Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010

I've geared down training a bit for the past couple weeks to finish a crazy semester at school and I'll pick up my training for 2010 on December 28. I've changed my focus for next year and won't be racing any long course next year. I'm giving draft-legal a shot and going after Quest for Gold points as its my last year as a U23. I'm planning on making my ITU debut either in Coteau-du-Lac or San Francisco, then racing Elite/U23 Nationals and U23 provincials. I'm also working on making the national swim standard and world run standard.

Given my focus on short course/draft legal racing next year I've sought out a new coach to tailor my training to those needs (ie. learning how to swim). I'm looking forward to getting on board with James Loaring and his LPC program in 2010, and hoping to head to Guelph again next summer either to train with the elite squad he's forming or possibly with the PTC again. And being terrified of not making pack ITU is excellent motivation to put in the "hard yards" in the pool everyday.

So I'm focused on my goals and looking forward to a fun and successful 2010

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Worth Sharing

A short version of this video came out last year, this longer one does slightly more justice to how incredible (and ridiculously long) the journey of an Ironman is. And how beautiful the IM World Champs course is.



And now that its December I feel that I should share my favourite Christmas song.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time for an Update

Its been a while, and things are about as eventful as they can get in the off-season.

Training has been consistent over the last month and I'm starting to see some progress again. Not running a whole lot but I'm in good form, hammering tempo/fartleks/long intervals and seeing some real improvement in my speed. Swimming is slowly getting there and so far no shoulder problems (fingers crossed). Cycling has been a big focus and is really coming along. I'm riding the Computrainer for power and pedal stroke training 3x a week and riding the rollers 2x for technique, and hitting the weights for my legs.

This past weekend the PTC squad paid a visit to London for a session at the Forest City Velodrome. The velodrome is putting on training sessions for beginners every Saturday all winter...they're all volunteers and they do an outstanding job. So I got a chance to catch up with CT and the crew for the first time since I became a free agent after my contract expired in September. I was the only one who had any sort of experience on the track before but it was fun watching everyone get a hang of the terrifying FCV. I miss training with such a fun and dedicated group. And my cycling ego is in tact after posting the fastest flying lap.

Thursday I did a threshold test on the bike at Multisport Zone to give me a base for winter training on the Computrainer. My threshold wattage was 350W, meaning my "race pace" wattage is 290-340 depending on the distance. I'm not really sure how that stacks up with elite triathletes but I was happy with it considering its only November.

In sponsorship news, now that my Scott Plasma LTD is on the way I sent in my order to my 2010 clothing sponsor Pearl Izumi. I've always been a fan of Pearl Izumi gear and I'm very excited to be getting on board with them and showing off the 2010 line up! Feel free to check out all my cool new toys on the podium in 2o1o.

And just in case anyone is wondering, there are no contracts or free agency with professional triathletes...I've just been watching a lot of hockey lately.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Simon Says GOLD

Alright so the last few days I have passed up my neuroscience readings and historiographical research on Nazi Germany in favor of Simon Whitfield's new book. Canadians are so lucky to have such an inspiring athlete they can call their own, and triathletes around the world couldn't have a better spokesman and ambassador for their sport.

Every triathlete in Canada can tell you where they were and what they were doing when Whitfield won in Sydney in 2000. For me, I was getting up for the start of a new school year (grade 7) and came downstairs in time to see the last few km of the men's event. My mom was getting excited saying "look a Canadian is getting close to the lead! Simon Whitfield!" He was running through the field and made it look effortless, and we had the feeling it was his day. We were jumping up and cheering when he threw down the Olympic banner and threw on a Canadian hockey jersey as he stepped to the top of the podium for his gold medal.

One of my neighbours and now not-often-enough training buddy John Syrovy had finished his first Ironman in Lake Placid earlier in the summer of 2000, and inspired by both I dreamed of one day being a triathlete too.


Equally inspiring was the first time I met Simon at the Vancouver World Champs last summer. My first thought when he grabbed my camera for a picture together was "wow, this guy is my friggin hero", and the second was "I want to be as fast as him one day." But all I could mutter to him was a feeble "thanks man, good luck on Sunday" and skipped back to my cousin's apartment. I went on to a PB race wearing the Canadian singlet at Age Group Worlds for the first time. He went on to Olympic silver later that summer, when I once again was screaming at the TV as he sprinted to the line.

Earlier this year in Kelowna he once again was an inspiration as he "easily" ran away with the win at Nationals. I had seen him earlier in the week and did a couple swim starts beside him at the swim course familiarization, just to say I did. After his win, he made sure he high-fived and got a picture with every kid at the finish line...including me. I had won the age group race earlier in the day(throwing down the banner just as Whitfield had done in Sydney) and was already making plans to race against my hero at Elite Nationals next summer. This time I was able to mutter "awesome race Simon, you're an inspiration". My mom who was in Kelowna as my fanclub - and was also inspired by him in 2000 - was proud to say she got sprayed by his sweat.

So now as I read his book I'm once again inspired to continue my journey to find my potential in the sport, and hopefully get my swim time fast enough to make pack at Nationals next summer. I highly reccommend the book to EVERYONE, its fantastic.

Thanks again Simon,

Ryan

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scott Plasma LTD

I changed my mind, I upgraded my bike order from Scott. I'm getting the LTD model!


This is the definition of a superbike.
-SRAM Red components, ceramic bearings, carbon TT shifters, TT chainrings
-Zipp 808/1080 tubulars with DT Swiss hubs and spokes
-Profile Design integrated carbon aerobars
-Fizik braided carbon saddle
Complete bike comes in at 16.5lbs

And its coming in January!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ironman Pro Membership

I was checking out the Ironman website for IM Florida results and came across this http://www.ironmancenter.com/pros/

If you don't feel like opening a link...Ironman is creating a membership program for professional athletes entering Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events. The idea is to streamline anti-doping, qualification for Worlds and prize money. Can't argue with that.

They are charging $750 per year for membership, which includes entry to any or all Ironman brand races for that year. So for experienced long course pro's who race regularly on the Ironman/70.3 circuit its great. For me it means I'm not racing any Ironman 70.3s next year. I was planning on a late season 70.3 next year, but as a first year pro I won't have that kind of money and I won't be entering three or more 70.3 events to make up the cost.

I've never raced any official Ironman brand races, though I hear nothing but good things about the series. But it's always seemed to me that they try pretty hard to be somewhat exclusive with race entry to those already in the series. For age groupers that means having to register in person on site the year before to enter nearly any North American Ironman. And now for professionals it means having to race multiple times in the series to make it worth the cost of pro membership. No one can argue with the success of the Ironman series, but they sure do make it tough for those trying to get "in". It means I'll be waiting years to do any 70.3 events as I don't intend on racing three or more long course races in one season any time soon. Maybe I'll be ready for ITU by the end of next season and race a continental cup instead.

I'm sure a lot of athletes love this idea, I just felt like giving my input.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back into things

The compression tights are on and that can only mean one thing...training again! This was my day, nothing crazy but some good steady stuff for the off season.

Steady Swim (3k):
800 mix
8x50 drill/swim on 75sec
2x (4x50 on 50, 2x100 on 1:40, 200 on 3:10) all at 2k pace
400 pp breath 3/5/7/9/9/7/5/3 by 50
200 CD

(3hr class...the other half of the student-athlete thing)

Tempo Run:
15min easy
10min @ 4:00/k
8min @ 3:45
6min @ 3:30
4min @ 3:20
15min CD

Bike:
90min spin on computrainers w/ a few pickups
...ok I tried to see how high I could get my wattage --> 1240 max

(coach junior program @ Multisport Zone)

Time to refuel!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Attention All Humans

Lisa Bentley will be at Multisport Zone tomorrow (Thursday 29th) at 4PM! Everyone reading this is expected to attend. Ask questions, get tips from the Ironman legend, check out the store, and buy a new bike while you're at it.

I leave you with another installment of Ryan Power-recommended awesome Canadian music (anyone catch the Beethoven?)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time for a Lance quote

Sometimes the best part about triathlon is that when your life sucks you can do a 7 hour training day and crash on the couch at 8pm with a refreshed perspective on yourself. One of my favourite quotes from a decidedly inspiring athlete is:

"There is an unthinking simplicity in something so hard, which is why there's probably some truth to the idea that all world-class athletes are actually running away from something."
Lance Armstrong

A sobering thought but something I would bet most elite athletes can attest to in the inevitable up and downs of sport and life. But no painfully cleansing 7 hour days for me in late-October training, just a few workouts to test the fitness as I start off-season training.


