Wednesday, March 21, 2018

It's All About The Base

Climbing Kaloko in Kona, HI. Picture - Paolina Allan

Ounce again, I'm putting the 30-Year-Base to the test. If you have been involved in an endurance sport (running, cycling or triathlon) for less than 5 years, with all due respect, skip right to the end of this post for the final good news.

It's at times like this that I'm thankful that I've been doing what I have for the last 30 plus years. You see, there is a huge advantage to having a massive base of aerobic fitness that you can tap into. You can do things and get away with things that the newer athlete can't.

In a few weeks we are off to Cuba again for some cycling with some pretty serious road cyclists. I'm really looking forward to it, and again, my goal is the same - don't get dropped!

Because of the big base of fitness that I have, over a relatively short period of time, I can elevate my regular fitness to a higher level reasonably "quickly". It's not easy, and it does not come without some genuine, hard and concentrated work, but I always surprise myself, how quickly the fitness does ramp up. I've been using several different sessions on the indoor trainer, coupled with steady state riding on the rollers on the "off-days". I dug into some old training logs, and also read up on "Sweet-Spot" intervals. As a classic "pursuit-style" rider my whole life, these are the kinds of sessions that I both "enjoy", if that's the right word,  have a high impact, and ramp up my fitness quickly. 

The other two sessions I've been doing are NOT so enjoyable (to be honest they are ugly, brutal and painful) - but are also high-impact: T-Max sets, as well as one minute All-Out bursts with almost full recovery - I've always been the, world's worst sprinter on the bike, but these sprint sessions forces me to activate and work this range and the five fast-witch muscle cells I have in my whole body!! Both these sessions have me on the trainer for 60 minutes or less. A painful, 60 minutes - but a productive, 60 minutes!

And it's all coming around - a month in and with just two weeks to go, I can feel the legs and the lungs coming around. I'm looking forward to the trip to Cuba, and fingers-crossed, not getting dropped from the main group.

The good story to end this with and for the newbies just joining back in now, THIS is one of the key up-sides and advantages to hanging in there for the long-haul with endurance sports. Once that serious, long-term aerobic base is established (roughly 5 years or more), you can whip yourself back into some pretty decent form over a relatively short period of time. 

The BIG base is helpful in other ways. When you have some down-time either by choice (vacation, taking a break etc , .) or by force (injury, sickness), the loss of fitness tends to be more minimized the bigger your overall fitness and aerobic base is, and the quicker you will return to good to great form!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Will You Watch? What Happens When You Take the 5-Rings Away?

Canada's women's Track Cycling Pursuit Team  - they are perennial podium placers at the Olympic Games & World Championships

Did you watch the Winter Olympic Games from Pyeongchang, Korea over the last few weeks? You were not alone. Thanks to CBC Sports and their great coverage, millions of Canadians tuned in to watch, our best Winter Sports Athletes compete against the best in the world. Based on these exceptional viewer numbers from the Olympic Games, we seem to want to watch our best Canadian Athletes compete at this level.

However, did you know that, right now, and through this weekend, two other World Championships events - the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships and the UCI Track Cycling World Championships are on - and Canada has medal contenders in both events. Will you be watching either one, or both?

Again - CBC will thankfully have Live Streaming Coverage for the Indoor Track & Field Championships and the UCI has their own YouTube Channel for the Live Stream of the Track Cycling World Championships  (links below for both)** . However the viewer numbers in Canada, with some of Canada's best Track & Field, and Cyclists taking part, will pale in comparison to the numbers who watched the Winter Olympic Games just over a week ago!

And so we enter into that fallow, period between Olympic Games (now two years between the alternating quadrennial Summer & Winter Olympic Games), when most Canadians tune-out watching most of the Olympic Sports. Years ago, the excuse was they are not available to view - and that was true. However in the current internet age and the advent of streaming coverage, almost anything you want to watch sports-wise, regardless of how rare and obscure it is, is available via some form of streaming service to any kind of device - even your mobile phone in the palm of your hand, anywhere, where you are!

