Tuesday, March 22, 2011


With 15 events of the 2010/2011 point series already passed, Vince knew he has only chance left to win an event. As the founder of the point series, he had alot to live up to. Expectations were at an all time high. And with the pressure, he performed well. He found that two beers the night before a race gives him the extra little kick needed to finish first. We can only hope this doesn’t get out of hand, I’m sure there is a saturation point, once you hit 5 or 6 beers the night before a race I’m sure things go downhill. Nevertheless, a good omen for the approaching beer mile. His win today does however ruin the consistent standard deviation that he had going. He overachieved in Saturday’s brick as well, bringing him much too close to the winner’s time to be consistent. More importantly, he finally surpassed one of the standards set by Matt Reeve in the fall series, Vince’s 17:10 takes 7 seconds off of Matt’s time. A sub 17:00 is definitely possible for Vince, since he took the long way from the bottom of the stairs to the far side of the knoll on two of his laps, a 7-8 second handicap for sure.

Not satisfied with just a single victory for the day, Vince was headed off to Whistler to beat a bunch of twelve year olds in an “intro to biathlon” race. In the un-timed event Vince discovered that 12km of skiing can be more difficult than a 20 minute swim and run. He also discovered that twelve year olds who have put in more than two days on skis this winter can blow by you on the uphills.

Finishing not too far behind him were Barry (17:28) and Brendan (17:30) who did not stop at the finish line, but rather held his pace and sprinted the 200m across University Boulevard to his favourite coffee shop. Barry was third out of the water but managed to catch Brendan on the run, likely because Brendan was saving energy to elbow his way to the front of the line to get an Americano. Brendan knows the usual Sunday morning clientele can be aggressive senior citizens headed off to church and frat boys coming home from the previous Saturday night, so he needed to conserve his last strength if he wanted any chance of getting caffeine without a lengthy wait.

Stephanie Flynn had the fastest swim of the day and allowed her to win the women’s event by nearly a minute. Vince blames his uneven pacing in the swim on trying to keep up with her. The 1000 points she earned here puts her in third overall. Jen Bhatla took advantage of a quick transition and some speedy laps of the SUB to pass two competitors who were ahead of her out of the water. Her 19:13 puts her in second, inches ahead of Victoria who finished in 19:14.

All but two Aquathon competitors also did the 500m swim this semester, so some comparisons can be made. Seven athletes covered the 500m in the pool faster than they did in February and still had enough energy in reserve to run three laps of the SUB. The improvements ranged from 2 seconds (Drew) to 36 seconds (Johnson) and even a whole 45 (Max). Swim times can be found below, with improvements in brackets. There was a magic window of time between 8:37 and 9:15 where everyone finishing had bettered their previous 500m times. I can guarantee you Steph Urness would have taken more than 22 seconds off of her 500m time had I not been holding her up and refusing to let her pass for the first 200m. I knew I was in trouble when I was pushing off the wall with 100m to go and I saw Steph Flynn on the pool deck with her shoes on already. My shoes were on already too, but that certainly did not help with the swimming.

Steph F 7:13:00
Vince 7:40:00
Rachel 7:26:00
Karin 7:42:00
Eddy 7:45:00
Jen B 7:51:00
Brendan 8:06:00 (4 seconds)
Dylan 8:10:00
Barry 8:12:00
Kywon 8:28:00
Victoria 8:37:00 (3 seconds)
Winston 8:37:00 (8 seconds)
Johnson 9:03:00 (36 seconds)
Steph U 9:07:00 (22 seconds)
Max 9:15:00 (45 seconds)
Kaley 9:24:00
Jon 9:30:00
Ben 9:43:00
Drew 9:52:00 (2 seconds)
Jesse 10:00:00

Winston, the club patriarch, did everything in his power not to beaten by Victoria in the water. He succeeded, just barely.
We don’t want to make the statistics for the run feel left out:

Vince 9:30
Steph Flynn 11:15
Barry 9:16
Brendan 8 9:24
Jen B 11:22
Victoria 10:37
Rachel 11:58
Karin 11:47
Winston 9:33
Dylan 10:02
Jon 8:44
Max 9:10
Kaley 10:52
Eddy 11:15
Steph U 11:26
Kywon 12:57
Ben 10:15
Johnson 11:46
Drew 11:04
Jesse 11:49

No major upsets in the overall points were seen after the race, the top 4 or 5 men’s and women’s positions remained unchanged. Barry will be the first to have his name on the Trophy other than Matt Reeve. Vince’s name is also on the trophy, but for an entirely different reason. Vince would have had to put several minutes on Barry in the Aquathon to claim the overall lead. Three attempts to unplug Barry’s alarm clock and two tries at pushing him in front of a bus proved unsuccessful. Kaley retains the overall title that she has held since the 5k (briefly allowing Ms. Flynn to hold the position after the 500m swim). Victoria takes second place while Stephanie Flynn easily held on to third, gaining 110 points on her nearest competitor in the last event of the series.

For those who may be interested, if the entire Spring Fling was a single event, you can see below what your time would have been. Assuming fatigue plays no role and you were able to hold your pace over all distances. The course would end up being approximately a 12k run (with 300 feet of elevation gain), 21k on the bike and a kilometer in the pool. If we take the Ironman distance to be the reference standard, the 2.4 mile (3.8k) swim accounts for 1.70% of the total distance for the 226k course.