Running is coming back very slowly. There are some issues with my calves that haven't really gone away in 5 months. Probably just an issue of strengthening it but I'm getting it checked out. But swimming isn't looking quite as bad. My issue with swimming all year has been endurance over a 4k+ workout. I'm pretty happy with my speed in the water right now - I was doing 1:10 hundreds this week. Now I just have to be able to hold that for a 90 minute workout.

The bright spot is my bike. I ended the season pretty stong on the bike and I did the Computrainer 10k TT this week to give me a base for improving over the winter. I did 15:42 (38.9km/h), and if anyone has done the Computrainer time trial they know its a pretty significant positive grade over the 10km. So I was pretty happy with that to start my winter training, and my ego is intact as I beat the Multisport Zone store record by 30 seconds. I plan on taking a minute off that by spring...just in time to get my new time trial bike on the road!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lots to update...Kona was last weekend, new bike is on the way, winter training is starting in a few days, and I'm already looking forward to next season's possible A races.

Watching Ironman World Champs is always pretty inspiring and there were some amazing performances this year. Lieto had an awesome race, Craig Alexander has to be the most consistent athlete in the world right now, and given a couple more years of unbelievable performances Chrissie Wellington is going to be the best female ever in Ironman. And I hope she sticks with just Ironman so she doesn't chick me in any 70.3s any time soon.

The big news for me is I've ordered my new bike! After much deliberation on what model I wanted I settled on the Plasma 10 - Dura Ace 7900 components, carbon Profile Design aerobars, Fizik tri saddle, and the best carbon frame in 2010. Depending on the conditions and race course I'll either be rolling with my Mavic race wheels or Hed H3's on race day courtesy of MultiSport Zone. I can't wait to ride this thing.


I'm finally starting winter training on Monday. I got spoiled over the summer with a full time training program, its not easy finding three seperate elite level training groups/facilities and fitting it all in with school and coaching. I want to be swimming 20k/week and utilizing the newest awesome toy I discovered at MSZ (Endless Pool) once in a while to work on my stroke, riding as much as possible between spinning on the rollers and using the computrainer (I'm gunna be fo real on the bike next year), and running with LRDC trying to stay fit and healthy.

The last thing worth mentioning in this ridiculously-long-for-an-off-season post is what next year is shaping up to be. I'm stuck somewhere in between focusing on short or long course racing, and between drafting and non-drafting events depending on what my swim is like. But a couple sponsors were curious as to what my plans are for next year so this is tentatively what it looks like:

June/July open for local races whenever I'm healthy - hopefully one draft-legal race
Aug 1 K-Town Long Course
Aug 29 Lifetime Fitness Chicago
Sept 12/19 Ironman 70.3 Muskoka/Syracuse (one of the two)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kona Picks

Men:
1. Craig Alexander
2. Chris McCormack
3. Andy Potts

Women:
1. Chrissie Wellington (she's going sub 9:00)
2. Rebecca Keat
3. Sam McGlone - gotta have a Canadian in there

We'll see what happens!

Friday, October 9, 2009

F.I.S.T. and Sponsorships

Went over to MultiSport Zone this morning for a FIST tri bike fit to see if I would actually fit on the bike brand that wants to sponsor me. I've never had a real fit before so I was excited, and a little nervous as to whether or not the geometry would work.

The day started by hooking up my current road bike to a Computrainer, something I had never done before, to get a base for my measurements. I was throughly impressed by the Computrainer, its an amazing machine and will be an invaluable asset to my winter bike training. Apparently my pedal stroke numbers are pretty sexy already.

After playing around with the power meter (never been on one of those before either) and fully tiring myself out putting up 560 Watts up a hill and a little over 1100W trying to see how high I could get it...we got down to the actual fit. We worked on every measurement and after a couple tries at the seat angle we found what looked - and more importantly, felt - like exactly what I want, and I fell right into where an elite tri setup would be expected. And this is what it looked like!




All the tweaking was done, the numbers were crunched with the bike geometry and everything looked good with a size 54. So now I can tell you which brand has decided to support me next season with a race bike sponsorship...




Scott bikes!!! I'll be riding the most bada** time trial bike in the world next year, the 2010 Scott Plasma 2. I've been in need of a TT bike and the Plasma is as good as they come so I'm very excited about this sponsorship. I'll be in good company as Norman Stadler will be rocking this machine in Kona tomorrow, and its the time trial bike of Team Columbia High Road. Now I just have to decide if I want the LTD version (as seen above), or the more modest Ultegra model.

Along with the Scott sponsorship they're hooking me up with training, racing and podium clothing and shoes from Pearl Izumi, another great brand in triathlon. I can't wait until next season to show off this beautiful bike and the Scott brand along with Pearl Izumi gear and MultiSport Zone through some solid performances. Thanks again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Exciting News

Some off-season updates. I've been talking to the guys at MultiSport Zone, a new (and the only) triathlon specific store/awesome training facility in London. They see that I've got some potential in the sport and have gotten on board with me, and they're quickly becoming a great supporter in my triathlon career.

I'll be racing for MSZ next season and doing my best to get their name out there through my performances as they're a great group of guys with a lot of knowledge...and a lot of cool toys in the store. I'm also going to be helping them out with their youth and junior programs that are run through the shop and I'm looking forward to that as well.

As a triathlete who, by definition, loves my toys and shiny new stuff...here's the most exciting part. I'm getting some new very exciting sponsors for next season as I journey into the pro ranks. A couple big names in triathlon are looking to support me as well...a carbon stallion and lots of cool gear coming my way! Details to come soon.

For now, I have a FIST bike fit at the shop on Friday to get the perfect geometry for a new TT setup which I'm really excited for. I wasn't happy with the fit on the TT bike I had last year so I look forward to some big performance and comfort gains. I'll probably also find out how terrible the fit is on my road bike. And for training, I'm over that pesky cold and finally getting some active rest in. I'm joining the London Runner Distance Club next week to really bring my run to the next level, getting my swim training underway with a Guelph Marlins swim coach in the UWO Tri Club, and I'll probably do most of my winter riding on the computrainers at MSZ! So things are really starting to pan out for the off season.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Season Recap

Its been a long and eventful season...time for a recap! I'm calling 2009 my training season. I trained how to train, trained how to race, and trained my bottom off full-time for three months.

My training season really began in February when I was running well but was sick of being a crappy swimmer, so I contacted a local athlete by the name of Connor Hammond to teach me how to swim...he's decidedly qualified. A few weeks later I was in Guelph for a coaching workshop (I'll eventually finish my certification) and discussed my goals in the sport with the leader of the workshop, Craig Taylor. After extensive contemplation having to decide between taking the summer off work to join the Provincial Triathlon Centre or be able to afford a new TT bike, I decided that training full-time in a high performace program would be in my best interests to pursue my goals in the sport; getting my elite card and racing pro in ITU and Ironman 70.3 events.

After a bit of a setback in the form of breaking my wrist in a stupid bike crash five days before my first scheduled race, I joined the squad in late May and began the work of learning how to train. After a week of baptism-by-fire training I took off my removable cast and took on Lakeside. I raced conservatively with it being my first race in nearly a year, and after shocking myself by getting out of the water within a minute of the leader, I sprinted to a solid 3rd overall. I was happy with my result but was hungry to push myself harder.

My next race was Guelph Lake a couple weeks later and I was confident from my first race, but wasn't sure what to expect in the significantly more competitive Subaru Series. Maybe I was a little too confident as I took the swim out way too hard and lead the first 300 meters then fell off and was completely anaerobic when I get out of the water in 7th. My legs felt terrible on the bike, I slid out on the turnaround on the slick road (I unclipped and thought I managed to avoid injury but it turned out I banged up my other wrist and caused swelling around the carpal tunnel which meant another removable cast for the other arm for two weeks). I felt surprisingly good on the run and ran my way up to another 3rd with the fastest run split of the race.

After Guelph Lake I got into some heavier training, doing some 70+km running weeks while my wrist prevented me from riding, and I was learning how to really push myself in training. I had to skip my next planned race over a few small lingering injuries so Belwood ended up being my next competition which happened to be right in the middle of my heaviest training block of the year.

I still don't know what to think of Belwood, I had some decent splits but felt awful and finished a disappointing 17th in one of the strongest fields in Ontario this year. My highlight was posting a race-best 19 second T2. Despite being totally burnt out from training I ran a sub-18 5k, but I didn't come away from the race feeling good about it. I took a couple weeks to focus on training and I decided that I would give long course a try just for some experience and a change of pace. I took a couple weeks doing some longer rides but nothing long course-specific and went to Kingston for the K-Town Tri.

