Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wish I was racing...


This weekend was meant to be my first proper test of the year, the British University Tri champs waaaay down south in Wiltshire. Unfortunately due to travel logistics (1600km round trip) and my final university project (click here for the post about my project) it has meant that I've had to withdraw. Would have been a fun race, my swimming is definitely on form and I am in general feeling very strong so was looking forward to it.

So the hunt is on for a replacement race, currently it looks like I'll be doing a 35mile bike TT this Sunday and then another race (Sprint triathlon) next weekend. No doubt they will be good efforts for my legs right now...I hope.

After that it is down to proper racing with the ITU Euro Cup race at Strathclyde on May 23rd, Blenheim Elite race on June 6th (but I'm currently on the waiting list) and the Windsor Elite race the next weekend on June 13th. They will all be on TV eventually so keep an eye out if you're in the UK over the summer.

So as I am currently working hard on my final Uni tasks but really wish I was already away racing...I thought I'd put some new pictures up to remind me of the pain :)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Engineering put to use

So as most people know (as I seem to have told everyone) on June 2nd I officially finish my degree in Mechanical Engineering.

It has definitely not been easy, it's a challenging subject, with the most difficult aspect having been my 4th year thesis that I submitted last week. If anyone wants to read it I'll happily send you the 1MB Microsoft Word file, makes for great night time reading, possibly the driest 18,000 words ever!

Anyway before I can pick up my diploma I must complete a group project with 4 other of my classmates, presumably to prove I am not entirely inept at communication and team work! So yesterday, myself and my 4 other teammates received our design briefs to design a hand powered tricycle for disabled children. In my 4 years of engineering finally a problem that I feel socially constructive in solving.

Most of our problems consist of car doors, ergonomic desks, oil trasfer lines...etc. Not exactly the most constructive design elements, but something that could help disabled children get out and about again, exercise and play with their friends is an exciting prospect for sure.

Currently we are looking at different frames, components, seating options and wheel set ups but it looks as if the group is working well together and we'll hopefully come up with a great design at the end of it.

I keep trying to push for Zipp wheelsets and Shimano Di2 components but the "cost" is apparently too high...for carbon wheels and electronic shifting? No price is too high!

Anyway I hope it is a worthwhile project to someone and some of our research gets used somewhere down the line. Every kid deserves the freedom to get outside and explore, regardless of disability and I hope more and more can.


Monday, 19 April 2010


A poem by the great English poet William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


For as long as I can remember...and I'm pretty sure I can remember my 4th birthday party, so a long time...I have been a juggler.

Juggling school with training, training with eating, eating with resting, resting with racing, racing with school...the cycle goes on. But it seems as if I've always been juggling several important things in my life. Unfortunately I think over the years it means some things have been pushed to the wayside when they maybe should have not, an active social life, friends and some of the other fun parts of growing up. I am constantly reminded of this by what my friends get up to when not studying and I am out training but it is not very often I'd rather be doing anything else.

To be juggling therefore is something I am very used to.

The last month however has began a transition between that life and a new one. I am well into the depths of "wrapping up" my degree, thesis all but handed in, one group project left, graduation forms sitting on my kitchen table. I have no doubt the new life of training, training and more training...with some racing, will be a juggling act also, but maybe one with a few less balls...and none of them doused in kerosene and set alight :)

It is a nice feeling, my shoulders feel the least tense they have felt in about 5 years and the thoughts of "the future" which at one point were scaring me to the point of narcolepsy, aren't quite as terrifying. Part of me thinks it's because the sun finally came out on Friday...makes a world of difference.

Anyway for the first time in my life I don't have a plan, I like plans, they make it easier to evaluate whether or not things are going to plan, but surprisingly it's not bothering me as much as I thought it would. I'm just going to take things as they come and see where it takes me.

So as can be deduced by my positive tone today training has been going well. The training camp in Canada was spot on, stealing some of Mr Whitfield's run sets certainly can't have done me any harm. I've have dropped a few pounds as well and I find it always helps you feel you're getting faster if you're looking faster, and nothing says "looking faster" than a little less podge around the waist! A lot of guys out there are training for big races right now, Kelvin (UBC engineering student, mtber and triathlon convert) is gearing up for his first ever triathlon in a few weeks (go man go), lots of guys are getting ready for the start of the national and international triathlon summer, Mum is prepping for her first 10km in 30 years (impressive!), Nicole is gearing up for Ironman Canada in August, Murray from SpeedTheory is well and truly into his training for the STP 300+km bike race, Denise is already stuck in to an insane European summer racing schedule and I have a few races coming up too.

