Sunday, August 29, 2010

A bit of SCUBA

Well I went for a nice bit of SCUBA yesterday with my neighbour Daniel. Even though the water was rather shallow (no more than 26 feet according to my computer) it was a fun time. We saw so many lobsters it wasn't funny. Even managed to get one to attack our flashlight (boy are they strong). And we even managed to see a less than legal trap. But enough about that.

This time of year is great for quick dives. The water is often really warm, our dive temp being around 20C. The bad part , though, about the high temps is that a lot of the seaweed has started to die back. This means the really great colours just aren't as plentiful. Still you do get a few great shots like this:

Hopefully I will get back for another dive soon. I have a few more places I like to pop in the water at and maybe they will have some great fish to see.

Also I like to think of this as great training for the triathlon swims. Well maybe one day they will allow flippers and air tanks. Maybe.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 Wolfville Tri Festival

Well it happened. I did my first triathlon. This past weekend Wolfville's rec department put on a Try a Tri event for kids and adults. My event was considered to be the Long Course at 400m/10km/4km. While the biking and running were short for me, the swim was just about right. In fact it was to be the furthest I had ever swam in one go. Sure I have spent enough time at the pool practicing that I swam 1km. But that took me 2 hours with lots of rest stops. This was going to be my time to shine with people looking on.

I started in Wave 2 or the 3 Waves which were to happen. This meant that my competition was going to be in different waves than me. Oh well, that just means you have to push yourself and not rely on pacing off of others. So push I did.

Now my swimming is not great (as I mentioned). And what is worse is my attempts at front crawl. Too bad, as this is the most efficient swim stroke for Tri's. But I relied on my tried and true breaststroke to carry me through. I started with a bang and for the first few las of the pool was just as fast as most people doing the front crawl. Sadly though my endurance began to falter and I fell back. I slowed, but carried on as best as I could. Finally I got out of the pool 3rd last and ran to to T1.

T1 was where I found out how hard it was to get dressed while wet. Next time, better jersey choice. Luckily I had already committed to a no socks approach, so that helped. Onto the bike I got and out onto the course.

the course was a very short 2.5km out and back we had to do twice. Luckily there was plenty of volunteer and police presence to keep us safe. It was hard, though, to get a good rhythm with all the turn arounds, but I still managed to do the course in 18 minutes flat at 33.2 km/hr. Did I mention it was bumpy? Oh yeah, it was. I survived though and onto the run.

The run started on the Acadia University track. That was nice as it is a cushioned surface. nice on the feet and legs. Then out a rails to trail, loop back, around the track again repeat and down the finishing chute to grab your numbered Popsicle stick.  The run was pretty easy, though my upper body was starting to cramp, almost surely from the swim (I have never done a brick workout that involved much of a swim). But the cramps went away by the second lap and I picked up the pace. I finished with my standard sprint (see above photo) which was nice to do.

As this was a just for fun event, there were no awards per se. We did get medals for finishing and some great draw prizes. And the food layout was great as well, plus a nice post race massage. Latter on we received our times and I ended up second fastest overall behind Kevin Besner, a mere 30 seconds out of first. It is hard to loose by 30 seconds when you can look back and actually find those 30 seconds you lost, but those are the breaks. And in the end I know I gave it a good go. I ended with a time of 49:18. And I think 20 minutes of that was putting my jersey on while I was wet (lol).

So that was one of my sports goals for the year. Complete a Tri of any distance and prepare for something bigger and better next year. Big thanks goes out to Shannon Read who organized this event, to the Town of Wolfville, to the RCMP officers that kept us safe, to the crazy amount of volunteers as and to the weather for being so nice.

Volunteer Ian McGrath, Constantly telling me I was about to turn on my bike at the wrong spot.

Monday, August 16, 2010

2010 Middleton Century Ride

Chad Smith

Well it was time for the second year of the Middleton Century Ride. 160 kms of fun Nova Scotia Valley heat. and once again I rode (or at least started) with members of the Spinachers cycling team. Above is Chad Smith who joined us for the first time this year aboard his trusty Madonne Steed. We rode the first 50kms together and had a great chat and a few fun breakaways. Then it was up to me to continue on sans Spinachers. Last year the metric century and full century rode the first 100kms together. This year the split was at teh 50km mark and I was the only foolish person that decided to carry on for the full.

