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 www.polarpersonaltrainer.com 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?

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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. 

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!  :


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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…..

Here Goes Nothing?

I just got back from 2.5 weeks of sunny bliss in Tucson, Arizona.  On the eve of my departure from Victoria for this trip I was still not sure I wanted to go.  I was having such a fun time with Neil’s swim squad and things were going well in that department, the weather wasn’t THAT bad in Victoria and although I felt slow, I was getting the aerobic training in and my final excuse was I just wasn’t ready to start travelling.  However, I am SO glad I went! 

The duathlon  result two weeks ago was a surprise for me.  I had put in a hard week of training and I just wasn’t sure if I had any speed at all for racing so to perform pretty well at that race was, well, a happy shock!  I carried some positive momentum into week two of my training block and rode the two hard group Tucson rides on Tuesday and Saturday on the Shiv.  I laughed at myself for being the only one on the group rides on a TT bike the second week.  I am pretty sure if I were on a road bike I would avoid the time trial bike at all costs in a group so I was giggling about whether everyone around me was trying to avoid ME.  Ha!  I was riding pretty well so when I stuck to the front group on the Saturday Shootout I decided to also ride the Madera Canyon addition and after being dragged to the top of that I was stoked to follow Ben Hoffman and Troy Wells for another hour or so to make the total number of rides over 100 miles officially 10 for the year.  Chatting with Ben a bit about what he was doing for training made me more calm about my preparation for Abu Dhabi for sure.  Even Rinny was giving me some advice on how to race in Abu Dhabi at one of the swim practices.  The Ironman pros I have met on this trip were so helpful in helping me get an idea of what I should be doing over there.  Honestly, going into this I was very nervous and unsure of what I could do. 

I added number eleven on the Wednesday after when I rode to the top of Mount Lemmon.  From the west side of town that is a bit of a ride and that marks an absolute world record for me in terms of long rides.  I know you Ironman types ride 100 miles seven days a week but for me.. that is a lot of riding. Crazy.  I have to say I prefer to just smash myself for 4-5 hours.  You Ironman types are insane.  Add all the swimming and the running to a program and you have a recipe for an only-training soujourn in the desert.

A nice bike, a nice day and a big cookie is all you need to get yourself to the top of the mountain

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The Threshold of the 2011 Season

Well we are on the threshold of another season with a winter of training behind us… again!  It is amazing how quickly the offseason disappears.  It seems like a week ago that it was getting dark at about 4pm and now I drove home in a beautiful sunny sunset at 5:30pm.  I am pretty sure that spring is on its way to Victoria but I am not so sure about my poor fellow triathletes stuck on the East coast!  How are the 3 hour roller rides going you guys?

I am off to Tucson in a week to train, which I am very excited about.  Not because I have to go away to train because the weather in Victoria is completely manageable all winter.  I am going because I need to put myself in a similar riding environment to what I am going to encounter in the Middle East.  Yep, I am starting my season at the www.abudhabitriathlon.com.
The race is crazy.  A 3km swim, a 200km bike (!!) and a 20 km run.  If we could cut in half the proportions it would be much more manageable but there you have it, a huge money race in the desert, with its own distance and a fantastic marketing team.  When I was invited, I could not say no.

This year is going to be even more of the evolution I have been trying to force for a number of years.  I think I probably could have done better at more XTERRA races had I stuck to the formula that won me races three and more years ago.  However, I always wanted to be one of the more well rounded athletes in the field.  I didn’t want to hide my weaknesses, I really wanted to address and fix them.  Triathlon is a game of push and pull where an improvement might draw from a strength to create weakness until that improvement is ingrained.  I certainly have felt that has been the case for me.  I believe if you stick with it, you can make a permanent gain.

Last year I had a horrible race at the one event that was the most important to me – XTERRA Worlds.  However, my commitment to change won me my first 70.3 distance event, earned me the fastest run split at the Alcatraz event, a US XTERRA Champs win, a Canadian XTERRA Champs win by 16 minutes with the fastest run, European XTERRA Championships title and a 3rd place at the XTERRA 21km Trail Run Worlds with a more than 8 minute improvement from 2010.  There was a lot of good in making changes last year even if the final event might have me question the entire plan.  Certainly things went wrong in the end, but not everything was wrong.  Definitely the intent was right.

