Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cornwall Triathlon 2014

I always get excited on the Thursday prior to the Cornwall Triathlon. You will be driving down Montreal Road, and the traffic cones are all out, ready to be set up. You know the Triathlon is coming. It's kind of like Christmas, you know it's coming when you see all the lights on. This year, was a little bitter-sweet for me. It's the first year, in a long time that I wasn't a participant. I had decided to save all my bullets for next week's Canadian Iron 226. So, I was doing the next best thing volunteering.

Laura and I, and 6 other high-energy enthusiastic folks had the aid station on Anthony Street. We had a blast. Afterwards, my hands were sore from clapping so much, and my throat was hoarse from yelling. It was awesome.

We had set up a loudspeaker across the street, and were blasting the tunes. Here's the pump up play-list.

1Love Shack The B-52's
2Dude (Looks Like A Lady) Aerosmith
3Roar Katy Perry
4Walk of Life Dire Straits
5The Fox Ylvis
6Boom Boom Pow Black Eyed Peas
7Blurred Lines Robin Thicke
8Mustang Sally The Commitments
9Die Young Ke$ha
10Vertigo U2
11Bad Medicine Bon Jovi
125-1-5-0 Dierks Bentley
13Relax Frankie Goes to Hollywood
14Walk This Way [feat. Aerosmith] Aerosmith & Run-D.M.C.
15Bad Romance Lady Gaga
16Tik Tok Ke$Ha
17Ain't Going Down (Til the Sun Comes Down) Garth Brooks
18Addicted To Love Robert Palmer
19Happy (From "Descpicable Me 2") Pharrell Williams
20Sledgehammer Peter Gabriel
21Life Is a Highway Tom Cochrane
22Blue Monday New Order
23#Selfie The Chain Smokers
24Dirty Laundry Don Henley
25Black Betty Ram Jam
26Jump Van Halen
27Gangnam Style Psy
28Bicycle Race Queen
29Electric Avenue Eddy Grant
30I Love It Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX
31Big Time Peter Gabriel
32Billie Jean Michael Jackson
33Poker Face Lady Gaga
34Dancing Queen Abba
35#Thatpower Will.I.Am ft. Justin Bieber
36Rebel Yell Billy IDOL
37Crying Over You Platinum Blonde
38Bizarre Love Triangle New Order
39Song 2 Blur
40Where the Streets Have No Name U2
41Timber (feat. Ke$ha) Pitbull
42Livin' On a Prayer Bon Jovi


It was a very fruitful triathlon weekend for the Barnes family. Laura nabbed 1st place overall in the Girls 12-14 year old triathlon on Saturday.

Andrew got 4th overall in his first attempt at the Adult triathlon.

Guylaine shaved off 9 minutes from her previous PB at the Olympic Distance (shaving minutes off of each discipline), narrowly missing the AG podium.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wishy-Washy on the Wetsuit

Friday night open swim with the Full sleeve wetsuit: 4 x 750m loops (continuous) at: 13:36, 14:49, 15:12, 15:35 (0:59:13 total @ 1:58pace).

Notes: 1) It was pretty choppy 2) The swim course had been somewhat shortened and is likely more accurate 3) I am much slower that I want to be.

I'm still not sure I like it. I may do a mid-week swim in my sleeveless to put an end to this debate.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Canadian 226 Prediction

Hoping for accurate course measurements and good swim conditions. My current bike fitness is better than Esprit, but the Canadian course is much slower than Esprit. I will need to be disciplined to break 4 hours on the marathon - this means, easy running, especially at the beginning.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

3 Races in 3 Days

Day 1, Race 1: Friday August 8, 2014 - CMC Open Water Swim, 1500 meters.

The plan: Grip and Rip it. Hard off the start, hard through the middle, hard to the finish. No gliding: if you're not stroking, you're slowing down. 26:xx would be sweet.

