Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Weekly Training Series: Building the Bike Part 1

Thought I'd do a little series of posts put out each Tuesday with a bike training session to get you super fit for any late season races, or you can use to kickstart your offseason training. The workouts are all to be done on the trainer. I should also mention if your interested in getting more workouts, or training advice on the bike and/or run you can just message me on Facebook or do DM on instagram (@frank.sorbara92), and I can set something up more specific to your needs. So this weeks workout is an FTP builder with a little race visualization set on the end of it. I'll warn you in advance it is tough, but boy is is super rewarding. Note that I'm intending these workouts for someone coming off a period of solid training in the main part of the season, so you already established a very solid base of training. Here it is:

1) Warmup: easy spinning @ 50% FTP for 5 minutes, into 3 minutes @ 60% FTP, into 2 minutes 70% FTP ---a ramp style warmup
2) Activation Set: 3x1minute Hard @ 100%, 105%, 110% FTP with 1 minute very easy recovery @ 50% FTP
3) Hopefully your ready and primed to go now because it's gametime. First spin out any heaviness that you may have built up during the warmup (hopefully not much) with a 2 minute easy spin @ 50% FTP.
4) Main set: 4x5 minutes @ 105, 110, 105, 110% FTP. This will be very hard expect by the final 5 minuter you are at VO2 max, pushing well into your aerobic ceiling. The first 5 minuter I consider a freebie. You are fresh still, and 5 minutes at 105% isn't deadly. It is probably around your normal climbing power. What does make this workout difficult is the fact the fatigue accumulates so rapidly since there is only 2 minutes recovery @ 40% FTP between each 5 minute interval. Its enough to get your heart rate out of the red zone but it will still be around zone 2 so when the next interval starts you are started from a higher level and will then reach an even higher level.
5) Take 5 minutes to compose yourself @50% FTP. Wipe the tears off you bike computers screen. The hard work is done, mostly.
6) Visualization set: So most likely you did those 4 intervals in an upright position. 105-110% FTP is likely into your climbing wattage, so you probably were in upright climbing position. That's okay. That's recommended. As a side note I see way to many people even in IM 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga climbing lookout mountain in their aerobars. This is pointless, at this speed and on such a steep climb you are getting zero aerodynamic benefit from being in aero. In reality you are actually robbing your legs of sheer power since in the upright position you can use your glutes to a much greater degree to generate power, and also in upright position you are in a better position for maximum air intake. So I've added this part for a couple reasons. One to take advantage of the work you just did (I'll explain in a sec) and two to get some time spend aero from this workout.

So essentially because you just worked at 105-110% FTP, 90% FTP will feel pretty easy at this point. It is amazing how the body works like that. At other times 90% FTP can feel hard, but after doing 5 minuters at 105-110% it is going to feel like you'll need to hold back. So what I've added onto the main set it a sort of pyramid all to be done in the aero position, all feeling as relaxed and fluid as possible, all while visualizing yourself in your next race, or just out on the road.

So the mini set to finish the workout is the following:

  • 1 minute @ 90% FTP, 40 sec ez recovery @ 60%
  • 55 s @ 90%, 35 s @ 60%
  • 50 s @ 90%, 30 s @ 60% 
  • 45 s @ 90%, 25 s @ 60% 
  • 40 s @ 90%, 20 s @ 60%
  • 35 s @ 90%, 15 s @ 60%
  • 30 s @ 90%, 10 s @ 60% - then back up so..
  • 35 s @ 90%, 15 s @ 60%
  • 40 s @ 90%, 20 s @ 60%
  • 45 s @ 90%, 25 s @ 60%
  • 50 s @ 90%, 30 s @ 60% 
  • 55 s @ 90%, 35 s @ 60%
  • 1 minute @ 90% FTP, 40 sec ez recovery @ 60%
The intervals here are so short and at 90% FTP you'll barely feel the increase in intensity, so it is a perfect time to really practice feeling super powerful, stable on the saddle, and incredibly smooth while in aero and churning out the watts. And the beauty like I mentioned is after that main set, 90% FTP will feel easy.

7) Easy 5 min cooldown at 50% FTP 

So there you have it. A beauty FTP builder workout, with some work in the aero position to round off the set. If your thinking I'm pulling these workout out of nowhere and just trying to make it as difficult or crazy as possible, I'm not, I will be doing each one of the prescribed workouts every Monday, and then sharing here on the Tuesday. For a cleaner look without the descriptions and words below is the step by step of the workout with just the numbers.
  1. 5'' @ 50%, 3"@60%, 2"@ 70%
  2. 3x1"@100,105,110%, 1" Recovery @ 50%
  3. 2" 50% 
  4. 4x5" @105,110,105,110%, 2" Recovery @ 40% 
  5. 5"@ 50% 

  • 1 min @ 90%, 40 s @ 60%
  • 55 s @ 90%, 35 s @ 60%
  • 50 s @ 90%, 30 s @ 60% 
  • 45 s @ 90%, 25 s @ 60% 
  • 40 s @ 90%, 20 s @ 60%
  • 35 s @ 90%, 15 s @ 60%
  • 30 s @ 90%, 10 s @ 60% 
  • 35 s @ 90%, 15 s @ 60%
  • 40 s @ 90%, 20 s @ 60%
  • 45 s @ 90%, 25 s @ 60%
  • 50 s @ 90%, 30 s @ 60% 
  • 55 s @ 90%, 35 s @ 60%
  • 1 min @ 90%, 40 s @ 60%
Cooldown 5" @ 50% 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ironman 70.3 World Championships – Chattanooga, TN

Been a whirlwind of a last couple weeks, after the great race I had in Penticton, BC for the ITU World Championships where I earned my pro card for next season when I was crowned Overall Age-Group the World Champion. After the race I took it easy for a few days after the race with just some very light, low volume trained Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Then I prepared for a 4 day massive block of training Friday to Monday. The schedule those four days and the couple days afterwards looked like this :

