Larry's Blog Pages

December 14, 2012

Runnin, Runnin, Runnin...

Nothing too exciting to report these days, although, I wish there was. Trying to fit in races this winter has been very tough with other commitments but that is OK, there are lots of those in the future so a few missed ones now is not the end of the world.

Wishing I signed up in time for Egg Nog Jog 2012!

Not having a goal does make some things in my athletic life difficult to keep in check. The training portion is still going strong so that is keeping a smile on my face but the diet has taken it's usual hit this off-season. It is frustrating to see how hard I train to not see any physical improvements. I know there is only one person to blame for this so until that person gets a lot more strict with his food choices, things will remain this way for a number of months. Last year, I was able to turn the corner very quickly after the holiday season and was doing very well with my weight in January so I will use that as a guide and try not too get too far out of shape in the next few weeks.

So talking about the new year brings up another topic I have not shared over the blog. With the kids getting a little more independent as they get older, I am able to squeak out some extra group training sessions and I have finally made time to travel down to Oakville on Monday nights for the Toronto Olympic Club - Oakville group runs. I have been wanting to do this for years as fellow duathlete, Kevin Smith, has been mentioning this run for a long time. I knew he was leading a group to some quick running times and was certain that I would benefit from his coaching and leadership.

To date, I have made it to six consecutive Monday night runs. Just knowing that the other runners are putting in a serious effort, and that someone is expecting us to , makes me more accountable for my short interval session of the week. The group also meets on Wednesday night in Oakville for some longer tempo runs but I am currently tied up on that night so I cannot join in during the winter. Some of them also gather in the High Park area (Toronto) on Saturday with the main TOC crew for a spirited run but I am in the middle of the kid's skating lessons right now so those two items conflict on my calendar.

With the runs I have been able to make, I can tell this group will be a great help in getting me faster for the World Duathlon Champs next summer so I have decided to join the TOC for 2013. With Tyler working hard on his new gym and some other ventures, I did not want to bother him this year so having the chance to work with one of the top duathletes for this season will be a new experience that should continue my growth in the sport. There are not too many people out there that know as much about the duathlon in this area as Kevin so I will be sure to pick his brain as much as possible in my pursuit of a strong showing at the big race in Ottawa.

On the sponsorship end of business, there have been a few positive emails of late but nothing signed or sealed so I will keep my finger crossed that something comes a long. Better not mention too much at this point as I would surely jinx myself so until I have confirmed info, I will keep things under wrap.

Until the next update, have a Happy Holiday season and stay safe out there!


November 19, 2012

Glad you found me again...

Hi folks,

Sorry about the confusion - if my last blogspot address misdirected you but I figured it was finally time for a change. I had created the original URL back when I started out with a sponsor that I am no longer working with. They are a great business but since I moved to Mississauga, a number of years ago, I tend to visit other stores closer to home.

So, I decided today was the day and changed the blog address to reflect a more generic description of me. I am sure it looked silly to potential sponsors by promoting my blog with an old sponsor in my blog address. I have been thinking about a change for a while now but was not sure how much of a mess it would create.

Apparently, there will be a little updating to do as I have now lost my blog lists for friends I was following. I know this is a big reason many people come here (to see if there is any new info on other blogs on my blog list) so often so I will work to get these updated ASAP.

Also, my link on other blog pages will not work any longer so if you want to keep my link fresh you will have to update on your site as well. Sorry!

Let me know if you see anything else out of whack so I can fix those issues as well...

Talk soon,

November 13, 2012

The days go by...

Although, there is not too exciting to blog about, I still would like to keep things fresh so I hope the weekly updates do not bore too much.

Today, I was checking race sites to see if the MCC had confirmed the date for this year's Chilly Willy. To my surprise the event came up as cancelled on so I emailed the organizers. They quickly responded that the event would be a MCC members only run this year so the public cannot participate. This is a shame as I have enjoyed this event on a number of occasions and was looking forward to an 8k race in a few weeks. I guess it is back to the drawing board.

In run training news, I had another great week with several solo runs and a few excellent group runs. On Friday I joined Robbie T for a spirited double looper on the Egg Nog Jog course. Not an easy course at training speeds and even tougher when we decided to drop the pace for much of the run. On Sunday, I managed to get out with the Falcons as we visited the Caledon Hills around Inglewood. I was feeling good and made sure to attack the hills as hard as I could just to push the legs. This was another solid workout for the week in which I posted close to 100k so things are looking very good these days.

To start this week, I was able to zoom down to Oakville after work and get a run in with Kevin Smith and his TOC Oakville group. With many of the TOC racing in Kingston the previous day, the group was small and the pace was fun. It was a good setting to chat and see what the running club can offer for 2013 as I look to push this part of my game to a new level. I have been on the fence with Kevin's crew for a few years now as the schedule has usually conflicted with mine but I think I can make it work this season so I look forward to working with someone that has kicked my butt for many years on the duathlon scene.

Unfortunately, I do not have any news on the sponsorship side. This is good and bad. Good in that I did not hear any rejections. Bad in that rejections at this time usually puts other requests at risk as many teams have already been selected so adding a request to their inbox will surely not be considered this late in the game. In some instances I did send out several applications to "like" companies but with some categories, I really would like to go with the brands I currently use and trust. Hopefully, a few positive responses come in soon and the whole effort will not be a wasted use of time.

Lastly, it is time to hop back on the bike asap. I have been reluctant coming back from the crash and now I have created a routine without riding. With the chill back in the air today it looks like the trainer will be back in business so i better get things set up and stop making excuses. I really need to get back up to speed on this beast as I was clipping along pretty well around the end of June thanks to rides with Kurzawinski Coach and his crew. This fall and winter, though, I will need to spend a lot more time on the TT bike to make sure I am ready to nail the duathlons next spring.

So, that was my week. Anyone have any exciting news they would like to pass along?
Happy training!

November 5, 2012

Paying Interest on Borrowed Time...

So the past few weeks have not gone as planned. It happens and seems to be common around this time of year with Halloween and a number of birthdays in the family. All these fall/winter holidays and celebrations make it very hard for a sweet tooth to stay in shape.

Add the rash of injuries (including a rolled ankle last weekend on the trails) I have juggled this season and this fall has not developed the way I pictured a few months ago. Being able to race only a couple times since my rib injury (July 5th) has been tough, checking the stat sites each weekend to see how my times may have matched up against those racing away.

After procrastinating through a lazy weekend, in terms of training, I woke up today and put on a positive face and decided to shape up. First order of business - pull on some cold weather gear and get my butt out the door for a short gallop around the local trails. With that accomplished it was time to squash the poor eating habits and pass by the candy bags collected by the kids last week. Next on the to do list - find a race and get signed up!

During a visit to my buddy Kane's place yesterday, he dropped the news that Egg Nog Jog in Terra Cotta appeared to be sold out already. Damn, I was hoping to register soon if my ankle and foot held up over the next week. This is the other part about being injured, it is hard to commit to races. I hate tossing money away on registration fees and not showing for the event. With my current luck, I would get paid up for the race and then not be able to hit the start line on December 9th.

So now I will hunt around for another race (probably the MCC Chilly Willy 8k in late November) and make the Boxing Day 10 Miler a short-term goal race (if it is not sold out!) to see how I am progressing through the off season.

Lunch Time Run with Co-Worker Gearing Up for Company Triathlon (Jan 2013-Hawaii)

On the sponsorship front, I have a few leads on the go, which is really nice to know. I don't want to get too excited as it is very early but I hope something comes through for 2013! As we all know, soliciting sponsors is tough work and is a commitment in its own. That being said, I did have one bad experience last week that was disappointing to say the least. I was going to go public with the experience but decided it would be best to leave all bridges in place and just hope they learn from their communication error.

In the new world of social media, companies must make sure they have all the lines of communication represented by knowledgeable staff with consistent messaging. It is too often that the online staff replying to Facebook and twitter do not have the correct information and this leads to communication mix ups. With so many competitors in the market, you cannot afford to drop the ball and open the door to the competition.

Anyway, that is the past and it is time to get back to business, again. It is amazing how motivating my Sunday and viewing can be. Seeing friends and the competition posting awesome results every weekend gets me ready to tackle the new week.

Hopefully, you are feeling as inspired as I am today!

On a huge thank you note... Kano (or Kane as he was referred to above) hooked me up large with some nutrition on the weekend. The man is all class and one of the most unselfish people I know. The sad part is that he, and his household, are moving back to Oz in the new year after a few years in Canada. Let's hope his move back home brings him some some good luck for his future in triathlon. Can't wait to see him rocking Kona in a few years!

October 25, 2012

Brand me, please...

The boredom of the off-season is tough to battle through most of the time. The lack of big goal races leads to excuses in training and diet as you dream of warmer days. I know you are suppose to just relax and enjoy some rest for the mind and body but I find it tough to pass the time during this eight month stretch of eventless days.

