Sunday, March 30, 2008


I'm updating from the Thunder Bay airport after a great weekend with a group of triathlon coaches here - not as glamourous as a more exotic location like Mooloolaba (AUS), but at least it's a short trip home. Thanks to the hard work of a few dedicated individuals, the Coastal Steel KOS race will be an awesome event, and (even better) there will be a new training program for youth and junior triathletes in Thunder Bay this spring and summer.

It's been a busy weekend for Canadian athletes all over the globe. A quick synopsis (the present), and a glimpse of the future and the past:

The Present
Canadian athletes had a strong showing at the Mooloolaba World Cup yesterday, led by Paul Tichelaar (AB) who finished 7th. Kyle Jones (ON) had a great race to finish 10th, and Colin Jenkins (ON) was first out of the water and a driving force on the bike before finishing 49th. Brent McMahon (BC), Carolyn Murray (AB) and Ayesha Rollinson (ON) unfortunately DNF'd, but I don't have any more details yet.

Despite what I wrote in the previous post, the ITU didn't have a live Video feed of the race, but at least they posted a bunch of pre-race interviews.

The Future
Paula Findlay (AB) finished 23rd at the World Jr Cross-Country Championships!

A bunch of current and future Ontario Junior boys raced 5k road races over the weekend. At the Bay and Back 5k, Johnny Rasmussen, Taylor Forbes, Austen Forbes, Derek Quick and David Mackie all made big improvements on their 2007 times. Karsten Madsen also raced a 5k this weekend, breaking 16 minutes for the first time. Congrats to all runners and their coaches.

The Past
Since Oakville's Kyle Jones had such a great race in Mooloolaba, it got me thinking about his progress over the years from a fast runner, to Jr National Champion, to 9th at U23 Worlds and 4th at the Pan Am Games. Here are Kyle's times (age in brackets) at the Bay & Back 5k when he was a teenager:

2000 17:24 (15)
2001 16:52 (16)
2002 15:51 (17)
2003 15:29 (18)
2004 15:27 (19)

Some of the boys who raced this past weekend are in the same ballpark, and all of them are swimming as well as, or better than, Kyle at that age (sorry Kyle). Remember that athletes develop at different rates, and to different degrees - there are no guarantees - but isn't it amazing what can happen when an athlete has a dream, and the determination to make it reality?

Listen to your coaches, train smart, and dream big.

Kyle Jones at the Edmonton World Cup. Barrie Shepley (Kyle's first triathlon coach) announces the race.

Friday, March 28, 2008


A quick post before I travel to Thunder Bay to work with some coaches this weekend. The World Cup season kicks off this weekend with the Mooloolaba World Cup in Australia. The ITU does a great job with it's live TriCasts, so you can watch the entire race in real time (Barrie Shepley is the commentator) on the ITU Website. The countdown timer on the top blue border will tell you when the race starts.

Colin Jenkins has a video of a piece that a local nightly news program did on the the international triathletes in town for the World Cup. Colin, Kyle Jones and Paul Tichelaar are featured in the piece; all three are former Jr National Champions, and were once supported by a project called "triathlonschool". Triathlonschool was started in 2005 by Simon Whitfield, Jasper Blake, and Stefan Timms, with the goal of pulling together resources to keep our best young talent in the sport long enough for them to make the jump to the National Team. The managed to pull together some equipment (bikes, wheels, suits, etc.), housing support, and a bit of cash for travel from sponsors like North American Sports. By 2006, Tich had moved on to other sponsors (living in Edmonton), and the team consisted of Kyle, Colin, Simon and Jasper. Over time, the athletes improved enough to obtain carding and/or receive support from TriCan, and triathlonschool was put on hold; job done. The program certainly wasn't the only thing that got the guys to this point - they've had great coaching, they work hard, and they have support from friends and family. Still, every little bit helps, and I was reminded of the team when I saw them together in the video. How many pros (in any sport) put that much time and effort into helping the next generation succeed?

2006 Triathlonschool Team

Colin, Kyle and Tich aren't the only Canadian athletes in Mooloolaba this weekend. Brent McMahon (former Jr National Champion and 2004 Olympian) will also be competing. In the womens' race, Ontario's Ayesha Rollinson and Alberta's Carolyn Murray will be racing.

Best of luck to all athletes. To everyone else, visit the ITU website and watch the race if you get a chance, you won't be disappointed.

Go Canada!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Snow on Tuesday, and more on the way tomorrow; if my streak continues, expect a blizzard on April 6th for the Training Day - we're so close to a record snowfall for the season anyways, we might as well wish for more. Never fear though, spring must be around the corner, because people are dusting off their blogs, training days are coming fast and furious, and the racing schedule is taking shape. A few notes:

Splash n' Dash Series
Sheri Fraser has put together a summer Splash n' Dash Series (you'll find the link on the left hand menu). From the website:

The Lake Whittaker Splash n dash is a weekly training race held every Wednesday at 6:30 pm from May 28 to August 27, 2008. Our objective it to provide a fun, grass roots evening of structured, supervised events that will suit both the rookie, wannabe and the experienced, seasoned triathlete. Of course some of you may want a challenge and be competitive [but that will be amongst friends].

