Saturday, January 31, 2009

Haleakala Climb

We did it.

Sea level to 10,000 feet. 60km of solid climbing. Huge range in temperatures (I don't know the exact numbers, but it was COLD up there).  3 hours and 39 minutes to the summit for me and Big Blue (that's not another Sarah nickname, it's my bike :-)

We have talked about doing this climb pretty much the entire camp, and I think we considered doing it last week. But, Joel didn't think there was enough fatigue in the legs to make it extra epic, so we waited until the bitter end. 

It was hard, I cannot lie. My legs never felt good, the winds were strong, and the altitude was a special treat. However, we were treated to incredible views the entire climb and it was well-marked with altitude signs every 1,000 ft, and mile markers the entire way. The countdown was fun for awhile, but when the air got thinner and we realized just what we had gotten ourselves in to, the enthusiasm dwindled and we simply focused on the road directly ahead (trying not to look UP the mountain at the switchbacks!). Usually I feel a sense of accomplishment to finish such a great session, but once I got to the top, all I wanted to do was put on a parka and lie down. We still had to descend though....60km... I didn't eat enough before the descent and had a few bonking-related scares on some of the switchbacks, but made it home unscathed and immediately devoured many random, delicious items from the pantry. 

After a nap, some couch time, and a grocery store shop, we headed out for a run this evening. Tomorrow is our last day on Maui (sniff!) so I am very happy we are starting the day with an open water swim. I WILL see another turtle, and this time will be armed with Jordan's waterproof camera. 

Here are some photos from the day:

Yes, I look ridiculous, but would you expect any different at this point?

Our ride started somewhere down there.

View of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island

The final stretch.

Clouds hovering around 6,500 ft.

The crater.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Moving On

By now, I am sure most have heard the news about Coach Joel. For those who haven't, here is a link to the Triathlon Great Britain announcement, and below is the post from Joel's blog.

This news came to all of us as shock. As much as I don't want to lose a great coach, I do understand Joel's decision to take this incredible opportunity (which is very much well-deserved) and I truly wish him all the best with this next chapter. I hadn't exactly planned on switching coaches again, this time after only two-months, but that is the reality of sport and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work under Joel, even for the short period of time. Joel's training philosophy makes sense to me and it is something I will use throughout my career. So, for that, and all the good times along the way, thank you so, SO much, Joel.

I know we will all miss Joel's presence (or his "hollogram" :-) which is why this is especially difficult; we feel as though we are also saying goodbye to a great friend. Of course, one of my first questions to him was, "what about Napoleon?" Thankfully, Poly will be able to join him on this adventure, after a few months of 'observation'.

As for me, I am not really sure what will happen at this point. I am confident we are left in good hands with the appointment of a new High Performance Director, Kurt Innes. Triathlon Canada has our best interests in mind and we will all move on from here.

Here is the post from Joel's blog:

Thanks Canada

Thanks Canada, its been a great trip.

I'm moving on from Triathlon Canada effective February 9th. It wasn't an easy decision to take as I have enjoyed great support in Canada, but its the right time for me to make a change and take on an exciting new leadership role.

The three years I've been in the role of Senior High Performance Coach at the National Triathlon Centre in Victoria, and the years before that in development roles have been an invaluable experience. I am enormously proud of the continued success of the NTC as a centre for international excellence, and particularly proud of the achievement of our Olympic goal with the silver medal for Canada in Beijing, both as Olympic Team Coach and working with Simon Whitfield as his personal coach since 2005.

It's been an honor and a privilege to have worked with everyone at Triathlon Canada, from Tom Patrick, Alan Trivet, Stephen Holmes, and Larry McMahon, to all of the coaching community, from Barrie, Craig, Patrick, Gary, Phil, and Benoit, and many many more athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff. I have appreciated their support, and trust to make the tough decisions and take a risk to demand excellence in attitude and practice.

Most of all, thanks to all the athletes I was fortunate enough to work with along the way, from our "BAMF" squad in Victoria with Simon, Kyle, Jordan, Lauren, Andrew, Colin, Dano, Paul, Kirsten, and Brent, to the other National and Development athletes representing Canada around the world. I will remember all the fun times, and know you all will keep going with the 'trial of miles, and miles of trials'. Remember, if in doubt, keep it 'organic', and go with "Steadystrongsolidgiveitagoseehowyoufeelstartfastandbuild" :-)

Canada is in great hands with the newly appointed High Performance Director Kurt Innes and is situated in its best position ever coming out of Beijing and into London 2012. I wish the best for the Canadian team and hope to continue to see them all at the races in the future.

So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tropical Showers

So, that title might be a slight understatement. We have had some serious precipitation over the past couple of days. The rain has been constant, mostly torrential, and fun to experience... from inside the house. But, that hasn't stopped us from getting the work done (not that we really have a choice ;-)

Yesterday we suited up in rain gear for a 2.5 hour ride. We waited a few minutes as we watched the rain pound down, hoping that it might let up slightly as it is never fun to start a ride in the rain. No luck so we rolled out, completely soaked before we were even out of the driveway. We rode along the Road to Hana, an incredibly scenic coastal highway. But, between the dense fog and the muck in my eyes, I couldn't see much more than the wheel in front of me. Most of us chose to shower and refuel before heading out for the run, again, hoping the rain might let up. No chance. So, once warm and dry, we finished the day with an easy hour run in the the rain.

