Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hamburg World Champ Series event

After flying out the day after the race Monday, I arrived quickly and rather painlessly (thanks sleeping pills) into the city of one of my favourite races. Hamburg is a large city but is full of history and character and right in the downtown core where the race takes place is amazing.

The course in Hamburg is interesting, challenging and fun. During the swim we go through a tunnel under a bridge three times and the technical eight lap bike weaves through the city streets and around the historic city hall with the whole course lined with fans. By the run, an even louder more condensed amount of fans crowd both sides of the fast 2.5k four lap run course.

There are over 10,000 people competing in the Hamburg triathlon and many many more that come just to watch the event.

All these things combined make for a great venue, course and atmosphere for a World Championship Series triathlon.

I managed to get a lot more sleep the week leading up to the event, and with a copious amount of antihistamines, asthma and sinus medications I started to clear my chest and sinuses. Each workout I did as I got closer to the Saturday afternoon race felt better and my breathing was less constricted. By Saturday afternoon I felt well rested and strong and my chest was more or less clear.
After struggling last weekend with my breathing right at the start of the swim I took this swim out strong but a bit more controlled. I had a good start and was in clear water and on the inside of the first turn. The battling began but I held position and made it around the first four turn buoys. Next was the long 650m stretch with the first tunnel pass. I was still swimming controlled and entered the tunnel in good position. The tunnel is an interesting experience, light going in light at the end but once you are in the middle it is pitch black when you have your head in the water. You also end up getting sucked along as the group goes from wall to wall creating a huge draft. Once through the tunnel, it is a short burst to the ramp to get out and dive back in for another lap of 500m and twice more through the tunnel.

I was right near the front (top 20) the whole way and had a good exit and transition and headed onto the bike in the main group but could see a group of four up the road. I instantly put the petal to the metal and road by a stream of guys to get to the front and start bridging the small gap. With a few turns we pulled the groups together and then the pace was on for the next four laps. With being such a technical bike with lots of corners it is key to stay up near the front to avoid crashes, getting yo yo'd all the time and for me to be in an opportunistic spot should a break away present itself. There were a few attempts and I broke away with one I thought had the right people but the motivation and pace of the main group was very high on the day so it was shortly reeled in. I then stayed near the front and positioned well for the crazy entry to transition over cobbles and two 90 degree turns.

Another solid entry and exit to transition with a small gap to the lead group of runners but I was in with a solid group of runners. I went out hard to hold place in the group but it soon became apparent I was still missing the high end. I haven't spent a lot of time training this zone and my breathing again wasn't 100%. I felt stronger then Edmonton and still managed a solid pace through 2.5k and held my breathing just near the limit. I felt strong and pushed each lap drawing guys in each kilometer. With 2.5k to go I focused on relaxing more and running faster by moving easier. I had a group of three guys just ahead and two singles on either side of them. I caught the first and committed to getting the group by the top of the hill with 1200m to go. I rolled passed them and spun quickly around the 180 to open a gap and get my momentum going down the hill on the way to the next guy. With two sharp turns left before the final 300m stretch I focused on getting the last guy by the first so I could again open a gap by cornering faster and not actually having to run harder leaving more for the final stretch. I managed to get by him and put a gap in and with just 300m to go tried to reel in one more guy but just came up short and finished in 19th spot.

I am more satisfied with this race then Edmonton as it was getting closer to the fitness I have available. I still wish I had been feeling better but all in all it was a solid performance and another good race execution. I know I could have had more general run speed then this and looking ahead I will have more high end with the intensity training block coming.

I am very happy and grateful to be back racing even at this level with time off and a rough past few weeks.

For now, it is back to Victoria for more rest with hopefully the conclusion of this chest and sinus problem, and the next phase of the run intensity program.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Now this is putting the new with the old! Hamburg is a cool city with lots of great old and new architecture as well as the two blended.

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Edmonton World Cup

Coming into the weekend I felt strong and confident in the hard work I had
put in over the last couple of weeks despite fighting a chest and sinus
cold/infection. I had still managed some strong fast sets and put the
mileage and effort in.

