Saturday, March 29, 2008

Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer

Welcome to my holiday book review....  Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

I have meant to read this book for YEARS.  Maybe I am the only one who hasn't read it?  Well, if you've been putting it off or haven't heard of it, I suggest you head down to the bookstore ASAP.  

WOW! is all I can say...  Well, that and, "I'm never going to climb Mt. Everest!"

To enjoy this book you probably need to be interested in at least one of the following:  mountaineering, huge challenges, teamwork under pressure, pushing the limits, survival, heroism, tragedy, nature, endurance...  I would say a love of, or understanding of mountaineering is completely unnecessary to get into it though.

One warning...  if your lifelong dream is to climb Mt. Everest you may not want to read this. Keep the dream alive and don't scare the @#$%! out of yourself...

As mentioned, any thoughts I have ever entertained (none really) of climbing Everest are hereby shelved.  In fact, I have instructed Sacha not to allow me to ever consider the idea.  The book is at times terrifying...  imagining the ordeal was quite enough thank you!

It's been a while since I reviewed a book (like maybe 20 years), so bear with me as I get around to describing why this book is so good...

1.  Man against nature is a compelling storyline (for me).  A man (or woman's) car, house, job, clothes, bank account comes to mean exactly ZERO when he or she may die on the side of a mountain.  (OK, well maybe the clothes will matter...)

2.  Critical decision making and teamwork became interesting elements of the unfolding disaster.  Krakauer does a great job of allowing the reader into the minds of the key figures. 

3.  Everest - I learnt an amazing amount about the mountain.  We've all heard of it but to hear how it is tackled by a modern expedition (and what can go wrong!!) is super-interesting.  NOTE:  If there is a photo edition - buy it....  My copy had a paltry handful of black and white photos.

All told, this is a fascinating, sickening, heartbreaking account of an adventure that went seriously off the tracks.  It is amazing and horrifying to put yourself into the crampons of the people who lived and died during this expedition....

This book gets my highest rating - two thumbs up, five stars, a gold statuette....  

Rating:  * * * * *

Next Read:  The Kite Runner (whenever Sacha finishes it...)

Aloha from Kauai...

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Thursday, March 27, 2008


Kauai - also known as the Garden Island - is a damn fine place as far as I can tell.

So far, we are having a blast.  The pace is super slow here - just what we need.  The beaches are really quiet even though it is Spring Break.  I think next week they will be deserted.

We have fallen into a quick routine which is basically AM=Beach, PM=Pool, 5=Dinner, 7:30=Kid's in bed.  Sacha and I spell each other off for some exercise - being late in her pregnancy, her exercise is walking (at a jogging pace - seriously - it's weird...)  I had my first run today (about 5 miles)...  my back was OK, though I didn't push it too much.  It seems that running does not upset the same muscle as skiing.  Luggage lifting on the other hand was excruciating...  though, when one's wife is 8 months pregnant it is best not to complain about lifting luggage (or anything else.)  

My current mini-goal is to set a personal record (PR) at the Sun Run.  My best time there was two years ago: 45:24.  I didn't run it last year.  I know I am more fit now though I haven't been running as much (due to all the skiing.)  I have time to dial it in before April 20th though.

I will have many great photos (now that I have found my camera lens which was missing for two days...)  In the meantime I have only this snapshot.

Mattias and Aia - (if not for Mattias I would be the whitest man on the island - but he got his genes from me, so I suppose I am ultimately to blame on both accounts.)

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nationals Wrap & Race Report #4

Let's get the race report out of the way first...

In summary: I skied 5 of the 15 km and then decided to rest my back.  About 3 or 4 km into the race it was clear to me that this was going to be a torturous event on my back.  As I completed the first lap I weighed my options:

1.  Try to complete the final 10km in pain.
2.  Call it a day.  Live to fight (walk) another day.

The choice was fairly clear to me... I didn't feel I had much to prove by fighting this injury.
I had seriously considered not starting the race since I felt like 15km with a recently injured back was a tall order.  In the end, I think it was my success at the sprint on Friday that convinced me to give it a shot.

This one isn't eating me up...  I had an awesome week.

So onto Nationals Wrap-Up

4 Events
1 Silver Medal
1 Bronze Medal
2 Good Races
2 Not Good Races

In the end I outperformed my expectations.  I feel that to come away with two medals after 3.5 months of skiing is a great accomplishment and one that I am very proud of.

