All or Nothing!

All or Nothing!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tremblant 70.3 Race Report 3.0

2 days after Tremblant 70.3, and all I can think of is that all of the hard work, dedication and sacrifices I’ve made are now paying off.  This season so far has been great for me with a solid performance at Florida 70.3, the Rev3 30-34 Age Group Series win and a 6th place at the Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon, but those were nothing compared to my past performance in Tremblant, Quebec.  That performance has solidified a level of confidence in me I knew was always there but it just reaffirmed it for me.

There are too many things to say about how great Tremblant is, but, in short, the place is awesome!!! Organization, location, volunteers, pre-race training...  you name it, it’s got it!  This was the third edition of the 70.3 race and also my third attempt at pushing myself!  I’m lucky enough to have access to a condo on the hill year round, which helps with course knowledge and training...  gotta thank the in-laws for that!

Pre-race activities are the same as usual.  Coach Phil has me doing my regular race week workouts and I stick with my routine meals of Steak Thursday, Pasta Friday and Pizza Saturday!  As usual my main sponsor, Dad, was with me for the race, but I was lucky enough to have my wife and mom join us this time.  Their support means everything to me.

Race day

Up at a reasonably early time, I got my morning fuel in with a nice big cup of coffee and made my way to transition with a good 30 minutes to spare.  After making sure everything in transition was in order and ready to go, we made our way to the swim start to watch the Pro men and women take off.  Unfortunately our swim wave was one of the last, meaning that there was a long wait before starting, but there’s not much you can do about that.  After a quick swimming warm-up, I walked under the blue arch and set at the front of the line.  As the horn went off it was go time.  I promised myself that this race was going to hurt the entire time, and that it did.  The swim was very congested at times, making it a little difficult to find room and having to maneuver around swimmers often.  It was the same for everyone, so I thought, Let’s just go with it and push the pace.  The entire swim I was feeling great and was able to hold a strong rhythm.  Getting to the end of the swim with my first foot strike on the beach, I knew this was going to be a good day.  Trying to run the long transition as fast as I could, I got to my bike, helmet on, wetsuit off, ran to the bike mount and started pushing.

“ALL OR NOTHING” is something I thought about as soon as I got on the bike, and I have to thank Josh Amburger for that because of the time when he had a discussion with Sebastian Kienle.  Don’t hold back on the bike and push hard like you do during training.  I’ve become very familiar with myself and know where the breaking point is so on the Tremblant course I made sure I was right on the tipping scale!!  It’s very difficult knowing where you are at when racing with 2000 other athletes starting at various times, so the easiest thing to do is to bike hard and GO!  And that’s exactly what I did.  Close to the turnaround a fellow LifeSport athlete and competitor, Nicholas Courville, caught up and led for a good chunk but ended up fading a little towards the end.  Right to the bike dismount it was go time, even in the hills during the last 20k.  Strong bike and ready to run like we’ve done in training.

Out of T2 it was time to prove to myself that I can run hard off the bike.  It’s been done during training, so why not now?  1k, 2k, 4k, 10k went by through the initial hills and flatter parts of the course and I was holding a solid pace.  At the start of the run Coach Phil let me know that I had one guy in front and that was it.  My one mission from that point on was to catch the dude and not to give up.  At the first turnaround I caught my first glimpse of him, and later got a split from Nicholas, 50 seconds back.  Ok, I’ve got this...  keep running at your pace and keep making it hurt is all I was thinking.  Next turnaround, he was about 15 seconds back.  Before I knew it he was right in front of me but hit me with a surge I couldn’t hold.  Ok, no worries. Still 4k to go.  In the next 3k I made my way back to him, not giving up, but it was the last 600m uphill where things happened!  At the base of the last climb Coach Phil was there to cheer me on and give me much needed encouragement: “C’mon, C’mon, get him, get him, you got this, c’mon, NO REGRETS”.  The words NO REGRETS were exactly what I needed to hear.  Why hold back and finish 2nd?  Why not destroy yourself for the win knowing you absolutely pushed yourself to your limits?  That’s exactly what I did.  BANG, sprint the uphill past the dude, a couple of right turns and down the finish chute to cross the line knowing I laid it down!  That moment I had and shared with Phil at the bottom of the hill is something I will never forget.

