Podium at ITU Long Distance World Champs!

June 05, 2013

I came to the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships to podium. What an incredible feeling to achieve my goal in beautiful Belfort, France! I think I now have a soft spot for duathlons....

I came to the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships to podium. What an incredible feeling to achieve my goal in beautiful Belfort, France! I think I now have a soft spot for duathlons....

Apparently the many Vancouverites on Team Canada brought the Pacific Northwest cold, rainy weather with them, so the race format was changed from a long distance tri (4km swim/112km bike/20km run) to a long distance du (9.5km run/87km bike/20km run). This brought a flurry of figuring out new run/bike/run logistics the day before the race, along with how to dress for the descent from the famous Ballon d’Alsace, expected to be 2 degrees at the 1200m (4000ft) summit. Coach Bjoern really put in some overtime fielding the frantic last minute transformation of all of us from warm-weather triathletes to cold-weather duathletes!

9.5km RUN 1: I hit my paces spot on for the 9.5km run (37:09) coming into T1 in 5th, less than 2min down from the leaders. My transition was initially super quick and simple. However, as I started running towards the mount line with my bike, I realized I had forgotten to take off my run shoes! Ugh, rookie duathlete mistake #1.

87km BIKE: Having never done a duathlon before I had no idea how my body was going to feel hopping onto the bike after the first run, but I was totally fine. I felt really confident about the bike. Having scoped the course out in the days leading up to the race, I was super excited to ride through all the small rural towns. I had prepared well for the Ballon climb with all my hard, British Columbia mountain training and channeled my crit-winning bike handling skills on the technical descent.

Team Canada's Donald, Genevieve, Lawrence, Richele and I atop the Ballon pre-race.

Team Canada exploring the mountain climb on course.

I came into T2 in 3rd place with a 4-minute lead on Jodie Swallow behind me.

Coming into T2:

Coming into T2

20km RUN 2: With the “troisième femme” (3rd female) lead bike to follow I had a solid 1st 10km lap. The run course was a lovely trail through the lake park and along the streets of beautiful rural neighbourhoods and pastures of livestock, inclusive of a rather brutal steep hill of several 100 meters.

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Again I was hitting my anticipated pace bang on. With about 3km to go things started to get a little fuzzy as my endurance waned. My legs felt as if I was wading through mud. I pushed myself even harder to stay on top of it and was so thankful to finally wobble down the finish shoot (it didn’t help that the last few dozen meters was across uneven muddy grass hidden under carpet). I wanted that spot on the World Champion podium and successfully defended my 3rd place finish!

ITU does podium ceremonies well, with pomp and circumstance and the requisite spraying of bubbly all over everyone. Melissa Hauschildt (1st), Camille Pedersen (2nd) and I had made a pact to avoid spraying each other. However toss the male podium and pro team winners up there, and it’s more like chaos. The shower I took prior to getting up on stage came to null. There are worse things in life. I am not complaining!

There are worse things than getting covered in bubbly.

Getting covered in champagne!

The best part was seeing my teammates celebrating and smiling with beers in the audience. It truly brought tears to my eyes recognizing the amazing support I have around me at home and abroad.

Cheers!

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Later that evening I attended the closing party with 2 more Team Canada Vancouver-area women winning age group medals (40-44 World Champion Colleen Gray-Hewett and 20-24 Bronze medalist Kara Imani). Go Team Canada! Go Vancouver!

I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of my sponsors: West Point Multisport, Wattie Ink, Compressport, Blue Seventy, Eload, Jen Dobell RMT, Dana Lis at Summit Sports Nutrition, Kask and Ism.

A huge thanks to all the incredible support I received over the weekend as well: my awesome Team Ossenbrink mates, including best-roomie-ever Richele; Team Canada’s amazing Joyce Chang and Dave; Donald Smith; Ivan; the rest of Team Canada athletes and supporters on the sidelines; and my incredible family.

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