Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Adam and I went on a "swim adventure" today. We loaded up our swim gear and started driving south from Whistler Village. There are many beautiful swimmable lakes in the Whistler area but today we decided to venture off the beaten track, heading towards Pemberton. As we drove, we watched the outdoor air temperature climb to 40 degrees. Wow. When we opened the windows it felt like a furnace. Adam hates air conditioning but I was able to coerce him into leaving the windows up today so we wouldn't soak through our clothes at the start of the trip. I don't think I have ever looked forward to a swim this much in my life. After a stretch along a bumpy gravel road just past Mount Currie (and one black bear sighting), we ended up at Mosquito Lake. 

Adam sometimes pretends to "forget" his swim suit, but you can be sure he will NEVER forget his fins!
Hike to the lake. 

Mosquito Lake. Thankfully no mozzies, just tons of dragonflies.

WATER SNAKE!!!!! My worst nightmare!! And yes, I did scream, LOUD.

We stopped by North Arm Farm in Pemberton on our way home to pick some raspberries and blueberries. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So long Number 10!

The curse of the number 10 is history, but the string of 4th places at big events continues..... (well, apart from Hy-Vee....thankfully the poodle has been secured :)

I can't complain. In fact, I am thrilled with today's race, all things considered (Simon has given me permission to use this phrase in reference to my race... apparently I have misused it on other occasions....). After the way I felt leading up to Kitzbuhel and week afterwards, I honestly didn't know if I would be able to pull myself out of that hole and sharpen up in time for this race. I didn't doubt my fitness, but I know that finding the right balance between recovering, training and tapering between races can be tricky, and throwing the lingering fatigue into the mix didn't exactly help ease my mind. But, this is where Phil comes in... he is not one to show concern (EVER) and his confidence in my ability was just what I needed to believe that I could bounce back for this race. That, and his extremely-flexible "get-Lauren-to-feel-good-again" plan :) 

What I have to say I am happiest about is the fact that I was able to pull out this performance in adverse conditions. I feel as though over the years I have become known as a "heat-racer" and I wanted to change that today. The TORRENTIAL rain on the bike was not only terrifying but also quite chilly. It took me a bit of time to find my legs on the run, but once they got some warmth, I found a nice rhythm and did what I could to secure that 4th place. Of course a podium finish would have been nice but I'll take this result....all things considered :)

My World Championship Series rank is now 7th so I should have a decent start position for the Grand Final in Australia in September.

But first up is some REST! Mostly, it will be a mental break, but Phil is not letting me "train" until the end of next week, so a trip to Whistler with Adam will be just what I need. We've got a final big block of training coming up so I will be sure to thoroughly enjoy every minute of our mini-holiday. 

Tomorrow is the men's race (and maybe a little shopping). Can't wait!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Paula laughs at me every time I said the word "torrential," probably because I overuse it...and sometimes grossly exaggerate (if it's there's a trickle in the sky, I might say, "oh wow, it's torrential"). But today, she was the first to use this term and Paula would NEVER be one to stretch the truth (in other words, she's anything but a drama queen). 

The weather in the Alps changes so quickly. We saw this last weekend for the men's race. It was about 12 degrees and torrentially raining. Two days later it was 33 degrees and we were all winging about how hot and sticky it was. We lucked out most of the week with the hot and sunny weather, but yesterday on our ride some dark clouds rolled in extremely quickly. We were quite far from home at this point, riding through the most beautiful valley, alongside a crystal clear lake. At this point I was still loving life and had a big smile on my face, but when the darkness set in Philippe was quick to jinx the situation ("It's going to rain!"). And that it did. Torrentially. I think our tempo effort was extended a little as we raced the lightening home. It eased up a little in the evening but sometime in the night it started again. Honestly, if there was a more dramatic word than torrential I would be using it. It POURED. All night and ALL day. I turned on my favourite channel this morning, the live Kitzbuhel mountain camera and all I could see on the TV was a white screen. SNOW......just up the hill!

We all had a lazy morning, curled up in the apartments watching the rain, waiting for it to ease, but it never did. We put on all of our warm run gear and headed out on the "endless" trail for the run workout. It turned out to be a great run for everyone but by the end we were all a little chilled (especially coach Phil on the mountain bike! Brrrr). 

Thankfully the weather will change as quickly as it did yesterday and we should be back to sun and warmth by tomorrow afternoon. I had to admit though it was a fun day. I can't remember the last time I've seen snow anywhere in July!

