K-Town Triathlon


Taking shelter in the storm!
Taking shelter in the storm!
Stoping for Post Race Ice Cream at K-town
Stoping for Post Race Ice Cream at K-town

The K-Town Triathlon is one of our area’s better races (at least I think it is) and it was the first race I had actually planned to do after my 5oth birthday. After having dragged my daughter to Cobourg on a whim and a promise of shopping the previous weekend I talked my son into coming to Kingston with me. I promised him dinner at the Lone Star (in my experience food is an excellent motivator for 18 year-old guys).
We drove to Kingston the night before the race. It was very hot, the air temperature was 36C , with the humidity it was 46C. When we got out of the car in Kingston it had cooled to 34, humidity was still about 100% and getting out of the van was like stepping into a sauna. Not exactly ideal race conditions.
We went wild this trip and rather than sleeping in the van this time we booked a room in residence at Queens. The race start was close to the University so the plan was that I would ride to the race with all of my gear and Chris would sleep-in and meet me there after the race.
When I awoke at 5:30am on race day I looked out the window. The wind was howling and the trees were bending almost to the ground in the wind. It was 26 C, 36 C with the humidity and the forecast was for thunderstorms!
I packed up my gear and rode off into the wind. On the way to the start I stopped in at a local Tim Horton’s and turned a few heads when I walked in with a 9 series Speed Concept Tri bike on my shoulder. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the start. The wind was so bad I almost lost my bike to it walking to race kit pickup with the coffee.
The first step in any triathlon is getting your stuff all set up in the T-zone: your home away from home for the race. Everyone gets a little spot where they can leave their bike, running shoes and wetsuit during the parts of the race where they will not be using them.. There are metal or wooden racks which you use to hold your bike up so you can access it quickly when you finish the swim. When I tried to put my bike on the rack the wind was so strong it blew the bike over. I ended up having to put it on the rack the wrong way around with my wetsuit jammed under the wheel to stop the bike from blowing around. I didn’t really have a plan for keeping it up once I put the wetsuit on.
It was right about then that it started to pour down! On the plus side there was no lightning. I ended up under a tree with a few friends. We were soon joined by another friend who had a raincoat on but still needed the shelter of a tree in the storm. He is a small guy and he was riding a full disk wheel ( a disk wheel is solid and has no spokes, fast but very hard to control in the wind). To amuse ourselves while standing under the tree in the pouring rain we debated what the odds were that he would get blown into Lake Ontario on the bike course. He was not the only rider with a disk wheel and once the storm settled a little there was a mad scramble of wheel changing going on. I had ridden to the race so I did not have any extra wheels. I had 404’s a little harder to control than a standard wheel but better than a disk.
While standing under the tree in the storm we looked out to Lake Ontario, it looked really rough! You could see white caps and the only boat out on the water was a police boat which was rocking in a dramatic fashion! Rumors started to fly about a possible swim cancelation and people were starting to bale. Some opted for the sort course duathon others just opted to go home. At 7:30 they announced that the swim was still on which resulted in another wave of people switching races.
At 7:45 I had my wetsuit half on and I was looking out at the lake. I am pretty confident in the water but I was seriously starting to wonder if I really felt safe going in. I may be a crazy triathlete but I don’t have a death wish. We all noticed that none of the safety boaters or lifeguards were in the water and even with boats they did not look like they thought it was safe. At 7:50 they cancelled the swim and I was faced with my second ever Duathlon. A 7.2K Run- 56K Bike- 15K Run with the start delayed for an hour. Not what I had planned but better than drowning in Lake Ontario.
As we were at the start line waiting for the race to begin I overheard a woman my age say “ well this will be easy I don’t have any real completion here”. It was nice of her to give me a goal.
The first run was Ok windy and still warm. There was some confusion at the turn around when they told us to keep going straight (good advice for the second run but not for the first) but there were lots of well manned water stations.
The bike has a bridge with metal grids about 1 k in we were told to dismount and walk across. It was good advice, when I got back on my bike the wind in the open area pushed me and the bike a good 2ft to the side. After that I decided to stay off my aero bars for the rest of the race better to be slow and upright. According to the weather channel the wind was gusting to 58km an hour, I will not dispute that! To add to the fun it was still hot and it rained. The wind was so strong that the rain hurt when it hit you! It was the most frightening bike ride I have ever had racing.
The second run was uneventful except for the freight train which I just managed to beat through the crossing but I did not really care I was just happy to have made it through the bike upright!
The post-race food was good as always and we had a guest appearance via phone from Simon Whitfield who they hope to have there in person next year for the 3oth anniversary. We all wished him good luck on Tuesday at the Olympics. I guess we did not wish hard enough! Oh and I beat the woman who had “no real completion by 18 minutes” not that I am competitive or anything.

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