Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oliver Wine Capital Sprint Race Report

For my first triathlon of year I did the Oliver Wine Country sprint this weekend.

Normally I've done at least one race by this time of year but having done the Bahamas marathon in January and following it with a disastrous half marathon at the First Half in February, I was happy to take a few months off racing. Alan has said that there's no need to do Olympic distance races to prep for a half iron and I'm happy to stick with the shorter distances for now.

It was fun going back to the Wine Country Sprint (or wino race, as Alan has been calling it) as that was my first open water triathlon back in 2005 and my second ever tri. This was a very different race from 2005, that biggest difference was the lack of pre-race nerves. Well, that and the fact that I'm fitter and way, way more experienced. I lost track some time ago of the number of races I've done in the past six years, but I'm pretty sure it's over thirty.

Mary and I arrived Saturday afternoon and went to Tuclenuit Lake to test how cold the water really was. I proved conclusively that it was too cold to swim in without a wetsuit by swimming in it in just my bathing suit. Actually, once my arms and legs went numb it wasn't so bad! We also rode part of course to get in a ride and to familiar ourselves with the course.

With our workouts out of the way we got down to the important business - wine tasting! We hit a few wineries and came away with several bottles each. It was the Wine Capital triathlon, it would be bad karma not to sample some.

Race morning we arrived in time for me to do a short ride, run and swim warm up. The race start was crowded and chaotic but things got sorted pretty quickly. As usual, I didn't find anyone to draft off so did most of the swim on my own. On the return portion of the out and back course I started to get my rhythm in the swim and feel like I was going fast. For my next race I think I need much more time warming up for the swim.

Coming out of the swim I was happy with my time - 14:24 is close to my pool TT times and definitely not bad for my first open water swim of the year. It went from happy to confused when I got to my bike rack. It was full. I've never been the first to my bike rack in a tri. Ever.

I headed out of T2 happy that I was ahead and expecting to be passed as fast bikers made it out of the water. On my way to the first turn around I was exited to see Nicole in the lead. As I neared the turn I realized there weren't a lot of women between me and Nicole. Not a position I'm used to in races.

Close to the second turn around I passed Nicole as she was changing a flat. Noo! Her lead was lost. I counted the women coming back from the turn to see how places she had lost and realized I was third. Nicole passed me shortly after the turn and I told her her placing.

I was in fourth place and on my way back to transition. I'd never been close to placing well overall in a race and I started to stress about my transition time. It had never mattered much when I was merely racing against my own times and going for a personal best, but now I really, really wanted to place, at least in my age group, and a poor transition could cost that. I may have to pay more attention in transition workouts this season!

I was beat out of transition by a woman at my rack. I was now fifth. I left T2 with the goal of putting in as much space between me and women behind me as I could, fully expecting to be passed.

Near the halfway mark I saw Nicole was now in second but would have to put in an incredible effort to take first. I had just passed another racer and was in fourth but, shortly after the turn, saw Kristie from my club closing in. I decided to kick it up a notch and make Kristie work for it if she wanted to pass me.

With just under a km to go I yelled back at Kristie that if she wanted fourth she'd have to come and get it. Her friends and family were cheering near the finish and I yelled at her to come on, and then tried to put in a sprint. I managed to beat her by five seconds.

She was psyched when I told her she was fifth overall and at least third in her age group. Not bad for her first triathlon! I've decided I'm going to enjoy this victory over Kristie, which may sound unsportsmanlike as she's a rookie but I have a feeling that she'll soon be very fast and I likely won't be beating her ever again so I'm taking my victory now!

In checking the results I found out that I was first in my age group, and definitely fourth overall. I've never won my age group in a tri and never placed anywhere near that high overall so I was very excited. I'll come back to earth when I do a bigger race, but for now I'm enjoying the moment.


Valencia said...

Great race report! You should be very, very proud of this accomplishment and enjoy the moment for a long time!

Claire Thompson said...

Yippee! Way to go Alison :-)

Penney said...

Well done, Alison! You rock!