A great workout for experienced athletes, and a perfect way to introduce new people to the sport.

Ottawa Training Day
The 4th Ontario Games Training Day in Ottawa will be this Sunday, March 30th, at the Nepean Sportsplex. Registration ($20) is open to athletes age 11-19, and pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. This is a full day of training including swimming, biking, running and sport strength and conditioning. To register please contact NCCP Certified Competition Coach Greg Kealey.

Guelph Training Day
If you're closer to the GTA, we're offering a Training Day April 6th at the PTC. For details, scroll down two posts, or click the Training Day link on the right.

C3 athlete and McMaster student Andrew Yorke has updated his blog two days in a row; a record. We'll be watching to see if he can keep up with this torrid pace.

Guelph running star Reid Coolsaet updates his blog frequently, including a joint interview with Simon Whitfield recently in Flagstaff.

Sean Bechtel (C3 team) recently started a blog too. Sean won the Florida Great Escape tri in Clermont, and will be competing at the Oceanside 70.3 this weekend. Best of luck Sean.

Last but certainly not least, junior Karsten Madsen, coached by Len Gushe, just started up a blog of his own.

That's all for now. Train smart.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Over the past few years, I've been involved in facilitating and evaluating the New NCCP Competition Coach certification for Triathlon. Invariably, we get get into great discussions about a wide range of things, but we have less time than we would like to cover some of these topics. We usually end up saying "we should put together a supplementary seminar to cover stuff like this", and we finally have.

OAT is hosting a one day Coaching Seminar, Saturday April 12th, at the Sport Alliance of Ontario building in Toronto. Full details are here. It will be cheap ($10 for certified coaches or coaches-in-training, $25 for everyone else), with something for everyone. If there is interest in this sort of thing, we'll try to make it a semi-annual project. With a bit of work, we can grow this into a regular feature on OAT's calendar and further the development of our coaches and athletes. If you have feedback, comments, or suggestions for seminar topics, leave a comment on this post, or e-mail me. If you would like to present on a topic, or you know someone (local) who you think would make a great presenter, let me know, and we'll see if we can make it work.

Coach Jay Johnson displaying ultra-secret coaching motivation tools.

Monday, March 24, 2008


The next OAT Training Day at the Provincial Triathlon Centre (University of Guelph), will be Sunday, April 6th.

FORMAT: Swim, Bike, Run and Core work

START: Check in 7:45am, UofG Athletic Centre

COACHES: Alan Fairweather, Dan Mckerral, Lee Hart, Mischelle Stevens, Craig Taylor

REGISTER: E-mail Craig Taylor to confirm spot

FEE: $20, or free for targeted athletes who are Canada Games eligible


Parents are encouraged to work out too! E-mail Craig Taylor if you are interested. Parents will swim at the same time as the youth/junior athletes in their own lane with an assigned coach, and will bike and run separate from the youth/junior athletes.

Athletes who have attended previous Training Days or Swim Camps do not need to complete additional registration forms.

New athletes are welcome at the Training Day (age 12-19), and can obtain the registration material from me via e-mail.

Athletes are encouraged to bring their own bike trainer. If athletes do not have access to a bike trainer, please indicate in your e-mail that you would like to reserve one of our trainers, but remember that we have a limited number, and we reserve them on a first-come-first-served basis.

Expect to ride inside, but bring outdoor riding gear. If the weather is good, we may be able to run some cycling drill sessions in the parking lot.

Similar to last time, we'll open the doors of the Athletic Centre at 7:45am, and we'll be in the pool by 8:15am. We typically complete training by ~2:30pm, so bring enough fluids and food to get you through the day. Athletes will need swim gear (goggles, cap, towel), clothing for indoor cycling, and clothing for indoor and outdoor running.

Directions to the University of Guelph are available on the right hand side of the blog under "DIRECTIONS TO UofG".


I can't imagine there's anyone reading this blog who hasn't seen this on Simon's blog yet, but it's funny, and worth a second look. I'll have to get myself a bullhorn like that.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Time flies. The OAT Winter Camp ended a week ago, and I'm just catching up. The weather was hot in Tucson, making for some solid training. The primary goal of the camp was to put in a good block of bike training, while maintaining swim and run training. We invited 11 junior athletes from Ontario, and 9 were able to attend. We also had up to 6 other Canadian athletes at some of our workouts, from Patrick Kelly's NTC-Victoria squad, who were also in Tucson for a camp. The athletes had a strong camp, with personal breakthroughs and successes for everyone. Once again, we were impressed with their approach to training and recovery, and pleased with the progress everyone has made over the winter. Some random thoughts/comments on the camp:


-First and foremost, a huge thanks to coaches Jay Johnson and Stefan Timms for taking time away from their day jobs to coach this camp - your expert guidance made for a great camp, and we were lucky to have you on the coaching staff.

