Sunday, May 31, 2009

Great Britain’s 21 year old youngster, Alistair Brownlee, started his 2009 Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series campaign in style as he ran away from Spain’s 2008 World Champion, Javier Gomez, to cross the line in 1:51:27 to win in Madrid, Spain.

Dmitry Polyansky from Russia overtook New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty to move into first on the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series Rankings with 1186pts.

Brownlee looked sprightly from the start, placing highly in the 1500m swim before repeatedly attacking during the hilly 40km cycle as he helped to establish a small lead group of just eleven athletes that included home favourite Gomez and the experienced Courtney Atkinson from Australia.

However it was on the run where the Brit impressed as he obliterated the opposition. After just 2.5km he had a 30 second lead and continued to pull away to register his first ITU world series victory by 48 seconds. Despite not winning a series race before, Brownlee has had notable success before, winning the world junior championships in 2006 and world under 23 championships in 2008.

Full article.


Brownlee claimed gold (2006; age 18)) and silver (2007; age 19) at the World Junior Championships, before winning U23 Worlds in 2008 (age 20). He reached the podium twice in his first five World Cup Starts, and finished 12th at the Beijing Olympics, after leading early sections of the run. He's a front pack swimmer, a strong rider, and he ran 29:48 and 29:35 for 10k this spring (age 21).

Now for the interesting part. There are several juniors in the country, and in Ontario, who are the same speed or faster (in swim and run), than Brownlee at the same age. That's not a guarantee of future success, Brownlee is clearly a very special athlete who has progressed at a remarkable rate. But those swim and run performances do put several of our young athletes in the right ballpark. In my two years working with OAT, I've been very impressed by the willingness of the juniors to set high goals, meet (and exceed) standards, and look for new opportunities to challenge themselves. As we continue to build a high performance culture, we'll need to continually set our expectations higher, and work harder. There is no reason why a Canadian athlete (or athletes) can't 'destroy' a world class field in the future. And there's no reason why that athlete (or athletes) can't come from Ontario. Canadians have done it before, and we'll do it again.

So who's looking to raise the bar a little higher, and work a little harder?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


(EDIT: An UPDATE. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has asked all competitors (ill or not) to complete the following online survey to help them determine what happened: Survey here.)

First off, we really do appreciate the efforts of the race committee, the race director, and USAT in hosting the PATCO event. The race was well organized, and speaking as someone who found it hard to organize a simple running race (years ago), I have an immense amount of respect for triathlon race directors and committees - it's a tough and largely thankless job, and we wouldn't have a sport without them.

Earlier I wrote that any media exposure for triathlon was good. Maybe I'll have to reconsider that. Some interesting news reports following the PATCO race, and some very different takes on what's considered 'normal' in the sport of triathlon. See below. For the record, in my experience, it's not normal for people to be sick after the race, despite what some people claim in the reports below. We had 11 athletes out of 35 who reported illness following PATCO, or almost one third of the team. We all arrived from different parts of the country, on different planes, through different airports, and there wasn't one meal where we all ate at the same restaurant.

Aside from the developing story, it's interesting to see the different ways in which this is being reported. It's possibly an example of bias in the media, or maybe just an example of varying degrees of the quality of reporting.






(NOTE: I'm not sure they're living up to their name as "The State's Most Trusted News")

Happy reading, and please do whatever you can to keep our waterways clean and accessible for everyone.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Ian Donald's decision pays big dividends

Ottawa Citizen

Ian Donald made a tough decision last fall, but in the end it turned out to be the right one.

The Nepean High School senior decided he wouldn’t train for the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association track and field season six months down the road. He wanted to focus all of his training time on triathlon, which involves swimming, cycling and running.

Full article.


Lincoln-Way Central's Lukas Verzbicas chases Olympic Dream
Triathlete Verzbicas multitasking in bid for Olympic berth

By Colleen Kane
Chicago Tribune
May 10, 2009

The memory of Lukas Verzbicas' first 5-kilometer road race had his mother, Rasa Bertulis, chuckling last week. After all, it was a rather unremarkable start for an athlete that has caused a stir in the running world after setting a national high school record in an indoor 5,000-meter race in March.

Full article.


Always great to see triathletes in the media.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I'm sure many athletes will make the most of the great weather this weekend, and put in some big training. James Loaring is in Ohio this weekend, taking a crack at the American Triple T Triathlon. It's a three day event, with a super-sprint triathlon today (Friday), two Olympics tomorrow (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) and a half-iron distance on Sunday. Personally, I think you have to be a little crazy to sign up for this event - James thought it sounded like 'fun'.

