Monday, December 28, 2009

Kestrel AIrfoil Sl. My new bike!

Got some quick kms in on this allready. Really stiff and responsive. Still tweaking the fit a little, but I think it is going too be fast. Definetely a thoroughbred! Fastest I have ever been on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

This is it!

(Wrote this as a pep up speech for my track and XC runners, think it can apply to triathlon too!)


This is it.

This is THE moment
When you decide who you are.
Who you want to be.

This is it.

All those hours.
Those early mornings.
Those Cold nights

This is it.

You are strong
Your body is ready
Your mind is focused

This is it.

There are no excuses
Only you will know how hard you compete
Only you will care

This is it.

Today you will do your best
Today you will go farther and faster.
Today you will win!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Ryan and I need to race this one day. WOWWWWWWW!

Way to go specialized!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Track Bike project

So currently in the process of turning an old (2007) QR tequilo frame into a sweet track bike.

Just got the bike back from the paint shop at my old school.

All I need now is a white track wheelset and white or light blue track cranks/chainrings. Then it goes on the wall!

Future Triathlete! :>>

Already swimming!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blind Guy Coming Through!

A year ago, if you told me that I would be captaining a tandem bike in Clearwater with a blind guy on the back I would have laughed. How could one get themselves in such a position? Pretty easily it turns out.

Through a variety of circumstances, and the magic of social networking, I met an interesting guy who was attempting to continue his triathlon career despite being unable to see well enough to get himself around a racecourse safely. After a few general requests for help on his part and, some may say foolish, replies on mine, I was now a guide for a blind guy. (Sorry, I probably should say visually impaired, but someone needs to keep his ego in check.)

Many people know Ryan Van Praet through his tireless efforts to raise funds for the fight on ALS. This is actually how I met him. Only later finding out through an article in Triathlon Canada that he was indeed fighting his own battle against retinitis pigmentosa. Basically this means he has lost most of his peripheral vision, and is slowly losing all of his sight. As he puts it, his retina is turning into Swiss cheese.

Now, I hadn’t met, never mind guided, a visually impaired athlete before. So this was entirely new territory for me. Quite honestly it was a little scary, especially when I started to really think about the logistics of getting the two of us around a course safely. How will we swim together? What are differences in riding a tandem bike? How do we not get in other athletes ways? Needless to say google got quite a workout from me.

As it turns out, it isn’t too hard, just a different mindset.

Our first workout was a 70km bike ride in the Niagara Region. Ryan had just got his custom tandem built and was excited to give it a real workout.

Riding a tandem is all about communication. From start to stop, you must communicate. Now this is tough for someone who has never had to vocalize that he wanted to coast while pedaling before. Years of ingrained habits had to be erased.

The first step is getting rolling. We adopted a straight forward one-two-three-go method. Which seems to work. Since the tandem is so long it wobbles quite a lot at slow speeds. Once you are moving it is rock solid, but the first few strokes can be interesting. Next the captain (person steering) and stoker (person on back) both need to clip in their other foot. So a coast is necessary. Again, it is all about talking to one another. If he needs to take a drink, he needs to tell me. In the longer races we have learned to stand up together to give our butts a break. The tandem is a harsh ride.

So that was my first experience as a guide. Now, smart people would choose a nice small race for their first venture into such unknown territory. As we are both experienced Ironmen, why not do a measly half Ironman!

Peterborough here we come.

At the start line of the Peterborough half Ironman we had never swam together or run together. No big deal!

So how do we get around the swim course as a team? Well, It is with a 4-foot tether.

Ryan rigged up a bungee cord so that it goes around our waists. During the swim we actually slide it down to mid thigh to avoid hitting it during our stroke.

As this was our first race, we placed ourselves conservatively near the middle of the pack so we wouldn’t get in anyone’s way. We were mostly concerned that someone might get caught up in the tether.

What I found during the swim is that I ended up being more of a body guard for Ryan than anything else. I made sure no one got in between us and that Ryan had a clear line around the buoys. If he got off course he would feel the tension on the tether build and correct accordingly. I definitely recommend that if you are guiding a blind athlete, make sure you are a stronger swimmer than them, since you will be using a fair amount more energy keeping them on track and safe. In Clearwater we got our tether caught around an anchor buoy that I couldn’t see (as it was the same size as a head!). I had to stay calm and get untangled and start back up again. It’s these little things that guiding is all about.

Once out of the water things are pretty normal. In T1, it is my responsibility to get myself ready, and to make sure that he has everything he needs within reach. My transition needs to be quick, so that I can help him.

The bike is interesting for us, as this is the one sport that I can actually contribute to our overall speed. Many people make the assumption that the two of us together should go much faster than a single person. This really isn’t the case. Our top speed is most likely a little faster, but because of the clumsiness of maneuvering a tandem in tight situations and turns, our bike split is similar to that of a top AG triathlete.

During the race, communication amongst other athletes is really important as well. In the New York City triathlon this year I went hoarse yelling “On your left” as we had to pass so many people, and it is a lot tougher to slow down or change direction quickly on the tandem. As well on the run I sometimes need to tell people that we are running together so that they can give us enough space to pass.

T2 is similar to T1. Make sure he has all of his gear, change quick and put the tether back on.

Ryan’s vision right now is good enough for him to run on open roads safely. However, if he runs into a shadow the lights go out for him. I need to be really conscious of this especially on tight tree lined courses.

Since his peripheral vision is shot, I need to warn him about roots, bumps, pot holes, dips in the road and most importantly groin highs (objects like posts that are 2-3feet high). The run is were things get a little more interesting. I generally run directly beside him and even though we are tethered we are usually less than arms reach from each other. Hence we have coined another term. To guide a blind athlete you need to endure a lot of “sweaty man (or woman) touching”.

In addition to leading him around the course I also help with his pacing. I give him splits, and help him met out his effort.

One thing that I learned this year as well was that there are many different styles of racing out there. I generally err on the conservative side, building my effort on each leg of a triathlon, whereas Ryan heads out of transition at full speed. We have both had to adapt so as not to affect our overall time. It has truly become a team effort.

Finally, to guide a visually impaired athlete you need to be comfortable being stared at. The amount of attention he receives at these venues is unreal.

At the Clearwater 70.3 championships, not only was he being interviewed for the NBC broadcast, he was also at the pro press conference. Pretty much everyone knew who he was, and what we were doing. Walking through the expo was an experience. People were constantly snapping pics of the bike and of us. Stopping to chat with Ryan and give us their support. It really was an amazing experience.

What a year it has been. Racing in NYC at the Paratriathlon National Champs and at Clearwater 70.3. Most importantly finding a new friendship with Ryan and his wife Mindy who are truly great people. One small facebook post later and I have a whole new, and different, set of experiences than I ever thought possible.

What is really exciting is where it is going. Ryan has signed up for Lake Placid, and is also hoping to go to the ITU Worlds in Budapest with the goal of becoming the fastest visually impaired triathlete in the world. He also has unfinished business in KONA which I am sure he will take care of in the not too distant future.

Never be afraid to try something different. Athletes such as Ryan with Physical Impairments do this everyday. Spending time with someone like him really opens up your eyes as to what is really important. I have been lucky to have the opportunity to be part of his continued journey in this sport, and hopefully will race with him well into the future.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2008 Orbea Ora For Sale!

