Ironman Mont Tremblant

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Double Trouble...Part Duh

I headed out this morning at 5:45 am for this morning's 35 km bike and 8 km run. The sun is rising later and later each morning and it was chilly! It was only 13C and I needed to wear arm warmers. How is that possible when its mid July?? After the winter we had, I thought for sure it would be a smoking hot summer. Nope, not yet at least. No doubt, it will be smoking hot at IMMT.

I stopped at Running Free last night and bought three inner tubes and CO2s to replace the ones I used up on the weekend. As I was leaving the store, I noticed a table set up selling discounted boxes of GU for $35.00. They were to expire this month but with IMMT coming up, I offered to buy them for $20.00 and to my surprise, they accepted. Score! They regularly sell for $91.00 per box. Hope I like the flavour, grape or something. When I got home, Tammy saw the stuff I bought and asked if I bought a new tire. Nope, the ones I have on the bike are fine.

I headed up the usual route and was heading up Warden just north of Stouffville Road when I noticed it was getting harder and harder to pedal. I stopped and checked my back tire and it was solid hard. I started riding again and it was even harder to pedal and the steering was unresponsive. Crap, my front tire was flat...again. I quickly changed it (I seemed to be getting faster at changing tires) and decided to turn around and head back home as I was almost at the half way point. One thing I did noticed when I was changing the tire was that the tire that Tammy had brought on Saturday to Zephyr, had a scuff on the side wall. This morning, upon closer inspection, it was a hole in the side wall. I decided to play it safe and turn back home. Also it was getting darker and looked like rain. Odd, I don't remember seeing rain in the forecast.

As I rode south down Warden and across Elgin Mills, the tire kept going thunk thunk thunk thunk. I stopped and checked the tire but it was fine. I couldn't figure out where the noise was coming from but rode slower and upright (not in aero position). I was less than two km from home on Mccowan riding hard as the rain started when the thunk thunk thunk thunk noise got louder followed by a SSSSSSSSsssssss.....BANG!!!!! The front of the bike immediately became hard to control and jerked from side to side until I slowed down. At that point in time, it dawned on me that when I was changing the tube, I never checked the side of the tire to make sure the tube wasn't pinched or wasn't bulging out of the hole. So much for being able to change tires fast. I'm amazed that: a) I got as far as I did b) it didn't blow while I was going downhill or c) that there were no cars beside me (it was about 6:40 am). I called Tammy and asked her to pick me up.....again. Afterwards I went and ran for 7 km.

Already late for work, I decided to take my bike into Gears Bike Shop for a tune up. The bike was making a lot of squeaking noises and was getting hard to change the gears, and oh yeah, I need more inner tubes and CO2s. As they checked my bike in, the guy measured the chain...yup toast and the cassette needs changing. The last time they were changed was August 2012, right before IMMT. I figure I must have rode 7,000 km since then. Also my Power Tap batteries in the hub need changing and I need one new tire but I bought two tires, just in case. Total bill should run about $450. This is an expensive sport!!! I've paid less for a car tune up.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Double Trouble

Well this weekend certainly didn't go down the way I thought it would.  Heading out Saturday morning with a smaller group, by 7:00 am it was already hot.  Looks like summer is finally here.  The plan was to ride for about 5.5 hours even though I only had 4-5 hour ride.  I had switched Saturday's workout with Sunday as it was going to rain all day Sunday and I wasn't going to ride in the rain and risk a crash or ride my trainer for four hours.

We headed east and then north to Zephyr and then to Lake Simcoe.  A pretty uneventful ride until we got up to Weir Road (about 55 km away from home).  Weir Road is a nice smooth, lightly travelled road and we were riding along when I heard a loud bang.  At first I didn't know what that sound was or who it came from.  I started to slow down and pulled over to the side of the road.  Crap, my front tire blew out.  There was a gash about one inch long in the tire.  I had something like this when I was at NRG Mont Tremblant training camp and one of the coaches used an empty gel inside the tire to prevent the inner tube from poking through the hole.  With everyone watching, I changed the tube and inserted the gel pack and inflated the tire with a C02.  Unfortunately it didn't work as the gel pack moved and the inner tube bubbled through the hole.  I didn't want to waste another C02 but there was no way I could keep riding with the group so I called Tammy to pick me up.  She mentioned that I had several tires hanging in the basement.  These were the tires that I was using for my trainer in the winter.  She would bring a couple so I could continue my long ride.  There was a small town called Udora about four km away.  It was two km to Ravenshoe (a major road) and then another two km to the town.  Hopefully my tire would hold.

