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First ever Olympic (distance) Aquathlon

27 August 2022

Olympic Distance Aquathlon (1500 m swim / 40km bike)

Wasaga Beach, Ontario

First off, I could not have asked for better company for my first bike race of any notable length - my daughter Monica and she brought along a friend couple from Toronto, Corentin who did the Olympic distance tri and Alice who did the sprint distance tri. My wife fed us well on Friday night with performance food from our old homeland in Arizona - chicken fajitas! Great conversation over a great meal was a great way to start a great racing weekend.

Secondly, the weather was spectacular, especially for the almost 11am start for our event - clear, calm warm waters in Georgian Bay at about 72F and the air temperature maybe the same or slightly warmer. Wasaga Beach is a very soft sand beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world, with a very, very gradual slope into the water. While we had a beach entry start, the gradient meant we had to run for quite a while before the water was deep enough in which to swim. At one point, I dropped down to try to swim, found it still too shallow, so got up, ran maybe another 25 meters and then was able to start the swim. The only downside of doing the aquathlon is that they started us in our own waveat the end of the Olympic distance tri waves, the very last one of six waves. This meant both that I spent the whole swim race dodging, passing and (sometimes) swimming (practically) over people, but also that I didn't get to race head to head with the fastest wave of swimmers, which would have been fun. Still, it was a glorious swim and I averaged a somewhat respectable 1:23/100 meter pace (from beach entry to beach exit) ... but I did push this a bit harder than I had originally planned.

As I had not gone more than a 15KM straight training ride leading up to this, as I had only gotten my road bike the night before (and ridden maybe 2 km on it), and as it was an out-and-back course with a turnaround at 20KM, I had always planned to use the first half to get used to my new (previously owned) road bike and then try to negative split the ride. I spent those first 20KM getting passed over and over again, but slowly started to descend my pace.

As I rounded the turnaround curve, I heard my daughter shout something like, "Look out old man" as she caught up to me and passed me. My competitive juices got flowing and the chase was on!

For the last half of the race, we played a game of cat and mouse. Apparently, the one thing I'm OK at when riding is going up hills - it's the only place I would pass Monica and the only time I re-caught and passed people who had gone by me on the first part of the race. We went back and forth through the 35KM mark, picking up our paces as we progressed.

I passed her again at the 37KM mark and thought, "I've got this! Just press for three measly more KM and it'll all be over ... with the family champion cup going to me!"

At 38.5KM, Monica blew by me. I gave chase, I gave chase HARD - as is evidenced by my last 5KM being by far my fastest effort (last picture) - but it was not enough. Monica crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of me, victorious not only for the Brundage family, but also winning the 39 & under female category. I managed to get third in the men's 40+ category and was very happy with my massive negative split on the bike (47:06 / 41.37 on my watch).

It was quite exhilarating and exhausting ... I was glad I wasn't crazy enough to try to tack on a 10KM run after all of that!


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