News

Qualifiers, Provincials, and Some Single Sport Fun

Some of you may know that I recently re-launched my little pet project, Canadian Duathlon Central. Back when I first started that project I wasn’t doing anything except training and writing, so I was able to keep up both this site and DC. When I started working again alongside a bump in training, I had to consolidate. I started using this site as a place for duathlon commentary along with my race reports and such. I kept that up for awhile, but what I really enjoy doing is writing about the sport in Canada and not so much my exploits. I have SO MUCH FUN diving into reams of registration lists, race results and athlete profiles, and then writing about them. I feel like I contribute so much more to the sport doing that than just my own adventures, and it always felt a little cheap broadcasting those from a site with my name all over it.

So this is going to be my last big article on this site, for a little while at least. Most of my writing from now on will be over on Duathlon Central, including my own race reports. This site will continue on in its static form, and the archives will remain undisturbed. The tabs above will remain, but if you want to catch up with my writing please head over to Canadian Duathlon Central (linked above). So let’s dive into one last little (late) update!

I raced a lot in July in an attempt to simulate my 3 big goal races, which all fall within an 18 day stretch. I raced two duathlons, a 5k and my first “race of truth” (individual time trial) across 14 days. The big lesson I learned in this stretch of 14 days: short memories are good memories.

GREAT WHITE NORTH DUATHLON
I raced GWN with the primary goal of getting my qualification for Penticton 2017 out of the way. It was the first year GWN hosted a duathlon, and the atmosphere was pretty low-key at the start as the sold-out triathlon started 12km away at Hubbles Lake…a stark contrast to the festival-like finish line atmosphere. I started this race with a vague idea that some dude named Evan Bayer was going to be one to watch or something like that. Boy should I have listened closer.

GWN Run Start

I took the lead right away, perhaps a bit too hard, coming to the turnaround right at 17:45 with about a one minute lead. Coach Kevin was on the course, encouraging me and giving me time gaps, but the struggle started about 2.5km into that first run and continued to be a mental challenge the rest of the day. The gap stayed where it was on the way back to T1 as I slowed, and I headed out onto the single-loop, out-and-back 40km bike with an ~1:15 lead and a tailwind.

GWN T2

That lead lasted until about 19km into the ride, where I had the pleasure of having a freight train named Evan Bayer unceremoniously blow past me. I tried to stick with him and keep within ~20m of him, but alas my legs just would not respond as I pushed underwhelming power (~25W below target), lost sight of my benchmark and bled over 3 minutes in the last 20km of the bike. In hindsight, trying to stay with him may have done me in. The rolling hills and persistent headwind sapped my remaining energy, and the only good thing I can say about that 5k was that I ran just fast enough to hold onto 2nd. LESSONS LEARNED: Give your competition and the standard distance the respect it deserves; 10k/40k/5k is no joke, and neither is Evan Bayer.

GWN Run 2

COMFORTEC RED DEER DUATHLON
Like I said, short memories are good memories. I quickly put Great White North behind me and looked forward to Provincials at my favourite venue on my favourite course at the Comfortec Red Deer Duathlon, 6 days later. Honestly, it was already a perfect day just showing up a provincial championship at an event 100% focused on the duathlon.

Red Deer T2

It was largely a solo affair fuelled by desire. I started at the front and but due to the fatigue of racing 6 days prior I decided to fall right in behind the leading pair until about 1.2km, where I decided to push on. The result was a delightfully even and controlled 3:23/km pace for 5.1km and a 1:45 lead in T1. I screamed through transition and settled right into my cadence straight away. The bike course had changed slightly from a straight out and back to a course with two turnarounds, but that wouldn’t end up mattering much. I blitzed my bike course record of the past year, riding 28:54 for 20km (41.6km/h) and cruised the second run for my second career provincial title. The final tally was 56:06 with an 8:42 margin of victory, my fastest sprint duathlon ever and a mark that should keep me in the conversation come Nationals.

