Larry's Blog Pages

June 30, 2009

Thank you Simon!!!

When I first saw this photo on the weekend I knew I needed a copy for my inspiration file.

After reading about Simon's previous race, only days before this amazing victory, you would have written most athletes off on such a quick turnaround, mentally and physically. It goes to show just what it takes to be a champion.

We are ever so lucky that Simon continues to be the face of Canadian triathlon and the major factor for the popularity of the sport in our country. I would recommend that you read his blog as well to see how the man ticks away from the sport. His focus on family, friends and fans puts a lot of what is important in life into persepective. Unlike many professional athletes, it's not about the money and the fame. Good on you Simon!

June 27, 2009

Mega Training Day with FMCT

This Saturday my club held its annual Mega Day created by Coach Rob McCue. The day consists of a 5k run, 15k ride, 3k run, 15k ride, 3k run, 15k ride and 5k run.

This proved to be a killer session in the nice, warm weather. I took the first 5k out pretty quick but ended up giving back a lot of time as I selected the road bike while others wisely pulled out the Tri bikes. The wind on the back section killed my legs and drove down my cycling speed average to normal stats, even though the effort was there.

Really tried to concentrate on each run and keep them close to 4:10 km splits. Did hit this many times but the hills on the runs made their statements as well.

Overall, great day of training with the team. In the morning, I rode up 25k to get to the site so that was my first leg burner for the day as I did not calculate the distance and would have been late if I continued to cruise up to Terra Cotta in the mid 20's.

After the workout we had a BBQ, with some of the families also joining us, and tons of food and lots of liquids. The event was an incredible way to start the weekend and was organized very, very well.

Great work Rob and FMCT!

Of note - Brian and Rob killed the course and left me in the dust proving I need to get my cycling legs back into shape!!!

June 26, 2009

Pics from Muskoka and Guelph Lakes 1

Starting Line at Muskoka Long Course Du

Getting up to Speed in Muskoka (one foot still out so pretty close to the start)

Coming Down the Chute with the Lead - Muskoka Long Course Du

On The Bike in Guelph

First Place Duathlete - GL1(2:03:56, we started after the tri's)

June 24, 2009

Guelph Lakes I Olympic Duathlon Race Report

Going into the Guelph Lakes I weekend, I was feeling a little tired from a busy month of racing and training. This was my third duathlon race in four weekends and I have been putting in some solid training since January so it feels like time to rest. That will have to wait for a couple of days as the Guelph Lakes weekend has so many drawing features that I had to muster up the energy for one more race and man was it worth it.

Being the Club Championship weekend, I wanted to make sure to get the Fletchers Meadow Falcons some participation points by racing. Unfortunately, the duathlon does not qualify for the performance part of the OAT challenge so I could only offer up some vocal support to those competing in the Olympic Triathlon as they raced along.

For me, the next major goal is to break two hours in an Olympic distance duathlon. My previous best was at the National Championships in 2007 with a time of 2:04:56. Since that race in Parry Sound, I have had only a few opportunities to run the distance again and some of the courses were a touch challenging (to get the bike up near the 40km/h that I need with my running speed) or just a bit off on the measurements (Guelph Lakes used to have a 43km bike course), making it very tough to break that mark. This year Guelph Lakes I has changed the bike course to exactly 40k so I was pleased to test my new goal this weekend to motivate my tired body.
With a new plan in place, I was not as worried about my overall showing but just wanted to push the clock.

My pre-race strategy was to bring my old PB down and really push the bike to see where it would take me. Realistically, I knew dropping 5 minutes from my previous best would be a very long shot but I thought I would have a chance to run the 5k / T1 / 40k / T2 / 10k course in 0:18:30 / 0:00:40 / 1:02:00 / 0:00:40 / 0:40:00 for an overall time of 2:01:50. It would take a huge push on the bike and a solid final run (especially after hammering the bike) so I had to come prepared.

