Here are some stories about the preparation I have undertaken to get ready for the season or a big event.  This is the life in between races!

lap swimming in austin Bartholomew pool

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

I did a lot of lap swimming in Austin before the Ironman event in October 2016.  After visiting a variety of pools in the city I’ve written a tourist guide for other swimmers and triathletes who find themselves in Austin wanting to know where to swim at the best lap swimming pools in Austin. This is not an exhaustive list but does include some of the highest rated options.

The following list of pools to go lap swim in Austin includes my thoughts on the pros and cons as well as the workout I did when I was there. Read more

don't give up

The 12 Weeks Broken Ankle Recovery Video Update

The 12 Week Broken Ankle Recovery Update

It has been 12 weeks to the day since I had my bike accident and broke my ankle.  In this 12 week video update, I share a bit about the people that have helped me get back to speed so quickly and kept my attitude in check.  Staying positive and engaged in the process of recovery has been the key to getting back in shape quickly.

don't give up


This injury has helped redefine and motivate my desire to race.  I feel like I am among a new generation of athletes who continue to race into their 40s and remain competitive as elites.  This isn’t “normal” and there is certainly some resistance to this notion.  Although I am more of an outlier at the moment, I don’t think this will always be the case.

I am thankful to have great sponsors and supporters who believe that fast after 40 means REALLY FAST.  I love the idea of helping to define what that is and work hard to set the bar as high as possible.  I look to my contemporaries, athletes like Jo Pavey and Gunn-Rita Dahle, who are competing as top level elites in their sports (running and mountain biking) to help me decide what level I plan to compete at.  The top level.

I am still looking at Kona in 2017.

Looking forward to setting some new benchmarks this season.

Thanks for following along.

xoxo  Melanie ???



Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle

A Broken Ankle Doesn’t Have To Prevent Triathlon Improvements

My triathlon cross training the first three weeks after surgery.

Using hand cycling to crosstrain with a broken ankleCross training for triathlon with a broken ankle still includes plenty of options if swimming, biking and running are off limits.  I discovered there were ways to not only maintain fitness, but also improve, despite my current limitations in a “not weight-bearing” state.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment so, injured or healthy, you focus on doing everything that you can THAT DAY.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment to get better.

When I am healthy, if my legs are super tired from running, I might take a break and ride or swim.  If my shoulders are maxed out from a lot of swimming, I might run a bit more and focus strength work on lower body.  The key is to focus on what you CAN IMPROVE while your body is in repair mode or fatigued.  Even while in the critical stages after ORIF surgery, there were ways for me to train and allow my body to heal.

So what did I do when I got injured and was told not swim/bike/run AT ALL (even swimming *sigh) for the first three and a half weeks?   I focused on three areas where I could actively make improvement. Read more

The First Two Weeks With a Broken Ankle

My two week update after a broken ankle

Unfortunately, I crashed my bike and broke my ankle a bit over two weeks ago.  My primary objective for 2016 is to win a full Ironman; a goal I will maintain this season.

Staying Focused on the goal through injurygingerbread broken ankle

I am really fortunate to have Dr. Brent Weatherhead as my orthopedic surgeon.  He is an amazing technical surgeon and did an outstanding job to get my fractured ankle anatomically perfect so now we have a realistic plan and schedule to get me back to running full gas this season.

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Eventually, every pro athlete faces some significant adversity. For me, that time is now. I have fractured my ankle crashing my bike. Fortunately I have an amazing surgeon, Dr. Brent Weatherhead, who is at Rebalance MD. I also benefit from having Dr Jamie Grimes and Katie Button, a great rehab team behind me at Synergy Wellness. Thanks to my incredibly supportive sponsors, family and medical team I will make a full recovery and return to racing this season. I will write about recovering on my website and I hope I can offer some support to anyone else who is frustratingly sidelined this season. So far my advice would be to stay positive, do everything you can in that moment and visualize where you want to go. Visit for updates 😀🏃💨#injury #adversity #rehabilitation #trimalleolarfracture #brokenankle #triathlontraining #triathlon #running #cycling

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I know a LOT of pro triathletes who have dealt with and are dealing with injury – so my story is not unique.  Triathletes and runners have different experiences with a broken ankle.  If you found this post searching “exercises you can do with a broken ankle” and “triathlon training after a broken ankle” you are in the same mindset I was in the first two weeks after my crash.  I promise you that it gets better after the first two weeks.  I am posting these recovery updates to help educate you through MY experience and inspire you with what I found helpful and motivating.  It is important to stay positive and focused during your recovery so let’s start with things you can do.

