Inappropriate, I know, to neglect anything for 5 months. It’s been a while since I’ve punched the keys to this page, and that’s something I’m trying to keep on top of, especially now that the season is underway and things are getting serious (not to mention upping the ‘fun factor!’) So, in light of an entire childhood filled with ADHD, and an attention span that could rival a goldfish on a good day, I figured I’d get up to date on all the races (experience and something I learned from each) as well as the exciting happenings since September, but something that you could read over the course of a latte (extra hot I might add, there needs to be SOME substance in my updates!) I like to think this is the ‘long Cliff-Notes’ version of the last few months:
October, outside of building my base, had two weekends packed with racing. The Whistler relay (which used to be the Haney to Harrison Relay), is an 80km relay, comprised of 8 legs on a 20km course, one 13km and one 7km. I was racing with my team from work, and since we were short I ran the first two legs. The evening before, at team track practice, we did some serious 400’s followed by a 2km TT, leaving some legit soreness in my legs. Me, being the classic triathlete, tried to hang with the front runners from the gun, who not only were very strong runners, but were only running one leg of the relay. The result? A seriously catastrophic detonation at the 14km mark left me struggling to keep a pedestrian pace. At least I kept it together enough to help our team to 3rd place in the emergency services division.
Lesson Learned? If you’re going in way overdone, don’t try to hang with the guys running twice as fast as you and running half the distance. It never ends well.
The next day was the Mahon Park Cyclocross race in North Vancouver. Lets just say my ‘beer sampling’ at a dinner party the night before left me with a serious case of vertigo, mostly trying to keep my legs under me all morning. Not an ideal way to race, but I managed to put in a 5th place effort, which I was fairly happy with, given my condition. This was also the first race a managed my first-ever handup, Chocolate-Covered-Bacon. Like, whoa.
Lesson Learned? Don’t treat beer bottles like Gatorade the night before a race. Oh, and there is something better than bacon: chocolate covered bacon!
The next weekend was my first ever sailboat race experience with my teammate (and probably one of my best buddies,) Elliot Holtham. It was nice and sunny, and although the wind was pretty dead the first day, we had some sweet conditions the second day. About 3 races each day, we ended up pretty far down the standings, but we came out with some epic inside jokes and had a blast, especially since I was in charge of controlling the main sheet, things got pretty nuts a few times. But I kept us keel-side-down and we all lived to tell the story.
Lesson Learned? We aren’t ready to do the Volvo Ocean Race anytime soon, but what we lacked in equipment and skill, we made up for in raucous amounts of fun. Fun first.
November brought more cyclocross racing, where I started to get the hang of it. November 2nd brought the Pumpkin Cross in Maple Ridge – which I managed to drag Jenn to for her first CX race – complete with costume; although I was accused of doing a ‘Black Face’ costume, I was actually the Panda from the Care Bears. My makeup artist went contrast on me and messed up the colours. I took the lead early in the race, but after pulling away from the group I once AGAIN flatted. I ran through the course and fixed my flat, but that was the end of any podium hopes.
Lesson learned? Make sure you do your research on the Care Bear colours before you paint your face black. Also, must get tubulars.
The following weekend, I went to Seattle for my first REALLY big cyclocross race, the Woodlands GP. It was incredible, with a MASSIVE field, and even though I had a lousy start at the back of the field, I made my way through the group and ended up with another 5th place. I also had my first solid CX crash on pavement, tearing myself up pretty good. But chicks dig scars. Jenn joined me for the race, and she had a blast as well!
Lesson learned? If I can avoid flat tires, I can actually do okay. Also, cyclocross is freakin awesome.
November 23rd I did the last local cyclocross race of the season, Aldergrove Lake. It had some serious descents and climbs, and although I had a good little mechanical in the middle of a massive mud pile, I managed to get into 2nd place and hold it. Then I won a giant carbon fiber umbrella, which is really kick-ass for living in a rain forest.
Lesson Learned? I need to work on my tripod skills on the cyclocross bike. If you have a weakness in a skill, it’s okay to work on improving the skill(s).
December 6/7 I got to go down to Tacoma with Jenn and race a double-header cyclocross race, that also had a UCI event at each. Lemme tell you, those dudes can haul some serious ass in the mud! We got to meet up with our buddies Chris Bagg and Amy VanTassel from Portland, who we get to see at some of the big triathlons. Day 1 I managed to break away on the first lap, but had a gnarly crash onto pavement from rolling a tire, causing me to flat and run half the course to the pits. I had a good ride after, but it was more for a solid workout. Day 2 was more of a drag race, and even though I was smashed from the day before, with the absolute WORST start ever (that one where you look behind you and it’s nothing but dust,) I kept it together for another top 5 finish. This was my first race on tubular wheels, and despite warnings to run a lower pressure in the tires, I ran way too much pressure which killed my traction on the muddy corners.
Lesson Learned? Listen to the experience of others when they give you advice on something you know pretty much nothing about. Be a sponge.
December 13th was a bit of highlight for me this fall. In October I did my first two (ever) beer miles, much to the dismay of coach, but had a good go at it with a 6:50 and then a 6:20. I had been prepared for this incredibly difficult endeavour, but being a retired fat-guy, it was actually quite easy. December 13th we did a huge organized beer mile, officially dubbed ‘The Annual Greater Vancouver Beer Mile Championships,’ where there was a great turn out and some serious smack talking. I was really excited, preparing both mentally and physically for the past few weeks. Off to a good start, I had a reasonably smooth race and took another 38 seconds off my second attempt, with a 5:42 and the win, against some experienced beer milers. Nobody thought I could pull off my goal of a sub-6 minute beer mile, but tenacity and a giant-ass stomach really did me a service. I feel by next fall I could break into the 5:20’s, perhaps even being so bold to set the bar at a sub-5:20 race in the right conditions. I was damn proud of myself, finally finding a sport I can really excel at (because it was filmed, it counts as an **Official** time, putting me around the 33rd fastest Official beer mile time on Beermile.com!)
I might set my goals on a win at the Kona Ironman World Championships Beer Mile next year, but I’ll have to take on the reigning champ AJ Baucco. See the video below.
Lesson Learned? You should try something new, you never know if you’ll like it. Heck, you might even be a natural!
The last race weekend of the season was the end of January, coinciding with the end of a two-week training camp. My first ever cyclocross win came on a double-race day in Washington State, backed up the following day with a solid PB in the 8km, 26:26. Pretty stoked to be running that fast right now, as I’ve never been that fast, especially in January!
Lesson Learned? You can push your body much further than you think you can, even when you feel sore, tired, and just plain crushed. You can surprise yourself!
What’s next? Well, since the new Quintana Roo PRsix joined my stable a week ago (NEW BIKE DAY!!!!!!) I’ve packed up all my training gear and am heading down to Tucson, AZ, for a two-week intense training camp, based with my legendary friends Jesse and Amy (along with the illest pup-buddy Addy.) I’ll be focusing on half-iron race intensities, dialing in my new Quintana Roo PRsix and putting a new pair of Hoka One One kicks (the Clifton and Conquest,) through their paces (thanks to Dave at Distance Runwear for the shoes!) It’s going to be a sufferfest, complete with a full-on assault of MT Lemmon (for, of course, the giant cookie topside!)
I’ll attempt a few updates throughout the camp, so stay tuned for more action! Hope everyone is enjoying this early season sunshine and getting back into the groove! Stay safe out there, and have fun!