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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ... bye!

2013 was a pretty good year.


Had a good time at Around the Bay 30km.  Set a best time for myself, and held a solid pace.  Beat my personal best marathon time at the Toronto Marathon.  3:39:24... I had loftier goals, but it was better than I'd ever run 42.2km before.


DNF'd at Paris to Ancaster due to a mechanical.  It was pretty spectacular - ended up having to replace my chain, rear derailleur (and hanger)... go big or go home!

Bought a new mountain bike, then did a 30km MTB race in the spring, and an 8 hour solo race in the fall.  It's been just a joy to ride, I fell in love with the sport all over again.  Also had the chance to bike in Canmore, Alberta, in the Rockie Mountains... that was cool.

On the road, I did the 130km Tour de Waterloo and the 160km Ride 4 United Way.  Both were a lot of fun!

Adventure Racing

We won the team category of the Logs, Rocks and Steel Adventure Race.  Highlight of the year!  I've never really legitimately won something like that - we put together the best paddle of the day along with some steady solid biking and running, just all came together.


We did two races - the Canoe the Nonquon and the Muskoka Adventure.  Both were a lot of fun, even though we got our butts handed to us (and then some!). 

Looking Ahead

Ironman in 2014.  Back to triathlons, and the raison d'etre for this blog.  5 years since I did it the first time, hard to believe it's been that long.  Can't wait.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Back in the Pool

I haven't been in the pool regularly for a few years.  In fact this is my first swim of 2013... (for those keeping track, 2013 ends Tuesday!)

Got back in today with a slow easy swim, focusing primarily on technique.  It came back quickly, and I felt really quite good.  Found my balance and rotation quite nicely.

Before I went, I read this passage from Total Immersion (page 55 of the edition I have, "This Fireside Edition 2004"):

Face the wall and reach up with, say, your right hand, sliding it as far up as you can.  Now rotate and lift your elbow slightly off the surface.  You'll feel a stretch in the muscles surrounding your armpit.  Turn your left hip and shoulder about 45 degrees away from the wall and you'll feel tension building in the powerful latissimus muscle (in your back, below your armpit) - not on the weak should muscles.
This really clicked for me... trying it got my head around one thing in particular - rotation should come before the stroke starts.  I seem to rely on my stroke to rotate me, which is wrong wrong wrong... so just that little pause where my rotation started before the stroke really helped me mentally.

Also I can visualize this building up some elastic power that will snap when the stroke starts and power me forward.  It'll take awhile to do this habitually, but this year my sole focus will be technique.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fake Bike Trip - Progress Report #2

My fake bike trip from Toronto to Edmonton is going a little faster after a 43km ride today out in the snow... not to often I spend over 2 hours on a bike and only cover 43km!

The roads were covered in snow, though, really treacherous at times and a full body work-out.  There was also the small matter of ice falling from trees on my head... fortunately nothing too huge.

Combined with the 35km I did on the trainer I'm now just past Orillia, Ontario.

I also put a map up in my home gym... it's of southern Ontario, the other side has the rest of Ontario, and when I finally leave Ontario I'll replace it with a full map of Canada to track my progress!

Next up: Port Sevren, Ontario.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fake Bike Trip - Progress Report #1

My fake bike trip from Toronto to Edmonton started yesterday with me leaving Whitby. 

I biked 30km (on the stationary trainer) which took me from Whitby to Greenbank, Ontario. 

Greenbank is best known for being one of the many little places you have to slow down to 50km/h along Highway 7/12, or you might get a massive ticket. 

On the way I fake passed through Brooklyn, a nice little town that's now part of Whitby.  Also through Myrtle Station, which once was home to a train station way back in the day... trains still run through it, but I don't think the station itself is still standing.

30km down, 3339km to go.

Next up: Beaverton, ON. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bike Toronto to Edmonton

Whitby (Toronto suburb) to Edmonton: 3369 km.

Inspired by Phil on "Modern Family" (who "walked" to Canada on his elliptical trainer!), I will track my rides as if I were covering the trip from Whitby to Edmonton.

The Route

All I need now is a map and some stick pins.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mountain Biking in the Snow! Some Tips.

There's something just awesome about flying through a forest covered in snow.

Most of the time. 

Snow is tricky.  Sometimes it behaves like sand, you sink in and slide around.  Other times it's hard packed and feels like a fast trail... only to find if you go a bit off-centre you sink in and down you go!   Corners that were firm and fast in the summer can be icy and dicey.

But riding in snow is how I got used to that feeling of not having the bike completely planted under me, and that being OK.  So if you take it slow at first, you can really improve your bike handling just from the experience.

Things to watch out for:
  1. Roots/logs/etc are slippery as heck in the snow, always wet/icy.  Attack them as close to perpendicular as possible, anything else and your wheels can easily slide sideways under you.
  2. Snow is unpredictable, be ready for it.  Where people have done a lot of braking, the hard pack deteriorates into loose slippy snow.  And it's usually at the worst possible time, ie. that sharp turn at the bottom of the hill!  So be careful and alert to what's ahead, even more than normal.
  3. Use what you've got.  You don't need a "Fat Bike" (below) - I'm sure they're fun, get one if you want, but you can do a heck of a lot with your regular bike and tires (which I do!)
  4. Follow the Crowd.  It's hard to even know where the trail is in the snow, so best to stick to trails that have had traffic and some good hard pack.
  5. Bundle up and have fun!

Fat Bike