December 14, 2010

Bikes for Kids

Check out the amazing things that are being done around our sport. Every kid should have the opportunity to have a bike. Think what a bike does for you. Shouldn't everyone get to experience that!?

November 7, 2010

2010 Xterra World Championships Race Report

We arrived at the race and headed straight for transition on the beautiful Makena Beach golf course. It was warm out already which was so nice; a change from the usual freezing race mornings I am used to in Canada. I got my transitions set-up and headed to get body marked. It was a very relaxing morning with only 600 racers and hardly and lines to get things done. I wandered around and found other Calgary folks who were not racing - they were all amazing support. Lots of hugs and high-5's to calm any nerves.

I found Madi and we warmed up. Then, all racers were called out of the water to get a Hawaiian blessing by Reverend Alalani Hill, before heading to our preferred starting spots amongst the other athletes for the mass beach start. I found Kristie Schneider and we stood on the beach together in the crowd of racers. We laughed that we were actually here at the World Championships! The helicopter swirled overhead making it seam even more surreal! Finally the cannon went off; we screamed, grabbed each other’s hands and dove in.

I got into a rhythm fairly quickly and focused on swimming to 1 buoy at a time (it was crowded but surprisingly I did not get kicked or punched). Each time I hit a buoy I would not allow myself to focus on more than the next buoy. This made for a more relaxing swim as I tend to focus how much more swimming I have to do. I finished the first lap and came out to run the 75m beach run before diving back in for the second lap. My heart rate had skyrocketed due to the beach run and I struggled to get back into a rhythm again (that and the fact that the waves had picked up and made it very hard to sight or take smooth strokes). I also got a few mouthfuls of salt water due to the waves. Despite the rough lap, I couldn’t help love that I was swimming in the ocean. I stayed very happy throughout the swim.

T1 went well and was fairly fast. I was organized and knew my routine. I grabbed my bike and off I went. I was very excited, yet very nervous to get on my bike. Normally with mountain bike racing you pre-ride the course but, at the Xterra World Championships they do not let you pre-ride the course. It is read and react as you go. This weighed on my mind as I headed out of T1.

I got one entire bottle of Eload down before we got into the climbing section, as that was what Jordan had told me to do. Then up Heleakala – all the way up to 1400 feet. I worked to stay calm, at my appropriate heart rate, and continued to get calories in. The course was congested and so many people were on the side with flat tires. I also passed a girl who had fallen and her shift level had actually punctured her arm! Luckily medical staff was already there. We continued to climb for several miles and I worked to stay hydrated, keep getting calories in, and enjoy the experience. The lava rock was definitely interesting to ride on, and you had to worry about the lava rocks actually slicing the side walls of your tires if your tire pressure wasn't right or you hit the lava rock the wrong way. There were also the crazy Kiawe thorns that could puncture your tires. Many competitors were on the side with flats. I prayed for no flats.

When we finally hit the downhill I loved it. Not technical enough for my liking, but still so much fun! I took very aggressive lines on the way down trying to make up time for being so slow of a climber. I didn't really seem to make up very much time though, as during the uphill sections I got caught by many of the people I had worked so hard to pass on the downhill sections. I took it a bit easier and enjoyed some of the views from Heleakala as we headed back towards Makena beach.

 I was feeling great off the bike and heading into transition. I had paced well on the bike and had gotten in enough calories (not the usual case for me in an Xterra). I found my bike rack right away, as a competitor I had met in transition had placed a bright orange shoe lace on the sign for our rack. I scrambled to get my bike gear off and gather all of my run gear as the helicopter swirled overhead (I knew this meant the first pros were finishing). It was loud and chaotic and I tried to yell Rose that Madi was OK out on the bike course. I was rushing and when I started to run I realized I went in the wrong direction out of T2 and had to run back the other way to the run exit. I was like a chicken with my head cut off. Worst T2 ever for me! But hey, I had made it onto the run.

As I headed along the road I felt like I was taking the shortest, baby steps and moving nowhere! I was running but, because so many others were running so well it magnified how slow I was going. I was happy though. I was on the run of the Xterra World Championships and I had survived the swim and bike thus far! I did pass a few walkers and tried to encourage them but one girl said “English, I don’t speak well”. Oh right, this is the World Championship. When I hit the climb I just tried to push forward with a combo of walking and running; survival under the Hawaii sun. I walked ever water station with the routine of asking for two waters – one to drink, and one to dump on my neck in an attempt to cool. When we finally turned to go down, I quickly realized the down would not be much of a reprieve. I ran as fast as I could on the loosest, rockiest, gnarliest terrain I have ever seen. I went over on my ankle and when I can back up couldn’t believe my ankle was OK. However, my toes started tingling and the side of my foot ached. I sucked it up because that is what Xterra athletes do! I focused on running strong while having fun on this amazing course.

When I hit Makena beach, which was the first beach run (a ¾ mile beach run), I worked hard to remember to shuffle and not push off to hard so I wouldn't sink in the sand. A lovely competitor with whom I had been on the bike with passed me and offered me an ice cube. So nice! The beach seemed to go on so long and I was thrilled when the flags directed us up off the beach. Next up I hit the spooky forest – over and under trees and logs. I was so tired and very worried I would hit my head, or trip over a log and land flat on my face but I managed to get through the forest without incident. Then, the next beach run which was thankfully fairly short, and then onto more lava rock! I walked/ran, trying not to slip as I knew I was so close to the finish. 

I was relieved to hit the golf course grounds. I jumped over the last rock wall, and ran strong headed for the finishing shoot. I was so excited to see so many friends as I headed into the finishing shoot and crossed the line. I survived the Xterra World Championships!

I am so lucky to have done this race and am so proud and honored to have gotten to experience and learn from two amazing triathletes - Madi and Jordan. Love you both! Thank-you for helping me, teaching me, and and pushing me.

You can watch 2010 Xterra World Championship race highlights here:

October 27, 2010

Amazing Xterra Women

Me and Julie Dibens
(Julie was 2nd place at the 2010 Xterra World Championships)

Me, Shonny Vandlandingham, and Madi
(Shonny is the Women's 2010 Xterra World Champion)

My life over the past 2 months in a nutshell

I know it has been 2 months since I have written but I have been so busy. Many athletes raced Fall marathons or half marathons which kept me busy on the coaching end of things. I also was busy with Tri It activities and trying to get a few races in myself.

