Double Win at the Dessert Half

Yipee!! It was great for Trevor and I to finally win a triathlon at the same time! We’ve done so in some running races, but never in the long- course tri arena.

The Desert Half Iron in Osyoos BC is an awesome race. And I mean that in the original sense of the word – as in “so impressive or overwhelming as to inspire a strong feeling of admiration or fear” as well as the slang “general term for enthusiastic approval”!

As it’s name suggests it takes place in the one true dessert in Canada and the temperatures were cranked right up for the occasion. High 30’s Celsius – and at least 10 degrees hotter in the camper! Our pre-race sleep of about 2 hrs occurred between 2 and 4 am when we finally

7 am and already roasty toasty

nodded off from pure exhaustion after trying to sleep with wet towels draped on our bodies and a little battery powered fan running. We have AC but this requires a plug-in and when you camp on the street close to the race start, the amenities are limited. Next year we may just splurge and book a spot in a campground! Oh, and if you are about to call animal control on us, we were smart enough to leave our cat in air-conditioned safety at my parent’s place. She was not happy to have her home drive away but feline heat stroke is something to avoid…

Unlike most cats who seem to hold grudges, she has been very cuddly since we got back!

At 5:30 when we walked down to transition it was already toasty. No extra clothes needed over the race kit, which is highly unusual.

Trev, we know you have a nicer wetsuit but you don't need to give the guy behind you the finger!

After getting in the water for a warm up I had to stay there and let cool water in my suit b/c it was too hot to stand on the beach for 10 minutes after the men’s wave went off at 7! I managed to get a piece of milfoil attached to my watch right at the start which I swung around every stroke on the first loop. I couldn’t get it off with a quick grab so just left it… bye bye hydrodynamics…

Dodging swimmers from the fist wave required a fair bit of head-up swimming and I was so incredibly over-heated after the short run on the beach to start loop two, that I had to yank on the neck of my suit to let in cooler water. This went a long way towards easing my overheating anxiety and making me feel like I could still put in a bit of effort to swim fast, so I repeated the procedure about 5 times! My swimming has really improved, because even with all this I was still 1 min faster than last year. ha

Starting the ride

It is odd to want to get on the bike to cool down, but that’s what I was thinking. Unfortunately, the most awe inspiring thing about the Osoyoos course, in addition to the heat, is the bike course that climbs and climbs and climbs some more. Right out of T2 you are going uphill and you don’t stop until the top of Richter’s Pass 14 km later. Then you descend for awhile but climb

Trevor trying to block out the deafening roar of the massive crowd

again, and get to a section of “rollers” where you go from your big ring to your granny gear, repeatedly, into a strong head-wind. A bit of a flattish section after the turnaround in Cawston and then you get to do all the hard stuff in reverse. The tail wind is nice, but the cooling effect is lost and your head feels like it might just explode as you climb the back side of Richter’s pass. Thank goodness the water was nice and cold at that last aid station b/c a fair bit of it ended up on my head!

Hot and hilly

The run is one where your need to keep from overheating strongly opposes your ability to run hard. I went as fast as I could for the first loop and then shut it down a bit on the second and just tried to drink lots and stay coolish.

In addition to a hard course, I think that the Osyoos Half may also have thefriendliest field of athletes in the world. Guys I passed on the bike cheered “way to go!!” which was awesome, and so many athletes on the run course had words of encouragement. One friendly fellow started running beside me for a few km near the end and we had a nice chat about the race. It was pretty funny when we ran past the finish chute (for the last little 2k out and back) and the announcer said “And here is the race leader Heather Wurtele!”.  My buddy was like “you’re on your second loop!?! Your winning the race!?” Ha ha. I guess I was a little too relaxed at that point…

Some nice scenery

Out of the saddle ag-gaaain...

Got to the line to find my husband, the 2010 Champion, standing there with all our parents. Pretty fun! 4 bottles of water downed in rapid succession, a little interview, a cup of watermelon and I was back in the lake to cool off. A great day in the sunny Okanagan!!

Trevor’s Race Report:

The Desert Half Iron this past Sunday always seems to be a race where I try out a few new things.

