Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bears, Trestle and Spandex - Shawnigan Lake Race Recap

Think you can be an ironman? Meh, too easy…why not then try the trestle challenge then?

Race organizers wanted to hurry honey things up this year and added a new, yet highly controversial, event called the Trestle Challenge (pronounced with a thick accent ZHAU-LONGE...I think).

A 1.5km swim, 45km bike, half marathon run + the bonus mystical challenge.

Rumours Folklore was shared at Camp Pringle on the eve of the raceday in the Laura Butler Cabin. The bad paraphrase of the story went a little like this: tomorrow the spandex claded race participants shall wrestle a bear once they reached the Kinsol trestle along the run course. The trestle was strategically placed along the run course so the race participants would eventually spread out and not over burden the satellites and preserve the bear's garmin data. This garmin data will award style points to the challenge. Course officials only asked that at least a 12.5 metre gap between athletes be maintained when approaching the bear and this rule will be heavily enforced. Penalty tents will be deployed everywhere. More to come on this story…

Image of the Bear + Trestle pulled from the event website.

The UBCTC was well represented in all three categories this year which included the (ehem equally as important) Sprint and Olympic distances. Obviously there were no mystical challenges in these two events; however the downsides you couldn't bear to fabricate any weak excuses (sorry for the bad pun-nage).

In the Sprint Category, nearly most may believe this to be a quick event. Not for Sean Connor. He decided to invent his own challenge by getting to the race site very fashionably. "Challenge accepted", he said to himself. Long story short, let’s just say he arrived fashionably to race site – i.e. close to 11 pm fashionably on the eve of race day. His list of excuses for such a graceful entrance included a missed ferry, delay due to waiting for a late busload of enthusiastic sporting fans, zoo animals to feed, cakes to eat, babies to save and crimes to solve. Yet Sean still pulled off a great result, finishing 17th place overall and within the top 10% of race participants.

In the Olympic Category, Lindsey Von Bloedau and Stephanie Flynn duked it out for the fiercely contested top spot in the ladies division. There were two scenarios that unfolded after post race interview. Scenario one: Lindsey took a cat nap during the swim and waited until 3km into run to catch Stephanie. Scenario two: Stephanie destroyed the swim-bike and even Lindsey’s bike strength wasn’t enough to overcome the gap until the run. My guess would be the former. The race was on from that point onwards with the two finishing within a close 45.5314 seconds of each other. Lindsey crushed her AG division placing 1st. Stephanie finished 2nd in her AG division. On the men side, Joerg posted the 3rd fastest bike split of the day and a top 10th  overall finish. Despite a missing aero rear wheel due to some technical difficulties, Joerg was still untouchable. 

Okay now back to the Trestle story. There were no furry black creatures along the trestle observed thankfully, at least none with a cocoa cola in hand to the best of my knowledge and hence fortunately no improv wrestling skills were employed during the challenge to obtain flat coke. It wouldn’t have been a pretty site despite the entertainment value and potential billions of moolahs it would have generated in TV sponsorship. Triathletes are generally cool people, but odd in their own way to the general public. So it was two layers of odd with an odd selection of triathletes doing this challenge. Namely the strong run specialists seem to embrace this event over similar swim and bike lengths Olympic distance. Only exception is Lise Munsie who signed up for aqua-bike trestle challenge under doctor's orders for her weakened femur and had a fantastic result being ranked 1st in that under-rated category nobody really talks about openly (sorry guys it's a triathlon blog).

Stephanie claims there were sightings of dears along the run course. I guess you heard it here first, race organizers will now consider putting on a new Dear Challenge for next year. Oh dear! Blankety blank blank...hey at least it's not a bear. 

PS - I guess if you read up to this point and I failed to completely bore you to death, well zhen here's a link to my race report.