(click photo for camp info)
Chris and Sara are both celebrated long course triathletes who are also dedicated coaches.
I've had heard nothing but good from those who have taken part in their camps in the past.
So it is with a mixture of joy and sadness that I announce the news that a nice little horror movie I wrote more than five years ago has been picked up and is being fast tracked into production.
The movie is called "The Bitch" and I've been attached to direct the piece. We begin filming in
I've been training steady and with consistency since signing up for IMC last year but it looks like that dream will have to be put on hold.
I plan on making a good film, the benefits of which will afford me the time to be a more effective coach in the future.
I'll continue to post to this blog. I will discuss my efforts to stay fit during the insanity that is the low budget film world.
I'm typing this in the Sutton Place Hotel where we spent the day casting for the lead in the film. We saw many lovely young ladies, several of whom who really impressed us.
Tomorrow we'll be putting the short listed actors on tape.
This morning I managed to get in two good hours of athlete planning and a solid 50' on the treadmill - with the lovely Frances Fisher training on the machine beside me.
Back in Hollywood.
I tried to get out but they keep sucking me back in!
As a coach and a friend it was certainly an emotional day.
As the bike neared the end and Heather was up by 12 minutes over Gollnick, Scott asked me how fast she could run. I told him I thought she had a in her but anything could happen. “Would that be fast enough?” he asked. “As long as Gollnick doesn’t go any faster than .” I said.
Once the word got out that I was her coach they pulled me off the spotting duty to keep it fair for all the girls. I was secretly glad for this. Having me as the official female spotter was a clear disadvantage for Heather. As it was, Scott and I, working together, would start the watch when Heather rode by and then give real time splits to the next 4-5 woman. By the time we managed to leap back up to Wurtele the only split we could give her went something like this “Twenty miles ago you were minutes ahead.”
After they pulled me I got on my bike and was able to focus completely on her. As a support person for her I was allowed to give splits but I wasn’t permitted to ride or run beside her. I kept myself beyond reproach – riding past her, starting my watch, waiting 13 minutes for the Gollnick (and for one tense moment Ficker) then rode as hard as I could up to Heather to give her the split. It still wasn’t real-time but it was quicker than if I’d waited for a few more girls to pass as I would have otherwise. Also, I sure was under no obligation to give Gollnick any splits after that. Though at mile 18, with Wurtele in a commanding lead, Gollnick was desperate to for anyone to give her a split. “How far ahead is she!?!?!?” she yelled. A well meaning volunteer told her “She’s just a few minutes, dear. Keep going!” I could see the frustration on her face and my heart went out to her.
I told her “She’s 13:10 up on you, Heather. Keep going. Anything can happen in an Ironman.” She nodded to me and forged ahead. She’s a tough competitor that one.
And let me go on a tangent to talk a little bit about someone else. Sara Gross was in that place where it’s so hard to stay tough but stay tough she did.
I could see she wasn’t comfortable on the bike. And on the run I think she was as far back as 6th or 7th but she just kept going. She never let up and it paid off. She finished 4th, collected a nice little pay cheque and made a big fan out of me.
As you all know, Wurtele kept everyone behind her and did indeed lead wire to wire.
As I watched her approach the finish line to the roar of thousands I knew this would be a moment no one could ever take away from her. It’s too bad there are people out there who will try.
Last night we attended the awards banquet and once again Heather got a chance to shine in the sun. She gave a touching speech that I tried to capture on my Blackberry but was only partially successful. I’ll post it here later. I have a line on someone who taped the whole thing and I’ll make an effort to get a copy and repost.
After the awards a small group of us went to the hotel next door and celebrated with dessert and beer (though I think Scott Currie, Sara Gross and myself were the only ones to have beer - but everyone else enjoyed ice cream sundaes as big as basketballs.)I've got some pictures and video I'll post when I have a moment later.
Another hero undone by a heel. Kirsten Sweetland's Olympic dreams were put on hold this week when a bone scan revealed she had a stress fracture in her foot.
The selection committee was relieved of their duty to choose a team. It was chosen for them.
I would have been interested in seeing who they would have backed had Kirsten be given the thumbs up to race.
Probably better for everyone that we'll never know.
I'm back from the World Championships. My Crackberry died out there so I wasn't able to send in my wicked insights.