On race day the weather was almost perfect. Nice and sunny but just a touch of wind. As always, I used my early arrival to slowly get ready and then headed to the line where I saw some familiar faces that missed the Muskoka race. The field was a little bigger than last weekend’s race but not the size I was expecting. The sprint du in Guelph on Saturday had over 180 athletes so I thought this distance would attract close to 100 du’ers but only 68 registrants showed up. Oh well, many factors hurting the sport these days…

Now on to the race…Once Mitch sent us off for our opening 5k, I could tell my stride was not efficient but I was managing to hover around the pace I needed to hit my mark. I probably could have pushed harder but I figured that would cost on the bike so I wisely ran along in second place using my Garmin to pace me to the transition. The final kilometre was a little tougher on the legs than expected due to some small hills but I was able to keep shuffling towards the fenced in bike zone, reaching the timing mat in 18:30.

Once again, I used my improving transition to jump out to the lead on the bike as the faster runner used up valuable time at his spot in transition. The muddy grass (from all the rain on Saturday) made for a messy path to the bike mount, especially in socks. I got to the “Bike On” line and made another smooth entry to the bike course. Unfortunately, the mud and safety bumps on the way out to the road keep the speeds down so I lost some momentum in this area both times through but it is very difficult to guess how much time you actually lose. Anyway, I was finally out to the main roads and getting up to some pretty respectable splits. Before I left, I was told by OAT officials that I was twelfth onto the bike but had made up some spots (and lost one) so was making my way up to the overall leaders. With the wind in our faces on the way out, I had to really stay focused, pedal hard and remind myself that the average would get much better on the ride home.

I continued to make good progress and got ahead of a few more triathletes by the turn around marker. Now it was time to fly. As I was making great progress, Mark Keating (my personal positioning tracker, HAHA), yelled across from his bike that he counted my bike as the seventh bike. This was pretty cool to hear and I wanted more. I saw another rider in front of me and I passed him going up a hill at around the 25k sign. We were really getting a strong push from the wind on the way home and my average continued to climb. Hitting the 30k mark, I was finally the victim of Tyler Lord (again!!!) and another triathlete.

Unlike Muskoka, I was able to stay close to them. I was not right on their tails but happy to not have them gap me like Tyler did last weekend. By the time our ride had come to the park entrance, I had pushed my average up to 37.8km/h (although my final reading was 37.6 after the slow ride through the park and run to my spot on the rack) and hit the transition in eighth spot overall, first in the duathlon. My final bike time was 1:04:14 so I was off my wishful split and had some work to do on the run.

I quickly slipped on my racing flats and headed out to the 10k course through the inner roads of the conservation area. This is a run I have done several times but they changed it up at the end to eliminate the final hill after too many complaints. This loss of yardage required a newer branch that I had yet to see so I was not sure what to expect, but that would come later in the run.

Out of the gate on the final run, triathlete Mark Linesman settled in beside me. He is a very solid runner and I usually let the faster triathletes go past without much adjustment on my pace but if I really wanted to push my time I knew I could not allow this today. I geared up and hung on for all I had. He was moving well and I was excited that I was able to stay close. I used his pace as much as possible which kept me in a good position to break forty minutes. When we hit the first turn around I could see that Daniel Cain (a great young duathlete that is pretty well rounded on the bike and runs) was running second in our race, about one kilometre back. I could have let up knowing this but that forty minute mark was within grasp. I kept moving along the route watching my splits and hoping the course was close to the posted yardage.

Just after the 5k sign we hit the new section in the course. It was a gravel, off road vehicle trail cut through a field with a mild up and down thrown in for good measure. After making my way through the new out and back section my form was still holding up so I was getting more and more confident that this run would be close to my target. I pushed along the very familiar final few minutes of the run (as a duathlete I have run this section twice per event for over 5 races) so I could put my mind on cruise control and just keep my legs turning over.