Here is a quick recap of the past 2 months (in point form):
-went to Ironman Canada as I had athletes competing at Ironman Canada - WOW! What a day!
-was supposed to race the Bow 80 but, it got cancelled
-went to Interbike in Las Vegas
-raced Xterra Utah - placed 2nd in my AG!
-completed my NCCP Competition Triathlon coaching certification
-went on an amazing 2 week holiday to Moab to mountain bike for 7 days with my husband
-raced the Xterra World Championships in Maui

I am in Maui now leaving tonight and very excited to get home. I will have my Xterra World Championships race report up soon!

August 22, 2010

August 19, 2010

Xterra Canmore 2010

I woke up without any nerves today which was nice for a change. I even emptied the dishwasher as I drank my morning coffee before hitting the road to Canmore. I think I hit repeat on Katy Perry's new song "Teenage Dream" the whole way - it is catchy and has a good beat!

When I arrived I parked at Quarry (swim and T1 area) and ran into a few of my athletes and other friends. I set up my own T1 and then headed up to the Nordic Centre to set-up T2, get body marked and get my timing chip. I found my friend Erin and after Tony's official pre-race meeting, we boarded the bus to shuttle us back down to the swim/T1 (yes, lots of logistics in this race). Full course women were last which meant I had an hour from the first group to go until I went. I had a great time cheering on Erin, Cindy, Kerstin and others and hanging out on shore. I still wasn't nervous and felt very relaxed. This is very unusual as normally I am dry heaving at this point! Yes, it is true! I get so nervous I dry heave before most races.

Then it was finally our turn to go, women - full course. I did a quick warm-up and then waded into the water with the other women. "Ok, everybody be nice!" I yelled, "let's all be swim friends" as Tony did the coutdown. And we were off! The swim was very uneventful and no contact (thanks ladies!). I did keep veering right as my right arm seems to be stronger than my left these days. Possibly a hazard of not really swim training this year I guess. I tried my best to sight and stay left but kept veering right. I worked on not pulling as hard with my right arm to straighten mysef out and it helped a little - I am sure my swim form looked hidious! As I rounded by shore the wonderful TRi It staff was on shore cheering. I took a second to wave (yep and they even saw me wave!) and then completed lap 2 of the swim. As I got out of the water I knew I was about mid-pack.

I ran all the way to T1 but man, it is a LONG run from Quarry Lake to T1. I had to sit to get my wetsuit off and shoes on as I was dizzy. Caesar from Terrascape Racing (my mountain bike team) was helping out in T1. He packed my wetsuit into my bag and even offered his shirt to dry my hand to get my gloves on quicker. Thanks Caesar! And I was off on my mountain bike - whew, now I was in my element! I quickly worked on passing girls but remaining patient. I climbed to the Nordic Centre and headed out on my first lap. I hit the technical sections and cleaned then nicely. I had several spectators and men racing comment on how fast and confident I was riding. Love it! Before I knew it I was at the long climb (Georgetown to Matching Jersey's). I flew up it faster than normal as I have wridden this for several races this year. Back to the stadium for lap 2 and I continued to pass more men and women. As I passed and encouraged a few men on the climb at the beginning of the lap one guy said "I am trying not to like you because you are making this look fun and easy. Stop being so nice". I laughed and pulled away. The ride was uneventful in that nothing bad happened (such as a fall or seeing anyone else fall) but I just know I had a HUGE smile the whole time. I was having so much fun! I LOVE BEING ON MY MOUNTAIN BIKE!!!!!!!! 

I hit the stadium and went through T2 as fast as I could. My athletes who were racing the sprint were all done and there cheering me on with the Tri It staff. As I headed out on the run someone told me I had 6 women in front of me. I knew that I could not likely catch any of them but simply run scared to hold onto 6th. I was having a great run and hit the technical sections without incident. I manged to pass 1 women which brought me to 5th women overall and still running scared! My buddy Rob ran with me for a bit until he pulled away as we neared the stadium. Just then I saw Danelle behind me (Danelle Kabush, Luna Pro Xterra athlete). She would be heading towards the finish as I headed out for lap 2. I did not want to get lapped so I tried to push but had nothing so I jumped and screamed instead. "Nooooo Danelle!!! Don't lap me!" I screamed and laughed. She told me I had too much energy and better run fatser if I had energy to scream and jump. She passed me 100m before the finish/lap area. Darn!

My second lap was much slower than my first as my quads were fatigued. I just kept pushing forward and only allowed myself 5 steps when I needed to walk on flat but, had to walk the hills. I continued to look over my shoulder running scared as I knew a women had to be close behind. As I saw the stadium I tried to run faster but fatigue had set in and I hit a root and landed in a full skid on my belly. I jumped up and quickly assessed - no blood. OK, get going. I ran my little heart out as I hit the stadium securing my 5th place women position. Thrilled!
More thrilled when I found out 1st in women (30 - 34).

We then hung out in the sun for the rest of the afternoon. What a great day! Tony really puts on great events and this is now my favorite race! Triathlon and kick-ass mountain biking combined! What more could I ask for!? I love Xterra!

August 17, 2010

Jordan Bryden

Jordan is an amazing triathlete who is working so hard to achieve his dreams! Go Jordan!

Cycling Physio

A great link from a friend Sarah:

These are cycling exercises!

August 13, 2010

TR3 (3 days of hell!)

The Globe and Mail described TransRockies racers a cross between rockstars and mental patients! After doing this race, I see why.

Pre-Race Day
Upon arriving in Fernie we headed straight to the package pick-up. First person we see is Matt from United Cycle (a racer who also races on the Alberta mountain bike circuit with me and who is an expert bike tech). He is an ambassador for the week meaning he rides the course and helps people fix major mechanical problems. He gets me checked in and I stand in each line gathering all that I need. I then run into Lisa (my teammate from Terrascape) and we discuss start times as day 1 is a time trial start format vs. a typical mass start. I wonder why I am starting in the morning and not afternoon like I had thought and go back to the registration table. I am on the list twice! I opt for the afternoon start and Jeff and I then head to get settled into camp. Jeff is along as my amazing support crew and expert bike tech. The rest of the day is relaxing, attending the pre-race meeting, and visiting my friend Danielle who lives in Fernie.

