Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wimpy cycling legs make for good running legs

Last night I did a run workout that I read about on a fellow triathlete Adrian Delmonte's blog. The workout is quite simple. 

3k at 5k pace
2k at 3k pace
1k all out.

I wasn't sure what my 5k pace was so I decided to just wing it and hope I could go down from there.

Heres how it went.

15 minute job to track on 16th, 

Scrape foot in dirt and create a start finish line.

Reset watch and start.

3km completed in 11:30 (3:51/3:51/3:48). Felt good, first few 100 meters hurt, I haven't run hard in a while, but was manageable once I got my breathing smooth.

2km completed in 7:24 (3:38/3:46), realized I was going to fast after the first lap and slowed it down, goal was 3:45 so slowed down a little too much on second km.

1km completed in 3:26, couldn't keep this pace for much more than 1.5km.

Was nice to do a track workout, lately I've just been doing long runs, I felt I really need to work on speed and haven't had the courage to go out and do a track workout on my own so I'm quite pleased with that.

Tonight, open water swim. Weather looks nice so I think I will try and do 2 laps tonight without a wetsuit. 

Lilia arrived this morning, so blog updates may be a little slow soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Humbling Day on a Bike

This was going to be a comical entry where I boast about a glorious victory at the Kits open water swim race, however, after a rough day at work today, and a very humbling performance on my bike tonight I decided against it.

Sunday I raced the 3k and floundered to a victory in my age category swimming a season slowest pace of 1:37/100 meters. Why my victory, well thats simple, I was the only individual aged 20-24 participating. I wasn't going out with the intention of killing myself and only wanted to use this swim as a training tool. It was a much smaller field than most triathlons I've done, In my race I would assume there were only about 50 swimmers, the result of this being I swam most of the way on my own. This was good practice, I got to work on sighting and trying to swim straight. I wore a new pair of goggles and am pleased to announce they worked great. The blue seventy goggles were very comfortable.

One thing that I am pleased about with this race was that over the summer I have been having trouble with my wetsuit rubbing my right collarbone, and I think swimming this race I have figured out the cause. I am crossing my right arm under my body causing the rubbing. So thats what I need to work on next week.

I followed up Sundays swim by going to the Monday night ocean swim, and this was my first time without a wetsuit. The water wasn't "hot" per-say but it was bearable, and its nice to swim without the wetsuit once in a while.

With my swimming story out of the way, its time to describe my brilliant crit tonight.

I've developed a fairly large head on my shoulders after my previous triathlon successes, and I forced myself to race tonight with the intention of punishing and getting myself grounded. Sure, I am a decent triathlete, but the stereotypes are true, triathletes aren't cyclist.

This was my first time back to the Tuesday Night Crits since before my three half ironmen. I wasn't all too sure what to expect, but I figured I was in for some trouble seeing as how most cyclist would have been training hard building speed and power, where as over the past month I haven't done any of that with my racing going on. And seeing as how I haven't kept up with either of the two crits I did in May, this was sure to be a hard race. How hard was a little more of a surprise to me.

I raced with a heart monitor which I never do, and it led to some very interesting data which makes me pleased I wore it.

Problems started from the gun, as the official was counting down from 5 seconds some idiot lady decided it was a good idea to debate crossing the street. She ended up deciding this was a good idea just as I heard GO. The result being half the pack moved up the street while my side had to break hard and wait for her to frantically drop her bag and run out of the way. Nothing quite like racing to catch up right from the gun. 200 meters into the race, heart rate goes from 72 beats/minute to 156bpm. I know what my coaches back home are going to say, I should have warmed up. Well I did, its just that due to a crash out on the course in an earlier race, the staging time was very long and everyone was complaining about cooling down at the start line.