I raced elite in Kingston and enjoyed 3 hours of choppy water, wind and pouring rain. I definitely felt the disadvantage of riding a draft legal bike over a 56km bike course but I fell in love with the physical - but mostly mental - challenge of long course. I even split the 15k run and was more than satisfied with a 15th place in my first real go at a longer race. I'll definitely be back next year, with a time trial bike, and see what I can do.

After a week of realizing just how much a 73.2km race took out of me, I pushed through one more week of tough training before starting my first real taper of the year in preparation for age group nationals. The plan was to use nationals as a tune-up for Worlds in Australia three weeks later, and go well under 2:00 there. Things changed.

I got to Kelowna and felt great, swam open water everyday I was there and was focused on race day. I had an awesome swim and was 2nd out of the water, took the lead on the bike with the fastest bike split, and held on with a much slower than expected run to accomplish what I knew I was capable of all season. More than anything I was excited to tell my girlfriend I was a national champion, and tell some bike companies that I'm turning pro next year and need a TT bike.

The next couple weeks were a struggle for motivation and my training suffered. I had tons of fun climbing mountains in BC but my swim and run training was relatively non-existant. Nonetheless I hopped on a plane for OZ a couple weeks later.

When I got to Gold Coast I found myself far too sick with a chest cold that hindered any attempt to train to enjoy the atmosphere of Worlds, see any of the area, or get myself into race mode. I did a few swims with the age group team and a couple light runs and got the feeling that there was no way I could race competitively, if at all. The cold lasted all week and on race morning I got to the venue, did my warmup and after a 20 minute jog I had so much trouble breathing that I was getting dizzy and light headed. I had no choice but to withdraw and come to the realization that I travelled 16000km to be a spectator. But rather than thinking of my season ending with a DNS, I thought of it as ending with winning AG nationals.

My results this year demonstrated enough that I'll be given my elite card next spring, as a few people have recognized that I have some potential with a little more development. So this off-season I'll work harder than ever in the pool and just plug away the meters all winter. I finished my season riding really well, and I want to get a lot stronger. I plan on doing a lot more mileage on the bike not only to get stronger, but to stay a few pounds lighter next season. I learned how to really push myself on the bike this year, so with that and a new ride, I'll be a very strong cyclist next summer. I plan on getting into a serious running program this winter. I became a decent runner of the course of this year and I see no reason why I can't make similar improvements this year. I want to get close to 15:00 for 5k and 32:00 for 10k next season.

More than anything this year I learned that I have a ton of potential and I am still far from reaching it. I'm prepared for the work and look forward to seeing how fast I can get. Depending on how swimming goes I may try some draft-legal stuff, otherwise I want to do a sub 4:20 half Ironman. I have no doubt that I have the potential to one day do a 1:10 half marathon and be a very competitive pro in the 70.3 circuit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's clear things up

Getting back into things finally. I got a good 2hr ride in today for the first time in a while. And I found out that the entire city of London and surrounding area is under construction. I'm working on deciding who I'm training with this winter, I need some serious swimming mileage this off season. I also went into Multisport Zone and dropped off an application for a few sponsorships, I should hear back in a couple weeks.

Let's clear things up here. Apparently people that I don't know have been reading this and aren't thrilled with my far-from-serious thoughts on the triathlon world. This came as quite the surprise. Not that people hate me, I know I'm a jerk. I was astounded that people other than my mom and my coach actually read this. As much as I enjoy speaking my mind I don't want to piss off too many people.

The irony in all of my posts complaining about triathletes is...I am one. Any of my satirical posts about the stubbornness of triathletes - and keep in mind that I don't seek immunity from the points that I make - are discussions that can be debated in something other than electronic format. I'm merely voicing my opinion (hence the blog) on aspects of the sport that I find interesting and occasionally ironic. So when reading this keep in mind that I don't intend to put anyone off and it really shouldn't be taken seriously.

One final note, it appears that I've really made it in the sport. I'm on Whitfield's blogroll.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Worlds

I couldn't race. I was optomistic when I woke up as I wasn't sick to my stomach for the first time in a few days. I got to the race site, set up and went for an easy 20 minute run and within 10 minutes I was having trouble breathing again. Its the same thing I had in early June where I'm just congested and don't feel that bad when I'm sitting around but once I start working out I just can't catch my breath. By the time I got back to transition I was dizzy and faint.

So I got to do something I've never done before...post a DNF. At Worlds no less. But I'm not too devastated, I've had a fairly successful season (I'll post a season recap or something when I get home), just disappointed that I came all the way over here and couldn't race. But I don't regret it, I know I made the right decision and I physically could not have finished the race, let alone come close to my goal of going under 2:00 and coming top-15 in my age group. I'm more disappointed at the thought that my season is over and I'm still in good shape. Actually I've been considering the Toronto Marathon in October just for fun. I'll see how I feel when I get back.

I'm here for another day then around 4am Monday I'll be starting my 36 hours of travelling home. The number one thing I've learned from the trip is that I have to treat travelling to races like a business trip. And no more three-plus week trips. That's far too long to spend away from my lovely girlfriend...who still likes me despite being a useless failure.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Worlds Tomorrow

I've been in damage control all week trying to do anything I can in the hopes of racing tomorrow. I don't feel any better now than I did early in the week so its still a flip of the coin whether or not I can race. I've rested the last two days and the plan is to take an easy warmup tomorrow and decide from there. If I'm breathing/able to move my legs I'll start, and slowly build into the race (which probably isn't a bad idea considering its Worlds and I'll be tempted to take the swim out with 1:13's). If I can't go, I can't go.

Despite the stress of worrying whether or not I can race I've tried to enjoy the atmosphere here. I checked out the expo and got a good look at the 2010 Scott Plasma, the bike that I'm hoping I'll get through sponsorship when I get home, and if not I'll probably buy anyway. That thing is a machine, and the 2010 Ultegra kit is pretty sick too. Just the superbike I need for elite long course next summer!

That's about all I have to update for now, I'll post when I get home tomorrow whether I race or not. Fingers crossed. While I'm at it, some pics from throughout the week...

Gold Coast
Not a bad view from my room

I call this "Carnival and Bustling City". I'm a fantastic photographer

Its a pink monkey!

I've been gone for almost four weeks since Nationals...I miss my girlfriend :(

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

G'day from Surfers

So you may be wondering why I haven't written any updates during the only time of my season that actually may be worth reading updates on. Well thing have picked up where they left off in Vancouver last week...frustrating, stressful, overwhelmingly unsuccessful, with a great view!...

I got here Friday afternoon, my flight was fine, no issues with the ridiculously long flight. Get this, it cost me $50 on Air Canada to fly my bike from Vancouver to Sydney (14+hrs), and $150 on Qantas from Sydney to Gold Coast (~50min flight). Actually that pretty much epitomises Australia...a friggin ripoff for everything. My hotel tried to charge me for toilet paper today. There's no such thing as free internet here.

In terms of my race, I adjusted to the time change extremely well. But for the last four days I've felt like I'm getting sick, not getting worse but really not improving either. I've been having a lot of trouble catching my breath when I'm working out, and even when I'm just waking up. I finally got in a pool for the first time in far too long yesterday...and I felt beyond sluggish but I'll keep plugging away all week with the hope that 1500m will at least feel managable on Saturday. I finally got my wheels taken care of today, $250 later I have a new tubular tire and the wheels are trued. And running is no better, my calf which has been an ongoing injury throughout the year is acting up again, and I'm pretty sure I have a stress fracture in my big toe.

Overall this really isn't how I want to be feeling 4 days out from World Championships, and if things don't improve throughout the week I can't race in the physical condition I'm in right now. Even if it is world champs. So I'm just worrying about what I can control right now, trying to clear the cobwebs, staying positive despite the inevitable stresses of travelling. Race events start tomorrow and that may give me the motivation I've been searching for since nationals to get through a few more days of feeling crappy and be able to get on the start line Saturday morning. So that's why I haven't posted anything lately. In spite of all of that complaining, it really is a pretty place. The race site looks very well designed and much better organized that Vancouver last year. I'll post some pictures when I find faster internet.

Monday, August 31, 2009

funny thing happened on the bike today

I'm stuck in Pemberton, but the one good thing is the riding here. Great trails for XC, good roads for riding. So I put my bike together and got ready for a 75min ride with 4x5min @20kTT pace, 5min recovery.

Got through my second 5 minute piece and had averaged 41.7 and 40.2. That's when things got interesting. Turns out that Sea to Sky Highway goes through a massive native reserve between Pemberton and Lillooet. So I was getting funny/dirty looks for a while, until I discovered that Sea to Sky also goes up a 13km, 4000 foot mountain pass as well.

