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Meech Lake/Mike Collingwood Memorial Triathlon Report
By:  Megan McTavish   (2007/07/16)

Last weekend, a few of us decided to enter the Meech Lake Triathlon, which, this year was renamed the Mike Collingwood Memorial Triathlon. Mike was an avid volunteer for local triathlons and was remembered with a moment of silence before the event.

This was the second time I had competed in this triathlon and with it being in Gatineau Park, it is a convenient, fun and challenging event! I convinced Karl to join me this year and XC Ottawa alumni Alicia Berthiaume and Chad Yurich were also up for the challenge along with team member Sheila Kealey, a veteran of the event.

We pulled out of our driveway at 7:15 and rode our bikes to the start (one of the great parts about this location!)...which was about a 10 minute ride. When we got there, we went through the confusion of setting ourselves up for the race. Shoes went in a plastic bag at one location, bikes and helmets at another, body marking had to be done, timing chips had to be picked up...then the hardest task of all, getting into our borrowed wetsuits!! (Thanks Dev, Sheila and Joan!) That is a challenge when you aren't used to it! When all of this was completed, it was time to do a bit of a warm up....however, as soon as we stepped into the water, they called us out to line up! Oh well, I guess we need a bit more practice at this!

I got to start in the first wave with Sheila this year (last year I was in the last one) and I was excited to see if I could keep up with the rest of the pack. Karl and Chad were in the second wave, 1 minute back. I always find the swim a bit scary since I'm not used to swimming in packs and I swallowed my share of water, but all in all I had a really good swim! The transition, however, left a lot to be desired! I figured out it took me 19 seconds longer than Sheila to get out of my wetsuit and onto my bike! Another thing I have to practice!

Soon after I left the transition on my bike, Karl goes flying past me! He had a great swim and was off to try to catch as many people as possible that started in the first wave. My bike was really good and I had a lot of fun racing around the parkway loop that we know so well!

The final leg, of course, was running. It was 7km along what we like to call the doldrums (the flatest part of the parkway!). As I headed out, I could feel unwelcome twinges in my calves. I tried to run relaxed and eventually they disapeared and I could push myself again. I always find that the running part of a triathlon feels bad, possibly because of the huge speed difference between flying down hills on your bike, to running. I pushed myself through and could feel that Sheila was catching me! When we got to the turn around I saw that I didn't have much longer and with about 3 km to go, she caught me! I was pretty happy to finish as close to her as I did because I know she is a great triathlete! We ended up in 2nd and 3rd in open women. For me, it was a 4 minute improvement over last year!

Karl ended up 3rd in the open men category due to a really strong run!

All in all, it was a really fun day and a great way to get a good hard workout in! I always think its great to do some racing in the summer to keep sharp.... not too much though! We don't want to burn ourselves out!

Megan riding

Bike to run exchange zone

Karl manages the fastest run split as he chases down his competition


Sheila trying to catch Megan after run turnaround

Post race

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