Sunday, February 27, 2011


Several club members were eager to test out their new bikes against the uphill time trial course this morning. Johnson’s newly acquired Orbea, Stephanie Flynn’s first triathlon bike and even Kaley’s first bike without tassels on it. Now that a Tuesday spin class has been added to the weekly workouts for some club members, fast times coming up Marine Drive were almost guaranteed. Forecasted snow held off until the first few gentle flakes began to come down a half hour after the end of the event. Temperatures were on the cold side, a warm-up run of the hill was omitted from the schedule as the subsequent downhill back to the start line would have undone all of its effects. The nearest I could get to a temperature measurement was Brendan’s report, “Minus three. When I left my house”.

      Ben was fortunate to have completed the time trial just before sunset last night. Clear skies meant no threat of snow, but the temperature was not a whole lot warmer.. Victoria and I were his official witnesses. I remained at the top of the hill while Victoria tried to block some of the wind on the frigid downhill for him. Also skipping a warm-up, Ben  summited while still trying to keep enough energy reserved for the Velodrome that same evening. We wish him all the best while getting drunk in Whistler for the remainder of the weekend.

     Quite a few participants in this mornings race visited the Burnaby Velodrome last night, leaving them with less than 12 hours off the bike before the uphill time trial. From the reports I’ve heard, it’s very fun, you get comfortable not having brakes, it takes some getting used to, and don’t ever stop pedalling. 47 degree corners? I’m glad  Sherwood went to Burnaby as well, had he been in bed resting I wouldn’t have been able to match his time for the uphill bike. But a tie is really a victory in my books, even if Sherwood did try to blame his “dead legs”. Had we measured the event to the nearest tenth of a second, I’m sure I would have been just ahead of him. I took off my Jacket and booties to save weight but forgot to take my water bottle out of its cage. Without this mental lapse, I surely would have come in well ahead of Sherwood. This was Vince’s error last semester as well, removing even his bar tape but neglecting to think about the water bottle.

     We tied for 3rd place, two seconds behind Vince in 4:18. Barry managed to increase his margin of victory substantially over last semester, winning by over 20 seconds in 3:56. His own record of 3:52 from October still stands. Had Vince managed to shave 9 seconds off of his time, he would be the current overall leader of the point series. With five events left to come, the men’s competition is still very close.

      Dylan’s 200km rides have paid off with a 5th place finish in 4:23. I might mention that only a small portion of those rides were done uphill, at maximal exertion, after an evening Velodrome visit and a late night dinner. Train the way you race Dylan, train the way you race. And get some better fitting tights. If you can fit an entire loaf of bread in there, you’ve either lost 70 pounds recently or bought the wrong tights. He still beat Brendan though, who took five seconds off of his uphill time from October and finished in 4:30.

      Kory managed to put out the highest peak wattage of any cyclist in the V02 Max study, 526. A feat that is commemorated by an infrequently updated whiteboard on the third floor of the Westbrook building. Even though the study came at a point in his training calendar with some of the lowest cycling mileage for the year. The club’s most powerful cyclist (title subject to Kory’s approval) finished just behind Brendan in 4:31.

      I feared a defeat at the hands of Kellen today, and not without reason, he put out 440 watts on the stationary bike at one point during the VO2 test, well above my 403. And yet while Kellen beat me by a single point at the end of the Fall Classic, things are looking good for me this spring, I haven’t loss to him yet. It’s important to be overly competitive sometimes. The mighty lungs that used about 25 000  mililiters of oxygen to get him up the hill today earned him a time of 4:33. (160/2.2kg x 4.5min x 78)  Max finished with the same time, although likely using less of the atmosphere's precious oxygen. Germans are all about efficiency, just look at the Volkswagen.

     Derrick’s time was just two seconds back in 4:35. Perhaps he was also feeling the effects of a late night visit to the Burnaby Velodrome. But he must have enjoyed it, because I heard talk of using his next 4 months of rent money to buy a track bike.

       Johnson, starting second, had the opportunity to draft off of Barry. He decided to be a good sportsman and complete his own time trial, finishing in 4:44. He took off his Korean terrorist mask for the climb, it was just to keep his face warm in the parking lot he said. Curiously, on the subsequent frigid ride to Horseshoe Bay and back the mask was never used. A pre-race intimidation tactic, I suspect.

     Johnson also wins the title of most improved, taking 31 seconds off of his uphill bike time. He attributes his newfound fitness largely to P90X and pilates videos that he had shipped to Blaine, Washington. I told him he actually had to watch the videos and do the exercises, not just purchase them, to see results. Johnson has been starting his day with three and a half hours of pilates ever since.

