Thursday, October 22, 2009

Calgary Swim Run Camp

Sara Gross, Carrie Meakin and myself will be putting on a swim/run camp in Calgary on the November weekend of the 28th.

Mercury Rising Presents:

“Novembering Along”

Swim-Run Technique Camp 2009

What: A weekend training camp focused on the technical aspects of swimming and running with video analysis.

When: Friday, November 27th @ 7:00pm - Sunday, November 29th @ 3:00pm

Where: Calgary, Alberta (various locations)

Coaches: Sara Gross, Clint Lien, Carrie Meakin

Details: The camp will include 3 swim sessions, 2 run sessions and a video analysis session in each discipline. Each camper will receive a DVD of him or herself both swimming and running. Breakfast (and coffee!) on Saturday and Sunday are also included. Cost is $300 per person.

Contact: Questions welcome!

Sara;, 250.896.1026

Carrie;, 403.804.9726

Clint;, 250.818.1026

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best Toy Ever?

How many Ironman titles would I own if I'd had this toy when I was 3!?!?!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Way off the tri track

My mother put me on to a video recently and I finally sat down and watched the whole thing - it's an hour and forty minutes.
It's a debate between two extremely well spoken men on religion. Not a light topic.
Regardless of where you stand, you have got to respect brilliance when you see it.

Would love to hear from anyone who takes the time to watch it.
I expect that regardless of what side you take, you will not be swayed either way but maybe you will ask a few questions you hadn't considered prior.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Putting the Me in M dot

I would like to compete in the Kona Ironman World Championships.
If, one day, I'm fortunate enough to find myself on the start line I'm not going to race for recovery, the planet, polar bears or Jesus.
I won't be running for the cure, rolling for the Blazeman or Living Strong
I'm not going to raise money for battered women, battered children or battered dogs.
I won't be raising awareness for Aids, Crohn's, MS or Osteogenesis Imperfecta.
I've done some of these things before. They've allowed me to paint my performances with a nice stroke of humility and healthy dose of "It doesn't matter to me. There's a much bigger picture." But if I'm able to work hard enough to qualify for Hawaii then I am going to race for Me. My goal will be to have the best day I can possibly have.
Actually that's still a load of sanctimonious crap. What I really want. What I really, really want is to beat as many people as I can.
I have got to be one of the worst guys ever.

Kona 09 Done

Not everyone had a good day.
Now I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back in Kona

I'm in Kona for the world championships again. While I'm here I'll be posting some blogs on:

Check 'em out!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reveal Duncan's Dome!

A good writer could tell the tale of a falling acorn and tug the heart strings of the devil himself but for this story an elementary school writing level is more than adequate.
I'm not going to get right into all the details - just a few facts (as best I know them) and then ask a favor.

My friend Jamie Duncan met and fell in love with Lindsay Atkinson several years ago. Jamie was a single father with an eight year old named Rakel. Soon he was no longer single and was now the father of two children. Lindsay and he had a baby girl named Abby. She turns two next month.
Recently Lindsay was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins lymphoma cancer. She started up chemo several days after the diagnoses and several weeks after that Jamie and Lindsay decided to get married.

Jamie's father put a challenge to all his friends that if they raised some cash in Lindsay's name then he would shave his head. Within 2 days they came up with grand and Jamie's father was committed. Since then he's continued to campaign and, I understand is nearing the 5K mark.

Jamie, not to be outdone by his old man, put out a similar challenge to his friends. If they came up with $5,000 in her name he would shave his head as well - and he has an admittedly odd shaped head. Yul Brenner he will not be!!

The original email went out to 16 people and $3,158.50 was raised within a day.
But $3,158.50 is not $5,000.
Help us reveal the dome!!!
Here's the link - any amount is greatly appreciated. The shaving will be done by a pretty girl in a mini skirt at Trek Pro City Cycles in the near future!!

The Art of Tri

Got a note from my man Toby over at Art of Tri today.
He's blowing out a bunch of stuff - 2 for the price of 1 for the rest of the month.
It's unique gear with a real Earth Conscience!!
Definitely worth looking at!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tired of being tired.

