Thursday, December 30, 2010

What it Takes to suprise yourself beyond talent & skill...

Here is a great article from Harvard Business Review on what it takes to meet your expectations of "self", assuming of course, you raise your bar VERY high! If you strive for medium don't read my blog anymore-:)

Author Tony Schwartz refers a few gems of books as reference as well, they are outlined below for you.

Here's the link to his quick blog: 6 Keys to Being Excellent

Here are the recent books on this subject:


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Footnote - photo changed!

Yep - that does it, 100% bike racer with a spice of running foot speed-:)

Time to change the picture on my blog!

Friends and family,

Thanks for checking in and a happy new year to you all. I hope we all got through the Christmas festivus season filled to rim with great food, family, and fine wine!! I for one weighed myself this morning, December 29th, to 167.8lbs. Christmas eve I was on target at 165; time to drink some water-:) This said, it was great to share Christmas with Meredith, mum-in-law June and then have a special visit from Joanne, Doug and the kids Sarah and Bryan and little treat Chester the 8 month old Golden Recliner (ah hum, Retriever)! Gatsby and he loved every minute of their visit together too!!

Onto sports related news...I have taken the autumn season to reflect on what turning 40 means to me as an athlete. I haven't yet wrapped my head around what turning 40 means per se, but I have come to terms with that number as being just that athletically, a number. As little as 5 years ago 40 meant washed up, slow, uncompetitive. One only needs to look at Michael Jordan to see what 40 does to high end sport skills and I would argue, same with Lance. Lets face it, his comeback at 38 wasn't exactly successful in the world of Lance sporting success though 3rd in Le Tour is pretty freaking special all the same! This said, look at Dave Scott who went 2nd and 4th in his 40's at the Hawaii Ironman and this year Macca won at 37; the oldest winner of Hawaii. 40 is just a number but a milestone number all the same and it does in reality mean deminishing returns on speed in my sport.

So my reflection lands on this:
  1. do what you love
  2. stay fit and healthy
  3. don't take it too seriously
  4. but seriously enough to be in the mix to win!

Conclusion:

  1. I don't love swimming so me and the pool are retired
  2. I do love lakes so I won't sell my wetsuit just yet
  3. I love running so train hard and race Around the Bay
  4. My Cervelo and I are bonded for life; get out and ride

Season goals:

  1. PR at Around the Bay March 29th and shoot for sub 2:10 and hope for 2:05
  2. Top 5 National Time Trial in Burlington
  3. Win, or help team win, National Road race championship July 3rd
  4. Top 5 on the GC for Green Mountain Stage race Labor day weekend
  5. Late fall marathon for sub 3:10 to qualify for NYC Marathon 2012.

My Ironman career, for now, is over.

Time to update my photo on the banner of this blog!

thanks for checking in!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trials of 2010...

Hey there friends and family,

I sit here pondering the week that's been, a first week into a fabulous new career opportunity and a week I re-integrated into downtown Toronto big city culture after 3 years in the 'burbs working. I ponder, relax, sip a coffee and take another Tylenol from the head cold that landed Friday night. My pondering reflects a few things on the year that's about to pass, 2010; they are:
  1. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - W. Gretzky. So why is this quote important? Meredith and I took a shot at our, but mostly mine, west coast dream. I spent sometime out there sifting through career leads, researching real estate, pondering if I could live our lives there and us both be more happy than we are east. We took our shot and we didn't miss; we just decided to stay with the home team because home is where the heart is.
  2. When I look back on 2010 and the business I accomplished I find so many points in time where quitting was easy because options were available. I didn't and in so doing supported hundreds with dignity and class to transition out of old and into new. I am proud of that, because looking out for #1 is easy; standing tall and supporting others is not. I also was reaffirmed what is good about people. During times of stress stand tall, do what's right, and in time good will come back to you.
  3. Be thankful for what you have because tomorrow you might not have it. Whether it is a job, material possession, health, financial; whatever it is, you best embrace it because tomorrow it could be gone. I saw that a lot this year. Some in the passing of life, some in my own loss of job, the bike crash taught a few VERY big lessons...the point is, I try my best to live by "life is what you make it..." but at times it's easy to forget our individual control on that and get caught up in what we can't control and in turn, let that bring us down. Don't let that happen, you can't control it so F - it. The past is done, the future hasn't happened; today is the present (GIFT!)
  4. To be everything you can be you need more than you. Meaning, you need a supporting cast to pull the best out of yourself. As I reflect, I have to say that Meredith's grounded outlook, realistic view, and way of pulling me out of negative into positive is what made 2010 possible. My support crew is small and she is the captain of that tight ship. We sailed ferocious seas together this year and some storms still brew; at times we even chase winds we shouldn't, and through those storms in 2010 Captain Birchall-Spencer has steadied the course and grounded my being. I've come on deck to calmer seas as the year comes to a close and as I look back to the waves we conquered, I give one great big giant kiss to our safe port.
  5. Last but not least, if all else fails and you just need to exhale a good bottle of California Cabernet or Okanagan Chardannay makes life a lot more tolerable-:)
Lessons in summary:
  1. Take your shots;
  2. Stay true to your values;
  3. Live for today;
  4. The bigger the storm the greater the reward
Bring on 2011 (and calmer seas please!!!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Running to the sunrise in Toronto



Friends and Family,

The rotation from season ending to season starting has happened. Each season starts late October of the previous calendar year and this year is no different. I start with a 3 week block of workouts to get the rhythm of training back, get the muscles and joints loose, and enjoy the rigours of triathlon training. This phase is relatively light, nothing too hard. What is different this year is the levels of fitness I bring to start the "train to train phase". This year I start without a fall marathon or late summer Ironman in my legs. In fact this year, for the first time in 10 years, it starts without a single 20K+ run since May and no swimming since July!! OUCH!

It is easy to get discouraged as the motivation is super high to get going and working but the fitness is terrible, pain threshold low, and pace of sessions medium at best! So, I get myself motivated in other ways; here is a great picture of a morning run in Toronto to the sunrise. It this sweet or what!!!! This gets me motivated to run-:) I am doing 3 runs per week totally 25km, 30km, and this week 35km in distance. As you can see, not too major. Come December I will be into my regular 50-55km week rotations in my New Balance beauties building up to 2 hour long runs. Lets hope I catch more sunrises like this into winter!

I started swimming by doing 2 swims a week beginning with a 1500M swim and now, in week 3, have built up to 2200M per swim. Swimming is like riding a bike, you never forget how to but man, it takes a lot of work to go from "doing" to "doing well"! Still, given the 5 month layoff and only having done 5 swims thus far, my 100M and 200M repeats are on par to when in full swim mode. Of course, this does not translate to 3800M into open water...that is where the "doing well" part comes in after months of work. I feel good in the water and look forward to breaking the 60 minute/3K swim workout barrier next week!

I have not touched my Cervelo P3 since Provincial time trail championships, only riding myCervelo R3 road bike and doing that all base pace with a few pickups each ride up the hills. I love fall riding; leaves changing colors, arm warmers on but no need for leg warmers; fine cappa's at Cafe Domestique to finish off the ride. It's the best time to ride. But, tomorrow I will dial in my Cervelo P3 back to the triathlon position and start reacquainting myself to it's speed. Speaking of fall colors, here is a photo from the Dundas driving park looking up to where I grew up...yep, just at the crest of the hill there was my abode as a boy and in this park was where I went to high school. Good times but back then I was more interested in girls, beer, and my Ford Ranger than I was riding a bike - life changes! Below that is a picture of David Zabriskie's Cervelo P3 from the Tour de France where he broke the fastest average speed for a Tour TT. FAST BABY!