Red Deer Finish

MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT 5K
Like I said in the first section and reiterated in the last section…short memories are good memories. This was the flip side of that, the side where a tempered ego after a good race usually trumps an inflated one. Buoyed by my success in Red Deer, I was hell-bent on sticking with the front group as long as I could at this race. I mean…it’s only 5k right? I wanted to see if I could do it. Turns out…I couldn’t. Going out in 3:03/3:11 hurts when the 3rd kilometer goes up a hill. I went back and forth with a few guys fighting for minor places and ended up 9th place in 16:30. LESSON LEARNED: 5k’s hurt, especially when you go out in what would be close to an SB for 1000m with a bunch of dudes way faster than you.

ERTC ShuTT UP LEGS STRATHCONA TT
Luckily, I didn’t have long to dwell on this one, because Kevin decided that our senior group’s session on Sunday (the 5k was Saturday) would be a 25km time trial in Strathcona County. The local cycling club took a gamble in adding a citizens/single-event license category and our club took full advantage of that, turning out 10+ athletes and filling out the citizens category. I took it way too seriously (per usual), rolling out my trainer for warm-up, pulling out all the stops with my equipment set-up, and hunting down my minute man like a trained assassin. I didn’t end up catching him, but I DID manage to pace the citizen’s category in 35:51 (42.2km/h).

SUMMARY
I chose to look at this block as one, rather than looking at the races in isolation. I trained hard coming into the block, had two great races and two not-so-great ones, and got some valuable experience with back to back racing. Overall, I am happy with the effort put out over the 14 days and am optimistic about having better success later in the season. What have I been doing since then? You’ll have to wait until this week to find out :). As I publish this I am on my way to Penticton for the standard distance National Championships. The race is Wednesday, stay tuned to Duathlon Central for the recap! That’s all for now, thanks so much for reading!

Advertisements

Transitions

Well readers…yes it has been a little while, but don’t fret! I’m still alive and back in the game. A lot has happened since my last post…I mean it HAS been 8 months (oops). So let’s get to it!

NATIONALS AFTERMATH AND 2015 DEBRIEF

2015 was a banner year for me, capped off by my Canadian duathlon title. Winning that race was the culmination of 3 years of hard work and focus following a decent debut season in 2012. While I didn’t necessarily always get the results I wanted in 2013 and 2014, it was all worth it with what I was able to accomplish in 2015:

2016 Medal Haul

My haul from 2016!

Following Nationals, I stumbled upon this awesome series of cross country races on Wednesday nights called the Frank McNamara XC race series. Set in various places in the Edmonton river valley, I got my butt kicked by some serious trail runners every Wednesday night during some good old-fashioned foot races. It was a great way to finish off the season by going back to my cross country running roots in a fun, low pressure scenario.

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2016

With a positive end to a three year block of goal setting now in my rearview mirror, it is time to look forward to 2016 and beyond. My ultimate goal has always been to race with the elites at Worlds. Mixing it up with the best is truly the pinnacle for me, and seeing the performances that those men and women put together on the grandest stage of duathlon is incredibly inspiring.

While it would be equally amazing to make that debut at the recently (-ish) announced 2017 World Multisport Festival in Penticton, BC, Triathlon Canada’s new requirements for obtaining an International Competition Card (necessary for competing in the elite race at Worlds) will make that goal difficult. So while this does still remain a stretch goal, my focus has turned to the following progression:


2016
Double National Championship attempt (standard distance on August 24 in Penticton, sprint distance on September 4 at home in Edmonton)
2017
Double AG World Championship attempt in Penticton, BC. Use that performance to obtain my ICC from Triathlon Canada
2018
Represent my country and the Maple Leaf in the World Duathlon Championship elite race in Odense, Denmark

This ambitious set of goals is going to require committing to training and living like an ITU pro, which unfortunately is going to require changes to the set-up I became used to the past several years. I owe a lot of the credit for where I am today as an athlete to Tommy Ferris and Ignition Fitness. Becoming a national champion happened under Tommy’s watchful eye, and I doubt I would have gotten to this level without that valuable development time.