     Math research occupies the remainder of his time, number theory specifically. He has spent two years now working on a method to determine the 100th digit of pi. Experts in his field eagerly anticipate publication of his results. Whatever the 100th digit turns out to be, many lead researchers are already speculating. Bookies are giving two to one odds on the number 4, and six to one on the number 7. He is also working on a machine that can solve Sudoku puzzles with a two star difficulty rating. The biggest challenge so far has been trying to find a robot that can grip a pen. How he ever manages to find time to fit in all of his training, I’ll never know.

      Winston decided to chill his muscles with his usual 20k ride in from Burnaby and finished in 4:56. I’ll bet he’s not glad he beat me in that body fat challenge now, I definitely saw some shivering, even before he left the club office. Drew was next behind Winston in the rankings, having snuck his room mate’s bike out of the house for the occasion. The main appeal was the carbon fiber seat post, carbon equals speed of course. Drew liked it so much that he’s now looking into getting a carbon fiber t-shirt for the UBC triathlon next weekend.
   As was the case last fall, Victoria had the fastest time for the ladies this morning (5:11). Stephanie Urness was just one second off the leader. After the race, she revealed that she had spent the previous night at The Gallery drinking several pitchers of Canadian and feels that this was an even bigger handicap than a night at the Velodrome.

    There was a tie for third between Kim and Kaley, both coming in at 5:17. At the last executive meeting it was decided that all ties in point series events will be resolved by a visit to BC Sushi. Rock-Paper-Scissors ensues, the winner deciding between one of two challenges. Who can eat the most baked oysters (by weight) or who can eat the most mango pudding without chewing. Neither gastronomic challenge is particularly appealing to watch or participate in. Check back later for the results of that contest.
    On only her second outing with the Triathlon club, Seanna recorded a time of 5:31, proving that indeed red is a fast color for a bike. Stephanie Flynn recovered from an earlier case of “Winston Syndrome” to finish 3 seconds behind in 5:34. I had previously thought that “Winston Syndrome” is when your office job consumes all of your energy and leaves you very vulnerable to afternoon naps. I was corrected today, the syndrome actually refers to having problems with your crank within half an hour of the start of a race. Kellen quickly rectified the situation and Stephanie was able to race. All of the girls finished within 23 seconds of each other. That's how big Barry's lead over second place was in the guy's race. A much closer race for sure.

       Jen Bhatla was immediately in front of me in the starting order, and on her first pedal stroke her chain snapped. I would have made some offer of help, but I was starting in 9 seconds so I just stared at her and her misfortune. Then I took about twice that long to clip in. She eventually did get the chain back together and completed the hill climb, in a respectable 6:15.

     Notable absences included include Matt Reeve and Thomas. Thomas reportedly has come down with a bad case of “phenomnia”. I hope that isn’t the Doctor’s diagnosis. Assuming he meant pneumonia, his absence is quite understandable. Sherwood told you not to lick the urinals at the Velodrome Thomas, this is your own fault. That’s how you get pneumonia, right? Matt received his third DNS of the point series, a shame since his 4:02 last semester proves he could have been a contender for the win this time around.

    In the end I heard 3 people say that Kellen’s high five’s in the parking lot were encouraging, but 5 people mentioned that it threw them off for their mental preparations. A bit less enthusiasm at the start would be appreciated next time. Everyone who joined the post-race ride to get pie in West Vancouver experienced the cold to some degree. Winston won the contest. It is also the first Saturday that I have ever bested Winston’s mileage for the day. I’m going to move to Port Coquitlam and ride in to campus for every  practice, that should show him. The pie was worth it. There was rhubarb. There was strawberry. There was every possible combination of those two fruits that you can imagine. Only one rider was brave enough to get ice cream on the side.

Barry Claman 3:56:00
Vincent Lavallee 4:18:00
John Heinz 4:20:00
Sherwood Plant 4:20:00
Dylan Stephanian 4:23:00
Brendan Naef 4:30:00
Kory Seder 4:31:00
Kellen Kjera 4:33:00
Max Stallkamp 4:33:00
Derrick Lee 4:35:00
Johnson Jia 4:44:00
Winston Guo 4:56:00
Victoria 5:11:00
Stephanie Urness 5:12:00
Kim Seder 5:17:00
Kaley Strachan 5:17:00
Jen Moroz 5:19:00
Drew Senay 5:19:00
Seanna 5:31:00
Ben Kresnyak 5:33:00
Steph Flynn 5:34:00
Jen Bhatla 6:15:00

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Five Hundred Meters, Still The Equalizer

    If you’ve read the October 500m swim entry you will know that the title “Five Hundred Meters to Equality” still very much applies for the Spring Fling. Had Nathaniel not made it back to campus after a trip to the airport for the last seven minutes of the swim practice, the top three overall places would belong to the ladies.

