But before I get into my race report, here’s a little about the race itself, the course and the conditions.
Years ago the local YMCA organized a June event that kickstarted the local tri season. a sprint distance, with a 500m indoor pool swim, but the pool was smack dab in the middle of the city, and I think traffic safety challenges on the bike course eventually led to it’s demise.
Then in 2006, with no early season event, one of our local athletes, part of a group training for late season Ironman Races (Including me) offered up her home for anyone interested. She happens to live in the country, on a quiet road, on Olivers Pond. It was a perfect setting, but totally unsanctioned. Given it’s popularity, there was clearly a need for an early season sanctioned event. Thus was born the Paradise Triathlon.
The town of Paradise lies just a few miles west of the city of St. John’s. The swim takes place in Octagon Pond, a deep medium size water body in the town. That makes it choppy when the wind blows, and cold nearly all year round. Routinely, you can see white Caps on the pond as you drive by.
The bike route was originally a relatively flat 3 loop 20k course that travelled out Topsail Road, briefly onto the Trans Canada Highway before turning back to Kenmount Road and McNamara Drive. But Topsail Road is the main thoroughfare in the town, and again, out of traffic safety concerns, the course was altered. The new course was a tough, hilly, out and back 25k route. The fun starts right out of Transition as you climb up MacNamara Drive. You are riding uphill 5 separate times including one long ascent as you turn onto the ramp taking you to the Trans Canada, then riding a slight up grade until you reach the on ramp to the Conception Bay Bypass road where the grade picks up and you climb to the highest part of the route.
The run is a 5.5 k trail around Octagon Pond. It’s mostly flat, but for good measure, there’s one hill thrown in as you access Topsail Road and then climb back up to Octagon pond. The run is pretty, but you only get to see competitors in 2 locations. The start, and the stretch along Topsail Road. The rest of the time, you are in the woods and oblivious to your fellow competitors. If you are chasing someone, you better dig deep because you have no idea how far ahead they are.
If you like cold choppy water, and a hilly windy bike course, this race is for you. The water temps in the week leadng up were in the 10 to 13 degree celcius range, but with the help of a couple of sunny days leading up, it reached 14 on race morning. The wind that morning were 25 to 30 km/h with gusts up to 44. So race morning I knew I was in for it.