Red/White 57cm.
Perfect working order. Ultegra grouppo. Dura Ace bar end shifters. Profile T2 aero base bar. S bend aero bars. Bike has approx. 2000km on it. FSA Sl carbon cranks. Will through in extra set of rings ($80)
Has a few cosmetic chips in the paint from travel to Ironman on the right rear seat stay. Also one chip on top tube. Cosmetc from rubbing quick release. Repaired, but not colour matched well.
Best handling frame out there. Those spanish know how to build a comfortable bike. Same geometry as Crowie's Ordu (world champ!)

Bought for $2600 plus tax last year. Upgrades include:
New beginning of summer columbus aero fork (more aero and lighter $200)
Specialized Tri tip saddle (white). $150
Hydrotail: $50
Sram TT levers: Red. New beginning of summer $80
So over $3000 invested.

with Ksyrium Sl's for $1700.00
e-mail for info or more pics.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Clearwater 70.3 World Champs video

More Pics from Clearwater

Ryan's Race Report from Clearwater

IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 70.3 ------- 2ND PLACE FINISH!This past Saturday (Nov.14/2009), myself and my guide and friend Syd Trefiak, ventured down to the sunny south! Clearwater Florida! Our mission? To take on our third and biggest event of the year, the Foster Grant Ironman World Championships 70.3 .Syd and I met up earlier this year when i began my Paratriathlon career. He stepped up to the challenge and decided to help out a perfect stranger continue his athletic career. Going to a World Championship was a reward or good karma for somebody who does something that Syd did, being selfless. We raced a half Ironman earlier in the year, and the Paratriathlon USA championships in July; both great successes and learning curves. We hoped to have our act smoothed out for Florida, and i believe we did-turning in a performance that surpassed my goals.Trying to keep it fairly short, please enjoy the race report. From the eyes of a blind will be interesting to get Syd's perspective on the day.Thursday--- We arrived early, after an early wake up call, to a chilly and WINDY Clearwater... It wasn't much different then the weather at home--expect more palm trees. The order of the day was to meet up with Matt Miller (C Different founder) and Aaron Scheideis the CDF this kid has it all---speed, looks, talent, etc. He is one fun guy. We were also off to make sure that "flaming big al" made it safe and sound. This is my tandem, not a long lost uncle!! Big Al made it safe and sound and so we rode it back to the hotel and unpacked. That evening was cruising the expo and then off to the pre-race banquet. The dinner was on the beach, a beautiful setting normally, but this day was freezing and windy; not the most enjoyable of evenings. Off to bed to catch some much needed sleep.Friday(NBC day!)-- This was a LONG day! Syd and i got up fairly early, took Big Al out for a cruise to make sure he was race ready, and he was. Since i was battling the beginnings of a head cold, Syd went off for a short run by himself. My main mission was to not get so sick that i would be unable to race, but man i was worried, as i was feeling cruddy for sure. Once Syd was back from his little warmup, we hopped on Big Al and rode down to the expo to visit with Erik at K Swiss. Erik is one super cool and super nice guy...I chatted with him a bit bout myself and career, and my connection with C Different, and i proceeded to purchase some Canada flag K-0na shoes...these are super sweet lighweight trainers by KSwiss, and let's just say Erik gave me a deal i couldn't refuse. After this we headed into the Hilton as i had an NBC interview scheduled for 11:30am---a quick stop to say hi to Kevin Mackinnon and Greg McFadden, two friends of mine--then it was time for the interview. After about a 30 min chat with the NBC camera crew, Syd and i had some still pics taken, were given the GPS i was to wear on race day, then we were off to the Pro panel press conference. Sitting at a long table with Aaron and about 8 other pro's, was pretty cool, but obviously i was the SLOW guy of the bunch. A quick lunch in the VIP booth and then we were off to the Pro Pre-race meeting. One hour later, that meeting was over and we were free to "enjoy" the rest of the day. This amounted to dropping off our gear bags just as it got dark, heading to the hotel for a 1 hour rest, then dinner, then back for an early bed time. Holy moly, we were all just wiped out...and ready to that'd be the easy part! I am not complaining though, as the C Different, Ryan and Aaron, ALS, and "yes you can" stories all got told and covered very well. Nighty night!Saturday(Race day!)--- Woke up at 4:30am and downed a couple Peanut butter sandwishes, as i forgot my normal BOOST drinks for pre-race... Syd convinced me the PB sandwish was the way to go. I agree it didn't upset the gut, but didn't quite have the oomph i needed. We (Syd, Aaron, Matt and I) drove off to transition and as we entered...immediately 2 cameras swarmed on Syd and I... I guess they saw when we checked in, and now were getting their pre-race coverage. The idea was to "look cool" and not appear nervous:) I really wasn't that nervous to be honest, i was pretty tired and a bit worried that my non-existant headache would come back with a vengance later in the day (thankfully it didn't). Had a bit of a pre-race interiew in the transition area, then we were off to hit the Porta John, then the swim start. The swim was originally supposed to be in the Gulf of Mexico, but due to rough surf and rip current, they switched it into a nearby protected harbour---fine by me, as i wasn't feeling my swim was up to snuff. After standing around for a little bit, it was time to put the wetsuit on, and head to the dock, smile/look focused for a few more cameras, then hop in the water. We got to start at 6:45am in the pro wave (pro women, as the men started a few minutes after us). The sun was just coming up and was promising to be a gorgeious day. BOOM! went the cannon and we were off. My goal was to hang at the back of the pro women pack as long as i could, then just get the swim done. We were doing ok, and somehow i felt myself being pulled backwards. Hmmmm, odd! I guess while looking into the sun, Syd mistook a small bouy for a swim cap and swam to the wrong side, stringing up our tether----oh well, i wouldn't have seen it either!! I actually thought he sangged a person, as the bouy looked like a head!! Syd calmly took his tether off, unwrapped it, put it back on and we were off. We had lost the pack and now were basically alone the rest of the way. We managed to get a bit over half way before them pro men flew by us. I felt cruddy, and very unpowerful, but somehow managed a sub 34 minutes swim, which was actually my goal. Got the wetsuit stripped off, tethered stuck on my feet--slight delay--then we made the run into T1, grabbed gear bags, into tent, threw on shoes and helmet and were off! Onto the 90km bike (after the 1.9km swim), we took it out steady and decided to not kill ourselves and leave a bit for the run. We found ourselves totally alone---pro's in front, age groupers behind, it was very very strange. We saw 5 people the whole race (passed them handily) and never got caught by a single rider. Syd and i both were riding strong, and felt good, despite very very very very sore posteriors and backs.... More kinks definatley need to be worked out in this regard. My goal was to average around 37km/h and we managed to average 40.22km/hr for a 2:16 bike ride...I was pumped for sure! OOOOH DOLPHINS!! was the highlight of the ride (for Syd anyways)..and the NBC cameras coming up to film us was quite awesome too...."look intense syd, look intense!" Into T2, shoes on, and we were off on the 21.1km run!My goal was to run a sub 1:40 half marathon, but considering the way i was feeling the preceeding days, i was just happy to run the whole thing. Syd is good at keeping me steady and avoiding the quick start. We held a strong pace the whole run, only fading a tiny bit about 3/4 of the way through...his knee was hurting, my stomach was hurting, but we managed to keep it quite strong and average a 7.55 min/mile pace (I was aiming for a 7:45/mile pace), so not too bad. Seeing Aaron and Matt 4 times was fun, and we realized we were neither gaining, nor losing time to them. We knew we'd not catch them, so we decided to not blow on the day and kept it steady. Seeing my buddy Debbie Regals out there (fellow Blazeman Warrior) was awesome too. The crowd and athlete support for Syd and I was unreal, i've never had so many people say so many encouraging things, they truly understood our mission. As we appraoched 2 miles to go, i realized we were pretty much on track for a 4:45-4:47 overall finish, which was right on my goal of a 4:45 finish. It was going to be tight, and Syd decided to step it up the last hurt, but we sucked it up and managed to both ROLL across the finish line in 4:43!! A new personal best for me by 25 minutes and we ended up 25 minutes behind Aaron. Great race for me, but would've loved to get closer to Aaron. One day for sure...i just need to work on my swim and a few other things...and perhaps get more agressive on the bike. All and all we had a ton of fun, and Syd and I were VERY pleased with our day. Very satisfying.Final thoughts?-- Coming in with the goals of sub 34 swim (swam 33:xx), a sub 2:20 bike (rode 2:16), a sub 1:40 run (ran 1;43) my sub 4:45 finish...i was pleased for sure. I ended up 4 of 7 Paratriathletes overall, and got a 2nd place finish in the Visually Impaired group (yes there were only two of us, but i truly believe my time would have been good enough for 2nd against all the other VI athletes i know, alhough it would've been close). AND i've not taken on Canada's other fast Blind guy, Brian Cowie...We got our story out, we gained people's attention, and respect, we gained potential sponsors and product support and we finsihed 2nd in a World Championship!! You can't end 2009 any better, as when the year began i didn't kow if i'd even get to do one race, let alone 4 (2 big prestigious events). Thanks to Syd, C Different, Aaron, and my wife for all the help and support. This year makes me very eager to plan for the future and the potential to inspire others that they can do anything....just adapt to your situation, and figure out a way to get it done. Oh ya, and thanks to Big Al , my comfy Running Free shorts, CDF shirt, Rudy Project sunglasses and helmet, and New Balance shoes...they got me to the line safe and sound...and i can't WAIT to get out in my new K Swiss shoes, hoping for some new PB's outta those puppies!!!