I guess the upside is we have more time to read and write so many blogs are kept more current so being stuck in front of a computer is not all that bad. Also, it gives us time to put some work into our annual sponsorship campaigns. As many Canadian age groupers know, these are very hard to come across and a lot of the work we pour into selling ourselves comes up empty in the end. Thankfully, there are some spots available here and there so most of us don't walk away 100% disappointed from the process.

Before I started throwing out requests a month ago, I sat down and really questioned my needs for the 2013 season. Being that I have already committed to the World Duathlon Championships in Ottawa, I know next year is going to be much busier than my last two seasons. I am really going to put a solid push in for this event and will need a lot more nutritional, footwear, recovery gear, cycling supplies, etc.  to make this happen.

With these products in mind, I have started my search and initiated a number of talks with suppliers I frequently use or would like to partner with. I am sure most of them will not pan out in the end but I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

If you are reading along and think I could help your brand in 2013, please send me a message ( ) and maybe we can scratch each others backs.

Thank you very much!
Larry Bradley

October 16, 2012

Cool runnings...

With so many great events taking place in the fall, it is sometimes tough to sit around and not race. Every weekend I spend some quality time on or to cheer on friends and check out how everyone is progressing. I could easily get out there and join the crowds running the streets of Toronto, the expressway in Stoney Creek or the shoreline of Niagara but I have not taken the initiative to click on a registration page and commit to one of these big, local gems.

There are a few things holding me back but mostly it is just laziness that seems to have set into my legs. I am still getting my daily workouts in but, compared to the spring and summer, I have significantly reduced the work load and don't feel obligated (no current goals on the calendar) to get my butt out of bed for that second workout to get me to my usual state of fitness.

Thankfully, a couple of my favourite December races should get me motivated (Egg Nog Jog, Chilly Willy) in short order so, hopefully, I can slide in a warm up run or two in before the final month of the year.

Other than running, I finally got out on the bike for my first ride since the crash on the August long weekend. It felt good to get out with the Kurzawinski Coach group as we zipped through the Caledon side roads. For the most part I felt solid with most of the pace, until Richard and Coach decided to do a spinning train that I held on for a few km but gassed myself going up a small hill. I guess it is time to spend some more time in the saddle before I lose too much of the bike power I had this summer.

Also, it is that time of the year when most companies look to fill their sponsorship rosters. I have not had a lot of luck with soliciting these in the past but will hand out a few submissions this fall in hopes that a couple people jump on board. I know in Canada it is always tough to get assistance as many companies has small budgets and do not always see the benefit of sponsoring Age Group athletes. I totally understand the business of  sport so I realize we should not expect many businesses to be able to pour money into this expense line so when someone does jump on board, it is a very nice gesture on their behalf.

Anyway, just a quick update to keep things relatively fresh.

Good luck to everyone lacing up over the next few weeks!


October 9, 2012

Hi folks,

A good friend of mine (a duathlete, turned triathlete and coach), Tommy Ferris, has asked if I could post a plug on the site for his new Triathlon Team based out of the Toronto region.

Tommy started Ignition Fitness earlier this season and has done a lot of incredible work with John Salt and his Recharge with Milk Triathlon Series , providing on-site support and video blogs (to pre-view race sites) for all MSC athletes.

He is now working very hard on an exciting offer for athletes looking to excel in 2013.

You can find all the awesome details of his announcement @ !

September 24, 2012

All dressed up and nowhere to go...

The last few weeks have been actually pretty productive for my run training. The neck and back issues have not left me 100% but I feel good enough to train my legs so that keeps me happy for now.

I still have limited range in my neck so riding a bike is not very safe out side of my short commute to work. I would really love to get out there on the open roads again but do not want to risk another accident to set me back as therapy is really not fun (or cheap).

Over the past two weeks I have put in close to 200km on foot and feel that my endurance is back and my speed is getting close to where we left off a few months ago. Also, with the extra running my weight has been come back down to a level that I enjoyed right before the crash. Some of this I imagine is from lost muscle in my upper body and the rest is actual fat reduction from a month of pure pigging out while sitting around doing nothing at all.

With this total layoff right after the accident, and the recent fear of re-injury in my upper back area, I had not worked many muscles above the belt for quite some time. Last week, I decided it was time to get back to the gym and strengthen some of these zones, specifically the core, as we all know how important this is for running. It took a few days to get back into the routine but I am already feeling much better about this region going into a possible race week (more on this below).

The other muscle regions of the upper body may require a lot more time and patience to get back to previous levels, it seems. Although, I was never a very buff person by any stretch of the imagination, I personally still see a reduction in mass in my chest, arms and shoulders. I think this has accounted for a little of the lost weight and may be a welcome new look as the two sports I focus on (cycling and running) do not require super strength from these areas. I am sure if I was swimming, it would be much more important but I think I may just try to keep the smaller me and see how it translates in my results down the road.

Back to my potential race schedule...

When I got back to running, I was using the Chase the Coyote trail race (this Saturday) as my first test event. With some new family commitments, this may be tough to work into the mix as the kids both have skating lessons and my wife and I have been invited to help out on the ice. Given my back ground and training in teaching this sport, it is a very cool opportunity to have ice time with the kids as they get their skates up to speed before their future days of hockey or ringette (if they decide to continue in those paths?).

On Sundays, my daughter has a lengthy, morning tumbling class so I usually choose to keep our son busy around the house as hanging out at the gym for three hours is far too much for his attention span. With these two activities, weekend mornings are crazy busy so I must be very considerate when trying to plan a race to attend. It would be awesome if some events were in the afternoon so I can keep the routine at home but I am not seeing many of those. If I am going to add some extra work to my better half, it is most likely going to be a Sunday morning which is exactly the opposite of my original plan so I need to plan my fall again.

As I am very interested in testing my current race fitness (was preparing to race this Saturday as a lead up to a bigger event in late October or early November), I am looking for something this Sunday? There are several options out there but I am trying to pick one that is close to home, is the least disruptive to family and is not just a flat hammerfest.

I have been scouting all the races on and but if anyone knows of a run that is posted somewhere else, please send the info my way!

Talk soon,

September 11, 2012

Time to get back to business...

It's been a while since I was able to spend some time on the blog. Firstly, a crash in a local cycling race just after the Cobourg Duathlon made things very tough to sit around at a computer due to the pinching sensation in my neck and shoulder area. All I wanted to do was lie down and keep as much pressure off the area for as long as possible. I started with all sorts of physical therapy as soon as the accident happened so, thankfully, things are now starting to get back to a more tolerable state.

In the first couple of weeks, I did absolutely nothing athletically and just tried to catch up on other aspects of my life, as long as it did not require any lifting. In the third week, I was on work assignment in California so I had some extra time to attempt to get back into the swing of things. I tried to run early in the week but the pounding of the activity was forcing the nerve to pinch again so I just stuck to the recumbent bike in the gym for the first few days.

At the end of the week, our group had the opportunity to travel to South Lake Tahoe. Being surrounded by such amazing landscapes, I could not help but force myself to get in at least one awesome run at 7,500 feet. I warmed up on the bike in the hotel gym and then coated my neck and shoulder with deep heat before heading up to some serious trails that snaked through the mountain side at the Heavenly Ski Resort.

It was quite an incredible experience to run at this altitude on these extreme trails. By the time I returned to the hotel, I was ready to cancel my flight home to relocate to the mountains, immediately. Although, I am sure my family would not be too understanding of this decision...

The next day, my body was asking for a break so I just went for a long walk along the scenic lake before the town woke up. This was the perfect break I needed to get my focus back before allowing the bad habits to take over.

The week of August 27th, I was back in Mississauga but on vacation to look after my son as our daycare provider enjoyed some much deserved time off. Getting back on the scale, I started the week off much heavier than before the crash. My new goal was to get back to race weight as soon as possible so I would be ready to run when things allowed for that movement.

Seeing a few emails flying around regarding the weekly track workout, I decided being around a group setting would be a nice, motivating boost. On the Tuesday, I did a solid brick session with the FMCT Falcons at the track where  we set up our trainers on the side of the track and then did laps around the circuit in various intervals. From this effort I could tell cycling was still out of the picture for me (I could not look up while seated on the bike) but at least the running was coming along.

When running, my neck and spine are straight so the pressure is released from the joint, therefore, I am not in as much discomfort. During the brick, I watched the others around me and fed off their efforts, driving my intervals beyond expectations. It was a key moment in my desire to push myself to get better, faster.

Since then, I have been working a lot harder to shed the pounds, get back the mileage in my legs and now to start ramping up the speed. Last week, I got up to 80km of running in 6 days and started to feel a bit more like my old self so I am currently planning my fall running schedule.

