TCoB Awards Criteria

Here is the list of Awards and criteria for the End of Year Banquet.

We would love your input, so if you know of someone who meets the criteria, please let us know before Monday September 28th.

Meredith Spirit and Energy

Emulating the attributes of the late Meredith Hagan, this athlete is a positive influence on all members both at workouts and races. They posses a vigorous, courageous and optimistic attitude. Their smile and friendly nature makes them a natural team builder and they help out whenever they can.

Most Improved Athlete

The recipient of this award has made marked improvements in their athletic performances this year and are a familiar face at many workouts. their 100% effort is reason for their accomplishments.

Rookie of the Year

The recipient of this award is a new member to the club this year, as well as new to the sport of triathlon. They may have a strong background in one or two of the disciplines in triathlon, but this was their first year of competing in the sport. They have finished in the top 10, and/or on the podium in their age group in many races. All of these nominees share a new found passion for the sport of triathlon.

Athlete of the Year

This member consistently places on the podium for their age group in races. They possess attributes such as positive attitude, perseverance, drive and determination. They are and active member of the club, participating in workouts and special events. The recipient of this award always strives for the best and gives top effort.

Chicago ITU Grand Final Chicago Race Report by Paul Allingham

Aquathon Race Report

We did good.  Race morning was pleasant with temps in the 70’s that rose to low 80’s by the afternoon but only a little wind.
Race start at 11:30 was OK but water temps a bit cool at 63F (16C).  No problem for hearty Canadians.  About 93 in our wave but that was all men in any age group over 70 years old (70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89 and 90+ apparently but I didn’t see anyone in our wave in a wheelchair).  No cuties to watch as they went later.
Turns out the swim was against a bit of a current which was created by the winds from the south and we swam head on into it.  And the course that was to be 750m was measured by some athletes with GPS at 830m so the times were a bit slow.  My time was 16:31 about 10 seconds ahead of my buddy Derek but we were together racked side by side in transition.  He got to the run before me as I decided to put on socks and he didn’t.  It was a long run into and out of transition so our T time was about 6 minutes.  The course was 1 1/2 laps up and down Columbus Ave dead flat.  I followed Derek most of the way and a hundred cuties passed us as the younger faster ones were in the waves behind us.  Couldn’t catch one but I caught Derek.
My 5K time was my fastest of the year at 27:48 about 5 seconds faster than Derek but we crossed the finish line together at 50:32 total.  And we were told we were 5th and 6th in the 70-74 group (in the world?).  Not bad for a couple of old farts.
Sprint Race Report
Another race but hotter today and more humid than yesterday and more winds.  They raised the red alert part way through the race as it got hotter and very humid and the forecast cloud cover didn’t materialize.  An Aussie stumbled and fell 3 times in front of me near the finish chute looking badly dehydrated.

Winds from the south still created a bit more current to swim against so my time for the 750m (some said it was 830m on their GPS although they may have wandered off course) was slower at 17:26.  Slow transition again because of the long run in at over 6 min. but a pretty fast bike over the 20K in 35:26.  My new Cervelo P3 is pretty quick on this flat course and handled the wind fine – I was doing 35-37 K/hr with the wind and holding 30 K against it.  Averaged around 32 I think with a couple of hairpin turns slowing things for a bit.
A 5 minute T2 again with a long run in with the bike and then off on the run for 5K but it was blistering hot and humid and I managed 31:35 which was a few minutes slower for that portion than yesterday.  Nevertheless I placed 13th in the world for 70-74 guys and top Canadian.  I’m happy.  The spectators were great especially the Canadians cheering.
Derek finished 15th and 2cd Canadian in the age group about 1:22 behind me and other than my quick bike time may have beaten me as he was  30 seconds faster on the run. We were within 4 seconds of each other on the swim part
Not so sure about the Olympic (Standard) distance race on Saturday as the weather is forecast to turn with thundershowers and high winds tomorrow and early Saturday. Cooler weather will be fine but rain and higher winds will slow things down especially on the bike.
Attached a couple of photos from yesterday before the opening ceremony where Derek and I were clowning around a bit.  There were a number of photographers on the course today and I should see the results tomorrow so I’ll forward some of the decent ones when I get them.
Cheers, Paul
Olympic Race Report 
Hi all,