·      Run – 8.7km, 15 minute Warm-up, 3km Tempo 3:27-3:30/km, Cool-down
·      Bike – 1.5 hours w/ 5x10 minutes at 90% FTP (Above Race pace)
·      Swim – 3.6km Swim with lots of band work at race pace
·      25 minutes Strength/Core
·      Run – 10.1 km w/ 8x1 minute Hard at 3:06/km, 1 minute Float Recovery at around 3:50-4min/km
·      Bike – 2 hours w/ 1 hour and 10 minutes at 90% FTP (very aggressive and challenging pace to maintain for that long), then 20 minutes at race pace (85% FTP)
·      Swim – 4.8 km w/ 3.3 km long massive main set
·      Run – 21.1km at aerobic pace (1:30 minutes) on very hilly route
·      Bike – 2.5 hours at aerobic pace
·      25 minutes Strength/Core
·      Chattanooga Specific Simulation Brick Workout
o   1 hour at 35 minute bike Workout: 3x6 minutes at 105% FTP (planned climbing wattage to simulate early climb), straight into 40 minutes at 95% FTP (way above race pace very challenging intensity to hold for the duration especially after big climbs)
o   Run straight off the bike: 10.2 km: 10 minute build warmup to race pace then, 6km at 3:37/km in the heat of day, cool down
Tuesday (Active Recovery Day)
·      Run: 10km Easy (42:30)
·      Bike: 1 hour Easy in heat (no fan, wearing long sleeves)
·      Swim: 3.6 km: 2km Main set of 200s
·      20 minute Strength/Core
Wednesday (Last Hard-ish Day)
·      Run: 15 km and biggest run workout since my back exploded in March which kickstarted the string of injuries: 3x2.5km on long uphill averaging 3:30/km, 4 minute recovery between
·      Bike: 1 hour Time Trial: Averaged 301 W; NP 302W (5.3 W/kg)

Thursday we drove part 1 of 2 to Chattanooga. We left at around 12:30 after a bike and run in the morning, and arrived in Cincinnati, OH at around 9pm. I miscalculated how long it would take to get from Cincinnati to Chattanooga, not taking into account that we would be leaving Cincinnati in rush hour (and that our hotel was north of Cincinnati meaning we would have to drive through the city to get to the highway). I thought it would take about 4 hours to go from Cincinnati to Chattanooga; it ended up taking close to 6 hours and 30 minutes. Once we got to Chattanooga, I soon realized that I made a big mistake only arriving to such a big race late Friday afternoon. I thought like most races I would be able to get my race day things organized on Saturday (like getting race kit, bike check-in, and getting information about how things would work on race-day at the athlete briefing). It turns out, because the women’s race was on the Saturday (men on Sunday), all these kinds of things had to be done on Thursday and Friday. There was not an athlete’s briefing at all on Friday. Looked like they were expecting people to get to town on Wednesday. This made getting things done feel extremely rushed, and I felt very panicky for most of Friday and Saturday. It also meant I had to learn about how transitions, and what the race morning would look like by speaking to random strangers (many who gave differing information from one another unfortunately). It also meant because we had to do all this kind of stuff on Friday, the 70km recon ride that I had planned turned into only about 45km. All I want to do on my recon rides is to see the descents from the big climbs, in this case the extremely fast and slightly technical descent (not as technical as the descent on McClean Creek rode in Penticton, but much much faster like 30 km per hour faster) from the massive and epic climb up to the top of Lookout Mountain. On Friday, with zero warm up, I started my ride right at the bottom of the climb (to keep the distance a little shorter – since there wasn’t going to be time for a 70km ride). Even without a warm up, I pounded the climb and was pumped at how well my climbing legs and where my aerobic ceiling was (being able to comfortably sustain such a high heart rate and breathing rate for such a long period of time – the climb is about 15 minutes long for me at 6 W/kg). The descent though made me extremely nervous, since I’m really 1) not a fan of heights, and 2) not a fan of going so fast on a bike coming from doing 99% of my training inside (the 1% rides outside are for the most part flat, and when there are hills they have straight as an arrow descents). Also, for me it is almost impossible to go aggressively on a descent like that when I don’t know the turns, not knowing the right lines to take into the turns, how long the turn is, where the exit of the turn is when I can’t see the end of it, etc. So as I was nervously going down the descent on Friday, I thought to myself, “Okay, don’t worry Frank, you’ll come back tomorrow do this descent maybe 3 or 4 times over, and then you’ll be good. Wait a minute. I can’t come back tomorrow. The women are racing they will be on the course.” So that would be the only time I would do the descent, which made me very nervous. On Saturday before and after my pre-race workout bike and short brick run at faster than race pace, I watched the bike of the women’s race and watched the descent maybe 4 or 5 times over. Then I went to youtube and found a video of someone riding the course with a go-pro, and I slowed the video down to 0.25 of the speed and watched the descent until I had the descent memorized in my head, so that tomorrow, on Sunday, I could go aggressively down the descent.

Overall heading into the race I’d say while I felt confident in some aspects of the race, I also was feeling not so confident in my swim, and there was a very slight worry about my running legs, and pretty tired still from travelling and the whirlwind of a week post-Penticton riding such a high (once the “high” wore off the fatigue from the race and travelling caught up to me). My hips were good, but earlier in the week when ramping up the run volume on hills, my left Achilles was becoming a problem, and by Saturday the Achilles was thick and red. I joked though that it wasn’t a big problem in my head, maybe actually a little nice in a weird way, because Achilles tendonitis used to be a constant problem 4 years ago in 2013, and the years before, and I ran well regardless. In fact, before a half marathon 4 weeks prior to the 2013 Scotiabank Marathon I had a severe bout of it where the Achilles had a big bump on it and was about as thick as my wrist. But even with that I came 2nd in a sprint finish in the Run for the Grapes Half Marathon against a very good runner from McMaster Cross Country at the time, and then continued to run with the problem for 4 weeks until STWM where I averaged 3:38/km for 42.195km. So it was a problem, but I knew I would be able to run through it. I was more nervous about my swim. Unfortunately after Labour Day, every single pool in Vaughan closed for 2 weeks. On Monday, when I had a lake swim planned, a major thunderstorm hit just as I was getting ready to go. On Tuesday I swam at the pan am centre which was reduced down to 3 lanes, and in my lane were some kids doing doggy-paddle and stopping at random points in the middle of the lane – the lifeguards are useless there are didn’t seem to be too concerned about this. On Wednesday I had a swim planned at another pool, but out of the blue just before the swim started, a club rented out the pool for a swim meet (even though no one ended up showing for the competition). Thursday and Friday we were travelling so there was not time for swimming, so that meant essentially that I hadn’t swam in almost a week heading into the race. For someone who does not have a swim background, I feel I need to stay in the water all the way to race day, maintaining the same frequency, and still keeping a decent amount of volume, to keep my feel of the water. Still with taking all this into account, I was ready to just go as hard as I could, and to compete. What I mean is that even though obviously I’ve been competing in races all season and doing pretty well in the majority of them, it has still felt for most of those races that I entered the race just trying to survive and even in Penticton’s case for example survive and outlast my competition in the long distance race. Going into this race, even though I have still some of the same injuries such as the hamstring and now an Achilles problem, I felt like I had turned the corner and was now going into the race pretty confident that the body would hold up and could actually try to push it hard without the fear of impending doom. Also the course would be a major challenge on its own, so I think that helped direct some of the attention to an external focus rather than focusing entirely on how I was feeling inside.

