Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cool Kit

One of the great things about being a triathlete is being a part cyclist. A great thing about being a cyclist is being sponsored by Blue Competition Cycles. Cool thing about being sponsored by Blue CC is the wicked cycling kits they just came out with! Thanks guys.

Me just heading out for a 4hr mountain ride with Melanie McQuaid and Mike Palmer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vegas Vacation!

Here are a few photos from my Vegas vacation last weekend. I had been to Vegas quite a few years ago for Interbike but haven't gone just to have fun and lose money. Oh yeah, I didn't win anything, but still fun!

My friend Aaron from Maui was passing through Vegas on his way home to Maui after Clearwater and I figured I would join him for 40hrs of fun. We made the most of it only sleeping 8-9hrs from Friday to Sunday and playing texas holdem till 9am the first night there. We also saw a couple of shows, The Real Deal and Cirque du Soleil Mystere, and had an awesome steak dinner at an Italian steak house in the Venetian.

It was a fun trip and nice to take in Vegas as a holiday.

Aaron getting excited!
Rolling into the trouble.
Aaron with his B.A. Mustang Fastback

Me like expensive wine in huge glasses :)
When I returned at 4am Sun morning after the 9am session the morning before!

Muai Post Race Interview

This is an interview I did for Maui Sea.com shortly after I finished and I had pulled myself off the ground. Hence the grass I am picking off of myself.

Go to the link in Internet Explorer not Firefox

Maui Interview

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More On NYC Tri

With being such a dramatic finish to the NYC Tri I ended up peaking a lot of peoples interest. This included prime time TV show Inside Edition who wanted an interview about my dramatic finish. They did a feature story on the 2nd of September. Here is the archive of the show:


I am trying to get a web viewable version of the story. Stay Tuned!

Off season oh off season!

What to do now?

After two very focused and dedicated intense years of trying to make the 2008 Olympic team and then a full season after not achieving that goal, it is time for a break.

I am looking forward to an active and very fun winter. I plan to stay in shape by doing all those things I love doing but have to avoid due to training and competing. This includes some mountain biking, cyclo cross riding, downhill and xc skiing at Big White, hiking, more trail running and pretty much anything else I can enjoy outside.

I have a fun trip to Vegas planned for my first weekend of the off season, so that should be a good place to start from.

I will keep you updated on the trouble I get into.

Thank You

I would like to thank my sponsors that have been awesome getting me the new gear I needed for the 70.3’s, Lifetime Races, Xterra’s and World Cups.

Firstly my new bike sponsor Blue Competition Cycles for all the wicked fast and light bikes for my indecisive nature! The Triad rocked the TT, the RC7 cranked up the hills and the CarbonXC flew through the dirt. The SRAM parts and Zipp wheels only made the bikes that much better too!

PowerBar, thanks for the all the nutrition and hydration to get me through the short, the long and the hard races. My favourite, the Strawberry Banana Caffeine gel got me through the low spots.

2XU, the wetsuit was fast and the race suit faster. I had the flexibility in the shoulders I needed and in the choice of race suits for any length of race.

Base Performance Nutrition, again, without proper hydration I can’t achieve what my body is capable of. Base water and electrolyte salts rule.

Oakley, thanks for my Canada coloured Radars for racing and training that look great and work better.

Most recently, SpeedFil for the new aero hydration system that worked awesome in Clearwater where I almost never had to get out of my aero position and stayed well hydrated.

And of course my local Victoria supporters Frontrunners, Riders Cycle, Rob Hasegawa, Gibson Brown, Kim Ward, Bill Fry (Pro City).

Lastly my family and friends for all the support and patience and finally my Coach of 12 years Lance Watson of LifeSport.

Last Race Clearwater 70.3 Worlds

After a very full season and a lot of new racing for me I was excited to do my final race of the season here in Clearwater. I had a lot of confidence coming out of my race at Xterra worlds and was rested and mentally fired up to race hard.

Being my first time doing a WTC non drafting 70.3 world championship I approached the race in a conservative way and looking to see how things would pan out. I had a solid swim considering the lack of swimming I have done over the last month or so. The large blocks of swimming earlier in the year for the world cup schedule has seemed to hold over very well. I exited in 5th and quickly moved through transition and headed out onto the bike with the main front group.

Through the first 15km of the bike I felt like I was doing a world cup again, the difference being we were all slightly spaced out but there must have been a line of 30 men in a row trying to stay 10m apart. Guys were continually moving and shuffling up and down the line. The pace would go up and down and I focused each time on not being rushed into bridging gaps but gradually accelerating. This large group stayed together for the first 30km or so and then a few started to pop off the back. I felt really strong and controlled and over the next 20km the group started to break up and it was at this point that I made a move to pass four guys to stay in touch with the front group.

It was here I learned the finer details of the WTC rules. As I got to the front of the group on the left side in the passing lane the last guy decided to put a serge in and not allow me to pass at the same pace. I pushed hard for a while but didn’t want to have to complete the pass by getting out of my saddle to sprint by. I then decided to move back into the legal draft zone 10m back. It was here that the motorbike pulled up and flashed a red card and gave me a 4min penalty to be served in transition before the run. I didn’t complete the pass so I think it is either considered blocking or not completing a pass and had I known I would have gotten a penalty I would have sprinted finish the pass I guess. Oh well, live and learn. While I was being given the penalty and number taken the gap ahead only widened more and once I refocused it was too hard to make up the gap. So I continued to ride well and came into the transition with a group of 5 or 6 about 2 minutes down.

I then stood in transition for 4min anxiously waiting to put my run shoes on and get going on the run and see how many spots up from 18th I could go. I had felt great running all week so I went out with confidence and hoping to bring back the field over the second lap of two.

The first 5km I concentrated on rhythm and being relaxed as I couldn’t see anyone ahead and Peter Robertson and Simon Thompson were both just behind me. At 5km in there was a turnaround that I was first able to see who I could reel in. The field was spaced out so I began picking them off. I tried to put in as many 5:20 miles as I could to move up and at halfway was in 13th. I continued to put in consistent miles and with 2km to go I had run somewhere into the top ten and there was one more spot up the road. I dug deep and counted off 50 strides on each foot till I caught the last guy in sight at 1km to go and I put my finishing serge in.

Coming across the finish line I was exhausted and hot but I had moved up to 8th from 18th and averaged 5:26 miles for the second fastest half marathon at 1:11.36. Had I not had the penalty I would have run onto the podium like Andreas Raelart from my bike group. And if I had been able to bridge the gap the front group I would have had challenged for the win.

Looking to next year I now know I have the ability to race for the win! And know the rules that much better!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Xterra World Championships Maui

After a good block of training, some rest and four mountain bike rides I was headed to Maui for my first Xterra in two years. Due to National Team and Olympic qualifying I have had to take a miss on all the Xterra fun over the last two years. So I had hung my bike up and said I wouldn't ride till after the Olympics.

So I dusted it off and madly tried to get my mountain skills back by riding with fellow Blue Comp Bikes ride Danial Sessford. He is a top Canada Cup circuit rider and he smacked me around for a ride to sharpen me up.