As my kids are getting a little older, and becoming more involved in their own pursuits, I have to get creative in putting things together to avoid timing conflicts. As I look at the available runs coming up, I am not feeling ready for a fall marathon or even a half marathon, at this point in time.

One thing I did promise myself earlier this year was to start taking more risks on the races I pick to run. I always get so wrapped up in trying to better a previous PB that I end up settling for easy and fast courses. As I looked over the list of things to come, I think I will tackle some trail runs and cross country events to push myself a little more. I need to get comfortable with the feeling of exhaustion again as I seem to be taking things too easy in recent duathlons, which will not cut it at Worlds in 2013.

A few years ago, when I was really testing my limits in weekly club Time Trails, I knew how to deal with the hurt. In races, the pain did not scare me and I pushed my limits through the entire race. I know easing through duathlons has been an issue to me and know for a fact that my running and cycling are much stronger individually compared to a few years ago. Problem is, this is not translating in the duathlon and it shows in my result times in recent events.

So, if I want to hit my long term goals (which are almost upon me), it is time to toughen up!

August 2, 2012

Cobourg Olympic Duathlon - Race Report

The weeks leading up to the Triathlon Ontario Duathlon Championships were very frustrating for me. I had penciled this race in as my big event of the year and was getting very excited to test out my fitness against a strong field. Unfortunately, my goal was sent off course after a fluke slap shot in hockey caught the right side of my ribs and slightly cracked a bone.

During the next two weeks I could not run at all and had to stick to the road bike (couldn’t get into aero position on TT bike) in order to get in some training. Without being able run, I was seriously considering a DNS and was starting to feel like I had wasted a summer of training.

Thankfully, after two weeks of riding only, I got through a test run without too much pain. This gave me a full week before the race so I decided to ramp things up for the first few days of the week to see how the ribs would react. Although, there was some cramping in that area, the actual pain was insignificant so I elected to make the trip to Cobourg to try my luck on Saturday.

With the 2013 World Championships awarded to Ottawa just one week earlier, the last minute rush of athletes wanting to qualify made for an interesting competition. Many of these folks traveled from the Ottawa region in hopes of punching their ticket for a hometown championship and I had not raced some of these athletes and was not sure what to expect.

Wanting to race well, and not knowing exactly what to anticipate from my body on this day, I made sure to get in a long, solid warm up. I could tell right away that my legs were not as fresh as I would have liked (due to the over training to get back from injury) but I was looking forward to racing some speedsters like Kevin Smith and Jesse Bauer for the first time in a long time. I knew they would put the boots to me on the run so I hoped to keep it close and shorten the gap on the bike to make it respectable.

As the horn blasted, I burst from of the gate to avoid the stampede and then let Kevin and Jesse take the lead as we headed out on the two loop run. I knew Mr. Smith would be in around the 33 to 34 minute range so I was not going to get caught up in that game and just slipped back a little and settled into a steady pace. Jesse, on the other hand, was willing to match Kevin’s run and hooked himself on his right hip as we headed out for our first view of the quiet neighbourhood.

During the opening 2.5k, I could feel I was not reaching my usual pace and the two leaders were quickly fading into the distance. I did not feel drained of energy but my legs just did not turn over or have the jump I am used to in the first run. Circling back from the turn around, it was obvious that it was going to be tough to compete with them, even with a faster bike, so I put my focus on holding third.

With the tail wind on the back section of the loop, I felt like I got back to the start of the next lap in alright time but my watch was telling another story. I was hoping to drop into the 36 range without stressing the system too much but now I was already well off that pace and I had someone running off my heels.

This was a nice little kick in the pants that I needed. I found some more power to start the next 5k run and could see I was opening a tiny space between fourth and myself. By the time I got to the far end of the route, I was around 100 metres clear and assumed my bike would extend that lead. I then used the wind to push even harder to transition and made my first 10k more presentable at 37:30.

Transition was not totally smooth as I did run into some trouble getting into the bike zone. I was headed into the proper “Run In” gate until a bunch of spectators and volunteers started to direct me to the finish line? Thankfully, the Sportstats guy was paying attention and stopped me before reaching that mat. I ended up losing around 15 seconds in the confusion but remained calm and finally got to my bike.

Once again (Welland Half Iron Du), I opted to ride with my cycling shoes instead of my tri shoes. The 10 seconds of extra transition time would be easily paid back with extra power on the bike so I quickly slipped into my better shoes before grabbing my ride off the rack. As soon as I reached the mount line I knew I was set to roll and I quickly made my way out of town to the country side along King Street.

Passing a number of triathletes along the way, I felt like I was negotiating the head wind well as we travelled east for the first 8k, or so, section on the highway. The speed then increased with a right hand turn towards the lake. I used this short road (Archer Road) to catch my breath before we were directed out to the east again along Lakeshore Road. On Lakeshore, I finally caught a glimpse of the triathlon race leaders so I kept my eyes peeled for Kevin and Jesse.

It wasn’t very long until I noticed the lead duathlete with Mr. Bauer only a few hundred metres behind. I was not sure if I was making up as much time as I wanted so I hurried to the turn around and then used the tail wind back to hammer on the gas. At the turn around I had a triathlete hook on to my back and he stayed there for a number of kilometres before making a pass when I reached King Street again.

I didn’t care so much but was disappointed when he did not continue to pull away. We were in a zone with a lot of wind assistance but I was not able to use it to the fullest or I would have been too close and risk a drafting penalty. I thought I would be able to get past him but I think it would have been a slow pass which can lead to issues if an official comes by without seeing the whole lead up.

Eventually, I decided that I was losing time so I powered up and put out a full effort to make sure I passed this rider and then got far enough in front that I would not get in his way. This lead me into the north portion of the course so my timing was not great as I now had a gradual uphill and head wind to contend with. Thankfully, I saw the 25k marker and knew I could handle the next 15k at a higher effort without blowing up too badly.

Having raced on this section in the past, I knew the hills would soon be upon me. I was now in a relatively open space on my side of the road and was starting to see the leaders zip past as they descended back to town. I tried my hardest to close the gap even more but on one of the more steep climbs I did not use the correct gearing and grinded my way up which cost me a bunch of seconds and energy. My train of thought was it was the last climb and the downhill would allow me to rest on the other side. Thinking back, I should have been less lazy and flipped down to the small ring and scurried up the hill and then hammered it back to Cobourg.

Oh well, another lesson learned. I did end up having a decent ride in the end and posted the top bike split for the duathletes. As usual, I then compared the ride to my triathlon competitors and felt like I left some time out on the course. (Thankfully, Kevin and Jesse had enough of a lead that it didn’t make a big difference in the end so I am not thinking “what if?”.)

Back to the race, I came off the bike in third position and got the bike racked in solid time. As I did not see any other duathlete on the bike within striking distance, I was confident that I could bring home a podium finish so now I had to decide how much effort I would place on the final 5k? I started out on the run and my legs did not love me at all. I could tell I was not going to be pushing a great split so I thought I would coast it out and hope a triathlete would pass me and wake up my legs.

I kept up my shuffle but nobody really pushed from behind so I just cruised it to the turn around and watched the bibs to make sure nobody was sneaking up on me. With no duathletes in sight, I pushed on to a 21:00 split over the 5k to bring it home in 3rd Place Overall and 1st in my Age Group.

This was the best result for me at the provincials (fourth attempt) so I was happy that I decided to race and excited to get back to racing after the frustration of my injury.

It was also nice to catch up and cheer on many friends in Cobourg so I must congratulate all those who competed!

Great races to Falcons – Peter H, Joe and Jade!

Awesome work to friends – Mark K, Patryk B, Brad M, Richard P, Roger H, Eric T and Duncan M!!!!

Also a huge congrats and thanks to Kevin Smith for taking the Ontario Duathlon title. I have known Kevin for a number of years through the sport and he really has been a positive influence on my duathlon pursuit.

And a job well done by up and coming duathlete, Jesse Bauer. It was great to chat with this young talent after the race. Keep up the great work!

I would not continue to be in the game without the help of family, friends and sponsors. Thank you all!

July 25, 2012

Sorry Folks...

Blogger seems to have changed my format on my blog and I have had issues trying to get my side banners (friend lists) back up and functional.

Sorry...I will try to work some magic as I miss having update links to other blogs for easy reading.

July 16, 2012

Fighting through the bumps and bruises...

As we all know too well, life does not always stick to the script so sometimes you must improvise.

After a little recovery from the half iron distance duathlon in Welland, I started to get back on track after the Canada Day long weekend. With my sights set on racing The OCA Road Race Championships (July 15) and Triathlon Ontario Duathlon Championships (July 28) I knew I was in the right zone for the performances I expected.