The other great thing about the train to train phase is I spend sometime looking at a race schedule. There are some clear goals for 2011. First, the bike road nationals are in my backyard in 2011, 2012. We have a good team and we will focus on winning the masters race there. Second, I won't be doing the team training camp in Tucson which leaves the door open to revisit the oldest running race in North America (yes older than Boston), the 30km torture that is Around the Bay in Hamilton on the last Sunday in March. Third, of course I want to knock out an Ironman and have a slot for my favorite race, Ironman Canada for the last Sunday in August. In between that will be opportunities to slot in some high octane bike racing, a few speed triathlons but what I cannot do is over cook it at 40...YES 40! This body is getting older daily so recovery will be the 4th sport!

This the P1 update...phase one of training 2011: Train to Train.

Thanks for checking in!



Friday, October 29, 2010

WTC responds to my letter, and the overwhelming negative feedback...

Below is the email reply I received from the WTC yesterday. It took less than 48 hours for them to respond and 100% of my friends as well as Slowtwitch forum thought they would not. So, I say good on the WTC for a) listening to their customers and rescinding the Ironman Access Program, and b) showing they do care and closing the loop to those athletes that took the time to reach out them.

Case closed, onto more important things like figuring out how the F-K I am going to live in Toronto for the next 4 years with this Rob Ford clown elected as our mayor! REAL ISSUES!
________________

Hello-

Thank you for your E-mail and interest in Ironman.

We announced the launch of the Ironman Access Program earlier this week and due to an overwhelmingly large amount of athlete feedback we made the decision to rescind the program.

Ben Fertic, President and CEO of World Triathlon Corporation, released an official statement about the Ironman Access program and it is currently available for viewing on ironman.com, as well as Facebook. Please see below:

http://ironman.com/mediacenter/pressreleases/ironman-access#axzz13gb4SXT2

We always appreciate feedback, recommendations and suggestions from all athletes and we take everything into consideration while planning future initiatives. Your opinions are welcomed and I will share your concerns internally with my colleges.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we hope to see you at an Ironman event soon!

Please let me know if you have additional questions. Have a great weekend!

Regards-


Athlete Services Coordinator
Ironman World Headquarters|2701 North Rocky Point Drive
Suite 1250 |Tampa, FL 33607

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Open letter to WTC's Access Ironman campaign

Dear WTC and Access Ironman:

I submit you re-evaluate your Access Ironman program, or in least, follow the social media reaction via twitter and facebook to learn how your consumer base is reacting. Take a look for #ironmanaccessprogram on twitter and learn how the athletes, age group/pro/world champions, are reacting.

I wrote in a blog report post Ironman Canada that the WTC was on a slippery slope of eroding its core by pushing the business of sport to far right. What you are effectively doing with this program is pushing the amateurs without/smarts not to pay the extra $1,000 off the start line while affording those with $1,000 to the start line. This alongside race fees rising, more athletes on course every year while pro purses stagnate is reaching to far from what makes Ironman great; community by sport. Rarely is community is raised and appreciated by profit margin.

Brand is everything, and your "AMEX" program has tarnished it. Recovery will not be as swift as post race, this will take some undoing and in the interim you have left doors open to very capable competition in the market of Iron Distance racing.

Sincerely in sport,

Rhys Spencer

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What to do when season and job ends? GET LIVIN'!

Friends and family:

A few updates that most know; here is a season recap:
- train all winter to get ready for August Ironman including great bike camp with team in Tucson. So far fitness really good.
- April do some Ontario racing and learn I have some good base
- May do some more bike races and a duathlon; fitness gaining
- June CRASH
- July, comeback on bike only at Tour of Catskills
- August still go out to IMC but don't race, just train my bike for GMSR
- September: GMSR (7th overall; 2nd on the TT, 10th on the Queen stage - see post below); Provincial TT (4th by 0.13 seconds - see post below); Centurion Cycling town of Blue Mountains (SERIOUS BONK see post below)
- October: UNEMPLOYED & on VACATION TO BEAUTIFUL BC!

What was I doing vacationing after losing my job? Simple, R&R-:) I flew to Vancouver, got a car and went straight to the ferry over to Halfmoon Bay to visit my friend Adam, Tracy, and their little girl Ellie and old friend Cory Smith. What does one do there? RELAX, SIP (ah, gulp) WINE...AND SEA KAYAK! Talk about an experience and great way to leave all of the troubles of career behind! This was just what I needed and they live it right. Work hard, enjoy the outdoors in tranquility, share life. Well done clan there, well done! Here's a shot of the trip.

From there I went to Vancouver to flirt with the job market and real estate. 2 learnings; first, job market is TIGHT; second, the price tags for homes are HUGE! Not a good mix. Here is the sunset on English Bay outside my hotel, sweet way to finish a 6K run in Stanley Park!

AFter my 3 days in Vancouver I hit the road and drove EAST to our friends abode that we stay with for IRonman Canada. Thankfully this time they were home! I picked up Meredith at the Kelowna airport and reeeeeeeelaxxxxxxed! Meredith really needed time away and we sipped wine, hiked, ate like kings and of course checked out some real estate in the area-:)

A photo of our moring coffee/tea at the Starbuck's (formerly Hog's Breath) in Penticton to the sunrise

And last a few photos of our 2 hour hike along the Kettle Valley trail a top the Naramata Bench. A little slice of heaven I must say!




And as far as the unemployment piece goes, it was in the works all of 2010 and knew it was coming. Nothing sudden, just a good 'ol business wind down. Being HR guy, that was one tough slog hence the wonderful trip to Canada's west coast where folks RELAX AND LIVE!

Last, I wrote 10 goals out to start 2010 season. I didn't reach ANY OF THEM. Strange that it was one of my most rewarding seasons personally. Despite my crash, my layoff from work, my non-Ironman, only 1 triathlon....I really enjoyed the racing I did get to do and learning what's possible during trying times. Anything is possible, you just have to LIVE. Remember the motto:

LIFE IS WHAT *YOU* MAKE IT!

So get livin' my friends, get livin'!




Monday, September 27, 2010

Centurion Cycling - Canada

Thanks for checking in again!

I have been laying low the past week+ as my body does it's best to recover from the beating that was the Village of Blue Mountains Centurion Event on September 19th. The event was put on by NA Sports, the same group that owns Ironman Canada and used to run Lake Placid, California, Wisconsin, Florida Ironman events before selling them to the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC runs/owns Kona and the brand "Ironman") I emphasize the organizer because Graham Fraser and his team put on the best events period. I have raced his events and events that are not his, and by far his are the best!

