Swim coach Karen Lennox recently travelled to Montreal to compete in the World Sprint championships. Beachborough Triathlon club is very proud to have Karen as part of our coaching team – what an amazing achievement to qualify, and a real inspiration to the club. Please take the time to read Karens’ race report below….
After having double hip surgery 2 years ago it’s been a long road of recovery. I am so grateful to make it to the start line in a world championship.
Two days before race day there was torrential rain. Our team manager announced the Swim familiarisation scheduled for Thursday was cancelled and the first stage of the elite knockout race on Friday would be a duathlon. They had to open the sewers in the city to prevent flooding in the city and there were concerns about water quality. They warned us that our race on Saturday could also become a duathlon. Many athletes were worried especially the fast swimmers. The strong runners would have a huge advantage. I include lots of brick sessions in training (run/bike/run) and although swim is one of my strengths, either way, I knew I could handle this too.
The weather cleared up on Friday and the water was re-tested. The organisers announced the water was safe and the triathlon was back on and the Elite and age groupers would swim.
The swim was in the St Lawrence River in the old port of Montreal. We swam out and around the pier and back into King Edwards Quay. The start was off the pontoon and when the start gun went, I set off at all out-sprint effort then settled into a hard 400m pace with the intent of just hanging on for the rest. This worked as my start was fast and I was in the lead pack to the second buoy which was about 350m from the start. I then had a momentary lapse of concentration and I lost the feet of the leaders and the pack behind caught me. They swam on my feet to the finish of the swim. The Swim exit was up a ramp then up two steep flights of steel stairs covered in blue carpet.
The transition area was huge. It was a second-story car park and there were hundreds of bikes. I had walked transition a couple of times when I racked my bike and had memorised its position. My transition was fast, my shoes were clipped in on the bike already so I hopped on at the mount line and put my feet straight in my shoes. I set out leading the second pack. The bike course was epic! The roads were closed and the bike route went up and down the main streets of downtown Montreal. There were 4 dead turns and 12 sharp sweeping corners. It’s the most technical race I have ever done. It was so much fun. The bike is my weakest discipline, since hip surgery as I struggle to hold consistent power output, especially with my left leg. I couldn’t stick with the main pack; they were so strong. I got dropped. I then worked with a couple of American ladies for a few miles but they were also so much stronger than me on the flat straight sections. I just couldn’t hang on. I ended up getting scooped up by a chasing pack. I had better cornering skills than most of them so, if I lost a wheel in a surge of pace I managed to get back on some wheels in the technical parts of the course. I loved it so much.
Transition 2 was quick and the run was an out and back along the river. I couldn’t lift my run pace to the speed that I would have liked but settled into a good rhythm and was passing lots of people. So many were suffering from the heat. I kept tipping water down my back at every water station to keep my core temperature down and took very small sips of water. The temperature was 33 degrees so the blue carpet and the finish line was a welcome sight. As soon as we finished the organisers continually spayed us with fire hoses, it was such a relief. I finished mid-pack position 33 out of 60. It was such a great day and an amazing experience. It’s the best race I have ever competed in, not in terms of performance but boy did I enjoy it!! The following day I competed in the Mixed Team Relay which again was just brilliant I was the last leg anchor and brought us home in 21st place.
A big well done Karen! What an amazing experience.