Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter Running Tips

I wrote this up for the group I coach at Western University, but thought I would share it here as well.

Here are a couple quick tips for running outside during the winter.

Clothing – layers are your best option because temperatures can change quite a bit throughout a run especially on a windy day. Avoid cotton as this will hold moisture and make the wind chill even worse. Most of our tri club runs will be when it is dark so wear something that can be seen such as clothing with reflective or visi clolours. Don’t assume because it is a lighter colour such as white it will be easy to see you because that is not the case.

Shoes – I really like to use trail shoes in the winter. I like a trail shoe because it is still a rubber sole so if you end up running on a bare road or sidewalk for part of the run you don’t get the awkward feeling of running on something harder. For really bad days or if you don’t want a specific winter and trail shoe there are a couple other options. One is to buy something that goes around the outside of your shoe like a yaktrak that will give extra traction, or if you like a diy project short screws can be drilled into the bottom. Fellow Ontario pro Cody Beals has a good blog on how to do this at http://codybeals.blogspot.ca/2013/12/traction-control-screwy-shoes-yaktrax.html.

Routes – this could be the most important decision on the run, where to run. I really enjoy running the trails. I find the snow gets packed down from other runners and walkers that you get good traction. The trees all around also block a lot of the wind making it significantly warmer. If trails aren’t your thing check the wind direction before you head out, and try to pick a route that is headwind first. The headwind will be the coldest spot so if you run it first you wont get that chill from freezing sweat if you do it after a tailwind.

This should get everyone started, and if you have any tips yourself feel free to share them or if you have any questions ask Andrew or I.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MultiSport Canada Training and Racing Series: How To Draft In The Swim

As a member of the MultiSport Canada Ambassador Team I have been asked to write an article that will help new and experienced triathletes with training or racing. Here is what I have to say about drafting during the swim.

With the end of the season races here we are all looking to get the most out of them. One way to save some time or energy is drafting. While drafting is viewed as a deadly sin during the bike, during the swim it is completely legal. The two main forms of drafting during the swim are drafting on the feet or on the hip of the swimmer in front of you. There is some conflicting views in the swimming world about which one is more effective so I would go with what you are most comfortable.

Catching the draft

The first and most important part of drafting is that you need to catch the draft. You have two options at the start of the swim, you can go out hard to catch faster feet or go out comfortable. I think a lot of this depends on what you are racing for. If you are racing for the overall win or age group win you probably want to try and get on the draft of some faster swimmers. If you aren't aiming for the win, I would suggest not "burning a match" early on and start out at a comfortable pace. We all know the first 200m of a swim can be a bit of chaos so I don't worry about trying to find a draft here. Just focused on trying to maintain a comfortable stroke and composure in all the splashing. Once things calm down a bit I will look for the person for me to draft. This is where having some good goggles that don't leak or fog will pay off. When things start to calm down I will sight a couple strokes in a row this will allow me to make sure I'm on course then to find someone within a couple of meters to draft.  This is where not going out like a maniac can pay off, if someone is only a couple of meters ahead I will put in my surge here. This is also where you will decide to go for a hip or feet. If you are surging up to someone you will probably try to get on someones feet, and if the person you want to draft is more to your side you might look to get on their hip.

Drafting the hip

When drafting the hip you are going to position yourself between the lead swimmers belly button and knees. Some of the advantages to drafting on the hip are that the water you are catching is much cleaner because you are are on the hip there isn't as much turbulence coming off the head and arms compared to the feet. This allows you to feel like you are anchoring into the water more efficiently just like in a pool. It is easier to site when you are on someone's hip because you can still see ahead. If you don't trust the person you are drafting will go the right way this will allow you to stay on course *side note it is more efficient to draft someone going slightly off course then swimming alone perfectly straight, this will be another game time decision you have to make. The hip allows you to ride their bow wave and will pull you along slightly. Lastly, if you do start to fall off pace you can slide onto their feet and get a 2nd attempt at keeping in the draft. The downside to drafting on the hip is that if you only breathe to one side you will want to make sure that you are breathing towards them. If you are breathing away from them you are more likely to bump them or not realize they are pulling away. The other is that if you get to close you are likely to get hit by their arms so keep an eye on the flailing arms especially around the buoys.