My client Athletics Canada in fact has a partnership with RunnerSpace - the top level providor of Streaming coverage of Track & Field and Running in North America, to stream, with top-level commentary talent, and production, many of their marquee, event properties and other races of significance each year.

So the excuse, that "you can't see/find" these sports and the coverage of them, does not add up anymore. So why is it that Canadians who are so keen to watch our best compete against the best in the world, in the Winter & Summer, Olympic Games, when those same athletes are competing in, just as prestigious and competitive races/events, such as a respective sports World Championships, most Canadians are oblivious? Is the attraction of the 5-Rings, that powerful?

Later on this year, in August, Canada and Toronto, will host the NACAC Track & Field Championships (NACAC = North American, Central American & Caribbean region) at Varsity Stadium, right in downtown Toronto. There is no IAAF World Championships (outdoor) this year - but there will be IAAF Regional Championships, like the NACAC Meet here in Toronto. It's worth noting, that in some races/events, the (100m - 400m) sprint events in particular, You could potentially have a Olympic Final, or World Championship Final, made up of  athletes just from the NACAC region - so their will be truly World Class competition at the NACAC Championships in August.

Flipping over to cycling, Canada will again host, a leg of the UCI Tissot World Cup Track Cycling tour later on this year at the Mattamy National Cycling Center in Milton, ON - home for Track Cycling at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. The dates for this are Oct 26-28. This will be year-two for this exciting event, after a VERY successful first effort by Cycling Canada, back in December of, last year, that saw nearly sold-out crowds cheer on the best track cyclists in the world - some of whom are Canadian!

Will you watch sports like Track & Field and Cycling, in these in-between years - between Olympic Games, either via Live Streaming online, or live and in-person, at the two events mentioned above? If your answer is, "no" - I'm very curious as to why, you will not be watching?

What happens when we take the 5-rings away?

** Link for Live Stream of the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships - Link for the Live Stream for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships -

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Work Is Finding The Work

Onsite at a Multisport Canada Triathlon Race. Photo - Mike Cheliak

I'm extraordinarily lucky - the Work of Race/Event Announcing and Sports Commentary, does not feel like work. An entire day - that starts in the dark at 6am, at a big running, cycling or triathlon event and ends late in the afternoon, when the last finisher is across the finish line, and the awards all done - goes by VERY fast for me. I LOVE doing this. The work is finding the work!

I spoke recently with someone in the music business, and they said that it's the same for many bands and musicians. Not every band and musician is U2 or Beyonce! When those lesser known bands/musicians are performing, most of the time it does not feel like work - they are very passionate about their music and their performance - that's why they are so good. They could keep going on and on! The work is finding the work!

Thank goodness for my back-ground and experience in Sales. My phone rarely rings for Race/Event Announcing or Commentary work. I have to make it ring, and treat finding new work, as a classic B2B exercise. That means lot's of phone calls, cold-calls, email reach-outs, and networking/connecting via social media - I'm a big fan of both LinkedIn and Twitter for this.

There are lots of dead-ends, no-responses, "No's" and "No thank you's" - occasionally, you get a few "Yes's". It sounds pretty bleak, but that is B2B Sales work. You just keep going! The work is finding the work!

My "Off-Season" of working to find work has been reasonably successful for this year (2018), I've re-booked back in with many existing clients ( a hearty and grateful, Thank You), and have found a number of new clients who I will be working at this year ( a BIG Thank you to all of you).

In addition to the Live On-Site Race/Event Announcing my Live Stream Commentary work continues to grow - I'm REALLY enjoying doing this.

All-in, I already have over 33 gigs booked in for the year and have already started the year with a series of Indoor Track and Field Meets doing Live Stream Commentary.

With apologies for the pitch - remember, the work is finding the work(!), but if you are in need of a Race/Event Announcer or Commentator, please don't hesitate to contact me at or 416.888.7324

See you at a race or event soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Can Sport Still Awe & Amaze Us?