         The second event of the 2011 Spring Fling brought out many new competitors who had not raced in the Fall Series. Only 12 of the 31 competitors had times to compare with the same event held in October. Of these 12, 10 improved on their times, so Ivan and our two fantastic guest coaches for January must have done something right. Most improvements were not all that small either, 8 of the 10 swimmers took over 10 second off of their times.

      Kim remained remarkably consistent between the two semesters, 8:59 in the fall and 9:01 this time around. So really 11 of 12 repeat competitors held even or did better. Only Eddy ruined the trend, a full 11 seconds slower. Couldn’t you have slowed down a bit last fall, Eddy? It’s not good to set one’s standards too high.

     Jen Moroz and I saw the biggest improvements, 50 seconds each. And I attribute most of my improvement to her, if anyone has Monday or Friday mornings free, head to the aquatic center at 7:30, she will make you work. She will give you some good drills. She will shout encouragement.  She will not however, and somewhat lamentably, let you spend very much time in the hot tub. Probably better for my blood pressure anyway. Drew took a full half minute off of his time, the next biggest improvement over last fall. Overall

     Brendan also improved significantly over last fall, by 15 seconds. I inquired after the race and he said he attributes his performance  to his strict diet of  a weekly Splitz burger and the occasional coffee from The Boulevard. Low calorie, low nutrient, virtually no endorsement from medical professionals, but High performance! Oh yeah, and he’s been swimming more too. More mileage in the pool couldn’t hurt.

     Nathaniel’s appearance toward the end of practice left him enough time to compete, but perhaps little left for a warm-up. I was standing in the shallow end between lengths, pretending to need to clear my goggles for the 30th time (I need frequent rests). I glanced over and heard Ivan at other end of the pool, “Seven minutes exactly”. I knew Stephanie had won the race.On the men's side, Vince would take second with 7:22 and Dylan would follow in 7:45. If swim practices didn't take so much precious time away from cycling, perhaps Dylan could lower his time even further.

      Stephanie Flynn won the race in 6:54, followed by Kendra and Karin in 7:04 and 7:20, respectively. Jen Bhatla and Jeanie also came in under the 8 minute mark, a feat that nearly three-quarters of the men failed to accomplish.
      Pretty impressive when you consider the fact that Stephanie was tapering for her real goal race which was still a week away. She had to beat an ex-boyfriend in the 50m at a Masters swim meet. Which she did, by a solid 3 seconds. At the same meet she also held her 7 minute 500m pace, swimming just over 21 minutes for the 1500m. I’m going to stay out of her lane at the UBC triathlon next month.

A photo of Stephanie that Kellen took post-race is included below.

      The majority of Participants then gathered in the men’s sauna for a post-race debrief. The more traditional post-swim hot tub was not  an option. Tragically, the hot tub was  out of order, “imbalanced chemicals” said the sign. But fear not, I’ve already called every pool technician and cleaning service in the Vancouver Yellow Pages. Very few answer their phones on Sundays. I’ve also sent numerous faxes to the SFU and UBC chemistry departments, explaining the situation and seeing if they could please do something to bring balance back to those darn hot tub chemicals.

      If it isn’t open again by Monday, I’ll write my member or parliament. That’s sure to elicit a quick response from the aquatic center staff. I’ll call one of those mobile spa rental companies and get them to park a hot tub next to the outdoor pool as a temporary measure. I’m also working on a plan to seal off the bottom of the steam room door and re-route a hot water pipe. Rest assured, there will be a hot tub after Tuesday’s swim. I'm thinking of taking a part time job at the aquatic center for the rest of the semester, I will personally test the water samples and ensure that such a difficult situation does not arise again.    

       The Sauna wasn’t without its advantages. There were no splashes from little kids getting hot tub water deep into your retinas. You can frighten the lifeguard when he comes to do his rounds. You can see the thermometer. The one guy who happened to be in there and isn’t part of the club feels awkward. It’s much easier to talk to each other. Topics of discussion ranged from leg hair grooming strategies for men to push-up world records (46 000 in 24 hours?, 2521 one-armed in one hour?).

