Saturday, December 20, 2008

Camping with friends

Last year Paul Cross, Pete Reid and Cliff English invited me to be involved in a triathlon camp they were putting on in Tucson. Paul is putting on the camp again and I have to give it my highest marks. If anyone is considering a camp in the new year, consider this one. I promise you, you'll get your money's worth and a nice kick in the ass towards fitness!

Paul timing some laps!
(click photo for camp info)


Another camp consideration should be the one put on by Chris Brown and Sara Gross.
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.

Sara and Chris post IMC
(click photo for camp info)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Play Hard!


Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Check Your Ethics


Over the last few months I've found myself in some "interesting" ethical situations.
And one thing I'm learning is that being in the right doesn't make one right.
Just because you have the "law" on your side doesn't mean you're the hero.
Lord knows, doing the right thing is not always easy and some times it costs you - dearly, but in the long run you will sleep better knowing you did your best to do the right thing.
And really, we almost always know what we should do, it's just doing it that proves difficult.

The real evil isn't the action - it's the rationalizations we pull out of our ass after we do what serves us and not the greater good.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ironman AZ

Full Report Pending but check out this video to see some folks with flexible ethics.
Keep in mind this is 36 miles into the race. This is NOT right out of transition.
AND I promise you this - there was a bigger pack than this one!
I should also make it clear that the reason I was able to get this shot (start the camera up before the pack arrived) was that we saw them approaching the turnaround 3-4 minutes before they came back to us.
They were together coming and going!


video

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Can't find my way home.

So here I am in Tempe and tomorrow is another running of Ironman Arizona.
I'm staying with Scott Curry and Chris McDonald at their homestay. The owner is a generous age grouper named Carl and he has to have one of the nicest homes I've seen in a very long time.
Check out the photos below!

Tomorrow is going to be a fun race. I've got a bunch of friends racing.
Christine Fletcher is fit and I'm certain will have a good race. Trevor Wurtele is looking great as is Chris Brown. I've never seen Curry looking this good or confident. He and Paulo (his coach) are proud of the work they've done. Jasper Blake is here and I KNOW he's done some solid training this fall in Victoria. He's bringing with him young Steve Kilshaw. Few in the Ironman game know Steve's name but I think they will after Sunday.
This is the first time I've met Chris McDonald but the boy has some great tales. Today he was telling me a little bit about his journey. He's a great story teller with a generous spirit.
It seems he started out a rugby player in Australia - weighing 240 pounds! He met Scott Molina through some friends before he knew anything about the sport and certainly anything about the legendary Mr. Molina. Over the next four years they became friends and did quite a bit of training together. Chris told of two vivid memories he had that he now counts as pivotal moments in his triathlon history. He and Scott were out on a long bike ride and, like riding with many athletes of Molina's stature there was little chatter. After about 3 hours of silence, he recalls Scott looking over at him and saying, "You know, Chris you could have a future in this sport."
Some time later, when Chris was racing his last event as an age grouper - I don't recall the race but I'm certain it was an Ironman, he was making this way to the finish line, running in 5th over all, and he passed Molina running the other way, also racing as an age grouper. He remembers he and Scott seeing each other and Scott pumping his fist in adulation.
Chris and I talked about how important those moments were for him and the reasons why.
Talk to any athlete out there who has tasted some form of success and ask them what were key moments in their athletic life and a great many will tell you of a time when someone believed in them - someone who was not obliged to believe in them and then expressed that belief.
At any rate, it was a nice chat, and I'll be cheering for him to have a great race.

Now it's time to get some sleep. Tomorrow will come around quickly.
I love this sport.

And I love this house:

The front of the shack



Scott's wife Allison and his brother Brent.

Scott prepping bottles for his win tomorrow.
Allison getting her shoes ready to go for a run with me.


The Theatre Room
This picture doesn't do it justice.
Those chairs are monster recliners!

An Endless Pool within a finite pool.



Gotta have a hot tub!

The guest house behind the pool.



Chris watching football on the "small" TV.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Communication Breakdown


So here I am in Phoenix and early this morning I get a message on my Blackberry saying I can no longer receive or send text messages or emails until I reset my Shaw account password.
Four hours later I get to a computer with an internet connection to find I can't access my Shaw account through webmail at this time - no reason given. So I get on the phone (long distance of course) with tech support at Shaw - 1 hour and 7 minutes later I get through. Apparently for no reason the tech guy can give me he says he has to reset my email account. Any email messages sent to me in the last 7 hours are lost.
If you think you communicated with me today - you may have not have.
When it rains it pours.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Opportunity

"I've got a defective gene."

Opportunity by Edward Sill

This I beheld or dreamed it in a dream;
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it , raged
a furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
and thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel -
that blue blade that the king's son bears, - but this
blunt thing... !" he snapped and flung it from his hand.
Then the king's son, wounded, sore bested,
and weaponless, saw the broken sword,
hilt buried in the dry and trodden sand,
and ran and snatched it, and with a battle shout
lifted afresh, he hewed his enemy down.
And saved a great cause that heroic day.


DON'T BE A CRAVEN HANGING AT THE BATTLE'S EDGE!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kickin' it Ol' School

Well, I finally figured out how to work my scanner and as I have no shame I thought I might throw up a few snaps from back in the day.
I think if you click on the photos you'll see them full size.

