Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My guess is that I am not born in the good year

Last week end I had a race, that was my fourth Triathlon of the summer. I started racing in triathlon this summer and really love the sport. For that race I finished 28th over 195 competitors which made me really happy. After that I started to analyse the results of the race and realized that even if I did my best result ever on the overall, I still finished 8th out of 20 in my age group. Top 15% overall, but 40% or so in my age group ...

So I started analyzing the results even more, and here are my observations.

There was 11 age group for that race. I checked my results against each age group to see how I would have placed in each of them.

19 & under : 5/13
20-24 : 2/10
25-29 : 3/6
30-34 : 4/14
35-39 : 5/20
40-44 : 8/20
45-49 : 2/15
50-54 : 2/8
55-59 : 2/5
60-64 : 1/2
65 & + : 1/2

I would have place top three in seven age group over 11, and at least top 5 in every other age group. So I guess that I am, hmmm lets say lucky, to have a really competitive age group, and if I want to eventually come back home with some hardware I will have to get way faster. For a race of 1:16:49 I need to improve by 7 minutes to get down to 3rd in my age group. This mean that I need to get almost 10% faster, still a long way to go I guess.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Triathlon MemphreMagog - Race report

First of all, sorry about my lack of posting lately. I was busy with the Tour de France, I just spent way too much time in front of the TV in the last three weeks.

I headed to Magog on Saturday since we had a ride planned with the club in the afternoon. Meet everybody there around 16h00 or so, we went to pick our race number, shirt etc and then headed out to get ready for the ride. The plan was to ride the second half ot the Olympique course, which was bad for me since my Sprint was on the first half of the Olympique course, but I figured that riding is riding anyway :)

I tried as hard as I possibly could to control myself on that ride to not ask too much on my legs since I wanted them to still be fresh for the race on Sunday, I didn't follow my plan well on that part, at some point I pushed a bit with the Elite crew to show them that I can follow them on the bike ... kinda ;) After that we went for diner, had some pasta with a bottle of wine with my wife and a friend.

I can't really say why, but I had a hard time sleeping. I guess my stomach didn't like the pasta that much. I finally got some sleep, at least my race was starting at 10h25 so I was not in a rush as much as those doing the oly.

I woke up around 5h30, made some coffee and got ready. Stopped on my way to the race site to grab a bagel and some more coffee. When I arrived there I racked my bike in transition and prepared my spot when I heard that they made the decision to finally allow the wetsuit, I was a lot happier at that point ;)

After that my transition spot was all ready I went to the swim exit and cheered on my friends who were doing the oly. After that all of them were out of the water I went for a 2.5km run to warm up a bit before the start.

The swim was one 750 meter loop, we were starting in the water. We couldn't hear the official calling how much time before the start so at some point I just heard the whistle and I started swimming. I started on the right side since we had to follow a line of buoy and they were on the left I knew that it wouldn't be too bad on the right, and it was a really good idea.

I tried to remember everything that the coach told me during the swim and make my stroke as effective as possible. I finished with a swim time longer than the last two triathlons, but I placed MOP overall, which is better than the other tri so I guess that the swim course was a bit longer and that my stroke was better ;)

Transition one went pretty good overall, still having problem with my suit that get stuck on my heels though. The starting line was crowded though, I had to run way past it to get some room to jump on the bike.

The bike course was way harder than I thought it would be. At first I struggled with the idea of putting a 12-27 cassette instead of my 11-23 but finally decided to keep the 11-23. Worst idea EVER!

The first 3km were mostly flat with some little hill, then we had THE hill. I was climbing at maybe 11km/h (6.8 mph) while climbing standing on the bike and pushing every little drop of energy that I had. I saw two person who had to walk the hill on my way up. I got passed by 2 or 3 person while climbing and I swore that I would pass them back pretty soon.

Once that big mofo was behind me the bike course was a bit easier, even if I left my legs on the hills I tried to get back to speed and gain as many speed back as I could. I passed back everyone that passed me while climbing and passed a lot of others. Since I finished the swim in 89th place and the 34 and less wave started 5 minutes in front of me I had a lot of people to pass.

Went to the turn around and restarted pushing as hard as I could. Finally reached that hill and I hammered as hard as I could on the descent, probably reach 85 km/h (53mph) on the way down. As I was approaching the transition zone I removed my shoes and got ready to jump off the bike, there was that girl who decided to stop in the middle of the road to unclip, I went by her so fast while yelling WATCH OUT, I hope I didn't scare her too much.

Transition 2 went really well, only small problem is that I have a hard time to rack my bike with the aero bottle on. I've got to find a solution to fix that. Then I put my shoes on and started running out of the transition zone.