There are two kinds of training tired - the first one (the good one) is the tired you feel after a solid session.
There there's the shitty tired. That's the tired feel before you start a crappy session.
If you only ever experience the first kind of tired then you're not training hard enough.
If you're training well all the time then you're not training well.
But if you only rarely experience the first kind then you're certainly not training well either.
You should start your builds feeling the first kind and end them feeling the second kind.
If you've gone more than 7-10 days in a row only feeling the 2nd kind then I'd say it's time for some recovery. How long you need and in what form is specific to the athlete.

Just something I wanted to put out there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Office Romance

These 2 work together.

Sara Gross and I began working together in October 2008 after Kona.
We started dating in April of 2009 while continuing our coach/athlete relationship.
Now all these months later I am asked frequently "How is that working out?"
People seem to feel that mixing intimacy and professionalism must come with challenges to either or both.
The truth is I've seldom given it much thought. We've got a lot mutual respect for each other and putting her plan together is largely a mutual event. Also she lets me believe I have the final say and we get along fine.
But the question is asked with increased frequency after a disappointing performance.
This weekend, after Lake Stevens (one such performance) I was again asked the question more than a couple times and a few things occurred over the weekend that had me asking myself some questions as well.
On the short trip back to Victoria Sara and I discussed it.
The question we needed to address was whether we were giving the professional relationship the proper attention it needed.
Was I giving her my best?
Was she giving me her best?
We both thought we were.
After nine months she was swimming and running as fast and faster than she ever had.
Her bike? Not so much.
Things take time and that's doubly true when it comes to a seasoned vet finding the right combination of training/nutrition/rest to step them up to a new level.
Sara and I agreed we're close.
But still I wondered if I was treating her with the same candor and bluntness I treat my other athletes.
The night before the race she made a comment that set off some red flags for me. But I said nothing.
Then as she entered T2, after the crushing ride, she asked if I thought she should drop out.
We only had a few fleeting seconds of conversation (I'm currently not capable of holding a 4 minute kilometer for more than about 25 meters) All I could think to say was that I didn't know what was wrong with her so she had to make the call. I got a bit of a scowl from her and off she went.
When next I saw her she was moving well and had already caught two girls.
She'd made the right decision - and so had I, leaving it up to her.
With IMC coming up in 2 weeks it was a tough decision for both of us.
So on the ride home I explored my silence the night before and my decision to not pull her when clearly things were going south.
Was I avoiding a fight? No. We don't fight.
Was I avoiding hurting her feelings? No. She knows I want what's best for her.
So why did I keep my mouth shut (SOOOO RARE!)
Because, I decided, despite my concerns, it was unlikely we would pull her from the event and all that would be achieved would be the planting of some negative seeds - bad coaching.
I decided to wait till after the race and then bring up the comment.
I did and the conversation turned out to be valuable - good coaching.
As far as pulling her and saving it for IMC? Glad we didn't. And that's all I'm going to say on that.
So is it hard to coach a loved one? I don't find it to be. My buddy Cliff coaches his wife Sam and they seem to do okay.
I stayed with them in Kona for 10 days before her race and I saw them clearly switch hats when it came to being a couple or creating a champion.
Tony and Natasha have had a good run.
I'm sure there's a long list of successful stories out there - as well as a pretty interesting list of big failures!
I guess time will tell but I like coaching my partner.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