My team for 2016

My team for 2016!

My schedule for 2016 is posted under the tab above, with highlights being a trio of races in August and September where I will attempt to defend my standard distance Canadian title before taking on two National Race Series draft legal sprint duathlons in Edmonton and Montreal. Fitting in with these goals, this winter I was presented with the opportunity to join up with the Edmonton Triathlon Academy, an elite development training group in the city. With the ETA, I will have the opportunity to train with like-minded athletes in a team environment, working on duathlon skills just as much as on my fitness. The results have been positive so far, I would say; here are some brief recaps of my solid (if unspectacular) early season races to kick off this season of blogging!

APRIL 17 – ST. ALBERT ROAD RACE 10KM (1st OVERALL, 34:34)

My season officially kicked off with the St. Albert Road Race in mid-April, where I set my personal best for 10 miles last year. This year, my focus has been on running fast over the 5km and 10km distances, so I would be running the 10k in St. Albert this season. I was carrying some very good fitness into April this year, giving me high hopes of a record-eligible course PB. Unfortunately, I took a stupid but painful spill on some gravel during an early training ride that left me with a pretty deep bruise on my hip, ending my hopes of really running fast at this race. My goal became simply to win the race, and with a surge up a false flat 3km into the race, I accomplished just that (only after a lonely 7km around northern St. Albert). Final time – 34:34 for 1st place overall. Not bad for a rust buster.

St. Albert Road Race 10k

Charging to the finish in 1st at the St. Albert Road Race 10k

APRIL 17 – NORTHERN ALBERTA SPRING SERIES #1

Immediately after the St. Albert race, my team and I headed east towards Sherwood Park for the first race of the Spring Series bike races, a series jointly put on by several of the cycling clubs around Edmonton and aimed more at getting in training miles and developing skills than being a full-on bike race. This would be a fantastic opportunity for me to learn some skills on the fly, and to see firsthand how the dynamics of a draft legal bike race plays out. Considering my goals, this seemed like just the ticket despite having raced in the morning. I raced with the C group, which ended up being more like a “learn to race” group. I did manage a little solo break with 6km to go after a long pull into the headwind, which was very exhilerating. However, I was caught and finished with the group, exhausted but satisfied.

MOVING FORWARD

I did one more Spring Series race on May 1, but it was more of a training race than anything. I had planned to leave for Penticton 3 days later, and most of my teammates were racing around the city on the 1st. It was either the Spring Series race or a long solo ride, and I decided to headed to Ardrossan for some more skill development and camaraderie. I raced up a category in the B group, but just hung out near the back and watched the dynamics of the race play out. With the large group, it was difficult to move up without crossing the centre line…and that was just fine with me.

Penticton Road Trip

Some highlights from my Penticton Road Trip! Full report to come.

All of this training and racing has led to possibly my highest training load since I started this absurd sport, yet it has been done in a way that was not overwhelming to my body. Everything so far was aimed at a shot at redemption at the Bare Bones Duathlon in Penticton, where I finished a well beaten 5th last year. This year, I was able to dip under the course record time from last year and improve my finish to a well-beaten 2nd (by just over 2 minutes). I followed that up the next morning with my second road running win of the year, winning the Blossom 10 Mile in a solid (if unspectacular) 58:11. But you shall have to wait for that full report to hear more…

On a final note, I am planning on taking this site in a different direction. While you will still be seeing race reports from my season, I truly enjoy writing about the duathlon happenings around the country, as well as the odd post on training and equipment optimization. With such an exciting season coming up for duathlon, age group and elite alike, I’d like to make that the focus of this site. In retrospect, even my race reports often take the viewpoint of being a commentary on training methods, equipment choices and race dynamics. So…hope y’all are okay with that!

