Racergirl Television: Setting Your Season Goals

This episode will help you to set your goals for the 2012 race season.

Start with your OUTCOME Goals and then decide your PROCESS goals.

Make your goals measurable, challenging, realistic, and personal.

Hope you like the show. All shot with the GoPro Hero HD2 www.gopro.com

All I Want For Christmas Is To Train In Italy

Melanie McQuaid and Fawcett & Company Cycling Expeditions Offer First Mountain Bike Specific Training Camp to XTERRA racers and Multi Day Mountain Bike Racing Participants


The first ever OFF ROAD training camp has been dreamed up and tested just in time for the 2012 season.  Looking for a way to put some miles in but have it be SPECIFIC to off road racing?  We have the tour for you which will fulfill your training objectives while ticking a box in your bucket list of lifetime adventures.  Tuscany, Italy will be the location of this incredible adventure.

Tour Overview

Fawcett & Company Cycling Expeditions is excited to offer an amazing 9-day mountain bike training tour from Rome to Florence. 3-Time Xterra World Champion, Melanie McQuaid will be our guest guide. There will be swim and run options throughout the tour.

Learn the MelRad Racing philosophy of training with coach and pro athlete, Melanie McQuaid while experiencing Tuscany – one of the most beautiful and history-rich areas of the world.

The 2012 tour will begin 2 days after Xterra Italy (www.xterraitaly.it) which takes place in Olbia on Sardinia, May 27th.

Participants on our tour will meet on the evening of May 28th in Rome at the tour hotel. We will start riding on May 29th. The tour will end on June 6th in Florence. The tour will be fully-supported with guides and vehicles.

Meals and accommodations are included in the price of the tour. We will be supported by our partners, Progetto Avventura of Italy.

Ride Overview

Our ride starts next to the Colosseum in the heart of Rome and concludes in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

This ride will incorporate ancient trails including Via Francigena – the pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome, forest roads, mountain biking trails, low-traffic secondary and unpaved gravel roads including the Strada Bianca or White Road, which criss-crosses Tuscany and passes through the most breathtaking scenery in the region.

The accommodations are a mixture of local farm-stays and small hotels. Tuscany is home to the Slow Food Movement and all of the food and wine provided is produced and prepared locally. e most challenging aspect of this ride is the cumulative climbing with an average 1,500 meters of climbing per day.

Participant Profile

This ride is designed to be challenging. Riders should be comfortable cycling off-road on mountain bikes for between 4-7 hours per day. This has been designed for XTERRA athletes with running and/or swimming options at the end of each day’s ride. However, pure mountain bikers are encouraged to join as well.  There is also a Companion Program which will feature visits to local points of interest – please contact us for details.



Price: $3,350 CAD$ per person Size: Between 7 – 16 riders


  • 9 days of training
  • Meals, snacks and water during those 9 days
  • 10 nights of accommodation (starting May 28)
  • Vehicle support and luggage transportation
  • Professional bike guides and drivers
  • Training tips from 3-Time XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid

Does Not Include:

  • Flights (and baggage fees)
  • Services, transportation, food or accommodation before May 29 and after June 6
  • Meals on May 28 (arrival day)
  • Additional drinks or services at accommodations (you are on your own if you are REALLY partying)
  • Gratuities
  • Everything not explicitly listed under “includes”

Registration Procedure:

Procure and return completed registration form: chris AT fawcettexpeditions DOT com

Make a transfer of CAD$ 500 to secure your spot. Places will be reserved in the order of deposits received.

Minimum of 7 riders, maximum of 16.

Receive confirmation of registration e-mail from Fawcett & Co.

Send remaining balance of the tour cost at least 45 days before the start of the tour

Receive final confirmation e-mail from Fawcett & Co.





Racergirl Television: 12 Days of Xmas Spin

This workout was designed for a 1 hour spin class on a Powerbeam or a Cycleops fluid trainer. Ideally you have cadence at minimum…. this workout did not incorporate watts.


I also coach a group at Catalyst on Monday nights on spin bikes where we incorporated standing drills instead of cadence since those bikes do not have cadence.


If you are diabolical and want a LONG workout.. you can do this as traditionally the 12 days of Christmas works where you repeat each previous action on the list as you move from one to twelve:

ie 1st day,  2nd + 1st day,  3rd+2nd+1st day……until you get to 12+11+10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1

However, that will be a 2 hour workout not including the core exercises which will be astonishingly difficult if you do them that many times.  Not how this was intended.  We did this once straight through in my 60 minute spin class. But, fill your boots if so inclined.