The event is set for the masses, 25, 50 and 100 mile options through the steep hillsides of the Niagara escarpment in Collingwood. The point being to bring every level of cyclist together to enjoy an epic day of bike riding. This met that goal and was impecably organized. Many of the Ontario riders I race against throughout the year, usually really tight with race fees and such, commented how they so received their money's worth from the $110 race fee vs. half that fee for Ontario Cup races. MEaning, Ontario racing really does suck. We had OPP escorts, helicopters, feed stations, safe roads, incredible roads, great course, buffet food, timing chips, swag bag, rock bands...list goes on. Ontario racing you get fined, cursed, shit courses. It's why our team goes to the US and Quebec to race a lot. Ontario racing = training!

Anyway, as for my race, it was the last of a long season and I did everything I could to try and break up the group and get away over 100 miles. I didn't succeed. I cracked so bad I almost fell off my bike at 101 miles. The race was long, I didn't account for that and cracked bad. I finished 26th on the day but should have been up front top 5. Humbled, lesson learned in bike racing...don't do the work, that's someone's else's job!

Great event, highly recommended.

Click on this link for my power file from the event: I spent 55% of the time above threshold; 20% at max...over 5 hours that adds up!!! Hence, the cracking and sudden darkness-:)

I can't wait for Graham's team to learn and grow the event. Talk is already started of a hill climb TT the day before with combined time winning stage race type format!! If anyone can do it was excellence, its his team.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ontario Provincial Time Trail Champiosnhips

Dear friends and family:

September 12th I decided to throw my hat into the Provincial Time Trail (TT) championships for the 30-39 age division. This meant a few things:
  1. I would have to change the position on my Cervelo P3 to make it legal with the Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) rules. These caveman of the UCI have put major restrictions on equipment and fit so as not to provide, what they believe, is an unfair advantage to lesser countries/athletes financial means. Recently what this has meant is that master athletes or triathletes like myself could have equipment deemed illegal for UCI races but perfectly legal for triathlon and in fact we would have to spend MORE money to make things legal. For me, this mean buying a $70 stem to bring the bars closer to my body, cutting my aero bars by 3 cms to bring them closer to my body, and then moving my seat back 5cms to make the fit legal. Consequence is the fit is far tighter and more uncomfortable then the triathlon position I have been riding for 10 years.
  2. I was going to hurt, A LOT, for about 50 minutes.

I was hoping to get a spot on the podium for our team sponsors as a special thanks for all their support this year. I arrived far too early but had some groove tunes to keep me occupied, warmed up for an hour on the trainer, got the bike dialed in with a Zipp 808 front and disc wheel on the back, strapped on my aero helmet and hit the start. Funny story:

There was a rider that was a bit of a character (will remain nameless). At start they were calling my number for bike check so I went to front of line and got my bike checked to ensure the fit I did was legal, then walked through. 5 minutes later said guy came through and I realized I had just totally budded in front of him for bike check. So I said, "Oh crap dude, I just totally budded you for bike check. Sorry, I thought they were calling me forward there mate.." To which he replied, "Well, you should be" and then turned his back to me. I said nothing (hard for me I know!) internalizing my revenge out on the course.

So I hit the start line and reminded myself this is 38km's of suffering for about 50 minutes. I need to breath controlled, suffer like a dog, but not blow up before the end! My start was smooth and I instantly found a groove and felt pretty good. We had a headwind on the way out and coming to the turnaround my diaphram started to cramp, I eased up and breathed deeply to let the cramp subsided for a few hundred meters before the turn; smoothly took corner, sucked back a gel and some water then flew with the now tailwind. I was catching my guy up front slowly but surely but still was unsure how my ride was. I know I was suffering badly and that this pain was only temporary!

I caught my minute man (same guy as funny story above) and when I caught him with 5kms to go and REALLY hammered by him and dropping him, he drafted me and then 2 minutes later he was cutting the apex of a corner beside me. This goes on for another 4kms while I do everything to stay legal and eventually he has more oomph at end and rolls forward to finish just ahead of me. It ends up he was parked beside me so I walk by and give him a little thumbs up and he says NOTHING. Wow, I thought; taking this all a little seriously aren't we? Where's the fun dude!

I was really spent and my hip flexors were a mess thanks to the UCI legal position but overall I felt "OK" with my ride. Not stellar, but not too bad.

I came 4th, the dreaded 4th, by a whopping 0.13 seconds! OUCH! Average speed was 43.1km/hr

Results are here

Last stop on the 2010 cycling season is the Blue Mountains Centurion.

Thanks for checking in!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green Mountain Stage Race: Race Report

Hi friends and family:

My "A" race of season has come and gone over this labor day weekend. For the second year in a row Meredith, Gatsby and I ventured east to Waitsfield, Vermont for the 10th annual Green Mountain Stage Race. This is a 4 day stage race consisting of:

- Day 1: 8.8km Time Trail
- Day 2: 72 mile 3.5 lap circuit race with a 2.5 mile climb per lap
- Day 3: 70 Mile point to point Mountain stage with 3 passes of the Green Mountains finishing on top of App Gap
- Day 4: 40km Criterium in downtown Burlington, Vermont (PS: home of the band PHISH!)

My training going into the race was actually quite good. For the first time ever I didn't run for over a month and focused solely on riding my bike. As many know, I went out and watched Ironman Canada and did some seriously hard riding out there as my final tune up then came home, packed up the car, and hit the road. My power meter tests out in Penticton show significant improvement with a "career" high 4.9 W/kg for 20 minute effort. This is significant as stage 1 should take about 15 to 16 minutes to race and the higher W/kg is, the faster you are!

Last year I raced CAT2 and while competitive, I was clearly not going to win so I chose CAT3 this year noting that the Sound Solutions team from Toronto were also racing CAT3. These are a good bunch of guys so I figured I would check my ego at door and do CAT3. The rest of the Endurosport PFR Powerwatts team are in the 40+ category where I will be next year!

Stage 1: Time Trail - 2nd overall in 14:51!
I knew I was in good shape but honestly this was a shock! My time was 2 minutes faster than 2009 but the winds were favourable so I figured I was actually 1 minute faster. For the first time EVER I had a good TT warm up. 45 minutes on the trainer, 30 minutes rest, 10 minutes on the road with a few sprints, quick pee, then to the line. All made possible because the start times were ON TIME because the organizers are AMAZING here at GMSR!


Stage 2: 19th place safe and sound
This stage I was 5th in last year in the CAT2 and, at that time, was the hardest effort I ever put into a bike. This year I needed to be a little more cool about things given my overall position. On the final climb Victor in the Yellow Jersey surged stringing out the group and I bridged over, we nailed the descent causing some splits and as we turned right with about 10km's to go I came around him and called out an attack. We did a 2-up TT, caught the break of 2 riders and thought we might stay away but the peleton organized and shut us down about 5km's later. From there is was conserve time and make sure no time was lost.

Chris Wood from Sound Solutions, an excellent sprinter, nailed it taking the win! I celebrated like he was a team mate because the boys over on that crew are so straight up. A great group and Wood's dominate performance was sweet to watch. Ed Makurchuk took 5th as well from Sound Solutions so they had a good day!