I headed back south down Weir Road by myself while the rest of the group rode north.  I rode very slow and easy but it lasted only 500 meters before it blew again. I started the long walk down the road with my shoes off as the bottom of my feet were killing. Clearly, bike cleats aren't made for walking. A couple of cars past me with no hesitation to slow down but a red SUV pulled over and a lady hopped out. She was running support for a group of bikers out of Whitby. I guess she passed my group and they sent her back. Thank God as it was a long long long walk to Ravenshoe Road. She offered to take me back to Markham but I didn't want to leave her riders stranded so I asked if she could take me to Zephyr which was about a 15 minute drive. I called Tammy and told her to meet me at Zephyr instead of Udora. She waited with me as she had a pump and I wouldn't have to waste a CO2 cartilage. We were talking for a while when Tammy called. She was at Davis Road and Hwy 48 so only about 15 minutes away. The next time she called, she was in Sutton. Too far north and west. The GPS wouldn't pick up Zephyr so I gave her a couple of streets and one of them worked. The lady had to take off to check on her team and about 15 minutes later Tammy showed up.

I ended up waiting about 75 minutes and wanted to ride back to Markham as Sunday was supposed to rain all day. It was a lot hotter and windier by 11:30 am. As I rode out of Zephyr, my Power Tap conked out and was not picking up any readings. About half an hour later, I looked down and it was displaying data. I've toyed with the idea of getting a new one but I think the batteries in the hub are dying which is why the signal disappears. Extremely annoying. I ended up going only about 125 km and as punishment, I ran a 30 minute unscheduled hilly brick.

Sunday's workout was a 60 minute bike followed by a 24 km run. The forecast was for rain all night and into the morning. When I went downstairs, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't raining so I got my riding gear ready, drank a bottle of Boost Extra Calories (350 calories) and headed out the door. I was wearing sunglasses but it was very dark for 6:15 am. I didn't even make it to McCowan before big fat rain drops started coming down. I turned around and made it back home just as the rain started coming down. I took my bike downstairs and rode on the trainer for one hour. I was sweating like a pig and it was just brutal ride even though I was watching a half decent movie on Netflix (the Green Zone with Matt Damon).

After the bike, I headed outside for a 24 km run. The humidity was like a wall and hard to breath. I think this is the first time this year its been this humid. I zigged zagged around the neighborhood ending up at the Tim Hortons at Kennedy and Major Mackenzie. I had to refill my water bottle but the washroom was being used, so I waited. Finally the door opened and I looked up. It was Toraj! One of the guys I was riding with yesterday. We ran together west along Major Mac and then south on Woodbine. We were running at a pretty good pace (5:20 min/km) and Toraj was more than keeping up. We split up at Woodbine and 16th Ave as he was going south and I turned east back home. I reloaded with more water at another Tim Hortons. The air was thick and muggy and my shirt was soaking wet. It was about 7 km back home and I wanted to make sure I had enough water. Running east along 16th Ave, I reached for another gel as I started feeling weak except there wasn't any left. I only packed two gels when I could have used four. At Warden, I had a green light and over my shoulder I could see a SUV turning right. I stopped running to make sure he stopped and when I started running across the street, he accelerated and then slammed on the brakes. He gave me a dirty look as I turned around even though I had the right of way.

My run pace was dropping fast. My Polar said I was running at 5:40 pace. Liar. I know what a 5:40 pace feels like and that is a lot faster than I was running. At Kennedy, I stopped at a red light, normally I would just run through the intersection if no cars were coming. The light turned green and I didn't move so several cars turned left went through the intersection and when there was a small gap I started running across the street (the light was still green) when a small blue car driven by a white haired lady honking its horn.  I jumped out of the way and swore as she tore by.  Twice in two intersections!

By now I was less than three km from home but was running at a brutal 6:15 min/km pace.  I couldn't believe how wiped out I felt.  I had to resort to a trick I read on Jordan Rapp's blog (pro triathlete) of counting to 300 seconds (five minutes) over and over again.  Finally I made it home and as I walked by my neighbors, they stared at me and asked if I had been swimming in the pond.  I was totally wasted and soaked.

