Sunday, February 22, 2015

2014 season in review

2014 season in review

I thought I would record some notes for my racing/training this year, even though I've skipped a couple of seasons since my last update.1 I signed up for and competed in four triathlons in 2014. Since I like seeing my numbers, here's a chart of the results:

Place Swim Bike Run Overall T1 T2
Race Name Length (km) Date
Location Age
Gender Overall Time Pace Time Pace Time Pace Time

Subaru Cambridge3 0.750/30/6 6/15 Cambridge ON 19/33 66/159 76/219 0:15:59 2:08 0:56:43 31.7 0:30:12 5:02 1:45:41 2:06 0:45
Subaru Guelph Lake I 1.5/40/10 6/21 Guelph ON 28/41 176/272 209/381 0:29:01 1:57 1:19:04 30.4 0:52:00 5:12 2:44:17 2:32 1:43
Valens Sprint3 0.750/25/6.5 7/13 Cambridge ON 65/271 10/23 56/152 0:16:37 2:13 0:48:06 31.2 0:32:23 5:04 1:40:15 1:37 1:35
Subaru Guelph Lake II 0.750/30/7 8/30 Guelph ON 11/31 101/290 118/453 0:14:48 1:59 0:57:33 31.3 0:33:18 4:46 1:48:40 1:50 1:14
Richard Bike Valens

Some highlights:

I checked against some of my earlier results, and Guelph Lake II looks to be my fastest run pace for a triathlon since my first triathlons four years ago. One of those races, at Rondeau Park had shorter bike and run segments on a flat course, so I feel pretty good about that. Last year, with the exception of a triathlon-turned-duathlon, I did only running races2, so I think they improved my running game. It may have come at the expense of my bike training, as it stayed consistent, but didn't improve over time. I treated myself to some upgrades late in the season before the final race, a Garmin watch and a RedShift aero bar/seat post combo.


Garmin Forerunner FR910XT watch - I'm really liking this watch. I have a Forerunner 405 which I still use as a backup, however, the battery life maxes out around 3-4 hours of use, not good enough for a long race. I like especially the swim tracking feature for indoor pools. The outdoor tracking is hit/miss due to signal blockage in the water, but I only have one race worth of data for that. The bike/run features are similar to the 405. Both track heart rate, pedal cadence, etc. I already had a bike sensor that I used with the 405. I also bought a Timex ANT+ foot pod on clearance at MEC because it was compatible with ANT+ at nearly half the price. The 910 watch tracks foot cadence well (and possibly the 405, I haven't tested it) so that's another metric for me to track. I opted not to use the quick release for races, as I read enough stories about watches getting knocked off in the water to be wary. It's hard to read the watch on the bike so I leave the 405 watch on the bike mount for races and leave the 910 on my wrist. Unfortunately, I have noticed a few GPS dropouts when in the aero position while the watch is on my wrist.

Redshift Sports Switch Aero System - I have a Cannondale CAAD 6 road bike that I have used for a few triathlon races. While I can get down in the drops and stay for a while, it does get tiring, so I opted to install aero bars. Instead of going with other clip-ons, I chose the quick-release aerobars and dual-position seatpost from Redshift. This allows me to switch the seat into a more forward position for triathlon racing, and can even be switched back to the road position while in transit. I especially like that the aerobars can be popped off without affecting the positioning. This allows the best of both worlds without too much compromise. The seatpost added a bit of weight compared to the original post, but the bars are pretty lightweight. I have ridden with clip-ons before but I found they started to loosen and wobble during a long session. This was probably because I was too afraid to over-tighten and damage the handle-bars. I did have the bottle cage holder come loose and cause trouble during my last race, so I bought a torque wrench to get things right.

CDI Torqcontrol Torque Tool - "Precisely tighten screws and junction points and protect carbon and delicate materials." Enough said.

