This year the Montreal International Triathlon had a taste of revenge. Last year, I finished the standard distance race in 4th place, and let’s be honest 4th is the worst. I’d rather be 5th than 1 place off the podium! So leading up to this year’s event, I had done more speed work on the run and build more power on the bike. This year’s objective was clear, get on the podium!
So on a very cold Sunday morning, I set my stuff in transition, double check everything and wait as long as possible to get my jacket off and head for the swim “warm-up”. As I was heading down to the dock the wind kind of pick up and the clouds came in to block the sun, it was cold. By chance, I spotted two teammates who were there as spectators, Patrick lent me his coat which really helped stop my shivering. The swim warm-up was nice, water temperature was 22.9C perfect for a non-wetsuit swim.
At 8:03 sharp, the horn went off and we were in the water for the 1.5K swim in the old port of Montreal. The swim course was 2.5 loops. With only the turn buoys, 300M apart, for us to sight. The wind really messed things up during the swim. On top of fighting it, it made the usually calm water very choppy and it pushed one of the buoys off course by a couple of 100M meters. I managed to stay calm and in control, swimming smooth and strong to exit the water, 2nd in my age group.
Transitions are where you can get free time. By doing a clean and fast transition, you can cut seconds and even minutes on your overall race time, and that was my plan ! And the plan worked, I got out of transition #1 in 1rst place. Once on the bike I had to push hard for the whole 8 laps (40KM) of the quite technical course. Loads of turns, some fast, some tight and slow, some uphills and some downhills. I also had to take advantage of my bike handling skill to maintain or even build my gap to second place. I hit every turn as fast as I could, lapping slower athletes in the process. After 1hour and 7min it was time to check into transition #2.
Again, my transition from bike to run needed to be super fast and it was !
- Bike racked
- Helmet off
- Running shoes on
Simple and super fast! Only 10K of running left, my legs were feeling a bit heavy and I was not running as fast as I should have. But I kept calm and looked at every left calf of runners passing me because that’s where we have our age group written with sharpies. I could not let more than one M40-44 calf pass me! With 6K to go one of my fellow age groupers went by me and I could not keep up with him. I kept running and I was minding myself to fight the next M40-44 calf that was going to catch me. On the final lap of 4, with about 1K to go, I started hearing heavy breathing very close behind me. With 500M to go it happened, the heavy breather was in my age group and he was now running beside me. I kept up with his pace, saving some energy for the final sprint. At 250 meter to go, where we have to go left to take another lap or right to the finish chute, I was just about to push hard with all the energy left in me, when he took an other lap and I ended up alone on the blue carpet on my way to the finish line. I took a second look back, no one in sight. Therefore, I slowed down and enjoyed, for the first time, a finish line with no one in front to catch or no one behind to fight. It was good fun!
I finally broke the curse of the 4th place finish in a triathlon, with a very satisfying silver medal at an ITU event.
Big thanks to Squad Cycle for prepping a fast bike, the AON/Squad team for the support, the Trifort club members who came to cheer me on and finally a very special shout out to Patrick who’s jacket kept me from hyperthermia !