Apologies for the loooong update…it’s been long overdue. So until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Penticton Peach

Peace out! For now…

Emerging from Hibernation

It’s been a little while, but the first race report is out of the way and I think it is time for a little update on the rest! There is a touch of irony in the title, considering we got 5 inches of snow in Edmonton overnight, but I need to get my writing game back on track. So here is an update, and perhaps a tad about where I want to go…let’s do it!

MOVING AND TRAINING IN EDMONTON

The big news of the past month or so is that I moved from Hamilton back to Edmonton. I made the move at the end of February, and it took me a little while to re-adjust and adapt to the different lifestyle and slightly higher altitude, but the move went pretty smooth and the weather has been (mostly) spectacular. The shortage of paved, quiet roads closeby to ride on is kind of a bummer, but I’m taking it as an opportunity to get some solid quality in on the trainer with the occasional foray outdoors. The adjustment period from the move was quite smooth training-wise, and I have been working hard to be ready for 2015.

Skechers Performance, my amazing supporter for 2015, has been taking good care of me so far.

GROWTH YEAR IN 2015

I am about 90% of the way to finalizing my race schedule for 2015 (it can be found here). 2015 is going to be a growth year, where I kind of take everything in stride and focus on enjoying the journey. Apart from the Canadian Duathlon Championships in September, I am not going to focus as heavily on results as I have in the past. Sure, I’ll probably get a little revved up as the day of a race gets closer, but I am going to try to use race days experience new venues and to get a little bit of that “for love of the game” feeling back.

Racing officially started about a week and a half ago (MEC 5k rust buster notwithstanding), as I went back to where it all started for me with running. My first running race ever took place at the Lacombe Park Lake in St. Albert, and on April 19 I came full circle and looped past that same lake during the historic St. Albert Road Race 10 Miler. You can read my report on that race here, but the gist is I ran a new 10 mile PB (57:17), and got thoroughly humbled by some fast dudes on my way to a 7th place finish. BUT…it was a ton of fun and a great race experience to kick off my season. (Side note…a surefire way to kick your season off on the right foot: race a new distance and get a guaranteed PB!)

Finishing up the south loop of the St. Albert 10 Miler

Finishing up the south loop of the St. Albert 10 Miler

Pieces are coming together bit by bit. I just started a new job, and I am making my way through a big training block in preparation for the Calgary Half Marathon (which I have finally officially registered for, by the way). I am pretty confident in my ability to carry my good vibes from St. Albert over to my upcoming races, and I think running fast is actually very realistic. Next I will be heading to Penticton for some fun at the Bare Bones Duathlon and then hitting a 10k in Red Deer for my last tune-up race before racing the best in the country. With a little bit of luck, I am hoping that I can accomplish my spring goal of running 1:13-1:14 in Calgary.

MARGINAL GAINS

Bare Bones will be…a bit of an adventure to be honest. It will be a great opportunity to see where my ability to redline for a couple 5km runs and a 50 minute TT is. My numbers on the bike have slowly been creeping in same direction as my run recently…slowly. The race takes place on the hills of Challenge Penticton, and has some long uphill grinds and some quick, twisty downhills; the perfect barometer to also see how much work I will need to do on handling a bike after a long winter on the trainer, and also to test out my new position on my TT bike. Two months ago, I went in to Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop in Toronto to update the RETUL fit on my time trial bike.

Elevation profile for the Bare Bones Du...should be fun!

Elevation profile for the Bare Bones Du…should be fun!

It was a new bike last year, but my needs have also changed since my last fit so it was just time for an update. I believe that a proper bike fit is the number one piece of low hanging fruit on the tree, as well as piece that is most often missed. Fit is king when it comes to aerodynamics. Surprisingly my fit didn’t change all that much, though I have noticed that my fitters seem to relish my “aggressive” position; Taylor, my gracious fitter at Sweet Pete’s, seemed positively gleeful when he announced that he was taking out ALL of the spacers from under my stem. I ended up toeing the border of an aggressive triathlon fit and an upright time trial fit, while still keeping my hip angle sufficiently open to facilitate breathing and a strong run off the bike.

