The MultiSport Canada series kicked off today in Woodstock, ON. Woodstock is always a special race for me. I'm pretty sure it was the first outdoor triathlon I did when I started this crazy sport.
After Chattanooga I was hungry to really hit the training hard in preparation for Xterra Mine Over Matter. And in that first week back we were already putting in some really good swim workouts. I also shifted my focus from road riding and running to spending more times on the trails. It wasn't a chore - it's an aspect of this sport that I really enjoy.
Unfortunately, though, on one of these trail runs I suffered a nasty ankle sprain. While turning a corner running at a decent clip, I mis-stepped on a root and quickly went over on the ankle. I heard a popping sound and my heart sinking just a touch.
I hobbled/walked for a bit but after being attacked by mosquitos I had to try and run the last 25 minutes to my house. I thought my season was over in the blink of an eye - that's the reality of our sport - but once the swelling went down so did the pain.
I was able to get back on the bike only two days later, swimming a few more days after that, and lastly, thankfully, I returned to running after being off for almost a week.
When the injury happened Rich and I had a quick chat and came to the conclusion that in the grand scheme of things, Woodstock and Xterra aren’t my main races; we wouldn’t rush back into things too quickly.
So there's a little background - now to the actual race this morning.
Leading into the race the two things I heard most from people were 1) the weather and 2) Lionel.
It's always a treat to race one of the world’s best triathletes, and I've been racing triathlons against Lionel for a number of years. I think we squared off way back in the day in high school cross country and track.
So when I heard Lionel was coming to Woodstock, my number one goal was to actually make it a race. I really didn’t want Lionel to show up and cruise to an easy victory. So for me, this meant swimming and biking as hard as I could until I blew up.
The swim itself was rather uneventful with David Mackie getting off the front pretty quickly. Just before the first buoy I settled onto the feet of Hector and Ang was just behind me.
When we hit some current on the backstretch, Hector was able to pull away, and when Ang started tickling my toes I allowed her to take the lead.
Transitions are my time to shine. While I entered T1 in fourth, I quickly came out the other side in second. It may not have been my smoothest transition, but it was still one of the quickest at 35s (30s for T2).
On the bike I was in hot pursuit of David and could feel Lionel breathing down my neck 30s back.
Eventually, at around 5k, the race all came together. I had just passed David, and going around the corner I looked back and saw Lionel right there. Before Lionel caught me I had been riding at about 245-250w, and said what the hell lets see what it takes to go with Lionel.
I surged up to about ~425w to match his pass and managed to stay with him for about all of 500m. If I would have tried to hold that any longer I don’t think I would have finished the bike let alone been able to run.
The rest of the bike was spent battling the 50kph guests, but I was surprised with just how well the Felt IA handled the crosswinds with its rather wide tubes.
I came into transition about 90s behind Lionel, and as soon as I hit the run course I could tell I hadn’t done much running in the last 12 days. I was a bit worried Mikael might catch me as he has been running well this year, but I was able to hold him off for a solid second place finish.
Now, in the shout term, I'm looking forward to exchanging the asphalt for dirt in my next race, before building up to a few more 70.3s.
It was great seeing everyone out at Woodstock, and it's always motivating to hear you cheering and yelling words of encouragement as we cross paths.