Well our final race is over and I’m home.  We left right after the race and drove the 8 hours arriving at 2 am.  But it was worth it to sleep in my own bed and have the entire Sunday to relax with NFL football and the BMW Golf Championship and the Jays game.  A bit tired and some minor stiffness after 3 races in 4 days but really fine.
In the build up to the Saturday race on Friday the weather forecast was quite poor with a big storm expected by 4 pm so the race organizers made changes and they were the right ones. The women’s Elite pro race scheduled to 5 pm was moved up to 1 pm.  And our bike check-in that afternoon was cancelled.  The storm did hit at about 4 pm and lasted most of the night with heavy rain.  High winds also resulted in the cancellation of the use of solid disk wheels and left many athletes scrambling for replacements.
So our check-in and set up was for 6 am Saturday and by then the storm had essentially passed leaving a lot of flooding in the suburbs but downtown for racing turned out to be fine.
The water was calmer but a bit colder at 60F than earlier in the week.  And the winds had changed to come from the north which created a current that we swam with for 1150 of the 1500m rather than against.  Because of the storm there were a lot of floating weeds to swim through and you couldn’t see much as it was murky but it wasn’t a big problem.  So my time was decent at 31:39 about 40 seconds behind my buddy  Derek.
My bike was good and 40K done in 1 hr 12 min is faster than my usual despite having rather tired legs – the new tri-bike is great in the flats.  The course was flat and that helped as I was in the aero position most of the time.  But it was quite technical with lots of turns both right angle and hairpin as 1/3 of the course was in tunnels or under the downtown Chicago streets.  It was hard to see with dark sunglasses at times and I saw several crashes, a couple right in front of me, when racers didn’t slow enough for the turns.  Because of the “tunnels” my GPS only registered 24K of the 40K as it couldn’t get a signal.  That put my average speed at 20K/hr but it was really over 32K/hr when adjusted to the proper distance covered.  Not bad with all the turns and the winds when we were above ground.
I picked up 3 1/2 minutes on Derek but he caught me again half way through the 10K run.  My GPS showed it was actually 10.5K and we heard from our coach after that the layout had been long.  So my time of 1 hr 9 minutes was misleading. It was a tough run as it got hot again and my legs were tired and had no lift.
Nevertheless I finished the race in 3 hr 5 minutes and was 16th, about 90 seconds behind Derek who was 14th.  When you totalled the times for our 3 races we ended up within 3 seconds of each other over 5 1/2 hours of racing 3 times in 4 days.  I guess when you are over 70 everything goes at one pace regardless – “fools seldom differ”.
It was the end to a very nice week.  There were hiccups by the race organizers and Triathlon Canada along the way but it all ended on a good note with a very successful event.
I read a nice article on Don Henley of the Eagles while in Chicago and to quote him “the great becomes the enemy of the good”. That’s how I feel right now – good and just happy to finish and be here or anywhere.  I could say great but I don’t want enemies.
Cheers, Paul

Iron Mountain, by Paul Goodrow

This was not to be my journey (yet), but it is the journey of first time Ironmen.  So this is my tribute to them. It is dedicated to Deb, Olivia, Wendy, Anna, Beth, Katherine, Kara and Shane – and especially to my friend Greg, who has shown me the mountains.

I looked up from the base of the mountain – Iron Mountain – and was afraid. How was I to conquer the summit when I couldn’t even see it? What had I committed to?

Iron Mountain – toughest and most demanding of all, even capricious and mean. It was known to whirl off climbers it suddenly deemed unworthy. Would I be worthy?

But the Mountain had called me. When asked why I dared to take on such an audacious, even outrageous adventure, it was the only answer I knew. The Mountain had called me.