Before and After. A tad lower and sleeker, and a bit more comfortable. Thoughts?

Before and After. A tad lower and sleeker, and a bit more comfortable. Thoughts?

Another look

Another look

LOOKING FORWARD…

There`s a lot going on in the world of multisport right now. Equality is a hot button issue that keeps coming up all of the triathlon media. Bike fitting and equipment choices are taking on more and more importance as more information about it gets out there. My awesome supporter Skechers Performance has a whole line of shoes that I`m putting to a hard test, and hope to get some reviews out in the near future. And finally, duathlon in Ontario still has a soft spot in my heart. Some of these I might write about, others I might not, but they all resonate with me to some degree. I guess you`ll have to stay tuned!

Regarding Ontario duathlon, I will at least be writing some race previews for a few races this year. I`m currently looking for the names of people who plan to compete in the following races, since privacy issues have made it very difficult and tricky business to find these names elsewhere:

  • Iron Hawk Duathlon
  • MSC Welland Duathlon
  • Subaru Guelph Lake I Duathlon
  • MSC Belwood Duathlon
  • Ontario Duathlon Championships (Bracebridge)
  • Canadian Duathlon Championships (Esprit in Montreal)

If you are reading this and are competing at one of these duathlons, or know someone who will be, then feel free to shoot me a note at my contact email above. The information would be greatly appreciated. This is all in good fun, and is in the name of building up some excitement for the sport in Ontario, so the more information I can get means I can write a better preview! Pictures to accompany your section are also excellent.

Until next time…keep Du`ing it!

Changes…

Well folks, it’s time for a little bit of an update. It’s been a busy last month for me…some good things, some unfortunate ones and tons of distractions! Training is trending upwards for sure, albeit slowly. With a bit of luck, I might surprise myself when I open up my duathlon season in May. As well…fantasy baseball draft season started. So that’ll be a time suck for the next month or so! But now onto the heavy stuff…

Something that has been official for about a month that I have not had a chance to officially announce is my partnership with 3SIXTY5 Cycling for the 2015 season. I have always been impressed with the level of support they have offered their athletes. Chris and co. are great guys, and they have nothing but enthusiasm and commitment to any athlete they come into contact with. AND they offer a custom product at prices that can’t be beaten. This year, I will be continuing my quest for marginal gains on the bike by (likely) riding the FAT 88 front wheel, complete with a Novotec hub and Sapim CX-Ray bladed aero spokes. It is a little deeper than I have ever ridden before (38mm to be exact), but going with the 88 is all about picking up that extra bit of speed…crosswinds be damned! At the very least, I can give it a shot during my early races and assess from there heading into September and Nationals…

And now for something a little more sobering…something that has come up in the past month or so that means big changes. Folks, I have a bit of a bomb to drop on you. At the end of February, I will be moving back in with my parents in Edmonton for a little while.

It’s a little snowy in Alberta’s Capital (ALS Global)

It is with my deepest regrets that I leave the Ontario duathlon scene behind, at least temporarily. This was a very difficult decision for me to make, but things have gotten to the point where I need to head home for a little bit, spend some time with family that I haven’t seen very much in the past several years and reset. There were a lot of factors that played into the decision, but that has not made it any easier. I am very proud of everything I have accomplished in Ontario these past years of racing duathlons. The duathlon community is gathering steam, and elites and enthusiasts alike and meshing together to make one strong community that is a ton of fun to be a part of. Y’all are going to be fine without me for a little while. With Nationals going back to Quebec this year, and being at a perfect time of year for a focus race, I’m confident that it’s going to be another competitive year for duathletes in Ontario. And hopefully Triathlon Ontario’s new National Qualifying Series will be a draw for duathletes across Canada.