Some pics from Clearwater

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Clearwater 70.3 World Champs Race Report.

After Muskoka my season was done.  I thought.  Then I got an e-mail from Ryan saying that he had been offered a spot in Clearwater.  Do I want to go?  Why the hell not!  

I can honestly say that I did not train a ton between Muskoka and Clearwater.  The reputation of the 70.3 world champs being a fast/flat course allowed me to take it a little easier.  A few long rides, a few long runs.  Basically no quality swimming.  Still felt OK heading down.

Drove down to Chatham on Wednesday night.  Got there hung out with Mindy and Ryan for a bit and hit the sack as we had a real early (2:45) wake up call to head to Detroit airport for our 6:00am flight.  Made it.  

We landed in Clearwater and caught our shuttle to the Chart House Suites (very geneoursely donated by Matt Miller and the Cdifferent foundation.  Huge windows looking out on the harbour, and the record breaking cold weather!  Florida is supposed to be warm.  Not 59 degrees.  We had news that it would warm up for the weekend so we shrugged it off.

Meeting up with Matt and Aaron, we caught a ride down to the expo area.  We picked up Ryan's tandem (now named Big Flaming Al, long story. . . ) and registered.  This was the first hints of what was too come.  Everybody seemed real interested in the tandem, and what we were doing.  
Did a trip around the expo.  Stopped and talked to the Blais's (of whom Ryan does a lot of fundraising for) and a few other booths.  After this (and posing for a number of pics with interested people!) we rode the bike back to the hotel.  

That night was the banquet.  For the World Champs they situated the whole shindig on the beach.  Which normally would have been great, but it was fricking freezing.  We shivered through dinner (which IS better in the VIP section!) and listened to the presentation.   Of which, Ryan was talked about.  This was the first encounter of hanging out with many of the tri elite!  Lots of pros everywhere.  It was cool!

We then gladly headed home for some sleep. 

The next day we took out the bike for an easy spin to make sure all was well then got ready for the press junkit.  This was surreal.  First stop was the NBC interview where upon entering the hilton we met Kevin Mckinnon who was very nice, and hung out for a bit until we were hearded into the interview area.  Also Greg Welch stopped by and said hi too.

Ryan went through the interview like and old pro.  He is very well spoken, and I believe presented himself really well.  The interview took 15-20min.  We were then handed a transponder to mount on Ryan's belt so that they could find us during the race, and film us on the go.  It was then directly into the the photographer for some pics.  Some of just Ryan, and some of both of us and the bike.

Once that was out of the way we wandered back to the expo (had more picture's taken) and stopped at the K-swiss booth.  Ryan talked with the main dude, and might have hooked himself up with a bit of a sponsorship.

From here we rushed over to the pro press conference where Ryan was to be introduced to the press.  He sat on a panel with passed champions Terrenzo Bezzone and Joanna Zeiger among others.  That was kinda cool to see.  We were then sent into the VIP area at the finishing line to have lunch with these guys.  Nothing like sharing a sandwhich with giants like Terrenzo, and Matty Reid.  It was really kind of surreal to be hanging out with these people in this sort of relaxed setting.   They were all really nice, and great to meet.  

After that it was time to head home and try and process what happened that day and maybe get some dinner.  Matt took all of us to a hotel for dinner of pasta, and garlic (it seemed).  Then to bed to try and sleep before we had to wake up and race!

Race Morning.

We got up around 4am.  Ate some breakfast and got ready.  Caught a ride down to transition with Aaron's manager.  This is where it really got surreal.  Walking into transition we were greated and identified over the loudspeaker.  Immediately Ryan was interviewed by the MC and the camera's were on us.  They filmed us for a while when we were getting ready.  Things seemed good and we decided to head down to the swim start.  The swim had been moved off of the gulf to the inland bays due to the remnants of hurricane IDA.  The swell was high, and there was a bit of a rip.  

We were scheduled to start in the pro women's wave which went off first.  The men went 8min. later.  This was also interesting.  Hanging on the start line with these guys is interesting.  There was a definite buzz among the pro's and an intensity.  Terrenzo stopped beside us for a bit and joked around.  

The start.  

We headed off strong behind the women.  We wanted to make sure we stayed out of the way as much as possible.  Things were going well for the first 300m.  Then all of the sudden out of the pack in front of us came a buoy.  It was about the size of a head so i didn't see it coming through the other swimmers infront of us.  Before I could do anything Ryan had swam to the opposite side as me and the tether got caught on the buoy.  I took a few seconds to try and unhook us, but it was no use so I slipped the tether off and had Ryan pull it through.  Then I put the tether back on and we were off to the races.  Unfortunately we lost the group we were behind which meant no draft for us.  Having feet to follow really helps Ryan swim straighter.  

We managed to make it to the home stretch before the male pros came flying by us.  Most of them cleared us before we hit the swim exit.  We stayed to the right so as not to get in there way.  Out of the swim we headed to transition and the volunteers helped us remove our wetsuits.  Ryan got a little tangled in the tether so it took a little bit to get going, but not a big deal.  I believe our swim split was in the 33min. range.

Got changed, and picked up the bike.  Once again the camera's were on us.  We got on the bike and started out to the causeway.  We were rolling along nicely.  There was no one around us.  Either direction.  It stayed that way most of the bike.  The course was flat and fast.  Clipping along we passed Aaron and Matt on the out and back section.  They were hanging on behind the front pack.  It was impressive to see them there.  They are rockstars!

On our way back we started to see the AG guys coming.  Definetely saw the fabled drafting packs of clearwater.  But we won't get into that.  

Headed out over one of the causeways was pretty weird.  3 lanes and two wide shoulders all shut down for us.  There were no other cyclist's either so we were all alone on this massive highways.  It was odd.  Funnily I was looking around and on the bay I could see dolphins.  I said "hey dolphins!"  Ryan replied with "Keep your eyes on the road".  I came back with " there are 5 empty lanes here.  You could steer the bike and not hit a bloody thing, so relax!"   It was fun!