Stage 3: Queen Stage - 10th but man oh man, what a day!
We started the day and it was 58 degrees with a downhill neutral start. Suffice to say, everyone was frozen by the time the race started. I was expecting attacks right from the gun but nothing really got going for awhile. I even had time to pull over to the road side, STOP, and pee! Some riders rolled off that were going for the sprint points (green jersey points) and to keep them close the speeds really picked up down the valley. Then we were neutralized as the 40+ riders in a break from the race that started after us rolled through. Cary Moretti from the Endurosport PFR Powerwatts was one of the 3! Here is where things got interesting! One rider in the break up the road was a guy from the Planet Placid bike team that I knew could win as he won Catskills. They didn't neutralize the break and they instantly got 4 minutes. Once the race was back on it was truly chess on wheels for about an hour and I knew, after we crested Middlebury Gap's 5km climb and the yellow jersey gapped me pretty easily that I would not stick with him on App Gap. I needed time going into the final show down so I pinned the descent to get back on and went to the front trying to encourage some attacks. Some went, but were caught and after a flurry of this I looked back to see yellow about 15 riders back so I jumped really hard and took rider 327, Eric from NYC, with me. We pinned it hard for a few minutes then looked back. NOBODY!

Decision time was made, we had 25 miles to go and it was going to be all out. We caught 4 riders of the 7 that were in the days break. One of them was Chris Wood from Sound Solutions and the 4 worked with us giving Eric and I the much needed recovery between pulls. We hit the days second climb, a 1Km steep pitch with a 2 minute gap back to the yellow jersey but the split feedback to the leading 3 up the road were sparse at best. The best I could garner was we closed it to 1:45 from 4 minutes by this point.

Eric and I rode tempo dropping the 4 riders. At the top we turn left then hit the DIRT ROAD descent! 2 of the 4 riders worked really hard to get back on to us in time for the ride through Bristol and over to Baby Gap, from there it is a few km's up hill at 7 to 14%, then some flat road up, slight descent, then to the 4km STEEP PITCHES of App Gap! We rode steady together and I took in 3 gels to fight off the hunger bonk I was feeling before we hit Baby Gap. We rode well together on Baby Gap and as we crested one of the steeper pitches there were spectators handing out coke! Perfect!!! Then I realized one of those spectators was MEREDITH! Awesome!! a can later I was feeling pretty fresh and ready to tackle App Gap proper. The motorcycle official told us we still had 2 minutes on yellow. If that was the case, I was racing for the yellow jersey on the 4kms of App Gap.

When we hit the climb I surged for 200M to see what the other 3 had and only Eric came with me. This boy was strong and quite a bit bigger than me. We chatted and agreed to ride our own tempo and most of our time together was side by side. We hit the switch backs and I glanced back with 2kms to go to see Yellow but still some 500M back. That is still quite a gap I thought and wondered would it possible to stay ahead for the 24 seconds I needed. I asked the official how far up the road the 3 riders were and he said a minute. So depending on who those 3 were, I was still fighting for yellow.

I dug deep but stayed smart; steady tempo. Then Victor and 2 other guys caught me with 750M to go, I got on the wheel of the 3rd rider and fought like hell. They rode off, I fought back, they rode off. Eric did the same with me....finally, the elastic snapped and I was done with 400M to go. More riders were coming, I had to fight, dig, dig, dig...almost there, 20% into a headwind are you kidding me???? DIG, DIG, DIG....finally I hit the line and then everything went black. I couldn't see, breath, like nothing ever before. 2 medics picked me up off my bike and carried me to the sidelines, putting a blanket over me and getting me some hot shots. It was cold up here and I couldn't breath.

10 minutes later the drama was over and I was bundling up to head back down the mountain to our B&B. Things got interesting as I hunger bonked so bad, that 300M from the house I had to get off my bike and take my last gel! I just couldn't make it any further!

Home Meredith put together a killer spread on for me and put me back right. Without a doubt that 25 mile break and the fight to try and get yellow was the hardest day EVER on 2 wheels.

Stage 4: 35 laps of 1.2km circuit in downtown Burlington
I saw Victor in the morning and he lost his yellow jersey by 1:20. He was going to attack to take it back and I said I would help! Problem was, when he went I was boxed in on a corner and couldn't latch onto his wheel. A lap later I attacked and gave everything but the gap increased so I shut it down knowing the 28 seconds I needed to get back on the overall podium were lost and Victor needed a miracle to get yellow back.

Miracle? Get this! Victor and 2 other riders buried themselves and lapped the field! Victor got 2nd on the stage and with the time bonuses easily took back his yellow jersey!

I stayed up right and safe and protected my 7th overall on General Classification.

GMSR is an amazing race, incredibly well organized and for the most part really safe. This said, 2 friends left with broken bones. Paulina Allen with a broken wrist and my team mate Andrew Stewart with a broken collar bone. In my CAT3 group there was a crash in stage 2 and the poor guy needed 30+ stitches across the bridge of his nose. I hope all heal well in the coming weeks.

I love bike racing but if there was a 5th stage, honestly, not sure I could do it! How riders do 3 weeks I will never know!!

Vive le bike-:)



Monday, August 30, 2010

10 Things I learned watching Ironman Canada

10. Like life, sport has many shapes/sizes/personalities with some good and some bad; but Ironman Canada has so much GOOD, so much KINDNESS, so much RESPECT that all other Ironman's I have done or watched (LP, Wisc - a very close 2nd BTW, UK, Hawaii, FL etc.) and sports (be it major league pro sports or the local arena) pale in comparison.

9. You get your $$ worth, all $600 of it @ironmancanada - Simple. But I will warn WTC and their Private Equity owners, you are gutting the fringes and should be very, very careful with your direction. Competition to their prize is heating up and races like Canada's does not need your M-dot (WTC) brand to make big money. Believe me when I say, a good 60% of athletes I talked to during the week talked about this point, feeling the sport is getting far to *business*.

8. Spectating is hard work! RESPECT to all supporters (especially my wife for 10 years of that!)

7. Staying out of town, be it in Summerland or Naramata really helps if you are racing. Calm energy for break through performances.

6. CARBON is everywhere!

5. Money is to be made on fashion consulting for race kits. Seriously, some major mistakes on men out there, a few on women; but boys please keep 'er covered!

4. There are some seriously great roads to train on in the Okanagan!

3. I saw one female pro gutting it out into a major headwind on the bike, then again with 2 miles to go on the run and my light bulb went off in a big way - THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES to PERFORM. FW/FG I was seriously impressed with that effort - SERIOUSLY IMPRESSED.

2. Iron dames cause is really inspirational and starting a day at 5am and finishing it at 1am to watch athletes do their thing is worth it to see these girls complete what they started. Smiles on at 11:45pm they did it. I was blown away. amazing. Please check their cause out at Irondames.ca - VERY COOL!

1. I LOVE IRON DISTANCE TRIATHLON. It has everything a sport could ask for - breakthrough performances, gut wrenching stories (like the brothers crossing the line together to honor their dad who died racing IMC last year!), community, manners, toys to spend money on, but most of all REWARD FOR ALL THE HARD WORK!

Congratulations to all racers, supporters, and particularly to the Iron Dames; you all rock!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RACE REPORT: Tour of the Catskills!

Friends and Family,

It is true, I have a race report to tell you about!! Civic holiday weekend for Ontario the Endurosport PFR Powerwatts team drove to the Catskills in upstate NY for a 3 day bike race.