Here's a shot of me in my first race. It's the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon, 1984 - the 5th running of it.

Sometime in early 84, I'd gotten a call from a high school friend, Rob Hanke asking me if I'd be willing to be his "handler" for the upcoming triathlon.
Rob explained the race to me - a 1 mile swim, 38 K bike and a 10K run.
Remarkable how close they came to guessing the Oly distance that would surface about 8 years after the first race 1979.
I told Rob I wasn't interested in being a handler. I wanted to do the race! After all, I'd played soccer in high school. How hard could it be?
I remember that night going for a run. I ran 17' - close to 2 miles.
In those days, 800 meters was a good swim. I never biked more than an hour and I logged my runs leading up to the race - 18 runs averaging 3 miles each. (I was always a journal keeper)
My time was something like 2:45 - I'm too lazy to dig up the results.
That helmet was a used one I found at the old Sport Traders. It was WAAAY too big for my head but you had to have a helmet.
I love my cycling gloves!
That first race costs $18 to do.


My first race

My Second race was a year later. Sri Chinmoy, 1985
The guy running beside me is Rob Hanke, who didn't want to do it the following year but came over to be my Handler.
The shorts I'm wearing are a pair of cut off rugby pants.
I have a new pair of cycling gloves for this one.
If you look in the back you can see a dude with some original compression socks on!
I remember I ended up going a few minutes slower this year and bonking terribly. Of course I didn't know what bonking was but wow - did I ever do it! I almost passed out.
Still I kept coming back for more.



My Second Triathlon



Here's a fun picture from a few years later. Probably 1988. I believe this is from the Pioneer 8k.
I was running around a 37' (for 10K) in those days. The guy behind is named Carl. He and I traded back and fourth a great many races before I finally notched things up and got faster.
In the background you can see a woman with glasses on her head talking to some folks.
That was my partner at the time. She didn't see me come in - or she was pretending not to know me, which would be understandable.
I'm wearing a jersey from The Tri Den. That was a tri specific store that I opening in 1987 - but, as many of my athletes could tell you, I'm a terrible businessman. I sold the store for a loss 3 years later. It closed a year after that.


Bring your A game or go the fuck home!!



Here I am training indoors. Yes, that's a sweatband on my head. Note the ultra cool socks. Also note the saddle bags - and my autographed album cover from Billy Joel! I still have that, of course. And dig that swag lamp and knitted plant hanger. My mom made that plant hanger. Those are a pair of very expensive Hind Tri shorts I'm sporting!
My stereo would have been cranking.
I'm 25 years old and 150 pounds.

Training in the 80's


I love this photo, grainy as it is. This is me and my friend Mike Basanta training in Palm Springs. We rode 3 hours this day. Those are Scott bars on our bikes. I think it must have been around 1989. The heat was staggering - well past 100!
Mike won a good many races in his day.

Me and Mike

My first and only victory. It was the first leg of the Coor Island Relay probably around 91 or 92.
Note all the neon shorts on the fans - but me sporting a cool pair of Tinley originals!
I still have those shorts but couldn't get one leg in them now!!
This was a 3 mile race. I don't remember my time.
But I remember the feeling of starting out with all those runners and finishing all by myself.


My First Win

Friday, October 24, 2008

Finally it's out

The Word is Out

There's more to this story.
It'll all come out in the fullness of time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A few Kona Shots

The problem with going away for a week is that you come back to a shit storm of stuff to do.
Anyway, I took lots of pictures in Kona but few of them are worth looking at. Here they are anyway:



Press Conference
Craig, Beke and Welchy (back to us)

I haven't even looked at the results but I heard Beke was 3:57 out of first with a 4' drafting penalty! Crap that's got to hurt if it's true!!!


My buddy Dan Smith after
the race. This was not a setup photo.
That's what he looked like!!!


I LOVE this photo of Sara Gross finishing!
It's blurry but her smile comes through!

I spent a little time with SG out on the run course. She has the heart of a lion. I believe this girl can be a giant killer.


Check out this broad! Smiling away like it was
a little fun run!

Since Kona I've been hearing some pretty crazy rumours but until I read it on slowtwitch I won't believe it's true.

CM X 2 plus Lisa Mensink
Three Olympians.

Rumour has it one of these girls may dip her toe into the long course waters. If that happens I'm predicting devistation!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm currently out of the office right now

I've been writing on Triathletemag.com

Here
and
Here
There will be more as well as an article or two on Pete's site as well. I sent Shawn (Pete's webmaster) an piece about 20 minutes ago. Not sure when he'll be able to get it up.
but it'll be at
Pete's Website.

A few photos.

My view at the pro press conference

Two Champions

Bennett and Normann exchanging digits.


Wonder what he's thinking about?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

24


"Next year your skinny ass is mine!"

