PODIUM AT THE WORLD CHAMPS

Yesterday was AMAZING! I think this photo says everything that needs to be said.
I'll definitely write a more detailed race report when I get a chance but I just I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point. In particular, I want to thank my coach Kevin Cujar of www.enduranceplanner.com and www.imcoaching.com He has believed in me since day one and has provided me with the knowledge and experience to succeed at the highest level.

Here are the links to a couple of articles on the race
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845488-ironman-703-world-championships-2011-alexander-wins-symonds-shakes-up-worlds
http://www.xtri.com/features/detail/284-itemId.511712869.html

I am looking forward to continuing to work hard and prove that this was not the race of my life. It was just the race of my life until now. My new goal is to become the World Champion. I have 363 days to get faster. Let's do this.

Ski2Sea Team Race Report

Big win out there for the The Bike Barn team at the Ski 2 Sea yesterday. It was our fourth year competing in the event and with the extinction of Total Restoration Cycling the door was wide open for a new champion. The team has come leaps and bounds since the DQ debacle back in 2007. This year the cuts were fierce. Former members were left with a bitter taste in their mouths after learning about the 2011 team roster. The dream team had been assembled and here is the exclusive story of how it all went down.

It was a late start, as the race was held up waiting for a single late skier. Report is that the skier finally showed up 10 minutes late. As the other teams anxious and frustratingly waited, the skier attempted to ski down to the start line when disaster struck. Apparently it looked something like this:

The race was further held up as the skier needed time to figure out he the hell he was and collect his equipment that had been yard saled across the slope. Glad it wasn't are guy.

Downhill Ski - Aart "The Captain" Van Kooy

The past three years Aart had done the Mountain Bike, but this year transferred his duties and took over the dirty job that nobody else wanted to do, the downhill ski. The ski would be nice and easy if not for the lung busting 800m uphill run that preceded it. "The Captain" also gets bonus points for attempting the leg after not having downhill skied since the 80's, a time when he may or may not have worn jeans while skiing and had a full head of hair. Aart skied well finishing in the top ten, limiting the time to our rivals and avoiding the big packs that followed after him. Rumour has it that an unnamed rival bike store tried to recruit him to do the mountain bike leg. We were able to catch a good picture of him with his black gear and over sized helmet, see below.

Nordic Ski - Jeff Rockin' Kerkovious

I didn't even have to make up that nickname, I stole it straight off his facebook page. Jeff more than lived up to the nickname with a Rockstar like effort that moved the team into third place. Jeff was both the new guy and at 18 the youngest member of the Bike Barn team. If he wasn't feeling the pressure before, he certainly was after Evan told him "you better lose not lose it for us". Jeff put it all out there collapsing. He also gave the best interview as he was the only one who made the cut on tonight's edition of the CHBC news. And yes that is Canadian Tire money in the picture below remember the nickname is Rockin' not classy. It just goes to show what Canadian Amateur athletes are willing to do these days to finance their dreams.

PAPARAZZI MOMENT. Doug "Hollywood" Copithorne from the classic film Ski School 2 was reportedly spotted at the Ski 2 Sea sporting Bike Barn clothing. It was not confirmed whether he was competing in the event or filming another sequel. More on this as it becomes available.

Geoff "Akon" Waterman was also seen at the hill. Geoff was a member of the Bike Barn Ski2Sea in 2009 but after declining his spot in 2010 he was passed on for 2011. Grudgingly Geoff found another team to ski for. Unfortunately he had to watch as all the other teams tag off until he was last one left standing. Rumor has it he was humming Akon's Mr. Lonely quietly to himself. Geoff is a jack of all trade and if any of our 2011 team members drop out or decide to do it solo next year (hmmmm, interesting thought) he will be the first call.

Mountain Bike - Evan "Business" Guthrie

Evan Meant business and business he delivered. Down four minutes at the start of the leg and up two by the end. Performance of the Day. How did that happen? Besides the obvious massive amount of force on the pedals, the answer lies in his meticulous preparation. He set a windtrainer up in transition to warm-up. He didn't care that most people assumed he was just trying to show off. He also built up a custom bike designed specifically for the race. Details of the bike cannot be revealed on this blog and will be passed only passed down to future team members with utmost of secrecy. Evan also used a massive amount of safety pins to fasten down his jersey. He looked a lot like this guy only marginally cooler.


Why was Evan so business-like? Because he figured "If we win Ski 2 Sea we'll have more success with the ladies". Not true here is a graph detailing how ski2sea impacts your ski2Sea placing affects your success with Girls. As you can see no impact.


I also showed him how your level of success in endurance sports affects your success with the ladies.

Many theory's exist on why this is, but spending hours on your bike and going to bed early are generally not good ways to meet girls.

Jonny "Titanic" Caron

Jonny was like tragic vessel today, in that he descended quickly but more so because of how he frozen he looked before his leg. It was freezing and snowy out and the prospect of descending at 85+km/h wasn't exactly uplifting. When left him at the start of the leg we managed to snap a picture, the photo is a little blurry so it is hard to recognize him.

He warmed up quickly and reintroduced himself to his good friend lactic acid for the first time this year. He then put a on a clinic for the Roadies on the other team, Triathlon 101 with the first topic being aerodynamics and its importance on a downhill time trial. When it was all said and done Jonny had the fastest split of day. Jonny rode a prototype Orbea TT frame with a geometry designed specifically for the Big White decent. It is referred to as the P51 but will be available at all respectable bike shops in the near future as the Orbea "JonnyO". The women's version will be appropriately named the Orbea "Oh Jonny".