For the first time I decided not to run with my Garmin, I didn't know what to expect for that run and I was hoping that they would have put a marker at each km so I could have an idea of my pacing. Sadly there was no marker, so I had to guess my pace on how I was feeling.

I went not too hard but hard enough at the beginning and found two guy about my speed. I followed them for a long while but they finally dropped me at maybe 1.5km from the end. I tried to get back to them but I was unable to push.

At maybe 500 meter from the line I saw a friend who was doing the Oly, chatted with him for a couple of seconds and then I sprinted to the finish line. He tried to follow me but he was too tired to stay at my pace so I finished in front of him ;)

Swim - 16:08 / 750 meters
2:08 / 100 meters

T1 - 2:25

Bike - 34:42 / 20km (12.2 miles)
34.6 km/h (21.5 MPH)

T2 - 1:21

Run - 22:53 / 5km (3 miles)
4:35 / km (7:00 / mile)

Total - 1:16:49
28/195 OA and 8/20 AG

Friday, July 24, 2009

Drivers please share the road.


The Canadian Press
By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009 3:46 PM ET
When Olympic cross-country skier Devon Kershaw read of how a van recently smashed through a group of five endurance cyclists in Ottawa, feelings of frustration and grief returned.

The three-time World Cup medallist lost his girlfriend, Sofie Manarin, in 2001 when a truck struck the 17-year-old skier's bicycle during a summer training ride in her hometown of Sudbury, Ont.

Kershaw says many Olympians who cycle on highways live in terror of inattentive drivers.

"Myself and teammates have close calls many times a year. You're cycling or running or roller-skiing and you have to suddenly jump into the shoulder," Kershaw said in an interview Thursday.

He notes that cross-country ski star Alex Harvey was knocked off his bike last weekend by a driver who pulled out of an intersection in Canmore, Alta. Fortunately he wasn't injured.

Reading of how the five cyclists were sent to an Ottawa hospital, with one suffering internal brain and body injuries, Kershaw said he felt a sense of painful deja-vu.

"This has got to stop," the Olympian said of the road carnage, as he prepared to take a break from training twice daily on various highways near Canmore.

For the survivors, family and friends of cycling victims, the scars run deep.

Kershaw learned of Manarin's death when he came upon her damaged bike frame surrounded by ambulances and police cars. He had been out for a training ride on the same day and was following her route.

"It shaped who I am. It's been hard for me. I go to Sudbury to visit and it still hurts," he said.

He still recalls "Sofie's laugh, very distinct and always present," and recalls, "she was small in stature, but had a big impact and presence with everyone she interacted with." They'd been friends since she was 12, and in a relationship for over a year.

Next week, Kershaw will return to Sudbury for a group ride that will support the bicycle safety group Share the Road.

Figures compiled by Transport Canada show that between 50 and 80 cyclists a year have been killed in car and truck collisions annually since 2003.

Eleanor McMahon, the founder of Share the Road, lost her husband, OPP Sgt. Greg Stobbart, when a driver with a record of driving licence suspensions struck him while the officer was on a training ride.

She said she was thrilled when Kershaw approached her to assist
with the cycling coalition's work. "The two of us have come
together, given the beginning of our experience was one of sadness
and one of loss," she said.

McMahon said she has travelled internationally, studying Europe's extensive network of biking lanes, and noting that in many jurisdictions road laws protecting cyclists are strictly enforced.

"This has become my life's work now," she said. "I want to bring a cycling culture to Canada."

She's currently lobbying the Ontario government for legal changes to help protect cyclists.

"We're looking for a one-metre passing law in Ontario this fall . . . this allows officers to penalize drivers who fail to allow one metre when they're passing a bike," she said.

Kershaw said he's "a huge supporter" of the proposed reform, noting it's the law in 14 U.S. states. He says it "recognizes that cyclists have the right to enjoy their recreation and commuting safety."

Jocelyn Lovell, the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame cyclist who suffered a spinal cord injury in 1983 after being struck by two trucks, says athletes like Kershaw can add emotional punch to the effort to advocate for legal changes and bike lanes.

"Damn right. Good on him. And if laws are being broken, cops should charge people," he said from his home in Mississauga, Ont.

"Bicycles belong. They will be here 1,000 years from now long after cars have been returned to being dust in the ground."

He said when he started driving a van, he went back to the area he was struck "to face my monster," and was stunned to see it was a place where it was easy to see and simple to navigate.

"I was just a cyclist in somebody's way . . . just a thorn in someone's side."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Duathlon Levis Relay - Race Report

I woke up early and slowly finished to pack my stuff, I was in no rush since the start of the Duathlon was at 1pm. After that I drank a couple of coffee and had almond butter and banana on toast with oatmeal and yogurt and some fruit. Damn I eat like a truck ...

