Monday, October 31, 2011

Like a Kid's First Allowance

This weekend I took part in one of the most fun events on the calendar...and it happens to be about a 3 minute drive from my house (and the same course that I did my first bike race on earlier this year, and my first ever run race in 2006).

On Sunday I joined in on the festivities with Balance Point Training for the Halloween Haunting 5k in London. It's a small event where the costumes are more important than your time...the way it should be. There were some pretty ridiculous costumes out there, mostly from the BPT crew. They are so much fun to train and race with!!

In an attempt to find something moderately humorous yet still capable of running in, I decided to be Dave Scott (its really a shame you can't see the surprisingly ok stache from this not-purchased photo). Unfortunately since runners and especially triathletes are pretty much geeks to begin with I more or less just fit in with the crowd. At least a couple triathletes there got what I was going for.

I'm proud to say that not only was I the fastest person who dressed up, but I picked up some prize money in the process! Not bad for a Sunday morning after being sick for three weeks. And believe it or not its the first time I've ever won prize money! But before even trying to calculate what percentage $50 is towards my flight to Rev3 Costa Rica, I put it straight in the piggy bank (ie. my Visa bill) and chalked it up as the first race I've officially covered all my expenses in :) Gotta start somewhere, right?

My girlfriend Amanda also won $50 as 2nd overall female (behind a very strong Speed River runner)!! And after the race BPT went out for an awesome year end/Amanda's home for the weekend/ excuse to eat glutinously - brunch. And its a good thing we did, because a few hours later we were all back for a swim TT. And just like the race in the morning, just about everyone but me posted a PB. But I'm happy with where I'm at for this time of year - not fast, not slow, but very hungry for more. This week is my last of kinda-offseason-ish training before getting right back at it, and with my plan for an early season race there's no time to waste!

I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for all the support, encouragement and kind words while I take on this journey I call being a professional triathlete. I'm going to try to update this thing a little more often through my weekly training, I know there are some people actually look forward to my ramblings so the least I can do in return is show my appreciation!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Training

I haven't done any training updates in a while! And since I'm hanging out in my new triathlon brainstorming headquarters, and since I'm finally starting to get things rolling after fighting a cold off and on for the better part of a month it seems like a good time to update.

I must admit its a little daunting to have full responsibility of my training and programming. I love the freedom and sense of control, knowing that its up to me to reach my goals. But it can be a little disconcerting wondering if I'm doing things right or missing anything. The only security I have is knowing that there are no secrets to training, even at the highest level. Stay consistent, enjoy what you're doing and the rest takes care of itself.

It seems rare that I've had both those elemets coexist over the past couple seasons, but I'm finally starting to figure it out. Right now I'm in a run focus gearing up for a couple fun fall run races...nothing crazy but I'm running almost every day and I'm starting to feel fast. First up is the Halloween Haunting 5k in London this weekend...the first run race I ever did 5 years ago. Having been sick lately I have no idea what kind of 5k shape I'm in but I'm looking forward to finding out...and looking forward to the costume I've got planned.

After that I'll likely do the 10k at Hamilton Road2Hope and give the distance a real go for the first time in a long while. Then I'll finally start to get back into full tri training. Just like last fall my big focus in the pool is working on form and efficiency, and despite not being in the water much lately I'm swimming well. The bike is another story...I feel pretty pathetic on my P3 right now but with my planned training that will change quickly.

I've already put together my basic training program for next season and its got me really excited for racing already! So I've decided to go out on a limb and post my planned 2012 race schedule for those who care :)

Rev3 Costa Rica
Rev3 Knoxville
Binbrook Tri
Welland Half Iron
5150 Toronto (not yet confirmed)
Bracebridge Tri
Ironman 70.3 Steelhead
Wasaga Beach Tri

So some of this is still tentative (Toronto is still only a rumor at this point, but sounds really promising) but I'm looking forward to committing to my season much sooner and with more concrete goals than in previous years - one of my problems this past year, and the reason why I feel the need to post this.

All non-drafting, I really want to see what I can do when I focus on my strengths in training and racing. And Steelhead will be my big goal for the season. I love long course training and I really want to gain some experience to see where I can take it. I've always known in the back of my mind that long course would be my direction in triathlon, and next season will be my first big step in that direction.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Back to training!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Busy Days

Well its still the off season but I've managed to keep myself pretty busy lately. The big one is the search for support and sponsors, and this is the time of year for most sponsors in triathlon. So far I've already been very lucky and have secured a key sponsor for my 2012 season.

I'm thrilled to announce that C&C Insurance will be supporting me next year. It seems to be a great fit as I ride by their office every morning on my bike! Jake from C&C is racing his first Ironman in a few weeks in Florida...all the best to him! I'm hoping to have a few more announcements in the coming weeks :)

I've also been kept pretty busy with work...I know what you're thinking - employment is against my principles. But running and napping rarely pay the bills. This past weekend I put some serious hours in at the Toronto Bike Show with MSZ, and as a bonus for my hard work they were generous enough to provide me with a bonus to upgrade the new TT rig!

I got some very nice comments on my pretty new toy in my last post, and since I've made it even faster looking I figured I'd tell you more about it...for all my techy friends. I take a lot of pride in the build and aesthetics of my bikes, and I'm very particular with the quality of everything, so I prefer to make the investment to build up my own bikes with my choice of components rather than ride a sponsored bike. So no shameless pitches here, I just feel like talking about my work!

2011 P3 Frameset - in my opinion this is the best no BS bike in the world. No built in water bottles, no useless hidden brake calipers. Its just an intelligently designed, extremely aero and very comfortable bike. My gimp back approves.

