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Random ramblings

Posted by duncanwood Aug 29, 2008


Is a race number just a race number?



How many of you have reached into your race kit to see what your number is?   Do you take comfort in a number that looks fast (i.e. #1) or do you feel better about your race if you have a lucky number in it?  Now I 'm sure we would all agree that the actual number really doesn't mean anything - but lets not forget, athletes are creatures of habit - if the number 8 was in a previous race number, and that race was a good one, we often feel good about an upcoming race if that race number has an 8 in it also.  Nothing wrong with that I say - if it helps you relax and focus then it's a good thing.  Some numbers just seem better than others .......  Why is that?



So, having said that how would you feel about having 911 as your number?  Certainly for me, it conjuerd up all kinds of images, most of them not positive.   Since I am a little on the superstitious  side it took me a while to get my head around the fact that it was just a number.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't lose any sleep over it, as I say it just got me thinking of the wrong kind of thoughts.   911 means help, right!  It is also an infamous date in the US.



During my race, I heard more than one person get a chuckle out of my race number, and to be honest with you, once the gun went off, I didn't care what my number was - I had a great race.   So really a number is just a number .........  however, it can also be something we seek comfort in, or for some of us, bring up the wrong images at at time when we need to be very focused.











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Unfortunately I missed the women's Olympic tri coverage - my stomach pangs won out over the race and by the time I had finished the feed, it was all over.   I was bound and determined to make sure I watched the mens race, so I ate on and off al day long to keep the munchies away.



How about that Simon.    In your face CBC anouncer .... I never thought Simon looked tired, shoulders tight, and on and on .....  Being a Canadian comentator, you would have thought he could have been a bit more positive.   By now, everyone has seen Simon's run in Sydney, how could you not believe the dude would come back.  I was screaming at the TV and for a moment, I thought he had done it again - WOW, our sport makes for some exciting finishes.   Thanks Simon for another awesome performance.



The second triathlon in as many weekends was IMC.  Maybe it was just me but the crowds seemed much larger than in previous years .......  Check out Lakshore after the swim start.





I manged to catch a few fellow Polar athletes, Carolyn Hubbard and Scott Jacobsen on the bike and run - Scott and Carolyn looked focused and strong, so I am not surprised to hear that he had a great result.  





I am often asked if I would ever try my hand at the Ironman distance - my response is always the same "nope".   I tip my hat to each and every finsher, I even get teary eyed when I see friends finish or hear of athletes who have overcome significant adversity to be in the race.   It's just not for me, I'll stick to appreciating those that take on the challenge of the Ironman event.



It was great to be there as the last person crossed the line before the midnight cutoff - a powerfully moving experience for me each and every year.   And so ends tow weekends of triathlon. I'm now back home and switching my focus to a few running events (yet to be determined) before the end of another season.






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You know how the saying goes, better late than never.    I was not able to access the polar site while on vacation so am now only getting to an update.



I left Vancouver early Saturday Aug 16 bound for the Okanagan.   I had decided to race the National Championships in Kelowna and then hang out in the area until IMC.  Mixed in with all of this was the Olympic Triathlon ..... More on that in a few mins.



I arrived in Kelowna on what seemed like one of the hottest days ever - picked up my race kit and then just relaxed at the hotel for a few hours.   At 4:00pm I went for my usual pre race run which left me dripping, apparently it had got even hotter ..... As usual, the run seemed sluggish but knowing that I usually feel this way made me realize i was ready.   I woke early on Sunday morning and forced down my usual pre race breakfast  (this never seems to get any easier - I always feel like a fish that's been in the hot sun all day) and headed over to transition.   I organized my piece of turf (gotta love numbered racks), visualized myself in transition a few times and then went for a pre race swim.   As per Scott's previous message, this was a no wetsuit swim.   On a side note, in almost 15 years of doing triathlons, this is the only the second time I have raced without a wetsuit.  I noticed more than a few individuals were concerned that it was no wetsuit ...... do they train in a pool with their wetsuit?