I arrived in Kona at 8:30 AM local time this morning. Exactly one rotation of earth after leaving Victoria. I'm not a big fan of traveling at the best of times. I like my own home and prefer to be there over other places but you won't hear me complaining when it's an Ironman I'm going to - especially the world championship - but the was one arduous trip.
I booked the flight Expedia and was pleased to find a flight 2 weeks out from the race at about $300 less than any other flight I've gotten there.
So I leave Victoria at 11:30 AM, fly to Seattle, sit for 6 hours, fly to Honolulu, sit for 90 minutes, then fly to Kona - in theory arriving about 12 hours after leaving.
The night prior to leaving a wind storm hit Victoria with a fury, keeping me awake most of the night but by morning it had largely blown out and all flights were on time.
I arrived at the Victoria Airport with plenty of time to have a bit of lunch but didn't count on the power being out. There was no food. The flight leaves as scheduled and about 50 minutes later we arrive in Seattle with what was inarguably the roughest landing I've ever experience. Some residue wind from the storm the night before hit us hard as we hit the tarmac. I was at the back of the plane and for a brief moment I believed the pilot had lost control. We were fishtailing back and forth and cries from terrified passengers unnerved me as much as the turbulence - the pilot, bless his soul, did not crash us and I, along with a few of the Lifesport gang got off the plane head to a fish place in the airport for a really nice meal. We were all starving. We would learn that their flight on Northwest is delayed 2 hours and my later flight will also be delayed about 45 minutes.
I don't mind the 6:45 wait as I have lots of work to do and I get lots done.
When it's time for me to check in I get to the Northwest counter to find the computers are down and we can't board. After about forty minutes a few nerds show up and fix the problem and we're allowed on the plane. It takes off about an hour five behind schedule for the six hour flight. I'm sitting beside a lady so obese she's not able to have the arm rest dividers lowered. Her flesh pressed against me for the entire flight. She never even got up to pee. Neither did I.
After some quick math I determine I would have about 30 minutes to transfer planes in Honolulu.
The inflight movie comes on - a stroke of luck - it's the Kevin Costner's Swing Vote. I thought it was a stroke of luck because I hadn't seen it and I mostly enjoy Costner. I did not enjoy this one. What an ill thought piece of trash, but I watched every minute to try and distract myself from the discomfort of being smooshed into the window.
At long last we touch down in Honolulu and my name, along with about a dozen others, is called. We are to report to the Northwest man waiting at the gate. I knew then we wouldn't be going to Kona tonight.
Of course I was right, but not for a moment did I really care. It would have been almost 11 PM by the time I would show up at the house. I didn't relish the idea of waking people up to find out where I was suppose to sleep.
We, the inconvenienced travelers after 20 minutes in a line up, are given two vouchers, one for a hotel and one for a meal. I'm told the meal voucher will work at the hotel or any vendor in the airport. We are told also to grab out checked luggage.
But the conveyor belt won't start. Instead an alarm starts up. For 15 minutes we listened to the ear grating screech of that thing. The crowd was getting hostile.
Suddenly it stopped, the belt started to roll and luggage began to pour out to a loud cheer from the crowd.
My luggage along with several other passengers is lost. I'm not really concerned about this as I assume it's just gone on ahead without us. This turns out to be true but it didn't stop one big son of a bitch from just losing it on the poor airplane rep. A few of us tried to calm the guy down but only half succeeded.
Now we're told to head out the of the airport where a shuttle will take us to the hotel. We're also told the shuttle comes every 10 minutes. 22 minutes later the shuttle arrives.
At 2 AM 14 and 1/2 hours later I lay down in the hotel bed. The place was had the smell and ambiance of the 70s but I was just fine with that. I don't recall sleeping so soundly in a very long time.
This morning things went mostly uneventful. My flight was scheduled for 7:30. Unfortunately the hotel cafe didn't open till 6:30 so I would have to use my voucher at an airport vendor.
No luck - the airport vendors didn't accept the vouchers.

So 24 hours after leaving Victoria I arrive in Kona and it's perfect here.
The universe was kind. It gave me something to write about.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Starting to feel it

So tomorrow I'm off to Kona. I'll be writing the column again for Triathlete. I enjoy that gig but it's a bit of pressure due in part to the numbers reading it. I've got my nine regular readers here on my blog and you guys hardly ever pressure me to be bring my A game with every entry - it's a different matter with the crowd checking out the Triathlete Mag site.

So my swim game on Friday turned out to be a pretty fine success.
I'll do my best to explain it here if anyone wants to try with their groups.
First you make a game board:


I made mine with 33 squares.
The first sq is your warm up and the last sq is the cool down.
After that you put the name of each of your swimmers on an individual sticky note and start everyone in sq 1. They all do the warm up.
After the warm up the swimmers each draw a poker chip from a bin. The chips are labeled 1 through 6. Whatever number the swimmer chooses is how many squares they advance.
Then they do the set written in the sq. I made each set approximately 300 metres.
The first person to get to the cool down and complete it wins.
I had prizes for the first 3.
Some tips - have all the swimmers draw their first chip prior to doing the warm up. This will help spread it out a bit. They come in fast and furious.
Also make sure you have different lengths for the the level of swimmers - eg - a set might be 3 x 100 or 2 x 100 - one for lane 1 and one for lane 4.
Make the sets on rest interval and not on a time - don't have 3 x 100 on 1:40 have it 3 x 100 on 10" rest.
If anyone gives this a try let me know how it goes.
With thanks to Norm Thibault and Peter Reid.

Now I have to pack.

Monday, September 29, 2008

So I coached the Tyee session and it went just fine. There were some new faces for me and I was a new face for many of them. Working with that group is going to be a good thing.
This Friday I have something special lined up for them - a swim game idea I got from Norm Thibault. I'll let you all know how it goes.