Run - Myself (No Nickname given, *see article 91 of the Bro Code)

This was the first time in a ski2sea where I had not only gotten the hand off in contention for the race but also leading the race. I ran hard and the run was uneventful I held the lead throughout. I ended up losing some time to Aaron Heidt when it was all said and done. I'll blame it the short turn around from Oceanside. I'll also blame the mid race pitstop to one of the city of Kelowna's fine restroom facilities. Remember being a champion isn't about just winning the race, but winning the race with your dignity intact.

Canoe - Dave "Opportunity" Kitson and Brad "Don't tell my doctor" Lee were

Brad had a gutsy race competing in the event just 5 days after having surgery on his left knee. If you look closely at the photo below (far left in blue) you can see a grimace on his face and him running to help us get the boat across as fast as possible.

Dave skied for the team last year and despite his disappointment at being replaced, (like I said earlier the cuts were tough) he jumped at the opportunity to compete in the Canoe portion when word of an injury came in. Like Tom Brady in 2001 Dave would not let the opportunity go to waste. Before the race Brad and Dave said that in order to stay ahead of Fresh Air's strong paddlers and there Carbon fibre vessel they would need a four minute lead. The most nerve racking part of the day was waiting for The Fresh Air runner to come in and tag off their canoeist to see if we had build up at least a 4 minute buffer. It took just over five minutes before Aaron came through the tunnel and we knew that our guys would get 'er done. They came through with great pacing and a solid second half to secure the slim 1:19 margin of victory.


We concluded the day with a post race lunch at Earl's and when our server asked what we were up to today Evan responded in his best Charlie Sheen Impression "Winning". Perfect.

Okanagan College Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran the Okanagan College Half Marathon in Kelowna. Formerly the Campus to Campus Half Marathon, the race is one of the few races in the Okanagan that offers prize money. I feel it is important to get out and support the races that offer prize money and support the development of high level running. It was definitely not a typical late March Okanagan day as there was a mixture of snow and freezing rain when I arrived at the race start.

With the Oceanside coming up next week I had to make sure I didn't empty the tank. My plan was to sit and kick similar to the Lakeside 5k. There was a decent group together for the early parts of the race, with fellow triathlete Dallas Cain and former 1500m Olympian Graham Hood setting the pace. Graham has been retired from running for a while but has signed up for Ironman Canada this year. Similar to myself he was out there for fun and around 6k into the race he said to me "You better not leave things too late. I still have some kick in these legs". At that point I thought I had better pick up the pace. I opened up a gap over the next 5k and at the top of the top of the hill (Same Knox Mountain route from the Apple Triathlon except done in reverse) I could see that the gap wasn't going to close. I rolled along to the finish, got the win and now feel great heading into my taper for next weekend. Super pumped to hit it hard in San Diego.

Graham was second and Dallas had a solid race to finish third. Keddi-Anne Sherbino kept her winning streak intact and was right on our heels to win the women's race in an impressive 1:21. However the winning streak will come to an end at the Ski 2 Sea in a couple weeks time. Despite her Fresh Air Experience trash talk, the 2011 Bike Barn Team will not be denied. Game on!

The race was super well organized with volunteers at every intersections even the ones where you went straight through. The aid stations had lots of people and supplies and were ready when I rolled through. I would definitely recommend this race for anyone looking for a half in March. As long as it doesn't interfere with a key triathlon I will be back next year to defend my title.

One thing I could have used out there was a doctor..... Cause my mullet was sick. If there had been an award for worst haircut I definitely would have won it. Aerodynamic in the front and a part out the back. After I cross the finish line a cute girl told me to turn around so she could get a picture of in her words "my better side", meaning the mullet. Not sure that was a compliment but I'll take it as one anyways. I'll probably shave it for Oceanside but maybe I'll keep it and shave in some racing stripes instead. We'll see.

Here are a couple news articles from the race.

CHBC video clip



http://www.castanet.net/news/Sports/61065/Rainy-race-for-half-marathon-runners

http://www.vernoncentral.ca/news/local-news/934-vernon-runner-places-2nd-in-half-marathon.html

Lakeside 5k

Yesterday was the Lakeside 5k here in Penticton. It's pretty awesome to race in your hometown especially on a course where the finish is very similar to Ironman Canada. Last year I had planned to run this race easy and ended up going out harder than I thought for the first 4k and then keeping it in control for the last k. I ended up running a 15:15 or something and definitely felt it for the next couple of days. Coaches orders were to win the race but keep it controlled. When the gun goes off I automatically go into hammer mode so I decided that I would avoid this by not taking the lead until the final turn up lakeshore which is about 1200m from the finish. I ran with fellow local Dave Matheson until the turn and ran strong from there. It was a less than spectacular time for me but I got the win and had a great experience. I love racing local because it gives you the opportunity to see the success of your friends and training partners first hand. IMC 2012..... seems likely. Dave had a solid race holding on to second silencing the early morning pool pundits who claimed that he was horribly out of shape. Keddi-Anne Sherbino who also won in Vernon, took the women's race. New to running she is super talented and definitely one to watch in the next few years. Super cute as well. But, BY FAR the performance of the day goes to the man, who name I don't even know, who finished third with a Roger Banister-esque collapse at the finish line. He definitely got ugly out there. REAL UGLY and luckily Dirk was there to capture it with a timeless photo.