I will continue to work with Tommy and Ignition Fitness. We have a good thing going over there, and I am excited to bring the “heat” to the western provinces. I will also be bringing along my awesome sponsors Skechers Performance Canada and 3SIXTY5 Cycling. Both have been awesome in the early stages of this transition, and I look forward to representing them in my new base. Regarding my work with Ontario Duathlon Central…I hope to keep that going, hopefully in a more collaborative fashion. I know more than a few will step up in my absence. Just seeing the excitement of new people who find our Facebook group has been incredibly rewarding. I’ll keep the site as functional as I can without being present on the scene for a little while…maybe even with a little bit of a western flavour…

Hopefully my Skechers gear and GORun Ultra's will keep me warm and upright out west...

Hopefully my Skechers gear and GORun Ultra’s will keep me warm and upright out west…

My race schedule is officially TBD, but there are a few gems out there I have been able to find that would be can’t miss experiences. I will likely start off my duathlon season in Penticton, at the Bare Bones Duathlon that Graham Hood, Malindi Elmore and some dude named Jeff Symonds have been known to frequent, supplemented by some road races and the Footstock Duathlon on June 14. I fully plan on making an extended trip back east in August/September to race Wasaga Beach as a key tune-up for Nationals in Montreal on September 13. In between, I will likely sprinkle in some single sport running and cycling races to stay sharp in those disciplines, while experiencing some of the destinations that the West has to offer. Obviously, it is with great sadness that I will not be racing on the MultiSport Canada circuit (ie. the “best darn race series in North America”) in 2015, but I will most definitely be preaching the good word to anyone who will listen to me out West.

Making an important stop at Sweet Pete’s before I leave.

So what’s next? I’m tying up some loose ends on the Ontario end of things and getting everything ready to head west. My last weekend will be pretty busy, as I am tentatively heading to Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop on the 24th to get RETUL fits on my two bikes. On the 21st, I’ll head to the Dundas Bike Swap to unload some spare parts, and then Sunday is the next Ignition Fitness Big Training Day, which will be my “last hurrah” in Ontario for a little while before heading west…

If you have any questions for me, please reach out. I’m ALWAYS available to chat and would absolutely oblige if you want to pick my brain. And please let me know if you are in the West at all this race season…I’ll be the one living like a monk and training like a maniac in my parents’ basement! My contact info is listed on the left of the page.

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Hitting Reset…

The primary reason I started this blog was as an outlet. When I feel pressured, stressed or down, I like to write…writing just makes me feel better, it has cleansing properties for me. Writing race reports and sponsorship announcements are all well and good, but sometimes when things just aren’t going my way.

And well folks…it’s been a bit of a rough winter. After an extended “mental break” during the fall, where I just rode my road bike a ton, I started to ramp up the training with a 6 week endurance block as the weather cooled down. Alas, while out for an easy 45 minute evening run, I felt some discomfort on the inside of my knee that quickly locked up my lower leg and forced me to walk 4km home from Princess Point. I was confined to the bike for a few weeks until I could run again, and even then we decided to use the opportunity to put a heavy focus on the bike and keep my runs to the 20-30 minute range as a secondary workout of the day. As a long-time runner I have 10 years of running base built up beneath me to fall back on, but this is still a tough pill to swallow…because I love to run.

PMC Chart

Bonus points if you can pick out (a) my week off from injury and (b) my time off being sick! Ugh.

Then, just when I was starting to groove and move away from the endurance focus towards the nitty-gritty high end training in the middle of December…I got sick. It was a nasty cold that took up residence in my chest and would just not go away for a long time. Riding indoors wasn’t fun because the stale air made breathing tough, and doing anything outdoors in the suddenly cold air was just as difficult. I brought my bike and trainer all the way to Emma’s parents’ place in Walkerton, only to do one short ride in the basement then call it a week. From start to finish, it was a good 10 or 11 days before I was able to get back on the bike/run.