Drafting the feet

Drafting the feet is when you stay about twelve inches off the feet of the person swimming in front of you. Drafting in this position is the most hydrodynamic position so it can be the most efficient, but it is a bit more sensitive to position. If you get to close to the feet, and the leader is a heavy kicker, the water here will be very turbulent, and it will tough to catch the water.  Also, if you get to far behind the benefit of the draft start to dwindle.

One thing to watch in both positions is contact with the lead swimmer. If you are constantly hitting their feet or bumping their arms you are disrupting their rhythm, and it will slow you both down. I know if someone is continually bumping me I will ease off and let them take the lead even backstroking a couple strokes if I have to.

Muskoka 70.3 Race Report

Well the pain has almost left my legs so I figured it was time to write my race report for Muskoka 70.3. Muskoka wasn't originally on my schedule, with the long hard bike ride it doesn't suit my strengths, but with some bad luck before Steelhead it was the option that made the most sense.


A couple weeks before the race I came down with a nasty stomach bug that put me on the couch leading to the race. Even the Thursday before Muskoka I had to cut a run short and spent more time in the bushes then running. Lets just say at the pro meeting when they said there would only be port-a-potties every 2k I was a little nervous. Also, I wasn't sure where this break had left my fitness, and long course racing is about being as mentally prepared as physically.

Friday afternoon I made my way up to Muskoka with my mom and dad. Saturday involved a short bike ride on the first part of the course, registration, pre race meeting and all that fun stuff. Ang was supposed to race in Wasaga Beach Saturday, and she was able to make the trip up to Muskoka Saturday night. My support team was all there to cheer me on.

Race Morning

Come race morning I woke up, prepared my usual rice cakes and bananas, and went about packing up my race stuff. I decided to leave my bike racked over night so come race morning all I had to do was pump up tires, set up my shoes, and calibrate my power meter. After a quick run it was time to get my wetsuit on and hit the lake. I really thought I had a good shot at top 5 and my first pay check, but I knew it was going to be a tough race.

The Swim

With a small pro field and large start line we all had lots of room on the start line. Usually I'm aggressive on the line and try to hang on to the front as long as possible. Confidence was a little bit on the low side coming off very little swimming so my plan was to try and jump onto Cody's feet and hang on. I was feeling pretty chill, on what I thought were Cody's feet, but unfortunately it was someone else. By the time I realized the lead group was gone. I finished the rest of the swimming cursing myself for this mistake. Good news is the swim felt really easy so I was ready to make up for it on the bike (mistake #1 never try to make up for something just move on). I believe I was 6th out of the water with 2 other Canadians right with me. My 2XU wetsuit and Vorgee goggles did exactly what I want from them. When you have peace of mind in your gear thats one less thing to stress about.

The Bike

After the tough run up to transition it was on to the bike. I was feeling good, but I knew I had some work to do. The first 10k was spent exchanging pulls with fellow Ontario athlete Ed Cyr, and we were caught by Kyle Pawlaczyk around 15k just as we were getting onto the highway. When he went around me Ed came up quickly right after. I settled in at the 12m, and I was to get pulled for a bit on the more open highway roads. A gap started to open between Kyle and Ed, and I had to make a decision at this loin: to I try to ride with Kyle or do I just stay back. I was riding within my power and feeling good so I decided to try and go. I hesitated a little bit to long though and by the time I got around Ed the gap to Kyle was to large to close. However, this surge put me within I sight of 4th place. I didn't know at this point what place I was in, but the racer inside of me took over. I knew we had gained on 4th during the first 15-20k so I kept pushing on hoping to catch him. At this point my power just started to increase. With the exception of Welland where I only did the swim and bike, my best bike split was at Syracuse this year where my ap was 197, np 207, and best 20 min was 225 well at Muskoka thing might have been a little bit higher. Ap was 214, np 220, and best 20 min was 229 (this was mistake number 2 coupled with a max of 448w whoops). I moved into 5th place at around 65k, but this was short lived. Once I caught Tom Eckelburg he counter attacked on a longer climb, and I had nothing left to go with him. This was when I was starting to wonder if I rode to hard. Tom managed to put about 30s on me in the end.

