Ironman Mont Tremblant

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Niagara Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Seeing my "A" race was over by the end of June, I really didn't have any race plans.  I thought about doing Calgary 70.3 but my dad has been in the hospital for two months and I couldn't leave.  I also thought about Muskoka 70.3 (I've raced it twice) but accommodations are sold out everywhere.  In fact, the race is reaching capacity because the World Championships 70.3 are being held at Mont Tremblant in 2014 so everyone wants to qualify.

Lisa has signed up for several sprints and was racing Niagara (actually its in the town of Grimbsy but its called Niagara.  Go figure).  With nothing else to do, I agreed to go but Saturday had heavy rain storms.  That can't be good for the water quality in Lake Ontario.

One of the great things living around Toronto, there are over 25 races every summer within a two hour drive.  The only problem is that the sprint distances are always difference distances.  In this case the race is 750 meter swim, 25 km bike and 7 km run.  It was only a sprint so I tapered for one day (I was tired).

I tried to sign up online but it was closed so I had to sign up on site.  Grimsby is just over one hour drive so I wanted to leave by 7:00 am so I would have plenty of time to get set up.  I've never done this race and wasn't quite sure of the location, transition etc.  Rebecca had a friend sleep over and we brought her along as well.  With four kids it took forever to get out the door (7:15 am) and then we had to stop at McDonalds for breakfast because they were all hungry.  The drive thru took forever and finally by 7:35 am we were on the road.  I had the GPS to remind me how tight for time we were.  It was going to be close.

Finally after beating the predicted time on the GPS, we found the parking lot.  It was about 500 meters away from the race so Tammy took the kids while I changed and then rode my bike with my bag to the race site.  I quickly signed up and then set up transition.  It was a nice day, low temperature and humidity but a little windy.  It was a small race with four wave start.  As I struggled to get on my wetsuit (it seems to have shrunk) the first wave went off.  The waves were three minutes apart and Lisa was in wave two so I never did see her.

The Swim (750 meters - 14:38)
Walking to the beach, there was a posted sign warning of poor water quality and advising not to swim in the lake.  There were about 40 people in the swim.  I moved back a little and realized I was the last person.  The horn went off and immediately I started passing people. I tried to catch a draft but wasn't having much luck.  By the middle of the swim, I caught the slower swimmers from the 2nd wave and by the end I caught the slower swimmers of the first wave. I looked at the bottom just in case Lisa had SIPE and went under.

The Bike (25 km - 50:14)
Leaving the beach area, you rode for about two km until you hit a nasty two stage climb.  This climb was as tough as anything in Mont Tremblant.  My powertap wasn't picking up my heart rate (or when it was, it was 15 beats per minute-I think I'm dead).  My heart rate on my Polar was 175 which is maximum.  I thought about pulling over and walking up the hill as I was worried about my heart rate.  Finally I got to the top and soft peddled to get my heart rate down.  Riding east (?) into the wind was tough but once we headed west (?) with the wind, I flew down the back stretch.  We came to the hill and I flew down the hill.  I had to hit the breaks a couple of times as I almost ran over a skinny triathlete wearing his aero helmet.  I hit 71 km/hr coming down that hill.  Pretty good as I hit 75 km/hr in Mont Tremblant

The Run (7 km - 36:xx)
Nothing to report other than I started getting worried that I hadn't seen Lisa yet.  I finally saw her just past the three km mark, she was already coming back from the turn around.  I caught her at the five km mark.

Total time:  1:44:12

Other Stuff
During some of my runs, I've noticed my heart rate soar.  Sometimes, I'm at my max heart rate (175) and I'm 20 meters into my run.  I decided to go to the doctors and get checked out.  On Friday, I had an ultrasound and EKG and Monday (after the race and a 18 km morning run) I had a stress test which consisted of running on an elevated treadmill faster and faster.  It was warm in the office (a/c broken) and I was wearing a suit.  I asked the technician if I could change into my running gear.  She said I was fine in my suit.  I asked her three times and told her I know how fast I need to run in order to get my heart rate up to 172.  She said I would be fine.  Another technician came in and I asked if I could change, and he said go ahead.  I'm glad I did.  The treadmill started out slowly but the speed and incline increased every three minutes until I was running at 5.5 mph/hr at a 20% incline.  I set the record.

After the test, I got hooked up to a heart rate monitor that had five sensors taped to different parts of my chest.  I was sweating like crazy so they used a lot of tape.  I have to wear it for 72 hours and can't exercise or get it wet (ie no showers).  This is going to be a long 72 hours

Oh yea, I tore my right calf muscle again.  Three times in nine months.  I wonder if I'm training incorrectly?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Got Chunked!

One downside to having your "A" race in June, it really doesn't leave much to train for during the rest of the summer.  I'm still training about 10 hours a week but haven't really decided on my next race.  I originally had planned to do Calgary 70.3 in July and then Rev 3 Ohio in Sept but with my dad in the hospital for the last two months, any long trips are out.  I thought about doing a couple of sprints with Lisa and the Toronto Triathlon Festival is next week but last Monday, Toronto got hit with a massive storm and lots of crap got washed into Lake Ontario.  The bacteria count is 10 times the safe limit right now but I'm sure it will drop by next Sunday but we'll see.

In the meantime, I want to keep the bike fitness up so I've been riding for four hours the last couple of weeks.  Rom came over to my place at 6:30 am and we headed out up to Zephyr.  It was already hot out and I knew this was going to be a sufferfest.  My biggest worry is running out of water.  Once I run out, its game over and with this heat and humidity, the chances are high unless we plan out our water stops.

By the time we got to the York/Durham county line (30 minutes later), Rom was already far ahead and I was struggling to keep up.  I was already sweating like crazy and my heart rate was around 150 (max is 175).  We made it up to Zehpyr and reloaded with water.  I wanted to do 120 km so we decided to push onto Lake Simcoe and then turn around back to home.  This was the route we took last year for Ironman training.  Once we got up to the lake, we rode along Lake Road and its such a nice ride.  I was worried about time as I told Tammy I would be four hours but if we rode over to Warden, we would have to ride back to Mccowan and that would be closer to five hours which "could" lead to trouble.  We agreed to limit the breaks and just hammer it down Warden but we stopped off at a conivence store on Kennedy to get more water.  Walking out of the store, I got stung on my chest by a wasp.  I hoped I wasn't allergic to wasp stings as we were 50 km away from home.  By this time, it was around 10:30 am and getting hotter.  As usual whenever I ride back from the lake, I'm always riding into a headwind so because time was a factor, I planned to draft off Rom for the entire ride home....if I could keep up. 

