This past weekend were the ITU Olympic Distance World Championships in Vancouver BC. True to form, Vancouver tested not only the athletes’ fitness, but also their logistical preparation as water temperatures were between 10-12° C, air temperatures 12-17° C with sun, wind, waves, cloud and rain showers thrown as well.
The race course itself was also a challenge with a very difficult bike and run course to pace.
The swim was cold rough water for the women and then canceled for the men. We were looking at 10-15 kn winds from the NW that ended up coming in on the athletes’ left side for most of the swim, with only a 50 m section of downwind swimming. Any swimmers with rough water experience were laughing and having fun.
The bike course was four 10 km loops of a course featuring lots of short gentle hills in close succession, false flats, one long hill followed by a flat section into another gentle hill then a deceptive downhill onto a flat section before looping around again. If you paced it wrong; anaerobic hell within 10 minutes…
The run was a MENSA test, three 180° turns per lap, seven 90° turns per lap, a short steep uphill (elevate VO2 and perceived exertion over pace), a short gentle uphill (elevate VO2 a and perceived exertion tiny bit over pace), a couple of long gentle downhills (elevate muscular work over pace while reducing perceived exertion) and a wonky 2.5 loops with a different start and finish point.
The tri club I coach at Leading Edge Triathlon Club was very well represented with 18 athletes participating and we came through with flying colours as more of a team than a club with non-participating athletes providing all day support for their team mates. Outstanding!
Highlights for me were two super emotional performances by Martina and Stephanie who stepped up as true professionals on race day.
- Stephanie came through with an amazing 11 second win in the women’s 40-44 category that was called the surprise upset of the race by the finish line announcer! I can tell you she was definitely not upset! Stephanie has chased this win for three years and earned every meter of her dominance by never relinquishing the lead from start to finish.
- Martina has prepared very hard this past year, after a super rough race in Hamburg at the 2007 Worlds where she was recovering from a brutal bike crash two weeks before the race.Starting with a swim that saw her kicked in the face and one side of her goggles fill with blood, she stormed through T1 putting over 2 minutes on some of her rivals! On the bike she proved her new fitness was for real and held her own against the 2008 European champion and top Australian girls. Going into T2 she demonstrated amazing skill by taking another 1-2 minutes out of her rivals and heading onto the run in fifth place. She quickly locked up fourth and a tactical error by one of her rivals handed her third by the end of the race!
Since World’s last year, Martina has logged hundreds of hours in the pool, on the bike and running to set up the fitness and technique that will allow her to enter the elite level. With her third place finish in the 25-29 category, she has all she needs for her resume when she applies for an elite license.
I am very, very proud of these two amazing athletes and all their preparation and hard work paying off.
A couple of other highlights were Jean-Yves running a 10 km PR on this brutal course, looks like you’ve finally found that extra gear Jean-Yves 😉 and Rob who has come such a long way since last year and knows this is a sport and level of competition where he belongs and thrives!
More later on logistical errors, equipment screw ups and comments on the elite races.
Here is an article from Triathlon Canada on 2008 Worlds
VANCOUVER – Canada picked up another 12 medals at the World Championships on Saturday, this time in the Age Group Olympic Distance, with the Canadian women combining for eight medals and the men collecting another four. Conditions were difficult yet again with the women’s 55+ and all men’s waves racing a duathlon – 3km run, 40km bike and another 10km run – after the swim portion was canceled due to adverse weather.
Martina Wan captured Canada’ s first medal of the day in the women’s 25-29 age group, winning bronze with a time of 2:04:00. Kristina Schultz captured silver with a time of 2:03:15 in the 35-39 age group. Canada dominated the 40-44 age group, taking home both gold and bronze thanks to Stephanie Kieffer’s top performance of 2:07:57 and Lyndsey Clapperton’s time of 2:10:17 to place her third. Sheri Fraser Murray family as Laurie – mother of World Cup champion Carolyn – took home the silver medal in the 60-64 age group with a time of 2:13:00. 65-69 was another dominant age group for Canada with Corinna Goodman and Louise McGonigal picking up the silver and bronze medals with times of 2:23:15 and 2:27:13 respectively captured the bronze medal in the 50-54 age group with a time of 2:12:07; while the winning ways continue in the