Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
In tribute, I am working out like a mo-fo to give to MYSELF! I will be 39 next year racing Ironman Canada and young bucks (ok, 35 year olds!!!!) I'll have some speed to bring to the game!
Christmas Eve training? You bet! Starts with an hour walk of our precious Gatsby! Onward for 40 minutes easy on the trainer to spin out the legs. Off to work (well, not much like work today to be honest!) and at lunch hill repeats on the treadmill. A leisure swim on route to getting mum-in-law from Dundas is in the cards. I will cap this fantastic day with a wonderful glass of Pinot Noir. YUMMIE!
So, who in the Ironman Canada 35-39 age group is doing this today? SPeak up! I need more and more mojo to keep my aging limbs alive!
Our bike team is coming together, new team kit and sponsors this year! The racing should be solid with some good teams being put together in Ontario for 2010. We are signing on with Hincapie sportswear as our team kit apparel provider. Sweet stuff, highly recommended. Tri tops included so if I crack at IMC I will look extra sharp doing it!!!
Bring on the 2010 season...and the young bucks! IT'S GAME ON!
Signed - motivated welsh bastard!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Below is a race report written by my team mate Cary Moretti from the stage race this past weekend in Elliott Lake. They put us old farts (Master 1, or M! they call us) with the Senior 1 field. That means racing against the legend Darko Ficko (good friend of mine and an inspiration to me), Ryan Roth (provincial champ) etc…the guys that race bikes very, very seriously.
The only thing I can add to it really is that being in a break for 105km of a 126km bike race at threshold HR and power is so f-in painful I am really not sure I EVER want to repeat the experience.
I also want to thank the team, we did a superb job up in Elliott Lake representing our sponsors and having a lot of fun. Great job team. Last, a big thanks to Darko Ficko for letting us play and go up the road, he emodies what is right about Ontario cycling.
From the fingertips of Cary Moretti:
As with all stage races, this weekend was packed with excitement and more than a fair share of pain. Since this was a stage race, the report is ... er ... longish so I've included a summary. :-)
Team Project Freeride recorded excellent results in Elliot Lake this past weekend. In a small but very strong field of Senior 1, Under 23, and Master 1 men, Rhys Spencer led the way with an early 4 man break - 105 km at the front and the last 15 km solo for a 3rd place finish. Cary Moretti missed out on a fourth Provincial Hill Climb Championship finishing 2 seconds behind the leader for third. In addition to the two stage podiums, the team recorded 2nd (Rhys) and 3rd (Cary) for the M1 GC (which is applied to the OCup season standings).
Full Race Report
When we arrived at Elliot Lake this year, they let us know that the fields were too small to run on their own. As a result, the S1, U23, and M1 fields would be merged. Similarly, M2 was merged with the S3. There was a bit of grumbling but, truth is, with less than 20 riders in those fields, running them separately would have been less than enjoyable. A pack of 30, while still small, made the most sense.
The Hill Climb on Saturday morning was my personal goal for this year. I wanted to break 7:30 for the first time and another M1 Championship would have been nice too. I wasn't sure if I had the fitness but I was going to give it everything I had. I managed a very respectable 7:42 finishing in 3rd (1st was Jon Gee at 7:40 and 2nd was Peter Mogg at 7:41). Rhys was our pick for GC and didn't disappoint with a 6th place only 16 seconds off the leader.
We were all concerned about the crit. The course was wet in the morning and although the rain has stopped and heavy fog and mist kept the roads from drying. The inclusion of the S1 and U23 riders also meant that the M1 field was now going to be on the course for a full hour. At race start, the course was mostly dry and, as expected, the riders lept off the line at full speed. Within minutes a significant portion of the field was dropped. I spent all my time in the top 10 knowing that falling back might end my race. The pace was high and the final corner proved the most difficult moment almost every lap. Our team didn't fare well overall - Rhys, Scott, and Andrew were lapped - but I managed to hang on by the skin of my teeth. Only 4 M1 riders completed the crit so this moved me well up on GC (at least for M1).