We headed south into the wind and I stuck to Rom's wheel.  My watts were really low and I figured it must have been a really good draft.  Eventually I got bored and passed Rom as he had mentioned his legs felt tired from Thursday's ride.  This would be an opportunity for him to draft off me for once.  I took off and cranked it up to try and keep a pretty good pace.  I expected Rom to be right on my wheel but when I sat up and looked back after 15 km, Rom was about one kilometer back.  Odd, he's hates when he's not leading.  The temperature was soaring and the winds were strong. 

I put my head down and grinded out the miles.  My heart rate was bouncing between 155-165.  I was fried, hot and dead tired.  The good thing about coming south down Warden, is that its much flatter than if we went the way we came north.  Now that said, Warden isn't completely flat.  There are a couple of rollers and I suck at hill climbing.  I always get passed by everyone.  I came up to this one girl who was meandering along.  She was a little bit heavy and probably weighted more than Rom.  I thought nothing of it when I passed her on the flats as I was just grinding it out but when we came to some rollers, she breezed by me.  More flats and I passed her by only to get caught on the next set of rollers.  Rom was way back and I had the choice of waiting for Rom to catch up or smoke this chick.  Well she smoked me on the next set of rollers.  My legs were on fire and my heart rates was 165.  As she passed me again, I said to her, "crap you're killing me" and she laughed and said I would catch her on the flats.  Finally at Bloomington Side Road I passed her and then waited for Rom.  Just south of Bloomington, there is a small hill and then a long flat straight away.  She passed me while I was stopped and got about one kilometer ahead before Rom caught up.  I decided I was going to smoke her on the flats and when bombing down the hill.   I roared by her in TT position and finally left her far behind (Rom as well).  She must have turned off the next road as I didn't see her again.  By then, I was totally fried and literally limped home.  No way I was running after that bike.  I had wobbly legs and it was just too hot.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

Returning to the scene of the crime.  I liked Ironman Mont Tremblant so much, I signed up for the Half Ironman.  It is a spectacular venue with everything being so close and "family friendly," I couldn't resist.

We arrived on Friday afternoon to a rainy day.  I can't believe how many times I was checking the weather channel and Accua Weather on my Blackberry.  The forecast kept changing and was different for each one.  Who to believe???

Much like Ironman Mont Tremblant last year, I knew lots of people racing:  Rom, Doru, Peter A, Adam B, Lisa, Paul and Cathy and Mike A.  It made it much better as we hung out with Rom and Paul's kids (eight kids all together).  At one point, all the kids were in our room screaming and jumping on the beds.  The price I pay for doing this sport!!

Friday's registration was a breeze and not very busy.  In fact, Mont Tremblant was not all that busy compared to Ironman.  Maybe it was still early and lots of people would be coming in on Saturday.  The air temperature was warming up but the water temperature was cool.  Three weeks ago, an Olympic distance race at Tremblant was cancelled because the water temperature was only 11 C (52 F).  I ran into Paul S and he had swam earlier in the day. He gave some good advice:  1.  the cold water was shocking, 2.  don't try and swim hard at the beginning.   Originally I wanted to go for a swim both Friday and Saturday but I was too tired from driving (yes I know its only a 600 km (370 mile) drive, but its exhausting with the kids and the number of stops).

Rom, Peter, Adam and I went for an early morning swim at 7:00 am on Saturday morning.  It was cool, rainy and overcast.  As Paul had mentioned, the water was a bit of a shock but was ok after 10 minutes.  Peter and Adam are fast swimmers and took off.  I took it easy and swam with Rom.  We about 400 meters out and decided to turn back while Peter and Adam kept swimming to the swim exit.  I did want to take the bike out for a spin and ride up to Lake Superior but it just kept raining.

We went up to the top of the mountain for lunch.  Not sure why we went up now as it was pouring rain, overcast and foggy.  We couldn't see anything.  The lunch was, well cafeteria at best.  On the way down in the gondola, Rom went with the kids while I went with Tammy, Jake, Nadia (Rom's wife).   Unfortunately, we got stuck four times for about 20 minutes.  Rom said my girls were freaking out each time the gondola stopped.  I'd post a video that he shot of my kids freaking out but that would be too cruel.

Race Morning
Goals:  Swim - 35 minutes, Bike - under 3 hours, Run - under 2 hours, Total Time 5:45 - 5:50

Transition Set Up
Some drunks on the streets woke me up at 3:00 am.  That's the one trouble with Mont Tremblant.  There's always guys/girls coming here for one last party before their wedding and getting hammered.  I drank a bottle of Boost Extra Calories (350 calories).  I really should have been this stuff before my workouts but never did get a chance to buy any.  I couldn't fall back to asleep so I was on Slowtwitch until 4:30 am and then fell back to sleep.  I met up Rom in the lobby and we headed down to transition.  I got about 200 meters away from the hotel when I realized I left all my water bottles in the room.  Just like Ironman.  I ran back and got them.  There were tons of people heading down to transition.  I quickly set up my gear and then found Lisa.  We chatted for a couple of minutes before she had to run back to her room (she forgot a bottle).  I got back to the room and drank another bottle on Boost and ate a peanut butter sandwich and that's when the trouble started.  I went to the bathroom.  And then again.  Again.  And then again.  I'm slightly lactose intolerant and while one bottle of Boost is okay, not two.  What was that thing about trying new stuff before a race?

Swim:  36:42
This race was a wave start (and so will IMMT).  I'm fine with a wave start.  The swim was uneventful and I got a pretty good draft.  I lost the draft on the back stretch and veered off course.  I looked up and saw that I was about 50 meters too wide from the buoys.  I blame the faulting sighting for my slower time.

Transition 1:  5:40
For IMMT, the 400 meter run to transition was covered in a nice red carpet.  This race had 2/3 of the road covered.  My shins were killing by the time I got to the carpet.  My transition time was actually not bad.  Way better than IMMT.

Bike:  2:55:47
Seeing that I've ridden this course several times (twice with NRG training camp and twice at IMMT), I'm pretty familiar with the course.  The bike was fine, except my Polar watch was not picking up any heart rate and I was wearing my Polar strap.  Odd it was working at the swim start.  My Powertap will not pick up my heart rate when I wear my Polar strap.  Well sometimes it does but its not dependable.  I set my Powertap to show calories burned so I could remember to eat/drink and I would have to ride without heart rate.  About half way through the ride, I changed the calorie setting and there was my heart rate on the Powertap.  About 2/3 of the way through the ride, as I headed back to the resort on Montee Ryan, there is one small section about 200 meters long for a no pass zone across a narrow bridge.  An ambulance with its lights on was coming in the opposite direction.  It was a fairly tight squeeze as pylons blocked either size.  I commented to a fellow rider at the time, that would have hurt, getting hit by an ambulance.  I continued up to Lac Superior and then back down whipping into the village.  On the descent, I almost ran over a rider as I was flying down.  I wasn't sure if it was a guy or a girl as the name on the bib was Ronnie, but he/she had impressive calf muscles.

