Morning started at 6am in Squamish after staying at my aunts. Thank goodness she could put us up, since it lopped an hour off the long morning commute to Pavilion lake.
I did a last minute entry - sorry Wayne - since new house and baby keep the schedule quite busy.
The drive up to Lillooet (via Whistler) was gorgeous, maybe more fun on a motorbike, but that would have made taking the race kit more difficult. Took a wrong turn along the way and showed up a touch late. Would recommend a sign on the highway as well since the small road to the start is pretty subtle! Luckily we saw some racers and new it was the spot.
A little frantic getting organized in the 35 or so minutes before the start, but managed to get all the important stuff taken care of. First time in the lake - Wow, Brisk! Chatted with some fellow competitors then it was the countdown to the start...3, 2, 1, .. horn goes, off we go!
Triangle course with 3 legs. First swim leg - fairly smooth, small waves not very bothersome, easy sighting, though my usual habit of arcing to the right was at it again. Rounded the first mark first, and then, pause - where the hell..? .. no second mark visible! Swam a little more, then stopped completely, no mark?! Got passed by Maurice, who also can't see it, but wisely suggests we continue along and hope that we find it eventually. About 1/2 way along it suddenly got quite shallow, and after hitting an arm on the bottom, I switched to a few dolphin dives.
Finally! Mark 2 comes into sight (it was blocked by an outcrop of the shoreline, in addition to being right into the sun) and the 3 of us in the front group go around it. 3rd leg is a swim back to the beach - ugg - can't really see or breathe due to the constant waves. Water is shockingly clear and pristine, so at least I could sight on the legs about 20 or so feet in front of me. Swallowed gallons of water due to the waves, at least it was nice clean for drinking!
Out of the water with one in front and one close behind - ouch - running in the shallows and up the rocky path to transition was a little painful, but it helped that my feet were numb. At least feeling happy the nasty swim was done with and I could enjoy the rest of the race in glorious air. As always, had a major challenge getting out of my wetsuit, almost falling over in the vigorous struggle. Run with bike to mount line - rocks and dirt clinging tenaciously to my wet feet - but, it is a race, so I jammed those suckers into my cycling shoes, little rocks and all.
Off on the 20k ride! Caught the lead rider fairly quickly. Noted he was on an impressive looking rig (a monocoque Giant TT bike I think). I thought I'd better hit it hard to get a gap so there was no carrot for him to chase. Head down, imagining Wiggo crushing the field at the tour, I vowed not to look back till the first turn around. The 10km out felt long, the hills felt slow, the wind felt like it was on the nose... all of which was probably wrong. Rounded the turn to head home - and nobody was there.. rode a while.. still nobody... wow! Got the gap! Finished the last 10km going quite hard but feeling pretty good that this race was going well.
Bombed into transition, racked the bike and struggled to get on the running shoes. The race announcer sounded surprised to have a rider back this soon, which was pretty cool to hear! Had to really fight with one of my shoes, felt like the insole was bunching up at the toe. Finally, annoyed, I assumed my foot must still be numb from the swim and that's why it felt so wrong. So I took off on the run with a nice cheer from the gang around the start/finish area.
Now, I've led races before, only be be passed (in dominating fashion) on the run, so I don't take anything for granted. I set a good pace until the turn around when I could judge how far back and how fast my competitors were going. The unhappy foot was getting more and more unhappy, so when I finally hit the turn around, and saw nobody behind me, I sat down properly and took the shoe off to figure out what the deal was.
Aha! I had put a pair of socks into that one shoe, after a previous race and totally forgotten about it. Rushing around at the pre race, without time to check things properly, results in mishaps like this!
With that issue resolved, I could finally enjoy the run back the finish line, high five-ing the other racers and taking in a great view of the lake. At the finish, I must have been a little dazed, as I missed the line and was looking to run back up the hill back into transition.
First overall! Super happy with the result and got the prize of a high quality Cyclops mag trainer - the biggest race prize to date!