First, the Catskills themselves were quite possibly some of the best roads I have raced on period. Smooth, undulating valley roads with gorgous trees abound. Once the organizers take you out of the valley though all hell breaks lose! 5 to 7km climbs that are like step ladders; steep then a flat respite, steep again. When I say steep, stage 2 had a 2 mile climb averaging 14% but the majority was actually 20 to 23% gradient. My power meter had my clocking a whopping 5MPH on the climb they call Devil's Kitchen. Click here for a link to the pros riding up this sucker, and notice Floyd Landis at about 1:30 into video, dropped by the leading half dozen!

Prologue:
Friday was a 4km prologue with average grade of 4%. Again, this was about staying steady because the climb had sections of 14% then some flats, then some kicks of 8%, then a flat then a big ring uphill sprint to finish. I was hoping for about a 7:45 time knowing a really good athlete did it in 7 flat last year. I clocked 7:53 and given I haven't raced anything in 7 weeks and had 3 weeks completely off of any activity on the front end of those 7weeks from my crash, I was actually quite happy. I was 14th in the Senior 3 men's field so I set a goal for two things:
  1. win a stage
  2. get into the top 10

Stage 1 - 80kms; 2 mountains; descending and flat finish

This stage had a hard first mountain top climb that covered 5kms with the steepest section at the top. I bridged to the front group with 3kms to go and sat about 8th wheel suffering like a wounded dog. Holding on, toping 350+watts I was praying the top was coming soon. With 1km to go the elastic got longer and then snapped. I was dropped for about 20 seconds from the leaders. As we crested there was some flat where I could open up my diesel engine for legs and try to bridge. I picked up riders one by one and we formed a group but it was unorganized and we didn't have enough fire power to get across. Ironically it was the knarly descending that I was dropping this group and 3 of us got a pretty good gap by the valley roads and gave it a go ourselves but the pack behind was getting larger as riders tagged on from behind. 3 riders against 15 is hard to beat. Eventually we gave up the ghost and I went to the back of the pack. I was now thinking of trying to grab a few seconds out of this the second group on the road as the leading group was putting time into us every pedal stroke. What was 20 seconds was now 1:45 and by the finish was a whopping 2:40! OUCH!

I attacked 5 of 6 times to try and gain 10 or 20 seconds but eventually stopped as the group was getting a little pissed off with me and a young buck from Peterbourgh James Bent who was really working well with me. We rolled across together a group of 15 or so 2:40 behind the winner.

Derek Hardinge from Lapdogs Cycle (Duke's cycle team and home to my great friend Lorne Anderson) had an amazing ride, getting in the early break and scooping all the King of the Mountain (KOM) points along the way. Even better, when he was caught he stayed on that group and kept his top 10 spot moving to 6th overall 10 seconds from the leader. Great ride for Derek and representing Canada at the front of this very competitive group.

Stage 2: EPIC 85km

This route was really amazing! We had a KOM right away and Derek scooped the top points. I tried to bridge thinking the top might be a place for a break but the peleton reeled me in with 300m to go. It was at that point I told myself the stage strategy for me has changed; sit in and do NOTHING until Devil's Kitchen. If I can stay with the front group I knew the finish chute really well and would attack on a riser about 4km from the finish. IF i was with the front group they might let me go because I had no threat to the overall podium after losing the 2:40 on stage 1.

We rolled through the valley and the break that eventually did form got 1:30 before we hit the climb. We turned right to start a 3km riser before the wall of pavement kicked to 23% from the word GO! It was at this turn the 20 year old yellow jersey leader crashed washing out on some sand. Everyone sat up and being the oldest guy there, and right behind the yellow jersey when he fell, I assured the group a steady pace is appropriate. I crossed the yellow line and looked back, he was still down. I went back to the front and said, "game on, he's down for awhile". From there a group of 3 went off the front. I bridged wanting to gain a few hundred metres lead before the wall. We hit the wall, I punched it a bit and promised myself to take it at my own pace.

The leaders came by on left and I stayed with them for 1km. Then the elastic got long and riders were passing me. I was dying, literally riding 5MPH doing everything I could to keep them in sight. When I saw the line that said 2KM to go for KOM I almost threw up....2 more KM's of this? WTF? This is not real! Then Gary from Ziggy's fell off the mountain to my left. He was in the race ahead (40+) that we caught. He was ok, stopped by the trees. GEEZUS, this is nuts! Then I saw what I thought was the top! NOPE, it was a hairpin turn to the right and more climbing!!! At this point I got angry and really started to speed up to 7MPH! Funny because it was here I caught a few riders I recognized from yesterday's break.

Finally it levelled off but there was still some rollers before we hit the top and the KOM. My diesel got rolling and I was flying by riders blown to pieces along the crest. I fought and fought to catch a group of 5 ahead. A few deep breaths, missed a few pulls in the group to get my act together and sucked back 1 more gel. I then went to the front and asked the stronger guys to help but I would do most the work. Our job? WE MUST GET THE FRONT GROUP BEFORE THIS DESCENT IS OVER!

It was an epic chase and as we turned left onto the main road about 4.5KM from the finish there was the front group! I couldn't believe it, my plan came back to me and I was ready. I went to the back of my group which had now grown to 8 and let them pull me to the front group and it was there I was going to attack.

We caught them right at the base of a roller and I WENT AS HARD AS I COULD. 750watts on my powertap later, I was redlined, turning squares over the top then opened up the diesel one more time. I gave everything I had and couldn't believe I was going to win the QUEEN STAGE! I looked back, they were coming! ONE MORE DIG and I WIN!

ARMS UP I CROSS THE LINE.....ah, one problem...that group I attacked? Yeah, they weren't the leaders!!!!!! There were 5 guys 40 seconds ahead of me that took 1 thru 5 on the stage. Yes, that's right, I raised my arms in shame for 6th. LOL! Classic cycling error and one the boys will rib me for at year end party time!

RESULTS FOUND HERE: I moved to 11th of the final general classification; Derek kept his 6th spot and his KOM Jersey. James from Peterborough came in 14th overall and for a 20 year old did a great ride too!

I highly recommend this race to all racers, it is so well organized and the roads are just amazing!

Onward to Green Mountain Stage Race labor day weekend!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Le Tour at it's BEST

Yesterday the Tour de France finished a top the mythical Col de Tourmalet. It was an epic battle between 2 riders separated by 8 seconds for the overall. Andy Schleck vs. reigning champion Alberto Contador.


from a fan perspective, it was pure class to watch Schleck throw everything at Contador and even chase back on when Contador countered. Contador showed class letting Schleck win the stage at the end. He is learning, maturing, as a great champion.

Vive le Tour!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tribute to Lance Armstrong

As I type this Sir Armstrong is in an all day break at the Tour de France giving the race its respect and due. I don't know yet if he wins but it brought me to thinking...and here is what those thoughts are:

First, from 1999 to now cycling technology and investment in the sport has EXPLODED. From fringe sport to the cusp of mainstream in North America cycling technology has evolved so rapidy it rivals Apple! Who benefits? ALL OF US, from your kids to the high end investment banker dropping $15K on a carbon bling-bling; we all benefit from great bikes for superior performance and most importantly, TONNES OF FUN!

Second, as a fan of the sport since my teens watching LeMond I cannot recall a rider most tactically astute. From the 1999 tour where he ensured he was up front before the crash on the Passage De - something or other, to last year where he hopped a curb to be up front before the cross winds came and gapped the field, LA always knew where to be.