Here are THREE WAYS YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY IMPROVE AS AN ATHLETE with a broken ankle or leg injury  Read more

Why Belize And Guatemala?

Hola, amigos!

I have been promoting an adventure with Kathryn Bertine and her business partner in the company Bike CR, which caters to Latin American cycling camps/training trips. The camp we are hosting will be February 12-18th featuring an all-inclusive (we are THAT close to Mexico) seven day/six night (five days of training) tour of Belize and Guatemala on two wheels.  You might be wondering: why, of all places, are they going there?  I was also somewhat skeptical at first, my first concerns were whether those countries would be safe and hospitable to cycling.  Have no fear!  We will not be paving new ground in these countries as the cycling culture is alive and healthy.  Cycling is big in both Belize and Guatemala.

First get out a map and look at where Belize is: crammed in between Mexico and Guatemala.  Yes it is in right on the edge of the ocean.  Beautiful reef and a long stretch of coastline perfect for lots of post ride beach bum opportunities.  Belize is not just for watersports, it also has many cyclists using bikes for a variety of things.  From transportation, to hauling, to handy businesses, to racing, the noble bicycle is a key player in Belize’s transport system. 

The Belize Cycling Association does a great job developing aspiring athletes into competitive racers and has races ranging from the National Champs only open to citizens of Belize to the 140cm Cross Country Classic, a race so big with foreign athletes it essentially shuts down the country the day it takes place.  They are not strangers to spandex clad tourism. 

The roads are considered good to fair.  So there is not a brand new paved section of tarmac but it isn’t mountain biking.  Bring heavy, flat resistant 23-25 tires for this trip to be safe.  You know, like you would bring to Tucson.

Guatemala is just a hop/skip/jump away and hosts some incredible historical places and cultural experiences.  Seeing both of these countries on two wheels negates the unpleasantness that would arise from trying to navigate by car.  Moving slower on a bike is enjoyable- in a car it is annoying. 

So let’s go check these places out enjoying the warm seasonal afternoon 30C temperatures and get fit and cultured all at that same time.  Last year the superstar Chrissie Wellington was the guest coach and every single camp participant left with an amazing aura of awesomeness thanks to her. This year I have the dubious task of trying to fill her extraordinarily accomplished shoes.  Therefore, I plan to be if not as awesome at least as if not more enthusiastic about our adventure and will do some additional swim/run/core workouts while Kathryn whips us all into shape on the bike.    It is going to be a killer time.  Make it happen.

These are the details, see ya there:

Questions?  Ping Kathryn at espnolympian AT aol DOT com.  Or me…. through the website. 




2013 Day of Hope 10km

I have been on Maui for about a week now.  I came early to acclimate to the massive temperature shift from Victoria to Maui.  This year the trades are not blowing so the island has been very, very hot which is probably ideal leading up to the race.  I have almost never felt it be so hot here but I feel like I am adapting now after a week of being very careful to not overdo it! 

Most of the work for the World Championships was done before I got on the plane.  This week has been very low key with a couple of tuneup workouts and some fun rides in Makawao forest with my buddy and neighbor Ryder Hesjedal.  My skills are already improving trying to chase him on the trails riding his crazy frankenbike. 

The Makawao trails are like Star Wars in the trees.

I also got a chance to catch up with Linsey Corbin after her strong finish in Kona after a tough season of injuries.  I really enjoyed hearing her discuss how she managed her season.  I think she did a much better job of managing her injury and her mind than I did and I hope I learn something from talking with her.  She has a super pro attitude and approach to the sport.  I feel fortunate to have time with such successful athletes to help me refocus on the important details in the midst of a taper.

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Ummm what is he riding?? 

