Thursday, July 19, 2012

Magrath "I swam the dam" Olympic Race Report

Last week was a busy week for me.  My team (Mercury Rising Triathlon) put on our annual PHAT camp in Penticton.  The weather was gorgeous -- really hot and wonderful.  Our group of campers had a blast and trained hard.  Me included!  :)

I left the camp early after our session on Thursday as I was racing on Saturday.  Thursday's session was transition practice.  We donned our wetsuits and ran to our bikes, biked about 200m, then ran for about 25m.  The coaches would critique us and then we would do it again.

The absolute best was the final transition practice -- we all swam out to this wooden platform and then we climbed up on it, jumped off (I chose cannonball style, and even yelled CANNONBALL when I jumped, lmao) swam back, stripped off our suits, biked and ran again.  So much fun.  Hahaha!  

One of my fellow teammates was hilarious -- he didn't want to wait to climb up the ladder of the platform, so he hoisted himself up!  LMAO -- I was laughing so hard -- it was so much fun to throw a bit of playtime in the midst of a workout.  :) :)

The drive home was brutal...I had car trouble which left me going up every pass at 40km/hour.  Behind all the semi trucks doing the same thing.  GAD!  I had my 4-way flashers on and chugged up every hill, praying that I would get up to the top.  lol -- When I made it to Castlegar I found an OK Tire and the owner took a look at my car.  He thought the car had bad gas -- water in the fuel.

He changed the fuel filter and off I went -- and again had to chug up every hill at 40km/hour.  Man, that stretched out a long drive to an even longer drive.

Anyways, I finally got home, and didn't really unpack anything as I was off to Magrath to do a pre-comp day.  The famous MOMMA came with me -- I found the reservoir with buoys set up and did a lap of the swim there, then tested out my NEW (to-me!) amazing bike, then a little run.

Enough blather -- onto the race report!!

First off -- let me say -- I won the race!!!! I was first overall female!!!!!  :D :D :D :D

My time was 2:19:38!!!!

Swim:  25:09
I was 6th overall out of the water -- overall, meaning men included too!  LMAO!!  How awesome is that?  Coach Sara had given me instructions to get in a really good warm up prior to the race.  I was curious as to how I would do at the race considering I was coming right out of a big training camp...

Before the race, I jogged every time I used the porta-potty.  And I got in a good 15-20 minute swim warm up too.  A real warm up this time -- not a swim piddly-diddly pretend warm up like I usually do.  Where I swim to a buoy and then float around and talk with people.  No, this time, I actually SWAM.  Hahahahaha!!

Swim was great!  I found some feet which was awesome because the field spread out very quickly as there were only 67 people racing the oly.

Bike:  1:07:04
Great bike ride -- my new bike handles SO differently than the cervelo.  I can never use my front race wheel when it is windy as the gusts blow me all over the road, but my Scott Plasma 3 TT is like a tank in the wind -- but a ROCKET TANK!!  It is SO stable and steady with my race wheels -- I was so excited about this discovery!

And it corners on its own!!!  At the camp, we rode up to Apex ski resort and on the descent (this was my first time up there) there are all these switchbacks with signs warning to slow down to 20km/hr or 30km/hr.  I was scared of these, so held my brakes and went really slowly around each one.

I have no problems going fast when the road is straight or sweeping, but those switchback things are scary.  Coach Sara hung back for me and told  me I was "riding like a beginner."  LMAO!  She gave me a bunch of advice to sharpen my bike skills.

I was thinking of this advice when I was nearing the completion of the bike portion and there was a 90 degree turn -- I leaned into the corner and the frigging bike just sprang into it!! I was so surprised at how easy and how differently it handled compared to the cervelo, my mouth dropped open.  Hahahaha!

I never realized how a different bike could fit you better and what that could translate to...Another thing I noticed on the Scott, is that I can stay in aero and grab the water bottles on my frame and drink them while going balls-out in a race.  No way could I do that on the cervelo.  I can't do that on the cervelo even if I am going slow.  I have to sit up and balance to remove a water bottle.