The swim is a net up-current swim in the Tennessee River, the bike featured a massive climb up the famous Lookout Mountain which was 5.5 km long with two long stretches (total of 4 km) well into the double digits of % gradients (all the way to 22%), and then a bunch of big steep and long hills on the rest of the ride giving a total of more than 3600 ft elevation gain. The challenge though didn’t stop with the bike, the 21.1km run had 1100ft of gain. There was literally not a single flat section on the entire run, it was all up and down, with a mix of long gradual climb and descents, and short steep climbs and descents. It would be the hilliest half-marathon, within either a 70.3 or stand-alone half, which I’ve ever run (I have run 16 half marathons). The other challenge of course would be the fact I would have to weave around competitors form start to finish since my wave (25-29) was the second to last wave to start. I started at 9:06 am, the pros had started at 7:30, meaning before I have even started they would be halfway through the bike, and there would already be more than 2000 people out on the course – because they did the women race on Saturday and the men on Sunday it meant they could double the amount of competitors since they were now spread across 2 days. This meant in total between the men’s and women’s races there were 4500 competitors, making this the biggest Ironman 70.3 of all time.

Race day arrived, and I had my usual pre-race nerves, but was a little calmer than normal since this time I knew I would be able to run, and despite the Achilles actually had some wicked run workouts leading into the race. It was pretty weird though getting to the race to set up transition at 6:30am, but not starting for another 2 and half hours. The national anthem was absolutely stunning performed by a Tennessee blue grass group on the banjo. I was ready. Then I got to see the pro start, the gun sounded and they dove off the dock. I said over to my Dad, “I guess the pros dive off the dock, and then us age-groupers will just start from in the water beside it.” The next age group lined up, and they also dove off the dock. I started panicking. I started shaking with fear, and went from being psyched and pumped to being absolutely terrified. It is embarrassing to admit, there are a few things that really freak me out: being on a ladder, needles, rodents of any kind, and diving. When I was little doing swim lessons, when it came to the part of the lesson to dive, I would keep circling back to the end of the line and would get away without having to dive. Something about it just freaks me out, and I’ve never done it. I was panicking thinking crazy things like I would pull out after even all this work. However, thankfully, I started to see a few people out of each row of people to start by just jumping in, and that was what I decided I would do. I figured even if someone snickered and thought me jumping in looked funny, after I started swimming and powered my way through the entire field, they would soon stop laughing.
9:06, I was off. I jumped in, and quickly distanced myself from the group of seven or so that you start with (you started about 7 at a time). Within about 30 seconds I past the next group about 15 seconds before me, squirmed through them to the next group, and so on and so fourth. Within about 5 minutes I was now passing the groups of green caps (the wave that started 9 minutes before), weaving back and fourth through them, getting a few kicks and whacks here or through, but just kept pounding along. I got into a pretty good rhythm, but was definitely getting the worst of the current. In order to pass all the people I had to swim well on the inside of the clockwise loop, meaning that I was swimming closer into the middle of river where the current is the strongest (which I found out the day before the race) and using a lot of energy. Eventually we made the turn back to the swim exit, so you would finally get a down current for about 400m. I swam that last 400 in around 4 minutes and some change. Overall the swim was 27:25 which is probably about a minute faster than I expected since I hadn’t swam in a while and hadn’t had a hard swim in 8 days, and pretty good considering the bulk of the swim for me was into the strongest part of the current, and having to weave around big groups of swimmers non-stop.

Really I can’t wait until next season when I compete in the pro wave, especially after my transition #1. For the pros, they got out of the water, had a straight forward run right to their bikes, put their helmets on and the mount line was essentially right beside them. For myself, and the rest of the age-groupers, we got out of the water then went to get our swim to bike bag, then over to the “changing” area to put on helmet and put wetsuit, goggles, and caps into the swim bag, then a very long run over to our bike area where the path to the bikes was so narrow it was almost impossible to pass people, then find your bike out of the 2400 other bikes, and try to run it over to the mount line far away winding through the crowds and in between the rows of tightly packed bikes. Overall the run from the swim exit to the run I measured at 1.2 kilometers. Considering it was a 1200 meter run and you had to do all that stuff, the fact that my transition 1 was just over 5 minutes really is pretty decent. 1200 meter run in 5 minutes even if you didn’t have to do all that stuff is averaging around 4:10/km, but then add all that stuff on top, and trust me I was almost all out sprinting to my bike, my heart rate** in transition 1 was actually 6 bpm higher than it was in the swim maxing at 175 for T1. Compared to my 5 minutes, the pros transition all were about 1 minute or so.
**Penticton was the first race I ever wore a heart rate monitor. I don’t look at it at all during any leg of the race (on my bike screen all I have is 3s power, 30s power average lap power, lap time, and cadence; on my run screen all I look at is lap distance, lap time, and lap pace). Even though I never look at it during a race, I do find it interesting to see afterwards when I’m analyzing all the data. I would never recommend though racing to heart rate, since there are so many variables that affect it, so it isn’t a reliable and all that informative source of data. Having said that the new heart rate monitor I have is extremely comfortable so I don’t even notice that it is there, and it is able to work under water so you can get heart rate data for the swim too, which is pretty cool.