In 2009 we both raced there only 3 weeks after Ironman Coeur D’Alene. After that experience I can say, without question, I will never race again within 3 weeks of finishing an Ironman, far too painful. This time around we were only 1 week out from the Vancouver Half Iron. We had never done that before, either, yet it was far easier than 3 weeks post Ironman.

Hi Dad!

As in 2009 the water was very very warm. Probably should not have been a wetsuit swim, but I’m usually always happy to donne the neoprene. Sunday, however, marks the first time I’ve ever actually had a really bad panic attack in a triathlon swim that was entirely my own doing. I’ve had the kick in the head before, the lung-full of water before, the ‘Ummmmm, HELLLLOOOOO, quit grabbing my f’%$in legs’ thing before. This time, it was pure mental trickery. I wore a brand new wetsuit, for one (used it once last week for a swim in the Ocean, which I absolutely loved), and for another I was not expecting to get so hot.

I started getting this very slight thought that I might suffocate, then about 2 minutes later it became a very real thought that I was GOING to suffocate. At that point I had to abandon any thought of swimming hard and really settle myself down with some nice easy strokes. After which I was slowly able to build back into some semblance of effort. Same swim time as last year with a bit of a freak out, so I’ll take it.The Desert Half is a great race for trying out some Ironman Canada tactics. Right out of the water you’re on your bike and on to one of the most important parts of the Ironman Canada course – Richter Pass to the Cawston out-and-back. If you get lazy with drinking and fueling at that point on Ironman day, you can bet your marathon will fall apart at mile 15. I’ve had lots of practice with that in the past!! This Sunday brought on a scorcher, perfect practice for some sodium loading and Ironman hydration/fueling.

IMC preview

Was great to just put myself into the Ironman Canada day, think about what I needed to do in order to stay comfortable and have a good run. My cycling this year has never really been up to par, I think I had my best ride legs on January 15th!! But, I finally got a bit of a glimpse of some strong riding sensations on Sunday. Hopefully that’s a trend that continues for the better as we hit a couple big races in August.

Also in 2009 I wore a ‘camelbak’ as a bit of a test for Ironman Canada. Scratched that off the list of ideal hydration systems pretty quickly. I still use the thing for long training runs, but it’s quite a miserable contraption when racing in the heat. This year I stuck with the tried and true belt flask of EFS drink, hand held flask of EFS liquid shot, and slow jogging each aid station to take in two cups of gatorade and

Is that a smile there leader leader pumkin eater?

water. The time lost while slow jogging the aid stations is far less than a blow-up on Ironman day so that’s something I’ll force myself to stick with for the big one. Strangely enough Coke has been giving me troubles in races this year. Both in Osoyoos and at IM St. George; as soon as I touched some coke

the return trip

I started to get the dreaded grumbly tummy. All said, I was very happy with my run this past weekend in Osoyoos. It wasn’t fast, but I didn’t suffer or let things fall apart at the end. Rather, I just kept it nice and steady the entire day, off the point of pain and actually enjoyed the heat of the day.

Next up is the Kelowna Across the Lake swim on Saturday. A 2.1 kilometer, point to point, max effort, mass start swim event. I think last years event may be the last time I beat Heather out of the water. Since then I’ve been getting schooled. Time to turn the tables!!! haha.


Nice run form (envious wife)

H into T2 - that camera dad was everywhere!

The 1 blessed patch of shade

Okay, make that 4 patches of shade

Trevor is a quiet guy

Dreaming of both winning another triathlon together...


~ by trevorandheather on July 13, 2010.

8 Responses to “Double Win at the Dessert Half”

  1. congrats on the WIN, you both looked SOLID out there! See you in Penticton! Good luck next weekend.

  2. Congrats!! A win for both of you is so awesome. I just love following all your races and look forward to the updates for your upcoming adventures!! Congrats!!!! Your both rock!! 🙂

  3. Ya’ll are just too cool for words.

  4. OK you two,
    I know you constantly have “dessert” on your mind, but the grueling race was in the “desert” was it not?
    Always a stickler about spelling.

  5. Hey – congratulations on a great race (x 2). Must be pretty special to win together. IMC is shaping up to be a special day as well I think – I’ll certainly be watching as much of the race online as I can. Go for it!

  6. Awesome job to both of you!

  7. Love all of the great pics too! Some great photographers you have!

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