Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
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
No one can ever accuse me of bringing
anything back to the finish line.
Monday, May 26, 2008
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.
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!)
Rachel signing her first autograph.
Very happy day!
Monday, May 19, 2008
The run went well. No real problems and I managed to drink all forty ounces with no bad belly side effects. 30 oz of Nuunified water and 10 oz of Gatorade. I also had a few gels with me but didn't use them. The belt, fully loaded, weighs better than 3 lbs. Incredible how much you feel those 3 lbs on your waist. I'm more determined than ever to lose more weight. I'm floating between 167-170 these days. I'd like to lose a few more of those Nathan belts!!
So, like I said, no real problems - except getting out the damn door.
How many people can relate to that?
I love to race but I also love training. I don't normally have much of a hard time getting out the door but I sure did yesterday. I'd swum hard in the morning and had a pretty solid bike the day before. I was tired.
The plan was to run 1:30 right after the swim, eat, nap and then run 30' later.
I put on my kit sat on the sofa for just a moment - and woke up 35' later, more tired than when I'd sat down.
That's when the negotiations began.
Some time ago Lance Watson put into words what most of already knew in hearts - sometimes you have to deal with yourself to get in a challenging session.
I started by shortening the runs 1:15 now, 20' later. I was still disheartened.
So then I figured if I just got in 1:30 I could call it a good day.
Not good enough. I'd have to bring out the big gun - McDonald's!
If I got in the 1:30 there would be a Big Mac at the end of the road.
I was out the door and running. In the end I managed 1:43 of good running.
It's usually the case. Once you start, you get it done.
The Big Mac was as good as I imagined it would be!!
But here's a promise - it'll be at least 4 weeks before I play that card again.
Swam out at Thetis today. The water was great!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I'll be going over there and cheering hard for the Canadians but it's a damn shame that I won't be able to cheer for at least five of my friends and athletes who had earned a spot in the race. In the end they all felt the $825 it was going to cost them to race was simply too much and in at least two cases, the decision not to race was based on principal and not their financial state.
There is no doubt that holding a race in downtown Vancouver must be an expensive affair but I've never heard of that kind of a fee. Hawaii is almost half the price.
Here's the breakdown:
Race entry $300 (I'm told a record in short course history)
Mandatory Team Kit: $250 that doesn't include the
Orca race uniform which is: $150 Orca is suppose to be a sponsor of the event. Doesn't sound like much of a sponsorship.
Something called a Team Fee: $125
And here's an interesting little tidbit:
In 2006 an ITU congress passed a resolution to protect athletes from unscrupulous race organizers - World Championship entry fees would not exceed $200 but a funny thing happened on the way to Vancouver (home of the ITU) the resolution was suddenly waived and the figure was changed to 200 Euros! The reason given was the huge impact the declining US dollar had on the Canadian dollar. Wow.
True evil is not in the act but the rationalization of it after.
So many people dropped out of the race the organizers are now selling the multitude of vacancies. Buyers must pay all the above fees plus a $150 processing fee and they're in the World Championships.
I actually considered doing just that but it didn't feel right. It's my opinion that anyone who buys their way into the race should be differentiated from those who earned there way there (a black arm band with a white dollar sign would be good) I was lead to understand that the uniform would have no such distinctions. Rather than just take rumour as truth I emailed Tri Canada and asked them about this obvious issue. They didn't respond so I didn't enter.
The World Championships will go off on June the 8th but how many of the athletes there will be the best from around the world?
One thing you can know for sure - those racing will not be from wrong of the tracks. Good to keep the riff raff out.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Okay, enough glibness.
I started this blog for fun but also for athletes and coaches to exchange ideas and maybe we all learn something. I sure as hell hope I've learned something!
This was the first race I looked forward to doing from a results point of view since I first stopped racing in the early 90s.
I'm by no means at the top of my game but I'd been consistent and injury free for several months. My weight was down and I had confidence in my taper.
I was well hydrated going into the day. I'd kept a water bottle in my hand constantly in the week leading up to the event. I was in the john every hour and clear as spring water.
I knew I wasn't going to be setting any records out there but I thought I should be capable of a pretty good race - certainly under .
I stood at the front of my age group on the start line. I planned to start the swim aggressively and get in a good pack for the first buoy at 200m. 30" from the start some dick the size of a Mack truck came crawling out of the water and stood right in front of me. I asked him if he would be swimming under 27' (4' faster than I'd swam in 20 years) he said no and stepped aside.