And in other news, I am still bursting with excitement from Adam's good news earlier this week: he was accepted to transfer to Uvic Law School! So, no more Freddy Beach (this does make me a little sad as I did love it the Summer/Fall anyway...), BUT, this means we will both be based in Victoria...for good. Now the search starts for a new apartment (maybe dog-friendly?), but more on that later.....  YAY.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The 3-day reset....and a little weiner schnitzel

There's something about three days away from training that seems to reset the system. I've head this from other athletes before, and I have even been forced to try it myself over the past few years (at one point, I think I was so tired, I had to extend it to a 4-day rest...). After the way I felt on Sunday, I had a feeling I was needing this dose of extreme R & R. Thankfully coach Phil was on board so we set a very relaxed program from Monday to Wednesday that involved 2 swims of 1500m (max!) and zero biking and running. I felt no guilt taking this break and for me, that is the clearest sign that it was just what I needed. I don't really have much fun stuff to share about my adventures this week because they honestly only involve sleeping, eating, light walking through the Kitzbuhel shops (definitely nothing vigorous, no power-shopping here) and too much time watching Eurosport and Austrian cooking programs. By yesterday afternoon I was still feeling exhausted and started to worry that I wouldn't bounce back by today, but I still believed in the three-day reset rule and had a good half-day remaining. We went to an Alpenhaus for an authentic Austrian meal last night. Weiner schnitzel and some very hearty "pancakes" for dessert turned out to be the perfect fuel for training as I woke up mentally and physically ready to get back to business this morning. I don't think these photos show just how spectacular the views were. I have already started to plan an off-season holiday to this alpenhaus. Adam may protest, but I will be requesting a room without any antlers or decapitated animals on the walls...

We weren't able to get the correct translation of what type of deer these were. They were pretty small so I worried that they were quite young, but our host assured me this was not the case!

Oh deer....or, should I say, Oh, GOAT! Yikes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Afternoon in Salzburg

The Fortress on the hill. We admired it from afar, skipping the steep hike.

Austrian Easter eggs. I used to spend hours blowing out the yolks as a kid, so was amazed by the sheer quantity in this shop. Their detail was also incredible.

I could have spent ALL day here if the others weren't waiting for me!

Not your typical golden arches.

I didn't know the "bretzels" came chocolate covered...

Salzburg Catherdral

I saw my future in this crystal ball.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What's with the number 10?

Kitzbuhel World Championship Series race yesterday was my third race of the series….and my third 10th place finish.

It was a challenging day for me. I am still feeling some effects of the last few races, notably the Des Moines races. I came out of that weekend feeling more exhaustion that normal and to be honest, have yet to bounce back. I had a couple promising “sharpening” sessions this week so Coach Phil and I thought I would be good to put out a race effort yesterday, but it turned out that my body wasn’t quite ready. I am proud of myself for sticking it out (I can’t lie that pulling the plug crossed my mind more than once….) and for salvaging what I could of the race.

And, to stick with the trend, my World Ranking is now…..drumroll, please…. 10th.

Initially, I wanted to hop on a plane home to sleep for days, hang out with Adam, and recover for the final training block, but, I have decided to stay here. We’ve got two weeks until the next race in Hamburg, plenty of time to recuperate and get some of my strength back. I actually got a little confidence from yesterday’s performance so am already getting fired up for another crack at that top-10 in Hamburg…..hopefully finishing within the top-10 ;)

I’m not really starting the recovery plan well, as it’s 5am and I am already wide awake. Sleeping after races is always hard, but when the race doesn’t FINISH until 6PM, it makes it even harder. I am just waiting for the grocery shop down the street to open. A cappuccino and a strudel will be the perfect brekkie, I think.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Slowtwitch Interview

Lauren Groves earned her biggest paycheck to date when she finished a very close third at the recent Hy-Vee triathlon. She also helped her Canadian team win a bronze medal at the ITU Team Triathlon Championships a day later. Lauren was kind enough to share some of her thoughts with us. 

Slowtwitch: Congrats on that big weekend you had in Des Moines. Finishing 3rd at Hy-Vee and 3rd at the ITU Team World Championships will be a nice addition to your resume. 

Lauren: Yes, it will definitely be nice to add to the resume! It feels like it has been a couple of years since I’ve had some solid results, mostly because of injury. It was back in 2006 that I had my breakthrough season with a 4th place at ITU World Champs and a World Cup best of 4th place. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever crack that podium so to do it twice in one weekend, with both a World Cup and a World Championship is more than I expected at this point in the season.

The rest of the interview can be found here. Thanks, Herbert!


Wow, that was a long trip, but we made it and it is beautiful here. Our internet access is limited so here's just a pic for now (from the lake swim yesterday afternoon). More of an update later!