There aren't any results up yet, but James sends this update from the prologue earlier today:

"Finished 4th overall (3rd solo), :50" back of John Kenney (who smashed the swim and bike). I likely went a bit too hard but also wanted to get the :30" bonus (which goes top 5 overall regardless of division) the hills are nothing I have ever raced on before--but I like hills. It is truly awesome stuff. Excited for tomorrow. I know for sure I need to throttle way back tomorrow morning. Gonna be a monster couple days of training."

Good times. Race smart JL.


From jonnyo. Priceless.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The 2009 race season is upon is, and it's a sure sign that summer is on the way when it's time to race the Caledon Triathlon. The C3 club does a great job of staging this race, and I have special memories of this event, as it was the first one I attended when I returned to Ontario from my coaching internship at the NTC. Sadly, I won't be at the Caledon races this weekend, but I know many of the KOS and junior athletes that we see over the winter will be there. Thanks to the C3 crew for hosting such a great event, and good luck to everyone this weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


At the risk of being "PATCO'd out", I wanted to post some final notes. I've already sent most of this to the athletes, but I thought I'd put it out in a public forum to recognize a few people.

First off, it was great (as always) to work with the coaches from across the country. We have a pretty special group of coaches who work very well together. I think the athletes pick up on that energy at events like PATCO, and it helps build a sense of being a Canadian Team, rather than bunch of separate provinces or programs. Thank you coaches and staff.

We had lots of positives at the races. We achieved our goal of earning 3 junior male and 3 junior female starts at worlds (we needed to have 3 athletes finish in the top 15 to earn 3 spots to worlds). Kyla Coates (BC) stepped up and kept the Junior Women's title in Canada, and Marianne Hogan repeated as bronze medallist. Our junior women's team was very strong, with 4 women in the top 8. Our junior men also put on a great show, with 4 athletes in the top 8. To put this in perspective, we had one junior male athlete in the top 10 last year at PATCO. With the exception of athletes who crashed out, our entire junior mens team (8 finishes) finished in the top 20 this year. Great racing.

Although they didn't have the race they wanted, I want to recognize Matt Vierula (ON), Mark Okany (MB), Taylor Lick (AB) and Joel Howlett (SK)- all four guys were involved in crashes during the race, and some of them were pretty banged up. I know they were disappointed with the outcome of the race, but instead of feeling sorry for themselves, all four guys were out there supporting the rest of the team through a pretty long day of racing.

I'd also like to recognize Christine Ridenour for putting it all on the line with a great solo effort for the entire swim and bike, and Alexandra Coates for getting up after a crash, finishing the bike, and having the guts to hammer out the 4th fastest run of the day (even though she was effectively out of contention) - you guys really set the tone for the rest of the day, and the junior men took notice.

Congrats also to the U23 and Elite teams on their efforts - we were a pretty young team, and we lined up against some big names, including Olympians. For Jeff Phillips, Dorelle Hinton and Angela Quick, this was their first draft-legal Olympic distance race. I know that our athletes all learned important lessons on the day, and I think we're off to a good start for the 2009 season.

The race was generally well organized, although the pre-race meetings were pretty rough. On race day, there was some terrible officiating in T2, which resulted in Joel Howlett (SK) and Angela Quick (ON) being disqualified. I'll be following up with the ITU on those calls - the officials had basically made up rules which can't be found in any ITU rule book, neglected to tell anyone about the rules at the pre-race briefings, and then inconsistently applied their new rules. Awesome.

There was also a mix-up with the U23 podium placings. I wrote in an earlier post that Canada finished 1st and 2nd in the mens U23 category (and I've got pictures to prove it) but it turned out we actually finished 3rd and 4th after two other athletes were recognized as U23. Andrew McCartney and Andrew Yorke handled the bad news with class, but it's a mistake that shouldn't have happened in the first place; it's not fair to the athletes who got bumped down, nor to the athletes who weren't recognized at the podium presentation.

All in all it was a good outing for our younger (in age and/or experience) athletes. The coaches and athletes represented Canada very well, and OKC was a friendly and welcoming city. We're off to a good start.

Thanks to TriCan and OAT for the opportunity to lead the team.

Train smart, have fun, race fast.


I pulled this from Andrew McCartney's blog this morning.

Tomorrow's triathletes are OK
Times Colonist
May 19, 2009

"...Expect to see 19-year-old Connor Hammond of London, Ont., extended a future invite to join Coates, McCartney and the others in the Canadian national triathlon training centre in Victoria after Hammond's breakout silver-medal performance in the Pan American men's junior race behind 16-year-old American sensation Luka Verzbicas. Ian Donald of Nepean, Ont., was fourth while Victorians Aaron Thomas and Matt Sharpe crashed the top-10 at seventh and eighth places."