I went to Maui a week early to "get used to the heat" and also hang out with my awesome friend Aaron who lives there and always has a room for me. You rock Aaron!

I felt good and rested and hoped that the little mountain biking I had done was going to be enough and hopefully I could keep my skin from being shredded on the lava rock.

Again, good swim, fastest swim actually but then I had one of the slower transitions (yes I know, I am usually fast) as I am rusty at the whole mtn shoes, camel back, gloves etc etc. I got out onto the road in 5th or 6th and held that for a while, passed a couple and got passed and headed onto the main part in 6th with a group of 5 storming ahead. I then worked my way through the bike but lacking some fire, aggression, something and that something comes from riding my mtn bike lots and racing Xterra's. So as it turns out the 4 rides weren't enough but I did what I could and came off the bike in 10th almost 5min's down from 3rd.

I know I consistently have the fastest runs in Xterra but 5min would have seemed to be a lot to overcome. Thankfully though, Aaron didn't tell me I was 5min down from 3rd, he told me a mere 3min. So I thought to myself as he yelled this to me, "hmm, 3min, that is doable, maybe...well...lets see what we can do." So off I went on hunting as many guys down as possible.

I quickly picked off 2007 World Champ Conrad Stoltz (unfortunately he had a flat near the end of the ride) and then picked up another spot shortly after that. So 2km or so in I was in 8th and feeling strong. I was then in no mans land for a while but as I crested the main climb and started the decent I could see heads popping up out of the lava and grass down the trail. I am wicked good at running downhill on technical terrain and this includes large piles of lava rock and loose gravel and grass. So I ran full tilt downhill skidding through corners and picked off two more and hit the beginning of the last 2mile beach section in 5th place.

It was at this point that Aaron again gave some splits and heading onto the beach I was still 1:30 down on 3rd and 30 down on 4th.

I ran straight for the water and ran just in the shallow water where the sand is the hardest and within the 800m of beach I had pulled in 4th and couldn't quite see 3rd. We then run through a twisty sandy forest section before popping back out onto the final 600m beach section. It was when I came to the beach that I could see 3rd and I put my head down and stormed forward. It took me the whole 600m to catch but then there was another narrow technical trail section to go before the finish line. I passed without a glance and then put the hammer down skimming the tops of the boulders and opening a 40sec gap in the final 800m to finish 3rd.

I had the fastest swim and the fastest run by over 2 1/2 minutes.

I was stoked with this performance considering the lack of specific training and I look forward to having a go at the win in 2009

Dallas Open Tri

After smashing myself good in Muskoka I needed some time to recover and do some training. However, it was only three weeks till Dallas and then only three more weeks till Xterra World Champs and Clearwater.

So coach Lance Waston and I decided that Xterra Worlds Oct 26 and Clearwater 70.3 Worlds Nov 8 were the key races and training for these was the priority. This meant I took time to recover from Muskoka but I then needed to train through Dallas, the series finale of the Lifetime Fitness series. This was hard both physically but also mentally knowing that the 150 some odd thousand dollars at the race would be not as attainable. Regardless I went into it tired and not super excited to race.

A good talking to from Lance Saturday night and I snapped out of my funk and promised I would wake up Sunday with an attacking attitude. This I did and I had a solid race again.

Out of the water at the front of the main group (Andy Potts and Courtney Atkinson up the rode 30sec) and held that for most of the bike. A gap opened up and a group formed of about 8 guys 1min or so up the rode. I tried to bridge it when Stuart Hayes came around to go but I could only go for so long and then my legs fatigued. I came into transition in 9th and again had work to do on the run.

I built into the run and by the turn around halfway I had moved into 6th. It was at this point that I realized we had just run slightly uphill the whole 5km. I had then wished I ran out a little harder as I was gaining on Courtney in 5th but ran out of terrain and finished 6th again.

I was happy with how hard I dug and the effort I put out considering the volume of training I had done going into the race.

Muskoka 70.3

I will keep this one short as it is a long race.

The day was wet, the course was very hilly but the air was warm.

The swim was fast in parts but comfortable but I couldn't catch Simon Lessings feet in the water but I out ran him to transition and got on the bike first.

I road at the front for the first really hilly technical part and was then joined by Lessing and Craig Alexander "again" and we challenged each other for the lead the rest of the way.

At the end of the bike there was a group of five of us off the bike onto the run.

I ran with Craig for a while again but hurt right from the start. I held 3:30km's for 7km and then the wheels came off.

I then struggled from one aid station to the next over the hilly unrelenting course and took a potty break (first time for everything I guess) at about 12km. I limped in slowing my average km pace down from 3:30's to 4min's for the 21km's and finished in 6th.

I did not enjoy this run one bit and have sworn not to be under trained for another 70.3 again. I achieved the mission which was to get a Clearwater 70.3 Worlds spot but I was unhappy with my performance.

LA Triathlon

With this being the fourth Lifetime race I was getting familiar with how the races play out but I was also getting a little detrained after 5 races in 10 weeks. Not able to do much interval work in between races I was losing intensity. I was also trying to build some base as I was doing Muskoka 70.3 the week following. Needless to say I was a little lacking in LA.

I was having a good swim but then got popped off the front group of 5 guys around the last turn. However, my years of playing in the waves in Australia paid off as I caught a wave and washed up just on the heals of Andy Potts and not quite close enough that I could give him a run for the Swim Prime. Oh well, next year. It was onto the bike in a good position but slowly faded from the front to 4th with Stuart Hayes right on my butt. We headed out onto the run close and he put a big surge in and gained a small gap and then held it to the finish so I came across in 5th.

An average day but not a bad day. It was all good though as I had an awesome homestay with Audra and we went for "the best burgers in LA" and a beer afterward. We also went to the ball park and picked up the last few innings of the Dodgers game.

Chicago Triathlon

Following Kelowna was the third Lifetime Fitness series race and I had figured out the whole non drafting TT biking thing a bit more by then. I had a solid swim bike getting off behind the leaders by a minute or so in 6th or 7th and set to work running them down. I worked my way up until I passed Matt Reed and was in 3rd behind eventual winner Stuart Hayes and Greg Bennett in 2nd. This was a good confidence booster and it was off to LA triathlon two weeks later for the 4th Lifetime Fitness series race.

Kelowna National Championships

After returning from Charlotte I headed off to Kelowna for Nationals the same weekend as the Olympic triathlon. This was a bit hard knowing I wanted to be racing elsewhere and where I was racing there were the top guys missing. Regardless I put my mind to having a strong race and pushing my fitness up for the rest of the races in the season.

Again, good swim, out in the front with a small group of three but main pack caught after 4 of 7 laps. Then it was a run race and I was feeling good about my run. I took it out hard and opened a gap and had 1min by 5km and then settled in to a comfortable pace and came across the finish line with a 1:30min lead and the National Championship.

Photo shoot and Wind Tunnel testing with Blue

I was really impressed with how Blue so early in our partnership wanted to get me into the tunnel so I could improve my position from what I rode in Nfld. We also did some photos for the 2009 Catalog and current and upcoming ads (Upside Down ad in Nov Triathlete). So I headed to Charlotte North Carolina for a quick visit in the Nascar Nation tunnel. Oh, I also ate a nice southern pulled pork meal while there.