The Run

This was the first time I got an update on what place I was in. Someone told me I was sixth, and when I heard that the turbos went into to action, shoes on and Smith sunglasses and I was on my way . I was getting my first top 5!!! Legs were feeling ok and at 6k I moved into 5th. Tom and I exchanged leads over the next 6k with neither one getting much of a lead. This is when then went from great to terrible with the flip of a switch. On a small hill Tom put in a surge, I clawed my way back onto his shoulder just in time for the next small riser, this is when Tom put in another surge and put the nail in my coffin. From about 12k to the finish it took all the will powor I had to keep going. There was a pretty big gap to 7th, but I knew they were coming up fast. Only a few times have I felt absolutely powerless, and this was one of them. The only thing keep forward motion was a slightly forward lean and just catching myself before I landed on my face. With about 2k to go the race directors do a really mean thing. You're running on the final road towards Deerhurst Resort when they make you turn right and drop down a hill just to add one more nasty up hill. At this point the train started to catch me. I was broken I had nothing left and as people started passing me I started walking. I never thought the day would come in a race when I would walk. I thought I was a failure and I wanted to quit. How can I call myself a pro while I was walking. I tried to start running again, but every time the road turned up all I could do was walk. I was so happy to finally make it to the finish line. There was a 2 minute difference in pace between my first 11.8k and from 11.8 to the finish. I had dropped from 5th place down to 9th in the pro field. This is still my best finish ever, but it was a little bittersweet after being in the top 5.

Post race analysis

In just the few days since the race I have already learnt a lot. 1) I'm not invincible - I used to think that no matter how things got I would always be able to finish strong. Never before in racing had I pushed my body until I couldn't go any more, I didn't end up in medical though so maybe I could go a bit harder. 2) Pacing is key in long course racing. Most cramping issues are either from pushing to hard or messing up nutrition. I don't think nutrition was the cause of my issues, and my Infinit served me well. However, I think I pushed a little to hard on the bike especially from about 35-60km. 3) I can't get down on myself. It has been a tough year with some bad luck, from mechanicals to crashes to illness, but there is something to learn from each of these. Next year I will come back stronger from this season.

I have one more race left at the MultiSport Canada Barrelman race in Niagara Falls. I was going to keep racing into October, but after being sick I am ready to pack it in. I am coaching the Western Triathlon Club again, but I am hoping to only be in London until December. I am really hoping that I can get away somewhere to put in a big early season training block. I am already starting to get excited for next season.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Big News!

A couple of you may have noticed a couple new edition in my support section. I am super pumped to be part of the ambassador teams for both Smith Optics and Vorgee. I have been using Smith sunglasses now for 2 seasons, and Vorgee goggles since I was introduced to them in the winter.

Smith Optics

As I said earlier I have been wearing the Smith PivLock sunglasses now for 2 seasons. I found these to be the perfect glasses for training or racing, running or riding. The lack of frame really opens up your field of view when in the aero position, and the pivlock mechanism makes changing out lenses, when the weather changes, quick and easy. When I crashed, and lost one of the arms, the customer service was awesome and I had new set in my possession before I could even start riding again. With numerous performance and lifestyle options you are bound to find something that fits your style.

One of the upcoming products I am most excited to get my hands on is their new Overtake helmet. I used to think crashing would never happen to me, and for 4+ years I had never crashed, but one day it happened. Having probably suffered from some minor concussion symptoms brain protection has become more important in my choice of helmet. This comes without much downside with wind tunnel testing showing it faster than the Giro Air Attack and slightly slower than the Specialized.