After the initial confusion at the start, I got into the pack and was riding well. First lap went by fairly uneventful, I was keeping my position (top 5 for once) quite easily. Second lap things started to fall apart, my heart rate on the second climb was reaching 170bpm and I just couldn't push out the power up the hill. My fears were realized, I raced up the hill at a similar pace to the previous races (36-42km/h) but the pack was pushing 42-44km/h. They had gotten stronger over the past month and a half while I hadn't gained any power. This did not bode well for me. After three laps I slipped back from 5th to last place in the remaining peleton (amazing how quickly people drop off, despite moving to the back, I was hardly last place, some 10-15 people had already dropped off). I kept on to the back for another lap watching 4-5 more people fly off from in front of me and unable to catch my wheel and just fly off the back. I was hopeful that I would be able to hold for at least another climb of the hill but it wasn't meant to be. Like an elastic being snapped I was gone. Instead of killing myself, I shamefully pulled out with my worst finish yet, only making it 4 laps of 15.

Ok, now I said I was pleased I had my heart rate monitor. Why, you ask. Because I realized that it was hardly cardiovascular that was slowing me down. My heart race never toped 171bpm, whereas I've gotten my heart rate above 190 on a bike in years past. This means that my legs are wimpy (I know we all knew that). I have noticed that my running and swimming have improved this year, but biking has not, this is because I have hit a plateau with my power output and despite my spinning legs with endurance, I can't increase my watts. I'm changing my training regime. Much more powerful rides, 30-40k at LT (Lactic Threshold) and no more of these 5-6 hour cruises where my heart race stays at 130bpm. I think 2/3 of the way thru the season is late enough to stop my base training. Hopefully thru this I can increase my power output and get more comfortable pushing thru my lactic threshold, because I know today as soon as I hit it, I was done.

There you have it, two pathetic races over the past week, but two very good learning tools for my focused training over the next month and a half until Sooke.

My little sister Lilia gets to town this week, so training may take a hit there, but thats probably a good thing, I don't think I have recovered fully from my last weeks of racing. My legs felt heavy tonight along with wimpy.

I'll leave you with a quote I've been saying all week.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


Recovery has been somewhat minimal this week. I've pretty much just taken the whole week off from training after the last three weeks.

Did a flat medium length (77km) ride today and my legs felt really flat. I'm very happy I'm not racing a triathlon tomorrow.

I am however, racing an open water swim tomorrow. It will be my first. The Vancouver Open Water Swim Association is hosting it down at Kits beach, and I will be doing the 3k swim. I believe its a 2 lap 1.5km route which works quite well for me.

Few Blog updates. I've added a training log at the top. Does this made the blog too busy? Let me know your thoughts, I can still move it.

And there is also a blog tracker which shoes number of unique visitors. That is down the right column. 

Anyways, taking it easy tonight before the race.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vancouver Half Iron Race Report

I've been procrastinating writing this report long enough, and tonight I had the bright idea of watching a horror movie (I don't like scary movies), so instead of sleeping, I'll update everyone on the race.

I've already listed the result, and there is a minor correction, 17th place included one of the relays, so I actually came 16th WOO!

Leading into the race I no longer have the nerves that I had a few month ago where I was concerned about being able to finish a half without bonking. I'm comfortable with the distance, and know my nutrition requirements. My primary concern was actually about my lack of commitment to this race. Being my third race in 21 days, my motivation and preparation were lacking. Normally I alter my diet for at least 2-3 days leading into a race this long. Also, I try and get some good rest. The problem being, doing this requires a lot of planning, and I just wasn't up to it. So my only preparation for this race was the pasta dinner I had on Saturday. I was even up till midnight getting my race stuff organized thanks to some wheel difficulties I had preventing me from getting ready earlier in the day. 

Race morning I woke up at the tender hour of 4AM to get ready for the race. Had my typical breakfast of cliff bars (only had 2 this time, and water).

It was amazing to sleep in my own bed the night before the race, the only issue being that my race needed to be checked in the Saturday, and getting to a race site around 5AM is too early for busses. Fortunately Jody was driving and picked me up. Choppy (Jody's boyfriend), was racing his first triathlon in Vancouver, and the three of us made our way down to the beach.