Out onto the bike. I was cruising along the first 5 miles with speeds in the 50-km/hr ranges on the flats and the legs were feeling awesome. I tried to go more by feel at this point versus power, and tried to stay as efficient and as aero as possible to make sure I wasn’t hitting the big climb
Going up the Climb.
already “in the red.” Once I hit the base of the climb switched smoothly, thanks to my etap, into the little ring and was super excited to start getting to work. I think many people dreaded that climb - I loved it. My body was tailor-made for it: a high VO2 max, and packing a high power to weight ratio, a perfect combo for dismantling climbs. After I thought that I was passing people quickly on the flat leading into the climb, it was nothing compared to how I was going by on the climb. I actually think on the climb I may have gone by a few hundred people in the 15 minutes it took to get up to the top. In some cases it was dicey getting around people who were spread across the road, and the frustration just fueled my power even more. In any case, I set a new all-time 10 and 15-minute personal best power on the climb well around 6.5 W/kg. Compared to my competitors who seemed to be grinding (some walking) up the climb (even a couple of the favorites and the best guys in my category were barely moving), I just spun the cranks effortlessly up it. It doesn’t sound as beast as a 55-42 tooth chain ring sounds but this is where a 52-36 with 11-28 on the back really comes out to play. With it I can spin a high cadence up the climb while still maintaining 360-370W, saving my legs, and just making the effort feel so much easier. To quote the durianrider, “Spin to win.” A cadence of 60 is not getting you anywhere, look at the best climbers of all time: Chris Froome, Lance Armstrong, Marco Pantani, they all spun or spin high cadences up climbs, it works. I especially respect guys like Chris Froome, who unlike others doesn’t let his ego dictate his actions. On the mountain stages of the Tour de France this year he rode an 11-32 in the back. If some cyclist or triathletes saw that size cassette on the back, I bet many would laugh and think the guy is that weak. But then I bet after the race, when they see on a 45-minute climb the guy is holding over 400 W, they change would their attitude. Sorry about the rant, but it was just funny how the day before the race, in addition to many competitors coming up to me to ask me about my bike complementing me on how awesome it looks, I had 2 people remark about the relatively small chainring and big cassette on the back. Yes, some of you may say its all about chain line, optimal chain line this and that, but my view is that while being in 55-15 is 1 watt more efficient than 52-11 on downhill, being able to spin up a climb at 95-100 RPM in 36-25 is exponentially more efficient than grinding 42-25 at 55 RPM, saving both your legs, and valuable time.

Anyways back to the race. After the climb, stormed across the rolling plateau section. Continued having to weave around many people, and then it was onto the descent. While I’m proud of how I climbed Lookout Mountain, I think I am actually happier with my descent. After now having watched
the descent enough on youtube to practically memorize the turns, I was able to storm down the mountain not touching the brakes (except once when someone ahead of me pulled out from the shoulder to the centre of the road abruptly and for no apparent reason – that was a little frightening moment) and pedaling across the gaps from one turn to the next. After getting down the descent I think this was the section where I lost too much time. It was a relatively flat section, and now the road was getting very crowded that it was getting quite difficult to navigate around people. Legs still felt full of energy though, and even though I couldn’t get any fluids at any aid stations because they were too crowded, my Custom Infinit Nutrition carried me through. Very different hydration than Penticton where I had around 2 L per hour, in this race I had a grand total of about 600 ml/hour on the bike. Once we made the turn to start coming back towards Chattanooga and Tennessee (the bulk of the course is actually in Georgia), things started to get very frustrating. Four guys caught up to me and past me in a single file group. If they were actually 12m apart I obviously have no concept of distance – I’d say they were maybe 2 m apart. I got pissed. Here I’ve been so careful not to draft, literally braking behind people if I feel I’m getting anywhere near 12m, and these 4 guys are so blatantly drafting and cheating. We got up to a big hill and I hammered hard – about 30 seconds at 550 W, stomping on the big chainring out of the saddle past all four guys, angry and giving them a look basically saying “WTF?” On another straight the four went past me and I didn’t see them again. A close second for frustrating moments during the race was on the straight flat highway into Chattanooga. Finally a stretch where I had lots of space could put my head down, stare at my watts and hammer (with the very crowded course there were very few moments where I was able to actually look at my power). Going about 45 km/hr down the highway, I start hearing gears changing. I think to myself, what is going on I didn’t press a gear change did I? Looking down at my gears to see what is gong on, I then look behind me, and I swear there is a guy sitting on my back wheel maybe less than half a foot away from my back wheel. I got really pissed sat up, yelled, and had some words with him while motioning him to either go around or back the F&%$ off. Throughout the entire course of my 2:21 90km bike leg I saw one single blue card come out for drafting. ONE PENALTY!!! This won’t be too much of a problem next year I hope when there will be a greater density of officials for the pro race, but for now it is so frustrating. Its just not proper racing etiquette, and so slimy. A message to the cheats out there who think drafting is harmless, it’s not. Getting a drafting penalty tells the world you are a cheater, yes sometimes there are cases when you get in a bad situation where it is almost impossible to make a clean pass. Also while maybe just maybe because you are drafting your able to qualify for your pro card with your fast time, the thing is good luck trying that in the pro ranks. Really there is no point “turning pro” if once you get there you get slaughtered in every race because in reality your biking ability really wasn’t as strong as your time indicated.   

Approaching 1st big hill about 1 mile in. 
Anyways again sorry about rant, that was just a very frustrating back half of the bike, with the way the race played out and its dynamics. So finished the bike pretty well, able to get the average speed back up a bit after the hit it took with the hilly first half of the race and the monster climb. My power was pretty much right on what I wanted, the average power was lower than I wanted, the normalized was about where I wanted it to be, and really that was just unavoidable with how the race played out with constant surges to get around people for clean passes, and the big downhill where my average power was probably under 100W for a solid 5 minutes. My hydration on the bike was poor, but I really didn’t feel in too rough off shape coming off the bike, and just took a hot shot nearing the end of the bike and one at the start of the run to keep any cramp at bay. Got off the bike, and started my run to transition. Some crazy person come off behind me, and impaled me in the butt as I was running with their aerobars. I was fine, just frustrating again. I let some frustration go though on the run. Started out pretty fast with a 3:36 km and that included the steepest hill of the course that was a couple hundred meters long. Kept that pace honest, my legs felt the usual brick feeling the first 5 minutes or so, and the Achilles was already hurting but I didn’t really think on it. Just shut out everything, focused on staying relaxed, and continued to imagine Ryan Hall’s** running stride in my head from the start – sometimes I think it’s amazing how I don’t run into people considering from start to finish of any race I’m in my own little world just replaying videos of him running over and over.

** At the expo Ryan Hall happened to be there doing some stuff for a company Second Skin, and I got to meet him and chat with him for a short little bit. Ryan Hall was a huge inspiration to me when I first started running seriously (doing marathon) in 2011. At the time I really knew nothing about training, let along training for a marathon. The idea of running one (I signed up for two in my first year) just kind of came out of nowhere for a challenge. I had never run a road race before of any distance, just cross country and track in elementary and high school. When building to that first marathon at Mississauga in 2011, I stumbled across a series of instructional running videos by a runner training at the time in Mammoth Lakes, California, and Ryan Hall. He had just ran 2:04:58 in the Boston Marathon that year, which still stands as the American Record. By instructional I mean explaining things like how a long run should be done and stuff like what distance is recommended to get to before the marathon, what hill repetitions are, tempo runs, speed workouts, etc. I watched those videos so many times, and every one of his own workout videos, and that really guided me through my training, training that led to my first marathon, the race that really completely changed me and put me on this path. Suffice to say, to get to meet Ryan was amazing. It wasn’t a long conversation or anything, he was busy with sponsor stuff, but it didn’t matter, for me just meeting him introducing myself and telling him how much he inspired me made my trip.