On Tuesday, July 3rd I received a call from a buddy to fill the net for his summer league team and decided to strap on the pads for the first time in a few months. I thought it would be a harmless night on the ice and was just looking forward to catching up with some hockey friends I had not seen in some time. Unfortunately, late in the game I took a puck to an unprotected section under the arm that smoked my rib cage. I have had shots hit all over the place in the past so just took a few deep breaths and carried on for the final few minutes of the game. After the game, things didn't seem to bad so I just assumed it was a bruise and nothing would come of it.

The next day I did my usual training and things were not too bad, just a touch sore so I still thought it was a simple bruise. No worries.

On Thursday, I started the day out with an easy 50 minute run and was not feeling much discomfort at all so things felt good. After work, a group of co-workers set off down town (Toronto) to participate in the YMCA Relay for Strong Kids. It was a 2 or 4 person relay event held on the Honda Indy race track (2.9k) where each runner was responsible for a loop (or two loops for the 2 Person Teams) on the race track so I was going to use this as a speed workout and see how the legs were coming back from the Welland race.

Prior to my lap on the track, I put in a very good warm up and got ready for a speedy round on a very warm evening. When I got my turn, I hammered it out of the gate and kept the pedal down right through the timing mat. I was hoping to break 10minutes for the circuit and was even more please to see I had hit 9:04 for 2.8k (lost 100 metres in the hand off zone). This was easily my best pace for this distance so things were looking great for my upcoming duathlon.

That was until I tried to get out of bed the next morning and felt the pain in my right side ribs. I could not twist or stretch at all and was in a world of pain. Not good. So it turns out to be a minor crack on the rib which is now affecting my run training as it feels like someone is punching my side with every stride. Thankfully, I can still ride the bike, unless I try to real crank it up a hill.

As I monitored the situation last week I decided it would not be a smart idea to race OCA's ( Richard mentioned there was a steep climb so the competition would drop me in a heart beat) so I did not register for that race which was not too devastating. With Duathlon Champs coming up in a few weeks, I will have to make a call by July 18th. To miss Cobourg would really hurt as this was to be my "A" race of the summer and I was down to my lowest weight in years and feeling great for that duathlon distance.

The good news was that I felt strong enough to ride the Horseshoe Centurion with a bunch of the Falcons. While reading a few of their emails last week I could see some of them were interested in hitting the course at a solid pace so I figured I would be able to help pace their efforts. When we arrived north of Barrie for the event, I could see Laura G was really excited to test out her cycling power against the best women in the field. She is a very strong rider but mentioned she has never really raced on a road bike so I figured she would be leading the Falcon charge and hoped I could help out with my experiences.

Even though we arrived in good time to the race, the usual cycling die hards were super eager to get on the roads so the starting corrals filled up quick. This was something that we could not control too much so we pushed out and took it easy up the neutral section. We ended up getting through a lot of the crowd but there were still plenty of riders ahead of us by the time the race started. As soon as we hit the timing mats it was game on and I started to set a solid pace for Laura to copy.

Over the course of the scenic and hilly course we played leap frog with several tiny packs making up even more ground on the folks that must have been spit off the lead peloton. It felt great to have the pulling power to grab on group and then jump up the road to the next and I definitely received an amazing bike workout during the ride.

By the time we reached the finish, we had gathered a nice sized group of our own and posted a very respectable pace for the terrain. I am sure we could have finished up ahead of our overall placing if we had set out with some faster groups but I believe it was a great learning experience and it has lit a fire in a potential cycling star.

As it is with long events such as this, you miss out on the others not immediately around you. Fortunately, we had time to catch up with everyone after the ride and get all the great stories of successful Falcon glory. Congrats to everyone that completed the Centurion Ontario - Horseshoe 100k!

June 26, 2012

Welland Half Iron Du - Race Report

This one is a little bitter sweet. It is always nice to win but when you don't reach your expectations it takes away from the celebration. This is even more exaggerated when the racers beside you (the triathletes) are sailing past with ease on the same course.

Leading up to this race, I was not sure if I was prepared for the Half Iron distance so I had originally planned to do the Saturday Sprint Du for a quicker result on the flats of Welland. But, between my desire to complete the entire course (DNF in the triathlon a few years ago) and Tyler's words of encouragement, I decided last week that I would give it a shot.

I then did some research to see who else would be hitting the Half Iron duathlon and found out one of this season's most consistent racers, Florian Ong, would be in the field. I knew he had been both running and cycling speed so I was curious to see how I matched up at this point in the year.

Race morning was calm and uneventful so I was ready to race when they summoned us to the start line. As usual, the field was not very big for the Half Iron Du so we had a lot of room to move out there. On the horn I bolted out with David Cook and we set the pace early as we crossed over the first patrolled crossing on the river front pathway. I felt at ease with the pace and continued to keep it level as I pulled away from Mr. Cook. The drop in weight and taper made the 3:30 pace feel very controlled as I followed the lead bike.

I held my form right up to the turn around and noticed I had a decent gap opening as I turned back towards transition. It appeared most of the competition was saving up for later in the race so I just went into cruise mode and smoothly followed the bike back along the asphalt trail to the arena. As I approached the crowds cheering on the swimmers, I could see I would hit the bike even earlier than the elite triathletes. Wow, this doesn't happen for us duathletes very often.

With a few hundred metres to the timing mat, I let off the gas even more and sailed through the opening 5k in 18:00 on the dot. I then got to my bike and slipped on my cycling shoes ( I decided to bring my cycling shoes instead of tri shoes as they are a lot better quality and should have added a little power) and made my way out to greet the police motorcycle for my escort out of town. I figured this would not last long with Nigel Gray and Len Gushe chasing out of the water so I just enjoyed the attention while it lasted.

During the first quarter of the ride things felt pretty easy hovering around 39km/h so I just tried to keep the pace around this mark and let the strong cyclist from the triathlon chase me down. I was actually surprised to stay out in the lead for so long as I ended up going 44k with the escort before Nigel finally took over the honours from me. Unfortunately, that was not the only thing that was going away as my hips and legs were feeling a sluggish. I was not sure if the wind was a touch stronger than it felt or what the issue was? I had stuck to my nutritional plan and was much more attentive to my intake than any training rides over the last few months.

After a few zig zags on the west side of the course we finally got to the short out and back section. As I made the turn around the pylon I could see Len was next in line to make a move with a couple smaller groups not too far behind him full off the top riders (Rhys Spencer, Jim Sunners, Jakub Macel, etc.). With the way I was feeling I was just hoping the chase groups did not include any duathletes so I checked out all them as I past by and did not see any red bib colours.

I was now back out on North Shore Road with just under 35k left in the ride and Mr. Gushe made his move as we climbed the only upslope visible on the course. As he went by I was surprised that I was not falling back too fast on the incline but my decision to rest on the downhill on the other side is when things started to stretch out and I was alone again but assumed the chasers would be on me very soon. At this point I was very uncomfortable in the saddle and having a hard time holding my average pace near 39km/h even with the slight tail wind on the way home.

After a few easy corners I was back on Feeder Road but things were not well. My gluts felt absolutely dead and I was not able to fire up the legs. I tried standing up, stretching, different positions but nothing seemed to be working and I was losing a lot of time. I was so frustrated and hoping the next set of riders would pass to motivate me but I was the only person around for as far as I could see. I continued to spin and stretch for 10 to 15 minutes thinking the race was over for me when I finally got a little action back out of the gluts and my legs started to push again. It was not pretty but I was moving along in the low 37's and counting down the kilometres to transition.

Finally, I made the last few turns to the dismount line just as Jakub hit the line with me. As I got off my ride I could tell the run was going to be a challenge. I had nothing in the back of my legs so I took my time in the zone to see if I could recover with some liquids and cool water on the body. During this rest break Jim and Rhys exited the zone so I decided it was now or never.

I got a shuffle going out of the arena parking lot and followed Rhys down to the path for a short 200 metres out and back before heading east to the main portion of the run. Just after getting around the turn marker, I slowly made my way past Rhys and started to think things may improve as I now set my sights in Mr. Sunners and Mr. Macel only 50 or so metres ahead. This chase continued for the next few kilometres as we navigated a few town side streets before rejoining the waterfront path system.

Nearing the 4km marker I could see Jim was getting his legs and Jakub appeared to be holding his side. I was thinking this would be a great time to bridge up to Jim and move past Jakub. I was not sure what our pace was at this time (as my stupid Garmin 405 froze due to sweat on the ride) but I knew I was not on my expected pace so running with a top 3 triathlete had to be an improvement.

With a little push I closed the gap on Jakub but Jim was still pulling away. It was on this surge that I started to cramp like I have never felt in a long time. I had to slow up to relief the pain and hope the next aid station could offer the right fluids to calm things down. Unfortunately, the water, Heed and Coke was not working so I had to start to worry about who was chasing me now. When I got out to the far end of the path for the first loop I watched the line of runners coming back. I finally found Florian who appeared to have a decent run going but he was a little more than eight minutes back. I was hurting a lot but didn't want to throw in the towel as the race leader.

