Four-Time Triathlon World Champion Melanie McQuaid Selects Polar USA as Official Heart Rate Training Solution

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lake Success, N.Y. (June  27, 2012) – Polar (www.polarusa.com), the leader in heart rate monitoring and fitness assessment technologies, today introduced that Melanie McQuaid, an accomplished triathlete with more than 40 major professional victories in the last 10 years, has chosen Polar USA as her official heart rate training solution and sponsor.  McQuaid won the inaugural ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship and recently claimed victory in the Ironman 70.3 California. 

The versatile triathlete has excelled in both off-road races and half-Ironman events, and has also created informative yet entertaining videos, which take on subjects such as triathlete spoofs and even cooking.  She will now offer tips and explore the smart coaching benefits that heart rate training can offer – for elite athletes like herself, or recreational runners and multisport enthusiasts.  In the coming months, McQuaid’s video series will be available on Racergirl Television, as well as http://youtube.com/polarusa

McQuaid is also offering an exclusive giveaway of the Polar RCX5 in red.  To be entered in the giveaway, fans can guess what McQuaid’s maximum heart rate was during the 2012 XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, VA.  For more information, please visit www.racergirl.com.

“Whether I’m in the water, on the bike, on the road or at my computer, I’m looking for information that’s going to help me train smarter and get faster, and that’s why I’ve always relied on  Polar training computers,” said McQuaid.  “Now I’m upping my game with the RCX5, which listens to my body’s cues to optimize every training or racing scenario.

“As a professional athlete, Melanie possesses unmatched athletic ability, competitive persistence and training intelligence which make her a natural match for the Polar brand,” said Herb Baer, President, Polar USA.  “Whether a person is out to break a personal record like Melanie, lose weight, or create a more active lifestyle, our products can help them train smarter on the path to success.”

For more information about the Smart Coaching benefits available in Polar products, please visit http://www.polarusa.com/us-en/smart_coaching.

About Polar
Headquartered in Lake Success, NY, Polar USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Finland-based Polar Electro OY, which invented the first wireless heart rate monitor (HRM) in 1977. Polar now operates internationally in more than 80 countries and its products are sold through 35,000 retailers globally. Polar heart rate and fitness assessment technology delivers unparalleled insight into the human body from valuable training guidance and feedback, to enabling individuals to improve their fitness level and sports performance. Polar technology is key to the success of leading fitness facilities, athletic teams, corporate wellness facilities, health insurance providers and thousands of physical education programs around the world. Today, Polar training computers are the number one choice among consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.polarusa.com.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Win a Polar RCX5!!

Polar USA is giving away a brand new RCX5 and all you have to do is GUESS WHAT MY MAXIMUM HEART RATE was at the XTERRA East Championships in Richmond, Virginia on June 10th..

The first person to guess the number exactly or, failing an exact guess, the closest person to that number without going over it, will be declared the winner!  You can submit your guesses at www.facebook.com/racergirl in the comments section for this contest.  

On July 9th I will post a screenshot of my heart rate file both here and on my Facebook page,  where you can see the actual numbers.  We will then announce the winner.

For a detailed description of the awesome prize you are going to win… enjoy this episode of RGTV.  The RCX5 is an amazing tool especially in conjunction with Polar USA’s website www.polarpersonaltrainer.com. 

Best of luck to all of you.. now put on your thinking caps!

2012 Tour de Victoria Event

This past weekend I participated in Ryder Hesjedahl’s Tour de Victoria grand fondo event in my hometown. 1700 people participated in the three events that included the League 140km, 100km and 50 km day on the bike. It was a spectacular display of love for cycling in our city. I was so stoked. Having Ryder win the pink jersey at the Giro D’Italia a short time ago didn’t hurt the excitement either. His first jersey was auctioned for $10,300 (and shortly after donated to the Sports Hall of Fame) and was shown off in Victoria at the event. What an incredible accomplishment by a Canadian athlete. Truly there is no single performance any more impressive that what Ryder did and even if you don’t understand cycling… it would be kind of like having a team from Italy winning the Stanley Cup. That just doesn’t happen at the Grand Tours in Europe very often and Ryder winning that event is only the second time EVER that a non-European took the title. Heavy accomplishment… for sure!

Cool podium jersey with all the fancy logos and sponsors on the back 😉

 

So we all hit the roads in town to enjoy the incredible training grounds that Victoria has to offer. I have been very unhealthy and managed to catch yet another cold coming back from Richmond so I babied myself up to the day of the event hoping to be able to participate. I had a brand new Trek Madone with Shimano Di2 straight off the stand at Trek Procity to go play with so I was eagerly anticipating my group ride!

