After a strong showing at the MASSY Rainbow Cup in Tobago, I returned home to Canadian soil to contend for the national standard distance championship title at the Ottawa International Triathlon in Ottawa, Ontario. After a fun few days of exploring Trinidad and Tobago, I took a Tuesday night red-eye flight from Port of Spain to Toronto. I finally made it back to Guelph by noon Wednesday. By 10am Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after I got home, I was back on the road, this time heading to the capital of Canada. It was a hectic travel schedule and I was not sure how my body was going to respond come race day.
We arrived in Ottawa late Thursday afternoon. We got settled in to our hotel, located just off Elgin St. in the heart of Ottawa, and went down to the Byward market to grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately, I left my duffel bag containing all my clothing in Guelph, so following dinner I had to make a stop at a department store to pick up to some emergency provisions. Fortunately, an LPC teammate was driving up to Ottawa from Guelph on Friday morning and was able to pick up my bag – thanks again Mike! Friday was spent down at the race venue getting activation workouts in and scouting out the course. Following dinner, I got an early night’s rest before waking up at 4am to get ready for the race. I made it down to the race venue, set up transition, and before I knew it I was lining up on the dock ready for the start.
A week earlier at the MASSY Rainbow Cup in Tobago, I made a key strategic error in not staying with the lead pack of swimmers around the first turn buoy. I was determined to execute a great tactical swim this time around. The swim started as a deep-water start, where all the athletes were required to have one hand touching the dock. The horn blew and I got off to a great start. My plan was to swim very hard for the first 200m to drop as many people as I could. The plan worked and I was able to link up with two other athletes to form a lead pack. I was able to work together with the other two athletes to put a sizable gap on the rest of the field. Heading into the last 100m of the swim, one athlete made a surge in effort to open a 10 second gap on myself and the other athlete. I chose not to pursue as I did not want to “burn any matches” so early in the race.
Result: 1500m, 19:54, 1:19/100m
Following a bit of difficulty removing my wetsuit in T1, I entered the bike course in 3rd, 30 seconds down to the lead athlete and 5 seconds down to 2nd. I was able to quickly “scoop up” the 2nd place rider and set my sights on the lead. I have been fortunate enough to have joined Canadian Ironman Pro Lionel Sanders recently for some training sessions. Lionel has instilled the idea of “racing angry” in me. While I’m not typically an angry person, I reflected on all the instances in which I have been cheated or wronged in the past and unleashed that rage on the bike course. I quickly began making up ground on the lead rider and made my pass shortly after the 10km marker. I was now in foreign territory – I was in the lead of the race. This was the first time in my career that I have ever lead a race. It would have been easy to lay off the gas and relax with the lead, but with a strong field of runners behind me, I knew I had to keep the pedal to the metal. I continued to build on my lead throughout the bike and came into T2 with over a 2 minute lead.
Result: 40 km, 58:25, 41.1 km/hr, Strava
Having built a sizable gap on the field, I knew all I needed to do was to run steady and not “blow up”. The course in Ottawa consisted of 4 laps and included one relatively large, long climb. In fact, the elevation gain on the run exceeded that of the bike! A four lap run course afforded me plenty of opportunities to get updates on the athletes behind me. While they were slowly closing the gap, I knew that my lead was not in jeopardy. I focused on maintaining the turnover and cruising on the run. The fourth climb up the hill was challenging mentally, but other than that it was smooth sailing. It was a great feeling being escorted by the lead official into the finishing chute. Coming around the final corner and seeing the tape waiting for me at the finish line is a memory I will not soon forget. It was a surreal, foreign, but exhilarating feeling – and I certainly will be chasing that feeling in races to come.
Result: 10km (GPS: 8.6km), 31:47, 3:10/km (GPS: 3:40/km), Strava
Final Result: 1:53:11, 1st OA, AG National Champion
I hung around the finish line to greet and congratulate the 2nd and 3rd place finishers. I was really excited to see my teammate (and roommate for the weekend) Billy Bostad, who on the heels of a stellar, race-best run, had worked his way onto the podium, finishing 3rd. We were greeted by our LPC teammates and headed back to the LPC tent HQ we had set up for the weekend. The Ottawa International Triathlon featured not only the Age Group Standard Distance National Championships, but also the Age Group Sprint Distance National Championships and the CAMTRI Premium America’s Continental Cup. I spent the rest of the weekend supporting my LPC teammates in both these races. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, LPC was able to capture the inaugural Triathlon Canada Club Championships which put the cherry on top of a stellar weekend in Ottawa.
On the way home to Guelph, I stopped by Kingston for two nights. It was great to be back in my second hometown and to spend time with friends. I look forward to returning to Kingston when I compete in the Ktown Triathlon on August long weekend. This race holds a special place in my heart as it is where I completed my first triathlon in 2014.
New Partnership with ZiZU Optics
I am pleased to announce a new partnership with ZiZU Optics. I consider myself to be a person of high integrity and thus I only partner with organizations I am passionate about and believe in. Within the first few minutes of speaking with Ari and the team at ZiZU Optics I recognized that we share many common values and outlooks. I am incredibly excited to be able to represent this emerging Canadian brand which has been setting a new standard for performance eye-wear. You can find me wearing the NZ2 Carbon glasses with the Silver Flash lens.