I took a single step. And then another, and another, and another after that. And thus did I begin my quest…my odyssey.

At first the Mountain teased me. The path was easy, well marked and just gently rising. And I had the company of other climbers. On the outside we laughed and joked and enjoyed each other’s presence. But on the inside, we knew….

I had purchased a guide to the Mountain. Just follow the trail and it will take you to the peak. Ha! The Mountain does not give of itself so easily. Soon the trail became overgrown and unclear. And I was on my own.

And I realized I had embarked on a parallel journey. The more I climbed, the further I plumbed the depths of my mind, my innermost being. Where I was forced to confront what had lain hidden and dormant. Demons instilling doubt…monsters conjuring fear…sirens bidding me quit.

It seemed each day the Mountain relished in presenting new obstacles. Fierce winds and rain, crevices to navigate, sheer rock faces to overcome, the way forward impossibly encumbered, as it grew steeper and steeper. Some days I was forced to retreat and find another way. Other times I simply trusted and leapt. And I saw the fallen…those who the Mountain had rejected. Would I be next?

Fatigue became a constant. The demons and monsters grew louder sensing growing weakness. My internal battles became as fierce as those with the Mountain. The sirens grew ever more enticing, promising longed for ease and comfort.

Then one day I sensed a subtle change. I became aware of new-found strength. My body began to feel forged of iron, as did my will. I had found a new weapon and growing confidence. “My legs are forged of iron…my will is forged of iron…I am forged of iron” – oft repeated mantras as I grew weary on the Mountain, and as I fought internal wars.

After what seemed liked endless months, I reached the summit camp, where I was joined by hundreds of fellow climbers – all ready to tackle the one-day, mad race to the peak.

It was to be the greatest challenge of all, for the Mountain had saved the gravest, rockiest, painful, mind numbing challenge for last…the Mountain does not give of itself easily.

And knowing they had but one last chance, the din from the demons and monsters and sirens had become a cacophony. “You can’t do this. This is too hard. The pain is too much. You are too tired. Come rest with me”.

I fought back. “My legs are forged of iron…my will is forged of iron…I am forged of iron” over and over and over again.

And then, almost suddenly, the Mountain welcomed me to the finish. I had conquered Iron Mountain!! Fatigue gave way to energy, doubt to accomplishment, pain to ecstasy. I screamed pure joy. And bounced and danced.

And the demons and monsters were silenced.

The journey up the Mountain had been my own, but as I looked back, the Mountain revealed to me all the hands that had guided, and lifted and sometimes pushed me along. And I could hear the voices that had encouraged, and cheered and sometimes prodded. And I knew that I had not been alone after all. And it gave me unfathomable comfort.

After the celebrations, I found myself alone in a quiet spot. I was engulfed in a profound sadness, as I realized I must bid adieu to my Mountain…my Mountain who had once called and then accepted me, and who I had grown to know intimately, and to love. And the spring, wound so tightly inside these past months, begged for release.

I let my tears flow freely.

These days, I walk a little taller. I know that I am forged of iron, for I have heard those words I had so often dreamt:

You are an IRONMAN!!!

TCoB Gear Sale

Many 2015 uniform items available.  Lots of 2014 pieces offered at great prices.  Come out to Neworld Runner’s and Tri Shop:  Thursday Sept. 24, 6:30 – 8:00pm, Saturday Sept. 26, 10:00 – 11:00am, Tuesday Sept. 29, 11:30 – 1:00, Wednesday Sept. 30. 11:30 – 1:00 and Friday Oct. 2, 11:30 – 1:00.