Since the 1 kilometer worth of swimming in the Point Series ends up accounting for 2.94% of the total distance covered, some adjustments need to be made. To keep the swim distance in line with the 1.7% rule, we really need to cut the swimming down to 578m, 289m for the time trial and 289m to begin the Aquathon. A spot on the ballots for the Wednesday Executives election will be added to confirm support for the decision to change the swim distances. To avoid a biased vote, anyone who has ever completed a 500m swim in under 8 minutes will not be given a ballot. Also, Kory; your suggestion of making the 500m swim event into a 1500m now seems quite ridiculous. Please do not bother to point out that the 12k of running is proportionally too long, I assure you things are better this way. The unfair, heavily swimming biased results for everyone who completed all 8 events are:

Barry 91:47
Vince 93:18
Brendan 94:34
Jon 96:04
Stallkamp 98:17
Ben 106:15
Johnson 110:57

Victoria 107:50
Kaley 108:05
Flynn 109:04
Urness 111:05

Looking at these results, an hour and a half for men and 1:45 for women seem to be good targets for the next Fall Series. The three time returning champion will surely have a shot at the 1:30 barrier. Interestingly, Matt’s 2010 fall series results calculated using the new 1000 point system would earn him 8109.6 points, very close to Barry’s total of 8114.2. The next Fall Series might be a very close competition.

Max and I were walking by Ivan on the pool deck after collecting our shoes and heading inside to the hot tub. “You guys are really fast” he said. “At running” , he added. We are both looking forward to the next point series where hopefully the swimmers will no longer have an unfair advantage. Just to be on the safe side, Max and I have signed up for a two week summer training camp with this man:

Here are the running and the swimming times added together including any mishaps with socks, tight laces, Garmins, tripping on the stairs, fence jumping, Speedo adjustments, smiling at cameras, avoiding pigeons, general whining and all calibrated for the chilly temperature and sun in your eyes:

Vince 17:10
Barry 17:28
Brendan 17:30
Winston 18:10
Dylan 18:12
Jon 18:14
Max 18:25
Steph F 18:28
Eddy 19:00
Jen B 19:13
Victoria 19:14
Rachel 19:24
Karin 19:29
Ben 19:58
Kaley 20:16
Steph U 20:33
Johnson 20:49
Drew 20:56
Kywon 21:25
Jesse 21:49
Sherry 22:56

Vote Matt 4 Prez

When I came to UBC in 2007 I was most certainly not a triathlete. I was in moderately good shape, having tree planted and lead canoe trips all summer, but I was not in triathlon shape. I considered myself a decent swimmer, having raced with my high school team, focusing on the 100 m breaststroke and placing fifth in Ontario. I was a moderate cyclist at best, having ridden mountain bikes and BMXs in Toronto for years but having never touched a road bike. And I was an OK runner, I started my running career in September 2005 in grade 12 on the cross-country team, then moved up to a 10 k race in December, and a half marathon in February 2006. So, I made the decision, as we all have, to put these three activities together and I joined the UBC Triathlon Club in my first couple weeks at UBC.

In my time with the club I’ve seen it grow quite a bit. In the 07/08 season, there were just a handful of active members, and run practice was routinely just me and the club President. The club was essentially run solely by the President at that time, but he still managed to organize swimming, running, and cycling workouts. Since the club was being run by one individual, I wanted to do what I could to help it succeed. This meant taking on the important roll of Treasurer in my second year with the club. With no experience and a handful of determination I was able to keep a balanced budget while adding spinning classes, adapting to rising pool fees, and adding a welcome BBQ and the year end banquet to the social calendar. While I was Treasurer, I also redesigned the club logo and helped facilitate the ordering of club hoodies and T-shirts. We’ve since added the race series, an uproarious social calendar, and multiple club sponsors and sports wear. I have been on the executive committee as much as possible in the past two years, with some gaps when I have been away on co-op (like I am right now). But even during my co-op school terms I have strived to be as involved as possible in my position of VP Matt, working with Vince to design our club cycling kits, attending executive meetings via Skype and email, writing blog posts, creating the “UBC Triathlon Club fans of Matt Reeve” Facebook group, and being a general consultant to the club.

In March 2008, I raced my first triathlon, the Olympic at the UBC Tri/Du. I came 8th and I was hooked. I have since raced in eight other triathlon races, from sprints to a half ironman, and a handful of running races, with my best ever race at the 2010 Fall Classic placing third overall in the 10 km with a time of 37 minutes. Needless to say, I’ve come a long way, and I owe it all to my involvement with the UBC Triathlon Club. Training with like-minded individuals and coaches has made me the athlete I am today. Oh, and I should probably remind you that I am the three-time champion of the Vincent Lavallee Cup, three-time Storm the Wall finalist, and five time sufferer in the beer mile.

My past four years with the tri-club have made me some great friends, taught me a lot about the sport, and taught me how to run this club. As the current second longest standing member of the club (the exception being Winston) I know my way around the AMS policies, the nightmare of booking the pool, organizing practices and events, and helping club members figure out what is going on with the club. I am certainly not the inexperienced member I was four years ago. Most importantly though, I love the UBC Triathlon Club and want my fifth year to be about giving back to the entity that fueled my passion for this sport.

A few things I’d like to add to the club for next year are as follows.
• Allocate some funds in the budget to obtain more club resources, such as swimming stroke tools, flippers, emergency cycling resources (multi-tools, spare inner tubes, cold weather clothing, etc), and triathlon resource materials.
• Organize and facilitate a weekly brick workout, since running off the bike is an invaluable skill for a triathlete.
• Organize a January-March training plan specifically designed to get athletes ready for the first race of the season, the UBC Triathlon/Duathon.
• Hold basic bike-maintenance clinics.
• Make it the most super radical totally awesome and amazing year in club history!