Day 1 – Fernie Time Trial (31km – 3:52min)
Thought of the Day: This is really hard!

We wake up to a ridiculous amount of rain. Great! Love those muddy, wet, slippery MTB courses. The morning is spent anxiously waiting my 2:15 start time. Jeff points out that I am being unusually quiet; I am nervous and don’t have much to say. Passing the time, waiting for an afternoon start is hard. We scout out the start area and see everyone coming back covered head to toe in mud! It is so muddy people arrive back with not a single spot on their body not covered in mud. My anxiety grows as wet courses make for tough mountain biking and slower times.

When it is finally my turn to go, I get to the start area and the sky has cleared and it is not raining. However, I know the course will still be very wet and slick – and chewed up as 500+ riders have riden it ahead of us. I wait in the start zone.
The beeps go and I am off. The first section is not bad as we head from downtown Fernie to the trails. We start climbing, and climbing, and climbing! My legs feel so dead – I knew this was coming as I chose to race a ½ Ironman last weekend – suck it up Richelle and just do it. For over 6km we climb straight uphill over technical roots sections and 180 degree switchbacks. I know the top riders are riding this, but not me. I let my mental state deteriorate as I am frustrated with how much climbing there is. When I finally reach the quick technical down which I love I am not even happy. I can’t seem to turn my mood around. I pass a few of the girls who had passed me on the up and I try to focus on how much I love these downhill sections. Ok, maybe the climb was worth it. I focus on being positive.

A few more ups and down, a quick fire road section and I am at the final checkpoint with 11km to go. I am feeling good. I was told the last section is fast and has a lot of down. Well, that guy lied! I can see how it would be fast when it was dry, but with it being totally muddy/wet and being one of the last riders to ride the course that day it was a tough slog the last 11km. I started to get very frustrated and hit a big mental low as I dragged me and my bike that last few kilometers. It was an amazing bunch of single-track but, I was not having fun. This was really hard and I was pushing my bike way more than I am used to. I love mountain biking – I am supposed to be having fun but, I am not. I had a few more hissy fits, a big crash that sent me flying off my bike, and a few more slippery falls. I also slammed into the front of my steer tube at one point - yes boys, it hurts when girls crash into their bikes there too! I yelled and cursed as the last few kilometers seemed to take an eternity. Finally I see the end of the trail. As I hit the pavement into the finish area I was relived to be done and as I crossed the finish line there were no smiles. Jeff snapped a quick picture and came over and asked how it was. “It was hard!” as I burst into tears. I tried to put myself back together as I washed my bike off and talked with a few racers who raced earlier that day. I was choking back tears as best I could.

I then rode to Danielle’s for a shower (there was no way Jeff was letting this muddy girl into the truck). On the way over I quickly took stock of what I just did. You know what?! That was hard, and I freakin’ did it! Stop the pitty party princess I thought to myself. I felt better and realized I needed to celebrate the accomplishment. OK, pitty party over. I showered, ate and we then had to go to the route meeting for the next day. With some very cool animation we were able to get a great idea of how tomorrow would look. I also got to see friends who I had not seen all day and hear about their days. Jeff Nielson gave me a quick pep talk and food consumption advice for the next day and we were off to bed. Jeff quickly tuned my bike for the next day - lucky me, my very own mechanic. Day 1 done.

Day 2 – Fernie to Sparwood (72km – 5:59 min)
Thought of the Day: If there is any down, you will climb back up.
I didn’t want to eat breakfast but, Jeff forced me too. I was anxious again and the weather was not looking promising. I sat back down after my failed attempt to leave with eating only 2 bites of oatmeal and took 3 more bites and claimed I was done. I felt like I was 5 years old again! I gathered my gear and got on my bike and rode to the start line in downtown Fernie. Danielle met me in town and Jeff followed shortly too. Pictures and hugs and into the start shoot where I found Lyndsay. We joked around and chatted with other racers as we waited for the start. The gun went and because we were in our designated start shoot (near the back) it took well over a minute for us to even reach the start arch. A quick lap around downtown Fernie (to help spread us all out) and onto the a fire road. Lyndsay and I found Bev, and the 3 of us biked and chatted until they eventually pulled away and I climbed on my own. Not to worry though as I found a pack of boys my pace right away and we chatted and climbed together.
It was long climb and there was nothing else to do but chat up other riders and just keep pedaling. Up and up and up. At around 16km I had to laugh at the boys behind me pondering how much longer till “beer time”. I laughed at them and found they were from Calgary. I hung with them until the next checkpoint. My back started to ache from all of the climbing. I got off and stretched as best I could. It sometimes alleviated the pain for a minute or so and other times did not. I was not frustrated though and was having a great day. We popped into some single-track, the first of the day so I was ecstatic. I worked to pass a few people until we hit the wall. The wall is a huge rock that you have to haul you and your bike up – in bike shoes. A fellow from Spain who I was near had gotten there just before me and was already on top of the rock. He told me to hand him my bike which I did and then he grabbed my elbow and yanked me up too! Well, that was easy – he he! Talk about right place at the right time! A bit more single-track t the top was great except when I had to stop, slipped off my pedal and put a cog tooth or two into my shin. Ouch! Blood! I was oddly excited as I was not really hurt but I knew it wouldn't be a true TransRockies experience without a little blood! A few more minutes of climbing at I final saw the Porky Blue sign which was the downhill section!

As I screamed down the downhill portion I knew I had a grin ear to ear. This was an amazing downhill! I loved it! I caught the girls from Brazil and had a laugh with them as the 3 of us ripped down the descent. It was almost 6km of wicked downhill. I was loving it! As we hit the fire road again I felt like a kid who wanted to go back for a second ride. Again! Again! But 49km of fire road still awaited me before the finish arch.

