Friday, November 25, 2011

5 Rings

Inside The Olympic Dream from cameron sylvester on Vimeo.

The Rowers seem to always have the best videos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Silver Fern

Never been to New Zealand. Want to go. People speak very highly of the country, its people and landscape.

Watching the Auckland World Cup over the weekend, on the great live feed from Nz Tv, reinforced my desire to visit. I was taken away by the crowds on hand for it. The numbers looked to be similar to Hamburg, people lining the streets over the entire bike!

Some might feel 'home field advantage' doesn't play a factor in triathlon. I think this weekends results beg to differ. From Hewitt's and Gemmell's victories to Davisons and Adams hard nosed efforts, the Kiwi's dictated and dominated the event. Hard work and talent were obviously key to the outcomes, but that extra % was pumped through their veins from the '6th man' so to speak. The desire to give back to the crowd could not be matched by others just racing for points.

As Bevan is quoted post race: "It was a great race for New Zealand"

The media's attention to the event was even more impressive. Interviews and press galore surrounded the race weeks leading out to front page papers the day after.

It's no surprise that NZ rates as one of the top medal/capita countries each Olympiad. The people love sport and love to embrace it. All sports too, for a rugby crazed nation they remain open minded to endurance feats just the same.

What sociological factors make Kiwis this way?

One guess comes from a story a friend who backpacked there once told me. Traveling the south island, he would often work under the table at sheep farms to fund his trip and lengthen it out. Essentially living there for 6 months he began to see their values in life. He felt Kiwis tended not to place emphasis on personal prizes such as fancy cars or high salary jobs. They drove a car that got them from point A to B, serving purpose. Value was placed on health and family. With health and family they had love and happiness, and that's all that life needed. He saw sport to them was an outlet to join health and family together, whether it was touch 7's or a hike together in the mountains.

Having such simple values in life perhaps prepares kiwi athletes to perform to their best. They don't get sidetracked by sponsors, and they don't compete for themselves, they compete for a cause and are driven by it.

Bravo to Gemmell for his cause for cancer. It helped him get to that finish line first.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Not Just Good Looks

Triathletes often get the rap of being endurance junkies with relapsed mental skills to that of a 4th grader. Viewed as inept with the literary world, outside of Physiology Journals, we are snickered at for diverting too much blood and oxygen away from our brains. We can be regarded as reclusive, with dormant social skills, coining the phrase Tri-geek.

I invite you to change your minds. Attend a World Cup after-party, reclusive-No, cheap drunks-Yes. If a World Cup after party is not in your vicinity then I would invite you to have a peak at Words with Wilson by Aussie Dan Wilson. Look at him as our mindful posterboy, reminding you that "Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident."

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Some people go to chruch, others run.

Sunday is the day of the week which seems to differ quite substantially from all the others. It is a day of rest for some, and day a prayer for others. It's a day where we get to do what we love or have passion for. Whether its 1hr away from the kids to read your book, gardening, or meeting up with friends Sunday is a day to do things close to heart.

To me, Sundays started off at a young age as a day of strapping on the boots and skis and heading up to slopes for Nancy Greene. Meeting my friends and bombing up and down the t-bar through the trails, bush, and gates. This was followed by fries most often dipped in hot chocolate. The smells and sights associated with those times come back to me now and then on a Sunday.

At this point in time Sundays are a day to get out early and run. There is something very therapeutic and releasing about going for a long run early on a Sunday. It's a time of the a week to unwind and think over your thoughts. On a long run you can reel through everything on your mind and more so. My best ideas have come to me while running. It has been proven that exercise is the best for not only your physical well being but also mental, no surprise really.

A long run done first thing Sunday morning can set up the day well. Getting out into some fresh air, blood flowing, wakes you up and gives you a jumpstart to a productive day. Whether that day involves watching football, baking, kids, or what have you, the morning run can perk you up and get you going.

One of the first runs i did with coach Jon I asked him if he ever ran with an i-pod. "Run with what!?" He told him he had done it once and never again. Felt it interupted with his running and his ability to feel pace and form. Up until that point I would often run with one, I took his advice and now I can't imagine myself running with one again. Listening to your body (breath, foot patterns) and mind while running is whats important, I run to leave behind lifes distractions. I was running late summer at Elk lake and heard an Owl hooting, there it was just off the trail on a branch. Big hooter as well, fascinating, something I would have missed with an i-pod.

I-pod digression aside, Sundays have a different meaning and value to everyone. Whatever your Sunday encompasses, enjoy it and take the day to reflect and look ahead to the upcoming week.

Photo Courtesy: Andrew McCartney

Saturday, November 05, 2011


"A body in motion will tend to stay in motion..."

Someone famous said that, Fig Newton, was that his name?

Momentum is key in a lot of daily activities. For instance, to save gas i'll pop it into neutral well before a red light and use my momentum, i've gotten quite skilled at it, sometimes i'll get it just right at finlayson/Quadra southbound where i'll combine my momentum with cresting the hill to come to a stop just feet behind the car in front of me without using gas or brake.

This principle also works well for pack riding, you want to keep your momentum with as little effort as required. Running, perhaps the most elusive sport to keep momentum, has the potential for huge gains if momentum can be conserved.

Other little momentum savers in life: popping the toast right out of the toaster onto your plate / timing a revolving doorway just right / swings / and roundabouts.

One thing i'm horrible at with momentum is swimming flip turns, maybe that's why i have dreams where all our roads are canals and a 5k swim workout is swimming down MacKenzie to UVic and back home on cedar hill X.

Anyways, theme of this post is about keeping momentum, or as we often term it, 'rolling'. In years past I've struggled near the end of season to stay fit, I gradually lose my momentum and finish with disappointing results and feelings. I'll take a break and lose the rest of any remaining momentum and then spend most of the winter gaining it back before building from it. This year has been different. Gradually gaining momentum from May through October I felt strong to finish the season and ended on a high. We took a short/effective break and kept the ball rolling. Resuming to some structured training this week, the pre-break fitness has held a lot of the momentum and now we can build upon it.