Vorgee goggles were introduced to me last winter at MultiSport Zone. I will be honest, at first I was a little hesitant. Sometime I feel like with how much time I spend on Slowtwitch and other triathlon sites, that if I haven't heard of a product I become a little skeptical.  However, once I tried their Missile goggle it was love at first dive. I had alway struggled with finding goggles that fit my face and was left with "swedish" style goggles where I was trying to trim the string to tie as the nose piece, but with the Missile goggle Vorgee offers 4 different nose pieces which seems to fit most faces. And don't even get me started with goggles fogging. Previous goggles would maybe last me a month before they started to fog, and I would be trying every trick in the book to no success. I know all goggles will eventually start to break down especially when used in nasty chlorine, but my Vorgee goggles seem to last forever. After swimming ~10 hours a week for January - March I finally retired my first pair in April, but they probably still had another couple months (I actually gave them to someone to test out, and they ordered 2 pairs of their goggles a few weeks later). If your someone that doesn't like a goggle that sits inside the eye socket check out the Vorgee website (link on the side or above) for a wide selection of goggles.

I haven't used any of their equipment, but I have some on the way. Everything looks to be of a higher quality and I can't wait to hop in the pool with it.

If you have any questions about either of these lines let me know, and I will either find the answer for you or get you in contact with someone who can.

The 2014 season isn't even over yet, and I can't wait to see what 2015 brings.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Final Build - Toronto Island Report

Last weekend I competed in the MSC Toronto Island sprint as my final tune up before Muskoka 70.3. Leading up to the race I put in a solid cycling block between St. George, Bracebridge, and Orangeville. I was feeling more confident in my bike and run, and I really wanted to see what I could do.

However, the Wednesday before the race I came down with a bug and spiked a nasty fever. Thursday I layer on the couch all day and just never felt quite right, Friday I tried taking something for relief but this led to a night on and off the toilet, and Saturday all I could do was chill in the hotel room. I really didn't want to race, but with the point series my choice were race Sunday, race Lakeside in between Muskoka and Barrelman, or give up on the bit of cash available for the MSC series. I told myself I would start the race and see how I feel, if I needed to drop out I would.

Sunday morning came and I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel good either. I heard the bike course was narrow and could get hectic so Andrew Taylor, Cody, and I hit the course to scope it out. For some of the horror stories I have heard about this race I think MSC did an excellent job this year spreading the race out with larger time gaps between waves. I didn't do a run warmup because this is what was aggregating my stomach the most, instead I put on my 2XU wetsuit and went down to the swim start. The water was a balmy 13 degrees and the swim was shortened to 375m. With the water being so cold I wanted to get in early so it didn't shock the system. A lot of people make the mistake of not getting into the water until the race starts and when you hit the cold water it takes your breathe away. 

The race

Well even getting in early, I didn't feel ready to go when the gun went off. Usually, I can get out fast to avoid some of the thrashing, but with the strong field at the race I was right in the thick of things. After taking a couple bumps to the head, I needed to get to the outside, aggressively made a path to the inside of the buoy and got some clear water. On the back stretch Cody and Mikael pulled up beside me and I sat in until the finish. I haven't had many races this year with dolphin dives, and lost a bit of time on the exit. I was about 10s back of the group leaving transition.

Once on the bike I could see Mikael, Andrew, and Aaron up the road with Cody a bit further up on them. I knew I had to catch this group or they could possibly ride away from me so I put my head down and focused on catching that group. Cody rode away from everyone in his typical fashion, but I was able to catch the rest of the group by the 5k turnaround. The 5m draft box is really to small in my opinion, but I will take every advantage given to me so I sat in a bit to recover before launching my move. I went to the front of our group around 7k to see if I could get away, but when Mikael was still there I eased up a bit and let him take the lead back. At this point I was getting a little nervous it would come down a running race, and I wasn't sure how my stomach was going to react.