My performance in Tremblant got me 1st amateur and 5th overall with professionals.  Yes, race day comes down to only you, but I wouldn’t have been able to get here without the support of my wife, family, friends and one dedicated coach!  I will be back in Tremblant  for the IM 70.3 World Championships this September!    

Huges thanks to all my sponsors who keep supporting me through everything!  Euro-Sports, 7Systems, Zoot, Watch It Bayshore, Freshii Thanks!   

New season New start to the blog posting thingy!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Weeks leading up to Rev3 Quassy and Lifesport Mont-Tremblant Camp

Well its been almost 3 weeks now that i've been officially of desk work and living the life of an athlete. Seriously love this life and I know its for me.  What could be better then working out all the time and taking naps during the day?  NOTHING!!!  My usual day is swim, nap, bike, nap, run sleep.

Since making training my only priority, the volume and intensity has gone up given the time I have, but the major difference I've noticed is that for each workout, I'm rested and ready for all intense sessions.  That was the one struggle with sitting at a desk all day, sometimes the legs just don't feel like running.  Also, now I can fully commit to the process and I don't have to try and juggle things around in order to have all of my workouts done.  Its also all the small things that make a big difference, such as stretching 30min a day, using the foam roller and eating at the right times.  When I go for something its all in or nothing!

Quassy is coming up this weekend, and I can honestly say that I have never felt this fit in my life.  I have been nailing all the key sessions Phil has me doing and feeling great while doing them.  Don't get me wrong, I still hurt a lot during, but the fact that i'm hitting and exceeding the pace/power is a great sign.  This will be my third year racing Quassy and looking forward to it.  Super hard course never giving you a break.  All im going to think of while racing is holding what i've be doing in training.  Some major steep hills on the run, but the last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of training in the Gatineau park so i'm ready!!  Pedal to the metal!

Lifesport Tremblant Camp

This past weekend I attended the Lifesport camp in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec that was put on by my coach, Phil.  For the second year in a row it was a great success.  The weather wasn't as good as the previous year but we still managed to get most of the workouts in apart from the open water swim.  Great being in Tremblant and seeing so many people jazzed and training for the race.  Magali Tisseyre was also kind enough to join us for the ride on Saturday.  Any words of advice I can get from Pros are always appreciated!  Just wanted to thank Phil for leading such a good camp!

One last little mention of appreciation is to my buddy Robert Larioza who was kind enough to hook me up with a brand new Giro Air Attack w/shield helmet!  Ive always struggled in the heat and hopefully this helmet will help.

Here we go Quassy!!  I've worked hard now its time to prove it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rev3 Knoxville, Tennessee - Real Canadian weather! and moving forward

Rev3 Knoxville was only a couple days away and everything was going great leading up to it.  Had a few key sessions with some short race pace intervals and they were being met.  On thursday, May 2nd, after packing the car and doing a final short swim with ROCS we set the GPS for Knoxville, Tennessee!!  Once again, my dad was with me for this race/road trip (what a huge help!).  What a long drive!  After 1.5 days we finally made it to our hotel, which was right beside the race expo.  After checking into the hotel, we headed to the expo for one thing, get some Blueseventy Neoprene socks for the swim!  During the week I was getting updates on the water temperature and when its at 58f you CAN wear the socks!!  So I got them and glad i did.  Did the regular check-in and headed back to the room to get ready for a short bike and run.

Headed out for a short bike on the course and loved it right from the start, minus the technical descents.  Some good hills, haven't seen those in awhile.  The run was also good as you run by the University of Tennessee then onto a path in the woods.  That night we headed to the market square for some mexican eats, favourite food!  Saturday was almost like every saturday before a race.  Got my 30min on the bike done, 20 run BUT didn't get in the water for the practice swim.  By then the awful weather had started and it was cold and rainy.  I decided not to jump in, for the fear of getting a cold before the race, MAJOR mistake.  No matter how cold or how bad the temperature is, if you have a chance to get in the water do it, even if its for 5min.  The rest of the day was easy.  Did the bike check-in under the covered transition zone (parking garage), wish everye race was like this.  Then went to do a little shopping at the Oakley Vault and on our way back got the Hawaiian Pizza.  Pizza down, in bed and getting ready for the next day.