On the course I had great encouragement from people like Richard Pady (on his bike cheering on his team), K Jacobson and her man Tanker (amazing volunteers at an aid station), as well as many friends racing along side. I knew they would understand if I called it quits (due to my cramping condition) but thankfully my legs would not let my brain take over and they kept moving, sometimes at a walk, towards the finish line.

For the last half of the run I just kept counting down the kilometres mixing in some average running with some walking just hoping it would be enough to hold off Mr. Ong in second place. Finally, I wrapped up the second loop of the Merritt Island section and headed back into town with only a couple km left. During this stretch I had a few more triathletes (Derek Virgo, Matt Barefoot, B Habermehl) pass me which definitely showed my lack of long course endurance.

So as I approached the finish line, even though I knew I was going to take the duathlon win, I did not show very much excitement as I fell very short of my pre-race expectations. Sure I can take a great training day out of the experience but, if you know me well, you know I expect a lot out of my race performances.

Congrats to all the amazing athletes who competed this weekend all over. Also, thanks to John Salt and his awesome Recharge with Milk MSC crew and volunteers for putting on an incredible race weekend!

Having a few days to let this race sink in, as well as speaking with a few people, it is clear that I need to narrow my focus on one sport. I am too critical of my results to compete all over the sports map as it just leads to unsatisfied feelings when I reflect on my performances.

This being said, I will try to keep to my schedule for the rest of this season (it is too late now to expect much of a change) and sit down with Coach Tyler to tackle 2013 at full force. The long term goals I set out when I started this journey in 2006 are fast approaching so if I really want to hit them I have to either get serious soon or just relax and abondon those lofty target?

Thanks for reading and supporting!

PS - I know some out there may question, "where is the fun?". I still love to get out and socialize on a group run or ride as much as the next person so it is not all work and no joy ;)

June 18, 2012

Am I Ready?

After a brief conversation with Tyler, I talked myself into the Half Iron Distance this Sunday in Welland. I have not been running quite those distances but my bike training is in line for a 90k race. Thankfully, the first run is only 5k this year so not as crazy as the 12k they had last year (I think that is what I saw in the results.) but still much more than the 2k I am used to from Peterborough.

Unfortunately, the duathlon at this distance does not usually pull too many athletes out but I hope some of the top guys show up as it will be nice to have a push out there. I say that now but come the mid-way point of the race I am sure I will be wishing it was just an easy training pace. HA HA

Hope to see a good group of duathletes in Welland this Sunday!

June 13, 2012

Midweek Crit - 6/12/12

This was my first opportunity since obtaining an OCA license to get out for the famous Midweek Crit series and it was everything I had been promised. As expected, the first race was very large with many riders looking to put in a solid training effort after a short one day rest from the weekend's events.

With registration running long, our race was a touch late starting out so they announced that it would be shorter this week with around 30 minutes of riding and then 10 laps of jockeying for final position. 

Well, their was nothing tame about the first 30 minutes as a few guys decided to take it out quick in the second lap and then I got a little boost of energy and hammered a few laps. With the strong winds out of the north bashing us on the tougher (not too tough but relative to the downhill on the other side of the short 1k loop) portion of the oval course, I knew I would be playing with fire trying to maintain my pace so I dropped back into the pack and chilled for a second.

My timing was very poor as the pace picked up again and for a large number of laps and I slowly dropped back deeper and deeper into the massive peloton. Eventually, I settled down and caught my breath and started to look for Richard, Kane, Jon and Kohei to see where they were situated. They all appeared to be playing it smart, hanging just off the front so I tried to get back up in the middle of the action with them.

After a few more laps of edging up through the crowd, I was surprised to hear we only had 9 more laps. Once again, the pace picked up and I moved even closer to the front to see what was going to unfold. By the time we received the 8 lap sign, I had joined the pointy end of the group (with one guy in a break only a few seconds ahead). As we hit the back side of the track, I pushed past Kohei to allow him some rest and then decided to keep on the pace to catch the break, thinking he may work with me to get away.

When I caught him on the up slope, he didn't seem too interested in holding that speed any longer so I just moved past him and kept my head down. My effort was pretty solid but it wasn't long before I had the entire peloton following my lead. Oh well, I tried.

I figured I was already in TT mode so why not just go with it, burn out some other legs and hope one of my buddies could take the win. I am no where near a sprinter so I knew if it came down to a sprint, I would be dusted so I might as well have some fun with this.

I continued to pull the group along as I counted down the laps. 6, 5, 4 and then 3 before the others finally had enough of me leading the race. I was just starting the small climb up to the start/finish line (with the lap 2 sign in the RD hands) when the masses made their move and swallowed me up, literally pushing me back through the pack.

My legs were blasted by now so I was not sure if I should try a quick recovery or just fade out of the race. I caught on to the end of the large lead group and tried to rest one lap. I could see things were starting to get exciting up front but knew I would not have the power to enjoy a top ten but wanted to make a final charge. On my second last climb up the hill, I got a little closer to the front and put in a decent effort over the last portion but was in no shape to contend with those guys on this night. I happily hung on with a middle of the lead pack finish and found out the rest of the boys had solid results so my efforts were not a lost cause.

This weekly race is definitely something I will re-visit. It was a little confusing trying to figure out who was still in contention as you are able to rest and rejoin the race if you fall off the back but the problem I saw was guys I noticed resting for a few laps (and then jumping back in) were back in the mix for the sprint at the end. The rule clearly states that you should not re-join that close to the front but I think several riders are just not concerned with rules. Add this to the ongoing 'yellow line" violations during weekend races, and you can see there is a major issue with the integrity within participants of the sport.

May 28, 2012

Woodstock Super Sprint Duathlon - Race Report

I have been itching to get a duathlon under my belt this season and luckily this past Saturday worked out. The Recharge with Milk series had their Woodstock weekend with the shorter events on Saturday and sprint distance races on Sunday.

I have not worked many bricks into my training to date but have been working hard on both my running and cycling, individually. My competitive side was telling me it was time to combine the two elements to see how they meshed together so I got looking around for a race.

After checking out the schedule at home, work and training I decided the Saturday race would work best, although, I maybe should have re-evaluated that closer to the weekend...

Friday ended up being a lot more crazy than expected so I really was not as well prepared come Saturday morning as I would have liked to be. This would be an issue (bike) later on in the race but everything seemed in fine working order as I quickly tossed the gear into the truck before making the trip west along the 401.

Leaving the house later than desired, I started getting second thoughts of racing as I was not exactly sure how long it would take to drive to the race site. In my opinion, if you cannot be there at least thirty minutes before one of these meets, the rush becomes a huge distraction with registration, set up and warm up. I was not feeling good about my chances, to be honest, but I decided to roll along and try anyway.

Thankfully, the drive went much smoother than I could have wished for and I arrived at the park with almost forty-five minutes to spare. After a quick tour through registration, I pumped some air in the tires of my Argon TT bike and crossed my fingers that it was ready to race. I have not been on this bike since the Niagara Sprint Duathlon last August so it has just been sitting around collecting dust.

I then did a quick visualization of the transition zone and then went up to the start area for a warm up. I ran into a few friends up there (Patrick B, Tommy F, Roger H) so did some catching up and then got into game mode as John Salt went through some last minute instructions.

The duathlon was a super sprint distance of 3k/20k/3k so I knew some of the other folks would be hammering it out on the course. I put down a serious track effort on Thursday night and some silly cycling on Friday. I was not sure how this would come back to haunt me but just wanted to stay up with the front runners, empty the tank and let the chips fall where they may.

Off the horn, I bolted out of the gate up a short, grassy slope as we only had about 50 metres to get up to the first turn. It was a tight one with some wooden traffic barriers planted in the ground so I wanted to be clear of the group before hitting this sharp left and did so with a quick sprint from the start line. I then leveled out at close to 3:30/km pace as I pushed along the loose gravel park road with a few chasers on my heels.

After a kilometre, I reached the bridge across the dam where I could really start feeling the pressure from behind. Kent Keeler, of Team Running Free, was right behind me and seemed a lot more fresh than I was feeling already. With Kent applying the hammer, I kept up the pace and we reached the turn around together. I thought for sure he was going to pass during the spin around the marker but he stayed patient and hung in behind me as we returned over the bridge.

We ran this way the entire distance back to transition. Every time I felt a little surge on my shoulder, I picked up the pace until we reached the timing mats side by side in just under 3:30 pace. This was exactly where I wanted to be but I was hoping to feel more energized in doing so. Oh well, time to see how the bike was rolling...