So my news this week is I've decided to go to Kona again this year and take in the race.
I'll have a lot of friends there racing and the boys over at Lifesport, Paul Regensburg and Lance Watson, extended a generous offer of a nice room in a sweet pad right on the drive. I couldn't turn that down.
Another World Championship. It'll be good for me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Once more to the brink

It's been a nice holiday but it's time to get back at 'er!


Tomorrow morning at 6:15 AM I will be on deck and there will be between 25 and 30 swimmers in the water expecting me to bring my A game.
I haven't been on deck, coached a track session or a trainer ride in more than 5 weeks.
I'm curious to see how it goes. There are few places in the world I'm as happy as I am on the pool's edge or beside a track.
I'm expecting good things.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some days are better than others


These folks had a bad day.

Yeah, I know - it's been almost two months since I've written a word here.
I'd like to give you a long list of reasons why - insanely busy, training too hard - blah, blah, blah but the truth is I just haven't been up to it.
Writing is easy. Deciding what to write is hard.

Things have been a tad glum since May and bringing myself to this laptop to jot down a few thoughts has been something of a challenge, to say the least.
I wish I could say things have vastly improved. They haven't but I figure maybe if I try to get all the little things back on track then the big things will get on track.

Training isn't going at all. My Achilles has flared up on me and I'm unable to run. Traditionally I look forward to putting the bike in the shed and running but it looks like I'm going to have to winter up because this Achilles is not getting any better.

My athletes had a great summer and I took a lot of satisfaction from that.
Of course, Heather's win in CDA was a high point but Ironman Canada was also an incredible day for me as a coach.
I had three people racing, Juan Carlos Ramirez, Rachel Kiers, and Heather Wurtele. I also had a long list of friends racing - Trevor Wurtele, Dan Smith, Adrienne Stedford, Ian Dewar and John O'Shaughnessy amongst others.
The results are all available but a coach and friend couldn't have asked for more. The day was tough - really tough but my guys were tougher! I was so proud of all of them.
JC wasn't able to finish CDA and in IMC last year he'd had a very unsatisfying race. This kid was really something. He's got a new family, he works 40 hours a week and this last year he experienced the tragic loss of his mother. There were many weeks when I thought he'd crack but he didn't and in the end his 9:45 put a big smile on my face.
Rachel was having a hard time out there too. I could see by the look in her eye near the half way point of the run that she could feel it slipping away but up to then she'd been having a solid race and was still up there. I did my best to convince her she was having a great race. All she had to do was stay tough and she'd get to the finish line to see I was telling the truth. I don't know if she heard a word I was saying but she got to the finish line to find that she'd shaved more than 20 minutes off her last year's time and had finished 8th - IN THE MONEY!! Very satisfying. Rachel's a jewel. She's got more speed in her and we're going to find it this coming year!
And Heather - what can be said about Heather? She'd raced an IM and gone to the well 8 weeks earlier. Her recovery and training was on target but with IM you just never know.
I have to admit I was pretty surprised when the splits started coming in and Allison Fitch was pulling away from her on the bike. There's not many women in the world who can pull away from Heather on a bike. To my shame, I didn't know who this woman was.
I biked over to a internet cafe to see what I could learn. I was hoping to meet Heather on the run and tell her that Allison was a 4 hour marathon runner. But when I looked at her results I realized she was the real deal. I would never lie to Heather out there so all I could do was encourage her to stay strong. The winds were absolutely fierce and with Heather's height the disadvantage grows exponentially. I could see by the look on her face that she was red lining. She was running in 3rd. 1st place was realistically out of touch and at some point she would realize that 2nd wasn't going to happen either. Staying in that red zone for the bronze is a little more challenging than gold or silver but she stayed there. Another competitor had made the mistake of upsetting her out on the bike and she used that to fuel one hell of an effort out there.

So that was a good day - though there was some sadness because it signaled the final race that Heather and I will work together as coach/athlete. It's been two great years and I know she's got a lot more gains she can make. I'm looking forward to seeing her get stronger and more dominant in this sport.

It looks like my movie has been put on hold indefinitely. That, in and of itself is not such a blow. I was looking forward to directing a movie, for sure. I was looking forward to the financial rewards as well. What's really a piss off here is the number of sacrifices I made because of it. I put IMC on hold and turned down a job coaching a masters group in Victoria for the film and, of course, those turned out to be decisions I now regret.
And then there's Kona. It's now apparent I'm free to go now. I haven't booked a flight but I guess there's no reason not to.

Okay - there's a blog. Not a funny one. Not really much of anything, but it's a start.
I will endeavour to keep it going.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pain has a face

Allow me to show it to you:



Me coming out of the water at the Thetis 1500 on Sunday.
My time - 23:55

That one bloody hurt, I can tell you that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The X Factor

Here's an article I wrote on open water swimming.
My mom thinks it's good.

Open Water Swimming - The X Factor

Any local (Victoria) triathletes interested in checking out this group, here's their website: Team X Website

Apologies to anyone who tried the links earlier. I've since fixed them!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What a perfect day for a race.