Woke up to the expected cold rainy weather.  No big deal, i've raced in this before and did very well.  Got my bagel, PB and banana in with 2 cups of hotel coffee and headed to transition to get ready.  Transition setup done now time to walk to the swim start.  Good thing i had the socks on as swim exit to transition was around 300m.  2min prior to the start they let us jump in.  Jumped in and right away i couldn't breath.  Tried a few strokes, still couldn't breath.  Started getting worried but I just stayed calm. After a few seconds of relaxing i was able to regain my breathing, 20 seconds later off we go!  Like always my first 200m is all out and from there try and stay in a grove.  I was in the first wave of three so it was easier to see the lead group, which i tried to keep in check the whole swim.  Trying to not think of the cold and just to keep my arms going, I was out of the water in 30:25ish and off to transition.  Happy with the swim considering the conditions.

Out of T1 with frozen legs, I was out on the bike to have a solid right.  Within the first 15k I passed the  guys in front of me but from there I was alone till the end of the ride.  Lonely place and hard to race when you dont have anyone to chase.  The entire ride i kept my power constant like we wanted, but those crazy technical wet descents sure made me grip on the brakes tight!  Need to get better at descending.   The Prologue was awesome!!  Very happy with the change.

Heading into T2, i got the split from my dad letting me know 2 guys were ahead of me.  The first i passed within 2k as he had already started to walk.  The first 5k of the run was flat, but then the hills hit.  All i was thinking about were my runs in the park and what Ryan Grant told me a few days before "Remember all the hard work you have done to get here".  I kept a strong effort going.  Just around the turn around I noticed the one guy i was hunting for first.  Got up to him and on the uphill and passed him fast enough for him not to latch on.  From there i kept the hard pace going though the hills and back to the flat and to the finish line!  First win of the season!  There was no way I was going to let someone catch up to me, so kept the hurt going the whole time.  Although the time for the run was not stellar, effort was.

Here is a link to the pro race recap of the olympic distance (i did the half iron)

Getting to that line I had the "finally" feeling.  Finally, I had a race were i was able to put everything together.  Finally all the hard work has paid off.  Finally I have that confidence I was looking for in racing.  Training is different, racing is all mental.

After the race had some eats, go my prize and back on the road for a long drive back home!  Huge thanks for all of the support to all my friends and to the volunteers of Rev3 who did an amazing job. Next up for me is Rev3 Quassy June 2.  Will be my third time there and looking to kill all previous times!

Moving on, I've started my 3 month leave from work. NOW its time to get some REAL work in!  Pretty simple, train your ass off and see what happens!  Phil, my coach, and I have a plan and we are doing everything possible to meet it.  If your up for a ride, let me know!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Heading out to Rev3 Tennessee

Coming back from San Juan and having the time to think about the results and how the race unfolded it wasn't long after that I was itching to get back to the start line of the next race, and that race is almost here!  Rev3 Tennessee (half distance) is coming up this Sunday.  Training going into the race has been going very well, minus the sinus infection that sidelined me for 2 weeks.  I didn't take much rest post San Juan and continued to build my base and speed until the sinus infection slowed me down.  I've always struggled with my sinus and this time it got me really good.  It left me with blocked ears, a ringing head and being dizzy all the time.  The antibiotics didn't work, so they had me on cortisone and it worked immediately.  I always look at anything that happens, happens for a reason.  Maybe this was just a sign that my body needed a break before heading into the race season?  Well thats the way I took it!  Getting back into it, post infection, everything seemed to be where we left off.  Ok, maybe the speed was lacking a little, but nothing hard work can't fix.  The past 2 weeks have been great and I'm hitting all expected results.  The power on the bike is still there and so is the speed for the run.

Heading into Rev3 Tennessee, my plan is to execute a solid, strong and smart race.  Take the 3 disciplines separately.  Race the swim, race the bike and race the run.  I've been working on taking in more salt during workouts as I always seem to blowup during hot races.  This race will also be the first time I get to race my new Prologue Canada bike, looking forward to it.  Hopefully its going to look something like this but a lot warmer!  My dad and I are packing up and leaving Thursday right after taking a short swim with ROCS.  Its going to be a long drive and we will be arriving Friday around 10am,  enough time to get a short run/ride in on the race course.  Rev3 has great organization so im sure there will be some things to do once we get there.  I will try and write up some posts once there.

Racing aside, yesterday was Steph's birthday and we had a great night out on Saturday to celebrate, by eating at Mezza Notte on the market.  Amazing italian food!  Happy Birthday Steph!  I have 3 more days of work to go and my leave starts, 3 months.  I can't express how excited I am for this time away from work to commit to something i've been working for for so long.  No matter what happens at least the regret wont be there!