About 14km in still keeping solid pace.
 Was galloping past people especially so on the hills, and I really appreciated all the crowd support on the course. The city of Chattanooga was really amazing embracing this race, and so many spectators were shouting way to go Frank the Tank. I thought do these people actually know me, or is Frank the Tank just that common of a saying lol. Also wearing the Canada jersey felt great (even though it chafes me all over, and feels like it’s strangling me cause it’s so tight in the shoulders), because many spectators would shout Go Canada, looking great Canada, all of which really helps fuel me. In some sections of town and on the hills there were literally spectator rows 4-5 deep on either side, it was great, and made the run go by quite fast. I was really able to get in a good rhythm for the first 8km, but on a long downhill on the other side of the bridge my hamstring (which really doesn’t like being extended that far with that long of strides) started feeling like it was going to pull completely on me. I kept it together, and then another competitor came up behind me and kept running immediately behind me for a while breathing down my neck. It bugged me a little, but at same time thought well this will be fun this guy thinking he will just sit there and pace off me, but unfortunately for him there was the biggest longest uphill of the course right after the downhill, and this guy obviously doesn’t know what my name is, and that I was intending on keeping this same 3:45/km pace on the uphill. As soon as we got to the base of the climb, I dropped him like a stone and by the end of the climb you would’ve need binoculars to see far enough back to him. Kept it going and started churning my legs quicker and quicker on the second loop. The Achilles was really hurting and giving that familiar stabbing pain with every step, but just ignored it, and powered through. Hydration was again pitiful on the run, having maybe just 2 cups of water, but didn’t matter, no way I was slowing down to weave through people at aid stations to grab stuff. Ripped over the last bridge, and then a couple spectators screamed loud to me that I was 20 seconds back of fifth, and that I had to push it now and hard.
Then I crossed the last timing mat that was just about 300 meters to the finish. I could hear them still screaming to me that now I was 1 second back, I sprinted as hard as I could with the Achilles just shredded, hit my peak heart rate on the entire race in the last 200, and was running about 3:00/km pace. I got fifth in the world in the 25-29 category (about 4 hours post race it changed to 6th for some reason), and oddly my time was 1 minute slower than I had timed on my watch which doesn’t make any sense to me but it doesn’t really matter. I had a great race given the course and how the race played out with the wave start. I finished in 4:18 with a beauty of a 1:21 half marathon (3:50/km). I was also the number one ranked Canadian in the entire Age group field, 14th overall Age grouper as well as beating some pros. It was an incredibly challenging course between the up current swim, the difficult bike, and the run course but it was an amazing experience and even with a lot of frustrating moments on the bike, an experience I will never forget and am very proud of. (couple more pics approaching the finish line at bottom)

So what’s next? Not entirely sure yet. I will likely race another 70.3 this year in October or November, but this time on a flat course so I can put together a real fast time. The Chattanooga course, plus the set up with the wave start just did not lend itself to a super quick 3:5x time which I know based on this race I am more than capable of. I’ll update you all soon whenever I figure out what is next up on the schedule. Also keep an eye out once the November issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada comes out, where there will be a athlete profile featuring me, should be pretty cool.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

ITU World Championship Analysis/Strategy Part 2

In my very recent last post, I gave sort of a play-by-play of the events at the ITU World Championships in Penticton, where I was crowned the overall World Champion for the AG Race. I gave a little detail on my inner thoughts throughout the race, but I thought it would be a good addition to speak a little bit about the strategy that lead to that result. If you look at the results I recorded from the race the first two legs of they race were solid but not earth shattering. My swim was pretty good and put me in contention out of the water, and my bike was pretty good again leaving me in contention for the win coming off the bike. However, when you look a little more detailed into the numbers I managed, neither the swim or the bike, really showcased what I believe I'm truly capable of but still lead to the overall win by a good margin against some of the best in the world. Here's what I mean:

The Swim: 

I swam 42:57 for the 3km swim. That is around a 1:25/100m average, and around 3:45 slower than I swam about 5 weeks earlier in an open 3km swim race. That is about 7 seconds per 100 slower than that previous swim. Granted that 3km swim race didn't have a 120km bike, or 30km run afterwards, and it was largely impacted by the conditions on the day where for the middle 750m I was essentially unable to sight, and had no idea if I was actually going the right direction or not thanks to the blinding sunlight but still I could definitely swim faster.

The Bike: 

I biked the 120km route with 3600ft in 3:07 which is 38.5km/hr. This is 7 minutes slower than my initial goal time of 3 hrs but I gave myself a 10 minute window of anywhere between 2:55 and 3:05. When I put that goal time together months ago I didn't take into account however the very technical descent after the big climb on McClean Creek where it would be hard to fully make up for the time lost on the climb, and I didn't account for the technical section coming into the finish of lap 1, 2, and 3 near the transition. In this section there were a number of hairpin turns and one full 180 degree turn which slowed the speed significantly. Still if you look at the power it was around 10-15 W less than I planned (10 W less than what my goal was, and 15 less that I figured I could push on a perfect day). Yes, the power was hampered by 2 long descents, done two times each, where my goal power would've been a stretch to sustain but less power is less power. The descents of course would've had a huge impact on the average power, but the normalized power would not have been so heavily impacted and it too was less than the goal. And that goal power wasn't one that I just pulled out of nowhere, it was based on my power in Racine (I took about 15 W off my Racine power since this is 30km longer), and 120km training rides where I've held similar if not higher numbers. In fact, I had a training ride on June 3rd where I rode 119km in 3 hours flat with 2000ft gain and my power was 23 W higher than it was in Penticton. If you extended that training ride out to 120km it would be a 3:01:32 time which is 5:30 faster than my time on Sunday - and that is in training ride, and on a Cervelo P2 not a P5 with Sram etap, a ceramic speed UFO chain, and a Zipp 454 NSW upfront to compliment the Revolver Aysmm disc in the rear.

