Thursday, March 26, 2009

Highs and Lows

This past week has been filled with a lot of highs and lows. It started off pretty well, my friend Derek and our new swim coach Liam both gave me swim tips at the end of last week. Very simple things, elbow position etc, and WOW did they make a difference. I won't hesitate to say that with one practice I was swimming 5-6 seconds/100m faster for the same effort.

Well thats not exactly the true, its greater perceived effort, but since the stroke is better, its targeting the bigger stronger muscles so the perceived effort is greater, but total energy output is the same.

Who knew a minor change in shoulder/elbow angle could be so drastic. 

Just to demonstrate the change, last week I would be struggling to hold 1:30/100m if I were doing more than a couple. Sunday at practice the workout was 6X100 pull (I'm even slower at pull) and I managed to hold 1:25 for all of them. This was very exciting for me. 

I'm going to have to make a comment to Derek and Liam about giving me swim tips the week before Storm the Wall since they are my major competition.

Come Tuesday afternoon things were going great, then the week took a turn for the worse. A friend and I decided it would be a good time to take a jump off the high dive. Lots of people do it, whats the big deal, it will be fun. Well I landed funny in the water and it honestly feels like I broke my tailbone. Awesome...

Honestly. Sometimes I'm an idiot. 

Two days later and it still hurts to sit down and depending on the movement (kicking in swim) it still really hurts. Hopefully it will be better by next week when Storm the Wall starts up, otherwise I will really pissed with myself. 

To make matters worse, things just went downhill on Wednesday. I woke up that morning feeling fine, got up and headed into the bathroom and got really dizzy, This happens sometimes when I get up to fast but this time was different, I felt really panicky for some reason. I quickly sat down and waited a few seconds for my head to clear. Now things get hazy, I think I went to stand up but I'm not too sure, the next thing I know, I'm laying on the floor and have knocked over everything in my bathroom. I'm boiling hot and still a little out of it, I stumble to my room and lay flat out on my bed and notice I'm sweating like mad. This last for 2-3 minutes then I start feeling normal again and just get cold. I notice my shoulder is stinging and check it out, only to notice I'd caught myself on the radiator and put a nice 4 inch cut on my shoulder. Fortunately its not very deep.

Its a pretty wimpy cut, the reason I'm showing it is more just to demonstrate the fact that I don't even remember getting it. Thats not cool.

The strangest thing of all this, after that 5-10 minutes passed, I felt perfectly normal again. I think this was caused because I sleep under heavy blankets and my heat is often left on. I must have overheated during the night and had similar symptoms to a mini heat stroke or something. 

I decided despite the fact that I was feeling alright to take the day off work, more because I was stressed over fainting, not wanting it to happen again outside of my house. 

Anyways, yesterday passed. I got some good reading and a bunch of naps in and today I'm feeling back on track. Did my swim workout tonight and had a pretty solid swim (despite doing it all pull).

Even though I don't feel sick anymore I still feel under the weather or something strange like that. Its almost as though I feel like I should be feeling sick, so I'm moping around waiting for it to hit. 

Who knows, tomorrow is another day. Going to get a good sleep tonight and hope this all passes by the weekend. I've been having a lot of good weeks lately. A downer was bound to happen eventually.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sweet Football Fantasy Draft

I don't play football, but I can appreciate how awesome this is. 

Likely its been manipulated in the video but who cares.

My favorite is the first guy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Over the past couple of weeks many members of the UBCTC have made trips to the velodrome in burnaby to give a try at track riding. Its a pretty good program they have there, every week they offer learn to ride courses to introduce people to riding at the velodrome.

Just some background on the velodrome. Its a 200 meter track, with 47 degree banking in the corners. That is steep! You need to be riding at least 30kph in order to not slide out of a turn.

Two weeks ago I took the learn to ride 1 course which introduced getting up onto the track and then simple riding techniques like holding a line. Last night I took learn to ride 2 which was a little more technical. We learnt to ride right next to someone, riding with one hand (preliminary technique for riding the Madison), and finally pacelining.

Its a lot harder than it looks. But once you get the confidence in the corners you can really rip along at a good clip. Unfortunately I don't really have many photos from the nights out, my camera has broken. But I do have this one taken by Meyrick during our learn to ride 1 course.

