Saturday, July 24, 2010

One week out

One week away from my A race for the season and I have a vicious
throat infection that's gone to my nose and ears.

After four days of antibiotics I still feel like death warmed over,
hopefully they kick in soon. Terribly frustrating not to be able to
train - I tried a 30 minute swim this morning and it knocked me flat.

My race plan might go from a PR attempt to just finishing. Thoughts of
DNS have been going through my head - hopefully it doesn't come to

Monday, July 19, 2010

A billion dollars of bridges

Quick recap - the plan for the weekend was to do the Peach in Penticton as my last race before tapering for Calgary. Without going into the whole gong show, that didn't happen and instead I had the brilliant idea to spend the weekend with a bunch of folks training for Ironman.

For Saturday's ride Teresa's friend invited us to ride with him then come back to his place for beer. I was so enamoured with the idea of beer that the part about 120km route (later changed to 140km) or 5 hour predicted ride time didn't really sink in!

It was a fair bit longer than would have been in my plan, if my plan didn't have me in Penticton readying for the Peach, but sometimes you have do stuff that's fun rather than smart. Hmm, that didn't sound as meaningful as I'd intended.

Most of us, being diehard West Side or Richmond folk, were pretty much lost as soon as Clement took us past Port Moody. "Where are we?" was the most common sentence uttered. I'm not entirely sure of the route, but we did ride over the new overpass leading up to the new Pitt River bridge and then the new Golden Ears Bridge - over $1B of bridges in about an hour!

Places I do know we got to:

  • Fort Langley - the countryside out there is lovely and the coffee shop we stopped at was excellent.
  • Entrance to Allouette Lake Park - not a good place to be on a bike on a sunny weekend afternoon. Valencia called it a "Goat show" - I'm a city girl so not quite sure what that means but the traffice was nuts.
  • Pitt Meadows - flat, pretty, llamas and horses.
  • Top of a ridiculously (as in "are you kidding me" ridiculous) steep hill that George's Garmin pegged at a 13% grade. This was about 90km into the ride.
  • Presumably lots of other places - 143km is a long way.
Other random ride notes:
  • We all got very good at counting to 9 - everytime we regrouped we counted heads. Had someone else inadvertently joined us we would have likely left one of the group behind.
  • I really don't know much of the Lower Mainland East of Burnaby.
  • Peanut butter on a bagel is about the best food ever on a long ride.
  • My Sugoi bib shorts are great for about 100km. Which I figured out on the 145km Mt. Baker ride then for some dumb reason I wore them again on this weekend's ride.
  • I need to clean the lens for my cell phone camera before taking pictures.
  • Heavy traffic when I'm tired stresses me out.
  • I train with a really good group of folks.

A couple of fuzzy pictures taken at the top of "Ridiculous Hill":

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Baker Baby!

See below for photos.

A day after telling someone I didn't think I'd make it up Mt. Baker this summer I got invited to ride it with some friends. To be truthful, I invited myself ("please, please, puh-lease can I come?"), and the crew my friends were going with were kind enough to take me along.

I would like to go off topic for a moment and say I don't think I'll win the lottery this summer. (Can't hurt to try!)

We parked by the Sumas border crossing and biked across. I had it in my head that the ride to Glacier was a gentle uphill and had somehow managed to wipe from my memory the nasty hill out of Sumas. Nothing like feeling like your legs are fried when you're only 15km into a 140km ride!

The hill split up the group and I was riding with Clayton and two guys from Dean Stanton's group until I got dropped. Eventually another rider from Dean's group caught me and we either chatted or pacelined into Glacier.

We regrouped in Glacier - had coffee (surprisingly mediocre for Washington State), snacked, refilled water bottles, and had pit stops. The stop seemed to take a long time so we decided the "slower" riders would take off first ("slower" = impatient to get going).