I'd like to take a moment to thank George and Kathy for all of their wax work.  My teammates and fellow competitors for showing up every day and pushing hard.  Yoshihiro Nitta for showing me how far I have to go!  Tony for helping me get to two Nationals podiums in record time.  My sponsors:  Innovative Fitness for keeping me in shape and ready to rock, Rudy Project for their superior eyewear used in every race, Team DHL for supporting our team and the Momentum Foundation for helping me to reach another goal.

I feel as though I am on track or ahead of pace to reach my 2010 Paralympics goal.  At this event I hoped to establish myself as a contender for a spot on the National Team (qualification races are in December).  I feel that I succeeded in that goal.  

The downside of the week was obviously the injury and the two races that were sacrificed due to it.  This is a case of "#%!@ happens"...  Or, as Robin McKeever so succinctly put it, "You will have to learn not to fall."

Crashing is part of the sport - I crashed.  No, need to break out the violin.  There is little doubt that as my skills improve I will be less likely to eat snow...

So, with that I close the door on my first season as a Nordic Racer.  I will probably find the energy and time to give a season report at some stage...  but for now I am looking forward.

On the horizon (in the order they will arrive):

- Holiday - Kauai for 2 weeks starting tomorrow!
- Triathlon training - starting as soon as the back is ready (maybe 4 or 5 days for running and cycling, hopefully earlier for swimming.)
- April 20 - Sun Run
- May 11 - Cultus Lake Triathlon
- May 23 - Baby #3 is due!!!
- June 7 - Triathlon World Championships

Some photos from the week...

                           On the podium at the Banquet - Silver Medal in the Sprint Race

                           Yoshihiro Nitta (the Bullet Train) - Winner of all 4 races this week.

The Canadian Medallists in the Sprint - Mark Arendz (middle), Myself (right) and Alexei Novikov

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Nationals - Race Report #3

Today was a good day.  I had a good feeling about this race ever since I saw it on the Race Notice.  Nordic Sprints are very cool... if you ever get the chance to watch a high level sprint like the one today you should make the time to check it out.... (there's a pretty good one coming in Feb. 2010...)  Today we witnessed several Olympic gold medallists, several World Champions and many stars of the x-c world in the most exciting event of the week.

My approach to today's race was simple - apply copious A535 to my lower back, warm-up as much as possible to loosen the muscles... then grit my teeth and ignore the pain for 1200 metres.  I was a bit worried that under the extra strain of a sprint it might hurt way more, but in fact I think the adrenaline of the sprint format helped a lot.

The qualification round is a time-trial from which the top four move on to the final.  (The format changed from what I described yesterday because one skier from our category didn't start the race.) 

9:03:15 - Starting Gate.  I started 7th and despite my sore back I felt pretty positive.  I enjoy the all-out nature of these sprints.  When I got the green light I put the hammer down and went as hard as I could from start to finish.  My back cooperated through the 4 minute effort - I felt it the whole way but I doubt it slowed me down too much.  I was pretty excited to qualify for the final with the day's 3rd fastest time.

The final was set for 12:30pm and I approached it exactly the same way as I did the morning race...  The final is far more exciting as racers take to the course together and the first to the line wins.  To achieve fairness across the Para-Nordic category the organizers employ a "Hunter" start.  This is too complex to go into, but essentially racers start at slightly different times (but within a few seconds of each other) to take into account different "disabilities" - this allows a "first to the line wins" scenario.

So, we headed off together and it wasn't long before all of us Canadians were admiring the caboose of the Bullet Train (Nitta - took home the win - again).

When the dust settled I had third place - 2nd place Canadian = silver medal!  "Not too shabby" I thought to myself as I wheezed loudly at the finish line.


- Pay attention to attitude and routines on those days when you have a "good feeling" - try to re-create the same feelings and routines on days that don't set up as well from the outset.

- Sometimes injuries only require a straw to overcome (i.e. suck it up.)  Just hope that it isn't the straw that breaks the camel's back though....  I was lucky today (and I did use a bit more than a straw... 2 massages, 2 hours of hot tub, 1 hour of hot bath, 1 tube of A535...)

Next Race:  Sunday - 15km Classic, Mass Start.  This one could be tough...  to "suck it up" for 4 minutes is one thing - 15km is quite another.

Thanks for reading...  I don't have any shots yet from the podium or the race - I hope to soon.  So, instead I'll leave you with one that is way better.

