Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It takes all your power.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Most of this footage comes from a live, uncut and uninterrupted BBC feed of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  There's something about a British accent that really adds to the commentary of a sporting event.  Ladies and Gentlemen, originally from Hamilton, ON, and currently training in Victoria, BC, representing Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games, Colin Jenkins:


The first two races of the National Junior Series are complete. The update was posted on the TriCan site a few days ago, but I'm just catching up now. Race summaries available here.

Current Junior Rankings after 2 races:


1. Mark Okany (MB) 140 points
2. Joel Howlett (SK) 130 points
3. Jeff Phillips (BC) 100 points
4. Cole Steward (BC) 98 points
5. Joshua Drad (MB) 86 points


1. Rachael Edwards (SK) 125 points
2. Sarah-Anne Brault (MB) 100 points
2. Marianne Hogan (QC) 100 points
4. Emily Wood (NS) 97 points
4. Lindsay Anderson (ON) 97 points

Full Series Ranking here.


A Tri-Umphant Day


Athletes taking part in the 26th annual Bluewater Triathlon and Duathlon on Saturday couldn't have asked for much better conditions to race under.

Temperatures were warm, skies were partially sunny and there was an occasional slight breeze blowing, but best of all, hardly a ripple could be seen on the surface of Lake Huron which allowed the full triathlon event to go ahead as scheduled for the first time in three years.

"We were very, very pleased. It (Lake Huron) was flat as a pancake for the swim which was terrific after two years of disappointing north winds," said race organizer Dr. Kenneth Walker.

In the 26 years that the triathlon has been presented by St. John-in-the-Wilderness Anglican Church, the swim portion had only been cancelled three times.

When this year's events were over, James Loaring, 30, of Guelph and Harold Walker, 41, of Fingal, Ontario were crowned winners of the triathlon and duathlon events, respectively, and helped the men redeem themselves in the Lambton Chiropractic Society Chase Challenge battle of the sexes, said Walker.


James wins the Bluewater Tri, and makes up the 16 minute stagger against the women. Nice job JL. Full article here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Continuing with the video archive theme, we present Kyle Jones, with a little help from the CBC. 


I will be attending the Summerside, PEI, Junior Series Race next weekend to support our Ontario Juniors. Athletes are welcome to access some/all of the planned activities, or conduct their own pre-race prep.  I'll be on site race day to support all Ontario athletes, and I'll be available after the race if there are any appeals or other issues. Parents, please e-mail me if you want my cell phone number.  If your athlete is traveling with another family or coach, I would advise you to provide the following info to the person in charge:

  • Emergency contact name and phone number(s)
  • Relevant Medical Info (medications and allergies)
  • Ontario Health Card Number

Here is my schedule for the Summerside race. If you plan on attending the sessions, please advise your coach so they can review this schedule and choose the sessions most appropriate to you.


Arrive late evening.  I'll be staying at the Slemon Park Inn (the race hotel).  I won't know my room # until I check in, but I will post my contact info and the training schedule in the lobby.


THEME Light aerobic activity to loosen up from travel and survey race

9:30AM Drive to race site.

10:15AM  Swim ~2k on swim course. Light aerobic work, with opportunities
for easy pack swimming. Athletes are advised to have a wetsuit.

11:00AM Bike ~20k on bike course and surrounding road. Light aerobic ride
to ensure that bikes are in good working order, and to survey the
bike course.

12:00PM Drive to hotel.

3:00PM Run easy 30 mins (the run course appears to be a 1k out-and-back
stretch of road, so we will likely just run from the hotel instead of 
driving back to the race site).

3:45PM Optional 45 min Skills Session: Mounts, Dismounts, and turn-


THEME Pre-race Activation

10:00AM Swim (location TBA).  
WU: 600mix, 
MS1: 10x50@0:65" (1 blast 15m/35m easy, 1 easy bk-fr)
MS2: 4-6x100 @1:50, holding mid race pace, nice and smooth
CD: 200 mix

2:00PM Run from hotel.  
WU: 10' easy jog + 5' of drills & strides. 
MS: 5x(0:30" quick, 1:30" easy jog)
CD: 5' easy jog

4:00PM Optional 45' of mounts, dismounts, corners & turnarounds
 (all low effort)

6:00PM Race Meeting - Junior Competitor Briefing

6:30PM Late Registration, Race Kit Pick-up

5:00-8:00PM Pasta Buffet at Anson's Restaurant, Slemon Park.  $11.95 + tax.


