Shawnigan Lake Triathlon (Olympic) Race Report

Shawnigan Lake.  In May.  After the most wretchedly cold spring in recent memory.  Completely immersed for half an hour or thereabouts.  With about 200 other people beating the hell out of you or swimming over top of you.  Does this sound like a good idea yet?  It’s the first major outdoor swim on the island’s race calendar and just about everyone was either really jittery or elaborately pretending not to mind the ice cubes in the slightest.

Fortunately, if you can look at things this way, Coach Noa has a sick sense of humour and had been chucking us into Thetis Lake since early May.  As a result, it seemed kind of normal to stand around saying things like, “Oh, yes, it’s much better today, the blinding pain in my face gave way to numbness within only about 200 metres of swimming.”

This was my first tri of the year.  I scratched from a pool-swim sprint earlier in the month because of a cold, so was interested to see what a winter of base-building would do.  OK.  Well, a winter of indifferent running, a complete rebuild of my swim stroke, and a whole lot of biking.  I mean, a whole freaking lot of biking.  I kind of really really like to ride my bike.

Now, the Transition Gods smiled on me for this race, and I got the spot at the very end of my row.  I want to express special gratitude for this spot because the odds of this ever happening again are, like, zero.  So, there I was, half-naked on a cool dank morning, leaning on my personal bike-rack-end-holder-thing, trying to pull on my recalcitrant wetsuit, and thinking, “I may not be a great swimmer.  I may be slow on the run.  But, by God, I climbed Mt Lemmon in April, I’m QOM on Munn’s Road, I am rocking the world’s Most Marvelous Road Bike, and I am going to crush this bike ride.”

Swim – 1500m (ish), 25:30, 17/50 Women

Dear God, that lake was cold.  For most of the first lap of this two-loop course, I fantasized about ending the race right then.  I was not happy with crowding, cold, or my overall levels of anxiety.  As always happens, of course, I settled down and the second lap was uneventful.  When I get into racing mode, everything I’ve learned all winter goes right out the window and I’m back to thrashing like it’s 1979.  I’d like to be able to get better at that this summer.

T1 – The first wetsuit strip of the year didn’t go so hot and I did the Wetsuit Dance, but had the help of my friend the bike-rack-end-holder-thing while I wrestled the thing off.  Surely, somewhere on Youtube there must be video of T1 that some joker’s overdubbed with “Yakety Sax.”  Because that’s what my T1 looked like.

Bike – 1:17:52 – 2/50.

Oh, Tyche-the-bike and I are a fine pair.  She went out all dolled up in HED 6 Stingers and I wore a silly pointy hat and we rocked and rolled around Shawnigan’s gnarly rollers twice.  I had stupid amounts of fun.  I remembered and acted on my Grandfather’s immortal words, “If you catch ’em, pass ’em.”  That said, Grandpa accumulated a lot of speeding tickets.  The road was in kind of tough shape in spots, but nothing terrible.

The bike course is a little long, 44 km instead of the standard 40.  I am told this has something to do with the circumference of Shawnigan Lake being non-negotiable or something.  I have written my MLA and requested that the lake’s water levels be lowered until we can pave a proper 20 k perimeter road.  To date, no reply.

T2 – in with the bike, on with the number and the running shoes, and out onto ZOMG rocky singletrack straight freaking up to the road and rail trail!  That pinned my HR on the spot and it never came down.

Run53:08 20/50 (sigh)

Oh, this run just stank up the place.  As badly as I under-perform at running in tris, this one was even worse.  Of course, I only really suffered for the last eight of the ten km of the race distance.  Grisly, painful, self-pitying misery.  Gee, Coach.  I wonder why?

Finish – 2:40:26 8/50, 2/6 AG

The best thing about racing is stopping.  Thanks to a 34 km/h bike leg and moderately improved swimming, this is, pace-wise, my strongest Oly yet.  But it wasn’t executed smart and there’s a lot of work to be done before I head to Auckland this fall.


Nutrition: Banana before start.  3x gu on bike, powdered molars (what with gnashing my teeth and all) on the run, water from the course throughout.