Today, the rain let up slightly in the morning but came back with avenegance during our 90 minute run session (iPod was wrapped in saran wrap this time!) We spent the afternoon lounging at the house, waiting for the rain to stop..... it never did. "Mahalo" to DJ Jordan for having possibly the world's largest collection of 80's and 90's music, providing us with hours of entertainment (I forgot how much I love John Secada!!) I don't think any of us were up for another soggy-soggy ride so opted for the trainer. I know, we shouldn't be riding the trainer on Maui, but it was seriously WET out there!

Thank you for the splits, coach Sausage!

Fish tacos!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lighter Day

With just a 5k swim and 90 minute ride on the program for today, we had a long afternoon at the house (just enough time to get on each other's nerves...actually we don't need much time for that these days ;-) I escaped for a walk around the neighbourhood to stretch out the legs......OK, the real reason was to search for the "pig" Kyle swears to have seen being walked on a leash the other day. I found no pig (he was likely hallucinating after his long run), but managed to have some fun with my camera.

The pathway to "our" beach.

Our beach.

The extra time today allowed Jordan to slow-cook a few massive racks of ribs for the guys (Sarah and I opted out of this dinner, however, we couldn't resist the smell and were quick to ask for a taste). As per usual, Kyle had the meat sweats going on:

Adam and I have been trading photos of our "winter" locations. I though I'd share the view from his bedroom window:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Maui Polar Bear Swim

This morning the group raced the Maui Polar Bear Fin Swim. Yes, that is the name of the event and the slogan is, "the only sane polar bear swim in the world!" Fins were worn by almost everyone except us, but that's OK because we probably would have all DNF'd with massive foot and calf cramps anyway.

This type of ocean swim was definitely my cup of tea; the water was crystal clear and warm, and the treat at the finish line were Klondike ice cream bars. 

Andrew took the win with an early break-away, and the next pack was Simon, Kyle, Saucey, and a speedy local swimmer girl with fins. I was on my own behind them, doing my best to keep the pace on, while still keeping out an eye for marine life. Nothing spotted while racing, but Saucey and I enjoyed the company of two TURTLES while cooling down! 

Despite our fatigue, I think we all enjoyed the event, which had incredible turn-out (see pics below, as usual, courtesy of Coach Joel).

To finish off the week, we are back in the cane fields for a 90 minute negative split run later this afternoon.

Pre-race prayer.

Running with fins!

Simon dominated the run-in.

Enjoying the Klondike bars.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Almost there...

This has been a BIG week for me, and there's still one day to go. I don't know why I'm excited that it's Saturday because after tomorrow it doesn't mean it's rest time, just the start of another solid week. But, for the first time possibly ever, I actually look forward to adding up the mileage for the week. Based on the program, this week will be 91km of running (my biggest week ever), 12.5 hours of riding (likely my biggest week ever), and about the usual for swimming, around 25km. 

Our ride today was amazing. We rode a loop around the northwest part of Maui, getting in the 119km in 4 hours (well, it was actually 4:01....). A massive "mahalo" to the trio of Simon, Jordan and Kyle for the draft during the first 70km. Kyle made the hilly ride especially epic as his shifter cable snapped early on and he rode the hills in pretty big gear. I am sure his cadence was hovering around 20rpm on a couple of those climbs. 

Once the real hills started (in other words, the sweet draft was gone), it was Team Gunz and Team Sausage riding together. We were a good team, taking turns for the last couple of hours and finishing with some really solid watts into the "gale-force" winds. We finished off the day with an hour run and some hill strides in the cane fields. 

We are all racing a 1.2 mile open water swim race tomorrow that allows the use of fins. Well, fins for everyone except us (JOEL!!). 

The only scenic photo I took on the ride. You can almost see the ocean on the right.

At the banana bread stand at 85km... I seem to have some food stuck to my face, which was there for the entire ride. Sweet.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Afternoon in Paia

Sarah and I finally made it to Paia for more than a grocery store trip. We live just over a mile from town, a little too far to walk on tired legs from training, but close enough that we ponder over it on a daily basis. We have been eyeing the shops as we drive and bike through, so finally today when we finished up training for the day at 2pm, we decided to hop on our bikes and check it out. Of course our excursion didn't last too long and it included snack stops, but thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon out. 

We chose not to buy these hats. 

Kyle chatting in our only area with clear cell recption, the driveway.

Another delicious dinner by Jordan. Joel likes the almond milk.

Time for bed as tomorrow starts off with a 5 + hour ride around the west point of the island. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh dear!

Clinically Depressed Poodle Mauls Former French President Chirac
Thursday , January 22, 2009

Former French President Jacques Chirac was rushed to a hospital after being mauled by his pet dog who is being treated for depression, in a dramatic incident that rattled the ex-president's wife.