I decided that instead of doing a workout for running over the weekend I would just go run the Day of Hope 10km race instead to absorb some energy and enthusiasm for running. I am super glad I did!  Having missed the Run for the Cure at home due to other training commitments, racing a Breast Cancer fundraiser made me feel really good.  Like almost everyone, cancer has touched people in my life so doing a community event to raise funds feels good.  Added to that this 10km is very, very hilly so it was a good warmup for next weekend even if all the hills weren’t all at once. 

I had a great race and did battle with local speedster Sally and both of us set personal best times (for that course… not a good course if you want to set your best 10km time!) despite the heat and humidity in the morning.  The event was followed by a great breakfast at the Four Seasons, a lovely foot massage in one of the massage hales, an auction for some amazing hotel stays and some wonderful prizes for both the 5 and 10km race.  All of this was followed by a nice post race dip in the ocean.  Ahhhhhh!  I love training here.

It was a very strong training day as you can see from my file.   My average heartrate was 187 with a max of 198 coming up the last all uphill mile.  Heat really stresses the heart rate output!

2013 day of hope

Thank you to the Four Seasons Maui for sponsoring this event that has been going on for 24 years.  It is great to be involved in a community event with the added bonus that I have gained some run partners here on Maui for my training while I am here.  I will be here for a week after Maui to train for Australia so I have been enlisting workout partners.


Obviously I need to work on my watermelon growing skills.  I grew this exact variety to the size of a softball.  Hmmm.


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I want a surfboard fence at my house.

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Sushi Paradise.  Literally.


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Just another awesome week in Utah

I arrived in Park City on Tuesday night.  I am staying with Rob and Linda Karz again this year along with their dog Jake and serial killer cat named Dexter.  I love it here.

First step towards finishing this year with strong performances on the offroad scene is XTERRA USA Champs in Ogden. That requires some acclimation to high altitude.  I find the best base for all my training for triathlon is here in Park City.  So far I have managed to string some good workouts together leading up to the weekend and I though a pictoral representation of that training was best.  I managed to win the Tour de Suds race again this year and my time was slightly slower than last year but given the dry and loose conditions my guess is the roads were slower because I actually went harder than last year, especially near the top.  Hard to tell.  Regardless, I think we’re good to go for the big show next week at Snowbasin. You should come to Utah.  It rocks here.

Tour de Suds race profile.. ouch huh?

Read more


Trekworld is Trek’s own personal Interbike trade show.  Given the range of offerings from Trek and Bontrager it is a no brainer that Trek avoids dragging all of this stuff across the country to Las Vegas and instead has their own open house in Madison, Wisconsin to show dealers what is coming for 2013.  Madison is also a cool place so I am sure Trek dealers across the country look forward to this annual event.  This is my first time at Trek and Trekworld.  I was invited along with Chris and Linsey, some of the mountain bike team including Aaron Gwin, Heather and JHK, Katie Compton, Jens Voigt, Melissa Stockwell and some of road people including Axel Merckx and the Trek Livestrong U23 guys plus more.  There were loads of memorable moments so I will summarize how the quick trip went.

First, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it on the trip.  The Saturday before I left I had a long ride plus a long build run planned and on my way back from the ride I was stung twice in the face by a wasp or bee right on the eye.  I was sure I was going to turn into an alien.  MC was awesome and went to get Benadryl for me while I sat on the floor blown to bits feeling sorry for myself thinking about how I was going to meet everyone with a swollen face and immediately dreading the run.  I took the Benadryl and then opted for the treadmill just in case I blew to pieces and ended up 10km from home unable to return which turned out to be a good option .  I got the work done before starting to feel really crappy as the bee venom attacked me.  The post run fallout was extreme.  I don’t know if it is because I am super allergic, which I am or whether it is because of the anti histamine but I could not sleep, had massive skin aches and a huge headache all night. I thought I had come down with West Nile, ebola or at least swine flu.  I was very apprehensive  of a day of travel.

