September 2, 2012 in Canada- BRRR!!! What was I thinking? The first morning we set out to train on the course in Canmore it was 30 degrees! I suddenly realized that summer was over and fall was coming fast! I previewed the course and felt pretty good about it, though it was going to be challenging at race pace. On sunday morning we woke to the sight of the first snowfall on the mountain tops (in the most beautiful place I’d ever been!) and a wet bike course. There was some concern going around about the wet roots and cold water but we were there and ready to race so I did a good long warmup then plunged into the cold Quarry lake a few minutes before the 9:30 start time. When the gun sounded I took off fast and though it was a rough crowd until we rounded the 2nd buoy, I had found a good draft and was swimming comfortably. On the third lap I began to swim through some lapped traffic and had to work a bit harder to stay with the blue capped male I had been drafting. Exiting the water and running to transition was not an easy task on extremely cold feet, and the dexterity of my cold hands was also limited, making stripping off the wetsuit even harder. Luckily the sun had begun to shine through the clouds and I thought I might warm up on the 1 kilometer ride up the road to transition. Unfortunately it was still far too cold but I was pleased with my position as the 2nd female out of the water and after the 2nd lap on the bikes, some people had changed positions but I was still riding in 2nd. At the turnaround point however, I was able to see just where the next women were behind me- which were Danelle and Renata; two extremely fast competitors. I knew they were closing in on me but I did everything I could to continue pushing the pace, despite my still very cold body. I felt like I just wasn’t warming up and a few kilometers later I began to have asthma trouble. The cold air was causing my lungs to spasm on the descents and of course for every downhill there is always an uphill which didn’t help relax my breathing one bit. I struggled into T2 in 5th place and hoped I could regain control of my body and hold onto the last podium spot. Unfortunately running only makes asthma worse and rolling my ankle in the first couple kilometers didn’t help either. By the end of the first lap (5k) I had been passed again but was starting to feel just a bit better. I knew my strength was zapped so I’d have to take it easy on the uphills and then run the flats and downs as hard as I could. I managed to keep it together for a 6th place finish which I’m not happy about considering my confidence going into the event, but it is what it is. One thing I did learn from the experience was that my inhaler will be #1 on the list of items to pack for US Championships!