I was intimidated at first by my new bike, but after the race I was in LOVE with it.   I LOVE IT!!!!

The bike also has shorter cranks -- 165s instead of 172.5s.  I noticed this too -- I could spin up the little inclines much more easily, and my back didn't hurt at all coming off the bike to the run.  SO AWESOME.

It rained at this race too -- lol.

Run:  47:24
I want to run faster, but I'll take it!!  

The best part about the race is a t-shirt I received....along with the usual race t-shirt, which is awesome by the way, I discovered in my little baggy another shirt...this one said on the back:  I Won The Last Dam Tri.

LMAO.  The front of both shirts read:  I swam the Dam, Tri Like the End is Nigh.  Hahahaha -- Mormon community and a great sense of humour there!

I am wearing Coach Sara's hand me down tri top -- finding a white tri top is hard, and this one brought me luck!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I've been RETULED!!!

Have you heard about the Retul bike fit? 

I have -- off and on in forums and online advertisements.  It looked quite thorough and complex in the photo-essays of various pros getting fit:  Wires attached to body parts, computer screens measuring data, and all manner of seat and cleat adjustments.

When I returned from Mexico with a snapped aero bar (duct-taped in place), I immediately purchased a new set of aero bars.  The only thing was, this new set of aero bars was totally different than my original ones.  The aero pads were Profile not Vision and they sat up much higher than my old ones. 

I didn't realize this until a few days later when I raced the Oliver 1/2 iron.  My position felt terrible.  I felt so out of whack and my lower back was killing me for about 8km of the run when I got off the bike. 

After the race, I messed around with my seat post and raised it an inch and it felt better, but still not quite right. 

I needed help!

Since I had just purchased a new-to-me bike (a Scott Plasma 3 TT), the time was right for me to take both my Cervelo and my new bike in to get a proper fit.  I wanted a PROPER fit. 

I had heard about Speed Matrix in Calgary via a friend's facebook post a month earlier....She raved about how amazing her bike fit was.  As she was an athlete I respected and trusted, I whipped out Dr. Google and perused the website, and liked what I saw.  I contacted Adam from Speed Matrix, and set up an appointment...

My appointment was with Rory -- he is very detail-oriented and thorough.  Totally thorough.  I have been to places where as the hours tick by (and yes, a proper bike fit can literally take hours), the attention given to your fit starts to wane.

Not so with Rory!!  He measured my leg length, my flexibility, watched how I walked, and kept asking me questions about the distances I raced, any issues or pain I experienced, etc.  He took all this information into account as he made an initial set-up of my bike. 

I climbed on and he watched me pedal and would make more adjustments -- to the seat, aero-bars, cleats, everything.  Nothing got past his eye -- one minor adjustment impacts other aspects of your bike fit -- all this he took into account and explained to me in a totally understandable way.  For example, moving the seat forward or backward, up or down, affects how you pedal.  He would watch me pedal and then make an adjustment and suddenly I was turning perfect circles!  (Well not PERFECT, lol, but the movement from clunky-pedalling to smooth stroke by just an adjustment was very impressive.  I didn't have to change anything about the way I pedalled, the adjustment made me a more efficient cyclist!)

I really, really appreciated the time he took to explain what to him was basic cycling knowledge and principles.  I have been intimidated by asking questions at bike shops before because of that kind of know-it-all attitude undercurrent.  Like I am made to feel like an idiot because for years I always unclipped when turning a corner because I was too scared to go around a pylon.  Or because I am a "triathlete" I have no bike skills and I don't know cyclist lingo or inside jokes, and I sort of stand there with a red face, laughing in agreement with whatever is said and coming out of the experience awkward and still unknowledgeable...AND feeling like an idiot.