How does that other one go....oh ya 'A rolling stone gathers no moss....'

Thank you to my Family for another year filled of encouragement and support; My coaches, teammates and therapy crew for a program and environment inducing high performance, comradery, and health and to my sponsors and supporters for their loyalty and belief.

2012 has begun!

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Breed(s)?

Longcourse or Shortcourse? Up until recent times their has been 2 pathways for a triathlete to take. Race for your federation and Olympic Dreams with the ITU or go for Ironman Glory.

This season however, the introduction of the 5150 Non-Draft Olympic Series and next season with ITU adding 3 to 4 sprint distance events, things are changing.

In years previous you would see ITU athletes crossing over to Life Time Fitness ND Olympic races and doing well. The TOP ones can still do this, however the middle ones not so much. That's because their are now ND Olympic 'specialists'. Perhaps fed up with their federations or the style of ITU racing, these athletes train and target ND Olympic: Cameron Dye and Nikki Butterfield are such examples.

The days where an ITU athlete could swap over to a TT bike days before a ND race and expect to be in the mix have past. David Dellows win this weekend in Noosa speaks to this. He out rode most of the ITU boys by 3-4 minutes over 40k. Time on a TT bike and more specific training paid off. Even Macca, who switched back from TT events just less than a year ago, appeared to have lost a bit of his TT legs in comparison. This 1-2% loss wasn't noticeable in years past, but with the level of competition rising and more prize $ available in these type of events, that couple percent is what's needed for the ND Olympic Specialist to hold off the 'wet runners' over the 10k. Greg Bennett's win at Hy-Vee was won on the bike over Hunter Kemper. The blatant contrast of Greg riding TT to Hunter riding ITU setup clearly showed that conditioning the body on a TT rig pays the bills.

This being said, the TOP ITU athletes still seem to cross over fine. Take Javier Gomez's display in Dallas and Lisa Norden's domination in Hy-Vee,LA,Dallas. The Top ITU atheltes have so much natural talent that they can do this. Some of the TOP 70.3 athletes seem to fair ok as well. Paul Matthews and Melissa Rollinson both showed us that in Noosa. If Andy Potts focused his season on ND Olympic, I think he would be the man to beat. Rasmus Henning as well, 5th in Des Moines for an Ironman is not too shabby.

The ideal ND Olympic athlete will be one who has the fine balance of ITU speed with ND strength. Strong all rounder who can also tolerate a more aggressive/aero bike position.

So how about the ITU Sprints? That is really yet to be determined. I think we have seen a preview of it with Jonny Brownlee winning Lausanne two years running and winning just about every French GP there is with his brother, but will we see athletes begin to specialise in the distance if approved for Rio 2016? Maybe we see young talent moving up from Junior compete at the distance a few more years, just with added competition, before doubling the distance. Either way, I think we see different faces winning ITU Olympic races than sprints. I feel the sprint distance will form yet another discipline in Triathlon where pure dedication is needed for ultimate success.

It is great to see the sport of triathlon changing like this and forming new niches for athletes. Lets just not let it get to the point of Olympic swimming where one athlete can win perhaps 8 gold medals...that would be just silly:)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Galveston 5150

Up and at them this morning just after 5. Been a while since I raced with the sun rising, when the race was done there was still a whole day to be had!

With quite a small field for this race, 15'ish pro men, the swim was fairly quiet. Three guys got a 30s gap on the matty reed train pack that I was in to T1.
Off on the bike the first few k felt just like an ITU, i was pushing a good gear and making up ground. However after that initial buzz I found myself struggling into the headwind on my ownsome with wooden legs. Interesting how specific triathlon has come in each discipline. 40k is 40k right? Different game there on a TT bike, and I couldn't match the guys today on the ride coming out of T2 in 8th.

Was able to salvage a decent run with the 3rd fastest split to come home in 6th. Not what I had wanted and expected from myself but more time on a TT bike and I feel I can compete at these 5150 races.

Impressive race by Matt Reed, coming off kona just two weeks ago.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Change of Pace

Normally I would never watch College football. However, when in Texas, where fooseball reigns supreme I actually find it quite comforting.

Arrived down here in Galveston(an island just south of Houston) for the 5150 late Thursday night. Bit strange here, very deserted and odd tourist attractions. Nice temperature with a steady breeze off the Gulf. Mosquitos though are worst i've experienced in some time. Big bruts that are beyond aggressive, they go for your eyes!

Training leading into this bout has gone well. Adjustment to the TT bike was seamless with the Noa re-fit and legs have felt good on it and running off. Swimming has been consistent and with a non-wetsuit swim tomorrow it will be worth all the meters done this year.

While here I have felt quite lethargic and have had a coma-nap each day ranging from 2-3hrs!? As I experienced the few days leading up to Edmonton though, lethargic can be a good thing (body subconscious taper?).

This race no doubt will be won/lost on the bike I feel. The course reminds me a bit of Wasa Lake, big out and back. I've never raced a USAT non-draft event before, so I was the goof asking endless questions at the briefing tonight. I hope to make it off the bike without infringing somehow on the 'stagger' rule.

Thanks to Brent and Simon for setting me up 'Aero-style'

Will update how she goes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


"Huatulco: A race that everyone should experience in their lifetime"

After crossing the finish in Huatulco I felt two things: relief and accomplishment. It is a freaking hard course and with temps near the 40's it stings that much more.

GOing up the 20% climb the 8th and final time I told myself, "this is the last time you have to grind up this bloody thing for 12 months", well I was wrong, looks like 7months with the release of the WC 2012 schedule.

In what was a good result for me, 16th has never hurt so much.

It was a great time leading up and after the race staying with Brent, Chantell and her husband Jim. Good eats, good company and beautiful coastline to take in.

Coach Jon and I were going to look at how things went in Huatulco before planning the remaining fall schedule. Still feeling strong this late in the year, I am feeling motivated to train/race.

