races spread out between 6:30am and 6:30pm most of the volunteers were out there for 12-14 hours! That is a very long day! Second to everyone at the physio department at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, Westboro Chiropractic and Dr Prihar between them they have put my elbow back together twice in the last eight months and got it working again. I am thrilled to say that I was actually able to ride on my arrow bars for most of the 40K something I could not have done 3 weeks ago. Last but definitely not least I want to thank everyone at Bushtukah and K2J Fitness, JR Tremblay and my family who have all provided me with endless support through what has not been the easiest of training years.
I felt so good when I got home I signed up for Muskoka…