After a little bit of confusion in T2 Andrew, Mikael, and I hit the run hard all leaving transition within a couple of seconds of each other. I went to the front and told myself I was going to run as hard as I could and either blow up spectacularly (legs and stomach) or take 2nd place. I managed to hold on for 2nd and had the fastest run split. 

I was really happy with the way the race played out in the end despite stomach issues leading in. I'm still not feeling 100%, and I have a drs appointment on Friday. Hopefully everything will be figured out then, and I can get in at least a couple days of training before Muskoka to get a feel. I'm not to worried about loosing fitness in this time, and I am telling myself a little extra rest leading in is what I need.

A sigh of relief as I crossed the finish line without an "accident"

I kept the top of my wetsuit on as long as possible to warm up after the chilly swim

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Phase 2 (Crashes, Races, and Goal Changing)

In my last blog update I had just finished a big block of early season racing, and I was just starting prep work for the 2nd a race of the season at Steelhead 70.3. Not all things go as planned, and I had to pull out of Steelhead due to some set backs that I will talk about below, but here is what I have been up to.

As I alluded to I raced the Mine Over Matter - Canadian Cross Tri Championships at the beginning of July, and I was 4th behind some experienced guys (Sean Bechtel, Karsten Madsen, and JP Thibodeau). I was 3rd out of the water about 45s back of Sean and JP and just ahead of Karsten. Karsten passed me on the first climb while I fiddled with my shoes, and I raced the rest of the way in no mans land finishing 5 minutes back of those 3 and 7 minutes ahead of the next guy. As awesome as off road can be it can get lonely on the trails when you can't see more than a couple hundred meters ahead of you at a time. Besides a couple small errors on the first loop of the bike I thought I rode well, but same as road tris I lack the power to ride with the top end of the field. There is a plan to address this weakness and it is to ride a lot in the period leading up to my next A race.

The plan after Mine Over Matter was to put in a couple weeks of high volume training as I prepared for Steelhead 70.3. Unfortunately on one of those first rides a crashed while taking a corner to fast on my tri bike. Luckily for me nothing was seriously broken on the bike or my body, but instead of putting in a big block I was forced onto the sidelines while my body healed. I haven't learnt from watching others and through my own experiences that if something isn't right down time is sometimes the best decisions. When I crashed my hip got beat up pretty bad, and I was worried that if I tried to run while it was still sore I would compensate for it and injure something else that would keep me out longer. I took about a week of running and cycling, and with open wounds, I was off swimming for about 2 weeks. With the set back I decided to pullout of Steelhead and do Muskoka 70.3 instead.

I think this small set back actually put me ahead in the long run. Prior to the crash I had been feeling rather flat in races. I was putting out good numbers in training, but I could not get into a good rhythm during a race. This was especially noticeable in my run, where I felt like I could never find my stride and leg turnover. Since the crash I have had a lot more pep in my step, and I didn't loose much, if any fitness, during the little bit of down time.

Since the crash I have raced 2 weekends in a row at the Multisport Canada races in Bala Falls and Kingston. Bala Falls is a nice quite race up in the Muskoka region, and Kingston is the exact opposite in the middle of the city.

Going into Bala, I had been back training on the bike and run for about a week and a half and feeling good, but swimming was BRUTAL. I did 3 swims leading up to the race and worried the lifeguards would have to save me in each one. Come race morning though I knew I needed to lead the swim for the bonus points in the MSC series. I told Ang before the race to get on my feet quick because I was taking the swim out hard to try and prevent people from getting on my feet, and things went exactly as planned. Ang and I started on the far left of the swim while all the top guys started on the right side. I had clear water all the way, and knew I had to get as much time on Lionel as possible if I wanted any chance at glory. I exited the water first, ripped off my wetsuit, and off on the bike I was. There was a little bit of rain the morning of the race, and this definitely played with my head a little bit on the bike. Last thing I wanted to do was crash again. Lionel passed me early like a bolt of lightning, and there was a group not far behind chasing. The second half of the bike I just focused on holding off this group, and I came into transition second but they were right on my heels. The run was rather uneventful. I felt better on the run, but still wasn't quite feeling like I was last year on the run. I came into 2nd well behind Lionel, but I was excited for my best placing of the year and leading the race out of the water was awesome. I have to thank 2XU for an awesome wetsuit and Vorgee for great goggles that allowed me to see where I was going the entire swim.

