I kicked off the triathlon season on Saturday at the MultiSport Canada Binbrook Sprint Tri. With perfect conditions, a fast and flat bike course, a mixed surface run and a strong field, it promised to be a fun race. No fewer than 12 Elite men showed up, which bodes well for the depth of competition in Ontario. The MultiSport Canada Elite Age Group/Pro Series will be hotly contested this season.
It was my second open water swim of the year and it showed. Without the unwavering guidance of the black line, I relapsed into my old habit of hooking right, much to my frustration. I also forgot that everyone likes to start at Phelpsian pace. I’d like to dedicate a future rant to that. I ended up swimming alone trailing the front pack of three.
Coming from a running and swimming background, I have typically biked minutes behind the “cyclists” on the Ontario circuit. Sometimes I could run them down, but more often than not I would run out of runway. Since last season, I have put swimming and running on the back burner and systematically attacked my physical and technical weaknesses on the bike. But there were also psychological factors; I had pigeonholed myself as a “runner” and ceded dominance on the bike to the “cyclists”. My goal with this race was to break out of that role by riding aggressively, like it was a race into transition.
In that regard, the race went as planned. I took the lead before 5k, defended it, and was first into transition. This is just one race, and a short and flat one at that, but to finally mix it up with the “cyclists” is a first for me. With continued focus on cycling, I hope it’s the start of a trend.
I was pretty confident that I could outrun the field. But there’s a fine line between confidence and complacency. Two minutes into the run I figured I had the win locked up, and switched on the cruise control. I was cruising towards the turnaround when I heard an unfamiliar sound: footfalls coming up fast. Little did I know that Lionel Sanders, elite duathlete-turned-triathlete and 1:06 half marathoner, was in hot pursuit. I briefly matched his blistering pace before he began to pull away. It may not have affected the outcome, but I learned a valuable lesson: the race isn’t over until you cross the line. Next race I’ll be that guy doing a shoulder check every other stride!
But wait, there’s more…
I swore off back-to-back races after a somewhat traumatic experience in high school (a surprise blizzard didn’t help…). But time softens even the most painful memories. On Sunday morning a tweet about the Guelph Lake 10k caught my eye. A scenic rolling course through the campground around the lake makes the race a highlight of the excellent series run by the Guelph Victors. With the prospect of a three-peat, I simply couldn’t miss it!