Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I did the Cultus Lake Triathlon last weekend; I had never been to Cultus Lake (actually wasn't totally sure where it was - turns out it's in the mountains just south of Chilliwack), but it sounded like a fun way to end out the tri season here. And... with the RV it makes traveling to out-of-town races so easy. I decided to do a solo trip since Jason was just back from Mt. Tremblant and could use a restful weekend. So I loaded it up, headed for the ferry, got onto the mainland and drove for a about 1.5 hours inland.

I was staying at a huge campground right on the shore of Cultus Lake, and it was only about a 20 minute walk to pick up my race package the day before. I ran back to the campground on the run route - turned out the run turn-around was the beach right where I was staying - and got my race stuff all together. Sunday morning I unhooked the RV and drove over to transition, about a 5-minute drive. I love being right near a race venue!

Pre race. I got to sleep in since I was staying right next door!

I was running a disc rear wheel... and I don't know if you've ever tried to pump one up using a floor pump yourself without someone holding the disc adapter on to the wheel... but it's really hard. I really need to get one of the adapters that screw right on to the valve without having to hold it. I went over to the mechanic's tent and asked if he had a disc adapter and could inflate my tire. I wasn't that confident when he stared at me blankly, then looked through his tool box. He found one, I kind of had to talk him through it but basically all I needed was a pair of hands. Tire inflated. Morning drama over, as I set everything up in transition and waited around for the start.

Standing on the beach before the start, everyone was freaking out saying the turn-around buoy looked way farther out than normal. I hadn't been there before so really couldn't say, but it doesn't really matter, does it? We all do the same distance, regardless of what it is. I was doing the sprint race (they also had an Olympic), and they started us 10 minutes after the men. For some reason, they made us all stand in the water for those 10 minutes and listen to a pre-race briefing, so we couldn't do a warm-up swim. I was freezing from those 10 minutes and I was in a wetsuit. Many weren't wearing one and I'm sure they were absolutely frozen.

The swim was pretty uneventful other than I was in the lead pack for most of the way! After the last turn buoy, that pack split up and I was in the back of the split, but still came out of the water in a really good position. For some reason they had the timing mats way up the beach (probably 150m) at the entrance to the bikes, so I don't know what my actual swim time was because I don't wear a watch while swimming. But I do agree with everyone who thought it was long, as my time including the beach run was 17:19 - so yeah long for 750m - but first in my age group (F40-44) by over a minute.

I had a quick transition and I was out onto the bike course. It was mainly rolling with a shortish climb out of transition (which my legs just absolutely felt like crap on), and a few kilometres of flat at the turn-around. I was cruising along pretty quickly, and was almost to the turn-around when I realized I hadn't seen any women. So I started looking, and only 3 had headed back towards me by the time I hit the turn, so I was in 4th place overall! On the way back, I passed one woman and one passed me, so I came into T2 as 4th woman - pretty cool!

Another quick transition and I was out on to run. I later learned that I had a 4-minute lead on my age group after T2 - which is totally huge after only 750m of swimming and 20km of cycling - and I should have stopped there and rested on my laurels. I had an absolutely dreadful run. Worst in years.  Didn't help that I've been neglecting my running lately in favour of puppy training. Didn't help that about 1.5 km of the run course was on the beach (I super-suck at running in sand). Didn't help that because of a chronic knee injury I really haven't focused on running much. Didn't help that the 5km run course actually turned out to be almost 500m long and I got passed by 3rd place in my AG in that "bonus" 500m. I ended up finishing 4th in my AG by less than a minute. Yep, I blew a 4-minute lead and 4th overall to not even finish on the podium in my age group. Worst. Run. Ever.

But... I am still pretty pumped at how solid my swim and bike were. Especially considering I never felt over my limit on either of those during the race.

Another cool thing about having an RV at a race; while I was waiting for the results to be posted, I went back to the RV and had a shower. Oh yeah. Which meant I was nice & clean for the drive and ferry trip home!

My cute little RV bathroom.  Bonus - the shower
is great storage for post-race wetsuit and sweaty tri kit!

Driving the big rig (ok, the RV is actually a little 22'
motorhome) so I should wear a trucker hat, right?

Next up: 100-mile cycling event in Las Vegas at the end of October.  Which doesn't really motivate me to run much, and obviously that's what I should be working on.  Winter project I guess.

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