Now at the time I didn't realize it was that massive, but once I started the climb I HAD to see how far it went. At every switchback I figured it would end around the corner. Nope. 48 minutes later I got to the summit at 1300 vertical meters. The best part is that - if you've watched the news at all this summer you know there's a massive forest fire in Lilloet - so the air was pretty yucky. But I managed to keep things aerobic spinning in my lowest gear on 12% grades.

Then it got really interesting. I got to the top and so now it was time to turn around and go back down, seeing as its the only road I know around here. Within 100 meters I was above 60, and holy crap was it a technical descent. I think there were 5 switchbacks with a number of sweepers that I took at 70+. Then right at the bottom there was one final switchback that I had to brake hard for (car signage said 20km/h around the turn, I took it at 45).

It was about then I could actually hear my carbon rims getting hot and starting to squeek, then my front tire blew. The glue had melted and the tire rolled off the rim, and I had to go into ninja mode to stay upright. So then I was 20km from my hotel with a flat tire. Long story short a truck driver stopped and loaded me up and was kind enough to drive me back (and was telling me the entire way how much he hates cyclists on the road). The good news is my ride actually only ended up being about 90 mins since it took me 10 minutes to descend then I got a ride back! Thus concludes my adventure today. Now I don't have a pool or a bike for tomorrow, and I need a new tubular tire before leaving for OZ on Wed night. Fun fun.

From biking mountains to mountain biking

So it turns out that I'm actually spending the next four days in Pemberton and not downtown Vancouver, which I'm not particularly thrilled about. I'm staying with my cousin who lives in Vancouver but she was called up here for work and I had to tag along. Its a pretty nice place but not the ideal location for trying to squeeze in my last few workouts before world champs...no pool within 30km, no track within 50. Like I said, not thrilled.

Today I needed to scope out some running trails so I tried mountain biking for the first time. I've ridden a mountain bike before, but today I actually mountain biked...on a mountain. And I must say, it sucks!!! I had the bright idea of putting my clipless pedals on to go ride up a freakin mountain. Luckily I only bit the dust on the way up and not going down, but in the 3 hours I was "riding" I think I was walking the bike half the time. The riding is so technical and I'm just not any good at it. I like riding my bike on smooth pavement without trees, rocks, glacial rivers and bears attempting to end me. It was still fun though. But I discovered that the trails would be impossible to run on, so I'm pretty much stuck running out and back on one of the two paved roads in town (one of which being Sea to Sky Highway). Not thrilled!!

I've learned on this trip that I need to be in one place, doing my own thing if I want to get into any sort of training routine while travelling. I've been doing as much as I can the past week but I'm getting really fidgety having to adjust my schedule, and not swimming as much as I should. I'm driving to Whistler tomorrow morning for the only pool around and I'll have to do the same Tuesday morning. I can't wait to get to Gold Coast simply so I can get myself in a routine again and focus for a few days before the race. Lesson learned I guess, hopefully I won't be fat and out of shape for the race.

couple pics from my ride

Saturday, August 29, 2009

update

So I'm hanging out in BC for a week and a half between nationals and heading to Australia for Worlds. I've been in Nanaimo for the week and checked out Victoria yesterday and met up with CT to discuss major world issues.

Earlier this week I discovered the joy to be had in climbing mountains on a bike. There's one good mountain in Nanaimo, so I've climbed it every chance I've had this week. If I was a roadie I'd be a climber, I just love it...maybe I should be a roadie. There's nothing like taking switchbacks at 55 after climbing for half an hour straight. I'm heading to Vancouver tomorrow and staying there until I fly out on Thursday, and I'm going to give Cypress Mountain a shot at some point during the week. 1100 meter summit and I start from sea level...can't wait

Other than that, just trying to maintain some fitness for worlds with a couple moderate workouts a day. I'm finding it really difficult to have any sort of motivation after accomplishing my number one goal for the season...and its been a long season. But I think I'll get my head in the game once I get to Gold Coast.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Glimpses of Kelowna

Ryan Smith, Steve Hewick and James Loaring kicking some ass and working together in the men's elite race. Great racing guys

Whitfield dominated from start to finish, and high fived just about every kid there after he finished. Class act.

Tich and Jones sprinting for second. Jones took it at the line.

Pre-race for me

Dismounting as race leader!

Simply put, I just hurt on the run...
...but I held it together for the win
Haha I look less than pleased here, but I promise I was the first person to shake their hands at the finish and here.

A crazy and wonderful day of racing all around. And people have started paying attention to me now that I've justified my hard work, and confidence, all summer. Now its time to search out a bike sponsor!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nationals Race Report

This will probably be a pretty short report since I was seeing stars the entire way, and I really don't remember many details. My day started at 5am for the race I've been focusing on all year, and I felt good when I got to the race site this morning. I wasn't nervous at all, just focused.

It ended up being a wetsuit swim for age groupers by about half a degree, but the water was pretty choppy with a strong wind coming off the lake for our entire race (and died down just in time for me to finish). My race strategy today was "don't think - go faster" so that's exactly how the swim worked out. I had a good start and got clean water out in front of everyone. I felt strong throughout the swim and was second out of the water behind some guy who had lead out of the water in every race he's done this year. I came in at 10:47 in choppy conditions... pretty much the swim of my life.

I got on the bike 20 seconds down from the leader, I knew that it was just a matter of time before going by him so I relaxed the first time over the big hill and just bombed the descent. I took the lead about 4k into the bike and I just kept my head down and gave it everything. I was riding scared the second lap hoping that I wouldn't be passed, and I ended up riding pretty well. I didn't get a bike split but I think I had the top bike split or close to it, around 32 mins (edit: I had the top bike split at 32mins and change...never thought I would win a race with a strong swim/bike, rather than running guys down). The course ended up being pretty slow today as we had all the climbing with the tailwind, then the way back into town which was supposed to be fast was into a pretty good headwind. But I came off the bike 50 seconds up on 2nd.

When I hit the run I immediately knew it wasn't going to be easy, everything just hurt and nothing was clicking. I stayed relaxed and tried to get into a bit of a rhythm...since at that point it was my race to lose (I discovered today that its much easier to chase than to be chased on the run). I was only sure that I had it with about 800m left, and it turned out that I put another minute into second place by that point. I was still feeling terrible and was on the verge of throwing up, so I let off a little just to make sure I didn't blow up in the last km. I ran an 18:10 or something...pretty slow but enough to hold on. I probably pushed too hard on the bike for a better run split, but I won the race on a really good swim and strong bike, so I'm not going to sweat the run time.

So I'm age group national champion. I'll be doing my autograph signing/baby kissing tour when I come back from Australia in a few weeks. And yes I'm aware its not that big a deal, but it basically ensures that I'll get my elite card next spring and can come back next year to race elite nationals which was my goal for this season, and its my first race win. I decided that I should win more often, that was fun! I'll post a few pictures when I get around to it. I feel like sleeping now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nationals tomorrow!

Race prep has gone well for sprint nats tomorrow morning. I'm well rested but still feel sharp. I've been in the open water every day this week and I'm feeling pretty confident. It looks like its going to be a wetsuit swim for age groupers afterall.

Today I ran the run course with a few easy pickups, and did the swim course with a few starts again. Everyone was at the swim venue today...Paul Tichelaar flew by me in the water, and I did a start simulation beside Whitfield. COOL!

So now its time to remember all the ass kicking I went through this summer to get here. I read a quote from Craig Alexander today that said don't get to the race thinking about winning, just be confident in "expressing your fitness". So that's what I'm going to focus on tomorrow. And going through that monsoon at K-Town long course a few weeks back has given me something to draw on mentally when I'm hurting tomorrow, I'll be thinking about how much that sucked but came out alive. I'll update after I finish tomorrow, can't wait to race!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kelowna!

I got here yesterday morning, no problems with travel at all. Swam 2k easy at the swim site, put my bike together and relaxed for the rest of the day. Its a very pretty city and I've been holding myself back from wanting to climb all the mountains. I've already eyed the mountain I'm doing after I finish my race on Sunday. Real switchbacks up a real mountain!! This is like a revelation to someone who rides in SW Ontario where people dread the Niagara Escarpment.

Today started with 2-3k open water with James, Tom and Ang with a little activation and start/exit practice. I'm feeling ok in the water, not great but not bad...which I guess is more than I could say for the majority of my summer. The big talk here is whether or not its going to be a wetsuit swim...well based on how it has felt the past two days I'm thinking its going to be wetsuit for the age groupers, and probably non-wetsuit for the elite race. I'm not sure whether or not a wetsuit swim will help me, I'll be one of the stronger age group swimmers so I don't know if it will make a difference. I've gone no wetsuit both swims just in case.

