TORONTO TRIATHLON FESTIVAL (TTF) 2016
After following the advice of a friend, I decide to register for TTF. Apparently the bike route is spectacular. In addition, I have never been to Toronto so it was without hesitation that I signed up with my wife and our friend.
The weekend promises to be nice and hot, the goal for me is to do a PR over this distance (the current PR is 2h17 ‘) and a top 3 in my age group.
I look at all the lap times of previous years on the event and the top 3 is played under the 2h10 ‘mark. I am aware that it is on swimming and cycling where I will have to push hard because all the running times in my age group are around 40min or more, and I already know that I will be around 38 ‘on this part.
The transition zone is well organized, enough room to put down your things without the neighbor encroaching on my place. The shoes are clipped onto the bike, two gels attached to the arm rests that I will have to put in my pockets once on the bike.
Ed, Jess and Olive
We are heading towards a small warm-up area which is made available to the athletes, but it is very difficult to prepare for it, this zone, allocated to the athletes, is so small that we are unable to do a adequate warm-up, we adjust our wet-suits and relieve our bladders. The water is quite cold as soon as you stay still and the late opening of the warm-up zone means you can only stay 2 or 3 minutes in the water.
The start is scheduled for 6:54 am, we get into the water, and I find myself right in the middle on the first row. It is less obvious to position yourself when you are in the water than on dry land!
After 1 to 2 minutes of waiting to keep the left arm on the surface so as not to lose the GPS signal, the tee shot is given. I go in a sprint, being in the 1st row I do not want to suffer the steamroller of the horde which is at my feet. The first time I look up to orient myself, I’m already at the first buoy! Wow that goes fast. And besides, there is only one person in front of me !! I quickly reach these feet which are already hooked by another athlete. So I stand on the side of the leader at his hip and leave the other athlete in the latter’s feet (who is first).
It’s progressing well, the U-turn quickly arrives, and at that moment we take the sun in the face! I can’t even see the swimmer right in front of me, it’s impossible to see the next buoy.
I find a pair of feet, hang on to them and can only hope the guy knows what he’s doing. I leave it to him. He seems not to be swimming straight, I am looking for another swimmer, without success, am I not going straight? (I think that’s what happened). There are 2 that overtake me, I try to hang on and I swim back without any notion of where I am. Last turn to join the exit, the sun is now on the side so we find visibility compared to what is in front. Finally !
I get out of the water, a glance at the watch: 24 minutes and a few seconds. I will do the 5th fastest time in my age group (I have no idea of my position yet).
The T1 takes 1’46 ” I do not make a light transition but it is correct.
I jump on the triathlon bike, put on the shoes, put my two gels in my pockets and off the road. For this part, the objective is to get closer to the 60min to complete this course. It is a rolling 38km route with 200m of D +, all on the highway in the heart of Toronto. The coating is mixed, good smooth parts followed by parts marked with holes. We have a headwind for the first 20km, it is quite difficult to drive over 36-38 km / h on this first half. I try to keep my head down as much as possible throughout the trip and I check my lap times every 5km.
I am among the first of my age group, in sight I have 1 guy 60m in front and 4 or 5 others behind me. We play cat and mouse, we all have a different profile, some are faster downhill, others on the flat, and I repend everyone on the uphill. The group of 4-5 cyclists that we train stretches and reforms all along these first 20 kilometers and arrives the U-turn in the middle of the highway. Big recovery, I take the lead and the backwind is felt immediately. I am on the 53 × 11 and consult the GPS: 53km / h on the flat. I am quickly caught by a somewhat beefy athlete who screams with pleasure to finally have the back wind! Given the profile of this athlete, I know I can let him go (given his power on a bike, I had better not try to follow him), at the first climb I will have caught up with him. And even if he leaves a 2min gap on the bike, I’ll have him on foot.
Photo by Daniel Clarke
Km 25 I eat a gel, the group of 4/5 is always full, spanning a good hundred meters. I keep the 1st of the group at “shooting range” without attacking it. I know that if I put the bike down 1min behind it, it’s ok to take it back on the run.
The last 15 km are done while enjoying the spectacle offered by the course, driving on this highway in the middle of the skyscrapers is spectacular. I continue to check my lap times every 5km to keep my average between 38 and 40km / h. Then we quickly reach the end of the course, we remove our feet from the shoes and we jump off the bike. The top two athletes in my age group are right in front of me, and I have 1 athlete on my heels.
Time 40km / h – Km – Time 38km / h
I will make the bike course in 1:02 (39km / h average, 3 rd time in my age group).
We put the bikes (in addition we are side by side at the hanging rack). We encourage each other, the guys put on their pumps without socks, I congratulate them for their courage because for me it is not possible to run without a sock and tell them that I will see them again very soon as I take more time than ‘them in my transition. It is with a lead of 10 seconds that my two competitors leave for the run.
And from the first kilometer of the race I will already be in front of them. I encourage them and continue at my pace of between 3’45 ” and 3’50 ” / km. The course is flat, sunny with a head wind over the first 5 km and of course from behind on the last 5. This race pace allows me to enjoy the course well without being outside my comfort zone, I keep my effort constant throughout and remain in control of the race until the finish. A few refreshment points (just water, a little “lukewarm” for my taste, is offered. I thank the volunteers, by the way, I will not use my gel planned for the race.
I finish this 10km in 38’06 ” (3’49 ” / km) which places me 1st in my age group and a total of 2h08 ‘for this triathlon. The second in my age group will finish three minutes behind me.
Once we arrive, we are given a medal, hamburgers, beer, McCafé. The atmosphere is good, the climate very pleasant. The results are printed and displayed as you go. I’m waiting for Jessica on the edge of the finish, she will also finish 1st in her age group! We wait an hour for the podiums, we collect a new medal, then we will return to the apartment by bike to find the car that will take us back to Montreal.