I'm getting a kick out of the simplest of workouts. Yesterday's swim had a 10x150 moderate set where swimming stroke for stroke 3 abreast I got into such a great rhythm. A 90' spin on the TT rig, I took it out on the highway and was reminded of a long ride with Jon Bird earlier in the summer. We were headed back into town from East Sooke and took the Highway back in from Colwood. Bird had been crushing the last section on the sooke hwy, but once we hit the trans canada he started pushing an even bigger gear. I found myself praying for a red light, and just held his wheel to McKenzie. As we parted ways I remember him saying "sometimes I get so amped while riding on the hwy with the cars.."

So, next weekend I will take these Wet-running legs down to Houston and race the 5150 in Galveston. Noa has fit me up very nicely on my now outdated TT bike. Being 2 years since I last rode it, the first ride felt quite strange but todays brick session began to feel more relaxed and powerful.

Non-drafting racing, it has been awhile....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I think of a lot of things while swim/bike/running, a lot of it is fluff or filler but sometimes I get on a good the one i've recently been brewing.


Timing has to be the single most important thing in Triathlon at any level. From the moment you wake up till you hit the sheets, timing plays a significant role in the day/week/month/years of a triathlete. Workout spacing, workout type and pace, nutrition, recovery, therapy, away time, misc., are all aspects of an athletes program that need proper alignment to be timed well. Some of us have battled it, some have got a knack for it.

Particulary i've been thinking about the timing of an ITU race season, although there are so many other topics, this one intrigues me most. The WCS season is a long one (April-October), and the moment they made it a 'series', timing became that much more important.

The length of the year and heightened level of competition has made it very tough to race consistently well. The southern hemisphere athletes are often fitter than northern in the spring, but the tables can swap come August/September. How do you time the season so that you have at least 4 strong WCS results + a solid Grand Finale?

I think we could agree that we saw a lot of athletes do quite well in April to June and then entered a rough patch through the heart of summer. Others progressively got stronger as the year went on, and others seemed to maintain a consistently average level throughout. Clearly some different timing involved here?

Timing will be even more important come the Olympic year in 2012. A lot of athletes will still be chasing points to qualify yet need to have a full tank for August. It would be very interesting to see how the year is laid out for the qualified vs. chasing qualification athletes and their respective performances come the big dance in Hyde Park.

Time will tell...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yokohama WCS

Courtesy of ITU

Japan. What a country. First impressions were impressed by landscape, people, culture, and Food!

I met up with the Beijing squad at one of the National Japan Training Centres to acclimitize and prep for Yokohama. The training Centre was great. Quiet, good training facilities and well fed with a buffett 3x a day. Can't believe I went 4 days there and didn't snap a single pic.

The bus ride into Yokohama was an eye opener. Colossal port, makes Vancouver look like a bath tub. Jason Wilson and I roomed throughout the trip. Our room in Yokohama was roughly 80 square feet. Cozy.

The race was held right in the heart of the city. Great crowds were on hand to support all the athletes racing in the first international sporting event since the devastating tsunami this spring. The appreciation the people of Yokohama had for the event and its athletes was very moving.

Swimming in salt water once again was great. The bouyancy and added density of it made me feel like i had a pull bouy and paddles on. With warm water for the swim leg I adopted a different strategy. A rope-a-dope strategy if you will, and it worked getting me out in great position to start the bike.

Having frozen bottles of E-load sure helped keep me cool and hydrated over the first 30k of the technical ride. By the last 2 laps however the bottles had warmed to ambient temp and I was starting to heat up. Poor position into T2, it will come.

The first lap of the run was hot. When we hit the first aid station, i'm sure the same thought was going through everyone's head upon dumping or drinking it. "Did I just heat myself up even more from that?" All the bottled water was also of those races eh. However, I found there was still a benefit of pouring it on yourself with the breeze coming off the ocean.

After the first lap I became more comfortable and starting working with a group, pacing eachother. By 5k the group had dwindled to myself and Svarc from Czech. We worked very well together over the back 5k encouraging each other and sharing the lead to reel in I think 6 or 7 guys.

I finished up 28th, best WCS finish of the year and hopefully a spot on the pontoon for Sydney next spring.

Next up, Huatulco. Same conditions, with a tougher course....should be just as fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lausanne Sprints

Five years ago this summer I met a guy named Craig Taylor in Lausanne while racing 2006 FISU games. Five years later and we were rolling into Lausanne again with CT on the #25 to Bois du Vaux.

Lausanne doubled as a WCS and the Sprint Championships. Had been a while since the legs had done a sprint and I was excited for the final stage on a Euro summer of racing.

Positioned right in the middle of the pontoon for the start I found Prochnow's (GER) feet off the start and experienced quite a smooth swim. Gaining experience in this bigger races, I have started to figure out the dynamics a bit in the swim, allowing for less contact and a more efficient ride.

Exiting the 800m swim I was right where I wanted to be; 15s down on the brownlee group and in the chase with Prochnow,Don, Silva etc.

T1 was blistering, everything went seamless yet i still found myself as the last wheel in the group heading out onto the 20k bike. I clung to the back as we screamed into the U-turn and then was gapped on the acceleration out. Here, i made a tactical error that i'll never do again. Often when we race there is the mentality 'all or nothing'. In this case I reasoned that if I did not connect back with my group, the race was going to be over. I redlined for about 800m and re-connected about 100m from the base of the first climb. Just as I reconnected another group from behind led by Ruedi Wild came up and the pace lifted up the climb. That moment was the my race, I was ridden thru and spit out. No response, no making it to the front of the race.

50s down off the bike I looked for my run legs out of T2 but found them spinning. It became a battle to see that finish line. Accross in 51st I was disappointed. Great race by Yorkie to nab 21st, well executed.

The following day were the team relays. Three weeks prior Craig and I had discussed the relay event and I made the decision to give my spot to speedy Marc-Antoine Christian. He along with Andrew Yorke, Manon and Chantell raced the 4xSuper Sprint relay with great fire. Really impressive racing hanging with Russia #1.

