Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Three Ontario boys represented Canada at the 10th annual FAST Triathlon in Balneário Camboriú, Brazil, on Jan. 27th. From all accounts, this is a great event, but it's virtually unknown in North America, and it's always difficult to find results (probably because I can't read Portuguese).

Swim Start. Canada in Red & White: (l-r) Andrew Yorke, Kyle Jones and Connor Hammond.

The format is similar to the old F1 Series in Australia; three draft-legal super sprint triathlons (400m swim, 4km bike, 1.3km run), with 10 minutes recovery between races. These races require a mix of speed, skill and tactics, with six teams of three athletes each. Points are awarded for each round, with the top three individuals and the top three teams on the podium at the end of the day. From what I understand, it's broadcast live on TV via motorcycle and helicopter coverage, and it draws huge crowds. For an idea of the size of the crowds, click here for footage from the 2007 Fast Triathlon.

Kyle Jones (Oakville), Connor Hammond (London), and Andrew Yorke (Caledon) toed the line against teams from Brazil, Argentina, France, Austria and the USA. I don't have all of the details, but they finished as the 2nd team on the day, and Connor may have been in the top 5 of the individual rankings.

2nd on the day, and a big cheque

Canada has a strong tradition at this race, with many team podium results amongst the men and women over the years, and at least one overall winner (Paul Tichelaar beat Andy Potts by 1 point in 2005). Similar to previous years, this race featured a mix of veterans and rookies, with the likes of Olympian Victor Plata (USA) and France's Benjamin Sanson racing against a Canadian team featuring a National Elite Team member and the top two male juniors in 2007. The overall team totals show the the Brazilian Team made the most of the homefield advantage, with the Canadian team in a tough race against the US for the final two podium places:

Brazil: 141pts
Canada: 75pts
USA: 71pts
Argentina: 64pts
France: 63pts
Austria: ??

Congratulations to the team, and to their coaches: Kyle (coached by Joel Filliol, NTC), Connor (coached by Len Gushe), Andrew (coached by Barrie Shepley, C3). Further info, updates or race reports are welcome.

Kyle Jones, Connor Hammond, Andrew Yorke

Friday, January 25, 2008


Another week in the books, and a few bumps along the road. A few of the athletes have battled a cold that's going around - most are now on the road to recovery, but Angela felt left out, so she got sick yesterday. She'll be back in action in a day or two. Training continues to go well, and we're looking forward to some racing in a few weeks, with Dorelle and Ang racing at OUs, and James, Tom and Rachel tackling the Hart House Tri. Both events are at UofT, so we'll have a good cheering squad, and some pics for the blog.

Closer to home, we've got the last of our three swim camps Feb 1-3, and an OAT Training Day at the end of the month on Sunday Feb 24th.

Here's a clip stolen from Paul Tichelaar's blog - thanks Tich. I'm actually having trouble believing it's legit, but it's 10 minutes well wasted, and you'll have a bunch of new lines to use on your training partners. Just don't take any of the advice to heart. We'll keep our eyes peeled for the Gray Wolf when we hit Tucson in March for a Junior camp.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Something to keep the fires burning through the cold and dark winter months. Train smart.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I was in Ottawa over the weekend to visit the Bytown Triathlon Club, and help out head coach Greg Kealey with OAT's Ottawa Training Day. The Bytown Club was featured in four 5 minute TV spots on A Channel's morning show on Friday morning, and again over the weekend. Any chance to promote triathlon is a good one, and the club put on a good show.

On Sunday, we put a great group of 17 athletes through swim, bike and run (snowshoe actually) training - I'd highly recommend this program to any KOS or Junior athletes in the area. You can find more info on OAT's Ottawa Training Days here.

At the PTC, it's business as usual. We're happy to have Tom back after an illness, and we seem to have knocked most of the rust off from the holidays as training rolls along.

Bytown Triathlon Club Head Coach Greg Kealey (black shirt) being interviewed by A-Channel's Angie Poirier.

For anyone interested in what the National Team is up to, visit Simon's, Dano's or Joel's blog for pics and updates of the Tucson Training Camp.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I wrote an e-mail yesterday outlining how the program works here at the PTC, and I was reminded that I've been making an assumption that everyone has a clear understanding of what goes on with our little group in Guelph. Allow me to explain:

If you've read the little blurb under the first header on the right ("PROVINCIAL TRIATHLON CENTRE"), you'll see that we're a "full time triathlon program". Essentially, that means that we have coached workouts throughout the week - in our case, we have coached workouts Monday to Friday, with Saturday off, and "OYO" (on your own) workouts on Sunday. Sometimes, we also have coached workouts on Saturday and Sunday if we're hosting a Training Day or Swim Camp. As we move into the spring and get back on to the roads for cycling, we'll have coached workouts Tuesday - Saturday, in addition to coach support at key races. In practice, this means that we have the same coach (me) for all coached sessions, including strength & conditioning, video analysis, testing, and racing. This allows for better control over the structure and direction of the program, and allows me to better assess the adaptation and fatigue of the athletes. I write an annual plan (aka "macro") for the PTC, and then draft individual macros for the athletes based on their goals and racing plans. At training sessions, we train as a group, but we sometimes run different workouts within the same session, depending on the needs of the athlete (ie. technical development, upcoming races, etc.). Although they are excellent programs, we do very little training with the Guelph Marlins or Speed River - our race season is in the summer, and our training needs to be dedicated to optimal race performance in the summer, not in the fall, winter or spring. We do however benefit immensely from training in the same environment as other nationally and internationally competitive athletes, and from the expertise of the Marlins and Speed River coaches.