Teresa, Bronwyn, Clayton and I rode together through the first few hills then it was just Clayton and I. The first 20km or so from Glacier are tough but with flat or downhill sections to break it up. When you see the warning sign that there are switchbacks for the next 10 miles that's when the real work starts. It's very hard - relentless uphill with no flat or even easy spinning sections until you reach the top. If you've ridden Seymour it's like all the hard bits but with more corners. At one point I rode around the edge of a viewpoint pullout in the hopes I could get my cadence up. No luck.

Clayton stuck with on the ride up, I'm sure he could have been far, far ahead, but he's a nice guy. Or he didn't know the way. Nah, I'm going with the former.

Paul Cross, who we'd seen at the store in Glacier, caught up with us at the round about at the top and Clayton put in a sprint to try to beat him to the top.

For us the top was the building with the pop machine - the only food source open in the summer. That cold bottle of Mountain Mist was about the tastiest drink I've ever had!

A bit of a delay before heading down as one rider who'd started in North Van, and had done about 150km more than us, was not feeling so well. He recovered after about 15 minutes then proceeded to smoke us all on the downhill. We regrouped at the bottom and pacelined to Glacier.

The people I drove out with both had functions they were in danger of being late for so this second stop in Glacier was briefer - we said our goodbyes to the rest of the crew and carried on.

What I was hoping would be an easy ride back turned into a hard core paceline. I was good up to about the last 45 minutes then ran out of steam. I'd pull at the front then get dropped by the group. I was fine with that but then they'd all wait for me to catch up, ride at a sensible pace for a bout two riders then speed up and I'd be off the back again. At the time I just wanted them to let me ride my own pace and go away, now I realize that considering how tired I was it was smart, and very kind, for my friends to keep an eye on me. Big time bonk on my part!

Aside from running out of steam at the end, it was a great ride. Hopefully we can go up again in August.

Clayton shooting Cliff.

Clayton forgetting that he's not the one who's supposed to be posing.

Teresa ready for the ride down.

Bronwyn and Clayton.

Me at the top.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fast Lane Summer Masters – Pros & Cons

The Dolphin swims ended last week so I'm signed up for the first time with Fast Lane for their morning sessions at Kits Pool.

When my alarm goes off staying in bed always seems like a much better option than swimming so I've decided to come up with a list of the Pros and Cons of getting up for the Fast Lane swims.


  • Getting up at 4:30am.
  • Extremely hungry at 7:30am.
  • Stunning sunrises can make it difficult to see when swimming East.
  • Scenic North Shore mountains and ocean vistas distract you from paying attention to the coaches.
  • Post swim sneezes at work.


  • No traffic at 5am – best biking ever!
  • Kits Pool!!! 137.5m of Awesomeness.
  • Swimming in Kits before all the crazy people show up.
  • Tons of cool people to chat with before the swim, between sets, mid-length …
  • Great coaches.
  • Second breakfast.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Longest Day 10km

One last catch-up post then I'm off to bed.

Longest Day 10km - 48:26 - Mega PR

My goal was to beat my 10km time from 2006 (50:10) and to break 50 minutes.

Natash also wanted to break 50 so we decided to run together. She usually beats me right at the end at track workouts so I knew she might be abe to out-kick me.

The run started on a false flat on East Blvd then quickly turned to a fast downhill on 16th Ave. I let gravity do the work and just tried to turn my legs fast enough to keep upwith my controlled fall downhill. I surpressed the urge to yell "Wheeee!" the entire way down.

We regained the elevation in a small but painful spurts and there was a dead zone just past the Main Library turn around where it was really hard to keep going.

Natasha was pretty much glued to my side for the whole first loop. At the start of the second loop I told her "This is where it starts to hurt" then did my falling-downhill-disguised-as-running trick on 16th again and gained a few meters on her. I was worried that this meant I was going too fast but I felt I wasn't redlining so kept up the higher speed. At some oint I passed Chris Manore, which again worried me as he's generally significantly faster than me (he's training for Ironman so focussing on a totally different pace than me).

The "dead spot" past Main Library hit me again but I really didn't want to give up on a sub 50 run so I kept going.

I got within 10 meters of Joyce but never managed to catch her. After the race she talked about the heavy breather behind her at the end of the race and I had to tell her it was me!

