Friday, July 31, 2009

Alberta Update

Hello loyal (and very patient readers), here's my trip report of what's happened thus far, in point form as I'm tired:

  • Successfully took my bike apart and got it in the box and, as a bonus, packed everything else and made it to the airport on time
  • Took a minor "scenic" side trip from the Calgary airport on my way to Turner Valley
  • Had a very fun time with Raye, Andy and Soxy
  • Met up with Duane (cousin), Susan (cousin in-law), Brittenay (first cousin once removed), Andrew (fc1r) and Cam (cousin). I haven't seen most of this crew in many years so this was fantastic - the fc1r's are super big and really neat kids!
  • Drove around Kanaskis Country. Never knew there were provincial parks for horses (and their owners).
  • Almost successfully put my bike together - discovered what happens if you don't tighten the headset and hit a big bump.
  • Tightened the headset on my bike.
  • Swam in the T.V. outdoor pool - on Monday it was the temperature of soup that needed another minute in the microwave. On Wednesday the pool soup only needed 30 seconds (it was 30 degrees C! In the pool!!)
  • Toured Spruce Meadows - very beautiful.
  • Got addicted to an evil Starbucks drink (Raye always introduces me to highly addictive junk foods).
  • Talked non-stop with Raye - especially the day I had to drink her coffee as well as mine.
  • Ate vast amounts of very good food.
  • Drank tons of Raye's coffee and evil Starbucks drink.
  • Made it into Calgary and to Leah's, despite the complete and utter lack of logic in the road/Trail system here.
  • Ran in North Glenmore Park - gorgeous!
  • Met Leah's beau, Chris, and his very cool kids - Emma and Joseph.
  • Ate a fantastic curry chicken dinner (if I get the recipe it'll go on the food blog).
  • Got seriously caffeinated with Leah.
  • Picked up my race pack and got a professional to check out my bike.
  • Drove to Ghost Lake, with a scenic detour to the North. All I had to do was drive straight yet somehow I took a right turn and went a far bit out of my way. It was pretty though.
  • Met up with a club mate and her crew at Ghost Lake and swam with them. The supposedly freezing cold lake was lovely - very cold when you first get in then a perfect swim temp.
  • Drove the first half of the bike course - stunning!
  • Made it back to Leah's without getting lost - yay! (Maybe the road system here isn't so nuts?)
  • Biked along the Elbow River Trail.
  • Ate another massive meal.
I will try to do a pre-race post and put down my race plan, hopefully it'll be less cryptic, but tomorrow might be a bit nutty so no promises.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Squamish Tri (Relay)

As running has been an issue recently I decided to do a tri without running. I conned, ahem, convinced Barton to be my runner for the Squamish Tri, a race I've wanted to come back to since first doing it in 2006.

31:19 min

Do you ever find yourself wondering what happened to all the heads crazy people who died in the '80's had cryogenically frozen? Are there still freezers somewhere full of headsicles or have they quietly been dumped while no one was looking? It's an interesting question, however if you find yourself wondering this in the midst of a triathlon swim you probably aren't as focused as you should be.

The relay wave was a pain. It was hard to find a draft in the small group and, as we went last, we had to navigate through the slowpokes in the previous waves. Once I stopped pondering cryogenics, I ended up using the slowpokes to my advantage in the second half as every time I sighted I'd find a swimmer from the previous wave and tried to pass them by the next time I looked. I went off course due to brainlessness (tried to swim to the wrong buoy on the return leg) but nothing major.

1:18:38 (including T1 & T2)

The bike is an 8km loop that you do four times - it's crowded, in places it's narrow and there are four 90 degree turns. There is one long steep climb and some fun stuff like train tracks that were seriously jarring to cross. Definitely a technical course, which played to a lot of my weaknesses, I'm nervous going around tight corners with people barrelling down behind me and I didn't want to be an ass and overtake right before the corners then jam on the brakes while turning, especially as there were some seriously squirelly cyclists, so I lost a lot of time on three of the corners (x 4 = 12 big slow downs).

On the first lap my legs felt dead and sore, second lap was a little better, by the third lap I hit a rhythm and I had fun cranking up the hill all out on the last lap, repeating my mantra "I don't have to run. I don't have to run."

A major stress was that my bike computer doesn't really work anymore, according to the Sigma I'd only gone 33km when I finished the bike, and counting was proving to be mentally taxing. I really didn't want to miss a lap and get us DQ'd.


Barton was not a fan of the run course but set a PR on a course that most people seemed to find challenging and most people seemed to have slower than average runs. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Post Race
It was fun hanging out at the finish and catching the fast guys crossing the line. And seeing the confusion on the LETC boys' faces as they saw me there! (Immediate post-race brain - didn't consider DNF or relay, just "Alison beat me??")

Very impressive showing by LETC - lots of podiums and Natasha and Doneen did their first ever oly.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Canada Day!

I managed to cram quite alot into my day off yesterday.

Part 1 - VOWSA Canada 2km Swim
2008 time - 40:02
2009 time - 40:06

I felt like I was flying on the swim this year, I even drafted the whole way, but did pretty much the same time as last year. I'm taking this as further confirmation that my swim improvements in the pool are entirely due to improving my kicking off the wall skills!

After the swim I spent time with the LETC folk and, for yet another year, didn't win a draw prize.

I was surprised to bump into Jed, someone I played ultimate with and against for years. He was volunteering and we had a good chat and a bit of a catch up session.

Part 2 - Crazy bike repeats
We brought our bikes so Teresa and I headed out (sans everyone else as I managed to waste enough time they left without us) and did the evil "Belcarra Loop."

For EBL you head to the Belcarra Picnic Area, go to the end of the parking lot, turn right onto Bedwell Bay Road then back to the road at the base of the hill heading back to Belcarra. There is only one long hill but the short hills are evilly steep to climb, as in stand on your pedals and hope you don't have to get off your bike and walk level of steep, then it's twisty enough on the way down that getting too much speed is nerve wracking as there are lots of blind corners.

My program said 6 loops but as the loops were taking me 20min I decided that Alan didn't mean for me to do a 2+ hour intensity workout and Teresa and I stopped after 4. The traffic was also increasingly nuts as the day went on - picnickers headed for Sasamat and Belcarra were parking on every available piece of shoulder and being fairly oblivious to cyclists. By the time we got back to the car to load the bikes we had no desire to fight our way through the crowds to cool off in the lake, we couldn't get away fast enough.

Part 3 - Yaletown Grand Prix
At home I had a quick shower and lunch then headed out to meet up with the LETC folk and watch the Yaletown Grand Prix criterion and running races. The crit's were fun to watch - lots super fast cycling action, although the men's pro race was a blow out as two guys lapped almost the entire field.

Two women from our club were in the elite women's running race and they blew the rest of the field away, taking 1st and 2nd. It's hard to cheer when it's neck and neck you you want both people involved to win! Tall Dave was in the men's race and I saw my second random/misplaced-ulti-player of the day as Vince was in the race too. He did a double take as he heard me yell his name, not sure if he knew who I was.

Cheering for Rachel & Martina in the women's elite/pro (I think) bike race was fun too. Luckily for us Rachel was in pink and yellow and therefore easy to spot - you don't have much time to catch people as they whiz by. Martina got lapped out of the race but as she'd hit the podium in the two previous races she done that day I'm thinking she could consider it a good day of racing!

The End
By the time I got home I was pooped - super early morning, a race, a hard workout, then standing around in the sun with not hat and yelling loudly can take a lot out of you!