I also rode the bike course this afternoon, there's a significant hill within the first 3k which I knew about. Its about 1500m of steep climbing, but after that the rest of the course looks pretty fast. Technical, but fast. So it suits me very well. The key on the course will be to not blow up on the hill, and smash the rest of the 10k loop as its a slight down hill all the way back to the waterfront.

Ok I just have to tell someone this story. When I was doing the bike course I met up with the elite bike course tour, and I saw a female athlete riding a TT bike. So I asked her if she was racing elite, she said yes. I asked her if she had another bike, she said no. She had absolutely no idea that she was racing a draft-legal race, and that she needed a draft-legal bike. Her response was "This is a triathlon bike, why can't I use it?" I have no idea if she even has an elite card, clearly doesn't have a draft-legal ICC since she doesn't own a road bike (for those of you who don't know, draft-legal elite racing requires an international competition card, certifying that you can finish the swim with the pack, and ride road bikes in a pack without killing everyone). Even if they let her start, she'll have to find a new bike in about 36 hours. So, just like other humans, there are lots of stupid triathletes out there too.


Looking down on Lake Okanagan from the top of the climb

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Perseverance

Somewhere between moving home after spending a summer as an unemployed bum athlete, and repacking my gear for a month of travelling around the world to race national and world championships...I realized that my life really is pretty sucky. Tough as it may be, I will continue to persevere.

Leaving for Kelowna early tomorrow morning, packing and organizing everything today. I'll post updates/pictures throughout race week.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Something a little more insightful

Three posts in three days? I must be tapering...I don't know what to do with myself! Anyway, I was messing around on my computer and found something that I thought was long gone...I wrote this creative writing piece just for the hell of it last year, a couple weeks before Vancouver World Champs. Some things have changed since I wrote it...I know how to train (and live) smarter, and I'm a better writer (and athlete) but I thought I'd share it anyway. Enjoy!

The Student-Athlete Dichotomy
Ryan Power: 20-24 Age Group Canadian National Team

For as long as I can remember I have defined my life through sports. Unlike the majority of young Canadian boys, my interest was not in playing hockey. My sporting career began with baseball, and in high school I turned my focus to club track and field. Though I enjoyed the running scene, I was never a stand-out past the high school level. My work ethic endeared me to coaches more than the results I posted. Tired of all the stress fractures and hamstring pulls, I bought a road bike and began racing duathlons. In my second year of racing I registered for some local races with qualifying spots for the 2008 ITU Age Group World Championships in Vancouver, BC.

I knew that qualifying for Vancouver at the age of eighteen for the 20-24 age group would be no Olympic-distance walk in the park. But you know us triathletes - stubborn as that orange Gatorade stain on your new white singlet; once we have our heart set on something, doubters beware.

My life revolved around qualifying for Vancouver for four months; buying those gadgets worth their weight in gold to shave a few seconds off my bike split, wondering how much slower I’d run if I took sugar rather than sweetener in my coffee. Motivation for every workout came from the thought of wearing the red and white for Canada. My two qualifying races came on the last weekend of summer before I started second-year classes at the University of Western Ontario.

Despite indulging in the student life throughout race week, I qualified for both the Sprint and Olympic-distance age group teams, electing to take the Olympic spot. I quickly found out first-hand that it’s not easy being a student, training for Worlds and holding down a part-time job to pay off that fancy carbon bike and a plane ticket to Vancouver. Although it’s not a bad line at parties, telling people that you are representing your country for the most physically and mentally demanding sport on the planet. Of course I was drinking water and electrolyte-rich sport drinks at those parties.

Being an age-group National Team member and a history major are like tubular tires and glass shards - they just don’t go well together. Trying to keep my nutrition in check while balancing class time, reading assignments, essays and workouts was often more difficult than the training itself. A typical morning consisted of waking up before sunrise to pack swim gear, running shoes, a laptop, four textbooks and two meals in my bag, then onto my mountain bike and off to school for eight hours of class and two workouts during my lunch break. Admittedly training often took priority over school, but there were more than a few occasions in which essay writing went until 2:00AM only to wake up four hours later for swim practice. Needless to say time management became my fourth discipline in training.

It also became a true test of patience having the ITU World Championships on my mind throughout the cold Canadian winter; an historically long and snowy year nonetheless. Let’s just say I learned the hard way how easy it is to get over-excited and burn out early in the year.

After three workouts on a miserable mid-February-in-Canada afternoon, I came down with a respiratory virus that settled in my lungs and lingered longer than that multigrain pizza crust on my work desk. During Spring Break while my classmates were off to some exotic sunny destination with their high-calorie alcoholic drinks in hand, I spent slack week lying in bed with severe asthma-like symptoms, depressed being unable to train. For a further five weeks my training regiment consisted of a twenty minute indoor ride followed by forty-eight hours of wheezing and taking multiple inhalers to reduce inflammation.

By no means do I think I had it tough, here I was with an opportunity to compete in the sport I love for Team Canada with nothing more than a pesky bug in my way. But the physical and financial stress of the opposing lifestyles of a student-athlete, along with missing so many workouts became too much to handle; I was about to pack it in for the season. When you dedicate your life to a sport in which the seemingly unimportant details - elastic laces in your running shoes, sodium content in your energy gel - can make or break a race, it becomes far too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture - the truly important things in life.

Those weeks I was sick and losing fitness, thinking of all the athletes training around the world I would be competing against, taught me just how valuable the support of those around you is, and how important that support system is to the success of every athlete. Champions are made by hard work, determination, and everyone along the way who washed their swim suit, reminded them to bring a water bottle, or gave them a hug after a killer run workout. Sometimes a little outside perspective from those around you is all you need to regain your motivation and drive for success.

As my lungs cleared up and I finally resumed training, my optimism and enthusiasm returned for competing as a member of Triathlon Canada. Though training harder than ever, just knowing I will be on the start line along side some of the best amateur athletes in the world is rewarding enough to justify my efforts.

Ironically, the past nine months since qualifying for Vancouver have paralleled the emotional roller coaster every athlete experiences during a race. There have been the times in which you feel super-human flying through kilometers by the hundreds, and those tough times when the physical grind and mental anguish becomes so great you almost forget what you are in this crazy sport for. But as race day in Vancouver draws near you realize how remarkable your struggle has been, and you know that it will all be worth it when you cross that finish line proudly representing your country.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weathering the storm

The worst, or best, is over and now its taper time! The last phase of heavy training for the tri season is done, capped off by a week of 3-a-days in 40+ humidity. I've been pretty mentally burnt out lately from a long and tough season of training, a few injuries and not nearly as much racing as I'd like...thus the lack of updates. So I'm more than ready for a good taper in preparation for my big races. Just 5 more days in Guelph before beginning my triathlon travels, starting with Kelowna for National sprint championships next weekend.

My next week of training is going to be pretty laid back and I'm looking forward to going into the race well rested, something I haven't really done all year. My bike fitness is great right now, better than I would have expected. I did a fairly relaxed 1:05 first 40k in Kingston and I've had some great workouts since. That will be much more important at Worlds with a flat 20k out and back than the more technical course at Nationals. But I'll be the best technical rider at Nats anyway.

I may have to adjust my swim goals for Nationals and Worlds, my shoulder hasn't been 100% for close to a month and I haven't been able to make the improvements I was hoping for this summer. Although I've found in my races this year that I've been hesitant to take swims out too hard, but then had no trouble pushing the last half. So I think for Kelowna I'm going to lay it down from the start and be confident in my fitness to stay strong throughout.

Running seems to be going well too, I haven't had many chances to really test my speed lately having taken the last couple weeks to focus more on endurance for K-Town Long Course, then taking a week for recovery. But I'm looking forward to the fastest 5k split in Kelowna next Sunday.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sponsor Dealio


My sunglasses/helmet sponsor Rudy Project has some cool new stuff and they want me to give you a ridiculously amazing deal! Send me an email (leave a comment here if you don't know my email) and I'll hook you up. You can get a heavily discounted price on their 2010 new aero helmet, the fastest helmet ever tested in the wind tunnel and used my Team Milram in the Tour this year. Not available to the public until next spring. Or get the best cycling eyewear out there at 40% off through me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Picture post

A few pics from a splendid weekend in Kingston. Bad weather, good racing, even better company.


Nervous setting up on the elite rack - note I'm the only long course elite without a carbon TT bike. I need a bike sponsor.
My biggest fan! Enduring the conditions as well as anyone. DISCLAIMER: these are our morning faces and do not accurately depict (her) prettiness to the fullest extent

Before the swim start. Strangely the water is calm here, it was terrible outside the harbour

Fast T1 after missing the leaders in the swim...as usual



Battling the elements was the theme of the day. Happy with my ride considering the conditions


Hitting the run course. I met my goal for the run and I look like a natural long course runner!