I suffered immensely over the next 50km. My back ached bad! I have not been on my road bike a tone this year nor ridden fire roads as mountain bike training. I held on stopping often to stretch. It was fairly uneventful and nothing to do but push as best I could. have to I saw the finish from across the river and did everything I could to just hold on and cross that line. As I rounded the corner to the finish I saw Jeff (head down looking at pictures on the camera). I shouted for his attention and he looked up as I flew by. Ha! I give him more than credit for waiting for me each day never knowing how long it would take me. When he found me he asked how today was and the response was “hard but fun! And a wicked down!” – all said with a smile!

We found Lyndsay and we all got loaded into our truck as opposed to having to wait for a shuttle like the rest of the racers. We were lucky as we arrived back at camp early and it was mostly the top racers only back already. We hit the showers early and had time to get organized for the next day all before dinner. Got to see my favorite buddy Ken who had stitches on his knee! Again, yeah Ken! True TransRockies exeprince with stitches. Memory exscapes me how he cut up his knee but I am sure it was an epic fall - right Ken!? :)After the route review and slideshow for the day Luke tried to adjust me seat for more comfort and ease my back pain for the next day. Jeff had done a great job cleaning and tuning my bike as it arrived both days now COVERED in mud. Here it is after Jeff got his hands on it. She is beautiful and ready to go for the next day!

I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Day 3 – Elkford to Etherington Creek (62km – 6:41min)
Thought of the Day: More up! Really!

As I got on my bike I immediately had the OUCH factor - you know when your butt hurts to sit on a bike seat after multiple days of riding. I rode to the start hoping it would go away when the adrenaline started. I found Lyndsay and we stretched and got a few pictures before our final day of TR3.
We started the day with a parade loop around the community centre and back onto fire road. There was a big crash up ahead and a few top riders went down. I avoided the crash and quickly found Matt and Stu (TransRockies ambassadors and racing friends) and rode with them for a bit until they had to stop to help fix a mechanical issue another rider was having.
My back ached a lot and I had to stop a lot to stretch my hip flexors to take the pressure off my back. It was not working. It ached! The first checkpoint I flew through and was excited to get to #2 that had pretzels (that I thought were the best tasting things ever!) So, 40km down and 3 hours in at checkpoint #2 and a fairly uneventful morning despite this crazy sore back. We turned off the fire road right at checkpoint #2 and onto single-track. Yeah! I finally started to pass people instead of forever being passed and my back was feeling better. But just 2km later I hit the hike-a-bike section. I knew this was coming but, I am not sure I was prepared for it exactly. For the next 2 hours and only 8km distance wise, we pushed our bikes straight uphill for over 1000m in elevation gain! Yes, that means straight up and pushing, not riding your bike. At times it was so steep we had to carry our bikes up the hills. Oh, and did I mention the alder bushes that completely covered the trail and attempted to grab your derailleur and tear it off your bike?! They were unsuccessful at getting my bike but, I did see a few riders they did get.

I met a new friend, Kevin who was from Banff and we chatted as I used him to keep me distracted through the push up. I would think we were near the top and we would turn and then, more up. Again we would push and then turn a corner to…more up! This was crazy! We were headed over the Continental Divide and I just couldn’t believe how high we were. It was beautiful but, I was too tired to really appreciate where I was at the time. We hit the last pitch to the top and had to throw our bikes over our shoulders and scramble to the top. I saw a park ranger standing beside a sign and I knew this was for real – we were finally at the top! Many riders stopped to take pictures and put on jackets. With the rain clouds looming I opted to just get on my bike and hit the down! My arms hurt and I rode hard down. I started passing a lot of riders and was so happy to be on the down. One girl commented that I always pass her on the down but, I reminded her since that was the case she always beat me on the up! The down was fun and technical at parts which I loved. So much fun! It then went to a fast down with short ups and bunch of river crossings – Augh! Wet feet! Trying to carry bike and wade across knee deep water was sketchy. Other riders were falling and getting completely soaked in the freezing water. Yuck! When I finally realized we had just 8km to go we were back on fire road. I pushed as hard as I could to stay ahead of the girls who I knew were now close behind me. The Calgary boys from yesterday caught me with 3km to go and I tried to stay with them but did so unsuccessfully. However, before I knew it I saw a volunteer ahead at a corner and I asked how much further. “30 seconds” she said. I pushed past camp set up to cross the finish line with a big smile! I did it! I survived TR3!!!!!
As I crossed the finish line it almost felt anti-climactic as although I had just completed 3 epic days, over 300 racers still had 4 more days to go. I did have a big smile that the announcer commented on and all I could say was “I survived!”. My excitement was quickly gone though as I found out Lyndsay had broken her collarbone on the descent. I tried to see her but they would not let me into the medical tent. They assured me her husband was on his way and she would be fine. So we packed up and headed home. As we drove home I went back and forth in my head of “yes, I will do this again – what a fun and amazing experience” to “no, I am never doing this again – that was way too hard!” and then back again. I am still back and forth and I am sure I will be until registration comes around.

For now, I am on recovery (or attempting to be) as this will take about as long as Ironman recovery to get over. My legs are still like dead weights and I can’t walk up the stairs without taking a break at the top gasping for air. Worth the experience? Yep - wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

August 3, 2010

Wednesday - Aug 4th ride

Meet on HorseCreek road at 6pm tomorrow night. Easy ride for folks who raced last weekend. Intervals for everyone else! Bring your runners if you did not race on the weekend.

See you there!

August 2, 2010

Calgary 70.3

I woke up around 2am to rain and thunder - ugh! I dozed in and out of consciousness until 4:15am when my alarm went off. Up and dressed, and breakfast in. As I got my bottles ready I started to get sad. Jeff was not there as he is on a kayaking trip with his buddies. Race morning he is always so great with helping get me organized and ready to go, and of course give me hugs and encouraging words to keep me calm. However, I was lucky to have Angie picking me up and delivering me to the race start and I knew Jeff was sending me good race vibes from afar.

When we arrived at Ghost I was less than happy to be there in the rain, and was extremely anxious about the swim. I had not swam in 2 months and had only swam 3 or 4 times in the pool previous to that since Ironman! That leads me to why the hell am I even at this race! I hadn't trained at all on the swim, or run, and for the bike - I've been only riding and racing my mountain bike. I had signed up for Calgary 70.3 last September and had decided that I was was not going to do the race a few months later, but a few days ago decided - what the hell!? Luke instructed today to be a long training day as Trans Rockies (a 3 day multistage mountain bike race) is next weekend. The plan was to survive the swim, bike hard and go easy on the run without pain. OK, dial it down. But I still had the "little" 2 km swim and I was very nervous. I know people tried to talk to me but I could barely compute what they were saying and forcing a smile was out of the question. Unusual for me. Gerry helped me get my wetsuit while I tried not to hyperventalite over the fact that I was actually doing this, and I then haeded to the water and did a quick warm-up. My friend Erin and I held hands and hugged while I tried to push down the nerves before the start of our heat.