The new finish line was constructed on the west side of transition where we usually run towards the final “hill of pain” (that they have eliminated). We had one final small incline up to the bike hold and then it was a very quick downhill sprint into the finishing corral. I used this speedy pathway to my advantage and did not slow down even though my position was secure. I broke through the imaginary tape with a final run time of 39:44 to best my previous 10k efforts in Guelph. The roll up of each individual section resulted in a new PB for this distance by exactly one minute at 2:03:56.

Although, I did not break two hours on this attempt it was very nice to pick up my second Subaru Duathlon win and to also better my 2007 PB. It was also a special day as I was able to enjoy the company of many FMCT Falcons! Our club had a tent set up where we got together after the race to socialize as we recovered from our races. I had a great time meeting many more members of this fantastic club and very happy with my decision to join after a couple years of sitting on the fence. I had researched tri and cycling clubs in my area for the past few seasons but never made the commitment until this winter. Excellent choice!

June 18, 2009

Muskoka Long Course Du - 2009!

Race day started out very early as I headed out from my brother-in-laws place in Bracebridge. Steve lives only 20 minutes from the race so it made sense to save some dough and accept the kind invitation. I jumped in the car at 5:15am and drove to Deerhurst to pick up Bruce Bird (ex-duathlete, now making a name for himself in the tri!). We got to the event site before 6:15am and began to set up. There is always a lot of buzz around this race (especially the tri) so people were already filling the racks two hours before the start. At this time, all three duathlon racks had the first bikes on them so I picked the closest rack to the run course (right beside the gate) and had the second spot on that pole. It was now time to set up.
After getting everything in place, it was time for a warm up on the bike. I went out about three kilometres but when I turned back, I noticed my front tire was a lot softer than moments earlier in transition. I had pulled off the valve, by accident, when pumping up the tire during set up, although, I thought it was screwed in tight enough. Apparently it was not. I raced back to the race venue and took my bike over to D’Ornella’s tent in the expo area and we tried to pump it up. Nothing was happening and it was 40 minutes to race time. To put a new tubular on would take some time and a good chunk of money. I did not have either so thankfully the tech support from D’Ornella’s tried a solid twist on the stem with a wrench and we pumped up the tire again. It seemed to be holding.
Back in transition, Mark Keating (an always helpful friend I have met through this great sport), saw me scrambling and offered up an extra valve stem and some other suggestions. I felt the tire again and there was still lots of air holding so I did not want to risk changing anything so we left it as is. At this point, I remembered that I had packed my spare wheel so, in case something happened during the next half an hour (time between then and when I should be back in from the first run), I ran back to the car and grabbed it and set it beside my bike. At this time, the OAT officials were now kicking everyone out of the bike zone as the first wave of triathletes were now off and swimming.
I had 20 minutes to finish my warm up so I walked up with Mark to the duathlon start and put in some running and stretching. On the line, Brian Hastings and Bill Vieira from my training club (FMCT Falcons) joined me as the race director counted down the final 20 seconds. The first run is only 3k but has some moderate hills to make it interesting. I went out to the lead at a controlled pace and ran solo right up to the turn around. As I turned at the marker, another runner that I had not seen before on the series jumped into the lead and started to stretch the gap. Slightly after hitting 2k his pace came down a little so I had some time to pull tighter and sit comfortably in second place about 5 seconds behind. I reached the staging area still sitting in second and dropped the HR a little for a few seconds to allow for a relaxed transition.
This seemed to work nicely and I quickly put on my helmet and ran my bike out to the far end of the fenced in transition zone for the bike mount. I had been frustrated many times during the past four or five races with poor transitions (mainly getting my feet into the shoes already clipped to the pedals) so I finally forced myself to practice a few hours at home during the last week. This paid off in a big way as I jumped on and found the tops of the shoes right away. I was off and making my way up the ramp entrance to the main road. Once on a flatter area on the main street, I set up for my shoe entry and got my feet into the cleats just like I had visualized it. What a great feeling to start the bike portion as smoothly as I had planned.