Sunday morning was tough, the Road Race was the same loop we've had in previous years with one extra lap (for M1) - 126 km. Since I was the GC rider, the plan was to keep me protected knowing that we had little chance against the Elite field. The hope was that I might slip into the lead group if any riders managed to roll off the front.
The first lap was aggressive (a Louis Garneau rider plus Darko Ficko and one other jumped right at the gun) but that break attempt was eventually reeled in. On the second lap, we sped through the feed zone at 51 kph (feed started on lap 2 - I was terrified of trying to grab a bottle at that speed). In the first K out of the feed zone, Rhys put on a surge to bridge to a lone rider up ahead. I sat on his wheel and we suddenly had a gap. Darko tried to bridge - when he got to me, he looked back and saw the entire peloton was chasing his wheel. He called across and told Rhys and I that the peloton wasn't going to let him go so he'd pull back (to give the break a chance). I shouted at Rhys to go - as long as Rhys was in the break, I was protected and if the break stuck, we'd have another podium.
Rhys turned himself inside out (and upside down) and with only 2 other riders pulling in the break (there was a Louis Garneau rider represented but he only sat in - no pulls) they opened a 4 minute gap. While there was no concerted effort to close down the break, there was constant surging in the peloton as rider after rider attempted to break free and bridge up. Ryan Roth, Darko Ficko and Derek Ivey were heavily marked and any move by the three was instantly covered. The M1 riders in the peloton played it safe and sat in for most of the race any moves were covered by Scott, Andrew or myself.
In the final lap, A group of four (including Roth, Ficko, and Ivey) pulled off the front and none of the remaining riders had the legs left to give chase. At this point, Rhys was solo with just under a 3 minute gap and the four strongest riders in the Elite field chasing. Rhys put it all into his last 15K and held on for 3rd finishing almost a minute ahead of the four chasers.
Rhys took a podium in the Road Race and the his high finish also lifted him up to 2nd on the M1 GC. A successful weekend for the team with two stage podiums and 2nd and 3rd on the M1 GC for OCup points.- Cary
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Congrats to Jason Vincze on his back to back provincial championships! A great ride mate. Now why the hell wouldn't you come with me at the half way point mate???? Anyway, a great results for an even greater guy - good on him.
As far as where we stand in the fitness game, I am getting MUCH better. Finally I feel, after a 2 year layoff from bike racing, that I can compete with the real threats at the Master 1 game here in Ontario. It was a good day for the confidence, a great race, and a fun day out. The team did well too really pushing the pace and staying up front in the peleton. I finished 18th, 11 seconds back in the group of 50 or so that actually finished the race. 40+ DNF's, again, it was a hard day in the saddle. We did 40.6km/hr average while the senior 1/2 race did 41.6km/hr average. But bike racing is mostly about taking your chance and rolling the dice. I did that and gave it everything I had. To finish 18th after avoiding the crash in the hot corner there given the efforts to try and get away? Pretty happy.
Hope Bobby, Steve Heck, and the other mate who went UNDER the guard rail, yes UNDER, are ok today. That was one hell of a crash!
Friday, July 24, 2009
- Contador cracks
- Lance wins
- All is back to normal and vive le tour…
No seriously, Lance Armstrong is about to have the fight of his life to keep his 3rd place in the Tour. The infighting between the top 5 might actually open the door for Carlos Sastre to steal the stage but not convinced he has the legs. Look for Wiggins to do his best to knock Armstrong off the podium and look for Lance to do his best to follow the wheels of the Schleck brothers. It sure will be fun to watch.
Me, on the mere cycling mortal side of the pond, is racing the Provincial Road Race championships on Sunday with the bike team www.projectfreeride.com on my little white Cervelo R3.