Corner Brook 70.3

I recovered fairly quickly after going to the hospital in New York (thank goodness for personal health insurance) with 3L of IV solution and then I it was off to Corner Brook Nfld. the next day. Corner Brook was my first crack at a 70.3 Half Ironman and I was excited and fit but a little behind the ball having not done any long rides on a TT bike. I received my new TT prototype bike from my new sponsor Blue Competition Cycles in New York so I could ride it in Nfld. I was very impressed as we had just finalized our partnership two weeks earlier. So with great bike under me I headed to a new game.

I had a great swim and was onto the bike first with one other athlete with over a 1min lead. I road strong but conservative until Craig Alexander caught up and he and I then pushed the pace at the front to open a 2min lead off the bike. My back got really tight and I had to keep standing and stretching and shifting around but I made to the end. I ran well for 10km toe to toe with Craig feeling comfortable but my knee hurting the whole time. With plenty more races to go in the season I decided to pull out after the first lap (10.5km) in second and save myself a long recovery. It was hard to do but I think it was the right decision as I recovered after 3 weeks.

Sorry For Not Blogging

So umm, yeah, not so good at the blogging when I am busy on the road traveling lots. However, I have a new Mini laptop and this will follow me everywhere now and hopefully I will be more likely to blog. We'll see I guess.

Anyways, this is what I have been up to since July 17th blog:

I traveled from Minneapolis to New York for the 2nd race of the Lifetime series and my second time riding a TT bike. I got the hang of it and had a really strong ride, got off onto the run in second and ran really strong till about 20m to go where I collapsed and passed out for about 3-4min before regaining consciousness and crawled to the finish line in 5th losing my 2nd place. I was upset that my body shut down so close to the finish and I couldn't hold my 2nd place after all the effort. It was a combination of swallowing a fair amount of salt water from the dirty Hudson river and then not being able to absorb any fuel or liquid on a very hot and humid day.

Pre Flop with third (Stuart Hayes) just in the background.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NYC Triathlon

With being such a dramatic finish to the NYC Tri I ended up peaking a lot of peoples interest. This included prime time TV show Inside Edition who wanted an interview about my dramatic finish. They did a feature story on the 2nd of September. Here is the archive of the show:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The In Between

When racing consecutive weekends in a row on the road, (3 this time) there is always the week in between races that needs to be filled. This can be expensive and tedious as you stay in a hotel by yourself twiddling your thumbs.

However, sometimes you get lucky and your friends Nate and Sara have family in the city and a cabin just South. After talking to Nate in Des Moines about my racing the Lifetime race he generously offered his parents house for me to stay in Minneapolis. After checking with his Mom it was actually ok for me to stay with them but that they were going to be going down to there lake side cabin afte the race...oh darn! So it was off to the cabin with Nate after the race to hang out with his huge extended family till Monday. We raced early Saturday morning so we arrived midday which is a great thing about these races, you finish at 9am. Early start but you have the whole rest of the day.

I had a great time hanging out with all his brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends over the weekend and chilling on the pontoon boat in the evenings. They are a great family and a lot of fun. I learned a new game called Polish Golf aka "Testi Toss," a foot long piece of rope with two golf balls at each end that you toss and try to get to hang from a three rung rack. Good fun, especially when the international team (Myself and a Venezuelan inlaw) beat the local team (Nates brother and cousin), but not without a lot of trash talk.

It wasn't all play and no work though. After lazing around Sunday morning I went out for a 3hr ride to flush out the legs and get some more time in the TT position (another alteration made on the ride). Then Monday morning Nate and I went for a 75min base run with some drills at the end and followed by a 40min open water swim.

After a great weekend at the cabin Nates Mom Cheryl and I dropped Nate and Sara off at the airport and then we returned to their house just North of Minneapolis. The last few days here have been great hanging out with Cheryl in the evenings and taking my time to train during the day. I have been enjoying the local Minnesota coffee shop "Caribou Coffee" before hitting the Lifetime Fitness gym for my swim in the 25m pool (usually gym pools are yards but I got lucky that this one is meters).

The organizers of the Lifetime Race are great and really treated us like professionals. The hotel was covered for three nights, the race meeting was quick and had drinks, the pro carbo party was classy and tasty and they have provided the gym facilities for training before and after the race. I have enjoyed my time here and will definately be back next year.

I am off to New York on Friday at 1pm. Having never been to NY I am looking forward to this trip. It is short as it is so expensive to stay there but I will fill the three days I am there with checking out the city. Should be fun!

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon

This past weekend I did my first US non drafting triathlon. It has been a very long time since I have done a non drafting race and this was also going to be the first on a Time Trial bike.

Having not done any of this racing before I had to borrow a TT bike from my Doctor (Thanks Dr Keeler), disc wheel from my chiropractor (Thanks Hasegawa) and go and buy an aero helmet and water bottles. I kind of enjoyed geeking out trying to get as aero as possible, being a bike mechanic it was kind of fun. I look forward to having my own TT bike and getting really nerdy!

I was only able to ride the TT bike once adjusted to be similar to my world cup position for a total of 6hrs prior to the race. Needless to say I was sure how my body was going to feel about it.

The Lifetime race is a big money race with over $200,000 in prize money and part of a five race series. I am thinking about doing the series but wanted to see how I faired at my first one.

The swim was quite cruisy as there were only 20 men on the startline so after a short burst at the start I settled quickly onto Simon's feet where I proceeded to tap his feet as much as I could to annoy him! Ha ha, just kidding, I tried to avoid it but we were swimming into a chop and Hunter Kemper wasn't just tapping my feet he was pounding them. So I eventually let Hunter by so he could pound on Simon's feet for the rest of the swim. There was no need to panic and push the swim as we would all exit together and start the bike as a group in stagger position. (Insert "Non Drafting Rules" here) quoted from Simon's blog:

the stagger group - at USAT non drafting events the rules call for a stagger rule. Basically riders must stagger themselves outside a 2meter wide by 10meter long "box", left and right you can never line your draft box up with the rider in front. In highly competitive races this always ends up causing some bickering and controversy as so many of us swim and ride about the same speed and have trouble separating. A "staggered pack" forms with the athletes jockeying for position in an attempt to stay out of the draft.

We all try to stay out of the zones as best as possible and with the top "draft marshals" in the country there to supervise everyone does a pretty good job. Regardless of the stagger rule though, it is a little easier to be back in the group then right at the front. However, once you break from the group and are riding solo you can ride a more consistent pace and take better lines through corners as you are not having to worry about overlapping a draft box.

I felt comfortable on the bike and was chuckling to myself at times as I was weaving all over the road in order to stay out of the drafting zones. It wasn't until the final 10km when I moved to the front to try and draw back Andy Potts, Simon, Paul Tichelaar, and Greg Bennet that the intensity increased. I was joined by Craig Alexander and Matt Reed in this attempt to bring them back and we all entered transition closely and with the leaders just up ahead.