Transition 2:  1:59
Pretty fast (for me).  I took off my bike shorts and ran in the tri shorts I had underneath.  I turned on my foot pod and took off

Run:  2:07:04
This was going to be an interesting run.  Since last October, I tore my right calf muscle twice (different spots) and then had Achilles tendonitis.  As usual, Kevin (chiropractor) fixed me up pretty good.  Needless to say, my runs have been lacking which is always the case given how many times I get injured.  I checked my Polar watch, knowing that I had no heart rate but at least I could use my foot pod to measure my speed.  If I wanted to break two hours, I needed to run at a 5:41 min/km pace.  For the couple of bricks that I did do, I was running at an easy 5:15 min/km pace or faster.  I looked at my watch and my pace was showing........0:00 min/km.  I looked at the foot pod and the light was on.  Now my watch wasn't picking up my foot pod.  Its never done that!  I resorted to timing the old fashion way - measure how long it took me to run past each kilometer marker.  Around the 6 km marker, I was holding a 5:30 min/km pace which was perfect.  My quads were killing me as running out of the villages had a couple of short rollers and they were burning as I ran up the hills.  Even on the flat trail, I could feel my quads.  It wasn't hot but pretty humid.  I was cramping up so I was wolfing down the salt pills.  I brought the salt canister from my bike, so I had two canisters that were half filled with pills.  By the end of the run, I had taken all of them.  Maybe 20-25 in total.  The aid stations were getting further and further apart or so it seemed.  I started to walk the aid stations.  I was also people watching looking out for any friends.  I knew I wouldn't see Lisa until after the turn around (9.5 km) as she started 30 minutes behind me on the swim and I'm a faster biker.  Trying to keep my mind distracted, I tried to calculate where I would see her.  I saw Adam run smoking by (4:30 min/km pace) and saw Paul S.  I caught Mike A who was planning to only swim and bike but I convinced him not to DNF and walk the run course.  He hurt his calf and wanted to save his legs for the Toronto Triathlon in a couple of weeks.  He didn't even bring his running shoes but ended up buying a pair at the expo. 

By the 12 km mark, my run was blowing up fast.  I was no longer interested in what pace I was running at.  I started to count to 100, over and over and over and over again.  As I hit the second turnaround (around 16 km), Doru came running by.  I knew he started in the wave behind me (5 minutes) and we had a bet after I beat him (barely) at IMMT.  He slowed down so we could run together but I told him to go as I couldn't hold his pace.  Coming off the trail and into the Old Village of Mont Tremblant there were a couple of small rollers. My quads were screaming.  I had to resort to walk/run up the hills.  There was no way of breaking two hours for the run.  I was totally exhausted.  I was getting close to the resorts but I was counting to 100 and then walking for 30 seconds, then running for another 100 seconds.  Even as I ran/stumbled/walked up the last hill and people were cheering.  Finally I ran under the arches of the retirement home and towards the village.  People were yelling and screaming.  I continued to stumble/walk/run until I finally reached the village.  The crowd support was great but there weren't as many people as IMMT however if no one was there cheering, I would have been walking the entire way.  I finally stumbled across the finish line and fell down.  Aid workers were immediately by me asking if I could breathe.  I finally was able to stand up and saw Doru.  I had to hang onto the fence from sheer exhaustion.  Tammy was by the finish line and I waved her to come over to the other side of the finishing area.  Vanessa came running over and went to hug me but when she saw how wet I was (from dumping water over my head), she yelled AIR HUG!! And ran back to the fence.

Overall Time:  5:47:09

After the race, I met up with Tammy just outside our hotel.  Paul was there waiting for Cathy to come in so we all waited.  Finally Cathy came by and the kids wanted to go to the jumping castle.  I wanted to wait for Lisa as I had not seen her on the course.  She should have finished before Cathy but no sign.  Tammy and the kids were getting restless so she took them to the jumping castle and I went upstairs to change.  I checked my Blackberry and Lisa had sent me a text around 11:30 am.  She was pulled from the water during the swim, coughing up blood and foam.  Turns out she probably had SIPE.  She's ok now.

Final Thoughts
I really need to stop thinking, "its only a half ironman."  This race hurt almost as much as the full ironman probably because I was overweight and not as well trained.  The changes of signing up for the full in 2014 are very good.  My nutrition plan is not very good.

Races For The Rest Of The Summer
Not sure.  The original plan was for Calgary 70.3 and Rev 3 in Ohio but with my dad in the hospital, Calgary 70.3 is out.  Maybe a couple of shorter races depending on what others are doing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What Is Going On???

Its been a crazy busy last month with work and family issues. The training has been getting done but I think my longest week was only 10 hours.

Mont Tremblant 70.3 is this Sunday. Word has it, the water temperature has warmed up to 15 C (59 F). A couple of weeks ago, a sprint/Olympic triathlon were converted to a Duathlon because the water temperature was 11 C (51 F)

Going into this race, the swim is going to be chilly (a mild understatement), could be thunderstorms that day so it should make it interesting going down the 117 hill. The run is going to be a wildcard as not only did I rip my calf muscle twice (different spots but same leg), I also hurt my Achilles. My long run was only 16 km but should be good enough. I didn't do enough short runs.

Stay tune for the race report

Friday, June 14, 2013

Girls On The Run - 5 Km Race

Tammy and Jake - The finish line never looked so good!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


A lot of drivers hate cyclists. A lot of cyclists hate drivers. Then there's Emma Way, who hates cyclists so much that she hit one with her car, drove away, and bragged on Twitter about how it wasn't her problem because the cyclist "doesn't pay road tax." Unfortunately for Emma, her local police also use Twitter.
The incident occurred yesterday in England, when Emma was driving in Norwich. According to a witness, she sped around a corner just as cyclists who were part of a 100-mile race were coming the other way and hit 29-year old rider Toby Hockley. The mirror hit Toby and broke, sending him off the bike and into the trees where he was banged up, but wasn't seriously injured.
You'd think that, as a motorist, Emma would stop and help Toby since she just hit him. Nope. Not the case. Instead, she drove off, and tweeted about the incident right after it happened. 

There are some things you just don't tweet about. Committing a crime, and then acting indignant about it, is one of those things.

But in today's always connected world, Emma made a pretty critical error. Twitter users saw the tweet, and instead of siding by her "suck it cyclists" mantra, they sent it off to the Norwich Police Department, who also happen to be active on social media.