A long trip back yesterday and I am now settled back into Victoria. Something I sure have missed over the last 7 weeks. Long time away from such a beautiful city and country. A big thank you to Triathlon Canada and all of its staff for such a great stint in Europe.

Plans for the fall are still being considered. For now a bit of R&R.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Monday morning, coffee in hand, time to relive yesterday's madness.

Coming down from altitude 12 days prior I had felt really on and really off leading through the week of this one. Coma naps some days and then breathing every 9 on others.

On to the pontoon we had great sunny weather for the 15th rendition of Tizzy. The bouy position was a fair one and so no distinct pattern formed on spot selection. Discussing with Craig pre-start the stats pointed to the left side so I went with it. Pretty clean start and onto a Hungarian hip then feet to the first can. Felt strong and controled out at 750 and back on the second loop. Followed Jimmy Seear in the last 200m and out into T2.

On to the bikes I thought I was at the front of the race. However, when i did not see my teammate Brent McMahon I knew there must be others up the road. CT was on the highway as I rolled out yelling 35s to the russians!

This race has two seperate trannies, so we ride about 5k from the lake to town where we start the loops. I knew from racing here previously and from looking at other years that it was very important to try and real in the front group of 7 before we hit town, otherwise the gap could stick.

A half dozen of us were really working hard to pull the gap back. Jens Toft, the danish destroyer was pumping out some mad watts along with Noble and Rana as we chased. We hit town and got the update that the gap was 25s. The group was in sight on the long straights for the first lap or two. However, a bigger group from behind caught us on the 2nd loop and then another on the 3rd swelling us to 50 or so. Games ensued and the gap grew to 50s or so. Then on the last two laps that gap doubled.

Coming into this race, aspects I wanted to nail well were transitions and the first lap of the run. Into T2 I found much better position than in previous races at this level this year and got out in the train of runners set to scorch this fast but technical 10k.

I ran the first lap essentially as hard as i could. I wanted to really committ myself so that I had the opportunity run with the main group. One great aspect of ITU racing is that you hardly ever are in control of your pacing, it's always a game. After one lap the pace settled and my breathing changed from pig squealing to fire bellows pumping. I began to pick guys off and found myself running next to Irishman Noble through 5k.

In a previous post from Hamburg WCS i commented on the outstanding crowd presence and cheering. Well, Tizzy may not have quite the numbers but through transition I dont think any race compares. Along this 400m section you have fans 4 or 5 deep on both sides (2000 i would ballpark), a dancing Lizard lap counter, an announcer that cannot be rivaled for pizaz (Guy danced all day, then an hour on stage at awards, then bartended at after party), and techo beats that would jump start a 90yr olds heart on the OP table. Coming through on lap 3 there was this crazy crescendoing beat being laid down and I found the most euphoric state of running i've ever experienced. I would pass 5 high calibre guys on the last lap with one portugese coming back on me in a sprint to the line for 22nd. The goal for this race was a top 20 result so no cigar, but i'll take the 19th fastest 10k:)

Once into the recovery area i hit the cold tub and ate watermelon. While grabbing some water I saw Brent and headed over to see how he did (no idea he had just WON!). There was a drug tester with him so came up behind and said "well this must be a good sign if you've got a buddy."

He replied: "ya, and this is even better" (showing his winner accreditation).

I was over the moon. In fact I welled up and thought i was about to cry. What a comeback, a lesson for all: When others think your finished, written off, believe in yourself and your ability and prove them wrong.

'Prove Something' was my motto for this race, Brent must of seen this taped to my handle bars....

Photos courtesy of

Video from last years race:

14. TVK ITU Triatlon Világkupa from TriathlonNagyhét2010 on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Camp Jon

Fresh off the table from a great Kim Ward massage I'm sinking into this plastic chair outside the Coq D'or Hotel wifieving (wi-fi stealing) some online business.

After racing Hamburg WCS I had another quick exit, this time 3:30am with the Portugese team to the aiport. Met Jon#1 and Kyle in Barcelona and then we made our way up to camp to meet Simon and Jon#2. Jon#3 arrived yesterday completing the Camp Jon trifecta.

This week has been a great. Some recovery and aclimation early week followed by some quality as the weekend rolled around.

In total there are 9 canuck athletes here in the Pyrenees Orientales getting our groove on. I have been rooming with Kyle Jones and the Big Man Matty Sharpe. Combo working well, who said a love triangle never works?

This morning I had my first real chance to explore some running trails. Brilliant network of routes here, endless.

This afternoon will watch the final tour stage, should be an exciting finish!

Here are a few pictures from the first week:

The Dream of Living above a Bakery is alive and well.....

View from the appartment balcony looking down to the lake

The Doctor in his scrubs pre-swim

Lane 1

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Within ninety minutes after crossing the finish line in Edmonton, I was checking in at the airport ready to travel to Germany for the my first WCS debut. For me, my world ranking is at the level where my entry into WCS events is possible but not certain. It was 10 days before the race that I found out I had rolled off the waitlist and onto the startlist, I was excited for the opportunity to race the best in the world.

So, arriving in Hamburg late Monday night the key to the week was to fully recover and keep the body moving. It drizzled throughout the week as we did our swims at the Alsterschimmhalle and ran and rode throughout the city and its beautiful parks. Saturday morning came and the skies were clear. A beautiful day ensued for racing.

