Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Muskoka Long Course Race Report

This is my guessimation for the race.

Swim ~ 45 min
Bike ~ 120 min
Run ~ 80 min
Transition ~ 5 min (for both T1 and T2)

Total time = 250 min or 4 hr 10 min

Here are the actual numbers: 
Swim: 44:30 (rank 609) (100m/min = 2:14)
T1: 2:37
Bike: 1:47:25 (rank 437) (30.7 kph)
T2: 1:39
Run: 1:25:59 (rank 442) (5:44 min/km)
Total Time: 4:02:08
Rank 462/900
AG placement 43/57 (M25-29)
I beat my guessimation by 8 min. Good stuff.

Day before:

I was ready. I was very ready. By Fri, I gone into a low fiber diet. No more yams, no more whole wheat. On Sat, some rice noodles, white bread with PB (good stuff), pasta + fruits + gatorade for the night. I head to Muskoka on Sat and picked up my race kit. I drove along the bike course and do my recon. Not too bad. Rollers are bigger than I thought but nothing I haven’t seen before.

I checked in the hotel after dinner and rode my bike for 20 min. I made sure all the gears are working. Then ran for 10 min. It was hot. I was dripping all over. I went to bed at 9 pm. I got a called at 10 pm. It was weird b/c I woke up just before it ringed. It was from the hotel. They called and wondered if I am coming to the hotel :). Didn’t ticked me off. I just thought bad administration. Focus on the race. Got up, took a leak and snooze again.

At 4 am, I was up. Showered, ate (2 white bread PB sandwich, banana and one bottle of Gatorade), packed my bags and head to the race.

I have only one focus, run this course smooth. For the past week, I focused on this race everyday. I pictured myself a smooth transition. Going in and going out. Smooth and relax movement. Good hydration and nutrition.

I was the first one to rack my bike in my age group. Since I got a prime spot for my bike, I didn’t bother taking it out and going for a warm up. Instead, I did a 10 min jog, 20 min stretch and 10 min jog.

Time sure passed quickly. I bumped into Darren. We exchanged a few words. I showed him the run in T1 from the shore to the bikes. I met his wife, Sally.

I entered into the water. It felt really good. Not too hot and not too cold. The lake was calm. I didn’t give too much thought about the swim. I did a few practice strokes. Feeling alright. My kidney was full and I had to go in the lake (note to self, if the water suddenly gets warm, move away from the person next to you).


Knowing the swim is my weakest leg, I stayed to the back of my wave. And off we go. People behind me started plowing through me. It ain’t too bad. I focused on keeping good stroke. My mind wandered all over the place in the swim. I had to breast stroke a few many times to get sighting and get my breathing back. There was one guy just as slow as me in my wave. Sometimes he would be on my right and sometimes he would be on my left and a few times we would bump into each other. Just keep going.

After the first km, I started to hear splashes behind me…..uh oh…u know that’s the next wave coming right at you. I got kick in the head once (goggle stayed on) but most of the time swimmers just slided right beside me. I slowed down and let them go. In the last few hundred yards, I parted way with my slow “buddy”. I bumped into him one last time, ditched him and plowed my way back to shore.


On Sat , I scouted the route for T1. I advised Darren to run to the right side because the left was full of gravel. I ran up and down T1 a few times to get my mind use to the transition. After the swim, I moved instinctively through the transition. I ran too quickly. The blood hadn’t gone to my head and I was dizzy taking off my wetsuit. At this point, I couldn’t stop smiling. I must have look like I was drunk. A few times I had to hold onto the bike rack to support myself. Got the wetsuit off (need more practice), put on bike shoes and helmet, bailed the bike gloves and rushed out.


My HR was racing. It was hitting 169. I tried to relax. The bike course started off with a few climbs. As I was busy rushing off from T1, I had a hard time keeping myself to slow down (need to work on that too). There was an older gentleman ahead of me and was already putting distance between me and him. I did what I could to keep up. But with a HR almost hitting LT, I figure I should relax and let my legs get into the groove.

I had hard time taking in water because there were a lot of rollers. Within the ten minutes, my quads and back were complaining (Sheila, thanks for your comment). No way, I thought, I tapered a few days and the legs are already hurting. What am I going to do for the rest of the ride? Am I swimming too hard?

I kept going. There were a few steady grinders along the way. I loved those. Those were where I passed a few people. I’ve seen people standing up climbing but that’s not me. My goal was to keep a proper pace. I kept my butt on my seat and just spinned away. I was surprised how I was very comfy going up hill and passed by while others struggled up. All the hill climbing with Darren are paying off.

The bike leg was out and back. By 20 km or so, my lower back was screaming. For the rest of the bike leg, I had to stand up and stretch every 5-10 min or so. Wind was light and I was focused on my pace. I did, however, neglected hydration. There was a bottle exchange and I got a bottle of Gatorade. Gatorade bottles had such a small opening. It’s hard to take in good big sips. Usually in one gulp I drank about 200 ml. With the Gatorade bottle, I was taking in 100 ml at a time. Argh. I took in three gels during the bike ride.

I notice there were a lot of older men blazing by me. Geez, these guys are fast. Yes, it did made a dent to my self-esteem. A lot of times I had to remind myself, this ain’t a race. ½ Peterborough is your prize. This is a trial for that.

With about a few km left to go, I dropped the gear down and do some light spinning to relax the legs.


Get in and get out. Someone racked his bike on my spot. It happens. Adapt and move on.