-An equally giant thank you to Kate Timms and Tonya Ballard (my better half) for pitching in and helping in a million different ways.

-A standing ovation for OAT, for obtaining the funding for this camp, and for providing the administrative support - without the strong commitment to junior development, we simply wouldn't have camps like this.

-Thanks to Canadian Sport Centre-Ontario for the sport science support with our heat protocol.

-Thanks to Alexander and Scotty for letting me have a bit of fun with them with the blog videos - they helped create a great training environment (hard work can be fun), and they weren't afraid to "have a go" at every workout. I can assure you they are far more humble than you'd think from the videos, but it wouldn't be as entertaining to show that footage.

-Finally, our sincere thanks to Gail Richards and the whole gang at Swim & Sports for their continued support and for the killer camp shirts.


-cooking for 15+ people takes some practice.

-grocery shopping for 15+ people requires a lot of trips to the store - we were on a first name basis with the cashiers.

-despite all of the planning that goes into a camp, you can expect the unexpected, like a broken dishwasher, or lifeguards who forget to show up for your pool time.

-a broken dishwasher + 15 ppl + 3 meals per day = reduced recovery time.

-climbing a chain link fence in flip-flops ain't easy, but at least we got to swim.

-having the opportunity to train with athletes from BC and Quebec was amazing - we should do more of it.

-video blog updates are fun, but they take about an hour of editing for each minute of video.

-if Ian Donald ever becomes a famous director, remember that he got his start in Tucson.

-when Simon links to your blog, things like "champ it" suddenly reach a wider audience.

-the funniest moment of the camp might have been during our last climb of Mt Lemmon: the Quebec team had climbed earlier in the day, and were on their way down as we hit ~16 miles. Despite the speed of their descent, someone spotted Alexander climbing, and there was suddenly a chorus of "Champ it!" from the Quebec crew.

-AP was all class when he gave his "Doper's Suck" jersey to Johnny Raz after Johnny (and Lindsay) posted the two best climbs of the day on Thursday.

-Coaches can give all the training, recovery and nutrition advice they like, but the opportunity to observe the habits of someone like 3 time National Champion Kerry Spearing (2x junior champ, 2007 U23 champ) is the best way to learn.

-No matter how hard you train, and how much you think you can eat, you will only rate as a lightweight at the Golden Corral.


We're in for a strong season of racing from athletes right across the country - great news for Canada - congrats to all athletes and coaches:

-Congrats to the C3 squad for dominating Florida's Great Escape Triathlon two weeks ago. Race report here.

-Congrats to junior Connor Hammond, 9th in the elite wave at the Great Escape Tri.

-Congrats to the BC and Quebec athletes who dominated the Holualoa Tucson Triathlon.

That's it for now. Enjoy the weekend, and train smart.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Quick update on the training. Comments and a final video to follow - hopefully I can put together something to rival Ian Donald's work on the last video.

7:00AM: Swim 4500 yds with MS: 18x50@0:50" d1-3, 9x100@1:30 d1-3, 3x200 @2:45 d1-3, with 200 rec'y between sets
10:30AM: Bike to Mile 14-16 of Mt Lemmon, or heat protocol on trainers for PATCO athletes
4:00PM: Run 5x1k for PATCO athletes (Ryan dropped the hammer on this one), 45' base run for non-PATCO

9:30AM: 50' Run with MS: 4'steady, 4x(1'tempo/1'easy), 4' steady, with 2' jog rec'y between sets
11:00AM: Heat Protocol
3:30PM: 4.5k long course, MS: 5x100 + 500, 4x100 + 400, 3x100 + 300, 2x100 + 200 (thanks Joel)

7:00AM: 4500yds with MS: 12x50 @ 0:60" (1 blast, 1 fast, 1 easy), 6x(125 @ 1:25, 75 @ 1:25 - Neil's 'eye-opener' set), 2x600 (with an option for 3x200 d1-3 for anyone feeling good)
10:30AM: Bike - big ride of the week - up Mt Lemmon for some pie in Summerhaven
PM - some athletes run in PM, Kerry runs off of bike
7:00PM: Team Dinner - Mexican food

9:00AM: Bike 90' on Old Spanish Trail - supposed to be base effort, but there were some attacks
2:15PM: Run 50' with 4x(2' tempo, 2' jog) OR Ultimate Frisbee. Kerry opted for the run, everyone else (including Stevo, Scotty and JP) played frisbee (Andy Russell slept under a tree after hanging on to Stevo on the Mt Lemmon climb yesterday). Stefan's team beats Jay & Craig's team 7-6 in an epic 30' game.
3:00PM(ish): Swim ~2500yds, flush recovery with some short sets written by athletes. Coach Timms warms up with a 50fly to bring his relay team home second. Scotty swims a 26.2 for 50 from a generous flying start.
7:00PM: Golden Corral

Departure back to reality - cue "The OC"-esque music as we pull out of the driveway.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008



"You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone with whom you don't agree in the slightest and ask them to explain themselves at length. Take a seat, shut your mouth, and don't argue back.  It's physically impossible to listen with your mouth open."