The gun went off and I just went. Nice and easy and I quicky found open water. There was no kicking or punching, and I did not get hit. I was just swimming. I was actually nice. I focused on just one strooke after the other and before long I was at the last buoy to head to shore. It was all happening so quick! II hit shore with relief. I ran out and was my usual happy self again. "I did it" I yelled as I saw Coach Sarah and crew. I was so happy that I had survived the swim. It really is like riding a bike - it all comes back to you.

I went through transition as quick as I could and was on my way passing people on my bike. The bike was going great and I was feeling strong. I hit the TTL aid station and sat up and cheered and yelled as I went through! I saw so many happy TTL friendly faces - Hope, Danielle, Angie, Ally to name only a few! There were so many of you guys, THANK-YOU! I continued to push and ride strong until I saw my friend Amy walking her bike near the bottom of HorseCreek. I knew she was trying to qualify for Clearwater so I stopped. She needed a CO2 cartridge. As I got off my bike a cyclist with his head down came towards us and saw us at the last minute. He swerved but hit the ditch! He then went over his bars and landed on his head. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He lay there unconscious. I screamed for a cell phone as cyclists passed until a rider stopped with one and I called 911. Then I saw a car and flagged it down and it was Richard (one of my athlete's dad). He got some jackets on me as I was shivering as I was talking to the 911 operator. The ambulance pulled up and Richard told me to get going. I really wanted to call it a day though. I was cold and this was an intense situation. The race official that had come up too told me and the other cyclist who had stopped with the cell phone that we should go, so we did. I got back on my bike but my head was still not all there and I could not believe the events that had just happened. However, after a few minutes I started pushing the pedals and working to pass people all over again. By the way, it felt like way more hills this year than last year!

I finally hit Glenmore Park despite being at a complete stop for over 15 minutes on the bike, and really wanting to quit. It was tempting. I was welcomed by tonnes of cheers off the bike. I went through transition and out on the run. I saw so many people cheering and giving me high-5's that it put me back in a great mood! There were so many people on the course and you have no idea how much your cheers are appreciated! THANK-YOU!!!

When I hit the Weaselhead hill to go down I hooked up with my friend Kristy who ran and walked with me until we returned to the top of Weaselhead hill again (about 14 km). Thank-you Kristy! We walked when my IT band hurt, all of the hills and aid stations. I was dialing it back and having fun cheering on others and just working towards finishing. And Kristy is one of the few people who yells louder than me so with the 2 of us yelling and cheering on the course we were having a blast! The last 3km did hurt however. My IT band was sore and I started to get impatient to just be done. So I pushed a bit in the last few km more than I should have. With 1 km to go Madi biked along side me and gave a few words of encouragement that I am thankful for. I turned the corner and into the finishing shoot lined with TTL crew! Yeah! So exciting to see you all!

Final time 6:05.  Got my second belt buckle! Not the ideal day but pretty darn close to how I wanted to execute it. And, I proved you can do a half Ironman on mountain bike only training but I do not recommend it! Now to recover and get ready for TR3 (TransRockies 3 day mountain bike race)!

July 29, 2010

In the Cochrane Eagle - again!

Made it to the Cochrane Eagle again! Thanks to Kelvin for the great photo from GWN and letting them use it.

July 25, 2010

24 Hours of Adrenaline

The Trailstars composed of myself and 4 other wonderful women set off to race the 5 person - female category at the 2010 24 Hours of Adrenaline in Canmore this weekend.

Lap 1 (12pm Saturday) - The race starts at 12pm on Saturday and it is the first lap of the day. It starts with a Lemans start the consists of running almost a kilometer in your bike gear (shoes and helmet included!) and then back to your bike to head out on your lap. The run was OK. I felt slow but knew I would get people on the bike. The first lap I pushed hard but there was a lot of congestion on the course so there was alot of waiting on hills and my heart rate dropping to recovery before the "log jam" as they call it moved on. This is the advantage of being a good starting in mountain biking - you avoid the log jams! I am far better at technical down than climbing which also tripped me up on the first lap as I could not go as fast I would have liked on the downs. In any event, with 5km to go we finally got spaced out and I rode near one of Jeff's friend's, JF and we had a blast pushing each other to the finish. Lap 1 = 1:20

Between laps I socialized, wandered around and helped Jan (Luke's mom) do feeds for Luke.

Lap 2 (7:30 pm Saturday) - Lap 2 I headed out feeling strong again. Bear had been reported on the course so I was a bit nervous as I thought they would not be around with so many people out there. Fairly clear trails so I pushed hard on the ups, rocked the downs and got a great compliment from a strong rider as he passed me going into the biathlon stadium after a technical down. He said "Girl, you got mad skills". It made my day! Lap 2 - 1:10

After lap 2 I ate some lasagna someone brought by, got all my bike lights on for my night ride and laid out my gear/clothing for my next lap. And then, crawled into my sleeping bag.

