Archive for June, 2011

Mission Accomplished–2011 Smiths Falls Triathlon

Back in my goals for 2011 from January 2011 I stated this:

“I will crack 1hr 25 minutes at the Smiths Falls Tri. That means I have to shave 10 minutes again (shaved 12 minutes in 2010). Very doable if I take my running a bit more serious and get better transitions.”

Well, I did, and by a wide margin!!

Since the tri last year I made great strides in my training and was able to bring my time down from the 2008 time of 1:46:06 to my 2011 time of 1:20:59!!! That is a full 25 minutes faster in three years! I skipped 2009 but really started to train early in 2010.  Doing the same event every year gives you a good sense of your overall improvements.  My results this year were far above what I expected! This also means a few things to ponder.

  1. I am in the realm of a competitive time, which means I could move up again next year. Which means I have to train harder.
  2. I am still overweight, at 5’ 8” and 192 pounds on race day I am still 20 pounds too heavy at least so I have to diet harder.
  3. My bike time was very competitive, and I could set the fastest bike time next year. And that means I have reached the limit of my existing bike, time to look at a Tri bike.

Let’s review the progress.


  • 2008: 1:46:06 Slow, and almost last
  • 2010: 1:34:53 Faster, and mid field
  • 2011: 1:20:59 (run was 200m shorter but still!) FASTER and top 1/3!!

So definitely my plan has been working. And how did the race day pan out.


No pictures of the swim as the Smiths Falls picture vantage point (folks scrambling over the rocks on the exit) means they are of the most unflattering sort. So I don’t look good. If there was a picture here you would see that I am still without a wet suit. Don’t like em and my swimming fitness is still holding me back so no quite ready for one yet. But still I was quite a bit faster this year. The lunch swims definitely helped. I had some problems at the start and got driven over a few times so I think I can get this time down a bit if I learn a bit more race craft here, but not too worried about it.

  • 2008 Time: 16:16
  • 2010 Time: 14:00
  • 2011 Time: 11:05

So a shaving of 5 minutes and 11 seconds since 2008!

Transition was stronger too, got on the bike smartly and off I went. Was a bit winded for the first 300-400 meters then got my rhythm.



As you can see I guess I came to a gun fight with a pea shooter, if you agree that you need a Tri bike to win these things. I rode my road bike unaltered in the bike leg. Thanks to the photos taken at the event I know that 9 of the top ten guys had full on tri bikes, of the top 20 14 had tri bikes, 5 had tri bars on road bikes and then me. So if I want to win the bike leg next year (pretty sure I can) I think I will need a Tri bike. Although I find it fun passing folks on full on tri bikes with this thing. I always said I would not get a tri bike until I felt I was being held back. I think that maybe it’s holding me back now. Have some shopping to do over the winter!

My bike times have evolved nicely over the years.

  • 2008 Time and Speed: 55:46 28 kph
  • 2010 Time and Speed: 49:27 31.5 kph
  • 2011 Time and Speed: 43:40 35.7 kph

So a shaving of 12 minutes and 6 seconds since 2008

My time was the 22nd fastest time of the day and 20th among the men.

The top men’s time was 39:37 and average of 39.4. I think that with a bit more training and equipment upgrade I can easily average over 40. So there is a goal for next year.

Quickly as it turns out the bike leg was over, had another good transition I think and off we went.



The picture above taken at the end of the tri I think says it all. At the end of the 2010 tri I was pretty much exhausted and looked it. This year I ended strong and felt pretty good afterwards. Considering I shaved off 14 minutes in one year goes to show that being fit means you end better as well. The run this year was a bit shorter due to ongoing construction on the Abbott Street bridge but still 200m shorter is not going to cost me more than the 5 minutes I reduced my time in this year. I was able to run the whole time and didn’t feel too winded. Still a competitive time is 20 minutes so have to cut 2-3 minutes here at least. Another goal for next year.