TCoB Uniform Sale jpeg

IM Mt. Tremblant race report by Stephanie Nogueira

This past Sunday myself and 2352 fellow athletes approached the start line at Ironman Mont Tremblant to embark on what as a blistering day filled with emotional and physical ‘ups and downs’ (no pun intended regarding the bike course).  I have always said I was incredibly proud to be part of TCOB and support their athletes towards achieving their triathlon goals.  On Sunday, I could not have been more proud to be affiliated with such a world class club, as I had the chance to feel the support, motivation, camaraderie and love TCOB is known for.  It was heart warming to hear the cheers, words of encouragement and support both from the side lines during the race and within the race from our TCOB members.  I receiving a hug and wishes of luck before the swim start from one member.  I headed my name being cheered from the side lines, received a quick high five when finally finishing the gruelling bike course, and a punch to the sky designating a triumphant effort through the run.  This is TCOB!   Always there to support and cheer for you.
I love triathlon, I work hard for my patients and am very passionately about helping each athlete I work with get to the start of their race with confidence, strength and being injury free.  To receive that same passion from our members was uplifting.  I want to say thank you.  Thank you for enduring the long Ironman day and cheering for us.  Thank you for pushing us through the heat when you yourself where equally enduring the conditions.  I look forward to supporting and cheering our TCOB members at Ironman Muskoka as I volunteer as part of the Medical Team.  I will be in the medical boat during the swim start to send you off on your day, and at the finish line to welcome you home.  Finally, I will also be at the medical tent in the late hours of the night helping to comfort your aches and listen to your story of the days events.  May the waters be calm, may the bike be forgiving, and may your run legs stay fresh.
And finally, Congratulations to all of our members who pushed through the days events, not just last weekend in Mont Tremblant, but throughout the race season.

MONT-TREMBLANT IRONMAN 2015 – RACE REPORT

MONT-TREMBLANT IRONMAN 2015 – RACE REPORTS

 

Mont-Tremblant is truly a fantastic venue for an Ironman. Once again I was impressed by the organization, the volunteers and the spectators. With everyone in there, there was a lot of energy in the air.

After doing the IM 70.3 Mont-Tremblant 5x, I feIt like I knew the course really well but now that I was about do to the full, pacing myself well in the first loop was very important in order to stay as strong for the second loop. This was my 6th Ironman, my last one being Kona, Hawaii in 2012. Knowing that the race day was going to be a really warm day, I made sure to hydrate well the days prior to the race.

PRE-RACE 

The day started very early at 4am. I woke up feeling great! I had breakfast and slowly walked toward the transition around 5am before heading down to the beach around 6h15am.

SWIM – One Loop – 4k – 1:15:20 – 15th in AG, 173 Gender, 959 Overall

All the Ironmans that I have done so far were a mass-start. This was a coral-start which was nice.

While waiting just before the canon went off at 7am, I felt some butterflies in my stomach but still I was feeling pretty relaxed thinking that I have done this many times before.  I quickly settled into a nice steady pace. The water temperature was perfect but it was very foggy that morning and sighting the buoy with foggy goggles was very challenging. I ended up zigzagging a bit trying to stay in line with the buoy.

T1- 6:05

BIKE – 2 Loops – 180k in 5:26:09

This is where the race started!! I couldn’t get the signal on my computer to work so I did it by feel the whole way while staying focused on my hydration and my nutrition at every 5 min. I felt strong as I kept passing lots and lots of people.

T2 – 2:33

RUN – 2 Loops – 42.5 in 4:01:30

Running off the bike, my legs were very tight and at the 2k mark, I was able to find a pace I could keep up. I saw my teammates quite a few times during the run and with their support and encouragements, it really made a difference, it was awesome! During the first loop, I saw a person from my AG. She was about 200 meters in front of me but I kept going at the same pace. After the halfway point, when I passed in front of the Cervélo tent, I was told I was 4th, my chances now were very slim to qualify for Kona. I decided then to at least try to catch one and when I did I was thinking that maybe the others were not that far ahead, I eventually catched a second one. Now that I was second, I couldn’t see any women in sight but I kept running at a steady pace. After the turn around, at about 8k from the end, I hear “Go Get Her” and as I looked I realized she was the one I thought was still in front of me the whole time and now she was only 100 meters behind me. Thinking that I might be first, I picked up the pace as I was now chased by 3 women in my AG. I ran thru the water station without stopping and I kept going while I imagined the 3 still right behind me. As I entered the village, the cheers from the crowd was unbelievable!! I sprinted down the chute before crossing the finish line. I celebrated the day with a  poutine and a coconut beer!