Although I was planning on keeping it controlled I kept my pre-race routine the same as if I was going out to smash it. I packed my stuff the night before, went to bed early, got up early, ate the same things I usually eat and did my usual warm-up. Two reasons for this. Firstly, I think that any race is a good chance to go through your routine and iron out any kinks that might be there. Secondly, something I learned a long time ago at the 2008 Bare Bones Duathlon, never take anything for granted. I held a lot of confidence knowing that I had trained hard and training was going well but I learned at the Bare Bones Duathlon that all the training in the world doesn't mean squat if you don't bring you A game to the race. I came fully prepared to run a smokin' fast time if needed. I am looking forward to coming back to defend my title next year.


Starting Block 10k



I have enjoy a lot of success over the past three seasons, so I decided to start things off with the on the same note and race the Starting Block 10k in Vernon. The race is a must do for me as the weather and road conditions in the Okanagan in the first week of February can be all over the map. It is a guarantee that you will be running long stretches of the race on slush and ice and if you're lucky Uler will throw down a blizzard like in 2009. This year unfortunately or fortunately the skies were clear and we had good footing on about half the roads.


My plan for the race was simple take it out hard and hang on. I wasn’t sure what kind of a kick Tom Michie had and I didn’t really feel like finding out. I was able to get the win in 32:22, a time that was almost exactly the same as last year. This was my first race running in the CompresSport Calf Sleeves and so far I am very impressed. The race went well and the post race soreness in my calves is significantly less than I usually get after my first few races of the season. I am very happy with where I am at right now as every workout I am getting stronger and stronger. I am also pretty stoked to compete again. The thrill of testing yourself in competition is awesome. It is something that video games can only mimic so much. My first big race of the year, the Oceanside 70.3, is in less than 7 weeks and hopefully I’ll be able to get a couple more running races in before then.

Dirk Handke was there to take some good photos from the race.


Vegas Detour


I just barely missed my flight on the way home from Austin. I got the times mixed up and thought I flew out at 6:30 when instead it was 6. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the awesome people from SouthWest were able to give me a new travel itinerary. Instead of flying from Austin to Denver to Spokane, I was now going to fly Austin to Las Vegas to Spokane. I have never been to Vegas and I was excited to find out that I had a 4 hour layover in Vegas. So I did what any runner would do, I put my stuff in a locker at the airport and headed out for a run on the Vegas Strip. Somebody has to be the worst dressed guy in Vegas and today it was most definitely me. I had on Black compression socks (The only socks I had with me), running shorts (I was already wearing them under my khakis, cause you never know when a good run might breakout) and a tacky The Hangover souvenir T-Shirt I bought in the Vegas airport (Light blue with a printed on Baby attached to it just like in the movie). It was a beautiful day out and I more than enough time to run over to the strip, walk around and run back to catch my flight. Hanging out there got me pretty pumped for the possibility of racing two World Championships there. The ITU Long course world Champs and the 70.3 World Champs. I even found a great place to open water swim (see picture Below).





Looks good, though I have heard the Bellagio has some wicked currents.

Austin 70.3

Austin was another solid race and a great tune up for Clearwater. The trip itself was top notch as well. Austin is a great city and I was able to experience a few things this time around that I did not get to last year. Barton Springs was an interesting experience as it is a 200 yard section of a river that has been turned into a large swimming area. The Saltstick BBQ is a place that I would highly recommend, especially for a tourist like myself who was looking for a real Texan experience. It was the first BYOB restaurant I have been to. I also got a chance to ride on the famed Mopac TT loop. It was pretty mipressive to see the hype around the city when the Longhorns were playing a football game on Saturday. I felt a little out of place not wearing burnt orange. The couple I stayed with here in Austin, Jack and Kat were really great and I am thankful that they let me stay with them while I was down here. Hopefully they’ll be out racing the 70.3 next year. One thing I did not do was get out to Mellow Johnny’s and grab a coffee and buy a T-Shirt like Austin tourists are supposed to do. I did go to Austin Tri Cyclist, which apparently has a higher cool factor as it is less cliché. I would agree, it's a great place.
The race.

It was a deep water start which usually I am not that good at, but this time I got out decently. I could see a few guys going off the front, but could also see Richie Cunningham Bryan Rhodes right in front of me so I settled in. The rest of the swim was at a pretty relaxed pace and I exited the water 5th and in the lead pack. Good enough.


I was second in our pack coming out of transition and felt good. I worked solidly to chase down a couple of guys that were trying to pull away over the first 15k. After that I was able to ride my pace and stay in the middle of a strung out line of riders. There was about 8 guys in the line including most of the other good runners. Definitely with everyone marking each other and feeling confidant in there running there wasn’t a lot of incentive to push the pace. The pace slowed considerably in the last half. One of the guys that was driving the pace got upset thinking that the people behind him were drafting. He was throwing his arms up in the air and complaining to the motor bike. The motor bike was with the line of athletes the entire ride and everyone seemed to be riding fairly legit. There is huge pacing and mental effect by having guys in front of you but the drafting benefit at 10m is not that substantial (less than 10 watts). The rider really needed to give the other guys in the line more credit. There were some really good athletes riding with him. What he should have done is continued to drive the pace hard to try and get some of the strong runners in the group to either fall off the pace or blow up. Instead he just complained, took his mind off his race, let the guys behind catch up and kept the good runners fresh. At some point James Cunnama caught the group and started to move up with about 5 miles to go. There was one guy out front who ended up being 6 minutes ahead after the bike. Off the bikes and the chase was on to catch him.