I ran hard out of transition but on the conservative side as I wanted to run the whole 10km strong and I wasn't sure how this whole non drafting racing would go. I felt strong going through the end of the first 5km lap and began to build my pace as I was running in 7th with Paul starting to fade ahead of me. I put a surge in at a water station about 7km in and caught and then passed Paul. I wanted it to stick so I continued the surge for about 3min but found myself feeling strong at this pace and continued with it. I was then starting to reel in Matt Reed in 5th but I ran out of territory and sprinted to within 2sec of him for 6th place.

I was really happy with my performance considering my back getting tight over the last 10km of the bike and racing the whole thing a bit conservatively. With one under my belt now I head to New York with a better understanding of what I am capable of and ready to push my limits now. I have also continued to alter my fit on my bike to a more TT position which will release some stress on my back.

I am looking forward to having a go at New York. It will be a smaller group of men out of the water and the bike course will allow for more seperation. So it should be a fun TT race!

So Now What??

As a result of not qualifying for Beijing I needed to think long and hard and discuss with my coach where I was headed for the rest of the season. With no obligations from Triathlon Canada to fill other then racing at National Champs in Kelowna I could choose what I wanted to do. This was a freeing but daunting task as there are so many races out there I want to do. I still also need to maintain world rankings for carding and national team so there will be some more world cups this season still.

Lance Watson and I sat down and looked at my strengths as a triathlete and some of the other formats of racing out there. I have raced Xterra in the past and been successful but most of those were done now. So it was then onto the non dragting US races and 70.3's. Both suit my ability to ride hard and then run well off of it due to my bike strength. With the speed and power we have been training for worlds it made sense for me to do the Olympic Distance non drafting races in the US to start and then look at 70.3.

So the plan for the next little bit looks like this:

July 12 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon (Olympic Distance Non Drafting)
July 20 New York Triathon (Olympic Distance Non Drafting)
July 27 Corner Brook Nfld 70.3
August 17 Kelowna National Championships
August 24 Chicago Triathlon (Olympic Distance Non Drafting)
September 7 LA Triathlon (Olympic Distance Non Drafting)

Up Next

After recovering from worlds and doing a trip to Toronto to do a media tour and event for the Reactine Allergy medication I was off to Des Moines, Ioah for the biggest prizemony race in Triathlon.

The goal here was to take the fitness and prep from worlds and put down another good performance and hopefully pick up some cash. The original course had been flooded and moved to a new area which was potentially not able to have a swim as the lake was not clean enough. Over the week prior to the event though the water levels went down and the lake was deemed safe to swim in. So a Triathlon was on!

I again had a another good swim exiting at the front of the main group with only five guys in a group 30 seconds ahead. We quickly reeled the group in and then it was another pack of 30 guys riding together for 40km. There were a couple of attacks but nothing substantial and I again got into transition at the fron but then a shoe strap snapping slowed my exit but I was still in the middle of the group.

The temperature was quite high and having not raced in the heat yet this year I took a conservative approach the run. I also had a gut full of drink that was too sweet and salty to absorb sloshing around. It wasn't until about 3km into the run after taking lots of water that my stomach emptied a bit and I paired up with Hendrik Devilliers of S.Africa to start pulling the guys ahead in. We swapped off the lead and we quickly moved by guys over the next 5km till we were in 13th and 14th. Hendrik put a hard surge in with 1.5km to go and I was risking blowing in the heat trying to go with him so I let the gap open slowly and by doing so I moved up one more position to finish 12th and pick up a nice pay cheque.

Let's Review

After having a break and taking some time after World Championships to make new racing plans I will begin to slowly bring you up to speed on what I am doing now.

I will start with a brief rundown of how the Vancouver World Championships went. I had prepared for this very well, this included a reconisence trip ten days prior to the event with coach Lance Watson to train on the course and do some visualizing. It also included riding the wrong way up Thurlow at 6:30 in the morning dodging traffic and riding on the sidewalk. It was all neccesary to get the visualization and the feeling of that steep climb memorized. (Says coach who stopped at bottom and watched me...well he did it a couple of times before it got busier...or maybe he got tired...chicken or the egg???) I digress. I was well prepared and focused heading into worlds. The key for worlds was to have fun racing in my hometown and all my friends and family with the idea that all I can do is race as hard as I can. Nothing more nothing less.

It was going to be extremely hard for me to qualify for the Beijing team outright due to me missing a top 8 performance at a world cup race because of my broken wrist and food poisoning (see below posts). So I can't expect my body to do miraculous things, only what it is capable of.

I was confident in my training over the weeks prior to worlds having done some really strong sessions swimming, biking and running. The one thing missing was a solid race this season to get my top form going. Regardless, I was fit and ready to race hard and show my fitness.

I had a really solid swim exiting the water in the top ten and then getting onto the bike in the top five. Just where you need to be to position yourself for the rest of the race. The rest of the bike I felt strong riding in the top ten of the group shutting down or going with any breaks that looked like they would develop. I felt comfortable and then focused on positioning myself for T2 and being out on the run quickly. I managed this quite easily and again was in the top five onto the run to position myself as best possible. I ran with the lead group to the first turnaround and then once heading back towards transition a serge at the front of the group put the pressure on and I didn't have the leg turnover on the downhill to keep the pace. I held strong and only let a small gap form. I then held this gap for the rest of the race picking off the runners that fell off the group. I ran really strong and as hard as I could but there was a level there I knew I had but just couldn't reach on the day. So I finished strongly and thought I had put away the Frenchman going down the finish shoot but he surprised me and just outkicked me so I finished 17th by less then a second.

All in all I had a solid race being at the front swim and bike and then strong run. Another goal I had for the day was to smile at least once while racing and I managed this a couple of times. It was a great event and it was awesome to have all my friends and family there.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hip Hop Violin - Paul Dateh and inka one

And for the hip hop crowd! I like the DJ Champion at the end.

Violin dude

Who said the Violin wasn't cool. These are wicked!

Tuning up and killing time!

Yesterday I made the long trip over from Victoria to Vancouver (no planes, trains and .... just a car ride and a boat) nice to not have to put the bike in a box for once. I came over on the 11am ferry so arrived at the hotel by 1:30 which was right at the race site where TriCanada nicely booked all the elite team in their own full suite for the next three days, Cheers TriCan! I then had a fun 2XU photo shoot by the beach at English bay with Paul and Kyle where I think we got more stupid photos then usable, sorry Dave! Hopefully there will be one.

Next it was off to the race briefing which the ITU has thankfully become efficient at (it is the same info at every world cup 16 times a year) and I was done all my planned activities by 4:30pm. So I went for a little walk and met up for dinner at the Macaroni Grill on Davie which was in the coolest Heritage house.

After dinner was a quick session with the master chiropractor Rob Hasegawa to get straightened out and talk about strategy for the potential cold weather. Then off to bed.

This morning was a group ride over the bike course with the race organizers and almost 150 elite athletes and then a little tempo session for me on the trainer in the room. I then did a little 7min tempo run out the hotel doors and onto the run course and cooled down with a short jog and some running drills. Then it was off to the Canadian Elite team meeting at 9am and now I sit here writing this.

