contributed by Mike Breyer
2016 Canada Group Race Report
“You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes, You get what you need”
Friday July 22nd, Noon
It’s 2 days before Ironman/Half Ironman Canada, the race 6 of us (me, Janetta, Jackie, Jen, Rich and Sankoff) have had on our calendars as our A race for about 8 months. We’re out on a training ride down the Sea-to-Sky Hwy, a beautiful road that twists its way from Vancouver to Whistler, and we’re about 20 miles in, off to the side stopped at a red light when all of a sudden we see a black Cadillac Escalade rolling on 22’s sidle up honking its horn. There were so many people inside it looked like one of those clown cars in the circus. Someone leaned out the backseat window and yelled: “Hey Breyer, how’d you let yourself get dropped like that?” Yessir, Team Jackie had arrived.
When I proposed a group Ironman last September after Wisconsin I didn’t really think anyone would go for it. Whistler is, after all, (1) not easy to get to, (2) one of the hardest ironman races on the circuit, (3) had awful weather the year before, and (4) getting 5 faculty off the same week in July was going to be challenging. All of which, in retrospect, was naive of me. Despite participating in the s#!t-show that was Canada last year (40-degrees and pouring rain with a 20% DNF rate), Janetta started off the proceedings declaring she was in and looking to exact a little revenge. Jen and Jackie were next – for Bellows it would be her first race since most of our current interns were in pre-school and for Jackie it would be her 4th Ironman inside the age of 30. Byyny was a little more reluctant as he had opted for retirement since dropping something in the 9-ridiculous range at Arizona last November but he came around after realizing racing in Whistler would be a lot more fun than talking about how to fix the PICU rotation in Denver. Then they announced a new Half Ironman race there, to be run the same day, and well, Sanky was all over that so we had our group! PS does anyone know another EM Department that had 25% of their faculty leave the country to do an Ironman, like ever??
Friday July 22nd, Later
We get back from the ride and I kid you not 8 minutes later Byyny had drunk a protein drink, put on some swim clothes and was back down in the lobby blowing me up about how he’s ready to go for an open water swim. Quick shuttle and we’re there – only the Alta Lake area was being destroyed by 20-25mph winds at the time, which meant whitecaps on the water. Byyny decides we should hug the shoreline (good idea), swim together because I had a bright yellow cap that could be seen more easily (another good idea), swim downwind first then upwind on the way back (bad idea), wait for me after about 5 minutes of swimming (good idea) and then drop me and swim back to the beach leaving me to fend for myself as I get clobbered by 4 foot waves for about 25 minutes (not funny Byyny). Byyny thought this was enormously funny and enjoyed telling me how I took so much time getting back he filed a missing persons report with the lifeguard.
Saturday July 23rd
Bike check-in, bag check, etc etc then we all went to some fancy tapas place Janetta found for french toast.
*Janetta, Jen, Kaitlyn (Jackie’s friend from Austin, TX) and Jackie who made the mistake of following myself and Byyny to the bike check-in
3 minutes later, lost
*Last supper with the Circus (from left, Bellows, Jackie, Jackie’s husband Dave, Lauren Sankoff, Sankoff, Me, Janetta, Byyny)
Sunday July 24th
It’s 4:30am, we’re all up and in the lobby of the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre, a pimped out hotel where everyone but me (who arranged the discount on the hotel I might add) scored a 1 or 2-bdrm suite + den. Apparently the standard 480 sq ft room wasn’t good enough for anyone else but me.
It was cold race morning. Byyny was confused as to why we were going to a regatta
Yes, we all checked our tires and Garmins like 7 times and not one of us had a mechanical race day!
Killed it. First, let me say I don’t really know of anyone who can or did work as much as Janetta does (consistent 60-80 hr weeks) or travel as much as she does (there’s a reason she got upgraded to 1st class on the flight back) and still train with the intensity, consistency and thoughtfulness she does. And that’s exactly how J-wow approached the week – going with the flow, nailing her final practice swim and then introducing me to that riding in a g6 song while educating me on what a swizzard is. The best was the run where Janetta had the tidiest, most consistent run split of any of us – pounding out her IM pace from Mile 1 all the way through the end. And how
did she end you ask? Well, I was sprawled out on the ground about 200 feet from the finish line waiting for her when she turned the corner, said what up Diesel, and tossed her hydration vest at me. Just so she could do this..
That’s right. That’s a PR by nearly a half hour with a bear detour y’all!!!!!!!!
Overall: 14:23:57, AG 33/55, OA 772/1405
S: 1:14, B: 7:33, R: 5:18
K2 and I spent the better part of our Saturday before the race writing condolence letters to all the other athletes in the F40-44 age group because Jen was coming to Whistler. This turned out to be very smart of us. A solid swim, a well-paced steady wattage bike ride and a hammered out run announced that even though Bellows was somewhat of a Rook at this, she was going to be a force that would need to be reckoned with for quite sometime. Plus who the heck does 80% of their training at 5am?
All I gotta say is Beth Gerdes watch you back..
Overall: 12:18:00, AG 6/56, OA 321/1405
S: 1:13, B: 6:24, R: 4:31
Jackie came into Whistler with amazing level fitness, a new arch rival (see http://www.stephcorker.com
), and assurances from yours truly that the downhills on the course were “not that bad.” She’s leaving Whistler with verification her fitness is awesome, continued irritation of all things Steph Corker, I know I don’t get it either, and one of those voodoo dolls with the Diesel’s likeness that now has a number of daggers through it. So even with all these barriers, Jackie still executed a terrific race, finishing at the top of her AG and handling the run like a pro. Oh, and there may be another race coming up for J-bomb..