Getting to transition I quickly put my disk wheel on and did my regular transition set up. My rack wasn't particularly good, middle of a rack and really really crowded. I set down my bright striped towel and get into my wetsuit and prepared for the start of the race.

Vancouver was a running start into the ocean, a new experience for me. I've rarely done running starts (maybe once or twice over the years), and have never done a salt water swim in a race. I was thankful that I've been going to the open water swims at Kits beach because otherwise I think the salt water while swimming would have thrown me off. 

It was a small field of around 100 athletes all in one large wave start. Position wasn't overly important because of the small field, so I just made sure to be at the start and prepared for the sprint to the water. The gun went off and I was shooting towards the water like a maniac. I was first in the water by about 5 feet ahead of second. My only issue is I didn't have the most graceful entrance which instead of resulting in a dolphin dive, was more something like a belly flop. Check out the photo;

I'm the one at the front in the bottom right!
The swim was amazing. I wasn't fighting anyone and just got onto peoples feet and charged through at a comfortable pace. Finishing my first lap I gained a spot running up on the beach around the buoy and was trying to make it back up to the feet ahead. Unfortunately I never could bridge the gap. I followed at about 8-10feet behind. Every time I tried and surge to catch up, they must have done the same because I would power for 30 seconds and still not make up any distance. Fortunately I wasn't losing distance either so that was fine by me. I just relaxed and kept going.

One thing I found interesting and Jody pointed this out to me before the race was that, since the tide was going out, the current was dragging out across the beach (We are on a bay), so keeping a straight line was a challenge but I think I managed well.

I got out of the water in 11th place, swimming a 28:11 according to my watch, good enough for a new PB with a swim of 1:29min/100m!

Speedy first transition and I passed 3 people and onto the bike in 8th. It was really nice having the sprint start after the complete swim, because the result being all my friends racing the sprint were there cheering me on after the first lap and also as I ran thru transition. 

Onto the bike I was flying. After riding the hill to UBC I pulled myself into 5th place! This is about the time I started to feel the previous few weeks on my legs. I'll keep the bike short, but I just had nothing to push. I could easily maintain cruising speed of 31-32kph, but pushing upwards of 33-34 was really hard. I managed to average 33.5 on the bike, which wasn't horrible but also wasn't all too fantastic. 

Bike Turnaround at Spanish Banks

I'm going to complain here for a second, and its something I rarely fuss about but at times like this I feel something has to be said so that the new people to the sport can learn what NOT to do. I caught up and passed one of the elite females (We'll call her Miss Smith) on the first climb up towards UBC. Having overdone it a little bit on the hill she then passed me again, and after a 30 second breather I was refreshed and pulled ahead again, however, wasn't dropping her. She was drafting me HARD. After a little while she passes me and says "With all due respect, if you pass someone keep going." This made me angry at the time, but laugh now, because when I passed her, she was only going 33 but then I was going 35 and she all of a sudden was right on my wheel, draft may have had an effect. Anyways she eventually dropped me, not because she was riding harder, but because a guy caught up and passed me and she just clicked on to his wheel and pulled off him for the next 10k. I couldn't believe it. I thought drafting was something annoying hot shot teenagers did when they are trying to crack the top 10 in sprint distance, not 35 year old women who are riding elite. It was so bad that I actually waved down one of the martials on the course and pointed it out to them. I've NEVER done that before. Regardless she gained about a minute on me through this technique and eventually another female rider Rachel Kiers (Powerhouse on the bike), caught up to me and I knew she would catch up to Miss Smith, so I gave her the heads up about the drafting. I was satisfied to see that when Rachel caught up to Smith that she quickly accelerated past and dropped Smith hard. I feel kinda bad with all this taddling, however, after the race I was talking about it with another racer, and their response was, "yeah, she does that all the time, its annoying." So Miss Smith, if your reading this and pissed at me, you may want to check your race tactics because your not making friends. 

