Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thanks To My Cheer Team

I just want to say a quick thank you to my cheer team for getting me to the finish line in second place at Ironman Whistler on the weekend! Thanks to everyone out on the course that told me to "Get Ugly Out There!!!" Thanks to my Aunt Linda and Uncle Ron for putting me up for the weekend!

Race Report to come soon!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hindsight Is Always 20/20


Ironman 70.3 Texas race was a complete disaster for me.  I am pretty disappointed in myself for making a bunch of stupid decisions.  Having said that, disasters and stupid decisions make for incredible learning experiences.  So in a strange way, I am happy to have gotten beat down in Galveston!  

I had a great swim and felt super cruisy in the second pack of guys.  I got on the bike and felt great.  Not just great but that invincible, nothing can stop me today, kind of great.  The kind of great that most people feel in a triathlon before they annihilate themselves early on the bike.  And that is exactly what I proceeded to do.  I got caught up in the stupid ride with packs game.   The packs game NEVER works for me,  yet for some reason I decided to play it on that day.  The appeal of catching on an the front and using them for pacing and then smoking the run for the win seemed like an awesome plan.  But if it was so awesome, everyone would have done it.  I rode way to hard to try and catch the Brent McMahon, at the time it did not occur to me that he might be doing the same so that nobody caught up to him. The packs game never works for me because it involves throwing down big surges, keeping an eye on the other guys, not keeping the most aero position and takes me out of my mindset.  I also got caught up in the game and was looking for guys coming from behind. 

I blew through the second aid station, and didn’t take a bottle.  I have no reason for that.  My thought process went something like this “I’ll skip this aid station, that’s a bad idea”  but at 54+km/h by the time I thought  “That’s a bad idea” it was too late.  Normally I have a backup bottle, in case something happens (I.e. dropped bottle, aid station not ready, stupid decisions)  however for this race I decided to use my back up bottle to hold my pit stop.  At the time it seemed so genius.  My Argon 18 looked pretty friggin sexy so why ruin that by  Gorilla Taping pit stop on the frame?  Stupid in hindsight.

I could tell the watts were slipping a touch and getting harder for me as we approached the turnaround.  It got worse from there as we headed back into wind.  I was really wishing I had that bottle of Perform and it felt like forever until the next aid station.   I went from half Ironman pace to Ironman pace to long ride pace pretty quick. The deadly combo of poor nutrition and pacing had started to blow me to pieces.  To make matters worse I had changed my saddle position a bit last week as I hadn't quite felt comfortable.  My power had been slipping so I attributed that to my seat position, not the obvious fact that I was at the end of a hard training block.  Stupid on my part!  My sit bones were bothering me around 30-35 miles and Killing me at around 45 miles.  It was something to do with my position on my saddle that made me struggle on the run. 

So here I was, went from feeling like a million bucks to struggling to turn the pedals over.  I started thinking about the run, the stupid moves I had made and was trying to regain my composure when.  I thought this can’t get any worse and then BAM!! It can always get worse.  I swerved to miss a pothole and hit another.  Another crash.  Luckily this one was at a much slower speed.   I was pretty banged up and cut up and completely demoralized.  I was 500m from T2 and got back on my bike and rode in to T2. 

I had to options at this point.  Option A: drop out and go feel sorry for myself in my hotel room.  Option B: Get out there and get it done even if I had to walk.  I decided to get out and there get it done.  I know what it means for a lot of people just to finish, so if I was physically able to it, I was going to get it done.  Like Asics’ new motto that is written on my duffel bag and sweat pants “Stop at Never”.   Klean Athlete had helped me get down to the race so I wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to finish. I ended up getting this AWESOME company a whole lot of exposure because I was out there for a REALLY long time!  I had to walk the first mile (which took a lot longer than I thought!). Things finally loosened up and I was able to jog the next 11 until my hip flexor started to tighten up and I walked the last mile to the finish. 

What causes dumb mistakes?  Confidence.  Or lack there of. When your confidence slips you make bad decisions.  My confidence slipped heading into the race.  It wasn’t confident in what I could do. Seven months is a long time between races. And when six of those seven months are spent injured, you really start to question your abilities.  I felt like I need an extra something to take the win and beat Brent McMahon.  My focus turned away from the execution of my race to tactics and things that were beyond on my control.  This is known a classic “Choke”. 