So with those numbers in mind, how then did I manage a win in a World Championship race. Initially even though I won, when I looked at the numbers, I'm not going to lie, I felt a little disappointed that I could for sure have gone harder on the bike and harder in the swim. But here's the thing even though the training I did going into Penticton indicates that no doubt I could have gone faster on the swim and the bike, by no means does it take away from my performance on Sunday, and it doesn't mean that all that training was useless. The way I look at it is that because I pushed 23 watts less on the bike than I did on that 120km training ride and swam 7 seconds slower by 100 than I'm capable of it meant that going into the run I had that much more energy than all my competitors, and won the race by putting massive chunks of time into every one of them on the run. Basically I built the swim pace, and bike pace/power up to such a high point in training that on race day I was able to swim and ride at a lower percentage of what I could do but that lower pace/power was still high enough thanks to the incredibly hard training to get me off the bike in contention for the win, and then run my opponents legs off. Also their is the pretty obvious fact that on that 120km training ride, and multiple other long hard rides I never ran 30km immediately after them. So really who knows what would happen if on that great June 3rd ride I tried to run 30km right afterwards. Actually I could answer that question because in Wisconsin 70.3 only a week after, I tried to bike a similar effort and then on the 21.1km run off the bike, I was getting medical attention 8km into the race, had to walk through a the aid stations, and couldn't see straight thanks to extreme glycogen depletion/dehydration and it was difficult to see through all the tears of pain in my eyes.

Penticton was an incredible learning experience because it really showed me how critical the balance is between the 3 disciplines, and that you need to be so smart with how you use your energy. The fact is that at the end of the race you don't get any award for how fast your swim was (well in Ironman's you get a award from Roka but that's not my point), or how much power you were able to push on the bike. Really it doesn't matter. But what does matter is knowing how to divide your available energy so that you cross the line completely empty and in the fastest time possible. I figured on this day in Penticton, that my best chance of winning the World Championship was to ride a little more conservative and a time that left me in contention but most of all to make sure that I was able to run to my potential. If for example I biked that 5 minutes faster, than who knows I may have been walking during the latter stages of the run, instead of running close to a perfect even split race running a 59:46 opening 15km and following that up with a 1:01:09 final 15km. Having said all this I'm not by any means saying that this is the recipe to win every race, and I'm just going to replicate this strategy over and over throughout my upcoming pro career. No, instead I need to work hard to find that balance of how hard can I swim and bike, and then still run well. Now that after this race I have much more confidence in my running legs, perhaps I can go harder on the bike in upcoming races, since in Penticton there was a lot of uncertainty of whether or not my legs would hold up at all for 30km. I had done one single 30km training run leading into Penticton where I ran first thing in the morning not having biked before, and was in a world of pain even though I only ran 2:07 which is 6 minutes slower than Penticton. So that run despite making it the distance, having not biked before, and being in that much pain throughout the second half didn't exactly leave me feeling super confident in my run legs. All of this learning about the balance between the three disciplines especially the bike and run will come with experience. Remember most of my racing has been Aquabikes to this point and in my entire triathlon career stretching back a "whole 2 years" I've now ran off the bike in a race situation 7 times, and three of those are in sprint/olympic distances. So there is lots of time and experience to gain in the future for sure. And this will continue in Chattanooga for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships where my gameplan will look very different than Penticton. Essentially thanks to having the pressure off of getting my pro card, I'm just going to go for it and race very aggressively from the start. My focus will be the bike where I will try to push about 10 W more than I did in Racine, and if that's too much it's too much, chalk it up as a learning experience and in the future I'll know that is too aggressive of a power plan. But if it works, and now that I have much more confidence in my run legs, then I back the bike up with a solid run and achieve a smoking fast time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ITU Worlds Penticton Long Course Recap

This past weekend as you know was the World Championship for Long Course Triathlon in  Penticton, BC. Going into the race I knew this would be the biggest challenge that I've ever taken on taking into account both the immense distance of the race and the number of major injuries that I've had all year and in the weeks leading into the race post Racine 70.3. My Mom and stepdad Keith arrived in Penticton on Tuesday, and we all were immediately surprised at the look of the Okanagan landscape. In our minds we imagined that the Okanagan was lush and green, being known for its wine and food, but it turns out it is actually categorized as a desert region. In fact in Penticton it hadn't rained in more than 40 days when we arrived. The landscape though was definitely striking with its beautiful and massive lake and large foothills at the water's edge on either side of the lake.  

The very first day in Penticton, my first run was less than inspiring struggling in the immense heat, and finding it hard to breathe with the smoke in the air from nearby forest fires. On Wednesday things got a little worse when standing in the parking lot of the hotel (which was fantastic being right on the water and at the race start) my rear disc wheel got a puncture. I kept my cool (sort of) and we all hunted for a solution. I figured if I got a new tubular I could get it glued in time for the race - it takes about 3 days to properly glue on a tubular tire since you need to apply multiple layers of glue and let each layer dry for about 8 hours before applying the next layer and then after the fourth layer and mounting the tire you need to wait about 36 hours to let the cement glue completely dry. Luckily we found a bike store in town called the Bike Barn which was very close to the hotel who had just one high performance tubular tire left in stock. I also purchased a very cheap aluminum wheel to use with the bike for training in the interim while I prepared the disc. Unfortunately the wheel was very heavy and it jumbled up my gear shifting which really affected the performance of the bike for my training rides. In fact on my first ride training ride I was only able to use three gears without the bike making a racket which made cresting the huge climbs on the course quite a challenge. The problem was that while I could easily index the rear derailleur for a mechanical groupset such as Shimano Ultegra on my road bike using the barrel adjuster, I'm not familiar with how to adjust the wireless etap and I haven't learned since getting the bike a short while ago since with a wireless system like etap once the derailleur is set in place there are no cables that could stretch so unless the derailleur is hit by something in a crash or something you should never have to index the gears on it. On this bike though now that their was a different wheel it meant the gears were off and the performance was poor. 