My role as a spectator began with the age group championships. The weather was foul – cold and windy. They were saying the water was 12.5 and the sound decision to shorten the swim to
The waves went off one at a time and after each one the sad sight of a few athletes getting pulled out was the norm.
After awhile I moved down to the T1 area. You had to walk around a little point to get there. It was here that the winds really picked up. The surf looked lethal!
Another sound decision was made to turn the rest of the race into a duathlon. I can just imagine the bitter disappointment felt by many of the athletes who had trained all year to peak for this event but it was the only decision that could have been made.
I ran into some genius who commented that he’d swam in much worse. He just couldn’t understand how they could cancel the swim. Foolishness is infinite.
Unfortunately, besides freezing my keester off, watching the race wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been. It was so confusing with all the loops and staggered starts you just couldn’t see where anyone was.
I guess it was just as confusing for the athletes because when I got to the finish line I was witness to athlete after athlete coming to the finish line and realizing they had another lap to go – so back out to the course they went. There were also many stories of athletes doing extra laps as well and I saw more than one
Woke up Sunday morning to cold drizzle but calm seas. Apparently the temperature in the water had dropped another degree to 11.5
I won’t bother recapping the races. They went off well and were exciting to watch.
This was to be the final selection race for our Olympic teams and that’s where a great deal of the drama for the races came from. Sweetland, Murray and Tremblay were fighting for the final two positions, while Tichler, McMahon, Jenkins and Jones were battling for the last two spots on the men’s side.
Some will disagree but going into the race the slots were pretty much pre selected. Kirsten had demonstrated on several occasions that she could threaten for a medal in almost any race. She’d also mis-stepped on more than one effort and been hampered by a few injuries as well. She just needed to race like she was capable of and no one would argue her place in
A top 8 finish would guarantee a place for any of them – a tall order in this crowd. If no one got a top 8 then all four choices would be left up to the High Performance Committee.
No one got a top 8.
The closest was Tichler, who came 9th – less than a second out of 8th. But 9th is not 8th. And so his Olympic future, along with the others would be in the hands of “the committee”
The athletes did not make the selections obvious for the committee – not obvious at all. No matter what decisions they make there will be legitimate appeal grounds for the athletes left off.
Sweetland pulled up lame in the run and end up 38th. It broke my heart to see her suffering out there.
Tremblay got off the bike with the chase group but ran 38:35 and finished 21st.
On the men’s side, I’ve already mentioned Paul’s 9th. The committee has to select Paul. That should be obvious to anyone who loves and understands this sport. Recently Paul and Simon have had some differences aired publicly and that’s unfortunate but in the end Paul has demonstrated that he can finish at the pointy end of the stick.
Behind Paul was veteran Brent McMahon. Brent’s season was hampered by a broken wrist and I think most people had pretty much written the lad off as even a long shot. Everyone, that is except Brent. He knew going into the race that if he didn’t come in 8th then it was extremely unlikely he’d go to
On Sunday Brent showed everyone, including Simon, that not only was he capable of helping but maybe he could do it better than Colin.
Brent working it!
Brent had a solid swim and got himself in the lead group with Simon, Tich, and Jenkins. As the group circled the course again and again we saw Brent up there again and again. He was working hard and he was trying to work for Simon. Off the bike he ran strong and finished a solid 17th. Colin was not able to help as much as he has in the past but, despite what some are saying, he did get up there a few times and kill himself to help (see my picture as proof.) But Brent showed that when it counted he could bring his A game. Would it be enough to get him on the team – probably not. Simon has been working with Colin for a few years now and that kind of a relationship won’t be compromised by one race - but I can promise you this though, Brent’s race on Sunday will certainly extend the length of the selection meeting!
Click on the picture to see Colin working at
the front with Simon close by.
So in the end the final spots on the men’s team will likely be Paul Tichler and Colin Jenkins.
On the women’s side it was also pretty clear cut going into the event. It wouldn’t be such going out.
This has been Carolyn Murray’s year. She’s been racing better than any other Canadian woman out there. She hadn’t been beaten by another Canuck going into Worlds. That alone should have assured her a place on the team and it may still but on Sunday she was beaten by Tremblay when it counted. But neither of them placed 8th so it’s unlikely their “placing” will play much of a factor in the committee’s decision. Again, they’ll look at several criteria – who is mostly likely to podium or who can help another get to the podium?
