Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Huntsville, where the Muskoka 70.3 is held, is an awesome place. It was my first time in cottage country and can definitely say I was impressed. The atmosphere made me feel like chilling out and going fishing as opposed to going out and smashing myself on the race course. But come race morning it was business time. I felt super fresh on the start line and was able to have my best swim at a 70.3 coming out of the water just 35 seconds back of the leaders and feeling great. After a super hilly transition we were on the bike. My plan was to keep things in control for the first 15k as I heard people like to smash that first part of the hilly Muskoka course. To my surprise the guys around me didn’t do this. The pace was solid and consistent and I tried my best to keep Raynard Tissink in front. This was probably a little ambitious of me as around 60k things start to get tough. We recieved reports that we were gaining on the guys ahead of us so I smashed myself for the next 10k to try and keep him in sight. At around 70k I was blown and decided to back off so that I would be able to put my left foot in front of my right foot for the run. In hindsight Raynard Tissink just finished 5th at Hawaii so trying to ride with him on such a tough course was definitely not a good idea. Throw in the fact that he didn’t run too well shows how hard we were going. I was caught in transition by Chris Legh and we set out on the run together. The Muskoka bike course is not stop hill after hill and the run course is much the same. I managed to hang on to Chris for the first 5k but I had expended way too much on the bike to run well. I was able to catch Sean Bechtel, eastern Canada’s best long distance triathlete, at around 15k to move into fifth. I was able to put a bit of time into him over the next couple of kilometres and then things got tough. I was zapped of energy and had to do everything in my power to make it to the finish. The Muskoka course has one brutal hill that you hit with about 2k to go. They could just as easily by pass the hill all together but they cruelly take you down a side street to hit it. I was just crawling up the hill and I must have shoulder checked 5 times in 150m to make sure Sean wasn't catching back up. I made it to the finish in fifth, top North American and the last money spot. I was stoked to have put my horrible August behind me and throw down another solid race. It was a super stacked field and definitely boosted my confidence.