Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Canadian National Off Road Triathlon Championships.
Me, Melanie McQuaid and Danelle Kabush.
photo from

Norm has a theory. He says that ever year you should do some event that you are totally uncomfortable with and you are completely untrained for so you can remember what it feels like to race like a rookie from the back of the pack. Its actually a pretty good theory. It hurts like hell and its hard on the ego but it helps you develop some serious mental strength. This year my ego crushing event was the XTC off road "National Championships" at Buntzen lake near Vancouver. You might wonder how it could be ego crushing when I placed third, but lets get it out in the open right away - there were only three girls racing in the elite category.

If you know me at all, you know the Simms' are sinkers not swimmers. I am a cyclist and a runner but I am not a fan of the swimming and I don't swim well. That's not exactly true. I can breast stroke forever, but I flail at the freestyle. Norm was racing the triathlon so I was going to be there anyway but I was planning on doing the duathlon. Unfortunately no girls signed up so I decided to go for the triathlon. Hell, why not? My sister did an Ironman last year, the Simms' can't be that bad.

The morning of the race I got those pre race nerves that I haven't experienced for awhile. Just get through the swim. I hate cold water so I decided to go for the shock method and skip the warmup swim to stay dry onland. I started near the back of the swim pack to avoid the chaos. I didn't want to drown. The gun went off and within 100m I rememberd why I hadn't done a wetsuit swim for 4 years. The wet suit I borrowed doesn't fit me, so it felt like I had 10lb weights on my arm. Oh yeah and I hate swimming. So I switched to breaststroke. It was supposed to be temporary but I felt so comfortable I ended up breast stroking pretty much the entire 1.5km swim. I could swim in a straight line, I could breath and I could see the whole race. I felt like a bit of a fool but I wasn't here to impress. 2 laps of the swim course and I wasn't last! Goal#1 achieved. Sweet.

A slow transition (I guess most triathletes don't dry their feet, put on sox, change their shirts and tie up laces these days). and onto the bike. But my body was in a bit of shock when I jumped onto my Kula 29er and tried to chase down all those swimmers. It took my legs awhile to come around. A slightly faster transition and I was off running. I actually had a pretty good trail run except I was wearing a long sleeve jersey and was overheating like a non-Finn in a sauna. The run was a double loop so I got the opportunity to see just how far ahead 3X Xterra World Champion Melanie McQuaid (Nature's Path) was and Danelle Kabush (Luna) who was second at the Xterra World Championships in 2006. Ouch. I finished third of three girls. To rub it in even more, Melanie outsplit my shell shocked legs on the bike and Danelle had to nurse her baby on the start line. That stings. But I like to think of it as a podium at the Canadian National Off Road Triathlon Champiosnhips. It sounds much more impressive.

The next day I was absolutely wiped. Muscles in my body that I didn't know existed hurt like hell. More than a week later my groin is still tight from the out of the blue 1.5km breast stroke. So maybe it wasn't the best physical training I could have done for the start of the cyclocross season but it sure as hell makes me apprecioate the sport I chose. Stupid triathlon. But when the results came out I poured over all my times and compared them trying to figure out where I could shave time. There might be a little tri-nerd in me somewhere.


Cara said...

dear wendy,

i just want to say, i ahve been lurking on your blog for quite a while now and i just want to say, you are awesome. i love your posts! i love that you would post a photo of you face planting (and that you were okay). you rock. i promise i am not a stalker. only via armchair...

you probably don't remember me but i rode for cheerwine in '06 when we were on konas, and greg becker supported you at some of the USGPs. or something like that. oh, and your brother called my hubby for training advice for you a few years ago but he might not have told you about that... hee hee.

anyway, yay to you for getting a (back) cover on a mag! and good luck in cx!!!!

cara (mccauley) applegate

Wendy Simms said...

Of course I remember you!

Hop ethings are good. Still racing? W.

Melanie said...

LOL... your posts are so funny. BTW: being frozen to death and frogkicking for 30 mins is a poor warmup for mountain biking. And since the course at Buntzen was half running this year as well because it was so loose no wonder I outsplit ya on the bike.

Considering doing Crossvegas as my untrained, unskilled event of the year. But your scary photo has made me reconsider..hmmmm.

You will kick ass at XTERRA if you ummmm, TRAIN? :) See you in Vegas

Cara said...


yup, still racing, but barely. not planning on going out to any of the national level races this year... so good luck! i'll be spending plenty of time living vicariously, so don't forget to update the blog! :-)