Victoria 70.3 Race Report – June 14, 2015
Victoria has been on my radar since last year when I heard how much fun people were having there. It worked with my Ironman training year, so Victoria it was for the first 70.3 of the season. I’ve done a few half-iron distance races by now (six), and was feeling more comfortable with each one. My goals were to have a successful day, test the training so far, and maybe get a 5-8th place in my age group. I was looking at it as a stepping stone to Ironman CHOO, so I didn’t have a ton of pre-race nerves and wanted it to be all about fun. I was also feeling more easygoing because I was traveling with a group. I’d be on someone else’s schedule for warmups, check ins, etc. – a sure way to relax and go with the flow.
I traveled up to Victoria with a racing friend on the Victoria Clipper, bringing my bike along on the boat for a small extra charge. When we arrived, we walked a couple of blocks to our hotel, which completed our long but super-easy race commute. We met some of our tri team for dinner at Olo in downtown Victoria, and enjoyed the delicious farm-to-table food, even if some of the portions were too small for a table of triathletes.
My disc wheel sometimes tends to make me nervous because I can’t personally handle a successful tire change 100% of the time. (Or pump the tire enough because it has a tiny access opening and air leaks out when I take the pump valve off.) I needed to change the tube to a different length valve, so I did that Friday night after dinner, and sure enough, it was flat again when I woke up Saturday morning. I had the race bike tech change it again for me when we got to the transition area for check-in, and I then rode about 35 minutes. The roads were rough, but not as much as in Augusta. After I checked in my bike, I swam part of the course in smallish Elk Lake.
Race morning, the weather was cool, in the sixties. As yesterday, it would warm up but not be hot. My friend’s husband drove seven of us to the course, which is about 15 minutes from downtown, and dropped us off in the dark. I saw that my bike Garmin had been on all night and only had a 10% charge, but that was the only unexpected thing that happened during setup, and I could still use my running watch for the whole race. Everything was ready to go, so I topped off my tires (again, trying to get the pump off the valve without leaking all the air out), used my swim cords to warm up and then swam a few minutes in the lake.
I started just to the left of the right-side start buoy, which was the most direct line down the course, and also not crowded. When the gun went off I started as strong as possible, got on someone’s feet and decided to hang out there for at least a couple of the buoys. Once I felt “warmed up” I went around her and continued on, feeling good and smooth. When we turned around the far end of the course, the sun became a problem and I couldn’t really see the buoys though the direct sunlight. Every three sightings or so I could catch the outline of a buoy and that was fortunately enough to keep me relatively on course. The swim didn’t feel as smooth heading back as it did heading out because of the extra energy expended in getting around people and trying to sight through the sun.
Div. place: 1
I grabbed my bike and headed out just as I had in warmup the day before. The bike course was two absolutely gorgeous loops with incredible views of the water, and lots of short, steep hills and some flat areas. The small hills were a little bit of a problem for me the whole time. My chain was prone to dropping, and after it happened once I tried to not shift to the little ring unless I had to, even though I knew that it was causing me to pedal too hard at times. Hoping that since it was just for short periods of time I’d be okay. But, the rear cassette wasn’t doing all that well either, not catching properly. I began to feel stronger and was able to ride more smoothly once we got onto the flat sections of the course. I was able to keep my pace up without worrying about shifting.
Div place: 2
The run is two loops on a nice, shady trail around Elk Lake. I started the run feeling really good and it felt easy to keep my pace to 8:30 for the first mile, as prescribed in my race plan. I was tempted to go faster. After the first mile I brought it down to around 8, like I was supposed to, and kept my heart rate in the 150s. The trail was narrow in places, but nice and shady. On the second lap, I opened it up a bit more, but really couldn’t push my HR past 160. I thought that was kind of strange, but my pace seemed good, so I just did what I could. With about 4 miles to go, I downed a gel and prepared to push for the finish. I ran through the finish line, not knowing there was a woman in my age group only 7 seconds behind me!
Run time: 1:43:33 (12.9 miles)
Final Time: 5:02:52
Div. Place: 2
Pre-race dinner: Italian (pasta, salad)
Bike: 3 bottles, 5 gels, 2 salt tabs
Run: 3 gels, water at each stop, and 2 salt tabs.