     Matt Reeve was again absent at the start of the event. But he must be around somewhere because I see he has received 150 points in the series. Likely still a bit overconfident, Matt may believe he can win the Spring Fling with a really, really fast brick time and forget about all of the other events.

The Spring Fling now takes its longest break, a full 20 days until the uphill bike later this month. Only 2 rest days break up the 21 stages of the Tour de France. I don’t want to hear any complaints of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Nathaniel Janzen 7:00:00
Vincent Lavallee 7:22:00
Dylan Stephanisan 7:45:00
Barry Claman 7:50:00
Eddy Wu 7:56:00
Brendan Neaf 8:10:00
Winston Guo 8:45:00
Navid 8:49:00
John Heinz 8:59:00
Johnson Jia 9:39:00
Ben 9:40:00
Drew Senay 9:50:00
Max 10:00:00
Kellen Kjera 10:00:00
Tiger Yu 10:10:00
Dirk Haupt 10:30:00
Matt Reeve DNS
Stephanie Flynn 6:56:00
Kendra Swain 7:04:00
Karin Olafson 7:20:00
Jen Bhatla 7:35:00
Jeanie 7:54:00
Claire Askew 8:23:00
Jen Moroz 8:30:00
Victoria Gilbert 8:40:00
Kaley Strachan 8:58:00
Kim Seder 9:01:00
Stephanie Urness 9:29:00
Lauren Slattery 9:54:00
Allison McDonald 10:05:00
Yan 12:10:00

Friday, February 25, 2011


Thirty-three participants turned out for the first event of the Spring Fling. A lap of the course was run not only for a warm-up, but to sort out any confusion about which tree marks the finish (a traffic pylon served to further clarify). The location of parked cars was noted, (thankfully none too close to the corners!), layers were shed and the start of the race was less than 10 minutes away. No rain throughout the day left the streets dry and for early February, it was a rather pleasant evening, 4 or 5 degrees. Just a few degrees shy of perfect race weather, daylight would help too. The notable absence of Matt Reeve at the start line left some wondering if the side plaques of the trophy in the office were up for grabs, the previous champion would later receive a DNS. Surely he should have informed someone he couldn’t make it to the race, or perhaps three previous race series victories have made him confident that he can attend 5 or 6 events and still perform well enough to win the series.

Several competitors knew that they were a mere half hour from putting this impediment to the February Push-up Challenge behind them. Without the race (And Sunday’s looming 500m swim) to hinder daily push-up totals, relief was not far off. Some argument briefly erupted over whether tapering for Spring Fling events was a bit excessive. No, it was decided, it certainly is not, it’s practical and quite understandable.

In the end, 14 of 22 athletes who attended the same race in November improved on their times, with the three biggest improvements coming from Keely Hammond (40 seconds) Rodrigo Samayoa (31 seconds) and Stephanie Flynn. Steph was fresh off a 5k PB over the Christmas break and using an interpolated Steveston Ice Breaker 8k time, a 29 second improvement over her November 5k time was calculated. Let’s be fair, we couldn’t force her to race again with only two recovery days. Not to belittle Theresa’s one second PB. A new record is a new record.

Some other personal notes: (If I missed your name this time, please forgive me, there’s 7 events left, one man can only observe so much, and please do feel free to share any race stories with me.)

After a Christmas of debauchery, enormous meals and reduced training; Winston managed to smash his “I just wanna go sub 20” goal with a 19:04.

Thomas finally found a 12 hour period where he miraculously was not sick, and his blood concentrations of NyQuil, Tylenol, Vicks Vapour Rub and Buckley’s Bedtime were at some of their lowest levels in months. Further drug tests are ongoing to determine if his 19:04 PB will be allowed to stand.

Thomas crossed the finish line right behind Winston, both in 19:04. During a post-race interview, I asked Thomas if he had just sat on Winston’s shoulder the whole time, let him set the pace and do all the work. “Oh, no” Thomas replied. “Nothing to do with race strategy, that’s just where I could get the best view of his legs, from a few strides back”. And they are indeed rather nice legs, we can’t hold that against him.

