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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cycling Nutrition & Today's 100K ride

In preparation for next week's 160k Ride for Karen, I did a 100K ride.

As usual, I went with my good riding buddy. He's fresh off a trip to Muskoka, which included riding the full Muskoka 70.3 bike course (90K+)... according to him, it's killer, and I believe it! Lots of hills, and it saves the best for the end. I can't wait to check it out next season.

Today's 100K went well. It's the 3rd time we've done this particular route this year, and my 4th 100K ride of the year. It was probably our slowest effort, but wasn't looking to break any records. Mostly just getting the legs spinning, and trying out some food.

What I ate:

Breakfast: Shredded Wheat with skim milk (and sugar) + coffee
Hour 1: Gatorade + 1/2 Cliff Bar
Hour 2: eLoad + 1/2 Cliff Bar
Break: Hot Rod (seriously) and a Nestea Iced Tea
Hour 3: Gel shot + watered down Gatorade
Hour 4: Gel shot + watered down Gatorade
Recovery: Banana, coffee, leftover Pizza Pizza (bacon & jalapenos, mmm!), Dr. Pepper, a glass of skim milk.

The Hot Rod was just because I was craving salt... I never get to eat those crappy fat sticks, so it tasted a little extra yummy. The recovery food choices were just because... I love to eat! And what better excuse than "I just biked for 4 hours and burned 3500+ calories!". :) Figured a banana and a bunch of sugar were good, the rest was because I wanted it.

I had energy the entire ride, legs mostly felt great. I really have the hang of the fueling thing now, at least with cycling.

My century ride motto: Eat anything that isn't faster than me!!!

Over 160k (100 miles) I'll burn about 5000-6000 calories. There's no way to get that kind of calorie intake while riding, so the critical thing is to fuel up the day before and the morning of, then take in as much as you can without feeling like crap while riding.

Last year they had a lot of food at the rest stops. I'll start with a couple eLoads (and will bring a pouch or two with me), some gels, but other than that I'll eat what they've got. Bananas, bagels, cookies, Gatorade, lots of grub to choose from.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Look Back at My First Multisport Event: Cobourg Duathlon, 2007...

I did this duathlon before I started my blog, but figured I should capture what I remember about it before my memory fades!

I didn't really set out to do multisport... I was really just looking for a reason to keep my running base from the winter, so wanted a goal to work towards. Never in a million years would I have anticipated I'd be doing triathlons a year later! It wasn't even a glint in my eye.

It was a Sprint Duathlon, with distances:

5K run
20K bike
2.5K run

Full Results

At this point, I had only been running for about 10 months, so I was still learning about pacing and such.

Run #1 - 5K

The run felt good... at first! I could see my fast marathon friend at the 1K point... surprised to be keeping up with him, I kept a pretty quick pace. At the halfway point I was just behind, thinking things were going OK... but by the end of the 5K I was really spent... and worse, I could feel my ITBS start to flare up. More on that later.
Run #1 Time: 24:56, 39/78 (4:59/km)

Transition 1

I don't really remember what happened, but for some reason it took me 1:27. Should have just had to change shoes, but I didn't practice beforehand.

Bike - 20K

The bike started out really bad... I had gone too hard in the run and was paying for it right from the start.

About 5K in, I was trying to eat a gel, but then hit a bump. I slammed my hand back down on the handlebars, with gel still in hand... it splatted all over my brake hoods, it was nasty. Worse, I didn't have a gel to eat!

I remember looking at the course description before the race which described the course as hilly. What an understatement... the hills were killer. I didn't feel comfortable on the bike until the last few kilometers going back into Cobourg.
Bike Time: 44:25, 31/78 (27.0km/h)

Transition 2

1:55... too slow! Not sure why I took so long, I'm much faster in transition now.

Run 2 - 2.5K

So here was the test... would my ITBS problems subside, or were they going to kill me?

Unfortunately the answer was they were going to kill me. Within a block I could feel the familiar pain, and not long after I was stopped and stretching.

Such a short distance, I should have been able to hammer through it, but I ended up walking almost as much as I ran, and stretching every 200m or so. It was miserable. I don't know how I had better times than two people, they must have been on crutches.

I finished the run and headed straight to first-aid for ice... but ended up feeling the effects of the ITBS for weeks after.
Run #2 Time: 22:00, 76/78 (8:48/km)


A neat race, and one I should do again now that I'm dedicated to triathlon. I have my ITBS well under control, orthotics resolved it, so that won't be repeated.