If you’re still not convinced I’m an excellent candidate for President of the UBC Triathlon Club, please check out the video I’ve posted here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL8J4T7X8xI or here http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150177692267932 in 720p HD.


Matt Reeve

The Brick

Light rain greeted the competitors of this year’s brick event, the second last of the Spring Fling. Many considered staying in bed after analyzing the weather from their bedroom windows.. A few did stay in bed. Those who didn’t found themselves huddled inside the club office until 9:20 because someone is always late and staying outside more than 5 minutes was enough to make anyone shiver. Anyone who wasn’t already cold certainly was after a practice lap of the course, serving to both clarify any confusion regarding the route and thoroughly chill all participants.

While Kim didn’t quite better her course record set this past fall, her 22:22 was the fastest time by far for the ladies, finishing more than a minute ahead of any other competitors. After hours sifting through stored Garmin files on her computer, she managed to dig out last semester’s bike and run splits for the brick. She blames any slackening of her pace on twice weekly Wreck beach stair workouts. Victoria was next in 23:26 while Kaley was nipping at her heels in 23:30. Or at least she would have been had the two not started 30 seconds apart. But in the interest of safe cornering on Kullahun Drive and to eliminate unfair drafting, the less exciting time trial format had to be adopted. You don’t truly know who you’ve beaten until 20 minutes after the race but at least you made it to the finish. With two traffic lights and a U-turn on the course, pulling in front of cars and gaining three seconds on your nearest compettior sometimes seems like a good idea.

On Friday, Kory decided to try the 16th Avenue option instead of his usual Stadium Road hill ascent and posted the fastest time for the brick, 20:08. Let’s give him a break on this unmarked course, when you are way ahead with no one to follow, sometimes it is difficult to remember to turn. 20:08 is exactly Matt’s time from the Fall Classic; he should have made his way down from Kitimat for the weekend and defended his title. With so many missed events, he would have to do a lot more than tie Kory to make up the ground he has lost so far. Barry was not far behind with a 20:14. During a post race interview Barry mentioned he wanted a fast time “to spite the haters”. While immediately elated with his time after finishing the brick, Barry could not help thinking of his cat’s recent pneumonia diagnosis, hence any associated facial expressions in the subsequent hour.

Vince finished third in 20:21. Not even Sherwood’s shouts of encouragement could allow Vince to run painlessly up Stadium Road, his legs certainly still felt the incline. It is not easy to take words of encouragement from a man pedaling effortlessly next to you. Sherwood, if you would ever give up the mechanical advantage of the wheel for even a single 5k run, you be an infinitely more understanding coach. You are no better than the fat man with an ice cream cone that I passed while running along Jericho beach the other day. If he were to offer me some mid-run encouragement, it would fall on deaf ears. That being said, I did appreciate your help in pacing that allowed me to catch Eddy at the Kullahun Drive turnaround. I did not however appreciate you blowing by me at the start after I slipped off a pedal and jammed my crotch into my seat. I already know I need to work on accelerations.

Kellen earned the title of fastest transition (9 seconds) with the aid of baskets and flat pedals added the night before the race. He was however only 4 seconds faster overall compared to last semester. Considering he has tripled his training volume, I think the baskets may have lost him more time on the bike than he ever could have made up in transition. The coveted longest transition award goes to Ben, with a whopping 53 seconds. Ben not only had time to change into a dry pair of socks and put on three layers of leg warmers, he also made a phone call to his mother and finished up a lab assignment that he laid out in the transition area. All the while munching on a turkey sandwich. We really don’t know how you do it Ben, but you have my vote for VP Time Management. My own 19 second transition would have been much speedier had Max not hid my shoes in the bushes in hope of gaining a few precious seconds on me.

Some other observations:

Ceilidh now holds the course record for the brick in the denim race pants division. To further impede his movement he wore a weighted backpack for most of the race. I am very glad some people aren’t tapering for Spring Fling events. I will however have you know that finishing in over 24 minutes really messes up the point conversion formula that Vince uses to calculate final scores. Denim does not completely excuse a slow time, I will have you know. I have seen video of The Running of The Bulls in Pamplona, jeans are standard attire for some participants and most are moving rather quickly.

Sherry has been getting sick of expired power bar products and made a desperate attempt to achieve a new nutrition sponsor by changing her last name. She was soon dismayed to discover that GU only sponsors professional triathletes and were not willing to pay the $700 legal fees involved in the name changing process. Johnson shares her growing hatred of expired Power Bar product, unable to hide his disgust in the photo below.

He has already had six cases of Clif bars shipped to Blaine, Washington and will be picking them up on Monday. In addition, Johnson has sent several emails in bold red font to the founders of Groupon urging them to include energy bar manufacturers in their daily deals. Meanwhile, he purchased 10 ironing boards for the price of 9 (what a deal!), signed for tap dancing lessons, a Flamenco class and now has a six month membership at each of three different pottery studios. Johnson has said that if anyone needs all of their clothing ironed in a hurry, then they are more than welcome to stop by his place.

Eddy is much better at timing flats than Tyler. Eddy’s flat came 20 minutes before the start of the race, ample time for Kellen to give him a hand and get everything together in time for the race. Kellen is always quick to jump in and help with bike repairs, but even he would have to leave Tyler to deal with his own mid-race flat. His time will be added as soon as I get his results.