Since several of the club’s members have participated in a V02 max study on campus and now find themselves with an array of numbers with which to make direct comparisons, many were eager to see how Kellen’s V02 of 78 would stack up tonight. I might add that for one brief 15 second interval, a VO2 of 82 was reached. That means his body is using just 4 less millilitres of oxygen per kilogram, every minute, than Lance Armstrong does. The guy that won the Tour de France. More than once. Just 98 less than your average thoroughbred race horse. Just 158 less than your average sled dog. The mighty lungs were good for a quick 18:16. Forced to run alone (not that anyone that tall can really draft), no one was within 20 seconds in front or behind him. I tried to shout some encouragement on the last stretch, “You're near the finish!” After the race, I discovered Kellen had misheard me and took my encouragement for an unsportsmanlike insult. “Your rear is thin-ish”, is what he heard. Not far from the truth.

Vince took 14 seconds off his PB with a 17:41. The Prefontaine of the pack, Vince had the length of two parked cars on the pack before we had seen the orange pylon for the first time. A lead which he held through the first mile and even successfully defended once or twice. Still 4 seconds shy of Matt Reeve’s November record, I am reminded. Some rivalries never end, even with geographical separation.

On the girl’s side, American Triple T partners Kim and Victoria were separated by only a single placing, so they should have no problem holding the same pace as a team in Ohio.

The top 4 spots were filled by competitors who hadn’t raced the 5k in November. Kaley set a new course record of 19:29, while Naiely Cabrera took second on one of her first few runs with the club. Lauren was just a few seconds behind followed by Stephanie Urness. With the new point scoring system, all of them are within a few dozen points of each other and the Spring Fling title could still have many contenders. Kaley’s win comes after a rather high mileage January with a 22k run just two days before the race, so there’s reason to believe the girl’s record could be lowered even further. Never has the point series seen so many athletes who are quick when it comes to one aspect of the triathlon along with many well rounded individuals. Competition should be close on both the guy’s and girl’s side.

For myself, the first mile flew by as I tried to gradually reel in Vince. I try to never look back so I could never be sure who’s echoing footsteps followed, watching as their shadow merged with mine every time we went under another lamp post. Not the most relaible way to keep track of distance. In the end, Max stuck within a second of me and I think he likely pushed me to take 15 or 20 seconds off my time. Carl wasn’t far behind, and when you consider his training was almost exclusively in sub zero temperatures, in the snow, with downhill skis on, he raced very well on this somewhat drier, warmer, and very much flatter course. Vince, Barry and Brendan all finished well under the 18 minute mark.

As I crossed the line, Jen, (who’s Achilles had graciously volunteered her to be the timer) called out “seventeen flat”. My watch agreed, 17:00.32, if you can get that kind of precision with a Timex. So if I had worn my brand new 4.6 ounce shoes, had a little less pasta for lunch, had there been one less turn in the course, I might have broken that magic 17 minute barrier. Had the ancient Babylonians (from whom we have borrowed our timekeeping) chosen 61 as a base for their numeral system instead of 60, I would have made it easily. These are a whole lot of excuses for not pushing just a little bit harder.

John Heinz 17:00
Max Stallkamp 17:01
Carl Reilly 17:24
Barry Claman 17:33
Vincent Lavallee 17:41
Brendan Neaf 17:54
Kellen Kjera 18:16
Liam Harrap 18:50
James Montgomery 19:00
Winston Guo 19:04
Thomas Belshein 19:04
Ben Kresnyak 19:10
Drew Senay 19:11
Nathaniel Janzen 20:10
Rodrigo Samayoa 20:26
Scott Chris 21:01
Matt Ridley 21:50
Johnson Jia 22:11
Mattias Kretschmer 24:43
Matt Reeve DNS
Kaley Strachan 19:29
Naiely Cabrera 20:41
Lauren Slattery 20:46
Stephanie Urness 21:04
Victoria Gilbert 21:08
Kim Seder 21:23
Stephanie Flynn 21:23
Theresa Price 21:27
Keely Hammond 21:29
Karin Olafson 21:55
Sherry Gu 22:24
Dina Bulfone 23:14
Jen Bhatia 23:24
Lauren Riva 23:45

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Point Breakdown for Race Series

For many reasons I don't really want to get into, we decided to change the way we tally the points for the race series. Instead of giving 30 points to the winner and then just roll down throughout all participants, a more consistent point allocation is going to be used.

The winner of each event (male and female) each get 1000 points. And your points are given out depending on how far off the winner you were.

Winners time 900 seconds
Your time 1000 seconds

Number of points winner gets = 1000
Number of points you get = 1000 X (900/1000) = 900 points

Additionally you will receive 50 participation points for each event to are at!

Hopefully this will make it more exciting because it means that big comebacks are possible!

If this doesn't work. We will go back to the way it was before.