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@Granpa Chook The age group race was relatively well attended. There were 145 registered, 95 men, 50 women. For comparison the non-draft sprint two hours before had 175 register.
All the draft legal men started in one wave. I think to have any hope of letting draft packs form across the various swimming levels you need to have an unusually large wave. We started in the water with one hand on the pontoon. I head the race director telling a draft legal woman there was a chance they'd be able to dive of the pontoon if there weren't too many of them, but I doubt that happened. The women started a full 40 minutes after the men.
The average swim time was 12:53 for the swim. Officially it was a 750m swim, but my Garmin recorded 700m. Really fast start to the swim. I came out of the water 34th in 11:09.
As best as I can tell there was a lead group of about 10, a chase group of about a dozen and a few other guys scattered between them. Me and another guy were about a minute behind the chase pack. I did the Toronto Triathlon Festival draft legal race a few weeks ago, and caught the packs ahead of me pretty quickly, so I figured we'd reel in the leaders. Turns out the Quebecois are much better cyclists than Torontonians. Me and the other guy were on the rivet the whole ride, we picked up a couple dropped riders along the way, but didn't catch the chase group until about 3k to go in the bike. The packs seemed fairly organized, though towards the end a few guys broke away.
Watching the pros ride the bike course after us was humbling. There's two decent uphills on the course and they waltzed up. The age group course was arguably a little more technical than the elite course because we had a couple 180 turns to make up for the fact that we didn't ride through transition like the pros do. And there was a hairpin turn at the bottom of the main downhill where you could smell brake pads. On a related note, I hope the ITU allows disc brakes next year for draft legal racing.
The run was relatively non eventful. Two laps of a course that was only for AGs. The elites ran a shortened version of the bike course. I can't imagine running down St. Laurent like they did. We got to finish on the blue carpet, which was cool.