Only a single event, The Aquathon, remains in the point series. This will be the second event (out of eight) that involves swimming. As you know, most triathlons feature swimming as the shortest of the three legs (by distance, for obvious reasons) and by time. Most swims take about 1/5th of the overall time of a triathlon. There have been some complaints that 2 swimming events is a bit excessive if we want to really train proportionally for races. While I am sure Ms. Flynn will launch an organised protest, perhaps swimming should be cut back on in the next point series. The series ends Sunday. Set your alarms, get your shoes and goggles ready and find out exactly how many points ahead of you the next person in the standings is. Then swim in their lane and make sure you are out of the water first so you can throw their shoes onto the diving tower and guarantee you will move up one spot in the Spring Fling.

Kory 20:08
Kim 22:22
Barry 20:14
Vincen 20:21
Jon 20:26
Brendan 20:45
Dylan 20:57
Victoria 23:26
Kaley 23:30
Max 21:45
Steph Urness 24:42
Kellen 22:22
Steph Flynn 25:05
Ben 23:03
Claudia 26:05
Johnson 23:39
Rodrigo 24:10
Eddy 24:14
Jen Bhatla 27:17
Jesse 24:41:00
Sherry 27:26:00
Ceilidh 25:10:00
Aaron Green 28:24:00

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Four Laps?

The New York Times once ran a column called “The Mile Is a Mockery”. The author, Red Smith was regarded as one of the greatest sportswriters who ever lived. He wrote: “If god had intended man to run, he would have given him four legs, or at least made him late for a bus”. He goes on to add “Speed afoot may have been useful to some of the young ladies pursued by Jack the Ripper, but unnecessary running is a crime against nature. This goes for the joggers who clutter our country roads and infest our parks”. True, voluntarily subjecting your legs and lungs to anything other than a stroll to and from the kitchen is questionable. While there is certainly some logic there, it is plain to see that running has always had its allure.

The first Olympic Games featured just a single event: a sprint from one end of the stadium in Olympia, Greece, to the other. The stadia is no longer a standard running distance, but the mile has taken its place. Accurate times for the mile run have been recorded since the 1850's, when the first precisely measured running tracks were built in England. The 1500m is great for Olympic years, but the appeal of a standard mile race is unmatched. For the same reason no one except Max and Carl can give you their weight in kilograms more readily than in pounds. Comparing kilometer times is just not the same. Four laps makes for a great race and unlike the 1500, it finishes just about where it starts, great for lethargic spectators.

While passing the Winter Sports Center on the way to the track there was some discussion over how many laps of Thunderbird hockey rink would equal a mile. A debate arose over whether the near frictionless ice would help or hinder performance. In the end, all agreed that the track would be the faster surface for today and the hockey rink would be a great venue to hold Saturday’s Brick.

Ben had many questions before the start of the race “Is Budweiser in cans OK?, Is the first beer to be drunk before or after the first lap?...” I had to inform him that only the date for the mile had been changed to March 16th, the beer mile is still in April. Ben had wholeheartedly been training and preparing for the wrong event. All of his home brew was used to pre-drink for training runs. Hopefully his efforts will pay off in a few weeks time. I will buy him an oversized, novelty wall calendar with little reminder notes to avoid such confusion in the future.

The excitement of the mile seems to always draw many competitors, 33 tonight is just shy of the 36 who turned out last semester. 23 competed in both the spring and fall, and 17 ran faster tonight. The top 9 men all improved on their times since October. Winston ruined the trend by running 3 seconds slower today. He blamed his slower pace on the three pole vaulters who stepped into his lane, and a half dozen shot putters out for a warm-up up jog who boxed him in on the last corner. Also, he claims he had to swerve into the long jump pit to avoid a stray discus and lost precious seconds. No other competitors saw any signs of these obstacles, leading some to believe Winston may be fabricating excuses.

But there is some reason to celebrate for Liam, Kellen and Brendan who all finished ahead of Winston today. Last semester all three finished just behind the benchmark. No one could tell if Liam’s vigorous fist pump at the finish line was to express his excitement over beating Winston, or setting a new PB.

Winston was so frazzled from his run-in with the stray discus and the pole vaulters that he tried to use his UBC tri club membership card to board the bus home. Subsequent attempts to use the card to buy a Slurpee at 7 Eleven and as ID to get into Burnaby’s hottest strip club also failed.

The three fastest times of the day for the girls were 5:31 (Kaley), 5:55 (Victoria) and 5:56 (Naiely). Kaley had already put in a 5:36 as a trial run in February, so she knew exactly what pace to be looking for today. Seanna was next in 6:02, the six minute mile barrier surely within reach if we were to run the race again.
Max and I finished just a second apart, in 4:47 and 4:48. Barry was close behind in 4:54, all three times below the previous club record.

A generally good looking guy could not quite compete with the ghost of Matt Reeve. As Matt again receives a DNS today, Vince can only compare himself to Matt’s 5:03 from October. He will have to be content with his new PB of 5:05.

Drew condensed all of his training into several treadmill sessions of 5 minute mile pace over the last 2 weeks. He chose the basement of the Aquatic Center to avoid having any competitors able to witness his training and because Thursdays at 2:30 there is a cute girl on the Elliptical. With the treadmill unable to simulate air resistance, he ended up with a 5:01 today. If he were to ever get three solid weeks of training under his belt, there is no telling what he could do.