The reality: Went probably too hard off the start, tried to keep up with Mark W for too long. Got a bit tired. Finally settled into a rhythm. Went head-to-head with MiKe P for a while. At the 1st turn around, I decided to save some energy and draft behind him, but he started drifting off course too much, so I uncoupled and did my own thing. He swam back around and left me in his dust (but fortunately, he was only doing 750). After the second (of 4 turns), I was swimming side by side with Steph L.  He got to the third turn a hair in front of me, so I cruised behind for a bit. With 150m to go, he was pulling away from me. With 100m to go, I was right back on his toes. I pushed hard, and passed him. We had one more 90 degree turn to make before the short dash to the finish line. I tried to take a straight line to buoy and cut him off so he'd have to swim behind me - but he wasn't having any of that, and we muscled each other around the turn. He won, and took the last 20 meter drag race to the finish. I came in a handful of seconds afterwards - completely spent. It was definitely the hardest I'd ever swam.

Final time: 27:36 (1:50/100m), 4th overall. I think the course was probably longer than 1500m. My shoulders and upper chest were killing me the rest of the night and next morning: I had worn my long sleeve wetsuit. I'm not convinced its faster than my sleeveless.

We won Cookie medals for "most aggressive swim"
(or most entertaining, I can't remember exactly, it could have been "most awesome" too).

Day 2, Race 2: Saturday August 9, 2014 - Maple City Triathlon (Ogdensburg, NY) - 750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run.

It was the first year for this small town triathlon. A pleasant 1 hour drive upstream from Cornwall across the border. The organizers, themselves triathletes, had done a good job putting it together, all the i's had been dotted, and the t's crossed. There was a good contingent from Cornwall in the mix, it was shaping up to be a fun day. At the risk of sounding cheeky, I was gunning for a podium spot. I knew Wyatt would get first, and Rob second - the only uncertainty - barring some local fast dudes showing up - was, could I put in a fast enough swim, hold it together on the bike, and not implode on the run long enough to hold off CupaJoe.

Wearing my sleeveless wetsuit (and not regretting it), I lined up on the first row. At the gun, I went out full guns a-blazing. I tucked behind Wyatt and then Rob, but got left behind quickly enough. I was swimming on my own until I felt a couple of knocks on my toes. The swim was a triangle course, and the back-side of the triangle was over top of a shallow sand-bar. Technically, I could have stood up and run faster than I was swimming, but thought better of it, as it really wasn't in the spirit of the race. I got passed by a Relay swimmer on the final stretch, and exited the water 4th overall, but 3rd in the mens race. A 4th man had caught me, and we ran neck-and-neck into transition.

I fumbled a bit in transition, but got out ahead of the other guy. The bike course was much more rolling than what I had expected. This exposed my weakness on rollers, and I was soon overtaken for 3rd place.  I continued the bike, going as hard as I could - constantly shifting between big-ring and little-ring through the rolling hills. I was expecting CupaJoe to have passed me by the turn around. I saw him approaching when I was .75 km past the turn - I had a 1.5k lead on him overall - approximately 3 minutes. Would that be enough!!!???

A smooth second transition, and I was out running. I tried to hold back a bit at the start, to keep some in the tank. There were no mile or km markers on the course, which may have been a good thing. Approaching the turnaround, I could see the lead man approaching me, it was the guy who was right behind me in T1. Rob was second and Wyatt third. I hit the turn in 11 minutes exactly - not bad, I thought, on track for a 22/23 minute run. 38 seconds past the turn, CupaJoe was streaking in on the other side. Some quick math - I was 70ish seconds ahead at that point - I figured he would catch me close to the finish line. Plan B: Run like you stole it!

I picked up the pace, as much as I could, but it just felt like my legs were rubber. With about 200 m and the finish line in sight, someone said "Don't let him catch you!"  - I knew Joe must have been close behind, oh crap...  Well, I think 2 things happened next - I picked it up as much as I could - and secondly, as much as he won't admit it, I think he let up for me. (Thanks Bro, I owe you).

Smiling at the finish line.

Final Stats:
750m Swim - 0:14:29.55 (plus run to T1) @ 1:56/100m - pure swim was 14:11
T1 - 0:51.85 (I should have left my shoes on my bike)
20K Bike - 0:34:58.64  @ 34.3 kph (includes 15 new-found Watts)
T2 - 0:33.78
5K Run - 0:21:26.94 @ 4:17/km (unexpected big time negative split).
Final Time - 1:12:20 - 4th male overall (5th finisher - overall winner was a woman) - 1st AG M40-44.