Anyways, enough about my drafting rant, I'm not 100% innocent either, I'll admit I've done some slow passes in the past, but I always try my best not to follow closely, because you can have the best race of your life, but you just need one person to say you were drafting to tarnish it, so pride is was should police you, and not the martials. 

So as I said, I wasn't able to push at all on the bike, was feeling really flat. Got to T2 and have never looked forward to a run more in my life. I was probably a little too excited bout T2. I flew into transition, saw my striped towel, racked my bike (angry that someone was in my spot) and then started bitching because I couldn't find my shoes. Turns out, someone wasn't in my spot, they just had my towel. I've been racing 6 years using the same towel at every race, have never seen it before, and now over a month I've seen one so similar to it twice. I re-racked my bike, put on my shoes and took off, (18th fastest transition time, gross). 

The run I just kept slow but steady. I felt much better than I did last week in Osoyoos, however, seeing as how it was a much smaller race I was running alone a lot. There was one racer, Ricardo Estrada who caught up to me and passed, and I probably could have stayed with him if motivation had really been there, but I saw that I was secure in my position at the turnaround, and that pushing hard really wasn't going to improve my placing, the gaps were too big. So instead I opted to cruise holding a comfortable 4:30min/km pace to the finish. Ricardo did end up running 5 minutes faster than me, but still ended up just 1 spot ahead of me, so I was satisfied with my choice. 

These next two photos are so very staged, I saw the photographer and made myself look GOOD!

I think my face in this photo summarizes the past 3 weeks

No land speed records were broken at this race, but I won my age group and I was satisfied with that. I think that had I not raced these past few weeks, and made this a focus race, that I really could have cracked the top 10 because I feel that between my bike and run I could have cut nearly 15 minutes on a fresh day. 

So there we have it, 3 races over 21 days. First place in my age group at each! I don't think I could have asked for much more.

Thats Rachel beside me, she finished second female overall by only 5 seconds.

Podium of my age group

If anyone else is considering doing something as foolish as this, then I'll share my feelings on the triple header. Was a great experience and posed a lot of obstacles. The first being good planning. I really needed to be careful over these three weeks to not overdo it on a training ride. The second obstacle was the hardest, getting over the psychological barrier. Gearing myself up and getting the motivation to race hard week after week was really difficult. It helped a lot doing it with someone else. I don't think it would have been nearly as easy to do had Jody not been racing them all as well. She was saying that she gained confidence in being able to do it because I was doing it as well. I'll have to agree with her on that, seeing as how she was doing all the races as well (not to mention these were her first three half irons ever), really boosted my confidence that if she was able (and willing) to race them, then I could as well.

Now prioritizing was important. I had to really chose which races were more important to me. I decided that Victoria I would use as an A race, where as the other two didn't matter as much, Osoyoos being more important than Vancouver. 

This was difficult for me, because I'm used to going to every race and hoping for a PB. Racing these races, I could hope for that at Victoria, but three weeks later in Vancouver, that was out of the question. Sure I PB'ed the swim, but then was 19 minutes slower than Vic on the bike and run (Bike was 6k longer). So if your going out to challenge yourself, then this is a good method. But if you are trying to get record breaking times... Then this shouldn't be your route.

That being said, I don't know if I will do it next year. I really like the Subaru 4pack, and I won a free entrance to Osoyoos for next year, so you never know. Maybe in a year I will be ranting about race triple header once more. 

Other races this weekend, Facundo, Kevin, Choppy, and Greg all raced the sprint with some fantastic performances. Facundo taking the overall win with the fastest bike split, and Kevin having the fastest run. Good job guys. And Jody doing the Half IM and making it through the three weeks, I'm really proud and impressed by her for that.

Being two days later, my legs are still a little stiff, but feeling good. Will be able to get back onto my bike and cruise soon. I'm really excited to be able to train hard again and not worry about tapering!

That being said, I signed up for the Victoria Marathon on October 12th 2008. This will be my first Marathon, so as my race reports die down, there will be more training updates about running. It should be fun because Kevin and Doug are also racing the Marathon, and I found out just today that my cousin Sean is also running it. I couldn't imagine a better way to run my first than with a bunch of people I know racing with me as well. I have a target in my head, but I won't reveal it until I have some training under my belt to gauge how realistic it is.

