Banff race report

This weekend was the inaugural Subaru Banff International Triathlon. Jon and I headed out Friday morning in our Subaru WRX STI to test out the waters and get prepped for the race. After a quick bike ride of the beautiful bike course and a quick dip in the frigid water, it was time to relax with some friends and prep for the day that was ahead. Before I get any further, I want to deeply thank Paul at Centaur Subaru, and Subaru for the support they showed me this weekend. It was truly a positive experience I had that left me feeling like a superstar. Everything was taken care of and lots of fun was had by all.

Saturday morning turned out to be a little hectic trying to get things ready for the race. Due to the transport of good between two transitions and the cold weather, my warm up was a little shorter than I would have liked. When the gun finally went off I tried hard to get into a rhythm quickly. The cold water (11*C) turned my face, feet and hands numb almost immediately, but by 500m I found myself in 2nd place behind Jon. The air temp was about 5*C and sprinkling, but I had decided to only race in arm warmers and to put gloves on in T1. The gloves didn’t actually happen though. When I got to my bike I tried to put my hands in my gloves and failed miserably the first time because I couldn’t manipulate my hands. So, I scraped the gloves and headed out on the bike.

The first 15km of the bike were actually ok. I was riding descent, settled into a groove and wasn’t that cold. The entire bike course was actually quite sketchy and I was weaving in and out of people the entire time. I kept thinking this was crazy, but then remembered Jon was ahead of me. I kept telling myself “Jon is even crazier than I am, so I need to be aggressive.” When I hit about 15km on the bike I started to really shiver and soon was shivering uncontrollably. My hands were no longer working to drink or eat anything and I was having a hard time controlling my bike with all the shivering. The final portion of the bike was really cool. You shot into town riding down Banff Ave and then headed to T2 at the end of the street. During the entire bike I really tried to push the pace, but my body was already shutting down. My legs didn’t want to work and my knees were aching.

Once in T2 I was really excited to get off the bike and hopefully start warming up. As I entered T2 I saw Jon leaving and though “Yes, I can do this.” However, my second transition was the longest of my life. For the life of me I couldn’t get my shoes on. Everything was numb and I was completely helpless. Thankfully there was a wonderful girl in T2 who helped me put my shoes on. What a sweet heart and race saver! It’s pretty embarrassing when a pro athlete needs help to put their slip on running shoes on…yikes! The first 5-7km of the run were brutal. I tried to find a fast rhythm, but my legs wouldn’t go. I knew my pace was slow and that I wasn’t catching Jon and this frustrated me to no end. Finally my legs started to warm up and I began catching Jon. Unfortunately this was to little to late and I crossed the finish line in second. For the third straight time this year I had the fastest run split and set the run course record.

Congrats to Jon for a very impressive win. Typically I don’t mind racing in tough conditions because I can suffer through it, but this weekend go the best of me. My legs felt completely fine the next day, probably because I wasn’t physically able to dig deep enough to hurt them. I am glad that I raced though and did have a good time this weekend. Every race is a unique journey and experience and I’m happy to have had this one.

Full Results

1 Jon Bird       Calgary     AB  1 1:43:56   1  7:17  0:59  1  1:35    1  8:52    4 0:57:52  39.4    1 1:06:43   73  1:55    1 1:08:37    2 0:35:19  3:32    1 1:43:56
2 Grant Burwash  Calgary     AB  2 1:44:31   2  8:07  1:05  2  1:57    2 10:04    5 0:58:08  39.2    2 1:08:12   50  1:40    2 1:09:51    1 0:34:40  3:28    2 1:44:31
3 Luke Gillmer   Northmead   AU  3 1:53:18   5  8:31  1:09  3  2:32    3 11:03   11 1:02:11  36.7    4 1:13:14    5  1:07    4 1:14:21    7 0:38:57  3:54    3 1:53:18


One thought on “Banff race report

  1. Hey Grant,
    Congrats on suffering through a tough day at Banff. I was out at the race, handing out brochures for my new coaching business and chatting with Tony Smith. I saw you chasing down Jon on the latter stages of the run and thought you had a chance of catching him. Oh well, next time!
    I plan on stopping by Speed Theory soon and may be doing some spin classes.
    My wife, kids, and I just got back from teaching in Cyprus for the past year. Amazing road riding. This year, I’m staying at home with kids while Nancy brings home the bacon.
    How are you doing? Still in school?
    Cheers, Jeff

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