The big take-away, though, was not to go out so hard... if I'm doing another duathlon, I'll take the first run a lot slower, closer to 10K pace, so I have something in the tank for the rest of the race.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Preview: Ride for Karen (Cycling - Century Ride)

The Ride for Karen is a 100 mile (160K) bike ride through beautiful Ontario countryside to raise money for kids with cancer.

I did this ride last year, and it was fantastic. Very well organized, great support on the route, lots to eat and drink, perfect!

They break up the start into groups, based on your target average speed. Last year, there was a 35km/h group, a 30km/h group, and a 25km/h. You're free to go faster or slower as you please, but if you want the full benefit of a giant peloton, it's best to stick with the group!

Despite starting in the rain, I was able to stick with the 30km/h group until a little over 100K... until pfffffft! Flat tire. The good people from the Trek Store were there in a jiffy with a new tube, saving me the trouble, but despite my buddy waiting for me we just couldn't get back to the group. The last 60K were a little rough, but in the end our average was around 28km/h. Felt great to finish that first century ride!

The goal this year: stay with the 30km/h pack, but more importantly learn a thing or two. Anything this long (over 5 hours of riding) is more than just a cool achievement, it's a learning experience - hydration, food, pacing and energy management, etc.

Triathlon Off-Season Begins...

With the Orillia Sprint Tri in the books, my triathlon off-season has officially begun.


I'm gearing up for the Toronto Marathon in October, so this is where my focus is shifting! I have to do a lot of mileage to get that base where it needs to be for this race, so it's going to be a busy September of running.

Once that is complete, I'll take a few weeks to rest and recover. I'll run through the winter again, most likely taking in a few events along the way.

I haven't decided yet on a spring marathon. I'll let my body decide! I have a busy spring/summer of triathlons planned, including at least 1 half-Iron, so we'll see how it fits in.


I have a century ride (160K) in a couple weeks, so I'll be doing a few more long rides as I gear up for that. Once that's complete, I'll take a more recreational approach to cycling, once a week most likely. I'm eager to do some fall mountain biking, last year was spectacular!

If winter isn't too bad, I might be able to get in some outdoor rides again. A few years ago it was mild, and I was able to bike right up to the first week of January without much trouble. When that's not possible, I'll use the indoor trainer.


My next race with a swim won't be until June, so I've dropped the swimming down to 1 day per week. I'm signing up for a Triathlon swimming class starting in October, so that will keep me busy over the winter. I really want to focus on swimming over the off-season to get my form worked out, I can't keep coming out of the water completely winded!

The Off-Season Philosophy

From everything I've read, the off-season should be a time to rest, recover, have fun, and work on weaknesses. That's what I'm going to focus on so I can hit the ground running in 2009!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Race Report: Bill Harper Run (5K)

I can't say enough about this event!


- 5K timed run (not chip timed though)
- Free lunch (Subway subs) and drinks (water, pop, etc)
- Free T-shirt
- Prizes - gobs of them! This run is affiliated with 52 division of the Toronto Police force, and man, they're great at soliciting companies to donate prizes! I ended up with a DVD for my kids and a $100 gift certificate for a Toronto restaurant!!!

All for $10!

Amazing value. And if that's not enough, there's a short kids run... every kid got a medal!

The Race

The course is on Center Island, which is basically dead flat. It's a beautiful setting along recreational paths on the island.

I started out fast... maybe faster than I should have. But I was feeling good, the sun was shining, it was a great day to be alive! :) For the first 1K anyway.

I clocked in at 4:19 for my first kilometer, way ahead of where I needed to be. But thing were still clicking, so I didn't slow up. The second kilometer was almost identical, 4:19.

About the halfway point I started to remember why I hate running 5K... it's just so fast and so intense, I find I suffer a lot more than in the longer distances. My pace dropped off to closer to my predictions, 4:34 and 4:40, before kicking out a 4:33 out to finish it up.

Final time: 22:26.50 - a personal best for 5K!

(That was by my watch, they seemed to have hosed some of the timing and reported my time higher than it was)

I'm absolutely delighted... I was musing about 23:30 before the race, so coming in a minute under is just gravy.

The Running Daemons!

