The Muskoka Triathlon on June 18th was my first really big race of the 2006 season. This race, which offers $20,000 in elite prize money and a number of qualifying spots for Ironmans Canada, USA, Florida and Wisconsin, attracts an all-star field, including Olympic champion Simon Whitfield and many other top pros.

Blair and I headed up to Muskoka on Saturday afternoon. Arriving late, and with a stop at the Dairy Queen located next to our hotel (can’t you tell we are the serious triathletes?), we settled in for a few hours sleep before our early 5am wake up call!!!

This race, with a 2km swim, 55km bike, and 15km run, was my first triathlon longer than a sprint. Heading into it, I wasn’t too intimidated by the bike and run, however, I was worried about the swim – especially after my performance in Milton. Race day was sunny and hot – gruelling conditions for my first taste of long course racing!

SWIM: 2km – 42:37 (2:08/100m)
49/57 M25-29, 542/745 Overall

What a demoralizing feeling to come out of the water and see the rack that was jammed packed with bikes mostly empty. The water conditions were great, but I still struggled to find my rhythm on the swim. My stroke changes still aren’t feeling natural, and I felt off the whole way through this long, long swim. Seeing the empty bike rack, I knew that I would have some work to do on the bike and run if I wanted to have a good showing in the age group!

BIKE: 55km – 1:42:33 (32.2 km/h)
38/57 M25-29, 343/745 Overall

Leading up to this race, I had been tinkering with my bike setup, trying to find a good aero position. I had moved my seat higher, trying to get a more aggressive position over the aerobars. However, I hadn’t tried this position out on a long ride, and I paid the price. The extra leg extension felt uncomfortable, to the point that by the time I got off the bike, I could feel tightness in my IT band along the side of my left knee.

The heat, combined with the challenging, hilly course, took it’s toll during the ride. I pushed early on the bike, but by the last 10km, I could feel my legs starting to burn. However, coming out of T2, I was still looking to have a good run.

RUN: 15km – 1:16:10 (5:05/km)
26/57 M25-29, 242/745 Overall

It was on the run that I realized how much more challenging long course racing really was. Excited to get off the bike and onto my strength, the run, I pushed through the first kilometre in just over 4 minutes. However, the swim, bike and heat soon caught up with me, and at the first aid station, I could feel cramps setting into my quads. I stopped to walk for the first time at about the 3km mark, and for the next 7km, I struggled along, alternating between running, shuffling and walking, taking in as much fluid as I could along the way.

Around the 10km mark, I was passed by a woman in her 40’s who was trucking along as if she didn’t even feel the heat!! I tagged along with her, and learned that she had done 17 Ironman’s!! No wonder this seemed so easy for her!! I managed to drag myself through the last 5km with her – thanks for the motivation!!! Looking at the overall run results, I wasn’t the only one feeling the effects of the heat and distance!

Total: 3:44:36, 33/57 M25-29, 312/745 Overall (Full Results)

My first taste of long course racing certainly was eye-opening. I have never struggled on the run like that before, or felt cramps in my legs that forced me to stop. The heat and poor hydration probably played a part in my demise. I managed to finish in the middle of the pack, however, after this, I knew the upcoming half-Ironman would be quite the challenge!!

PS – Blair kicked my butt on this race, finishing in a very respectable 3:31:47, 24/57 in our age group and 215th overall!!


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  1. […] On Sunday, I was back in Muskoka for my first triathlon in over a year, the popular and challenging Muskoka Long Course event. With a 2km swim, 55km ride, and 15km run, I was planning on making this a tune-up for my upcoming half-Ironman in Peterborough. I had been feeling good about my training, and was hoping to significantly improve on my 2006 race here. […]