I walked in the house and could barely stand.  Tammy just stared at me.  I went to the kitchen and drank a bottle of Boost.  That helped followed by a smoothie and long shower.  My feet had giant blisters as my new othotics rubbed them raw.  Oh well, more suffering.  I spent the rest of the day lying around.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Dog Days of........Tiredness

Well the Dog Days of Tiredness are upon us. Last weekend's workout was a little bit different. Saturday was a 95 km ride followed by a 12 km run. I was pretty wiped out after that workout and skipped the strength training session as I had to go to Home Depot for emergency mousetraps. Tammy left the door from the garage to the house open overnight and we had a furry little visitor stay with us. He decided to hang out in one of the drawers and when Tammy opened the drawer....surprise! She called me in the middle of my ride but I didn't hear my phone. I'm not sure what she expected me to do when I was 20 km away. When I got home from my ride, I opened the drawer and....surprise! Before I could grab anything, he slipped away. After the run, I went to HD and bought a bunch of mousetraps and set them up.

The next morning, I opened the drawer and he wasn't there but I did see him in the pantry. I grabbed a broom and chased him down the basement where he disappeared. I went up to Lake Simcoe for an open water swim (OWS)with Rom. I'm not super comfortable about swimming by myself so we went together. Rom picked me up just after 6 am but we probably didn't get into the water about 9 am (its about a 45 minute drive) and I'm not sure what else we were doing.

The water was a little chilly but fairly calm and very shallow. I can't figure out how some boats don't hit the bottom of the lake. In some spots my hand was touching the bottom when I was swimming. We swam for about 90 minutes for roughly 3.5 km, afterwards I had a two hour bike and Rom had a two hour run. I definitely wasn't in the mood for running but there was a strong cross wind and I only rode into it for about 5 km. I didn't get home until about 2:30 pm. That was a long day of travelling.

In the meantime, Tammy bought sticky traps and the mouse traps were empty. The little bugger licked the peanut butter off without triggering the trap. Pretty impressive considering how sensitive those traps are. I went down to the basement and I saw him scurry around. I chased him until he disappeared under the steps. I laid a couple of the sticky traps out along the walls where he might run by and behind the freezer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of brown fur and bingo! He had run across the sticky trap and got stuck. Man this stuff works really well as he couldn't move. I bonked him on the head with one of the kids training wheel and that was the end of him

On Monday, I had a 60 minute bike and 40 minute run. When I woke up, I was feeling tired. In fact so tired, after the workout, I showered, ate breakfast and then went upstairs and took a nap at 8:30 am! Needless to say, I was rather late for work.

This week's workouts have been more of the same, blah, blah blah.

That's all I got......

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Canada Day Long Weekend Training

Once a year, we get invited to a friend's cottage north of a small town called Havelock (well known for its massive country jamboree).  Its about a two hour drive from Toronto.  In the past, I've gotten Tammy to drop me off just outside of Peterborough and I ride about 75 km to the cottage. The last 2.5 km is on a fire route road through the forest which is basically a unpaved road with crushed gravel and hard packed sand.  I hate riding on it because its twisty and windy with lots of blind curves.  Other cottagers generally drive very fast and I'm always worried I'll get hit.  The other reason is the black flies and mosquitoes are brutal.  I can't ride fast and get swarmed.  I ride up and down the hills with one hand steering and the other hand swatting the bugs away aka the Aussie Salute (if you've ever been to the Australian Outback, you'll know what I mean).  This year I skipped that ride as I ran 18 km before we left but would ride the next day.

Over the years, I've noticed my wetsuit get smaller and smaller.  When I bought it used, I weighed about 168 pounds and now I'm about 10 pounds heavier with no chance of losing it by race day.  Also its old and has small tears in it and...........I wanted a new one.  So I ordered a new one online from Xterra.  A search on Slowtwitch showed that this was a pretty good value for the buck and there was a thread with various discounts using different codes.  I opted for the second level wetsuit rather than the entry level.  Using their "interactive sizing chart" I ordered a medium.  The website said there was a delay in shipping as they were backlogged which I was fine with as they had a 30 day return policy.  Given the crappy spring, it might be awhile before I get to try it out in open water.  Later I was telling Mike A about the wetsuit and he ordered one last year.  He said they were smaller than what the sizing chart indicated.  He had lots of problems but since he already cut the sleeves and legs, he could not return it.  I sent an email to Xterra to upgrade my size to a medium-large.  That was good for those who were up to 193 pounds.  Perfect, I'm 180 pounds and with luck, I'll  be five pounds lighter come race day.