Monday, August 3, 2009

K-Town Long Course Adventures

I couldn't wait to get to this race after blowing up in Belwood a few weeks ago. I haven't done a long course race since the Peterborough half in 07, and I only raced that to finish. So I was excited to actually race long course, as an elite no less because I registered for it when I assumed that I would get my elite card after Belwood.

Got to Kingston on Saturday and the place was buzzing with triathletes, very cool. Everywhere you walked downtown you couldn't get away from middle aged skinny dudes wearing race t-shirts and Oakleys. I checked out transition and found my spot on the elite rack...even cooler!! When I woke up on race morning I knew the weather was once again going to be the key factor in the race. I'm getting pretty sick of racing in rain, I literally have not seen the sun in a single race this year. 40 degrees and baking sun in Kelowna and Gold Coast sounds pretty appealing at this point. Warmup went well but I was still nervous about the race since I really haven't been training for long distance and I've only raced sprints so far this season.

The best way I can describe the swim is, it was a rollercoaster. A wet and evil one. The swim course was 1000m out, 1000m back and the entire way out was directly into the current and white caps. I've swum in rough water before but I've never been thrown around like this. In Vancouver last year it was ocean swells which you can get into a rhythm with to sight and breath, but the chop yesterday was completely unpredictable and the opening 1000m was horrible to say the least. My race strategy was to swim steady so I did my best not to drown until I got to the turn around, then I got into a rhythm and felt strong on the way back. I got out of the water and couldn't really believe my watch...34:55 (35:50 after T1). But rather than stress about an embarrassing swim time I relaxed through transition and realized that everyone's times were going to be slow today. Turned out that the leaders were 30 minutes and change, so the rough conditions affected everyone.

Race strategy on the bike was to once again go steady and get my nutrition right to feel good on the run. After a bit of a mechanical issue having to fiddle with my computer sensor between bladed spokes at 45km/h (I really need a new computer) I got into a good rhythm and felt great. I rode strong and averaged 37.8 to the turn around. The wind got progressively stronger on the way back, so we had a crosswind on the way out and a headwind on the way back. Of course. I went through 40k in 1:05 which I was very happy with but the last 15k was into the strongest wind so my average speed suffered. It rained lightly for the majority of the ride - just enough to make corners and the lift bridge crossing extremely dangerous - but it became a downpour with about 10k left. I still averaged 35.7 over 56.2km, probably my best ride of the year, and got off the bike feeling good despite knowing that a top 3 placing was out of the question. I need a time trial bike if I'm doing any long course next year.

I got off the bike in 24th, a little sucky but I knew I was saving the best for last. I had decided the day before that taking an extra ten seconds to put socks on in T2 would be worth it. I'll suck it up for 5 or 10k, but my racing flats are blister machines so I wanted to make 15k off the bike as comfortable as possible...considering the farthest I've run this year is 17k fresh (and Craig won't be happy when he sees I went that far). I knew that the run was where my race was going to unfold. The plan was to build throughout the run and finish strong with a negative split. It was after all a training race.

I got out on the run course and had made up 4 positions in the opening km and was running 3:50 k's pretty effortlessly. That downpour on the bike went to somewhere between torrential and Indian monsoon season. But I was running well. My building effort on the run ended up equating to even splitting the three 5k's, maybe that's to be expected since I had only decided about three weeks ago that I would do a long course race just for the hell of it. At the turnaround I was in 19th, and although my thoughts of going under 3 hours were out the window given the conditions, I couldn't complain with a top 20. I continued to build and ran through 10k in 38:40ish. I don't remember much about the last 5k because I was doing my very best to block out reality, but I made my way up to 15th and finished strong.

Between it being my first competitive long course race and having done no specific training for it I'm very pleased with the result. I was 5/5 in the elite division, but I was only a pretend elite so I don't really care. I love the challenge of long course races and I think I'm better suited to the physical and mental grind of long course than the maximal efforts of sprint racing. I'll stick with short course for the next couple seasons no matter what but chances are long course is where my future is in the sport. Maybe 70.3 pro?

PS that's not a question.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Canadians are awesome

Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace...maybe this is what I should be doing with my spare time rather than writing ridiculous posts about sitting around and eating and sleeping all day.



Race prep is going swimmingly! Very excited for my race this weekend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tues/Wed

Well yesterday and today were planned to be big training days for a final shot before K-town, but there have been some adjustments on account of my body not wanting to work. Yesterday looked like this...

Easy morning swim...well it would have been easier if Sharratt didn't headbutt me!
1200 warmup+drills
2x (4x50 on :55, 2x100 on 1:45, 200 on 3:15 - dialing in 2000m race pace)
200 easy
Bike:
2.5hrs - 2x30min @ steady w/10mins rest - figuring out pacing for my 60k ride at K-town
Run:
30 mins off the bike - 15min steady, 15min easy

Today was supposed to be another big bike workout and a 60 minute tempo run off the bike, but things weren't really firing with anyone in the squad today. So most of us did an easy swim and I felt infinitely better than yesterday, we did a few descending 100s today and I was down to 1:18-1:14 which I haven't done since I hurt my shoulder almost a month ago. So although I like the challenge of big workouts I'm definitely enjoying a few extra easy days before my long course adventure this weekend...me and my ideas. I've got my pacing/race strategy/nutrition dialed in and that's half the battle with longer races.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Full-time athlete Pt.2

A while back I posted Part 1 of a two part series on the hardships of being a fulltime athlete. As promised, here's part 2:

The Tough Life - Eating 6000 calories a day.

As a professional triathlete you will learn to overcome seemlingly insurmountable obstacles. After you've mastered the techniques of proper recovery including but not limited to sleep and extensive napping, the next challenge is refueling. Don't take it lightly, sitting on your bum and stuffing food in your mouth for every waking hour of the day is no easy task. Just like in your workouts you'll need some mental cues. Personally I think of starving children in Zimbabwe as motivation to get those final few (thousand) calories of chicken parmigiana or pad thai in my tummy.

The number one prerequisite for success as a triathlete is being a good cook. I can't give you any advice there...you have it or you don't. Your life is pretty much going to suck if you can't cook and you've got pre- and post-swim breakfasts, morning snack, two lunches, afternoon snack, post-run snack, dinner for two (for yourself), evening snack, and what I like to call the wildcard snack (can be consumed at any point during the day, preferably with Tetley Vanilla Red Tea).

Unfortunately you're too busy sleeping and eating, wearing your perpetual cologne of eau de chlorine, and you're way too poor from a lack of stable income...so you'll never have the opportunity to cook for anyone but yourself. Since you're relegated to the single life, your next step is to buy a kitty.

Before you know it you will have accomplished what you thought was humanly impossible, eating 50 bucks worth of groceries a day. Being an unemployed bum who sleeps and eats for all but 18-24hrs/week is a humbling experience. The daily challenges a pro triathlete faces are not for the faint of heart. So, if you feel up to the task of testing the limits of your human resolve go right ahead. But don't say I didn't warn you that it's a tough life.


In Other (real) News:
Not much to report on the training front over the last couple days. I've been partaking in the other thing I do with my life...burying my nose in a textbook. 17k run today, Tues and Wed are massive training days, I'll post my workouts if I survive. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

moving on

I realized a couple days after Belwood that the race wasn't a complete disaster. I am in fact getting faster. And I learned some valuable lessons, both tactical and mental. The big one being the swim start; I didn't place myself well and I NEED to take the first 200 out hard to get on fast feet/get away from the crappy swimmers (there are worse swimmers than me?) And I really learned how to go through hell and back in the last 4k of that race. So rather than dwelling on the fact that I won't get an elite card for a few more months I'm learning from the race and moving forward a stronger athlete.

All the rest of my races this season are big ones. Well, K-town isn't hugely important but its a great opportunity to get within 8%. I'm racing in the elite division in a long course race so I'm taking it seriously. 2k swim/56k bike/15k run...I'll take bets on going sub-3:00. I think Whitfield won in 2:36 in '97 which blows my mind.

And I'm just finalizing my travel arrangements for my four week "vacation" to Kelowna, Vancouver, then Gold Coast AUS. Not sure what I did to deserve competing for Canada on the other side of the world, I have my best sponsors to thank for the support in my endeavors (mommy and daddy).

Just 4 more weeks of training here in Guelph, it hasn't been an easy transition to the level of training here but the squad is great and Craig Taylor is a fantastic coach. The summer has been far too short...or maybe I've just been injured too often.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Belwood Race Report

Funny how triathlon works sometimes. You know that old saying that you can't win the race in the swim but you can lose it...well its true. In a 90 minute endurance event my race was essentially over in the first three seconds.