With the three races in a row my World Cup start place went from 71 in
Monterrey to 11 here in Edmonton, so the racing was well worth it as start
position in Edmonton is a big advantage. The first turn in the swim is only
160m away and the left side of the start platform is closer. My swimming
has been so strong after working with Ron I new that if I had a strong start
I could stay in good position the rest of the swim. I had a good start and
was in third place in the middle of the two ahead of me. However, this is
where I started to feel that things might not feel so good for the day. In
the previous four races this season I was able to have a good start like
this but then turn the throttle back and stay comfortably in this position
but yesterday I started to breath harder and harder and couldn't settle into
my smooth stroke. I ended up gasping for air as my chest congestion wasn't
allowing me to get full breaths. I had to manage as best I could and back
off a bit and then build back. I did this several times and managed to get
through the swim near the front and with a quick run to transition was in
the front bunch. I then had a horrible transition as a result of not being
able to get my wetsuit over these huge ankle chips they gave us and I lost
the time that I made up in the run and then some. I quickly hopped on the
bike and rode on top of my shoes to bridge up to the group of guys chasing
the front pack. I worked hard up the first hill and closed the gap more and
then finally bridged across during the flat at the top of the hill.

The rest of the bike was pretty cruisy with only one hill per lap and not
having to go too hard at it for the final five laps. On laps two and five
there were primes so the group would accelerate through transition and the
tight corners which were fun but important to stay near the front to avoid
crashes. Similarly as we came in at the end of the bike I stayed near the
front to avoid situations like the one teammate Simon got stuck in with a
guy falling in front of him sending him to the carpet in a heap. Thankfully
Simon hopped right back up but unfortunately he ended up loosing time and
exited near the back.

I was somewhere in the top ten exiting onto the run and went out hard to get
up near the front. However, as soon as I started breath hard I started
feeling the pressure in my lungs and the inability to breath deeply without
having to cough. As I got up to the first hill on the run things just got
worse as now the fact that I couldn't breathe meant my legs couldn't get
enough oxygen and I was completely blowing by the top of the hill. On the
way down I tried to focus on relaxing my breathing, turning my legs over
smoothly and getting back into the race as a stream of guys rolled by me.
At the end of the first lap of three, I was running tempo pace and still
unable breath smoothly and put down the run speed I knew I could. Half way
through the second lap about 5k in I had cleared enough mucous out of my
chest I could breath a little easier and I started to pick up my pace. By
the third lap l had passed a half dozen guys and focused on the half dozen
ahead of me 300m up the road. I dug in for the third lap as my legs felt
strong having not been able to challenge them for the first 5k and I turned
up the pace to race effort the last 2k and got my way into 16th place. An
ok finish but a disappointing one knowing how fit I was and that I could
have run much faster without the breathing problems.

So the positives of the race were that I could get to the front of the race
even with a sub par swim and horrible transition and stay out of trouble and
position well going into the second transition. The third lap of the run
was solid and my stride felt good so I know I have the run legs when I get
the oxygen too them.

I am resting now and trying to get as much sleep as possible to try and get
the last of this congestion out before my first World Championship Series
event of the year in Hamburg, Germany.

Now this is putting the new with the old! There is some cool architecture and buildings in Hamburg. Quite an amazing city.

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quick transition from dorm room in Edmonton to plaza in Hamburg

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Training Done

After recovering from the three week trip for a few days coach Lance had right back into more aerobic base training as it three weeks of racing means very little training.  We had about two weeks to get some good mileage in as well as continuing to work on pushing threshold endurance.  We still have some building blocks to work through before I can really start cranking up the speed and high end threshold.  So the last two weeks have had a lot of run frequency, base and a few just below threshold over distance run workouts.  We did 11km of intervals on the track at 30min 10km pace and one 4x3km sub threshold/threshold workouts as my main chunks of hard work.

 

Swim mileage with Ron jumped back to 6km a workout for six workouts a week and bike base and some hill sets completed the training schedule.  Everything felt good despite fighting a cold through most of the training and the hay has now been put in the barn.  This past weekend was the last couple days of full mileage and we are now into rest mode and sharpening for this weekends World Cup in Edmonton.  Following Edmonton I head over to Hamburg for my first World Championships Series race of the year and first in 22months. 

 

It is always great to race in Canada and Edmonton had been a long standing event that we always did so it is great they are putting it back on after a couple year hiatus.  Hamburg has always been a fun course and I have raced it a number of times so I am looking forward to going back.

 

Here’s to being back on the circuit in full force.