Endurance Progression Chart

Things started turning around again on this little endurance progression…that last 15 minutes sure did hurt though!

So I’m pressing the reset button. The illness took a lot out of me, so I feel like I am almost starting from scratch. The first few rides back were a huge shock to the system. The effort level on my first run back felt like the pace should have been 20 seconds/km faster than it ended up being. Near the end of the first week the good sensations started to come back a little bit, through the middle of this week I struggled a little bit but made it through well enough, and it was only this weekend that I finally felt like an elite athlete again. 7 hours on the bike and 40km of running is on the low end for me, but there was a lot more intensity on the bike than I’m used to and hey…it’s the best quality week than I’ve been able to put together since last season. As far as I’m concerned, everything at the end of 2014 was just “base”, and real training kicked off last week. Fresh start, new leaf.

On Wednesday I’ll see where I am, as I have a threshold test on the schedule. I’ll be trying out my new tri bike configuration in its first big test since I did the final tweaks, and I’m kind of excited to see where I am again. The part of testing that is absolutely fascinating for me is the unknown…that feeling of not knowing whether you’re in for a surprise or not. I guess we will see on Wednesday!

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

A blog shout out to the first one who can spot the 4 differences. And a prize to the savvy eye who can spot the 5th difference! (Hint: it is a variation on one of the other 4 differences). Wheel differences don't count...that upgrade is still to come! Here is a shot of the original set-up.

A blog shout out to the first one who can spot the 4 differences. And a prize to the savvy eye who can spot the 5th difference! (Hint: it is a variation on one of the other 4 differences). Wheel differences don’t count…that change is still to come! Neither do bar tape and bottle cages…I expect better of my readers ;)! Here is a shot of the original set-up.

“Success isn’t owned it is leased…and rent is due every day”

Quote from JJ Watt, defensive lineman for the Houston Texans

The first snowfall in Hamilton has come and gone. Since my last update I haven’t been up to much of anything new, but as that fresh layer of snow fell to the ground, so too did I start fresh on this journey that I have undertaken.

First Snowfall

2014 was generally good to me. I won some races, had some new experiences, made some new friends, and generally got to watch the sport of duathlon take a small step forward as we try to get the sport out of the increasingly large shadow of big brother Triathlon. It was incredibly enjoyable and rewarding to watch Duathlon Central grow and see the community get behind it and generate some awesome discussion. Armed with this, we can move forward and hopefully influences some change for the better in our sport!

But you came to this page to hear me ramble about me and what I have been up to! I’ve been chipping away, spending the last few months catching up on all of those areas of life that lag during the summer season. My last two months of training have been a mixture of “completely off”, “unstructured” and most of all…”fun”. Over the past few years of hard, long, grinding duathlon seasons, I have discovered that I have a need following the season to spend some time “playing duathlon”.

Sydenham

“Playing duathlon” atop the Sydenham Rd climb in Dundas

I hang my TT bike up on the wall and ride my road bike, display nothing except distance and time on my bike computer, stash my Garmin in my pocket while running to run otherwise gadgetless, and spent some time training for the pure enjoyment of it. I had a ton of fun with my road bike, rode some routes that I tend to avoid during the season, ran as fast or slow as I felt like, and generally trained when I wanted to. Physically, I may not have needed the rest, but I find that doing this is the best way to get myself recharged mentally and excited to train hard again.