My friend who told me about this great event rounded up a team of 4 guys to participate as a team! They add up your 5K scores, fastest wins.

We were hoping for a podium finish...

Imagine our surprise when WE WON! I'm not entirely sure how that happened, none of us were podium finishers in our age groups, but I guess having us run 22-minute range, two in the 23-minute range, and one guy in the 28-minute range was good enough to get it done!

Moral of the story: enter small enough races and you can actually win something!!! :)

Fantastic event, I'll almost certainly do it again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Preview: Bill Harper Run (5K)

Race web site

I don't actually know that much about this race, other than:

1) It's only $10
2) It's on the beautiful Toronto Islands
3) They have a kid's race that looks like fun for my two girls

I'm participating as part of a team (the "Running Daemons"), so our combined times will ranked against the other teams. We were trying to get four guys who could run sub-25:00 and try for the podium, but that didn't work out... so there's two of us, and two who probably won't.

The course is going to be flat, since everything on the islands is flat.

My last (and only!) 5K was the Resolution Run in January. It was snowing, there were a few inches of slush, and it was a hillier course... my time was 23:04, but I found out later they didn't measure the course properly and it was only 4.8K. Argh!

I'm hoping for a sub-4:45/km pace, which would be about a 23:30 finishing time. Or better! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

My day in court

In June of 2007, I was hit by a truck while riding my bike. I was going straight, he was turning left, and turned across my path... I had nowhere to go and plowed into the side of his truck.

Pictures... warning, kind of gross

The guy who hit me was charged with nothing more than a traffic ticket for making a "Turn while unsafe". $85 and a few demerits, a very lowly charge considering he could have killed me!

Yet he still challenged it... sigh! And I was subpoenaed to be a witness in the case.

So today I took a few hours off of work and headed down to the courtroom. He showed up, and made his case... I overheard him speaking with the prosecutors, and it was quite laughable. Basically he said he started turning, then someone was backing out on the road he was turning onto, so he stopped in the intersection and I hit him.

The prosecutor basically ripped him, saying "sir, you were turning left, you didn't have the right of way!". He finally got that, and when he came back to court he entered a guilty plea, "with explanation". He blathered on with his explanation, including the fact that I made a 6 foot skidmark and the cop said I was going 25km/h... umm... yeah... guess what, most vehicles go a lot faster than that!!!

And his actual story is not even accurate, the moment he started turning I knew I was going to hit him... there was just no way to avoid it, and I don't remember him stopping in the intersection.

The court reduced his fine to a pathetic $40.

Justice served? Not even close. My fingers are permanently bent and I was almost killed!!! He's out $40. Oh and the cop said I left a huge dent in his truck... so that made me feel better too.

There's nothing I can do at this point, other than hope he got the message that when you're turning left you have to make sure it's clear! I assume he knew that already and was just careless, though.

Done, over with, now I'll never think about it again!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Race Report: Orillia "Northern" Triathlon

What a fantastic day! Beautiful weather, calm clear water, a gorgeous park next to the lake... big crowds, 500+ triathletes doing the Sprint (and a bunch of duathletes and try-a-tri'ers!).

Full results

Pictures of yours truly


This race was very well run, registration was a breeze. Got my swag, bib, timing chip, and got marked within about 5 minutes flat!

I set up my transition area... it was bike porn everywhere I looked. About half the bikes around me were Cervelos, then there were a smattering of every other kind of tri bike you can imagine. The guy who racked next to me had a smoking Specialized full carbon bike... I don't know what model, but it was just amazing. I felt a little "underdressed" for the occasion with my Trek 1200 with the clip-on aero bars! I kept telling myself "it's the engine, not the bike", but I bet this engine could go a lot faster on a Cervelo P3C!!!

With transition set up, I made my way to the beach for a pre-race swim.

The Swim - 750m

Getting into the wetsuit was a breeze, everyone was helping each other zip up so had no problem finding a volunteer for my own zipping!

Water was clear, calm, and warm. 24C they said... I very quickly knew this swim was going to be fine, all my anxiety vanished and I got my head into the race.

They split the group into 7 waves, 3 minutes apart. The elites went first, then my wave (Men 30-34). I was a little nervous about being in such an early wave, as I knew the waves behind me would catch up... but it took them awhile to do it, I was halfway done before I saw the first chasers.

The giant orange buoys they use were incredibly hard to see, as we were swimming into the sun! So mostly I just followed the people around me.

