Friday, December 25, 2009

Dog's and Christmas.

This is the king of the roost, Gatsby, chasing Santa for X-mas...he really runs the show here at Chez Spencer!

Here he is getting ready for Christmas early December. Yep, he ate the whole thing!


Dog's are amazing, total members of the family.

REMEMBER: DOGS AREN'T JUST FOR CHRISTMAS!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

M35-39, are you doing this?

It is Christmas, Meredith and I put the lights and stockings up last night. We are finally in the spirit of the holidays.


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

The Canadian BBQ Tradition!

My tribute to the mighty BBQ - a life time view!

To start: that is my dad cooking eggs and sausage with me and my big sister waiting anxiously for the great eats!


To continue: that is me cooking sausages by the family pool circa 1993. In the background are some old friends smoking, drinking, and generally REALLY enjoying themselves. Note my great hair! Killer stuff really!

2004 that is me and dad in the backyard in Risca Wales after my world's in Sweden. I was pretty fast then, getting slower by the day now!

And to close, 3 filet mignons last weekend with Dad, Meredith and I.
Long live the BBQ, even in winter!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

rest for body and mind...

It finally came, the dreaded end of year meltdown of body and mind. Time to hang 'em up for a few days and re-generate. After 10 seasons I know this knock and when it comes I have learned to listen and take action by not doing any action for a few days.

Back later in week, or Monday...which ever day answers the knock at the door with vigor and motivation.

Back soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November rain beats November snow...

still now snow - everybody please jump up and say SWEET!

KILLER WORKOUT TODAY! Running hill repeats on treadmill:

- 10 minute warm up
- 10* 90 seconds at 7:45 pace on 9% grade/30 seconds at -3% grade same pace
- warm down

I felt great! Life is good.

Good luck to my friend www.taranorton.com this weekend at Ironman Arizona. She'll crush it!

Catch up soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

new grape - Pinot Noir! Oh, and an opinion on 70.3

Yes, as the subject line suggests it is indeed the off season. I have been training, guilty of not swimming again, but doing good strength exercises, cycling, and running. Actually running pretty good tempo/interval work; it feels good.

But, I also have grown out of Cabernet and into Pinot Noir this past week. This stuff is yummie and is less taxing the next day-:) I love the off season, so little guilt enjoying the finer things in life.

I was reading some pro blogs recently. I am glad I am not a pro. I get to enjoy Pinot Noir...on a Sunday no less. yuuuuuummmmmmiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee!

On a more serious note. I watched some of the racing yesterday in Clearwater 70.3 world championship (that is half ironman). This sounds rather, well, condescending...BUT, I have to ask. Who cares about this race? WTC (owner of Ironman) need to move this thing out of Florida and into a state that provides a challenging course and a forum for ITU olympic distance triathletes and ironman specific athletes to go head to head. And, if it is a world championship as they claim, how about a rotation into Europe or Australia? Why is it "world championship" actually means "in the USA". I digress, but what I do know is that by all accounts this race is a swim->run with a bike in between that doesn't count for squat. Does a huge drafting peleton to T2. Second, why don't WTC fix this women pro issue. Just start the pro's 30 minutes before the amateurs so these women can race without top amateur men catching them on the bike and causing draft problems. Easy solutions are so complicated to implement, because it just can't be that easy can it? YES IT CAN!

oh well, its a race I will never do because of this. One customer voice speaks-:)


Saturday, November 7, 2009

That was GREAT!

Quick update, I have been off the blog a few weeks with work really sucking up some time. That's ok, they pay me!

Today I had a great workout with Tara Norton and David (nrgpt.com athlete).

We tempo'd (average 220 watts) for 3.5 hours through my hometown roads (which are THE BEST!) then hit the sneakers for 30 minutes at 7:15 pace.

I love our sport, triathlon rocks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asking for your 6 minutes and 21 seconds of attention: The Blazeman - War on ALS

this is worthy of your 6+ minutes of attention. Please watch and think hard that no progress has been made on Lou Gehrig's disease since Lou died 60+ years ago.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Starting 2010...Hawaii...and the Great Gatsby!

Last year I waited until January 2nd to get serious about training and it cost me 8 pounds. That extra 8 pounds took an extra 6 months to get off, I felt like Jan Ullrich. Never again, can't happen.