The couple's white Maltese poodle, called Sumo, has a history of frenzied fits and became increasingly prone to making "vicious, unprovoked attacks" despite receiving treatment with anti-depressants, Chirac's wife Bernadette said.

"If you only knew! I had a dramatic day yesterday," she told VSD magazine. "Sumo bit my husband!"

Mrs. Chirac, 74, did not reveal where the former president was bitten, but said, "the dog went for him for no apparent reason."

"We were aware the animal was unpredictable and is being treated with pills for depression. My husband was bitten quite badly but he is certain to make a full recovery in weeks."

Chirac was taken to a hospital in Paris where he was treated as an outpatient and later sent home.

The 76-year-old was president of France for 12 years until 2007.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pic of the Day

Was Saucey laughing while taking this or just so tired her arm couldn't hold the camera steady? I'm not sure, but it was taken shortly after saying the quote of the day, as we climbed yet another hill (or volcano):

"I feel like I am on a mountain bike. "

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hawaiian Wildlife

Two major sightings today: a chihuahua and a couple of humpback whales. I realize that chihuahuas are not native to Hawaii nor are their sightings as rare as migrating whales, but they are equally special in my opinion. 

We started the day with an ocean swim on the other side of the island. Unfortunately the beaches near us get some pretty massive waves, not the safest for swimming, but world-renowned for windsurfing. The water where we swam wasn't quite as calm as expected but it was still exciting to finally experience the beach (we were joking last night that it has been almost a week and we still hadn't made it to the beach! Most people come to Hawaii just for the beaches.) Some pretty good-sized waves rolled in while we were out there which made for some good chop. But, we had Baywatch Joel paddling alongside us on the surfboard and I know he would have tackled a shark if need be. There was only one minor mishap when Jeff was sucked into one of the reefs. Ouch. The water was pretty murky so I couldn't spot the dolphins and turtles I had hoped and I had one minor (ok, major) panic attack when I got separated from the group and could see no one with the swells, not even shark-tackler, Joel. All I could think about was Jaws.... 
Thankfully, the whales were spotted once safe on the beach. 

This afternoon was a build run in the cane fields. It was hot and hard and I am feeling sore. Whaaaaaa! (that is my complaining for the day)

Chef Jordan cooked up another delicious dinner: beef burgers (from Maui-raised, grass-fed cows), served over salad with fresh guacamole and some sort of yummy sweet potato hash on the side. Kyle had the "sweats" again while eating which we are learning is a clear indication of a delectable meal.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I wanted to start this update with some winging about my epic journey earlier this week from Brazil to Hawaii, but I think the above photo takes away any chance of sympathy from those back home. 

Maui turns out to be an awesome training location. I have been here once before as a teenager with the family but my memories don't go much beyond riding down the volcano in a rain suit and a BMX helmet, viewing the world's largest Hawaiian shirt, and riding the sugar cane train in the sweltering heat. I am excited to get the chance to re-experience the island from a different perspective. 

The camp is off to a great start. We've had a real mix of weather this week, with a mini-hurricane yesterday (my ipod fizzled out within 5 minutes of torrential rain exposure). The biggest adjustment for me is the riding as I am coming off a month of indoor sessions so these three hours hilly rides, attempting to hang with the guys are going to whip my butt back into shape! Thankfully, my American buddy, Sarah "sausage" Groff is here to suffer alongside me. Over the past three years, we've shared plenty of fun times at training camps and this trip is proving to be no exception. We laugh when we're tired, we laugh when we're riding side-by-side killing ourselves on the bike, and we laugh as we walk through the grocery store every night, filling our carts with tasty treats. We're sharing a double-bed so it's a good thing we get along so well. But, Rinny would be glad to hear that the old rule is still in effect: NO Sakata (very crunchy rice crackers) during nap time!!!

Jordan has taken on the role as house "chef" (not "cook"...his food is too tasty for that title). Last night were chicken enchiladas and tonight is grilled marlin and pineapple with some sort of green curry sauce. Yes, life is rough for us on Maui :-)

Dinner is served, so more from camp soon. Thanks to Coach Joel for the photos below:

The group, left to right: Kyle Jones, Jordan Rapp, Adam van Koeverten, Andrew McCartney, Jeff Symonds, me, and Saucey (missing: Simon)


....and more climbing, with Saucey 

View from the top

Pre-swim pose-off

Apparently something was funny.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Quick update from today:


Team Germany, 2nd and Team Brazil, 3rd.

The three of us raced very well and held first place from the first round through to the last. As expected, it was fast and hard but so much fun. I really surprised myself with my fitness at this point in the season, finished 2nd, 2nd and 3rd in the three races.

The weather wasn't exactly ideal with wet roads and cooler temperatures, but the fans were incredible and the cheering was out of control.

We're off to the beach now for some frisbee and churros...

I will try to write more about the races later.

With our bodyguard.

Just a few fans.

Andrew didn't show....

....and Rachel is now American....