42 days to IMC

Pete Reid used to talk about the final eight weeks before his “A” race. This was the period of time he felt he could maintain a 100% “correct choice” record.
For Peter what this meant was as he moved through his days and encountered those little (and not so little) choices we all have to make, he would make the choice he felt was going to make him stronger on race day.
It sounds simple – but it’s not. He admitted to me he’d tried to go longer a few times, a choice in itself, but that had gone badly.
What kind of decisions are we talking about? For the athlete trying to get himself into fighting shape I think the forks in the road can be categorized into three main slots – training, recovery and calories.
While most of the decisions are obvious ones (McDonalds or a nice stir fry), make no mistakes about it – some are difficult indeed. Should you do one more kilometre repeat? Should you sleep in and swim solo or drag your ass out of bed at 5:30 to get in a club swim? Should you do your 5 hour ride on 250 calories or 2500 calories? The lawn needs mowing but it’s your recovery day. And on and on and on.
It’s nice to have a coach to help with some of these decisions but in the end, for most of them you’ll have to rely on common sense and your ability to be brutal in your honesty.
Peter knew that in order for him to win on the lava fields he needed to be scary lean. And he knew in order to get that leanness he needed to be uncomfortable almost all of the time. So came the tough decisions – does he compromise his workout by under fuelling and forcing the fat into the fire or did he feed well for training and hope to get a hotter fire burning? Clearly the choices he made were mostly the right ones.
Instinct, experience, intelligence and a vocal conscience all help for these truly difficult decisions but here’s the kicker, here’s the point I want to make to my athletes and anyone else out there who might care - for most of us the decisions aren’t that hard. They’re obvious and we know them well when they come at us.
It’s six weeks to Ironman Canada. The world champion bared down for eight weeks. Can’t we mortals do it for six?
For six weeks say no to dessert, nap in the afternoon and don’t miss a workout. Get the regular massages and hire a neighbour kid to mow your lawn.
Do what you have to do and make some sacrifices.
Six weeks from now you will be a better athlete and you will be mentally stronger because you’ll know you’ve actually paid a price beyond what most people are willing to pay.
Anyone can put in the miles but are you someone who can go the extra mile?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The gate is straight - deep and wide.

The list of reasons an athlete can pull the reigns on a workout is long.
I'm tired today.
I've got a big workout with the gang tomorrow. I want to be on my game!
I'm just coming off an injury. I need to keep things reserved.
My coach told me to keep it in zone 2 today.
It's too hot to put in a big effort.
It's raining pretty hard out there.
I've got a race this weekend. I'm tapering.
My lane partner isn't here to push me.
I ate too much sushi for lunch.
I raced last weekend and I've not recovered enough.
There's too many dogs on the trails today.
I've got a dinner party tonight and I can't be all burned out.
Working hard hurts.

Some of the excuses are legit and some are bullshit. Usually it's a combo of the two.
But every once in awhile we drop all the excuses, head out the door and lay it down.
I believe an athlete can raise their level of fitness from a single workout - a peak performance - a breakthrough workout.
For one athlete that might be a 59 minute 40K TT. For another it might be 13 miles at an 7:58 mile pace.
Whatever it is, when we have those workouts (or races) we can bring are athleticism to the next level.

When someone first starts in sport they can often achieve these breakthrough workouts almost every time they go out the door but the longer we're in the sport, the tougher it is to go to that place - and too often we just stop trying.

These special sessions don't just come about because the stars have lined up. They come about because an athlete has made a decision to pursue them - to seek them out and grab them.

Every time you get in the pool, straddle a bike or put on a pair of running shoes we have an opportunity to improve ourselves - to up our game.
It doesn't have to mean a PR every time.
It might mean getting to the top of Popeye's Peak.
It might mean finishing a workout on smashed legs.
It may mean just getting out the door.
You may not be able to define what it is at the start of the session but you'll know it when it happens.
And after it happens - it's yours. No one can take it away from you. And if you build on it, if you stay consistent you can have another one... and another one... and another one.
Decide you want it, be prepared to pay the price and go to that special place.
You won't succeed every time or even most of time but every once in awhile you will succeed and you'll be a better athlete for it.

