Race #2… Positives and NegativesJ
Well, this race was interesting. There were several positives to take out of it, but definitely a lot of frustration as well.
It was my first Junior Elite Draft Legal race of the summer. Held in Vancouver, the North-Shore triathlon was the first race in the BC Junior and Youth Elite Provincial series. Unfortunately, my category was extremely small, so immediately it didn’t look like there would be a lot of drafting happening on the bike. The distance was a Super Sprint triathlon, or just under a 400m swim, 10km bike, and 3km run. I prefer the longer distances, but was looking forward to having some fun and literally going all out for 35 or 40 minutes in a short tri.
The swim went well… It was probably one of my best triathlon swims to date. It was a super odd swim, as the pool was 37m long, rather than 25 or 50, so I couldn’t think about stroke count at all. I started off swimming hard, but not sprinting. I tried to be quick on the turns, but not waist breath trying to have long walls, but rather kept my breathing quite consistent and relaxed in the swim. I pushed it quite hard, but not quite to the point where I was tired from it. Because the distance was odd, I don’t know kinda the speed I swam at, but compared to the others I was racing (and Lincoln’s time) it was a solid swim.:) I came out of the water in 2nd, about 20 seconds behind 1st place.
T1 was terrible… I had decided to put my shoes on while on the bike still, even though there was a big hill coming out of transition. I had planned to do it that way because I usually jump onto my bike and slide my feet right into my shoes, which are held in place, open, by elastic bands. Unfortunately, when I tried to mount my bike, something had happened to the elastics I had set up, and my shoes were inconveniently upside-down. This caused me to have to take some time, and get at least one foot in while practically stopped right at the bottom of the hill. 2 more girls in my group went past me in the process, so I was in 4th by the time I headed out on my ride. I left on the bike probably 35 seconds down from the leader.
My bike, however, was great! I felt understandably tired in my legs from the swim, but was able to push some really solid power despite it. I passed the two girls right away, making a pull out to the side so they wouldn’t be able to latch on and draft off of me, and then focused on catching the girl out in front. It was a super short 10km bike (two 5km out-and-backs), so I knew I didn’t have much time. At the first turnaround I could tell I had made huge progress on the top girl, and by the time I was done the first 5km I had caught her. I made an attempt or two to get away, but then we worked together for the rest of the second loop and put more time into the girls behind us. I really focused on staying aero and powering lots of watts in a medium cadence for the first lap, and then focused on reserving my energy and trying to take deep breaths whenever I was drafting in lap 2. We came off the bike together and headed for T2.
T2 wasn’t my best either, as I was just a bit clumsy, and I’m not sure what I was doing that took me so long. I lost an easy 10 seconds in T2, opposite to my fast transitions in the first race of the year.
The run… Immediately I knew something wasn’t quite right… I was excited for the fast 3km run, and that I could see the leader of the race right in front of me, but I was already gasping for air. One of my strengths has always been my ability to keep a calm breathing rate and frequency while running (or biking), and usually run 3:3s for at least the first half of most of my races, but I started at 2:2s and felt really restricted. Not long in, I felt like I was breathing through a bed sheet, gasping a bit. I slowed right down, and it was a real fight to just keep running forward. I don’t think I have ever really wanted to walk before in a triathlon, but I was close. My lower stomach/abs started to cramp up, and that didn’t help. I was really frustrated, especially when a girl went breezing past me. I was frustrated because my legs felt great, and I wanted to go for it, but I couldn’t breath well. The last little bit to the finish line was mostly downhill, which is usually nice, but suddenly my whole lower stomach cramped quite bad, and I was kind of leaning over a bit down the hill towards the finish, and breathing 1:1s (I don’t think I ever have before), if that.
Anyway, I finished, in third in the small junior elite category. Wasn’t what I was hoping for, and I was super frustrated with how the run went, especially since I was right there after the bike, but have to live and learn from it. I’ve had a really bad cough ever since my last race, and I guess it played a big part. I went to the doctors, and apparently it is just a viral infection, so I’ll have to just let it recover. But there are definitely some things I need to work on that are in my control, like:
So… After all that, I would say I’m 75% happy with how it went, 20% disappointed and frustrated, and the rest excited that I have some things to focus on to get better! Right now, it’s about always improving, and learning from each race, and then not making the same mistakes next time. It’s fun to analyze where I went wrong, and then direct that into improvement for next time… Can’t wait to race again after some more solid training weeks! Next race(s): Haymen’s Classic Cycling Provincials, followed by a double-header triathlon weekend in Vernon for me… Excited to try an actual road cycling race for the first time at Hayman’s, and then test my ability to recover between races in Vernon… Sounds super fun, and I can’t wait! :)
17 year-old Junior Elite Triathlete
Long Term Goals