Thanks for reading and keep checking the blog, because although I am not racing I will have updates weekly. One that I have begun prepping is a transition summary, filled with tips on what should and shouldn't be done in transition. 

Oh! I also I fell in love with a Masseuse, I got a massage after the race, and fell in love with a girl named Robyn. Thanks a lot for the massage, I really enjoyed it and it made my legs feel a lot better!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Threepeat SUCCESS!

So I pulled of the third Age group win in as many races, so I am pretty pleased with that. My best leg was the swim, went 1:29 /100m which is the fastest I've ever gone. 

Total time 4:49:20ish, 17 overall

Race report will be up soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Desert Half Iron Photos

Exiting the Swim after being beaten up for a half hour out in the water

Nearing the turn around in Keremeos

I don't know how they got this photo, but this is me pulling over with my flat at around km 50

People made fun of me for my disproportionate wheels after my change

Heading out on the run, minutes later the pain comes on

This photo makes me cringe, look at that fantastic heel strike about to happen.

Running down the hill to the finish

Thankful a brutal day is over.
Hey! Why was my race time 4:58:52! I clearly see 45

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Desert Half Race Report

Before I begin, I want to apologize for taking so long with this race report. I see many people have been checking it, and I know that personally whenever I see someone race, I always stalk their blog to see how it went. Thank you for your patience, and without further delay I'll begin.

Osoyoos Desert Half Iron, Provincial/National Championship.

For those of you who don't know where Osoyoos is, it is roughly 4.5 hours east of Vancouver in the Okanagan. 

A late entry into this race, Jody decided she was going to race and qualify for the long course world championships to be held in Perth Australia in 2009. This was great news because it meant not only did I have company at the race, but also Jody and I could share accommodations, before the race, which over the previous two month has proven to work quite well.

We left Vancouver relaxed Saturday morning. It was nice not to have to rush off and catch the ferry, instead we just casually made our way to Osoyoos. 

Arriving in the early afternoon we had time to pick up our race package and head down to the water in time for the swim lesson. I wanted to go to this because rumors were saying that Blue Seventy was giving out prizes. This turned out to be true and I got a pair of goggles. I haven't tried them out yet, but I will have an update on them soon enough.

After the swim course familiarization we headed back to get our bikes ready in transition and go to the pre race meeting. 

Once all this was done we headed off to our campsite. Jody and I set up the tent, had some food and prepared for an early night. Beside us in the campsite was a really nice family with two small kids from Edmonton, Leon and Sylvia was the couples name, and we spent much of the night chatting with them before heading to bed.

After fighting to sleep thru the sounds of the campsite, I put my Ipod on and was falling in and out of sleep until around 11:30 when the campsite was quiet enough for me to turn off the ipod and sleep on my own. I slept quite well, however, my air mattress was broken so I was basically sleeping on the ground.

4:30 rolled around very quickly, we packed up the tent, I had a quick 1000 calorie breakfast made up of juice and cliff bars and was in transition by 5:35AM. I won't go over specifics of my pre race, but it was uneventful and found me in the water early again at 6:50 preparing for the swim. I was really calm once more and thought that today I may be able to swim with the big boys for once, so I lined myself up on the short corner and prepared to work hard.

The gun went off and this was probably the worst swim I have ever had. By this I don't mean performance wise, for that you would have to look at my first summer of racing and see some awesome 2:17min/100m swims, but I found it really rough and aggressive. The swim started, I sprinted hard for 2 minutes and by this point in most races, I am among the top 20 swimmers and only have clear water and the person in front of me's feet to think of. Well this morning, I was being trampled by everyone. I have never been kicked, pulled, clawed at so badly in a race. I was really getting mad. I couldn't understand either why so many people were keeping up with me. Flashes of a really strong field kept going thru my mind, either that, or I was just really stinking it up on the swim.

