Yesterday I posted my Race Report for the Barrie Triathlon. We were incredibly pleased with our results – posting a 1:36:54.8 for this Sprint Triathlon – but as the only PC (physically challenged), accessible race team in the competition it’s a little difficult to know what to think of the overall rankings.
The reality is that what we are doing is entirely different to what an able-bodied athlete is doing. To make matters even more complex, Trevor is a 42-year-old male pushing a 39-year-old (almost) female, so to simply compare ourselves with other women in the 35-44 year-old category seems unfair all the way around.
Curious if I could get a bit better sense of how our times compare, I went and looked up our #accessibletriathlon heroes – Johnny and Jeff Agar, Kyle and Brent Pease and Rick and Dick Hoyt. Team Hoyt’s results seem lost in the annals of history, but they were arguably beyond superhuman in their abilities, and will forever be the trailblazers that the rest of us look up to! And just after I’d published this, a friend pointed out the work of Team Tvilling in Denmark – Steen and Peder Mondrup.
I was able to find both Team Agar and the KPease Brothers times at recent Ironman 70.3 races to give us some comparison. Here are their results:
(Note: these results are from Steen and Peder’s 2014 Full Ironman Distance – so represent double the distances to the previous two race teams).
And then here are our results from Sunday:
We’re still talking about different distances and different terrain (which makes a huge difference in this kind of racing) , but we now have a bit more to go on. And when we account for all of these things what we discover is … we might just be competitive!
Our swim pace is a bit behind the Agar’s and the Mondrup’s and a lot behind the Pease brothers. However, we put hardly any effort into swim training this year, because we were so focused on the bike and run. I think Trevor might have done less than 10 km of swim training total, and I certainly only tagged along for about 3.5 km of training. we know that we can improve the swim in terms of both time and distance, it’s just a matter of putting in the practice.
The 13:13 mph that the Pease brothers put down in the bike translates to 21.13 km/h. The 14.12 mph pace that the Agar’s did works out to 22.72 km/h. And the Mondrup’s come in at 21.76 km/h. All three are very close to the 22.34 km/h pace we hit. This is very encouraging to us, as we were feeling woefully slow on the bike leg as all of this carbon fibre bikes with their disc wheels and partial disc wheels zoomed past us (or in one case practically crashed into us!) To see that the primary task between us and these longer distances isn’t speed but longevity makes it all feel much more manageable.
Finally for the run, and since converting running times are complicated, I used a website to help me with this one. It looks like the Agar’s 11:56/mi pace is about a 7:25/km pace. And the Pease brother’s 9:07/mi pace is about a 5:40/km pace. The Mondrup’s run at a 7:46 pace. Our run pace for the 5k was 4:52/km. And, in this case we can also scale things up a bit, because we’ve now completed a half marathon (the 13.1 mi distance of the run leg of the Ironman 70.3) and done so at a pace of 5:24/km! Given that doing so at the end of the swim and bike legs of the race will still require feats of incredible endurance, I know we still have some training to go here, but this was very encouraging to see!
The fact of the matter is that when it comes to disabilities – as with races – no two are alike, and there really is no ‘apples to apples’ comparison available. Everyone who competes in this type of team sport is completing a herculean effort, as evidenced by just how few people are out there doing this. So I have no interest in minimizing or discounting the work that these three teams are doing in the slightest. And the sheer volume of training necessary to take this up to the level of Half or Full Ironman is utterly phenomenal!
That being said, seeing yourself in striking range (even at a much smaller scale!) to your sports heroes is an incredible feeling, and one that I know will propel us to put in the training and effort over the next year to reach for bigger, longer races.
To Team Hoyt, the Pease Brothers, Team Agar and Team Tvilling – thank you for paving the way for us to see this as a possibility! To those who are feeling the inspiration – we’d love to have you join us in making #accessibletriathlon and #accessibleracing more accessible to those here in Southern Ontario. Please follow this link to donate to our campaign!