I also tested Christmas music in my Monday class and it was a #fail.  Christmas music only makes you want to stuff yourself with sugary treats, sip creamy alcoholic beverages in the afternoon and sit on a couch reminiscing.  It doesn’t inspire effort and suffering.  Rock out, people!

All of the exercises are demonstrated in the Racergirl TV clip in this post if you aren’t sure of any of the exercises.



1st day of Christmas:

1x 1′ spin(actually you want to warmup for 10′ or so but if you are doing the 12 days of xmas for 2hours I figured 5′ easy wasn’t worth having here)

2nd day of Christmas:

2x (30 seconds spinup to max cadence/30 seconds easy)

3rd day of Christmas:

3x 30seconds of plank position alternating left side/front/right side

4th day of Christmas:

4x 10 rpm increases/minute (start at 100 for 1 minute then 110/120/130rpm)

5th day of Christmas:

5x 10seconds of plank hops with 5 seconds rest

6th day of Christmas:

6x 1minute alternating single/double leg pedaling

7th day of Christmas:

7x10s (70s) of pushup/knee to elbow

8th day of Christmas:

8x 1minute alternating 60rpm big gear/100rpm easy gear

9th day of Christmas:

9x10s (90s) of running man plank position

10th day of Christmas:

10 minutes as 90/100/110/120/130/130/120/110/100/90 rpm

11th day of Christmas:

11x plank hip thrusts/side

12th day of Christmas:

12x 20 seconds accelerating an easy gear to high cadence/40seconds  easy


Cool down

Merry Christmas!



Racergirl Television: Barista Challenge With Simon Whitfield

I had the opportunity to sit down with Simon and talk a little bit about life before we went head to head in our Procity Barista Challenge. I had a few tricks up my sleeve just to ensure my entry was of a high enough quality to win ;). Fun times with a fun person. Enjoy the show!

I really do need to address my audio challenges and I am working on that. Otherwise, there will be weekly webisodes for you to enjoy. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to be notified when I update or else “like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/melmcquaid for the notifications. Any suggestions/requests are more than welcome on my Page and here on the site.

2011 XTERRA 21km Trail Run Worlds and Changes

A bit of a lengthy delay from that last event…which was on the island of Oahu at the fantastically beautiful Kualoa Ranch.  I went to race the 21km trail run Worlds for my third year.  I was slow.. potentially my slowest ever?  Not sure but here we are. I was fifth and after consulting the start list before the event that was going to be the best case scenario result for sure so I am stoked about that.  However, my actual race day execution was lackluster at best and pretty poor upon reflection.  I started, shot backwards through the field feeling hot, sweaty and sorry for myself for about 6 miles.  Then I pulled my head out of my ass and ran to my ability on that day and passed back a few girls to come fifth which was a great result given it was a sold out field but I was FAR behind.  I would never have been able to challenge the two deer at the front, both Morgan and Lucy were in a league of their own and Heather and Cindy were in a league above myself.  I battled hard with the girls near me at the end of the race and gave it everything I had.  Only, I just don’t have another gear for racing anymore.  Sadly, I just didn’t really CARE.  That, folks, is when you know it is time to shut it down.

I have no competitive fire left for 2011.  I am spent and am in recharging mode to start the 2012 season at full gas.  I spent a day riding the Pali/Tantalus loop and enjoyed a couple days on the beach with my little buddy.  We had long discussions about life, goals, aspirations and worms.  I think he was really mostly into my banana bread but I can’t be sure.


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Monday Night Going Off at SpinCity!

Just in time to start the build towards the coming season, your friends at Catalyst are going to offer pro spin sessions to get your ass in shape for 2012.  Why wait until January 1st?  We have the program starting sooner.

I am going to have a 10 week session of classes from 6:30-7:45pm on Monday nights where we are going to work on pedal technique, speed, power, endurance, overall strength on the bike, and best of all CORE strength!  Yes, my death trainer sessions include time OFF the trainer.  You are going to have so much fun.  I love these sessions… I get to rock out to all the bar music without people drooling, sweating or puking on me.  Oh wait, there might be some sweatiness.  I love me some Ke$ha, yo!  You can sign up online  … first 12 to sign up are guaranteed the awesome Cycleops spin bikes and don’t have to drag their bike and trainer around!

This class is for all levels… YOU control the majority of the suffering that you will endure.  No one is dropped, no one left behind, no one not having fun (at least when we are done) and everyone will get fitter doing this.  The class is geared towards a successful season of strong riding but anyone can do it.

