Delta Sprint Triathlon Race Report
Our season kicked off earlier than years’ past last weekend as we were lucky enough to secure spots in the Delta Sprint Triathlon. We tried signing up for this race last year but missed the boat as it sold out within a couple days, this year we signed up right away when registration opened and by 5pm all spots had sold out. It seems to be a pretty popular race!
Race morning prep has become pretty routine, waking up obnoxiously early, eating a big breakfast that my stomach’s not quite ready for, getting dressed into the clothes and gear that was anxiously laid out the night before and multiple nervous visits to the loo. We set out for Delta much earlier than I would have liked, Jenna wanted to be there as early as 6am, I would have preferred 8am; we compromised on 630 if you can call it that. Once we arrived we immediately made our way to transition to secure some decent spots. Though there weren’t many ideal ones we made due.
Once heading over to the pool I did a mental run through of what I had set up and realized I had forgot to pull my bike shoes out of my bag and set them up on my bike. That could have been disastrous, particularly in a sprint. I actually witnessed a competitor that made that mistake when we were heading out of T1, I cringed as I watched him make a flying mount onto his bike and immediately make the realization that he had forgot his shoes when he went to pedal. That must have cost him at least a minute and a couple places.
The start format of the race had the slowest swimmers starting first and the fastest starting last. This made for a very long waiting period for me. The race started at 7am and I didn’t actually get onto the pool deck until 10:15. The silver lining was that I was in the last wave, there were ten of us, and one of the race organizers gave us the option to all start at once rather than do a time trial start with 5 seconds in between each swimmer. We opted to all start at once. I was excited to say the least, it was going to be more competitive than I had originally anticipated so it was going to make for a hard fought battle.
Race prep involved a brief jog with some pickups to get the heartrate up, a powergel about 15 minutes before race start and a little bit of ballistic stretches to get everything loosened up. We jumped into the pool, I had three other swimmers in my lane, Andrew Powell, Rob Eakin and Kirk Vandeweghe. The other six swimmers were split between two other lanes. We were given the time to start on the clock… and then we were off. To my surprise, within 15 metres everyone seemed to have tucked in behind me. I kinda felt like a sucker but then came to the realization that nobody was going to get away from me if they were drafting off of me. Yes I was probably using 20 – 30% more energy leading the bunch but I’m committed to really improving my swim this year so it was a good experience. Rob eventually made a move with about 200 metres to go and Kirk followed. They put about 10 seconds into me and Andrew going into T1.
Going out on to the bike I heard the race announcer say I was 5th coming out, that was good news, time to move my way up through the field. There weren’t any headwinds on the bike but there were some really strong crosswinds. The course is very flat with the exception of one small hill so it’s a fast course. Generally the bike is my strength, today wasn’t an exception, I still managed to have the fastest bike split of the day; however, I didn’t feel 100% on the bike. I couldn’t get my legs going the way I wanted to and I had only moved into 3rd position by the end of the first lap. I kept at it on the 2nd lap and put out more power this time around and made my way into the lead ahead of Andrew and Rob just by the end of the bike. I had originally hoped to build a bit of a gap for myself going out onto the run but it is what it is, races don’t always go as planned, all you can do is put your head down and try to get as much as possible out of your body on the given day, you never know what the end result will be so I always just stick with it.
I went out onto the run first off the bike, I knew Andrew was close behind as I saw him putting on his shoes as I headed out. My legs felt absolutely awful, that’s probably pretty normal if you just finished going all out on the bike though. This was my second brick of the year so I wouldn’t expect them to feel any better than that! My legs were going as fast as they would carry me; my watch read 3:46 pace, this wasn’t going to be fast enough. By the 1km mark Andrew had caught me, he ran ahead but I made a decision to do what I could to stick with him as I knew Rob couldn’t be far behind. I didn’t look at my watch, I wasn’t going to worry about pacing, all I focused on was relaxing as much as I could and only keeping the small 10 foot gap between Andrew and myself. To my surprise I was able to hold on. My first couple years of racing, if someone passed me, I let them go. I finally feel like my running is getting to a point where I can actually challenge some of the faster runners. I’m not going to boast about my running form as I still have lots and lots of work to do but it’s a huge confidence booster seeing the amount of progress I’ve made over the last 8 months. Back to the race, I stuck with Andrew until a little past the 4km mark, I figured if I could surge and put a gap between us I might be able to hold on and take the win. It seemed to be going as planned until less than 200 metres to go when I could hear him making up time on me and fast. Andrew clearly had something left in the tank for his kick and I couldn’t answer. I finished 6 seconds behind and had nothing left. Rob Eakin rounded out the podium finishing just 49 seconds behind me.
I think in a lot of cases there would be some regrets missing the win by only 6 seconds. I could’ve made up some time here, I shouldn’t have surged there etc. etc.. I don’t have any regrets about the decisions I made on the day. I think I’m more proud of my 2nd place finish than I would have been about a 1st place finish had it been less competitive. This was a full on race from start to finish, something I hadn’t experienced before, I got absolutely everything out of my body on a day where it wasn’t 100% and I set PB’s in the swim and run. I couldn’t be happier. I had a lot of fun. I’d also like to recognize a couple other awesome results, Jenna placed 2nd in her age group and our friend Harvey Dykes who placed 3rd in his age group narrowly making the podium by 2 seconds, it must have been the wise decision to shave those legs the day before! Our friends Brittany Martin and Jeff Thompson also successful completed their first triathlons. Jeff completed a paratriathlon and I’m pretty sure he only got his hands on his handcycle the week before, amazed that he pulled it off with such little training time. Really stoked for the both of them, hopefully they catch the bug.
A big thank you to Dave at North Shore Road Bike for getting our bikes all tuned up for race day, it’s insane what a big difference a new chain, cassette, and bottom bracket bearings make on a drivetrain! Yes, it was long overdue.
This was a great way to kick off race season, time to put in another couple blocks of training and hopefully we can have some more great results at the North Shore Sprint next month and the Oliver Half Ironman in early June.