The 20km or so were tough because the bike is extremely tough on the posterior.  Not much give in the frame so it is a little harsh of a ride.  Feeling good though.  We held a real steady pace throughout and set ourselves up for a good run.  The bike was a blazing 2:16 split at 40.2 kph.

A relatively quick transition and we were on the run.  The crowds were fantastic.  Cheering us every step of the way.  We must've had our pictures taken a thousand times.  

The first loop of the run was uneventful.  We had a goal pace and tried to stick to it.  Ryan has a tendancy to head out fast, and I tried to hold him back a bit so that we could have a steady run.  At the end of the first loop the camera's caught us and followed in front of us for a while.  Try and look tough, try and look tough.  That was our mantra while on film!  Coming into the turn around the announcer was calling us on and the crowds once again went wild.  That was just a taste of what was too come.  

The course headed out over a causeway, and in through the residential neighbourhoods.  It was neat on the first lap when the pro men flew by us.  We could see that Raelert had a big lead and was looking strong.  It was really cool to watch Matt Reed fly by.  He is a beast! 

The second lap got tougher.  Much of the course was on concrete and that took it's toll on my knees and both of our bodies.  We held a steady pace but it was hurting.  Ryan had a goal of coming in under 4:45.  We weren't sure if we were going to get there or not.  We pushed hard at the end at it looked like we would succeed.  Coming into the finishing chute was awesome.  There were a ton of people there and they were going nuts.  It was a wall of sound.  They were cheering so loudly for us it gave me goosebumps.  Still do thinking about it.  What an experience.  

Got to the line, and we both did a blazeman role.  4:43.  Fast!  Ryan came in second which was fantastic.

Camera's were flashing.  Bob Blais was there to great us which was nice.  Made our way through the throngs and collapsed on the grass for a bit.

That night we went to the awards banquet.  This was again held on the beach.  Much warmer though.  Ryan (and I) were brought on stage for his award.  A great end to an awesome experience.

Thanks to Matt Miller and Cdifferent for helping us to get down to the event.  Thanks to the WTC for the invitation.  Thanks to Ryan for letting me tag along! :>>

I look forward to guiding Ryan again next year.  Placid here we come!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Article by Kevin Mckinnon about Ryan Van Praet


Ironmanlife: Ryan's Back

Kevin Mackinnon previews Ryan Van Praet's race at the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3

Published Friday, November 6, 2009

Ironmanlife: Ryan's BackIf you ever needed proof that there is no justice in the world, here's proof. Last year, for the first time in six Ironman races, Ryan Van Praet wasn't able to get to the finish line as he wore race number 179 in Kona. Because people like Ryan Van Praet don't let one day of physical problems get in the way of changing the world, though, the world is right again because Ryan Van Praet is now stronger, faster and even more determined after that experience. He continues to tirelessly raise money for ALS research in Canada, awareness for the Blazeman foundation everywhere and will pass you like you're parked if you slow down for a millisecond at next week's Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3.

Van Praet, like his hero, Jon “Blazeman” Blais, who wore race number 179 when he finished the Ford Ironman World Championship in 2005, is a walking inspiration story. Born with a disease called retinitis pigmentosa, he's going blind. Last year's Kona event was the last he was able to do without a guide. The 29-year-old from Chatham, Ontario has grown up with the knowledge that he would likely lose his sight by the time he reaches his 30s.

This is a guy who grew up exploring the world in a way that most of us never will. His parents, especially his father, Adelard, never hesitated to let him try anything and everything.

He treated me like any other boy, let me fall, and pick myself up, try things most thought he shouldn't let me try because I could hurt myself, or get embarrassed or embarrass him,” says Van Praet. “He didn't care, he knew that to succeed I needed to grow up to be more determined than any other person I was around ... and I have done that. I get all my strength from what taught me, from how he raised me. He gave me inclusion, he gave me courage, he gave me pride, now it's my turn to try and give back.”

Hold that “give back” thought for a second. Oh, and hold that “more determined than any other person I was around” thought, too.

Around the same time that Jon Blais was given the death-sentence that is an ALS diagnosis, Adelard Van Praet got the same news. That's why, watching the coverage of the Ford Ironman World Championship in 2005 was so poignant for Van Praet. Here was a guy finishing the Ironman with a disease that was going to kill him. If he could do that, then Ryan Van Praet could step up and give something back, too.

Since then he's lost his father to ALS, but he continues to raise thousands of dollars for the ALS research in Canada. He’s completed five Ironmans. He was named the Ford Everyday Hero at Ford Ironman USA Lake Placid in 2007. He organizes a huge spin-a-thon to raise money for the Blazeman Foundation every winter.

So what happens when someone like Ryan Van Praet can't get to the finish line of Kona? First he's humbled by his hero.

After my experience in Kona last year and how it blew me to smithereens in my sixth Ironman (when you think you'd have most things figured out), it gave me the utmost sense of awe at what Jon accomplished while dying in 2005,” Van Praet wrote to me earlier this year.

The humility lasted for, I'm guessing, about a day. Then someone like Ryan Van Praet gets his butt in gear and starts training. And racing. Earlier this year, with his guide Syd Trefiak, he screamed through a hilly 70.3 distance race in 5:11. Then he was the second visually impaired athlete at the prestigious NYC triathlon. He's determined to continue the trend that athletes like Aaron Schiedies and Charlie Plaskon have started: don't feel sorry for these guys when they're out on the course - you better try to stay ahead of them because they're racing you right to the line.

“I hope desperately to get back to Kona to tackle the only race that has beaten me thus far,” Van Praet wrote in an e-mail last month. “As you know, my personality is a bit stubborn and I need to prove to myself that Kona is doable.”

A bit stubborn? Sure, you can try that, Ryan. All I can say is that I'm thrilled to hear that I'll see you next week in Clearwater. I'm looking forward to watching you and Syd fly through that course. I'm also looking forward to seeing you back in Kona some day. I can't see any way that you'll let anything stop that from happening.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clearwater 70.3

Ryan got an invitation to compete in Clearwater this november.  So I am tagging along (or I guess technically leading along :P) to help him out.  Aaron Schiddes is going to be racing as well (stupid fast blind guy).  He is kind of our only real competition.  A little out of our league, but something to aim for!

The coolest thing about this is that we are going to be starting out in the pro wave!  How cool is that!  We will be last, but who cares.  We will be hanging out with the best of the best.

So, the training needs to start again, but it is definetely worth it!

Say hi if you see us down there.  Blind dude tied to me.  

Monday, September 21, 2009

Muskoka 70.3

Winding down the summer with a major race is always fun.  Especially an Ironman sanctioned event, because you really feel like you are involved in something big.  Especially with big name pros attending.   Muskoka 70.3 lived up to this.

I decided to camp on the saturday night as opposed to getting a hotel room.  Not only did this save me from having to book months in advance, it also saved me a bunch of cash.  $30 for the night.  Nice!

Got up there saturday early in the afternoon.  Plenty of time to get acclimated and set up.  Parked at the airport and rode my bike in.  Dropped it in transition and headed in to register.  With that out of the way I took a stroll through the expo and headed down to the swim start.  A bit of a hike!  The swim out is a good jog uphill into transition.  Wasn't looking forward to that!  The swim looked fun, and I was excited to get in the water on sunday.  That is, until I drove the course!