Even though the crash hadn't totally been confirmed, people started looking into Emma's social media profiles. They reportedly found photos of her tailgating other drivers as well as a picture of her speedometer a 95 MPH that were also sent into the police. Once the tweet started to go viral, Emma deleted her Twitter account. But by that point, the damage was done and the tweet was out there in perpetuity.

And that's when the rider decided to come forward. For some reason, Toby wasn't going to tell anyone because he didn't want his girlfriend to fear for his safety while riding. His under-sharing is almost as extreme as Emma's over-sharing. But once Toby saw her attitude in the tweet and how widely it was shared, he contacted police.

His riding club, Iceni Velo, issued this statement about the incident:

As a club we are conscious that we share the road with other road users all of whom are expected to adhere to the requirements of the Highway Code. Incidents like this seem to be relatively rare and we are disappointed by the reaction of the individual motorist involved. We hope this raises the awareness of how vulnerable people can be whether that's as a cyclist or pedestrian on our roads. The club and its committee will cooperate fully with police enquires where necessary and when asked to do so.

Once they had both pieces of the puzzle, Norwich Police confirmed via Twitter that they had identified who was involved and were "progressing with them."

Just because you can share something doesn't mean you should share something. That means a hit-and-run you just committed is not the best thing to put out there if you don't want to get caught. Emma learned that lesson the hard way, but thankfully she didn't kill anyone.

Think before you tweet folks. And don't drive away if you hit a cyclist.

Photo Credit: Iceni Velo Cycling Club

Update: We've spoken to Toby Hockley, the rider involved in the collision, to get a bit of background on the incident. He's pretty sure it was him, anyway. "The police said it was me", he told us, and the time and location fit the bill.

"I was riding on a country B-road with a friend, and descending a hill on a blind right hand corner", Toby told us. "I was sticking to the left as the corner was blind. A car came round in the opposite direction going much too quickly to make the corner safely. It missed the rider in front of me but hit me, my right leg caught the front right wing. I was thrown up onto the bonnet, I hit the side of windsrceen and the wing mirror. I bounced back off the car and went through a hedge for about 20 metres. I managed to keep control of the bike; the back brake had locked on but I managed to rejoin the road and stop in the middle of it"

Amazingly Toby made it through the incident with only minor damage to himself and the bike. "I have a sore elbow, a bruised knee, nettle stings from riding through the hedge, but nothing serious", he told us. "The headset of the bike is loose from the collision, one of the levers got knocked round the bars and there's bits of nettle in the chain, but I think the bike is intact."
"Myself and my friend burst out laughing when we finally came to a stop, more out of shock than anything else", he said. "You count your limbs and carry on".

In response to the incident Ms Way's employers have also made a short statement, both in response to emails from readers and also in the comments below. "Please be assured that this is not a view held by the firm and we most certainly do not condone this behaviour", they told us. "We are taking the incidents very seriously, and a full and detailed investigation will be carried out and appropriate action taken. We have already spoken to Norfolk Police."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Long Ride - Part Duh

With the weather finally warming up, I went out on my second long ride outside.  Last week, I rode with Rom where he left me gassed and got chicked.  This week was a little different and not quite as bad.  We met up at Tim's at 9 am Saturday morning with about 10 other riders from the Markham Tri Club.  As I headed to the meeting place, I picked up a roadie and invited him to join us.  We were going up to Lake Simcoe and back which was about a four hour ride (longer than he was anticipating). 

We headed out as one big group and Rom immediately took off.  Other riders commented on how strong he was riding and the winter indoor training had really paid off.  That made me feel better as it meant, I was quite as pathetic as I thought.  Lisa joined up for part of the ride with her new bike.  This was her first outdoor ride and she rode quite well.

As usual, we had a nice tail wind heading up to the lake.  There were tons of riders out with many people training for "The Ride To Conquer Cancer."  It was actually a little dangerous as there were lots of new riders and they were weaving all over the road.  The roadie was riding strong and was keeping up with Rom while the rest of us were spread out.  At one point there was a low flying helicopter buzzing over us and I looked up and ran off the road.  Luckily I was able to keep the bike under control on the gravel and get back onto the road.  We hit Ravenshoe for a rest and Lisa turned back with Gibby while the rest of us headed up to the lake which was another 14 km. 

At the lake is a small and very expensive corner store.  Normally I would fill up with water at an outdoor (free) municipal tap but it wasn't open.  I had four water bottles and drank about half.  I figured I should be ok but it was warming up.  We headed back south down into the wind but it wasn't as bad as last week.  I was able to keep up with the group and managed to hold Rom's wheel.  Last week, he was going so fast, I couldn't hold his wheel for more than a minute.  By the time we hit Stouffville Road (only 13 km from home), I was out of water and needed a drink badly.  The roadie was also out of water so we stopped off at a local golf course for a refill.  The rest of the group took off without us.  We picked up another guy who did IMMT (even had the same bike as me).  Seeing we were close to home and that part of Warden Ave is freshly paved and flat, I took off.  I knew someone was on my wheel as I poured it on for a four km time trial.  By the end, I was wiped out.  My quads were burning and my legs felt like jello.  I looked around and it was the tri guy.  He thanked me for the draft and wished me luck on Tremblant 70.3 and went another direction.  I waited for the roadie and slowly soft peddled home.  I was bagged and toyed with the idea of doing a short run.  Then all of a sudden, I remembered I didn't have a house key and Tammy took the kids to Mcdonald's for a play date.  Uh oh

I got home hoping they were still there but they had already left.  I missed them by 15 minutes.  I did not want to ride to the Mcdonalds while it was close and was on McCowan Ave and that was a very busy street.  I was very thirsty so I went to a neighbour's house to beg for water.  The husband was outside and I talked to him for a couple of minutes.  He's an undercover RCMP officer (I'm not sure if its a good idea for him to being telling the neighbours what he does for a living).  I asked if he was involved the arrest of the Canadian terrorist who were trying to blow up the train.  He was.  Good work.

Finally I got tired of waiting around and rode to the Mcdonalds.  Riding down McCowan was busy but when I got to the intersection of Highway 7, I had a green light while an idiot making a right had turn onto McCowan didn't see me (I'm wearing a white shirt and yellow helmet) pulled out in front of me.  I yelled at him but he was obvious).  I got to the Mcdonalds and carried my bike in wearing full riding gear.  I got a lot of strange looks but was too tired and hungry to care.  I found Tammy and the kids and ordered extra large fries, some chicken burger or something that tasted gross.  So much for those 2,200 calories I burned off riding.  All Saturday my legs felt like jello.  Good thing this is a recovery week.