I just finished a 3 week "train to train" cycle. 23 days of at least 30 minutes of exercise in 24 days (not including the daily hour walking the Great Gatsby!) Some days were 5 hours like last Saturday's ride, others were a 30 minute cruise along lakeshore or 30 minutes of running on the bruce trail. I even swam, yes swim practice, and enjoyed it. This week is a down cycle recovery week and some physio. I have only gained 3% of my weight back; room for 2% more maximum. I'll save that for the holidays (or this beer).

Next week I start proper with a macro 2 month cycle through to the holidays. Strength, agility, and a whole whack of swimming. That will set me up nicely and ahead of last years cluster start and certainly not starting behind the eight ball at 172!

Hawaii always inspires me to train, I have to keep it in check so as not to burn out but man, holy running Crowie. that was really killer to watch online, truly amazing.

oh, and a picture of Gatsby 'cause really, is this not the cutest dog EVER?





Friday, October 9, 2009

Triathlon's Superbowl - Kona Hawaii Ironman 10-10-09

tomorrow is the Hawaii Ironman, the superbowl of triathlon.

Tomorrow I am riding with Tara Norton for 5 hours. Tara deserves to be in Kona but is not. Too much detail to detail here, but read about her at www.taranorton.com Her story, her comebacks, her passion; all of it is infectious. I hope I honor her day of training (vs. racing what is rightfully her race to race) with some good laughs and hard climbs.

As for Kona, I have fun trying to predict the podiums. A few years ago I even picked the top 1,2,3 men. Anyway, everyone and their cousin is picking Chrissie Wellington for the women but my patriotism is picking Samantha McGlone to steal it, look out for Rebeka Keat, and another Canadian to lead a lot of the race Tereza Macel.

For the men, hard to bet against an Aussie 1,2. Crowie then Macca is probable but look out for Stadler to put his nose in there again.

Good luck friends racing, you all rock.

And Tara, never mind, we'll ride our asses off instead.

thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

goals and a special thanks to #1!

The other week I posted my 10 lessons from this past season, the #1 lesson being MY WIFE MEREDITH ROCKS!

You need to understand something, I know how hard it is to live with me, can you imagine how hard SHE THINKS IT IS TO LIVE WITH ME???? But seriously, I need to express publicly my thanks because sometimes people look at me square eyed curiously contemplating how we stay married with this madness that is endurance sport. So, thank you me Mere-Bear.

Now, sorry, but here are some 2010 goals that poor Meredith will have to endure. In order of the season races.

- Run a PB in a half marathon of 1:22:59 or less (qualifies for NY Marathon!)
- Win a bike race
- Compete at a very high level the Sutton, Quebec stage race (top 10 overall or podium a stage)
- PB Sydenham hill (4:13 or less) at 39 yrs old
- PB 1500M pool test (21:09 or less) at 39 yrs of age
- Top 10 Age group finish at Ironman Canada at 39 yrs old (age group 35-39)

it is mapped out, time to train. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reflections on another season passed.

Top 10 things I learned this season:

10. I'm 38.
9. Cervelo bikes really are that good.
8. Sometimes stepping away does in fact make the heart grow fonder of what you left behind.
7. Never ever attack a marathon with 7 miles to go; wait 1 more mile, that way you are not crab running the final 1500
6. 3 marathons in 8 months catches up with #10
5. If it feels like work stop doing it, #8 will bring the fun back in due course
4. I can, in fact, still ride a bike and bike racing with a bunch of hack minded old guys like me really is A LOT OF FUN!
3. EPIC racing is where it is at! Green Mountain Stage Race & Boston Marathon were epic, painful and fun
2. Ironman Canada 2010 is my response to #5
1. My wife rocks more now than ever, especially given #2!!!!!!!

Next installment, 5 athletic goals for 2010.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Green Mountain Stage Race: stage 4 ++

And now we are done!

Stage 4 was a 20 mile, 6 corner criterium through the downtown streets of Burlington Vermont. Honestly I was scared, really scared I would be shelled by lap 5 and look a fool. Well that didn't happen and I hung on for dear life the first 10 laps then settled in nicely. I actually started to feel really good and then there was only 3 laps left! Finishing mid pack today took me up to 26th overall, 7+ minutes back of Steven Black the overall winner. 4th overall was actually 4+ minutes back of our overall winner so I don't feel bad about the overall either!

