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!!!