The goal of the race was to enhance my preparation for Ironman Texas.  So mission accomplished.  I definitely learned some good lessons. 

So what have I learned form the race. 

1.) Pace yourself.  Go your own, even pace.

2.) Stick to a plan that works for you.  For me it’s to ride alone. 

3.) Accept that someone might be able to get to the finish line before you,.  The only thing you can do about that is get to the finish line faster. 

4.) Other people will be going too hard, don’t worry about it. 

5.) It’s okay to pass last years champion just as long as you are going your pace and not riding like a maniac. 

6.) Physically write out your nutrition plan and stick to it.

7.) Always have a backup bottle.

8.)  Don’t change your position 2 weeks out from a race.

9.)  Respect the distance and the course.  It’s the course, not your competitors, that will beat you down. 

10.) Don’t crash. 


Aside from the race, it was great to get to go down to Texas to meet the team from Klean Athlete. If you haven’t heard about this company, look into them now. They make awesome nutrition products (the ProBiotics are my favourite) that are specifically designed for athletes. I’ve noticed my time spent in recovery mode post-race is drastically decreased (assuming there hasn’t been a crash involved), and any GI issues I have ever experienced, stopped after taking their product.
Tim Monk (the VP of Sales and Marketing at Klean Athlete and passionate triathlete) even spent the day with me on the Monday after the race and took me out on the Ironman Texas course making sure to point out every pothole along the way.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The UBC Triathlon and Some Sponsor Updates!

Photo: Björn Ossenbrink

One race, one win.  Can’t complain about that!  The UBC triathlon was the 3rd triathlon I ever did back in 2006.  Looking back at the results it was quite the solid field with Trevor Wurtele, Andrew Russell and Adam O’Meara.  I remember thinking that Trevor (though I only knew him as the guy in the white and black shirt) must have cut the course because he came out of nowhere on the swim to be right behind me on the bike.  http://www.winningtime.ca/results_ubc_031106/olymaleoall.txt

Racing, how I missed you!  Mainly, how I missed Getting Ugly Out There on the run!  It has been a long road back from my crash at Challenge Penticton.  The impact on my hip caused problems in my sesamoid bone and kept me from racing until this past weekend.  It was awesome to get back on a start line and go through the emotions.  I know, I changed the saying, ‘emotions’ just seem so much more fitting in this situation. 

Just last week the course looked like this.   


The roads cleared up over the last couple of days and sun was astonishingly brilliant for race day.   I am not one for lame poetic sentences, but a week ago we thought it was going to snow race day, and it turned out to be shirts-off weather! Only in Vancouver…

Shirts Off!

The swim is done in a 50-meter pool.  Normally I hate pool swims because I can NOT count laps.  300 meters is my limit; I don’t swim 400’s, I swim 400’s-ish. But don’t think I have gone soft on you, I always err on the side of too much.  So if I had to count a 1500…. no chance.   Thankfully UBC has solved this problem by having swimmers go up and down each lane for the 8 lanes of the pool.  You then get out after the 8th lane, run (it’s a race, there’s no way I’m going to follow pool rules and walk) back to the beginning and swim 7 more lanes.   To change lanes you do the always-sketchy flip turn under the lane rope.  Negative side effects include: flip turning the wrong way, one-foot push offs, grating your head on the lane rope, or heading back into oncoming traffic.  All of which make things more fun, all of which I manage to do every time I’ve raced at UBC.   

The start of the swim is a time trial start; each person 10 seconds apart. I swam hard to catch the one guy ahead of me. He had written down 18 minutes for his 1500 time so I had hoped to draft off him to a good time. Although he looked like the kind of ex-swimmer that spent more time working on technique then anything else. Needless to say, he started fading HARD. That was when I decided to make the move to pass him and when “The Claw” came out! 

The CLAW!  Photo: Björn Ossenbrink

This is my new mission – to get rid of my claw.   No matter how hard I try I always do it.  I have purchased two beefy aluminum rulers and some duct tape to splint my forearms to practice. I am not kidding. Duct tape fixes anything and everything right?