6:00AM Transition Opens
8:30AM Arrive race site and set up transition
9:15AM 15' light jog + 3-4 strides with walk-back
9:40AM 10' light swim, mix strokes + 3-4 x (10 strokes fast, 40 strokes easy)
10:00AM Race*
12:00PM Medal Presentations

*I've e-mailed the race director to get the start times for men and women. Currently, the race website just says "Race Start 10:00am".  I will adjust warm-up times based on the start time for men and women. 

Afternoon Possible trip to Charlottetown or other tourist site.

Evening Dinner with athletes, coaches and parents (all provinces?).
Location and time TBA.

NOTE:  We may conduct some/all of the prep workouts with coaches and athletes from other provinces, depending on their schedules/availability.  


I'll be departing early in the morning on August 4th. 


We may conduct some/all of the prep workouts with coaches and athletes from other provinces, depending on their schedules/availability

Further info/schedule from race committee available here.

I still have 3 rooms reserved ($87 per night, two beds) at the Slemon Park Inn (the race hotel). Contact Holly Speight (1 877 782 9734, Slemon Park Hotel) and tell her you want to take one of the rooms reserved for the Ontario Triathletes, under my name (Craig Taylor).  I'll release any remaining rooms early next week if they aren't needed. 

Good luck to all athletes in their training.  See you in PEI.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We're starting our last training block into Kelowna, so a little motivational content is in order. Since I don't have the time to be editing right now (where's Ian when you need him?), I'll re-post a series of older videos I made in 2006 for five athletes racing at the ITU World Champs; recycling is big right now anyways. First up is Andrew McCartney, who was the top North American Junior male at Worlds that year, finishing 15th. The song is "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by Daft Punk....before Kanye West mangled it.

Monday, July 21, 2008


An update of some PTC results, random highlights in the triathlon community, and a few pics.  

Adrian Delmonte takes the award for biggest news of the week, and he had a solid race at the Niagara Sprint, too. Adrian finished 2nd overall with the fastest run. Everything is coming up Milhouse.

Adrian at Milton 2008

Dorelle Hinton won the Ontario Junior Provincial Championships in Gatineau. A great result in her 3rd draft legal race, as Dorelle looks forward to PEI and Kelowna.
Dorelle climbs Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

James Loaring put together a nice race at the Musselman ITU Pan Am Cup, finishing 7th. For an encore, he was the race director for the annual Loaring Triathlon this past weekend.  James, you are a machine.

L-R: Steve Hewick, Sean Bechtel, James Loaring 

Tom Lokody posted a solid age group win in Niagara, finishing 7th overall. Tom got his first taste of leading a race (lots of fun), but more importantly, demonstrated great patience and diligence in resolving a running injury that kept him from finishing Guelph Lake. Health -> Consistency -> Performance. Tom also gets kudos for lending out his electric fans to two of the juniors training in Hamilton with the C3 group - the fans kept them cool enough to have their first night of uninterrupted sleep this month.  You're a good man Charlie Brown.

TL looking strong at the Guelph Triathlon

Angela Quick had to deal with the disappointment of a DNF at provincials, after a stellar swim, due to the lingering effects of an illness. She proved that she's back on track with a win at the Niagara sprint (third overall). 

AQ Transition practice

In other news, I've been helping out the C3 group (in Hamilton) with one or two workouts a week. They are a great group - hard working, and very positive - I've had a lot of fun supporting them. If you were at Churchill Park in Hamilton this morning, you would have seen a group of them knocking out 1k repeats: 3:05 or better for the boys, and 3:30 or better for the girls. You can also catch them on Wednesdays in and around Gulliver's Lake, or on a podium near you soon.

L-R: Connor Hammond ('flexing'), Sean Bechtel, Karsten Madsen and Jason Wilson warm-up at Gulliver's Lake.

