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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

First win of the year

Starting the season with a win is always exciting and let you appreciate the long hours spent in your basement on the treadmill or the rollers and the endless laps at the community pool.

This year I have been lucky enough to have been part of few training camp that broke the boredom a little. I also was blessed with the opportunity to swim with the Owen Sounds Aquatic Club who gladly incorporated me to their most elite group. Bytown Triathlon Club, too invited me from time to time to train with them. All those opportunity gave me a chance to meet new people and appreciate my training that much more.
So, about this race. With some surprise I’m starting to see a pattern in which I get amazing results in shitty weather. Would this be my thing? The army says often “Ain’t trainin’ unless it’s rainin’.” Well like that soldier that I am, I never or almost never alter my training because of the weather, so this probably gives me the edge, who knows.
Well this Saturday, the good weather wasn’t part of the party. It was cold, windy and rainy. But it was ok, I’m sure the spectators hated it more than us, the racers.
So the swim was good, the water wasn’t too cold, and there weren’t any waves. To my knowledge that athletes didn’t rough each other’s up too badly.
The bike was fun, we got to see each other few time and have a feel of who you had to look for and see if you took space on them lose some on your competition. The U-Turns were a little slippery but that’s all part of the game, isn’t it.
The run was pretty lonely; I completed a full lap before anyone else got on the course. Everyone was impressed at the gap I created and how I maintained the distance throughout and completed the race by myself at the finish line. What a woot it was.
Promising for the season undergo.
Finally special thanks to @teamzootcanada @zootsports @velofixgatineaukanata @nuunhydration @nuuncanada @trainerroad

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016 Race Opener

My Season Opener As part of the Canadian Armed Forces team, I went to Clermont Florida for a training camp and a race. The Camp originally had us training an average of 20-25 hrs which would have given us plenty of time to get ready for the race on Sunday. But the team manager had a different mind set. The Team Manager didnt care about the race, he just wanted to have a great training camp with lots of mileage. The race was just a way to secure the funding for the camp. Knowing this, the coach changed the plan from a comfortable training week to an off the hook distance camp. 

From Sunday 28 Feb to Sunday 6 Mar, we have accumulated more the 37 hours of training. Some of the more interesting training sesh had us do 7km swim, another was 210km bike riding it at an average speed exceeding 39 kph and 10 miles run in the Orange Groves. The sun, the heat and the wind was a daily reminder that life can be better then the 20 degree sub zero with blizzard and snow fall almost measured in meters. 

After a long week of training, no one was expecting to have a great race, we taught at best some top 10s finishers, but that it. The race was short, thanks to god. It was the ITU Clermont Age Group Drafting Legal Challenge. The water was choppy, the wind was high and the sun was blazing. Great receipt for a long hour race. 

The race started at noon for the male, when the weather just got at its hottest. Early within the 800m swim I managed to set the tone, I led the swim from the start till I realized that one guy was feeling very comfortable behind me, so I did the nice thing to let him by so he could do some work a little. I got out of the water just behind him, caught him in the transition and passed him immediately passed the mount line. I was latterly in no men land, I was completely alone. After the first 5k loop of the 20km, I was so far ahead it would have been a mistake to slow down and wait to work with someone. So I kept hammering the pedals maintaining an average of 40-45 kph. I finished couple minutes before the first peloton increasing my lead by almost 30 sec.  After completion of the race I was surprise to find out that I had doe the fastest bike split, it was that much more surprise since my teammate are all outstanding cyclist. With this lead in mind, I started the 5k run. Run being my weakness discipline, I was aware that everyone had me in their crosshair. I push hard and managed to hold the damages to a 7th place finish. I was so happy with that because I have improved my time from last year by 4 minutes and had the fastest bike split riding alone, after this crazy training week.

Along with this performance, my team mate have been very encouraging me and had such positive and kind word for my performance.  I feel blessed to have them pushing me and feel that we will do some serious damage the next time we get to race together.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 Review

So last season has been the best race year yet.  I was very happy of my accomplishment and was looking forward to see what 2016 had in book for me.  The changes I had made last year paid of quickly and now I know those decision were for the best.

The changes have been, change of coach, change of training regime and change in nutritional plan.

I have built my endurance, leaned out and start loosing this unnecessary muscle mass gained over the last 12 years.  I am now faster on the bike and the run then ever and I have been swimming at my best in the last 12 years.

I completed the 2015 season with multiple podium, I PDed at all my races and I have qualified and participated to the World Military Games in Korea.

Last in December, few days before Christmas I thought I was starting at zero.  I dislocated my shoulder and had a terrible general practice Dr trying to use 1970's method to put it back in place.  After being tortured for 30mins or more I decided to walk away and go see real Dr at a real hospital.