I have a meeting with the Coach Lance Watson at 1pm and a swim on the course at 2pm. I will likely fit a few coffee hang out sessions in there too, plus killing some time on the computer checking out the Youtube video's such as this one. Who said Violin wasn't cool! Thanks for the entertainment Annabel.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Here is a photo from my first day of speed work on the track. What a great way to start, 3x800 then 6x400 in the poring rain! Oh well, it was cold but I still ran well all by myself, well, I had three coaches there!

The HAY is in the barn!

I have had my head down training and focusing on my final prep for World Championships and Olympic Qualification for four weeks now, and the Hay is in the barn. All the work is done and I am just absorbing it and resting. I have a few tune up and sharpening workouts in the next couple of days and that is it. My focus now is lots of sleep, eating well and taking care of my muscles. Come Sunday all I need to do is light the match!

After doing my first three run speed interval workouts over the last month I have really found my high end strength and threshold. Up until now I have just been racing and relying on some 3x3km run sets I had done through March. So with the consistent swimming, intervals on the bike and the 1k track repeats for the run, I am feeling the strongest I have ever been. I feel prepared and excited to race this weekend in Vancouver with all my friends and family being there.

Thank you to everyone for the support over this very trying and difficult season but everything is healed up and my mind and body is ready to put down a complete race for once!

Monday, May 5, 2008

South Africa World Cup

After arriving Tuesday midday into Richards Bay I was so exhausted that I managed to have a full nights sleep even with the stomach ache and diarreah. I hoped I would awake feeling better and the food poisoning having passed. I did feel a little better Wednesday morning and was able to have small meals throughout the day. I also managed a 2km ez swim and a 1hour ride with Lauren, Kyle and other international athletes Marco Albert and Dirk Bockel. Although, at times I felt very tired just keeping up on the ez ride. I had a reasonable dinner but my stomach would fill up fast and begin to gurgle shortly after the meal. I then spent the rest of Wednesday evening and all that night between bed and the toilet. I was not obviously rid of whatever was in my gut. Thursday turned out to be a struggle having not slept more then a couple hours at a time and having not digested any of the food I ate the day prior as it just washed through me. After doing a 25min ez run in which I struggled at one point to run up a hill back home; needless to say I was concerned about the race in three days.

After plying myself with immodium and urgently trying to replace my electrolytes I was a little more coherent on Friday and managed another swim and ez bike and had a few smaller simple meals. Saturday was significantly better then the days prior and I had hope that I would be feeling capable of racing at full strength. My tuneup workouts on Saturday went relatively smoothly for the first efforts since racing a week earlier.

Sunday morning I awoke with confidence that I would be able to race hard and achieve the Top 8 pre qualifying standard that I needed. My body was a little stiff from the tune up workouts on Saturday but I wasn't bothered by that, I still felt strong.

The swim start was rough as usual at the first turn and I had the opportunity to look around as the bunch came to a complete stop as we fought around the can. I noticed I wasn't at the back but I wasn't as close to the front as I wanted. So I put my head down for the remainder of the lap to move up inch by inch and new I had to put in a strong second lap. I launched myself back into the water after the beach turnaround and continued to work my way up through the pack. I exited the water 10sec or so back from the lead swimmer and by the run to transition I was right near the front. I got on my bike and pushed hard for the first 500m to easily bridge to the front riders and then just positioned myself for the rest of the ride. It was another uneventfull group ride with the odd attack and only Matt Reed and Brian Fleischman of the US getting up the road 30sec heading into T2.

Having been near the front into T2 in Korea and still having to sprint I made sure I was the front of the group this week. I exited transition second from our pack and pushed the pace with him until were joined by a group of four others. We set a good pace drawing the leader Matt Reed into 10sec up from us and then held that distance. There were a few surges but I felt strong and in control. At about the 3-4km mark I actually felt the pace become comfortable as I relaxed a little. However, after covering a few more surges through the 5km mark I began to hurt but I normally have a strong second 5km so I was confident I could hold it together. Unfortunatley this confidence quickly dissapated as withing the next km my heart rate would dramatically increase and never return to normal. I was able to hold a reasonable pace for the third lap but my energy was completely draining from me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was runing all out at max heart rate but I was not running fast. I pushed right to the end to where I collapsed in a very dissapointing 18th place. I am a far fitter and stronger athlete then this performance and all of my performances this year but I was just left with no energy after suffering through the week on little nutrition, almost no training and lots of depletion.

It is so frustrating to have seen my pre qualifying opportunities this year first fall away after my crash at Mooloolaba, and then go down the toilet (literally) this week in in Richards Bay. This has put me in a very difficult position for Olympic Qualification but I hope to find a way around these troubles and still get done what I need to.

Thanks for reading and one of these days I will not have write about my battles through adversity and just tell you about the awesome performance I am capable of.

I CAN be on the podium!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh Dear!

I am in S Africa now after a very long hard trip. It took a horrible turn for the worse after we spent the day in Hong Kong with friends Dad. We had fun seeing Hong Kong (Lauren Kyle and I) but i got really tired by the end and then started to feel an upset stomach coming on. Once we got to the airport to check in, S African Airlines wouldn't let Kyle fly as he didn't have a whole page available in his passport for SA customs. So we took his box and the 3hrs early that we got there completely evaporated and we had to race to our gate, no lounge time other then some Asian food I felt disgusted eating. Closer to our flight at midnight things got even worse as I couldn't eat a thing and my stomach was killing me. Then shortly after taking off it was clear I had food poisoning likely from the Korean food we at at the airport the night before. I then spent the next 7hrs of the 13.5hr flight in the bathroom for stints up to 15mins. Everyone was asleep so at least there weren't people banging on the door. I basically threw up everything I had eaten during that day the first couple of times to the bathroom. I was then just getting dehyrated out the other end in between being curled up in agony in my seat. The frequency settled about 7hrs in to the flight to where it was once an hour or a little less so I caught a little bit of sleep after taking lots of Pepto.

I struggled through the rest of the very long journey here to Richards Bay which was a 1hr flight from Johburg to Durban and then a 2hr bus ride. I am now contending with a fever and I am beyond the point of tiredness.

Hopefully I will feel a little better tomorrow.

PS. A bit more on Korea but I am too tired to write more:
Korea was cold and a boring pack ride where no one worked and then I just didn't have the speed for the start of the run. I came good about 4-5km in and flet strong the rest of the way. I am hoping the shock of the run start is now settled into my legs and I am better prepared for this weekend.

Things will hopefully turn around in the next day or two.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back at it!

Well, after consulting and being treated by the Medical team at home: Doctor, Steve Keeler; Orthopedic Surgeon, Charles Nelson (who consulted a plastic surgeon); Chiro, Rob Hasegawa; Massage Kim Ward and Gibson Brown and having a CT Scan two days after arriving it was still clear I had a fractured scaphoid and torn intercostals in my chest. However, Charles and plastic surgeon both said I was at low risk of doing more damage to my wrist ie displacing bone fragment by training and racing. They had me go get a custom removeable cast to wear while I wasn't training and then I would just tape my wrist for swimming and cycling.