The Vancouver 1/2 Ironman

I came over early to help the boys set up the finish line but to also support three of my athletes racing.
Irvin Tang, battling a tight hip for the past many months, was finally feeling like he wanted to test it out in the sprint event.
Nick Gottfried was tackling the full 1/2 IM as was Rachel Kiers.
Friday night was a nice little VIP affair where the press was introduced to the race favorites and I showed up for that to support Rachel.
A handful of the pro women were invited to the mic to say a few words at the event.
Rachel was not invited. I was a little put off at first but after a brief consideration I was glad. Everyone loves an underdog.
I knew that many of the women at that mic had been racing both Ironmans and 70.3s recently - but Rachel was ready to race.
We had selected this as one of her A priority races this year. She was tapered and ready to rip it up. I predicted she'd go under 4:40.
The race favourite - Bree Wee, an outstanding athlete, had done a 9:37 at Ironman Japan just three weeks earlier. That's a world class effort but three weeks is a short time to recover from a world class effort. Heather Wurtele had displayed a similar effort herself on the same weekend at CDA and in the end we felt it was not in her best interest to go to the well again so soon. She regretted not being able to race but the bigger picture was Ironman Canada in August.
Cheryl Murphy was also racing and some of her recent run times made her a clear threat for the win out there. She not a strong swimmer but when you can run a 1:11 1/2 marathon you're dangerous and she's not weak on the bike either.
Last year the swim at this race was a gong show but the race organizers had learned. The course was set up clean and clear and the swim went off without a hitch.
Predictably Bree rolled out of the chuck first with a solid 25:50.
Less than 2.5 minutes later Rachel come out in 5th.
As I mentioned, Murphy is not a strong swimmer but I was impressed with her 33:47. Right then and there I thought it would be nearly impossible to keep her off the front.
But up at the front of the race there was some unfortunate business unfolding.
Rachel had quickly moved into second place and had Bree in her sites when Bree, following a motorcycle cop, went off course. Rachel, who was intimate with the course, didn't follow. By the time Bree figured out her mistake she'd lost at least three minutes - this coming from Rachel's husband who was at the offending corner. Sadly Chris Brown and Andriy Yastrebov had also make the same mistake when they'd passed the same turnaround.
Rachel continued to put time on Bree and the other girls. She came off the bike 5' up on Bree and nearly 10' on Cheryl.
Now the would come the run.
My thinking was Rachel could run close to a 1:30 but Murphy would likely run under 1:20. Bree was a bit of an unknown for me because one just can't predict what effect an IM three weeks earlier would have on her legs. Whatever that effect was going to be, I didn't think it would be good.
Maybe it was for the best, but the night before I'd agreed to run the 13 miles on a relay team so I was out on the course as the drama unfolded. Had I been standing at the finish line waiting I likely would have been bald by the time they got to the tape.

I saw Rachel twice out there. The second time she was 3k from the finish. She was running well and gave me one of her trademark smiles. I was feeling a bit delirious from my own efforts out there but it seemed to me I didn't take too many steps past her when Murphy came along like a thoroughbred and not much farther behind her was a fast moving Bree Wee. I was okay with this. The podium was safe. After she was pretty much ignored at the press conference this was satisfying - but more than that, it was clear she was having a good race and our plan had worked.
I considered pulling out of the race so I could watch the show but when you're on a relay you have responsibilities, besides there were only two other teams in our division so I was assured of winning a really nice New Balance hat.
So there I was out running the last five k when who should come over the rise but Ms Kiers, come back to fill me in.
"What happened?!" I yelled. She smiled and said "She caught me at the finish line. I thought she must have been talking about Bree.
"What place!?!?" I yelled.
"Second." she said.
Oh man, I was primed! She'd held Murphy off till the final steps. Obviously I would have liked to see her win but there is no shame in being run down by Cheryl Murphy.
In the end she was second by five seconds. I'm sure Rachel would like to have the 24 seconds back she lost to Cheryl in transition but she can sleep well tonight knowing she is on track to becoming one hell of a triathlete. I was proud of her out there today. She ran one damn tough race.
In other news, Irvin had a successful return to racing. The injury that has been plaguing him seems to be on its way out and Nick pulled of a respectful 4:55 - that with a 4' drafting ding. I guess on the four loop bike course things got a bit crowded out there in spots.
Funny thing was, even with the 4' penalty, Nick came in lucky 13th - but would have been 13th anyway. And he still pulled off a 2nd in his age group. The kid's got a future!

IMC next!


Bree and Rachel after the race -
with some stalker guy and a Japanese
chef standing behind them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

HB HW

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEATHER!!
Hope it's your best year yet!
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, July 10, 2008

cool videos

My friend Ian Dewar posted a couple fun videos on his blog.
One on July 3rd and one on June 29. Check 'em out.


So I've decided to try and hold on to the IMC dream - mostly because the same Ian mocked me into it!
It's going to be tough - maybe impossible, but each day I'm going to do what I can.
I'll have to change my goals but that's okay. The Ironman experience is a special one and, as Ian says - I'll just get to enjoy it a little longer.

This weekend is the Vancouver 1/2 Ironman. I've got a few athletes in there so I'm going over to yell from the sidelines.
One of these weekends I'm going to stay home!



Can he do it?

