Anyone who has read my origin story knows that the Stanley Park Triathlon is basically my ground zero; it all started here, two years ago, on a whim and a prayer with a borrowed bike and a box of chocolate covered almonds.
This is my third year in this race. My two prior swims have, to say the least, caused me some anguish. Year one saw me first get stuck in a buoy, then make peace with my maker as I quasi-drown, then finally exit the water in haze of bleeding hands and vomit-inducing dizziness (all mine).
Year two saw me swim nearly double the official distance as I learned that rips are real, getting stuck in them really is like a treadmill in the water, and sleeves on wetsuits really suck.
Year three though, oh man I crushed year three. Not only did I swim the course distance (as measured by my Garmin) to within about 3 meters. But I did it in the fastest swim I've ever laid down in a route that not so loosely resembles a phallus and testies (affectionately known as the "cock 'n' balls swim") which I think is absolutely hilarious because, well, how is that not hilarious?! Not to mention my new sleeveless wetsuits. Seriously the best thing ever. EVER! I may just sleep in the thing from now on. Crushed it! Loved it. Never wearing sleeves again. Swam in the shape of a dick. Movin' on.
I pity my Ironman buddies who have never had to do a real transition. And by "real" I mean where you're responsible for all of your own stuff, and there's no one to take off your wetsuit or collect your bike or hand you your gear. Transitions are outrageous. I love them.
Years past T1 was total confusion.
This year? T1 was total confusion! But it was a damn fast confusion on account of my killer swim. My wetsuit slid right off, my helmet went on err....seamlessly, once I found the right bike that is (celebration fist pump). I was at the wrong bike which was a bit weird, but once I figured that out and picked up my wetsuit and ran to the correct bike and put on the right helmet I was away like a bat out of transition! My only struggle was trying to do up my darn race belt. My arms were gassed and trying to insert the buckle into the receiving end was just too much of a chinese finger puzzle for my post-swim brain to process right at that minute. I said "fuck it" (like actually out loud, it was awkward) and threw my belt to the ground. "It'll be there when I'm done my bike" I thought. It was. No worries.
The run out of T1 must have been at least a kilometre (jk, like 300m). I actually made a comment to the crowd about it. And it's hard to run on cement with bike shoes. Like ice dancing in Poland kind of hard. One misstep on the mount (story of my life) that was quickly corrected for and I was off.
And boy was I off... So! Off!
I had one goal for the bike. I wanted to average over 30kph. A tall order, but my buddy Rob had done the same route in a race with an average over 40kph, and I'm cooler than Rob, so I figured 30 was attainable. I set my watch to display speed and I put the hammer down.
To save you the suspense, I didn't make it. Lol. But that's okay. Last year when I did this race I remember watching a spectator going for a casual ride pass me on the seawall on his beach cruiser as I was on the road in my full "aero" tuck. Not this year, this year I passed a lot of people. Like, a lot a lot. And you'll never believe what happened.
I PASSED PEOPLE GOING UP A HILL!
Right?! I couldn't believe it. But I like rocked by people going up a hill. And you know how much I hate hills! I was actually smiling while I did it. Well smiling and spitting, but mostly smiling.
Crushed aero the whole rest of the way, bombed down the decent, did my second lap, gassed a bit but passed more people than I was passed by, into transition and I was feeling like fire!
Damn bike shoes on cement, nearly ate shit. Haha. But I totally saved it like a ninja. Kept running and into the corrals and.....there was (at least it felt like) no one there?! I was so confused. Usually when I come to T2 there are so many bikes that it looks like the race hasn't started yet. But here? Almost no bike! I actually thought I had skipped a lap or something. So weird.
But no time to think about that.
Racked the bike, which was super easy because there were no other bikes (I've written before about how I ride basically the mini-van of triathlon bikes. It's so huge it doesn't fit under the rack, which has caused issues in the past). Bike shoes off. Helmet off. Slap on my runners with my new non-tie elastic shoelaces (helloooo 1993!) and bam! Had to think about which way to exit because there was no one to follow! A quick witted volunteer gave me a point in the right direction and I was off.
Butt-running don't fail me now. This race was all on feel, and I wasn't holding back. Legs felt heavy, as they should, but loosened up quick. Got my customary run-toots out of the way early (thank God). I was passed almost right away by a super jacked dude. I did think for a minute "awe man, here we go again" but he was clearly probably on performance enhancing drugs probably so no concern there (I could be ripped on steroids....). Then a super fast lady passed me. "Double awe man" and for a moment at least I was preparing for the onslaught of runners to charge by (I felt like I was running really slow). But really that was about it. Not a lot of other people passed. At one part on the run I was totally alone and had to ask to make sure I was still on track.
The run course goes up and over Stanley Park, and the "up" part really seems to take out a lot of people. I made some solid passes, hit the turn around, really started to hammer my way back and was astounded by the sheer number of runners behind me. But not in front of me! What a change, suckers (more run-toots...).
Turn-on-the-jets time. I mean for me that's kind of like flooring it in a yellow school bus equipped with a Mazda miata engine (long and thin....and yellow) but still, my little miata motor was a-screaming as fast as it could go!
Rounded the corner to the finish in what felt like no time, crossed the line, got my celebratory banana and was SO DAMN STOKED! For the first time, ever, I actually felt like a triathlete; emphasis on athlete instead of on the tri. So how good was I? Let's go to the tale of the tape:
This year vs. last year. I made a chart 'cause I'm handy like that:
Stanley Park Triathlon 2015
Stanley Park Triathlon 2016
That's right! 20 minute faster over a sprint distance folks. I'm elated. That's like nearly an entire episode of the Big Bang Theory faster. That's so much faster!
Goals and How I Did
- Goal one. Don't swim crazy off course and get stuck in a buoy and cut your hands. CHECK (bonus points for the cock 'n' balls swim route)
- Goal two. Average 30kph on the bike. FAIL. Averaged just over 28kph, but I feel good about that. I will have more by race day in Arizona.
- Goal three. Run sub 5:30 kilometres for the duration of the run. CHECK. Ran 5:05s. My fastest average pace in a race ever!
- Goal four. Crush it. CHECK This race I totally crushed.
And there you have it kids. The moral of the story is with a year's worth of hard work you too can swim in the shape of a penis, bike past some people going up a hill and run slightly faster than average all while adorning a one piece skin tight suit with a giant unicorn on the back.