Then August I will get some running started, a few swims to get the feel for some water, and prep for a couple of short triathlons, then the Green Mountain Stage race labor day weekend, and finally the Muskoka 70.3 ½ Ironman on September 13th.
Oh, and behind door #3 thanks to dad’s motivation could very well be the Toronto Marathon again – STAY TUNED!!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I have had a hell of a time adjusting to all this speed stuff!!!! I even did a track workout tonight which I haven't done in at least 6 years! 12*400 in sets of 4 descending speed. I was clocking 5:30 per mile pace (but only doing a quarter mile lets be clear) and feeling pretty good. HARDER than all heck though let me say! I then came home and did a nice recovery ride along the lakeshore as the sun set.
Another favourite workout was the Bayview extension hill repeats this past Saturday in the summer rain. 9 times up taking about 3 minutes per climb. Hell of a thing racing up that little sucker at 400 watts! OUCH! I was cooked, barely made it home!
Anyway, this coming weekend I am doing a bike race that all that Ironman stuff would not permit scheduling wise. It is the North American Master Championships in Sutton Quebec. 4 stages over 3 days with some solid competition. I really wish I did the race at my peak fitness, I am not there yet but am coming around. Next post I will provide an update but I am really excited to dig into this race and see if my speed skills come to bare!
Otherwise the Race4Kids.ca team's next adventure is the Peterborough half ironman July 5th. I hope to do well!!
Thanks for reading and supporting!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sunday marked my 10th anniversary of first heading to Huntsville to race. My first adventure I did the run->bike->run. My second year I jumped right into the water and since 2000 have made the annual adventure to Huntsville all but one season. Janet and Mitch and the Trisport team put an amazing event on every year and this year pulled some special tricks out of the bag to make sure the race happened. Moving the swim exit, the transition area, the swim course itself, the bike course…actually the only thing that stayed consistent was the hard, hard run! This was all courtesy of the G8 2010 summit occurring in Huntsville that has a bunch of construction at the race site.
Obviously the G8 takes precedent over the overly self-absorbed Tri-Geek club-J
Proudly emblazed in the www.race4kids.ca race top I barely made it to the swim start in time! Just getting there was an adventure with all the changes and not doing my usual swim up the canal to the start. Swim was bizarre, felt good but got dropped and came out with some friends I know well. I then made a meal of the first transition spending close to 2 minutes there and losing a minute to the same guys I finished the swim with! Off on my new Cervelo P3 I put my head down and within 5 minutes knew that feeling…heavy legs…no turnover…tired core…time for some positive self talk; “stay focused and force the pedals over, it will come around”. That turned to, “don’t worry, stay focused and aero. You will pull out some magic on the run” which then on the run turned into; “run your marathon pace for first 5K and then pick it up!”
I had a hard day but incredibly rewarding day!! I smiled and cheered and shared hugs with friends new and old. I made some surges later in the run and raced a fellow that did break me in the end. He passed me, I passed him, he caught me and took it by 5 to 10 seconds at the finish. My final 5K split was the fastest split so I take that nugget home knowing I forced him to dig deep to beat me-J I learned again that racing for fun is the best way to race. And I learned that triathlon truly is an amazing sport with a great community and amazing race organizers!
Friday, June 5, 2009
I have an update regarding my racing of Ironman Lake Placid July 26th. It is with deep regret that, due to a few challenges this year with a chronic foot injury coupled with greater commitments at home and work, I cannot compete in the race.
HOWEVER (and a very wise executive once told me everything before however is BS!) - I will make it up to you with a new challenge! I am going to get my heel better and do my best to race a series of triathlons in southern Ontario in support of Race 4 Kids. I plan to take this newly found "speed" stuff and try to become a provincial, if not, national Olympic distance champion for my age group. If all goes well, I will roll into the fall season for another marathon in support of Race 4 Kids.
Many of you know because you have donated, how important POGO is to the kids of Ontario. I am humbled with your generosity and will do my best to honor your commitment with more determination and fervor than ever!
