Friday, June 13, 2008

Rain Finally Gone, I Hope

According to the forecast, it's actually NOT gone yet... but my fingers are crossed!

Last night N and I were able to get out on the bikes-- first time for her. I kind of underestimated the whole dynamic of not having biked for ten years, then hopping on a roadbike. The adjustment to the roadbike was tough enough for me, and I've done a LOT more biking recently!

But, you know what they say: it's just like riding a bike. Once she got going, she did great. A little disappointed in the tuneup from Pedalhead, as she got stuck between gears halfway through. I'm sure if we bring it back in, they'll make the necessary adjustments.

So it was a pretty leisurely half-hour ride, just getting the feel for the bikes. I think I still have some adjustments to do on my bike, especially with the seat angle and handlebar angle.

Also made it to the swim-- felt really good. Not sure what the mileage was, but it was a little shorter than usual, mostly 'cause the guys training for Ironman Canada took advantage of the weather (I suspect) to do some outdoor training.

On the slate for this weekend (weather permitting)-- run on saturday morning (8-10k) and long bike on Sunday with Dr. Dan and K, out towards Priddis on 22x.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tinman Rained Out, New PR at Betty's Run

Given that the drive from Calgary to Vulcan was a challenge, I was not too surprised that the race was called 15 minutes before we arrived for my heat. On their site, the Tinman organizers claim that the only reason to cancel a race is lightning (rain or even snow aren't enough).

I didn't see any lightning, but in my books, rising water and the potential for hydroplaning road bikes is enough of a safety concern to call a race!

I spent the entire drive down trying to mentally prepare for the race-- thinking about how towelling off after the swim would be pointless, about how many layers I'd have to wear, about how I'd have to wear my mirrored sunglasses despite the dark skies... so I was little relieved that the race was called.

At least the Betty's Run for ALS went ahead. In fact, we got there at 9:30, and had perfect running conditions. The rain let up, and it was warm enough to be comfortable, but not too hot to slow anyone down.

This year was the first year they've used timing chips, thanks to the Running Room. I don't see any results posted yet, but I came in around 38 minutes for the 8km race-- I was very happy with that.

I've done the Betty's Run for the past few years, and I'm amazed at how well organized it is, and by how passionate the volunteers are. Last year, the run raised $532,215... which is pretty amazing for an event with around 700 participants.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Triathlon of the Year!

Who gets up at 6am on a Sunday to swim 500m, then bike 16km, then run 3km? Well, I do. And apparently, so do a lot of other people. In fact, it seems that most people get up even earlier to do the same... I had a hard time finding a spot for my bike in the transition area.

Picked up my number (268), and my chip, and then had to wait for about 2 hours. No big deal, since it gave me more of a chance to mentally walk-through the race, particularly the transitions. I had printed the race package (including course maps) to look over them closely, but of course I left them at work! So the extra time was nice.

When I finally did start, I was put in the farthest lane, with 4 other people in the lane. This made the first few laps a little bit more challenging, as I got stuck behind them all, and couldn't get into my rhythm until I was able to pass them. Still, I was pretty happy with my time of 9:54.

T1 (the transition between the swim and the bike) didn't go quite as smoothly as I had planned! I was prepared for the barefoot run around the building, over the gravel (ouch!) and found my bike. I brushed the gravel and dirt off my feet with my towel, got into the bike shoes fast, then pulled on my shirt. Since I hadn't used the now-dirty towel, the shirt got stuck around my chest! I finally got it all the way on, got my sunglasses and helmet, and jogged out to the road.

I have to say, I had a blast during the race, but I wasn't too happy with the transition layout. I mean, the bike racks and whatnot were fine, but they could have swept the area before set up, and maybe laid a mat or even scrap of carpet over the patch of gravel we had to run over. Maybe I was just spoiled by the setup at the Vulcan Tinman last year. But other than that minor inconvenience, the race was great-- the volunteers were all awesome, the course was well-thought out, and the traffic control from city police was outstanding (one cop to an oblivious motorist: "I'm not standing out here for my health-- SLOW DOWN!")

The bike felt great. 4 laps of the university campus, with volunteers at each corner cheering us on. I was pretty happy that I passed more people than passed me (unlike last year on the mountain bike!). I even spent most of the race down in the drop bars.

The best part of the bike leg was hearing my in-laws screaming encouragement from the side of the road. Everyone loves a cheering section!

On the final little hill, rather than drop a gear, I stood up-- and promptly realized how sore I was! The stock saddle is NOT very ergonomic! (I swapped it for my old Specialized body geometry cross-country saddle last night, so we'll see if that works on the road bike)

T2 (bike to run) was much smoother, and I got out to pounding the pavement. I intentionally took it slow, as the whole first lap I felt a little bit of a stitch in my side. By the third and final lap, I'd loosened up and was really hitting my stride-- just in time for a sprint to the finish.

I finished in 1:00:41.74 for 48th overall, out of about 320. I was shooting for the top 100, so I thought that was pretty good. My rank in my age group (20-29) was 11/20, which wasn't quite as good as I hoped, but I was really treating this as a warmup. Room for improvement this weekend in Vulcan.

My Try This Tri (Calgary) Results:
Swim: 400m 9:54, 35th overall
Bike: 16km 33:39, 66th overall
Run: 3km 17:10, 65th overall