Jackie and her #1 fan crushing Whistler together
Overall: 12:29:04, AG 13/55, OA 360/1405
S: 1:09 B: 6:09, R: 5:02
Apparently “retiring” is indeed good for the soul.. and the race results. Byyny came to Whistler with one goal in mind: qualify for Kona. And, so he employed his tried-and-true pre-race prep, spending about 7 minutes in the athlete’s tent registering, socializing for about 3.5 minutes over breakfast one day, and venturing out of his room only to hit the hot tub or grab some pasta. That’s my boy. It all paid off race day as B-dogg spent the entirety of it at the pointy end of the field, destroying the swim (57 minutes, are you kidding me?), smartly navigating the bike and then turning himself inside out on the run.
I know. They all look like they’re about 24 in the 45-49yo AG. Scarrrrryy..
No Kona slot, unfortunately, but about 2 days later this hit Rich’s inbox..
Rich signed up 14 seconds later. For Kona. So you and I got ourselves a date with the Queen K Oct 8 my friend. 3rd times a charm..
Overall: 10:15:46, AG 5/189, OA 52/1405
S: 57:02, B: 5:42, R: 3:30
So Sankoff was once again the only smart one of the bunch. The kid’s been going around the 70.3 circuit for a few years now, chipping away, racing at the top of his AG and once again showed up in Whistler as the only one of us not freaking out about the race. He had his support team (Lauren), solid race day fitness (great training block) and plenty of experience doing these races. And he’s Canadian, don’t ya know. I saw Jeff ripping it up the Sea-to-Sky in aero on raceday – hollering something unintelligible to me so I assumed he was speaking Canadian again.
Too cute for words. PS Lauren totally podium’ed IronKids.
Overall: 5:13:20, AG 8/51, OA 60/519
S: 33:50, B: 2:41, R: 1:52
Oh man, I really thought I had this one. Steady, pretty uninterrupted training, knew the course, living at 7400 feet now, swimming fitness was reasonable, after 4 months of cookie-deprivation I finally got my weight back down and was hitting wattages on the bike I’d never seen. Run fitness was super questionable though – my stress reactions took longer to heal than I had anticipated and despite some start/stops, I finally was able to resume some semblance of run training, although it came a little late – about 6 weeks out. Got out on the course and just couldn’t push the watts I needed, had weird aches/pains but kept adjusting both my expectations and my plan throughout the race. Gave it to myself until I couldn’t go anymore, then I hobbled. Hey it happens, although admittedly to me about 80% more often than the average triathlete.
Byyny and I were very stressed out before the race, as you can see
Overall: 10:58:43, AG 15/213, OA 104/1405
S: 1:08, B: 5:06, R: 4:38
Swim, bike, run, bear
Midnight at these things is so cool. These people have been out there struggling and suffering for an eternity and it just means so much to them and their families. Saw a bunch of people who lost 100+ pounds in their race prep. 70 year old’s. People who just decided to go for something epic in their lives. And then we saw a rather diminutive 25-year-old guy come up toward the line. It’s 11:48pm and he’s freaking out. Arms waving, hopping up and down like someone just told him he actually doesn’t have to spend the next month living in K2’s basement kind of happiness. Then we saw why. His wife/partner/whoever also in a tri kit with a finisher’s medal already around her neck, came running out towards him like she was on meth. Crying. Had his finisher’s medal which she put over his head and they waltzed across the line arm in arm together. It was just the Best. Thing. Ever.
Suffice it to say Sankoff and I had no idea Jen and Janetta knew all the words to Call Me Maybe, Riding in my G6, It’s All About the Base (no Treble), The Humpty Dance and Club Can’t Even Handle Me. And when I say they knew all the words I mean EVERY SINGLE WORD.
“That’s right. We woke up at 3, drop-kicked a couple of Ironmans and then spent the last 2 hours cheering on the midnight finishers. Now please find a couple of (expletive) wheelchairs and the tesla to take us home” – Anonymous Toxicologist
Awards Ceremony the next day, B-dogg with the Podium!
Day after we sat down for one final meal and kind of went through why we all do these races. They cost a ton of money, we all train a bunch, they kind of suck when you’re racing, and we could even be chipping away at a bit of our overall life expectancy due to all this stress we’re putting on our bodies. The answers were all over the map but were all fairly positive – “gives me focus in my life” “provides structure” “makes me a better parent/partner/person” “i can eat whatever i want” “involves me a community” and my personal favorite “keeps me from drinking too much with K2.” What everyone agreed on though was racing together, racing as a group, racing as a community was incredibly special for all of us. We are indeed unbelievably lucky.
Atta boys and atta girls to Jeff, Jackie, Janetta, Jen and Rich and BIG thank you’s to Klem, Jason, Saundra, Dave, Jen, Lauren and all the Sankoffs, da Byynys, entire Team Jackie, Team DGBG, Strava pals and all our families for cheering, rooting and supporting. This doesn’t get done without you.
Mike, Jackie, Rich, Janetta, Jen and Jeff
PS: in case you were wondering, yes I did have a beer afterward but Janetta may have had to finish it for me. I know I’m an embarrassment to you K2.