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 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.