It was another hot day at Guelph Lake I this year. As you know, I did race the same course for a third time already (read about first 2 times here), but I will try to make it as least repetitive as possible. The race started at 2 in the afternoon, and the thermometer showed 30 degrees. While I completely understand why we have to start later in the day and give the cooler morning hours to the Olympic distance race, I still feel like complaining about the afternoon heat. May be it is the time for me to go up in distance? I am sure I will have more things to cry about, other than the weather.
However, back to the race. Couple years ago, Subaru Triathlon Series got somehow linked with the Ironman. And with the big brand, came the responsibilities. They are still implementing some changes, and here are few new things that were different from last year.
Sorry, Active, I did not get how you work, yet. I do know that I have an account that got created with the Iron Girl registration, but when the time came to registering for the Guelph Lake I, it simply did not work. After being told by a website that I do not exist for few days in the row, I called the Subaru Triathlon’s office and got registered over the phone. They gave me the “race day registration” bib, and looking at how many people were wearing them, it seems that Active was acting up for a while. I wonder how many people did not race, because they could not sign up. But seriously, how boring would it be to live in the world where all the new technology works the way it supposed to?
In past 2-3 years, Guelph Lake conservation is doing a large number of improvements to the park. They constantly doing something to the field that we get to park at on the race day, and there are some projects that are going on at the beach. But the biggest change this year that jumped out at triathletes was the lot they use for transition area. All of a sudden it was gravel! We were all used to the grassy area on the top of the hill, where we racked our bikes and scrambled to get ready for the next leg or the race. Afternoon sun reflected off the tiny rocks and burned our feet every time we stepped off the carefully laid out carpet pathways, but it reminded us that the race was on. Get your stuff, change, and get out. No more leisurely comfort of the soft grass. I found it better this way: it was easy to see the things you set up, nothing rolled off to the grass, and seriously, it motivated you to get through the changes faster.
The more experienced triathletes will remember the days of the travel sized men deodorants and cliff bars in their bag. It did not matter who you were, you were getting a men deodorant in orange and black container at the event. Every once in a while they would switch it up, and give out woman’s kind, once again, to everyone who signed up for a race. Everyone laughed and openly made fun of the tradition, but, hey, for few years we did not buy a single deodorant stick for Alex. Over the years, there became less and less goodies in the bags. This year we got an Ironman magazine and few samples. I guess prices of everything is going up even in the triathlon world, and I am happy that they aren’t raising the entry fee. Not a big deal, but makes you remember the “deodorant days”.
That was also something new this year. And “YAY!” we all got medals. I have been telling everyone for a while that as long as you come out to the race you are already a winner. Last year Alex made a gold(-ish) medal and presented it to me at the finish line. It was cute, but getting an actual medal from the race was also neat. For many of us, that will be as close as we get to an award, but having something to hang on the wall made it feel more like an accomplishment. In a word, finisher medals were a great idea!
Just like the goodie bags, it seems that food selection gets poorer every year. Back in the “deodorant days” there were fruits and cookies to go along with a sandwich. You traded in your bracelet for a plastic bag almost full of snacks, but lately some things are disappearing from the post-race menu. First went the cookies, then the apples. While the food is the last thing you on your mind after you cross the line (dying actually is), by the time you get in your car you start looking through the food bag. Also what happened to handing out the beer at the finish line? I guess it was a brief tradition.
Ok, reading it over again, it may seem like I do not deal well with the change. That is not true, I did like many novelties they introduced over the years, and I do like all the way the sport is changing to become more popular and accessible. However, not everything changed at Subaru’s Guelph Lake I race, and some things stayed the same.
Once you get to the race site Subaru Triathlon Series team made it very easy to get around. Drop your bike off at the transition area and go downhill to pick up your race kit and get body marked. As usual, the whole process is broken into easy steps and all the volunteers know exactly what they are doing. Honestly, as silly as it sounds, good organization is important on the race day as the last thing you need is incompetent people running the show. The reason why we race in Subaru Triathlons for years is the way they are run: you always know what to expect, where to go next and what is going to happen next.
Ok, maybe I lied. It seemed that they changed the swim a bit, and the rectangle was wider now, instead of going farther out to the lake, but I could be wrong. However, it was still 375m and a run up the hill to the transition area. Out on the bike for 10km of the bumps and cracks (you can read all about the race course in my *last year’s post*) just to get a glimpse of the new pavement at the turn around point. Do not worry, they kept the Wilson? Road just as destroyed as last year. Past all the speed bumps and off to the hilly run. It was still just as much fun racing as the last two times, and in the heat we had it was just as painful as it was supposed to be.
Ok, may be it is not the shopping mall, but vendors are always there on the race day. All the sponsors bring their tents and representatives to showcase their newest offerings, and while internet and Triathlete magazine are great places to learn about the new products, here you can actually touch and try things. Awesome, isn’t it? Talk to your fellow athlete, get an advice from the expert and pick up something that you forgot to bring. This year there were not as many vendors as usual, but the basics are always covered.
At the end of the day, it was another great race at Guelph Lake I and I would do it again at any time. If you did not get a chance to participate last weekend you should look into their fall edition – Guelph Lake II, which is virtually the same race, but later in the season.