Cool bike with fancy electronic Shimano bits, superlight Bonty bits and a flashy Trek 700 series carbon frame.  Stupid light.  🙂

On Sunday, I managed to hide in the pack and keep the intensity fairly low for most of the day and thus enjoyed a long and comfortable ride right up to when the sprints started at the end of the ride where I came unhooked from the back of the group I rode with and rode the last 4km by myself. Good day for riding and will hopefully restart a training block. I really appreciated the company from all the awesome cyclists in the group I was in who were so positive, friendly and encouraging with each other. There were a lot of strong women out there but Alison Sydor and Mical Dyck certainly raised the bar. There were so many friends to mention but in particular I enjoyed riding in my group with super legend Peter Reid (3x IM World Champ) and Marty Vale (former Canadian mtb national champ), Rumon Carter and new local hero Adam O’Meara. I guess the fast company motivated a decent time up Munn Road? It seemed there were a lot of Vancouver superstars riding with us (Nice to see you too Garth and Graham!) so that was a special treat…everyone was SUCH a good rider! I couldn’t believe my luck. It was the perfect non-racing race.

Thank you to all of the volunteers that made this race happen… especially Island Savings for coordinating that effort. To League for sponsoring the 140km event and the Goodlife Fitness for stepping up as title sponsor.

There are a lot of sponsors that need thanking and recognition so check out the website at www.tourdevictoria.com and get yourself psyched to do it next year. Thanks so much to Seamus and the rest of the VICF crew for putting on an awesome event on Sunday. It was such a pleasure to do my Sunday ride on closed roads with some strong cycling enthusiasts and I can’t wait until next year to go at it again.

RGTV Episode 23: The 2012 AVIA shoe lineup and a new star for 2013

When I was in Richmond I did a little video to introduce the shoe lineup from AVIA. I also did a little fashion show of the new 2013 Avi-Mantis. That shoe may be available as early as December.

Also have some new music with an “athletic” theme from Darren Lowe.. tell me what you think!

Enjoy the show!

2012 Test of Metal, Squamish, BC

The Test of Metal 67km in Squamish has never been my race.  It is the scene of my worst crash ever (some giant dude took himself out on top of me at 50km/h) and it is always very suspect weather… well, whenever I show up for it.  This year was no exception.  Except this time I had the OPTION to NOT participate when I knew it would be more advantageous to have an ark than a mountain bike and still I chose the bike.  Glutton for punishment.

Although this wasn’t a key event on my schedule, I find that longer mountain bike races do a great job of boosting my fitness on the bike, both for XTERRA and for Ironman events, so I thought that maybe jumping in and riding the event would be good for the legs.   I have been feeling decidedly off for weeks now and I am pretty fired up to get my butt back up to speed.  So there was a 100% training motivation going into the race regardless of my result. 

I was testing some new fun tires from Bontrager so I was feeling like a badass going into the event on my Superfly 100.  However, I didn’t bring the right mindset to assault that course.  I do think I made some good decisions on the day but here is how my reasoning went. 

I was there for training but it seemed I was only interested in SO MUCH punishment.  Hence a DNF.  I am almost always a finisher regardless of my ability on the day, so when I drop out of a race there are some major factors involved in that decision.  I am never proud of abandoning an event.  I think I wasn’t commited to this race in any kind of meaningful way in advance so that certainlyinfluenced my decision at game time (“I don’t HAVE to do this…”).  There are very few good reasons to DNF but some of mine, although numerous, seem compelling, so get a wheelbarrow because this pile is enormous.