I look at this event as the pinnacle of our sport in terms of organization, course layout, crowd presence, and overall atmosphere. Transition is within the city hall square and tens of thousands line the streets to cheer.
On the pontoon I set up shop right in the middle. I had a good start and avoided most contact with good water until the first right hander. Things started to pile up here quite a bit there as we made the turn. The swim didn’t seem any harder than WC level, or even a swimmers CC. It was however much more tactical and strategic, constant awareness of placement in the pack was always the task at hand. In this swim we went through a tunnel about 50m long three times. Having a pack of 65 men swim through a 10m wide tunnel is like floating down a river, the current was amazing! I exited the water in about the middle of the pack. I thought I had had a good transition however once onto the bike there was already a split in the group with the leaders of about 20, 15seconds up the road. Macca joined our small chase bunch mid-way through the first lap, a surprise but a pleasant one. The gap to the leaders stayed about the same for three laps and then suddenly it was closed very quickly. Once all together the pace did not slow. The bike was definitely another league in terms of pace, placement and handling. I struggled a bit here and could never work my way forward. More work to be done in this regard. With the addition of the Specialized Prime every lap and perhaps Macca this bike was a full minute quicker than the fastest bike split here in years past. It was on, and unfortunately my power meter was not working.

Into T2 I was in the back third of the group. I had a quick transition and got out at the back of the long chain of runners that snaked through the city streets. On the run you fully got an appreciation of the crowd intensity. I don’t think there was a section of 5m where there was a break in spectators. The bike had taken more out of me than I would have liked but I found my rhythm and focused on holding form and picking off guys ahead. On the last lap the crowd took me home, simply outstanding to have that type support inches from your skin.

Crossing in 37th was not great but I had weathered my first WCS storm and had come out on top of some established athletes and many others that simply didn’t survive the swim/bike.

I am now waiting to meet up with Kyle and Coach Jon here in Barcelona before we travel up to meet the rest of the Canadian crew in France.

Stay tuned….

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Edmonton WC

After 4 years hiatus the world cup weekend in Edmonton is back. Despite some pretty ridiculous weather patterns rolling through every couple hours the weekend was a success for all. Kids of Steel saturday, and Juniour elites/agegroup/elite all on Sunday.

Chantell arranged a great homestay for me for the weekend with Byron Unger (triathlete, ex Canadian Swimmer, and Anesthesiologist extradornaire) and his girlfriend Mel at UofA. Can't thank them enough for taking me in on such short notice and providing the hospitality that they did. Great folks.

We arrived on Friday, keeping the time in Victoria to a maximum and getting in our key pre-race sessions with the comforts of home. Once in Edmonton using the pools at the Kinsmen centre was a great strategy. Especially Sunday morning, made it feel like just another day of training with a hard brick in the afternoon.

Saturday night I went for a short run after a ferocious hail storm had passed. I felt very off on this run, wobbly and uncomfortable. Not sure what the story was but I was also very tired that day, having a 2hr nap and a solid 9 hr sleep. Sunday morning the ship had righted and I felt fine. I think sometimes the body, when ready to race, sends signals to not overdue things and really focus more on rest. Often i'll feel sluggish before a great performance.

Jon planned this race out well for me. We kept the head down after Monroe and put in a focused 10 days with a sharp taper near the end of race week. With this being an 'A' race on my schedule we payed particular attention to getting some more leg speed with two key speed sessions for the run.

Starting to get used to these late starts. 4pm allows you to have a relaxed morning and leave everything to the last minute because even when you think you should get going down to the race site you still have a couple hours to delay.

It had rained from Friday to Sunday afternoon. Things brightened up for our race however, roads were dry and perfect temps for fast racing. With the cold, wet conditions leading up to racing everyone, including myself, was rolling into check-in overdressed. I would give the award for most bundled to Austrian Franz Hofer who exhibited full winter cycling kit, toque, and ski gloves on a mid July Sunday, only in Canada!

The water temp in the duck pond had plummeted with the hail storm 24hrs prior from 22C to 18C. This meant perhaps the first wetsuit swim in the history of the race for elites (someone might want to check into that). If Edmonton is to try and get this event to the WCS level then the swim needs to be adjusted somehow. Lining up I gave myself a two spot buffer from one particular brazilian that i've had some blows from in races past, however it didn't help as within the first 100m I had both goggs knocked to my cheeks. There was no fixing them, not with guys behind you ready to pounce. I essentially became blind and swam by feel. Surprisingly this worked ok, you can go along way by the feel of bubbles on your face to navigating a swim properly. I tried to maintain as best position i could and once out for the 750m beach run i readjusted the goggles and had eyes again. I saw i was in company with Jimmy Seear and Hunter Kemper, not a bad spot. The second lap I weaved my way up a few spots so i was in the mix of the pack for T1.

My helix came off smoothly and I mounted my new Cannondale Super Six ready to address the 6 lap bike course. Up the first climb I had a flashback to 2007 where i thought i was going to explode. This time around i felt strong and confident in my legs to bridge me up 5-10s into the chase group that had formed led by Kemper,Seear and Leckie about 10s down from the leaders. On the groat road downhill our packs merged and the lead bunch had formed with about 25-30 riders.

On the second lap I heard someone (i think simon) yell that the chase of about 15 guys was making up time. I felt good and rolled to the front for a pull as we made our way back to the park. Once there i realised that this was the prime lap. I kept it controlled by strong for 10-20s and then had a couple of brazilians come by as we turned into the park. I sat 3rd wheel as we turned left into the tranny section. Perfect position i thought as the lead out brazilian peeled off for his teammate. After the last corner to the line I swung wide and started my sprint. The brazilian however had taken a wide line as well and in the process had boxed me in with an overlap. There was no way of slowing and getting around him to the line so i tried to squeeze past but there wasn't the room to do so. Edged by a half wheel. The opportunity was there.

In this race I found myself much more aware, alert and focused on the task at hand. I had a mental note of where the strong riders where at all times and knew exactly how far into the bike we were for nutrition timing.

The climbs were strong but not crazy. With them coning off the centre line it actually made the climb the most technical part of the ride i thought.

As the pace accelerated into T2 i heard Simon give me a heads up for his wheel as he passed. I jumped on and we dismounted in the middle of the group. A hungarian guy however slipped right in front of Simon, bringing him to the floor as well. I had to leap over simon's rear wheel with bike in hand to avoid the same fate.