The next week after Bala I headed up to Kingston for the 31st running of the K-town tri. I did this race in 2011, and I was excited to go back. MultiSport Canada was organizing this race for the first time, and I really liked how they left a lot of the K-town tradition in place while still putting some of their own flare into the race. There aren't to many races in Ontario that take place in an urban setting, and there is no better feeling than running down one of the main streets in Kingston with a lot of people from the community out cheering you on. Once again points were on my mind for this race, and I knew it would require a strong swim and run, with my best bike to date. I had the same strategy as Bala, I started on the outside and got out fast. Just before the first buoy someone was just ahead of me so I settled onto his feet and waited for my chance to make a move. After getting gapped a little in the third quarter I fought back and exited the dock even with the leader, and the race for the mat was on. I made it out of transition first claiming the first bonus and the bike bonus on my mind. I put my head down and took some risk (going across the metal bridge in my aero bars), and had a good first half. Things fell a part a little in the second half, and coming into transition Nick was just behind me. I really wanted to make this run hurt, and I went out with that on my mind. I tried to block everything out and just focus on pushing hard. I didn't start to enjoy things until I got across the line with my first win of the season.

I have to thank my parents and Ang's parents for all the driving to races and allowing me to stay at their houses. Since MultiSport Zone closed I have been staying at Ang's house or my parents house most of the time. It has been nice to have Ang as a training partner.

In other news some of you might have noticed me talking about Vorgee a lot on here, Facebook, and Twitter. I am happy to welcome Vorgee on board as a new sponsor. They have really been making a push in the Canadian triathlon market sponsoring some of the top local talent. I started using their Missile goggle around Christmas and fell in love with. This was the first goggle that really fit me well offering 5 nose pieces (maybe more), and after numerous hours in the pool the anti fog seemed to last forever. The only reason I have had to get new pairs is because I wanted some clear lenses and mirrored ones so I could have some for every occasion, and I am looking forward to trying some of their other products. If you are looking to get a pair Du, Tri Run has them at the MSC races, team aquatics is carrying them as well as some other tri and swim shops in Ontario.

Next up for me will be the Toronto Island tri, followed by Muskoka 70.3, Barrelman, and I am looking into an October or November 70.3 to end the season. I am leaning towards Challenge Ranch Cordova because I really like what the Challenge family offers to triathletes, and Ang really enjoyed St. Andrews.

Here are a couple pictures to the races from this phase. Just a warning Bala was a retro race and some photos are pg13 rated as well as the last picture is my hip from the bike crash.

Leading the swim at Bala Falls

Rockin' the retro Mankini

First off the bike at K-town

K-town Podium

A little road rash

Friday, June 27, 2014

Phase I

Once May hits I become a racer. I train hard all winter so come spring I can put all that hard work to use. Since Triple T (Mid May) I have race every week/end except for one, and if you go back to April when I did Xterra West there has maybe been 3 or 4. However, not all of these have been "A" or even "B" races. I believe races can also act as wonderful workouts if you do them properly, but I will admit sometime they can throw things off. So instead of writing individual race reports I will summarize all of them with thoughts on the pros and cons for me doing that race.

My focus race during this first phase was Syracuse 70.3, so my thoughts will be about how each of the other races went towards focusing on this one.

