Sunday, February 22, 2015

2014 season in review

2014 season in review

I thought I would record some notes for my racing/training this year, even though I've skipped a couple of seasons since my last update.1 I signed up for and competed in four triathlons in 2014. Since I like seeing my numbers, here's a chart of the results:

Place Swim Bike Run Overall T1 T2
Race Name Length (km) Date
Location Age
Gender Overall Time Pace Time Pace Time Pace Time

Subaru Cambridge3 0.750/30/6 6/15 Cambridge ON 19/33 66/159 76/219 0:15:59 2:08 0:56:43 31.7 0:30:12 5:02 1:45:41 2:06 0:45
Subaru Guelph Lake I 1.5/40/10 6/21 Guelph ON 28/41 176/272 209/381 0:29:01 1:57 1:19:04 30.4 0:52:00 5:12 2:44:17 2:32 1:43
Valens Sprint3 0.750/25/6.5 7/13 Cambridge ON 65/271 10/23 56/152 0:16:37 2:13 0:48:06 31.2 0:32:23 5:04 1:40:15 1:37 1:35
Subaru Guelph Lake II 0.750/30/7 8/30 Guelph ON 11/31 101/290 118/453 0:14:48 1:59 0:57:33 31.3 0:33:18 4:46 1:48:40 1:50 1:14
Richard Bike Valens

Some highlights:

I checked against some of my earlier results, and Guelph Lake II looks to be my fastest run pace for a triathlon since my first triathlons four years ago. One of those races, at Rondeau Park had shorter bike and run segments on a flat course, so I feel pretty good about that. Last year, with the exception of a triathlon-turned-duathlon, I did only running races2, so I think they improved my running game. It may have come at the expense of my bike training, as it stayed consistent, but didn't improve over time. I treated myself to some upgrades late in the season before the final race, a Garmin watch and a RedShift aero bar/seat post combo.


Garmin Forerunner FR910XT watch - I'm really liking this watch. I have a Forerunner 405 which I still use as a backup, however, the battery life maxes out around 3-4 hours of use, not good enough for a long race. I like especially the swim tracking feature for indoor pools. The outdoor tracking is hit/miss due to signal blockage in the water, but I only have one race worth of data for that. The bike/run features are similar to the 405. Both track heart rate, pedal cadence, etc. I already had a bike sensor that I used with the 405. I also bought a Timex ANT+ foot pod on clearance at MEC because it was compatible with ANT+ at nearly half the price. The 910 watch tracks foot cadence well (and possibly the 405, I haven't tested it) so that's another metric for me to track. I opted not to use the quick release for races, as I read enough stories about watches getting knocked off in the water to be wary. It's hard to read the watch on the bike so I leave the 405 watch on the bike mount for races and leave the 910 on my wrist. Unfortunately, I have noticed a few GPS dropouts when in the aero position while the watch is on my wrist.

Redshift Sports Switch Aero System - I have a Cannondale CAAD 6 road bike that I have used for a few triathlon races. While I can get down in the drops and stay for a while, it does get tiring, so I opted to install aero bars. Instead of going with other clip-ons, I chose the quick-release aerobars and dual-position seatpost from Redshift. This allows me to switch the seat into a more forward position for triathlon racing, and can even be switched back to the road position while in transit. I especially like that the aerobars can be popped off without affecting the positioning. This allows the best of both worlds without too much compromise. The seatpost added a bit of weight compared to the original post, but the bars are pretty lightweight. I have ridden with clip-ons before but I found they started to loosen and wobble during a long session. This was probably because I was too afraid to over-tighten and damage the handle-bars. I did have the bottle cage holder come loose and cause trouble during my last race, so I bought a torque wrench to get things right.

CDI Torqcontrol Torque Tool - "Precisely tighten screws and junction points and protect carbon and delicate materials." Enough said.

Specific race notes


  • a new race this year, although it won't be back in 2015
  • the transition was oriented on a long axis with an uphill run after the run (which becomes downhill after the bike)
  • a hilly run, largely on trails, so I could have prepared better by doing more hill and trail training
  • straight forward out and back on bike once out of park with some rolling hills

Guelph Lake I

  • longer olympic distance
  • had a great swim pace
  • new goggles gave some trouble with water leaking in - had to adjust mid-race
  • slowest bike pace and transition times for the year


  • a new race this year, although it won't be back in 2015
  • in/out park on the main road delayed getting up to speed and meant reducing speed coming back
  • had some rain near the end of the bike which meant caution at a few corners
  • not much rain on the run, which had a lot of trails like Cambridge, but not as many hills
  • two boardwalks were slippery when wet, so caution required

Guelph Lake II

  • a last minute change of venue meant the swim took place at a different beach - parking and set up were chaotic
  • the venue change meant there was a 100 meter bike push on grass and through some rock barriers
  • the aero bar mounted water bottle cage loosened and started rattling enough I had to hold it at times from working itself off completely; the torque tool will let me tighten it correctly
  • best run pace all year and best over several years

Lessons learned

  • more consistency in training needed; use a plan instead of winging it
  • started season about 15 lbs above my race weight; try to keep it off over winter to make gains earlier in spring
  • solid food seems to work better than liquid goo, but harder to digest

Needs work

  • practicing vs "just" training
  • find and stick with a swimmer to draft on their wake
  • avoid build up of "phlegm" while swimming
  • right nutrition balance to avoid stomach upset after race; find and test something in between solids and liquid nutrition, like a chew
  • keep training at a base line through the winter

What's next

In November I signed up for the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka in Huntsville. My last go at this distance was in 2010 for the Peterborough Half Iron Triathlon. I had hoped to finish it around 6 hours, but me time was 6:31:58. I had difficulty on the run, partly due to the 30+ degree heat, but also due to (under-)training. IRONMAN comes to Huntsville in 2015, so my long-term plan is to review my training and fitness and see if 2016 is the year for my first IRONMAN race. I feel if I can do the 70.3 in under 6 hours, then I can consider the big race attainable (doesn't mean I'm up for the time commitment).

I will probably sign up for the Guelph Lake 5150 again (the rebranded Guelph Lake I Olympic distance). It's two weeks before the 70.3 race, so I think it will be a good rehearsal, but it also allows me to compare against previous races. I'll have to look into my results from three years ago where my "A" race was the Muskoka 5150 and I did a sprint fairly soon before it, to see if I allowed enough recovery and taper.

I'll also have a "fun" sprint triathlon in August when my brother and niece competing, assuming they keep it in their goals. Turns out they've cancelled this race, and I haven't heard if there will be a replacement.


1. I don't like to publish unless I have something newsworthy and/or complete. I'm trying to let go of the latter (waiting until it's complete) to get something in print. It even took near two months just to finish this write up!
2. Maybe that merits another post?
3. These races were introduced, then put on "temporary leave" as the numbers were low.

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