Specific race notes


  • a new race this year, although it won't be back in 2015
  • the transition was oriented on a long axis with an uphill run after the run (which becomes downhill after the bike)
  • a hilly run, largely on trails, so I could have prepared better by doing more hill and trail training
  • straight forward out and back on bike once out of park with some rolling hills

Guelph Lake I

  • longer olympic distance
  • had a great swim pace
  • new goggles gave some trouble with water leaking in - had to adjust mid-race
  • slowest bike pace and transition times for the year


  • a new race this year, although it won't be back in 2015
  • in/out park on the main road delayed getting up to speed and meant reducing speed coming back
  • had some rain near the end of the bike which meant caution at a few corners
  • not much rain on the run, which had a lot of trails like Cambridge, but not as many hills
  • two boardwalks were slippery when wet, so caution required

Guelph Lake II

  • a last minute change of venue meant the swim took place at a different beach - parking and set up were chaotic
  • the venue change meant there was a 100 meter bike push on grass and through some rock barriers
  • the aero bar mounted water bottle cage loosened and started rattling enough I had to hold it at times from working itself off completely; the torque tool will let me tighten it correctly
  • best run pace all year and best over several years

Lessons learned

  • more consistency in training needed; use a plan instead of winging it
  • started season about 15 lbs above my race weight; try to keep it off over winter to make gains earlier in spring
  • solid food seems to work better than liquid goo, but harder to digest

Needs work

  • practicing vs "just" training
  • find and stick with a swimmer to draft on their wake
  • avoid build up of "phlegm" while swimming
  • right nutrition balance to avoid stomach upset after race; find and test something in between solids and liquid nutrition, like a chew
  • keep training at a base line through the winter

What's next

In November I signed up for the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka in Huntsville. My last go at this distance was in 2010 for the Peterborough Half Iron Triathlon. I had hoped to finish it around 6 hours, but me time was 6:31:58. I had difficulty on the run, partly due to the 30+ degree heat, but also due to (under-)training. IRONMAN comes to Huntsville in 2015, so my long-term plan is to review my training and fitness and see if 2016 is the year for my first IRONMAN race. I feel if I can do the 70.3 in under 6 hours, then I can consider the big race attainable (doesn't mean I'm up for the time commitment).

I will probably sign up for the Guelph Lake 5150 again (the rebranded Guelph Lake I Olympic distance). It's two weeks before the 70.3 race, so I think it will be a good rehearsal, but it also allows me to compare against previous races. I'll have to look into my results from three years ago where my "A" race was the Muskoka 5150 and I did a sprint fairly soon before it, to see if I allowed enough recovery and taper.

I'll also have a "fun" sprint triathlon in August when my brother and niece competing, assuming they keep it in their goals. Turns out they've cancelled this race, and I haven't heard if there will be a replacement.


1. I don't like to publish unless I have something newsworthy and/or complete. I'm trying to let go of the latter (waiting until it's complete) to get something in print. It even took near two months just to finish this write up!
2. Maybe that merits another post?
3. These races were introduced, then put on "temporary leave" as the numbers were low.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

40 year old virgin

It's June and I've had this idea for a blog post after my first triathlon last August. (Hence the clever "virgin" title - my spam box ought to start filling up with weird comments, now).

However, in 4 days I will be doing my second triathlon, I'm now 41 and rapidly running out of time to post anything before I head over there.
Read more

My first sprint tri was 750 m swim/20 km bike/5 km run. See here for my results. Training for it was sporadic but my swim would prove to need much improvement. I didn't fear the open waters, but the distance and effort proved a struggle; I was front crawling, back crawling, breast stroking (hmm more spam fodder there). The bike went fairly well, I was breathing hard the whole way, and the run sort of coasted into the finish line at an even pace.

I felt my next target should be an olympic distance but I was convinced by my "coach"/brother that half-Ironman was within my reach. So I've been training for about 18 weeks towards that goal. This distance is Ironman 70.3 or Swim 2km, Bike 90km, Run 21km.

I feel great about the swim, bike and run, although I feel my cycling could use some improvement in efficiency, but I've run out of time to do any more tweaking. I've purchased a new set of tri-shorts (last ones destroyed by chlorine) and new cycling shoes within the last week, so I'm risking introducing too many changes without testing properly. I've been wearing them during my work commute, but that's hardly the same conditions. Hopefully I'll have some time the day before the race to fine tune any shoe positioning. I've got a hand-me-down sleeveless wet suit this time and makes a huge difference in my swim effort. My in-laws have a trailer on a nice little lake about 350m long so I have done a laps there a few times to mimic the 2K swim.