With this good news in hand, I then had the difficult task of booking new flights to the next two world cups in South Korea and South Africa.

.........more to this story once I arrive in Hong Kong.......................

PS I already raced S Korea, had a solid race but still not at my level but came 16th.

More on that later.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Not so bad considering...

The second attempt at my first world cup of the season went a little better then the first...I made it to the finish:-)  However, after a week of trying to get my wounds and such healed, I wasn't sure how the race fitness was going to be.  With not being able to train properly and having already taken a week recovery for Mooloolaba more rest may make me less sharp.  I just had to got out and see what would happen.

With my ribs still quite sore and my wrist possibly fractured I decided to have a go at getting my top 8 that I need as a part of my Olympic qualifying anyways.  I figured,I might have a fracture and may not be able to race after so I might as well suck up the pain and have a go.  

Thankfully I only got kicked twice in then hand while swimming (only small tears filling up my goggles, so I could still mostly see) and I exited the water in the thick of the main group just behind the lead group of 7-9 athletes.  After struggling to pull off my wetsuit (a few more tears) I leaped onto my bike (one more tear) and proceeded to work with a small group of guys in a bunch of 30 or so to reel in the leaders within a couple of laps.  A few attacks were launched but it wasn't until a group of 8 got a away that I thought "this one might stick and I should be a part of it."  So myself, Paul Tichelaar, Andrew Johns, Maik Petzold and a couple others worked for just over a lap to seperate from the main group and bridge across to the breakaway.  I could have sat in the main group and rested for the run but with all that I had gone through with my crash I was unsure of how my legs would perform on the run and decided the break was a good option.  

After building or lead to about a minute heading into transition I wanted to hit the run hard and at the front and hope the body was there to finish strong.  I worked hard to get there but within a km of so it became apparent that the crash had taken its toll on me.  I had struggled through the swim but put everything out there to position myself as best I could.  Once on the bike my legs were heavy and I felt like I never got comfortable and with my back seizing and quad going numb it was very apparent the body was struggling.  In the run this tightness in my back and quad lingered and I couldn't feel the run that I had been experiencing in training prior to my crash.  I stayed positive and encouraged myself to keep my head up and the legs turning over.  With our third country slot for Olympics resting on my personal ranking every position was important regardless of how I was feeling.  I had moments of fluid running throughout the 10k but not enough to put a whole solid run together.  I finished with all the strength I had and was happy to have gotten through the race.  I still managed an 18th place and actually moved our country ranking up to 5th out of 8 with three spots.

With the race completed and my muscles sore, wrist and ribs throbbing, I had to look forward to my xrays Monday morning that would possibly dictate the rest of my trip.  

After sneezing Sunday evening and feeling something pop or tear in my upper chest and my wrist more sore then ever my optimism had been deflated.  After a restless night and a painful roll out of bed I walked down to the clinic early Monday morning.  After the lady's at the clinic rushed me through the xray process it was immediately evident I had just raced on a fractured scaphoid and a badly bruised or torn muscle in my chest as there was no fracture of a rib.

With my xray's in hand I then consulted the emergency doctor as well as the Kiwi National team doc John Hellemon.  Both were clear that the best thing was not to Race Again on it next weekend in Ishigaki, Japan and have it plastered and head home.

So with half cast on and a complicated process of changing and canceling of plane tickets I am headed back to Victoria.  Current prognosis is 4-6 weeks in a cast and then rehab after.  I will consult with the medical team back home to look as expedited options and where to go from here.

I will still be running, riding the trainer and being creative in the pool with a waterproof cast.  So all is not lost but only changed.  I am frustrated but not disheartened.  This is just another hurdle in my career as an athlete and an opportunity to meet the challenge and rise to the occasion.  It will make me a stronger athlete and person.

Thanks to all those that continue to support me and I will be back at it in now time!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Race number one! Lets try Again!

I have arrived at another night before the race and again I am feeling “good” and “ready to race.” I put these in quotes because my fitness and preparedness is good and ready to race however my body is still recovering from a fairly traumatic crash.

Three days after crashing at the Mooloolaba world cup I was still finding new bruises, sore spots and road rash. I found that I had a bruised rib after trying to do tumble turns in the pool once arriving into New Plymouth, New Zealand. I found a little more road rash on the back of my knee and hip as well as a deep bruise on the top of my hipbone and shoulder blade.

With this all tallied up and accounted for my road rash has significantly improved, some even completely healed. A thanks goes to my friend Rodeena at the Noosa Hospital for checking my wounds and supplying what is now the best thing ever for road rash. It is self-adhesive breathable protecting gauze that you leave on up to 7 days and the skin repairs itself underneath. It rocks!

My bruises and tightness have settled after a massage on Friday morning with some Arnica to help the tissues repair. Having not done a 40km bike and 10km hard run last week I don’t have the damage from racing to recover from…just crashing at 45km/hr.

I have been receiving mixed reviews on my sprained/fractured wrist and have seen the Kiwi National team doctor for a third review. He believes it could be a fracture of a scaphoid as my sore wrist and swelling has improved but the small area at the base of the thumb (some thing some thing snuff box, can’t remember) is still very tender and hasn’t improved. The Kiwi doc seems to think I can race as long as I don’t do anything more traumatic to it…please don’t kick me in the hand fellas! So I will be going for an X-ray on Monday morning before I leave to Ishigaki, Japan on Wednesday morning. If it is fractured, I may have to give the next two races a miss in order to get my wrist plastered and fixed for World Champs.

Other then these small details, I can swim hard with only some achy ness in my wrist and riding is fine as long as I don’t sprint out of the saddle…No Problem…there’s only a few hills on the course so I can suck it up for those. And running of course I feel great and look forward to finally putting down a good run off the bike to start the season.

Here’s to a second attempt and race number one!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

First World Cup of the year!

For those of you that were watching the live coverage on http://www.triathlon.org./ I am ok.

I haven't crashed in a race in years and yesterday was an unlucky day. I am not exactly sure how it happened but it happened fast. I was in the air and then ended up in the barriers on a tight corner and had someone and their bike slam into my back. I got up, grapped my water bottles and the adrenaline was pumping so all I was thinking about was getting back onto the front pack. However, when I went to jump back on my bike my front wheel snapped off and rolled to the side of the road. Hmmmmmmmmmmm! I guess my bike forks are broken and I can't ride anymore. I later found that I also had a flat tire in the rear.

As for me, I am well covered in road rash on the left side, and well bruised on the right side and my back. I got cleaned up in the med tent and found that I may have a scaphoid fracture but hopefully just a bad sprain. Xrays won't show anything for seven days................uh that would be New Plymouth World Cup race day.......SO....I will wait a few days and if it starts to feel better and swelling goes down then it should be a sprain and I can deal with that. I am still able to run (did a 50min run with 10min tempo after being mended) and will get the bike fixed tomorrow and try swimming lightly. If swimming lighly is possible.........I will let you know.

I will include some carnage photos in the next day or two.

I will be back on the horse in no time and getting my Olympic selection done!