Monday, July 7, 2008

El Race de Lago Stevens

The race is one day removed.
It was a fun day and a good one for racing.
So I'd forgotten they had a bike in the middle of these things and had all but stopped riding mine for the last few months. Once I realized the biggest portion of the event would be spent on my ride I decided I'd best come up with a plan to minimize the damage.
Here was my plan:
Swim strong.
Ride like a fat kid early for school - very conservatively.
Use whatever I had left to run.
It was a simple plan.

The day started out overcast, cool and calm. Perfect conditions.
The water temp was measured the day before at 71.5. That's a 1/2 degree high for the pros and they weren't allowed wetsuits. I would like to go on record as saying that was a bad call that showed poor form on the officials part.
The day was cool and those guys sport a minimal amount of body fat. Had the sun been beaming down that would have been another thing but...
Norm Thibault would have rowed out to the middle of the lake and dropped that thermometer to the deepest part of the lake so those boys could use their wetsuits.
Discretion is the better part of human valor but after sitting through that torture session of a race meeting with the head referee I'm not surprised it wasn't displayed.
So the pros set off and then the rest of us in wave after wave.
My wave had only 64 guys. Heaven!!
I positioned myself well and let the gun release me.
About five strokes in something attacked my right eye.
I'd deliberately let a little water in my goggles to keep them clear but clearly I'd let something else in there along with the water. My eye was burning and swelling.
I paused for a sec to shake the water out and carried on.
The swim course is laid out as well as any I've ever done. There's an underwater cable you can follow the entire way. With that you seldom need to sight and can focus on swimming. I managed to catch a few good drafts and I knew I was in the front pack of my group. A few fast cats had taken off but there were about ten of us working well together.
I got out of the water to find my watch hadn't started and would be disappointed to learn later that my time was 32:34. I honestly thought I was on for my first sub 30. I'm glad I didn't see the time as it would have taken some of the wind out of my sails.
Later I would learn that pretty well everyone said their swim times were off by a few minutes.
So on my bike I get. I know I'm in the top 10 of my age group. Cool.
My eye was stinging like a bitch but the adrenalin was surging so I didn't pay it much mind.
As the ride went on I kept myself in "control" (that means slow).
It felt like about 50 people in my age group passed me in the next few hours but that's how it goes when you don't train on the bike.
Of note on the bike - I had to stop twice to pee. I don't usually have a problem peeing on the bike but today I did. Not sure why. At least I was hydrated.
Another fun thing to happen was this:
So I'm riding along - probably 2/3 the way through and I was thinking to myself that I'd not seen such a "fair" race in a great long time. I just wasn't seeing any drafting. There was some bunching here and there but clearly people were making efforts to keep their distances and it seemed to be working. And it wasn't because of a big marshal presence. I'd seen one Goldwing the entire ride. So JUST as I'm thinking this a girl goes by me. She's in the 25-29 AG. About 7 inches off her back wheel was another woman also in the 25-29 group. She was clearly cheating - deliberately. It was an unbelievably sad sight.
Right then a Goldwing silently glided past me, watched the couple ahead for a moment or two, rode up beside the offender and flashed the red card. I'm not one to celebrate someone else's misfortune but my heart sure gladdened to see that woman get nailed. She looked absolutely stunned. Once she was unhitched from her ride I went by her in a hurry and didn't see her again.
As conservative as I rode that ride (3 hours plus) my left hip flexor started to cramp a bit with about 3 miles to go. I guess I timed things quite well.
I went through a leisurely transition and started out on the run. I once again decided to go without socks. I had no problems at Wildflower and this was a cleaner course so I wasn't worried. Bad move. I was moving along at about a 9' mile pace and feeling just fine - except for the blister that was forming on my instep - and worse than that, my right eye was flaring up and really getting painful. I did my best to ignore both and I held my 9' miles.


Just a little one.

Then with 2 miles to go the wheels fell off. It's amazing how long 2 miles is when you're done.
I hobbled through those miles and crossed the finish line with a smile - and one eye swollen shut.


Me after Gettysburg

Heather Wurtele was waiting for me a the finish line - she was super fan out there!
She got me to the med tent where they flushed the eye and wrapped me up. I looked like a civil war vet. I kept that thing on my head for about 5 minutes then tore it off. I had to keep my eye closed for the next 6 hours and slowly the pain started to subside. Not very fun but all in all the day was a good one. I think I finished around 5:45 which was about as well as I could have done with my current fitness. That's all you can ask for.


Respite

Trevor Wurtele had a pretty good race. The day didn't start well for him. Not surprisingly he got chilled in the water and it took a long time to warm up on the bike but he finished in the money and was reasonably happy.
As always, I'm keen to train and race but I don't think it's going to be possible this summer.
Stay tuned.