On Sunday I ran for one hour (10 km) with no problem and this morning I went for my first outdoor week day ride.  I left at just after 5:30 am and it was almost getting light out.  It was warmer than I anticipated but still pretty cool.  I wore arm warmers but 10 minutes into the ride, I realized I should have worn gloves.  My hands and toes were cold.  Summer's coming and soon it won't be a problem

That's all I got


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

First Long Ride Outside - Chicked

The weather here has been crappy to say the least.  I don't mind riding in cold weather as I can ride until it gets down to about -5 C but when its rainy or windy, I'll pass.  Most Saturday's have been three hour rides on the trainer watching movies.  Last weekend the weather was warm enough.  I originally was going to ride Saturday morning around 10 am (way later than normal) with Rom but when I woke up and looked outside, it was cold and rainy.  By 9 am it wasn't any better so I called Rom and we agreed to ride Sunday afternoon when the weather would have been nicer.  I opted to study instead for an exam coming up next week and then later went for my long run.

My "long run" is now up to 45 minutes.  I tore my calf muscle twice since last October and with only six weeks until Mont Tremblant 70.3, I should be able to get it up to two hours.  The run itself was very manageable but man was I ever sore later in the day.

Sunday afternoon I rode over to Rom's house (20 minute ride) and we headed up Warden ave for a three hour ride.  We did this route hundreds of times last year.  Rom was coached by Roger (famous tri-magazine writer) for the indoor bike session this winter.  I toyed with the idea of working with Roger but opted (too cheap) to use last year's Ironman workouts.  I was interested to see if Rom was any stronger.  Well I got my answer pretty quick as he took off and I struggled to keep up.  We had a pretty good tailwind and he just hammered it.  I was hitting zone 5 on my heart rate and that's with a 20 km/hr tailwind!  This was going to suck when we turned around.  We picked up another tri rider along the way.  With Rom up ahead, I thought I would dump this guy but every time I glanced behind me, he as about five meters back.

We picked up a guy and a girl and all five of us rode together but we got stopped at a light but the girl and I made it through.  We rode together with the others far behind us.  After a while (like 30 seconds) I got impatient and blew passed her on a hill pushing out an impressive 792 watts.  I paid for it about one km later as I totally ran out of gas and she passed me along with the other three guys.  This was trouble as we were still heading north with the tailwind.  Later I found out that this was her first year of riding (its only April) and she chicked me although she was riding a Cervelo s5.  What a nice starter bike.

At Ravenshoe (90 minutes later) Rom and I stopped and the others kept going north.  I was tired dreaded heading back south into the headwind.  After reloading, we turned around and headed south into the head wind.  Within a couple of minutes Rom was gone well not quite gone.  He waited at every major intersection (about five km apart).  This is pretty much a repeat of last year.  I could not keep up.  Clearly he worked a lot harder in the off season than I did.  Finally I made it home and was exhausted.  Its hard to imagine that last year I was able to ride another 90 km. 

So a quick recap of where I stand:

My biking sucks
My long run is up to 45 minutes
Swimming sucks
I'm overweight by five pounds
Mt Tremblant is six weeks away and going to get smoked by all my friends racing it
I'm exhausted from study for an exam on Monday

That pretty much sums it up

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blog Update

It's been a while since I've blogged about training because quite frankly there's been not much to write about.  My race season looks sort of haphazard as the only committed race this year is Tremblant 70.3 at the end of June. I sort of planned to run the Tioronto Half marathon in May but my calf isn't healed yet. In fact, after Sunday's one hour easy recovery ride, the back of my leg was swelling up.  I certainly wasn't riding hard at all so I'm not sure what happened. I wore compression socks to bed last night and this morning the swelling had went down so I rode on the trainer as a test. The back of my knee is a little tender but not as bad. I have a doctors appointment on Wednesday to see if its torn. Tremblant is only ten weeks away and so far my long run is up to 15 minutes.   

After Tremblant, the next race maybe (hopefully) Calgary 70.3 end of July. Tammy's brother lives in Calgary and her parents live in Saskatoon (7 hour drive from Calgary) so we'd combine a race/vacation. That would make the trip more bare able.   I was supposed to race Calgary 70.3 a couple of years ago but I was hurt.  Surprise, not.

The last race would be Rev 3 in Ohio in the second week of September with a bunch of bloggers. Adenauer, Scott aka Big Daddy Diesel, Matty and Heather O are scheduled to all race it so it should be fun meeting up with fellow bloggers/racers

Otherwise, training has been ho hum. Using last year's training plan, minus the 5-6 hour bike rides, hopefully I'll be able to do all three races plus maybe a couple of sprints with my buddy

That's all I got

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Break Photo Dump

Last Sunday, Jake's basketball team had the opportunity to hold a practice at the Air Canada Center (ACC), home of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Raptors (NBA).  The deal was to be able to practice from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on the court and then return for the evening game at 6 pm against the Cleveland Cavaliers at for $59 per person.  We had missed this opportunity the last time and I didn't want to miss it again.  After-all, how many kids can say they practiced on a NBA court in a (empty) 19,000 seat stadium?

After practice, we went to lunch at a local popular chain restaurant near the ACC on Front St.  I've drank there before but never eaten at that location but eaten at other locations.  They serve typical bar food (wings, burgers etc).  My hamburger was well done and the kids' were shoe leather tough, obvious signs of reheating yesterday's leftovers.  We still had many hours to kill until game time so I decided to take them to the CN Tower.  The tallest free standing tower in the world at 553 meters (1,815 feet).  The tickets were $32 for an adult and $24 for children.  If I was smarter, I would have planned ahead and bought the tickets online.  Thankfully, Tammy is afraid of heights and opted to wait in the coffee shop at the base of the tower.

The ride up was fast and cool but the kids were nervous.  We got to the observation deck and looked around the city.  The kids were getting more nervous.  We went down the to next level where you could walk around outside. Obviously, it was fenced off but it was super windy.  I tried to lift the kids up so they could see over the concrete wall but the wind totally freaked them out and they all started to cry.  We went back inside but Jake started howling for Tammy.  We walked over to the glass floor where Jake and Rebecca were too scared to walk over it but Vanessa laid down on it with the ground only 1,800 feet below.  Finally Jake really started to cry so we lined up to catch the elevator down.  Total time in the CN Tower?  About 20 minutes.  Total cost? $120.  Awesome.  In hind sight, I should have taken them to my work's head office a couple of blocks away.  It has 72 floors, while not quite as tall, certainly a lot cheaper.