The Senior 2 racing was really awesome for the most part, I enjoyed it. Felt old at times, but did really enjoy the 4 days of hard, hard work.

The winning guy Steven Black was impressive and he is still under 20. Lots of room for him to move upward in the domestic cycling scene. He dominated the S2 field which he won't be racing much longer I am sure, pro land is his next step!

BTW: I finish 26th overall and 7+ minutes back on the overall; exactly same as Andrew Stewart of our Master's team here this weekend. Good job for Andrew too!

thanks for reading!

Green Mountain Stage Race: Stage 3

Finally I am up and had some amazing Green Mountain coffee to "perk" my spirits; well actually a wonderful 2 pints of Bristol's finest Ale last night did that just fine but I digress!

Stage 3 was a 75 mile trek through the valley and up over 2 climbs before hitting Appalachian Gap summit finish. The "App Gap" has a 'Baby Gap' for about 5 or 6kms at a reasonable 5 to 6%. good for high pace tempo riding. It then flattens, descends slightly, before 5K of switch back gear wrenching hell. Pitches are up to 20% and I don't recall anything being under 10%. I had a 39/27 gear ratio and barely got the pedals over. for a picture from the top of the climb click here: www.gmsr.info

Unfortunately this kind of climb makes for really conservative riding until we get there. After the 2nd climb there was a lengthy descend along a dirt road which became the hardest part of the day next to App gap. It was crazy fast, crashes and flats abound. I stayed up right and moved forward as best I could but 60 to 70k/hr on a dirt road sitting 20 riders back from the front is full on "DO I HAVE INSURANCE?" mode!!

We hit Baby Gap and I set a tempo off the front trying to bridge to 6 riders up ahead. 2K later the peleton came whipping by and it was definitely HTFO TIME! I suffered bad but held it together until App Gap proper. From there it was survival. The solace being catching 10 or so riders in the last km. I finished 3 minutes back of the yellow jersey but 6 minutes back off the stage winner. 40th of 77 racers so mid pack.

The kid who won the stage deserves yellow and the overall win. Same kid that rode me off his wheel yesterday in the break went with about 40km's to go today and stuck it. Taking the stage by 50 seconds and putting 3+minutes on the leaders. I think he will be turning pro proper next year!!!

To Gary and the GMSR.info crew, this race is amazing and so well organized. Thanks for putting it on.

Stage 4 is a criterium circuit in downtown Burlington Vermont. I will hurt, I will get spat out the back I am sure of it. My strategy? ATTACK AND PRAY!

thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Green Mountain stage Race: Stage 2

I am so tired I need to be, I mean it when I say need to be, quick here.

Yesterday was stage 2, tomorrow I will write about today's queen stage #3....

Yesterday was 120K circuit race doing 3.6 laps of a pretty good fast, windy, with a large climb per each lap. I attacked half way through and lasted half a lap in a break of 3. I followed wheels, covered some more breaks, then launched with about 3/4 of a lap to go. 2 guys came with me and for about 10K we worked well before hitting the climb. I led up the hill a good tempo when 2 really strong guys bridged over from the chasing peleton. I attacked, and will admit, swore my way over to their wheels. These 2 guys were strong! My two original companions were dropped. Now it was HTFO time!

Long story short I had no idea 2 more guys were up the road. We caught them, dropped one of them right away and then attacked each other in the final windy section. Rider #207 simply rode away from us and there was zip the remaining 3 of us could do. He won by 30 seconds moving to 3rd overall on the weekend. He's a bull and more on him tomorrow.

I fought as hard as I could with the 2 guys, getting dropped and catching on. They were clearly better (ah, and YOUNGER!) Then a rider from the peleton bridged and it was 4 for the final km. I came 4th of the 4, 5th for the stage with the peleton charging from behind. I was thrilled, truly spent and empty knowing there was nothing I could do to be better than the 5th placing.

Tomorrow we write about App Gap stage. One word: EPIC.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Green Mountain STage Race: Stage 1 and the best B&B EVER!