My plan was to just run my pace and have confidence that that would put me in a good position. However when I got into T2 and heard the announcer saying “we got 9 guys coming into T2 with some really stronger runner, it is on!!!” I lost my cool, didn’t grab my gels and just hammered to try and catch up with the other guys. James and Richie were out front by about 100m and Alesandro was about 50m up the road. I killed it to catch up to Alesandro at about the 1k mark. He was push it hard to catch Richie and James who were pushing it hard to get away. All this added up to me going way too hard. I was cooked and fell off Alesandros pace. I got caught by fellow Canadian Brent Poulsen and settled in to the pace that I should have been running. At this point three guys ahead of me were about 200m up the road. After about 1k of running with Brent I started feeling good and not only did I start to hold the gap but also started to close it. I had worked my way to about a 100 meters from the three at the halfway point in the run. At this point the race got broken up. James was gone. I was holding steady behind Ritchie and gaining on Alesandro. I moved into fourth at about the 13k mark and felt pretty good. I had closed the lead to Ritchie to about 50 meters by the 15k mark when the wheels started to come off. I am pretty sure it either was the heat or a lack of fluids/calories on the run but I went from feeling pretty darn hot to cold and clammy and totally zapped of energy. With 5k to go I knew it was going to get ugly. With about 4 k to go alesandro repassed me and I made a futile attempt to match the pace. I focussed on just getting to the finish line and grabbing everything I could at the aid stations I passed. With about 800 to go I started swerving and felt like I was going to pass out. Things were getting blurry as I crested the last kicker at about 300 meters and my legs were stumbling as I rounded the last sharp corner before entering the finishing straight in the arena. Exhausted I cross the line fifth, thinking I never want to go through that again. It is amazing how short your memory can be, as 20 minutes later I was totally amped for Clearwater.

The Canadian men represented the Maple Leaf well putting 5 guys in the top 20 overall. Brent Poulsen was 6th, Trevor Wurtele was 9th, Anthony Toth 19th and Nathan Killam 20th.

BMO Okanagan Half Marathon

I made sure to give myself ample time to recover from Muskoka and then got back into training. I got into the nice training rhythm where you just eat ,sleep, work and train. I put down a solid training block and finished it off by running the Half Marathon at the BMO Okanagan Marathon. The race has about 3500 people in it making it the biggest running event in the Okanagan. The plan going in was to run my goal half Ironman pace for the 70.3 in Austin the following weekend which meant 3:27 kilometres. The rain and wind really picked up as soon as the gun went off. A really big guy, I mean massive guy, took the lead. He had a shirt that said something like "Extreme Boot Camp Hardcore Fitness" and was rocking headphones. I am glad I was running against him and not getting in a scrap or an arm wrestle otherwise I would have had no chance. The pace was pretty hot but it was only a matter of time before he slowed and at about the 1k mark I took the lead and locked into my pace. I was amazed at the consistency of my kilometres. I felt like a bit of robot out there and got to the finish first at 1:12:51 feeling pretty good. Dave Matheson had a great race on a tough day to finish second. My brother also took part in the event and finished the 10k. There was no official time for him as his chip did not read. This means he has to sign up for another one in the near future. He did really well off almost no running training. After the race he asked me what the secret to not cramping was? I told him “Train”.

Muskoka 70.3

Huntsville, where the Muskoka 70.3 is held, is an awesome place. It was my first time in cottage country and can definitely say I was impressed. The atmosphere made me feel like chilling out and going fishing as opposed to going out and smashing myself on the race course. But come race morning it was business time. I felt super fresh on the start line and was able to have my best swim at a 70.3 coming out of the water just 35 seconds back of the leaders and feeling great. After a super hilly transition we were on the bike. My plan was to keep things in control for the first 15k as I heard people like to smash that first part of the hilly Muskoka course. To my surprise the guys around me didn’t do this. The pace was solid and consistent and I tried my best to keep Raynard Tissink in front. This was probably a little ambitious of me as around 60k things start to get tough. We recieved reports that we were gaining on the guys ahead of us so I smashed myself for the next 10k to try and keep him in sight. At around 70k I was blown and decided to back off so that I would be able to put my left foot in front of my right foot for the run. In hindsight Raynard Tissink just finished 5th at Hawaii so trying to ride with him on such a tough course was definitely not a good idea. Throw in the fact that he didn’t run too well shows how hard we were going. I was caught in transition by Chris Legh and we set out on the run together. The Muskoka bike course is not stop hill after hill and the run course is much the same. I managed to hang on to Chris for the first 5k but I had expended way too much on the bike to run well. I was able to catch Sean Bechtel, eastern Canada’s best long distance triathlete, at around 15k to move into fifth. I was able to put a bit of time into him over the next couple of kilometres and then things got tough. I was zapped of energy and had to do everything in my power to make it to the finish. The Muskoka course has one brutal hill that you hit with about 2k to go. They could just as easily by pass the hill all together but they cruelly take you down a side street to hit it. I was just crawling up the hill and I must have shoulder checked 5 times in 150m to make sure Sean wasn't catching back up. I made it to the finish in fifth, top North American and the last money spot. I was stoked to have put my horrible August behind me and throw down another solid race. It was a super stacked field and definitely boosted my confidence.

