1st 3:36:02 (no swim)
Bike - 2nd 2:18:06 Run - 1st 1:16:33
I arrive at the beach, the race start for the Steelhead 70.3. It's blowing a gale.
The temporary fences that are put up for the race are blowing over. The sand off
the beach is now up in the transition area. The bikes in transition are on the ground. What happened here...? It's cold, windy and the lake looks more like the
ocean. It's choppy and the waves are big. I had been really hoping that they would NOT cancel the swim. The swim is the part that I need to practice the most. But seeing the water this morning, it is definitely too dangerous to swim in. So the swim is cancelled. We now have a duathlon. But instead of replacing the swim with a run we are doing a time trial. Each athlete heads off on their bike 30 seconds apart.
I head off third last out of the 21 pro women. My warm up was running half a dozen or so laps around our small transition area, incorporating some running drills and bounces along the way. We have spectators and the age groupers all crowded around us in a circle. It was like we were about to perform a show on centre stage.
It's my turn... I take off. I roll down the start still sitting up on my hoods trying to avoid putting myself into lactic straight away. The legs are hardly warmed up so I don't want to smash it right from the word go. It's less then half a mile though before we hit the first hill. The steepest hill on the course. I get to the top...ok, I think I'm warmed up. I get low on my aero bars and start cranking up the pace. It's not long before I start passing the other girls. I count them as I pass by, picking them off one by one. At 55km I have passed 12 girls. Two of my competitors started behind me. So there has to be still 6 up ahead.
The bike course has rolling hills throughout. The roads are fairly rough but the challenging part was the wind. The wind was blowing in all directions. Sometimes it was a head wind, sometimes a tail wind but for the majority of the race it seemed like it was a cross wind blowing me all over the place.
I hit 60km and Heather Jackson flies by. Heather started one minute behind me. Damn! I try not to let her put too much time into me. I start working even harder. I rack my bike back in transition. There are three bikes there. I'm only really concerned about catching Heather as the other two girls started quite a while before me. I pass one girl not long after I jumped off my bike. Then I see Heather up ahead. I can see I'm making up time. I don't just have to pass her though, I need to put at least one minute into her to get back to even overall. I pass her at mile two. About 600m on, we turn a corner so I take the chance to briefly look over my shoulder. I don't see anyone so I tell myself to relax and not try to make up the whole minute immediately. After a few more miles I pass the last girl and the lead cyclist joins me. I assume this means I am in the lead overall but racing like this...off handicaps...I can't see how you can ever really relax never knowing exactly how you're doing in relation to the rest of the field. There may be someone coming up fast from behind...maybe...you never know. So I wanted to keep the pace on incase.
The run course was nice. It also had a few hills. We ran two loops each time passing through 'Whirlpool', one of the major sponsors for the race. We enter through the car park but then head along a windy path through a mini forest. I liked it.
I'm approaching the finish line...what do I do? Have I won? Do I jump up and down? I smile for the camera as I run across the line... But instead of celebrating, it's kinda like...hmmm now we wait. I'm feeling fairly confident I've got the win but we wait...and wait. 5 minutes passes and Heather crosses the line. Then we wait some more. Meanwhile, we're freezing because the wind is still howling. I guess they want to make absolute certain of the places. So we keep waiting. Finally, I get whisked off for drug testing as I'm told I've won the race.
Heather came second and Jessica Jacobs was third. It was different having a staggered race that's for sure. I finished in a time of 3:36:03. Almost 4minutes ahead of second place. I had the second fastest bike split behind a smoking fast Heather Jackson and I broke the run course record.
This will be my last race before World Champs in Vegas on Sep 11. I'm disappointed I didn't get a swim. I was really looking forward to seeing how my swim is coming along and I also really wanted/needed the practice. This was my last chance in open water before the big one. But these things happen. We can't control the weather. And after seeing the water this morning, I don't think I would have wanted to swim in it after all.
A big thanks once again to all my sponsors, supporters, partner, manager, friends and family. And also to my Homestay hosts Loretta and Mike Holmes for sharing there home with me.