Now go forth and do likewise.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dust in the Wind

You ever find yourself going through a "challenging" time - something dramatic - something that feels important beyond words? And while you're going through this big life changing event it's all you can think about? You wake in the middle of the night cause you have to take a leak but falling back to sleep is impossible because thoughts of your current situation overwhelm and you stare at the ceiling till it's reasonable to get up and start the day.
During these times it's hard not to imagine that everyone else in your world isn't equally consumed with your affairs.
You walk into a crowded room or on to a pool deck and you're pretty sure that all eyes are on you and the unheard whispers concern your business.
Anyone reading this can recognize the absurdity of it when on the outside looking in, but if you're on the inside it feels like you're the center of the universe - which is likely a hot and smelly place to be.
The truth, of course, is that no one, save a small group of those involved in your scene, cares.
You're not that important.
The best your business can hope for is a few dedicated minutes of conversation at the local Starbucks, where people running in your circles try to fill the hours with idle conversation. Then they'll move on to the next big thing and ultimately go home where they will be consumed by their own crap.

NOW just imagine the freedom there would be in truly not giving a shit what anyone thought about you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Do a good thing and help out with a buck or two.


Hello Friends and Family,
This year I'm excited to announce that we are putting together a team of very keen individuals to race Ironman Canada on behalf of the MS Society of Canada. Each participant is committed to raising $7500 which will go directly to the MS Society of Canada. I have officially thrown my hat into the ring and am now counting on you fine folks to help me in my fund-raising target. I am currently getting my butt kicked by one of the team members who is already at $10,000. I would really like to beat him!

This link will take you directly to my fundraising page:

The website for our project should you wish to check it out is We will be doing the same thing next year if anyone is interested in securing a much sought after spot to Ironman Canada

Thanks to all and I hope you are doing well.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shawnigan - a good day

Kilshaw and Mensink with the wins.
James Fry 3rd (first on the left) and Rachel Kiers (2nd from the right)

I'm tired and I must go to bed but I needed to write a short one before retiring.
Today was the Shawnigan Lake 1/2 Ironman.
I was suppose to do a relay with Sara Gross. She was to swim and bike and I was going to do the run but last night but she got a stomach bug that kept her home so I was at the race with a coffee in my hand instead of sneakers on my feet.
I was disappointed to start the day but in the end it turned out to be a blessing.
I had several of my athletes out there and I couldn't have been happier with how things went.
I would not have been able to watch and support some great performances.
I had one athlete in the Olympic race today. Cathy Noel is a new triathlete with a goal of finishing Ironman Canada this summer. She's been working hard and making big gains across the board. She finished the Oly (with a 44k bike) 6th in her age group and about 5' faster than our predicted finish.
My newest athlete, James Fry, ended up coming 3rd with a 4:31 in the Half. A solid performance with lots of room for improvement for him!
Taking the win was Steve Kilshaw, a young man I have the pleasure to work with in the Victoria Elite Long Course club we have going here.
I've been working with Lysanne Lavigne for a few years now but this was her first venture into the long course. She's a full time massage therapist with a healthy attitude towards work and sport. 15 hours is a big week for her and her 4:56 was intensly satisfying for both of us.
Rachel Kiers was back defending her title. When she won last year, she did it with a 4:41. This year the competition was a little stiffer. The win would be more elusive. Olympian Lisa Mensink was vying for the title, along with Katya Mayers, Edmontononian Annett Kamenz and Miranda Alldritt to name a few.
Rachel came out of the water almost four minutes down from Mensink's lethal swim but managed to get off the bike almost a minute up on the crowd. Lisa overtook the lead and kept it but Rachel was able to hold onto 2nd place and finished a full five minutes faster than she did last year.
It's days like today that make coaching so worth while.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Cause!!

Was chatting with Jasper Blake the other day and he was telling me about his efforts to get some folks together to race for MS. He's got a hell of deal going and if I didn't have my summer booked I'd jump on it.
I thought I'd pass on the word and see if anyone else might like to take advantage.

