Thursday, June 6, 2013

Belle River Review (2013 Ontario Duathlon Championships)

 Rarely do I actually write a "race review" - but this race was pretty awesome.  John McKibbon and his team did a great job hosting the event and throwing in a few extra perks for those who made the trip out to beautiful little "Belle River".  As this race was the 2013 Ontario Duathlon Championships with qualifying spots to go to the 2014 World Duathlon Championships Pontevedra Spain; it was definitely worth the trip.

Pretty straight forward - Downloadable form if you want to do it old school.
Send it in, fax it, drop it off at Running Factory - totally covered.
Or register online like the rest of us with EventsOnline :).  The fun thing with that is you get to see who else has registered.

Traveling TO the Race:
My wife works for WestJet and got off work a little late.  It was 9pm when we left Toronto and headed to Windsor for the night.  #RaceRoadTrip

Race Morning:
Breakfast: 5:15AM  Avocado, grapefruit, (2) two-bit brownies, 2 cups water, banana, Kashi granola bar.  Needless to say my pre-race nutrition wasn't the best.  Rest til 6:45.
Depart Hotel: 7:15AM depart for the short 20 minute drive.
Showing up at the race was quite beautiful as it was at the corner of a park and the Marina.  It was a great starting point as there were; indoor bathrooms, great play structure for the kids, splashpad... (I was more thinking post-race rinse, but it made for a great "family race day experience" to watch mommy or daddy run).

Today, my wife was beyond incredible (as per usual) in helping me get race ready.  Leaving in a rush, I forgot *everything*.  She helped me get my bike set-up (unpacked from trunk, skewers on, water bottle added), purchased last minute plain-GU from Running Factory (#lifesaver), told me to go warm up... she's amazing!

Race Start: 8:30AM
It was a small group, I think 25 of us doing the Olympic Duathlon (10k run / 40k bike / 5k run).  A very small group considering it was the Ontario Du Champs - but there were many more racing the sprint distance (also the provincial champs).
The super speedy local Lionel Sanders was there to lead the entire race.  Kevin Smith, Canada's long time duathlon pro was also in the ranks, and a bunch of other surprisingly quick folks.

10k Run (44:54 / 13.3kph)
Knowing I had next to no warm up and needed to qualify in the top 3 for my age group to get a slot to worlds, I started a bit conservative, treating the first 2.5k as a warm-up.  Which was good in theory, until the 2.5k turn-around point where there was the wind in your face on the way back :p  Great course, relatively flat, a nice little foot bridge to run over, multiple times.  I ran the whole time by myself.  The speed rabbits went off and stayed away; there was a "chase" group about 10 minutes back, and then me, by myself another 10 minutes back :p  My goal was sub 42 (it's June), but with no warm-up, I'd take a 45.

Too Fast For Photos (apparently)
38.7k Bike (1:09:07 / 33.8kph)
I'd like to say the way there was fast and the way back was windy... However Lionel blitzed the course in 59:xx so there's no room for excuses.  It was amazing watching Lionel race.  There wasn't a moment I didn't see him without a grimace on his face; he was working hard the whole time; so inspirational - for 25; the dude's a B E A S T.  Pretty straight forward course with a couple corners, train tracks and a whole lot of wind.  The volunteers and Police on the course were great.  One police officer was even sweeping his corner - who does that? Ever?  I yelled, "thank you" every time on the way by, these course volunteers were truly top notch.  The only thing that really sucked besides the wind was my Torhans Aero 30.  Darn thing splashed me and my bike every time we crossed the train tracks (details discussed further in my Bell River Race Bike review).

5K Run (23:10 / 13kph)
What can I say; when Linda told me I was in second for my age category; I went on the defensive and didn't really push.  Shortly after a nice older guy named "Paul" - a local a lot of people cheered for - passed me up and I didn't have the wheels to stick.  This was my hardest work out of the year, and I had a 4 hour drive home and wanted to save my energy for a sprint finish to win my age category if needed as I knew I didn't have the wheels to play keep-a-way.  After the turn-around, I realized there was no-one behind us.  As in no one for another 13 minutes!  This gave me some motivation to push the final 2.3k and see what was left in the tank.  

Near the finish, I was hot on Paul's heels but didn't really want to sprint an old man to the finish line.  Honest, these are the things I think about when racing :p  So I slowed up a bit, cooled down the last eight hundred meters, grabbed two cups of water from the final age station, then made it look good in the finishing shoot.  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't jogging, but I wanted to ensure the announcer had time to read Paul's name, take a breath and then mine as I crossed the finish line. (What can I say, it's the little things)

Post Race 
E v e r y   r a c e   should have Subway as a sponsor.  OMG - Subway macadamia nut cookies, ham and turkey breast sandwiches that you could add your own toppings to... it was AMAZING, and of course the chocolate milk!
As it turned out; Kevin Smith was racing 'pro' - so I won my age category :p  This meant a little plaque and a $20 gift certificate to

Areas To Improve:
Body Marking - Good Lord - they had the fattest markers ever, race number on both arms, both hands, age on one calf, race on the other... I looked like I belonged on Du-Ink!
Awards - they had it set up so you walked up and got your award after results were posted.  I *really* liked this, but it was a bit of a slow process.  Nice to get to chat in line with folks though.

The Trip Home
Was my absolute favorite part!   Belle River Source for Sports gave gift certificates to all of the age group winners, so we just had to go shopping.  Linda ended up walking out with a pair of Nike Flex Trainer IIIs (I told you she was awesome!).
Then, on the way home we stopped for lunch at a food bus, followed by another detour to Point Peele National Park.  We got through the park just in time to catch a shuttle to the point where we walked barefoot in the sand to the very tip.  Hopefully more pics to come - but here's one of a kiss at the southern most tip of Canada!

We learned that I'm a *much* better rock skipper than Linda ;)  and that race road-trips are SO much fun when done together!

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