Muskoka 70.3 Race Report
Friday, July 8th
• Left home at 6pm after work and had two slices of pizza on the drive up.
• Arrived at Deerhurst resort at 930pm. Twelve of us shared an 8-person condo.
• Went to bed, but couldn’t sleep until midnight. Got about six hours sleep.
Saturday, July 9th
7:00a • Out of bed and active by this time. Had three bananas for breakfast.
10:00a • Waited for pause in the rain to start the ride, thus starting later than planned.
10:00a – 2:00p
• Rained the entire duration of the ride. Felt slightly chilly.
• Used 2.5 bottles of water and 5 ‘Wiggle’ gels (90 kcal each) but bonked with 20K to go, likely due to the small breakfast and chilly conditions.
• Had to skip a short post-ride swim workout (1,000m) because still needed to eat something, go to town to get Gatorade and Boost, register, then clean off the bike and check it in before transition closed at 5pm.
Mental note: Bring six gels on Sunday, just in case.
2:00p • Had a lot of rice and small portions of thinly sliced turkey and ham for lunch. Key was to take in the carbs and avoid fiber.
5:30p • Completed the above errands and was back in the hotel room.
6:30p • Had more rice and a large portion of pre-prepared pasta with chicken, which I got at the grocery store, for dinner.
9:00p • Went to bed, fell asleep rather quickly due to fatigue from lack of sleep the night before.
Mental note: Falling asleep early wasn’t difficult. Need to always do this before races.
Sunday, July 9th
4:30a • Out of bed and had two Boost Calorie+ (360kcal each) for breakfast. Took a shower, changed into race gear, and had the usual coffee.
5:30a • Went to washroom – system could’ve cleared better, likely due to the earlier-than-normal wakeup time.
• Luckily, didn’t seem to be an issue during the race, likely due to not having to run.
Mental note: Moving around a bit more after waking-up may be helpful next time.
6:20a • Arrived in transition. Had racked the bike near the end of the rack and was easy to find. Likely won’t be the case at IMT, since the spots are designated.
• Bike shoes: Fixed onto the pedals and stabilized parallel to the ground using elastics.
• Computer: Fixed on top of a special bottle cage designed to be strapped between the aerobars, which has a Garmin mount on top.
• Gels: Six, taped on top tube.
• Drinks: One Gatorade squeeze bottle in the aerobar cage, another behind the saddle.
• Wheels/Tires: Forgot to bring pump to transition but tires seemed adequately inflated from day before so left it as is. Forgot to put the sticker back over the opening of the disc wheel cover where the valve is.
Mental notes: Had never gone with the shoes locked-in style in the past. Usually just wore them in transition. However, this worked great and would likely do again, where it’s allowed (not IMT).
Six gels on toptube wasn’t great. Easy to access but rubbed against legs while riding. Need to rethink.
Computer fell off and bottle also fell out of the aerobar cage early in the ride. Need to rethink this apparatus. Will use a different product next time.
Should bring pump (but may not be necessary if tires are pumped to 110psi the night before). Put sticker back over the opening of the disc wheel cover.
6:55a • In the water waiting for swim start (7:05am).
• Didn’t get a chance or was too lazy (perhaps nervous?) to do the strides, so just seeded myself near the front, about 12m to the left of the start buoy. Each wave was a reasonable size and didn’t feel crowded.
• Horn goes off and began swimming steady, not fast.
• Washing-machine effect was normal, not overly-aggressive; however, felt difficult to breath after 2min and had to slow down and swim away from others (usually happens in the first one or two races of the season).
• Calmed down and got into rhythm after 500m.
• Began catching others. Tried drafting but everyone I caught was too slow; seemed the only people to pass me were a couple of really fast swimmers from the next wave, who were too fast to hold.
• Got excited (had never passed so many people during the swim), and started swimming at near-tempo pace (faster than planned).
• Exited the water, bypassed the wetsuit strippers, and ran barefoot uphill to transition. Based on how the foot felt at this point, I suspected I wouldn’t be able to do the easy-run after the bike.
Mental notes: Aim to do a one or two more open-water swim or swim-bike events to be calmer in the first 500m of the swim?
Maybe try to swim closer to the buoy, in a tighter circle.
Initially thought the swim time was a bit slower than the pool swims would’ve suggested, but not sure.
• Got through T1 relatively quickly with no notable issues.
• Focused on maintaining 220-235W, as planned.
• Looked down at Garmin after a bumpy descent and it wasn’t there. Thought briefly about retrieving it, but didn’t.
• On the next bumpy descent, the Gatorade in the aeros flew out.
• As expected, several people would pass on the climbs but were caught on the descents.
• Knowing the terrain was a distinct advantage on this course, particularly on the bumpy sections, such as Dwight Beach Road. Managed to pass several people here.
• Crossed over the yellow line a few times, even around blind corners, to pass people. In hindsight, this was a sketchy move.
• Sunglasses were slightly foggy, obscuring my vision.
Mental notes: Consider anti-fog spray on the glasses.
• Tossed the Gatorade at the second aid station (36K), and grabbed a new one. The plan was to use the aid stations and ride light, carrying a minimal number of bottles (usually just one).
• Hwy 35 and 117 had several long steady climbs (2-4%), where I’d be passed, and descents, where I’d pass them back.
• Went back and forth for what felt like long periods before I’d finally lose them. This was a slight strain mentally, but possibly something I could get used to and ignore with more racing during the season.
Mental note: Realized that I generally prefer to swim & ride alone while racing – seems to be less stressful.
• Replaced the Gatorade again at the third aid station (62K).
• Focused on increasing the effort further on this hilly section to try and lose a small pack that kept catching me on the climbs.
• Felt ready to get off the bike at 75K. Took the last gel here.
• Lower-back started to get mildly sore, as tends to happen when I bike hard and don’t hydrate enough. Lower-back pain on the bike was a major issue at IMT last year.
• Took more effort than anticipated but finally lost all but one of them at 80K.
Mental note: Wasn’t sure whether I was going too hard (due to losing the Garmin), so kept in mind what Andrew (coach) said, “It should be hard enough that you think you may blow up before you finish”.
• Quads began to slightly twitch when climbing out of the saddle on the steep sections of N. Portage Rd.
• With 8K to go, finished the last Gatorade, which gave me a boost to lose the last person in the pack and go as hard as I can to the finish.
• Took feet out of shoes, pedalled for 200m with feet on the shoes, and dismounted before the line.
• Racked the bike on the wrong rack so had to move it, lost about 7-seconds.
• Removed helmet, wore socks and running shoes, and ran out of T2 for 100m before calling it quits. Felt the impact on the injured left heel/plantar fascia with every step. Was wearing the custom orthotics and had applied tape on the left foot before the race (for extra support). Had not taken an anti-inflammatory or a pain killer.
• Felt fine but slept most of the way back in the car.
• Wore the Strassburg sock and the ankle brace that night (as usual).
• Low energy, low motivation the following day.
• Left heel/PF was more sore than usual, but not by much.
• Legs felt heavier than after the Saturday long-rides.