I am racing the Green Mountain Stage Race this weekend (www.gmsr.info) and we are staying at the most wonderful B&B suite in South Sarotoga called Windy Dog Hill (www.windydoghill.com) Richard and Barbara are amazing hosts and taking great care of our little puppy Gatsby! He loves it here, 16 acres of pure Vermont playground!

Stage 1: 5.7 mile TT mostly uphill

Stats:
- avg watts 354
- time 16:12
- placed 46th out of 77 (ouch) 1+ minutes back
- feeling = death

My diaphram cramped like a mo-fo! Been awhile since that injury reared its ugly head. Overall a good start but I am mid ranks with the Cat 2 crew. I caught my 30 second guy at 2:30 into it, ah...started too hard do you think? I was caught by the guy behind me 10 minutes in but I was able to keep him in sight.

Stage 2 is a circuit race of about 12 miles per lap and a climb in each lap. Tomorrow, stage 3, is the queen stage up App Gap. 39/27 gear ratio and I bet I will still be doing 60RPM. Stage 4 is a crit in Burlington VT, home of www.phish.com

Maybe today I start an adventure for King of the Mountains (KOM)?????? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Over coming small obstacles for the big picture...

This year I changed things. I raced a marathon in October that qualified me for another one in April; 2 marathons in 6 months after 9 years of only Ironman marathoning. I loved these races and it got me thinking...

I kept the system going; pretending to enjoy the pool; hitting the treadmill; stressing about mixed workouts...all for my annual run at Ironman. I hooked into an amazing charity with Race 4 Kids and did my annual charity drive, this probably being the most rewarding component to a long season. But something was missing back in May and I was burning the motivation match.

Then my foot injury came back, my weight went up and I was in serious WHY MODE.

I made the right decision and stepped aside from Ironman, parked my passion and rode my bike 5 times a week. The new bike team kept me driven and honest to get in shape and on top of my skills and onward I rode. I finally got a result last weekend and feel pretty good about the progress made.

Next week Meredith and I will head to Vermont and I will race an epic 4 day stage race on the Cervelo. I am at race weight, the foot is good (though I have other injury to complain about!!!) and I love riding my bike. The bike team is a great group of hacks doing it for the love of the pedal. But something is missing; something needs more of me.

Good luck to all my friends racing in Penticton this week. I miss it dearly and wish I was there with you.

Ironman: I miss your energy, I miss your pain, I miss the moments of self evaluation of CAN, I miss the fleeting moments of CAN'T, I miss the anxiety before the start gun and the fighting of the first 500M of the swim, I miss the scramble to the change tent and the horizontal go vertical feeling when starting the bike; Ironman I miss your honesty after 6 hours into the day and your candid feedback you provide my legs and lungs, I miss the misery my quads feel when I start running and the elation I get when those legs come around; Ironman I even miss the dark recesses of mile 13 to 15 on the run when the dark caves of misery shadow my eyes and brain and do their best to crack me; I miss everything about you Ironman but duly note my friend, I now have better ride legs to come back and kick your ass.

Ironman 2010? It just might be. Next stop though, VERMONT!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding my Legs in the oddest of places!

Friends,

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. :-)

Executive 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

PS: I LOVE THE FEELING THAT PHOTO BRINGS!

LOOK UP, SEE PHOTO.

NOTHING BEATS THAT FEELING IN SPORT; NOTHING.

STAY TUNED.

over and out.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back on...

The provincial championships a few weeks back has given my little engine some confidence. So to are my Project Freeride team mates. With personal confidence growing, and the team giving me the confidence that indeed "I can" - we leave Friday for the Elliott Lake Ontario Cup stage race.

Stage 1: 3.5km hill climb time trail
Stage 2: criterium
Stage 3: road race

I am looking forward to competing again on 2 wheels. I feel my high end is coming back.

This past week has been a great week of training. 15hrs on the bike with 2 very solid long, hard rides and 2 hours of hard running. I am pretty dead tired here though on Sunday evening!

I will be sure to write up a race report from the stage race. Till then, train safe and thanks for reading.



Monday, July 27, 2009

Provincial Road Race Championships!

Quick post today as I am slammed at work.

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

Vive le Tour!