  1. I have been riding a hardtail on the pavement pretty much exclusively for the entire season.  XTERRA does not have any technical in it no matter how gnarly they try to say a rock in the middle of a four foot wide piece of singletrack is… therefore my skills suck ass.  Period.  Riding down the deathplunge from Satan when your granny panties are pulled up to your nipples?  MIssion Impossible.  OMG I was screwed.  I saw the rest of my season flash before my eyes….during those moments I wasn’t mortified with embarassment of how terrible I was riding.
  2. Did I mention when I wasn’t on a hardtail rolling a multiuse trail I was on a TIME TRIAL bike… I think just BEING on that kind of bike is erasing any skills I may have had in the past in order to make me a proper triathlete.  What has happened to me? 
  3. It was 95 degrees and a billion percent humidity for the last two weeks at my last two races (well, half was the Hawaiian and half the Virginia version of effin hot) so coming back to Westcoast Winter is a boot to the head in comparison.  I froze to death an hour in and couldn’t get going.  I soldiered on for 2 more hours after that but I was only moving at the glacial pace that my frozen legs would allow.
  4. I went to this race thinking I just need a race to kickstart some fitness.  I didn’t care about winning I was just hoping to get tugged along by the field.  Unfortunately, the conditions required more “sticktoitness” than I was willing to provide so the DNF option was pushed to the center of the table on the first climb.  Not a good way to go into a 67km race.
  5. I am tired.  Tired triathletes are slow and that race is very hard for a tired and slow person.  I decided I was too tired, cold and, after watching one too many massive crashes on that descent, too chicken, to train on Saturday.  I was out… sadly quite close to the finish but it didn’t matter.  I was done. Live to fight another day.

I don’t claim to be the best technical rider in the world but really, I can ride at least somewhat competently when I am on and when I am really on I can ride some gnarly stuff.  However, being off the singletrack for this long and going into conditions that are some of the most challenging possible was not the right re-introduction to mountain biking.  I have no idea what I was thinking on any level.   Really, I just wasn’t thinking straight at all.  Mountain biking has a huge mental component and when that is missing.. yer dun. 

On the positive side, I did have a super fun weekend in Vancouver with MC hanging at a fancy hotel downtown, doing some shopping and some coffee drinking. We also had one night of awesome sushi and another night with friends at Cru restaurant (which is insanely good!!) so all in all a great Vancouver experience.  I don’t get over there enough so that was special.  I also had a great long run in Stanley Park the next day.. but maybe 2 hours was too long.  I felt great but I should have taken the rest of the weekend off.    Instead I have a DNF and now a cold.  Dagnabbit!

Of course Wendy Simms won because she is an outstanding mountain bike rider in British Columbia when you consider her insane technicals skills added to her cross speed. Congrats to Kate and Brandy and Mical for taking the next top spots on the podium and making it an exciting race…that is impressive.  Thank you to the Squamish rescue fellow who insisted that I ride back with your jacket.. I was trying to be a tough guy but that saved me for sure on the ride back.  Thanks to Keith Nichol for being an awesome guide back to the start so I didn’t do a thousand loops to nowhere since I didn’t even know how to get back!  I am excited to learn Whistler will have an XTERRA on July 21-22… and I plan to know how to mountain bike by then. 

Next up is the Tour of Victoria event followed by the Furious 3 mountain bike stage race.  Hoping that I come back to life by then because F3 is like 3x the Test of Metal in a row so I better put those granny panties away.

2012 XTERRA East Championship, Richmond, VA: The 12 Years Of Richmond

It was news to me this weekend that I have done the race in Richmond 12 times.  TWELVE!!  Richmond was on the schedule from my first season with XTERRA and is the last of the “original” courses that I used to race when I started.  Definitely there is a soft spot for me for this event given it was also pointed out that I have been in the top 3 every year since my first crack at the event in 2001.  This year I managed to continue my streak of podiums here by taking top spot on Sunday… my fourth time winning in the 12 years I have raced here.  I was so happy to pull the win given how unsatisfactory I feel my racing has been since I became ill in Vegas and the win came in no small part to some help from my sponsors and friends believing I could do it even when I wasn’t sure.  Congratulations to the rest of the really consistent girls in the top 5:  Renata in second, super Lesley in 3rd, Shonny in 4th and Danelle in 5th.  Lesley was also coming off a 3rd place at the 70.3 in NH so she is also giving the multi disciplinary season a good go and it was another great Trek day at the office.

win richmond

Number four at Richmond

Richmond is the most non-swimmer friendly race in the series because really there isn’t a swim.  You could almost walk across the river if you wanted to (I saw some people running in the middle of the river on Sunday, actually) because it is so shallow.  So as a swim/biker in the field this has never been really a race that suits my strengths perfectly but I have been fairly consistent because in the early days the bike was quite technical.  Now the course is not very technical at all unless you go at it very quickly so it is very approachable for all level of cyclist.  What is awesome to see is how many cyclists are now using the trails in Richmond.  This town has really gotten sporty in the last 12 years.