August

It’s been a while since I posted last so I think it is safe to say an update is far overdue. A lot has happened over the past two months, so as Wayne Campbell would say “Let me bring you up to Speed”. The Cagary 70.3 was a tough race for me. The swim did not go as planned and I came out with the chase group about 90 seconds down on the leaders. I was able to bike my way back into contention, but unfortunately flatted about 70k into the bike. I had already gone over the two main climbs and was feeling pretty good with a solid net downhill for the last 25k. I changed the flat and got back at it. I made a huge mistake in trying to make up the lost time in the remainder of the Bike and the first 5k of the run. Not a solid plan as it left me blown apart both mentally and physically. I walked jogged it in for a less than stellar finish.

I decided to change things up for my next race and chose to race the ITU short course nationals in Kelowna. I was determined to make up for my poor performance in Calgary and started hammering workouts a lot sooner than I usually do after a half ironman. This worked great for about a week and a half but then something had to give. I should have listened to my coach and rested more as I caught a wicked cold the Sunday before the race. Despite my best efforts I just could not get healthy. I woke up feeling like trash and when somewhere between pounding back the buckleys and having my head over a bowl of vick’s vapor rub I realized it probably wasn’t going to be a race. I was right, it was awful. However it was a great open water experience as where else can you get an open water swim with 60 good swimmers.

The week after was Ironman week in Penticton. Always an awesome time. There were so many good performances out there by training partners and friends. It was definitely inspiring to see Justin Birks throw down a huge PB, Anthony Toth go sub 8:50 and see Steve Kilshaw get the monkey off his back. I was also stoked to see the "bearded competition". I was unaware that this was a category but Shaw TV ran a great segement informing everyone that it was. I had to put quite a few more hours than usual at the Bike Barn. The store is just madness during Ironman time so the days leaved you bagged. This was probably a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to take back my training and recover the sickness. Once the IMC circus left town I got back into training with the motto of making each workout a deposit not a withdrawal leading into the Muskoka 70.3. Apparently it is better to be 10% undertrained than 1% over trained and I felt like I was going in feeling 20% percent undertrained.

Calgary 70.3

John H Holt wrote; “If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, and that means you're not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more changes to learn and win.”

Today was an awful day out there for me execution wise. I think I have the fitness to win a 70.3 I just need the experience to make it happen. I was racing for the win and made some mistakes that resulted in an awful yet motivating race. I am glad that I was able to make a lot of mistakes in one race as it gives me the opportunity to learn from them quickly and come back better than ever.

Vancouver Half Ironman Race Report

I can't say for sure if Vancouver was the best race of my life but I can definitely say that it was the biggest win of my career. This race was also very special to me as it coincided with a family tragedy that happened earlier in the week. Hopefully my race was able to bring a little happiness in a tough time for my extended family.
The race was held at Spanish Banks and rode around UBC, so it was a course I was very familiar with. I got some great advice from 2009 race winner Jordan Rapp as well as fellow Canadian Brent Poulsen.

My plan for the race was to 1. get a lead on the swim
2. Bike strong enough to stay with the lead group but not torch myself
3. Run the fastest split of the day

I knew going into the race that my swimming had been going really well. I wanted to take advantage of this and have a lead coming out of the water over the other strong runners in race. I had hoped to get on Ian Young's feet but he took off like a bullet and I missed that train. I was able to get on the feet of former Olympian swimmer and fellow UBC Alumni Mark Johnston who was there doing a relay. Mark wasn't out there to kill it and swam at an even pace and dead straight. When we made it to the beach I could see Ian just ahead running into transition. After a quick transition (fastest of the day, I have learned well from Kevin) I was right behind Ian going out onto the bike course.

I traded off leads with Ian as we crested the hill and rode along South West Marine. We hit the first turn around and it was now time to see how much damage the swim had done. I was thrilled to see that we had opened up a substantial gap to the next two guys (Steve Kilshaw and Chris Boudreaux). Part 1 had worked. I traded off leads with Ian for lap 2 and then took the lead for good at the start of third lap. I felt really good and rolled with it. I could see that I was putting time on everyone and knew that when I rolled into transition I would have some breathing room. The only thing that slowed me were the 12 no pass zones. Given that it was a four lap course and there was also a sprint distance race at the same time, things were understandably hectic . I wasn't sure the exact rules so I kept it as honest as possible and didn't pass anyone. I lost a fair amount of time in there probably (2 min) especially on the last lap where I was forced to ride behind a woman on a mountain bike for over a Kilometer. I was definitely very thankful to everyone that went over their threshold to rider faster in these no pass zone after they heard me yelling. It was definitely a cool feeling to be at the front of the race with a police escort and the Rogers sports net people buzzing around on motorbikes. I could get used to that.

