Wednesday, 24 September 2008

OK now it's real Winter training

At the risk of sounding clichéd (Mike .. clichéd? never) autumn is an awesome season. The campus is already turning orange and red, Whistler had it's first snow fall, the farmers markets are cropping up on Sundays with pumpkins, corn on the cob and country bands playing. That said I do feel like I'm living in a cliché sometimes, yesterday I was walking down the main street on campus to have a blue pick up truck speed past, filled with the varsity football team standing on the outside of it screaming and shouting with Blink 182 blaring through the windows. I felt like I was in a scene from American Pie...or National Lampoon's!

Training is heavy. This week has been solid, NO aches and pains to report which is the first thing, keeping ontop of the nutrition - lots of protein, fruit and carbs and trying to get in at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Monday I headed out with Denise (World Junior Champs Cyclist) for a 90km ride including the now routine Cypress mountain, was good to have some company for a longer ride and she gave me a few tips =] That was all for Monday, 3.5 hours on the sadle was enough to get me in bed by 8! Tuesday I was in the pool early at 0530, 5km later after 16 x 100's I was out and off to class. Later on that morning I headed out with Gordon for a 15km run loop, 1 hour 8 minutes was pretty quick so again called training a day after that.
Today I was planning on a steady 2 hours on the bike but was keen to try out one of the other local ski mountains Mt. Seymour, I had been told it was the hardest climb around so wasn't sure what to expect.

First and foremost it wasn't a 2 hour ride. I thought somewhere in the region of 3 hours but that was without allowing time for the climb...and what a bloody climb! Once you treck the 37.5km through Vancouver to the base of Seymour your greeted with the one road sign you don't want to see when on a bike "Danger road steep ahead, gear down for the next 12.5 km - 12%". Boy were they not exaggerating, you turned a corner into the National Park and the road just climbed, it was granny gear stuff...and hard granny gear stuff. Then the rain came on. Time for "Eye of the tiger"...out came the iPod...on came the Montage music. I climbed and climbed and climbed. After having left campus at near enough 6am in the pitch black, it was now 0830, pouring rain and I was over 40km from home...and still climbing. The hill just doesn't give up, I was on it for just under 1 hour 10 good did it feel at the top? Awesome. From the ski station at the peak you could see America, all of Vancouver and through to Vancouver Island, worth it!

But that was before the decent...then the climbing paid off! After over an hour going up I was at the bottom within 12 minutes. 80kmph on the straight bits, 50 on the corners and an avg of 70 for the way down, never been so fast in my life! Two dog walkers waved near the bottom laughing at the grin on my face, nothing could stop me now so I forgot all about the time and cruised on home for only my second 4 + hour ride ever. This floored me as you can imagine so I've been loading up with food all day, napped this afternoon and will have a big dinner before my swim set tonight.

This kind of training is what I love, the long hard stuff, the rain soaked, 12% gradient but "still going to give it a go" type stuff. I was told when I started the sport last year I would get hooked and never want to stop, well I'm definately hooked...and I can't see myself stopping any time soon. I am keeping tabs on my distances so don't worry I won't over do it,
but all seriousness aside ...

this is so much fun!


Friday, 19 September 2008

Working Hard

That's it.

Sun's gone.

Back to normal.

Three weeks was too much to ask, but if the sun had stayed out today we would have had 21 days of uninterrupted sun here in Van. This kind of 25 degree + weather is unheard of for this time of year but it's been great and has given me a chance to get in some good training while the sun was out. I have topped up the sun tan for the year (with a slight jersey mark appearing on my arms) and settled into the routine (I use that phrase lightly) of student life.

Class is going well, not too busy this term so lots of time for other activities, that said last night I was in the library for 2 hours geeking up on the "Gamma function" which is far too complicated to be trying to understand after a weeks hard work so I rewarded myself with a beer afterwards! Had two big runs this week, 16.5km and 17.5 km, nice to get out and run for more than an hour, no pains to report. Bike wise I've been out for a few big (for me) rides, did the Cypress mountain 85km loop again plus another 2 60km+ rides throughout the week. Heading up to Whistler this afternoon for the weekend, my friend Collin is riding a MTB competition and we're taking up some others for support, should be good and is exciting taking some people to Whistler for the first time.