A finish photo is currently being consulted to determine the winner between Brendan and Kellen, both running 5:12's. Brendan’s width around the upper chest may give him the edge. Dissapointed with his VO2 max, a paltry 57 mg/kg/min, Brendan resorted to desperate measures. He has recovered remarkably quickly from a double lung transplant and is now the proud owner of a pair of lungs that can get 74 ml of oxygen to his muscles every minute. He needed the transplant anyway, years of smoking two packs a day and working in a law office adjacent to a Swiss coal mine left Brendan gasping for air at the best of times. He and Kellen now have the highest V02’s in the club. The 5:12 tie will have to be broken with a game of “rock, paper scissors”, should the results of the photo finish prove inconclusive. Kellen swears he would have won had we run the race clockwise, as he does the majority of his training that way.

The Aquathon and Brick are quickly approaching, 4 events in 8 days. Half of the Spring Fling is to be contested in a single week. The 20 day gap in the Point Series is a forgotten memory of February. Ice baths, foam rollers and long naps are surely the best tools for much needed quick recovery. And whoever writes the blogs deserves a medal and a cookie. No ordinary man could be expected to write 4 entries in such a short time span without seriously compromising his scholastic performance. But Storm the Wall is already going to do that.

John 4:47
Max 4:48
Barry 4:54
Drew 5:01
Vince 5:05
Carl 5:09
Kellen 5:12
Brendan 5:12
Dylan 5:18
Liam 5:20
Winston 5:22
Ben 5:25
Dirk 5:25
James M 5:26
Tim 5:29
Eddy 5:30
Jesse 5:37
Rodrigo 5:48
David 5:50
Jake 6:05
Derrick 6:07
Matt R 6:09
Johnson 6:14
Keely 6:40
Sherry 6:30
Kim 6:26
Stephanie F 6:26
Karin 6:24
Meaghan 6:15
Seanna 6:02
Naiely 5:56
Stepahnie U 5:54
Kaley 5:31

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Headwinds and light drizzle toward the end of today’s Iona bike time trial made for conditions that were a far cry from those seen for the same event last semester. Only 5 of the 14 riders who competed in the event in both the spring and the fall managed to improve on their times. Kory’s 15:23 was nearly a minute back of his own course record time. With all of the other riders facing the same headwinds during the last 5k, Kory still had the fastest time of the day.

There is a much more interesting comparison to be made, one more indicative of improvement or atrophy over the last couple months. How your time compares to Winston’s; whether it be in the pool, on the bike, or running, has long been a club performance standard.

All told, ten of us finished in front of him and we have every reason to be proud. After setting his PB’s in nearly every event last year, Winston has never been fitter. Both Johnson and I were defeated by Winston in the Iona time trial for the Fall Classic, but managed to finish ahead of him this morning. Kellen has every right to be thrilled because he finally beat me at something, but I will humbly remind him that he has hardly improved. Last semester he finished 1:03 ahead of Winston, this semester, 1:05; hardly any significant difference. As a benchmark and a yardstick, Winston you have no equal. Please keep up the consistency. One day I will swim in your lane.

Kellen and I were practically neck and neck. Our photo finish is included below, with Winston trailing. I'm in the pink. I assure you it would have been more dramatic had we not started 20 seconds apart.

Last semester, the women’s winner, Kim managed to get through the course nine seconds ahead of Winston in 16:48, which remains the female course record. Her 18:30 today put her first among the ladies yet again and puts her four-tenths of a point ahead of Brendan in the overall, combined gender standings. Brendan has never been angrier. To make matters worse, plans for much anticipated post-race pizza were cancelled. He has since been utterly inconsolable.

Derrick has already made appologies for ruining Kim's finish photo.

Some observations from the race:

Eddy does not understand the basic principles of nutrition. Anything eaten minutes before a 10k time trial will not enter your blood stream in time to improve performance.

People with the name Jen are cursed when it comes to bike time trials. Jen Bhatla’s chain broke within the first few seconds of the uphill bike two weeks ago. Jen Moroz had today’s only flat within the first few hundred meters of the course. Suspicions of foul play point to Theresa, who is just behind Jen in the overall standings. A small puncture, a slow leak, a screw in the tire, all would be in Theresa’s best interest. I will advise Jen at the next available opportunity to check her fork for hairline cracks and to avoid dark alleys. To add to suspicion, I will point out that mechanical problems also kept Jen from racing the Iona time trial in October as well. On the plus side, while helping Jen change the sabotaged tube Kellen has set the new club record for the task. Twenty-three seconds. Sorry Matt.

Four eagles, three herons and innumerable crows were spotted along the course during the warm-up. Since no riders could lift their eyes above road level during the race, it is not know whether they remained to watch the time trial. Several horses had turned out to line the course as well, but proved to be rather poor spectators, interested more in hay consumption than cheering on the riders. They could have at least turned their water trough toward the outer fence and set up a Spartan aid station. I really think a sip of stagnant water at the 8k mark could have taken minutes off my time.

Shortly after Kellen passed me with 3k to go, I detected the unmistakable scent of burning rubber. While Kellen went by at a good pace, I seriously doubted he had reached speeds where rubber begins to overheat. In July maybe, but this was still an early season time trial after all. I saw some emergency vehicles on the adjacent runway and traced the cause of the stench to an aircraft’s tires on the tarmac after landing. I subsequently tried and failed to use some of the landing planes to pace myself. A fuselage is clearly better shaped to handle headwinds than the average cyclist. Especially Kaley’s parachute jacket, an outfit forcibly imposed on her by those on the losing side of the “Kaley Vs Boys” row on the spreadsheet. Some sort of handicap was clearly necessary.