 

RESULTS – 10:51:37 – 1st in AG , 24th Gender, 206 overall 

Qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on October 10,2015. 

This race taught me to never give up your dream and with patience and perseverance we can all achieve what seems impossible. I’m so grateful for the support I got from my family, my friends, and training partners. A special thank you to Eric Fabian Humes and Debra Lazaro, the journey leading up to this race was amazing and holds lots of great memories.

 

Ironman Mont-Tremblant race report by Chris Jocelyn

Tremblant Ironman 2015

Mt Tremblant is well known, world class ski destination just north of Montreal.  What you may not know, for a week every summer this resort town is transformed into a world class Ironman destination. The walking village is riddled with fantastic restaurants, great shops and luxury hotels.  All are within a short stone throw of the Ironman expo and transition. This makes for a spectators dream. Many places will offer a yummy lunch and a couple of cocktails while you wait for your athlete to pass by again.

This was my first visit to this venue and believe me, the course did impress. The race organizers have really nailed the organization. Transition is well thought out making navigation on race morning very relaxing. Well, as relaxing as one can expect. Believe me when I say my heart rate was near race pace before I hit the water. A short walk down the road you reach the beach and the swim start. A quick good-bye to my spectating posse and fellow racers and it was into the water for a warm-up. There is plenty of water right beside the start area for a good solid pre-race swim. The morning brought flat water and thick fog.  The lake resembled a scene from Scooby-Doo. The fog hindered sighting a bit but also shrouded the opposite shore. I didn’t mind that. There was no “I have to swim that far…and back” feeling. Waves starts are not really my thing however, the track is wide and plotting a course through waves ahead was not too bad.

T1 is a slick procession.  Again the race organizers have really thought this through.  I was out onto the bike course without issue. The Mt T bike course has a bunch climbing there are no two ways about it. However, if you are cognizant of your output up these hills you can have a fast bike and still have some good legs for the marathon. The best part of going uphill is you get to go down the other side. There are several sections you can easily hit 80+km/h.  The first loop on the bike was very nice. Cloud cover kept the temp at an acceptable level. Of course that would not last. As I started the second loop the sun came out and the mercury started to rise…and rise. The humidex topped out at a tad south of 40 degC that day.

T2 is a reversal of T1 and moved just as smoothly. Did I mention that the organizers have really figured this out? To say the marathon is challenging could be the biggest understatement ever uttered. The two loop course starts and ends with some pace-robbing hills. The only reprieve from the hills and heat is a flat shaded section in the middle of each loop.  Before I knew it my shoes were changed and I was out on the run. Leaving T1 the heat felt like going for a run in a sauna. About 1 km into the run I was hit with the first bout of leg cramps that would pop up throughout the next 41 k. As I stood, bent over at the waist trying to stretch out my hamstrings, I looked to the curb. I was eye to eye with a small little girl. With great concern she inquired “are you ok?” I had to smile. “I’m going to be fine…Thanks” When the cramps released I got back at it. A big cheer from my little friend and her family really helped me get moving again. The end of the first fun loop brings you right down the main pedestrian road of Mt T. This spectator lined part of the course is awesome and really gives you a lift before heading out for second loop. The second loop had me popping salt pills like an addict. I probably should have bought stock in Sifto. My legs would cramp on pretty much every hill. Seeing some fellow TCOB faces on the course would briefly raise my spirits. I thank you guys for that.

The finish is beyond awesome. Down through the village that you had run 21k before however, this time you get to make that left hand turn to the finish. Instantly the suffering changed to elation and then it was over.