Lance is back. Bring it on I say, just wished he hadn't said he was going to win.

The rock. The rock is filming on campus next month - going to invite him over for a beer.

Whistler. The new Peak to Peak gondola opens in December and the first trial runs are this weekend. Woohoo...

...and thats about it.

I've got class in about 10 minutes so I'll round up with something I read in a Scott Tinley article. He's pretty insightful and writes very well, check out the back page in "Triathlete" mag if you get a chance,

"I sometimes wonder if all things in sport are contextually bound by how we perceive their value; a measurement relative to goals, needs, personality traits and something of the spirit that we have no control over. But other times I think I've made too much of the whole affair, that sport and living are like hard rain - loud to the ears but soft on the skin. Perhaps I ought to just relax and do them"


Thursday, 11 September 2008

Winter training 1


I know its September, but after a mandatory week off (after my race last Monday), granted more of a training light week as there was no swimming but a few good cycles in the sun, I am ready to get going with winter work and the heavy miles speeding towards 2009.

So far this week we're on thursday and currently sitting at 14 hours of work. Three swim sessions, last nights was coached by Canadian Olympian Brian Johns, where I managed to pull out a 2.08 for my 200m Freestyle...however don't think he was particularily impressed. A few nice runs along the beach, Marine Drive and through the trails including an 11km loop on Tuesday with Gordon (Junior Olympic Volleyball Champ) on my floor who keeps a decent pace! And pushing 200km on the bike already with a monsterous 85km today from the UBC campus to the Cypress Mountain Ski resort.

The road stays pretty flat until you arrive 27km later at the base of Cypress Mountain and the Cypress Bowl Road. Here the road takes a sharp right and stays at a 7% gradient for 15km, which takes a while....about 48minutes for me but significantly longer for the two mountain bikers I past attempting the accent. Awesome fun though and I trundled back onto campus for lunch (Grilled chicked burger, fries, chicken and cheese quesadilla and 2 doughnuts) some 3 hours 26 minutes later.

It just seems easier to get yourself out of the door here. Everyone wants to know what your doing, where your going and what your training for. There is no stigma attached to kitting yourself out in spandex head to toe and heading out for 3 hours on your bike, your one of hundreds on the roads at any one time and your only joining the thousands out running, walking and enjoying the lifestyle Vancouver seems to serve up in massive portions. The landscape we are surrounded by here invites you to explore and stay out on the trails waaayy longer than you planned. DO NOT make time constraints in British Columbia as you will break them, come here for a month and stay for a year...

I'm here for a year so who knows when I'll come home!

All the best


Monday, 1 September 2008


I'm not sure if there is something in the air over here but I seemed to wake up this morning a bit perkier than usual.

Usually when I get up at 530am I stumble out of bed and wonder off in the general direction of a swimming pool for my normal 5 or 6km I swim in the mornings but today I had a mission and I was up for the challenge.

It was the annual Vancouver city Triathlon in the gorgeous Stanley Park, the same venue as the 2008 ITU World Championships that I raced in June. More than one thousand spectators turned up, either family and friends or the huge amount of people who use the park as their morning walk, to cheer us on and it really added to the atmosphere.

I had a good run up to the race, my last this season, with a win last weekend in the Whistler Peak race and a 2nd the weekend before at the Canadian Triathlon Championships so was confident in my training and ready to go all out. We plunged into the Pacific at 0730 and I came out, in the lead, 9 minutes later with a good gap to give me the solid lead heading off into the bike. I pushed from the word go once out on the bike course, got my feet into the shoes and went on a charge. My legs were feeling great so kept the speed up during the massive hill on each of the two laps and just kept foccused on the fact that there were probably lots of big fast cyclists catching me up. As it turned out there weren't any guys out catching me up today and I came into transition with a 2 minute lead and the fastest bike split of the day. The run was fun as I just stayed relaxed and kept technique in mind, last years champion was chasing me down but I did enough to stay in front and sprint across the line to about 500 vancouverites cheering which was a nice feeling.

This was my first overall win in a triathlon and the first time I've ever set the fastest bike time so as my last race of 2008 it was great fun and a success.

I'm now more psyched up than ever to get going with off season training and put in some big miles heading into 2009,

Thanks to Blair for 2008,

All smiles from Vancouver,