During our first visit it was Claire, Kendra and I from UBCTC who went out. Claire sent me this photo of the three of us.
Unfortunately last night we didn't get any photos, but it would be more of the same.

I hope to soon take learn to ride 3. During that you do more race like techniques at higher speeds. 

Now that I've done LTR 1/2 I can go for drop in. So I hope to do that every once in a while over the summer as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Tonight talking with Kevin, he brought to my attention that the Desert Half Ironman (Nationals) in Osoyoos is on July 12th. NOOO this can't be, it was on the 6th last year. It should be on that weekend again this year, allowing me to compete there and then race Vancouver the week later.

But alas, as it turns out, both races are scheduled for July 12th, 2009. And I'm currently registered for both.

This isn't as bad as it sounds. I didn't pay for Osoyoos because I got a free entry when I won my age group last year. So I'm not actually losing any money. But its still frustrating because I wanted to race Osoyoos because its nationals, but I also wanted to race Vancouver because my friends will all be around to watch.

Its a no brainer at this point. I'm almost 100% sure I will be doing Vancouver. Rob (my roommate) is racing his first half iron in Vancouver that day, along with a few other friends. Its a much more boring course, but how could I even debate. Vancouver is all paid for (through the Subaru 4 pack) and its right outside my door. The race at this point would cost me nothing, whereas Osoyoos is at least a 300$ investment.

This is somewhat good news though. Last year I struggled because Victoria, Osoyoos and Vancouver were all within 21 days. This year this means I'll have a full 21 days to rest from Victoria to Vancouver and will be able to really attack this race instead of coast it like I did last year.

I'll hopefully make up for it this year thought, maybe throw in a race sometime in August like the Kelowna Apple, an Olympic distance and also nationals.

Oh decisions decisions. Anyways, bedtime for me now. Early morning swim tomorrow with Derek. Hopefully I can sneak in some technique analysis from Derek tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Midweek Update

Blisters are still on feet from the UBC tri, however, with proper taping am able to run on them no problem.

Tonight we did a great hill workout, running from Jericho beach up to Chancellor Blvd. Definitely left me tired. Was getting leg cramps sitting on the bus, must have looked some kind of crazy.

Swimming is coming along, I'm still struggling to get the mileage in, but I think that with school settling down I should be able to get back on track. I'm having a lot of trouble waking up in the morning and as a result keep missing workouts. I'm getting plenty of sleep but still sleep right through my alarm.

Finally, I think there may be a second trip to the Velodrome this Friday. I went a few weeks ago and it was awesome, but there should be a full post about that coming soon. For now, I'm going to read my book and head to sleep. I've been reading "I Know This Much Is True" by Wally Lamb, its a good book but far too long, and midway through a whole second story line picks up which I somewhat lost interest in. It will be nice to finish this one and take something lighter, and a little less depressing.

Thats all for now, I'm OUT!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Now that Blogger has decided to give me access to my blog, I can finally update on my trip to the states.

The second half of my trip to AMERICA was spent in Casper Wyoming visiting my friend Mike. Mike is pretty much my oldest friend, I've known him longer than I can remember. He has a cottage right next to mine in Amherst Shore, Nova Scotia. He is currently working for a drilling company and living in Casper.

After taking a short ride from Denver to Casper on a small prop plane, I was welcomed to Casper with the wind and Mike. Mike picked me up at the airport in a behemoth of a truck. It was his company truck, a Heavy Duty Ford F350. It was pretty sweet and the topic of many of my jokes/comments throughout the rest of my trip.

That first night we didn't do all to much, simply went back to see his house (thats right, Mike is a home owner) and make some delicious pasta dinner. I mainly spectated, Mike and Gina made most of the dinner.

That night we just relaxed and watched movies. The next day Mike and I woke up early and headed to the gym. We did pretty well of making this our morning routine of getting up early and working out. Was nice, I normally am really bad in the mornings, but having someone else there to push me to go was great. 

The gym was funny, although a fully functional gym, when you walked in they didn't ask for any identification or anything. I guess if you know about the gym, you must be a member. So Mike (who is a member), and myself just walked in each day. By the third day the lady at the desk even recognized me and said hello.