Race started and I immediately knew it was going to be a tough swim - I may not be the best at swimming in a straight line but I sure was better than the clown that constantly kept swimming into me.   Even when I got out for the first lap, he couldn't run straight.  Needless to say I had a few elbows and fists come my way throughout the swim - nothing major, but enough to make one think twice about swimming in a pack.   I had a mediocre swim and an OK transition.   



I headed out onto the bike and found my rythm quite early on.  I had and excellent ride and felt strong heading into transition for the run.  By this time, it was warming up - I headed out onto the run.  It seemed to take me forever to get my running legs, although the time splits suggested otherwise.   By the time I got onto the second lap, I was feeling more like a runner (at least a runner in a triathlon).  I ended up finishing 21st overall and 5 in my AG against some tough competition.   I also qualified to representa Canada at the World Championships on the Gold Coast next year.







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Not sure if rider hear rate data is a new addition to the tour de france (can't recall back to last year).   However, as we all know, we are not created equal when it comes to individual heart rates and HR zones.  With this in mind, I have found it to be quite frustrating when the tour coverage shows HR's of a rider.   I can appreciate that 180bpm means they are working harder than if that same person was at 160bpm.   What I have more difficulty with is when they compare across riders -160bpm is not the same level of effort for all the riders (or is it for the tour competitors?).   Without any knowledge of their max HR, it's hard to determine who is working harder based on HR.  



Furthermore, it's hard as an athlete to compare the level of work a rider is doing  with myself as my max HR is somewhere around 163 on the bike.   My question is, "would it make more sense to show the % of Max HR rather than actual HR?  I could relate a bit better to this.



Anyone else have any thoughts?



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Peach Classic

Posted by duncanwood Jul 14, 2008


Anyone else on the Polar team racing at the Peach this coming weekend?






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Simon Whitlfield Wins .....

Posted by duncanwood Jul 14, 2008

Simon Whitlfied kept pace with Javier Gomez this weekend. While Gomez was chalking up another World Cup Victory (11th of his career - tied with Simon) in Hungary, Simon was sticking it to the field at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis.


The Olympic Triathlon is shaping up to be a real barn burner between the two ..... Sorry Gomez, my money's on Whitfield - he's CANADIAN. Congratulations to Kyle Jones on another great race in Europe (finishing in the top ten)






Gold - Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:51:32

Silver - Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:51:51

Bronze - Dmitriy Gaag (KAZ) 1:52:08

4th - Steffen Justus (GER) 1:52:16

5th - Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) 1:52:29

6th - Oliver Freeman (GBR) 1:52:37

7th - David Dellow (AUS) 1:53:12

8th - Franz Hofer (AUT) 1:53:26

9th - Mathias Zoell (GER) 1:53:42

10th - Kyle Jones (CAN) 1:53:47




Whitfield, Simon\



Potts, Andy\



Bennett, Greg\



Hayes, Stuart\



Reed, Matt\



McMahon, Brent\



Tichelaar, Paul\



Alexander, Craig\



Matthews, Paul\



Kemper, Hunter\





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Some Random Thoughts

Posted by duncanwood Jul 14, 2008


Like many of you, I have been glued to the TV of late watching the Tour de France.   As I watched the riders take on the mountain stages, I couldn't help but wonder what goes through the mind of the riders as they slug it out trying to get up the mountain.   After all, these guys are all professional bike riders and all train as hard as one another.    So how does a young rider like Ricardo Ricco (sp?)  hang with the big guns of the Tour given all of their experience.



As I pondered this question on the way to work, I was reminded of something that Joe Friel had written in his book, "The Triathletes Training Bible".  He wrote about believing in yourself.  The example he gave was a bee ..... basaed on NASA calculations of what shape would be the most aerodynamic, the bee should not be as fast as he is..... furthermore, his tiny wings should hardly be able to move him very fast, unyet - we've all seen these little guys zipping around.   So where am I going with this? - as Friel points out, obviously nobody ever told the bee that he wasn't supposed to be fast  (due to his shape and tiny wings) but he is.   