However, now that I have had my fun, it is time for brass tacks. The road bike has replaced the TT bike up on the wall for a little while, and the “pain cave” is open for business once again. 2015 is a make or break season for me, and I will be leaving no stone unturned this offseason as I continue to pursue my professional ambitions in the sport of duathlon…the theme of 2015 is “Marginal Gains”. Tentatively (things can change on the slightest whim in duathlon), I have targeted “A” races in early June (USAT Duathlon Championships, Standard/Sprint double) and late September (Esprit Montreal and possibly Powerman Michigan). The rest of my race plan is TBD until the schedule firms up, hopefully sometime in early 2015. Additionally, I have the following, non-race specific goals:

Pain Cave Motivation

Pain cave motivation

  1. Seek out some new races, challenges and competition: I would like to try some new races in 2015. K-Town, Gravenhurst and Wasaga are MSC races that I would like to give a shot, while Cornwall and Esprit highlight ideal non-MSC races. Venturing to new places also means taking on some new competition.
  2. Diversify my training regimen: There are only so many ways you can arrange duathlon training to keep it fresh. I’ll ride my road bike, and perhaps I will join a group ride once a week or have Emma teach me to do yoga. And I hear that swimming is a wonderful method of active recovery…
  3. Once and for all, destroy all notions of any perceived “weakness on the bike”: Despite two years of focused training and steady improvement, the fact remains that my strong run still makes up for a bike leg that is lacking, and can barely be called FOP in deep races.

I plan to address this weak point with a three-pronged approach:

Yes thats a disc cover on my trainer...I am using my indoor time to test aero bento packs, saddles and electrical tape!

Yes that is a disc cover on my trainer…I am using my indoor time to test aero bento packs, saddles and electrical tape!

  1. Continued improvements in cycling fitness: Many hours in the pain cave watching Netflix await over the next few months to make this a priority, as there are still gains to be made. I will also likely keep my targeted workouts indoors on the trainer throughout the season to closely monitor and dial in my effort.
  2. Leaving no stone unturned: Hand-in-hand with fitness goes smart equipment choices. Speed can be bought in cycling, and with resident aero-weenies Cody Beals and Phil McCatty just a text or Facebook message away, I really have no excuse to be running a bike set-up that is not 100% optimized.
  3. Use others to up my “suffer threshold”: While I can thrash myself on the run, I have a hard time doing the same on the bike. After hearing from fellow athletes of how they have benefited from riding with others, I plan to creatively plan my workouts to seek out like-minded others from time to time.

Many gains are to be had for those who reach out and take it. The winter offseason is an opportunity, not an obstacle, and I intend to come out of it an entirely different racer, chomping at the bit at every start line I toe in 2015.

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Going Dark

Despite a build-up of posts that I have promised and have yet to deliver, I will be going dark for a few weeks on this site. I’ve been writing up a storm this season, and have not really had all that much time to think! After Lakeside, Tommy and I decided (actually, he decided and I just listened) that going dark for a little while was a good idea. I’ll be doing no structured training for the next little while, and as such I likely won’t be doing much structured writing either. Time for some much needed time to recharge and take care of some things I neglected all summer.

First to come will be a 2014 Season in Review post, likely after Tommy and I have had a chance to talk and define a focus for 2015. I received a new pair of Skechers to go with the pair of flats I raced Lakeside in, and I would like to do a review on those this fall. Of course, I’ll need to log some miles in them to do that! And I haven’t forgot about my recovery series. I kept putting it off because I kept learning lessons as the latter portion of my season went on. This downtime will allow me to do some research as well, and present a comprehensive and informed series.

In the meantime, I will be keeping myself occupied adjusting to a new work schedule (boo) and building myself a new-to-me road bike (yay!). Last week I said goodbye to my faithful Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross bike, which despite being awesome, I did not ride nearly enough. I have always wanted to learn the inner workings of the tool that I spend so much time on (the bicycle), and what better way of doing so than building a road bike up? I sourced a snazzy Klein Q Carbon Team road frame from Pinkbike, and received a new 11 speed Shimano 105 5800 groupset just yesterday. I’m still waiting for a few tools and an 11 speed upgrade kit for my Williams S30 wheels before I can get started! You can follow my slow and halting progress on Twitter, by following the hashtag #jbsfirstbikebuild.

Until next time, keep Du’ing it!

BIKE BUILD

Well on my way to a wicked road bike! And the best part is…it will be 100% mine!