Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shawnigan Lake Race Report

The Shawnigan Lake Half Ironman was the first race of the 4 race Subaru West Coast Series, put on by Lifesport. It also doubled as the men's championship race, with prize money going 3 deep ($2000, $1000, $500).


The elites were treated to a VIP meet and greet on Friday evening up near Shawnigan Lake, complete with free drinks and snacks. Outdoors on the patio w. a couple glasses of wine, looking out over the water. Awesome. They ran a mini meet and greet for the top men's contenders, calling up the 4 main contenders to say a few words. They included: Jordan Rapp (5th 2007 IM Canada, 3rd 2008 IM Arizona), Andriy Yastrebov (4th 2007 IM Canada, 4th 2006 IM Lake Placid, 1st 2005 IM Wisconsin), Jasper Blake (1st 2006 IM Canada, 4th 2007 IM Couer D'Alene) and Chris Brown (3rd 2007 IM Canada). I was told I wasn't going to be called up, as I was considered the dark-horse, which was fine by me. I had no credentials behind me like the other guys, and I was just looking to see what I could do on race day.

I'm fortunate to have not only an awesome coach and training group out here, but also some generous buddies as well. Simon hooked me up with an extra aero helmet of his, and Jordan pimped my ride by giving me an extra Zipp 404 front wheel as well as an extra Zipp disc that he had. I was all tricked out now, no excuses.

Jordan and I headed up on Saturday to take part in the "Ride w. the Pro's" ride that went on prior to bike check-in. It was cool to ride a loop of the course with about 20 other athletes who chose to take part in the event. On the way back I was saying to Jordan that I was hoping to go 4:15 on race day (2:25 bike, 1:25 run, and then 25:00 swim plus transitions). Jordan said he thought that I'd go 4:10

The course:

2 loop swim in Shawnigan Lake (temp around 16 C - wetsuit legal)
4 x 22km rolling loop around Shawnigan
T shaped out and back run along the Cowichan Trail

Race Day:

Up at 3:30am to eat, and scooter down to Jordan's place. We left Jordan's at 4:45am as the race was starting at 7am. Set up transition, short bike to make sure things were working, easy run, quick trip to the bathroom, and soon it was time to start.

The race started w. a cannon blast from the local military base. Quite the way to start. I quickly moved to the front on the first lap, easily getting clear from the group along w. Andrew McCartney and Brent McMahon (who was doing a relay as he has Worlds in 2 weeks). I led through the first loop, before Andrew came around me on the second loop to lead us out of the water in 22:10. This gave me a 2:30 gap to Jasper, and roughly a 4:00 gap to Andriy and Jordan.

Out onto the bike course, I quickly dropped Andrew, and settled into my pace on the bike, not wanting to blow up too early. Jordan and I had a friendly wager to see who would be first through lap 1 of the bike (that was my goal point to hold off Jordan). I was still in the lead through loop 1, and continued riding strong on loop 2. Riding with the disc was awesome, as was riding and feeling the aero helmet touching your back as you're down in the aero position.

I managed to hold Jordan off until almost 50km (into the 3rd loop), where he came by me, gave me a few words of encouragement, and was soon gone up the road. I kept riding my own pace, making sure to get my nutrition in. I managed to hold off Jasper and Andriy until about 3 km from the end of the ride. The three of us came off the bike together, roughly 4:00 back of Jordan.

At this point I was in the running (both literally and figuratively) for some money, but I knew I would have my work cut out for me, as both Jazz and Andriy are noted runners. I think I got a little caught up in moment, or perhaps I wanted to try and run w. a shot at the money for a while, as I ran the first mile with the two of them, before I had to back off as my quads started to cramp up on me. I was stuck in no man's land, and just tried to settle into my pre-race goal pace of roughly 4:00 km's (1:25 pace). I was on pace until 10km or so, until things started to catch up to me. I think I paid a bit for the slightly faster bike split on the second half of the run, as well as the fact that the second half of the run was a bit harder (looser footing, combined with false flats)

I managed to limit my losses pretty well, only losing 4:30 to Jordan on the run, and 4:00 to Jasper. I crossed the line in 4:10:40 good for 4th place on the day, about 4:00 out of the money. Jordan made the front page of the Sport section on Monday which was pretty cool.

Jordan Rapp 4:01:35
Andriy Yastrebov 4:05:42
Jasper Blake 4:06:40
Daniel Wells 4:10:40
Chris Brown 4:21:16

Full Results w. splits are here.

I'm pleased with my first foray into the long-course race scene, and am looking to race the next race in the series - New Balance Victoria Half Ironman, in 4 weeks. After that, I'll race a few ITU draft legal events (including Nationals in Kelowna) before venturing down to Panama City Beach Florida to race Ironman Florida in November along with my dad and sister.


Lauren said...

Great pix!
Def don't agree with the yellow tape tho. You won that ugly competition before...no need to carry on!

Shannon said...

Wicked race Dano! Your ride looked sweet!

Are you loving your scooter?

Reinhold said...

Hi Dano
Very good race!
I hope you will continue to report to us how you dise longer races to prepare.
Are there differences in the Training for Oly route?


Daniel Wells said...

Hi Reinhold,

There weren't any changes to my training for the half ironman, just the same training that I have been doing with our group here.

I'm sure coach Joel will give me some different longer stuff once Nationals are finished in mid August.

Marko said...

Good job! Next half under 4.05.....
Seeya soon in Vancuver!?

Anonymous said...

Great race Dano - you looked really strong in your pictures.

Happy Ironman training to all your family. Maybe one day I'll get Colin to do a race with me.
Mrs. J.