With less than 10" to the gun I realized my goggles were sitting on my forehead. I quickly flipped them down and the gun went off.
I charged into the drink and dove - and was instantly half blind. In my haste to get my goggles on my face I didn't seat the left one properly. I ignored it as best I could and kept up the sprint to the buoy. The plan worked well. I saw one stud for sure had pulled away but I had managed to stay with the lead pack and find clear water. In fact it was a little too clear. I don't think I swam two stokes on anyone's feet the entire swim.
After the buoy and things settled down I took a moment to adjust my goggle and carry on.
Soon I began to overtake the slower swimmers from the younger age groups. The rest of the swim was an obstacle course. I came across one unfortunate fellow doing the breast stroke. The guy probably thought I was an aspiring proctologist. We exchanged numbers and soon I hit the turn around - which is really a double right turn.
Another rookie mistake alert here. I didn't know exactly the route to return to the dock. I've always just assumed I'd have lots of guys to follow. Now I looked up and all I saw was a sea of multi coloured caps and buoys. Long story short (or a short swim long) I went for the wrong buoy. I eventually realized my mistake and corrected my path. It probably cost me about 50m.
Out of the water I checked my watch and was pleased to see 30:32. That's a good time for me - about 30" faster than I thought I would go. It's only 30" but when you go faster than you hoped then it's always good.
Got on the bike and headed out. Great start. I kept myself under control and passed a steady stream of slower younger riders. No one in my age group was catching me.
But it was starting to get pretty hot. At the first aid station I grabbed a bottle of water to go with my bottle of super dense Carbo Pro (800 calories).
I sip the CP and grab water at each aid station. It's what I've done for years and it works for me.
I also figured it was time to pop a few Thermolytes. I kept them in an empty Nuun bottle.
Rookie mistake number three - don't go for pills when descending at 40k an hour. I popped the Nuun bottle, instantly hit a bump and my Thermolytes flew like chicklets down the street.
5' later I reached for my Carbo Pro and realized it, along with my water bottle, had jettisoned - rookie mistake number four. Two elastic bands attached to the cage then looped over the bottle nipples and I'd have had my water and calories throughout.
It was a long way to the next aid station. Some dude riding beside me, going for his sainthood badge gave me one of his water bottles. I was extremely grateful. I wish I'd gotten his race number and looked him up later.
After that there's little to say. There was no big moment where I smashed into a wall it was just a steady decline in performance.
The middle 1/3 of the race was tough but I held my ground. The last 1/3 of the race I started to feel queer. Something wasn't right but I just couldn't put my finger on it. My arms were shaking and I had the chills. I had come to terms with the fact I was going to come in with a slow bike time but I never considered dropping out. I figured I'd shake it off in the run.
I wracked my bike with a .
As soon as I started running I knew I was dehydrated. My tongue felt like a stick in my mouth. I borrowed a page from Pete's book and was aggressive at each station. I walked while drinking and dousing but it was too late. Within a few hundred meters of each station my mouth was dry again.
I hobbled to the finish line in
I was thinking of heading down to the lake and jumping in but a med guy was suddenly in my face and suggesting I go with him. It sounded like a good idea.
Things went bad after that.
I'd never suffered from heat stroke before and it's no fun. I was in there for 2 hours and two bags of IV plus a litre of Gatorade. Four hours later I pee'd for the first time.
My race plan doesn't change much from race to race. 300-400 calories and a bottle of liquid an hour. I stuck to that for WF but in that heat I needed to adjust and probably as much as double the water intake. The salt tablets would have helped as well.
For what it's worth, that's how the day went.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Pete gave specific instructions - no coffee after Monday.
I went with the biggest one I could find.
Heather and I running at Wolf Creek.
More Wolf Creek
A little track we stopped near on the drive down.
I enjoyed a great little drill session here.
Chuckie V and Angela Naeth
The smallest tent in the world.
Heather checking out a deer that was checking
Wild Turkeys being wild.
Julie Moss and Sam the day before.
The night before. Nervous.
A few hours before the race.
After a good swim.
This guy ended up swimming very fast in
the Oly race even with that damn mask on!
Happy victors with a Special guy.
Me lounging with Ian and Chris. Yes, that's a
beer in my hand!
Our friend David finishing the Oly on Sunday.
Happy David. I'm happy too because the
race is behind me!
So long WF.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Ran into Chris Lieto Sam McGlone and Pip Taylor this morning. Everyone looks good. Chris definitely knows how to travel in style.
Our days of solitude are over. The masses are arriving.
Pictures to follow.
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