Third, 80+ VO2 max is other world numbers; but like Jordan in basketball genetics alone do not make a champion. LA is a rare breed of athlete one part genetic, one part talent, one part commitment, one part unrivaled cunning capacity to close the deal when it matters most. Brazil, England, Argentina...where are their closers on the pitch?

Fourth, controversial yes but lets not forget some of the scenes where he was beyond a winner and a graceful champion. Letting Pantani win on Ventoux; not attacking Ullrich when he crashed; bonking on the Jaune Plane in 2001; dropped in 2003 multiple times to dig deep and win; domestique to Tyler in the Dauphine, to Levi in the Giro and TOC, and loyal as loyal can be to those who stand by him: Oakley, Nike, Trek, Steve Hed, Bruyneel to name a few.

Fifth, Livestrong - what else needs to be said there.

Sixth, as a fan boy was he fun to watch race! Cunning; skillfull; dominate; one part gracious, one part arrogant. It was all so much fun to watch!

I hope his swan song this year is remember as much for luck finally catching up with him AND HOW HE REACTED to it by staying in the race, supporting his teammates & sponsors, and how he graced the race by getting in a break and paying his respects, as he is for 7 wins.

Last, the questions always gets asked; "was or is he doped?"

Honestly, I don't much care.

LA is a champion and philanthropist...and just came in 5th for today's stage. Not bad old man, not bad!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back on Track!

Quick post:

- did a threshold bike test last night; result = 4.3 watts/kg.

Once i get to race weight of 160 lbs or 72.7kgs in 3 to 4 weeks and hold same wattage I know I can hold at that race weight, this test will improve to 4.47 to 4.52 watts/kg and with that I will be ready for the late season cycling push to compete at Green Mountain Stage Race.

So yes, I'M BACK ON TRACK!

Physio is done and I can start easy running again; maybe just maybe a fall marathon too!

For now though......I RIDE-:)

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 1?

Quick post:
  • TODAY I felt my leg as a normal leg and that felt good!
  • TOMORROW I have another ART appointment at SPC and hopefully that provides as much lift in the fix as the last session did!
  • CANADA DAY (July 1 for all my American friends) I hope to start riding lightly
The rumor I heard is July is going to be far better than June-:) It doesn't have to improve by much to do that but improve it must and improve it will!

Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Confirming what I already knew still stings...

I have spent my weekend reflecting on the crash and how I could have avoided it, what might have happened if I moved slightly left or kept my eyes open when falling or put my arm out to the pavement. All those questions seem to land right back to the same thing I said that night, "I AM SO LUCKY!"

But it has been 2 weeks now and frankly, I am now angry. Not because I crashed, not because we clipped wheels without any reason, but I just can't figure out how my left Femoris Rectus would be so buggered when I landed on my right; how does the physics work around that? I can only thing when I flipped over and stayed clipped into the pedals the forces of bring the bike over me hyper-extended my leg backwards. I still though just sit and say "huh?"

My problem now is, I can't swim because of the whole on the side of my knee which is actually healing nicely; it is about half "filled in"! I can't run because this injury is the one injury that really makes running one stride unbelievably painful, and I can't ride because this muscle is THE engine for cycling. If it wasn't for this muscle injury I could be running and cycling but life is a punching bag and I need to dust myself off and get back up! So I sit in limbo for another week hoping the physio and rest takes hold.

Though I knew Ironman was out of the question right away and wasn't "all in" to begin with 2 weeks ago, it still stings to hear Dr Grant Lum confirm, "sorry Rhys, no way you will be fit for Ironman. You will be able to workout; swim, bike, run, but you won't have enough time between being pain free and race day to be race ready".

Hearing that hurt now that I reflect. I can take Ironman away from myself as my own decision but an injury taking it away from me stings.

Meredith has been great, especially yesterday when all this kind of came to the surface. Good on her for putting up with me this weekend!

Sting aside, today has been better mentally and hopefully Canada Day weekend I can ride a bit. I will obviously miss my first BIG goal of the season which was the Sutton Stage race in Quebec but that is ok. I will try and get fit for Green Mountain on Labor Day weekend and support Meredith as she trains for the Kelowna half marathon October 10th.

Tomorrow's a new day with new vibe; just gotta keep on keeping on!

Thanks for checking in!



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

diagnosed!

First, good news: no freaking ultrasounds or MRI’s required! This means I don't get stuck inside the medical system!


Second good news: injury can be fixed via Active Release/Physiotherapy.


First bad news: another 10 days off of any training except light spinning on my trainer.


Second bad news: no running for at least another 3 to 4 weeks.


Last bad/good news (?): Definitely NO IRONMAN given I cannot run.


Diagnosis in lay terms is a LM Rectus Femoris strain. Basically the connections of muscle to hip bone.

What is the rectus femoris muscle?

The rectus femoris muscle is one of quadriceps muscles. It goes from the hip to the knee and can be used to straighten the knee or lift the knee up. This muscle can rupture or become inflamed at the upper part where the muscle attaches to the hip. The main cause of this is overuse through kicking or explosive movements as in sprint starts


I bold type the EXPLOSIVE movement part as I think crashing at high velocity counts as EXPLOSIVE


Still quite painful but at least I know now what we are dealing with. Essentially 4 to 6 weeks post injury before really getting back into training. I am already 10 days past injury though I have to say, it has gotten worse not better since crash day.


So that bottle of Berringer Merlot I just had was quite good thank you very much!


NEW GOAL: Green Mountain Stage Race labor day weekend and maybe, just maybe, a marathon in October. Set goals important to chart course for success.


With downtown I might even start studying for the Canadian Securities Course. I have snoozed button that for 5 years!!!


Onwards we ride, once I can ride of course!


Thanks for checking in.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post Crash Day 6 - First ride

Quick installment today to let friends and family know I am on the mend.

Today I rode my bike for 40 minutes really lightly but found myself shortly after on the couch having a nap! WOW! That tells me my body took quite the hammering last weekend!

Road rash healing up nicely, Hip Flexor still a problem but I see Dr. Grant Lum Tuesday to get a better diagnosis on the issue. Probably as simple as, "you fell hard, your body is reacting; RELAX!"

Otherwise Wales blew the 2nd half today and got hammered by the All Blacks. Brutal 2nd half for sure and they just can't seem to separate themselves from "potential" to "performance".

AS for the world cup? Well with those bloody horns in the background soccer just went from boring to boring AND annoying!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 5, some good news!

Great news today:

1. X rays are negative
2. fixing my bike only cost $175 and Sir Lorne was at the helm of ensuring the fixes in place (AKA: McGivor and the best darn bike wrench ever!)
3. Tomorrow I ride again
4. only 2 advil today!

Yep, things are looking up! This said I couldn't jog 2 strides across the street without my hip flexor screaming so something is weird there. A light ride to loosen up? I THINK SO!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Post crash day 4 - Xrays.

What is more depressing? The fact that in 9 days I have had my i-phone stolen at work, then delivered a major divestment project (read: not a fun deliverable), then crashed, and now realize whatever is going on in the left groin area needs more than just TLC?