I wonder if that's what is helping Ricardo Ricco -  he believes 100% in his ability, he belives he belongs, no matter what the odds might indicate.



When you are standing around at your next race looking at all the seemingly "fast" people and your own self confidence starts to slip away, recall the little bee - he defies physics and is a true speedster.   He believes he is fast despite the odds against him.  



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Vancouver World Tri Champs

Posted by duncanwood Jun 6, 2008


I volunteered yesterday for the event.  In a briefing to the team managers, they were told that the swim portion of the Age Group race would be shortened to 900m if the water temperature did not warm up before tomorrow.  Somehow hard to imagine this happening given that the sun has yet to make an appearance, and it's a big ocean






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I have been meaning to get a few pitures up from the Westside Cycling Classic .... Sorry ladies, I was not able to get close enough to Trevor Linden to get a picture of him in his riding gear.   I guess the weather was better in Vancouver compared to that in Oliver, albeit still on the cool side.



The Bike Gallery did a wonderful job wth the wheel support and made some new friends as I worked the Polar tent on their behalf.   A good day of racing, although I did overhear one lady say "I hoped to see more crashes" - I wondered if she was always that positive .   The Symmetrics team were the big winners for the elite.



Here are few pictures from the event.  












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WestSide cycling Classic

Posted by duncanwood May 22, 2008


Polar will have a tent at the race on June 1.   Is anyone interested in helping out to represent Polar. 



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Spelling and Blogs

Posted by duncanwood May 12, 2008

Wow, I was just checking the last two blogs I uploaded and can't believe the number of spelling mistakes I just made.   The worst of it is, I thought I had checked it thoroughly - I guess it is true, as long as all the letters are there, our brains are able to decipher the correct word.   Yeah, that's my story - anyway, my apologies.

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It looks like a few of us were racing around BC this past weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Charlene and I toed the line at the BC Duathlon Championships. The normally warm sunny Okanagan weather was far from present as some strong winds blew off of Skaha lake making the outbound portion of the ride a bit of a challenge. A couple of times during the ride I felt like I ws hardly moving, until I saw a couple of birds going backwards in the wind


As usual, there were some very strong competitors ranging from Ironman winners (Tom Evans) to ITU World cup winners (Samantha Warriner of New Zealand). The opening 5k was a three loop run. Nothing too eventful, I followed my race plan and used the HRM to make sure I was not redlining too soon (I knew the wind on the bike would have me doing that soon enough). Following a smooth transition (something I spend time working on throughout the year) I was off on the bike and straight into the headwind. Suffice it to say it was tough going out but FUN coming back with the wind. Unfortunately I had knocked the wheel magnet while unracking my bike - therefore I was only able to see riding time - no speed ..... :_| . I finished the bike strong and once again had a good transition and headed off on the final 5k run. Perhaps due to the phase of my training, I found myself a bit sluggish coming off the bike - I normally get me legs sooner than I did ..... Oh well, something more to work on



All in all a successful race - unfortunately I did not stay around for the official results as it was getting late and cold. I was unofficially 2nd in my AG, and as I always say - "First was definitely in my reach".







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Big Poncho

Posted by duncanwood May 12, 2008


Duncan sporting one of the Polar Ponchos ..... These things are bigger than some Vancouver apartments





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Came across this little snippit on the weekend ..... To some degree it rang true for me.


Whether you like the idea or not, most of us put up psychological barriers that interfere with our performance and enjoyment of our sport or event. Within 18 months of Roger Bannister`s famous breakthrough 16 other athletes had achieved the 4 minute mile. Did these athletes suddenly get faster and train harder?
No: the floodgates opened because Bannister had breached the psychological barrier and demonstrated what was possible. Athletes were no longer limited by their beliefs.


It took me, what seemed like forever, to run under 40 mins for a 10K off the bike. Once I believed I could do it, my 10K times dropped significantly






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Thanks Tim

Posted by duncanwood Apr 2, 2008

After a few false starts, it looks like I am finally up and blogging - thanks for your help Tim.


Looking forward to meeting with everyone on Saturday.



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