Once you’ve finished your laps, you jump out of the pool and run outside to T1. The bike leg has a lot of turns and the roads were pretty slick from the torrential downpour we experienced on Saturday.  I took the corners fairly conservative as I was under strict “Don’t crash this time” instructions from my girlfriend.  I also made sure to give plenty of room as I lapped people, especially to the guy with the Alexander Gustafson like Bad Boy shorts.  I figured if we got tangled up he probably kick my ass as well.  


With the time trial start you can’t tell exactly where people are in the race so you just keep pushing hard right until the end. Once I got out onto the run course, it took me a bit longer to settle into my race pace then usual but managed to get there within a few kms. This was quickly disrupted when I was trying to pass someone and managed to loose my balance and fall (seriously, what is wrong with me?!). I quickly surveyed the damage, shook it off, and kept going. Managed to loose some skin from both knees but luckily nothing serious. 33 minutes later I crossed the finish line thinking “Oh right, so that’s what it feels like!” The running hard and suffering reminded me of what makes this sport so awesome.

Nathan, Nathan and I

Congrats to my fellow Okanagan athletes for kicking ass as well. Nathan Champness came 2nd, Chris Young 4th, Jen Annett won the womens and Robbie Smith with a comeback appearance won the Sprint Distance. 

It’s great to be back to racing and I am excited about the 2014 season!

Photo: Björn Ossenbrink

On the sponsorship side of things, at the end of 2013 I said goodbye to Orbea and welcomed Argon-18 to my team. I am so excited to be working with the guys (and gals) from Quebec! Thanks to Jonathon Caron, my French-Canadian interpretation skills I gained from him will finally be put to good use! I’ve already spent a good amount of time with the Argon-18 team so look out for more info from that! And as always, I have an amazing team of Asics, Shimano/Pro, Powerbar, Ryder’s, Klean Athlete, Champion Systems, Swagman Racks, and Kicker Endurance on board for another year of good times and fast times!

Photo: Björn Ossenbrink

Lastly, I want to say a big thank you my physiotherapist Sean Campbell from Campbell Health for put me back together after the crash.  Not only have we put the pieces back together, but we have made some improvements as well! 

Next up is the St. Patricks Day 5k at Stanley Park. Race starts at 9:00am, party starts at 9:15am!

Keep Gettin’ Ugly!
Jeff

Monday, March 3, 2014

Top 10 Mental Techniques I Use





I wrote up an article for the Do More Community.  All of these have made a huge impact on my triathlon career and many of them in other areas of my life.  I am sure they will help you reach your goals as well!

http://domorecommunity.ca/10-mental-techniques-make-race-success/

Friday, December 20, 2013

First Off The Bike: Top 7 Performances of 2013



I am thrilled to have my race at Challenge Penticton be named one of the top 7 performance of 2013 by First Off the Bike!  They did a great little write-up of the race and my story. 

http://firstoffthebike.com/news-and-features/top-seven-triathlon-performances-2013/


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big City Living!

A lot has happened since Challenge Penticton!  My Girlfriend Sophia has just finished up her first semester of Physiotherapy at UBC and we settle into big city living here in Vancouver.  So far the swimming has been awesome and taking advantage of UBC's 50m pool and a great swim squad http://www.vancouvermastersswimclub.com/.  I have picked up a Computrainer and am really enjoy laying down some solid sets while at the same time learning a ton watching triathlon Youtube videos!

I have also started working weekends at Speed Theory.  Speed Theory is similar to the The Bike Barn in that it is a great shop run by awesome people, but definitely different in the amount of comfort bikes, handlebar streamers and bucket helmets I have sold.  I could probably do a great blogpost on the differences in the future...



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Challenge Penticton Video




It's been a crazy week since Challenge Penticton, a week that was made even more crazier by my injuries from the crash and a move to Vancouver.  I haven't had a chance to write up a good race report yet however I wanted to post a video that Challenge Penticton made of my race day experience. It was awesome to have my Dad and also my coach Kevin Cutjar in the video.  I post a couple more videos one from the race and one from a talk I gave to the TriPower kids.  I have healed up ell and should get a real race report typed up in the next couple of days.

Thanks to hanks to Orbea, Orca, Shimano, Pro, Powerbar,The Bike Barn, Kevin Cutjar, Ryders Eyewear, Asics, and everyone who helped make my childhood dream a reality!  I look forward to coming back to defend my title in 2014!