As we both reached our bikes, I made a smooth switch out of my runners, buckled my helmet and grabbed my ride. I noticed my competition was still in his shoes as I pushed my bike up the long path to the mount line. It was not the most pretty mount (my cycling shoes flipped when I tried to hop on the bike) but I got sorted out and started the slow, twisting climb out of the park.

Most of the first four km were gradually sloping away from the park so the pace was not quite where I wanted it. I was making my way through the triathletes already on the course but was feeling the effects of a hard run effort battling to stay at the front of the duathlon. My bike issue also came to light as I tried to power up just outside the park gates. I am not sure how it moved during the off-season but my seat was now dramatically angled down and I was sliding off with every stroke. Damn!

To make things worse, the heat and humidity were pulling alot of sweat from my body so my hands and forearms were slipping off the bars and I could not hold my butt on the seat. This created a lot of lost power and exhausted a lot of energy as I kept trying to get my rear on the seat and hold a position to create a decent effort. Thankfully, it was only 20k so I did my best and fed off the fact I was still making my way towards the front of the triathlon race.

At the turn around, I could finally spot out Kent mixed in with the swim/bike/runners and he was not too far behind. I put in a solid surge up the slope and then made some strong gains with the tail wind across the top of the "U" shaped course. By the time I started heading back to park, my legs started to feel more like their old self and the last five kilometres seemed to fly.

Everything was starting to come back together and my average pace was much more respectable heading into the park entrance. This 500 metres section was designated a "No Pass" zone due to the downslope and twists that would make it a little dangerous. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a very cautious rider who was really taking it easy. I lost a large chunk of time (1 full km/h on my bike computer) following him to the dismount line. I tried to politely urge him along but he was not looking very confident with this section. We have all been there so I took it all in stride and just waited for my chance to dismount and fly through transition.

Posting another solid transition split was key to pumping up my confidence for the final 3k run. I eased through the first hundred metres on the grass and then picked out some triathletes ahead to use as targets. I knew they were up near the head of that race and would be hitting decent splits so that helped.

Out on the same course as our first run made it very easy to zone out and worry only about finishing strong. As I passed across the bridge and then hit the turn around I could finally see Kent about 150 metres back just coming off the dam. I told him that he was doing great and knew I could not relax or he would be able to cover that gap.

I kept up the pace and ended up with a strong finish on the mix of gravel and grass to post a win in my first duathlon of the season. Overall, I felt pretty good with the result but have lots of work to do to get to my 2012 goals.

After the race, I was able to do some more catching up with former duathlete, Tommy F ( ), Cam B ( @BigRaceWheels ), Roger H ( @hosspro ), Patrick B, Chris C ( @cdcanning ) and some new competitors like Kent K ( @runbikeraceblog ).

Thanks to John Salt ( @MultiSportCan ) and his crew for the great race and to Steve Fleck ( @stevefleck)  for the amazing mic work during the event!

May 16, 2012

Sporting Life 10k - Race Report

A few months back, a bunch of the Falcons decided we should get a group together to battle it out on the streets of Toronto. Our current president, Colin C, recommended we enter the Sporting Life 10k and within a few days we had several members signed up and ready to chase down some PB's on this super fast course. As usual, some side banter was included in the following days so I knew I had some serious training to do in order to back up my prediction...

As it turned out, many folks could not make it out on race day but a small group of us met early in Brampton to start our journey into the heart of the big city. Peter M kindly offered to chauffeur Colin C, Laura G and myself to the start line as he was still feeling the effects of his solid 3:05 marathon the week before.

We arrived downtown in very good time so I was able to quickly pass through registration to pick up my bib/chip before settling beside the end rails of the long barrier set up to corral all 22,000 expected runners. It was a cool, damp morning so I was not in too much of a rush to gear down to my race clothes.

Eventually, time drew closer to our start so I finally stripped down to my shorts and FMCT tri top and headed over to bag check to drop off my warmer clothing. As I approached the trucks that were hired to carry the bags down to the finish line, I started to see how incredibly long the line of people was stretching. It had to have been 400 to 600 metres long and moving extra slow. I looked at my watch and knew I would be risking a good warm up if I waited in this que. As I was about to head back to see Peter (to place my bag in his van), a man yelled over a loud speaker that a line was starting over on the other side of the road as well. I walked over and saw this was starting to get out of control so as I passed the back of the truck, I tossed my bag to one of the volunteers piling the cargo. Seemed easy enough so I am not sure why the lines were moving so slow.

Getting that out of the way, I jogged down to the start corral for my estimated finish time and started my warm up. Along the way I bumped into Dan H from our club and chatted as I stretched before continuing up to the front of the huge crowd. As I looked around, I was surprised to see very few familiar faces. I was hoping to see a few usual suspects that I could pace with but the only two people I knew were wild cards on this day. John H. mentioned that he was having a hip procedure in a few days so he was going to ease through the run and Evan Mc. mentioned that he had not trained as frequently as desired so he was not sure where he would finish up.

Oh well, with this many people there was bound to be a big group around me for the run, right?

Amazingly, I was in the second row of people by the time the horn sounded so just a couple shuffle steps to get going and then I found a bunch of open room on the left side of Yonge Street. A number of young lads flew out of the gate while I patiently locked into a good, downhill pace that I knew I needed to maintain to create a buffer for the lower flats.

After approximately 500m, the youngsters started to fade and a shockingly small crowd remained just a few metres up ahead of me and a few other people. At this point, a few quick looking guys jogged up beside us. I looked over to see their effortless stride only to notice they both were carrying their backpacks?

They must have sat in the bag check lines when the gun went off and decided to run with their gear. As we passed a police officer guarding a side street, they stopped and tried to unload their stuff with this officer. He would not touch the bags so they picked them up and headed over to a cyclist riding beside our little group. Thankfully, the cyclist found it in his heart to grab the bags and, hopefully, take them down to the finish line. Those guys blasted down the road and got back up with the leaders from that point...

Shortly after this took place we encounter our first, small incline along the route. This was not a difficult uphill in any way but it seemed to break apart out little group and I was no running solo with a tiny pack still ahead with a 50m gap on me. With a slight headwind coming up from the lake I knew I wanted to get in with those 4 or 5 guys but wasn't sure if I could bridge the gap without over cooking my legs too early in the run?

Looking down at my pace, I opted to hang tight and see how things around my played out. Having run this race a few times in my early running days, I knew most of the landmarks and crossing streets and what to look ahead to in order to distract my mind from the burn in the legs. As things leveled out down near Bloor Street, I could see I was going to have to keep pushing in order to break 17:00 for the opening 5k. As I reached the marker I looked down at my Garmin to see I had finally broke that barrier (i know it is downhill...) with less than 10 seconds to spare. This was exciting but the reality was I know needed to run a sub 18:00 second 5k to close out my goal.

Shortly before the Dundas crossing, I had a runner puffing down my neck. As I looked over I could see it was Hugo R, a Saucony runner that I had run against in the 2011 Hamilton Half, and he was moving. I thought I might be able to jump on his heels and get my up the road but he saw my attempt and zig zagged to shake me off. I did not try very hard to hitch on due to his speed so I let him carry on up the road and he came in 21 seconds ahead of me.

By the time the short lived chase was completed, I noticed the small group ahead was starting to string out. Jeff F of Team Running Free was the next runner up the road but still just a little too far to move on. I kept counting down the kilometres to the finish not really worried about placing but just hoping to keep my legs turning over quick enough to avoid any high splits.

When I finally arrived at our first turn, onto Richmond Street, I made the corner with another competitor nipping on my feet. He was a younger runner with a Waterloo jersey (Jordan F) so I wasn't sure what he would have in the tank but I locked in behind him as he pulled up closer to Jeff. By the time we rounded the smooth corner south on Peter Street, Jordan had opened up a gap but dropped me beside Jeff so I ran beside my old Running Free mate along this short stretch and over to Front Street.

On Front Street, I felt a surge of relief and the two of us reeled in Jordan and also another Waterloo racer Darryl B just before another left turn on Bathurst. We only had a short bridge run on Bathurts over the train tracks and then a quick right to our finish sprint on Fort York Blvd. Making the turn, my legs were dead tired but everyone seemed to want to push for position. For some reason, the challenge was too much to resist so I used this spark to make sure I finished up in style as I did not want to leave any seconds on the course.

Our sprint started a little early so it was a long, top speed effort at this stage of 10k. Darryl ended up with the sprint bragging rights with me a second behind and Jordan and Jeff right behind me.

During this final push to the line, I was trying to find the display of the race time (was moving too quick to look at my watch without risking a massive roll over) but the first digital clock I saw made no sense (I think it was counting down the time from the first runner crossing the line...). Finally, just before I hit the timing mat, I noticed the second clock had 34:34 so I had just accomplished what I had set out to achieve and broken 35:00 on Yonge Street.