Quatchi: $26.95
Sumi:  $26.95
Miga:  $26.95

Seeing your children obsessed with the Olympics (well, at least the mascots):  Priceless

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Thursday, March 20, 2008


                                             Aia on the playground near the Marketplace

The hot tub at the Marquise is under a wild glass dome...  pretty bright when the sun comes out...

                                        Mattias preparing for the 2026 Olympics.

Aside from the trials and tribulations of racing - we have been having a pretty fun family time here in Whistler.

Today Mattias and Aia were in ski school...  Sacha and I got them out the door in their ski outfits with limited fuss this morning - (high-fives all round!)

After dropping them off we enjoyed a relaxing breakfast before I saw Mary-Beth for some back repair.  Post-massage, we snooped on the kids skiing - we hid behind signs so that Aia wouldn't spot us and decide to cry.  She was ripping up a 20 foot stretch of almost flat snow - she couldn't have looked cuter with her homemade bunny ears on her helmet.

Mattias, meanwhile was carving turns through the gates on the Level II slope....  By carving I mean snowplowing - but he has improved a LOT and Sacha and I were beaming with pride.

After skiing we took them to the pool and hot tub to rest all of our aching muscles.  They had a blast and forced me to do a lot of moving around - I think kids are as effective as physiotherapists.  They are relentless and they wear you down - you can't say 'no' to them because they don't really care about your sore back...  they care about you swimming with them.

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Mama said there'd be days like these... Nationals - Race Report #2

Well the relative glory of Tuesday's bronze medal was tempered by an unsuccessful outing yesterday...

As previously mentioned, yesterday's race was a 7.5km skate race.  Our category drew a late start (1:15pm) which was a bit different...  I am used to racing in the morning.  I liked it actually...

The conditions were challenging - snow was falling fairly heavily all day so the course was very soft.  The light was very flat and the course was strewn with sitzmarks (a jaunty x-c term for an ass-shaped divot in the snow caused by a wipe-out.)

This sounds like a list of excuses just waiting to be trotted out... in fact these things didn't bother me too much and had little to do with my eventual undoing...

The race was 2 x 3.75km laps...  I had completed one lap before my troubles began.  Things were going fairly well I figured...  I had only been passed by one skier (the bullet train known as Nitta from the Land of the Rising Sun - he went on to win this race as well.)  I felt decent...  was working hard but had gas left in the tank.  

So, enough suspense... my crash was of the low velocity variety, but would have received high marks for awkwardness.  It occurred in the stadium - the flattest, easiest and, coincidentally, most public, part of the course.  I don't know why I dumped it there....  I must have hit a hole in the snow, or caught an edge or something.  I rose from the snow ASAP (as you do when you eat it in front of 100s of people...) and headed out of the stadium towards the next hill on the course...  once the adrenaline of the wipeout (and the embarrassment) subsided I was faced with the steepest and longest hill on the course.  Unfortunately, I also found myself fighting a fairly large dose of pain from my back.  I had twisted quite awkwardly during my faceplant...  and now climbing the hill was proving to be almost impossible.  I stopped a couple of times (much to the chagrin of several spectators on the side of the course) and tried to restart, but I was making almost no progress on this hill.  Ultimately, I elected to stop.  DNF.

I proceeded tentatively to the medical tent where I was diagnosed with a pulled/strained spinal erector muscle.  I was fairly relieved that it wasn't a slipped disc or pinched nerve or some such terrible sounding back ailment (I have no experience with back trouble so I was significantly worried.)

Race diagnosis = disappointing.  I have failed to finish a race one time before...  that time I passed out from heat exhaustion so the decision was out of my hands.  This time I decided to quit.  Choosing to quit is a different animal... one that lives with you for a while.  Unfortunately, this pain may live with me for a while as well.

Race Lessons:

- Some days you will fail.  Remember how much you hate it and channel it towards kicking ass the next time.
- Turn the page.  Like an NHL goalie that lets in a bad goal - forget about it or get ready to watch another one go in.

So, with this sage advice in mind:

- tomorrow's race is a 1200 metre Sprint - a time trial first thing in the morning, seeding, a semi-final, and a final (if all goes well.)  This is actually the event I have been looking forward to the most for the week - it is exciting - first to the line wins (no interval start).

