Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Decathlon That Mattered

This was the one I was super confident about. Last time, I talked a bit of trash - 7 personal bests for the weekend. Well... here's what actually went down.

On Thursday, I was notified of the absence of any other competitors in the decathlon. Did I really want to do 10 events all by my lonesome? ... Hell yes!

On Friday, an uneventful 3 hour team bus ride from U of C to Edmonton was followed by a nutritious meal of a burger and fries courtesy of Boston Pizza (it didn't look like this). A late night (11 PM is waaay past my bedtime) was coupled with an early, early morning, but whatevs, I'll still dominate.

By the time it was time for me to race, a small crowd had gathered to watch the guy with the accent silly enough to attempt a decathlon by himself.

100 - Naturally, my start was awesome. Starting by myself is way easier because I can concentrate on starting and not beating the guys either side of me. The last 30m is a bit harder, but I managed a Canadian PB (that's a PB while I've been in Canada, heh). Despite having to wait 10 minutes for a wind indicator be setup, there was no wind reading, but take it from me that there was a headwind: 11.94

LJ - FOUL, 6.22 (-0.6), FOUL. Meh. The two fouls were BIG jumps but I had my foot over the line by a little tiny bit - that's the rules.

SP - Being the only one competing in the event, I had a 4:1 official-to-athlete ratio going on. I must say I quite liked the attention. I can warmup however I like, pretty much whenever I like, and I can be totally relaxed and focussed on the job at hand. My first throw was "like BAM!". I've possibly been saying that too much lately, but it was definitely deserved this time: 9.66, PB by 0.59.

HJ - Training for this event has been going very well, so much so that Coach Duncan was rallying support from the team, to come and watch me PB. I, unfortunately, disappointed my fans: 1.60

Not me, but a wicked photo photo all the same. This is actually my teammate Todd jumping at 1.85m.

400 - Luckily, the individual 400 events were being run at a similar time so I was put in the 6th lane of the last heat: 53.50, Canadian PB.

A solid Day 1 (2887) was wrapped up with a 10 minute ice bath (cold!), a lively meal of chicken parmigiana with the cool kids from the track team, a trip to the nearest sports bar to watch the UFC 100: Canadien Georges St-Pierre dominated his fight with flawless takedowns. Woo!

My arrival at the track was met with a pleasant site: the sky was the same colour as the track - blue, yay! My warmup felt tired and sluggish, but by the time I was ready for hurdles I was feeling good. Clearly, I was feeling very good.

110H - Form over the hurdles was as good as it has been during some training sessions but it was definitely good enough for a 1.26 second PB: 18.57, BAM! ... The 3.2 m/s tailwind may have helped a little...

DT - The situation was the same as discus - a crazy relaxed and focussed warmup followed by success. Coach Eric (sitting down on the right) had a wickedly simple and effective cue for me: "See the front, see the back." The last two warmup throws were in excess of 33m, but I didn't throw that far when it mattered. This experience (and the one from shot put) gave me huge insight into the mindset I should be in when I'm throwing. Another PB, BAM!: 30.66

PV - At this point, I'm 2 for 2 personal bests for the day. I'm not really expecting another until the 1500, but, well, it sorta just happened. BAM!: 3.90

JT - Although, it's beneficial in the physics sense to have a strong headwind when throwing javelin, I'm not really used to it. The result was acceptable : 31.55

1500 - It was me telling everyone there was a PB coming up this time, but it was still me doing the disappointing. I was so sure was going to though... I put in a huge effort, so it wasn't for a lack of trying, but the conditions sucked (lots of wind). The support was amazing. Yelling people lined the track - inside and out. Lockie was running the infield screaming encouragement. I laid everything on the track, but it wasn't good enough for a PB: 4:40.65 (1:11, 1:18.5, 1:19, 0:52)

Day 2: 2534. PB, BAM!
Overall: 5421. PB, BAM!

Maybe it was the numerous personal bests, extremely supportive team, sibling and sibling-in-law or being the centre of attention for practically the entire weekend, but even I'm exhausted but I would totally do that again... BAM!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Impressive bike handling

Some amazing free-cycling. I was really impressed, and I'm not that easy to impress...oh, look! A blue car!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Devon Grand Prix

The weekend past was another stage race, the Devon Grand Prix. Similar to Banff, in that there are more races than days, as well as great organization and community involvement, and a great prize purse ($6,000 is nothing to be sneezed at for the amateur cyclist). I had a fun time last year, and this year was no different.

In Friday night's hill climb, I went out hard too hard on the flat start, and crumbled like an aged cheese. Tied for 6th. Saturday morning was the same 30km time trial course as last year - unfortunately I'd given up on keeping stats by this time last year, so I can't compare my time, but I did improve on a 30/45 to getting 2nd this year, out of 20! Near the end, a car slowly pulled up beside first thought was that it was a commisionaire DQ-ing me for a centre-line violation. But I wasn't being THAT erratic. I saw out of the corner of my eye as they pulled level that the window was down and they were pointing something black at me...I've seen enough movies to expect to be staring down the barrel of an automatic weapon. It was even a clean, black, European car like all the bad guys drive (I'm the hero, of course...). Then I see Bill Quinney, a FLASH! and then his SLR camera. So here's the photo with that going through my head:

Eat, ice bath, hot shower, sleep, then back to cheer on the cat 5 team mates. The race organizers had made the crit a points race format, so every 5 laps was a sprint for points (5 points for first, 3 for second, 2, 1, 1), and then a big sprint at the end (10 for first, 8 for second, down to 1 for tenth).

David went out hard from the start, with Clarke on his wheel. It looked like a bad move, until three laps later when there were only four guys in the group! David dropped off the pace, and two bridged up, but essentially David handed Clarke a 5th or better finish. Clarke pulled a lot, but stayed near the front for the intermediate sprints to take third overall. Great teamwork, guys! Champagne for the podium!

Keith and I had a great race, and were often right up the front. I was off the pace for the first sprint (I think I sprinted past the guy in 4th to...still get 1 point, doh!), and started ramping up to get better placings for the subsequent sprints. I didn't realize who the players were, and I guess Dan Hunka won the first two. Anyway, after the last intermediate sprint at five laps to go, team mate Harlee got on the front and went like a bat outta hell for three laps, stopping anyone from thinking of attacking. Then with half a lap to go, I got on the front and let 'er rip...Bailie came up on the inside on the final straight...I threw for the line (about 20 metres early)....and just squeaked out first! Woo! A half-bottle of champas and a beer later, and I was giddy as anything. :)

So it turned out that Dan also got 24 points, but the final sprint was the tie-breaker, so I took the win. Wow...first crit win. And a commanding 15 point lead in the weekend's omnium.

In the following day's road race, I got in a breakaway with 30km to go. I went super-hard, thinking for some reason we might get caught, when the two biggest workhorses were in the break with me (Blaine and Batstone)...with my overall lead, and a team mate in the break, I should have taken it easy. Anyway, I managed to edge out one of the guys to take 4th at the line, giving me the omnium win, a handful of cash, and an upgrade to cat 2!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Kayaking is FUN!

This photo was taken in the first moments of paddling downstream from our put-in point Bowness Park. On my face is a big smile for the camera, but behind that smile is a pretty strong sense of fear and excitement. What if I fall over?

This photo was taken after we did the second half of the trip to the 10th Street Bridge. The gnarliest water (ie. slightly less tame than the rest) on the Bow is a standing wave below the Bridge. It owned me. Now, behind that smile and bloodied shin is a need to conquer that wave.