Ottawa ITU Sprint Premium American Cup Part 2: It Would Take A Tornado To Keep Me From Finishing

September 14th, 2017

I’M IN THE FINALS! I was the fastest athlete not in the top seven. Actually, I was the 16th fastest of the day if you looked at everyone in all the heats. Some prelims were faster than others. The 9th place guy in my heat, Michael, also advanced to the finals too.


Swim start

With two days of racing, I had to ensure I did everything possible to recover in between them. As soon as I was done racing: I put in some quality calories to include fruits and veggies, did a recovery spin on the bike, showered, elevated my legs, utilized the foam roller and went to sleep at a descent hour. Waking up the next day, I did not know what to expect.  Even though the race was short, it still depletes certain energy systems and it was my first double header.

My Spot

My Spot in Transition

There were only 30 of us in the finals. The other athletes that did not qualify had the opportunity to race in a “B” race earlier in the morning. The sky was overcast with some rain showers moving in and the winds picking up gradually as the day progressed. Because I was almost last to pick my position on the starting pontoon, I did not get the best spot to transverse to the first swim buoy. I positioned myself the best I could in the first 200 meters and settled in on some feet.  Because of the heavy chop from the winds, we had a little extra to swim as a result of the turn buoys getting blown out of place.  Even with the rough swim conditions, I swam good enough to come out at the end of the second swim pack.

Tail end of the swim

Tail end of the swim

Because there was such a small field, the likelihood of a long line of athletes stretching from the first swimmers to the last was small. Sure enough, there was two distinct groups consisting of the fast swimmers and the slower swimmers. Fortunate for me, there were more weaker swimmers to make a bigger bike group to allow us to pull back the leaders. Right out of transition was the same hill we ran up for the qualifier. The hill was not too steep, so I decided not to put my feet in my shoes to keep contact with the rest of the athletes. I did not want to get dropped right at the start of the bike. I pedaled as hard as I could to join the bike group forming in front of me and eventually merge with them as soon as we crested the top of the hill.

Made the swim pack

Made the bike pack

Half way through the lap, we made a sharp right hand turn toward an out and back section onto a road surrounded by open farm land. I was toward the back of the bike group when this happened. Immediately as we turn onto the road, heavy side winds with gust up to 30 mph hit us. Besides my bike leaning sideways, a separation started forming in the middle of the bike group. The front half started riding away from the back half were I was located.


kayak fun

After about 10 seconds of the guys in front on me not able to rejoin, I had to scramble to get around them to try to close the gap. The winds were unbearable and I wasn’t closing any distance. As time passed, the gap was not getting any smaller and I could not get an inch closer. My legs started to get heavy, until the point of exhaustion and the separation started increasing. I started thinking to myself the possibility of waiting for the turn around and give it another go, so I let off the pressure. Big mistake. The side winds were still there to fight against and the group kept putting distance on me.

Never feels good coming off alone

Never feels good coming off alone

I was left alone and demoralized. There were no more bike groups behind me to join. I now have to solo for 2.5 laps and I’m not the strongest biker.  I had to keep from getting too far behind to prevent a possibility of not getting any ITU points. In this type of racing, you have to be within 5% of the winner’s time and top 30 to get any points with your ranking. There were only 30 who started so I only had to worry about the 5% time. I watched the clock creep up to 3 mins, then 4 and then 5. I would have to unleash a World record 5k to have any chance. I was not in the best of mood when I got off the bike and onto the run.

Run Start

Run Start

Still, I wanted to run as hard as I could with what I had left.  I passed a couple of people and was one of the faster runners but no world record time to report. I finished 25th but far past the 5% time to grab those points. Nevertheless, looking back, the opportunity to take part in this race was awesome. Additionally, I learned a lot that I could take into future races, especially ones with this format.  Practice your transitions, don’t have flimsy running shoes and stay toward the front of the bike groups, especially on windy days. Go figure, I found out there was a tornado watch during our race, which explained the heavy winds. We all have to race the conditions though.

Post Race Party Pizza

Post Race Party Pizza

I am a true believer of eating and promoting a plant-based diet for maximum nutrition, performance and recovery. Furthermore, I encourage the pursuit of living life and searching and holding onto quality relationships—be true to yourself and live life with others. Revel in the journey, not just in the destination. I’m pleased to be apart of the club team US Military Endurance Sports and race in The Escape Triathlon Series this year. I would only be half the athlete and man if it were not for the wisdom of my coaches and mentors, Tim Crowley and Louis Tharp and all my family, friends and supporters, like Vasa and Sabble Water Optics. Go chase your dreams too!