Pre-Race: Muskoka 5150

The Muskoka 5150 won't be my first Olympic Distance Tri, but it will be my first event run by the World Triathlon Corporation, owners of the Ironman brand - exciting!  My last tri was last season, and as I mentioned at the time, it felt like my first.  Based on my performance in training, I'm expecting a similar time to that race; i.e. over 3 hours.  I've got to make my peace with the consequences of lower training volumes.

Looking forward, I've got a list of pros and cons going into this race.  Cons first:

  1. Cycling is still my weakest discipline.  This is where I've lacked training the most and is the biggest difference maker in terms of time. My ride could take as much as 90 minutes...
  2. The terrain is hilly.  I know this, and I've tried to prepare for it, but it simply means you won't finish in the kind of time you would if the course were flat.
  3. It starts at 7:00 in the morning.  That's a very early morning if you factor in parking, transition setup and race kit pickup.  Having small kids means that restful nights are always hard to come by.
  4. I haven't had heart rate data in months since I think my chest strap is done for.  I'll have to pace myself more by perceived effort than anything else.
Now Pros:
  1. The swim course looks very similar to the older Subaru Muskoka Chase course.  With my new wetsuit I think I can go pretty fast, and though this course introduces a little current toward the end, I can compare previous race times and this year's open water training to estimate I'll finish in 35-36 minutes.
  2. Running.  I think the work I've done in our run group has given me a better pace, or at least the ability to get a better leg turnover.  Coming off a 40k bike ride I've been as slow as 6:29/km, but I think I should manage something closer to 5:30km.  At any rate I'm hoping for a sub-hour run, say, 55 minutes.
  3. Transition.  I don't have much to show off about here, but between venue familiarity, being somewhat experienced and knowing my strengths and weaknesses, this is where I can make or break the 3:05 time limit I am shooting for.  I haven't decided whether or not to use my Zoot Racers to save time or stick to more cushioned shoes for safety/injury prevention's sake.  With T1/T2 transition times of 2 minutes and 1 minute respectively (which are theoretically possible based on previous times at Muskoka) I'd be looking at a 3:03 race time.
As some kind of retail therapy, I ordered myself a Louis Garneau Tri-suit and a new heart rate monitor.  The latter I'll get to try out maybe once before the race, but my cautious side says don't try new apparel on race day; what if the tri-suit doesn't play nice with my wetsuit or something?  Still, I was looking forward to a new outfit for race pictures.

At any rate: Wish me luck!  Do you do as much pre-race analysis as this?  More?  What do you think of early, early start times?