Again, I am happy because I am lucky that all is well but tonight I had to get some x-rays on my left hip and pelvis. Something is not right in the hip flexor area. Results come back tomorrow after some Dr. reviews it and sends a report to my team at SPC. I am VERY optimistic because you just don't fracture or break something and only focus on road rash for 3 days!!! That pain would take precedent-:) Still, something is clearly not right in the area which means I am now, OFFICIALLY, inside the medical system which in turn means, I am about to get bounced around from X-rays to ultrasound to MRI and non of those things are in the same place at the same time and all of those things take time.

I was hoping to ride tonight 30 minutes on the trainer but even that SPC said no to. Get the xray first, plan the re-hab second. No problem, I just finished a bottle of Mondavi Merlot instead!

That aside I really, really noticed today a positive vibration on the mental side of the rehab equation. The tension, anxiety, general on edginess is releasing to become smiles and good vibes again; even at work-:)

Thanks for checking in and send good vibes for the x-rays!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 3...on the mend...

Friends and family, thanks for checking in. Things are on the mend on the road rash. Still VERY painful on the right hip where I landed but the shoulders are healing nicely and the knee oddly enough is easy peasy. It is disgusting to look at but it doesn't hurt a bit! Right elbow is really making progress and the other odds and sods of missing skin the same.

The issue is the groin. Tomorrow I visit Sports Performance Center in port credit for some Active Release Therapy on it and an assessment to whether it is muscular something more sinister. What I do know is I can't lift my leg straight up in air when lying on my back and it hurts to bend over. Sort of feels like something is all pinched in there. There is no bruising so I must admit I am a tad stressed of the injury.

Otherwise I was back at work today which was nice. Another day moping around the house and not relaxing at all because the mind is racing would not be good. Work focuses the brain (not the soul, lets be fair there!)

I will not be doing the Sutton stage race in Quebec July 2,3,4. I want the groin to be fixed 100% before hard efforts. I will take that weekend for long mile rides in the country and long hikes with Gatsby and Meredith in the park instead.

Gatineau road race is possible July 7 as my "comeback" race, we'll have to see how it progresses.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2 days post crash....

In the grand scheme of things I am very lucky. I could be like my friends Cary, John, Kim, Tara, Chris all with broken collar bones; Cary and John adding elbows into the mix. I think Chris had a broken shoulder too. Of course there is Tara Norton too with her facial lacerations, collar bones, back, and various other bone fractures. All of them from a bike crash; some racing and some training. I am indeed extremely lucky.

The gentlemen in the van that picked me off the course said, "someone was looking over you today" to which I said, "she sure was..." It was instinctive to suggest my mom had a hand in my safety but whatever higher spirit was on my side Sunday to he, her, it, I am really grateful.

It is this sentiment that is carrying me past the anxiety of looking back and remembering what might have been vs. what was.

My road rash is healing remarkably well. Today I am really feeling quite a bit of muscle pain and I suspect much of it is whiplash. Neck, shoulder, upper back are all very, very sore. I have a massage at 2:30 so hopefully she doesn't mind the bandaged welsh bastard on the slab as she tries to work around the various injuries to get at me sore muscles. I am also really tired, flu like tired as my body tries its best to get me better.

All this said, at about 11am this morning I did feel a surge of "I'm going to be ok!" I think that was more mental than physical but all the same it is an indication that maybe, just maybe, late this week I will be back on the bike spinning the lakeshore and getting myself healed enough to race North American Masters Championships in Sutton QC July 2,3,4. My goal for now is to get on the trainer no later than Thursday for an easy cruise.

Right now, it re-bandage time for a few of the wounds on my left side!

Ride safe, PLEASE!

Monday, June 14, 2010

and finally it happens - CRASH!

On Sunday we fielded our full team for the Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario Cup road race. I went down to the race early to carpool my friend MAdelyn Smith to her first bike race! She did awesome, always at the front of her race and easily covering moves on the climbs. Then I didn't see her and knew something was up. She finished a few minutes back after crashing when getting squeezed by the group as the race vehicle came by. NOT a good start to her bike racing career but she is ok and a trooper.

Me on the other hand has gone 10 years without ever hitting the deck. Only one minor skid out on wet leaves at 15km/hr is the extend of my bike riding crashes. That is about 15,000 kms a year without a single scrape until Sunday.

Our full team was there and we had a good plan in place and were executing it pretty well for the first half of the race. Then I attacked to try and bridge to 2 riders up front. I was catching them and a group from the peleton were catching me. Down the descent, hang a right, pedal in the 53/14 around the corner; drop 2 hears to the 53/12 and gliding at 70km/hr (so says bike computer) I look back to my left to see a few guys coming. Then Peter Mogg swerves around my right hand side. I lose my line slightly looking right and next thing I know Peter is coming around me really, really tight. BANG, his rear wheel fully into my front wheel and what felt like forever was from that point to the deck. I played this out last night and here is everything that went through my mind in those 10 seconds from going down to stopping:

1. Hang on tight, DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR BARS!
2. F-C-K!
3. hitting deck I felt my head crash into roadside and I thought "I'm dead" but the lucky Bell Volt helmet came out on top of that battle!!
4. Get your feet first like going down river!
5. roll onto that grass in front of you!
6. look for other riders coming your way so you don't get run over!
7. Stopped, feel for broken bones....nothing? Are you kidding me = DODGED BULLET!
8. PAIN, LOTS OF PAIN; SCREAMING PAIN! OMG PAIN!
9. put me back on my bike
10. F-K my bike, I need to cry.
11. a few minutes of "shock" ensued. Deep crying, deep calve cramp pain, unbelievable amount of self talk to stay lucid, "what's my name? what's my birthday? where am I?" All answered correctly.
12. I AM OK, holy shit!

I am bandaged up along the right side calve, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow. left shoulder has a nice strip off too and the left hip stings but is ok.

Worst injury in terms of keeping me off my bike feels like a left groin pull which probably came from being clipped into my pedals and flinging the bike over me as I rolled.

Here are some before and after photos.





O

Monday, May 31, 2010

inspiration coming from many different angles....

It is May 31st, the last day of May and we lean into June with:

June 1 DMB at Molson Ampitheatre
June 2 MY BDAY!
June 6 Milton Tri
June 12 Sister's BDAY!
June 13 KW O-Cup bike race
June 20 Guelph Lake Olympic Distance Triathlon

PHEW - lots of fun decked up!

From an inspiration perspective a few angles have come my way recently:

1. Meredith seems to love 40. Well, that's what I think anyway! She has jumped into the decade a lot better than I know I will in a year's time! She is my rock right now with so many balls in the air I am trying to manage. A true partner, or as the cyclists say, Domestique!
2. Kim Nelson won her Age Group at IM Brazil Sunday. She is such a star and appropriately dubbed Hard Core Kim by her mates. She really is an inspiration!
3. Cafe Domestique is a great little coffee shop that opened in Dundas. A very cool spot with amazing espresso and chai tea! Kris the owner is a cycling and coffee fanatic and has opened a cool little dream. I am inspired because he is living what he loves and good for him!
4. My bike team just seems to love the sport so darn much it is really hard not to be inspired to enjoy it!! Andrew Stewart is floating on the pedals this year and no number on a driver's license is getting in his way!
5. Madelyn Smith is about to start racing bikes. Whatever this girl does she does 100% - ah, that means LOOK OUT other female racers in the Ontario peleton!

Many inspirations means I did some heavy lifting this past weekend:

Saturday: 215km bike ride solo without an iPod. Constant efforts, sprinting climbs; amazing day!
Sunday: 25km run on 7:40 pace. Solid, never in trouble enjoying the sun again sans iPod.