After the CN Tower, we wondered around the downtown core so more to kill time.  We ran into "Clam Chowder" and snapped a picture.  He wanted to email the picture to him but it was a "" address.  Yea, can you say pedofile?  We went over to McDonalds and had a lovely greasy meal (I had the chicken teriyaki salad).  By then, it was game time and we actually missed the start.  The seats we had were okay but almost directly behind the back board of the basket so it blocked some of the view.  The kids were excited and looking around but by the second quarter they already ate candy floss, popcorn and wanted more.  This was right after eating dinner at McDonalds.  I wanted a beer but Tammy hates driving downtown especially at night.  The Raptors were getting killed and playing horribly.  The kids were totally disinterested in the game and busy playing with the iPad and Nintendo DS.  Awesome.  I was dying for a beer and finally broke down and got one.  Tammy gave me a dirty look and informed she wasn't driving home. 

The game became more interesting by the third quarter and by the fourth, they actually surged ahead.  The ACC was rocking by that time and was very loud.  Then Vanessa got her hand caught in the seat and it pinched the skin.  She freaked out and I took her to first aid.  They gave her a bag of ice and we went back to our seats.  She was still whimpering so I bought the kids Haagden-Dazs ice cream at $5.50 each.  Rebecca didn't want hers and Jake would only eat his if there was not chocolate covering it so Tammy ate the chocolate off.  Vanessa was the only one who ate it.  In the end, the Raptors went won and the kids got the traditional foam finger and a Raptor basketball.  It was a long day and thankfully I took off Monday.

Training wise, I'm riding and swimming but no running yet.  With the March break there was no swimming with the Masters so I swam on my own.  I swam 3,000 meters both Tuesday and Thursday but my shoulder was killing me.  I ended up getting a massage on Thursday.  I definitely have to restart the strength training.  I'll go to the doctor this week to check my leg and hopefully will get the all clear.

Also I finally got my trainer back from Cycleops.  If you remember, I sent it in for a free repair and originally they said they didn't need the receipt but then did say it was required.  I bought it from my ex-coach more than six years ago and wasn't going to go back to him for another copy.  I found an old receipt on an excel spreadsheet he sent me for coaching so I changed it except I couldn't remember which model I had.  I called the store and they said I had a Fluid trainer so I inputted that on the "receipt" and emailed it to the store who forwarded it to Cycleops.  They responded back that I had a Magneto trainer.  Doh!!    I called the store back to give them hell and they said just to resend the receipt with the correct description.  No problem.  Cycleops replaced my original trainer for free.  Sweet, except the Fluid is a much better trainer.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why Am I So Dumb? Part Duh

So back in October I tried to run without my orthotics which I've worn for more than 15 years.  I ramped up my run fairly quickly while training for a half marathon in mid October and early November.  No problem, because after all, I am an Ironman.  I started to get a dull ache in my right calf which turned into a sharp pain.  I eased back on the run but it still hurt.  Finally I went to the sports doctor and he confirmed a calf tear.  Probably caused by running without orthotics.

By January, I was deemed healed and began to run slowly and began to ramp up the frequency (wearing my orthotics of course) but keeping the distance short.  I also made sure to work in strength training specifically calf raises to nail the calf muscle.  As I felt better, I began to ramp up the speed coming off the bike but still keeping the distance short (5.5 km for about 30 minutes).  It felt great to be running at a fast pace.  I envisioned getting back to my speed when I was training for the Toronto Marathon two winters ago (I think I ran 13 km in one hour during one workout).  Two weeks ago, I had the great idea of 4 runs in a row with strength training on the last day and last week was four days of running followed by heavy workout on my legs.

Well on holiday Monday I wanted to do a 90 bike followed by a 30 minute suffering run after Sunday's long run but while riding, I could feel my calf and when I went to run, my right calf didn't feel right.  Normally, I would have pushed through the run thinking that the ache would magically go away.  Instead, I shut it down after running half way around the block.  The dull ache was back in the same calf but slightly different area.

I made an appointment online to visit my favorite sports doctor in the whole wide world for the next day and yup, another torn calf muscle but in a slightly different spot.  No running for another two weeks however water running or elliptical training would be ok.  Much like a father would speak to his young son, he gently explained that my body can't the type of training I've been doing.  You mean, trying to run a 4:30 min/km brick run several times a week, is NOT a good idea?  Uhhh maybe getting a coach might be a good idea after all. 

So, I'm back to square one.  No running.  Again.  Water running is out of the question as its boring and tough to fit in.  That leaves the elliptical *shudder.*  I pride myself on being an all weather runner.  Last summer, I ran when it was 45 degrees C with the humidity (113 F) and I've run in -33 degrees C with the windchill (-28 F).  Me?  Run on an elliptical?  There is one small problem..  I don't have access to an elliptical trainer.  I could rejoin a gym or as my sports doctor says, "you get hurt so often, go out and buy one."

Ugh what to do?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday No Brainer

“Well you should have been a little more clear on what image you wanted on your cake!….”

“Well you should have been a little more clear on what image you wanted on your cake!….”

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hey Porky!

Weight wise, things haven't been all that good.  When I started this triathlon stuff, I weighted 192 pounds. For Ironman Mont-Tremblant in August, I weighted about 171 pounds.  Monday morning I was 184.4 pounds.  The sad thing is that I haven't been going out to wonderful or extravagant dinners or massive drinking binges.  Rather it's been just a constant grazing of crap food. Superbowl Sunday was a perfect example.  While drinking tea, I decided I wanted some shortbread cookies to dunk so I opened a package and ate six cookies (they weren't even good as the kids didn't eat any).  Then Tammy baked chocolate cookies that we're only 90 calories each, so I ate five cookies.  What is wrong with me?  And here I'm the one telling everyone how easy it is to lose weight.  Stop eating!  At least I didn't have any beers watching the Superbowl. Only one non alcoholic beer!

Over the last couple of months my trainer has been getting louder and louder. In fact, Tammy can hear it in the bedroom on the second floor when I'm riding in the basement at 5:30 am. It also has been chewing my trainer tire to pieces.  One ride was so bad I had little orange flecks of rubber on my back. The last straw was on Friday, when I tried to ride and it felt like the resistant wheel was going to fall off and was totally uneven. I've been toying with the idea of getting an used Computrainer for $1,100 but it comes down to "do I need it or do I want it"?  Yeah I want it but I don't need it.   Then I started looking at the Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer that sways side to side but they're $600. I opted to get the regular Kinetic trainer that are "only" $350.  I went to a LBS that sponsors my (former) training club and offers a 10 percent discount for members.  I walked into the store late Friday afternoon and recognized the guy behind the counter. He's served me before and not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  I asked if they had any Kinetic trainers. He said they're all out but how about a Cyclops trainer?  "Nope, got one and it's a piece of crap." I walked out and went to another LBS around the corner. The sales guy there remembered me and asked how he could help. I replied I wanted a Kinetic trainer and I didn't want a Cyclops because mine is a piece of crap.   "Oh yours is broken?" Well you do know they offer a life time warrantee.  "Ah they do?" I asked.  He called the manufactor in Montreal and they said no problem, send the fly wheel and they"ll fix it for free.  I just pay for shipping.  Sweet!  The only problem, is that it will take about two weeks to fix and ship back.  I checked with Rom and arranged to borrow his as he got a Computrainer. I wanted it for Saturday morning ride so I had to pick it up Friday night except Rom forgot and didn't answer his cell.  I did my long run (all 47 minutes) Saturday morning and in the afternoon I called Peter A and borrowed his trainer as he got a Computrainer as well. Problem solved. 