I rode there around 10am or so since I knew a couple of people who were competing in the half Ironman. 45 minutes prior to the start we had our pre race meeting, I was happy to see the runner of the team arrived because I was not that prepared to do the entire event by myself. After that I walked into the transition area and finished to get my spot ready. I wanted to head out for a quick ride but it was complicated, the transition zone is in a bad spot and going out for a warm up is painful so I decided to just run a little bit and then warm up during my first loop.

The race was a Duathlon Plus, it was 5km run then 90km ride and 10km run to finish. Marc was doing the running, he did a good job on both running legs. He ran the first 5km in 22:29. He was aiming for a 20min 5k but he started a little bit too fast and drained some energy on the first km and after that it was a bit harder to keep the pace.

The transition went pretty well, I was waiting for him into the transition zone and when he got by I took the chip and then started running with the bike. I jumped on the bike and had some minor problem clipping in my pedals, but overall not a bad transition.

When the bike leg started I told my runner "See you in 2h30" and I took off. After that I started doing some math in my head and realized that 2h30 was a hell of a good time for the bike split there and that maybe I was a bit optimistic ... But I just started mashing the bike as hard as I possibly could, for the first 6-7 loop or so I was over my LT heart rate and I started to wonder if I would be able to hold that pace. But I was feeling great so I didn't bother much with it.

After maybe 6 loop I started to get some rain at one end of the loop. When I got back to the start/finish line my runner asked my if I was sweaty or what, so I told him it was raining at the other end. Since the beginning we were having a nice little East wind, nothing too strong that was helping a bit on one side but that was not much of a trouble on the other side.

When the rain started the wind turned and started blowing stronger, like 20km/h (12mph). At that point it started raining really hard, I never rode in such weather. The sky was just pouring on us, seriously. My Garmin is full of water and it is supposed to be water proof, at least under the rain. At that point I had a really nice average and that stronger wind didn't make me happy since I started to worry that I would go under my dream goal of 34km/h (21.1 mph)

But I just kept mashing the pedals as hard as I could while having in my mind that I had 90km (56 miles) to do. I was passing people left and right and I got passed by a couple of REALLY fast guy, two of them even passed me twice, which made me kinda unhappy ;)

At some point, around 70km (43 miles) or so I could not see anything on my Garmin, the screen was full of fog kinda. So I ask Marc, my runner, how many loop I had to do still. He said 5, so I knew it was coming to an end, and I was happy about it because it was starting to be painful. But I still had that speed goal in the back of my mind and I knew I could not slow down a bit.

I kept mashing the pedals as hard as I could in the wonderful weather, while riding in so much water that I could not see the holes in the pavement anymore and I had to guess that at some point it would be smooth or not. I decided to wear tri short for this ride, I am not too sure yet why, but anyway I decided to wear them and I couldn't change my mind at that point so I had to deal with them. I was seriously starting to feel, or to not feel it anymore at that point.

But I kept going hard trying to give some time to my runner if we wanted to have a chance to grab some hardware. I finally made it to the 23rd loop in 2:34:10, which gave me an average of 35km/h (21.76 mph) I am a happy camper ;)

Jumping off the bike was not that good, I can't say why but I unclipped both feet and I had a hard time to jump off the bike. I should have just remove my shoes as I usually do during a Triathlon, it would have made me feel more comfortable.

Marc then headed out for the 10k, he ran it in 48:12 which was a great time in my opinion.

We finished the Duathlon with a time of 3:46:08, which was a really good time in my mind.

Duathlon Plus 5km, 90km, 10km (3.1 mile, 56 mile, 6.2 mile)

Run 5km (3.1 mile) : 22:29 - 4:30/km (7:14/mile)
Transition 1: 0:44
Bike 90km (56 mile) : 2:34:10 - 35km/h (21.76 mph)
Transition 2: 0:35
Run 10km (6.2 mile) : 48:12 - 4:50/km (7:46/mile)

Category 5/8
Overall 8/14

The competition was really fast this year, with the same time last year we would have finished second with almost 5 minutes in front of the third team. Every year it gets harder and harder because the other teams are stronger.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Totals for June

I am happy with my training load for June, it's been one of my bigest month. Here are the totals
Swim : 16980 meters
Bike : 685 km
Run : 90.5 km

Not a big running month but I am just getting back from that ITBand injury and I am still taking it easy on the running side. But still I am really happy with those numbers.

I did some comparaison with last year totals, it's impressive hom much I trained so far in 2009.
Swim : 262% of my 2008 totals
Bike : 87% of my 2008 totals
Run : 167% of my 2008 totals

This should give me a really good year of training for 2009, but I must admit I kinda cheated since I started running in July last year and I started swimming in September.