First up was American Triple T. Ang and I finished 1st in the co-ed division at the end of the 4 races (super sprint, oly, oly, half). Triple T was designed to be an overload camp type of weekend. When else would someone in their right mind compete in 4 races over a weekend. The plan for the weekend was to race hard in the first 2 races and do my best to support Ang and make her weekend as easy as possible in the next 2 races. Her significant gains on the bike during the winter made those 2nd two races more difficult than planned, but you always come out of a weekend like that confident. If planning to use Triple T as an early season prep race make sure to pace it properly, and I would recommend a teammate for the mental companionship on that run course.

Next up was the MultiSport Canada Woodstock Sprint. I have a race report written for this one so if you want the nitty gritty check that out. I was the 2-time defending champ at this local race so I felt like I almost had to do it. The plan for Woodstock was to do what needed to be done to win, but try not to dig a big hole, and do another workout later in the day to get some more mileage in for the half distance. I think this is a great way to train for longer distances because it gives you valuable race experience (transitions, open water swimming, nutrition, etc). However, with some big guns showing up this year and fatigue from triple t I had to dig deep and that was still only good enough for 5th. The workout later that day got scraped, and all I wanted to do was sleep. With Raleigh the next weekend I didn't want to make a hole I couldn't climb out of.

Raleigh 70.3 wasn't originally on my schedule, but Cliff wanted me to get a competitive 70.3 under my belt before the goal race of Syracuse. The only options that kind of fit were Raleigh and St. George, and Raleigh made a lot more sense from an economic and logistic point of view. So my sherpas, I mean parents, and I headed off to NC for the first 70.3 of the season with not much of a taper. Raleigh was awesome because it gave me confidence my swim is where it needs to be to at least be competitive for a podium finish at most 70.3 races, but that bike was a big shot to my confidence. There is always something that needs to be improved, so the bike is going to be my phase II focus.

After Raleigh I was supposed to have 2 weekends of training with no races, but my addiction took over. Angela was racing the MultiSport Canada Welland Half, and my scheduled had me doing a swim and bike. I figured since I love the MSC races so much and I was going to be spending the day watching why not do the swim bike race. I think this is a great idea for anyone preparing for a half or full because it allows you to push a longer distance than many will in training, and coupled with a short run off the bike it doesn't leave you beat up for days on end. Going into this race we made sure the legs were nice and tired from a couple hard bikes and runs, with the intent to see just how hard I could push the bike if I was tired. I managed to ride ~10w higher than Raleigh and felt like I could still run if I had to.

The final race of this phase and what everything was leading up to, was Syracuse 70.3. The week leading up to Syracuse things were cut back slightly, but not as much a taper as most people tend to do. I have found that if I take it to easy during the week leading up to a race I feel flat so the intensity stays up, but the volume gets cut a little bit. I was happy with my race in Syracuse, but just like Raleigh my bike is leaving me to far behind to be a threat. Also, some rookie mistakes leaving T1 put the nail in the coffin of trying to hang with big boys.

Phase II has now started with the goal race at the end being Steelhead 70.3, but my racing ways won't disappear. I have already done my first mtb race as I get ready for the Canadian off-road championships in Milton in another week, and I will also be racing Bala Falls as a quick road tune up before Steelhead. 

Racing makes for tough workouts and also a place to fine tune some of the smaller aspects of triathlon like transitions, swim and bike skills, and nutrition and while you don't need to race every weekend I believe a lot of triathletes would benefit from racing more than they do. It also give you more chances to hit that race when everything clicks instead of putting all your eggs in one basket.

All of this racing wouldn't be possible without the support of my parents, Franklin Terrazzo Company, MultiSport Canada, 2XU, and all the wonderful people around me. This is a very difficult sport if you don't have a strong support team behind you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Woodstock Race Recap

Well my blog has resurected from the dead with the start of a new triathlon season. I am not sure what I am all going to write about, but I will at least try to keep you updated with race reports and results.

