Bracebridge Olympic and sprint triathlon double header

It was my first time racing in Bracebridge and I decided to make it a triathlon double header! Thankfully, the longer Olympic race would be on the Saturday, and the shorter sprint on the Sunday.

Saturday Olympic

We were very fortunate to be able to stay at our friends’ cottage in the Gravenhurst area, meaning just a 45 minute drive on race morning. Nevertheless, we had a way-too-early 4:45 alarm wake-up, with a 5:30 AM departure time to make sure we got one of the limited on-site parking spots at Annie Williams Park.

I pumped my tires up, and as I removed the pump, the tip of my tube broke off. Uh oh. I knew I wouldn’t be able to pump that tire up again, but I wasn’t sure whether it would keep the air in for the race… so I headed over to Vélofix (one of the Multisport Canada race series sponsors on site) and Sean assured me that it would be fine, but that I should swing by after the race so they could change my tube. Thankfully, once the race started I completely forgot about it!

Race ready

1500m swim

For this race athletes started in 5 second increments, seeded based on predicted finishing time (for the entire race). My start time was 8:15:50, with Alasdair 10 minutes ahead of me. There was a race clock at the swim start, which people were supposed to use to make sure they were ready to start at their assigned time – this is when their official race time would start. But some people either weren’t paying attention or were very confused. It didn’t take long before things went sideways. I heard someone say loudly, “They are running behind.” I took this to mean that they were still going in order (I was bib #192) and they would get to me eventually. However, I stayed close so I could hear what was going on. Then I heard one of the volunteers (?) say that a bunch of people would have to start at the end because they missed their time. I was in the water along the dock, in a line getting closer to the start when I heard the Race Director call “194”. I said, “I’m 192! Coming!” So I skipped past a bunch of people and started about 10 seconds after my assigned time. From there, the swim was pretty straightforward, down the right side of the river, across, and back the other side then across. I had no issues on the swim, but could have been a little straighter.

I got myself ready to bike and ran out of transition and up a gravel hill to the pavement.

40k bike

Alasdair had warned me that this was a hilly bike course, but I didn’t realize I’d have to get up out of the saddle multiple times to get up hills. It was a 2 lap course, so the steep hill we climbed in both directions had to be done twice. In between the laps there was a short loop through the park, which confused me because I wasn’t aware of it before the race and said to the volunteer “But I’m not done yet!” because I thought he was sending me to the finish. He assured me it was all good, and it was. The road was rough in some places with construction underway. However, the rough spots were obvious and it was possible to avoid any issues. The rough road did mean that I had to be careful about when I chose to eat and drink on the bike. Because it was a hot day I wanted to be sure to hydrate, and I managed to drink a full bottle of Nuun while riding. I saw Alasdair 3 times on the bike, with him slowly increasing his lead on me. Because there weren’t any portapotties in transition, I stopped at one just outside transition.

10k run

At the start of the run I was relieved that it didn’t feel as hot as I thought it would, but that changed over the course of the race. The route was hillier than I expected it to be, though the only steep hill was the first one out of the park. I saw Alasdair when I was at the 3k mark (and he was at 7k). I essentially ran aid station to aid station, walking through each one while pouring a cup of water on my head and neck and drinking another one. I found it hard to force myself to run faster/more.

When I was running down the final hill to the finish line a woman joked to another athlete about tucking and rolling down the hill – instead, she did a cartwheel and then ran to the finish line!

We stayed to cheer on the last finishers, and then for $10 (the cost of the tube) Vélofix changed my front tube.

Race stats:

  • Time: 3:32:05 (7/9 women 45-49, 35/61 women, 117/187 all athletes)
  • 1500m swim: 42:40 (2:50 min/100m)
  • 40k bike: 1:32:25 (25.97 km/h)
  • 10k run: 1:12:46 (7:16 min/km)

Sunday sprint

Once again we had an early start to the day, but this time weather was on our minds – there was a thunderstorm watch for most of the day. I hoped the thunderstorms would stay away! There were lots of bats flying around the cottage as we were heading out, and then we spotted a small fox on the way to the race.

Rain protection for my gear

My start time was 8:19:30, with Alasdair 12 minutes ahead this time.

750m swim

The start was way better organized for the sprint, with the race staff loudly announcing bib numbers to keep things under control! I began the swim under overcast skies. My swim felt stronger and straighter, and while I had no issues on the swim, I did encounter much more congestion than during the Olympic race. It was lightly raining when I exited the water.

20k bike

Having done the Olympic race the day before, I knew what was in store for me for the sprint race – one lap of the same course. This time though they moved the run up the gravel to the side so we ran up grass instead – way better! I didn’t notice any rain on the bike. I pushed harder, including up the hills. On the first big hill I passed at least 5 people who were walking up it. At some point I saw Alasdair as he went by the other way.

5k run

With a lower temperature and a shorter race overall, my goal was to push harder on the run and not walk at all. In fact I decided not to stop at any of the aid stations for water, and to just keep running! I saw Alasdair before the 1k point (4k for him). I cheered for many runners – those passing me and those behind.

And just like that, the sprint was done! I was happy with how my race went. I was 1 1/2 km/h faster on the bike and a full minute per km faster on the run than in the Olympic race the day before.

I eventually checked the race results, and was shocked to see that I had finished 3/8 women in my age group! I’ve never been on the podium for a triathlon other than a couple of try a tris!

Race stats:

  • Time: 1:40:05
  • 750m swim: 21:24 (2:51 min/km)
  • 20k bike: 43:31 (27.58 km/h)
  • 5k run: 31:23 (6:16 min/km)

After the sprint Alasdair did the try a tri for a 3 triathlon weekend!

We stayed to cheer on the very last finisher of the try a tri, and then headed for home!

Bracebridge, we’ll be back!

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