Off-Roading at the 'Bogie
Welcome back race fans! It's been another busy two weeks, with a couple fun races that I got to take part in. Last weekend, I headed off to Calabogie peaks to try my luck at an off-road triathlon. For those of you who might have been paying attention, I was actually supposed to take part in this years' Sea2Summit race at Mont Ste. Marie, which is an adventure race that I took part in solo last year, and managed to come in 3rd place! Well, this year, the brilliant organization that runs this usually great race totally fell apart. Not only did the race not take place, but they didn't even have the common courtesy to let anyone know. Yup, even now, if you head to their website, it advertises the race, and says costs are 'TBA'. These clowns definitely get my vote for jerk of the week. Of course, rather than just kicking back and drinking beer all weekend, I decided at the last minute that I'd sign up for this fun-sounding race. The Calabogie Peaks Multiman weekend, featuring a full weekend of races less than an hour from Ottawa. I registered in the off-road triathlon, running on Sunday. The race consisted of a 750m swim, followed by a 15km off-road bike leg, finishing off with a 7.5km run. Sadly, I got very few pictures of this weekend, since I was alone, and there was only one race photographer covering the entire racecourse. If you'd like to see a few shots anyway, click on over to the folder on flickr. Now on with the rest of the story.
I decided to head up the day before the race, since I was slated to start at 8am in the morning. A little too early for a night owl like myself to drag my ass out of bed and commute the distance to the start line. Lucky for me, Jim's property along the Madawaska River is a mere 15-20 minute drive from the start line. So, I imposed upon him to host me pre-race. I went up on Saturday afternoon, and we did a bit of work on his cabin (finished off the front soffit), and chatted for a bit with the representative from the cabin company Jim bought his design from. They just happened to be motor-biking by that day, and popped in to see how the cabin was coming along. After the visit, we had a great supper of corn, chicken kebabs, mashed potatoes and apple pie (Thanks Ali!). As the sun went down, we headed into the cabin, lit up a fire, and played a few rounds of poker with Tristan. No money was involved, just wholesome family fun poker. You're never too young to learn how to play poker!
The next morning arrived soon enough, with me getting up at 5:30 to have some oatmeal and hydrate myself for the day. It had been a hot evening, since I slept up in the loft, where, as physics dictates, all the heat rose up to! The fire in the stove had me cookin! I had only boxers on, but was way too hot. The sleep was pretty comfy though, since I did have a bed to sleep in. All in all, great accomodations I must say. After a bit of messing about in the cabin, I headed off to the race with a sombre sky all around me. The weather was supposed to be mainly cloudy with sunny breaks, but that really turned into mainly raining with cloudy breaks!
The race was pretty well organized. I've been to enough different events by now to know what to expect, and how to get all my stuff set up. Things went pretty much without incident, and before I knew it, I was hiking the 400m to the beach with my wetsuit on, ready to hit the water for the swim. Yeah, that was the first thing I noticed. After the water, we had a 400m run-up to the transition area. This was mainly on golf course grass, with a few rockier sections. Not terrible, but it was going to be interesting to see how I could run in a rubber suit! The swim was pretty good, with the water not too rough, but plenty of rain falling. Luckily, when you're swimming, you don't really notice it. The only slightly concerning aspect was distant thunder. Good thing I was insulated, right? Ha ha. Out of the water, and off to the transition area.
I got to my beautiful mountain bike, stripped off the wetsuit, and threw on my backpack. Backpack?! Yeah, I chose to wear my small racing bag for this race, allowing me to have my Eload on both the bike and run. It's much easier to drink that way when you're off-road on a bike. You really need both hands on this terrain. The bike was TOUGH. Right off the bat, we had to bike UP the ski hill! Ouch. I don't think my legs had fully recovered from last weeks trail race, so I was a bit slow. However, once I found my bike legs, I had a blast tearing through this off-road course. There was a nice mix of single and double track, made all the more challenging by the pouring rain. I pity those that thought this would be an 'easy' bike. A couple people cut their race short on this section, opting to quit due to weather and terrain concerns. I felt more in my element. I realized that I hadn't done much pure mountain biking this summer, and I missed it. I think my time suffered a bit due to my lack of practice. Had a good time yakking with other racers as we sped along certain sections. The end of the bike was a super downhill bomb, where I was really glad I had disc brakes! Back to transition, onto the run.
The run, well, what can I say, it was on a dirt road, with a few ups and downs, nothing totally energy-sapping, but a good little challenge to keep your pace on the whole way. As seems to be the case in all my triathlons, my run was a strong point again for me. Nobody passed me, and I did a whole bunch of passing. It always makes me feel good, but also reminds me that my biking must be sub-par. Oh well. I hammered it the whole way, and before I knew it, I was almost done. In the last 200m, some wise guy tried to sprint and pass me, but I'd have none of that, I totally sprinted my ass off to bury him in the finish. After crossing, I waited for him, shook his hand and said 'Nobody does that to me in the last 200m'. It was a total testosterone moment for me, but I was smiling, not really mad, just happy for the push to make me sprint. It was fun!
Well, to make a really long blog post for a short race over, I should recap the final results for me in this race. I came 9th overall, and 4th in my category for this race. I was hoping for a podium finish, but that wasn't to be I guess. My individual times were 20:17 for the swim (7th place), which involved the 400m run as well, followed by a 1:15:34 on the bike (10th), finished by a 36:27 run (7th place). With transitions, my final time was 2:15:24. The race was a lot of fun, and I'll probably return to do it again next year if I can.