Before I get to the start line for my summers racing I still have to hand in my thesis next Wednesday (by 11:59AM), do a little more training and enjoy a 3 day trip to London (Volcanic ash pending) for my best friends 21st birthday...but it's getting pretty close.

For now,


ps. Some pictures...

View from my window pre-hill reps

Sun, snow, 3hrs on the bike :)
2 hours into the ride, lower altitude, no snow, beautiful
big box of goodies from blueseventy, thanks guys :)
out on a run

Thursday, 15 April 2010

First, very sore, triathlon run of the year (back in March)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Big day, big week.

Training camp has finished.

Certainly the hardest 2 weeks of my life, not just super heavy mileage but more just a continual stream of quality sessions and consistent intensity. Really pleased with how its gone.

Back in January I did a week I thought was the hardest I'd ever do, 6 days of running in a row. The past 12 days destroyed that week. 9 days of running straight, for "swimmer mike" thats a big deal. Today topped it all off, a 7 hour ride, so I'm all worn out and ready for my long trip home tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for making it a great 2 weeks, Speed theory, the akeroyds and Whistler tri club :)

Now it's time to focus on the summer, hopefully the start of a sun tan once again (definite sun on my cheeks today), graduating university and the biggest racing season I've ever done.

Many races, training camps, travel, hard times and good times will unfold over the next 5 months and I'll keep it all up to date here,

Thanks for checking in.


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Training high up in the rain and snow

Where to begin.

Here I am, back where it all started. Whistler, BC has shaped me as a person more than I thought a place ever could. I first came here with my dad back in 98 as a chubby 9 year old, yet to start competitive swimming, yet to really start anything. At that age life basically revolves around friends, nintendo 64, pokemon cards and least I'm pretty sure that's what I was into.

It was here 12 years ago that I began to fall in love with the mountains and snow as well as the trails, lakes and summer sun of possibly the best place in the world. BC certainly dubs itself as the greatest place on earth...and Whistler has to be one of the best places BC has to offer.

At the age of 9 you are yet to make your choices, develop your personality and adult opinions that will stay with you for life. It was somewhere between the years of 98 and now that Whistler managed to nestle its way into my life and make a nice home for itself, I'm pretty glad it decided to do it as well.

The outdoor lifestyle, easy going pace of life and lust for taking advantage of what you've got are all things I feel like Whistler's taught me over the years. Respecting nature, friends, family as well as always doing your best to have a good time, many lessons can be learned from a community...ones that you don't necessarily pick up in school.

Sitting here, 12 years on, on maybe my 20th trip to Whistler in the past 2 years I can say I'd happily never leave. As I've discovered over the past week it can provide a pretty intense training base with its hilly roads (very) and trails as well as quiet 25m pool and gym.

It's one of those places that sucks you in.


Thursday, 1 April 2010

My coach

Growing up your coach can have a real impact, both in sport and life.

I was lucky enough to enjoy the coaching of Eileen Adams for almost 5 years during my best years as a swimmer. I have no doubt it was her influence and training that made those years so successful.

Now as a senior athlete in a different sport I can look back and see that she was fundamental in my progression, at 21 I am now a better athlete and a better person because of her.

For the past 4 years she has fought a long and hard battle with cancer, never once letting illness take away from what she loved to do. In that time she took her most successful athlete to the Beijing Olympics and witnessed her years of work come full circle, never missing a day on poolside and making every training session...more than most of her swimmers could manage.

Early this morning she finally lost her battle.

To say she helped shape a generation of swimmers does not begin to do her justice, for me she was like a mother away from home, there for me through the ups, the downs and the in betweens, every day, every morning, rain or shine.

The world has lost an amazing woman, coach and friend. Never one to accept anything but the best from people I have no doubt she has left an impact with many people, no more than me.

In memory of my long time coach, Eileen Adams, I write with tears in my eyes, she will be missed.