Headed out on the bike course before dinner.  What a beauty!  Probably the nicest bike courses I have ever ridden.  However, it is very very challenging.  Would love to ride that course without having to worry about running after!

Then I decided to drive the run.  Ugh.  Uphill to the turnaround!  Now that would be a challenge.

Headed into town for some prerace spaghetti and meatballs, then back to the tent for some sleep.

Up early, at 5:30.  Packed up, and headed to timmies for a coffee.  Had breakfast and parked at the airport again.  Took the shuttle to the site (this worked very well).

Got all set up nice and quickly and just milled around.  Watched the pros get set up for a while, and exchanged words of encouragement with a few of them.  Time to get the wetsuit on.

Headed down to the start.  Feet were a bit sore from the walk down, but was excited to start.  

The put us into pens ala a bike race start.  We were the 4th off.  The pro's were on the home stretch by the time we started.  Got a good spot on the front and hammered it when the gun went off.   Had a good start to the first buoy and a good draft as well.  After the first turn I was in good shape, then I felt my watch come most of the way off.  The velcro strap came loose.  Had to stop to take it off.  Shoved it down the front of my wetsuit.  This sucked because I lost the strong group that I was with.  Started up after a few secs.  Had to readjust the the position of the watch shortly after.  Probably lost 20secs to this.  Kinda annoying.  Managed to catch some more feet, but we hit a bunch of traffic down the back stretch of the swim.  It started to get a bit hairy.  We were dodging back and forth avoiding the previous wave.  They were spread everywhere.  Over the last 10min. of the swim I was feeling fantastic.  I started to push a bit more and gained a few spots.  Pushed hard to get some clear water coming into the swim exit to avoid traffic in the stairs and at the strippers.  I was out in just over 30min.  Was hoping to go sub 30, but the watch debacle and traffic stopped this.  

Got stripped really quickly with some helpful volunteers and started the trudge up to T1.  Got a quick transition and headed out on the course.  Some vigorous cheering from Canadian pro Tara Norton (headed to Savageman last weekend so wasn't racing here.) which was helpful.

Onto the bike.  I had shattered my quads training with the XC team a week previous, and never really let them heal properly so that coupled with a sore butt from driving made me feel a bit nervous about the hilly course to come.  Legs weren't feeling great, but I was managing a decent pace none the less.  It wasn't until we hit 35 that I started to feel strong.  The first leg of the course was mostly uphill until the turn off of the shared road section.  The actual scenery was fantastic, along with the roads.  Some super curvy stuff.  It was a load of fun to hammer through.  I made up a fair amount of places by being really aggressive on the turns and hills.  It was a lot of fun.

Ended up passing a bunch of people from the previous wave, and didn't lose many spots in my own.  I was feeling really good and was moving well, until I hit the turn onto brunel.  It was weird, immediately as we hit the head wind there, all of the juice went out of my legs.  I knew that I had screwed up my nutrition.  Took a gu and ate the rest of a peanut butter sandwhich I had started earlier and backed a little off of the effort.  This is a really tough section of the course and I suffered a little.  After about 20min. my legs started to feel good again.  I upped the pace a bit, but remained conservative.  Finished the bike feeling relatively good.  That being said, I couldn't imagine running that course at that point!  The bike was a little long (94km) so the 2:43 split was good enough for me.   

Into T2 with a really fast transition.  Got into my distance crushing pace (which is admittedly a bit slower than I hoped to be running).  Basically just pick an effort level I know I can maintain over that distance.  It was slow, but I didn't want to blow up on the way out.  Now, I didn't drive the entire course.  Basically up to the turn around and then I went for dinner, so I didn't check out the path on the way back.  Not a mistake, but mentally I prepared for it to be similar to the out section in topography.  It wasn't!

Felt OK the whole way out.  Packing in the GU's on schedule and just ticking off the kms.  The hills were tough, but I really just focused on the few meters infront of me, and didn't worry about what was to come.  Made it to the turn around without draining the tank.  Now I wanted to push a bit on the way down.  

Well, there was a lot of down, but the legs started to get heavy around 15km.  Just in time to hit the path.  Very pretty, but it had a bunch of short punchy hills.  Now my legs really didn't have an issue with running easily on flats or downhills, but those short hard efforts really took a toll.  I was running out of steam quickly.  It was also very hard to judge where you were, and how much longer you needed to be on this path.  Mentally, I was in a rough spot.  

Eventually that section ended, and I was on the the relief of the open road.  I was also very sure of what the roads were like on the way in.  So I knew what to expect.  Not easy, some big hills, but I knew about them so they didn't seem too bad.  Cruised the last few km relatively well and circled around transition to the finish line.  Came across at 5:02 which was close to my goal finish time.  Kinda weird since I haven't finished over 5hrs in a while.  The 1:44 run split was definetly slow, but I can't imagine going any faster.

I love the race and the venue.  Everything was organized and ran very well.  The challenge of the course was awesome.  Huntsville is beautiful.   Thanks to all of the supportive locals and awesome volunteers.  

So now, it is a few weeks off, then starting to prep for Clearwater (not alone, but with Ryan)  Should be fun!   

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New York City US paratriathlon Championships

Last Sunday I found myself wetsuited up sitting on a pontoon strapped to Ryan, getting ready to jump into the Hudson River. I can honestly say I never thought I would swim in the Hudson. It is a combination of murky and a little salty. Cleaner than I was expecting.

Now the major benefit of swimming in the hudson is that there is a lot of current.

The few days before the start were hectic. We drove down on friday and got in late after sitting in traffic trying to get on the island. We were tired and the nerves were a little frayed from the New York traffic.

Saturday was registration day. We sat through the PC briefing and went and got our kits. We were staying at the official hotel which was probably 4km from transition. This was a bit tough as we had a long tandem bike. We were not confident enough to ride in NYC traffic so we had to walk down to transition. Because of the location of the transition zone noone was allowed to stop their cars and drop off their stuff. A large hastle for us. As a result this took us the majority of the day. We got back in time for dinner and took a bus tour in the evening.

Sunday morning was early. Transition closed at 5:45 when the pro's started. We managed to get there with just enough time to finish setting up. We were racked next to Aaron Scheidies. The world's fastest paratriathlete. He has a similar visual condition to Ryan so they are natural competitors. He is a super cool kid. I suggest googleing him to see what he is about.

There was over a 1500m walk to the swim start. The para triathletes were situated in the pro tent which is cool. Just simplifies things.

We got the call to head to the pontoon. We ended up sitting there for a while as they were leaving a gap before the second group of racers went.

We were given a 30sec warning and were told to jump in and grap a rope. The current was super strong. The gun sounded and we were off. We knew that we would be amongst the faster swimmers in this wave so we pushed from the start. The swim is a straight shot downstream so sighting is a none issue. We were alone pretty much the whole time. Out of the water in around 17:00. That demonstrates the powerr of the current.

The bike starts out with a short downhill serction with two sharp rights followed by a steep hill up to the expressway. This was super technical for a tandem but we managed it well. We were now free to fly. I haf decided that I was going to bury myself on the bike as I knew that is where I could help the most. We caught up to the wave infront of us pretty much right away. We were flyinh by these slower cyclists. It was quite busy out there. It was a neat bike course as the closed the expressway on the west coast for us to race on. It was a hilly course, but fast. I was hoarse by the end from constantly yelling "on your left".

Into T2 I was a little torched from the effort. We changed quickly and climbed the hill out of the transition area. Ryan was pushing hard at this point. It took my body a while to come around. I actually felt pretty crappy for the whole run. It took a lot more effort this time to stay on Ryans shoulder.