My swim strategy was to stay relaxed and steady, and get on the bike feeling strong. So at the swim start I lined up right behind Adrian DelMonte and Matt Reid hoping to stay on their feet, which would put me in great position out of the water. Unfortunately everyone else around them was a typical age group swimmer who lines up front and center, blasts the first 50 meters then blows up. It’s the first time I’ve had to deal with that this year and I was swimming over people within the first 10 seconds. I got more than a few kicks to the nose and goggles in the process. By 100 meters I had gotten past most of them just in time to see the front pack disappearing. So on the upside I had clean water for the the next 900m, but that left me in no man’s land which kind of set the tone for the rest of the race. I got out of the water in 15:45 (16:28 with the run up to TZ) and that might as well have been the end of my day.

I knew it was going to be a tough bike course with the last 15k almost constantly uphill and into a headwind, so I just put my head down and and tried to make up some time. I had a reasonable bike, averaged 36.1 so an improvement over my first two races of the year. I made up a lot of places but didn't put any time into the leaders Dave Sharratt and Ryan Smith, who were absolutely killing it out there.

I got off my bike and settled into a good rhythm of 3:30 k’s which was right where I wanted to be for the first 3k. But just as quickly as I got into my rhythm I really started to feel the last three weeks of training. I had nothing in my legs, I can’t even describe how painful and mentally defeating it is to be that exhausted in a race, knowing I have the fitness to run down almost anyone. I was full-on tying up by 3km, something you usually feel with 200 meters left…not 4km. So that put me in survival mode for the rest of the run, I tried to push it and it got me nowhere. I ran through 5k in 17:56 and it just got worse from there. In the end I ran 25:20 and did some serious damage to my calf in the process. I’ve never been in worse shape after a race, so I guess at least I gave it everything I could. Dave and Ryan both had stellar races and I didn’t get within the 8% margin of them so my elite card will have to wait until next year. No excuses, they were on today and I wasn’t, simple as that. Congrats guys, and to everyone else from the PTC who blew away the field today.

Overall it was a really disappointing day that I didn't get my 8%, my fitness is good but I just had nothing in the tank. I’m probably more mentally drained than physically at this point. Oh well, having a short memory is an asset to endurance athletes. Time to put it behind me and look forward to K-town in two weeks.

If I were to take one positive aspect out of this race, its that I know my hard work is paying off, and I’m really looking forward to Nationals where I’ll be on good form AND well rested. And the highlight of my race, top T2 time. 19 seconds. And no I didn't bomb through it, just stayed relaxed and had practiced a lot. Come one, I need something to be happy with.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lance

I thought Lance's facebook update today was worth sharing. He's either a cocky jerk or he just says it how it is, either way he isn't a cheater:

St13 done. Wet and cold. And slightly boring. Can't remember a day this cold in the TdF. Ever. Team was solid and controlled things well and big surprise, had antidoping control @ the finish. Keep looking, nothing to find except hard work & sacrifice. Never was, never will be.

Also worth sharing is a very in-depth and insightful race report from Ironman Korea by a good buddy of mine Chris Pickering. He's quickly becoming a competitive long course athlete while I'm trying to make it in the equally unforgiving world of elite-level short course, makes for some great training discussions. Definitely worth a read to get a glimpse of the immense challenge of Ironman and the mental fortitude required to survive the day. Here it is, hope you don't mind me sharing Chris.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

race week

The lack of interesting posts (or posts in general) would be due to the fact that I'm too tired from workouts and/or busy recovering from workouts. Its been a really tough couple weeks getting a ton of high quality mileage in, and the whole squad is feeling it. As Paul Sherwin says in the coverage of the Tour, "everyone is going through their own personal purgatory."

Training is going very well, I'm getting faster despite the fact that I've forgotten what its like to feel "fresh" for a workout. Seriously...I don't remember the last time I gave a positive answer when someone asked me how I feel. But its paying off. Monday's track workout ended up being the same as last Monday's (after a few adjustments to accommodate the tired and lazy squad). Last week my 1200s were 3:50-55 (3:12-3:14/km pace), this week I did 3:45-3:48 (3:07 pace) on much heavier legs, and it was after 4x400 to start. I've hit the run hard the last couple weeks doing 60-70k a week and I'm really looking forward to seeing the work pay off.

Swimming is getting there too, the shoulder is still bugging me a bit but I'm getting the workouts done with a bit of modification. I was doing 1:19 consistently for 100's today which is great for me.

Yesterday and today are fairly light days to give us a bit of a break before Belwood. Despite coming off our big training weeks I'm in a better mindset than I ever have been before a race. I know I've done the work and I'm on good form. So I'll get my 8% on Sunday and apply for my elite card. The plan is to race K-Town long course tri as an elite Aug 2, can't wait!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

6 weeks out from Nationals

Well my last training day of a very tough week has been rained out, the suffering will resume tomorrow. So I'm partaking in my favourite July activities (besides racing, of course) of drinking coffee, listening to R.E.M. and watching crazy French fans doing faceplants on the pavement trying to keep up with Andy Schleck in the Pyrenees...seems like a good time for a post!

Next up on the schedule is Belwood July 19. It seems like I've barely been racing at all this year only having done two and its mid-July, but I've been picking my battles wisely. I have a lot of motivation to get within that 8% margin of the winning time, as Craig and I decided that I'll apply for my elite card after Belwood. I have no doubt that I have the fitness to get that 8% so I'm just looking forward to having a great race at one of my favourite venues.

Kelowna is 6 weeks away this weekend, and sprint nationals is my A-race this year. I've been really excited for this race since I first checked it out at the beginning of the year. The course suits me perfectly - very technical bike course, flat run, and hot. Given how hard I'm working and the training we're doing in the next few weeks I have a ton of confidence; I want to win and I don't see any reason why I can't. Unless of course training kills me first. My three goals this season are 1. get my elite card, 2. win nationals and 3. top-15 in my age group at Worlds. The first two are in my sights and giving me the motivation I need to get through the toughest training of the year (not to mention my entire life).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

sleepy time...

Not much to post other that the fact that I'm perpetually exhausted these days. I'm half way through a big training week. Yesterday was an "easy" day with 3500m swim with some band, short base run and 2:30 bike. Today was a solid swim, 2hr bike with 2x20min threshold then some tempo off the bike. And capped it all off with an ice bath! I'm starting to feel strong on the bike, strangely as I hadn't ridden in over a week but its going well. The run didn't go so well today, but overall things are really starting to get rolling here.

Barring some other stupid injury I'll be racing Belwood next weekend, which is shaping up to be a hell of a race. It sounds like almost everyone from the squad will be there along with just about every other elite in Ontario. Looking forward to some great competition and I feel twice as fit as I was for Guelph Lake. My race strategy will probably be to limit my losses on the bike and have the run of my life. Easy!

In TdF news, Cadel isn't looking so good anymore. His team literally fell apart today after figuratively doing so in the TTT yesterday. I guess I'll go for Lance now, how can you not like this guy?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Workouts

Swim:
1000 warmup
16x50m on :55 (alt. sprint 15m/easy)
6x200 on 4:00
Felt really sluggish in the water, probably since I haven't had regular swims in 2 weeks now. 200's were around 2:48-2:55, I was just glad to get it done

Bike:
45min easy spin to test out the wrist with a brace on (I can ride again!), then spin to the track

Run:
3-4x1200m @ 5k pace (16:00 5k = 3:50 per 1200)
I only did 3 since I'm pretty beat from a massive run week last week (72k), but felt quick today.

Now I'm just resting up for TdF Stage 4 team time trial tomorrow in Marseilles (I'm going to southern France one of these days to race IM Nice). Very excited that the TTT is back, Astana is going to dominate just as US Postal used to in the good old days...like 6 years ago. Lance will be in yellow tomorrow after the lucky breakaway today.

Now for your weekly dose of awesome Canadian music, recommended by Ryan Power himself...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vive le Tour!!

Someone tell Craig I won't be at our morning workouts for the next 23 days. Its that time of year again! I'm picking Cadel this year, although Lance and the rest of Astana will be very interesting to watch. I'll be on the lookout for shiny new equipment to put on my Christmas list, as I'll be in the market for a new time trial bike next season.

Some of you may know that I was considering going to France this summer and I would have seen Stage 1 today in Monaco! But I decided to race in Australia this year instead. What can I say, its a tough life.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Half way through '09

Half-way into the 2009 season I've realized that this year has and will continue to be a learning season. As much as I like to focus on results, I've come to accept that its necessary to have a learning year before a performing year. Last year I learned how NOT to train and race. I completely overtrained for my first experience at World Championships and ended up with a major injury, missing six months of training. This season I'm learning how to train and race properly, and one of the most important aspects of that is, well, not training or racing.

