Thursday, 31 May 2012


May - the month where we skipped spring and went straight to summer.  It feels like we ended the month on a two-week heatwave, with zero precipitation and lots of amazing training weather.

This month in Triathlon
Olympic - Jonathan Brownlee won the WCS San Diego race, Sven Riederer in second and Richard Murray backing up his huge performance in Sydney with a third. Helen Jenkins won the women's title in her last major race before the Olympics, with Densham big again winning silver and Laura Bennett in third clinching her Olympic spot.  At the end of the month, the WCS Madrid race was the last Olympic qualifying event, and again Jonny Brownlee came out on top (two for two at WCS races in 2012) followed by three Russians (Bryukhankov, Polyanskiy, Vasiliev in 2-3-4).  For the women, Nicola Spirig took the title in a sprint from Aileen Morrison and Barbara Riveros.  Canada's Brent McMahon secured a third position for Canada at the Olympics, he'll line up beside Simon Whitfield and Kyle Jones in August.  For the women, Paula Findlay and Kathy Tremblay will race in the maple leaf.
The Boss - at least until his brother is racing again.
Half Ironman - Wins by Vegas contenders Andy Potts (70.3 St. Croix), Filip Ospaly (70.3 Austria), Michael Raelert (70.3 Mallorca), Jesse Thomas (repeat win at Wildflower) and (dare we say?) Lance Armstrong (70.3 Florida).  On the women's side, Canadian Angela Naeth destroyed St. Croix with a course record on a tough wet day to establish herself as one of the favourites for the world 70.3 crown in September.
Dominant start to the season by Naeth.
Ironman - The biggest event on the Ironman calendar in May was the second running of Ironman Texas, the only Ironman worth more than P1000 in the pro rankings.  Jordan Rapp had a breakthrough race, running 2:46 to take the title ahead of another breakthrough performance (Justin Daerr) with Mathias Hecht rounding out the podium.  Mary Beth Ellis won the women's race, followed by Caitlin Snow (2:51 marathon!) and Amy Marsh.

May Summary
Targets for May:
1. Build volumes back to peak levels by the end of the month.
2. Layer in quality for all three sports each week.
3. Rock out for AP's Last Waltz on the May long weekend.

Volume in the last two weeks was nice, 18 hours last week and on track for 20-24 this week depending on the weather this weekend.  Quality is there on the bike and somewhat on the swim, still figuring out how to get quality running in without thrashing my body for a couple days.  AP's Last Waltz was a total blow-out, with many highlights, one being the fact that Molson Stock Ale, the favoured brew of my university swim team, is now the 'in' beer on tap in Toronto.  We were only 15 years ahead of the times!
Liquid Gold
Swimming - 16:23 hours, 53,591 metres

After two relatively lean months in the pool, I was happy with the May workouts.  4K a session is easy now,  and where I was consistently averaging 3-4 sessions a week in May I think that can go to 4-5 in the summer months now that race season is here.

Key session: My masters club adds a Tuesday night session for the spring and summer, which comes at the end of a long day (hill intervals on the bike in the morning, recovery run at lunch, then swim in the evening before turning around for another swim session Wednesday morning).  Two days ago we did 12*50 on 1:00, alternating easy/fast, and I was able to hit 32's on the fast 50's (SCM) at about a 90% effort.  Hopefully that's enough speed to at least hit the second pack at Eagleman on June 10th!

Cycling - 36:18 hours, 1,082 kilometres

Back into a regular riding routine of three rides a week, need to add a fourth in June and a fifth for July and August.  Power feels good on the bike, numbers are strong, looking forward to my first half-ironman hit-out on a dead-flat course in ten days' time.

Key session: Despite living in Toronto for 12 years I'd never biked door-to-door from my place here to the house I grew up in 150KM away.  On Mothers Day weekend I did just that on a beautiful Saturday morning, and with the exception of about 3KM of gravel road, the route was really fun.  Strava file:

Running - 20:26 hours, 273 kilometres

Returned to speedwork way too fast after Strongman, and as a result kept having to back off the running to fully recover.  The last two weeks of May were solid, and I'm on track to run 90K this week and feeling fast again.

Key session: Nothing outstanding about this run, but it was 27K which was my longest run since Japan and was able to back it up with a hard hill-climb workout on the bike 10 hours later: Oh, and it was 33 degrees Celsius with a humidex of 38c when I started the run, and it STILL felt cooler than the marathon in Japan.

Total - 73:07 hours
Down from 80 hours last May, primarily due to the extended Japan recovery extending into the first two weeks of the month.  Very happy with the last two weeks, and am excited that race season starts in 11 days!  Solid month of training but pales in comparison to the awesomeness of the Fringe season finale, and the news that it's coming back for Season Five next year!
FRINGE - Best show on cable.
June Preview
Targets for June:
1. Race pro for the first and second time - hammer the swim and bike, see what's left on the run.
2. Focus on bike intervals and swim volume.
3. Take The Windy City by storm mid-month for Cubs-Red Sox and assorted shenanigans..

June brings the racing season into full swing:
- June 3: Ironman Cairns, Macca's validation race to get on the Kona start line in October.
- June 3: Rev3 Quassy, $125K prize purse draws a stellar pro field.
- June 10: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman, Crowie's first race since Melbourne, yours truly toeing the line.
- June 23: ITU Kitzbuehel World Championship, diluted field due to pending Olympic games?
- June 24: Ironman France, Lance's IM debut against Van Lierde, Kienle and Zamora.

On the hunt for some race kits that mimic these Deep Purple concert uniforms:

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ryder Hesjedal

Over three weeks this month, a 31-year-old cyclist from Victoria, British Columbia rode his bike for over 90 hours around Italy with 188 of his peers.  When the dust/rain/sleet/snow had settled in Madrid at the conclusion of the final stage, a 28.1KM individual time trial, he'd covered the Giro 16 seconds faster than his nearest rival, going down in history as the first Canadian cyclist to not only podium in a grand tour, but to win it all.

For the Canadian cycling fan, the win was twice as sweet as the victory came riding Canadian bikes (the Cervelo R5CA for the road stages and the Cervelo P5 for the time trials). 
The Ryder P5 getting a final tune-up pre-stage 22.
In my twelve years in Toronto I feel like we've already seen a bit of a 'bike boom' and the phrase 'cycling is the new golf' has been thrown around a lot the last couple of years, hopefully this win and some media coverage will encourage more people to get out and ride beautifully around our gorgeous country that was made for exploring outdoors. 

Pretty cool career so far for a guy who's been a two-time Olympian (mountain biking in 2004, road race and time trial in 2008), a national champion (2007 Canadian time-trial champion), a silver medalist a the World Championships (mountain biking cross-country, 2003), winner of a stage in each of the three grand tours (solo in the Vuelta d'Espana, Team Time Trials in both the Giro and the Tour de France) and now the GC winner of a Grand Tour (2012 Giro d'Italia).  Enjoy, to the victor go the spoils!