The next day

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lake Stevens

Well, I'm sitting in a hotel room getting ready to race in the morning.
Race - I use the term loosely. I've been working a whole lot more than training.
I've never gone into a race with absolutely nothing on it.
I'm not saying I'm not going to pin it out there but I can not place any realistic expectations on the day other than to finish.
I'm with Heather and Trevor Wurtele. Heather's here as a fan.
Trev is looking and feeling good. I've got high hopes he'll uncork a big one out there tomorrow.
We're told the pros will not be allowed wetsuits. That's not great for Trev but it's not great for a lot of athletes.
Sat through the most boorish race meeting in 24 years of racing. Nothing new was learned.
I can think of no other sport where they make you spend an hour of your life sitting through a speech on the rules of the sport - EVERY TIME YOU RACE!!
I timed it, the guy spent 2'49" explaining that we would be penalized for littering.
I could have imparted the same info in less than 10".
Oh well, the hour is gone. I'll not get it back and I'll not cry again for it.
The skies were quite black today but it was warm.
The weather should be just fine.
As always, I'm keen to race but it's going to be a real experiment out there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Bitch is back

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 Vancouver on August 25 08. Yeah that's right - the day after IMC.
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!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A short post race interview

Here's a little interview with Heather right after the race:

http://www.krem.com/video/sports-index.html?nvid=256922


Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Heather and I are sitting at the ferry terminal waiting for the next sailing. We missed the sailing by four cars. I knew I should have held out to pee on the boat.The trip back went a whole lot quicker than there.
It was a hell of weekend. Heather had a great day and I was as proud as a guy could be.
Prior to the race we didn’t talk too much about times or placing but I knew Heather was hoping to go under 10 hours and to stand on the podium.
I too thought the podium was realistic but thought a 9:45 was closer to what she was capable of. After we drove the bike course I added 7 minutes to that.
IM CDA was an ideal race for Wurtele. The bike course was hard, the run flat and the weather cool. Opportunity met preparation and success was had.
Now that she’s had that success I feel confident saying she’ll have a lot more and in the future it won’t mater if the bike is a roller coaster or a skillet. It won’t matter if it’s hotter than hell’s kitchen or driving sideways rain and the run could be through the Pyrenees.
As a coach and a friend it was certainly an emotional day.
I watched her intently standing on the shore waiting for the cannon.
After the first of two swim loops she was a minute out front and the words, unbidden slipped out of my mouth “She’ll lead wire to wire.” I regretted those words instantly. I have found that the universe has a way of crushing that kind of hubris. But today the universe had other plans.
I couldn’t wait to see her come out of the water. Rigsby and I had to get to our duty of doing spotting the lead women for Ironman Live. Our job was to gather the splits, let the girls know and report them into Shawn Skene to be posted on the live feed.
As the bike progressed we watched as Heather added minute after minute to the other women. Gollnick was working hard. Ficker was working hard, Gross was working hard and Heather just looked relaxed.
Comments around me had a running theme – “Gollnick and Ficker would catch her on the run - I hope she enjoys it up there - It won’t last long - Who is she?”

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 3:20 in her but anything could happen. “Would that be fast enough?” he asked. “As long as Gollnick doesn’t go any faster than 3:08.” 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 6:58 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.
For now - WAY TO GO HEATHER!!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

She did it.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Saturday, June 21, 2008

CDA III

Nice day here in Idaho.
Got in a 1:45 jog along the run route. Great run (or at least half of it is) then went to the spotting meeting. Turns out our radios are going to be streaming live so I've been told I must keep my colourful language to a minimum.
I'll be giving splits for the women. I'm going to be working with a cat named Scott Rigsby. Interesting fellow. I'm sure it's going to be a fun day.
We'll be in a truck on during the bike and on bikes during the run.
It's evening now and some dark clouds have moved in. It's raining here and there but I've got a feeling tomorrow will be clear. Haven't heard a weather report so I don't know what they're calling for.
Hopefully I can send a little report once in awhile tomorrow but I'm sure IM Live will have a much better update situation.

Alright. That's it for now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

CDA II

Well, the water has warmed up a degree or two and is now quite swimable.
I really liked the booties but some people didn't. It seems you love 'em or hate.
They were so clearly an improvement for me it's hard to imagine how they couldn't be for everyone but different strokes...
Spent three hours on my bike today. I hit some two lane country road on the backside of the lake. I was a little nervous at first as there was absolutely no shoulder at all and it was pretty twisty but the ride proved to be a pretty epic journey. The people out here are pretty remarkable. Talking with some of the locals it seems crime is almost nonexistant so the Sheriffs pretty much focus on speeders. Everyone drives the speed limits - and the limits are low. After awhile it was pretty clear I was safe out there.
Hit a wonderful hill - 6% for 2 miles, and get this, about 95% of the ride was on brand new black top. It felt like I was on the biggest velodrome in the world.

Also went to the pro meeting as well. Nothing new there.
I've volunteered to do a little spotting for IM live so tomorrow I'm going to a meeting in regards to that.
Heather is as calm and relaxed as I've seen her before a race. Sara Gross, whom I'm staying with, is also keen to race and in good spirits.
As always, I'm looking forward to watching the race.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Coeur D' Alene

What a beautiful place!
But the water is damn cold. I heard it was 11 degrees coming here but I also know that when given the opportunity people lean to hyperbole. This time they weren't.
Swam this morning with my boy JC Ramirez. I'm from Canada. He's from Mexico. He complained less than I did. But I'm telling you, that water had a bite.
I brought us up a bunch of neoprene socks to test out but forgot them in the cabin. Tomorrow we'll put the socks on and see if that helps matters.
Also drove the bike course. Very scenic - truly beautiful but it's a roller coaster. You're going up or you're going down. It's custom made for Wurtele.