Long Jumper Bob Beamon at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games

One of my first distinct memories of the Olympic Games was watching the Long Jump competition at the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympic Games as a 7-year old live on TV - back when NBC actually showed stuff live! That was where American Bob Beamon broke the then world record of by an almost preposterous amount of nearly 2 ft( about 50cm), to push the new record to 29ft. 2 1/2 in.(8.90m)! That record stood for 22 years, until another American, Mike Powell broke it in 1991.

A short video of Beamon's jump can be seen here -

I looked on, watching on TV, in true awe and amazement. Even Beamon was completely overcome with emotion, not by the win, by by the magnitude of what he had done - ounce it sunk in. He fell to the ground and was unable to get up or walk for a good long time after the distance was announced. He had jumped so far, it was almost beyond the measuring system they had in place! It was beyond what many thought a human could jump! But it was all real!

Later that day I was out in our back-yard with my Dad. He got out a tape measure and we measured off 29 feet. I stood at one end and my Dad stood at the other and I had my second moment of awe and amazement looking at my now distant Father and wondering, "How could someone jump THAT far"?

Do we still feel that sense of awe and amazement today, when new records or sport performance reach new heights that seem, exceptional? I wonder.

The first final of the Rio Olympic Games in Athletics was the women's 10,000m race. In that race, running only her 2nd 10,000m on the track Ethiopian Almaz Ayana crushed the standing 10,000m record for women, running an astonishing time of 29:17.45 - completely solo! She left a field of world class runners WELL behind breaking the previous record by 14 seconds! It was one of those extraordinary Beamon-like performances, that has announcers running out of superlatives.

However, no sooner than the diminutive Ayana was across the line and social media started to light up with talk of how, the record could NOT be "clean"! After all, the the record being broken, set by the Chinese runner,  Wang Junxia     was, almost for certain set by a runner using some form of Performance Enhancing Drug (PED). A number of the Chinese women who were part of that training group, called "Ma's Army", after their coach, Ma Junren, have admitted they were all using PEDs of one form or another at the time!

Consequently with controversy and questions swirling around it's hard to be in awe and to be amazed any more.

The true believers, the really naive, and many sport officials, will say - "Look, there are no positive tests". We have to conclude they are clean". But we know now, that athletes can be tested over the course of their careers hundreds of times, and never turn in a positive test. Exhibit-A in this regard would be Lance Armstrong - tested hundreds of times, never positive (one suspicious), and 7-Tour de France wins! Of course, as we know Armstrong admitted after-the-fact that he was using various PEDs all along and stripped of all of those Tour de France wins.

Who can we believe? What are we to make of exceptional and extraordinary sports performances now? Are we to be immediately skeptical, or can we to look on in a state of awe and amazement?

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What A Week!

So busy this week/weekend, they had me working two microphones at the Welland Triathlon! Photo - Irina Souiki

My Race/Event Announcing work this year reached some form of a huge peak in the last week!

On Wednesday, I flew to Halifax to work with the RunnerSpace crew on the live stream broadcast of the Aileen Meagher Track Classic at St Mary's University - part of Athletics Canada's National Track League Series (NTL) in the run-up to the National Championships and Olympic Trials in Edmonton, that start next week. It's always a pleasure to work with Bob Akamian on the commentary.

The Halifax meet was extremely well organized. The high-light being hurdler Nikkita Holder achieving the Olympic Games qualifying standard - something she was hoping and needing to do before the actual Olympic Trials.

I flew home Thursday. Friday night it was time for the New Balance Guelph Inferno Road Mile - right in downtown Guelph. This is always a fun event to work at. More communities should look into holding Street Mile runs like this!

Then it was on to Welland, for the Day-1 of the Rose City Triathlon on Saturday Morning - Race #2 in Multisport Canada's season lone ReCharge With Milk Triathlon Series. This was the 10th year for this awesome race, but in a new home, at the Welland International Flat-Water Center in Welland, ON - home of Canoe/Kayak Competition at the PanAm Games last summer. This may be the perfect triathlon event location in all of Ontario, and perhaps all of Canada!