It was so bad that by 3-400m into the swim I had already given up. I was no longer pushing hard, I had a complete psychological breakdown and decided to just cruise the swim. After being kicked in the goggles twice and having them fill up, I became the biggest jerk out there, whenever someone touched my feet I kicked furiously and if someone crowded me trying to take over my spot in line I would nearly body check them. Looking back I feel a little bad now. 

Fortunately it was a two lap swim where we exited the water after the first lap, and I had the chance to adjust my goggles and start the second. What really made me wonder about this swim was that midway thru the second lap I refocused and started working again, and I was passing everyone left, right and center. How were these slow swimmers ahead of me. It didn't really make sense. 

I got out of the water and headed to a long run, for an uneventful T1. I did the swim in 30:30 which gave me a pace of 1:32min/100m, not actually all that bad. I took my time seeing as how I had just finished cruising the swim and got on my bike ready to try again. Exiting transition, I got on my bike and headed for my first climb up Richters Pass. 

Fortunately on the bike I think there was a tailwind heading up the Pass from the Osoyoos valley side. I was able to get up the mountain holding a pretty steady 22-24kph over the opening climb (12k). Once up and over the mountain however, things changed quite drastically, coming from the Keremeos valley I ran into one of the strongest headwinds I have ever gone against. Only Hamilton duathlon nationals in 2006 outdid this wind. Heading over the 9 rolers into Keremeos I was having a lot of trouble with my bike, it felt like I was fighting the machine the whole way. The inconsistent wind gust didn't help with the rear disk either and I had to ride the whole way to the turn around with my hands on the hoods, and even there it was sketchy. 

Here is a map of the elevation profile of the race. Now hopefully you'll understand why people call it Canada's hardest Half Ironman.
Reaching the turnaround in 92 minutes (eww) I was really upset with my performance so far. After a fairly poor swim and a sub adequate first half of the bike, I decided that today was pretty much over for me, and that I would just save energy for the Vancouver Half the week later. Amazing what a tail wind can do for your spirits. Making the turn back towards Osoyoos I was flying 56-58kph on the flat. Still being blown a bit side to side by the disk in the gusty wind, but stable enough to really get a good groove and power away. About 5 minutes after the turn around and finally catching back up to the fat old men who were able to plow thru the wind on the way out I started getting a really violent wobble in my bike. Realizing I was slowing down, I figured I must have gotten a flat and sure enough I had. 

Now I can't complain about the flat too much. As I have said I wasn't too pleased with the disk on the windy course. Well, getting the flat, wheel tech must have been 100m behind me at most. I barely slowed down to a stop and they were already on top of me asking if I needed help and if I wanted to simply change the wheel, or actually change the tire. I opted to change the wheel and was given a Ksyrium SL in the place of my disk. The people working from the Bike Barn did a fantastic job, however, they were really funny because despite everything they were really concerned with what size cassette I wanted for my rear wheel. I went with the same 11-23 I ride regularly. After a quick brake adjustment I was on my way again. All in all it was probably a 4-5 minute delay. I watched and counted about 20 cyclist pass me during the pit stop.

This was probably the changing point of the race, considering how miserably everything had gone so far, had the presence of the Bike Barn people not guilted me back on my bike, I probably wouldn't have continued. I got back on my bike and once again had a flash that the race was over and decided to just enjoy myself, make this into a training ride. This was probably the smartest move of the day. I got into a really good groove since I wasn't fighting the bike anymore and probably was riding faster that ever. And the tail wind was nice too. There as one section which was probably a 4% uphill for about 1km, and I rode up the first half at 47-48kph and made it over the top without dropping below 44kph. That was nice.

Heading back into Osoyoos I ran into the same wind that had pushed me up Richters at the beginning but I swear it picked up, and as a result had a pretty slow decent into the city. But it was the same for everyone.

