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Friday, July 29, 2011

Cycling: Are Cars Your Biggest Worry?

I was just browsing this article from the Toronto Star that contains some statistics on cycling injuries.

This part stood out:

Only about one in four of the overall cycling-related hospitalizations involved a collision with a motor vehicle

“For three out of four, something else is going on. It could be just a crash on a trail or a collision with another cyclist or a pedestrian,” Webster said.

Personally, I've only been in the hospital once for a cycling-related incident, and it was when I was hit by a truck... but some of my other crashes:
  • Hit an off-leash dog on a trail, went flying over the handlebars - bruised ribs
  • On two different occasions, my friend and I managed to misread each others intentions while on our road bikes and wiped each other out
  • Multiple mountain biking spills, some of which were minor bruising, others were pretty bloody painful... my buddy cracked a helmet once on an endo
Incidents with cars are probably more likely to cause death, but it's worth thinking of other ways to make your ride safer.

Speaking of which - to nobody's surprise, helmets work!
While the numbers point to a positive trend, they also show the message about helmets hasn’t reached some. Of those who still ended up in hospital trauma units because of head injuries, 78 per cent were not wearing helmets.
When I was hit by a truck, it cracked my helmet.  I did not sustain a head injury.

Shouldn't that be enough?  Wear a lid!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Race Preview: Kyle's Run

What is it?

A 5k or 10k trail race in Whitby, Ontario, supporting the Canadian Liver Foundation.

Race website


A rather wonderful conservation area near my house!  I've written about Cullen Central Park and Heber Down on this blog - they're really nice park and wilderness area butted right up against the town of Whitby in suburban Toronto.

What kind of course?

Trails, but other than that I don't know the actual route... most of the trails are well groomed gravel or dirt, a tiny bit of asphault.  At this time of year should be dry.  There are a few monster hills up and down the valley in the conservation area, but I'm not certain they will be part of the race (but I suspect they will!).

Should be a fun and interesting race, the price is right, see you there!  Right?  Riiiiight!???

Monday, July 11, 2011

Race Report: Peterborough Sprint Triathlon

Defining characteristics of this race:

  • The heat
  • Weedy swim
  • The heat
  • Dull bike course
  • The heat
  • Running on grass
  • The heat
... so while I had a good time, that was more a function of it being a triathlon and me loving the sport than this race!

The one thing it has going for it is the race site, it's in a nice park by a lake.  And it's pretty close to my house... which may or may not help you any!


As I mentioned here before, I haven't done much swimming this year... I got in about a half dozen swims in the last few weeks and nothing before that for months.  My swim time was pretty bad, but that was expected.

19:58 (334/439) 

(Worth noting - they include the long run from the beach in the swim time... but still, I sucked)

Transition 1

Got out of my wet suit quicker than expected, fumbled a bit with shoes and socks.  1:50.  Not fast, will practice before my next "real" race.


Heart rate was sky high at the start of the bike, mostly from my bad swimming technique.  Got myself into a rhythm though and started to pick off some of the people who had slipped ahead of me in the swim.  I really needed more hills, seemed like every  time we hit a long flat section I got passed by the fancy bikes with aero bars... but I'd pay it back on the hills.  All in all I was pretty happy with it.

Oh, and triathletes - learn some bike handling skills!  The turn-around was embarrassing to watch - riders down, crashing, just trying to make a U-turn.  A guy almost wiped me out and ended up in the gravel, two others were already down... it was a sad sight!  Lean in, pushing through your outside pedal (which should be down!).  Practice it in a parking lot! 

38:11 (117/439, 31.4km/h average)

Transition 2

0:49 - pretty good.  Shoes on, helmet off, go!

Run... did I mention the heat?

I didn't really notice the heat until the run, and then it smoked me... it was so hot, the sun was out, and the shade was sparse.  I tried to get under 5:00/km but at the start it was next to impossible, I just couldn't push through it.  The course is mostly on grass, which didn't help either!

I pretty much struggled through the first 3km or so, then finally found something extra.  The last kilometer and a bit was in the shade, I salvaged a sub-25:00 at least and charged past a dozen or so people in the last few hundred meters.  That at least felt good!

24:24 (137/439, 4:53/km pace)


1:25:10, 157/439, 20/38 M35-39

Not great, not horrible.  The competition at this race was stiff... it was a qualifier for the Sprint championships, so my placing is lower than usual.  My goal was to do more of a shake-down for my off-road tri in August, so accomplished that.  Hopefully I can get my swimming clicking a little at least before then, as usual it was a mess!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Canoe for Dummies

Still basking in the glow of our reasonably successful attack on the Moraine Adventure Relay, I have been roped into yet another adventure race.

This one is Logs, Rocks and Steel.

We'll be doing the shorter of the two options - the Pine Crest Course.

  • 4km paddle 
  • 22km mountain bike
  • 5km trail run
All to be completed in its entirety by both members of our team of two.  No problem... except for that pesky paddle!

Caution: Newbie on the Lake!

I took advantage of a week spent at a cottage and the canoe I had available to me to do some preliminary training.  It took some getting used to, especially keeping the bloody thing pointing in the right direction!  But once I figured out which way to lean and what side of the boat to stroke on, it all came together.

I managed an average speed of 6km/h over my trip around the lake, which I think is pretty OK for a single person in a canoe.  I don't know quite how it would translate with two people - is it double the power, double the speed?  Being a canoe newbie I can't say for sure... but looking at results from last year, I think we can be in the ballpark of the middle of the pack without too much trouble, then make things up on the bike and run.

Things I learned:
  • Life jacket wasn't just bulky but also caused me to sweat a lot 
  • Reaching for water bottles is impossible without stopping paddling, so a camelback will be more of a necessity than it is on the bike
  • Leaning helps when the boat is swinging on you in the wind/current
Verdict: I enjoyed my time on the water, and can't wait to train more for this!