Go to:  http://www.spincityreg.com/classes.html Nic Hamilton from the Jellybelly team also has a fantastic class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings that you could choose as an alternative to mine or even an intensive weekend class if you are so OVER riding in the rain.  Or you can sign up for ALL of it and ride your bike like a mad fool over the winter.  Why wouldn’t you?

See you there!




2011 Frontrunners Westshore Bear Mountain 10km

I was lucky enough to be invited to run in the Bear Mountain 10km for the third year in a row.  Nick Walker (yes THE Nick Walker that won the 10km race at the Maui XTERRA Worlds this year) and Mark Nelson put up a heap of prize money for local elite racers to stir the pot at the front of the race and many of the local endurance junkies were up at the Westin at 9am sharp ready to rock.  This year they upped the ante with a 1/2 marathon version of the race which attracted a special breed of maniacs.. but the majority of us (and those in for the prize money) opted for the still-very-hard 10km classic.

It was just as hard as any other year and the competition did not disappoint. Care Nelson won the ladies with Claire Morgan taking second and me third.   Although I have been running some of my best lately and I put everything I had out there I have to say I am a bit disappointed that I did run slower than I had two years ago (last year we had a shortened snow version) so that was not what I had hoped for, really.  I was never going to beat Care who crushed the course record and Claire did have a great run so the outcome was still quite excellent, and I managed to stay in front of Laura who got me last year!  I guess I just didn’t have as bouncy legs to beat my own time or I just didn’t have my head in the game enough.  There will be other chances to give it another go.

The men’s race was won by a very fit looking Jason Loutitt, followed by Shane Ruljancic and my favorite, Jasper Blake.  We made a fetching couple of triathletes accepting our 3rd place checks on stage.  He was wearing his moon boot running shoes which had him towering over me.  (not really)

Thank you so much to Frontrunners Westshore for putting on a fun race that lets us invade the Bear Mountain Golf course for one day a year.  Thanks to the Lululemon chicks at about 6km who had the totally funny signs at the feed zone(something about all the cute ones keep running away.. )…


Thanks to the elite ladies in the womens race for making it a tough and challenging pace.  Thanks to the Parkway Physio guy Wesley for the nice achilles massage after (I think I need about 4 more hours of that) and thanks to the Bear Mountain Westin for housing us and feeding us post race.  Good local fun.  I can’t wait to do it all again next fall/winter.


same bear mountain poster..  🙂

Gunner Shaw and Pumpkin Cupcakes


This fall season has found me uncharacteristically motivated to do some training.  Not a LOT of training… but some.  No swimming of course. I save my big comeback for swimming for December.  Actually, I am a liar.  I do 3x3km/week even right now because I can’t stand needing a full month of training just to start training to improve.  9km of swimming is 1/3 or less than what I actually need to do personally to improve my swimming so don’t use that as a guide to what you might need but think about it:  how much would allow you to “maintain” some fitness.  I don’t think anyone should do nothing for any period of time.  It is too hard to come back to where you were let alone move forward.  I have taken a step back with regard to improving my swimming or my cycling but I am still in touch with both.  I am improving my running, my strength and my squash game right now.  As long as you have a chance to take a break from the rigors of disciplined training there is no reason why “exercising” can’t be fun in the offseason.

I have planned to include the XTERRA Trail Run 21km World Championships this December and prior knowledge of that course leaves me frightened enough to continue moving around in order to not suffer completely in the last miles of that race.  Of course, no matter what those last 3 miles are brutal but a bit of extra training does soften the blow.  I think this little run focus helped me last year to run a bit faster during the season (well, would have helped if I didn’t overdo it in March).  So I will follow a similar plan this winter leading into next year.  This year I have increased my mileage significantly on last year and I think I am a bit pooched from that.  I feel good some days and pretty tired others.  All in all though, feeling pretty good.

I do have some fun news to report in a month or so. Long story short.. I am not quitting racing any time soon.

So my annual participation in Gunner Shaw was a triumphant success although I did have a super battle with Kate and Claire especially in the early stages of the race.  I ran in my AVIA Bolts as those are what I am planning for the XTERRA Run worlds but on icy, frozen ground they totally do not work.  I was really struggling in the technical and downhill sections with no footing at all.  I am running in the trail AVIA Stoltz for Stewart Mountain 10 miler for sure.  The Prairie Inn Harriers won the club challenge thanks in part to my overall win and that of Shane Rujancic who took the overall men’s.  It was a fun day for everyone and if you aren’t doing the Victoria trail race series you need to get into it.  It is a blast to run those trails this time of year.