With Rory, he patiently took the time to answer every question I asked -- even when the answer was so simple and obvious.  (Most of my questions were, "Why?"  lol.)  I never owned a bike before I started in triathlon.  Well...not true, I had a mountain bike that I rode around town on....but I have never owned a road bike, I don't have all these years of expeience of riding with other people, etc. 

A simple cycling concept to other people, is like a frigging revelation to me -- and Rory explained stuff succintly and in a way that I felt empowered....not belittled.  :)

OK -- onto the bike fit details!!

Time for the wire thingies!! YAY!!

Rory put these little adhesive velcro circles along one side of my body:  on my wrist, my elbow, my hip, my knee, my ankle, my foot.  Then, a wire was secured with the other half of the velcro circle.  From here, I would start to pedal and the data would be transmitted to the computer.  Rory could see and measure so much info -- my right knee was out of whack for example, so another cleat wedge was added and adjustment made.

I was impressed by the fact that the fit was tailored to ME as an individual.  Not to some *average standard.*  How I sit on the bike, how I pedal, etc.  For example, when I rest on the aero pads, I don't rest on my forearms, I rest on my elbows.  That is just what I do.  So, instead of trying to change ME, Rory changed my SET-UP.  How cool is that? 

Then, the whole thing was repeated on the other side of my body.

My Cervelo was fit first -- when I got home, I went out for a 2.5 hour ride and it literally "felt like home."  That's what I wrote in email back to Rory and Adam.  It just felt so good!

The next week, I took in my new-to-me bike to get it fit and the results were awesome as well!!

If you are having any questions or concerns about your own personal bike fit, I totally recommend Speed Matrix in Calgary.  And...if you do, make sure you CLEAN your bike very thoroughly before you take it in!!!! 

This is important as the bike fitter can focus on bike-fitting (as opposed to getting covered in all your grease and crap, lol) -- and it is the courteous thing to do.  One other thing -- getting your bike tuned up is not included in getting your bike fit.  I mean, it makes sense after you have been there for 4 hours going over your fit with a fine tooth comb! 

Thank you to Adam and Rory for dialing in my bike fit.  What a difference a proper fit makes.  Thanks guys!!!

Speed Matrix is located in Speed Theory -- one block east of Mountain Equipment Co-op.  (735A - 10th Ave SW, Calgary, AB).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Great White North Half-Iron Triathlon 2012 - Race Report

Well, the crap weather seems to follow me wherever I go!  lol!

Last year, I went 4:58 at this race and I wanted to beat that time and go 4:45.  (I get a number in my head and I just focus on it, I don't really care if it too realistic or not -- I  keep striving for it because EVENTUALLY I'll get there...right?  Hee-hee!)

Swim:  34:56.  I took a minute off last year's time -- was holding 1:45/100m which is EXACTLY what I do in training so that is great!!  :)

Bike:  2:40:39.   Slower than last year, but there was a rainstorm...cold and blowing.  I stayed within my bubble and had a great ride considering the conditions! :)  I ended up eating 1130 calories on the bike!!!  (Coach Sara was surprised that I could handle that many calories -- but Mike wasn't.  lmao.  What can I say?  My engine burns bright!)

Every time I thought the cold would get to me, I kept thinking about how stinking hot it was in Mexico and felt *relief* that I was finally cool.  lol!  It worked!  :)

Run:  1:48:21.  Faster than last year so another AWESOME! :)  Ate another 660 calories in the form of powergels, and could have (ie should have) eaten another 110. 

I ate a big dinner afterwards too.  :)

Ended up with a total time of 5:03:44  Great day and great fun! 


My new aero drink holder crapped out, so it was duct tape to the rescue.

Chafing from your bike shoe?  No problem!  Use more duct tape!     
It LOOKS like it is just a messy unmade bed....

But there are M&Ms hiding in there!! LOL!

Look Coach Sara -- BOTH feet are off the ground! YAY!!

Best buds 4 ever!  Tessa P and me!  :)