Part 2 of my race strategy went better than expected as I had about 2 minutes on Ian and about 5 on Steve. I probably pushed a little too hard on the bike as my legs felt trashed for the first 6k of the run. Finally I settled in and started getting into a rhythm. I could see that Steve was gaining on me so I made sure I pushed things to keep the gap open. My body felt better and better as the race went along and I ended up with the fastest run split of the day (mission accomplished) and spitted the second 10k over a minute faster than the first. Definitely something to work on there, but gives me huge confidence in my ability to close out a race hard. I crossed the finish line in 3:50 and Couldn't have been more happier. Steve ended up finishing second and Trevor Wurtele had a great race finishing 3rd. Next year they won't have to list Trevor's race credentials as "Heathers Husband and also a pro himself". Mike Neill was fourth and is looking good to grab a Kona spot in Lake Placid on the 27th. I was really hoping that Heather Wurtele would be able to make it an Okanagan sweep. She came so close to taking the win finishing second by about a minute but lost to some pretty stiff competition. A big thanks to everyone that came out to watch. Hopefully I will have convinced some of the UBC XC alumni who were out watching to hop in a half Ironman sometime. Ben, Shane, T-knuckles? How about it?

On a side not it is really cool to see the guys that you were battling it out with on the local scene progress to the point where you are battling it out with them on a World Class level. Steve Kilshaw is the best example of that. We battled it out on the Peach and am sure we'll be battling it out for many years to come. I also think he's going to podium at IMC (you heard it here first). On that same train of thought..... Here's an interesting result before Trevor and I both started taking this triathlon thing seriously. http://www.winningtime.ca/results_ubc_031106/olymaleoall.txt

I guess now it's time for me to go off the grid for a couple of weeks and get ready for the next race the Calgary 70.3 on August 1st. Robbie Smith asked me while working at the Bike Barn "We'll that good but how do you go faster ?" The question caught me off guard but I thought about it and came up with an entire list of answers to that question. It really hit home that I may have won the race on Sunday but I am still a rookie in the sport. Kevin has a great program and today is the start of a hard 16 days and then its taper time. I am excited to get back on the Ironman 70.3 circuit and see how I stack up after a great few months of training since Galveston. I have a feeling I am going to surprise more than a few people out there.

(I have posted some race photos on Facebook, so If anyone reads this and wants to check them out feel free to add me.)

Oliver Half Iron


The Oliver Half Iron is a great race that happens to be just a 35 min drive away. Well I'll keep it real for me it's a 40 minute drive. With the likes of Scott Curry, Kyle Marcotte, Mike Neill, and Paul Tichelaar on the start list I knew it was going to be a fast race.

Swim:

My plan for the swim was simple. Get on Tichelaar's feet and stay there. The combination of myself swimming well lately and my new Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit kept me in there and feeling smooth. I wore the Blue Seventy Hydra-vision goggles for the first time in a race. These are the goggles with the curved lens. I could totally notice an improvement as not only was sighting easier but I was able to know exactly where the other swimmers were around me at all times. I ended up second out of the water a second behind Paul and felt great. Even if I completely blew up on the bike and run, the race would have been a success because for the first time this season I was able to execute on the swim. After a speedy transition I was first out on the road.

Bike:

I traded off the lead with Paul for the first 25 or so kilometers until Scott Curry came bike like a bullet. He was flying and ended up setting a bike course record by a massive amount. I'll be watching for him to rip it up at Ironman Coure D'alene in three weeks time. I tried to match Scott and Paul's pace but fell off after about 10k of struggling to hold on. Once on my own I settled back into my game plan. The rest of the bike was fairly uneventful but consistent. Loop courses are always tough as you have to navigate around people and traffic but I guess it gives you a good chance to show off your cool bike gear (see Reynolds Disc). I came into transition 4 minutes down and after another quick transition headed out on the run. I ended up having the fastest T1 and T2 times of the day despite having the worst setup spot so I am definitely taking that away as a positive. Maybe Steve King was right two years ago at the Peach Classic when he called me a "Transition Specialist".

Run: Ironically the run was the one part of the race I was most worried about. I had been struggling with some leg injuries since the Bare Bones Duathlon. The injuries forced me to take some time off and I only had a couple of solid run workouts before the race. However hearing Steve King announcing some of my previous performances as I ran by him about 500m in, completely restored my confidence. Thanks Steve. I struggled with finding a rhythm initially but found it half way through the first lap. I was getting splits that I was catching Scott but running fairly even with Paul. I caught up to Scott just after the turn around heading out onto the second lap and focused in on trying to catch up to Paul. I started hearing splits that I was gaining ground and kept pushing forward. I really found my stride on that last lap but unfortunately I ran out of real estate and finished second by about a minute. I wanted a sub four on that course and that's what I got so it's hard not to be happy. At the same time I wanted to win. My consolation prize was that I was able to get the run course record.

So Round 1 goes to Paul but I am sure we'll battle it out many more times before our careers are over. It's probably better that he took this one, it has put the fire in my gut to get faster. I was definitely impressed by him, not only is he fast (He's my early pick for Ironman Canada Champ) but a super nice guy as well. A Class act as are Scott, Mike Neill and Kyle Marcotte for that matter. Definitely an honor to be out there mixing it up with these guys and I look forward to being on the side lines cheering most of them on at IMC.

Nutrition for the Race: Breakfast: 1 large bowl of Oatmeal, 2 powerbars, 3 scoop of eload.

Bike: 5 and 1/2 eload scoop (appx 150g Carb) mixed into two 750ml bottles, Two E'load gels washed down with water, half a bottle of gatorade

Run: Cup of Gatorade at every aid station

All in all it was a great race with tons of great people. Congrats to everyone who raced on Sunday, especially those who completed a Half for the first time, Robbie, Nicole, Matt, Jason among others. Also congrats to everyone who was out there representing Impact Multisport including Justin for who took 8th place and secured an Ironman Canada spot. A big thanks to everyone that was out there supporting me. I think my family(Mom, Dad, Christine, Bryce, Mike, Josie) probably spent more energy running to different spots to cheer than I did in the race. Also a big thanks to Tracey McQuair from Pro Physio for helping me heal from the Bare Bones and to Kevin for everything he has done to get me to this point. I definitely enjoy racing locally and look forward to doing more local events in the future.