Out of T2 i found my legs were responding well. I had the leg speed to hit out the first mile in a large group. After we re-entered the park for the first time things began to disperse. I found myself running with teammate Brent McMahon who was tapping out a steady pace. He was slowly picking off athletes as they fatigued over the second 5k and I made sure to follow his lead. As we neared the final climb/descent on the run I made a pass on brent and on the downhill used my long legs to open up a gap with another long legger Latin from Estonia. Latin took the lead thru the transition area and then I surged by him on the out and back to the far park turn-around. As I neared the far turning cone I felt someone coming up inside. It was Brent. He made a great tactical move by coming up inside on the gap i had left and taking the inside on the turn. He then really put in a strong surge out of it leaving me on the brink of his tail. Back to the finish was a slight head/cross wind. I gave everything to get close to him and gain the slight advantage. As we neared the chicane to the finish line he put another surge in to try and reel in Noble from Ireland who was starting to tie up and that was the dagger.

Crossed the line in 17th with a great all round performance. Lots of fun, something i'll remember for a while.

As we hit the recovery area I came up to brent who was hunched over and put my pinky in his ear. 'Just checking for blood' i told him with a smile.

Next up Hamburg WCS

Photos courtesy of Byron Unger, thanks.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Having the luxury to drive to an ITU race is always a plus. Just a ferry buffet and a 2hr drive away made Monroe (scottish for Hard Hike) an anticipated race on the calendar.

Arriving Thursday night I was welcomed by homestay Jose and his family. Their home was just off the race course in the small town of Monroe, about 1hrs drive from Seattle, Washington. Jose and Margaret made me right at home and I thank them for the great weekend. The kids kept me occupied and relaxed as I prepped for the race Saturday afternoon.

The man-made lakes temperature fluctuated quite a bit with its shallow waters and rainfall. In typical fashion of the precision of TD Ulf Schuetze, 1hr before the start the temp was measured to 4 sig figs at 19.77C (wetsuit legal).

My race plan was quite simple. Do as Kemper does for as long as possible.

Ranked #2 i had second choice behind Hunter on the startline. Looking at the start area the day before I was convinced the left side was shorter to the first turn bouy so when Kemper choose the right side I was a bit muddled. I went with my gut and went left....well there goes the race plan i guess. There were quite a few strong swimmers in this field and they all proceeded to go right, i was starting to get a bit nervous I would be seperated from the pack until Fishies Andrew McCartney and Kalen Darling joined me on the left side.

Out to a great start I swam in clear water for 150m before slowly merging with the pack. Very little contact in this swim, was a nice change. With wetsuit swims you do not have as clear a picture of who you are swimming beside or behind. Prior to the start I made a mental note of a few of the stronger swimmers wetsuit and goggle type to recognize them in the water. The pace was fairly solid for the first 1000m, then a slight lull for 300 before picking up for the exit. I found myself right where I wanted to be, in the mix of the front group.

On the bike a group of 10 formed quickly. Teammate Jon Bird and Dustin McClarty had about a 20s gap that we managed to close within about 2k. There were a few notable absentees from our group that I think most of us noticed. This motivated the group to work together and have the gap grow. As Simon calls it 'Playin the Game' on the bike was my focus and I did everything I could to ride as smart as possible while contributing to the group.

The run turned into quite a tactical affair. Hunter was long gone from the first 100m. Then was Ben Collins and then was a group of 6 of us. A decent cross wind was coming off the field adjacent to course. I in essence 'drafted' off others in the group to conserve the first 5k. I wanted to negative split the run, at least effort wise to finish strong. At about 6k I was on my own in 3rd with Ben, the carrot, hanging in front of me by 15s. I just could not close the gap, it seemed like whenever i surged he instinctively did the same, maybe he could smell me? No oldspice next time.

Crossing in 3rd I was stoked for my first ITU podium. It was quite an honour to stand up there with Ben and Hunter.

Congradulations to Chantell Widney who won the womens race the same day. I feel she could have a great race in just under 2 weeks in her hometown of Edmonton.

That being said, Edmonton is fast approaching and I am eagerly looking forward to this one. Marked as my first 'A' race, the challenging course and field will be a great test. Edmonton was my World Cup debut in 2007, where I was rocked beyond this galaxy from the horn. I value that experience very much though as it gives me confidence in knowing the course and what/where to expect the surprises.

Will keep you posted

Monday, June 13, 2011


Ruin the Bruin.....Tonight!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Today was my 29th birthday and this is how it went down in true tri-geek fashion:

Breakfast of Oats and Coffee to a beautiful sunny morning

Ride up to Commonwealth pool to meet Jon, Andrew and Coach Houshang for a long ride. It was one of those rides, lets call it a 'kitchen sink' ride, where it seems Housh throws everything at us; Observatory, Willis Pt., The Darkside, Moto-pacing it was all there and I was quite spent by the end.

Get home and roll the legs out. Next, devour some deluxe Waffles (recipe upon request) and scrambled eggs. Some online result creeping, there were I count 8 elite level races this weekend so it was easy to waste an hour doing this.

Then it was coma-nap time. Coma-nap is anything over an hour. This one turned into a solid 2hrs complete with ridiculous dreams. No troll on chest though, whole post on its own, so that was good.

Roll out of bed and have a powerbar, cereal and coffee. Procrastinate a good while and then prepare a stew, throw it in the oven and head out for a long run.

Dinner, get an ever so cute happy birthday chat from niece Stella, watch Dirk et al. win a well deserved title, write this, roll legs, bed.

Great day for a newly 29'er.

Finishing up a good training week with my fav, some post run leg swings

It is Caterpillar season, they are EVERYWHERE!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Any Questions? Any Answers?

Neil Harvey is back on deck for our group once again. Its been a two year gap between visits but it sure is nice to have the motivating figure and expertise he stands for watching over our strokes.

