Just back from Kelowna, British Columbia and the 2008 Canadian National Champs/Pan American Games. It was a 450km journey from our home here in Whistler to the scorching 40 degree Okanagan Valley in central BC for my second main target race of the year, it was out here in June when I raced at the World Championships in Vancouver in 12 degree water and lashing rain so a slightly different challenge weather wise this weekend.
We arrived Friday afternoon to 42 degrees and blazing sunshine, checked into the hotel and wondered down to transition to observe the circus that is pre race transition activity. With over 1000 competitors racing today (Sunday) transition was almost Royal Windsor sized so I thought it was important to get down early and check it out. Luckily I was number 502 and as one of the youngest racers had a bike slot down near the swim-bike entrance. After some dinner, serious pre bed hydration and watching the most impressive 100m Olympic fly final I have ever seen (Michael Phelps winning by 1/100th of a second!) I started resting up for Sunday.
Saturday was much the same keeping cool and topped up with water before the race.
Race morning came around and I was feeling pretty good considering the temperatures (29degrees at 6am with 24degree water) and was just trying to keep the nerves down before my heat headed off with over 110 athletes at 0715. Into the swim and I managed to quickley launch off the front with another athlete from Ontario, he was drafting off me a bit about 1m behind but he was keeping up a good pace and I wasn't grudging him a little tow. 100m out from the swim exit and I put in a kick to get a nice 5 second lead to claim the fastest swimmer prize (8.58 non-wetsuit), behind him was a good 80m to the next swimmer and at least 150m to the pack so I sprinted like mad into transition.
Onto the bike and the trailing Ontario athlete was just behind, luckily my pre-race course recce had uncovered a massive hill 2km into the first bike lap so I just let the chasing Canadian triathlete hold on until the bottom of the hill where I put in a big push, by the top I had about 40m on him so just kept my head down and smiled at some of the 1000 volunteers TriCanada had out there cheering us on! Two laps later and the lead motorbike peeled off to fire me into transition and out onto the run, unfortunately another young bike/runner had caught me and ran past about 10m out of T2. Was feeling really comfortable in my shiney new Adidas trainers but didn't quite have it in me to bridge the gap to 1st so just eased off and cruised across the line in 2nd.
All in all I'm really pleased with the weekend, the first time I've managed to hold the race lead throughout the bike and onto the run which hopefully shows all the bike work is paying off. Fastest swim split and 3rd fastest bike added to my silver made it a great weekend!
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