I've also been coaching a few workouts for the Guelph Marlins triathlon group. We have 12 athletes in the program, and we raced the Fergus KOS over the weekend. For many of the athletes, it was their first triathlon, but I'm sure it won't be their last. This is one tough group of 9-13 year olds, they are a blast to work with, and they pick up skills fast (they are featured in the recent set of skills videos). Congrats to the Marlins on their races in Fergus!

(Most of) The Marlins Crew - the older athletes were still out racing. 

Finally, some of you may be watching the Tour, but I've been enjoying the racing of three young Canadians on the World Cup scene. National Team member Kyle Jones has been on a European campaign of three races in three weeks, with some solid results. Despite his success over the past few years, Kyle is still a relative new-comer to World Cup racing, and it sounds like he's gained a lot of valuable experience from this trip. Go Kyle! 

Kyle Jones

In addition to Kyle, two other Canadian athletes have been on the start line at the recent World Cups - two complete rookies, in fact. Andrew Russell (BC) and Kerry Spearing (BC) got their first taste of World Cup racing, and made a good accounting of themselves.  Andrew has come a long way from the 2006 FISU World Champs, and Kerry is doing great, especially considering she returned to the sport of triathlon only 2 years ago after time off with a serious injury (health --> consistency --> performance).  Congrats to both athletes and their coaches (Patrick Kelly and Neil Harvey) on their continuing development.   In a few years, I hope to be writing about the World Cup debut of some upcoming talent from Ontario.

Andrew Russell makes the World Cup photo reel.

Kerry Spearing (right) into T2 in Hungary.

Dream Big. Train Smart.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Last weekend, the Gatineau Triathlon hosted the 2nd of four Teck Cominco Junior Series races. This race also doubled as the Ontario Junior Provincial Championships. While it might seem odd to host a provincial championship in another province, we approached Triathlon Quebec and the Gatineau race director with the idea because we felt the need to have a competitive draft legal race experience was more important than the venue. We got exactly what we were looking for with the Gatineau race - a well organized, competitive draft legal event with large fields.  In fact, the juniors and elites raced together in the same wave, resulting in a field of 60 men and 41 women - comparable to large international races. 

Matt Sharpe (BC) and Connor Hammond (ON) lead the charge out of T1 at Gatineau

The biggest mistake we made was not arranging for awards for our podium performers. Athletes are constantly hearing me speak about personal responsibility, and in this case,  I'll take responsibility for not having the awards at the race. My sincere apologies to all medallists - I should have had the awards ready for you, and I didn't make the necessary arrangements.  

In light of the fact that we didn't recognize our provincial medallists at the race, I thought I'd take the opportunity to do it here. First, I would also like to thank coach Dan McKerrall for supporting the athletes and taking pictures, and Triathlon Quebec and the Gatineau race organizers for hosting a great event.  Here are the standings for the Ontario athletes:

1. Matt Vierula
2. Ian Donald
3. Andrew Courchene
4. Taylor Reid
5. James Higgins
6. Derek Quick
7. John Rasmussen
8. Chad Ruby
9. Mark Bechtel
10. Nick Gregory
11. Travis Goron
12. David Hopton
DNF Karsten Madsen
DNF Connor Hammond
DNF Alexander Hinton
DNF Ryan Ditchfield

1. Dorelle Hinton
2. Lindsay Anderson
3. Joanna Brown
4. Sarah Rasmussen
5. Domi Jamnicky
6. Lauren Sagadore
7. Jade Gregory
8. Pauline Skowron
9. Erin Macfadyen
DNF Angela Quick

Full men's results here.

Full women's results here.

Congrats to coach Greg Kealey and the Bytown Storm Triathlon Team for placing 3 athletes on the podium (Matt Vierula, Andrew Courchene, Joanna Brown).   A huge congrats also to all of you who have worked your butts off over the winter, bringing your swimming, and your fitness in general, to a new level.  Finally, for those who were unfortunate and ended up with a DNF: keep your chin up, and look forward to your next race opportunity - your hard work will pay off.

Provincial Junior Men's Champion Matt Vierula (red singlet)

Silver Medal: Ian Donald

Bronze Medal: Andrew Courchene

Provincial Junior Women's Champion: Dorelle Hinton

Sliver Medal: Lindsay Anderson

Bronze: Joanna Brown

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Lots of happenings over the weekend, including some big news for the Ballard-Taylor household.  On Friday night my wife Tonya and I welcomed Kate Ballard Taylor into the world - Tonya did all the work, and I handled the cheering - kinda like my job. Kate weighed in at 8lbs 0oz, and measured 21 inches in length. Mom and baby are doing great.  Thanks to everyone for their e-mails, phone calls and support.