Sunday's ride was for two hours followed by a 30 minute run. I started riding at 5:30 am because Tammy wanted to go to the gym at 8:15 am sharp. The ride was tougher than I remember last year (I'm following last year's Ironman schedule) as basically it was 100 minutes to time trial and out of the saddle riding. By the last set, my quads were burning. I jumped off the bike and changed into my run clothes. Tammy said I had 35 minutes so I took off. The course is about 5.7 km but flat as a pancake. My legs felt like rubber and I started out slow but finished at a 4:30 min/km pace for an overall pace do 5:15 min/km pace. The last 500 meters I really began to suffer.   Hey Stupid, didn't you have a torn calf muscle a couple of weeks ago?  Doh!  At least I finished in just over 30 minutes.  Later that day, my legs felt like rubber walking up and down the stairs

Note:  Tuesday morning, I weighted 181.8 pounds

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Brick Of The Year

Since I tore my calf muscle back in October by running without orthotics, I started running again last week.  I ran three times but only for 20 minutes.  I also checked with Dr Stoddard and he confirmed by ultra sound that my calf has healed.  The first couple of runs were brutal.  I literately was chugging along at a 6:00 min/km pace. 

Yesterday, I planned to do my first brick of the year by riding two hours and then a short run of 30 minutes or so off the bike but once again, power tap issues.  I started riding and the power tap was reading one watt, three watts, five watts and if I really hammered it, twenty watts.  I knew the batteries in the hub were probably dead and unfortunately I don't have the special wrench to take the cap off.  I made an executive decision to end the ride after two minutes and do my long run (all 30 minutes) and strength training.  I changed into my run gear and headed out.  I ran the Rammerville loop, which is somewhat hilly and it took me 37 minutes for about 6.5 km.  Quite brutal.  I usually run it in 32 minutes. 

I called Peter A to see if I could borrow his wrench to change the batteries but he wasn't home.  I called a LBS in Markham and the conversation went like this:
Me:  Hi, can "you" change the batteries in a power tap hub?
LBS:  Well yes, you "could" change the batteries
Me:  Ok (dork), can YOU change the batteries in the hub?
LBS:  Oh sorry we don't have the wrench.  You have to contact our other store in Toronto
Me:  Gee thanks and I hung up on him.  WTF did you think I was asking?

I jumped in the car and headed to another LBS in Toronto.  I had the batteries so they opened the hub up and changed it for me.  No charge

This morning Tammy was going to the gym at 8:10 am so that meant I had to be riding at 5:30 am if I wanted to get everything in.  My trainer has been making a lot of noise and been chewing up my trainer tire.  I've been fiddling around with it and can't seemed to get the correct setting.  If I don't crank the tension, the ride is too easy and I top out in the hardest gear.  If I crank it too tight, then there are flecks of orange pieces of the tire everywhere including on my back.  I'm wondering if my trainer is shot.  I've been mulling over getting a computrainer.  Both Rom and Peter A got one and they love it but for $1,600 new or $1,100 used, it comes down to "do I need it or do I want it?"  A new top end Kinetic trainer would cost about $600.  Crap this sport is expensive.

The ride was pretty uneventful as I'm following my workout schedule from last year but as proof my trainer is screwed, I rode 74 km in two hours.  Yeah I don't think so.  After the ride, I did a complete change of clothes as it was about -5 degree C and I was soaking wet from the ride.  The run went well as I ran at a 5:30 min\km pace but only for 30 minutes.  I don't think I could have held that pace for much longer.

Another thing I've been mulling over was hiring a coach.  Well I think I did ok with NRG last year, I don't think I suffered enough.  This year's race schedule is not set yet but I'm already signed up for the sold out Mont Tremblant 70.3 on June 23rd and thinking about Rev Three in Ohio in September.  That leaves a wide open summer.  Lisa plans to race every Subaru race this summer while, I'll probably do a couple, I won't do every one.  Perhaps, Calgary 70.3 in the end of July as we can combine in into a race/vacation as Tammy has family in Calgary and Saskatoon.  That would leave a half ironman about every 6 weeks.  Do I need a coach to install some hurting or can I just make do with last year's schedule?  Obviously I won't be doing six hour rides this summer

Weight wise, its a disaster.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


 Once again The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.),  impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10.  Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.),  the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13.  Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15.  Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief  that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or  changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

The winners are:
1. Bozone  (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately,  shows
little sign of breaking down in the near future.
2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running  late.
7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.
8.  Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra  credit.)
9. Karmageddon (n): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:
16.  Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Outdoor Winter Ride...In Shorts???

Normally at this time of year, there is about five feet of snow on the ground and the temperature is -5 degrees C.  Oddly enough, the rest of North American seems to be having a normal winter but here in Southern Ontario the winter has been balmy to say the least.  We only got one half decent snowfall before Christmas and I haven't even put gas in the snow blower.  We had one cold spell where the weather dipped down to -10 degrees C but only lasted a couple of days. 

The forecast for today's weather was for a balmy 13 degrees C!!!  Unreal!  No trainer ride today.  Yesterday, I emailed Rom and Mike A to see if they wanted to head out first thing this morning but both declined.  I badgered Rom yesterday but he refused and Mike went swimming instead however when I woke up it was rainy and foggy.  It was way too dangerous to ride so we went to Costco to pick up a couple of things and $100 later it was noon and the sun was out.  Time to ride.  I emailed Peter A and Paul S but no response so I decided to head out by myself. 

I had put a trainer tire on my tri bike which is too slick to ride outside, so I dusted off my road bike, pumped up the tires and headed out in the glorious sunshine.  The temperature was about 12 degrees C and I only wore a running shirt as a base layer, a white bike shirt, arm warmers and shorts.  It was surreal riding outside in shorts but it felt odd riding the road bike.  I had not ridden it since June 2011 when I got the tri bike.  I felt very high in the seat and my legs were fully extended.  I had taken the seat off but don't remember changing the height of the post.  I noticed the post was about one inch about the black tape I had marked.  I didn't plan on riding for that long so I didn't bother adjusting the seat. 