So with that experience, I am again committing to making myself a better all around athlete with a focus on competing at both the XTERRA World Championships and the 70.3 World Championships.  Right now I have all but one of the XTERRA events on my schedule and four 70.3s but since WTC enforces qualification, the 70.3 points race will take precedent.   I need to qualify first and compete in the XTERRA USA series second.   This is actually a tall order because the series is first and all the fun 70.3s I want to do are second but we’ll see how that goes…Laughing  Abu Dhabi is a fact finding mission to learn more about the long distance racing and to see how much work I need to do on my TT bike to race with the best cyclists in Vegas later this year.  I have found it very difficult to apply my strength on a mountain bike to my time trial bike so this year this is a #1 priority…. to be able to use my biggest strength.  I have been doing a lot of work on my fitness and position on that bike so hopefully we find improvement.

Thanks go out to Specialized for 100% supporting me in my bid to establish myself as a solid, well rounded and versatile middle distance (2.5-4.5h) racer.  If I can pilot the Shiv properly, I think my results on the road are going to be much better.  Nathan, AVIA, Shimano, Sundog Eyewear, Maxxis, Profile Design, Titec, CycleOps Power, Genuine Innovations, USANA, ESI Grips, Justin’s,  and Saltstick are all joining me for another year.  The exciting new partnership I have to announce is my relationship with Powerbar.  I felt that with my step to some longer racing, where my nutritional needs had changed, I also needed to change my partner in this regard. The folks at Powerbar had been helping me with some of my questions on longer distance racing and have now stepped up to support me and MelRad Racing for the 2011 season.  Thank you to all of my long term and new sponsors for believing in me and my team and for getting excited about all these exciting disciplines of triathlon.

My 2011 kit thanks to the uber talented Mallory at Specialized!!

Thank you to Neil Harvey of Island Swimming for inviting me back to his swim program.  Neil had me swimming sub 20 speed my first  year of triathlon… since then I haven’t been close to what I could do.  I almost feel like I just need to go to the pool and it starts happening.  Neil’s zen approach is exactly what I need right now.. oh and a solid ass-kicking by a bunch of 15 year olds.  My new swim coach who was my first swim coach 10 years ago is an essential part of the back to basics approach I am taking.

Also, thanks to Houshang Amiri for consulting with me again on the cycling.  I felt my strongest years were in collaboration with Houshang, so although I take a lead role in all of my programming, having a sounding board who knows me better than any other coach is fantastic.  I have participated in one of his winter training camps and I invite anyone to get to know Houshang at one of his camps:  www.pacificcyclingcenter.ca.  Canada’s best time trialist, Svein Tuft, works with Houshang.  He can make us wimpy little triathletes faster if he can make a protour guy top 5 at World Champs.

So, another year and more changes.  I feel like if you don’t make yourself uncomfortable you can’t improve.  Every year I try something new and see what that approach will bring.  I look forward to challenging the best girls on the road to see if I can rise to their level.  I also really look forward to toeing the line with all the cool and fun dirt girls, especially our new XTERRA World Champ Shonny V for another season.  I know what it is like to wear the crown and the target… but she isn’t getting any sympathy from me. Laughing 


Stewart Mountain 10 Miler: Season Over!

I flew back from Hawaii to arrive in Victoria first thing in the morning on Friday.  That overnight flight from the islands is not a treat but the weather on arrival was.  Gorgeous sunny weather was on the menu for my first day home.  Too bad I wasted some of it falling into a coma. 

The next morning was Stewart Mountain… my most favorite of all Bob Reid and the Prairie Inn Harrier trail races of the season.  It is 10 miles up and over Stewart Mountain… and through/around everything in between.  This year it was a swim race.  Instead of giving us the option of many of the run around trails it was an exercise in run-throughs with every puddle and swamp leaving us with soakers.  Coming back from warm 27 degree plus weather… this was not my cup of tea.