Whether I can perform tomorrow will be the question.... my back still hurts.  I got an initial treatment in the medical trailer from Mikhail (an RMT associated with our Para-Nordic Team) which calmed the spasms and gave me some relief.  Today I had a 60 minute massage from Mary-Beth at Peak Performance in Whistler - she really concentrated on the area and loosened it up quite a bit.  I have spent significant time in the hot tub and have also spent about 30 hours with my fingers crossed.

If it hurts too much I won't make it to the semi-final so I don't think there is a big risk.  If it goes well I will still only have to ski 3 x 1200m.

Wish me luck - hopefully tomorrow's post will be a little more fun.  

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nationals - Race Report #1

Today was a 5km, Interval Start, Classic Race.

Knowing that many readers may not know what all that means, I provide the following mini-glossary:

- 5km... this is a dist... just kidding...
- Interval Start - Skiers start every 15 or 30 seconds instead of all at once (Mass Start)
- Classic Technique - This is the older form of x-c skiing - looks kind of like an elongated gliding run....  Skiers use skis with a "grip zone" under the boot to allow "grip" to go uphill.  The "grip zone" is waxed differently to grip instead of glide...

Going in I felt pretty good...  No aches and pains, ready to go.  So, after a couple of warm-up loops I entered the starting pen.  A few minutes later I toed the line and headed off...

Two laps of 2.5km.  The first lap felt a lot better than the second...  I am definitely not negative splitting these courses yet.  I found I had some grip difficulties but was able to handle the uphills using a herringbone run.  I had good power on the flats using my double poling and kick-double-poling techniques...  I only got passed by one skier (a Japanese skier named Nitta - the eventual winner and the second ranked skier on the IPC World Cup circuit), and I passed several.

The second lap proved a bit more challenging as I started to have a lot of moisture build-up inside my leg's socket - the warm weather and high humidity I figure...  Also I was getting tired.  I am still blown away by how fatiguing a 5km ski race can be - I am used to thinking of 5km as next to nothing - but it can definitely leave you absolutely exhausted.

The main challenge on this course is the fast winding downhill sections...  it is easy to lose control on these.  Fortunately, I managed to remain upright despite my best efforts to fall (it was close).

At the end of the day I placed 3rd.  Bronze medal baby...  I'll take it.  To be honest I really didn't know where I'd end up against all these guys - I have never raced in a field this big (not sure exactly how many there were, but around 14 0r 15 Para-Nordic racers.)  

Lessons learned:  
- Take it easy in treacherous corners - falling takes a lot longer than slowing down
- Be ready for sweat in the socket - even when temp is low

Tomorrow's race is a 7.5km, Interval Start, Free technique (this means skate skiing).

                     That's me on the podium - check out the sweet medal - nicest I've ever seen...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Nationals Day 2 + 3

Well the waiting is almost over...  tomorrow we race.  9am start.

Yesterday, was an off day - couldn't train as the Team Sprints were being held on the course.  I started the day with a trip to the dump (got rid of the dryer)... There are few feelings as satisfying as tipping a dryer into an empty steel container (WHAMMM!)...

...then the four of us went to a little cafe for breakfast - following which Aia got sick (on the bed...) and I did too (but not on the bed).... fortunately, it passed really fast for both of us.
Remember when they introduced the Olympic Mascots for 2010 a few months ago??  Sumi, Quatchi and Miga?

Many thought these three were a bit... how shall I say it??... Japanese?  Well, not very Canadian anyway. It's strange that an imaginary character (the sasquatch) could be deemed Japanese but hey....   Anyway, I learned quickly what the mascot designers were thinking when we passed a gift shop and Mattias and Aia were struck with the Olympic Spirit. Wow - they love these guys! Bingo - half of my Cross Country BC weekly food stipend out the window on stuffed animals. I'm a sucker for the Olympics too....  

I got a massage for some sore muscles later in the day.  Dinner.  Team BC meeting.  Bed.  Done and done.

Today I started with a training session at the Callaghan Valley - hit the trail at 9.  Had an enjoyable ski with a fellow named Robin McKeever - he is one of Canada's top Nordic Racers (able bodied), he graciously went slowly enough for me to keep up :)  Everything felt good, the adjustment Michael recommended for my ski foot worked like a charm. I am very happy with it... Robin had a few ideas to refine it even more which I will run by Michael after Nat's.

