Suzanne’s Welland Race Report

>Well that went a fair bit better than Connecticut a few weekends ago! No hypothermia on the swim thanks to my snazzy new TYR Hurricane Cat 5. I finished second, but sure tried hard to close the gap Paolina Allan had put in on her exceptional ride. Still, it was a good day and great motivation from Team Trek out there!

I met Coach Tara in St. Catherine’s on Saturday after she rode her bike there from Toronto, stopping first at the race site in Welland! Poor thing had gotten lost and had been on her bike for six and a half hours! We had a low key pre-race evening and even got in a little visit with fellow pro triathlete Nicole Van Beurden.

Like Ayesha and Mike (is it a triathlon thing?), Tara and I began our morning with day old Timothy’s Americanos we had stuck in the hotel fridge the night before thinking nothing would be open for our early morning rise. I had never been to the race site and found it to be perfectly inviting! John Salt at Multisport puts on a really great event. Things were organized and smooth and right on schedule. Transition was full of familiar and friendly faces. So much so that when I couldn’t figure out what I’d done to my bike computer (it wasn’t getting a read at all), I was rather at ease realizing I was going to race with no data…(thanks to race winner Nigel Grey for trying to sort it out though!)

I probably should have had a bit longer of a swim warm up, but I got a short one in and gathered with Mike and Ayesha near the front at the start. I rather enjoyed that swim. As Ayesh says below, despite the mass start, it was not a hectic-washing machine-feet-to-the-goggles-swim-start at all. I wanted to see if Ayesha’s quick feet could take me out of the mayhem, but that didn’t happen and there wasn’t too much mayhem anyway:) She was far too speedy and I was only able to benefit from that draft for oh, about 15 meters! So many triathletes don’t kick much at all in the swim, but that’s not the case with Ayesha whose feet were hammering! I swam about 1500m of the swim alone. I was stuck between the front pack (where Ayesha was pulling most of the men!) and a pack of guys behind me. Sighting was good so I was ok doing my own thing and swimming within me. That doesn’t always happen so that was good. With about 500m to go, I managed to pull up to a good set of feet that had fallen off the lead pack, and the gentleman they belonged to took me to shore while I tried to steady my mind for the bike and T1. Being helped out of the water and up the steep bank of the canal by the outstretched arm of a volunteer was such a bonus as it helped quickly resolve a double calf cramp that came on as I stood up.

The bike course was great. Despite being flat, there was a fair bit of wind out there which certainly made you stay focussed in the moment. There were very few bodies around in the way of crowds and/or fellow racers until well into the second half. Things were quite spread out where I was, so, without my computer data, I had to focus on targets a good 150 meters away which made for a neat experiment. The flat course did wake up my glutes though, which were ON FIRE from being in my aerobars the whole 90km. Paolina passed me at about 40km so I knew she was out there! Mike and I came into the bike dismount together.

I started the run afraid that my glutes weren’t going to let me stand up let alone run, but shuffling through the run exit beside Mike lifted my spirits and took my mind of the pain and soon we were off. I think Mike wanted to be more conservative at the start of the run because all of a sudden he was no longer beside me. Like the bike course, the run course is quite pretty and flat, but it did have a number of turns that required a modicum of presence of mind to be sure no extra loops were taken. But, what the circuitous nature of the course allowed was the chance to motivate and be motivated by fellow competitors which is always great.

Finishing Time: 4:31. This time allowed me to sneak in not one, but two massages before the on-site treatment volunteers got too busy:) Those, along with the ice bath I cringed thorugh and Dr. Greg Lehman’s healing hands (the bodymechanic.ca), I’m certain I’ll recover quickly and well from that effort. In addition to getting to meet the race director, we also got a chance to meet Brian our TYR rep who was overseeing the TYR sponsorship of the event. Brian has been so generous in helping us out with equipment this year!

Speaking of recovery, the Recovery Pump (http://www.recoverypump.com) is one of the latest healing devices to take the tri market by storm. I’m including this picture of Breanne, Jaqui Gordon, Nic, and I testing it out in Conneticut because it’s almost as funny as Mike’s Fury pic below. I’d love to hear Dr. Lehman weigh in on it. I have to say, my legs felt super after wearing those space boots:)

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