We'll get back to the business of triathlon in the next post, including some updates on some big races over the weekend. 

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This Saturday (July 12), the Ontario Junior Provincial Triathlon Championships will take place at the Gatineau Triathlon. This race will also serve as the Eastern Canadian Junior Championships. It may seem strange to host the Ontario championships in another province, but based on our experience last year, we wanted to ensure a big enough field to allow for good draft legal racing experience for our junior athletes. With the Quebec juniors and elites, the fields will certainly be big. 

As some of you probably know, I won't be able to attend the race - my wife and I are expecting our first child any day now, so I'm going to stay close to home.

I've asked Dan McKerral to act as the Ontario Coach for the Gatineau Race. Most of you have plans from your coaches, and I encourage you to stick to those plans.  If however you need a little extra support on race day, Dan will be available. 


Dan will be available Friday at 5PM in the Transition zone for ~30 mins.  If the transition zone is set up at this time, he will be doing a walk-through with his athletes, and others are welcome to join. 


Dan will arrive on site shortly before 11:00am. He will be wearing a black OREA t-shirt, and possibly a blue ONTARIO jacket if it's cool enough (NOTE: the forecast calls for 35+degrees, so Dan probably won't have the jacket on). By 11:45am, Dan will be down at the water for a swim warm-up prior to the mens' race. 

Here is Dan's Schedule for the pre-race warm-up for the men.  Athletes are welcome to join in:

11:00am - arrive at the transition area by this time, set-up transition
11:20am - start run warm-up - 10 minutes easy jog followed by stretching
11:45am - start swim warm-up - 10 minutes easy swim followed by 4 starts
12:00 - pre-race meeting
12:30 - Race Start

Note: the women can add 45mins to all times (ie. set-up 11:45am, run warm-up 12:05pm, etc.)

Coach Dan will also be available via phone on Friday from 4pm to 6pm, and Saturday from 9:30am until the event finishes.  I'll send Dan's cell number to the juniors via e-mail.

If you don't receive an e-mail from me, you can contact me, and I'll give you Dan's number.

Best of luck to everyone on the weekend, and thanks to Coach Dan for supporting our athletes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Christian Prochnow (GER) mounting his bike, on the way to a
5th place finish at the 2008 ITU Hamburg World Cup.

This series of videos outlines a drill progression to a flying mount. If you have other ideas/suggestions to teach this skill to athletes, let me know.

(Edit: sometimes the videos play at double speed when viewing them for the first time. Let the video play through, and start it again - it should play at normal speed the second time)

STEP 1. Start with DISMOUNTS. Once your athletes have mastered dismounts (both sides), they have the required flexibility, proprioception and balance to begin working on mounts.

  • The introduction to mounts should be done on a grass field.
  • Mountain bikes and/or lowered saddles make skill acquisition a little easier.
  • Drills should be done in running shoes - athletes who normally use cycling shoes can progress to cycling shoes after mastering the mount

STEP 2. At walking speed, with a mount line, simply ask the athletes to mount their bike - don't coach them through the skill, just assess what they can do. Most will do it like this (video below). If modifications are required, keep it simple: two hands on the handle bars, eyes forward, swing leg over the bike, land gently on saddle, find the pedals. Encourage an upright bike, and riding in a straight line after mounting the bike. Give your athletes a chance to try this for several reps.

STEP 3. Speed things up to a light jog. The same cues apply: two hands on the handle bars, eyes forward, swing leg over the bike, land gently on saddle, find the pedals. Athletes should aim to keep the bike upright rather than leaning it towards them - this will enable them to ride in a straight line as soon as they are on the saddle. Note that the take-off foot touches back down (essentially a hop) before the athlete lands on the saddle. For the majority of athletes, this happens naturally, and does not need to be coached. Athletes who don't use this hop have essentially leapfrogged to Step 4, so it's not necessary to teach them to hop.