Coming into Osoyoos I was pleased about one thing, that my nutrition despite all of this had gone quite well. I had my 4 gels and drank almost fully bot
h gatoraide bottles and some water. I guess I can say I was pleased about another thing, and that was being off my bike. 

I'll give a little product pitch now. If you can't afford a disk wheel, or its windy, I highly recommend the Ksyrium SL. It was a fantastic wheel. Felt stiff and light, I really didn't feel like it slowed me down with the decreased aerodynamics.

Getting into T2 again it was fairly uneventful. I was quick, but not my typical lightning fast, my drive just wasn't there. One thing I noticed was that only two bikes were racked in my age group, meaning that I was heading off on the run in 3rd.

The run course was very nice. On a waterfront path most of the way for an out and back course that looped back by the finish line. My only complaints were that I feel they could have used just one more aid station. I found km 2-5 really long, and then being an out and back km (6-9, 13-16, 17-20) as well. My second complaint is somewhat unjustified. The race was sponsored by Hammer Gels, and these are something I haven't really gotten used to, I typically have Powergels, something I've gotten used to thru the Subaru series races I've done, and so getting to the first aid station of the run and getting a banana Hammer Gel wasn't too pleasing. I only got about half of it in me and decided enough of that. I ran the rest of the half marathon drinking only water, and sometimes sipping on gatoraide while soaking in a GLORIOUS sponge that they were giving out.

I made the decision that either I was going to vomit from the gels or cramp up from the lack of them, and decided that cramp up was a lot better than being sick. 

I quickly ran down the guy in second place in my division and kept my eyes open at the turn around for number 1 but he was nowhere to be seen. I ran fairly even splits (4:25min/km first 10k, 4:40min/km second 10k) to finish off with a time of 1:36 (I realize those paces don't work out exactly, but I don't care) on the half marathon and a total time just shy of 4:59. 

Crossing the finish line, my name and time were announced but nothing more. I shortly thereafter checked out the results board to discover I had come first in my age group. The guy who was off the bike before me and in first place never finished. I don't know what happened to him. So there you have it. Vincent Lavallee, Provincial and National Champion at Long Course Triathlon. 

Things I've learned from this race. Never give up, no matter how much you slow down, and decent result can be achieved on the worst of days. And even though your not feeling good you can still be going fast as was the case of my swim.

I finished in 35th overall, and without the flat I expect that I would have come in and around 28-29th.  People have argued that the break on the bike during the flat gave me a rest, however, getting back on my bike right afterwards, my legs were really heavy having just gone from 90% to stopped to stand around. I would think as a result any benefit I may have gotten form the rest was eliminated by my requirements for recovery from the lactic acid pool in my legs upon stopping.

Jody had a good race as well. I think frustrating as well because she was using this as a training race and wasn't allowing herself to go all out, but she finished feeling really strong and winning her qualification for long course worlds, Congrats!

Doug was also there this weekend, but had quite an off race. I haven't really spoken to him much about it, but I could tell it just wasn't a good day for him which was upsetting because I was really looking forward to a repeat of Victoria, because he really beat me up there. Maybe later in the summer then.

Leaving the race I decided to take up Jody's offer and come visit her friend Robin with her in Summerland. I had never been there before and it seemed a lot more appealing than going to work the next day. This also meant that I wouldn't have to hitch a ride with a stranger from the race, and Jody would have company on her drive home.

Robin's family was fantastic, I somewhat came last minute and it was just one of those lovely families where all are welcome. I didn't feel awkward about crashing with Jody at all (Jody did check before we showed up if it was alright, don't worry). It was really nice to meet Robin as well, she is a triathlete who is now studying in Ontario, and I hop to get to meet her again sometime in the future. 

We spent Monday at the beach in Penticton working on our tans and then went back for a great mexican fiesta!

Tuesday morning after watching some Tour de France on their TV Jody and I headed back to Vancouver for a good week of recovery before we both race the Vancouver International next weekend.