So the next day it turns out I did not have ebola which was excellent news and I arrived to Madison to head to a fancy party at John Burke’s house.  This was a pregame warmup for the next two days of Trek happiness.  Lots of excellent toys, super fun people and good times were ahead.  Good to see the boys from Elevation Cycles although that did mean explaining again what happened in Colorado which has now become somewhat comedic relief for every conversation.  My face started puffing up that night but oh well, it was just ugly for the photos 🙂

The triathletes started the next day with a swim at a local health club followed by a morning touring the race department and the other awesome spots at Trek.  Highlights of that day included riding the new Superfly SL 29er which is ridiculous awesome.  Lowlight included crashing the new Superfly SL on a logride because the log seemed like it was coated with ice.  Oops.  I have to say I was so excited to be riding the stunts in the super fun Trek trails after quite a long block of road triathlon racing.  I do heart offroad more than road at the end of the day, despite how exciting the long distance road format of triathlon is.  It just can’t compare to how awesome riding dirt is.

You aren’t testing product hard enough if blood is not drawn.  Poor Renegade Hilo got a little stain 🙂

That night we went to the expo and saw all the new offerings for 2013.  We also were introduced to Bo Jackson and Melissa Stockwell – two inspiring people.  Highlights on the Bontrager side for me include the new Paradigm saddle which is on my most wanted list, all of the aero wheels which are awesome, the District, all of the new mountain bikes but especially both Superfly SL and Superfly 100s.   There is so much awesome stuff it is hard to get into it all but those are the standouts for Mel.  Kirsten and Jamie, our garage door opener project is done.  Trek has designed a garage door opener that goes right in your stem cap.  They are smarter than we are although great minds think alike.

Visiting Trek was a fun review of my athletic past since I already know a lot of folks in the company from my days of mountain bike racing.  There are so many to mention but it was good to catch up with Bontrager’s Michael Browne and Trek’s Ben Coates and Dean Gore.  People I know from waaaaaaaaaaaay back.  So nice to see everyone and it is amazing how happy everyone is at Trek-it is an excellent place to work! I also got to meet Sophie who did my visa and Stacey who did my kit was a huge bonus!

Sunday’s highlight was taking the Superfly 100 out for a solid test ride with Woody and Bill from Procity Trek Store Victoria, Brandon and Chris Lieto. I got back on that log ride (essential to crush any obstacle you crashed on ASAP and put it behind you) and then proceeded to destroy singletrack at max velocity on that Superfly 100.  The improvements on the duallie for 2013 are insane… that thing is a weapon and I am pretty excited to add that bike to my quiver of awesomeness.  We also got to preview some of the plans for the triathlon future which are very exciting!

I was lucky to get bikes that were all Shimano components and I have to say even the new XT groups are quite fantastic.  I have noticed that the electronic age has arrived and nearly every dealer is talking either DuraAce or Ultegra electronic everything which is absolutely no surprise!

Now I am headed back to the homestead to finish off the prep for 70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas.  Seeing what an awesome company Trek is and all the things they are doing for us as athletes and for their dealers was really inspiring for me.  Their mission is to make everyone wildly successful which for me was a massive shot of motivation.  Not that I really needed much more… I cannot wait to get the work done for the World Championships events to come. 

2012 Tour de Victoria Event

This past weekend I participated in Ryder Hesjedahl’s Tour de Victoria grand fondo event in my hometown. 1700 people participated in the three events that included the League 140km, 100km and 50 km day on the bike. It was a spectacular display of love for cycling in our city. I was so stoked. Having Ryder win the pink jersey at the Giro D’Italia a short time ago didn’t hurt the excitement either. His first jersey was auctioned for $10,300 (and shortly after donated to the Sports Hall of Fame) and was shown off in Victoria at the event. What an incredible accomplishment by a Canadian athlete. Truly there is no single performance any more impressive that what Ryder did and even if you don’t understand cycling… it would be kind of like having a team from Italy winning the Stanley Cup. That just doesn’t happen at the Grand Tours in Europe very often and Ryder winning that event is only the second time EVER that a non-European took the title. Heavy accomplishment… for sure!

Cool podium jersey with all the fancy logos and sponsors on the back 😉


So we all hit the roads in town to enjoy the incredible training grounds that Victoria has to offer. I have been very unhealthy and managed to catch yet another cold coming back from Richmond so I babied myself up to the day of the event hoping to be able to participate. I had a brand new Trek Madone with Shimano Di2 straight off the stand at Trek Procity to go play with so I was eagerly anticipating my group ride!