On my first full day in Casper, Mike and I went to see the Pioneer Museum where I learned all about the Oregon Trail, Pony Express, and many other adventures of pioneers heading west back in the day. I learned that the pioneers heading west was the largest non forced migration in human history. Something like 400 000 people traveled west.

I think the museum was built somewhat for children, but Mike and I had a good time all the same. 

Pretty Sweet Bison Skull

Mike puling a wagon.

My second day in Casper was spent doing MENS WORK! Mike is selling his Bronco and we needed to clean up the engine and also get it running again. After a quick trip to a motor shop we got a bunch of supplied to get the engine fuel intake working again. This involved Mike fiddling with stuff under the hood and me sitting in the drivers seat turning the key on demand.

After a little while, we got it working again. 
Mike jump starting his truck from his other truck
Just to demonstrate the behemoth that is his work truck
Mike hard at work
Mikes house, it came with the skull. SWEET!

Once we got the truck all cleaned up we went up into the mountains for some sightseeing. There were some really steep roads which would have been amazing for biking, check out this road carved on the mountain. We drove up it, some parts easily well above 10%.

View of Casper from a lookout on the mountain

Once we got over the mountain there was a valley and snow on the other side, unfortunately the road was closed off due to the snow, but we got out and took some photos. It was crazy windy and just starting to snow, the clouds were really blowing in. 
Random broken down barn.
My attempt at demonstrating how much wind there is
Mike and I drove to the end of the road, check out that truck, its huge! Mike is tall to begin with
When we got back to the lookout the clouds were coming over the mountain. I tried to get a few photos of it but none of them really give it any justice.

This is probably the best photo of the clouds just gliding down the side of the mountain

On our way back to town we saw some wildlife. We had actually seen quite a bit of it, but never this close up. I have no idea what these were called, I think American Antelope or something, someone correct me...

Following our little nature expedition, was dinner and a movie, we went to see the international, I thought it was pretty good.

Friday was my last day in the states. We went out for breakfast, and then did a little shopping. I wanted a belt buckle and boy did I find one!

Check it out. 

Then we did the long drive to Denver where Mike dropped me off at the airport.  Wyoming wasn't quite what I expected, I thought it was pan flat other than the rockies, however there were random flat top mountains all over. I wish I had gotten a photo, but my camera broke. 

All in all a fantastic trip!

Parting thoughts on Wyoming that I found interesting:

- In Wyoming, you can't recycle, apparently the state doesn't have a facility for it so everything simply goes in the trash. Being a neighboring state to Colorado and coming from Vancouver this seemed crazy. 
- Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has a truck. One day we drove in Gina's car and I felt like less of a man in Wyoming, and she has a nice car.
- Gas prices are ridiculous there. Mike's truck took 38 gallons of gas for 68$. This got us the 300 miles to Denver. Convert that to Canadian. 150 liter tank, brought us 500km. Had we not been driving a diesel truck, prices would have been 30% cheaper.
- The current threat level in the airport is ALWAYS at orange. 

Anyways, thanks Mike for the hospitality. Sorry this post too so long to get put up. I blame it on two things, first blogger sucked this past week, and you introduced me to the show Weeds. Well, now I'm all caught up.

Take Care!

Monday, March 9, 2009


A lot of talking about me, I forgot to mention everyone else. 

Facundo won the race in an awesome display of dominance.

Nick Finished solid in 3rd, letting me know I have a lot of work to do before our next meeting in two month.

Jamie unfortunately was sick twice on the run, and had a disappointing run split but still managed to finish in 5th. 

And Matt finished right behind me in 8th.

There were also a lot of first time racers this weekend. 

Andrew Wight and Claire Askew from UBCTC both did their first triathlons this weekend and both did much better than I had my first race way back when. I don't know all the results yet, when I have more time, I'll make a list.  

UBC Triathlon Race Report

Yesterday kicked off the start of the 2009 Triathlon season with the UBC Triathlon. My heat was pretty late in the day, 12:40 so I had a nice relaxing morning getting ready and then watching some of my friends race before the start.

I took a few liberties on race morning for convenience which I normally wouldn't do for a serious race, but being the UBC tri, I didn't really mind, such as eating only 1 bagel for breakfast but toping it off with a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies from my little sister. Or deciding I didn't really care too much about pumping up my tires because there was a line, 110 would be fine, even though I normally pump them to 150.

