2008.07.01 – Sidney-By-The-Sea, BC, Canada
I’m sure that you’re probably wondering where I’m off to, nomad that I am. Or maybe not, since I guess I sort of gave away that I’m not actually back in my car with the race heading above. Well, I did get in the car, but only with some running stuff. This morning I headed up to Sidney-By-The-Sea, about 30km north of Victoria for the annual road race they hold up there on Canada Day. Oh, that reminds me… Happy Canada Day for all of you up nort’ of the border. I did this race last year and had a great time, ultimately coming second in, yes, you guessed it, a sprint finish.
This year, Dano Wells, the defending champion, my buddy, Romeo’s jack-of-all-trades, and all around good guy, was back. I actually drove him up to the race. I thought about pushing him out of the car, but then I thought that he’d probably survive that, since he’s tough as nails. And then he’d be really angry, and trust me, we don’t want that. So I just kept quiet and tried to keep Dano in “calm mode.”
Dano and showed up just before 7am and were first on line to register. We actually worried we might be the only ones racing, since the parking lot was empty. But there were people working the race, and $15 later, we had our race numbers, the very auspicious 105 & 106 (as compared with like one million and something last year). We assaulted the portajohns and then headed out for a warm-up loop on the course. We ran most of the course, just getting an idea of any wind and reminding ourselves of the turns. The course is quite flat, though the small rises always seem especially hard during the actual race. “Flat” is definitely relative.
Like last year, we took it out hard from the gun, though a misfire on the starter pistol meant we took it out from the “bang” of the starter’s voice. We went flying through the first kilometer in just under 3:00. At that point, it was just Dano and I, having ejected some young kid who’d hung in with us for the start, and then we had a clear gap back to the rest of the field. We settled into a better rhythm, coming through the 2km in 6:12, which was a bit off where I wanted to be. We made a bit of a tactical error in following the escort cyclists, and ended up crossing the street two times more than we needed to, probably adding a few seconds onto our time. At least I’ll tell myself it was that, rather than the sensation of praying for a swift and might smiting at the hand of some merciful being who might end my suffering. We came through 3km with what I thought was a good pace, but I saw we’d only run 3:20 including the turnaround. Pain levels were still very high. Despite said heavy breathing, I thought we did a good getting back on pace through 4km, as Dano and I worked to keep the pace up, passing and re-passing each other echelon-style. But as we hit 4km, I saw another 3:20 on my watch, which was not so good. I started to pick up my turnover, still hoping I could break the 16:00 mark (and also hoping to crack Dano), and I managed to open a gap. I closed out with a 3:11 last kilo to finish in 16:05, a new PB, but still over 16:00, which was sort of a bummer.
It’s always nice to win, and it felt good to improve on my time from last year. It was a great showing for the squad, with Dano finishing in 2nd, so we kept our crew in the 1-2 spots for the 2nd straight year. Coach Joel was not in the house, so I don’t have any pictures. I’m pretty sure we looked awesome. There is nothing like short-shorts and compression socks to really set you up for some glamour shots.
After that, there was no rest for the wicked as Coach Joel punished us at the lake. Riding some RedBull wings, I manged to pull out a good swim, mostly because I was afraid I’d have to swim again if I didn’t. And just like that, poof, I was back here on the interweb, telling you all about it.