We checked out of one hotel and into another - we are now settled for the week.  This is good as all the location shifting sort of sucks - we don't pack lightly.  The highlight of the day for Mattias and Sacha may have been Horton Hears a Who (it's a movie), which for Aia and myself was a great chance to nap.  Not that it wasn't excellent - I liked the little I saw.

More exciting posts to come....  two races in the next two days.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nationals Day 1

Training Day

My races are Tues, Wed, Fri, and Sunday so today was a day to ski the courses a few times, tweak the new ski leg and take it easy.

The day began with a solo drive to the Callaghan Valley, gave me a great chance to get some thinking in....  complicated times right now for the Jones Clan.  We are homeless (unless you count Maple Leaf storage at Park Royal), we are completing a huge reno on our house, I have my most important races of the winter approaching, and we will be staying in three different places in the next three nights....  complex.  Under control though...

Anyway, Whistler Olympic Park was jammed with hundreds of very fast skiers.  I parked right beside Chandra Crawford's Toyota Prius - how did I know you may ask...  well her name was plastered on the side - she must be sponsored by a Toyota dealer or toyota itself.  Chandra, for those of you that are unfamiliar with X-C ski racing, is an Olympic Gold medallist and the face of Canadian X-C.

So I chilled in the car putting together my new leg, then after a 20 minute battle to get it into the boot (I asked for it to be tight) I hit the trail.  Right away I knew it was WAY better.  The edge was rock solid and never seemed to slip...  in fact so much so that I was concerned I was always on edge (which would be bad... one needs to lay the ski flat to go fast on downhills.)

After an hour or so I had concluded that the KASL was damn near perfect except for the perma-edge problem.  On the way home I called Michael to report my findings (and ask how to fix the one issue.)  He provided me with a super-simple explanation as to why the problem was there (my installation was out of alignment...).  Tomorrow I should be 100%.  

My day went steadily downhill after a delightful lunch at Crepe Montagne with Sacha and Aia (Mattias was ripping up the tube park with his buddy Finlay).

I will make a long story short by saying that 40 minutes after lunch I was up to my ankle in water trying to stop my washer from overflowing.  120 minutes later I was at the dump with said washer...  Dryer goes tomorrow.  I also shoveled about 200 lbs of my tenants #@%^ out of the laundry room.  He is in my bad books (though I suspect he couldn't care less.)

Anyway, washer and dryer flipping and squatting is probably a perfect taper workout for the week ahead....  (and spending 2 hours at the laundromat with the wife and kids was awesome too... actually it wasn't that bad, we played Monopoly - Mattias won.)

Sorry, no pics - dial-up access too slow to upload...  Do you remember when connecting to the internet sounded like this?


I do, because I heard that sound 10 minutes ago...  I'll call it 'rustic' (because we are in the mountains, and it sounds better than "lame" or "Amish" - two other excellent descriptors for dial-up access.)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

Well, the title of the post may seem overly dramatic to some of you but receiving a new piece of race equipment makes me very excited.

Furthermore, you may not have experienced the ability to order a new body part...  it can create some quite spectacular results...  Whether my new KASL (Kick-Ass Ski Leg) will or will not is yet to be determined (because I have not tried it yet....)

This may not look like a high-tech secret weapon to you... and it does need to be assembled, so you are forgiven for not seeing the "beauty" in this equipment.  Like many of the messes in my van this stuff is actually very valuable race equipment (thieves do not take note please...)

Gotta end this post here as I am getting ready to head up to Whistler for Nationals - will be there for the week.  I hope to be posting throughout but may not be able to...  one way or another all of the sordid details will end up here eventually.

Wish me luck!

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Tri BC Fundraiser

Well that ended up being a super-fun night...  and I think we rasied a lot of money for the TriBC bursary funds.

I think I could be a professional raffle ticket salesman - seriously - I really enjoyed it!  And the few rejections I got were like water off a duck's back...

                   Michelle and I selling (or demonstrating the "wingspan" amount of tickets)

The highlight of the night:  Kevin and I won the coolest live auction item...  a trip to Victoria to train with the National Training Centre coaches, video swim analysis, a bike workout and analysis, and a run workout and analysis....  all expenses paid.  SWEET!  And I figure since the value of this is priceless we got a bargain....

I also nailed down an entry to the Kelowna Apple Triathlon in August (Nationals)....  at a $35 discount...  Nice!

                               Kevin Parenteau and Allan Prazsky (Tri BC Exec. Director)

I also took home an excellent Speedo though it is size small and will need to collect dust until Mattias turns about 10.