Lap 3 (2:55am Sunday) - after dozing in and out of consciousness and constantly hearing the calls in for bear sightings (we were camped beside a checkpoint/water station and I could hear the radio - and bikes buzzing by; and "water? Gu?" being yelled) I decided to get up and get ready for my lap. I suddenly realized I didn't have much time. I quickly got changed and headed up to check in for my lap. I was tagged off and away I went with my Seca 900 Lumen light and headed out on course. I had to stop about 3 km in and tighten my light system as it wanted to wander and not point on the trail. I then headed off again. I then started to feel hungry. When did I eat last? Crap! I grabbed the 1 gel I had with me and ate it. I had to stop to do this as it was so dark I couldn't ride and eat in the night light - even with my kick ass light as at night your balance is not as good as it is in the day. I was riding slow and I was hungry, I felt it. I hoped the gel would kick in soon. Luke rode by me and was sightly incoherent but managed to give some advice on adjusting my pro pedal. I wasn't sure if he was "all there" as some of his words were slurred (yours would be too after 15 hours of riding) but, advice coming from Luke is always good. I pushed on but my stomach continued to growl. Why didn't I bring more food!? I did not feel strong and rode with a much lower heart rate and made some silly technical errors. I also had to laugh at myself as I was nervous at some points because of the bear and found mysef riding alone and sang loudly "Hey bear! Go away! You don't want to eat me today!" At one technical spot I ran into a guy without a light so I rode behind him so he could see with my light. He was grateful. I was happy I was riding near someone else. I felt demolished last 3 km which was all uphill and I was just so hungry. Stupid mistake of not bringing enough food with me! Lap 3 = 1:25

Immediately after finishing my 3rd lap, I walked to Luke's tent/camp and begged for food from his mom. Scarfed down some food and headed straight to bed. However, heard radio going all night of all mechanical problems riders were having and kept waking up to text the next rider up to make sure they would be there on time. Felt like longer but after just 3 hours of "sleep" I got up and headed to see how Luke was doing. He was in 4th when I went to bed but had ridden into 2nd place! I then got coffee and food into me and got ready for my and the team's final lap.

Lap 4 (11am Sunday) - we had all ridden 3 laps and we had time for 1 more and I really wanted to go out there and giver'. I was tired and not feeling great but, funny thing is whenever I have felt this way this season I have a great race. I headed out after the first hill I really was feeling great! I was really just dying to go throw 1 more lap on my bike! OK time to push. My legs felt a bit heavy for sure but, I gave it all I had and sucked it up! Lap 4 = 1:15

It was a great weekend in the sun! Our team got 6th in our category and had a blast doing it! TriWay coach Luke Way took home 2nd place in solo male! And I am thinking maybe solo next year.....

July 20, 2010

The Cochrane Eagle

I made the local newspaper! This is from my race on Sunday.

I want to race - video

Simon Whitfield posted this. It will PUMP YOU UP!!!!!!!

Pace Strategies for Race Day |

Check out this article on racing zones and warm up:

Wednesday July 21st bike practice

Hey gang!

We are at Edworthy again this week! Yeah hills! I have to leave a bit early so I would like to meet earlier this week (5:30pm) and head to the hill right away. If you cannot make it on time, or miss the group, do not stress and just come to the hill when you can get there. Smiling faces will await you!

See you then!

July 14, 2010

Change of Plans - July 14th ride

Meet at Edworthy Park (meet by the cafe) at 6:15pm and we will head for the hills! Bring your shoes.

July 10, 2010

Ride - Wednesday July 14th

Yes, I know it is Stampede but given the choice over riding or Stampede I will choose riding everytime! Very informal training session as I know many plan to attend Stampede. Meet in Bearspaw at the Lions Clubs (where we normally meets). See you there at 6:15pm.

July 8, 2010

July 4th Racing Updates

Another fabulous weekend of racing!

Denise - Denise raced her first ever Olympic distance triathlon in Canmore this weekend. Despite deciding to sign up 5 days in advance she became ill 2 days out and like the trooper she is, still raced (and in the 13 degree Quarry Lake)! She had a great day and now has some experience in the Olympic distance which she enjoyed placing 2nd in her age group. Up next for her is the Kelowna Apple Triathlon.

Angie - It was Angie's first 1/2 Ironman this weekend at GWN and she did so well! She had a fantastic day (with a very cute cheering squad who were very proud of their mom). Angie finished the course on a very windy day in 5:48:56. She has been training so hard and always giving 110% which is why she is seeing progress. Angie is now going to settle into fall marathon training but she is still going to swim and bike!

Sue - Although we couldn't spot Sue as she was not in TTL gear, I got to see Sue throughout the day smiling away (even when she couldn't feel her feet until 6km on the run!). With a 3 minute time improvement over last year, all of the running Sue has been doing has really paid off! It has been hard to get alot of the long bikes in due to the weather and she still biked well (her husband told her she would and now she has to tell him he was right!). Just 4 weeks out from Calgary 70.3 Sue is going to take what she learned and apply it to that race. Way to go Sue!

Danielle - Danielle zipped by me, happy as I have ever seen her, at the 17km mark on the run at GWN this weekend and I simply couldn't believe how fast she was going! Danielle had an amazing first 1/2 Ironman this weekend! She swam strong despite being a bit nervous, and she executed her bike perfectly saving her legs for an outstanding run where she had her fastest 1/2 marathon time ever, 1:46:12! After finishing GWN in 5:33:28, Danielle will be doing Calgary 70.3 next month and now belives in herself enough to go to Penticton and sign up for Ironman Canada 2011! Yeah Danielle! Congratulations girl!

Maureen - Maureen is another 1/2 Ironman first timer. Maureen too raced happy the entire day, executed her entire day perfectly and smashed her time goal of 8 hours crssing the line in 7:03:55. She planned every detail and it really payed off in her racing. At the finish line exclaimed "that wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!". She had a huge support crew come out to cheer her on and a Champagne toast at the finish line was a great way to end the day and a new hoodie with IWHBIDI on it to celebrate her accomplishment! Way to go Maureen. We all knew you could do it!

Coach Richelle - I too raced this weekend. However I opted participate on a team and just to do the bike as I have not been swimming or running enough to do the race how I would like to. When we arrived at the lake race morning I was calm until I could not find my bike computer. I was literally shaking until we found it! Ha! And I thought I wasn't going to be nervous for this race. I buzzed around for the rest of the morning helping everyone into wetsuits and then got myself organized once the swimmers were off. I had a great 50km and the last 40km hurt more than I thought it would but, I knew I was going faster than in previous years. I raced strictly off my watts and heart rate and did not look at my time until after I got off my bike! It was wonderful to not worry about time and just push myself where my body told me I could. I hopped off the bike and handed the chip to super runner Chris Kennedy who ran us to a 5th place finish!

I had a great rest of the day cheering everyone alongside my husband. We cheered people on the run course and then went to the finish for celebreations as everyone came in. That was more fun that racing myself. I am so proud of everyone!
Up next for me are the National Mountain Bike Championships (I am doing the Citizen Challange) on July 18th.