STEP 3a. The same light jog with a hop, on a road bike. With taller athletes, or athletes with road bikes, we encourage running the bike by the saddle, rather than running with two hands on the handlebars.

NOTE: If athletes only get to Step 3, they will be just as fast as if they get to step 4. The difference in speed is virtually non-existent between the two. Regardless, most athletes will want to try for the full flying mount, because it's a (slightly) more difficult skill, and because they associate it with elite racing.

STEP 4. The leap of faith. Almost identical to step 3, except that the take-off foot does not touch the ground after the initial jump. Encourage athletes to make the landing as soft as possible. Some athletes will need to be instructed to take more body weight onto their arms, or to limit the height of their jump. Continue to encourage an upright bike, eyes forward, and straight riding.

STEP 5. Once you are satisfied that your athletes are able to approximate the skill, develop games/relays/challenges which employ the skill and add difficulty. Here's a simple transition challenge, incorporating Kelly Guest's Helmet Game, and a Bike Mount. Note that we stay on the grass for now. Enforce triathlon rules when necessary; in this example, several athletes were "disqualified" for mounting before the mount line.

STEP 5a. Move to a parking lot when the athletes are ready. One challenge we use is a mount/dismount progression across a series of parking spaces, using the yellow lines. It allows for lots of mounts/dismounts in a short period of time, and the painted lines provide immediate feedback on whether or not the athletes are riding a straight line after they mount the bike.

This progression covers the basics. With the group of youth athletes (age 9-14 years) in these videos, we moved through the progression in ~30mins. We'll need to review these skills over the coming weeks, but the basics are established. Most youth/junior athletes can acquire these skills at a fairly quick rate.

From here, you can integrate mounts into other games, relays, challenges or training sets. Athletes who ride with cycling shoes should start with dismounts (taking their feet out of the shoes, then dismounting) before trying a mount with shoes attached to the pedals.

Comments/suggestions/revisions welcome. Have fun.

(EDIT: I found these additional videos from the 2007 OAT Junior Camp.)

"Hop Mount" similar to Step 3 above, with cycling shoes attached. With further refinement, more time should be spent looking forward, with a quick glance down prior to hop, and quickly looking forward again once on the saddle.

Flying mount. Note that the bike turns sharply during the mount because it is not held vertical prior to the jump. 

Clean mounts from an internationally experienced junior competitor. Bike stays vertical, landing is soft, and feet immediately move to top of shoes.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kingston Training Camp

Day1- Angela arrives. KBM swim practice. Angela is surprisingly healthy. Not sick.

Day2- Limestone Mile. In one of the grittier performances ever performed on limestone stone, Alexander destroyed the field in the high school mile, cruising to victory in 4:42. He decided that he would run 20 minutes later in the elite men's mile, finishing 5th with a 4:40, feeling the glycogen depletion at this point. Dorelle was 2nd, I guess. More workouts that day, Angela and Alexander lost Dorelle at a stop light while cycling...and Alexander won the open water swim. Angela and Dorelle were not racing him.

Day3- Ian arrives. He misses the swim workout of 6x100desc, 5x100desc, 4x100desc straight through, also known as 15x100 on 1:30. Alexander wins warm-up, but finds difficulty in descending properly. He wins the set, but not in average time.

A TT to follow, a windy 15km out Middle Road for jokes. On the way home, a nice biker man pulled them. His beard was cute. Alexander and Ian push a hard 2k run off the bike, 6:15, legit. No one knows where Dorelle and Angela ran, could've been 7min. k's, who knows.

Day4- A rest day for Dorelle and Angela. This included 0 workouts, cake and KFC at the mall. They received well-deserved chirps from Ian and Alexander for placing an OFF day in the middle of a 4 day camp.

On the flip side, Ian and Alexander found themselves alone as cyclists are wimps when a single drop of rain falls from the sky. They rode. It was nice. Then they swam 3.4k in an hour, sharing a lane less pool with several senior women. Sidestroke was the common drill, as well as head-up breaststroke. Alexander did his civil duty and did hard labour from 2-9, earning a healthy 60 dollars in the process.

Tomorrow is a group ride, as long as moisture doesn't descend from the heavens, as well as a hard track session and a flush swim (open water?)

"Do you want fair, or do you want performance?" -CT