All in all, an uneventful swim, it went as well as I could have hoped! The wetsuit made a huge difference, I was barely kicking but the legs stayed afloat. But I still left the water huffing and puffing and feeling wiped... still needs work.
Swim Time: 19:36, 427/509 (2:37/100m)

Transition 1

Transition was smooth... got out of the wetsuit without any problems. I didn't transition as fast as I could have, was trying to catch my breath from the swim.
T1 time: 2:18

The Bike - 33K

I was completely wiped from the swim, so for the first 10K I was spinning just trying to get back out of the red. It doesn't help that the race course starts with a series of small hills, either! I kept the cadence at 90rpm or faster and tried to coast as much as I could without losing too much time. This is where having good bike skills paid off... I was cornering a lot faster than the people around me, and got better runs down the hills. Being able to keep speed rather than having to accelerate over and over really helps conserve energy.

The course was pleasant, mostly small to medium rolling hills on quiet country roads. Very similar to what I find on my training runs, so that helped. I passed a lot of people, and was passed by a lot of people... it was hit and miss! A lot of strong cyclists in the later waves, and duathlon folks as well.

By the mid-way I found my legs and was able to push a bunch on some of the flat sections. I tried to keep my 90rpm cadence up hills though... the temptation was there to power up, even to get out of the saddle, but instead I downshifted and spun. It felt wrong.
Bike time: 1:05:35, 217/509 (30.2km/h).

Transition 2

Another easy and smooth transition. I had to swap my orthotics out of my cycling shoes and into the runners which added a bit.
T2 time: 1:09

The Run - 7K

I started the run feeling pretty depleted... I missed eating a gel I was planning at the start of the bike due to losing it in my pocket (don't ask). So I got one in right at the start of the run, and then started plodding along.

In my training, I did a few brick workouts, where you go out on the bike then switch to the run. This helped a lot, but even with that training my initial pace was pretty off. Needs more practice!

I hadn't decided whether to take walk breaks or not before the run, but the way I felt I decided it was a good idea. I walked through the water stations, taking about 30s to recover. Definitely helped me keep up a reasonable pace through the full 7K!

After about 2K I started to feel good again, and picked up the pace. It was clear 5:00/km wasn't going to happen, I always underestimate how much the first two legs take out of me... but I managed to keep the legs loose and moving.
Run time: 37:26, 321/502 5:21/km

Overall Time: 2:06:03, 282/509, 31/41 in M30-34

The Post-mortem

I feel like a triathlete! It went well, I knew what I was doing, where to be, and I did well enough to feel good about the result. :)

The swim went great for me... I know I'm not fast compared to the field, but I expected to do worse! I only really started in January, and with 9 months until my next triathlon there is plenty of time to improve. My 2:37/100m pace was quite a bit faster than my 3:19/100m in the try-a-tri I did in June, so I've definitely improved here. More to come!

The bike was the bike - it always feels like home! :) If I wasn't so bagged from the swim I like to think I could have done even better, but being in the top 1/2 of the field is just fine with me.

My run was a little quicker than the pace I've done in 1/2 marathons... which in retrospect makes a lot of sense. They're similar lengths of effort, around 2 hours. I think I should be able to get the triathlon pace up as I learn to swim more efficiently and manage the race pacing a little better, but for now I'm happy enough with my run.

I had an absolute blast... as with any event where you push yourself to your limits, there are times when it hurts and you're suffering, but I feel I did a good job and was well prepared. The crowds were awesome, from the people at the transition site to the folks at the end of their driveways, there was a lot of support! I made sure to smile and wave when I could to show my appreciation.

I hope my schedule next year allows me to do this race again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Race Day Checklist

I first posted this list at my previous tri, but there are a few additions.

To get there:
  • Map

For before:

  • Sun screen
  • Body Glide
  • Food (or gel)
  • Water (or Gatorade)
  • Tape to reinforce bib holes
At the start of the swim:
  • Goggles
  • Tri shorts
  • Cycling jersey (or alternate top)
  • Swim Cap (if two required - cold)
  • Wetsuit
At the transition to bike:
  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Glasses
  • Socks
  • Water bottle (with water - to clean feet)
  • Towel
  • Cycling Shoes
  • Race number holder belt
  • Gel
On the bike:
  • Water bottles (with Gatorade or eLoad)
  • Pump
  • Spare tube
  • Tire levers
At the transition to run:
  • Running Shoes
  • Gel
For after:
  • Food
  • Change of clothes
  • Water

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Preview: Northern Orillia Triathlon

This Sunday I will be participating in my second triathlon, the Orillia Sprint Tri.