If Kirsten is 100% she gets the nod on getting to the podium. If her foot doesn’t pass examine then the question will be moot – both Murray and Tremblay will go. For arguments sake, let’s assume her foot just has some minor inflammation and she is chosen – one spot left. Murray or Tremblay? Most know I have a history with Carolyn and want to see her succeed but I think I’ve got enough integrity to look at the situation with pragmatic eyes. If you’re looking at who has the best chance of hitting the podium, you have to point to Carolyn. Quite simply she’s one of the fastest runners in the game right now and if there’s any chance at all that can be in the lead bike pack, she can run with the big girls. As far as helping someone else, this scenario isn’t as clear for the girls. Neither Carolyn or Kathy can realistically help Kirsten as Kirsten swims substantially faster than both of them. Kathy can’t really help Carolyn because Carolyn is a stronger cyclist. Carolyn couldn’t help Kathy too much because usually Kathy is out of the pond first and even if she wasn’t, she doesn’t have Carolyn’s run speed. There wouldn’t be a point.
There is however one realistic possibility for a domestique relationship and that’s for Carolyn to help
I think most everyone was hoping the athletes would take it out of the hands of the committee but they didn’t and so men and women behind closed doors will decide the fate for these young people. Their decisions, like Caesar’s wife, must appear beyond reproach.
Whatever those decisions I hope they have the courage of their convictions to explain and justify them. The athletes and the people who support this sport deserve that.
It was a good day of racing yesterday.
Heather and Trevor Wurtele and myself did the race as a relay.
Rachel Kiers did the whole thing and a posse of my friends and athletes were out there on relay teams and in the sprint - or both in one case.
Rachel lead the race from wire to wire to take her first ever win. Steve King announced that Rachel had knocked over 30' off her time from the previous year. Rachel thought it was closer to 40'. I told her I was going with King's memory on the matter. Of course, King was right. The time was 33'. An awesome improvement.
Though Rachel took the race handily she didn't do it without some pressure. There was a female relay team out there pushing her hard. She didn't know they were a relay team until about 7K into the run when she realized the strong Caucasian cyclist who had gotten into the transition in front of her had turned into a petite Asian speedster. Now that's a transition!
My man Irvin Tang along with the newest member of the roster, Roland Neville and Team X'er Korey Gendron put in a relay team for the ½. The fun thing was Irvin was also signed up for the sprint, which was scheduled to go 40' after the start of the full. Irvin would have to do the swim - hand off his chip, put on a new chip and switch his swim cap. By my calculation, he would have about 7'.
I was spot on with my estimate. Irvin swam 32:59. He raced up the ramp, handed Roland his chip - and then promptly peeled off his wetsuit out of habit. Bad move. He now had about 4' to get his wetsuit back on. Have you ever tried to put a wet wetsuit on a wet body? There were three of us trying to wedge him back into that thing. We just managed to do up the zipper and give Irvin a whole 30 seconds to get back in the water for the gun.
Lysanne Lavigne, also doing a relay was in a fun situation as well. ITU stud Lisa Mensink was in town and her coach, Paul Regensburg, had called me earlier in the week to see if I had a cyclist to race with Lisa, who would swim and run. I know lots of guys who can ride at a very high level but Paul wanted someone competitive, though not too competitive - someone who would put Lisa in a position to have to do some chasing on the run. Lysanne is a tough little nut but she's been racing short course. The 90k would be new territory for her. A few people caught her out there but she ended up cycling a ! I had her at least 10' slower that was a hell of a nice surprise. She also said she felt like she never really got going. I love it when an athlete makes that complaint - and they still ride well. It tells me when they "really get going" they can do some special things!
I was running on our relay after Heather swam and Trevor rode. I knew Lisa would be just one of the relay runners out there who would be gunning for me. That's not hubris. Heather was on the last day of a MONSTER build. She was deathly tired but she's been swimming well and I knew she'd start us out strong. The swim was a bit of a gong show due to a couple of small factors that ended up large factors for some. Swimming WAY out in front were Andrew McCartney, Brent McMahon and Daniel "Dano" Wells. Three of the best swimmers in the game. A minute or two behind was Lisa and Jazz Blake. The problem was they were all so far in front of everyone else that they were the only ones to benefit by the canoe. Everyone else had to go by the buoys, which unfortunately were the same colour as the swim caps. Also there were a few separate buoys out there for the sprint race to follow. There was a lot of chaos out there but it's a good lesson - know the swim course. Had an athlete really studied the proper course they would have had far fewer problems. Heather is pro enough to have done that and she swam "pretty" straight but she also swam completely alone as everyone else was all over the map.