On the eve of Mount Ventoux Contador has firmly grasped the yellow jersey, Lance has announced a new American cycling team sponsored by RadioShack, and Carlos Sastre is preparing his little Cervelo for the ascent of death’s door.

Prediction:
- 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

Cervelo - The little engine that could

www.cervelo.com  - go check out why this little Toronto company (well, now based "officially" in Switzerland) have taken the cycling industry by storm.  Its a killer little story really.

Today their growing star won a stage in the Tour de France.  Henrick Haussler: 2nd in Sam Remo, 2nd in Tour of Flanders and now 1st in an epic Tour stage.  He's 24, that is just fucking wicked to me.  

So why am I talking about Cervelo not Haussler?  Because Cervelo is taking the world of cycling by the pills and giving it a squeeze.  Saxo Bank (formerly CSC) used Cervelo bikes since 2003 and won Liege Bastone Liege (Tyler Hamilton), Olympic gold (Cancellera), and the Tour (Carlos Sastre).  A new sponsor in Saxo Bank this year and team owner Bjarne Riis decided Cervelo should give a little more $$ to the pot.  Cervelo said, "wait, why do that without any control?  Lets just start our own team!"

BOOM - a cycling company sponsoring a pro team riding the Tour de France and taking its 2nd stage win today (Hushovd took their first stage in front of Olympic Stadium in Barcelona).

According to co owner Gerrard Vroom, cycling companies contribute 30% of all the funding to pro cycling.  Bikes, advertising, team dollars.  So, why not keep the budgets tight and go it alone?  Full control, more rider access, direct to rider feedback on product? So they do.  People laughed at first but make no mistake, Cervelo test team is now the envy of many pro cyclists.  They want in.  Now, I am sure Cervelo would love an Oracle type company to pony up $10MM with delight BUT the fact is, Cervelo did what no team has done in 40 to 50 years and its working.  I love it when a business turns a business model on its head and wins.  Vive Cervelo!

Look for Formula 1 to follow.  Do Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda and Mclaren really need Ernie Ecclestone and his antics?  Just sign contracts with courses and go it alone!

Sports is changing, Cervelo is leading the charge.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sutton Stage Race update + Lance on eve of Le Tour

Really Quick - My Sutton 4 stage/3 day race went, well "OK".  I was sick but came out happy and re-enthused by cycling.  It was great, thanks team!

More importantly, read this open letter from Sir Lance.  Lance Armstrong really states why he is doing what he is doing.  I wish him a great tour though I will say, he won't win.  A great champion, a hero to all cancer survivors and victims around the globe, a real statesman.  

My money for Le Tour is on Contador first, Sastre second, Armstrong third.  Vive Le Tour.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A quick update!

Hello friends and family!

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

Muskoka Triathlon - Race 4 Kids!

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

Ironman Retired...for now.

Hi friends and family:

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,
Rhys Spencer

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sometimes life reminds us...

That we are mortal.

This past week I was in Alberta on business 100% self absorbed in my world of business.  At night I was 100% self-absorbed in a very bad race performance on Sunday at one of my favourite bike races, the Niagara Classic Ontario Cup bike race.

Then Wednesday I got an email and an endurance athlete legend Steve Larsen was dead.  Just like that, at the age of 39, dropped down at a track workout.  Endurance athlete legend, husband, father of 5, successful business man.  And again I was reminded everything I have, everything I do, and everything I share during my "trip" called life, is a gift.  

Today the bike team went out and kicked the shit out of each other in north Toronto.  I got 90 miles of riding in, 60+ were solid up tempo hard efforts.  I was thrilled to be out with the boys seizing the day, I hope you do the same.

CARP DIEM

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 4: Race Day!

The 113th running of the Boston Marathon had 26,000 runners and 2 American hopefuls for the win; Ryan Hall for the men and Kara Coucher for the women.

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.

BOOM.

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

Boston day 3: lets just get started already!

Day 3, a little less eventful today as we rest up for the big show!

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

From Boston - Day 2: Team Hoyt defines YES YOU CAN!

Today was registration, expo, and sight seeing around Back Bay and Beacon Hill areas. But it was certainly more than that at lunch.

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

An Ode to DuMaurier - about to live a dream!

Friends and family,

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

What is it like finishing an Ironman? Take a view!

