Check out some of the post-race buzz from this past weekend in #MSCGravenhurst
Daryl Flacks’ Video Report (above)
Tim Doris’ Report
I arrived in Gravenhurst on Friday night after a very quiet and scenic 2 hour backroad drive from Cobourg. I made a quick stop at the Howard Johnsons Hotel to unload my bike and gear. Then went to find the venue Multisport Canada would use for the next two days as base.
As I pulled into the almost abandoned parking lot and began to walk around the park, the first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the area used as the bike transition zone. There were tons of racks, which meant lots of space for your gear. This is always a concern in races, when transition areas of congested with bikes and bags as it could result in slower times in transition, due to bumped gear or misplaced items.
I located the registration area and also the starting line for the duathlon, as I knew in the morning I would be a little groggy to start the day. Once I felt comfortable with my orientation for the morning, I jumped back into my car and proceeded to drive out onto the bike course, to see what I would be riding for 40 km in the morning. Immediately upon turning out onto the course I realized two important things: Number 1: it was a going to be a slow beginning transition onto the bike and Number 2: if I was going to read and follow the street signs it would help if I remembered my glasses (That won’t happen again I hope). A triathlete was out for a little spin on his bike, so I rolled down my window and asked him if he had done this race before. He told me a little bit about the course, where the major turns were and also reminded me about the different roads used coming into the transition area before the final run. With a little more knowledge about the course, I went out and drove the first 15 km of the course. I drove at a leisurely pace, paying particular attention to the sections on the road that were a little rougher. Living in Cobourg I get to train on some great routes with many hills so I knew that this course would be a good ride for me.
Feeling that I now had all the information that I needed, I proceeded back to the hotel to unpack my race gear, go over my race plan for the next day, and then off the bed for a solid night sleep.
I arrived at the race venue just a little after 6 a.m. For me, arriving early takes out all of the stress of running out of time and the worry of being late. Went through the registration area, picked up my race number and registration package and then went back to the car to unpack my bike and set up in transition.
I loved the fact that the Duathlete and Triathlete transition areas were separate. I found a spot on the first rack, landmarked where it was allowing for an easy exit and entry for the bike section of the race.
I began my prerace warm up. I strapped on my racing flats and headed out onto the run course for an easy 3 km warm up jog. Leaving the park and heading out on the trail, it didn’t take me long to realize why John Salt said the run was tough. We headed up into a residential area and immediately began to climb. I made sure to make a mental note of where the 1Km and ½ km mark was for my final push home into the finish chute.
I went back to transition and then did a 20 minute warm up spin for my legs just to check and make sure everything was working well. Back to rack my bike to wait for the final instructions for the duathletes and then it was time to race.
I positioned myself in the second row at the start of the race. As I looked around I was amazed by how many of the athletes I had read about or had previously seen results for. I knew this was going to be a good day or racing with such experienced athletes here. 10 second countdown and we were off. First part of the run I just wanted to get into a very comfortable pace and just hold it. Another athlete, Matt Cullen, ran up onto my shoulder and we began to run together and slowly started to gain on some of the first row athletes who took off at a sprint. Run course had a lot of twists and turns so I really wanted to attack the uphills and hold my stride. Local traffic on the road was great giving us lots of room except for one person who came flying around a corner going well over the speed limit. Reached the 5km turn around and then began the run back to the transition area. I used this time to see how I was doing and where some of the athletes in the 50-59 age group were.
Matt and myself continued to hold pace into the transition. I put my helmet on, shoes switched and then a short run out to the mount line for the bike. I always run a few extra meters over the line to have a clear transition onto the bike.
Up the first hill, then a series of small turns and it was time to head out onto the main body of the race. Anyone who has never done this race should come just for the scenery. The ride has everything a number of technical sections with some quick turns, some steep hills to attack and also some rollers to keep you honest. My plan was to use the first 10km to get solid form and ready for the rest of the ride work. I worked on my pedal stroke and also just getting into a comfortable position on the bars. I knew from previous races that I would need to stay hydrated and also get some nutrition into my body. The bike course was well signed with large arrows, pointing the way, and police at the major intersections I made a point of saying thank you as I went by. Once I hit the turn around, I focused on the next 20 km as a time trial. I really worked on staying calm and controlling my breathing, more hydration and getting some food in the form of gels and honey stingers into my system. With 5 km left I switched into transition mode, visualizing what my final transition would be like and also how heading out on the final run would feel. Hit the dismount line, light jog into transition, bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on and I was off for the final 5 km run. With aid stations every km or km and a half I knew that I would need to take in fluids. The volunteers were awesome often yelling out, “water and Heed”. They would pass the cup cleanly and then would shout a word or two of encouragement. Hit the run turn around at 2.5 km , another quick scan to see if any of the 50-59 crowd was around and then focused on keeping my pace and form back. With 500 meters left I could not stop thinking about what I was about to accomplish. As I entered the finish chute, hearing my name being announced and then to having my hand shaken as I crossed the finish line was amazing. A round of congratulations for the athletes that had already finished. Then it all began to sink in, I had achieved what I had set out to do. I had won my age group at the provincial championships and more importantly on August 20th, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. in the morning in Peniticton, B.C. I will be representing Canada at the ITU Duathlon World Championships. A dream come true.
Thank you to all the volunteers, the Recharge with Milk Crew, John Salt and Multisport Canada for putting on such an amazing race, Steve Fleck for your enthusiastic announcing, Zoom photo for the great pictures, Boston Pizza for the food, and the Town of Gravenhurst for allowing us multisport athletes to invade for the weekend. Next race for me is Kingston this Sunday, July 31st.
— Jason Vurma (@jasonvurma) July 19, 2016
— Steve Fleck (@stevefleck) July 17, 2016
— superlight (@bradleyreiter) July 18, 2016
— Ryan Dockman (@dman4404) July 18, 2016
— Tania Haas (@TurnToTania) July 18, 2016
Our own Post-race Report will be published in a few days, stay tuned.