Battle at Buckhorn

It was a beautiful morning, a little chilly and fairly low humidity which would be great for the run. Last year it was pretty hot and humid and there is no shade on the run course. Maybe this year I would have a better run and have a chance to win the coveted belt buckle. There are several other fast girls racing this year so I will have to have a great race to win.

Swim – The course is a triangular shaped course starting in the water. The water was still pretty warm, so no wetsuit, but I decided to wear my Huub swim skin to see if I could shave some time off my swim. I felt pretty good on the swim and came out of the water a few seconds behind Bri Gaal with Erin McGowan already out of transition on her bike. 40 secs faster than last year, yay!

T1: focused on being fast so I could leave on the bike with Bri. It’s so much more fun when you have someone to race with on the bike course. Other than fumbling a bit trying to buckle my helmet I was out pretty fast…so I thought until I got to the bike mount line and looked down to see I had forgotten to pull my swim skin off from my waist. I can’t believe I did that AGAIN! It’s funny how I never made mistakes like that in my first few years of racing, only after racing for 9 years. I really need to remember to practice my transitions before my next race.

T1.5: Ran back to my spot in transition and racked my bike so I could take off the swim skin and then headed back out of transition. Another 46 secs. So much for the 40 secs I saved on the swim!

Bike: Thanks to my transition snafu at least one girl passed me in transition, and two were already ahead of me, so I would need a strong bike. Passed one girl right away and then Erin about half way through the bike. I was pretty sure I was in 2nd place behind Bri, but she was too far ahead to see. Felt pretty good on the bike but didn’t really have any one to pace with so had to keep reminding myself to push my pace when I found myself losing focus. It’s a nice moderately rolling course with only one big climb at the end.

T2: No issues in transition this time. Still not super-fast.

Run: Thanks to the cooler less humid weather the run was much nicer than last year. The run is a two loop course so you get to see the competition several times during the run. I went out pretty fast but started to slow down a bit on the second lap. Luckily I found myself running with a fast girl who was on her first lap, so I just focused on staying with her until I turned towards the finish. As expected I didn’t come close to catching Bri but no women caught me either, so I was pretty happy with my run and 2nd place overall finish. This is a popular local race so I usually see quite a few people I know which makes it a lot of fun. If you haven’t had the chance to race Battle at Buckhorn, I definitely recommend trying it next year.

Shoreline Triathlon

 I hadn’t been back to my home town in some time, so I thought if I could find a local race up that way it would give me that much more of an incentive to make my way back north.  Researching, I found a few races including one that would take the bike course past our last home, however I settled on the Shoreline Triathlon which is one of the oldest triathlons held in the nation.  This was also a great camping location that I camped at several times and would be a great adventure for the family.   

Race morning, waking up and getting everything ready was no big deal at the camp site, it was the unexpected humidity that settled in that proved to be the most difficult obstacle.  Getting the tri suit and wet suit on was very challenging compared to the normal, it was like I had just gotten out of the water and now had to put everything on.  Race set up and warm up was complete and time to start the swim.

The swim was set up as a clockwise triangle.  We started and I could see at least one other athlete as we approached the first turn.  After that point I seemed to be on my own.  I knew swimming in Lake Ontario was more than likely going to be choppy, however I hadn’t had many open water swims this year so it took me a few hundred yards to adjust.  Following the last turn which was a hard right that would take you back to the finish where you could exit the water anywhere along the beach which was quite a long distance.  I had already decided to take the shortest route by water and then run along the beach.  That strategy seemed to work fine, but believe I was the only one who took that route and took many by surprise that someone took the line.  The thought was I would be much faster on my feet compared swimming.

Now through T1 smooth and on the bike.  I wasn’t too sure how this ride was going to go, unfamiliar roads, potentially rough pavement, head winds and humidity.  I had a lead vehicle which I always like and appreciate.  I just put my head down and road hard from the start, trying to chase the lead vehicle.  The approach worked well and riding one of my fastest races.

T2 was smooth and off on the run.  The fast bike and humidity was now hitting me.  This was a two loop course which ended up having a head wind out and tail wind back.  Starting the first loop, with the head wind, I couldn’t tell if the humidity was bad or not, but know something was off, I was running 30 seconds (pace) slower than expected.  Turning back on the loop is when it all hit me, no refreshing wind, complete sun, no end in sight and knew I had to run it twice.  To say the least, the second loop wasn’t any better.  My saving grace was the nice lead I had built on the swim and bike.    

In the end, I was pleased with my overall race.  I had a blast camping, racing near my home town, spending time with friends and racing alongside with a lifelong friend.