Swim: 750m swim
Bike: 33K
Run: 7K

The Goal
The main goal here is to get experience with swimming in a race. In my first race the swim was only 400m, and I did it without a wetsuit. This time I'm going almost twice as far, and with a wetsuit. It adds a whole new dimension to the swim and to the transition.

Once I emerge from the water and manage to transition to the bike, my goal will shift into just enjoying the ride and run, pushing with whatever I have left! They're short distances so I should be able to pound them out pretty fast, assuming the 20 minutes of swimming hasn't totally drained me.

The Race
I have never done this race before, but browsing past results tells me to expect over 500 competitors! That's a much larger group than the 150 or so I competed with in my first triathlon in June. This will also be my first time racing in the Subaru Triathlon Series. I get the impression the level of competition is a little bit higher in this series, I've seen a few of their events on TV (TSN) and there are some top notch names.

Expected Results

It's pretty unpredictable for me, there are a lot of question marks. I don't know much about the bike/run course, I don't know how the swim will go, so I'm kind of firing in the dark here!

Swim: About 20:00 in the pool... wetsuit should help, lake hinders, so ???
Transition 1: No idea... hopefully fast!!!
Bike: 1:06:00 (30km/h) the course map <--- looks hilly
Transition 2: Fast... dump bike, change shoes
Run: 35:00 (5:00/km)

Should be fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My First Wetsuit Swim

I went for a swim workout with a local (Toronto) triathlon group.

Sidebar: If you're in the Toronto area, it's a nice group, and a great chance to get out there. It's run by the EnduroSport store in the Beach area (on Queen), details are here. Free to participate, $10 to rent a wetsuit if you need one. It's fairly unstructured, one group went out far and swam between some buoys, others stayed near the shore.

My Wetsuit Experience

Getting the wetsuit on took me a few minutes. They're very tight, and they don't just pull on easily, there's a lot of tugging, unrolling, shifting, squatting... and I needed help to zip up the back.

Once it was on I looked at myself in the mirror. One word: BATMAN! :) It's actually pretty flattering, tight but it also smooths everything out. I looked fast!

We waddled down to the water, which I'm sure was an amusing sight for anyone driving by. Think March of the Penguins.

The water was COLD. I don't just mean cold, I mean COOOOLD.

I started by getting some water into my suit, which was what I'd been told to do. It allows the suit to shift around a bit and get comfortable.

When I finally got to floating, the added buoyancy from the suit was immediately apparent. Without moving a muscle, I was floating! As I started swimming, my legs simply floated at the surface behind me, even without kicking. All that practicing my form to get those feet to the surface and here they were doing it without my help. :)

I swam for a bit, but the cold water was a lot to take... I had a cold going too, so my breathing was really wheezy. All in all, though, swimming in the wetsuit was completely fine.

I trudged back up to the store, and then came the next challenge - getting out of the wetsuit. I see a very long first transition in my future... it didn't want to come off easily! Kind of like peeling a banana without tearing the peel.

Really looking forward to the race next week! I just hope the water isn't as cold - that was terrible, really impacted my ability to swim.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Toronto Marathon - The Plan

The Race
The Toronto Marathon, October 19th

The Problem
My long runs are only at 16K, and there are only 11 weeks left... so it's going to be a less than perfect ramp-up, and a less than perfect race! I also have a triathlon next weekend (with a 7K run) and a century ride in early September, so there are those interruptions as well.

The Solution
  • Use 10 and 1's (walk breaks) to limit injuries.
  • Rely on my overall endurance, especially from cycling, and my previous running.
  • Ramp up quickly to 20K, then more normally to 30K+

My long run/event plan looks like this:

Week 1: 16K run (this week - complete!)
Week 2: Sprint Triathlon (features a 7K run)
Week 3: 20K run
Week 4: 23K run
Week 5: 160K bike (Ride for Karen)
Week 6: 26K run
Week 7: 29K run
Week 8: 32K run
Week 9: 20K run (taper start)
Week 10: 13-15K run
Week 11: Toronto Marathon, 42.2K

It's aggressive, but if I feel it's not going well, I will back off and do the 1/2 marathon instead.