The run through Central Park was cool(actually very very humid) this played havoc with my digestion. We continued to pass a ton of people. Only one person caught us from the wave that started after us. Ryan was flying, and I was surviving. I was going to bury myself before I slowed him down. We got to the finshing chute (which was crowded) and crossed the line in 2:18,second in his category. We acheived all of his goals so this was a very successful outing.

It was a fun race to do, but I won't do it again. Logostically it is too hard.

I would like to thanks Ryan and Mindy for giving me the opportunity to race in NYC with Ryan. It is a really neat experience, and I look forward to what the future holds!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ryan's Peterborough Report (from

Mission Accomplished--"Hey isn't that cheating?"

"Hey, isn't that cheating?"

"No fair..."

"Oh man, 4 legs, you guys look great.."

"Hey, that's drafting..."

All of the above were utterances during my first paratriathlon last Sunday in Peterborough. ALL were said in joking fashion and great supportive manner, by fellow athletes. All were said on the bike as we rolled, seemingly "cheatinginly easy" past them up and down the steep rollers of the Peterborough 1/2 Ironman. A 2 km swim, followed by a 85 km bike ride (which is supposed to be 90), followed by a hilly 21.1km half marathon run. This was my 5th half Ironman of my career, my third time back to Peterborough, but my first paratriathlon--a new beginning.

Today i want to give you a brief (hopefully) recap of the days events; last week i gave you a taste of what the mood surrounding the event was like. The fact that i was a beginner, for the second time... As mentioned this was my third time back to this race, but standing race morning on the shore with 500 other athletes, tethered to my guide Syd...this felt much different. All pre-race buildup and preparation was much the same as any other race i've done, but as i said, standing tethered with our 4 foot bungee cord between us--Syd and I were embarking on something very new to both of us. Syd standing 2 inches taller then me, is a imposing figure, and made me feel that he gave the air of "stay out of our way" to the rest of the gang. This was comforting, heading into the water which was the most stressful for me. Swimming is not usually stressful, i love the beat and bang and push and shove of an open water swim; but not this day when i was very worried that i would snag somebody in our line, injure, drown or in a mild case just REALLY tick them off. Therefore the 2km swim i must admit was the most stressful swim i have ever done in my entire life, far trumping any Ironman mass start with 4 times as many people. My stress and fears were unfounded though, as we never snagged a single person, Syd was a perfect body guard as he is an amazing swimmer, and we managed out effort in a slow and uncomfortable 38:45. Uncomfortable because i can swim a good bit faster, and Syd must've been taking a nap, as this was far below his pace...but safety was the key.

Through transition and onto the bike---we had ridden the previous week together, and i trusted Syd had a handle literally and figuratively on the bike situation, so i was relieved and comforted to get out in my element (the bike) even if it was on the back of our Griffen tandem rocket!
Rolling smoothly and to much crowd support, out of T1, dressed in our matching Rudy Project helmets and matching TEAM RUNNING FREE uniforms (an awesome running store in the GTA that become my newest sponsor, and has been sponsoring Syd and his wife for a while).. Syd and i settled into a easy pace. Our goal was to take it slow until halfway then drop the hammer. We kept a methodical pace until the halfway point, passing everyone in sight (see above for comments recieved along the way). To my surprise the support was amazing, and truth be told i did feel guilty passing people with such ease, as this would not happen quite so smoothly if i were riding on my own. However, we rolled past a couple hundred people and made our way to the pointy end of the field. By half way, we were both feeling ok, but our "undersides" and my lower back, were both feeling the harshness that is a tandem bike ride. You feel ever bump, and every vibration--and we are riding probably the nicest tandem bike ever made! On that way back, we found ourselves quite alone...the leaders were ahead, but most others were behind, and we just rolled along, more in silence due to our upped effort. We were both relieved to get off the bike at the end, giving our bodies a break from the slightly uncomfortable ride. 2:29:00 later, with an average of 34 km/h, we arrived to a fairly empty T2.

Not having been totally trained for this event, and suffering a bit of an injury, my goal was to run as much of the half marathon as possible, and just see how it went. I really didn't have any specific time goals for the whole day, so it was just a matter of plugging away. During the first very shady section, Syd ran in front of me (where the pictures were taken), and i followed along like a good little puppy dog:) When out onto the open road, we ran side by side, Syd pointing out any road flaws, pylons, etc. This will take some more practice, but really all went well. I am pleased to say i managed to run the entire 21km (only impressive due to the fact the hills were killing me) is so hard running hills when you don't run them around here. We pushed harder the last 4-6 km, i was suffering, and Syd was cruising. He lives and trains on those hills, so this was simple for him. Pushing really hard the last 2km, we turned into the park, Syd and i grabbed hands, turned the final corner to the finish where Syd raised our hands in victory, saw the clock read 5:11:xx (which was my second fastest half Ironman ever), i dropped, rolled for ALS....and that was that.

Even thought the bike course was short, it was still a fast enough race for me..i was very pleased with the effort and very thankful to Syd for his help. This guy lives and breathes triathlon (even more then I), and his presence and help that day really helped me out. Our next adventure is in two weeks in New York City, with an Olympic distance triathlin which happens to be the USA National Paraytriathlon Championships. This will give me a good idea of where i stand in terms of others in my category (as I was the only visually impaired athlete in Peterborough). I am looking forward to the new experience and the new tandem career. It isn't the same as going alone, but it is still suprisingly, familiarly, satisfying.
A huge congratulations to local fellow C-K athletes Jason Ramboer who absolutely hammered his first half Ironman in a 4:41 time, Brennan his brother in the half Duathlon, Helen Robertson of Chatham in a very respectable time, and Helen's daughter Helinka who also had a solid day.

So off to training i go, getting ready for the fast and furious NYC triathlon! Thanks to Running Free for the great gear, Rudy Project, Syd, my wife, Smith's Cycle, and everyone who's help got me to the starting line of my new career. And thanks CKDP for letting me tell my story, my hope for Sunday was to turn some heads, and get some people thinking.....No matter what your abilities, set that goal, and go for it, and NEVER underestimate somebody based on their age, sex, religion, disability or athletic ability; for as soon as you do this, is the time they will leave you in a cloud of dust.

Peterborough 1/2 as a guide.

I participated in the peterborough 1/2 IM this year as a guide for Ryan Van Praet a PC (physically challenged - blind) athlete from Chattam.

This was an exciting opportunity for me.  I have done many things in this sport of triathlon and nothing quite like this.  It was a true team effort.

Ryan has competed in triathlon for many years and has raced at all distance including a couple attempts at IM.  This was his first race as a PC athlete.  His vision has gotten to a point where he can't race by himself.

We had practiced on the tandem a few times, but we had yet to swim or run together.

The morning of peterborough we got set up in transition.  The OAT and subaru guys were excellent at helping us get set up in transition.  They had to make a whole new category for him to race in.  

The swim was going to be interesting as we were tethered together and it was a mass start.  We took a concervative line and waited for the majority of the field to go.  I think this was a bit of a mistake as we then had to pass a ton of slow swimmers.  This was difficult.  The swimmers in the middle/back of the pack have trouble swimming straight.  So I ended up acting as a bodyguard for most of the swim.  We probably took a few extra minutes because of this.  It ended up ok though.  It was an interesting practice.  I think in NYC we will be more aggressive.

We got out of the water and took our wetsuits off.  The run to transition is a little long so it was tough navigating our way there.  An easy transition and we were off on the bike.  Having a relatively slow swim, but both of us being good cyclists meant that we were moving quite a lot faster than the rest of the riders around us.  We were flying.  The tandem is an interesting experience.  You really need to learn how to communicate well.  I needed to vocalize everything, from bumps in the road, to turns, to when either of us wanted to coast.  