Cool bike with fancy electronic Shimano bits, superlight Bonty bits and a flashy Trek 700 series carbon frame.  Stupid light.  🙂

On Sunday, I managed to hide in the pack and keep the intensity fairly low for most of the day and thus enjoyed a long and comfortable ride right up to when the sprints started at the end of the ride where I came unhooked from the back of the group I rode with and rode the last 4km by myself. Good day for riding and will hopefully restart a training block. I really appreciated the company from all the awesome cyclists in the group I was in who were so positive, friendly and encouraging with each other. There were a lot of strong women out there but Alison Sydor and Mical Dyck certainly raised the bar. There were so many friends to mention but in particular I enjoyed riding in my group with super legend Peter Reid (3x IM World Champ) and Marty Vale (former Canadian mtb national champ), Rumon Carter and new local hero Adam O’Meara. I guess the fast company motivated a decent time up Munn Road? It seemed there were a lot of Vancouver superstars riding with us (Nice to see you too Garth and Graham!) so that was a special treat…everyone was SUCH a good rider! I couldn’t believe my luck. It was the perfect non-racing race.

Thank you to all of the volunteers that made this race happen… especially Island Savings for coordinating that effort. To League for sponsoring the 140km event and the Goodlife Fitness for stepping up as title sponsor.

There are a lot of sponsors that need thanking and recognition so check out the website at and get yourself psyched to do it next year. Thanks so much to Seamus and the rest of the VICF crew for putting on an awesome event on Sunday. It was such a pleasure to do my Sunday ride on closed roads with some strong cycling enthusiasts and I can’t wait until next year to go at it again.

Ridge 2006 Montebello Watermelon Unveiling

It is the last stretch to the XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 23rd.  This year we are racing in Kapalua.  I think it is great that we are going to try a new course!

Last week, I flew home from North Carolina to recover from the Pisgah Stage Race  and get myself mentally and physically prepared for one last race this season.  Only, it is the one last and MOST IMPORTANT race of the season.  Still, my goal this year has been to treat each race experience with the same calm, rational and relaxed approach to avoid any excess pressure that can come along with overemphasizing any event.  I think it is better to be relaxed and let your body do what you have prepared it to do.  Your head only gets in the way of that happening.

I actually had the watermelon unveiling on Saturday night.  The largest melons were these gorgeous yellow flesh variety that sadly blew their tops.  I guess a bit too much watering had them exploding out of their rinds so those ones were not edible.  I also did not have a camera to show the insides.  Lame.

However, they smelled watermelony.  The smaller ones were all cut open and the verdict was:  tastes like watermelon as well!  They were the size of a really large apple and sweet, red watermelon flesh was inside each one so finally, I WIN!!!  Yes!  :


watermelon aug 15

This watermelon grew to about the size of a large softball.  You could eat it.

Paul brought one of the nicer wines I have tasted recently. I had opened a bottle of Gaja (ready to concede because I wasn’t sure whether I had won or not) and then after we drank the Ridge and it was crazy how much better that bottle was.  Wow. Fantastic and thanks buddy!

Drink this.  It is fantastic. It will make you run fast.

So because I knew we were having nice wine I made thin crust pizza, Regan came over and the three of us had a fun night that ended around midnight.  Of course, the 8km was the next morning at the ungodly hour of 7:15am.  Ouch.

Needless to say I was late to the start and as they were counting the last two minutes to start I was taking off my warm clothes that were my substitute for a warmup.  When the gun went off I trotted off with the thousands of other early birds to enjoy a sunny, warm October morning.  The Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon is a fun event that features an 8km, half Marathon and full Marathon that absolutely ignites the city.  Very cool event to take part of.

The race was won by an Olympian named Hailey Stellingwerff  in 27:58 (it is a milldly hilly 8km along the water) and Kyle Jones won the mens.  Gillian Gook was second, Melissa Ross was third, and I ran in for fourth in 29:26 which is a decent effort for me for sure and a shock given my complete lack of any preparation in the morning. I am attributing the good run legs entirely to that wine that Paul brought.

I then rushed home to hit the 9am mountain bike ride with the boys which was absolutely hilarious and so much fun given the trails are in PRIMO condition.

My legs are also primo.  Lets hope it stays that way until Worlds.  Coming soon…..