As it turns out, the chip time was 34:36 (my garmin was 34:34 and 10.04k) and I ended up in 16th place overall of the 17,551 finishers (21,724 entrants, 4,000 people did not start or finish????).

Congrats to all the finishers and PB'ers! I missed so many of you at the park after the run due to the enormous crowds.

Below is a chart that shows my Needed Splits (based on the elevation chart) to get to 35:00 and the Garmin Splits from my watch. Actuals do not add up as the course was 40m long as per Garmin so that took a few seconds to run (within the error range so course may have been perfect and watch off).

May 7, 2012

Canadian Duathlon Championships - First since 2008!

2012 Canadian Duathlon Championships / Championnat Canadien de Duathlon

The Toronto Triathlon Festival is excited to announce that our race weekend will include the 2012 Canadian Duathlon Championships.

We are proud to provide a compelling platform to play host to the first such Duathlon National Championship since 2009 (LB Note - i think they have this wrong as there was no National Champ in 2009!).

Athletes will have the opportunity to experience a truly urban race course in Canada’s largest city. Duathletes will contest a unique bike leg, cutting straight through the heart of Toronto’s core, on its downtown highways. The race format will be Run (10 km), Bike (40 km), Run (5 km).

We are excited to offer 10 qualifying spots per age group for the 2013 World Duathlon Championships in Segovia, Spain, next September (exact date TBA).

Qualification for the 2013 World Duathlon Championships is for the Canadian Age Group Team only – if you wish to qualify for a different federation (e.g. Germany, Great Britain, etc.) please visit the website of the specific national triathlon federation in question.

If you wish to obtain a spot on Triathlon Canada’s Age Group Duathlon World Championship Team, you are required to be a member of your local provincial triathlon federation. For a list of provincial triathlon federations, please click here - .

For more information on Triathlon Canada’s Age Group Duathlon World Championship Team, please contact Joyce Chiang at .

Note: The minimum age for the Duathlon is 18.

May 1, 2012

Tour of Bronte - Race Report

The Tour of Bronte was advertised as tough race on a mix of asphalt and gravel surfaces. Being relatively new to the bike racing community, I was a little nervous about this event as my bike handling skills are not quite as strong as many of the seasoned riders. On my road bike, I try to avoid rough road surfaces like this at all cost so I was going into the race with very little experience riding this type of circuit.

As Richard and I rode along the Bronte Park entrance roads, to get to the registration area, the “Beginner” race was sent off past us moving in the other direction. By the time we got around to the shed to pick up our numbers, the racers had made their way around to our location and were sliding around a hairy turn. From here, we could see firsthand how tricky the gravel cornering was. What had I signed myself up for?

Eventually, it was our turn to roll out and, as usual, I came to the line later than I should have and was stuck near the back of the pack. On a course like this, with an increased risk of riders going down, I needed to be up closer to avoid any breaks caused by an accident.

As the lead vehicle led us along the smoother, asphalt portion of the course, I slowly made my way to the middle part of the group. I could now see the front runners and the volunteer signaling our first right hand turn. This one was a little tight but was still on a hard top surface so we had enough grip to power up out of the turn only to have to brake just a few seconds up this path.

Into the next turn I could see a bunch of rear wheels sliding as many of the riders tested out their bike handling on the loose gravel. I took an inside line here and noticed a vehicle wheel rut on this line that seemed to hold my bike on course. Right after this turn was another sharp right turn that proved even tougher. I was stuck on the inside so had to slow down considerably to negotiate the tree growing beside the pathway. I could not afford to get brave here as I would have wiped out a good chunk of the peloton if I was not able to hold my line.

Getting through this turn standing up was a big confidence booster going forward. The boys picked up the pace right out of this corner but everyone appeared to get on the train and follow the group along the twisting gravel road through the park. There were a few other areas of caution during the rest of the 8km loop but the initial nerves settled and I just started to worry more about getting further up the field to avoid being left behind.

After the first lap most of the group was still sitting together so there were about forty-five (of fifty-one) riders sharing tight quarters moving through the winding park roads. For a few of the opening laps I was stuck near the back end of the peloton but I could see Richard and Phill working up near the front and wanted to get up to help them out. I waited for the group to get through the loose corner near the registration shed before making a move up the right side on a flat, straight section. When I finally got up near the pointy end of the pack I saw a few guys jump off the front. I had just put out an effort to move up to this point so I figured I would sit back and wait for more to bridge.

My slight resting hesitation would be a bit of a mistake. Just as I was catching my breath two more riders broke, including Phill. I just caught him out of the corner of my eye and instinctively powered up. Thankfully, Richard was right beside me and noticed that my weak effort to catch Phill’s wheel would have pulled a train across to ruin Phill’s break. I quickly backed off and gave Richard thanks for calling me off. We then worked the front of the group with another rider (who must have had a teammate in the break) to slow the chase down.

After a minute or so I heard rumblings in the pack that we had a member in the break so they decided to jump around us and pick up the chase. By this time the foursome had opened a good gap so the hunt was on. Richard and I held strong in the group for a number of the next laps as nobody really got organized enough to make a dent in the break consisting of Gaelan Merritt (Waterloo CC), Derek Snider (Indy), Phill and one other rider.

During those laps we were around twenty five riders deep with only one rider going down in the toughest corner. That wipe out happened to the left of my line so I was able to avoid the distraction and power up before getting dropped. It wasn’t too long after this that we started to lap some riders so it became tough to know if the break was still together or broken. When we finally got around to the asphalt section I could see the leaders coming back up the other side of the road but noticed it was down to two guys (Gaelan and Derek) and Phill was not there?

About a minute later I saw Phill sitting up saving some gas. I was not sure what had happened at this point but was hoping he would have the energy to jump back on with us. Thankfully, he had saved up enough to join our group of around twenty guys/girl. Having three guys in the chase gave us a nice edge so it was time to start moving.

After making the U-Turn (near the start/finish line) on lap 7 (of 8), Richard and I got out on the tip of the group. I pulled through but misunderstood Richard’s command as I started to hammer. I thought he was coming as well but he was trying to block. When I noticed a gap I pulled up to let him catch my wheel. Rookie mistake!

The peloton was now strung out heading into the three quick hitting turns. As I got through the corners, I powered up again to see what the group was interested in doing. Unfortunately, not much as they just sat on my wheel for a few hundred metres. Starting a solo break this far from the finish would have been a lost cause (I think) so I decided to save the legs for the last lap and just hang out on the front to cover any other breaks.

As we rounded the “registration” corner on this lap I could see Richard getting up beside me with a smaller group starting to form. I was hoping this would start an echelon and reduce the size of the peloton. Just as I was about to jump in I felt a loss of power in my rear tire. Things suddenly got a little wobbly and I looked down to see the tire had flatted.

Damn, there were only 1.5 laps to go and I was starting to feel very solid in my legs. I yelled out my flat so the group knew I was pulling out and slowly made it over to the side of the path. I was a little disappointed at first but then realized it was out of my control, especially, on a circuit like this.

I walked my bike back to the team’s tent and got into spectator mode to watch Richard and Phill work their magic. As they passed our vantage point, with about 4k left in the race, you could see Gaelan and Derek were not going to be caught but the Kurzawinski Coach/PBNJ.CA boys were looking very good in the chase.

After they made their last pass, we headed over to the finish line on the other side of the parking lot. Gaelan brought it home just fourteen seconds ahead of Derek and then the pack came down the stretch around three minutes behind the leaders.

On the final sprint, I could see Richard up front, battling it out for a podium. They came right down to the wire but he just missed out by a wheel, settling with an impressive fourth place overall. Phill also came in with the pack finishing seventeenth overall. He had fought hard all day (including a crash in corner three before re-joining the peloton) and backed off the sprint when he knew he could get open for safe finish.

Other Notable Finishes (folks I know)…

Open Race

8th – Bruce Bird (Wheels of Bloor/Graywood Development)



April 16, 2012

Spring into Motion 5k - Race Report

The 9th Annual Spring into Motion 5k was hosted by Brad Mailloux and the Feet in Motion Staff at the Gellert Community Centre (Georgetown, ON). The race heads out from the walking paths of the Community Centre and then follows a stretch of the bike path along Eighth Line before snaking through the local subdivision and bringing the runners back to the Gellert Centre.

A full day of rest could not revive my body from the damage of a Friday night out with the guys. It had been a long time since we all got together and I must have thought I could still carry on like my youthful days. Bad mistake.

Not being able to fuel or hydrate for much of Saturday did not give me a lot of confidence as I went through my warm up on Sunday morning but I figured I would give it a whirl and see what I could make out of the situation. I tried to talk myself into going after my goal of sub-17 minutes and knew a few racers were going to be out ahead pacing that effort. Tim Shannon (multiple defending champ) and Sean Bowen (McMaster track athlete) were in attendance so the pace would be brisk for sure.