Things were feeling good on the tough bike course.  We were getting lots of interesting comments and stares as we flew by many cyclists.  

The biggest problem with the tandem is that it is a rough ride.  Your butt gets really sore.  We ended up coasting a lot on hills on the way back to try and relieve some pressure on our rears.  

We finished up the bike a lot closer to the front of the pack than we started.  We had passed atleast a hundred athletes.

T2 was a bit faster.  We headed out on the run.  It heads through the park and soccer fields.  This was a challenging section for Ryan as he can't see anything in low light.  I really had to let him know about every dip on the course.  Once we were onto the roads it was easier.  They are smoother and we were able to pick up the pace.  This was a challenging course for Ryan as he is from the flattest part of this province.  Peterborough is a hilly course on the bike and run.  I live in this terrain so it is second nature to me.  He did really well considering this.

We managed to pick a solid pace and hold it.  Ryan told me not to tell him splits or where we were on the run course.  This was fun, because I knew that we were way in front of our goal of going 5:30.  He didn't.  He thought we were on pace for the goal.  I said nothing until we hit the finishing straight when I told him the time.  Ryan did a roll accross the finish line in honour of his father who passed from ALS and in support of the Blazeman foundation which he is very active with.

We finished in 5:11.  This was a great time for us and way infront of our goal.  We were very conservative early on so this is a great confidence builder going into the PC champs in NYC.  

I had a blast, and am really looking forward to racing in New York and next year possibly at the Ironman distance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

24 er 12 hrs of summer solstice

This was to be my first attempt (and most likely last) at competing in a solo 24 hr mtb race. Training had been going ok, and I knew that if I paced myself properly I would have a good race. I wasn't expecting any fast performance, but I just wanted to ride the majority of the time.

The forecast had been looking bleak over the previous weeks, and raceday didn't disappoint! We started during a light drissle. A huge pack of over a 1000 riders started off. I positioned myself middle back to allow myself an easy start. It was a slow first lap as the packs thinned out. By the second half we were able to ride without any back-ups. The rain was stopping at this point and the trails were in decent condition.

The second lap was awesome. I was feeling fantastic just cruising around trying to be as smooth as possible. I was working on getting the best lines down as I knew that would help me in the late hours of the race. The conditions were mucky and by the end of the second lap my brake pads were toast. They weren't new. I made a quick stop and changed them out.

The third lap was a different story. The first 2.5km of trails had been chewed to pieces by all the riders. It was virtually impossible to ride that section. The mud was clay and stuck to your bike, eventually keeping your wheels from turning and adding 30pds! However, the 2nd half of the course was in good shape. I took a break for food after this long lap.

The fourth lap was much better. The trail was drying up and by the end I was able to get in a rythym again. The laps had been really slow and dusk was a couple of hrs off so I decided to stop and put on my lights. Good move. Over the last few km of the 4th lap, the rain started again slowly. By the time I got back on my bike it was pouring. This destroyed all of the improvements and took the good parts and turned them bad.

The RD's had taken the first part of the course out because it was unridable. I thought this would solve the problems. Nope! I ended up walking 90% of the 5th lap. Stopping every fee hundred meters to remove pds of mud. It was insane!!! I have never ridden/hiked in anything like it before. The 13km lap took me over 2hrs! I should've been able to ride it in 40min!

At the end of that lap it was nearing 10pm. I decided that I was going to wait a bit to let things dry out again before I went back out, and I had worn through another set of brake pads. I went down to the sporting life booth, and they were sold out of pads. They were waiting on a shippment from their store. I decided to grab some warm food from the chalet. As I was sitting there eating with some friends word came in that they were cancelling the race at midnight. I then debated heading out for another lap, but common sense prevailed. Stories of horrid laps were comming in left, righ, and center. The memory of my last lap was still fresh as well.

So that was that. I went to sleep! It was an interesting experience. I am humming and hawing on whether I want to give it another shot. We'll see. Props to the Chico guys for trying hard to keep the race going, and for having the guts to shut it down when they realized how much damage we were doing to the trails. Great organization, bad weather.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Milton Sprint 2009


All the bike training definetely paid in Milton. I had no real idea of were I stood compared to the rest of my AG, but I knew that I was pretty fit. Been doing a lot of cycling in prep. for the 24hrs solo mtb race I am doing in june, so the bike legs are on right now.

It was COLD in the morning. Spent most of the time in transition wondering why I was going to be jumping in the water when it was 8 degrees out. Not so concerned about the actual water temps, more with the fact that I would have to ride in the cold air wet after. Not too mention the 30kph headwind we would face on the way out!

Got in the water and it was actually ok. Warmer than the air. Did a good warm-up and settled in for my second wave start. There are a few awesome swimmers in my AG(ex nat. team swimmers) so I don't try to hold on to them anymore, but I found a good groove early and held it. In the past I pushed super hard on the swim here and suffered on the run because of it. Because there weren't any swimmers directly in front of me, I eased off a bit more. A little slower, but felt great coming out of the water and at the beginning of the bike. I was able to put the power down from the word go! I didn't just feel good, I felt great!

Now, about half an hour into my drive in the morning I remembered that I didn't swap out my 21 cassette on the disc before the race. This is normally all I need for most races, but there is a little hill in Milton that requires something a little easier. So, I knew the hill would be tough, but I figured I could gut it out.

I was realing in the other people from my wave, and the first wave pretty quickly. Got to the hill, and obviously was pushing a much higher gear than everyone else. I blew by 10 people climbing. By the last steep pitch at the top, I was out of the saddle and grinding to get up over the last few meters, but I did it. Thanks to all of the MTB training, my recovery from these sorts of efforts is pretty good right now. I settled back in and pushed. I was making good time everywhere. Passed everyone who was infront of me out of the water before the decent back down the hill, and managed too gap the second guy in my AG (first place went in the elite wave) by 30 seconds or so. I think he pushed hard to try and stay with my which might have burnt him out a bit.

I managed to hit 83.6kph coming down the hill which is a new record for me! It was a little sketchy, but not too bad.

Came into T2 feeling pretty good about the ride, but a little wary of how the run was going to go, as I haven't been running much to heal my achilles which I strained in a 5km race a month ago.

Out of T2 there is a really steep punchy series of hills. Tough to get a rythym going. I was feeling a little off, and my feet were numb. I kept waiting for someone to catch me, but noone did. By the time we got off of the trails and onto the road I was starting to feel better. The out road section was really windy. I could see the next placed guy about 1min. back so I knew I had to keep pushing. By the time we hit the forest section my legs were truly under me again. I was feeling great. I started to push the pace to see if I could open a gap. It is hard to tell where anyone is in the forest so I just assumed they were gaining on me. Coming out of the forest and onto the road I still didn't know where anyone was. Before we headed back into the last section of trails I noticed a pair behind me about 400m back that were gaining. I thought they were the two others in my AG. So I started to get scared that they might get me. I pushed a little harder.

Coming out of the trail into the parking lot I noticed that one of the runners was really gaining on me, and had the same suit on as the guy I was worried about. It was on. I started to push really hard into the line. Crossed the line about 100m infront of HER! It wasn't him. Turns out I had put a fair amount of time into him on the run. It was the second overall female from the first wave who was gaining. So, I buried myself for nothing, other than to not be passed by a girl!

Didn't know exactly where I stood at this point, but knew I was top 3. Turns out Matt Reid was in the first wave, and blew me out of the water by 6min. Damn he is fast.