A huge congrats to Deb and Eric (not too sure how they looked so happy in those tough conditions), Glenn (smashed his last IM time and I think I saw him smiling on the run), Nicole (the fish) and Helen (a giant win and a trip to Hawaii).

Chris Jocelyn

I survived my first Ironman in Lake Placid

The day was originally forecast for cooler temps with chances of thunderstorms…and totally unexpected it was sunny and VERY hot (I think somewhere it was said it hit 33 degrees)…

It made the last part of the ride and the run brutal!  Out of the 2500+ athletes that started the race only 2100 crossed the finish line.  I saw many athletes hanging over the sides of the roads being sick… It made a very challenging course even that much more !

I can’t speak for Roger but I am very glad to have the opportunity of starting and completing this IM as my first and proud that I had the chance to wear the BLUE and YELLOW of TCoB that day (although I didn’t do it proud with my performance…but I survived it!)

Julia Rutledge

4 TCoB Members Cycling Adventure with Wounded Warriors Canada

A Historical, Fun, and Emotional Cycling Adventure

This past June 4 TCoB members (Wendy Fretz, Glen Innes, Greg Button and Shawna Button) embarked on a cycling journey. A journey organized through the Wounded Warriors Canada, and by Magic Places Cycling Adventures.

We rode 560 km over 7 days starting from Vimy Ridge and ending in Nijmegen Netherlands. During this ride we gained fitness, but we also gained insight into the effects of PTSD, and our Canadian history.

We had the opportunity to meet veterans and hear their stories. We met Mother’s riding for their son’s who were killed while on duty, sisters riding for their grandfather who served in WWII, serving members of the forces from Canada and Australia, and the Dutch Wounded Warrior team.

We even had our own Padre and historians with us.

Please read what Wendy and Glen have to say about our adventure…

This spring I had the privilege of riding through France, Belgium and the Netherlands with an inspiring group of people, helping to raise funds for an organization called Wounded Warriors. This organization supports servicemen and women dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

When I first signed up for the trip, I was excited about visiting historic WW1 and WW2 sites, and the opportunity of learning about Canadian history, all the while riding through beautiful countryside, villages and towns.  I wanted the opportunity to ride (we averaged 80 km a day) as much as I could, and all these things did happen.

What I did not expect, was to meet and become part of a community of people that had a tremendous affect on me.  They taught me more about my country’s history than I ever knew.  There were times when I could not understand the emotions being displayed around me, and other times when I was overwhelmed.  I saw evidence of the darkest part of mankind, but more miraculous was the evidence of the incredible courage, compassion and resiliency of mankind.  I learned more of what it is to be Canadian, and how we are truly loved and honoured in these countries, and I was proud.   I met people from the military community, which was foreign to me, and have made life-long friends.  I heard stories of everyday heroes, and I realized I was riding with some everyday.  Men and women who may not have defended and protected me personally, but protected people like me.  They have risked and sacrificed, and it has cost them.  Their healing is so gradual it comes in shades of change. Some know their healing may never be complete and live with that knowledge, but they still celebrate life.

So yes,  I was changed and challenged in many ways. You can’t help but be changed when you’re around that type of courage.

Wendy Fretz

The 2015, Wounded Warriors Canada, Battlefield Bike ride is now in the books.  It was quite a journey ( with some bumps and bruises) crossing 3 countries, traveling over 560km  over 7 days, and visiting some of the most hallowed and sacred ground in Canadian history.

I am a big believer in the thought that healthy bodies equals a healthy minds and that physical exercise, especially cycling, helps minimize the effects of PTSD.  I also believe that if we can get more Canadian Forces Members,who are suffering from these forms of injuries, riding bikes it will help them in the long run.    Cycling not only promotes a healthy body but is a very social activity as well.  Riding over 7 days with  serving, retired veterans, and 1st responders , suffering from various forms of injuries has allowed me to personally understand the true severity of what someone struggling with PSTD  goes through.  It has also allowed me to see the positive effects that cycling has had on their lives and to hear 1st hand accounts of what it was that got them to this point.   I take great pride in the fact that I can make a difference in someones life by riding alongside and listening to what ever it is that they want to share.