Friday, March 28, 2008

End of TRAINING start of RACING

Well, my three week training camp in Noosa is now over……………which means I get to race tomorrow. It has been a really good intensity training block here in Noosa coming off of Maui’s big base block.

I started off the camp with a fun “Splash and Dash” only three days after getting off the plane. I wasn’t so sure this was a great idea but coach Lance wanted me to go have a good effort. I was prepared for a range of results considering I hadn’t done any speed running for four months and I still felt sluggish from the plane. The race was a 600m swim 3km run twice through. They made it more interesting by making it a Male Female chase where the women got a 3:30min lead for the just over 30min race. So needless to say I had competition from both the men and the women. I got out the water second and quickly caught the larger “swimmer” and proceeded to put my head down to reel in the women. I chased hard and took 1:30min out heading back into the water so I had some work to do. I worked as hard as I could with my legs dragging in the water in the second swim. It wasn’t until 400m to go on the last run that I was within striking distance of the heels of the lead two girls. I started my sprint earlier then I wanted to only to beat Lisa Norden to the line by only 5 seconds. It felt really good to go out and have a hard effort and actually run fast. With this positive effort I was ready for my Noosa training camp.

I quickly got my run legs back as a result of the race and was running faster and stronger then the same time last year. My cycling had been feeling very strong after almost a 1000km in Maui so it only took a couple of Saturday morning Noosa Triathlete shootout rides to get my speed going. With the likes of Andrew Johns, Greg Bennet, Olivier Marceau, Luke Mackenzie and other Ironman athletes and cyclists having a go at these rides, there was no lack of someone going hard. Swimming has been building well with two speed sets, one strength and one threshold open water swim a week I should be good to go. Swimming with the local squad and live in international triathletes lead by legendary coach Maxi was a great change of training routine. Max has always been so accommodating with the triathletes staying longer after his own practices and holding extra workouts just for us. Many thanks go to Max.

With all the training done and a rest week well absorbed I am feeling more than ready to race. After months of training it always feels good to actually put that work to use. I am eager to test my fitness against the other athletes and see what gains I have made since last year.

Here we go! Race number one of the season – Mooloolaba, Australia World Cup March 30, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Epic 7hr Bike Run Workout Photos

So here are some photos from the epic 7hr workout. Look how neat and tidy the group is pre workout. Not the same at the end, sweatier, dirtier from 6:30hrs of road dust and gels carbo drink, rain and all stores of everything depleted. It was not a pretty sight at the end.

I always ride with a helmet as it is so important for safety while training. However I made an exception to my rule as we were on a quiet road climbing in 32'C weather travelling at maximum 18km/hr. We suited up with helmets, gloves and more clothing for the decent down the volcano.

Maui Training

So this year seems to be setting a few records. Earlier in the year I set a record training hours as well as record swim miles. So I guess it would make sense (if you are a twisted pro triathlete) to try and set records in the other disciplines as well. So while at the Maui camp I managed to ride almost 1000km in 12 days and did my longest workout every at 7hrs as well as single longest ride.

The 7hr workout was a longer version of a workout I did a couple of years ago to build bike strength with some transition running. This year the workout was stepped up a couple of hours. The prescribed workout was a 5:30hr ride with the last 2:30hr climbing up Haleakala Volcano with a 30min run off the bike continuing up the volcano further. There was then the option to ride (fair bit of coasting through corners) back down the 32kms to sealevel.

The ride consisted in total, of more than 10,000feet of climbing with about 6000ft all in the last 2:30hrs of riding up to 7500ft. On the way down from 7500ft we road through a nice rain storm and some rather chilly weather only to finish at 32 degree celcius at sea level with armwarmers and vest on!

This was a fun workout and my cycling has taken a jump as a result of the last two weeks of high mileage with climbing and timetrialing components.

We also had a really fun ride run transition workout where we road 3:30hrs down past Hana and then finished back at the State Park where the Bamboo forest is. We then ran up to the forest and the huge water fall that feeds the numerous pools all along the trail. Chris Lieto had both his digital video and still cameras so we were able to capture a lot of the fun and some entertainment. I will post the video on youtube for all to enjoy!

There was plenty of open water swimming done including a couple of hard 15x2min all out with 1min rest in the choppy water. I had a couple of fun pool sets of 30x100yds on 1:15,1:10, and 1:05 and another workout longcourse 50m of 1500m pull/paddles descend by 500 for a 17:50 total followed by 15x100 on 1:20 averaging 1:10 and 11's.

My calve injury that I have been struggling with since Pan Am Games in July of last year has finally settled and I was able to build frequency and length of runs to 6 runs and a 1:25hr base run in one week.

So all in all, swimming is strong, cycling is up, and running is back again. This next three week block here in Noosa is now dedicated to strong fast swimming and speed on the run with some anaerobic cycling and power climbing.

My Travel Outline

So this is what an epic World Cup ciruit journey looks like from a travel point of view. Firstly it consists of numerous hours of planning and plotting training and racing plans with coach Lance Watson at Lifesport. That is then followed by roughly twice as much time booking plane tickets with Robb Brockman at Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Kelowna. Thanks the two of you by the way for the numerous dedicated hours.

Once you have a plan for the air travel you then need to make countless changes and alterations to somehow get the ticket to cost less then 10,000 dollars requiring a small loan. Once tweaked and adjusted you arrive at a final itinerary that boggles the mind and only runs up a $5200 credit card charge. Only half the loan needed now :) This is what epic travel looks like:

Next comes the accomodation and ground transportation in each and everyone of the 7 places I am travelling too. Thankfully I have awesome friends and support that make this much easier. Aaron Altura is the man for Maui as I have a special spot on the floor with a mattress pad with my name on it. He then has a car available for Chris Lieto and I to bomb around in and scrub the wheel wells off on the way home from Hana. (another story for another time) He also knows and ends up taking us out to all the best places in Maui to eat and shop. Not so much shopping this time.
Once in Noosa, legend friend Neil Larkin steps up with my bedroom with queen bed and fresh sheets for me to flop down on after 26hrs of travel. In addition to having a room and big screen tv, computer, jumbo fridge he has a resident Massage therapist and school trained chef that also lives with him. Hmmm....would this not be the perfect place to live and train.......yep it is! Oh yeah, he also has a scooter and a truck that I can choose from to use.

So the first parts of my trip (training camps) work out very well and are pretty well set up. The hard part of the job is the training and travelling to the races. Four races in five weekends all across Australasia is a lot of flying and racing in a short amount of time. Once I arrive home it will be for a nice long period of recovery and then building for the next block of races.
I have the best friends that are so helpful and caring! You guys rock!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Season Underway

Although I am still not racing for another month my season has officially started. The reason I consider it started is that when I left Victoria two weeks ago now, I wouldn't be returning until April 28th after doing four world cups and two training camps.

This epic two and half month trip includes the past two week training camp with coach Lance Watson and fellow Lifesport Pro athletes: Chris Lieto, Linsey Corbin and Kim Loefler and my local legendary friend Aaron Altura in Maui.

Next is the three week training camp in Noosa, Australia to prepare for the first World Cup of the season in Mooloolaba, Australia.