Only 5 days later I was in a Christmas Camp, not sure if I was going to make it.  But I did.

January turned the corner.  I wasn't expecting anything, just training hard, staying focus.  Good news came one after the others.  First I was contacted by Nuun Hydration, a company who makes Electrolyte tabs specifically for endurance athlete.  They were interested to sponsor me.  So I jumped on the opportunity.

Next I had text done, requirement for the application to the Canadian Forces National Team.  I did my best 800m swim recorded in the last 12 years, even after a dislocation and my best 5km run in a life time.  Those performances got me selected on the High Performance Triathlon Team.  The list of athlete being so short, this would really make me smile.

On the same week, we finally receive an offer on our house that would aloud us to move on from our obligation in Kingston.

Finally, I receive a offer to join the rank of Team Zoot Canada.

This year is promising... Stay tune, I wont disappoint you.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Photo-shoot with Brian T Walters

Late September I had a great photo-shoot with Brian T Walters.











Monday, October 19, 2015

My Games - 2015 World Military Games Triathlon Race-Report

Every time you go to a race, you go through a series of emotions and the only way to get rid of them is by being as ready as possible.  But when this race only come once every 4 years, there is a lot more at stacks and prep is not the remedy.  But when you have amazing team mates and staff, outstanding sponsors, and relentless race organizers, volunteers and spectators.  Everything seems to be that much easier.
Nuun Canada provided us with Electrolyte Tabs/Bottle/Hats

This is my experience at the 2015 World Military Games - Triathlon held in Pohang, South Korea.

The last few days at work before I left were busy, but regardless, my Chain of Command were very good at making sure I had everything I needed to be ready to go, including time and you know time is always what we don’t have in the military.

The travelling started with some issue, I had the opportunity to go to Ottawa the day before my flight and go have lunch with my daughter.  It was magical since I hadn’t seen her in 3 weeks.  Once I brought her back to school I had one last training session which was fantastic.  I was fast and my power output was at its best.

Race start, Canada had #1 to 6
Then it was time to pack the bike.  As soon as I tried to take the seat post off the collar snapped and all the sudden it was go time, trying to find somewhere they could replace it, I had to go from store to store downtown Ottawa for the part.  Luckily there was someone who had the part I needed.  Unfortunately that part turned out to be a little weak and broke as soon as I tried to torch once in Korea.

Training day at Pohang race site

After a great healthy meal in a pub and a sleep downtown Ottawa.  The travel started before the sun awaken.  First flight was from Ottawa to Vancouver, which was very uneventful. Once in Vancouver the whole team met for a little meal before we took the long flight to Seoul, South Korea.  This flight was also very comfortable and uneventful.  I slept most of it so I didn’t mind it much.  Once we arrived in Seoul, and everyone had all their luggage’s and bikes we mounted a bus for a 5 hours ride.  I forgot to mention how amazing the Korea were at getting us the VIP treatment in the airport and got us all through the border control in less than 10 mins.

Once arrived in our Athletes Village, late at night.  We all quickly got our bike together and went to bed.

UN Memorial Cemetery in Korea
Final resting place of so many Royals

The next morning we went for a quick run in order to get rid of the jet lag.  Once that was done, we went to the UN Korean War memorial.  This was quite emotional for everyone.  I saw so many Royals brother there, I could barely contain my tears.

Sleeping quarters
The next few days look just like the others, we got up, went to the beach which was a 45mins drive, trained, got back relax, train a little more, had few meals in between all that and went to bed.  That being said, even if at time there was length of time where we had nothing to do.  We were enjoying amazing facilities.  The Korean were very helpful throughout and the food was amazing.  The local food we got to try was outstanding and the mess food was well prepared and very tasty.

How to make an Omelette Korean Style

The last day before the race, we took the opportunity to get some group training with other countries and get some team photo.

Start of the race

Finally it was race day.  Got up early for a full breakfast and short activation.  Took the bus in the late morning and arrived about 2 hours before the start and got our stuff ready.

Team photo - Thanks Nuun Canada
When we got there we were surprised by 7 foot waves.  Most didn’t like the sight because it meant a very challenging swim, but I have lots of experiences in those kind of waves so was confident.

VRI banner in the Transition

The race consisted of 2 loops of 750m swim, 6 loops of 6.6km bike and 4 loops of 2.5km run.  On the first loops of the swim I was with the pros in the first pack, but my job wasn’t supposed to be up there, I was supposed to be with the rest of my team or at the very least closer to them so I drop the first pack and stayed with a smaller group just behind.  When we came out of the water, to my surprise that fellow teammate were a little less than 4 mins behind so the tactic has to change and my coach asked me to slow the pack down, which to my surprise was way easier than I expected.  The other athletes instead of just try to take off, would spend valuable time getting mad at me for slowing them down which made my job much easier.  By the end of the bike portion my fellow teammates had regrouped and were working very well together and managed to get themselves in great position.