A great friend of mine recently commented on the photo that graces the header for this website. It is my finishers photo from the 2006 Ironman UK. "You look so happy" she commented. Well, LC has inpired me tell you why because it in fact has to do with cancer, comebacks, and "yes I can" moments in life.

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.



video

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tucson Training Camp

The past 8 days I have had the pleasure of training in Tucson Arizona.  This place is a piece of cycling heaven.  Our bike team, Project Freeride, had 12 members (9 guys, 3 women - who SAVED the 9 guys!) attend and we had an estate on the peak of Trails End by Gates Pass.   

highlights include:
- 9 days of solid riding for over 1,000kms
- The Shootout, google it, a solid ride.  The Canadian Olympic tri team was in town and I soon realized I was riding beside Simon Whitfield, Kathy Tremblay, Lauren Groves, Kyle Jones and Samantha McGlone.  Not a bad line up!
- Catching up with Nat Faulkner at the start of the shootout (aka, Dreamcrusher) google him as well, pretty neat story.
- Riding the front of the Shootout at 450 watts - felt good to be back into swing of biking HARD!
- Mt. Lemmon, 22 miles and 8,000 feet elevation in 1:45 averaging 269 watts.  I blew up around 9 miles and 5,500 feet but carried on all be it VERY painfully.
- 160km ride around Tucson with the boys.  
- Mt. Lemmon #2: 1 hour up at 280 watts attacking at the spot I cracked 3 days previous.  Made it to 11.5 miles and 6,500 feet elevation at my self imposed 1 hour time limit.  NICE way to end the camp.
- MECHANICALS! The team had 3 broken spokes and about a dozen flats.  Otherwise, we faired very well thanks to Ralph and his team at Fair Wheel bikes.  A GREAT local bike store.

And most of all, the team.  A great group of guys I joined this year.  Train hard, like their wines, and share great laughs.  A superb dynamic!  Thanks crew.

What's next?  10 day mini-run boot camp in prep for Boston Marathon April 20th.  

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Pain part cometh!

To my friends and family, you are amazing!  Thanks for the support to date, you humble me again.

Training:
I finally had a valuable week of training after a few weeks shorted by my recurring foot injury.  Swimming is still taking a major back seat to cycling and running because; a) Boston Marathon is around the corner, and b) I don't much like swimming!  This said, I did do a 1500M test last month and came in on 21:19 so I am in maintenance mode just fine there.

I logged 14.5hrs for the week which is right on target for early March.  Most importantly I passed my early run test found here. I am excited how the pacing went given the 3400ft of uphill running.  I also got outside on my new bike!! for a 4.5 hour cruise that ended with a downpour and frozen bits all over.  COLD still! I can tell this bike will fly but I am still tweaking the position a bit.  Been 3 years since I changed road bikes so it takes some tweaking.

Meredith is away on vacation with her mom, some cruise to the Caribbean or something?  GOOD ON HER!  So, I am busy being busy but I don't know what to do to be busy-:)

Another great week ahead, then a weeks recovery before bike team camp in Tucson.  

Thanks for reading and please share this blog with ANYONE who cares about kids and cancer!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where there is pain there is purpose - I am adding the Boston Marathon to the cause!

First, I wish to thank the many who have already contributed to the race 4 kids Ironman Lake Placid charity drive for pediatric cancer care in Ontario. I am humbled every day by the e-mails and notes we share and your commitment and faith in me is incredibly flattering. As far as training, we are progressing, but I have added a little wrinkle to up the ante a bit.

April 20th, 2009 I will toe the line for the 113th edition of the Boston Marathon. 26.2 miles through the streets of America's Irish homeland. I will raise a Guiness to all at the end in salute to my celtic mates to the north! It is not a smart idea to race such a marathon 90 days out from an Ironman, not even the elites do something this stupid, but that is not the point to my season. My season is not about performance, winning, crushing personal bests; its about kids with cancer fighting for their lives. Back me on this one, together we can change the future of these kids by donating here, safely and securely.

So, where there is pain there is purpose, and I am adding some pain spice to the suitcase of courage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Toronto Man to Race Ironman Lake Placid for Childhood Cancer Charity

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
rhysblog@gmail.com

For more information on POGO please visit:
www.pogo.ca or http://www.race4kids.ca/