I am enjoying working with Jon Brown again for a month or two this winter… he makes me laugh and his coaching is helping me to learn a lot about running which is not only to my benefit but also to my athletes’ benefit.  More info on him and his philosophy is at www.runbycommonsense.ca.  I am also having a ton of fun coaching spin sessions at Procity on Thursday nights.  I think there are one or two spots if you are looking for some winter motivation still.

On another note I made quite delicious pumpkin cupcakes for Maia’s birthday.  They are the best birthday flavor for fall ever and I totally suggest giving them a go.  They are not totally unhealthy especially if you leave off the icing so you don’t have to feel totally guilty and pumpkin has loads of vitamins and goodness and cinnamon is good for your heart.  Enjoy!

Mel’s Punkin Cupcakes


Makes 10 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spread/pipe the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon natural Maple Flavor

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

(inspired by the Barefoot Contessa)

You don’t want cupcakes too big!

Yummy without icing

Cuter with the icing and some gold flakes….





Maia’s London Chef Birthday Party

While I was in Hawaii I was co-organizing a dinner party for my BFF Maia’s 29th birthday (all birthdays from now on are a 29th just FYI) with Christine (www.millefiorispa.com) at The London Chef.  The plan was a private evening of demonstration and interactive cooking at the fabulous teaching kitchen downtown on Fort St.  We had a full complement of 12 food admirers who rolled in for a super fun evening fueled by tasty morsels and vino.

The table was gorgeous!

This chunk of reclaimed wood makes the most amazing table to sit at with all your friends.

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My cupcakes kind of ended up sucking because I couldn’t pipe creamcheese icing.  Pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting.  Go local Canadian flavor!

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Nothing like a Vanessa Watters rose centerpiece to make a girl feel loved 🙂 (http://www.verbenafloraldesign.ca)  They smelled AMAZING!!

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I have to say it doesn’t hurt that the chef isn’t hard to look at.  The birthday girl and her mentor.

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Lots of fun hanging about before our evening of instruction.  Christine, Carter and Troy.

The space is beautiful with 6 stations to cook at.  With 12 of us we filled the joint.  Here Mike and Paul are contemplating the evening.  Paul looking infinitely more stoked than Mike at this point.

So the evening started with some demonstrations.  We started with a very simple scallop dish, some Spanish tapas, then beef heart and finally chicken livers.  Hmmmmm…..

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Scallops… I am all over that.  Gimme more please.  No you can’t have the platter back.

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Beef heart.  Has the same consistency as octopus.  We had it seared.  Once is enough for this cowgirl.

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Chicken livers in cream sauce.  I like the sauce.  I can take or leave chicken livers (and pate in general) although I did give it a go.

In the future I will continue to throw out all the guts when I am cooking.

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Scott, on the other hand.. was very much enjoying his chicken livers and totally missed the photo moment 🙂  I was back to the wine at this point.  My favorite was the Spanish tapas staple of Catalan toast where we took a warm toasted half of a bagette, rubbed it with tomato insides and garlic then toasted it before topping with Serrano ham.

Second highlight was the bread with the aged Parmesan and onion jam.  I am so making onion jam.  I think I might really just enjoy bread and anything.

So we were then dispatched to cook the main event.  Lobster.

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Tammy was up front and center to learn how to kill a lobster humanely before you eat it.

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I was in charge of preparing our animal because Paul said there was not way he could do it.  I was all over it.

So once we had cut the lobster in half and cleaned it we then chopped it into about 5 pieces and scored the claws. Into warm pan went chopped onion, shallot, garlic, chopped tomato and olive oil. A large pinch of fennel seeds was added and I have to say if I did it again I would also add some chopped fennel bulb to this recipe.  I added a large pinch of red chile peppers, salt and some pepper.  Once all that stuff is cooked some tarragon went in but in the future I would use basil or something else because tarragon is a sucky herb that I don’t really think is any good.  Then in went the lobster, some cream and some freshly chopped parsley.  Add more warminess to the dish and voila!

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Christine and Scott master partners….I went around peeking at everyone else’s pans to see what they were up to.

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Tina and Carter won best executed…

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Maia and Troy won best looking couple…


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Paul pretty proud of the fact he cooked that meal 🙂

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I have to say the magnum of 2003 Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir I dusted off from the cellar for the evening couldn’t have paired nicer with the meal 🙂  Birthday girl approval.

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We like to play with our food.

Cheers!!  Bill (http://trekbikesvictoria.com/about/staff-bios) always has a zoolander pose.. can you spot him?

Love.  🙂

Tri-Magazine Article

This article was posted in an online magazine called http://www.tri-magazine.net.  If you click on any of these photos they will pop up bigger to read it.  🙂


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