For a few minutes in Belwood, the only thing that existed in my world, in my mind, was Jack Laundry’s red trisuit….
Last Saturday, Ang and I drove a few minutes up the road to Belwood Conservation Area for the latest stop on the MultiSport Canada/Recharge With Milk tour.
The morning started with a bit of a panic as Ang’s tube ripped when we were trying to pump up her disc. As you can imagine, it was frantic as we tried to repair that. Luckily, Ang is always way more prepared than I, and she had a spare tube and all the tools to fix it. So after that little initial panic, we were both good to go.
The week leading into the race we joked that Saturday was going to be the ‘Belwood World Championships’ as it looks like this will be the only stop of the series that Jackson Laundry and I will face off. And it also looked like the overall series would most likely be decided at this race.
I knew it would take a large effort on the bike to try and stay with Jack as he’s been crushing bike courses in the US and Caribbean, and is no slouch in the swim and run either.
Things took another little twist on race morning. To my surprise, Canadian ITU stud Alexander Hinton was also racing, and with his swim/run speed I knew the race would be fast from the gun. I was looking forward to the action.
With a small elite AG/pro field, the swim went off without a glitch and with very little contact. I knew I had to get a gap on Jack early, so I took out the first 100m faster than usual. This is also a good simulation of what it will be like at the larger 70.3 races, so it’s perfect practice in a more controlled environment. Unexpectedly, when I had a chance to assess the situation, I found I was actually leading the race, but soon after I settled into my rhythm, Alexander and fellow ITU racer Matt Wright (who races for Barbados) went by me.
The race within the race was simple: who would win the swim between Ang and me. And just like Woodstock, in the last couple of hundred meters, (agonizingly, painfully!) she came by me to help pull me to the finish. Fortunately for me the timing mat was a little further away than Woodstock so Sportstats will say I took the swim!
There were three main goals for my bike. The first was to hold 250w or more, the second was to go with Jack when he caught me, and the last was to put as much time into Hinton as possible. I was successful in the first and third objectives, but when Jack went by me there was no way I was getting onto his wheel. I was putting out well over 300w and he was steadily pulling away. Talking to him after the race he said that once he caught me, he eased off to recover then pushed over 400w for 60 seconds. The rest of the ride I focused on trying to keep the power up and keep the gap to Jack as small as possible. Damage limitation.
Coming off the bike I was about 90 seconds down to Jack, and had no clue how much time I put into Alexander. There was only one option for me, and that was to get out fast and let it roll. I was lucky that every now and then I caught a glimpse of Jack’s red trisuit in the distance, and I told myself to focus on that and nothing else. Jack’s red suit was all that existed in my world for the run.
In the end, I was able to cut the gap in half, and only gave up a minute to Alexander. I was forced to settle for my second second place finish this year.
In a post-race interview with Roger I joked that in all my years racing I must have the most second place finishes in Ontario, but all in all, I’m happy with the way things went down.
It was a great tune up race before 70.3 Racine next weekend. And on top of that, now that I have a few races under my belt I’m feeling much more confident in open water.