After allowing 40 minutes for Kellen to get his camera in position to take a group photo, much of the group had become thoroughly chilled. Half of the group broke off to ride farther into Richmond while the more sensible lot headed back into Vancouver. Matt Reeve received yet another DNS, perhaps hoping the enormous pressure to perform will allow him to do well in the final three events of the Spring Fling. Once again, congratulations to Kory who beat Winston by an impressive two minutes and forty three seconds.

For the next event, a source of post-race calories and protein will need to be determined beforehand. Steveston Pizza doesn’t open until three in the afternoon, and Kellen received no response to his invitation to eat at Uncle Fatih’s pizza on Broadway. I later heard that Kellen was unable to enjoy his pizza because tears of sorrow had made it far too salty to stomach. To avoid subjecting Kellen to such a lonesome dining experience again, let’s all head to Fresh Slice at The Village after running the mile.

Winston's long ride home to Burnaby happened to be during some of the heaviest rain of the afternoon. The photo below of Winston's commute was taken by a photography student at Emily Carr who happened to be passing by.

Kory Seder 15:23
Barry Claman 15:29
Dylan 1:40 15:55
Brendan Neaf 15:58
Vincent Lavallee16:43
Kellen Kjera 17:01
John Heinz 17:34
Max 4:20 17:40
Johnson Jia 17:52
Derrick Lee 18:15
Winston Guo 18:06
Tyler Filteau 18:21
Ben 3:40 18:53
Eddy Wu 18:54
Kim Seder 18:30
Victoria Gilbert18:56
Steph Urness 18:56
Steph Flynn 19:31
Kaley 6:40 20:07
Drew 4:00 20:31
Seanna 5:20 20:31
Jen Bhatla 22:04
Claudia 6:20 22:10
Sherry 7:00 22:21

Friday, March 11, 2011

Race Season Begins

Had more of the competitors know that the vast majority of “The largest indoor triathlon in North America” was indeed held outdoors, I believe more sweaters, knitted scarves and leg warmers would have been seen in the transition area. No portion of the Sprint triathlon is indoors. Less than 3% (by distance) of the Olympic is indoors. I really don’t know where they find these misleading people for the UBC REC promotions department. Or the course measurement department for that matter.

The race gave many athletes their first real assessment of their fitness for the year. For some it was an early season reminder to get back on a training plan, for others this single race would have to represent the entire season. No rain overnight, no flats or major bike mishaps to report and no lack of Power Bar products in the club office would seem to indicate that the race was an overall success.

The fastest times for the day in the Olympic were posted by Brendan (2:18:08), Vince (2:19:30) and Max (2:28:59). This of course excludes all the non-UBC triathlon club members whose performances were rather mundane and certainly not worth writing about. Brendan had the fastest bike time of the day (1:10) and the minute that he gained on Vince here would decide the race. The run would only help him improve his lead. Brendan stealthily snuck into an earlier heat so that his competition would have no time to react to his lightning fast transitions and rather quick overall pace.

With only a single slice of toast to rely on as real food for the day, and no one near him in his heat; Vince raced rather well. With only a handful of Power Bar energy bites to nourish him during his 6 hours on campus before the start of his heat; Vince certainly earned the bagels and bananas at the finish line. Max was under the impression that Bratwurst was also being served at the finish, and the thought of such a delicacy powered him to a 39:46 10k. Max was doubly disappointed to discover that not only were no delicious sausages to be had, he actually had to run 10.5k to get there. I’m going to donate the rusty 6 foot tape measure in my garage to UBC REC, surely it will prove to be both a more precise and accurate instrument then what has been previously used to measure the course.

On the ladies side, Victoria won the race outright, no need to exclude all the times posted by unimportant non-club members. Her 2:39:20 is a full 17 minutes faster than she can cover the same distance when competing in two Olympic triathlons on the same day. A beautiful new teal Bianchi can’t hurt either.

Stephanie Flynn was next in 2:45:29, and would later learn with some frustration that being third overall is worth nothing. First and Second place get fabulous prizes but there is nothing left over for third place to get even a head nod. The fastest women’s swim time also gets no acknowledgement. But fear not, Stephanie, I am putting a trophy together using parts from a discarded shopping cart I found on Wreck beach. I will bring it to the next practice, and I assure you it is a far greater reward than a gift certificate to a bike shop or a crown of the finest olive branches.

Stephanie Urness was the next finisher from the club, in 2:53.30. While finishing both the bike and run close to a minute ahead of Ms. Flynn, a surprising upset in the pool left Ms. Urness with nearly 10 minutes to make up before even getting her helmet on. I don’t mean to overanalyze either of the girls’ performances, they both had a great race.

Not everything ran entirely smoothly. Despite painstaking efforts to create an elaborate duct tape framework that was structurally sound and deserving of any architects approval, Kellen still had to put his shoes on the old fashioned way. Lauren is awarded the coveted longest T1 prize. Bike in hand, realizing her gloves were still in her wet bag, Lauren did what we all would have done. Re-racked the bike, ran to the Aquatic Center, dug through a bin filled to the brim with other competitors’ wet bags and eventually found the forgotten gloves. Which leads to some question as to why we are all racing so early in the year as to make facing the chilly temperatures without gloves seem to be an unthinkable option.

Ben realized the folly of buying a tri suit that is anything but skin tight. Each push off the wall threatened to have the lifeguard call campus security with a report of indecent exposure. Eddy dealt with some painful, cramping legs on the run, I thought I might need to drag him from the finish to the Tri club office and begin comparison shopping amongst the different manufacturers of crutches. He should learn from Dylan, if your legs hurt (eg. shin splints),keep running and the painful sensation will subside for the last 5km.