The Welland International Flatwater Center, may be the BEST triathlon race venue in Canada!

After I wrapped up at the triathlon for the day, Multisport Canada Founder, John Salt and I appeared via video link at an important conference in Ottawa organized by The Tandem Project on Para-Sport!

After that it was time to drive back to Guelph to work ounce again with the RunnerSpace team on the live stream of the New Balance Guelph Inferno Track Meet at Alumni Stadium on the campus of the University of Guelph on Saturday night - another of the Athletics Canada NTL Meets. Bob Akamian and I were joined on the show by two-time World Champion Hurdler Perdita Felcien. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with Perdita. My role, on the commentary was to provide track-side analysis, and post race interviews with race winners when we could fit them in. The meet concluded with the Canadian 10,000m Championships on the track for men and women. Olympic Marathoner Eric Gillis won the men's race and PanAm Games Marathon Bronze Medalist, Rachel Hannah won the women's race. Other highlights included, Taylor Milne getting the Olympic Standard in the 3000m S/C and breaking the track record in the process!

At the conclusion of the meet in Guelph, it was time to drive back to Welland for Day-2 of the triathlon there on Sunday - the featured long-course race being run over some new distances -  2k swim/56k bike/15k run. Conditions were hot and windy, but nearly 400 triathletes competed had a great, time and marveled at, again what an awesome triathlon race location the International Flatwater Center is!

I'm taking it easy this week and weekend!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My 2016 Race/Event Announcing Schedule

Bringing in the last finisher at the Toronto Island Triathlon! Photo - My Sports Shooter

I have a busy schedule of race/events that I will be working at this year as Race/Event Announcer. Below you will find my schedule.

I love doing this. It's a great privilege and honor to be involved in so many amazing race/events over the course of a year.

Safe and happy training to you all. I look forward to seeing you on many start lines and being a small part of your dreams and ambitions at the finish line.

Let's DO this!

My 2016 Race & Event Announcing Schedule is as Follows:

Feb 19 - 21 Athletics Canada National Indoor Championships for ACTV & RunnerSpace

Mar 4/5 - Athletics Ontario, Indoor Track Championships -

April 3 - Toronto Triathlon Festival VIP Event -

Apr 24 - Paris-to-Ancaster

May 1 - Goodlife Toronto Marathon

May 8 - Ottawa SportingLife 10K

May 15 - Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York

May 27 & 29 - Grey County Road Race & ITT

May 28 Spin-The-Lakes Tour -

June 4 - Destination Races Leesburg, VA Wine 1/2 Marathon

June 5 -  Becel Ride for Heart

June 10 - Cambridge Mile

June 11-  Recharge with Milk Woodstock Triathlon

June 22  - Halifax NTL Meet for ACTV & RunnerSpace

June 24 - Guelph Inferno Road Mile

June 25/26 - Recharge with Milk Welland Triathlon

June 25(night) - Guelph NTL Meet for ACTV & RunnerSpace

July 9 - Recharge with Milk Belwood Triathlon

July 10 - Toronto Triathlon Festival

July 16/17 -  Recharge with Milk Gravenhurst Triathlon

July 24 - TriFun Kids Triathlon

July 31 - Recharge with Milk Kingston Triathlon

Aug 6/7 - Recharge with Milk Bracebridge Triathlon

Aug 20/21 - Recharge with Milk Toronto Island Triathlon

Aug 27/28 - Recharge with Milk Wasaga Beach Triathlon

Sept 1 - 5  Tour of Alberta -

Sept 10/11 - Recharge with Milk Georgina Triathlon

Sept 16/17 - Centurion Canada

Sept 18 - Barrelman Triathlon

Sept 24/25 - The Canadian Track Cycling Championships for Cycling Canada -

Sept 29 - Oct 1 Milton International Classic for Cycling Canada -

Oct 2 - Cycle For St Joes

Oct 17 - Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for 680 News/Traffic