Yours in fighting cancer,
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The closest race in history can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yfoz-lzx-0
Now, back to us mere mortals! I have a couple of thank you's to start.
- www.newbalancetoronto.com for some great shoes and kit!
- www.race4kids.ca for the inspiration to suffer! Please take the time to read about our cause and Donate here please - it is an important cause.
- Super-duper domestique Meredith for her unwavering support!
- Family, friends, and the team at Wells Fargo Canada for their patience in my chasing of dreams!
Boston is a monument in sport, and unchanged course from Hopkinton into the city, growing alongside the booming sport of running. Morning we take shuttle buses from Boston Common to the race start then wait for 2.5 hrs to get running. Once the F-15's fly over at 1200ft. the race starts its descent from Hopkinton to Ashland, keep downhill to Natick, a few little rollers keep you occupied, then past the halfway point before "the tunnel of love" in Wellesley. From Wellesley you run into Newton, make your first turn of the race and hit the famous Newton hills which is 5 miles of up, down, up, down, then up Hearbreak hill. From Heartbreak there are some rollers into Fenway, then two more turns before the finish downtown.
I was right on track at the half way to run my goal of 3:12 with a 1:35. My right quad was acting up but my mind was focused. Things were good and given my training I was pretty pleased. I kept noticing that I was passing people but that everytime I would crest a roller all I could see were people ahead of me! At Wellesley we can hear the roar of the women's college. Founded in 1870 because Harvard did not accept women, Wellesley is focused on providing women a high standard liberal arts education. They say, "to provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who make a difference in the world". Very cool...back to the race...the roar can be heard from a 1/2 mile away and gets progressively louder until you see the banners that say "GET YOUR EARS READY" and then there is a 1/2 mile of screaming students each with a banner asking you to kiss them! Yep - kiss them. Hence the term, "tunnel of love"! Rest assured Meredith, no stopping, I was far too busy-:)
After that amazing experience we run onto mile 17, turn right and hit the hills. Each on their own are not hard, each after one another between 17 and 21 miles is. I came out of Heartbreak hill feeling energized and still on pace. I had to stop for my second bathroom break, downed some coke and a gel, and followed the game plan. Up the tempo and GO!
Holding on, holding on, pass more people, keep going, keep attacking, 1 more gel, give 'er...this "racing" lasted about 7K.
5K to go the lights went out.
2K to go its a death march.
From 3:12 to 3:18 pace just like that. I love racing, roll the dice and give it your best shot. I am pleased.
Finally finished and sufficiently drained the ritual of finding clothes bag and family begins. We take the red-line back to hotel (where I have to say the locals are very gracious, free ride, give up their seat, ask how I enjoyed the marathon etc. all while I smelled REALLY BAD!)
Get cleaned up and downstairs for a few guiness before Meredith suprises me with a wonderful steak dinner at Morton's over Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet. Great way to end an amazing experience.
In closing, this race is a monument for a reason. The city of Boston embraces this race, every town had 5 to 10 people deep on the streets, the Red Sox fans leave Fenway park and hit the streets to cheer. Frat boys drink beer at 11am to cheer you own. The final 15K there is not a spot without people cheering. It really is unbelievable. And to close downtown completely for Patriot's day and hear no one complain is really a tribute to how Bostonians live. Kind, salt of the earth, east-coasters.
An amazing experience, thanks for reading.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Breakfast at the Harvard Square and a walk about campus. The only thing to really say is stunning! The architecture is old colonial red brick, the road layout perfect for pedestrian traffic, the river beautiful with the morning rowers working through their paces. It really was a nice slice of ivy!
Meredith did her shopping downtown but didn't buy anything...I don't get that, but that is just me! I stayed at the hotel sipping Starbucks and watching the Red Sox.
Rest up, feet up, nap time.