For the sprint, Barry’s 1:08:15 brought him within 45 seconds of the overall winner. Had he not been hampered by the weight of his electrodynamics textbook, Barry almost certainly would have won the race. He did however, manage to get through two chapters while on the bike. Transition 1 was especially difficult; pulling the textbook out of its protective plastic casing took longer than his own clothing change. Drew (1:21:51) and I (1:15:36) had the next fastest times amongst UBC triathlon club members.

Karin Olafson took first among the club's female members in 1:26:19, while Keely Hammond was close behind, coming in under the 1:27 mark with a second to spare. Sherry Gu took third, close on their heels in 1:27:21. They train together, they race together, they all finished within a minute of each other. Also of note, these placings hold if we look at the current standings after four events in the Spring Fling. ((Karin, the Keely, then Sherry just 63 points behind). All three are closely matched and surely make great training partners.

It took me until a few minutes before the start of the Sprint to realize that I didn't quite fit in with my heat. I was placed in the heat not by swim time but because the earliest heat of the day would give me the most time to rest before the start of Olympic later that morning. Looking around the room it soon became apparent that no one was under 50, few were under 200 pounds, and a good many appeared as if they had been strolling through the Student's Union building and had mistakenly entered the package pickup line instead of the queue at Pie R Squared.

When we had to line up according to race number, mine was 2063 and everyone else was in the 2200’s. The lady who was previously at the front of the line was very much relieved, “Oh, I’m glad you’re going first, I was a little nervous, I’m just in this race because my sister is doing it”. If any of my fellow competitors from heat 2a) every stumble upon this post, please know that you were all lovely people, I enjoyed the competition and you have the bodies of gods. That being said, as I looked down the line, sizing up my competitors, I knew I had pretty good chances of being alone out on the bike course.

One man had struggled into a Tri suit (with the help of a gallon of Vaseline and a half dozen assistants I am sure) and I feared that the fabric might not hold together until the start of the swim, let alone the entire race. One man had seemingly found a vintage 1880’s full body, woollen swim costume at a local thrift store. Not a Speedo in sight. I realized I might not have anyone to draft off of.

I was the first to enter the outdoor pool for the day. A crowd had assembled, and being in first and feeling the need to keep up appearances, I attempted a flip turn in the shallow end right next to the timing table. I came up with the lane rope squarely between my shoulder blades. I assure you, no more flip turns were attempted for the remaining 600 meters. I was first on the bike. I was first one out on the run course. Since the first Olympic heat was still in the pool, I was the first to pass the volunteers controlling traffic and setting up the aid stations.

I made it my personal duty to say good morning to every one. I heard numerous shouts of encouragement, “you’re in the lead” and “the next guy is nowhere in sight”. Twice I was asked what I had eaten for breakfast. This was my Champs Elysées, an individual time trial course set up just for me. In short, if you ever need a massive ego boost, enter the 25:00/500m swim heat at your next local triathlon.

Kellen was unsatisfied with the catering company that he had hired to provide a post-race meal for his birthday. The bagels and bananas supplied fell short of the cupcakes, fondue fountain and cocktail bar that were promised. To compensate, Kellen rented out a private karaoke room at the J lounge to celebrate not only the fact that he was born an even multiple of 365 days ago, but the successful race as well. Most club members were proven to be more talented on the bike or in the pool than with a microphone, but the evening was enjoyed by all none the less.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