At the starting line, the light rain didn’t seem to be much of a factor due to the warmer air we were greeted with on this spring morning. Learning from last year, I got right on the line as the lead out to the bike path is a little tight with a lot of young, spirited athletes hammering out of the gate.

As the horn sounded, I moved onto Tim’s heels and just let him work around the teen runners setting the early pace. After about five hundred metres, the speeds dropped and the more experienced athletes seemed to filter out of the crowd to establish the lead pack. There were three runners just a few metres ahead of me following the lead bike up the slight hill making up the first kilometre. At the 1k marker, I was through in 3:18 but was already feeling drained. My legs felt fine but my stomach just felt empty.

When we made the next right turn, I was slipping back from Tim and Sean and following third place by close to 20 metres. We were now moving gently down slope so I was hoping I could maintain the time cushion set in the first kilometre and then work through the final three km’s to get to my goal. Unfortunately, my system was not cooperating and I slowly started to fade back from the youngster as we reached the second kilometre sign.

With survival mode in full order, I ignored my watch and just tried to make back time on the runner ahead of me. Tim and Sean were way up the road and on pace for a blistering time so I knew I had to toughen up if I wanted a piece of the podium. During this middle portion of the race, we zigged zagged through the surrounding neighbourhood where we seemed to be shelter from much of the wind by the taller homes of the community. Even with this relief, I could not get up enough speed to cut the gap and my target slowly drifted away.

Finally, the chase seemed fruitless as he made his turn off the streets and onto the park pathways for our final five hundred metres. When I made my turn, I could see Sean had a slight lead over Tim as they raced down the finishing chute for an incredible 16:07 and 16:13 dual, respectively.

With the finishing line in sight, I tried to muster some last minute speed but even that request was declined and I turned the last corner to watch third hit the line in 17:02. Thankfully, I finally reached that line in 17:40 and fourth place overall (a full 15 seconds off last year’s time).

The disappointing part was that this year’s weather conditions were much easier for running and Tim took 19 seconds off his time from 2011 so I should have had a better result. Oh well, have to look forward and be ready for Sporting Life 10k on May 13th.

A big thank you to Brad and his Feet in Motion crew for another great race. They always make the event worth putting on the calendar with their charity donations, volunteers, prizing and solid, local competitors.

April 11, 2012

Good Friday Cycling Race - M3 Race Report

Surprisingly, I had very few nerves going into the first race of the season. As long as the bike was working well, I knew I had put in the work to stay close to my teammates so we could stick with the majority of the riders in the M3 field.

After my warm up, I did get to the start line behind most of the others in my category so this created a little worry but Coach Kris from our team, , gave me a game plan to work my way up the pack to align with Richard and Phill. I really wanted to be up much closer to them on the start but the Commissionaires were being very strict with us staying on the right half of the road and forcing all late riders to the back of the pack. Oh well...

So the race starts and several guys go zooming up the other side of the road for the next few kilometres trying to get away from the back. I didn't want to risk a DQ so I "patiently" picked away at the right side. Once out of the tree lined section of the course, we were getting hit with a minor side wind that many were trying to avoid so the right side eventually started to open up, although I was wasting more energy than most of the other riders, I still felt that I was well below my usual race effort so continued up the side of the pack.

By the time we made our first right turn I had moved up into the top fifteen and could see Richard and Phill lurking up near the front. We were now into a head wind and the pace dramatically slowed as nobody wanted to lead out the group. This short stretch leading to a steep, twisting hill tested our braking abilities again so I just stayed put and waited for our first climb.

I dropped down to my small ring up front and spun up the hill with no worries. I was making good time up the hill and was actually getting caught in some of the guys starting to stall, which caused some drama but I strugged it off and crested the hill for my decent. During the decent, I passed a good number of athletes and made it up to see Richard and Phill both in around the top five.

Deciding I could give them a lead out for a while, I settled in behind the lead rider and made the next two climbs on his rear before making a little move as we headed down the hill after turning onto Safari Road. I was hoping Richard and Phill would pick this up and give me a signal to hammer but I think too many others were too close at this point to really make a major move this early in the race. I just kept pulling and monitoring my effort to make I was not burning too much too soon.

As we made the next right onto Brock Road, the huge peloton remained right on my tail. We had a tailwind along this fairly flat part so the speeds started to pick up and everyone held tight until we made our last turn of lap 1 back to the start/finish line.

At this point a few guys decided to pick up the pace and seemed to want to sprint for the line. Not sure what they were thinking but we all jumped on and nothing was established as we started lap 2. Not too much further up the road, my momentum had taken me back up to the front with WOB rider, Stanislaw Bielak. Kris told me to stay with him as much as possible as he had won the past few Good Friday races in this category. I was hoping he was ready to roll but he was not too interested in pulling so I basically had to roll to a stop before he would pull through.

Eventually, a few other riders grew tired of the slow pace and took the lead as we corned onto Westover Road. This was the head wind portion so their efforts were pretty much smashed by the breeze that was showing signs of waking up. I was starting to think this was going to take a sprint to win the race, which is not in my favour, so I was starting to plot a strategy to take off, hopefully with my teammates in tow.

I figured I would wait until we got through the three hills and then pick it up on the flats to see what would happen. With this plan set, I just tried to remain calm on the climbs to reserve my energy for the upcoming effort. Unfortunately, as we were descending on the Safari Road hill, our race was neutralized by an official to let the S4 group pass us. The pace car destroyed any chance I had as the group became like a can of sardines waiting for the race to start again.

Once the S4 group had passed, and gapped us, we were set free but it was chaos for the rest of the race as we had too many people trying to share a lane of this country road. Many were getting edgy and making their move on the other side of the yellow but I did not want to risk this. Especially, after watching one dude almost eat the front grill of a car coming up the other side of the road. Scary...

So the rest of the last lap was just a bunch of grapes floating along the course. I could see Richard and Phill just a couple bikes ahead of me but I was stuck dead centre with nowhere to go. By the time the group started to move along Brock Road for the last few kilometres, things were really getting pushy as I could see a lot of jockeying for position in the couple rows a head. This is when things got really crazy, just to the right of my bike, I saw one guy go down and the rider beside me could not avoid the mess. I was just hoping my teammates were OK but I could only see Phill still riding. I had a bad feeling Richard was a part of the carnage and started to get very cautious.

Around the last corner, to the sprint finish, all I could think was just get me to the line with the rubber side down. Thankfully, this short section opened up to the full road and the group spread out with most grabbing wheels on the right hand side. I saw an opening on the left and hammered down that side of the road passing a few people from the massive peloton. I ended up with the same time as the leader but back in 22nd place. Phill had a nice sprint just a few wheels back of the leaders and ended up in 9th place overall. Jon Westwood had a solid debut in the S4 category getting his feet wet in the sport with a 32nd place showing. Nicely done guys!

Thankfully, Richard ended up being cleared by the medical staff and is back at it already. It was a nasty tumble he took and can be read about on his blog

From the results page there were 52 riders that finished in the main group and 97 athletes that started the race in M3.

Also, it was good to see a bunch of tri and du folks out on the course. I know the roadies don't like to share their sport very much but we put in some good results. Congrats to Alex Auld, David Moore, Ryan Power, Derek Snider, Evert Lamb, Kevin Tearle, etc. ( I am sure there are more but too many names to sort through...)

April 5, 2012

Local Races to add to your calendars...

Run4Hope - organized by the FMCT Falcons

There are both 5k and 10k options for this event on Sunday, April 29th in Brampton.

This is the 8th Annual Run4Hope Road Race. Fletcher’s Meadows Cross Trainers have been organizing this important community race since 2005. It has grown from a race with less than 100 participants in 2005 to over 450 in 2011.

With the support of the City of Brampton and our title sponsors, we encourage local residents to come out for fitness and at the same time help sponsor the Sky's the Limit charity.

Please visit the site below to learn more and to register...

Spring into Motion 5km Road Race and 1km Kids Fun Run - organized by Feet in Motion

The 9th Annual Spring into Motion road race will take place Sunday, April 15th at the Gellert Community centre on 8th Line, Georgetown.

Pre- registered racers can pick up race kit the morning of, beginning at 7:30am

Race day registration begins at 7:30am.

Race day entree fees are $30 for the 5km Road Race and $15 for the 1km Kids fun Run. Remember all proceeds go to Canadian Tire Jumpstart.

Kids 1km Fun Run begins at 8:45 and the route stays on the Gellert paved paths. Kids get a bib number, finishing medal and……….ice cream compliments of Get the Scoop!

The adult 5Km road run begins at 9:00 sharp.

Race will go on rain or shine…..(wish for shine!)

Contact Feet In Motion for further details. Or register online at