Last weekend was the kickoff to the MultiSport Canada Recharge With Milk Triathlon Series in Woodstock, ON. I will start off by saying that Woodstock is by far one of my favourite courses, maybe it is because I have won here twice or maybe it is that the course is awesome (smooth swim, rolling bike on well paved roads, and a run along a nice crushed gravel path). Like always John and crew especially behind the scenes man Mr. Pickering put on a great race like always.

I feel bad for everyone that skipped out on the race fearin bad weather because the tri gods were on our side this year and everything was perfect. Especially compared to TTT that saw air temperatures under 5 at the start of the races.

Now to the race details (results can be found here)

Pre Race

Here is where I get to set up all my awesome excuses! 2 weekends ago Angela and I headed down to Southern Ohio to once again compete in the American Triple T to settle some unfinished business with results and tough courses. We had an awesome race and won a close battle in the co-ed team division, and with Raleigh 70.3 this weekend Woodstock was squeezed in the middle I wasn't sure how the body would react.

Swim (10:05 ~1s faster than last year)

My swimming has been a major focus all winter and I have to thank coach Ken Fitzpatrick and Paul Midgley, and the Western Swim team for allowing me to swim with them all winter and really pushing my swimming to a new level, every race I have felt confident getting into the water that I will be one of the first out. At TTT I had the fastest swim split in all 4 races and felt good coming into the race this weekend.

I figured everyone would be trying to get on the fast feet of Derek Quick and Ben Sayles so to avoid the hustle and bustle I started on the other side hoping to get on to the fast feet once everything calmed down. Looking back on a race you never really know if you made the right decisions, I missed the leaders feet, but ended up right behind two other and was pulled the rest of the way. Could I have had a quicker swim with a different start strategy who knows?

I ended up 5th out of the water in 10:05, and closer to the lead swimmer than I had been in the past. I was only 1s faster than last year, but the joy (pain) of triathlon is that it is near impossible to compare results year to year. Comparing myself to the competition I was faster than I had been previously, but once again you never know what they have been doing.

After a speedy T1 I was onto the bike in 2nd with the leader in my sights.

Bike (32:00 ~36s faster than last year)

The bike for me has always been a bit of a weakness and something that is going to become more of a focus now that my swim is where it needs to be.

With Ben in my sights and the fear of fellow ambassador teammates and super bike runners Lionel and Cody behind I was on a mission. In hindsight I went out a little bit hard (~253w for the first 5k), before fading to an avg of ~233w (Strava file here I cut the first and last little bit where there was a lot of coasting dealing with shoes etc).

The last 10k were absolutely brutal, and I came off the bike in 6th with Jeff Scull and Garrick Loewen just ahead of me.

Run (17:40 ~16s slower than last year)

Well the run is what it is. I came out of transition a bit back of Jeff, and in typical fashion took the first km out fast and caught him by the dam. Kids reading this blog here is a tip know who you are racing, chasing a guy who has run sub 15 numerous times and even heard he has run sub 14, even if he isn't in top form you might be going out a little quick. We exchanged leads a couple times but after the turn around he finally started pulling away from me for good. With about 2k to go and the realization that I was going to end up 5th I eased off the pace a bit and decided it was better to save my legs for Raleigh instead of pushing it home and increasing fatigue.

Next up is Raleigh 70.3, and I hope my legs come around there. The A race for the first part of the season is Syracuse 70.3 so I won't be doing a full taper until then. The goal is to get in that lead pack on the swim, hang on during the bike, and when people start to suffer in the heat pick em off 1 by 1 on the run.

Special thanks to Mom and Dad for their support, 2XU for making awesome wetsuits and apparel, MultiSport Canada for putting on awesome races that attract some of the best triathletes, and everyone that was out there cheering. I love doing local races and see so many familiar faces.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Alex Vanderlinden - 2013 MultiSport Canada Post-season Interview.

A little interview I did with MultiSport Canada to wrap up the season. Looking forward to being part of their Ambassador team in 2014. Big things to come.