Monday, August 31, 2009


A few days ago (and about a week after Nationals) my leg swelled up fairly dramatically over night. There was also some ugly discolouration. The situation was drastic enough that I almost could not put on my prosthesis. I persevered and got it on with considerable pain... (maybe 9 out of 10 on my scale - where 10 is "take me to the hospital.")

For the first few hours of the day it was quite excruciating to walk, then it seemed to get a lot better - I assumed it was the Motrin kicking in.

At the end of the day I took off my prosthesis to go to bed and was greeted by BLOOD. Lots of it - and some even spurting from the bottom of my limb. Sorry for writing that - didn't mean to alarm you.... it was alarming though.

Despite the horrific look of my leg, the pain was far less intense, and the swelling pretty much gone - the bleeding/explosion had obviously relieved the pressure a fair amount.

Anyway, YES, I am going to see the doctor. I hope this time a cause will be identified. Obviously something is not quite right down there.

Any doctors out there???

By the way, in case you need a good laugh I have included the Universal Pain Assessment Tool below... CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Tweet this!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ironman Canada 2009 - Good Luck Wishes

I have never had as many friends doing Ironman Canada as I do this year...  there are so many that I am nervous about listing the names because I am certain I will forget one or two of them!

James Greenwood
Caroline Greenwood
Oscar Brain
Mark Shorter
Ian Giroday
Doug Giles
Karen Birkenhead
Stephanie Corker-Irwin
Susie Nieder
Shannon Back
Scott Rintoul
Jeremy Hopwood
Michelle Valancius
Molly Evanshen
Joyce Langridge
Bill Weymark
Ryan Weymark
Chris Cumming

May you all swim like Michael, ride like Lance and run like Haile.  (If you did, I have calculated the resulting time could be as low as 6:14:19...  which would be pretty rad.)


Tweet this!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kelowna Apple - Race Report

The Kelowna Apple has long been one of my favourite races... key reasons?

- The organizers understand Paratriathlon and make it easy to compete
- The venue is perfect - lake = beautiful / bike course = fun / run course = flat
- Kelowna is easy to get to from Vancouver and the weather is always good

It's nice when the National Championship is hosted by one of your favourite races two years in a row!

Anyway, I spent my last post telling you all about how I was staying in my van, and enjoying the lifestyle of a traveling triathlete.... so I'll get down to race day...

Pre-Race: I woke up early and enjoyed two of those flattened multigrain buns with peanut butter, and a fair amount of Gatorade. This worked really well for me - the buns/peanut butter are calorie dense and easy to eat, the gatorade helps top up the hydration level and assists with washing down the buns. I usually hate eating in the early morning but this I can handle.

Note: It's kind of awesome waking up in the "kitchen" with the food right at hand, then moving 4 feet to the driver's seat and driving straight to transition with all your stuff. The van rules.

Morning in the van... timer shots... (what a nerd!)

Swim: I was looking forward to the swim this year. I have never done as much open water swimming as I have this year and I felt confident. I was happy to see a little chop on the surface of Lake Okanagan, as I felt it gave me an advantage since I swim through chop all the time in Batchelor Bay.

As always we Paratriathletes had our own wave, all 3 of us. That makes for a pretty smooth start and within 25 metres I was all alone. I settled in and worked. At the first buoy the chop became quite significant and I took a mouthful or two... I was a bit surprised and humbled. I didn't expect to be gasping and snorting h20... I got my rhythm back and went hard until I was catching the stragglers from the Sprint wave that left 5 minutes before us. It's fun to pass people like they are standing still (it's not that I am that fast - they actually were sort of standing still).

Result: 25:56 (2008 = 26:06).

I would have hoped for a lot more than a 12 second improvement but the conditions were tougher this year with the chop, and last year there were no Sprint waves in front to pick through...

Bike: There's not too much to say about the bike. It went very smoothly. I definitely lacked a bit of power heading up Knox Mountain (especially on lap 1 and 3, 2 felt good.) There was also a fair amount of wind to deal with on the out-and-back section and the flat section heading back into town....

With the wind and the injury earlier in the summer I am not too disappointed with my time.

Result: 1:15:27 (2008 = 1:14:20)

Run: I was openly nervous about the run. I have done almost 0 running for the last two-and-a-half months due to my injury. I also have a growing history of slow runs at the Apple. I was ready for anything from pain and walking to a surprising, smooth run.

In the end it was painful, not injury pain, just untrained pain. Simple fact - if you don't train for the run it will hurt. I was constantly mad at myself for not going faster but unable to conjure any extra speed from my legs. I wasn't wearing a watch (deliberately) but felt that I was going only marginally faster than a turtle. I even walked a couple of aid stations and failed to deliver any sort of "kick". It was lame.

Result: 51:04 (2008 = 53:00)

You'd think this improvement would make me happy but really it just made me realize that I sucked even more in 2008. In my report last year I said something to the effect of "I need to focus on this more".... yeah, that's still true.