Here's the website:

In a nut shell you raise a very reasonable amount of sponsorship money and you get a great package deal to IMC.
From Jasper:
"Ironman Canada Entry and Entry fee covered
Team cycling kit
Team racing kit (both by Hincapie)
Highest Fundraiser gets a bike
Second highest gets a wetsuit blue seventy
Third highest gets some 7systems product
Team brunch on the thursday before the race
Team swim clinic with me on the thursday before the brunch
Ryders Eyewear for everyone on the team
Any other swag i can pull together from my sponsors this is TBD (Ryders eyewear is already here)
Freedom to email me anytime with questions about IM Canada"

MS is an ugly disease that is close to Jasper and over the years has touched several people who have run in my circles.
If this opportunity is available next year I'm going to do what I can to be a part of it.
If you're on the fence about doing an IM or have missed an opportunity to get an entry this season - PLEASE consider this option!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Welcome to the sandbox

For more than a year now Jasper Blake and I have, with some regularity, discussed the possibility of forming a long course specific triathlon group. The idea was to create a series of workouts for the long course athlete - specifically the "elite" long course athlete.
Victoria is a great place to train. The roads are hilly and endless. Nice trails vein the entire island and there are two solid 50 meter pools within a twelve minute drive of each other.
Victoria is also thick with training groups. Throw a rock in this town and you hit a tri coach with a club. If you're a complete beginner there are several soft places to start out.
If you're a young Canadian athlete with dreams of representing the country on the international scene then you might get lucky enough to work with Pat Kelly at the National Triathlon Training Centre.
But if you're a long course triathlete training in this town your options have always been limited. Pete Reid and Lori Bowden swam with a morning masters group that seldom cracked 3500 m.
Jasper has been training with the junior national team for the last few years. They swim hard and have second to none coaching but the swims are designed for 18 year olds hoping to make the next Olympics.
Jasper's dream was to have workouts with the Ironman in mind instead of trying to make short course pegs fit into a long course hole.
He saw 12-15 athletes with regular coached sessions - supported rides and group runs.
Financing such a group would be a tall order. The team would need a paid manager. Lane space needs to be rented and scooter time isn't cheap. It was a big dream.
But on April 14 2009 the birth of VELCA occurred.
On that Tuesday morning nine of Victoria's Elite Long Course Athletes met at the Crystal pool and swam 4700 meters with a main set that was 2800 meters. There was little rest and a lot of work. 5 of the 9 athletes cracked on that set but none of them got out early.
Now, three weeks later, we're up to twelve, swimming twice weekly and we've had a few visitors from Vancouver join us for a session or two.
I've got a good feeling about this thing but it won't be without its challenge. A dozen elite athletes all with different race schedules, different coaches and different personalities.
Joe doesn't want to work with Bill and Coach Al doesn't want his precious Sam to work with Coach Elliot's crazy Sally.
There are some bloody hatchets in this town and if this thing is to work then we may need a front end loader to bury them deep enough but I believe we can do it. I'll have a rusty blade or two to drop in the pit myself but it's going to be worth it and the long course athletes in this town are going to get in some quality work.
We just have to make sure all the kids in the sandbox can play nicely together!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

There are bad people out there. Be careful.

I have a sad little event to talk about it.
Chris Brown and Sara Gross, two professional athletes and two good people recently had a bad night.
They both have made tremendous sacrifices to pursue the triathlon dream but a few weeks ago that sacrifice took a big jump!
Right now the couple are living in a trailer in Tucson in order to get in necessary warm weather training.
As you can imagine (and some of you know) this is a tight lifestyle to manage.
It sure doesn't help to have some fuck head come in the middle of the night and steal your bikes that are chained to side of the trailer.
Brand new Cervelo P3s with SRMs. Absolutely heart breaking.

I'm not sure what makes me more angry - that some derelict might have pinched them for $50 worth of crack or they were the victim of an organized bike theft ring that will realize top dollar for a hot, hot bike?

It's a long shot but these two deserve something good to happen to them.
Anybody who might have a lead will gain massive karma points.

I'm working on a photo of Chris' black and white P3 but here's a pic of Sara's ride:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sorry Times

Non - tri related.

There are two stories everyone should read here. (click on picture)

Texas moves full speed ahead to execute a mentally ill man while another woman dies in an emergency room after waiting more than 24 hours for help.
She laid dead on the floor for an hour before someone came and took her away.

If this fucker isn't crazy then
there's no reason to even have
an insanity option on the books!