Remember, racing Boston is more than just putting my feet one in front of the other, it is to raise funds for the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (www.pogo.ca) Please spread the word!
TO DONATE TO PEDIATRIC CANCER CLICK HERE - A WORTHY IMPORTANT CAUSE. Kids of Ontario need your help.
Thanks for reading!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
If you don't know the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt check out their website here: http://www.teamhoyt.com/ or visit you tube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDnrLv6z-mM
Their story is very important, go to their site and spend 10 minutes. It is important because if you ever doubted yourself capable, if you ever found yourself on a couch saying "maybe tomorrow I will...", if you ever flatly said to yourself "I can't do that..." then this father and son story is a must read. Dick and Rick Hoyt define life and living and their message is simple; YES YOU CAN.
I grew up with this message, my mom and dad instilled it in Joanne and I. Of course Joanne proved that in her own way by graduating chemical engineering in 1990 (you know, back when only a few women did engineering!) and then onto medical school. Joanne is now coroner, doctor, and chief medical officer in her local community Atikokan. Yes, she can do anything. She is a wife and mother of two, and lover of all things outdoors including winter given where she lives! I on the other hand went to last chance U Carleton so didn't inherit the brains of the Spencer's, but hold up the life event side of the bargain with sports I guess -:)
Back to the Hoyt's; Meredith and I were walking through the expo and Dick walked by. I stopped and yelled out his name, shook his hand and let him know he is an inspiration. That was that, he was on his way. Then I heard a women ask a consierge in the convention center where Team Hoyt were speaking and Meredith and I hopped on her heels. Sure am glad we did.
Dick and Rick Hoyt told their story to the 100+ in attendance. I heard it before but I cried again in its inspiration. They had the video from Ironman Hawaii, the pictures from all their racing, their stories of breaking down barriers, they were on Oprha even! Amazing stuff! But then Rick spoke and it was chills, pure inspiration. The facts are:
- Monday is Dick and Rick's 1,000th race together
- It is their 26th Boston Marathon (get it, 26 mile race, 26th hometown marathon)
- they had to qualify for their first Boston marathon using Rick's age qualifying time (not dad's, sons!!). Nice try B.A.A, Dick and Rick qualified by running 2:45!
- they were inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame, the first disabled athlete to do so
- Rick invented the disabled category in triathlon, that's right, broke down the doors for everybody else
- Rick's brother invented his alpha communication technique
- Dick had a heart attack about 5 years ago, Rick saved his life because without his fitness Dr.'s say he would be dead.
And Dick choked up in tears at the end when he said Monday is their 1,000th race together.
Don't ever say CAN'T again.
YES YOU CAN
YES YOU WILL
Thanks Dick for stopping today and thank you Rick for your kindness this afternoon, it was a honor.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tonight Meredith and I raised a glass (OK - bottle!) of Cakebread chardonnay together in tribute to the Boston Marathon at one of Boston's most famous fish houses, Legal Seafood. I said, "...an ode to DuMaurier..." and Meredith responded with that beautiful and endearing trucker laugh she has; indeed the Boston Marathon has always been one of the monuments of sport I never thought I could, or would do. 10 Ironmans, many 250km+ bike rides, time trails up Anikus Pass and Mt. Lemmon, sub 40 minute 10K runs off the bike; all of it and I never had the confidence or belief I would qualify and run the Boston Marathon.
so this is blog #1 from Boston, on the campus of MIT (BTW: I thought I was pretty smart till I walked around this campus!!!) and I hope to post daily from now to Tuesday.
So what does "Ode to DuMaurier" mean? Think 7 years of 'a pack a day' habit and you learn why the Boston Marathon seemed so far away when I was in my early 20's.
Last, why do this? Glad you asked.