Full article here.

Why am I always the last to know these things? Connor, send me a postcard from time to time. Ian, pack your bags, you might be next.

Just kidding, of course. Don't believe everything you read in the news (or on the blogs, for that matter). On a serious note, a big THANKS to Coach PK and the NTC crew for hosting Dorelle for the last few weeks - we really appreciate the opportunity and the hospitality. It was great to see everyone at PATCO.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


May 17, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY, U.S.A—Canada’s next generation of Olympic triathlon heroes stormed the podium by winning four medals in men’s and women’s races at the PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Saturday.

Victoria’s Kyla Coates set the pace early in the junior race consisting of the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run, to post one of Canada’s best-ever overall showings at the PATCO Championships by winning the women’s race under cool and very difficult morning conditions with a time of one hour six minutes and 30 seconds (1:06:30).

Full press release here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

PATCO 2009

A quick update after a long day - I'll write a complete report in the coming days.

Great coaching staff, and great preparation & performances from the athletes.

Full results here.

Podium Performances

Junior Women
1. Kyla Coates, BC
3. Marianne Hogan, QC

Junior Men
2. Connor Hammond, ON

U23 Men
1. Andrew McCartney, BC
2. Andrew Yorke, ON

....and at least three fourth place finishes: Rachel Edwards in the junior women, Ian Donald in the junior men, and Jeff Phillips in U23 men.

Connor and Ian qualify for Ontario's Canada Games Triathlon Team, and gain consideration for ITU Worlds.

A tough day for a few athletes, including four tough-as-nails guys in the junior race who crashed - lots of road rash and disappointment, but they handled themselves very well. Great job Matt Vierula, Mark Okany, Taylor Lick and Joel Howlett.

More later. Congrats to the crew on representing Canada so well.


Saturday, May 9, 2009


From time to time, people ask about our training, so here's a quick video summary of yesterday's sessions. Certainly not an epic day; just a normal Friday, at the end of a good week of training, in the middle of a good block of training. We're just rolling through. And I just installed iLife09, which means I have more video editing options, and I wanted to play around with it a bit. Enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


We are seeking one or two assistant coaches for the upcoming OAT Junior/U23 Development Camp. The number of assistant coaches hired will depend on camp registration.

Program: 2009 OAT Development Camp
Dates: Sat. June 27th to Sat. July 4th
Athletes: Junior (16-19) and U23 (20-23)


The Ontario Association of Triathletes (OAT) is pleased to announce the 2009 Development Camp for junior (16-19) and U23 (20-23) athletes. The camp will take place from Saturday June 27th to Saturday July 4th, at the Provincial Triathlon Centre at the University of Guelph.

Provincial Coach Craig Taylor will be the head coach for this camp, in addition to one or two additional NCCP-certified coaches, depending on camp registration. Athletes will train at the University of Guelph and surrounding areas, including Guelph Lake conservation area.

This camp is designed primarily for athletes currently racing draft-legal triathlons, or intending to race draft-legal triathlons in the future. Athletes who race non-drafting formats are welcome to apply, with the understanding that most of the cycling sessions will focus on pack riding. Athletes may ride a time trial or road bike during the camp. Athletes should expect three training sessions on most days, with one or two easy sessions on recovery days. Programming consideration will be given to athletes competing at the Canadian Junior National Triathlon Championships in July 11th, to ensure that athletes are adequately recovered prior to the race. Athletes seeking draft-legal certification can obtain their draft-legal certification at this camp, pending a successful review of their skills by camp coaches.


Coaches are encouraged to see the Development Camp RFP link for application details.

Applications will be accepted until Friday May 22nd, 2009, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


The first race of the new ITU World Championship Series is in the books (for the women, at least), and Canadian women posted a strong showing with three top 10 finishes in Tongyeong, South Korea. Kathy Tremblay was 4th, Kirsten Sweetland 5th, and Lauren Groves 10th. Great job team!

Simon Whitfield, Brent McMahon and Kyle Jones will be in the mens race tomorrow.

More info here.

Go Canada.


The Men's race looked liked an exciting affair, coming down to a sprint photo-finish between Bevan Docherty and Brad Kahlefeldt. Canada was well represented with Simon 14th, Kyle 19th and Brent 22nd. A good start to what will be a very competitive World Championship Series.

Simon (center) on the bike. Note the gold and silver bars on the suit.

The sprint finish.

Full results here.

Race report here.

Congrats team!