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A Day In Park City




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Annual Altitude Adventure and the Fall Classic

I am back in Vail, Colorado for my annual “Get yer lungs in shape” altitude acclimatization block for the US XTERRA Nationals which will be on September 25th at Snowbasin.  My friend Kevin and I have a good deal going.  He lets me stay in his Vail palace on the golf course and I in turn make sure he eats a year’s worth of vegetables and greens during my stay.  Not a bad trade, especially for me given I just cook what I like to eat and he pretends to like most of it.  Ross decided to come for part of this trip because he is not a dummy… Vail house on the golf course in sunny September, anyone?  So for now I have Kevin and RT entertaining me while Jacky doles out the heinous training program that is making me lie down on the floor in the middle of the day due to maximal hypoxia.  Fun fun.  Track workouts at 8,150 anyone?  Thanks to Ingrid Middaugh for coming to help me get through it!  (there is a lot of running talent in the Middaugh household).


Running with Ingrid on the track in Eagle.

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Specialized Triathlon Team Invades Headquarters

After Wildflower, the entire long course Specialized Tri team converged on Specialized HQ for product knowledge training and meetings with designers and engineers responsible for product development.  With a cast that included Rasmus Henning, Macca, Phil the Shiv Graves, Des Ficker, Ben Hoffman, Caveman, Jordan Rapp, Bobby Big Man Behan, Kristin Peterson and Jimmy Archer it was a pretty good show to say the least.  I hadn’t met a few of the crew before so it was nice to put a face to the name and get to know more people on the earth that are really good at what they do.

 Me and Bobby at Wildflower (thanks Rich Cruse!)

Given the team pretty much kicked ass all over the place this weekend (Desiree 2nd, Phil 4th, Rasmus 5th, me 5th, Conrad 10th with a monster bike split at Wildflower and Ben 2nd IM St George and Macca 4th Alcatraz) we had an all podium squad to present to the folks at Specialized and explain why Specialized is branching out into triathlon in a meaningful way.  We were given the overview of what is coming and all I can say is start saving your money.  You are going to want what is coming because the Shiv is only the start.  XTERRA people too 😉 there is candy in the works for your sweet tooth.  I would tell you but then I would have to kill you. 

We talked with many product designers and engineers but really only Jordan was talking their language in numbers and angles and widgets and such.  Macca summed it up for me: “Just give me what is the fastest, mate.  The fastest!  I want that!!”  Amen, my friend.  However, I do find that some of the women’s products could be even better and I think Desiree and I were able to provide some of that feedback so ladies… we have your back!  Having time to hang out and socialize with the Specialized crew and put Jeff, Myron, Joe, Ryan, Geoff, Ashley, Garth, Clint and all the other designer/product people’s faces to names (too many I already forget!) was awesome.  It was amazing to meet all of you and nice work by the way.  The amount of testing Specialized does on their products while innovating is pretty cool.

Clint:  “This is where you put your head.”  Mel and Ben concentrating so as to not miss a single hint on usage… 🙂

The personalities on this team are very animated and it was a good time, all the time.  Between Conrad winning the lunch ride World Champs on Monday to Macca false starting the 50 yard freestyle World Champs on Tuesday morning at the pool it was clowning all the time.  Rasmus and Kristin put on a swim clinic for the rest of us while Bobby proved that you have to stay faster than the team manager or you are FIRED!! Hah, just joking.  On two counts: one, he’s fast! and two, well, yeah, you have to stay faster though.

Swim Camp courtesy of Rasmus

I am really stoked to be part of this group.  If you add Simon Whitfield, Javier Gomez, Lisa Norden and Barbara Rivieros to the mix, which comprise the short course team, this triathlon team contains the best of the best in this sport.  Our team has more World Champions, Olympic Champions, World Cup winners and ass kicking ability than any other team in any other sport.  I think Mike Sinyard is going to be blown away when this team paints a big red “S” across disciplines in triathlon from the top of many podiums this season.  Looking forward to my contribution to the effort!