26' into the swim I could see her coming in from a hundred meters away - completely solo.
She finished in 27:30 - behind Brent (also in a relay where he was biking as well) and behind Lisa. That put us third relay on the road. Trevor launched and by the time the dust had settled he'd caught everyone (individuals included) except Jordon Rapp, who had an awesome race and would go on to win the day. Trevor blazed a stunning 2:12 out there!!!
I was 2nd out of the transition and 1st relay team but I had no idea how much of a lead I had over Brent's runner - who happened to be Rachel's husband, Mike. Brent had called me two days earlier looking for someone to run for him and I'd hooked him and Mike up. Now I was wishing I'd lined him up someone a little slower. In Mike's last 1/2 he'd run . That was about exactly what I thought I could pull off!
I felt good starting out and except for a quick pee break in the first K (who does that!?!?!) I was going okay. I started to fantasize about winning.
The course was an interesting one. It was shaped like a mutant letter 'T' with a tiny stem and a really long top. You ran out of the transition and hooked a right for a 6k out and back. When you got back to the stem of the T you kept going straight for another 5k out and back. It was all gravel and I'd been warned that the 2nd out and back was loose and rocky. No worries - same for everyone.
So I hit the first 6k and I felt like I was going strong. The K markers were way off but I knew I was running well. I hit the turn around and instantly deflated. Mike was RIGHT there - less than a minute back of me. He looked smooth and loose.
I knew he'd catch me so I went through the decision process that everyone goes through at this point - do I ease up, let him catch and see if I could run with him? He'd run hard to bridge. I'd be somewhat recovered and maybe I could break him after that.
The other choice was to pick it up a bit and make him pay to catch me. If I did that I knew that once he did catch me I'd likely have little to respond with. It would be up to him to crack on his own after that. I figured I had more experience than he did and maybe he'd gone out too hard too soon to catch me. If I made him pay hard to bridge that final minute, it might be too much. I picked it up a notch - and the Ks ticked by.
I hit the 12k mark. At the top of the T. Lance Watson was standing there with a small group. I heard someone say "He looks strong." as I went by. That made me feel pretty good. That would almost be the last "good" moment on this run. I could hear Mike getting closer. Soon I started to feel crappy - really crappy. I was slowing up and the legs were screaming. There was still 8k to go.
At the 13k Trevor was standing on the side of the road. I knew I was failing and it disappointed me to think that all of his and Heather's hard work would only be good enough for 2nd - provided Korey didn't catch me as well. Roland had biked an impressive to put them comfortably in 3rd. I could hear Mike's footsteps on my shoulder and was further humiliated to know that Trevor would be there to bear witness to the pass. I went by Trevor with a sad shake of my head. Trevor said "Keep going, You're all alone!!" What??
I glanced back for the first time and there was no one there!!
I couldn't let up now. 8K but all alone! I did my best to focus on the drills I'd been doing and keep moving forward.
But with each passing step things got worse. The pain increased. I was drinking at every station and pouring water over my head - and now I really could hear him coming!
The path dropped down about
I U turned and came face to face with Chris Brown! YAY! Another reprieve - but short lived. Mike showed up only moments later. This was still a race and he still looked good!
A second reprieve came when I realized that for the last 4k we'd been running up a false flat. The switch to downhill gave my legs a break they were looking for but I knew they'd give Mike a break as well.
At the 17k I felt myself starting to slow and only moments later came the sound of fast moving footsteps behind me once again. Damn - 4k was too long to try and pick it up!
Adrian Walton ran past me. I hadn't even seen him coming the other way.
At the 18k my pace deteriorated further and would continue to deteriorate all the way to the finish. But I never got caught and we held on for the victory.
Mike came in a few minutes later and Korey a few minutes after that.
Irvin had a good sprint race, despite his rush to the start and in the end we all had fun in the sun.