I was super psyched at end, even more so as Natasha broke 50 and hit a PR and Valencia and Kathy smashed their previous best times.

There was a major feast and a beer garden at the end of the race, never a bad way to finish!

My race reports are now up to date, I'm going to bed!

Canada Day Swim 2010

While I'm posting race results I should add in the Canada Day Swim.

2km open water swim - 37:34

My goal was a PR - I'm going to make you read to the end to find out if I did it!

I wasn't sure I'd get to do the swim this year as I missed the online sign-up and had to show up stupidly early to sign-up on race day. Valencia, my chauffeur, is a hero for being willing to get me there on time. I was the second person to sign up!

No issues at the start, the crazy drills I'd done with the club (beating up Dominic, Natasha and Clayton two weekends prior) helped as the crowding didn't faze me at all. I surprised myself by getting on Bronwyn's toes and holding on to the first turn. I lost her there, found another set of toes, lost those toes at the next turn then suddenly found myself with no one anywhere near me. Not sure how that happened!

I finally started catching up with someone at the first of the two turns by the camp, by the second bouy either she slowed down or I found my turbo gear and I blasted past her. On the last leg to the beach I kept thinking that the Dolphins swims of 3,000 - 4,000 m meant I had no excuse and had to power through to the finish.

I was okay with my time, I figured I was close to previous times so didn't get too excited. I just looked up my previous times tonight:

2008 time - 40:02
2009 time - 40:06

Holy smokes! 2.5 minutes off my previous best, not too shabby. I guess there is a pay off to getting up at 4:30 for the Dolphins swims.

Vancouver Sprint Triathlon

Overall time: 1:32:06
Swim (500m): 10:12
T1: 4:11 (Yikes!)
Bike (26km): 51:27
T2: 1:25
Run (5km): 24:53

The swim was nuts, but everyone was in the same boat (that boat most likely the Titanic). It was a beach start, we lined up about 10m from the water and when the gun went off we ran to the water. It was the craziest swim start I've ever been in, a total washing machine to the first bouy then it got worse!

The current was extremely strong. We watched the half iron swim start and saw how much even the strong swimmers at the front were pushed to the West, most of them undershot the bouy and had to backtrack to get around it. We planned our swim accordingly, start to the right of the beach and aim far to the East of the first turn. Despite aiming wide I got to the first bouy slightly to the left, which wouldn't have been a problem except that most people had missed it by a far greater margin and there was a mass of people almost at a stop trying to get around it. I was boxed in and couldn't swim around or over anyone, it took me about a minute to get past. Apparently one of the men from the earlier wave was clinging to the bouy, which was causing some of the problems.

The second leg of the swim wasn't much better. The swim bouys were small and hard to see and just for fun one of the lifeguard boats was in the line between the bouys and made it impossible to see the bouys anyway.

I made it out of the swim close to my predicted time of 10 minutes and then had to get out of my westuit. I'm happy my A race has wetsuit strippers!

My instructions were to go all out in this race. It was hard to do so in the chaos of the swim so the bike was where I could start doing this. Teresa got out of T1 just ahead of me so I chased her to the hill and caught her there. Then she passed me back, and the trend for the bike was set - she and I leapfrogging the whole way (she won the race to T2). It was fun having her push me on the bike, the idea was to all out the whole time and she kept me honest.

The run was hard to get started and my breathing got a bit out of control but I didn't panic so I'm considering that a victory! I also ran through a stitch (passed two people while doing so) so I think I was reasonably tough!

I figured 25 minutes or less would be good so I certainly hit my goal.

There were a ton of LETC'ers racing (lots of AG podiums; the women took first, second and, as we consider Stephanie's sister an honourary club member, third overall; and RJ came 2nd overall). Actually I knew a lot of the people taking the podium, one of the fun parts of being in the tri community for five years.

There was also a ton of LETC folks volunteering - great to see the club well represented and all of them cheered us on as they went by so that was a big boost.

Final note - chocolate milk as post-race food was the BEST IDEA EVER!!!