Several weeks later, I received my package.  I went to pick it up but left it for a couple of more weeks.  With the Canada Day holiday coming up, I figured I'd better try it on.  So one night I tried to put it on and it was unbelievably tight.  I could barely get my legs in.  Sweat was pouring down my face as I struggled to put it on for over 45 minutes.  Rebecca said I looked........P-H-A-T.  I shipped it back and ordered a large (for those up to 209 pounds).  A week and a half later, I received another package and this time I didn't wait around and tried it on the next day.  It was still a struggle but I got it on.  I called Xterra's help desk and they said it should fit.  It would expand about half a size once I got in the water.

We got up to the cottage Saturday around 12 pm and I toyed with the idea of going for a swim but decided I better not due to, ahem, family logistics, and opted for a swim the next morning followed by a three hour bike into town and back.  An open water swim/bike brick is a lot harder to do than the traditional bike/run brick simply due to logistics.  One problem with an open water swim is that I don't feel comfortable swimming by myself.  When I'm up at Scott's cottage, he usually paddles in the canoe beside me to avoid getting run over by the jet skis and power boats on the lake.  Scott's cottage is on the water and on the other side is an island which is one mile long.  Perfect. So swimming around the island would be about 3.5 km (turned out to be 4.2 km).  I've swam several times in this lake but never around the island.

The next morning we set out around 8:30 am (later than I would have liked) as the sun was up and it was getting warm.  The thermometer said the water temperature was 80 degrees F and I was more than comfortable in the wetsuit.  Now I know why there is a temperature cutoff for wetsuits in races.  The wetsuit felt great as it did expand giving me a little more room and it was very buoyant.  I swam down the side of the island and I my sighting was pretty good (therefore swimming straight).  It felt like a fast swim probably because of the current.  Making a sharp short turn, I began swimming up the other side of the island.  About half way up, I began to notice the back of my neck was getting sore.  I forgot to bring Body Glide and the suit was rubbing my neck raw.  Also it felt like the water temperature was warmer.  I began to tire and stopped several times to gain my bearings.  It was harder to see the next turn from water level.  By the time I made the second turn I was getting really tired.  My swim workouts have only been 3,000 meters and this was a lot longer. I finally finished in 1:24 (2:00/100 m) and my neck was raw.

A slow transition on to the bike and I started riding down the fire route all the while trying to ride with one hand up and down the hills and swatting away the bikes.  Going down one bumpy hill, my water bottle popped out and I had to turn around and retrieve it.  Instantaneously, I was attacked by black flies, deer flies and mosquitoes.  Finally after what seemed like 30 minutes of riding 2.5 km, I made it to the highway and turned towards town (30 km away) right into a hot, stiff headwind.  Well at least the bugs were gone.  I've done this ride several times and was pretty uneventful with holiday traffic not all that busy.  I rode by lots of dead animals that were half eaten and had lots of flies on it.  Most people gave a wide berth when passing me as there was almost no shoulder.  I was almost at the town when this one guy backing out of his driveway almost hit me and then roared by very close.  I gave him the finger and he stopped in the middle of the road and got out of the car yelling at me.  I yelled back as I rode around him "you should drive closer to me" and he did when he drove by again.  I probably could have touched his car as drove by even closer.  I almost lost my balance and rode into the gravel shoulder which would have been a nasty spill.  The ride home was uneventful other than it was uphill and I got swarmed by the bugs when I was climbing but at least I had a tailwind.  I hit the fire route for the last 2.5 km and got swarmed again.  This time I didn't lose any water bottles.  Hot and sweaty, I jumped into the cool lake water only to have my neck burn when I hit the water.  I forgot about rug burn from the wetsuit.  Later I put some cream on my neck and it burned even more.  Lesson learned...don't forget Body Glide

The next day I was still tired and only managed about 1,800 meters for 34 minutes.  I was in no mood for another swim around the island.  I used cooking oil to protect my neck.  It helped a bit.

Hard to believe there's only 44 days to go.

There's a rumor floating around that on August 30, 2015 there will be Ironman Muskoka.  Word has it the bike course will be two loops of the existing Half Ironman bike course which make it one of the most difficult bike courses in all of North America.  The temptation to sign up for another Ironman is very powerful.