Saturday, June 20, 2009


I can't think of any other appropriate title for this post as my brain is so completely fried. I think the temperature today is about 97degrees plus humidity, so it feels like well over 100degrees and the race didn't start until 10am. Add to that the swim was warmer than the air so I felt like my head was going to explode even before I got on the bike. This is the first race where I actually cooled down a bit on the bike mostly because my body seems to have an automatic shut off that doesn't let me push it to the point of a total meltdown. Then I broke my chain halfway into the first lap. I am hoping that bad luck runs in threes so the flat in Idaho, the crash on Wednesday, and the broken chain today means that I am in the clear for the rest of the season. Luckily I had a small chain breaker and master link on me and made a successful, albeit very lengthy, repair and got the bike rolling again. This is the first race that I have carried this tool and I can't decide whether is was good luck that I had it to make the repair, or bad luck since this is the only time I have ever needed it. I rallied as best I could to get back into the race, both physical and mentally and headed out onto the run in 5th place. Then the run was just survival, insanely steep scramble climbs, crazy loose footing and just plain hotter than hell. I was too far behind to challenge any of the top 4 girls and had to settle for 5th. I'll add a more detailed report and some photos later in the week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I am not superman...

...and therefore even if I stick my arms straight out in front of me I can’t fly. I can however hit the ground really hard and loose a significant amount of skin. Yesterday I made the short flight down to Little Rock, Arkansas for the South Central Xterra Cup Race. My homestay for the race Brandi picked me up at the airport and we headed over to the local bike shop, Arkansas Cycling, where she works and got my bike put together. The wall of heat that hit me walking out of the airport made it clear that this race is definitely going to be a warm one, well over ninety degrees with lots of humidity. Later in the afternoon we headed out to the race course to do a quick spin of the course. I headed out for a short twenty minute run while waiting for another rider and was dripping wet by the time I got back to the car. Local MTB rider Micah and I then headed out for a loop. The course is seriously rocky (by my standards) though nice and dry with some short climbs and descents, twists and turns. I was feeling a little off from the start and my shocks definitely weren’t working well, especially my rear one and I was constantly hitting my bottom pedal but I carried on figuring I would get a loop done and take care of it later. Then on one of the easier straight sections I was suddenly flying through the air, no warning, no OMG I shouldn’t have done that, just launched. I actually remember thinking as I was flying through the air that this really wasn’t going to end well. I thankfully landed on a relatively rock free area of the course and skidded to a stop fairly quickly. Of course I had that wonderful andreline rush that makes you nauseous and had to spend a couple of minutes collecting myself before I could take inventory of the damage. I ended up scrapping and really bruising both elbows and knees and one hip. One elbow had instantly formed a golf ball size swelling point and my other elbow and one knee definitely had some deep cuts. (insert several choice four letter words) I cruised the rest of the loop in as easy as I could, cursing myself and definitely in some pain. The rest of the evening was spent at Dan’s place, the owner of Arkansas Cycling who is hosting Mel McQuaid, getting cleaned up and helping myself to Mel’s dinner. Fortunately Micah’s wife is an RN and looks like we got most of the dirt out of the cuts. I was expecting to wake up this morning really stiff and sore but surprisingly I feel better than last night. Of course I did spend 12 hours in bed!! Today is a rest day, so I headed out on the road for a little loosen up and did a short pool swim. I know that everyone crashes at some point in mountain biking, I just wish it hadn’t happened 3 days before a race. No worries, by Saturday I should be ready to go. Keeping rubber side down, this course should really suit me, a full length 1500m no wetsuit swim, a relatively short, fast bike and well the run is going to hurt everyone in this heat.
I am now hanging out at Arkansas Cycling where the gang is doing a terrific job fixing up the bike while I hijack the computer. The shocks were running about half pressure and I completely bent the rear derailleur into the cassette during the crash. They also had a little fun with the majic marker (see below).
Best of luck to every one racing this weekend – big world cup in Washington, points race in Quebec and the sister ‘Little Fish’ is racing Guelph Lake Triathlon, GO KAREN!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Better late than never?

