Victoria Triathlon (Half-Iron Distance)

Well, mostly half-iron. This race is 1900m swim, 86.5k bike, and 20k run. (and some of us intimate with Elk Lake aren’t entirely sure about that 20, either)

I decided on this race to crown a huge winter of base building. I was confident that I could go the distance: just wasn’t so sure about going the distance at any speed at all.

At Shawnigan Lake, I learned what happens when an overenthusiastic cyclist goes out and crushes the bike. People say great things like, “hey, that was a super ride you had,” but the misery of the run after an overcooked bike doesn’t quickly fade from memory. So this thing was just a big experiment, whose primary goal (besides the usual, “finish vertical,” was to try to manage pace so I’d have a good run.

Swim – 1900m, 34:27, 15/98 Women

It was cool and windy and grey and windy. And windy. Folks in transition were eyeing each other as wetsuits went on, the question of the day being, “how much will I need to wear for the bike?” Elk Lake had kicked up a bit of a chop and there were a few grim faces at the start. This was a pretty assertive crowd of swimmers and I’m glad we didn’t have to corner too many times. The hardest thing, besides the chop? It’s impossible to sight on round orange buoys when everyone around you is wearing an orange swim cap. That, and there was some confusion on the way back, because that leg had a dogleg before the finish and people who made the mistake of sighting on the archway instead of that final buoy caused a lot of confused cross traffic against others who had just been blown across the course and were trying to get back.

T1 – Oh, awesome. I spent the week learning how to get a bike going with shoes attached, and it worked so well. Really fast transition and I managed to buckle in without crashing into anyone or anything. Delighted. Next step: CX flying mounts. (as if)

Bike – 2:47:52 – 6/98.

Well. Isn’t that interesting. I dialed that bike way, way, back. I kept effort from ever climbing into “hard,” and let people pass me on hills. And it was still a great ride. Well, considering that it was still really windy. I got my first real sense of the breeze on my way down a hill on Old West Saanich. As I hit 60 km/h, a crosswind gust hit me with a whallop. I spent the rest of the ride tucked deep into my bars hiding from a wind that seemed to be coming from ahead or aside the entire way. Played leapfrog with a few cyclists for most of the ride. Considering the weather, people were in a good mood.

T2 – Woohoo! Got back out of those shoes and ran the bike through the dismount line smoothly. Only brain-fart: left my shades on. It was so grey that I didn’t need them *and* my visor. The shades annoyed me so much that I flung them at the first friendly face I saw after the first run lap. Thanks, Bob!

Run – 1:47:11 – 25/98 (sigh)

I really wish I could run better at the end of a tri. Still, this run was not misery like the one at Shawnigan Lake, and I managed a relatively even pace throughout. I flirted with the edge of “really hard” a few times, but backed away and had a strong, if not outright fun, pair of laps around the lakes. My marathon experience left me very aware of how bad that last 10k lap could have been and I wanted no part of that experience. I chugged along, and although I’m no rock star, I managed to catch a few people who were clearly completely out of gas. That was kind of nice.

Finish – 5:12:14 (!) 11/98, 2/22 AG

So, I pressed a little harder in the last 2k, as one is wont to do when there’s a finishing line in the offing, which led to charming tunnel vision. I had long ago lost the ability to add or work my watch, so was only able to estimate a finish somewhere in the 5:25-5:30 range. When the announcer said I’d crossed in 5:12 and change, I said, “no way.” “Way,”offered the announcer. 🙂

On the whole, a very, very, very good race, and I’m delighted with how things went. There is a lot to learn about this distance and I’m going to spend the rest of the summer doing shorter races, but I like the Half and will be back for more.


Nutrition: Banana before start, 200 cal of eLoad in one bottle (ptui, concentrated), and water in the other for the start of the bike. Made myself drink the eload over the first hour and then switched to gels I brought (every 30′) and water from the course for the rest of the race. This combination worked well for me, although by using water to dilute the eload, I took on too much. This needs tuning. 🙂