On the road, I was out with most of the top pro triathletes and made my way past some of the female leaders before finding a lot of open road. I was cycling well, for my abilities, but it was a little lonely out there and I seemed to miss the little packs I am used to as they seem to motivate and drive you faster. It was like this all the way across the hilly, out and back course until the turn back. At this point, I could see Tyler Lord, a pro triathlete from Milton, coming up from behind with a few other triathletes. I knew Tyler’s bike (the distinctive pink Guru) and abilities (I am a fan of his blog as he updates often and shares his training stats) so I knew it would only be a matter of seconds before he made his way by me. This actually helped to get me going faster. I now made it my mission to have a negative split on the bike.
I pedaled with a lot more confidence as I continued to lead the duathlon and was sticking pretty close to top age group triathletes. I tried to keep Tyler in the rearview for a little longer but he eventually caught me as we turned up Brunel Road with about 15k to go. It did not take long for him to speed up and I decided to drop off the pace a touch so I did not burn myself out for the run. I looked back now and there was nobody in sight, again. I started to count down the kilometres and knew much of the climbing was done and the rest of the ride was mainly downhill. I figured I would be able to put on a full km/h on my overall average speed since the halfway point. Nearing the transition, I tried to stretch my legs and slowed up a bit to catch my breath and release my feet from my cycling shoes. Coming into the final run in around the ninth spot (triathletes and duathletes together) was pretty neat as the crowds really poured on the applause as they probably figured I was one of the triathletes.
With my bike now on the rack, I started out on the final 15k run hoping to look strong and better my time from last year. My first obstacle to overcome was cramping in my lower back. It was on both sides and slowing me down in a big way. I could not stop as I was not sure how far behind my next competitor was so I shuffled on. My Garmin 405 was showing that I was holding a decent pace but I wanted to go faster. As the back pain eased I tried to stay with some of the other runners in the tri race but it wasn’t happening and I was now fearful that my lead was going to slip away. I was hoping my three days of taper would produce a solid run?
With a few more triathletes blowing past me it was now gut check time. I was exhausted and had several negative thoughts swirling around in my head. Thankfully, I snapped out of that mood and started to think about winning. I did not want to crawl in as a winner. I had to reach deep and find some energy to finish up strong.
I finally reached the turnaround marker and could see some of my chasers. I did know if the leader of our run was in the mix but did see Brian coming down the other lane about half a kilometre back. With his running legs I began to really worry. That was very motivating and, from that point on, I did not have anyone pass me.
Getting back to Huntsville in the lead was a great feeling. I knew my current gap over the next runner with 2km to go would hold up to most charges and I could now start to finally get excited about winning a race. With so many fans out on the route to cheer us on, it was a thrill to race down the final hill to the finish line knowing I had accomplished the very goal I had set out to reach this season.
Many thanks to all the people that allowed an old, out of shape, beer drinking, chicken wing addict to reach the top of the podium. That includes family and friends (I do not want to leave anyone out so I will not name names) who were there to lend support right from my painful first 3.8k run 4 years and 50 pounds ago.
It also includes coach, Syd Trefiak, for putting the plan in place (now in its third year), Bruce Bird (for the inspiration and tips), Team Running Free (for all the great support even in my alumni years), Tommy B (my Meadowvale training partner), Mark Keaton (my “onsite bike advisor”) and my amazing new teammates at Fletchers Meadow CT.

Thank you all!

June 16, 2009

Quick Update - midweek round up

Well, it has been a very busy few days. The weekend went very good and I was able to come away with my first win in a duathlon. It was the race I trained to hopefully win this year and, even with a slow final run, I was able to hold off some guys that gave me a few scares over the course of the race. I will post a full race report very soon.

