Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Banff BikeFest

This past weekend was the biggest, best, highest-level race I've ever been in. Had super fun and got a few good results over the 4 days of racing. A super quick recap, since I'm in need of many recovery Zzzz's.

Prelude: With Jared at Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Dallas knocking off 1,600km in 3 days, 18 hours, and Trev busted up from his 65km/h crash at the Pigeon Lake road race, the Speed Theory cycling team had room for a couple of cat 3 shleppers...enter Keith and I, stage right. Banff-Lake Louise tourism has really gotten behind the race, and offers a total of $20,000 in cash to be won, so the best teams from western Canada and a couple of NW US teams come to compete.

Thursday afternoon was the hill climb on Hwy 93...6.5 km of undulating pain and ascending. Since I have a remarkably heavy road bike, quite a nice TT bike, and was lucky enough to have Trev/Speed Theory lend a set of lightweight Shimano wheels, I bucked the trend and took my Cervelo up the hill. Managed a decent 34th out of 84, and I gave a sigh of relief that I wouldn't be laughed at all weekend. Alex, probably our strongest all-round rider, didn't have a good race, which threw us a bit, because this was supposed to focus the team on our GC hope. Frank threw down a storming ride to be fastest for our team, in 24th place.

Friday took us out on 1A for a very picturesque, fun course that had sections of one-lane, one-way, twisty, rolly road - total blast. I crumbled in the final km and ended up back in 59th.

Saturday's TT was great, I posted a time *5 minutes, 29.7 seconds faster* than last year!! which funnily enough was 34th, keeping my overall at...34th. Saw some big names in the results sheets below me...wow.

Photo: kayphoto

That evening was some of the hardest, highest-intensity racing I've ever done, on the best crit course ever...but I couldn't handle the pace and ended up getting lapped, although I managed to be the last person not in the pack to be lapped. I found out today my little brush with one of the barriers cost me $150 for a new brake/shifter.

Photo: Bill Quinney

Final day was the road race, on a great 13km circuit with some tough little hills and wild descents. I was feeling the pain, for sure, but not too badly, but got stuck in a minor crash that put me just out of reach of returning to the pack...game over. Bummer, but all in all a great experience, and general good times with the team.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Jess's Dad, Ken, invited Jess, Tim and I to come a Coldplay concert. Wicked seats, and an absolutely amazing performance. They started out with a few well known tracks that got everyone fired up, then performed from a stage a catwalk on stage left, right in front of us, then a stage way back in the stadium...basically all over the shop. They released some giant yellow balloons that bounced around the crowd for a while, and later a shower of coloured paper. Sounds cheesy, but it was good times. Lead singer, Chris Martin, was totally rocking out, and it didn't hurt that we got a free CD on the way out. Probably my favourite concert ever.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Photos From the Decathlon

100 - There were 2 false starts (the first from me), so my start was more tentative then usual. That didn't stop me from moving into the lead at the 40m mark, though, BAM! Finished in an acceptable 11.95 with a 0.4 m/s headwind. (current decathlon PB - 11.58, +1.0)

LJ - I was looking for a PB in this event since the the last competition was 2 cm off and after two 100m races. The first jump was a solid 6.18. This set me up for 2 nothing-to-lose attempts, a foul and a 6.24. (current decathlon PB - 6.32, +2.9)

An amazing takeoff, only to have the official raise the red flag, signaling a foul.

SP - 8.43. Technique was off despite a PB a few weeks ago. If only those legs (as seen in the photo below) could be harnessed! LOL. (current decathlon PB - 8.54)

HJ - During the pre-comp meeting with the official, I asked for the heights to go through 1.66, a 1cm PB. I missed the first attempt at 1.63 but the second was an excellent jump. I couldn't repeat it at 1.66. (current decathlon PB - 1.65)

400 - 1. The lane draw sucked. I got lane 6... of 6. 2. Competitors in lanes 4 & 5 pulled out. 3. One the guys that pulled out false started... Despite this, I managed to stay out in front the entire way. The time so just how out of shape I still am: 53.57 (current decathlon PB - 51.44)

So this was a solid, but not spectacular Day 1. My score at this point was 2837. Current PB is 3030.

110mH - The second attempt at getting 3 strides between hurdles was much more successful than the last - 8 of 9. With this new stride rhythmn it was almost impossible to get a huge new PB - 19.83, +1.0 - previous PB, 21.22.