Ultimately, I'd like to see more clubs and coaches in Ontario offering this sort of structure, either in conjunction with a local competitive swim club, or as a completely independent triathlon program. In fact, some clubs are currently doing this, be we need more. This same approach (one coach leading a full program) is used at the National Triathlon Centres in Victoria, Winnipeg, and Trois Rivieres, which currently produce and support the majority of Canada's top Junior, Development and Elite triathletes. Thanks to OAT, Quest for Gold and the Canadian Sport Centre-Ontario, the PTC now offers the same opportunities for athletes in Ontario.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Before I was hired as OAT's Provincial Development Coach, I spent two years as an intern coach at the National Triathlon Centre (NTC) in Victoria BC, while also attending the National Coaching Institute. It was an incredible experience, and I could write volumes about what I learned there, but I was reminded of one simple principle at our morning swim today: success in this sport will largely be determined by consistent, well-structured, hard work.

How often have we seen athletes (or coaches) who 'hope' for a good outcome, or wish for a little bit of 'good luck' to see them through? Over the long haul, how successful are those athletes (or coaches)?

Here are two quotes I'm always reminded of when I hear someone talking about hope or luck; Joel Filliol introduced me to the first one soon after he was hired to coach the Senior Squad at the NTC, and the second is one of my favourites I came across a while ago:

On Hope: "Hope is not a strategy." ~ unknown

On Luck: "Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit."~ R. E. Shay

We've got the talent (athletes and coaches) in Ontario, and across Canada, to shine on the international stage. All it takes is a ton of hard work and dedication. No hope or luck required.

Monday, January 7, 2008


We've had a busy start to the year with a 3-day swim camp and an OAT Training Day on Sunday. Twenty-two athletes kicked off the New Year by attending the Training Day, with the help of coaches Lee Hart, Crystal Drummond, and former National Elite Team athlete Stefan Timms. It was great to see the continued improvement of many of the athletes as they prepare for the coming 2008 race season - keep up the great work! (Note: I forgot my camera, so if there are any pictures of the training day, please send them to me - thanks)

I could easily pick any of the athletes who attended the swim camp and/or training day, and detail their improvements and success, but I'll pick the one who no longer does triathlons; Krista Ruby (Inglewood, ON), decided to put all of her energy into cycling last summer, and the results were impressive. In addition to finishing 2nd at the National Duathlon Championships, Krista captured all FOUR Provincial Cycling Titles: Road, Crit, TT and Hill Climb. Congratulations Krista, and best of luck in 2008!

On the blog front, we have two links for this installment. The first is Guelph Alumnus Stephen Kilshaw. Stephen is a development athlete, coached by Patrick Kelly and Neil Harvey at the National Triathlon Centre in Victoria, BC. I had the pleasure of coaching at the NTC during Stephen's first year of training there, and it was great to see his improvement in such a short time. He's a frequent blogger, so readers will have to check back often for his take on triathlon training on the West Coast.

The final blog belongs to Ontario's Daniel Wells, aka "Dano". Dano is a former junior national champion who now races as an elite triathlete. He spent the 2007 season living and training with the senior squad in Victoria, before returning home to Ontario for the winter. Today (Monday), he flew to Tucson Arizona to begin the first in a series of winter training camps with the Senior NTC squad. Dano doesn't do a very good job of blogging when he's home in Ontario (sorry Dano), but he maintains a great blog when he's at camps or abroad. For anyone who wants to follow Canada's top triathletes as they prepare for the 2008 season, or wants to know what it's like to be part of a Winter Training Camp in Tucson, this is the blog for you. Enjoy.

Dano Wells in action.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


The holidays are over, and we're back to work with normal PTC workouts, and the second of our three swim camps. Yesterday we had National Development Team athlete Colin Jenkins training and coaching with us for the day. Originally from Hamilton, ON, but now training in Victoria, BC, Colin has been back home over the holidays before he starts training for the last push to make the 2008 Olympic Team. Between the two swims and the core work, we watched a video of Colin racing in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and had a short Q&A session with Colin. Today and tomorrow, it's more of the same as we continue to work on technical development with the KOS and Junior athletes.

Colin at the 2005 Brazil FAST Triathlon