We at Cervelo are extremely proud to be part  of what Wounded Warriors Canada has accomplished over the last couple of years, with over $1,000,000 ($500,000 and counting this year alone)  raised to support programming to support Canadian Forces members and their families suffering from Operational Stress Injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This charity is near and dear to my heart and I look forward to sharing some more stories with all of you out on the road.

Honour the Fallen Help the Living

Glen Innes

Chris and Kathleen’s Excellent Adventure: IronMan UK, by Christine Walsh

After the rock star drive to the Toronto airport Kathleen Robb and I boarded our plane to London with a prolonged stopover (delayed plane) and then into Manchester. Kathleen had booked a vehicle for us from an imaginary car rental place—Fox. After much delay trying to locate said imaginary car rental company we booked a HUGE car to hold our bikes from a real company at an exorbitant price. Kathleen proved to be a skilled driver on the ‘wrong’ side of the road with our helpful Garmin guide, Kate. Kate did manage, however, to direct us round and round and round the roundabout on several occasions and she became quite surly at times.  The day after our arrival we took our bikes to be checked out post-flight (see Greg we do listen to you) and got directions to the hardest bit of the bike course—Sheep House Lane—think Sydenham longer with some breaks. Selfies, high fives concluded our successful climb.  Not too bad at all—however it was harder during the race in the two-loop section and there was actually a second harder hill included in the two-loop portion of the bike course. Then some fun and brief workouts prior to race day.

Race day began at 3:00 am and we were at the course by 4:00 am. What started as a drizzle—hey I was ready, this was England after all– became a torrential two-hour down pour in about 13 Celsius prior to the 6:00 am start. No shelter or anywhere to sit. The mostly Brit athletes were either prepared or nonplussed. We were not. I was shivering and miserable; my only consolation was looking over at Kathleen who remained cheerful while sodden—what a day for being a spectator and supporter—she did however, excel.

The rolling swim start began. It was a two-loop course with a rather long Australian exit (exiting the water and running between loops- what were those Auzzie’s thinking?). The rain picked up on the second loop making it rather choppy with very limited visibility (sorry Miguel no successful spotting techniques were employed). I decided that my ‘race’ was over and it was a matter of survival (Swim 1:13). Into transition—taking my sweet time, the alternative was exiting into the downpour. After having a cup of tea and biscuits (just kidding),  left T1. I put on arm warmers (they were in a zip lock bag to keep dry—bahahaha) and grabbed my bike, waved to Kathleen, and headed onto the course. My Garmin (generously donated by Kathleen) was not working neither was my watch, to be fair I put my Garmin on upside down and was pressing the wrong button and had inadvertently touched something on the watch—have I mentioned technology is not my forte. The course was challenging, made even more so with rain and strong winds. Think no mile markers, narrow country lanes smattered with unmarked potholes, gravel, sharp turns- both uphill and downhill, a couple of bicycles not in the race but on the race course including a father and daughter in a tandem—thankfully I beat them up the hill – a woman wandering in the centre of the bike lane, two chickens at the side of the road which thankfully did not decide to cross the road and some roads open to cars—yes in your lane—food stations manned by youth—ie, unsuccessful left hand grabs, and a Tour de France type of spectator file on the steepest part on the course—no room for weaving– straight up or die. I fell once (steep turn from downhill to uphill), and watched my Kathleen carefully packed race food fall in the gravel (I might have ate one or two bits from the gravel—did I mention that most of my taped gels had long since been blown of in the wind and I forgot to put my additional food in my tri top?), two other guys came off the road behind me. Got back on my bike and passed all the guys who whizzed by me lying in the dirt as they called out, “are you, ok?” I knew I would have to do that bit again and hoped not to repeat. The wind was so bad I saw some spectacular crashes, that it required intense gripping; this was the only ride I have ever done that at the end of the day my forearms and chest muscles were aching. On the plus side a beautiful country side, dotted with ever so cute sheep, amazing spectators even in the bad weather and glimpses of sunshine about half way through the bike, very lovely athletes who reminded me I should be on the left—passing on the right and constant Go Canada Go.