Second is good, especially to him. More over, I am very pleased how I felt in the race. Normally I want to vommit during sprints, I just felt strong today.

Now some more cycling then 24hrs of MTB'ing, then peterborough 1/2 the next weekend! Should be interesting!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Legacy 5km

A bunch of us decided to drop in on this race to see if we could win the team title. Since RF is a big sponsor and helps put on the race, it only seemed fitting.

I jumped in on a whim. Haven't done a 5km race in . .. . well, I don't remember how long, so I thought it would be fun. It was! Despite the rain.

Met up with the RF guys and we pumped ourselves up for a good performance.

Lined up at the front, and awaited the gun. No gun, just a count down and miss timed horn from a fire truck! Oh well.

Headed off fast, got to 1km about 30sec before I wanted too. Seems to be the habit of late.

Managed to hold a relatively steady pace for the rest of the race despite the body wholey rejecting the effort from about 3km on.

Ran with or just behind two team mates for the majority of the race. I think we finished 4,5,6,10, 21 overall, which solidly put us in the lead in the team race. I somehow managed to win my AG, which was enitrely unexpected, and to run an 18:20. So quite happy with that.

It was a fun race. The timing was a little screwed up, and we haven't got out awards yet, but it was fun!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Around The Bay 2009

There is not enough swimming and biking in this road racing game for me.

So, I somewhat randomly picked 2:15 as a good goal for myself. I figured I could come close to that. It wasn't until near the start that I was told that I would get a shiny silver metal if I did it under 2:15. I like silver.

Training up to the race was somewhat sporadic. Got some good long runs in, but nothing at any sort of hard pace. Felt ok coming into the race though.

We caught a ride with the 'running maniacs' from bomanville on their bus which was awesome. They had arranged that we could get our race packages the morning of as a group. That was fantastic. They were a fun bunch to hang out with on the ride down. Got to Copps and checked out the finish line. I did the relay here a few years ago, and ran the finishing leg. I really think it is one of the neatest finishing lines I have ever crossed.

The Start. So, I turned on my GPS and waited for it to aquire a signal. It was taking a while. I didn't realize until the start that it had completely frozen. It wouldn't even let me turn it off and restart.

So as the gun sounded and I tried to start my stopwatch, it wouldn't go. I was running on instinct alone. (apprently my instinct sucks)I got into a comfortable stride which I was hoping was near the 4:30 pace I wanted to start at. As I came accross the 10km mat I was almost 2min. ahead of that. Oops.

Over the next few km my quads started to tighten up due to the cold. Nothing serious at the time, but I knew that I would be hurting by the end. I had caught up with Jon very early on. I knew what his goal was and had thought that I should hang out with him. For some reason I decided to pass him and keep up with my pace. In hindsight I should've stuck with him. My normal conservative start went out the window.

I tried to ease off a bit, but with no reference I was a little in the dark. I asked a few people around me what the splits were at a few points, but it was kind of hard to really get much from that.

Around 16km, my quads really started to hurt. It wasn't affecting my pace or stride too much at that point, but at only the half way point I was hurting too much to be good.

Through 20km I was still ahead of the pace I was hoping for, but at this point, I thought that the buffer was going to be important if I still wanted to get sub 2:15.The rollers came as a bit of relief. I am really good at running down hill, and can usually recover pretty well. So I held my pace comfortably throughout. Even the big hills didn't really bother me.

Jon came flying by at some point in here looking super strong. He had paced himself well. I tried to pick it up to go with him, but it didn't happen.

Around 24km I really was starting to hurt. It was a big mental game from that point on. Cresting the last hill, I was hoping to be able to turn it up a notch on the way back home. It didn't happen. It was more survival. I couldn't lengthen my stride out at all as my quads were on fire. I uped my cadence as much as I could, but I was getting passed a lot!I was just hoping not to see the bunny catch up to me.

If I had had a watch, I would've realized I had enough time but I didn't.At pretty much exactly 1km to go a small group caught me. My heart sunk as I saw rabbit ears. At that point I committed to absolutely burying myself to beat him in. I was this close to that shiny silver medal that I wasn't going to let it slip away. I just pushed with all I had. It was probably the hardest 1km I have done in my life. I put some distance on him and held it. Turns out that he was about 30sec. ahead of 2:15 on the gun. So I had a little leeway.

2:14:29 on the gun and a shiny silver medal. I was toast. After the race my knee locked up as a result of my muscles being so tight in my quads. I ripped the hell out of them in the cold. I am still gimping around today.

So there you have it. It was my first Around the Bay, and the longest running race I have done (outside of Ironman). I honestly am in more pain than after Ironman. If I had paced better I would probably not have hurt myself so bad. I'm not sure if a funcitoning watch would've helped.

I am happy with the time, just not how I got there. Good mental exercise though. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger right?

Allright, I am going to gimp off to the gym now, and do some stretching and light upper body work. I probably won't be able to run for a few more days yet.

It is now biking season. No more long runs for a while!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the Gym

So I have been hitting the gym regularly lately.  The benefits of teaching a fitness for life class.  I get to workout out with the kids, actually am encouraged to.  

So I have structured myself a little triathlon weights program.  I have done this in the past, but my laziness and dislike of most gyms has resulted in me not going very often.  Since I have to be there now, I might as well workout!

So, What am I doing there?

Monday's:  Upper Body
Chin-ups (3 sets of 15) this is fantastic for swimming.
        Tri-ceps (free weights)
Abs (decline bench with 20pds 35 reps)
        Pull downs (machine)
        tricep (machine)
        Abs on pilates ball 
        Push Ups (leaving the ground at the top of push)
        Back raises w. 20pd. weight     
        Seated rows (machine)  
        Chin ups until failure

Tuesday: Lower Body
        Calf Raises
        Leaps over bench
        Abs (decline bench)
        Leg Press (machine)
        Calf press (machine)
       4 squares (leaping on toes folling 4 tiles on the floor, this hurts!)
        On bike, 6 reps of tension at max that I can turn over for 30 right pedal strokes.

Wednesday: Brick
On spinner
HIT session 10 times max effort for 30sec on 2:30 rest
        20 min. run off bike at high tempo building to sprint.

Thursday: Mix of stuff
         Chin-ups until failure
         Abs Decline bench
         Run 20min 5 hard efforts
         Squash until tired.

This has been fun.  Since I am getting paid to be there!

My general fitness has increased substantially.  It will be interesting to see if this transfers to triathlon.  I can already feel some improvement in my swimming.  I can pull a lot stronger.

That being said, I am exhausted a lot of the time.  Trying to maintain my normal training and doing this as well is tough.  The body is getting used to it, but it is taking some time.

Next week will be an off week from this training because we will be in FLA.  I will be training super hard, but only on normal tri related stuff.  Lots of biking running swimming.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Port Perry Multisport Club

We are starting up a Multisport Club in Port Perry, Ontario. We currently have 3 NCCP certified coaches who will be leading training sessions for the group this year.

We will be starting to join members hopefully early in the new year.

I will post the membership fee when we determine one.Included in the fee will be:

-one on one coaching from NCCP certified coaches.

-a PPM multisport tech shirt

-your OAT membership for the year.

-access to a one day training camp in port in the summer.

-TT sessions once a week.

-One coached swim session at Uxpool per week (pool fee not included)

-One coached run and bike session per week.

-A year end celebration!

-Ability to participate in the 2009 club championships

-Access to coaches through the different web interfaces.

Facebook, forum,

If you have and Q's you can e-mail me (Syd) at

Train hard!