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Evan Pardi Hagg Lake Sprint Triathlon Report

My bike looked much better after the race than I did.


Until last Saturday, it had been 10 months since I raced a triathlon and boy did I feel rusty. I had spent the better part of that time in England enjoying myself, training a fair bit, but mostly enjoying the country… and maybe a few too many pubs. I had been maintaining good mileage and individual sport-specific workouts but I hadn’t done a lot of triathlon prep work so it should come as no surprise that my legs were protesting a bit like this on race morning:

                Upon racking my Planet X Exocet 2, The Harbinger, in transition I met a friend named Marco who swims about as fast as your average Yellowfin Tuna and he told me of another speedy swimmer, Tuna-esque, guy was racing today. Great. So much for thoughts of an easy swim. Plus, these were fast dudes in all disciplines, the whole race was gonna be a quick sortie. Of course I hadn’t worn my wetsuit in 10 months, so needless to say, wiggling my frame into it was a challenge and had me horrified at the prospect of trying to swim a stroke in this constrictive thing.  Basically:

                Despite my growing terror at the swim, I diligently warmed up and was herded into the starting corral. After the usual jokes about that it was a swim not a waterpolo fight, we were off. However, my swimming woes were to grow. The Olympic distance race started earlier and the back of the field was still in the water about 300 meters off of our start. This meant when our lead group of swimmers made it out into the water we were soon crashing haphazardly into the back of the field. It was like an even worse scene from and an even worse remake of an awful movie…

 In this chaos, I managed to get separated from Marco and his other speed demon swimmer friend. I assumed they had left me behind so I redoubled my efforts to crank out a hard swim. And swim hard I did, exiting the 800meter swim in 10:14 despite the skirmishes. I assumed I would be 3rd out of the water but someone in the fray I had made me way clear and I was actually 1st (!?) How?


                But, fast swims come at a price. I was knackered heading into transition and the bike course was where the real fight would happen. Having never raced here I had no idea what I was in for. And I was in for a lot of hills. Nothing particularly monstrously long but lots and lots of rolling hills. The Exocet 2 handled the fast descents brilliantly and honestly really was pivotal in helping me pull away from the competition. I rode a lot of hills in Bristol and the southwest so I felt strong and at home cranking up and down every second. Nevertheless, the bike leg still hurt. How I thought I must have looked:


But really I’m just happy to put the damn TT helmet on right and not be like this guy:


The effects of the swim were taking their toll and I was having trouble staying relaxed in terms of breathing. Since I usually race longer, Olympic distance races, as I rolled into transition after the 20 kilometer bike in 32 minutes I felt like I was only halfway done distance wise. However, the hills had made it feel like:


I whipped the bike down the final hill into transition and knew the real suffering was about to start. As I headed out onto the running I simply couldn’t relax into a good rhythm since the run was along some of the same hills as the bike. Unable to steady myself out, I developed irritating side stitches for most of the run which limited my ability to really open up my stride and run faster. I had a healthy lead off the bike so I figured I had some buffer. However when I hit the 2.5km turnaround I passed Marco on the way back and he looked like this:


 And I was feeling like:


 So I really grit my teeth, fought through the stitches and focused on relaxing my form. Working the last few hills as best I could I rolled through the finish line in a bit over 1 hour and 3 minutes, good enough for the fastest time in the last 6 years over the newer, hillier, course. The advantage with this was that I was first in line at the post race beer tent too. Despite feeling very tentative to be out there racing, I managed to turn in a result good enough for the win! Now. To do it all again next weekend at the Deschutes Dash!




14 July 2015

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