Last weekend I did my first 70.3 at Muskoka. I raced as an Age Group instead of a Pro because I wanted to see what my level is compared to the other competitors. Unfortunately I had a hip injury coming into the race and I almost didn’t run at all during the few weeks preceding the event. A couple of days before the race I tried to run but after only 5 min I had to stop because it was painful. Therefore, I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to run but I still wanted to race to test my swim and bike fitness and experience the 70.3 vibe.
The first wave was the Pro field at 8:00, next was the 30-35 wave and at 8:12 was my wave (18-24 and 35-39). I had some clean water as soon as the race started and I started catching triathletes from the preceding wave at the first buoy. I swam in 23:39, which was 23 seconds slower than David Kahn, who is a great swimmer (a 3 time Olympic trials qualifier).
I started the bike fast for the first 10 km to catch a few triathletes and then started thinking about hydration and nutrition. I soon realised that my tt bike handling ability were not good compared to the other athletes and I was loosing time in every downhill. Also, I chose to not ride a disk wheel so I was loosing time in the downhills and the fast flat sections. However, I was able to gain time in the hills and I passed a few 30-35 AG and some Pro Women and Men for the first 60 km. For the last 34 km (it was a 94 km bike course instead of 90 km) I was completely alone and I had no idea if I was gaining time on some of the Pros in front or if I was loosing time. It was a lot harder to be motivated and to keep a steady effort. Because I didn’t think I was gonna be running I neglected my hydration and nutrition for the last few kilometers (I only wanted to have a fast bike time). However, I paid for it in the last few kilometers of the bike and I had a lot of difficulty to climb the last steep hills.
I got off the time and to my surprise, my hip wasn’t hurting. So I decided to continue at a slow pace to hopefully be able to finish. I soon passed the 3rd Pro women and I felt great. I drank a lot of water and Coke to compensate from my lack of hydration/nutrition on the bike. The crowd was simply amazing and I felt an incredible boost. Also, I could see that I was gaining time on some of the Pro Men. After around 10 km my right knee started to hurt, probably because of my lack of running training in the last few weeks. When there was only 7 km left my left calf started to cramp and it was getting worst and worst. However I saw Ed Cyr, one of the Pro Men, who was not far in front of me and managed to make a surge to pass him despite my calf that was really really tight. Only a few minutes after I passed him I could barely run because of my calf and he passed me. For the last 3km it was just a matter of surviving and finishing. I even walked the last steep hill at around 2km from the finish. However, despite my really slow run time I was happy to simply finish the race and to also finish 1st Age Group and 6th overall (really close to the 5th).
Despite my time being really far from the winner Richie Cunningham I know that not injured and properly trained I can finish in the Top 5 and maybe Top 3 in a 70.3. Even though it is not a drafting legal race it is faster when you are in a pack on the swim and on
the bike and when you can race with other competitors on the run. Also, being a fast swimmer I know I can be in the front group on the bike and benefit from someone who sets the pace on the bike. This is why I decided to not take my spot for the 2015 70.3 Age Group World Championship because I will take a Pro license and raced a few 70.3 races as a Pro. I would like to thank Buff Canada who accepted to pay for my 2015 Pro license, which allows me to race as many 70.3s as I want for the same fee. There are a lot of advantages in being a Pro. Indeed, you can register for a race only a few months or weeks before the race, you can compete with the Big Boys of the triathlon World and you are the first wave to start so you don’t have to pass people on the swim and bike which can slow you down.
I am now in my off season, which will allow me to fully recover from my hip injury and to replenish my energy level… without taking too much weight hopefully! 😉 I plan to race earlier next year because I want to race the ITU Long Distance series’ event in Cuba on January 25th, which is a 4 km swim, 120 km bike and 20 km run. The longer swim is good for me and it could give me an edge on the slower swimmer.
Thank you everyone who believed in me, to my parents who made the long trip with me to Muskoka and to my sponsors.
Here are the results from the race:
*the bike course was 94 km long instead of 90 km
|6||Jolicoeur Desroches, Antoine||Can||00:23:39||02:35:12||01:28:14||04:30:16|