Result: 2:37:33
1st Paratriathlete

(2008 = 2:36:59)

Even though I was faster in two out of three disciplines I still ended up 34 seconds slower overall.... I was WAY slower in transition this year and that was mostly due to the fact I had my own helper last year (Deb). It makes a big difference when all the leg changing etc. goes smoothly.  I am also prepared to admit I just didn't bother rushing things...  I didn't bother putting elastic laces on my Nikes, I pulled on a sock, I just kind of took it easy...  it would have been different if someone had been breathing down my neck.  If I had any idea it would end up that close to last year I might have moved my a$$ a bit more.

All in all, I was pretty surprised that I was so close to last year's time - the conditions were tougher this year and my summer was far from ideal in the training department.

Conclusions: I will say it here and now: SUB 50 for sure on the run next year. It has to be or I'm just not learning....

More: I placed first in the Paratriathlon Category. There were only two guys in the category and we have different disabilities so it doesn't mean a whole lot.... but for the record I am a three-time National Champion. I will have another post coming soon about "what it all means..."

Thanks for reading - hope it wasn't too boring. These posts are mostly to help me remember what happened so that I can compare year to year, and race to race.

Ashley - Huge PR, and he won a trip and some new Oakley shades at the awards ceremony. Some guys have all the luck... Other great performances were turned in by Chelsea Raymond and Cindy Krampl from IF - unfortunately I have no photographic evidence though...

Jordan Back (we swim together at Batchelor Bay), unidentified female, and Mick Maguire getting the calls right from the announcer's booth.

I've seen people kill for these.... just kidding...

Tweet this!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sleeping in a van @ Kelowna Apple - My Way

I write to you from the Starbucks on Pandosy in Kelowna, BC....  

Have you ever fantasized about traveling to races, sleeping in a van, waking with the sun, swimming, biking, etc.  The life of a transient triathlete with little or no concerns?  No?  Guess that's only me...

Anyway, I am sleeping in my van - which works really well if you find a good spot where there are no drunken teenagers to freak you out at 3 in the morning.  I found a great spot last night in front of some really nice looking condos.  Condos are perfect because nobody feels like they "own" the curb where I park.  Neighbourhoods with houses are nice but people keep an eye out and are suspicious of people sleeping in vans (go figure).

There is lots of space in the van, even with my bike and other gear in the "bedroom"...  in fact I feel a lot closer to my bike than ever before after sharing a bed.  When she shifts clumsily I think I'll be a little less likely to swear at her after last night....  or, when she flats, like today during the pre-ride of the course, I am more likely to cut her some slack.  

Sleeping and training are the easy parts, hanging out is the challenge (i.e. where do you go to chill out?)  Fortunately, Canadian Starbucks have recently caught up to the rest of the world and are now providing free internet (even if it is only for 2 hours).  So that's where I am now...  

This morning the lake took care of my "shower" (and a pre-race swim tune-up).  All other personal hygiene needs (shaving, tooth brushing etc.) have been taken care of in very acceptable public washrooms.  It may not be glamourous but I enjoy it - makes me feel young again - like 23 or 24 - except all the 20-ish people I know here are staying in hotels or with friends.  Maybe nobody does this anymore?  Or ever did?

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting Kelowna, I can tell you that it lies approx. 3.5 - 4 hours east of Vancouver in the scenic Okanagan Valley, not far from Penticton (home of Ironman Canada.)  That very same 3.5 hour drive took Vince and I about 6hrs yesterday....  The traffic on the highway was inexplicably, tremendously terrible.  Oh well....

Tomorrow I will compete in the Triathlon National Championship.  I love the course here in Kelowna and it should be a lot of fun even if I am not in the greatest shape of my life.  I think I am 100% after the injury earlier in the summer but I will find out for sure tomorrow.  Either way it will be great to hit the water in a race...

Good luck in the race to my training partners in Kelowna today:  Chelsea, Ashley, Darren.  Not to mention Cindy Krampl from Innovative Fitness, who I saw in transition today - it's her first Olympic Distance race tomorrow - she looked pumped!

Tweet this!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

City Chase Tips

Mark and I didn't win the Chase last year but boy we were close!  Anyway, a few people have asked for tips...  Here they are.  Have fun out there - City Chase is an absolute blast.


1. Check the sponsor list. Often challenge points are located at the sponsor business locations. That way you can plan some routes and formulate a loose strategy for getting around town.

2. Think hard about where you *might* go first after the starting gun... it's guessing, but it is important, and you don't have a lot of time to decide. It's very hectic at the start. A good route through the chasepoints is REALLY key.

3. Have someone at home (on call) in front of a computer to check things for you, plan routes, google stuff, figure out clues etc. - communicate with them by phone. Having a blackberry is usually a good call as they are a key sponsor and it might come in super handy.

4. Learn as much about transit as possible.... schedules (have one), routes (know them), closest stops to key areas (start, finish etc.) Apparently you can text a bus stop number to some # and it will tell you when the next bus is coming. This is handy when deciding whether to run 3 or 6 km or wait for the bus.

5. LISTEN at the start - there are always key clues and really important details in the welcome speech. Take notes on EVERYTHING the guy says from "Hello" to "Go!"

