Friday, April 23, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

49 today.

Four good friends and acquaintances passed away in the last year. It's been a bit of a rough stretch on that front. Men all younger than I am. In that context, I feel lucky and grateful to make it to this day. Sorry for kicking this post off on a somber note, but I think of these men often and wonder a lot about the luck and lottery of life.

However, as I lay in bed last night before I fell asleep, I thought of all the wonderful rich experiences that I have had and the many good friends that I have around me. They say, these are the most important, things in our lives, not how much money we have or the job we work at or the material things we own.

I have heard it said a lot recently, that 50, is the new 40. If I look around me at my friends and the people that I know, in particular the really active people and athletes that I know, I would have to agree with this statement. Staying physically active is important at many different levels. It's always been important to me and I hope that I will be able to be this way for years to come.

On that note, 49 is really just one of those passing-through Birthdays. Next year, the 50th is always looked upon as a bit of a landmark and much more of a milestone. I have some special plans for next year, Saturday, April 23, 2011 - please stay tuned. Yes it will involve something physically active and fun.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Centurion Cycling Courses - Some Thoughts

The good news is that they have released the courses and the profiles of the first two Centurion Cycling events. If you have a look at the profiles - that's also the bad news. Both the Colorado and the Wisconsin 100 mile routes put a huge premium on being able to climb well, but two different kinds of climbing. The Colorado route if you have a closer look at the profile, is pretty straight-forward: 25 miles up/25miles down/25miles up/25 miles down! There are only two climbs on the course, but they are both massively long at about 25 miles each topping out at over 9,000 ft. The second issue here in the Rocky Mountains is going to be the altitude. The Madison profile, is the polar opposite in the world of climbing - there is lots of going up, but the climbs are all short and steep and they just keep coming at you over and over and over, for the full 100 miles. The profile looks like a cross-cut saw blade!

Centurion Colorado - Route and Profile

Centurion Wisconsin - Route and Profile

If you live in an area with big climbs, and you are considering either of these events. Consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately I don't, so I am going to have to be a bit creative with the training to get the climbing legs in shape. Fortunate for me, historically, I have fared not too bad on big long climbs like the Centurion Colorado course. I am fairly light. Have a good pedaling rhythm. And know how to dose my effort well, to keep me in there for the long haul. I fare less well with the type of profile in Madison which is more of a power climbers course for those who can just muscle over the darn thing, recover quick, and then get ready for the next one.

It should be interesting to see how the Colorado Centurion unfolds at or near the front. The climbing starts almost right away. They'll be little opportunity to just sit-in the group. I suspect that it will string out, and thin out, in short order, based on who the best pure climbers are. I have been advised, that if you know you will be overwhelmed by the "normal" small gearing of 39-25, you had best opt for a compact crank and chain-ring set-up, that will give you more options at the low end of the gear range for climbing. Having never yet met a climb that I could not handle with a 39-25, I am considering taking the advice to heart for the Colorado Centurion - not so much for the first 25 mile climb, but the second one. By that point, those extra gear options, will be welcome!

Madison, will be a bit different as the brevity of the pure power climbing will allow more people to hang in there for longer in the early going, but I am sure that more than a few will grossly under-estimate the toll, that this will take on them and by 60 miles, they may be completely toasted. Patience will be key in Madison and knowing your limits. Again, the compact crank may come in handy later on, as the legs start to go and you need some lower gears to get you up and over those short steep climbs in the last 25 miles

Training: If you don't live in a mountainous area, or where there are lots of hills, you'll need to work with what you have. Where I live and ride in southern Ontario, we have a reasonable number of hills, but there is nothing like what we'll encounter at Colorado Centurion. It is a bit like what we may find at Centurion Wisconsin. What, I'll be doing is seeking out the hilliest routes that I can when going out for longer rides, and always seeking out hills on every ride for that matter, and every time I am going up a hill I am going to be focused on working as hard as I can to get up it. Once a get a bit fitter, I will start to do some big-gear work - doing climbs in a gear or two bigger than I really should be - this will build extra strength to keep the gear turning over no matter what. For Wisconsin the key will be hard 5 - 10 minute efforts, with a shorter recovery, and then repeat. The indoor trainer, is not a bad option for this sort of thing.

The Centurion Canada route in Collingwood, Ontario is set to be released shortly. This course I will have more confidence in as I live in the area and train on very similar terrain, all the time. Once it is released I will chime in again with some further thoughts.

Picture at the top is me climbing Mt Lemmon in Tucson, AZ - it's about a 25 mile climb, so similar to what we'll see at Centurion Colorado.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Whitfield Chooses Nineteen Wetsuits

Nineteen Wetsuits is pleased to announce a multi-year agreement to supply wetsuits to two time Olympic triathlon medal winner Simon Whitfield. The announcement coincides with the tenth anniversary of Nineteen, and Whitfield’s return to Sydney, Australia for the 2010 ITU World Championship Series opener, nearly ten years after the race that changed everything for Whitfield and the sport of triathlon, when the up-start Canadian won the gold medal in the first ever men’s Olympic triathlon competition at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Simon came through this weekend with a fifth place finish in the Sydney World Championship Series race. Simon exited the swim in the lead pack, which is critical to success in ITU races. Every second counts and ITU athletes take their choice of wetsuit very seriously. Whitfield, in particular, has a reputation for being very selective in choosing equipment providers.

In choosing Nineteen, Whitfield said, “I have known the guys at Nineteen, for a long time. We have kind of grown up in the sport together. They know wetsuits and most simply, they know wetsuit fit, and with wetsuits simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

“Simon Whitfield is one of the few athletes who is well known and respected across the full spectrum of the sport of triathlon. He even transcends the sport itself,” says, Nineteen’s Sales & Marketing Manager, Steve Fleck. “As a Canadian company in particular, we are very happy to have Simon swimming in our wetsuits and fortunate to have him assisting us in developing our next generation Frequency for 2011,” Fleck adds.

Whitfield is fully committed to being at his best for the London Olympic Games in 2012, his fourth Olympic Games appearance, where he feels strongly that he will be a contender for his third Olympic medal. Nineteen Wetsuits is proud to be part of Simon Whitfield’s team.