One thing I took away from the weekend. I want to be faster and be able to compete with the top age group triathletes. I am a little behind them right now but they have planted the seed. The top pros are so good and put so much into their craft. It would be amazing if I could race at their level but I am afraid that would place many stresses on my life. I wish I had their time and training abilities but I always need to keep family first.

I think I showed this when I received my award and selected the water bottle over the other prizes. Reason for that, my daughter always tries to take my water bottle off my bike in the garage to use and I always have to stop her and remind her that it is dirty. For some time now she has asked me to bring a water bottle home from a race, one with the "sports guys" (Subaru triathlon logos), so I told her that if I ever win I will bring a bottle home for her so she can put it on her tricycle. Happy to finally get that mission completed.

Monday and Tuesday, I had my boss in town from the States and we kept busy going over our plans and just catching up. Really great to get these very solid days of work in but it was tough to be super energetic after a long race.

I ended up going out with some people from work on Monday night for a quick appetizer but did not plan to train anyway and needed to recover. On Tuesday though, it was back at it and I hooked up with my club in Brampton. Rob let me know about his intentions to run before the ride so I booked it over after work but they were already around 1.5k into the 6k run by the time I saw them. I parked the car and sprinted out to try to catch them. Not going to happen but I ran quick and put in close to 4.5 to 5 k with half being faster than race pace. We then headed out on a awesome group ride.

The pace started very manageable at first but then the gun went off and Rob, Richard and I paced ourselves to a very fast 63k ride through north Brampton. Lots of climbs were along the route and we pushed each other very hard. These guys are much stronger on the bike so I was just trying to hang in there. I managed to keep up and our finishing few km's were in a pace line at 40k/hr into the wind. As I have not rode in a formal group before, I was excited to learn the drill. We each took 30 seconds on the pull as we headed back to the cars. Excellent ride to get back into the swing and ready for the olympic distance du this weekend.

Talk soon,

June 11, 2009

Time to Taper...

From the blogs I have been reading of late, the posts I love the most are those with the pros training logs. Although, I do not have as much time in the day as some of the pros to train or have the amazing splits they hammer out, I hope someone finds my training log interesting...

Monday - the weather at lunch was aweful so I headed to the gym to hit the tready. Ran a relaxed 10k in 45 minutes at an incline. Didn't want to go too hard with TT at night. After work, drove up to north Brampton for the TT with our FMCT group. It was very windy and I did not use it to my advantage out of the gates. Couldn't make up the time on the way home as we were now into the wind. Still clocked 17:40 for a 40.8 km/h average. Not great so decided to stay on the bike and ride hard for another 23k. That would get me home in lots of time to help get the kids to bed.
Tuesday - my body was tired and I could not muster much at lunch so just went for a quick 15k ride on the bike to the cycling shop. They did not have the part for my QR so it was a short visit. At night, just did some home work outs on abs and upper body to give my legs a break. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and this was one of those times where there would be very little benefit of pushing out a run or bike workout.
Wednesday - rode 30k to work on the cross bike with weight (back pack). Had a lot of traffic lights to stop at so the flow was bad but tempo was good while I was pedalling. At lunch, went out for a interval session around Lake Aquataine. 3k warmup followed by 5 X 1k reps with 2 min breaks between. The lake trail is around 1.4 k so my 1 k and 2 minute slow run was close to a full lap. Bad part for my times was that the wind was against me in my race pace. Also the uphill portion was in my 1k zone and the downhill was in my rest. Oh well, better to work hard than look for the easy routes.

Thursday - I really need to rest my legs as much as possible for a few days to let them rebuild and energize for the long race. At lunch I will go to the gym to stretch and work lightly on core and upper body. At night, I will do some transition training just to make my shoe entry smoother. This method is new to me for 2009 and, even though it has saved me transition time, it has cost me some time and power on the bike.
Friday - total rest day...
Saturday - more rest and checking out the course in Muskoka. Also cheering on the sprinters in the triathlon.
Sunday - RACE DAY.