July 2, 2010

Here is Gerry rippin it up at the Oliver 1/2 Ironman last month. Way to go Gerry!

I am so proud of his dedication and hard work. He is gearing up next for the Desert 1/2 Ironman next weekend - his last race before Ironman Canada! Go Gerry Go!


June 28, 2010

Xterra COP - June 26th

This week's Xterra COP was a 10km mountain bike/4km run/10km mountain bike. Although after racing it on Saturday morning, I am not sure if you can call running straight up COP to the top, then running 200m flat, and then straight down the COP hill, a run?! More of a hike; which suited me fine as I have not been running very much. But it was a blast.
 From the time I arrived I was so impressed with how well organized it was. A variety of athletes of all levels came out for the challenge which makes these races appropriate for almost anyone who even owns a mountain bike. I was racing this week, along with my wonderful athletes, Cindy and Sebastian!
After a warm-up on the course (and some pictures), they called us to the start line. We were off with about 30 other athletes for the first leg of the mountain bike. It thinned out pretty quick and it was 2 loops of approx. 5km for each leg of the mountain bike. Then down into T1 before running up the mountain and back down (for the record Luke Way was in T2 when I was in T1! Way to go Luke). On the second leg of the bike I got to see both Sebastian and Cindy out on the course. Both were having a blast and were all smiles. I was all smiles too as I was racing my mountain bike - which I love more than anything.
We finished and cheered each other in. Upon crossing the finish line we got Crave Cookies as medals (which thank-goodness Cindy's kids were there to eat mine) and then received lunch while amazing draw prizes were given. I strongly recommend trying the next Xterra race!

June 23, 2010

Wednesday Night Ride - June 23rd

Tonight's Wednesday night ride is on Horse Creek Road. Take Highway 1A all the way to Cochrane. Continue through Cochrane. Once you pass over the 22X go about 1km - 1.5km's until you see a sign on the right that says HorseCreek Road. Turn right up the hill. Go about 200m and we will be oon the gravel road on the right.

See you there! Ready to ride at 6:15pm.

June 21, 2010

Athlete Updates

A great showing for TTL athletes this weekend!

Kelsey - Kelsey ran the Loops for Troops 5km this weekend. She went out hard and hung in for a 26:20 placing 1st in her AG and 2nd women overall! Way to go Kelsey! She plans to work on her run pacing before her next race which is in just over a week (the Turner Valley Triathlon!).

Sue - Sue ran a leg of the K-100 relay this weekend. She had an interesting day!
"I met Marc about 5 minutes after he finished leg 5, and our leg 6 runner had not shown up. So I threw the dog's leash at Marc, raced down to the sign in desk, scribbled something that didn't even look like a name, raced back to Marc, grab his number belt, and started running. I had about 3 cups of coffee so far that day, didn't have my "running shoes" on, still had my sweats on. Marc met me about 2 km into the leg, I stopped, changed shoes, took off my sweats, grabbed my water bottle and took off again - I still didn't know how long the leg was. Next thing I knew I hit the 1 mile to go sign, cruised through the finish line, and then sprinted to the port-o-potty. Interesting day."

Congrats to Sue for helping her team out in a desperate situation!

Note: Coach Angie also ran a leg and had many people notice just how speedy of a runner she is; (she ran on a team of "runners" ie.non triathletes) and she held her own! Nicely done Coach Angie!

June 20, 2010

Summer Soltice Mountain Bike Race

This weekend was another MTB race - The Summer Solstice. It is on the Sulpher Springs loop which is a challenging loop that feels like there is more climbing that fast downhill. I actually was dreading it the night before knowing it would be a sufferfest. The sport women only had 1 lap of 12km though, which helped knowing going into it.

I was nervous race morning, but Ken and Kerstin Hurd stepped in to help alleviate that. Ken halped with what to do for warm-up and just being his usual supportive self, and Kerstin was her usual sweet self, which simply calmed my nerves being around her - she is lovely and not racing this year as they have a baby on the way! Here is a picture of them I pulled of Facebook:

When it came time for us (the Sport Women) to line up I was a wreck! I actually didn't even want to race! However like triathlon, once the gun goes off all nerves are forgotten and you just go. Race was fast with lots of climbing and a HR in the 170's (this is high for me but typical of mountain biking) until the fun downhill sections that make you smile ear to ear. There was also alot of mud which left many of us look like we were auditioning for a Tide commercial. And my Ibis got very muddy and several times throughout the race of trying to dislodge my chain (including 5 seconds into the race!) due to chain suck. However, mud in the eye, all over the bike, all over us and even in our teeth - but it was a fun day and I was on m MTB which is where I love to be.

So I let my HR recover and Bogi and Ramona came up and asked if I wanted to ride another hour. Hell yeah! So we rode up a new trail and made it back in exactly 1 hour. We all then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the sun. Ramona, Bogi, Carthy, Shawna, Allistair and a few others helped make the afternoon so much more fun as we chatted, ate, re-capped the race, and won draw prizes  - and they all actually made the podium! A great day of mountain biking.

June 15, 2010

Triathlon - what we do - not who we are.

Triathlon is not “who we are”... it’s “what we do”. This article supports that sentiment.

The Organ Grinder

Q: What is the Organ Grinder?
A: A 5 hour enduro mountain bike race put on by the BowCycle Cyclemeisters.

I had a great day out at the Organ Grinder out at the Canmore Nordic Centre this weekend. I managed to complete 4 laps (48km) in 4 hours and 33 minutes. This is the longest I have ever rode my mountain bike and there were a few lessons learned as this was my first “enduro” mountain bike race. After I was able to pre-ride the course on Friday I actually had nightmares about two of the sections “Laundry Chutes” and “Devonian Drop” but, when race day came I conquered my fears and rode them! This was one of my goals and I was ecstatic!

The other goal I had was to not go out to hard but yet I did. I had to again re-learn that if you go out to hard that you will slow down as the race goes on. I did stay happy though as I looked forward to the fun technical sections but, like I said, I did get slower on laps 3 and 4 - so I have to work on that. There was also a lot of climbing on this course which left some athletes wobbling and falling over on the steep climbs and muscles and lungs burning!

