The 2017 ITU Multisport World Championships was held in Penticton, BC from Aug. 17-27th. I qualified for the Cross-Triathlon (off-road) at last years Nationals event on the same course. For most of the past 6 months, this was my "A-Race" and the focus of early season workouts and races. I was trying to focus my energy on being more well-rounded this year in regards to keeping up with my family, spending quality time with the kids as they learn and grow and to help my wife now that we have two munchkins and she is back working part-time.
A part of this balance is being able to take off some responsibility at work. We lucked out by hiring a sensational new associate (Simon rocks, seriously!). For this, I am most happy about because it gives me a few extra hours each week to duck out for solo training sessions that got me to the fitness for this race.
In recap for the race, I was quite shocked to be given a Canadian flag to sprint to the finish line, because I had no idea where my placing was. I didn't know if I was 1st or 51st. I was in a bit of a mental state having to regain control after I cramped up hard on the end of the bike and early run.
|Exit the swim - TriCanada Photo|
The swim was fairly straight forward: slog through 1500m and get to the first transition (to bike). I found out on race morning that it would not be a wetsuit swim because the water was too warm (22C) so I needed to get my mind in gear for a technical focused start. At the start I was able to duck-dive 16x and take the lead, with the lake being so shallow at the start. I did, however, drop back into behind the first swim group by the 500m mark. I could not get my nerves settled and get into a rhythm. I was able to slide into a draft from a fast Aussie and we cruised through the last 500 m and powered through to the beach for the transition.
The bike was fast! As I climbed the first hill up towards the Kettle Valley Railway and the 7km ride out to the trails, I caught a Kiwi and we ended up working together drafting (legally!) off each other. I had to take a slow start to the single track climb because I was maxed out and I knew we were ascending 600m+ in one shot. For some reason the more I climbed the stronger I felt and the more people I passed. I got by 5+ guys going up and even passed the speedy Kiwi before the technical steeps. My game plan was "no mistakes" on the ride and especially important was to prevent any mechanicals and flats (which de-railed my race last year). Just as I exited the trail system, two major things happened: my legs started to cramp, just a few tweaks at first, and I knew I cooked my legs on the blistering fast ride. The second thing, and more importantly, I caught up to a speedy Spaniard who towed me in TT style all the way to the second transition. I owed him big time (and I bought him a beer at the Awards ceremony that night) I would not have been able to ride out the KVR very fast if it weren't for him.
On the transition of bike to run, luckily, I grabbed a nutrition bottle and gel because I was about to experience total cramping within 500m. I downed the bottle and gel and tried to get my legs back. Right before the hills started my body said NO, this is NOT happening. Never before have I had total quad spasm and contraction for 30sec+, I grabbed a light post and hung on so I wouldn't fall over. I couldn't believe it. Was this it- the end of my race.... why the F*&k wouldn't my quads stop seizing. After what seemed like eternity (and 5 guys passed me) I was able to start a slow shuffle, being hunched over and started to get the legs flushed out. I climbed the hills by walking with hands on knees and short strided the downs. Once I got up to the Kettle Valley Rail trail, I knew I had 4 km of flats so I just got the stride turnover sped up and I was miraculously able to pick up the pace. I shifted gears and was able to pass four guys that got by me on my earlier bonk-party. Back onto the trails I was able to take down one more guy in the water section where the trail has 1km of lakeside calf-deep water. In the last 1km of the run into the finishing straight I felt my hamstrings starting the same cramping cycle. I knew I was totally tapped out so I tried to pick it up early so I wouldn't need to sprint the finishing straights. Luckily nobody challenged me and I was able to to cruise to the finish.
It was a feeling of success, not only on the day being able to re-gain composure after near blow-up but the training from the past few months being not that bad. I still feel that I could put together a better race but I was happy with the results. The pursuit of excellence keeps me coming back for more
One last thing: I could not go this far without the support of my wife. She gets me and knows I enjoy training and racing. She is such a rockstar and I can't believe I found such an amazing woman to share this journey with. My kids make me want to do the best I can so that some day they might do the same.