Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The picture at the top of my blog is currently of one of the Russian Giant sunflowers that I have been growing in our garden every year for the past 5 years. They can grow to be ridiculously huge. The first year I grew them, I had a couple of plants that were well over 12 ft/3m high with flowers over 12 inches wide. They were the gardening talk of the neighbourhood. When I was out walking the dog, people would stop me ask if I was from the house with the massive sunflowers. Truth be told, sunflowers are not hard to grow. They are like weeds. They will grow anywhere. The last few years I have been planting second generation seeds - seeds from the plants from the following year, and I have noticed that they have not been as big in years past. However, we have had a couple of extraordinarily dry summers in Aurora, so perhaps that's what has lead to the smaller sunflowers. Last year's group topped out at about 8 ft/2m.

I thought that with winter dragging on here in southern Ontario - it's past mid-March and we are expecting more snow today, that a picture of a beautiful sunflower in full and perfect bloom would brighten my day, and it has. I hope that it has done the same for any one else who stops by.


Paolina and I where married last Thursday in a quiet civil ceremony in our own house in Aurora, Ont. In attendance where some of our closest friends and family members including my son Matthew who was good enough to hold the rings for us. Thanks, Matt!

After the ceremony we all gathered at Chinook Resturant in Aurora, our favourite place to eat for dinner.

Paolina and I met on a bike ride near Aurora, and I somehow knew from the first time that I met this amazing woman that I would be with her for a very long time. I am very happy and so is Paolina. We have carved out a life together. It's had it's ups and it's downs, but we feel like a team. We have been together now for five years, and I can honestly say that these have been, in many ways the best five years of my life!

Orginally, we were hoping to be married in Scotland, which is where Paolina grew up. However, we ran into some significant logistical and paperwork issues regarding having the right visa's in place. It was a much more complicated, expensive and time consuming process than we could have ever imagined. So we decided to have the civil ceremony here and still go over to Scotland and celebrate with Paolina's family over there with a reception and a renewal of vows ceremony - just in case we had forgot them! We leave at the end of this week for 10 days in Scotland. I have never been, and I am looking forward to meeting other members of Paolina's family and seeing Scotland for the first time.

Hoping to post up some pictures when we get some downloaded from friends that where at the ceremony. For the time being this nice picture of us riding in Tucson will have to do!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tuscon & TriFest

Last week I had the opprtunity to attend TriFest in Tucson, AZ. I had never been to Tucson, so Paolina and I decided to head down a few days early to enjoy the warm weather and the great cycling in the area. Tucson has been a favourite winter training area for many top cyclists and triathletes. The picturehere is more or less the view looking to the north and out the back window of the house we stayed at. The desert scenery in the area was stunning!

We rented a house with some friends in the N. Eastern part of Tucson near the foot of one of the famous mountain road climbs - Mt Lemmon. We progressivly made it up higher and higher on Mt Lemmon. On the Friday towards the end of the week we made it right to the top on a ride that was orgaized by TriSports.com and TriFest. It turned out to be a great ride with over 70 people at the start. There was a core group that went all the way to Summerhaven - 27 miles and over 5,000ft up Mt Lemmon. Here are the bikes siting the on the front porch ready to go.

To the left is a picture of Paolina in her Timex Team kit and Ben Bigglestone of TYR at Windy Point - the 14 mile mark of the climb.

Here's another shot of the smaller group that went on to the top taking a rest and stretching the legs a bit at Windy Point. Beyond here, about 6,000ft and I really started to feel the altitude - I wa sable to keep up and keep going but getting enough air into my lungs became a challenge.

After coffee and some outstanding Rubarb pie at the bakery in Summerhaven near 9,000 ft it was time to head back down. Here's Paolina starting the descent. On the way down we were hitting speeds close to 50 mph. I was able to follow one of the well known Tucson locals, former top ranked Pro Triathlete Jimmy Riccitello, who knew all the best lines in the turns on the descent.

Despite it being the desert, they had some rain and snow at the higher elevations on the mountains earlier in the week. On a couple of our rides we had to cross washes that had water flowing right across the road. Paolina and Vince try not to splash each other as they go through the wash on Soldier Trail that we had to go through to start almost every ride.

Now it was not all play in Tucson I had some work to do while I was there! Trisports.com - http://www.trisports.com/ is one of Nineteen wetsuits's newest accounts and it was a pleasure to be able to meet many of the staff. It says something about an organization when you give a PK session and almost the entire company of 35 people shows up - even the shipping staff. Impressive! Nineteen also had a booth at the TriFest Expo which you can see in the photo here. This was an outstanding first year event, that I hope grows into something much bigger in the years to come.
Too soon the time in Tuson was over and it was time to head back home to the Toronto area - Aurora, Ontario to be precise, and this is what we had to some home to. Here's my son Matthew survaying the Mt Everest size snow bank in front of the house and this was before the road was ploughed out and Mt Everest added to! It was great to be back home.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Finally a Blog From Fleck

I tend to be late with the technology, so I am finally getting around to setting up a Blog. I must admit that I have been very inspired by friend and Olympic Triathlon Champion Simon Whitfield who has one of the best triathlon blogs going - http://simonwhitfield.blogspot.com/
. He's really been out there with what he has been posting up and I am sure that he has many people reading and watching. I have been around many world class athletes in my time and it's rare for an athlete of this stature to be so honest and candid. It's great stuff. Thanks Simon for the inspiration.

I also thought this would be helpful ( warning - crass promotion coming) in the business development of Nineteen Wetsuits. I am the Sales & Marketing Manager for Nineteen and I have been using online portals and sites such as www.slowtwitch.com and www.facebook.com in my marketing and networking, to great effect - having a blog seemed like the next step.

So there it is. First post done. Not sure who is going to read this drival, but it's here for everyone.

I have just returned inside after shovelling a monster amount of snow here in Aurora with my Son Matthew and I am about to get dinner ready for Matt, Paolina and I.