~John Moe, radio host and author

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


With a tip of the cap to the originators:


We've had a good start to the camp, adapting to the heat and the dry climate (apologies to everyone stuck in the snow). We rode up Mt Lemmon for 75' on Saturday, with some pretty spectacular blow-ups in the boys group (see Alexander's "I'm gonna champ it" approach in the previous post). The athletes made it up to 12-14 miles (it's 25 miles to Summerhaven at the top, with most of the climbing complete by 22 miles), with NTC athlete Kerry Spearing dropping off of the lead group at 5 miles, and slicing through the remains of the group at 13 miles. A good lesson in pacing was learned by all.

Swims have been good but not great, and running has been a challenge - we seem to end up on tough terrain with major elevation changes, and rocky terrain.

With a recovery day on Monday, we are set up for great training through the rest of the week.

A quick summary of Day 2, 3 & 4:

8:30AM: 2.5hr ride, with 75' climbing up Mt Lemmon (to Mile 12-14 for group)
11:00AM: 30' run off bike for PATCO athletes
3:30PM: 60' Heat Protocol for PATCO athletes
3:30PM: 45-60' Trail Run for everyone else

8:30AM: 60-80' long run to Seven Falls Canyon with Quebec squad
12:30PM: OYO Swim at Udall (25yds) MS:8/6/4 x 100 on 1:30 aerobic
3:30PM: 60' Heat Protocol for PATCO athletes
3:30PM: 60' Recovery Ride for everyone else

7:00AM: 3.5k recovery/drill swim at Fort Lowell (50m long course)
PM: Downtown visit with Stefan and Linda

Other news:
- 5 athletes have fallen in the trails (John fell twice)....we're still looking for that flat trail in the National Park, but it may not exist (Ang's note: a few cuts and scrapes, but everyone is ok)
- approximately 57 episodes of 'Friends' have been watched
- allowing the boys to run together is a sure fire way to make sure a base run turns into a tempo run
- all athletes have prepared a dinner (and washed dishes)....meals have included: Fajitas, Chicken Parmesian (Ang's note: top notch), Omlettes and Spinach & Orange salad
- athletes are planning a 'dinner party' tomorrow night
- Alexandra Timms, age 5 months, has learned how to roll from her back to her front
- Dorelle was photographed for Triathlete Magazine during Saturday's run - probably after she fell and was covered in bruises, scrapes and a bit of blood
- Pro-Triathletes sighted so far: Peter Reid, Sam McGlone, Kathy Tremblay, David-James Tache
- Stefan Timms is a legend, coaching all bike and run workouts by biking and running the sessions with the atheltes
- Nick McGraw won Settlers of Catan in his first game (edit: Matt Vierula took the rookie win, Nick McGraw had played before, but was no match for the dreaded Longest Road/Victory Point finishing move off Vierula)


Friday, March 7, 2008


Quick updates:

4PM: Nine athletes arrived in Tucson for the OAT Winter Camp
6PM: 30' Base Run around 49ers Golf Course with coach Stefan Timms
11PM: Coach jay johnson arrives

8:30AM: 90' Base Ride, out and back on Old Spanish Trail
12:30PM: 40-60' Base Run in Saguaro National Park (a little more than base effort for some, and John & Alexander take a tumble on the trails - no major damage)
3:30PM: 3-4k Swim, short course yards, main set: 12x50@0:50 (1 fast, 1 easy), 2x300fr, 2x300pull, 600p/pull....a few tired bodies due to the heat, and some 'harder-than-base' efforts on the first day of camp

Other News:
-U23 National Champion Kerry Spearing (NTC) joins us for the camp
-Ian Donald learns to edit video on a MacBook

Tomorrow we preview Mt Lemmon with some of the Quebec Team.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sunday, March 2, 2008


For those who haven't been to the Flocast site, it's definitely worth a visit. They cover running, swimming and wrestling - primarily in North America - with short videos of interviews and workouts, blogs and a few other features. They sometimes post user videos, like this one submitted by Reid Coolsaet. Maybe we can convince them to add triathlon to their coverage. In the meantime, here's a 15x100 on 1:00 set for your viewing's only yards, but it's still pretty good. Hook'em Horns.