The UBC triathlon Club’s downhill time trial was canceled today on account of numerous injuries experienced by club members during the warm-up. A final tally of 6 broken hips, 2 fractured jaws, 18 cracked ribs and numerous scrapes and bruises were reported. A temporary ban on running of any kind on or near any sort of declined surface has been put into effect until the club treasurer can collect 3 more waivers from all club members that acknowledge the incredible risks associated with downhill running.The one kilometer course is rather grueling, some tree roots, a few stumps and rocks, and the occasional errant dog that has strayed from its owner. While the steepest section of the course has a 5 foot railing along the drop-off, this comes near the end of the course where participants have reached maximum speed and the finish post is almost in sight. After 4 competitors broke through the railing and landed in the creek at the bottom during the warm-up run, the event was called off.Most club members were feeling rather depressed about heading back to campus without some sort of number with which to compare themselves to others, so in the spirit of competition, an impromptu uphill time trial was arranged. With less impact on the joints, less chances to twist an ankle and far more searing pain in the lungs and throat; the uphill time trial may become a regular event with the club.Several club members were unable to make it to the event tonight, but fortunately had recorded times on the downhill course from the previous week to add to tonight’s results. Times ranged from 1:33 to 2:55 and thankfully, all competitors also had the forethought to record their times going back up the hill, just for kicks. Individual Downhill times are omitted for the sake of brevity. Kaley rounded up a couple of the fittest, most handsome timers she could find and managed to shave 23 seconds off of Jen’s record from September. While Kaley was off doing a few strides, Vince and I discussed the timing strategy, “So, she’ll likely finish just under 5 minutes… let’s have 2 watches going and run up with her”. Her timers made a better pre-race assessment of her fitness than she did, as Kaley was a bit shocked to see that there was no “5” before the other 2 digits on her watch at the top of the hill. The searing lungs and throat confirmed that it must have been fast. Her 4:57 certainly eclipsed the old record, but it would be nearly a week before she could be sure to hold onto it.Stephanie Flynn and Sherry Gu both took advantage of the Monday night run to get their time trials out of the way. Under some rather slippery conditions and 20-30 foot stretches of snowy trail, the girls managed to run 5:41(Steph) and 6:16 (Sherry). They were then given 15 seconds of rest (10 would have been more appropriate) before being marshaled back into the pack for a run down to Blanca and back to campus.On Wednesday morning I’m sitting on my couch shortly after cutting and filing my toenails. I have my gorgeous new race flats in hand, cutting out the labels with an X-acto knife (Ok, It’s official, I’m taking the Spring Fling too seriously), when Ben calls. “Can you time my uphill run?”. I readily agree, and faced with the prospect of running the hill a third time this week without actually racing myself, I decide that I must run it with Ben. And so we set off shortly after noon, with a bit of light rain on our way to Spanish Banks. By the time we had arrived, conditions were warm enough to do away with shirts and allow us some substantial weight savings for the time trial. Both Ben and I ran some fast times (3:58 and 4:33), but it would be six hours before we knew how they would compare with the group. I paid for simultaneous breaking two cardinal rules of running with some cut up heels. 1) Never wear new shoes for a race. 2) Certainly not if it is your first time going sockless in shoes. A near record 34 competitors competed in the uphill run. Of the 16 athletes with times to compare from September, 12 saw improvement tonight. Kim and Karin were only one second away from their Fall Series uphill times, so really with 14 returning competitors either improving or holding even; the Spring Fling continues to looks like the most competitive of the point series to date. Brendan made the biggest improvement in his time this semester, his 4:35 being 25 seconds faster than in the same event in September.The top three on the men’s side were myself (3:58), Max (4:05) and Vince (4:18). These times kept Barry in the overall lead for the series, with Vince making up some sunstantial ground and me being able to put an even more confortable buffer between Kellen’s overall points and my own. Without the added cumbersome mustache weight, Vince could have perhaps taken the overall lead from Barry. I fear the 10.2k in Iona, Kellen has just acquired a net set of lighter, faster, much more comfortable tri bars. And he drinks disgustingly healthy smoothies in the morning. And he’s taller than me. Both Kaley (4:47) and Stephanie Urness (5:15) would finish faster than Jen’s record set in September. Victoria hit the previous record right on, finishing in 5:20 on the nose. All confusion of where the finish line may be (Parallel trees? Any two trees form a straight line…) was erased by a purple bandana and a shallow trench dug by Derrick. With two or three twisted ankles resulting from the finish line trench, Derrick had better watch himself at the next practice. Thankfully the finish lines of the last four events are either on pavement (Brick, 10.2k Bike) concrete (Aquathon) or very well marked (Mile) so no more treacherous finish line trenches will be required.The Vancouver Sun’s forecast for “gale force winds in the Straight of Georgia” and “100km/h winds to topple trees, power lines” fortunately did not hold true. The only sign of destruction was a single fallen tree on the Salish trail that was certainly not there when Ben and I ran by that point earlier in the day. Also notably absent was Windstorm, who has not missed a point series event this year and can be expected to make up the time trial in the coming weeks.If we take one ‘hill’ to be a standard unit of measurement, the uphill bike and run times can be compared. Disregarding length, grade, surface and many other important factors, let’s see who can climb a hill faster on foot than with the aid of the wheel. Vince is dead even, at 4:18 for both time trials. Kellen is 7 seconds faster on foot, followed by me (22 seconds), Max (28) Drew (35), and Ben (60). For the ladies, both Seanna (1 second) and Kaley (20 seconds) both posted faster times without a bicycle to get in the way.Well after sunset, many of the finishers still found themselves lost in the forest. While the order of sacrifice was being determined if things were to result to cannibalism (Kellen- too bony), (Brendan- too pretty), one wise club member pointed out that the finish of the run is just 80 feet from a major road, we were not in fact lost, and we would not have to resort to such extreme measures. In other news, an exciting new AMS club has been formed due to popular demand. The UBC Duathlon club will meet at 5:25 on Mondays and Wednesdays for runs as well as Saturday mornings at 8:55 for 60-80km rides. Tuesdays (1:30), Thursdays (8:00) and Sundays (9:30AM), the club will meet in front of the wall of mirrors at the Bird Coop to flex their muscles and complement each other’s physiques. Wife Beaters with the club logo are included with the administration fee. The club exec is also looking into starting a Duathlon specific yoga class on Friday afternoons where absolutely no emphasis will be placed on shoulder flexibility. This exciting new club promises to better than the similar, outdated UBC triathlon club in every way.

Uphill Run TT Spring 2011
John Heinz 3:58
Max Stallkamp 4:05
Vincent Lavallee 4:18
Kellen Kjera 4:26
Barry Claman 4:23
Brendan Neaf 4:35
Nathaniel Janzen 4:37
Drew Senay 4:44
Dylan 4:44
James 4:46
Liam Harrap 4:48
Jake Alleyne 4:57
Winston Guo 4:56
Kaley Strachan 4:57
Dirk Haupt 4:59
Reza Honarpisheh 4:59
Rodrigo Samayoa 5:00
Tim Tewsley 5:02
Jesse Chao 5:11
Eddy Wu 5:12
Stephanie Urness 5:15
Victoria Gilbert 5:20
Lauren Slattery 5:28
Seanna 5:30
Theresa Price 5:36
Karin Olafson 5:39
Stephanie Flynn 5:41
Johnson Jia 5:49
Kim Seder 5:54
Keely Hammond 6:04
Jen Bhatla 6:06
Sherry Gu 6:16
Dina Balfone 6:37
Matt Reeve DNS
Thomas Belshein phenomnia