  • 2008 Time: 34:05
  • 2010 Time: 31:27
  • 2011 Time: 26:14 (4.8 km instead of 5)

So a shaving of 7 minutes and 11 seconds since 2008


For me this Tri could not have been better. Beat my expectations in every discipline, rocked the bike leg and didn’t feel like I had been run over by a truck the next day (actually did a lunch hour run I was feeling so great).

I will be doing at least one more Tri this here and look for that report around mid-august!

Categories: Triathlon Tags: ,

How to destroy your Mountain Bike in 3 months of winter commuting

June 20, 2011 1 comment

So it finally dried up in the forest trails around the office and I lugged my mountain bike out from the back of the shed. Hmmm…it didn’t look good.

Still, as usual didn’t have time to really do much more than lube and go so off I went.  Then I tried to shift..oh oh.

I bought my Devinci back in early 2010, and now one year later it’s pretty much toast. How did this happen? Then I remembered. My brilliant idea to commute through the winter of the world’s 2nd or 3rd coldest capital (depends on the list, either way Ulan Bator wins). Life was frantic as a winter commuter. I was usually a bit late for work, so I just had to pile the bike up in the corner, then at night repeat the same process. I lubed when I could but I didn’t keep up. The results were shocking. And in the end I HATED winter commuting! It was cold, I had to put on lots of clothes then take off lots of clothes. My studded tires squirmed across the road and I feared for my life every pedal stroke. I was either too hot (bearable) or too cold (painful) and in the end I had 500 times more fun and results riding in the basement with my sufferfest videos.

So let’s review the damage.

First off it won’t shift.  I am stuck on the middle gear of the front derailleur and can only shift on from the highest (smallest gear) on the back to about half way up the cassette. The shifter just stops catching on anything after a while and won’t do much. Annoyingly the chain jumps. And no wonder, look at the grime and rust around these puppies.

Front DerailleurRear Derailleur

Secondly it won’t stop. The disk brakes squeal like a pack of pigs, braking comes and goes. The rear disk is bent and there is salt grime on everything.

Front DiskRear disk

The suspension doesn’t really work, and it’s all cracked and rusty to boot.


Rest of the bike just looks old and tired.

Front Crank

Overall looks like something I found in a farmer’s shed that had been sitting there for years.

But I love my Devinci, it was the first bike I bought (even before the Specialized) when I recommitted to biking again. But it’s winter days are over. At least the frame is still fine. Back to the trails but first a bit of a rebuild. Already new Brake Disks are on the way, and the new Deore XT gruppo looks hot.

Categories: Uncategorized

Progress on the biking side of the house

So with the Garmin 500 I have you can set up a course, then set a standard time and race against yourself. This is a very cool feature and I have been using it to some success and it’s great to see your progress. I am very lucky to live right on the Smiths Falls Tri course so I mapped it out and set that as my base course.

In terms of what the course is it’s roughly defined as below:


It’s a bit longer than the Smiths Falls course as I have added a part that helps me avoid the steel bridge at Old Slys lock, I had a nasty fall there last year and avoid it if I can. It’s part of the Tri course so will have to take it on Tri day but until then…nope. The course comes out to about 25 and a bit kms so very close in overall length, and 98% of it is the same so good for me.

Now with Garmin connect you can also compare similar rides. Here is my progress in the four Tri bike simulations I have done since mid April. All were on the same bike, my Specialized Tarmac, but the last ride was with my new EA90s wheels. Not sure they were worth all the time I gained, but certainly didn’t hurt! Nice steady progression on getting faster over time. Hopefully I can find a bit more speed come June 26th! Hoping to get another tri simulation in tomorrow!


Activty Name













Tri simulation Cycling Mon, May 30, 2011 5:38 AM 0:46:22 25.19 32.6 1,236
Tri Route Run Cycling Sun, May 1, 2011 5:57 AM 0:47:35 25.24 31.8 1,256
Course 1 Home – SF – Home – Tri course Cycling Mon, Apr 25, 2011 5:57 AM 0:49:34 25.27 30.6 1,182
Untitled Cycling Fri, Apr 15, 2011 11:16 AM 0:49:24 25.17 30.6 1,249
Categories: Uncategorized