My training, racing, things that go through my head, memorable moments, and such.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kelowna Nationals 2011

Aah the Kelowna Apple. Canada's most prized race for sprint and olympic distance triathlon. Not only is it located in the beautiful Okanagan valley, but it is always right at the end of the summer, which is a perfect cap off to a season of racing. Come to think of it, some people also seem to like doing it as their first and last race of the season! It also generally falls a week before Ironman, which is convenient for people wishing to keep up the triathlon spirit for 2 weeks straight while simultaneously being on vacation. Because no matter how serious you are about the Apple, just being in Kelowna is a vacation.   

I don't remember how many times I have raced in Kelowna, yet I do know that I raced as a Kids of Steel, as a Junior, and as a U23. This past weekend I felt a little overwhelmed because I knew too many people there. I even recognized a lot of the race officials and volunteers! Despite being slightly overwhelmed, It was great having my family, Austin, my friend Jess, and everyone else who knows me, there to cheer me on. I definitely enjoyed everyone who cheered "Go Alex" on the run course! (Apparently they said that for Kyla too...).

My swim was as good as can be expected. I had a good start and spent the entire swim yo-yoing off the back of the front pack. I left the water knowing that I had to kill T1 in order to make it into the pack. I was 9 seconds down coming out of the water. T1 went smoothly, albeit painfully, and I jumped on my bike and hammered away as hard as possible. When the hill hit, I was gaining on the pack, and so I went even harder to try to catch them before the top. Everyone who was cheering on the hill were telling me to dig deep, so that is what I did. 

I believe that was my big mistake. Having worked so hard on the swim, so hard running out of the water, and so so hard smashing the start of the bike, by the time I was 3/4 of the way up the hill my body had so much lactic acid production that I began to worry if I would even get to the top. I had basically ruined my chances of catching the front pack by trying too hard. What do you know?

I had nothing left at the top, and watched the girls gradually pull away down into the community, until I couldn't see them anymore. Going down the hill, an American girl caught up to me. I got on her wheel and basically sat there for 1/2 a lap until my body would work again. She obviously wasn't very happy with that, but every time I tried to pull through I couldn't get past her, and I would have to go to the back again. I think I made a little whimpering noise at one point, and so she stopped telling me pull through. She caught two more girls, so I was able to rest with them for a bit, and then by the time we hit the hill for the second time I was finally recovered from my futile chase, and was able to start biking again. 

The rest of the bike was good. The girls weren't working very hard, so after that first lap I ended up doing a lot of pulling. I am proud to say that my cornering was awesome! Last year Chantelle Widney and Evelyne Blouin were killing me on the corners, but this year I was definitely one of the best in the pack! On the second last lap I had the opportunity to get away with Martina Wan, as we would gap everyone by the top of the hill, but I didn't take it. I should have as we never saw caught her again. Mistake #2.

Onto the run I knew I had lost a lot of time into the lead pack, so I went out pretty strong. I was imaging myself running up to the podium, the way Manon Letourneau did in Coteau this year. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that, but I did have my fastest run split off the bike again! I took 10 seconds off my time from Banyoles! I also caught a couple girls from front pack. I ended up placing 8th overall, and 4th fastest U23 and Canadian. 

On a historical note, looking back at my past performances at this race, I think I have improved quite a bit, which makes me happy. My first Olympic Distance race was Kelowna 2009. I placed 13th overall, but with a time 4 minutes slower than this year! Last year I did the swim-bike portion of the race (due to my IT band injury). My swim-bike times were similar (well... a faster bike last year, but that was because of a pack consisting of Chantelle, Evelyne and Sarah-Anne! I mean, you can't get much faster than that!), but I know I improved tactically on the swim, and technically on the bike. 

ANyways, next stop is my first Worlds of my triathlon career! We leave for Beijing on the 4th! Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Paula said...

"on a historical note"... hahahahhhh you're funny.