I liked this situation, nice and relaxed. 

In my heat were a bunch of my friends; Facundo, Jamie, Kamal, and Nick were all starting ahead of me, and Matt was just behind. The swim was pretty uneventful, I couldn't really get into a good rhythm, I kinda just cruised. I swam mostly alone until about 1100 meter when a girl caught up and passed me, I didn't really put up a fight because I knew I would be able to draft off her and just chill out. But when she passed some girl behind me decided she wanted to pass as well. For 100 meters she aggressively hit my ankles and feet. In pool swims the rule is normally that you tap feet if you want to pass someone at the wall, but if everyone is in a long chain, this doesn't count because I was equally tapping the girl in front of me on the feet. Well girl behind me decided she had enough and gave me a two handed ankle pull sinking me under right before the wall. I was PISSED! Had this been open water things like that wouldn't fly. Two things I would have done, first given her a HUGE kick in the face for a stunt like that. And second, I would have spent the next 50-100 meters climbing over her hip to teach a lesson. Unfortunately, being a pool swim I couldn't really get even because in this little chaos a guy got between us. As a result we all followed the lead girl. So well done, she gained 1 body length by dipping me under. Getting to the change tent I was bitching about this to Matt forgetting that the girls change tent shared a wall. This started a short dispute between myself and her, but I'm pretty sure I won because everyone in the tent seemed to agree that what she did was pretty poor.  I didn't waste much energy on this fight though, it was similar to an internet fight since it was anonymous thanks to the tents, and those never go anywhere. 

Out of the tent with my shorts and a helly hanson shirt and jacket I was off. A quick hop on my bike and was underway. 

I got onto the bike in 27:15 including the transition, I think my swim time was around 24 minutes, a fairly lazy effort. I should have been closer to 23 considering my fitness.

Not much happened on the bike, I caught up to Matt Reeve and we pretty much traded off 100 meter leads from then on. 

Bike Split 1:09:42, decent considering early season.

We came off the bike pretty much together and started the run. Here is where my first big mistake of the day came in. I was wearing two pairs of socks for the bike, but wanted only one for the run. Trying to strip one layer off I accidentally took both. Deciding this didn't really matter too much I went with it so ran sockless in new shoes. Stupid I know, but I figured it was only 10k who cared. I reached about 6k and the blister was there, 8k and the blister had broken, 10k and had nice bloody feet. Oops. I'll regret that this week.

I thought I was in no mans land during the run so I didn't really push that hard. I thought Jamie was the next runner ahead of me and knew I wasn't going to catch him so was just playing defense on the runners behind me. In retrospect this wasn't a good idea. During out race I was catching up and passing a lot of sprint distance triathletes, there was a small girl who was running ahead of me who I thought must have been one of them so I didn't really put on the hunt. Finishing the race I learned she finished just ahead of me in 6th.

Oh well, I finished in 7th with a pitiful 44 minute run (I probably could have pushed closer to 41-42 without hurting too much).

All in all I was satisfied with this race, I braved the cold and actually went without my leg warmers, and it paid off. 

This was the start to my 2009 season, and my first Top Ten of the year. One of my goals for 2009 was to finish top 10 in all my races, so now I've started.

We got really lucky though, despite being cold, the sky was clear and the sun was out. I'd say it was probably 3*C when I race, as I started my ride home after the race it started snowing. Had the race been one day later I think it would have been cancelled, this is what UBC looked like this morning. I got this photo off Michael Adam's blog, another triathlete at UBC who raced the sprint yesterday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

UBC Triathlon Pre Race Thoughts

My race is in a few hours, and its currently -2*C outside, awesome. Really not looking forward to the cold, I think I am going to wimp out and really get dressed up again this year. Really, its just not worth it being cold for a race early March.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Upsetting Test Results

Recently I've been participating in a cycling study being performed by WADA, and tonight's test involved a gradient VO2 Max test, a Wingate test, as well as a body composition analysis. 

I'm a little frustrated with the results of the night to say the least. I don't have any of the raw data but I'll explain why.