Just a quick conclusion. I went for a ride tonight, 60k with a few hills and legs felt fantastic. Still a little weak, but I'm really optimistic about next weekend. Psychologically I'm feeling prepared because my friends are coming and I'm excited about that, and also I feel confident that physically I'll be in great shape.

Hopefully I can go for the Threepeat this weekend, seeing as how at my last two races I've won my age group, it would be fantastic to do that again.

Thanks for reading, and sorry about the lack of photos, without spectators the only photos I get are from the race photographer, and their photos aren't up yet.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tour de France Predictions

I've been putting this off for a while now, I'll try and  be as brief as possible.

Green - Mark Cavendish will win a few stages, but I don't think he has what it takes to get over the mountains as strong as Thor or Zabel, Robbie Hunter will also put in a strong showing. I think he will start off in the lead and fade back in the standings. McEwen will win a stage in the opening weeks but then complain the rest of the way thru that his team isn't helping him out. But if I chose one, I'm going with Thor Hushovd. 

Polka Dot Jersey - I'm going with Soler again. If not him then I don't who. I don't think anyone can rival him if he decides to go for the climbers jersey.

Young rider. One of the Schleck brothers from CSC will take the win for that one, followed by the other, this will be at the cost of Sastre's GC standings.

For the Overall, I am going to go with Cadel Evans 1st, Valverde 2nd, and Sastre 3rd. Menchov in the top 5. There may be one fluke who falls into the middle there.

Finally, for individual stages, I expect David Millar to finally win on a long escape.

Too bad Astana wasn't there this year, I really think that Levi and Contador would have made things exciting. I don't think Contador would have been able to win again, but would have been someone to watch.

Evans riding with Popovytch will be a strong force. I don't think anyone can beat. My opinion on last years tour is that Evans deserved to win and got shafted by Rasmussen, had Rasmussen not been in the race, Contador wouldn't have made up the 23 seconds he did in the mountain stages when the two of them took off the front dropping Evans behind. Two pronged reasoning, first, without Rasmussen, Contador wouldn't have had someone to work with and built time, and second Evans killed himself a few days trying to limit losses, a risk which probably cost him more time than if he had just gone steady.

Without Rasmussen my money was on Levi or Evans, and Contador would have just been an afterthought. Sure Contador just won the Giro, but the Giro and the Tour are two very different beast. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

8 Days, 2 Half Ironman

My recovery over the past two weeks since the Victoria Half has gone really well. I haven't ran much, only 1 run of 8.5k, but my legs felt really good for it. And I have been swimming really well and biking even better. I am going to be taking a few days of biking from now until the race because this past week I have loaded on nearly 400km of riding.

I have changed my goals for the upcoming two races. 

Here are the stakes as they stood last week.

Osoyoos (July 6th) - Nationals/Provincial championship. Greater prizes for winning.

Vancouver (July 13th) - Simply part of the Subaru West Coast Series (Not important Race), But two of my friends are  racing it as well (competition), and being in Vancouver my friends could come watch. 

Now here are the stakes as they stand today (Few Changes).

Osoyoos -  Exactly the same.

Vancouver - Kevin nor Facundo are racing, meaning I don't know anyone in the race. It is still in my new hometown meaning friends can come watch, but really my placement doesn't matter anymore.

So, what I think I will do now is kill myself in Osoyoos, try and podium, if not win my age group. And then make Vancouver into a survival race. I'll still go as hard as I can in Vancouver, but it won't matter as much how well I do.

On an added note. Doug is racing Osoyoos, and not that I am really competing against him because he is in another age group. I will be racing to try and hold him off for the run this time. I have a lot of confidence in my running from last week and hope I can carry that with me.

I'll have a race update tomorrow forecasting my race goals. But for now at least, everyone knows what I'm expecting.

Also, weather in Osoyoos is looking fantastic for racing, 25*C and overcast. A significantly better forecast than last years (40*C).

I'll leave you with a photo from one of my rides on the weekend. I just bought a new cycling kit, its Francaise des Jeux, one of my favorite pro-tour teams and I will be cheering them on this weekend as Le Tour de France begins.