Owen Sound Start Line 2008

This is a great pic I just glanced at in my photos. It has so many of the awesome duathletes I competed against last year. Funny thing is only a few will race in the same race as I this season. Bruce has graduated to the tri-world. John is off cycling this summer. Derek is MIA so far in 2009. John was in Milton so it was good to race him this year.

June 8, 2009

Weekend Prep for Muskoka

Things never seem to go as planned in our family so to get the amount of training I did this weekend was totally unexpected. Thank you Tanya!

Friday started with an early departure from work (hello summer hours!) to meet up with Tom to bike the hills in Milton. We put in a solid 83k ride and I really put the hurt on up the several escarpement climbs. I also threw in some very solid "bike fartleks" on the straight aways into the wind. We seem to have an abundance of the blowy stuff these days so might as well get use to it.

Saturday, we had a busy day. I got up before the family and put in a decent 10k run. I was going to run longer and harder but I also had planned to race 15k on Sunday so wanted to save a little for a respectable time, even if it was for training purposes. Second order of business was to pick up my Garmiin 405 from Running Free in Milton. I was on the fence about buying a new watch this season but, thanks to a lot of $$ support from my mom for this purchase, I was happy to have the opportunity to get this awesome training upgrade. Map my Run is a great tool but so time consuming after a work out. Then it was off to Orangeville for some fun with the old high school boys and our families.

Sunday, I was going to race in the Bread and Honey 15k. Took my wife's readings in the newspaper as the correct start time (I was too tired Sat. night to check for myself). When I showed up to register I was 5 minutes too late as the race started at 8am and not 8:30am as per Tanya's words. To be honest, the cool weather, my tired legs and next weeks race made the miss in registration a blessing in disguise so I was not disappointed when I was turned away at the registration table. With this pressure out of the way, I could enjoy some extra family shopping time as we went to the Brook's outlet and picked up some new trail shoes and trainin tops. Not racing had bought me some training time and I used it to the fullest, putting in a very solid 62k ride over to Milton and back. I did not let up at any point in this cycling tour. The wind on the way home was very strong and really pushed the HR. Got off the bike in under 2 hours and took off immediately for a 10k run on the asphalt walking trails. I was clipping along at close to race pace for the first 5k. It was so nice to have the Garmin showing my pace as I usually just run out blind, only knowing the elapsed time in the run. From my new watch, I could tell I was pushing very hard but wanted to hit the 5k mark before slowing it down. My legs were bushed and ready to fall off so just before 5k (4.7k) so I shut things down for a quick walk for 1 minute and then resumed with a 4:20 paced run for the next 5k.

Due to the lack of long consectutive, training periods I had not been able to do as many big brick sessions this season so it felt very good to put this together today. Last year I did the Peterborough 1/2 IM distance so really had to put in the long bricks but Muskoka LC will be my longest race of the season so I can think I can get away with multiple, smaller training periods in a day. I just break it up into 2 workouts instead. For me, duathlon is only a lifestyle and not a profession so I must keep family a priority, especially at the stage the kids are at these days.

Now, hopefully the weather holds and we can get our TT in on Monday night before putting in some lower intensity efforts before the Muskoka Weekend!

June 4, 2009

Finishing up the run on a good note!
Heading out on the bike in Kelso Park

June 1, 2009

Milton Duathlon 2009

In my third year of racing, I am starting to realize that I have to expect the unexpected. If I don’t, I am going to walk away from almost every event in a negative frame of mind. I have decided that I need to start enjoying the races and be thankful that I have the ability to take part in this great sport. That being said, here is my upbeat race report from the 2009 Milton Sprint Duathlon.

Triathletes and duathletes alike were met with very windy and cool conditions when we gathered at Kelso Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario. On this particular day, I was very thankful to be a duathlete and not have to take the plunge into the chilly waters. This was a frequent comment made during my pre-race chats with friends in the triathlon. Sorry fellas.