Throughout the week though I spent a good amount of time learning the technical bike course and by Friday had the winding technical descent down and memorized so much so that on the final go of the descent (on Friday I rode the climb leading to it and the descent three times over) I was able to go without braking at all and able to somewhat confidently pedal down the descent and even get up and hammer out of the saddle before one of the sharp hairpin turns. Unfortunately out on that ride my eyes were burning throughout from the smoke and when I returned to the room my eyes were completely bloodshot. Swimming throughout the week was okay it was nice to be able to train in the lake and the lake was a perfect temperature for swimming, but my stroke didn't feel particularly good. I find if I'm out of the pool for too long, swimming in a lake for multiple days in a row, my stroke looses some of its power. Running was okay, was having some hamstring issues as usual and my legs just felt pretty achy in general. So overall, I would say training in the five days leading into the race didn't leave me feeling super strong and confident but tried to stay positive and thought the training didn't really matter at this point anyways as the hay was already in the barn. I did though have quite a good run workout on the Friday and a great pre race day of training on the Saturday with a fantastic hard high intensity bike workout (the same bike workout I do the day before every race) a good short brick off the bike, and moderate paced 1500m lake swim. On Friday though disaster struck. I went down to the bike mechanic van outside the hotel to get the cassette from the aluminum wheel transferred back over to the disc but found out that the glue hadn't taken at all. I think it was a combo of trying to speed the process of gluing up too much, and not having good light in the hotel room to be able to even see how much glue I was applying (which obviously wasn't enough). After panicking for a little bit my mom and Keith ripped over to the Pasta Dinner that was happening at the time to see if anyone would have a spare wheel and speak to Triathlon Canada to see if they could help, as both me and my brother called almost every bike store on the west coast to see if they had something I could use. We found a couple things that could possibly work pretty far away in Vancouver and Seattle but really when it comes down to it after riding the Revolver Disc and knowing how good and fast it is, I couldn't imagine riding anything else on race day. So I wanted to give the gluing one more shot, and figured if now at 7:30pm on Friday night I took the tire off slathered the wheel and tire again with glue and remounted the tire, that the tire could potential be ready for Sunday morning. I definitely would not be able to test the disc out or warmup my race day super chain (Ceramic Speed UFO chain which saves 2-5 Watts), or test the gears to see if they worked well under high torques, but if it meant I could ride the Revolver Disc it would be worth the effort. So I glued the tire back on, and then me and Keith mustered up the strength of ten men to stretch the tubular onto the rim to set it in place (If you have ever tried mounting a non-pre-stretched tubular tire onto the rim I recommend you make sure to hydrate before and throughout, maybe take a HotShot, and finish off with some Infinit Repair to recover from the hard effort). On Saturday took the bike over to the Bike Barn where the people there where incredibly helpful and I really can't thank all the mechanics, and employees like Andre there enough for helping me get the bike ready for Sunday's Race. They changed the cassette over to the disc, checked my gluing job which they said was absolutely perfect and no doubt safe for riding (my Mom still wasn't entirely convinced wanting to maybe wrap me all up in bubble wrap, and then wrap the disc in duct tape lol), and install the super UFO chain. They did an incredible job re-indexing the gears and even did the labour for free in exchange of me returning the aluminum wheel to them, so in the end it didn't cost anything. Now it was time to quickly run over to bike check in, get the bike into transition, and then shift all my focus to Sunday. I did a good 1.5 hour long session in the Normatec Recovery Boots, which left my legs feeling nice and loose, pounded down a massive plate of pasta, had a pre-nightime advil to build up the anti-inflammatories into the bloodstream, and then laid down for a few hours before waking up at 3:30am to get it going on race day. 

Sunday morning (3:30am) was pretty cool to start, and the winds were calm. The swim would be wetsuit legal which I was thrilled at since I could unleash the Zone3 Vanquish. I was incredibly nervous before this race, probably more nervous than I ever have been. But after my pre-game rituals of watching Ryan Hall's Boston Marathon Run Workout video, which I have done before every road race so that I can visualize that stride throughout the entire run, and since starting triathlon watching Sun Yang 1500m Freestyle Race from Worlds a couple year's ago to visualize during the swim, I was ready to go. The pro wave went off at 6:20am, then the pro women about 5 minutes later, then the Paratriathletes, and then me and the rest of those in the 18-49 Age groups at 6:35am. Sheryl let me know on Friday during her race that the start was frantic and chaotic, and this start lived up to that. It was by far the most aggressive swim start I've ever been a part of, getting kicked, punched and wacked from all angles. It took a long time to navigate around the masses to get some room to swim, and by about 500m I was completely on my own. I felt pretty good but then as I approached the first turn bouy to go east the sun crested the hills in the east and I got completely blinded by the sun. I had to start breathing to my left to not look straight into it, but once we turned east there was no way to avoid looking into it when you where sighting straight ahead to see where the next bouy was. I got totally thrown off course because I literally could not see a thing, but eventually saw some splashing to my left and went over there to catch up to those swimmers.
Turns out they were the female pros who started about 10 minutes before. I stayed there for a little just until I could see the next bouy and then finally made the turn south back to shore (another 1200m). Now the sun was to my left so I could breathe to the right as I normally would and cranked the pace back up again. The thing is on the west to east section of the swim, my pace dropped significantly since psychologically it is very hard to swim all out when you are not entirely sure if you are going the right direction. But in the last 1000m I started ripping knowing that I need to try to make up time lost both at  the start of chaotic swim, and in that last section. I was completely solo again and it stayed that way all the way until the finish of the swim. I would say in the entire swim I was completely solo for 2600 out of the 3000 meters. One day I will get someone to draft of I hope. I got out of the water not sure where I was entirely in the field, but felt pretty good with the swim. It was about 3 minute slower than I anticipated but I think that was heavily influenced by the blinding section for the middle 750meters. The first 1500m I swam 20 minutes flat which is pretty much bang on what I wanted (1:20/100m), but the middle 750 across into the sun I swam 1:30 average and that hurt the time significantly. Still got out of the water feeling pretty energetic and ready to get after the bike. 

The bike was broken up into three sections. First there was an flat out and back to the north on Hwy 97, then two loops around Skaha Lake which would be very hilly at the southern part of the lake with two major climbs and a very technical descent. On the out and back I got into a good rhythm pretty quickly. In fact it was the most "relaxed" I've felt at the start of the bike. Not that I was chilling but that in most of my races I get very anxious to start hammering, and my breathing tends to get out of control early in the bike before settling. This time I was quickly on my goal power of 4.7 W/kg, at about 265 W and on the out and back of 25km I averaged 42.3 km/hr. I did take the u-turn at the turnaround quite gingerly because in my head I was still thinking a little bit about the freshly glued tubular, but tried to quickly forget about it since I knew I couldn't take the upcoming technical descents so cautiously.
I started my first loop feeling pretty good, but also knowing I lost quite a bit of time on the way to start the second loop with a competitor in front of me who would not move over to the side for me to pass. This slowed me up quite a bit, but angrily put the hammer down after he finally gave me a sliver of space to make the pass. After that flew down the road on the east side of Skaha and reached the 40km in a "within race" PB for 40km of 55:42. The first climb of McClean creek I was so pumped that my climbing legs felt fantastic. I felt super comfortable spinning quickly up the climb at around 315W, and then went what I thought was fast down the technical descent until an Australian competitor and French competitor flew past me. On the following climb, (the biggest on the course) up 97 North on the west side of Skaha, I flew past and seemingly just walked away from both the Aussie, and Frenchmen pushing 343 W or 6 W/kg up the long climb. Again though on the long descent both the Aussie and Frenchmen passed me. The second loop was pretty much a carbon copy of the first. I ripped up and past both the Aussie and Frenchmen on the McClean Creek climb and then even though I tried to be even more aggressive not touching the brakes once and even getting up out of the saddle to pedal on the descent it didn't matter both competitors past me once again. But on the climb up 97 again past both of them with nearly identical power as the first time up the climb, however this time only the Frenchmen past me on the descent, and I stayed clear of the Aussie. Into transition, I was somewhat pleased by my bike even though it was roughly 5 minutes slower than I wanted (I biked 3:07 for the 120km with more 3600ft of elevation gain which is 38.5km/hr, sportstats has it at 3:09 but that included the run up to the mounting line, and the run from the dismount line to the transition mat). I was not blown away by the power I managed to push on the flats, but was very happy that I was able to get off the bike with still a pretty solid time, and with my legs feeling relatively fresh (well not fresh but as good as they can probably feel post 120km bike and 3km swim), and that my nutrition on the bike was so well handled. Looking at the numbers it looks like I consumed approximately 6L of fluids on the bike (almost 2L per hour) and an absolutely mind blowing (in other words no clue how I didn't throw up or feel sick) 500 grams of carbohydrates (about 165 grams per hour!!). I don't know how I was able to handle so much because that is about double what I have trained with, but going into the run it meant I had essentially carb loaded again for the run.