Hopefully I can give some updates as we near the race and on race day!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Women have been chosen

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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Simon Says

Read on Simon Whitfield's blog that he's elected to turn off his comments feature on the site. Turns out some have decided they don't like what he's got say or what the press "says" he says and they're using his comments page to hurl insults at the gold medalist. One nasty piece of work even felt justified in calling him a cheater.
What the hell are people thinking?
As far as "cheating" goes, clearly this genius doesn't understand the rules for ITU racing or is ignorant of the definition of cheating. A third possibility is they're just ignorant.
I think it's unfortunate that Simon felt compelled to do this but I'm glad he did. He's got bigger things to worry about than petty people trying to make themselves taller by hacking the legs out from others.

Right now there's lots to talk about - lots to argue about but is it so hard to keep it civil?
Can't we agree that we all want what's best for the sport - in the short term and long term and then take it from there?
Let's listen to all the sides, be open to the idea that we might wrong and willing to consider all the possibilities.

If you want to vent about the team selection process - have at it on this blog and let's leave Simon to focus on more important matters.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Scenerio

It's been pointed out that I missed a possible domestique situation and that is Sweetland could help Murray.
I hadn't thought of that because in the past there didn't seem a point in considering it. Why would Sweetland compromise her own race? Well, she might compromise her race if she wasn't able to race - that is she wasn't able to run, but she was still able to swim and bike.
It's something to think about it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Men's Team

It's been called:
Tichler and Jenkins.
The woman's team is on hold until the extent of Sweetland's injury can be determined.

The Better Part of Human Valour


Elite Men getting ready

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 1100 meters was made.

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.


video

It's shaky but wind was fierce.
See if you can see the red caps amongst
the white caps.

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 26’ 10k spilt in the results. I’m not sure how they’re going to rectify all of it. I won’t expect much from a race that charged $300 to enter it nor from a governing body that asked for more than $500 more to do the event. It left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.

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 Beijing. The real race would be between Tremblay and Murray with an advantage going to Murray. Carolyn hadn’t lost to Kathy this year and she also had a World Cup victory under her belt.

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.

Murray missed the chase pack out of the swim but the 5th fastest run put her up to 24th.

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 China – even if he currently was the 3rd fastest triathlete in the country. If an athlete wasn’t going to threaten for a medal then the committee would be looking at that athlete’s ability to help someone else get one. On the men’s side that meant helping Simon. Helping Simon is not such an easy task. You have to be one hell of a good swimmer or you won’t be in a position to help him and once you’re there, you have to have some superior bike skills. In the past Simon had found his perfect domestique in young Colin Jenkins and Jenkins had embraced the role with the knowledge that it might get him to the Olympics along with the mentorship of one of the sports best.

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 Groves. After all, Groves has already been selected so clearly the committee still considers her a threat because there are loopholes available to them to remove her from the team – though it would be poor form if they did. She hasn’t been racing too well this year but we have to assume she’s got a plan that involves peaking in August. Carolyn is strong enough to work for her on the bike. In fact she did a lot of it on Sunday.

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.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Swim

The swim has been cancelled for the rest of the age groups. Too dangerous.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

AG Worlds

I'm at the start. Its bitter cold out here but the sun is threatening to come out.
The water is 12. 5 degrees. Many swimmers are being pulled from the water. The swim has been shortened to 1100.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Don't Miss This One!!!

It's late and I'm tired so this is going to be short but I got to thinking today that anyone who lives in the lower mainland or on the island and considers themselves a fan of this sport should be moving heaven and earth to get over to Vancouver this Sunday and take in the big show.
Not only are the world championships on the line but for a HUGE number of athletes an Olympic berth is also at stake - and not just for our Canadian athletes. In almost ever country represented are men and women fighting for spots.
To have this level of competition, with so much to fight for, so close may not happen again for decades.
Be there and be heard!

More VERY soon.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

OH YEAH, BABY!

Heather Wurtele just came third at the Boise 70.3!
AND She was only 27" down from Ficker!!!
Also of HUGE note was her husband Trevor's 9th place finish in the same race!!

BIG shout out to the fast moving Wurteles!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sweet

Call me a sentimental fool but is this the nicest photo you've seen in a long time?:

http://www.pbase.com/markcreery/image/97645032

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You asked for it

For some reason some of you wanted to see some shots of me racing.
Why this would be, I can not even begin to imagine but for your sins,
here they are: (With thanks to Mark Creery)



That's me in orange gunning down Jazz.
Note the fear in his eye.



Dano is wondering just how long
he'll be able to hold this INSANE
pace!!!



No one can ever accuse me of bringing
anything back to the finish line.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rachel gets the mike

video

See Rachel in her first victory speech.
What a natural!
Her introduction and a few seconds were missed
from the beginning but she's a class act.

Shawnigan Lake 1/2 Ironman

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 2:43! 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 - 5:15 behind Brent (also in a relay where he was biking as well) and 2:50 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 1:34. 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 2:24 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 50 meters to the 2nd turn around. I did my best to straighten up, look strong and hopefully discourage him a bit as we crossed paths.
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.



Two Athletes and a coach.
Heather had a big training day planned and could
not stick around for photo ops after.


Adrienne had some cramping issues on the run
but had a pretty good race in spite!!
Good enough to win her AG and 4th OA!



Rachel and husband Mike (who would make my life
miserable for over an hour and forty minutes!)



The Victors!


Rachel signing her first autograph.



Very happy day!