The Rationale
Most marathoners are shaking their heads by now... but my goals are different than a runner's goals. I'm not trying to do a really fast marathon, I'm trying to push my endurance and understand my limits so I can someday complete an Ironman.

The Ironman run is not a running event for most competitors, it is a death march... if you look at the finishing times from any Ironman, it's clear the marathon at the end is slow and painful. I feel I will get more from doing the Toronto Marathon poorly prepared and pushing the limits than I would from doing a sizzling 1/2 marathon at this point.

And it's end of season, I have a few months to recover from it before I need to start ramping up for 2009!

The Goal
Finish. That's really about it.

Based on my previous 10K and 1/2 marathon results, I am confident if I trained properly I could do a sub-4:00 marathon... but since I won't be training properly I'm thinking a 6:00/km pace is about as good as I can do. That would put me around 4:15:00, assuming all goes well. I'll be taking walk breaks, so I might be even slower.

I have to stick to this goal and mentality and not try to push, or I will certainly get myself into trouble! A fast marathon can wait for another day, it's not an immediate goal of mine.

Olympic Schedule - Triathlon (and Related Sports!)

The schedule for the various Triathlon and Triathlon-component sports (source).

These are local dates, so sometimes they're actually the evening prior (middle of the night mostly). So check your local listings!

Women - 18th
Men - 19th

Road Cycling
Men - 9th (road race) 13th (time trial)
Women - 10th (road race) 13th (time trial)

Mountain Bike
Women - 22nd
Men - 23rd

Swimming (marathon swimming in open water!)
Women - 20th
Men - 21st

Marathon (not listed there, but found elsewhere)

There is also a lot of pool swimming, track cycling, and track running that I haven't listed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Running Mont-Royal in Montreal

I went to Montreal Monday for a quick vacation, and ended up with about 3 hours to kill before I met my friends. A perfect window for a run!

I found a 10K route that went up Mont-Royal... the highest point is 794 feet, the lowest 43 feet.

A 750 feet climb is a lot more than my usual "big climb" of around 100 feet! So this was a big challenge for me. The first 5K is steadily uphill to the peak, followed by a steep downhill, then just when you're getting comfortable it hits you with a steep 1K climb before the final downhill to the finish.

I sure earned the short break I took to enjoy the view at the top!!!

The way up hurt my Achilles. I suspect this is due to the foot angle when climbing, it's like the toes are coming up toward the shin.

The way down hurt my knees and shins. Your no longer pushing to go faster, instead you're fighting against going faster than your feet can move!

All in all, it was a really good run for me. I wasn't pushing that hard, but finished in about an hour anyway. I paced myself well up the mountain, and had enough left for a kick to the end. And what a beautiful city!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Finding Running/Biking Routes

I'm going to Montreal for a day, and will have time to squeeze in a run. But I don't know the city that well, especially around the hotel... what would be a good route?

Went to's map search and found one!

Works pretty simply - you find an area on the map, zoom to a reasonable level, then ask it to find all the runs people have plotted in that area in the distance you're interested in.

I found a neat 10K that starts almost right at my hotel...

It's not a perfect interface - I had a little trouble with it hanging and not coming back with anything... but still a cool tool, once they get the kinks out it'll be very useful! Already is.

Calgary Ironman 70.3

Calgary is the home of a new Ironman 70.3 event!

This is half the distance of an Ironman:

1.2 mile swim (1900m)
56 mile bike (90 km)
13.1 mile run (21.1 km)

Add the distances up? 70.3 miles.

The swim should be very nice, it's in a small calm lake.

The bike will be interesting... the biggest challenge about the course will likely be the wind. This area has wind farms... the wind is always blowing as the air comes off the mountains and sweeps across the prairies.

But on the bright side, they've chosen a point-to-point bike route, so you start the bike at Ghost Lake near Cochrane but end at the Glemore Reservoir in Calgary. This will put the wind at your back for much of the ride. Might see some really fast times if it's blowing right.

There is also a pretty killer climb coming out of Cochrane, as you exit the valley. I don't know the rest of the bike route all that well, but the area is mostly rolling hills.

The run looks flat, but I'm not very familiar with the area.

My in-laws live near the start, so I was strongly considering doing this race, but it won't work out for 2009... maybe another year.