Race Report: Ottawa River Triathlon

So, I think I am beginning to appreciate some of the differences between the Ottawa and Edmonton chapters of the Fiera Race Team.  Edmonton team?  Super-organized group rides  that feature words like “7 am” and “moderate to hard effort” and “hill repeats”.  Ottawa crew?  We’re going for a group ride this coming Saturday evening, which won’t be moderate or hard, and will end at a restaurant where the only thing that will be repeated is ordering wine.

Another difference?  I think several of the Edmonton crew have things called training plans, where  A and B races are identified, usually months in advance, and long term training regimes are put in place.  The Ottawa crew?  Well, one of them turns 30 years old, has a bit of aging induced panic, and manages to convince two of her teammates that they should all do a triathlon in a little under 2 weeks.  Training plan?  Bah, lets just try and get out for a swim at least once before we do this thing.

And so it was last weekend, when Simone, new entrant in the women’s 30-34 category, convinced triathlon rookies Naomi and Thomas to do the Ottawa River Triathlon.

Here is how the race went down for Naomi (written by me, John, in Naomi’s voice):

I was suffering the effects of a nasty cold heading into the race, so I paid a visit to my doctor (who, by the way, is not Italian) and got a prescription for some Sudafed.  Those jerks Thomas and Simone tried reporting me to race officials at the start!  Luckily the race director was also my neighbour, and he let it slide.

Anyway, I suffered on the swim.  I borrowed a wetsuit that was way too big, and was the 4th last out of the water.  Luckily the river wasn’t too deep and I could water-walk a bunch of the swim, otherwise I may have drowned.

I went into transition, thinking I had  to be realistic about my chances of catching my teammates.  Simone had a good swim (despite the fact that she almost puked in the water) and Thomas was also somewhere ahead.  But lucky for me I guess, Thomas has extra-sensitive skin and I found him beside his bike spraying himself with sunscreen.  He asked if I wanted some… I just said I would see him at the finish line.

Thomas heading for the finish line... looking calm and well protected from the sun

I didn’t manage to shed Thomas completely however, and on the bike he caught up, and we took turns passing each other.  Then, at one of the turn-arounds, we were happy to see our teammate Simone just ahead.  “Great” I thought, “the friends can ride together”.  But when Simone saw us she just said “What the F** are you guys doing here!?”

Simone on the bike

Coming into the final km of the bike, I surged ahead of Thomas. “Oh no you don’t” he cried out, “the bike leg is my only chance of glory!” And with that, he dropped the hammer and burst ahead.  “No worry” I thought, “I’ll catch him as he’s reapplying”.

Naomi finishing up the run

And sure enough, I exited out for the run ahead of Thomas and Simone.  From that point on, I raced against the clock for the most part… except at one point close to the finish.  Did you know they write your age on your leg?  Well, when I saw a calf with “51” on it ahead of me, I was like, “No way sister” and I threw it into overdrive.

In the end, Naomi finished in 1:29:20; good enough for 22nd among women and 9th in her category.

Simone finished in 1:34:46; good enough for 34th among women and 6th in her category.  Too bad about the 30th birthday though, cause her time would have been good enough for 4th in the women’s 25 to 29 category.

And Thomas finished in 1:35:12; good enough for 76th among men, and 14th in his category.

Full results here and more pictures if you are interested here.

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