The Cornwall Gang. Wyatt did end up winning 1st male, Rob was second, me 4th and CupaJoe 5th.
Guylaine was 6th female and 3rd AG.
Bonus Round: After crossing back into Canada at Johnstown, Guylaine let me out and I biked 80K home.

Day 3, Race 3: Sunday August 10, 2014 - Great Raisin River Foot Race, 5K

Have I ever said, I hate running 5K before? Of course I have. It just plain 'ol hurts. This year wasn't going to be any different. Although with a start time 30 minutes earlier than usual, the heat would be held off a little longer.

The plan: (Now, finally admitting "Time in the Bank" doesn't work), was: 4:30 - 4:00 - 4:00 - 4:00 - 4:00; 20:30 final time - or at the very least, sub 21.

The actual: 4:20 - 4:07 - 3:53 - 4:17 - 4:26; final time:  21:05 (4:14 pace); 14 OA, and 4/10 AG.

Oh well, it was good run. I wasn't too fond of the new course, or finish line arrangement. Could have found 6 seconds in there to go sub 21... probably, but the Suitcase of Courage will stay on the shelf for Aug 30 when I might really need it.

The running Barneses. Guylaine had a PB on the 11K and came 1st AG. Andrew had a consistent run.
Laura had a great run, despite being humbled by the heat, but was obviously smiling by the time this picture was taken.

All in all. A fun three days. Now time to chillax for a bit. One final big volume week, and then bring on the taper.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Cedar Point Full-Rev course recon

Look, a corn field
Bad hair day, after nearly 7 hours of wearing a helmet.
We did it. First loop in 26 kph average, second in 27.2 average.
Longest ride ever.
The bike (panhandle and loop) x 2

The run - 2 loops
We rolled into town at 11 am, an hour behind schedule. We had traveled through a hurricaine-esque storm which followed us from Detroit all the way to Sandusky. It may have been the worst storm I have ever been in. Spirits were down, the rain was not showing any hints of ending soon - on top of that, it was freezing cold - the morning/afternoon bike ride would have to wait until the next day.

The rain slowed down enough around 1:30 - enough to scope out the downtown, preview the run course from the van, and even the first section of the bike - from the park to the village of Milan.

We checked into our hotel at 3, the rain had stopped. We had decided to run the run course. The sun finally came out, dried everything up, and it was even quite hot.

The run starts from Cedar Point park, and continues down a causeway to the first main street. The causeway is closed to pedestrians so we started on First Street, which is the first street you run after the causeway. Funnily enough, a local, was just gearing up and heading out before us - and it turned out she was running the Rev course too. We had a guide to help us through some of the tricky parts.

The run, I have to say, looks pretty nice. It is easy to "chunk" up and thus (hopefully for Guylaine) not a long and monotonous ending to the day. You could chunk it up as follows: Causeway, First Street, Park, 3 fingers, back to First Street, back up the Causeway, and repeat. We ran most of a loop, for a total of 15K.

The next day, we tackled the bike course. By pre-driving it the day before, we noticed how terrible the road conditions were for the first part (Park down the Causeway and through to Cleveland Road).  On top of that, there was little room for bike traffic on the busy road. We opted to skip that part, and just concentrate on the main loop and "pan-handle". We drove to the village of Milan, and parked on Park Street (this is mile 22) on the route. The course loops around this village twice, so we would have access to van for extra snacks and water on the second pass-by.

In general, the course was pretty nice. It will be better on race day, when (presumably) there are marshals, or arrows to direct you through the (no kidding) 52 turns you need to make. The road surface is about 75% chip-seal (of varying roughnesses) and the rest is decent ashpalt. We didn't encounter a single section of construction. There are no train-tracks to cross over. There is little to no shoulder for cyclists - however - the roads weren't terribly busy on the Sunday, and without exception, all motorists were very courteous, patient, and passed safely.

There is one major hill, that you hit twice, and it's a funny one because you first go down a pretty steep downhill, but have to make a sharp right hand turn at the bottom, so you can't take any speed with you up the hill at all. The rest of the terrain is rolling with a few other hills, but nothing too difficult. Wind is often cited as an issue on this course, maybe on the causeway (?), but we didn't have any wind at all.

