The final duathlon of the Subaru Triathlon season wrapped up on the Labour Day long weekend under beautiful, warm morning skies. The race was held at the Guelph Lakes Conservation Area but had to be moved to another section of the park due to poor water quality at the beach the triathletes usually swim in. The temporary GLII venue changed our running courses (2k and 7k) and added to the “in park” cycling distance (slower speeds due to speed bumps and road quality), giving it a new race feel to many of the veteran competitors.
Due to the parking limitations in this portion of the Conservation Area, many people trickled in slowly and the line of cars on the roadway created a tiny issue. The organizing team realized this problem and pushed back the start time fifteen minutes but I was already set in the transition zone when this announcement was made so I figured I would head up to check out the entire 2k run for this duathlon. Although, it was in a new spot the run looked very similar and there were not any unusual challenges until the last couple of hundred metres when we had to come down a grassy trail towards the transition zone to get to our bikes. That part of the run was a little bumpy under our legs but short in nature.
With my knee condition still in question, my game plan was to go out and enjoy the last weekend of racing and not put too much pressure on myself to perform. I had plenty of time to warm up and things were actually feeling very strong and pain free. As the other duathletes made their way up to the line, I could tell the field was much larger than normal and many top names were in attendance. This had me re-position my previous goals for the day and I was now wanting to hit a top five finish, which would be tough with Bruce Bird, Derek Alldritt, John Stewart, David Frake, Pat Menzies and Bruce Grant assembling next to me in the starting gate.
As we waited for our final instructions, the race director came over his loud speaker to announce a Quintana Roo in the first row had blown a tire. As soon as I heard Quintana Roo I knew this was my ride and I would not have time to fix anything, even if I had brought the goods to do so. Before leaving home I had decided that a flat on the course would be the end of my day so I just left my kit on my training bike at home. With the first of two waves ready to head out, I was encouraged by my fellow athletes to go down and check to see if it was my bike. I ran down quickly only to confirm my fears. I bolting into the expo area to see if any of the bike shops were set up but, as per my luck, none of them had made the trip on this day so I was done, flat on the rack.
A million ideas spun around in my head but nothing realistic that I could actually accomplish in the space between the first and second wave. My only option left was to get a fast 2k run in and then cheer on the rest of the guys. I sprinted up to the line just as the second wave of runners were sent off and I quickly got out into the lead of the group that included all the female duathletes and males over 45. I felt a little guilty setting such a blistering pace but I needed to release some angry vibes. I continued to blaze along the course as the first group were making their way back down the other side of the road. As we crossed paths, I could see that some new faces were out in the lead so I became very interested to see how this race would play out. Maybe I would not even have been top 5 if I had raced?
I hit the turn around with some distance between me and Bruce Grant and hammered it down the home stretch, picking off some of the stragglers from the wave ahead of us. I am not sure if this pace would have been ideal if racing the whole event but looking at the times of the first wave, it would have been required to make it to the bike in my usual fashion.
Racing down the cross country section of the 2k run, I quickly looped around the transition zone to the swim entrance where we were all directed to the gate to grab our rides. I made one last wish that somehow my bike was ready but it was not to be as I pinched the back wheel only to feel empty rubber. Damn.
Disappointed, I walked over to the picnic table at the back of the fenced in area and watched the entire field of athletes file out onto the bike course before getting up some energy to go for a run. With the roads blocked off due to the race, I could not leave so I used the time to get an additional workout in so that I would have more family time once I got home. I wanted to get a longer run than 7k so I headed out on the same course as the cyclists and used the marked roads to measure my distance. Before I reached the 5k marker, the leaders were zooming past me and I could see how the duathlon had shaped up into the usual battle with Bruce leading the charge. I then noticed David, John and Derek right behind Mr. Bird, moving at incredible rates as they prepared for their final 7k runs.
When I finally got back to the event site, after a speedy 14k run, the leaders had already crossed the finish line so I made my way down to see how it all turned out. As I predicted, Bruce’s fantastic season on the Subaru Series wrapped up with another impressive win. I thought David Frake would be the one to challenge him on this day but Peter Phillips came out of nowhere to take second. Mr. Phillips was followed David, Derek and John for the top five finishers. I would have needed a strong ride with a very good 7k run to crack this top 5. Although, I missed out on a great race, I now have many goals in place for 2009 inspired by the great competition we have created over the past 10 events.