SRAM Force/Rival Components - After riding Shimano since my first road bike, I started riding SRAM last year on my road bike (Red) and I was instantly a convert. Super smooth shifting and a better feel than Shimano in my opinion. When its dialled in Red shifts faster than DI2, and my Force/Rival combo is lighter and much cheaper than Ultegra.

Wheels - I really like Mavic wheels for their durability and coolness factor. I ride Aksium training wheels along with a Powertap wheel, and for races I have Cosmic Carbone Pros (only produced for one year). Similar to a Zipp 404 but better hubs and a stronger rim. And as a recent addition I now have the option to roll a Zipp 900 disc, just for a little extra speed.

ISM Adamo Road saddle - I switched to the ISM earlier this year when I was searching for a seat option that would keep my bum and my back happy over 90k in the aerobars. It took me the better part of a month to get the seat and rail angles where I wanted, and I also pinched the nose pieces together with a zip tie to get the front end narrower. Its a very different feel but I find I can rotate my hips more with the ISM which saves my back a ton. I've also added an XLab cage mount to keep the frame clean. I've never been in a wind tunnel but common sense tells me its more aero.

3T custom front end - I'm really finicky with my aerobars. They have to fit to the millimeter and still look funky. So I've taken a 3T Aura Pro integrated bar and replaced the narrow unadjustable pads with Profile Design F-22 pads and J2 clips to get the reach and pad width I want. Really comfortable but coolness factor remains high. As you can see I've also ultilized the cheapest ($4 bottle cage, 100 for $1 zip ties from the dollar store) and most aerodynamic bottle setup you can get.

OK no more tech talk.

As for training, I'm in a bit of a run focus for another few weeks gearing up for a couple run races. Nothing crazy but I'm putting in some decent run weeks - up to about 100k - just for fun before getting serious about tri training again in November.

I'm looking forward to being in the pool 5-6 days a week between the UWO Tri Club and Balance Point Training to build on a big growing year in the water. I'm starting to get an idea of what swimming is supposed to feel like, and with the guidance of Coach Gabbi I'm really looking forward to seeing some progress through the winter.

But the bike is where I'll be putting a ton of focus on my training, likely riding 6-7 days a week. No more half ass draft legal bike workouts, I want to be strong on the bike next year for my non-drafting and long course races. I'll be doing some training and racing with the cycling team as part of their development racing team, and I'll be banking some epic rides with a good friend of mine and strong long course athlete Chris Pickering.

So far my little experiment of taking my programming into my own hands seems to be working out fairly well. I really like knowing I have complete control over what I'm doing and its keeping me very focused. No one's going to give me hell for half-assing a workout...its all on me. I already have my plan for next year's races, which will likely include two or three Rev3 events and 70.3 Muskoka. I know...WTC...grrrrrr. But the reality is its the closest high end race to me with the best chance of at least breaking even with my travel expenses. And in all honesty, I would consider it a huge success and an accomplishment as an elite triathlete next year if I managed to break even with my expenses between prize money and sponsor support - its not easy. Maybe then I can really call myself a professional athlete :)

I'm really very excited for racing next year.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My New Training Partner

Alright its official. I have a problem.

I'm a tri geek.

If you're counting this is now 5 bikes in the past year, and 7 since I got into triathlon. 4 years ago.

After a lot (probably too much) of thought on where I want to focus my efforts in this sport I decided that trusty ol' Cervelo P1 aka Wildfire was just not going to cut it anymore. It was time for a serious non-drafting machine. So instead of pinching pennies (or my Visa card) and second guessing my decision, I just got the best/fastest/no BS bike out there.

Having worked at a bike shop for two years now I've become a bit of a perfectionist with bike performance and aethetics, and now I am with aerodynamics too. Along with a funky disc for flat and fast courses I'm now more confident and comfortable on my bike than ever before. I really can't wait to race on this thing.

And don't worry, good old P1 isn't going to go unused. Even though I retired it after just one year of racing, it is going to become my newest and by far coolest winter project yet. Stay tuned for more info!

In other news I've already had great response in my search for support and sponsors for next season. No details to be mentioned yet but I'm going to have some great support and will be racing with some cutting edge equipment next year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Changing Seasons...

...and pretty much everything else it seems.

Sorry I haven't updated this thing in a while. Despite having some down time in training I've managed to keep myself pretty busy these days between some final races, work, and gearing up for 2012 already!

This season has been a hard one to try to figure out. I had some not so proud moments, but there were a lot of big steps forward, both mentally and physically, and I finally started to compete to my potential and throw down some good races. I was really happy with how the tri season turned out, but after a lot of thought and finding some direction in my training and racing, I felt that something needed to change going into next year.

I've always liked coaching and putting together training programs, and having found my direction in the sport and starting to understand what it takes to reach my goals, I felt it was best to take my training and programming into my own hands and see where I can take things. It had nothing to do with my coach - James is a great coach and I've learned a ton from him and love the LPC group. But between having a better understanding of my own training, and my training opportunities here in London, I'm - mostly - confident in my decision. And credit to James for being so understanding of my sometimes crazy thoughts - I'm sure I will be calling on him for advice more than a few times.

So I'm once again a "free agent". It's a little daunting to put this responsibility on myself on top of my training and racing, but I have a great group of coaches and athletes around me and I'm looking forward to next year being my strongest by far. I'm currently in a run focus until the end of October before really getting tri training rolling for some early season races in 2012.

Besides all that...I'm in the process of seeking out new sponsors for next season and things are looking great already (still top secret!) This time last season I decided to focus on myself and my training rather than deal with the occasional stress and distractions of sponsors. But with a good season of racing under my belt and high goals for next year, the support will be necessary for me to get where I want to be. Hopefully I'll have more news on that soon.

Until then, back to training and I'll update some of my upcoming fall running when I decide that something is interesting enough to share! I'll leave you with some more ACMFRP.