Following the Australia camp and Mooloolaba race on March 30th, I head to New Plymouth, New Zealand for WC #2 on April 6th. Then travel to Ishigaki, Japan to race WC #3 and third in a row on April 13th. I then have the luxury a weekend off before completing the epic journey with WC #4 in Tongyeong, South Korea on April 26th.

So the journey has begun and I am feeling fit already and will be eager to race in another three weeks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Winter Riding in Victoria

Winter Riding

Having to train through Victoria’s winter is both a blessing and a curse. Although we are able to train outside all year round because of the more moderate climate, it makes for some miserable training days. I think back on the four hour 4 degree Celsius rides in the pouring rain and wonder if riding inside might have been better. Once I get my sopping wet clothes off, numb hands out of my gloves and slowly begin to thaw out I start to appreciate that I just rode outside in January and didn’t have to worry about –40 Celsius and frostbite or sweating up a storm in the basement while watching other cyclist enjoy the roads during the Tour de France rerun.

However, over the years I have learned how to make these miserable rides a little more bearable. The key is to have the right gear for the right day and layering them properly.

On a particularly gross day (4 degrees, heavy rain and some wind for good measure) I begin by putting on some Sportsbalm medium heat cream. This has a slight warming aspect to it but also acts as a wind barrier directly on your skin. I usually just put it on the parts that get hit by the wind most ie. quads, shins and wrists/forearms. Once I have done this, the base layer goes on. Thin wool cycling socks, thick winter leg warmers, Rider’s Cycles team shorts, Diadora wind block undershirt and a winter beanie that covers the ears. Next goes arm warmers and Rider’s Cycles team jersey or a full zipp long sleeve jersey (full zipp so you can regulate heat as needed under outer layer) and a wind proof shoe cover that will keep initial heat in.

Finally, the most important layer is the proper outer jacket and set of gloves and booties. For this I use the Rider’s Cycles team jacket, as it is the most versatile for any conditions. It is breathable, micro fleece lined, water-resistant and most importantly windproof. The key to staying warm, even when you are soaking wet, is to not allow the wind to flow past your damp clothes and skin. The same goes for your feet and hands so I have a winter fleece lined water resistant booty that fits snuggly over my shoes to block water and wind. For gloves, finding a windproof, waterproof fleece lined glove is the best. I use the axiom winter glove but I have seen others basically wearing ski gloves. Whatever keeps your hands warm will keep you a lot happier. And finally of course, goes on the helmet and the glasses to keep my head safe and the rain and road muck out of my eyes.

On days like these there is nothing that will keep you dry while riding for four hours, so staying warm and wet is your best option. The key to that is breathable warming layers that are windproof.

As for the bike, the best thing you can do to make winter riding more enjoyable is to have it properly prepared for the season. Having a pre winter tune up to make sure nothing breaks down while you are in the pouring rain in the middle of nowhere is a good idea. Installing some front and rear flashing lights, as the days are short and you are often out at dusk when motorists do not easily see you. As for making your riding time more comfortable, the best thing you can do is have a full set of fenders installed. I would suggest having this done by a mechanic so it is done properly, with extensions and without you losing your mind trying to get them not to rub. The rain gets you damp, the water on the road soaks you to the bone.

With all these things added up, you can spend a lot more time riding before you get wet, cold and miserable. It has taking me a while to acquire all these articles so if you are on a budget and looking for the best things to get, I would start with a good quality outer layer and fenders. You can always layer other cycling clothes on under a good outer layer for warmth.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Big Weeks of Training

After having a bit of a recovery week I have the energy again to post up the two weeks that tired me out. I spent the first weeks of January getting back into things and then the last two weeks were some of the biggest hours and mileage in the pool in my career. I hadn't been running due to a nagging calf injury so I was only doing walk runs and smaller aerobic runs or else my hours would have been more which is hard to imagine. I am glad they weren't. I mainly focused on building aerobic riding and swim mileage and strength in the gym. The week of January 21-27 was a reasonable 26hrs of training with 31,000m of swimming. That week was followed by 30hrs of training with 45,000m of swimming a record for me.

I have since recovered I think? And I am starting to run more and will build up the hours and mileage of everything again over the next three weeks.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My coach rocks!

Galloping Goose trail. It was colder then a _ _ _ _ _’s _ _ _ when we started at noon and as we rode out towards Sooke it started to snow then hail and then we were riding in an inch of snow after a half hour of riding. We were on a steady grade and I was pushing a nice easy aerobic base pace for me and I thought coach was doing pretty awesome riding right next too me. We had fun cruising along with the snow crunching beneath our tires while keeping a steady warmth going. At an hour out coach decided we wanted to go for 3hr and push on in the snow another half hour (out and back ride). I was quite impressed with the form he was showing but was wondering if we would get halfway back and I would need to fetch the car and come back to get him. However, this was not the case. Coach rocked it like a superstar and even as I turned up the pressure to keep my aerobic pace going home he was right there. It wasn't until 13km to go that I heard him start counting down the km markers and then at 8km to go he took up draft formation. I figured since he was drafting now I could turn the screws a little more and get to my base pace and as I did he stayed right there. My mud flap on the rear fender had torn off the other day so the mud was a flyin but that didn't deter coach from hanging on that wheel and sticking it out all the way to the end of the 2.45-hour ride. It was a fun refreshing ride and I am again impressed with my coach’s fitness with an every other Sunday ride program. Maybe I should try that :)

SMU Visit Photos

I had a great time talking to the grade 6,7 and8's at SMU today about snack nutrition. Although I see that none of them have met my challenge. I had even more fun doing PE with the grade 7's where we played floor hockey, cricket and indoor soccer. Thanks for the good morning kids and staff. I got to hang out in the staff room after PE and take a look at the snack nutrition of the faculty. Hmmmmm! what do the photos indicate?

Thanks everyone.


Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25th Visit to SMU

I get to go and hang out with all the kids at Saint Michaels University School (SMU), participate in their PE classes and talk about Nutrition.

I have challenged them all after my talk to look up the Glycemic Index and post a good meal for me to eat before I go on my 3hr ride tomorrow. Lets see what they put up for me!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Adopt An Athlete

I have been wanting to somehow get involved with kids in school and encouraging health and fitness and didn't know how to go about doing it. In mid 2007 I found out about a COC program called Adopt an Athlete where a local athlete is paired with a school in their area and and they work together to promote sport, healthy living, team building and community through participation and fund raising. I have since been paired with Saint Michaels University Middle school where I get to interact with almost 250 kids in grades 6 through 8. I am really excited about this opportunity to give back and share my experiences as an athlete and hopefully inspire some children. I have attended one Friday morning assembly this past November where I received my honourary SMU pullover jacket. I will be back at SMU on January 25th to talk about nutrition and let them know what I am up to.

I look forward to seeing you guys on the 25th and coming to your PE class after the assembly :)


After much nagging from friends and family about how my website www.brentmcmahon.com doesn't ever get updated I have done it, I have started a blog. Hopefully I will update more regularly as this is much easier to do then my website. I will still update my website every now and then to keep it as a profile but I will keep my race reports and other uninteresting stuff flowing on here. Thanks for reading.