My HR was still high by this point. I was hitting 166. I focus on small steps and good cadence. Keep moving. Get that HR down and you will be fine. I didn’t felt too much of the heat in the first 10 km. It was another out and back. I did my best to see if Darren is coming back. I know my hydration was off. The bike leg, I planned to consume 2 bottles (1 water and 1 eLoad). In reality, I consumed about 60% of that. I drank Gatorade and water along the way. Keep moving. Steady pace. I told myself, you ain’t walking for this run. This is only 15 km. No problem.

My HR never backed down. I was planning on getting it below 160 but it wasn’t possible. I figured, I have some gas left in my tank and I wasn’t breathing too heavily, 160s would be ok.

By the 10th km, I took a leak. Good sign. Now here things became brutal. The heat slowly got to me. I remember how far I took me to go from 11 to 12th km. The course was not closed off and there were a few cars passing us. Great. Fumes. By 13 km, there was a draft of wind and I felt chills. That ain’t good. Then, my left knee start to hurt. I hobble a bit and walked a bit. By then, Lisa Bentley was at the sideline cheering us. That kept me going. I was glad there was one water station at the 14 km. I walked over. Grabbed a Gatorade and a cup of water and ran to the end.


Overall, I am feeling very good with my results. I stuck to my pace and finished as plan. I have to remember that for longer distance, it ain’t worth it to focus in racing especially early in the bike. That’s the time to keep my nutrition and hydration in check. If I could maintain my not so fast pace and keep my hydration and nutrition in check, by the time I hit the run, where most people will falter, I would still go strong.

Must learn to love the heat...

Thanks to all those who help out.
Family for the support...sis for leanding me her car on Sat morning so I can train.
A few close friends to kick my butt when I am down.
Tri bloggers. :)
Darren for riding with me. I am so slow and he has to back track a lot of times to make sure I ain't lost or mauled by a bear.
Will, for the endless msn chat about me whining about life, training and teeth.
My Fellowship. I lead the young career fellowship in my Church and since I always talk about tri and training, they have no choice but be my only audience :)
God, for giving me a new liver so I can find out how much fun it is to tri, sweat, wear spandex and shave legs....

Next stop 1/2 Peterborough Ironman...


Nancy Toby said...

CONGRATULATIONS! Well done, triathlete!!! Especially those great transitions!

These days I set my watch timer to beep every 10 minutes on the bike to remind myself to eat a little, drink, and STRETCH. It keeps my back happy longer and keeps me more hydrated.

GOOD LUCK on the next one, too!

psbowe said...

Nice recap and I'll say you prept well.

Habeela said...

Great report! You'll do even better at the next race.

Hilda said...

Reading your report makes me realize how people around helps you struggle during the race but the main enemy to defeat is yourself, and you just make it greatly!!! How nice to overcome your own goals!!!

Donald said...

Thanks for the great report, and congrats on your finish. Apply those lessons to the next one!

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Great job and congrats! It sounds like you had the right attitude out there-- it makes all the difference!

Peter Lawson said...

Congrats Cliff! Really good job on being aware of and reducing your HR at the beginning of the bike.

I agree, nice job on your T1 and T2 times!!

good on ya mate! C

cheers :)

Anonymous said...

Great Job Cliff!

Darren said...

A well executed race Cliff. Good job! Nothing like making and sticking to a plan! Awesome.

qcmier said...

Nice job. There's a lot of mental training that go into tris and you're sure do well with that too.

BuckeyeRunner said...

Great race report!! You are so scientific about your training, pace, HR, nutrition, hydration! I feel like a "poser" triathlete - I just kind of go out there willy nilly and swim, bike and run. I need to start paying attention to the details! Great job!!

Trifrog said...

I like the way you faced each situation with determination.

Way to regularly reassess how the event is going and go from there. That kind of ability is a rare trait and it will serve you well in any future endeavor

Holly said...

WAY TO GO CLIFF!! Next stop 1/2 Ironman...

It sounds like you got some good lessons out of this race and I love the way you were always checking in on yourself and reminding yourself to be smooth and steay and stick to the plan, especially towards the end of the bike course when you noticed people passing you. Keep up the good work Clif!

Carrie said...

I did a double averaged 30.7 on the bike? How the...? Oh, that's kph :) It was a little font.

Rachel said...

Wow. Great job! Way to focus and beat your time. I HATE getting kicked in the swim. Way to keep your cool. What kind of race was it? Was it 1/2 IM? The distances seemed long. Congrats!

PuddyRat said...

Great race report and nice job coming in under your estimate!

As for swimming, you can get faster. Just keep at it. I was the last one out of the water at more than one triathlon. And watch out for those warm spots. :-P

Keep up the good work. I'll be anxious to read about your half.

Kewl Nitrox said...

Great timings and great attitude as usual - "Rollers are bigger than I thought but nothing I haven’t seen before." - I like that! :)

I am curious, do you actually put on your HRM in the midst of T1, or do you wear it in the swim as well. I can't decide if I should actually use a HRM in a race (that is if I ever get into another one)...

Thomas said...

You did very well, Cliff. And of course, since this was your first ever, it is only going to improve from here.

jameson said...

killer job man. way to use the race as a learning experience. I am sure you will have a great race at your 1/2.

Julie B said...

Wow, what an awesome first. Way to go Cliff, and way to stay calm and collected..that will take you a long way!!

Chris said...

Congrats, Cliff! Way to beat your own predictions and stick to your own race plan!

Great job! :)

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