Transition 1 was slow with how they set up the transition area having to run all over the place, and transition 2 was pretty much the same. But got out onto the run feeling pretty good. The legs were the usual brick type feeling but by about 2km was into my normal rhythm and was settling down. Just like I planned ahead into the race, I kept repeating over and over in my head to relax, relax, relax, and to stay relaxed for as long as possible and my body listened. I kept my cool, and wasn't too concerned with the heat. To be honest after Wisconsin this year the fact that it was 33 here in Penticton when I started the run, didn't seem very hot compared to the 42 degrees and humidity that there was in Wisconsin. By about 5km my hamstring was doing its normal thing, but I worked through it like I did in training over the last 5 weeks. I reached 5km in 19 minutes (3:50/km), and at 8km I reached a critical point in my race. I caught up to Robbie Chalfant who I caught up to at almost exactly 8km in the 70.3 Miami last November. In November last year, I had caught up to him but within the next kilometer he dropped me hard, and from there on the final 10km was a death march. This time I caught up to him and was feeling already much better. We made the turn out onto the second lap as we could hear the announcer say that these are our two leading Age group racers out on the course. That pumped me up so much.
Then I said over to Robbie to try to run to together for as long as we can. But about 1km into the second lap my legs which were pretty much in autopilot mode just floating along, kicked it up into another gear and Robbie wasnt able to stay with me. It was not one of those devastating Mo Farah type kicks or anything more of a Eluid Kipchoge gradual and methodical rev up in the pace. What was a few meters, quickly turned to 10, and 20, and soon, 200m ahead in a very short period of time. This was the turning point of my race because at that point I knew I had reached that next level. This was a guy who just 10 months ago whipped me in Miami by 16 minutes, and now I was pulling away from him. I couldn't believe it, but for just a moment thought maybe I was digging my own grave here injecting such a push in pace at only 12km into the run. But my legs felt full of energy, and kept repeating to myself to stay relaxed and just keep knocking the miles off. I reached the 20km with a big lead for the Overall Championship, and I've always said that I'm a much better front runner than I am trying to chase someone down. I feed so much adrenaline off of it, and get this running scared mentality which just makes me push harder and harder. My fueling on the run was not very good at all (really only had one gel from one of the aid stations, and a little water) but I guess my fueling on the bike was now carrying me through the run. At about 24km my legs starting to waver, and I wasn't so much an injured type feeling, but instead very similar to how my legs have felt nearing the end of marathons where they feel like your running through quicksand, and every stride feels like a huge test of strength. But this late in the game I just get telling myself "you got this, don't you dare f'in give up."
My pace stayed pretty strong only now getting into the 4:10s but stayed focused and knowing every step was getting me closer to the world title. I reached 29km, and my eyes filled with tears of happiness and pride. I grabbed the Canada flag on the way to the line, and let all my emotion out. I was the World Champion, and with that now a Professional Triathlete. I worked my butt off for this race and status, and there were so many instances the last few months were I didn't even think Penticton was going to be possible. In June when I found out my MRI results, I thought my season was over, then I got hit by car which destroyed my beautiful bike Elektra and hurt my confidence out on the road even more, not too mention a concussion, and a small break in my hand. I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life choosing to pursue this dream, and not take my Physiotherapy exam last November, or in June. The thing was though it wasn't that I ever doubted my ability, it was that I thought my injuries were going to prevent me from ever showing my ability and that made me even more sad and upset. But that adversity in the end made me even stronger and just added fuel to fire burning inside, and makes this victory even sweeter. And it was in the end how the race unfolded that made it even more satisfying.
5:58 is the actual time (6:17 is from when the pros started)
The fact that my swim was good not fantastic (thanks to the blinding sun), then the bike was good not fantastic, but that I won this race with my run. The thing that has been the biggest wildcard for the last 4 years of racing and especially last 2 years in triathlon. And I could not have done any of this with my incredible support team of: my Mom who was in the car with me on the way back from reviewing the results of the MRI with the Sports Medicine doctor, a car ride with alot of tears, but also telling me that she believes in me and supports my decision to pursue my dream 100%, and throughout the entire journey has supported me so much and done so much to get me to the finish line in Penticton. My Dad who has been there every step of the way to help me in any and every way possible, and put up with my insanity/temper tantrums on so many occasions. Keith who has believed in me from the start and had no doubt that I would achieve my dream. Sheryl who has been so much more than just my swim coach, giving so much emotional support, motivating me, and being there every step of the way to help with whatever.  And to my brother and sister for all their support and best wishes. And then at the race I need to thank the Bike Barn for being so helpful to get my bike ready in time for race day, and giving some reassurance that everything would work out. And to my sponsors throughout: Harry Walker at Revolver Wheels - the disc is truly magnificent, Zone3 for the super fast wetsuit, Rudy Project for my very comfortable/fast training road helmet the Boost and then the Wing57 for racing, Skechers Performance Canada for my fast light training and racing shoes, Compressport Canada for keeping my legs feel fresh throughout racing and training with your compression apparel, and Infinit Nutrition Canada for fueling me throughout my training and racing. This World Championship is just the start for me and there will be so much more to come in the future from Frank the Tank. Next up is the 70.3 World Championships where I will go after it hard like I always do and back this performance in Penticton up with another.