Oct 29 - CXTO  -

Nov 5 - OFSAA XC for ACTV & RunnerSpace

Nov 28 - Canadian Cross-Country Championships for ACTV & RunnerSpace

If you are looking for a Race/Event Announcer to add an entertaining, and engaging presence to your race/event, and take it to the next level, please contact me - or 416.888.7324

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Magic Show

The MultiSport Canada HQ Trailer at the Kingston Triathlon (one of the longest running triathlons in North America!)

I first heard the term, "The Magic Show" in the context of endurance sports events, from 8-time Ironman World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser, when Paula was working for Graham Fraser, when Graham was running all of the Ironman races in North America. Paula was referring to the Magic Show that was the travelling road show that was Ironman at the time - moving from race location to race location, arriving in the Ironman race site, in town-x, and transforming the race site, into the amazing thing that the Ironman race site was with all the bells and whistles! But this could describe almost all triathlons, running and cycling events. The Magic Show goes on all over the place at thousands of events every weekend!

Endurance sports races/events, be they triathlons, running or cycling all do this. They transform a city street, a park, a conservation area, where ever the race is, into what the race/event participants see on race day. Almost everything, be it the finish gantry, the porta-potties, the signage and so on, has to be brought in and set up. The transformation for some of the bigger races - say the big city Marathons, or the Ironman triathlons can be extraordinary.

However, the work, and the magic, that goes into even mid-sized races/events, is substantial! I am the official race and event announcer for the ReCharge With Milk triathlon series in Ontario that is run by MultiSport Canada (MSC). These are triathlon events that can have upwards of 1,000 entrants.  The series itself is 11-events stretched out over the course of the summer in Southern Ontario. It's the largest triathlon series in Canada! At each event venue, be it a quiet conservation area, or a busy down-town location in a mid sized city, the Magic Show goes on and they transform the place into an awesome race venue for the athletes.

With a triathlon you are really putting on three races - a swim race, a cycling race and a running race, with a transition area, a space for an Expo and then the finish area infrastructure. It's a lot of work to get this all organized and set up and each race site is unique. The minute details - just keep coming and coming: Heavy rains the week before have made a part of the what was supposed to be the transition area boggy. A change in road permitting, will not allow access to a certain road. Last minute road construction that was not communicated can close roads. And so on!

The MSC crew move all their stuff in and out for each event in the series - it's remarkable to watch the set-up and the tear-down that happens and the work that goes into all this!

Nothing seems to phase the MSC crew - even horrific race-day weather - which is rare, but NEEDS to be planned for with details, is all worked out in advance, so when they face it, there is a plan and you implement it. Nothing is left to chance! That's part of the Magic Show to! Although, that's not really magic, just extraordinarily amazing planning and implementation!

I've often said, if you want to hire a Race/Event Director - hire a Triathlon Race Director, because, they are not putting on one race, they are putting on three races simultaneously!

Race participants know none of this. They just show up and expect that everything will be in place. That there will be no wait at the porta-potties and that the 10K run is . . . measured to be exactly 10K. (With mobile GPS now, even course length accuracy is very important). That everything will be taken care of for them at the race. The expectations for running, triathlon and cycling race/event participants these days are VERY high. An event management company like MultiSport Canada knows this, and they go overhead and above to make it a great experience for each and every participant.

MSC Founder John Salt* even stands just past the finish-line at every race and shakes the hand of every person that crosses the finish line. I've heard John say, "If you want to know if an athlete had a good time at your race, just stand at the finish-line and shake their hand. If they have a good or bad day they will tell you right there. In 14 years, I've only had a few that were unhappy"!  Now that's being in touch with your customers!

And that's the story of the Magic Show!

* Some bonus content: A podcast - Bob Babbitt interviewing MSC's John Salt A great listen!

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