The study write up said they were looking for male cyclist, capable of holding 40kph for a 20k TT, with a VO2 of 55 or higher, and non asthmatic. 

Non asthmatic, check / VO2 of 68, check / 40kph TT; hmmm, ok.

The only thing that really concerned me was the 20k TT result. I knew I was within seconds of that, but who knows on one of those computrainers.

So tonights testing I started off with the Wingate, it hurt, its never pleasant, but I don't know how I did. I'll learn the result next week when she e-mails them to me. Then I had a gradient VO2 max test (resistance increases by 1 Watt every 2 seconds, same as last test). In the VO2 max test my heart rate was having trouble getting up there, but I ended up breaking at 380 Watts. The test ended when you are no longer pedaling at 80 rpm or higher (the last study it was 60rpm).

So not only did I put out more power, but at higher RPM than last time, I was pleased with this improvement. 

However, I was told I wasn't strong enough for the study. I was a little confused by this. I fit pretty much everything they were asking.

Well, turns out, they wanted the TT effort to be at sustained 300 Watts, and if thats impossible then 275-280 minimum (but thats already not ideal). What's ridiculous about this is that if I were to hold 300 Watts, I would be going 45-48kph, way above their target zone. The study didn't account for body weight, so being a nice buck forty, although my power to weight ratio is ok, my max sustainable power just wasn't there. Kinda made me wonder about WADA for a bit.

And what's even more frustrating about this is the way the tester acted, she clearly realized midway through my test that I wasn't going to reach the right target zone for their testing, and her enthusiasm just disappeared, clearly now I was just wasting her time. She looked over the results really quickly, and when I asked her what something meant, she gave me a smug answer with the reply "I couldn't explain it to you, thats 3 years of schooling". Really because I got the impression you were just looking at the ratio of oxygen intake to absorption, but hey. And she concluded to say that my threshold was 180 watts, and that this is probably about the max I could sustain for a 30 minute TT, and that if I trained it, I could push through the pain and maybe hit 210. I wanted to correct her and point out that I've done a 1 hour TT at 240 watts but she clearly didn't want to have anything to do with me anymore so I decided to hold off.

The worst part of this whole situation was the way she acted like I was wasting her time, didn't she realize she contacted us looking for volunteers and I've changed all my schedule to help her out. Sure I would be getting something out of it, but she needs subjects more than I need the data. A little thanks would have been nice. 

All this to say I wasn't too impressed with her professionalism, and if this is any impression of how WADA runs, I'm not surprised people complain so much about them.

So oh well, I will not be continuing the study, but got a free VO2 max test and Wingate. 

I'll give a full post with results when I get them next week.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Boulder Wrap Up

I have fallen behind on my blog post. Its frustrating because I have idea's for post, but no time to write them.

Instead of a detailed recount of the rest of my trip, I'll simply do a photo diary of it.

Monday, Angela's last day in Colorado was spent in Denver. We went down to the city and walked around, checking out the shops and simply enjoying the nice day.

We walked around the Art Museum which has a lot of cool sculptures around

This was followed up by going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Will and I really wanted to go there to see some dinosaurs.
This is me growing very impatient at the lack of dinosaurs we've seen, I threw a bit of a tantrum

We continued walking along checkout out the shops on 16th street mall. Here will had his second accident of the trip, a little pop mishap. Not as embarassing as the first misshap, but photo documentation nonetheless.

Shortly after Will's accident, we came across this awesome car.


On our way to the museum however, we ran into our first roadblock. The iPhone which had been directing us without failure all weekend led us astray. This though, was in no reason fault of the iPhone, I blame google for giving us the wrong address.

Angela and I gave up, but Will kept looking, finding the museum eventually.

The museum was pretty cool and it was a fun way to round out the afternoon before driving Angela to the airport. 

Kelly's best dino impression

This is how we roll heading into the museum!

That night was spent watching Slumdog Millionaire, and an early night.

Tuesday arrived and we really didn't do much, made pancakes, watched, I'm on a Boat, and then I headed to the bus stop to catch a bus to Denver Airport (Angela got driven, apparently they love her more).

The bus was uneventful and the flight was nice and short with little turbulence. I landed in Casper Wyoming and was welcomed by a great meal with Mike and Gina.  But more on that in my next post