6. There will be certain key things: like a free ride in a car from one place to another, or a challenge that involves bicycles etc. To win you will probably have to take advantage of these types of things. They are easy to forget though... seems unbelievable that you'd forget something like that but once everything starts it's easy for a key element to slip your mind.

7. Have a good map and spend some time getting to know it....  (and for god's sake, learn how to fold it so you don't look like an idiot!)  Mark the sponsor business locations on it and note key transit stops nearby.

8. There are sometimes 'collecting' clues like "gather 20 bottles and take them to the recycling depot" - make sure to start those ones right away - don't wait and say "OK now we need 20 bottles." Start gathering them right off the bat... there's one, there's another etc....

9. You can save a TON of time by just asking other people for help.... offer them some help on another clue they are going to, flirt, whatever. There was one challenge where you had to find three cars in 4 city blocks, unscramble a bunch of letters on each one and get three words.... We just asked two girls and they told us the answer - total time: 15 seconds. Some teams spent over an hour there.

10. Use a camelbak or better yet a light backpack with a camelbak in case you need to collect a bunch of stuff.

11. You might need to get naked - plan your personal hygiene accordingly.

These are the clue sheets from 2007....  obviously they are different every year but this gives a good idea of what to expect.  CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Tweet this!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hornby Island - Photo Post

Hornby was awesome.  

I took about a million photos ... so I'll let them do most of the talking.  

Family + Island + Beaches + Bikes = Great Holiday

Not much time to write or read these days as I am over-the-top busy - returning from holiday and getting ready to leave for Nationals (triathlon) in Kelowna this Sunday.

Enjoy the pictures...  CLICK TO ENLARGE for a closer look.


I love a van/bike shot! Starbucks stop on the way out of town...

The van is awesome for family trips like this.

Don't worry we didn't drive like this.... Viggo 'drove' during ferry line-ups.

Dinner on the first night... Bert and I made Beer Chicken (one of about 3 or 4 things I know how to make!)

A pair of Beer Chickens ready to be BBQed.... they were tasty.

Aia on the 'Trail-Along' behind me... I got some great workouts pulling her everywhere behind me. We even got a bit crazy on the trails which was a blast....  Next year she'll be traveling under her own steam I'm sure.

Hornby Cycle Chic... Very fashionable Sacha and Mel on the way to the bakery or the winery - I can't remember.

Bert won a geodesic dome in a poker game.... we assembled it and had dinner inside once or twice. Who else can say they won a geodesic dome in a poker game?

One of my favourite shots from the trip. Remember being a kid and just throwing rocks at things all day??? Mattias and Finlay.

This is a color shot but seems black and white... I liked it.

Aia and Daisy. I left the shot tilted... thought it was kind of cool that way...

Dinner on the beach with friends.... it's pretty awesome to ride a bike to a dinner/bbq - I would like that kind of lifestyle at home.

Aia in full flight... she's getting faster these days! I would like to look that light on my feet in a photo!

Mattias and Finlay. Don't remember what this game is called but you draw a circle with a cross in the middle then the kids play tag running only on the lines. They get good and tired... it's awesome!

Sacha and her mom with Viggo. This beach was right outside our cabin - we got lucky with a waterfront location this year.

Aia - always perfectly turned out in white skirt with pink bow for a walk on the beach.

Mel with Daisy on her shoulders.

Mattias made some real breakthroughs in his riding on this trip - he was generally attacking the trails - accelerating out of the saddle and riding with a lot more confidence - it was super fun. No trail shots - it was hard enough to keep up!

Gary (father-in-law) and I (not pictured) on the road above Olsen's Farm (possibly the nicest real estate anywhere...). We circumnavigated the island a couple of times during the trip.

Photos of bikes work for me....  it's becoming an affliction.  I love them.  These two were behind Habit (a coffee shop in Victoria)...

Tweet this!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hornby Island - Setting Sail

These nice shots of Hornby by David Greenwell.

Tomorrow we leave for Hornby Island.* My van is sitting in the driveway loaded down with 5 bikes:

- My TT
- My Mountain Bike
- Sacha's
- Mattias'
- Aia's

There are few things I enjoy more than a roadtrip - and the more bikes involved the better.

Hornby Helmets from last year....

This post is really just to warn y'all that you won't be hearing much from me unless it rains AND our house on Hornby has internet. (The chances of both of those things occurring is 0.00001% - mostly because of the internet.)

This is a great opportunity to mention that you should all be on TWITTER. You can check out my profile HERE. Sign up, it's fun... and that way you'll be able to follow my adventures on Hornby - because all you need for twitter is a cell phone and a bar or two of service.

I have a little over two weeks before Nationals in Kelowna (triathlon)... therefore I have drawn up a plan for all sorts of training while I am away. It will take a lot of discipline and I know I won't be able to nail 100% of the workouts but it's good to have goals.

I also get my new foot on Tuesday... so I'll be taking a day pass off the island for that. I have much more to write about that but I have to pack some more and get a little sleep.

*Note: Yes, we are leaving but we have a house sitter equipped with his very own (guard) dog. Don't get any burglary ideas!
Does anyone else worry about these things?

Tweet this!