DONATE PLEASE HERE for pediatric cancer care in Ontario.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
IMUK was in 2006, 8 months after my mom passed. My sister, her husband Doug, their kids Bryan and Sarah, as well as my dad and my super domestique wife Meredith made the trip for a family vacation. I was racing and raising funds for Luekemia, the disease that my mom valiantly fought for 15 years. My previous 2 ironmans in '04, and '05 did not go well so I was in major doubt mode.
There are 4 reasons that photo, and this video, mean the world to me:
1. mom is there, guiding me through my private purgatory, and saying 'YES YOU CAN and YES YOU DID'
2. bear hugging my dad at the finish line meant everything, a private 30 second embrace I will never forget
3. never have I personally won such a mental battle within myself as in this race; in fact yes, you can do anything if you try your hardest to get 'er done.
4. Meredith's joy and pride because she knew what it meant.
Cancer sucks yes, it kills yes, but it also teaches us dignity, grace, empathy, love, and how to survive.
Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting Race 4 Kids, and remember to embrace everyday with the passion it richly deserves.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It will take Rhys Spencer more than 450 training hours covering 200+km’s of swimming, 9,000+km’s of biking, and 1200+km’s of running to train for Ironman Lake Placid and raise money for the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO).
Help him in his fight to eradicate childhood cancer by donating safely and securely here.
Rhys Spencer is a Toronto-based Ironman-distance athlete who has spent the past 10 years racing various Ironman events in North America and Europe. He is a two-time provincial age group champion, two-time amateur provincial long-course athlete of the year, Kona Ironman Championship finisher and multiple Subaru and Multisport age group winner. But his proudest accomplishments in sport have come from giving back to his community.
Over the years, Rhys has raised more than $30,000 for various charities, including: CIBC Run for the Cure; Brain Tumor Foundation’s Toronto Spring Sprint; Toronto Food Bank; and the Lymphoma and Leukemia Foundation’s Team in Training.
And now, in 2009, he is racing Ironman Lake Placid to raise funds for the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO).
Fairness for Kids with Cancer
“I have been blessed with a healthy body that can race hard for 10 hours”, says Rhys. “This is a gift and something I believe I should use to give back to my community. Everyone has a story that ties them to a cause. I have lost my mom to leukemia, my father-in-law to a brain tumour, my grandmother to bowel cancer but one of the most heart wrenching things has been watching my cousin’s 4 year old daughter battle childhood leukemia. Since the age 2 little Myleisha has undergone cancer treatment that have left her cognitively impaired. But finally, she has finished her last round of chemotherapy. While Myleisha lives in Wales, I knew that this story must be similar to lots of kids in my own back yard.”
This prompted Rhys to seek out Richard Pady and the www.race4kids.ca team who compete in various triathlon events to raise funds for POGO in honor of Richard’s daughter Elizabeth.
“What attracted me to POGO is its lack of administration fees, there are no expenses covered, no swag . Every dime I raise goes direct to this great charity,” says Rhys.
“POGO’s goal is to work towards fairness for treatment for all kids fighting cancer no matter what kind and to give all of them a fighting chance. More than 400 kids and their families will hear those words “you have cancer” this year. I know times are tight but POGO works hard to make sure that money goes a very long way!”
Facts about childhood cancer in Ontario:
- Each year in Ontario 400 kids are diagnosed with cancer
- 3,000 a year in Ontario receive cancer treatment and follow up care
- 2 Ontario kids die of cancer ever week making it the leading disease related cause of death
And, of those that survive half face significant side effects, like my little cousin Myleisha.
Taking on 226 Kilometres in 10 hours!
On July 26th, 2009 Rhys will race Ironman Lake Placid, a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride, and 42.2 km run through the Adirondack Mountains to raise funds in support of POGO. He is paying the $525 US race entry fee, all travel and hotel costs, and volounteering upwards of 20 hours per week of training time to compete in the event.
Please support Rhys in his quest by donating here, media interviews are available by calling 416-712-5362 or e-mail Rhys at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on POGO please visit: www.pogo.ca or http://www.race4kids.ca/