Off to the race, the first 2k run was pretty quick out of the gate. I wanted to get away from the crowd to find some running room and, before long, three of us had surged to the front with Brent McMillan (a great duathlete that doesn’t show up to many Subaru events) out to the lead showing off his smooth, efficient stride. I did not know that this was him until I saw the results page and recognized the name from my internet readings. The other racer, Tommy Ferris, was also a new face to me so I had to be careful and stick to my pace instead of trying get out in front.

The bumpy, trail run went relatively as per my pre-race visuals. I was not sure who would show up (you never can be sure who will appear on any given weekend) but was very happy reaching transition in third place in 7:37, only fifteen seconds behind the leader.

In T1, I had a major issue as my helmet must have blown of my handle bars due to the crazy wind. I could not find where it landed and panicked looking around the racks for it. Compared to my second transition time I think I lost a full minute in my search. Ouch!

Finally, out on the bike and I was in damage control trying to regain spots from the athletes that got out during my helmet fiasco. The strong winds were coming out of the north so I was expecting a slow first half of the ride. I put my head down and pedaled my butt off which ended up costing me once I reached the 6th Line hill as I did not climb as well as I had hoped. I saw some other familiar faces on the hill so I knew I had to get faster. At the top, I pushed to get back up to speed, eventually passing those duathletes (seen on the climb) and making my way through the mass of triathletes on course.

At the far end of 6th Line, I continued to look for more of the leading duathletes but could not recognize any jerseys on the riders up ahead. On the short East to West section, at the top of the course, I was moving rapidly and tried to get even faster. In an attempt to crank out with more powerful strokes, I switched down a few rear rings and ended up dropping the chain off the big front ring as the chain jammed along the frame in the back end. Opps.

I tried to kick the chain back on the front ring with no luck. I was losing too much speed and not watching the road so it was best to stop and manually spin it back on. I had a few triathletes pass me on my pit stop but made short work of picking them off again once I started up. I think this may have been a thirty second drama that caused a lot more stress at a time I did not need it.

With the wind now on our backs, I watched my bike computer as the average started to move up to respectable levels. I passed a lot of people during this stretch and approached the downhill with a lot of space around me to get my line and cautiously descend. The wind gusts earlier in the ride left some fear in the back of my head so I was glad to have room to focus only on the road and not people around me.

Now I was less than 5km from the run and had a feeling that I was getting back some time on the field. This was even more evident when I saw Brent around 2.5k from the end of the ride. I was not sure of this athlete’s (McMillan’s) cycling abilities at this time but, as the leader going onto the bike, I assumed I had to be close to top five. Looking back at the results, my bike time was fourth best with an average of 36.2km/h. I was expecting faster because of previous years but the wind threw a curve into my forecast.

Thankfully, everything was smooth during T2 and I only saw a few bikes on the racks before me. Getting the cycling gear off, I was now getting my head ready for the last portion of the race. The final 7.5k run in the Milton race is one of the toughest in the series as you have an uphill battle to the turn around. The wind would make it even more of a leg burner on this day.

My goal was to go sub-thirty minutes for the last run, a twenty-two second improvement over 2008. Coming out of the transition, up the tester hill immediately out of bike zone, I could feel that I had used up much of my legs in my aggressive ride. In the first five hundred metres Brent had blown by me. I tried to match his pace but he was looking very strong on his feet again so I just attempted to keep him in sight. This tactic increased my foot speed and motivated me to go faster. I ended up passing a couple others but in the end, two tough kilometres (1 and 3) on the way up to the Hilton Falls turn around cost me too much time and I came short of my goal, posting 31:13 for the last stage of the race.

In the end, I finished the race in fourth position overall with the potential for a much better showing. After taking some notes from the lessons learned, and add in some better luck in the future, and there are many reasons to stay positive. I am very satisfied with my early season progress in 2009, especially on the bike, but I also realize that I have a lot of room to grow (mentally and physically) but comparing my times against some experienced duathletes has justified my training efforts.