The run was a challenging, I suffered from a bad diaphragm muscle cramp during the first 2 loops with made it impossible to get on pace.  I completed the race with a slower run time that I would wish but I am still very happy of my results.

The next day was the closing ceremony.  I was nice to be part of it.  Regardless of the length of the bus ride to get there and back it was worth it.

The only thing I can say about the travel home is middle seat for more then 16 hours.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Race-Report: Triathlon Olympic Esprit of Montreal 2015

Once again this year I finish in the top 5.  Triathlon Olympic Esprit de Montreal, was just a testing race.  A race that had for goal to get the speed in the legs for shorter distance as I am use to long distance triathlon.  The reason for that is the fast approaching of the World Military Games coming up in October in Korea where I will be participating to the Olympic Drafting Legal Triathlon.  This race will bring together all the fastest soldier on the planet.  Everyone’s goal is to have the fastest team mate on the podium.

That being said, the plan to get the speed in the legs worked well.  I was expecting fast, but not that fast.  I had told few people that I was shooting for sub 2 hours tri, but I felt like I was over reaching, not because I couldn’t do it, but just because I felt like I wasn’t in the best shape for it NOW.
Well I travel to Montreal on the Friday and get set up with my race registration and athletes check in.  Then I did a quick activation on the race course.  My bike speed was there, I had reach some incredible speed and power output.  The swim speed was there too. And the run felt light.  So I packed up my stuff and moved to the accommodation arrangement.

On Saturday, the weather wasn’t super, the rain made for a dirty bike crse and I had arrived a little early, so I decided to do something real quick, for a total of 45 mins activation only.  The plan was to do at least one hour maybe more.  But I felt like I was in the way and it was cold and wet.  I just didn’t really felt like it.

On Sunday, I got to the race site super early so I could get a good parking spot.  For me the wake up time still wasn’t too bad since I get up at least one hour earlier for the long distance I take part of usually.  So you can call that sleeping in if you will.

Once I got my truck parked, my family and I proceeded to the transition.  I set my bike with the scrutinizing eyes of my 4 years old daughter, in the transition.  There was so much space it was quiet unusual.  I did a transition recce and visualized my way in and out of the transition couple times.  Once that was done, I got out and spend some valuable time with my wife and daughter while I got some warm-up exercises and stretching done.

As I was waiting there, getting my wetsuit ready, the announcer indicated the race was none wetsuit legal.  See, there is multiple triathlon organization out there and everyone has rules that resemble each other, but there is always one or two things different from one another.  The wetsuit temperature and the wear of a speed suit.  Well I was ready for a “none wetsuit” race and I brought with me a speed suit.  I was fortunate enough to have a local vendor telling me I wasn’t aloud of those either.  Thanks god someone told me, otherwise I would have gone with it and get disqualified.  After such a great results the last thing you want is a DSQ beside your name.

So after few more moment, the race started.  I was in the front most of the swim, one other strong swimmer had spent most of the swim in my feel and I felt like it was my time to rest a little so I slowed down a little to let him past me and I drafted the last 500 meters.  Just enough to catch some rest before the bike. So after a solid swim which took me a little less than 21 mins I passed him in the transition and never looked back.

The bike part was challenging, it rain hard and there was a lot of competitor on the course.  Cornering was stressful as you can’t predict what the other will do and the road was extremely slippery.  I still managed to have a super strong bike split with just a little more than 57 mins.

Has I got out of the transition after the bike I looked at my watch and saw that if I could maintain a run speed just a little faster than my usual pace I could have chances to make it under 2 hours.  I was very excited but also worried that I would go too fast too soon.  So I picked a pace that was just suffering enough but not too much that I would be able to have a great finish.  After 5k like that I felt like I could speed up the pace by few second per km, so I did.  It turns out to be the right move.  I finished the race with a run time of 38 mins which happen to be my fastest time this year and a total time of 1 hour 59 mins 20 secs. 

This was the best results I had even have in Montreal, ever.  I also finished 4th overall and 2nd in my age group.  Two teammate from the Canadian Armed Forces Triathlon team passed me at the very finish, but it didn’t matter because I am getting closer.  Those guys have the habit to beat me by several minutes over this distance.  Making it hard for them just made me happier.  Their sportsmanship was also very good, they encouraged me and congratulated me for my improvement.  I couldn’t ask for better friends.