I took off with a group of other cyclists. Slowly we drifted apart until it was only 6 of us random fellows. Though there was great guy named Dave who I rode a bit with last year that showed up. It was nice to ride with him again. And I must also say it was much niceer just riding the course this year. While last years ride was fun and an adventure, the rest stops were so much better appointed this year, including an ice cream stop at the 85km mark of the full century ride. yes, your choice of many yummy ice cream flavours. Also the heat and humidity of last yeat satyed away. The temps never soard any higher than 28C. That alone was nice.

Now as it turns out the extra 60 kms was hilly. Oh nothing crazy but there werea few fun climbs. And I was happy to say that i aced them. I do a love a variable degree climb that starts out with say a 3-4% grade and then finishes with a nice 8 % or so. I can really geta good rythem and spins up those. Needless to say by the end of that section our little group was ripped apart. But we met back up at the next rest stop.

Here the Mavic Neutral Service Car makes for good drafting. Though the Kayaks won't help if we get a flat

As I didn't want to cool down too much I figured I would do my traditional solo effort from Annopolis Royal to Bridgetown. It is generally a bit of a tail wind and mostly flat so you get a good cadence going and really fly. Considering how much I rode already I was happy to see the speed stay in the high 30's and often into the 40's for the solo effort.

The final 25 kms saw Dave and I reteam our efforts and repass our friend on the recumbant bike. He was just a tenacious fellow, though he must have been lonely. This section was all rollers and a few gravel patches. But tight hamstrings be damned we pushed through and arrived back at the start point to a BBQ and food and the rest of the Spinachers who finished their metric century ride in fine form.

Spinachers enjoying a rest stop

I was really happy that I beat last years ride time by 1/2 an hour for a total of 5 hours and 39 minutes with an average speed of around 28.5 km/hr. And now I am looking forward to next year and getting that time down again. I think a 5:30 is in the cards.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

First "Tri" Swim Approaching - Thoughts

So yeah, my first "Tri" swim is approaching in a little over a week. Why is Tri in quotes? Because it is only 400 meters. Seems easy enough. And it is in a pool. That seems nice. But here's the thing. I haven't actually been able to swim 400 meters in one go yet. My arms just run out of steam.

Why do I keep seeing this image in my head when I dream about this upcoming swim?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can it be, the first Triathlon for Ian?

Okay so I do the Du's. Duathlons that is. I like them. I like riding my bike and I like short fast runs. So of course Duathlons are a great chocie for me. But try and tell people, "Oh, I'm a Duathlete," and you always get the same response, "Oh don't you mean Biathlon?" Of course I don't but oh well, stupid skiing and shooting. Tell a person you compete in Triathlons and they know what the heck that is.

One of my early season goals was to complete / compete in a triathlon. While I mentioned my love of running and cycling I didn't mention my love of swimming. Now don't get me wrong, I love popping in a lake or ocean to putz around and cool off. But I don't really swim. In fact I have this great ability to hyperventilate with my face in the water. Yes, "in" the water. Therefore sucking in loads of wet goodness. Not a great trait. In the past i solved this problem through the use of scuba equipment.

Well in order to do a Tri I was going to have to learn to get over this and actually figure out how to "swim." I took lessons and finally figured out the front crawl and breast stroke. Good. But I still have a little issue with breathing while swimming and the endurance hasn't come along quite like I hoped it might. Part of that is due to a leg injury I had and part is due to 30+ years of water to face phobia which I am slowly overcoming.

So that brings us to my first Triathlon. I wanted it to be a pool swim (this allows me to stand up, cough up the water I have sucked back and continue) and I wanted the swim to be relatively short. I also didn't want it to be held at the same time as a Du (remember from the first bit where I said I do Du's). This left very few choices for the year. But along came the Wolfville Tri Festival. A 400meter swim, 10K bike and 4 K run. Well the bike is a bit short but that's fine, the run is nice (I said I liked short and fast) and the swim is doable.

Part of me does feel a little silly entering a Try a Tri type event. I mean these are supposed to be for those that have no idea what to expect or also for kids who aren't old enough to enter full Sprint and above Tri's. But then I think, heck, I suck at swimming so this type of non-competitive (yeah right) event is what I need to get started. And to that effect I entered the darn event which will be held in 2 weeks from now).

I know my swim will be slow, maybe 9 minutes for 400 meters is not going to win anything. But I can ride fast and run fast as well, and I can have some fun doing the transitions.

Of course all this assumes I won't drown in the pool. Can you use flutter boards in events?