Yep, it's been over a week since the race and I am now just getting around to writing the race report, oh well. The fourth stop on the Xterra tour was held at Farragut State Park in Northwestern Idaho, just north of Coeur D'Alene. The site was absolutely beautiful and the course was flat and fast. In the past I have never liked wetsuit swims as they tend to help the non-swimmers much more than me but after three races in a row in cold water and my great Nineteen wetsuit I feel like I have finally mastered the wetsuit swim. The race was a noon start, so while the water was still cold the air temperature was nicely warmed-up and I wasn't as concerned about my calf being cold and tight coming off the bike and heading out on the run. Just as a precaution I decided to race in calf compression tights which although looked absolutely ridiculous I think helped keep the calf extra happy. I'm undecided whether I will continue to race with them on as I feel like they make my legs feel heavy, but for the first race back it was better safe than sorry. The pro's got our own wave start one minute ahead of the first amateur wave and we were off into what turned out to be a really rough two loop swim. This time I decided to sit in on the first lap and let someone else do the work. At the short run between laps it was Seth, Craig, Conrad and myself with a nice gap. Once back into the water the guys seemed to back off so I went to the front and pushed the pace and once again led out of the water with just Seth able to hang on. As it turned out I put nearly five minutes on Mel, the next women out of the water.
Conrad and myself at the swim lap
Finishing up the bike
Out onto the bike, what I thought was going to be a relatively easy bike course since it was so flat turned out to be very hard. As Mel put it you had to peddle hard the whole time with none of the usually breaks a more hilly course usually provides. I still had the lead going into the second lap and was getting pretty excited about the possibility of reaching T2 with Mel and having a serious foot race. Mel caught me midway through the second lap and while I wasn't quite hanging onto her wheel she was only inching away from me. That was until I took a corner and wondered why it felt like my back tire nearly washed out on me. Unbelievable, I looked down and sure enough my back tire was completely flat. I jumped off and quickly tried to fill it hoping the Stan's would seal the leak but I apparently did not pass canister quick fill 101 and only got my tire half pumped when the valved jammed. I decided to take my chances and gingerly rode in the rest of the bike on about 10 psi hoping that I hadn't lost too much time to the girls behind me. I got into T2 safely and still in 2nd place and started the run. After not much running in the three weeks since Michigan, I wasn't sure just how I was going to feel. I felt pretty sluggish and people mentionned that I looked like I was running very cautiously, but even with the long uphill climbs in the middle the calf managed with no pain or tightness. I was feeling pretty good about my 2nd place spot until Danelle 'running like a freight train' Kabush came by me just flying. Apparently after two warm-up races Danelle had found her second at worlds form and was right back in it. The rest of the run was pretty uneventful and I finished with another 3rd. I even managed to remember to smile as I crossed the finish line. Three races and three podiums, I can't really complain but I am still eyeing the next two spots on the podium. Local legend Jenny Tobin and Emma Garrard rounded out the top five.
Women's Podium Emma, Danelle, Mel, Me
Big thanks to my awesome homestays for the weekend Jan and Paula who offered up their house to Dan, Emma, Craig and myself. We had this great apartment above their garage to stay in and except for Craig's pre-race Quinoa meal mistake (he isn't use to eating much fiber) had a fun time. Sunday after the race ended up being a marathon travel day starting with an early trip to the airport at 5am and finally rolling into home at 2:30am the next day. (ouch) When planning out my season I had decided to skip the Xterra race this weekend in Richmond as the course with a crazy short swim and very technical bike didn't suit me well so even though I had to drop the Alabama race I felt it wasn't worth adding Richmond back in. Instead I got in a good solid week of training and feel ready to go again next weekend for the Xterra South Central Cup race in Arkansas.
Emma and Dan took some great pic's of the race site which I stole and put in my gallery. Also included are Erin's crazy post-race antics which among other things included throwing her leftover morning oatmeal on Craig's rental car that I was driving back to Spokane while he enjoyed some post-race beverages. We had hoped that the freeway speed would blow it off but I ended up having to clean it up before we returned it the next morning. As for her randomly jumping out of her car and running up the hill with me yelling out my car window, I still don't know what that was all about?!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

3rd Again, Canucks sweep podium

Womens Podium Danelle Kabush 3rd, Mel McQuaid 1st, CJ 3rd (go canucks!!)
Today was my third Xterra Cup of the season and 3rd again it was. The race was held in Farragut State Park just north of Coeur D'Alene Idaho. What a beautiful setting for a race and the course which seemed pretty flat and non-technical ended up being really tough. After some sketchy training with the calf after Michigan I was just happy to be racing so although I felt a little flat especially on the run I was really happy with the end result. It is late so the full race report will have to wait for a couple of days as tomorrow is a full day of travel, but the Canadian women totally rocked with a 1,2,3 finish.

Monday, June 1, 2009


'Bone Shaker'
We celebrated the last day of May here in Ontario with some snow flurries!!!? Fortunately for me because the MTB race on Sunday was doubling as a Canada Cup race as well as the Ontario Cup race, my start time got moved to the 1:45pm slot and I had beautiful, sunny, and almost warm weather. (Well warm enough that no arm or leg warmers were required.) It also meant that all the expert women from Junior through Masters all raced in the same wave so there was lots of great competition and the start was insanely fast. As a triathlete I don't ever have to worry about sprinting the first couple of km's of the bike and boy does it hurt especially since they start you straight uphill to spread everyone out before the singletrack starts. I settled comfortably into about 5th but hit the dirt early on the first lap on a stupid little root and lost touch with the top couple of girls. 2nd lap I moved back up to 3rd and thought I had a pretty good gap but got reeled back in on the 3rd lap. I ended up winning the Senior Expert division with four of the Master Expert women placing in front of me. Overall a great race as really all I am looking for from these mountain bike races is a great hard workout and having to use my technical skills at race pace. I rode all the technical sections really well, especially all three goes at Boneshaker, but lost concentration and hit the dirt twice on some easier sections.
Even more exciting is that my calf seems to be pretty well healed up so it is a go for the Xterra race this Saturday just outside Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. I got three solid runs in last week and besides the legs feeling a little flat, everything felt pretty good. This is another one of the new races this year so I have no idea what the course is going to be like. I do know that the water is rumored to be FREEZING, so I am desperately trying to find my thermal hood which is effectively hiding somewhere. Hopefully it turns up before wednesday.