Drinks after at Cardero's with Sue, Kevin, Larry, and Joe rounded out a fun night.

Sue Ironside (Tri BC President) and Joe Dixon (Race Director for Ironman Canada, Oliver Half Iron, Cultus Lake and others)

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Leg in the shop...

This is a follow-up post to the one a few days ago about some exciting changes in the works for my leg...  no, not a tattoo on my right leg....

On Tuesday I UPSed my leg and my ski boot down to Michael at RGP so that he could measure the angles I was using and the lengths of various parts in order to fabricate my KASL (Kick-ass ski leg) using the new "uncut" Mod III.

I pondered the wisdom behind this a bit since the timing is so close to Nationals - (No skiing for a few days in the run-up / should I use the new equipment in the race anyway after only a few tests???)

Ultimately, I decided to send it down and go for it...  the skating should improve so dramatically that I couldn't resist.  Also, if it needs further tweaking I can just use the old set-up and all I will have lost is a few days of training.

It still feels a bit nerve-wracking to have no leg right now....  I want to ski with Team DHL tonight but won't be able to.  Those training sessions are so key...  Nothing to be done about it though - I made my decision and will have to let the chips fall where they may.

On a less pressing but more awkward note:

I am attending and helping to put on the Triathlon BC Cocktail Party and Fundraiser this evening.  It should be a lot of fun though I will be woefully underdressed - my choices were: Pants with my running leg (looks really stupid) or shorts with my running leg (looks pretty normal (at least for me) but not at a cocktail party)....  Oh well, I am going with the shorts and a shirt and tie with sweater - if I had a cap I could be a schoolboy look-alike or Angus from AC/DC...  

Actually, I think as long as I channel Angus, I should be pretty cool... (though I intend to wear somewhat longer shorts.)  

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Ski Nationals

If you have nothing better to do next week you should consider attending the Haywood Ski Nationals at the Callaghan Valley near Whistler.

Things you will enjoy seeing:

- Canada's best Nordic racers (including Olympic Gold medallists)
- Canada's best Para-Nordic Athletes
- Exciting racing
- Beautiful alpine scenery
- Yours truly....  (last but not least...)

The Race Notice contains the week's schedule...  

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Tabata Training

Check out this interesting training protocol...  Tabata Training

P.S.  Something gets to be called a "protocol" when enough testing has been done to prove its effectiveness... one of the interesting things you'll learn in this post...

P.P.S.  Chuckie V - the author of the Tabata post, is one of the most interesting bloggers out there (in my own opinion...)  He is a former pro triathlete and cyclist and now a coach.  He is not only wise but very entertaining...

P.P.P.S.  This will definitely be incorporated into Warrior Training....  even if it is just so we can reference our "protocols"...  sweet word - very pro.

                                 Chuckie V - a sample of his humour, his post is awesome...

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Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, Monday morning and the year's 10th weekend is behind us....  

I'll start the wrap-up with Cyclebetes - 4pm Friday to 4pm Saturday - 24 hours of spinning to raise money for JDRF.  I showed up for my first "shift" at about 7:30pm on Friday - found the gymnasium pleasantly buzzing with 40 (or so) riders, some great tunes and lots of friends.  We had a great time chatting and spinning...

I sold my road bike to a friend last season and have not replaced it yet... this left me spinning for 4 or 5 hours on my 2007 Specialized S-Works Transition - a nice bike by anyone's standards but certainly not set-up for hours of spinning.  Ouch!  I have it set-up for 40k riding forward on the nose of the seat....  

Only an hour into the spin I was toying with the seat height and seat angle to get more comfortable....  It got me thinking I should do a re-fit... it's been a while.

Anyway, great event, lots of fun and over 60,000 raised - Awesome!

Saturday was Mattias' last day of soccer for the year...  His team went 3-0 in the three mini games and he got a great medal for his efforts.  I will post a photo of him with the medal here shortly...

Sunday I was out at the UBC Triathlon.  It was a great event, as always....  I have competed at this event three years in a row now but this year I opted out.  The weather can be so unpredictable (or predictably crappy...) that I chose to save myself for ski Nationals next week rather than risk a cold, or worse a crash.

I had many friends on the course and spent the day cheering them on with Mattias at my side (or climbing trees beside the course).  Good job Rob, Justine, Josh, Leslie, Chelsea, Sam, Shelley, Paul, Ashley and others...