Today we had an introduction to a Harvey set that i thought i'd share. Thursday swims are a quality one for us and this set was quite that:

5x (2x50 hard / 100 'efficiency' / 100 hard / 100 ez float )

At first glance the key components of each round were the hard pieces. But once into the set I quickly found that the 100 'efficiency' was equally as important. After one round I found that the pace fluctuations really allowed efficiency to be found in the 100 that called for it. The contrast from hard to efficient gave a heightened sense of feel and smooooothness in my stroke. I was surprised at how easy the 'free speed' came in the efficient 100.

Looking forward to more of these sets as we roll along through the summer.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

First Dip

Just over 4k done in Thetis Lake this morning as our first open water swim for 2011. About a month late due to a ridiculous cold spring and racing the temp was quite nice. No rattling bones.

It was essentially a hot tub for Jon (swam in a Calgary skating rink this weekend) and Andrew Mc fresh back from his solid race in the frigid Bay waters of Escape from Alcatraz.

Great to have Neil back out there on the kayak. Open water master.

Monday, June 06, 2011


Too long for me without an update....very Dano Wells of me.

Two races came up in May that both took place in the adventure that is Mexico.

After a great altitude camp in Flagstaff, special thanks to Paul Brinkman for hosting me, I headed down to Monterrey for race #1. Great TriCan support for this race made everyone feel at ease. It truly gives you the best possible preparation when you have staff looking out for you.

Having done the race last year I knew exactly what to expect off the pontoon. However, I found myself being very complacent in the race and never really feeling that desperation and drive. I accepted where i was in the swim and bike and didn't really do anything to change it. It was clear when off the bike that I just wasn't in the shape needed yet to run to a top 20 WC result, placing 41st.

Here a few pictures from Monty:

Brent at the bow

Finishing up with the fans

Tri-Boat headed to dinner and some unexpected sprinklers!

Back to Victoria and we rolled right back into some decent training. Two routine weeks with some speed intro had me excited to do it all over again in Mexico, this time in Ixtapa. AP hooked up a great condo in Bay View Grand that was ideal for race prep.

On race day I felt much more 'spunk', as Barrie Shepley would say, and got after it right from the gun. The swim was just a lot of fun. I really like ocean swims with some rolling waves to them. Being a horrible kicker i find the salt water lets me get away with a 2-beat kick and not lose body position.

Out of the water near the front we had a 800m run over sand, wood and asphalt to the bikes. Normally i suffer with T1 runs but this one felt healthy good.

On the bike i fumbled a bit with my mount and found myself chasing for a bit. Once I was able to get on the wheel of my training mate, Jon Bird, we rolled up to the lead 5 where Brent McMahon was tapping out a strong pace. I helped with what i could, but our group of 10 became 25 after 10ish k. The remaining ride was so diverse. You had everything from significant coasting to spinning to steady to attacks. Just what you would expect for a pan-am cup in Mexico.

T2 was a bit tricky with the larger than normal ixtapa pack barreling over the grass/tree boulevard. On to the run I built the first mile and settled into a rhythm and feel that i felt i could sustain and build upon on the last lap. I did just that and ended up placing 5th. Its a good progression from Monterrey and gave a good indicator of where my fitness is at. Great races by Kyle and Brent to start their 3-week point chase trip.

I've just had a somewhat chill week dialing the intensity back and visiting my family. The newest family member, Adel May Bollans, was met this week. Another niece that I will marvel at as she grows.

The next two and a bit weeks look to be a heavy plate of meat and potatoes. If i'm lucky i'll get some gravy with a good result in Monroe (Seattle) June 26th.

More frequent posts to come.

Marveling at how much sand is already in my suit at the start

coming in for T2

Thursday, April 28, 2011


We have just finished up a 3 week stint in Arizona building fitness and having fun. The opportunity to train day in day out with all my teammates has made for another great learning and growing experience.

Coach Brown has done a great job of keeping things rolling smoothly; Along with the monitoring from Ben and body awareness/adjustments from our new addition Marilyn everyone has come out of the time here wiser and hungry for the season.

Coming up next weekend is Monterrey WC. I will remain in Arizona prepping for the race to minimize travel. A small womens squad has arrived with Kyla Coates, who will be my travel buddy to Monterrey.

Thanks to Triathlon Canada for the support of this training block. Not a camp, but training block...As Dr.Jones would say, every week should be your 'training camp'.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green Men

Espn to showcase full interview today. Mind games!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Recovering from Santiago and getting in a few key sessions thru the week had me ready to race again in Chile. This time about 80k NW of Santiago in the port City of Valparaiso.

Arriving on Friday I had two good looks at the beautiful race site for this one. Choppy, technical swim followed by a well paved 8 lap bike with a 1k gradual 3% climb, finished with a hilly 3 lap run.

The swim started well with a good start position on the far right. The loop had 2 bouys and a natural bouy as a set of rocks on the return leg to the beach. This was a very fun swim as the chop really seperated everyone and required good sighting skills. I found i was quite slow on the exit/re-entry and then the run out to transition, losing a few positions each time. On the first lap exit there were two street dogs on the beach waiting to get in on the action. When a few of us re-entered the ocean they came along with us! Salty dogs....

With a decent swim I exited about 20s down of Vasilev and 4 others in a group of 6 including eventual race winner Marek Jaskolka for Poland. This time around on the bike I felt much better. Power was there from the get go and stayed up near the front for the 40k. On lap 3 our group caught the leaders, due in large part to Will Huffman and Quinchara, a rising Columbian commodity, but a few laps later a large chase bridged creating a group of 25 or so coming off at T2. This race had a bunch of fun technical bits, including T2. The last section of the bike included climbing the 1k hill to the turn-around and then bombing back down into T2 (which itself was on a slight downhill). T2 dismount was the fastest i'd ever done and I was very close to not having the leg speed to match the pavement.

Out onto the run i had better speed. At about 1 mile seperation began into a head wind. Although this run went better than Santiago I was stlil a bit unsatisfied with the overall result of 13th.