I headed north on Mccowan and noticed several people were looking at me rather oddly.  Not sure why.  There was a pretty good cross wind and riding up slight hills required way more effort than I remember.  Could I be that badly out of shape?  I turned west on Elgin Mills and then north on Warden Ave.  The city recently paved the road and I flew up Warden.  I felt pretty good so I kept heading north past Stouffville Road and Bloomington Road.  At this point, I had to stop and adjust my seat post as my right knee was aching and I dropped it about one inch.  For the life of me, I can't remember why I would change the height.  By this time, sweat was pouring down my face as it was pretty warm.  I finally hit Davis Dr and turned back south....right into a head wind.  Well I guess that explains why I was riding so good heading north.  I had a nice tail wind pushing me along.  Duh.  The ride back home was a struggle as my back and neck began to ache.  The set up of the road bike and tri bike are way different.  Thankfully I had left my aero bars on the bike but the stack felt like I was six inches higher than the tri bike.  I didn't feel very aero but it was better than sitting upright.  I kept riding south, regretting I rode so far north as the sun disappeared behind the clouds and my toes began to get cold.  I was wearing wool socks but didn't put my booties on.  

It felt good to be riding outside but by then I was done. 

2:05 hours
55.4 km
1,397 calories


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Forest City Velodrome (London-Ontario)

On Saturday, a bunch of us triathletes decided to drive to London, Ontario which is about a two hour drive from Toronto.  Here is Ontario's only indoor velodrome and while I've seen it on TV (olympics), the thought was intriguing.  Lisa had ridden several months ago and wanted to go again so she booked a bunch of spots.  I emailed a bunch of friends and Rom, Rob N, Mike A, Lisa and me all headed out for some fun.

I told everyone to meet at my house for 9:00 am as our track session started at 12:00 pm but you had to sign paperwork so we wanted to be there for 11:30 am.  I knew people would be late in showing up and I was right.  By the time everyone got to my house, it was about 9:20 am.  Then we hemmed and hawed about who was going to drive.  I volunteered to drive but no one wanted to drive so Tammy said I could take the Honda Pilot.  The only trouble was, that I thought I was driving my car (along with someone else driving) and took out the car seat and gassed up my car.  So I had to put the car seat back into my car (so Tammy could drive it with the kids), take the car seat out of the Pilot, clean and wipe the seats, gas up the Pilot and then pick up Rom along the way to the highway.  By that time, it was after 10:00 am. 

The drive down was fun and all non stop Ironman talk as everyone had done an Ironman.  It was pretty funny as the conversation turned to Slowtwitch and the best threads of the years:
  1. Girl gets dumped by boyfriend before IMFL and then cuts the course during race
  2. Ex-wife tries to sell IMSG finisher jacket husband gave her volunteering
  3. Investment advisor who steals from his clients so he can go to Epic Training camp (You have to qualify to attend this camp)          
We stopped at a rest stop along the way and everyone got Mr Subs because the line for Tim Hortons was crazy.  I got a foot long sub and woofed it down while driving.  I can't remember the last time I ate a foot long sub but figured it was okay as we were going to be hammering it on the track.  When we got there (after missing the turn off), naturally we were late.  The first thing I noticed was how much colder London
(-10 C) was than Toronto (0 C) even though we were only 200 km away.  The second thing I noticed was the hallways in the building were the same temperature as outside.  Clearly heating the building wasn't a prioirty.

The building itself was an old rundown hockey rink were the London Knights (local junior hockey team) played several years ago.  All the seats were still intact but they built a track inside the rink.  Needless to say, the building was a dump.  We signed our waviers and got changed in the crappy old unheated dressing room and headed to the track. 

Another surprise was that all the bikes were Fixies (ie no brakes, gears or peddling backwards).  We brought our own pedals and mounted up.  The first drill was simply to ride inside the track, on the concrete rink floor just getting used to the bikes and learning how to slow down and unclip.  It was a little nerve racking at first.  Eventually we rode around with little jaunts on to the track until we were riding entirely on the track.  The track had different color rings painted around.  Black was the lowest ring followed by red, blue and then at the top of the track, yellow.  No one went above the red line.  The track was very short and only 180 meters around so it took about 10 seconds to complete one lap.  The hardest part was trying to keep the pacing.  I often found I was going too fast and it didn't take long to get too close to the rider in front of me.  Seeing that I didn't have any brakes, the only way to slow down was to back pedal a little or ride higher.  The other problem was that if you didn't pay attention, you ran the risk of crashing into the corners as the straight aways were only about 50 meters long and at 30 km/hr you only had seconds to start turning. 

After a couple of drills, we were split up into two groups of four and five riders. I mentioned to Scott, one of the trainers, that I'd be interested in picking up the pace.  I wore my heart rate monitor and while it was impossible to look at my watch while riding, I knew I wasn't working up a sweat.  Scott explained that this session wasn't about hammering it and more about learning control of the bike.  Because the track is so small, the reaction time to a mistake is literally seconds but he said we would speed up a little bit.  While one group was on the track, the other group was in the middle taking a rest and chatting.  There was a thermometer and at track level, it was 8 degrees C (46 F) and at least this part of the building was heated.  The hallways were much colder. 

On the next run, Scott did pick up the pace to 35 km/hr but I found I was drifting a lot more.  Holding the black line was much harder and required a lot more attention.  I also found that my neck and shoulders were beginning to ache as I was riding by the drop down bars.  They were much more stable and offered more control of the bike but also an unfamiliar position.  The other problem was that the group became more spread out. With only four riders, that wasn't much of a problem but if we had both groups riding it would have been.  I tried to glance back to see how far we were spread out and almost lost control of the bike.  Definitely it takes time to getting used to this bike and track.

The last drill involved everyone but one rider would drop lower to the apron and the whole group would ride higher to pass him and then he would hammer it to catch up to the last guy.  This was much more interesting and a little bit more of a workout.  We were only going at 30 km/hr and while that's a good pace outside, on the track it was a pace that you could hold all day long.  I think it would have been like riding about 22 km/hr outside.

I think we missed the last drill as other people started showing up for there session.  Lisa thought we were either not as skilled and couldn't handle the last drill or we ran out of time.

All in all, it was great fun and I would love to back for session two but it is a long drive which makes it a long day.  We left my house around 10 am (after all the dicking around) and got back at 5 pm.  For the upcoming Pan Am games in 2015, they are building a velodrome in Milton which is just west of Toronto.  That would be a 45 minute drive and much more manageable. 

Rom chowing down