You seem to get used to the chip-seal surface quickly enough, and there were no potholes or cracks at all along the way. There are plenty of "road snakes" - tar crack-fillers - but they weren't greasy or slippery in the sun - it must be a different compound than what is used here.

If you don't have enough water or fuel, there are a few stops along the way in the villages of Birmingham, Axtel, Berlin Heights and Milan. The scenery is mostly fields, cemeteries, and country homes. Surprisingly there aren't a lot of "concealed" places to escape for a quick bathroom break.

We got chased by only one dog, but this guy was a big bugger, and he could run fast, he almost got me, but he finally gave up at the end of 500 meters worth of sprinting at 45kph. (we were ready for him on the second loop, but fortunately he was not out).

To maximize our ride time, we did 2 x [ loop + pan handle (the bit back to Cleveland Road)], this cut out the Causeway bit, but doubled up on the pan-handle and gave us 183km (~114 miles).

All in all, it was a fun training weekend, and very useful to Guylaine

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brooks Ghost 7 - Whoa!

Brooks Ghost 7 (2014)
It is very rare that I will rave about a product. For me to rave about something, it has to be something special. Well, consider the Brooks Ghost 7's special, 'cause I'm raving about them.

I just got back from my 3rd run with them; a normal, slow-paced, 8K training run. Hot Dam! These things don't want to go slow. It was like they had a mind of their own. They took off up hills, they accelerated down hills, they passed with authority, they were amazing.

Comfort - very much much so. Style - not so much; but Love is blind.

The first run was Monday night, straight out of the box, at the weekly duathlon - where I set a PR. The first 2K run was my second fastest out of 70+ prior attempts; my last 4K run was the fastest, and by 25 seconds.

I was an owner of the original Brooks Ghost, several years ago; and I obviously liked them, because I also went through several pairs of Brooks Ghost 2's (even when they were long discontinued, I hunted them out on online outlets). When the stock was exhausted, I didn't make the continuation to 3s, as the price had creeped up over $149 (Cad). That's when I was seduced by the NB750R1s... of which I went through at least 4 pairs, and a set of R2s.

Enter the Ghost 7's at a super deal (~ $125 at Bushtukah with the Cornwall Multisport Club discount). I bought two pairs so I am looking forward to 1000k+ of sweet, fast, comfortable running!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Triathlon is not a cheap sport!

I'm sure, when I first started out, someone told me... all you need is a pair of goggles, a bike and some running shoes...

In our house, with 4 triathletes, a trip to Bushtukah sometimes means a second mortgage! The 10% discount from being part of the Cornwall Multisport Club has paid itself 3x in this trip alone.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vortex Sleeveless vs Vector Pro Full

Open water swimming season has finally arrived. I have been enjoying my Xterra Vortex 3 Sleeveless suit for a couple of years now, but I have always had that nagging feeling that perhaps it wasn't as fast as a full sleeve wetsuit. This year, I treated myself to a new fullsuit, an Xterra Vector Pro 3.

Week 1 - I used new full-sleeve suit, and went for  a 1500m non-stop swim (2 x 750m loops). My total time was 28:42.

Week 2 - I used my old sleeveless, and recreated the same 1500m non-stop swim. My total time was 28:02. Both weeks, I made sure to do 100% of the effort by myself (i.e. swam alone without a draft)

Also, both weeks, I took a breather after the 1500m and went out for two more 750m loops.  Which apart from getting a debilitating cramp this week, the lap times were pretty close.

Conclusions: Both suits are close... although, I do think I pushing harder on Week 2 in my sleeveless, just to see if I could beat last week's time. I will try two more sets each before making a final conclusion.

**** UPDATE **** (July 18)

Did another swim in the sleeveless:
13:50, 14:25 (28:15), 14:40.

Will put the full sleeve on next week.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

13 weeks down, 9 to go

Approximate hours

"Training" seems to be going well this year. Spirits are high and Mojo is still with me. There have been four ~18+ hour weeks so far, and multiple 300k+ bike weeks already. Getting anxious to do a race, but nothing seems to fit the schedule though until possibly the 1000 Islands Triathlon.