My stay in Valparaiso was short but I saw quite a bit of the area on my bike. Very pretty, rugged, coastal landscape. Many of the different communities nest on top of small mountains (100-200m vertical). I was staying on top of one these in a B&B. At first I was a little concerned with the brutal climb up to home each time I ventured outside but then I found out they had 'ascendors' for each mtn. Essentially a train car that ascends the slope, I found these very cool and well worth the 75cent fee.

This trip to Chile was a great racing and cultural experience that I would recommend to all. The more and more I travel to races, especially unique ones such as this I find myself realizing how fortunate I am to be doing what i'm doing. A moment during the Valparaiso race I found myself saying 'you are the only Canadian to ever have done this...take it all in.'

Can't thank Felipe and Pam for their gracious hospitality and comfort during my stay, you guys were great.

Travel home was a bit of an adventure. After jetting from the race shortly after I got to the airport Sunday evening in good time. However the flight was delayed delayed delayed and then canceled. Everyone was put up in hotels for the night and would fly out the next morning. At about 3am that night I woke up with that feeling you know where you don't quite know where you are? Pffffew your in the hotel....then things went all wonky and it felt like I was surfing on jell-o.....earthquake! Thank god it was not significant. What is the world coming to?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Piedra Roja

Picture of the Race

ITU Piedra Roja or Red Rock

What a great start to the season. Although my result of 16th is not what I wanted, it is a start to build upon and positives and negatives to take away into this weekend in Valparaiso. The race essentially went like this:

- great swim start
- then vasilev & Farias let loose opening a gap with a few others
- exit in main chase
- hurt like a mofo on the bike hanging 30m off the back until 4k
- finally got feet into shoes after first lap
- found bike surges tough
- mid pack T2 transition
- no speed out of T2
- chugged along run stuck in what seemed like 4th gear

The race was held very well for a first time event. The course is smooth and fast with a challenging run. Great venue, i hope to return.

A lot of the athletes are staying in Santiago to train this week which is great for meeting others and getting in some training together.

The Chilean Federation has opened their training centre, pictures to come, to all. A beautiful 50m outdoor pool in the hills with a great bike studio and a dirt 400m track.

Being hosted by Felipe and Pam has been awesome. They have shown me the best routes to train on and the given me great insight into Santiago and its brilliant culture. Chilean people are most friendly and the cuisine is delicious.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


In 2007 a Chilean athlete named Felipe Van de Wyngard visited Victoria and trained at the NTC for a spell. A very classy and friendly guy, he was immediatley liked by all. Keeping in touch with Felipe ever since and meeting up at races I've had the invitation numerous times to visit him and and his land.

So I have finally made true on that offer and am flying out tomorrow for 10 days in Chile racing two ITU Pan-Am Cups, Santiago March 20 and Valparaiso March 27.

The preperation although not ideal for these bouts has been coming along. I don't necessarily feel speedy but i do feel strong. I look forward to a great visit and some hard racing.

CT tweeted about this being the proposed Valparaiso bike course....8 laps i presume.

Now to make some travel bombs!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Paper

Front Page

The devastation in Japan, surreal events that have shaken all of us. The feeling I get most of by hearing and seeing the carnage that has happened is helplessness and guilt. I feel like I should be over there trying to help out where ever possible. Not endulging in myself day in day out with training....The videos are out there of the destruction, water has never seemed more powerful.


Ran the Bazan Bay 5k last weekend here in Victoria. Always fun and fast, especially with the Saucony TypeA4.

BB5k just after 1k

Been playing around with my Garmin 310XT and Garmin Connect, useful and fun. Todays tempo run of 2x(10/2'r/5'/2'r) at beacon is here. In the woods however this watch is not great, pace fluctuates a lot.


This year I am really fortunate to be a part of the Saucony Hurricane Program once again. Last year I quickly became familar and comfortable in the line of shoes Saucony has from trainer to racers.

The Kinvara was a big introduction last year that I certainly was quick to try. Great shoe for tempo running, however for a bigger guy like me I was searching for a bit more structure laterally and in the heel cup. They must of read my mind because this years addition of the Mirage is exactly that. Very impressed with the Mirage, great shoe essentially for anything and everything.

The new adjustment to the fastwitch line has made the FT5 my shoe of choice for mid-range intervals (5-10'), the shaved heel (now 4mm heel to toe drop) has made the shoe feel quicker off the ground. Completing the shoe arsenal is the TypeA4 flat which remains the same this year; light, responsive and with sole drainage for hot/wet races.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Just finsihed watching the first ATP tour win for a Canadian Mens Singles player in 16 years. Milos Raonic did it with nerves of steel winning in two tiebreakers over Verdasco, ranked 9th in the World.

Not only that, but he is 20....big career ahead of him.

Great for Tennis in Canada

Congradulations MILOS!

Sorry but cannot pass up this opportunity for a very fitting Seinfeld reference.

Operation Booty

Last year at this time I didn't have an ass. I was shedding the winter weight but losing it in some of the wrong areas. My pants were falling off, i thought i was slimming my waist, nope just losing anything and everything that resembled my white boy booty.

This year the plan is to build a booty. Operation Booty. With the help of my coach Jon Brown, strength coach Cam Birtwell, and all round guru Kevin Jardine. We plan to build the booty up to the point where i can shake it with the best of them.

Here are a few of my favourite tunes to listen to while executing Operation Booty.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Legend. 1:40 I burst out laughing.

The size of an NFL linebacker with the speed of a running back, this guy makes any NFL'er look like chump change.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Story so Far

This time around in Maui, things have been a little different. I'm struggling with a glute injury that has squashed my running miles and had a crash on the bike last friday that left its mark. Still having fun though and accepting things will follow their due course.

Last night I met up with Mhairi, Tim and Stella. Good times ensued. It is great to spend time with them on this beautiful island in the pacific.

Stella wondering just how to get that Cafe Des Amis Gecko!

Today was the first day back to some motions post crash. AMac and I did a good little ride which finished off with some rural motor pacing up Baldwin Ave. I reckon if Simon had this pacer for the climb he might.....might be able to break Ryder's claim to fame on the volcano:)