Throughout the course I rarely ever saw any women—at one point near the end of the race (of course I had no idea where I was in time or kilometers at any point) a woman passed me and I thought I am tired, let her go—but I chased and caught her up a hill (frankly it was all hills) and saw she was 30-34, so then I let her go. After that I never saw any woman remotely near my age. Also, it was cold—didn’t warm up until the last hour or so. Saw the signs for T2, “thank God I am finished the bike course”– hardest I have done). After riding further and further no signs—if I am going back for a third loop I am going to die. Stopped and asked a spectator, which way to T2 and he pointed. Finally found it, and headed in. (Bike 6:56).

Began the run (er, run walk), and for the first time I asked the time, of a fellow runner—he said, “half two”—2:30? I confirmed. The timing seemed ok; I was aiming for under 14 hours, the age group winner last year, and according to information available on the other athletes my competition, had done it in over 14 hours. My goal was to come first to claim a Kona spot (came 2nd in Austria last year and missed the elusive Kona spot). About 10 km into the challenging run course (about 10 km into the city and then three loops of uphill and downhill and heartbreakingly close to the finish line each time) I saw Kathleen—“How am I doing?” “Good, you are doing great” “My place?” “You are second—she is five minutes ahead.” Apparently she was ahead of me the whole course.  Advice from Greg, “hold your pace until the last 10km”. Good advice but did I mention that there were no mile markers and I was in survival mode. Not much on the course to eat—gels each time–yuck. Saw Kathleen each loop Yeah! Got my green band, my red band and finally professing my love to the ‘blue band volunteers’ got my blue band and finished (run 4:29, thanks Mark for all those endless circles around the track in Calgary, best ever) my race (12:57, slowest of three IM). Second, but beat last year’s winner in my age group by more than an hour and would have placed in the two age groups below me.  Hugs from Kathleen at the finish line (could not have done it without her an awesome friend, supporter and fellow athlete) and congrats from Greg over the phone—who unbelievably asked me what’s next for me—“never to do another race in my life”. Headed to the tent for food. Pizza? I told the volunteers, I came all the way from Canada for fish and chips (friends who raced it a few years ago bragged about the fish and chips); she offered tea as a consolation. Kathleen tracked down a fish and chip place that was still open—although didn’t look that promising—I was hungry and dove in on our way to pick up the bike in transition. Upon exiting the car threw up several times (first time ever)—and Kathleen insisted that she would get my stuff—they sent a volunteer instead. Kathleen threw her fish and chips away. The next day at the award banquet got my trophy and no Kona spot (always a bridesmaid never and bride). One of the course photographers came up to me and said he had taken pictures of me on the course and would send them to me—how lovely (the first is me and the second is the hill I am about to do); it was also featured on the race slide show at the awards banquet. The winner in my AG, a Brit, first time IM, was also very lovely and complimentary—“you should do Wales an even harder course—you would do great”. Hmm fear is my motivator. After some additional touring, including a visit with IM Mary Goodacre and her family who almost had me convinced to do another IM in two weeks time in Holland, flew back Friday night rock star flight with champagne—ok I spilled the first one and rock star limo—I could get used to this—just need to learn to sing and play guitar. Drove to Gord and Ester’s cottage late Saturday night and did the Bala sprint triathlon on Sunday (one week post IM)—1st in my age group.  Now I am truly exhausted.

Ironman UK was a great race and an excellent adventure. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this sport and am extremely grateful for the amazing and courageous athletes and friends I have come to know and been able to train with. I am so thankful for the support of my family and friends while on this crazy pursuit and the skilled coaches who have given me such great support and advice.  See you across the finish line, Chris