Enough for now, time for a run!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Can't do it alone!

I’ve said this many times already, there is no way I would be able to everything  I do without the amazing support I have from my family, friends and great sponsors who believe in me.  As most people who know me, I’m very close with my dad.  He is by far the biggest help I have.  He does everything possible to make things easier on me to ensure that I can get the workouts in everyday.  My mom is also a huge help and one of my biggest supporters!  Stephanie, my amazing wife to be, is the most supportive person ever!  She fully supports me in this journey and has never had any complaints, so far!  She lets me do the work I need to all while keeping a smile and helping me out when needed.  I owe a huge thanks to my coach Philippe Bertrand, who is always there when I need him.  Not only does he create all of my schedules and sessions, he is always there to answer any of my emails and to talk when I need it most.  He has really been an important factor in this journey and has instilled great advice and confidence in me.  Always reviewing my results and commentating, he probably thinks I’m a pain in the ass some days, but never makes me feel it!  All of my amazing friends that I have and have met through the sport in the recent years and my almost adopted family are also big factors when it comes to support, so thank you all!

2013 Sponsors

Once again this year, I’m lucky enough to be a sponsored rider for Euro-Sports, local Ottawa bike shop.  Over the years, I have developed a good friendship with the owner Michael Bennett and will do anything possible to help him out as he does for me.  I get to ride an awesome bike (Prologue), swim in the best wetsuit (Aquasphere Phantom) and run in some serious kicks!  Without Mike’s help, I wouldn't have the equipment I have and for that I am truly grateful.  The techs, Ben, Mason and John, always make sure that the bike is ready for the big dance!  Mike and the boys, thanks for everything!

If you’re on my Facebook or Twitter you must have seen some of my post notification about 7Systems!  I do so because I strongly believe in this product and have been using it for almost 4 years now.  It’s a daily multivitamin package for endurance athletes.  This product has allowed me to stay healthy and avoid any major sickness which may have caused me to take a break from training.  I am a huge advocate for this product and will continue to be.  Jasper Blake, some of you may know him :), has put his confidence in me and has promoted me to the ProAm Team, same team as Simon Whitfield, Reid Coolsaet and Ray Zahab just to name a few!  I can’t tell you how honoured I am to have someone like that give me this opportunity.  
If you're tired of always getting sick or if you just want to feel that much better every day, try this product, you won’t be disappointed!

Freshii (Ottawa)

If you like fast, fresh and healthy food, this is the place for you!!  I eat here practically every day for lunch and never get tired of it!  About a month ago, I sent them a tweet to see if they would be interested in helping out an athlete.  From there I was put in contact with the owner of the Ottawa locations and we immediately saw that we could help each other out on this partnership.  Jag, the owner, is all for providing the support and a great guy!  Triathletes and any athletes for that matter, need to make sure that they are fuelling with the right foods.   For that reason it was a no-brainer that I decided to reach out to Freshii and form this relationship.  I’m  glad that they will be in my corner for the year to help me get some great nutritious meals in!  Not only do they have great food, but the staff is awesome!  If you’re in Ottawa, check out the 2 locations (98 Sparks and 50 Laurier Ave E) or check out the other locations around the world!   

Again thanks to everyone!  I couldn't do it without all of you!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

2013 Triathlon Race Bike

This year I am lucky enough to be riding a new bike from my sponsor Euro-Sports. For the 2013 race season, I will be aboard a Prologue Aviation 2.0. Prologue is the making of Michael Bennett, the owner of the shop. It's an absolute beautiful machine and I can't wait to take it out soon. As you can see it has a custom paint job, representing my true love for the best country! All Prologue bikes are custom painted to your desire. Racing in the states will be fun with this bike :)
Here are the specs:
Frame: Prologue Aviation 2.0, Canadian custom painted
Aerobars:  RHUS (also a product of Mike)
Components:  Shimano DuraAce Di2
Powermeter: SRAM Quarq ESLA 53-39 172.5
Wheels (race): Zipp 808 wheelset Firecrest Carbon Clincher and Zipp Super 9 carbon clincher
Wheels (training):  Zipp 101 or Zipp 808s when I wanna show off!
Tires:  Continental GP4000s (race), Continental Gatorskin (training)
Pedals: Shimano DuraAce
Saddle:  ISM Prologue