I'm predicting around a 6 hour time, so hopefully I can post a good race report, and much sooner this time around.


Friday, August 22, 2008

World Community Grid

You may have heard of Folding@Home or Protein Folding projects which use spare time from your computer for science calculations. I've been running this project for a while using the World Community Grid software. I use products from Terabyte Unlimited, so I signed up with their team. Here are my real-time stats:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Windows' hibernate restarts computer

It used to work... Then one day it didn't. I clicked on Windows XP's Hibernate button in the Start, Turn off computer menu. The computer hibernates, and then restarts, instead of turning off.

To the Google machine! Hmm, I find a few other reports of people with a similar problem even in Windows Vista. Like these articles: Reboots from Hibernate - Flexbeta and Hibernate won't power' restarts!. No solutions there.

I hadn't installed any new software or updated drivers, so those suggestions did not apply. I considered the USB tree, and tried unplugging some devices to see if they affected the reboot after hibernate. They didn't.

Then I eyed my APC Back-Ups... It uses a com port instead of USB. A week ago I had disconnected the battery because the UPS indicated it was bad. I could live with the UPS essentially being a surge protector, but it would beep insistently and long at random times. There is perfectly good error light on the unit which is labeled "battery bad".

Anyways, if you have read this far you deserve a solution. Unplug the UPS from the computer (or replace the battery). Problem solved and hibernate works. I plug the com cable back in and the reboot problem reappears.

My guess is the UPS is indicating that there is some kind of problem so the UPS service prevents a shutdown. It seems backwards since a hibernate would be safer than running on a UPS with a failed battery.

If you do not have a UPS, I would try the solutions in the links above, or look at your USB devices. In Windows' Device Manager, some devices allow you to check off whether it's safe to power them down, so a USB device could hold a system hostage that way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bike Up racks me up

I had a great experience with a company called Bike-Up Bicycle Parking Systems Inc. out of Nepean, Ontario, recently that I wanted to share. I had been searching for over a month for a 3-5 bicycle rack for work so we no longer had to double lock bikes or fight over the one hitching pin affixed to the building. Their standard 4-ring rack (at right) was a little big, so they custom made a 2-ring version. I didn't choose the powder coat as I wasn't sure what colour would fit the best where it was being installed, so we may add some colour later.

They were great at answering my questions, and the time from order to delivery may vary, but in my case, it was less than a week! What a great experience after "dealing" with another company who after two feedback attempts and a voicemail, did not have the courtesy to call back. I even had to go to the City of Kingston to find a local bike rack manufacturer. I asked my own city where they sourced theirs, and did not receive a reply.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

HTML Editor

I've developed a handful of web sites (mine is woefully out of date) and I help maintain one at my job using Dreamweaver, but I wanted to give some free site editors a try. NVU looked to be a good contender, and as a WYSIWYG editor it's not bad - however, it has mangled enough pages to put me off from using it as my primary editor, especially with the CSS editor. I've tried a few text-based HTML editors, and one that rises to the top is HTML-KIT. It has many shortcuts for HTML code and even includes a rudimentary FTP and file client, so I can stay within HTML-KIT and do most functions. It's integrated with HTML Tidy so I can code without worrying about formatting, then clean it up for readability and standards compliance. I have a bit of work to fine tune the site, especially for more consistent CSS styles.

You can see my results at my friend's web site Trump Homes. I've put my Google skills to use and for a brief time it was the #1 search results on "trump homes" (without the quotes). With the quotes, it is #1 on Google and Yahoo search. Other search engines, such as AOL and AllTheWeb appear to use Google and Yahoo, respectively, so they're already covered. Google also has an interesting Dashboard in their Webmaster Tools which can be used to track how they are scanning the site and how effective the keywords and rankings are.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gary Fisher Wingra

My new commuter bike, a Gary Fisher Wingra:

I cycle over 20K per day to and from work. I figure it was time to semi-retire my 20+ year old Fiori Excela and also change to a more rugged bike for day-to-day use on the city streets. (Not that London's bike paths are the smoothest in spots!)

Read more

Update: After a few weeks I have put over 400km on this bike, and aside from a minor tune-up needed after its shake out rides, I'm liking it!