One crazy thing that happened on race day was that half way through the race they notified us there were bears on the course! Many racers actually saw her and her cub but, thankfully I was not one of them.

It was an extremely well organized event with amazing volunteers! I can't thank the volunteers enough - they cheered, they sat in the forest at the technical sections, directed and even fed us! Thank-you!

Next weekend I am racing the Summer Solstice Mountain Bike race and I can’t wait to be racing my MTB again.

Athlete Updates - Wasa weekend

I had 6 wonderful and hard working athletes race at Wasa this weekend. Here are the updates on their races:

Cindy Spence – Cindy accomplished many goals this year at Wasa which left her thrilled! Despite last year’s swim course being far shorter that this year, Cindy had almost the same swim time as last year (showing she really has improved her swim!). The other goal accomplished this race was that she was able to push herself hard on the bike and run. She worked so hard that even other athletes noticed her super effort! Cindy has been spending most of her bike time these days on her mountain bike as she is headed to Xterra Canmore later this summer and just loves her mountain bike! Oh, did I mention she is throwing Calgary 70.3 in there too?! Look for more from Cindy this summer.

Maureen McDonald – Maureen had a fantastic day in Wasa (although she might tell you otherwise since she is so hard on herself). With a 1 minute improvement over last year, this doesn’t account for the longer swim compared to last year. She was able to take a whopping 5:30 off on her bike time and a 1:30 off her run time. There was a lot of learning she is taking away from this race involving chin straps, speed laces, planning and strategy, and more! I know she will take that learning forward with her into GWN. I am proud of her for hanging in there and representing TTL so well! Congrats Maureen!

Jeff Binda – Despite not having any TTL gear as he just joined TTL less tah 2 weeks sgo Jeff represented TTL very well at Wasa. He really wishes he had TTL gear at this race as he loved seeing others run around in the bright orange and purple. He loves the team and is excited to get to know all of the amazing athletes on the team. He had a blazing fast race with an excellent effort on the swim, bike and run. He is a very strong runner and his goal is to work hard on the bike so that he does not have to chase down so many of the fast boys on the run (which is his specialty) in his next race. He is has just registered for Calgary 70.3 and we are excited to support him in his efforts there!

Angie Winkler – Angie was a bit nervous going into this race but WOW did she ever have a great day! Not sure what to expect, other than to do her best, she had the swim of her life, an amazing bike and a stellar run. Despite losing her bottle with all of her calories in it 25km into the bike, she was able to finish the race strong. She has been working hard and was using Wasa as a trial race to try things out and get ready for GWN next month. If Wasa was any indication, Angie is ready to have a great day there too!

Danielle Michaud – Danielle had a fantastic day at Wasa! She struggled on the swim but, was able to push the doubt out of her mind and get the swim done (also, despite the fact that she had sunscreen in her eyes and could hardly see where she was going! She said she just hoped the white caps all were swimming in the right direction). She struggled to get through transition and wants to work on speeding this up for the rest of her races this summer. She did however flew through the bike and run and cracked the sub-50 min mark on the run! She is headed to GWN in just 3 weeks and is happy with her dress rehearsal at Wasa!

Denise Roberts – Denise sped her way through the sprint distance triathlon on Sunday. Denise has worked very hard on her bike and run and it showed race day. Her run keeps improving and we are scared to see just how much faster she is going to get! She was thrilled with her run and actually called herself a runner when I talked to her today. Denise won the women’s sprint distance race and placed 5th overall. She has a few more key races this summer that might possibly include an Olympic distance triathlon. Whatever she chooses, I know she will do it with a smile!

Congratulation team!

June 12, 2010

COP Wednesday night (June 16)

The forecast looks good! See you at COP - meet at the main entrance to the day lodge at 6:15pm. Please be ready to ride then.

June 9, 2010

No COP tonight!

Sorry folks but, I am cancelling the ride at COP tinight.
Note: all of my coached athletes should have their indoor workouts. I emailed that out a few minutes ago.

See you next week.

Athlete Update

We had 2 athletes from my TTL crew racing last weekend.

Gerry had a good day at the Oliver 1/2 Ironman. He finished in 7:35:05! I am so proud of him as he has been dedicated to his training and executed this race very well. He is taking some lessons away from this race and going to apply them to his next race - the Desert 1/2 Ironman!

Here is what Gerry had to say:
So, if I add up all those lost minutes I figure I threw away about 23 minutes,… at least 20:00. Considering it is still early in the year there is time to improve and I think I know what to focus on for the Desert ½ in July. The temperature will really need to be watched for hydration and the ride will be very tough (Richter Pass both ways). If I can bring in Osoyoos in under 7:30 I believe the original estimate of 16 hours for IMC can still be achieved.

Way to go Gerry!

After coming off an exceptional 2:57:37 marathon at Vancouver just a few weeks ago, Sebastian ran leg 4 (16.5km) of the Banff to Jasper relay. He placed 2nd overall on his leg and was less than 2 minutes back of a guy who was over 15 minutes ahead of him in Vancouver. I say he has recovered well and ready to go as he starts training for 24 hours of Adrenaline and Xterra Canmore. Oh, did I mention his team won the Corporate division! Go Seb!

Good luck to Jeff, Maureen, Danielle M, Cindy S, and Angie W. racing the Olympic distance race this weekend in Wasa. And to Denise who is racing the sprint distance in Wasa this weekend. If I recover from my sickness I will be at the Organ Grinder Enduro MTGB race in Canmore.

June 8, 2010

New TTL athletes

Welcome to Team TriLife Jeff and Kelsey!

Jeff comes from a running background and recently ran the Calgary 1/2 marathon in a blazing 1:34. He is focused and has his sights set on Boston. He has been working hard on his bike this year and has just registered for Calgary 70.3. I am looking forward to watch his move towards triathlon and know he will experience great success! He is racing the Wasa Lake triathlon this weekend so look for him out there.

Kelsey comes from a competitive swim background. She has done a few sprint triathlons and will be doing her first Olympic triathlon this summer. She recently claimed the F25 - 29 Provincial Aquathon Champion title! She is a high school teacher and also works at a gym part-time. She is excited to get back to training and competing and we look forward to seeing her succeed! Welcome Kelsey!