Can't wait for the races as I have some serious mojo inspiration from friends and family!!!

Thanks for dropping in.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Training with PowerTap!

I have spent the past 3 years training with power on the bike, meaning I am measuring my efforts in watts. The higher the watts, the harder the effort.

Here is a view of what a bike ride looks like when doing Sydenham hill in Dundas 10 times, if you don't know that hill, it is the hardest local 1 mile hill around


Here is a view of what the hardest Ontario Cup bike race looks like from Effingham last week:


I don't suspect it means a whole lot to some people but here is why I update this:

I LOVE MY BIKE AND MY FITNESS IS COMING AROUND-:)


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

40th B-day celebrations for Meredith!

My babe just keeps getting hotter, hotter, hotter; 40 and a beauty!

Thanks to all friends who joined in the fun from far and wide!! GREAT NIGHT!

Sunday was harsh; Monday too! But we are back at it today-:)

Meredith and long time friend Candace.

Meredith, Candace, Lee-Ron Peer and his wife Paloma, Trish and Gord from Halifax!!

Circa midnight - after a few! I know my babe and pretty sure she is saying, "I KNOW!" Probably positioned after someone said, "you're loaded!" or "YOU'RE HOT!"

Couple in love-:) oh, and the server Jeffrey in the background!

And finally, Meredith and Trish - Dalhousie alumni sharing a vino.




Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May 1st cometh!

Hi again friends and family,

Our latest update here at chez Spencer is really not about sports at all (I do my best NOT to write about political matters, I just gave that up all together. My vote will speak enough).

So what the hell is May 1st all about?

Well for 2010 is all about my hotty little Mere-Bear (otherwise known as Meredith my wife!) turning 40! Yep - 40! She enters the only decade that matters (till the next one!). Here is what we have planned:

- PARTY!
- PARTY with Caterer and lots of wine!
- PARTY with alumni from Dalhousie!
- PARTY with friends from Dundas!
- PARTY because we have cleaning services coming before and after - YIPPIE!
- PARTY PARTY PARTY!

Sunday May 2nd is going to suck BIG TIME!

In preparation my training this was has gone like this:
- Monday, 2K light swim
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday off
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday planned off days.

A wise coach once laid out a killer season for me and in it, I had 1 week of nothing leading into a big training block. ZIP, ZILCH, NADDAH! It worked once, it shall work again.

Starting May 3rd is my 4 month build to IMC August 29th. Just today I booked our flights to and from Kelowna August 26th thru to September 2nd. A few extra days to visit around our favourite spot in Canada. We just love the Okanagan, it is so gorgous.

I will write a PARTY REPORT! Yes, not a race report, A PARTY REPORT!

Party on!

Thanks for reading.

Here's a photo of Meredith and I, she's such a babe! As you can tell this photo is taken with us a little "PARTIED" during our dinner with said wise coach and his babe in Sonoma California. Yep, that is what a bottle of Cali's best does to us-:)

PS: Coach referral? www.bentleycoaching.com - Ask for Steve, he's pretty good!




Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fitness is a lifestyle; live it!

Thanks for checking back in friends and family, March and April has been quite the *RIDE*. LOL!

After Tucson work has been consuming but I have taped my moddo to my laptop to keep me focused and determined, that is: LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. To often we hear can't vs. CAN, me vs. US, won't vs. SHOULD; I ask a lot why that is? Ironically the word can't is in my answer, as in I can't control others behaviors. I CAN influence, I CAN motivate, I CAN coach.

To often perceived obstacles are not obstacles at all, they are triumphs in waiting.

So, April has been that way. Squeeze a run here, ride to work there, swim when you can. AFter a few weeks I look at my training log and see a good run of workouts without even realizing it! Funny that, LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.

To that end, here's a photo from last weekends bike race, a 75km pavement and rail trail race around Bronte Park in Burlington. HARD and FUN racing.



Monday, April 5, 2010

Aaaannnddd the SEASON BEGINS!

Good Friday is the traditional bike season opener and the past few years it has been raced close to where I grew up in Flamborough. I know these roads like the back of my hand and really enjoy the area for cycling. This season we had record temperatures of 26 degrees (80+ degrees!) and over 100 riders to start.

First, the bad news. There were quite a few crashes in the races before ours. 2 ambulances were picking up the pieces just before our race set off. NOT the way you want to start a season. Mike V. from La Bicicletta (my old team) appeared to be the worse off but apparently, a crash even earlier in the day has one gentlemen in very serious condition in hospital. Cycling is dangerous, anything can happen and quite often it is not the guys fault who takes the most road rash. I hope these guys turn out ok and their families are coping with the trauma as best they can. My thoughts and prayers with you.

OK, the good news? The good news is the race went well for the team. We don't have a sprinter to take out a win if the race finishes in a pack sprint so we need to attack, attack, attack. That was my game plan, ATTACK A LOT AND OFTEN in hopes of either a break sticking, or, a counter attack from a team mate sticking. We played this card all day but in the end a sprint is how it ended and Mark Carli on our team stuck his nose into it finishing in the main sprint group at 17th place.

My fitness is quite high for this early in the season, courtesy of Tucson I suppose. Saturday I hopped on the P3 Tri bike and rode 140km's with Tara Norton, Bill Wells, and Gareth Scobie. A great tempo ride that just about killed me (us maybe??) then a 20 minute tempo run after.

Sunday, and today, I am still fried from the back to back days. Hard not to drill it when the weather is this sweet.

Meredith is now back to so all is so very right with the world!

Here is a picture of my solo break courtesy of Ryan Jones at www.Canadiancyclist.com


Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tucson in the books - we leave Sunday.

Some of the bikes lined up in the court yard before we set out.

A room with a view....
Riding out to Mt Lemmon; straight ahead boys!

The world's worst wine ended our camp. I am particularly fond of the distributor Grateful Palate but frankly this stuff is piss, truly awful, but a good laugh all the same. A nice bottle of Coppola hides behind...

Bill stands a top Windy Point at Mile 14 of Mt. Lemmon on our last day.

Another great camp is in the books. 800+kms of really hard riding in the books; many sessions were on the rivet. Some high quality miles just in time for the season to start on Good Friday.

A great group to train with - ah, and drink with!




Friday, March 26, 2010

Made it!

Back in ACTION today!

Trough was a one day trough so all is well. 12km run this morning as 3km warm up, 20min 5km, 3km tempo, 1km warm down. We then headed out for a 75km team ride with lots of wind but all in control.

Tomorrow is our last day. It is decision time between Shootout (Tucson's local ride) or another go at Mt. Lemmon. At moment I am 100% undecided-:)

Catch up tomorrow night!

Ciao for now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

and on day 7....I CRACK....BAD!


Day 7 of camp on this 'ol body catches a bug and I am in pain chamber mode. Gutted out a 3 hour ride (gutted appropriate term here). That was the day. Horrible night sleep, rough start to day, then 3 hours in saddle trying to hang on to the boys. Sometimes you pack it in and start a new tomorrow. I barely made it but hey, it sure beats working-:)!-:)

Here is a photo of Bill and John at the local CVSs enjoying some Red Bull. Red Bull didn't help me today let me just say that!