I thought a fun way to recap the last 12 years would be to give a short description of what I remembered about the race that season.  So here are my 12 years of Richmond:

2001: First time ever to Richmond and first time in this heat and humidity.  Got confused/delirious at the Mayan Ruins and somehow ran off course and found myself running down beside the train tracks while everyone was running in the opposite direction on the other side of a really high chain link fence.  Had to backtrack a long way to find arrows.  3rd.  In love with the sport.

2002:  I start my history of forgetting the race before it is even finished and getting passed while leading this race on rocks crossing the river.  Don’t remember getting to the finish line but woke up in the med tent full of IVs.  Puked on my shoe sponsor.  Anke Erlank passed me on rocks and I was 2nd .

2003: Hell froze over:  the river was too high and Kahuna cancels the swim (there is never any water in that river).  We do a duathlon.  The better runner (Jamie W) wins the race. 2nd.

2004:  We did a quadrathlon with the “swim” (overstatement… short bath before riding) located next to Belle Island in some questionable water because again the water is too high.  We have to run over the suspension bridge twice. I am racing mountain bike world cups and XTERRA at the same time and have just flown back from Europe.  I somehow win with all the extra running.  Super strong on the bike and take my first W at this venue. 

2005: Flew straight to Richmond from Italy and no bags for a week.  First time we ride the Forest Hill trails.  Not fast enough on the run and Jamie ran by.  I got  2nd.

2006:  Bit of a bike crash on Belle Island, couldn’t put time into super Jamie, ran in for second when she caught me confused and staggering on the river crossing.  2nd.  Passed out with IVs in the med tent

2007:  Jamie is having an on fire season and catches me on the river crossing, again.  Med tent with IVs post race fun. 2nd.    Did I mention it is like 95-100 degrees here every year like clockwork?

2008:  More great course work in Richmond. Having a super strong season where I am on a crazy winning streak where I don’t even know what I am doing but I am going fast.  Got the W.  This was not a superhot year.

2009: Flew straight from Italy.  Italian wine and food makes me fa(s)t.  Got the W. 

2010: Dolphin dive onto my face on a rock in the river and give myself a black eye.  Squashed by both Shonny and Renata on the bike and then they ran away from me.  3rd

2011: First time racing two laps….Dropped bottle on the first lap, missed bottle on second lap, turning into a fight for survival on the run 1km into the run course.  The race was blown apart in the heat by the awesome Shonny V. 2nd.

2012: Raced with Cool Point Palm coolers, didn’t melt down on the run despite it being really hot.  No med tent J  Use them in hot weather – they work.  Good legs on the day and a super fast field.  W.

No med tent but it is still hot.. the mister is good 🙂

Having a strong run and a strong bike in the race really just clarified for me that there was nothing wrong with anything I was doing during the last few weeks… it just took this long for my body to clear out the virus and find the pace again.  I am hoping to build from here.

For 2012 I would like to send a thanks to Trek and Bontrager for helping me work through some niggles with my mountain bike fit that I got sorted to make it truly an extension of my body this weekend.  I rode the fastest bike split on my Superfly and I was a LOT faster than last year on that bike despite taking a wrong turn on the first lap.  Big thank you to Trek for the confidence and encouragement!  Such an amazing company – their support helped me find my legs again and their athlete support makes it possible for me to race 70.3, XTERRA and mountain biking which is an absolute logistical nightmare.  Love them.

Thanks to the crazy and awesome Richmond fans in the Forest Hill trails.  I wish every venue had mad fans hidden in the forest (Pisgah Stage Race style!)  I am so happy that one of you “dreams about me at night”.  That is awesome in a super creepy way.  J   Thanks also to all the Luck Stone employees who volunteered out there… and sorry for splashing you with drinks on my way by… I don’t like slowing down.

fans richmond

Awesome fans!

Thanks to AVIA for creating shoes for triathletes like the Mantis.  I am in love.  Strong run this past weekend in those babies.

Thanks to Team Unlimited for putting on races with partners like Luck Stone where the fans at home can follow along! 

Thanks to Shimano for 12 years of mechanical free racing at Richmond (the key to consistency is good equipment and good preparation and I only ever choose Shimano!) 

Thanks to all of my other sponsors:  Rudy Project, Powerbar, Champion System, Polar, TP Therapy, CycleOps/Powertap, Nineteen Wetsuits, ESI Grips, USANA, Genuine Innovations and Saltstick.  Looking forward to some mountain bike racing to find my legs again before I hit the triathlon circuit for round 2 and I am taking this roster of awesomeness along with me. 

Next up:  Test of Metal in Squamish BC.

