Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Season in Photos

I usually try to post a few pictures in each race report through the year to break up the monotony (even if it means occasionally using the print screen function rather than paying $40 for a picture of myself :) ). But I was admittedly a little lazy with it this year, so it seems like a fitting time to throw together a bit of a collage of the year! There might be a few I've previously posted but here's my complete season in photos. Enjoy!

I started off the year with my first ever road race. 2nd spot here, trying to instigate a breakaway in the Springbank O-Cup

Getting some experience putting my sign sprints to the test. Finished 4th, 2nd in main field sprint. At least I had the prettiest bike in the race!

First tri of the year was in beautiful Connecticut for Rev3 Quassy. PB swim of 22:04

Off for the hardest Olympic distance run ever!

Tri #2 - Leamington Tomatoman (AG Provincials). I made a tactical mistake lining up on the start line and was forced to fight the current and miss the leaders by the first turn.

Trying to muscle out a fast 5k in the middle of a big 70.3 training block. Good enough for 3rd behind two strong boys.

I'm using a non-descript photo so as not to embarrass her, but I have to mention my amazing girlfriend. In her first year of "serious" training she has won her age group in every race she's done, including Provincial Champ in both sprint and Olympic distances. Here she is having a stellar race in Welland, the day before my royal mental f**kup (ie. the Welland Half).

A month off to regroup before Bala Falls. Accomplishing a huge mental goal - first out of the water.

Up by 2+mins coming off the bike

As I came into T2 MSC's announcer told the crowd "now watch Ryan's transition and how incredibly fast he is in-and out". Pressure was on but I still pulled off my usual fastest T2 split :)

By far my best race of the year and maybe ever, and a huge mental victory.

And my support staff, who drank my 7up when I went to the podium

The only photo evidence from Ottawa Draft-Legal Provincials. Probably a good thing

Cobourg Sprint Tri - 56 degree water!

Feeling pretty flat on the day but I knew what needed to be done on the run. Took the lead at 2k for my 2nd win of the year

Final tri of the year - Chatham Bulldog. Only a few seconds back from some fast swimmers, getting closer!

To Coach James's astonishment, on race morning I pulled out my vintage 1999 Team Canada Worlds singlet (a hidden gem I found in some old stock uniforms at AG Worlds in 2008). Must have been good luck, I averaged 43.5km/h on the bike and ran a PB 5k. But only good enough for 3rd.

Lots of ups and downs, lots of fun, and plenty to learn from and build on for 2012.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Change in Plans

Well, it's been an up and down season this year. And the biggest problem I've had is the number of changes I've made to "the plan". I don't know if anyone else out there has had a race season without an A-race or at least a significant goal, but let me tell you. It sucks.

In March I thought I had it all figured out...2 USAT 2012 events, 4 draft-legal races and a couple more non-drafting prize money races. Maybe I was reaching too far. But everything kind of went to s**t when the Miami Speed Tri was postponed and the race committee wouldn't even acknowledge my lost expenses after advertising my presence at the race (seriously, did they know I'm a poser anyway?). Then the Tobago Rainbow Tri cut their prize money in half two weeks before the race...luckily I noticed as I was about to book my flight there.

Things change, so what. Frustrating but nothing I can do about it. So I just put my head down and decided to essentially dedicate the year to "putting in the time." I know where I'm at in the sport; I've worked hard and earned some personal successes but I have big goals and the only way to reach them is to work my ass off for many more years.

The problem with that was I had very little motivation to actually race. I much prefered the idea of going out on my own to put in the time when no one was looking. I went through about ten iterations of a proposed race season, and by the time May came around I basically had no choice but to simply enter races as they came and what fit in my schedule.

Every race I actually competed in this year I was happy with my performance. The only "bad" tri's I had all year (ie. wasn't top 3) were Rev3 where I had a PB swim and one of the top run splits, and Draft-Legal Provincials where I bridged a 90 second gap to a pack, puked my guts out on the run and still finished. My real problem was the races I didn't actually do. I missed two based on how I felt that morning, and skipped another after missing a couple workouts the week prior and was concerned about my "lost" fitness.

Overall I feel I had a very successful season having figured out my mental demons, finally started to see the improvements I had been working at for so long, swim bike and run PB's in training and racing, and winning a couple along the way. I just struggled with motivation to race because I had nothing to work towards beside the essentially arbitrary goal of getting faster.

So with that in mind along with life getting in the way, I've decided to cut my tri season a little short and end things on a good note with Bulldog as my last of the year. I'm taking a couple weeks off structured training to regroup then start a bit of a run focus through the fall with the goal of learning how to run a 10k. After that it's right back to work for next season, which I have already set with a different focus from the last two seasons. But I'm keeping that top secret for now.

On that note, I'm undertaking another winter project to keep me busy and make sure I'll be fast next year! Details to come shortly...