Here are some photos from the event


Back to Texas

I am headed back to texas tommorow to race the Lonestar 70.3. I am pretty stoked to be heading back to Texas because when I went to Austin in October I had an awesome time. The people down there were awesome, especially my homestay Marla and Kent. Hopefully Galveston can live up to my expectation. My dad is coming along as race support so that is awesome. I kind of have the same feeling about this race as I did going into Mazatlan two years ago. I am fit and ready to throw down a big race. That's my game plan for the weekend, no time or place goals just throw down a big race get to the finish line as fast as possible and see where that stacks up. Focus on nothing but kickin ass.

I'll leave with a quote from the one Chick Show that I watch, One Tree Hill. Well actually its an Ayn Rand quote used on One Tree Hill but I would be telling a lie if I sad I have read anything written by Ayn Rand or knew who she was before I looked up this quote. But it is a quote that really rings true to my life right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY7BYEJdkQw

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours."




Historic Half Marathon

This weekend I traveled to Vancouver to race a Half Marathon and catch some of the Olympic excitement. I had tickets to go see Slovakia vs. Latvia in Hockey. I was amazed at how many people actually owned Latvia Hockey Jerseys. I guess I underestimated the Latvian fan base.
On to the race...

The race started and finished in Fort Langley. The conditions were perfect, not too cold and hardly any wind. I had a feeling I might be running on my own for most of the race and decided to push from the start and try to break the course record. I pushed the pace from the start and going through 5k I was thinking maybe I had gone too fast, however I was at a turn around section and where you run passed the other 1500 people in the race for the next 3k. Its hard to slow down when everyone is cheering you on. I kept the pace high and thankfully my fitness carried me to the finish. 1:08:28. Win, Course record, PB, front running by myself on a hilly course in February, count it.

Try Events the company that held the race did an awesome job. I'll definitely do more of their events in the future. Everything was super well marked, and the volunteers were super friendly. Steve King announcing the finish is always a great touch.

http://www.tryevents.ca/

Vernon 10k

Instead of posting a race report I'll just copy and paste one from Dirk Handke. The race is a great way to get out and run in February. Normally you are running on a few inches of snow, but this year things were fairly dry. Dirk takes some amazing photos at pretty much every event in the Interior Running Series. The photos here are taken by him. His photos can be viewed here.
http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcnqcjdw_510fcnszqcc

"Arriving at 9:00am, one hour before the scheduled race start, it was apparent that today would be a big crowd attending. Yes, the weather has been really great these last few weeks here in the Okanagan as well. Greetings and familiar faces everywhere! At 9:45am everyone started to leave the gym and walk down the street to the official starting area and line, where KAL RATS
race director GINNY SELLARS and past RD GERRY NAITO welcomed all runners and gave last minute race and course instructions. The men's overall winner of the last two years, JEFF SYMONDS, was back at the front of the start line, shoulder-to-shoulder with a whole bunch of other highly competitive runners, who were planning to give Jeff a run for his money - not that there was any prize money to be won - whatever ! Anyway... It was fantastic to see the GREAT MARK BOMBA and the 2009 KNEE KNACKER CAMP AARON HEIDT and other local ringers? / runners like SERGIO PIO, GLENN LEAR, JOE WESSEL, BRUCE WARK, etc. The women's side was represented by the OKANAGAN'S MOST ACCOMPLISHED RUNNER of the last 20 years, Kelowna's CINDY RHODES, Vernon's SARAH CLARK and SARAH BAILEY, Salmon Arm's SIM SISTERS - GLYNIS & MERYN and others. The race started a few minutes after 10:00am and as you can see in the photos, the runners of the LEADING PACK, the BREAK-AWAY and the PELETON :-) were there for BUSINESS and not pleasure! After most of the field had passed the 1.5K mark, were yours truly was taking a few
photos, it was time to head back to the finish area as to not miss the arrival of the first finisher. Who would it be, JEFF, MARK or AARON?! WOW ! It was JEFF SYMONDS who came around the second-last turn first, followed closely by AARON HEIDT. And JEFF was able to hold-on and cross the finish line first in a time of 32:11 for his THIRD consecutive win. AARON HEIDT just 15 seconds behind in 32:26, followed by MARK BOMBA in 33:55. First woman to cross the finish line was Vernon's own SARAH CLARK in 39:50, followed by Vernon's SARAH BAILEY in 41:20 and Kelowna's CINDY RHODES in 41:33."


It was a lot of fun racing out there, thanks to everyone who helped put on the event.

Season Recap


I started off 2009 with a three week training camp in Maui. The camp was an unbelievable experience. I got the chance to train with Simon Whitfield, Jordan Rapp, Andrew McCartney, Kyle Jones, Sarah Groff and Lauren Groves. Not only did I get to train with them but also got a chance to see how they live. What they do, how they eat and what not. Definitely the highlight of the trip was climbing up the Haleakala volcano. Unreal. 10,000+ feet of climbing straight up. The biggest thing I took from the camp though was raising my expectation for what I need to do to get to the highest level. I was really hoping that would have received Tri Can funding for the year, but unfortunately that did not happen. I narrowly missed the cut and seeing as it was my last year as an U23 in order to gain any support in the future I was told I needed to Podium at 2 World Cups in a year . Definitely not an impossible task, but at that point in my career it was not going to happen.