Funniest moment:  Ashley exits the pool to great cheers from our cheering section....  throws down an old-school weightlifter's pose, trots around the corner and out the WRONG DOOR.  We all say, "uh oh, what's she doing?"  About 15 seconds later we see her running in the wrong direction by a window on the exact opposite side of the building... and never catch sight of her again...  I can't wait to hear what happened to her....

Spectating always makes me antsy, I prefer to be in the mix.  But in this case I hope discretion was the better part of valour - I will be fresh and healthy for the races that really matter.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

It's coming together...

I just got off the phone - exciting phone call with my prosthetist, Michael, from RGP in San Diego. We have been trying to come up with a plan to solve some technical issues I have been having with skate skiing.

Problem: Setting the inside edge on my left ski is VERY difficult - my prosthetic foot tends to roll out slightly, meaning I have almost no grip on the snow and I end up "spreading the sauce" - which is ultra-lame and extremely irritating. (Note: I find these things extra annoying because there is little I can do about it...) In the early part of the season when snow was plentiful and soft this problem was a lot less noticeable... but now with the hard icy conditions it is a nightmare. I have had days where I honestly thought I was better the FIRST time I skated.

Solution: Call Michael and ask him to come up with a solution. The issue is that my Flex-Foot Modular III is designed for walking, running etc. and it has a split toe to adjust to angled foot strike.... this adjustment is preventing me from setting the edge of the ski firmly.

We have ordered a Mod III WITHOUT the split and Michael is going to bolt it down.... should be LIKE A ROCK. And... hopefully in time for Nationals.

The fact that I have such high confidence that Michael can get this right without me in his office is why I keep going to RGP even though they are in San Diego....  RGP comes with my highest recommendations - Michael will hook you up with whatever you need to do the things YOU want to do.  

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008


This Friday I will be taking part in a fundraising event called Cyclebetes it is a 24 Hour Spin-a-thon and I am on Team FRESH for JD (Juvenile Diabetes). Kevin, Nick (a spin instructor we know from a class at Gleneagles Community Centre), myself and a few hundred others will be spinning from 4pm Friday to 4pm Saturday to raise dough for JDRF.... should be a blast. Send me an e-mail if you wish to donate - it would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

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Back at it...

Sorry for the long delay... no internet for a few days with our move taking place.

The dust has settled on our big move.... Well, it wasn't any bigger than any other move but seemed big to us. We are now resident at the Maple Leaf Storage located next to Park Royal. I should say our "stuff" resides there - we are currently staying with Sacha's parents in West Vancouver. The situation is actually very comfortable - the kids are happy and we are just a few minutes from their schools, my office and all of our regular haunts. Also, Anne Marie's cooking is super fantastic which makes staying at her place easy to do (though perhaps bad for maintaining my ideal race weight:)

Hopefully our place will be ready for our projected move-in date of April 9th.... we'll see. The home stretch of these renovations always seems to take forever.

Training has been fun these last few days - I'm back at the cycling after ignoring it in favour of skiing all winter.

Sunday was a group ride - Kevin and I started at I.F. in West Van and picked up three others at Park Royal - then rode to I.F. Kits and picked up about 15 others for a blast out to UBC, around the UBC Tri course and then Kevin and I came back along Spanish Banks and through Stanley Park to West Van.... it is hard to beat this for a Sunday ride - beautiful!

It wasn't long and there was actually a lot of stopping BUT when we were going there were some protracted hard efforts with some great riders - Richard, Kevin, Kyle were all moving fast and my ski legs were hurtin' trying to keep the pace especially on the hills. I knew this would be the case after ignoring the bike all winter but ouch! I have some work to do!

This week Rob and I have done some good bike-run mini-bricks in the gym - it is good to get that work in as I have often neglected the bricks too much.

The pool has remained a bright spot this week... I'm loving the swimming these days and feeling pretty good. I have to throw down a 1500 tt soon though as all of this Masters stuff (50, 100, 200, 400) does not a 1500 make. Despite the not quite exact triathlon focus of our Master's class it is still such a perfect fit in other ways - lifestyle, good coach, great people - that I can't stand the thought of going solo for longer sets. It will be different when we can hit Batchelor Bay for the open water - I LOVE that!

**Reading this back has me realizing that my focus needs to be on skiing for another three weeks! Nationals is only two weeks away!

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