Podium Finish in Kayak Triathlon!

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Hello Friends! Well, as the title implies, I managed to pull off a podium finish in the Ottawa Riverkeeper Kayak Triathlon this past weekend. Now mind you, there weren’t thousands of racers in my category as there are in other races, but I still feel very happy about coming in 2nd place a mere 2min. 16sec. behind my friend Mike Caldwell. The kayak triathlon consisted of a 5km paddle, followed by a 20km bike, finished off with a 5km run. Now this is by no means as gruelling as the 240+km race I’m doing this weekend, but nonetheless I definitely had to push myself. I actually don’t like really short races. Generally speaking, the people that enter them are really friggin’ fast. I’m not. I prefer a race where you have to use your head, and pace yourself better. For that reason, I’m looking forward to the half ironman triathlon I’ll be doing later this year. 2.5km swim, 90km bike, and 21.1k run. At least there you have to pace yourself and not just go flat out! However, in this case, I did go flat out, and it paid off for me. My weakest part was unfortunately the paddling part. I was set up in my little red plastic kayak, which is definitely not known for its speed. Conversely, Mike was in a wooden kayak that had been raced in the 1976 Olympics! You just know that one is made to go fast. Not only that, but at the start line, a canoe paddled by an inexperienced team cut me off badly by accident, causing me to run into them. When I tried to push off them to get back on track, I managed to spin myself further off course. By the time I got clear, a lot of the kayak field was well ahead of me. So, had I been in a faster boat, and not had that snafu, I’m pretty confident I would have won first place! As it turned out, the records have me as the 6th kayak off the water, but then I was in 1st place for both the bike and the run! Pretty sweet. I think a lot of it had to do with my very quick transitions, where others may have dawdled. I’ve learned my lesson from other races.

For those of you interested, the complete statistics breakdown for the race are as follows:

  • Kayak Leg (5km): 6th Place, time of 33:27, average speed of 6:42min/km
  • Bike Leg (20km): 1st Place, time of 37:02, average speed of 32.4 km/hr
  • Run Leg (5km): 1st Place, time of 22.39, average speed of 4:32min/km
  • Overall Race: 2nd Place, time of 1:33:06

Not bad for an early Saturday morning training race. My goal was just to race hard and stay in shape for the upcoming Quest for a Cure 48Hr Adventure race this weekend. To those ends, I’ve been training hard, and feel much better equipped to deal with whatever happens this year. The last couple Sundays have been good intense 8 hour training days, including some good heat work, so hopefully dehydration won’t be such an issue for me. But I digress. The one thing that I was wondering about, in terms of my finish in this race, was how I would’ve stacked up in the Sprint Triathlon category, which is a 500m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. This is a very competitive category, and had similar distances as our race, although 5km of paddling is much more strenuous than a 500m swim. At any rate, had I been in that race, my biking time would’ve landed me in 26th out of 80 men, and the running time would’ve had me in 11th out of 80men. So I guess running is currently my star sport in this stuff! Guess I should focus more on biking before the half-ironman.

As always, I’d like to say a big thanks to Jody for being the course photographer for me, and for cheering me on at every opportunity. It’s always great to have a cheering section. Sadly, in adventure racing, you’re usually on your own, except for the few transition areas where you’ll get a bit of encouragement. [side note: Dave, another role of support crew is to cheer us on and tell us how ‘great’ we’re doing]. I was also glad to see Bonnie, Grant, Maya and Natasha along the course cheering me on. It always gives me that extra boost of energy to have people there. If you’d like to see the pictures from this one, check out the Flickr set.

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