DT - Argh! The warmup was very good. There was lines marked out at every 10m, so I could easily see that I threw more than 30m during warmups (that would have been a massive dec PB). What happened in the actual competition was a bit unfortunate. The first throw felt a bit off coming out of the back of the circle - foul. The second - foul. I needed to make sure that I got points for this event, so I had to do a standing throw - 25.09 (current decathlon PB - 26.10)

PV - I didn't have access to a stiff enough pole, so I was in the right frame of mind from the beginning. Cleared my starting height of 3.51, but not 3.71. Disappointing. (current decathlon PB - 3.80)

JT - Here I could have easily set a new PB, but I didn't take the time to clear my mind after the pole vault and set up for the next event. I just wasn't feeling it. During the first approach I let my arm drop and the end of the javelin clipped the ground (26-something), on the second I overstrode and fouled the line, the last was a barely acceptable 30.49. (current decathlon PB - 33.22)

1500 - I chose to follow the pack. First lap was done in 71, a little faster than the goal of 76. During the second the athlete leading the pack pulled out, and had I been more experienced in running the 1500 I would have passed and lead out at this point. Instead I needed to heard that the last lap was done in 86. I made my move and finished in a surprisingly easy 4:42.6 (current decathlon PB - 4:39.7)

Due to the massive hurdles PB and unusual (for me) occurence of a decathlon with reasonably solid (for me) results for all the events, I hit a Day 2 PB of 2186 and an overall decathlon PB of 5023 - the first over 5000 points. Woot.

Coming, in 4 weeks time: PBs in LJ, SP, HJ, 110H, DT, JT, 1500 and overall. BAM!

Tim's decathlon

Haven't got time to do a full report of all the butt-kicking Tim did on the weekend at his "practice" decathlon, but here's a teaser: Tim on his way to his first win of the weekend.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Hail, rain, snow, and....time trials?

We've had some pretty nice weather for the past week or two in Calgary, particularly on the weekends. So it was a bummer to see this Saturday's (today's) Speed Theory ITT land on, and be bracketed by, days of forecast rain and even snow. Given that a) it was not a mass-start event, and b) so many people had signed up and/or spent many an hour in organizing the event, race director and Speed Theory el capitan Trev made the ballsey decision to go ahead with the race. And a good thing. The weather cleared up, and despite a bit of hail reported by some racers, it was generally pretty nice weather.

A straight, not-yet-driven-on new stretch of highway was the fantastic venue, with barely an incline to be seen. The significant head/cross wind and very wet road were a challenge, but everyone I talked to after the event was happy to be out.

But the big news was my first win of my cycling career!! After coming last in my last TT last year, few (including me) saw it coming, but apparently the hard work over the winter paid off. A big thanks to Speed Theory for hooking me up with my sweet ride, the Cervelo P3C, Trev for the lend of his race wheels (get well soon, buddy!), and Rob for his TT helmet...certainly I would be well down in the rankings without your gear.

The stats:
distance: 30km
time: 42:49.5
average speed: 42.03km/h

And before anyone says anything, yes, I bet I could save a few seconds by closing my mouth! :)

Photo by Torin Segstro

Monday, June 01, 2009

Pigeon Lake RR

Super day of racing up near Edmonton. Rather than plagiarize my own blog post, I'll just link to it:


Penticton training camp

Wow, what a camp. Headed to Penticton, BC, home of the Iron Man Canada, for 5 days of big rides and bigger hill climbs.

Sunday was a tough intro to local riding: the 180km IMC loop, followed by Apex: 11km of 10-11% grade road. Holy moly. Second day was a gentle 100km to Summerland, a couple of repeats on Giant's Head (2.5km, up to 18%) and a nice ride through the country side. Tuesday we did a monster ride down through the US, back through the most casual border crossing ever (described as a guy sitting in a lawnchair beside a 6 person outhouse)...totalling 220km! Wed my bro Tim and I went back to Summerland to take a bunch of photos of the orchards in full bloom, then we rode through Summerland again, and the Kettle Valley Railroad on the way back.

Giant's Head is the peak on the far left of the horizon:

More orchards:

Thursday was my favourite ride...after a quick stint of work in the morning (while Trev knocked off a 100km ride) Trev and I drove to Oliver, then rode up Mt Baldy, which gained something like 1450 metres in 30 km, oh, and 24km of that was a gravel road! to the ski resort, down the back-side, to the summit of Anarchist, and then down Anarchist, through Osoyoos and back to Oliver. Kewl!