In the next couple of month I kept the training going and won a couple of local road races: the Starting Block 10k and the Lakeside 5k. The starting block 10k is an interesting race because the back road that it is raced on isn't snowplowed. (see pic above). I got on TV for being in the race, I am not sure if it was because I won the race or because I was crazy dude that ran in shorts. In March my coach, Kevin Cutjar, and I sat down to figure out a plan for the year given the situation. Simply put, we decided the focus should be to become the fastest triathlete possible and do the race that I wanted to. I mentioned that I was interested in trying a half Ironman and Kevin agreed. We would work towards Oliver and see how I liked the Long distance racing. After a tough week of strep throat that led into my brother wedding I was ready to go. I love triathlon and have had some amazing memories, but Mike and Josies's wedding was by far the best day of my life. Just Awesome.


In April I ran as part of the Bike Barn Corporate team at the Ski 2 Sea relay in Kelowna. For those of you who don't know what the Ski2Sea is, it is a team relay consisting of six legs: a downhill ski, a cross country ski, a mountain bike, a road bike, a run and a 2 person canoe. The event has a great atmosphere and the team aspect is a great change of pace from the individual mentality of most endurance sports. Our team came 3rd overall but won the corporate division, so a great day all round.


The first problem with racing a half Ironman was that I had never actually run a half marathon before. I raced the BMO Vancouver half marathon to see what I am getting into. I remember telling my grandparents before the race, wow 21.1k seems like a massive amount of running. I can't even imagine what that is going to be like after I have already swam 1.9k and biked 90k. The morning of I was stoked. There's something about being in a race with 5600 other people that just gets you amped. I had no clue what to expect and just ran with some guys that seemed to be going at a good pace. I ended up 5th in 1:09:52 and was stoked for some more long races. Unfortunately the next weekend a crash on the bike caused a strained oblique which forced me to miss almost 4 weeks of running and swimming. It wasn't until two days before the Oliver Half I thought I might feel well enough to race.


I am glad I did the race was awesome. It was everything I loved about triathlon and endurance sports. I ended up third and I was hooked. I could barely walk but I was hooked. When the next race. The race also was the first round of competing against my arch nemesis "Team Big Deal". "Team Big Deal" is a group of friends which most notably includes Tom Evans.


I took what I learned from Oliver and got ready for Long Course Nationals in Osoyoos. The race was a huge improvement over Oliver and I ended up second behind Tom, and posted a course record run split. I still was quite a ways off beating Tom but to quote the movie 300, "And a man who fancies himself a god feels a very human chill crawl up his spine."


The race set me up for a personal favourite race of mine the Peach Classic Olympic Distance race. I wasn't expecting much as I had felt pretty awful but you have to defend your backyard. When the gun went off I had the energy and I rolled with it. I ended up leading the race off the bike and cruising in for the win over a field that included Ironman Champs Jordan Rapp, and Jason Shortis. I think Jordan was having an off day and I look forward to racing him at full strength over a half or a possibly a full some time down the road. (The pic is Jordan and I in Maui)

The next race up was the Lake Stevens 70.3. Lake Stevens is located about 30 minutes north of Seattle. It was my first Ironman branded 70.3. I was shooting for a top 5 and hopefully qualify for The World Champs in Clearwater. The plan was to ride solid and then run my way into that top 5. The bike went better than I thought and I headed out on the run with a group of three guys in second place. I held my position and took second. A podium at my first 70.3 and a spot at the World Champs made it an unbelievable day.


In October I entered the BMO Okanagan Half Marathon. The race was a huge success. I ran a similar time to what I had run in Vancouver in May, but I was able to do it in sub zero temperatures and front running the entire race. Being able to stay focused and push myself for the entire race was huge. It gave me a lot of confidence heading into the last two races of the year.

late in October I traveled to Austin for the Longhorn 70.3. Going into the race I knew it was going to be tough as the field was stacked. I made a few tactical mistakes but posted the third fastest run of the day to finish 8th. Although it didn't go as well as I had hoped it gave me both the insight into what I need to do in order to win at the highest level, and the confidence that I can compete and eventually win at that level. I will definitely back at this race.


Only one race left, the Grand Finale, the Ironman 70.3 World Champs in Clearwater Beach Florida. I'll call this one a learning experience. I raced as well as I possibly could have and ended up 33rd. I learned a lot and am confident that I can comeback much stronger next year. That's probably the shortest race recap I have ever given, but anything else would just sound like excuses . Next year I will be fitter and more importantly smarter so the goal is a top ten.


In closing I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who believes in me and has supported me over the past year. Peach City Runners, Adidas Kristi Richards Supporting the Dream Legacy Fund PacificSport. Will, Chris and Lisa at the Bike Barn for keeping me employed among countless other things. Matt for making my bike is both race tuned and looking good. Kim From Cannondale for giving me an awesome deal on my ride of choice, The Cannondale Slice. Brian from Podium imports for getting me connected with Reynolds Wheels. The Element and SDV66 combination is the fastest wheel set I have ever ridden.

That's it for 2009, 2010 has officially begun.