Sunday, September 9, 2012

Long Time, No Race: Esprit Olympique Race Report

Going strong (and getting stronger) for the last 28 years, the Montreal Esprit triathlon festival is a classic here. Known for a super-fast course and a great organisational team lead by Danny McCann, I had been looking forward to this race for a while - especially after missing out due to a field camp last year. Because of our move back to Australia - and the financial demands that will entail - and the fact I'd be back racing in January I decided to forget about racing Pocono Mountains 70.3. I was a bit sad to take it off the schedule, but it just makes more sense at the moment. So, Esprit would by my last triathlon for the season and I trained for it accordingly. 

Going into the race, I had come off a pretty consistent build including lots of threshold work. I knew I had the legs to lay down a fast bike and a fast run (for me). It didn't quite work out how I planned, but it was a fun weekend all the same. 

The Race

Swim: 27:01. Shithouse. Why? Probably had something to do with the the >45km/h wind hammering in from the south and creating a solid amount of chop and turning a normally glassy rowing basing into a washing machine. Getting out the water I had no idea how it went. It felt slow, but then again, it was supposed to be a fast course so would that have compensated for the conditions? I guess it didn't. For comparison, my mate J-P did this same race last year with a 22:53 swim split (which included missing out on swimming on some fast feet and losing his goggles at one point). Fast forward to 2012 and J-P swam 27:25, about 4:30 slower. So yeah, I suppose I'll take 27:01. 

T1 + Bike + T2: 1:02:40. A PB bike split (well, sort of, it was ~39km) of sub-60min (my Garmin's average was 40.3km/s before heading into the dismount chute. The wind played havoc and helper at the same time. On the straight heading North that tail wind meant I was able to scoot along at 50-56km/h comfortably. On the other half of the course, however, it was a different story. I worked hard to maintain ~33-36km/h for the most part on that section. The course was REALLY congested, also. It was pretty chaotic, also, with people riding willy-nilly all over the place. In principle, we were supposed to ride on the left (laps were counter clockwise around the circuit) and pass on the right. In reality, there were people left, right and centre meandering along at a multitude of speeds. As a result, it was difficult to maintain a clean line and it took a lot of concentration not to get cleaned up by somebody wobbling all over with the heavy winds.

 Finishing another lap:

Run: 40:54. My first +40minute split of the year! Dissappointed - very. I was running really well going into this and I thought a high 36 or low 37 minute split was on the cards. After about 1.5km into the headwind I could feel a slight stomach cramp (a stitch, really) coming on. Damn. By 3km it was bad and I was reduced to stop a few times to massage it out. I passed after the first 5km and the race clock read 7:03:XX. It stayed until ~6km. My diaphram relaxed and the stictch dissapated, alowing me to really get into my stride for the last ~3-4km. I reckon I ran those last few km's at around ~3:35-3:40 pace - easily - I was flying with the tail wind. The race clock at the end read 7:20:XX. The last 4.7km (the distance of the second lap) then - I estimate - took ~17 minutes and change, putting my first lap at a pedestrian ~23 minutes and change. 

In the end, my day was good for a 2:10:35, about 8 minutes back of the winner and good for 19th out of 548 participants. A super hard day (average finished time was 10 minutes slower than 2011) in terms of conditions - on the swim, particularly - but a fun event all the same. Everyone from our group that went felt pretty well the same way - fun, but bullshit hard.   

Credit where it's due:

Congrats to Audrey on finishing first in her Age Group! Audrey was looking forward to this race, too, if only because it meant she didn't need to feel obliged to train any longer this year! She ended up nailing a solid swim, a very good bike split, and - as always - a strong run to put the nail in the coffin. Secretly, I don't think she's done with triathlon - despite what she might say!
These photos are evidence!

Welcome back to triathlon, J-P! 12 months without racing (a tri) meant J-P was simply throwing his cards down and seeing where they landed. A solid swim [relative to the rest of the field] and a 8th best bike split had him easily ahead off me as we rolled into T2. Unfortunately J-P's run legs - well to be precise, his run feet - didn't show up and J-P ran to the line for a 2:17 with some nasty blisters. Eric nailed his first Olympic race - on next to no training, if you don't mind - and crushed some m20-24 dreams with a barnstorming 2:19. Genetics and a huge engine, I guess! Laura nailed 5th in her AG and the Innes boys nailed another strong race - despite Stefan's fall he displayed fine BAMF qualities and kept on trucking. Not to mention that Olivier nailed a PB in the Sprint race - Congrats! Good job everyone!! 

Thanks guys for a great weekend!

RDI: Braver le vent          TVA: Des milliers de participants au triathlon Esprit de Montréal
See at about 0:28 below to see our wave in the water - yikes!
Triathlon Esprit Montreal 2012 from Productions Nouvelle Image on Vimeo.

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