Historically I haven't been one to take recovery all that seriously. I've always been the type of athlete who prefers to ignore nagging injuries and get on with training. I could either be classified as tough, stubborn, or stupid. But diving head first into elite level training this year with the PTC its been a pretty steep learning curve with regards to proper recovery. If you don't train smart and commit to proper recovery practices, you get hurt. If you're hurt and continue training then you're sabotaging your own goals and racing season. I've had my share of injuries this year, most of which have been unavoidable (injuring both my wrists in two seperate bike crashes) but I've been forced to learn when to take time off, focusing on my long term goals and not stressing about missing a couple workouts. Lesson 1 - don't be stupid. Seems simple, but 95% of humans don't follow it.

After missing a number of swims with shoulder tightness, and finally getting a diagnosis on my wrist, I accepted that Peterborough is out this weekend. Lesson 2 - know when not to race (...and don't pay for races 4 months in advance). With my A-races being nationals and worlds, its important to know when not to compete and possibly sacrifice training for my real goals this season. As Craig told me this past week, the difference between elites and age groupers is elites know when not to race. Its not as easy as it sounds.

Lesson 3 - set goals, not expectations. If you expect to perform a certain way then you're setting yourself up for disappointment - either you meet your expectations and there's nothing positive, or you don't meet them and you have a negative experience. I've done that for my entire athletic career. But I finally realized that setting goals is much more constructive and conducive to good performance, and so far this year its worked for me. In my early season races I've had some great results, partially because I've gone into the races looking forward to seeing what I can do, rather than expecting to podium or win my age group by ten minutes. My goals this season are to win my age group at nationals, break 2:00 at Worlds and come top-15, and have strong results throughout the season to work towards a provincial elite card next spring. Lofty goals, but what are goals if they aren't challenging? Goals are constructive, expectations will never create a positive outcome.

If you've actually bothered to read all of this, you'll realize that none of my lessons are particularly profound or original. Well there's nothing all that complicated about training and racing. As I find myself in a strange place in the sport, somewhere between age group and elite both in terms of training and in results, I find that racing at the elite level is a lot simpler than most age groupers tend to make it (lose 30lbs before shaving 12 grams off your SLC-SL, for example). Just a few good lessons to remember going into my training for the races that count. Don't be stupid, remember my long term goals, keep racing a positive experience.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day


Dear Canada:
I know I dissed you yesterday, but we still tight. Congrats on being born, it was a long and arduous road through the mountains....of paperwork and treaties. I'll represent you good in Australia Sept 12.
Sincerely,
Ryan

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So after all my complaining...

Went to emergency this afternoon, turns out Guelph General is undergoing a pilot project for a way to speed up emerg wait times, and it works! I was in and out in just over an hour. No fracture, just soft tissue injury and inflammation around the median nerve (think carpal tunnel), which would explain the numbness and the ouchy when I'm riding. So I have the same fiberglass cast I had on my other wrist less than a month ago for a scaphoid fracture, need to take a couple days off biking to let the swelling go down. Might need to wear a carpal tunnel brace for riding for a week after that. Nothing serious as long as I take recovery seriously and let it heal, this will be good practice for learning proper recovery! And maybe next time I crash I'll let my collarbone break my fall like a true cyclist...on second thought, maybe not.

That was still a pretty good rant earlier though, wasn't it? I'm the most articulate whiner there is.

More Angry Ranting

I'm not particularly proud today of my tri suit that says CAN on it. My wrist has been bugging me for over a week now and I finally accepted that it was time to stop ignoring the pain and get it looked at. So I decided I would go to the one and only regular hours clinic in Guelph this morning. I got there 15 minutes after it opened, it was already full with people sitting on the floor, and I was the last patient they registered for the day. By 9:30 they were turning people away, telling them to go home. Is it just me, or is there something inherently wrong with a healthcare system that tells people to go home when they seek medical attention. Especially when the majority of patients are coming in for a fever and flu like symptoms, when there is a so-called pandemic sweeping the world with the first symptoms being flu and fever.

I waited another 20 minutes and overheard the secretary say that there would be an EIGHT hour wait for the last patients that were registered. So I left, deciding that it would be much less painful to ride with what's probably a fractured wrist than deal with the Canadian healthcare system.

Now don't get me wrong, I like the fact that I don't have to pay for healthcare here in Canada. There is a significant percentage of Canadians who would be unable to recieve any form of healthcare without it. But at the same time, there is a significant percentage of Canadians who never get to see their family doctor, have to wait months or years for an appointment or procedure, or leave illness and injury untreated because of the nightmare of wait times in this country. Canada has by far the longest wait times of any publicly funded healthcare system in the world, as well as the least time spent with a doctor once they finally see them (don't quote me on this but I believe the average is 2 1/4 minutes, with the patient having less that 15 seconds to explain their symptoms). Its utterly absurd that someone would have to wait an entire day to get a 2 minute assessment on a cough or a busted wrist. And I'm well aware that I'm just a bum athlete who feels that I'm more important than everyone else because I need to be healthy to do what I do, but my point still stands for those with much more serious ailments.

Someone else in the clinic today said he had waited 7 hours in emergency yesterday before going home and seuchering himself (he was an army medic), and another was put on hold for 3 hours by TeleHealth Ontario last night. Does anyone else see a problem here? Cue the sales pitch for a two-tier system, where doctors will get paid more thus keeping more doctors in Canada rather than leaving for the US where they currently get paid exponentially more, thus reducing wait times for those who still rely on publicly funded healthcare.

So I'm now debating whether or not I want to go across town to emergency and inevitably wait for hours there, or just tape my wrist and get on with training. I hope you've enjoyed my rant and that you don't take it too seriously.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Inspiration



I'll be honest, Saturday afternoon my thoughts weren't the most positive. Not only had I missed a couple big swim workouts with tightness in my shoulder and been riding through pain with what seems to be a more serious lingering problem with my wrist, but yesterday I had the bright idea of doing my warmup for a track session on some crappy trails around the track...and I rolled my ankle and had to limp back to my car then put it on ice rather than banging out km reps. I was not impressed. So I'm sitting at home with 3 injuries - you guessed it, a swimming, biking and a running injury. I needed some inspiration.

While sitting around moping and contemplating how much I really enjoy what I do, I realized that the men's race at the Des Moines world cup was on. Million dollar prize purses usually bring out some pretty special racing, and the guys didn't disappoint. What an incredible race from start to finish with U-23 Canadian Andrew McCartney leading out of the water, a couple breaks on the bike, and a 6 man group of the best runners (and probably the best sprinters) in the sport coming to the front. There have been some pretty incredible finishes on the ITU circuit this year, and this may have been the best with a 6-way sprint for $200 000...and Whitfield won!! Revenge on Frodeno who outsprinted him for gold in Beijing (Frodeno finished 3rd), and Brad Floppy Mcflopperton Kahlefeldt did his usual dramatic flail to get 2nd. I can always count on Simon for inspiration, what an unbelievable athlete. And I shouldn't forget Lauren Groves running her way up from the chase pack to get 3rd in the women's race, well done.

Shoulder is feeling better today, hoping that I'll be good to go tomorrow and looking forward to working hard in the pool again. Ankle seems to be ok, just a little bruised but I'll be fine to get back at it tomorrow. And I'm going to have to get my wrist looked at but its nothing that will stop me from continuing to work my ass off on the bike in search of some much needed fitness.

Connor Hammond is competing in Des Moines today at the Team World Champs, which should be just as exciting as yesterday's event. I'm proud to say that I routinely get kicked in the face by that guy in our swim workouts. He is also a significantly better xbox player that I am. But I'll catch you on the track one day...maybe...probably not.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Full-time Athlete

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a professional athlete and have no desire for a real job? Well me too! As a triathlete training full time, I have come to learn the importance of training smart. That means consistency in workouts, and sitting on your bum the rest of the time. Uhh, I mean proper recovery.

If you want to become a professional triathlete, you'll need some tips for success. First you need a comfortable chair, an even more comfortable bed within arm's reach of that chair, and numerous TV's and couches around the house so you're never more than 12 feet away from a place to sleep. Next, you'll need to find some quality music. After all you're only training 20 hours a week, so between that and sleeping 8 hours a day (plus naps, of course) you'll need some tunes to pass the time. I recommend this, and only this:



If you don't like it, get out of Canada.

Stay tuned for part 2 of "Full-Time Athlete" - The Tough Life: eating 6000 calories a day.