2012 XTERRA Richmond Preview

Luck Stone, a presenting sponsor of the XTERRA East Championship, has a comprehensive slate of coverage planned for Sunday’s pro race at 8am EST, that can be found at http://www.luckstone.com/xterra-world-tour-2012

Luck Stone AwardOn one screen they’ll bring you live video feeds from eight spots around the course.  On another they’ll showcase a social media (GIS) map of the course with detailed positioning and tweets from strategically positioned spotters and finally, in a first for XTERRA, they are equipping every elite with a GPS tracking device that will allow followers to see their every movement.  The “myathletelive.com” device reports location, speed, distance, and elevation.

Google Chrome seems to be the best browser for viewing, but fans can use any web enabled cell phone or handheld device such as an iPhone or Droid. Just go to the website xterra.luckstone.com, and follow the various links. Home viewers can do the same from their computer.  Our suggestion is to open up multiple browsers and have fun. 

And, for those on-site at Brown’s Island Luck Stone will have four 70-inch big screen TVs broadcasting the coverage. Those on-site are encouraged to share their experiences via twitter with hashtag #xterraRVA (on a related note be sure to find the picture XTERRA Pro Damian Gonzalez posted of Cpl. Todd Love, who is doing the swim as part of the Team X-T.R.E.M.E. relay).

On Sunday, click on the name of the athlete to go directly to the specific URL for that racer.

On that note, here is a little background on my last 12 years here in Richmond.  My second year at this race I passed out unconscious at the finish line, woke up and puked on my shoe sponsor in the medical tent.  Good times!!  Looks like the weather should be worthy of some war stories so enjoy the coverage tomorrow!

 

What have you done every June since 2001?  Some might have a traditional summer vacation spot or a birthday celebration, but for 3x XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid – it’s crushing it at the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, Virginia.

 

Melanie McQuaidSince she emerged on the scene in 2001 the former World Cup mountain biker from Canada has been remarkably consistent, making her way to the podium every June for 11 consecutive years, including wins in 2004, 2008 and 2009 – and six runner-ups.

 

“I’ll tell you what, I don’t remember actually finishing all of those,” McQuaid said with a smile at the annual media day on Brown’s Island with the city skyline looming in the background.  She was referring to some of the collapses at the line she’s experienced as a result of pushing the envelope in stifling heat.

 

While McQuaid (pictured in Richmond circa 2002) might not remember it, age grouper David Karasik does – in fact, it’s one of his favorite memories.  “I remember Melanie just melting after finishing in second place in 2007, and then being dragged to the medical tent, loved that.”  To be clear, he loved it because of the effort.

 

McQuaid’s all-in, do-or-die type of racing has endeared her to fans for more than a decade, and you only have to look back to October for the most recent example when she collapsed with the lead and a hundred yards to go at XTERRA Worlds.

 

McQuaid was 28 when she made her first trip to the James River, and her success in the first one may have been the spark that ignited her career in XTERRA.


2012 IM 70.3 Honu, Kohala Coast, Hawaii

This was my first time ever racing on the Big Island of Hawaii and it did not disappoint.  The weather was fantastic and the winds were howling.  I loved every single moment of it and I was so well taken care of choosing the Mauna Lani Bay Resort as my home for race week.  With a lap pool, fitness center, location right on course and a stellar beach, the Mauna Lani is pure luxury for any athlete.  Lucky me.  No matter how many amazing experiences I have had in my career I definitely never stop appreciating how ridiculously fortunate I am to get these opportunities.

The race course itself includes the far end of the infamous Ironman World Championship bike course, so a field of Ironman types chose to race this as a tuneup and a qualifier (for age groupers) for the big show.  I just did it because Hawaii seems like as good a venue as any to go try to gather some points to qualify for Vegas.  In hindsight, the course was really great and I want another shot at it for sure.  It was really exciting to have Mark Andrews there supporting myself and all of my Trek teammates and due to the location and the presence of Mr. Armstrong what was originally a fairly small race became a much bigger deal.

Trek had an absolutely spectacular weekend with Lance and LInsey taking top spots and Chris coming 3rd.  I came in 5th.  It is great to see both Linsey and Lance in such good form going into their Ironmans in a few weeks.  My Rudy Project teammate Hilary Biscay had a spectacular swim after racing two Ironmans in a row to crush us coming out of the water.  How does she do that?  I mean, I am racing every two weeks and not loving it, she is a freak of nature.  Way to go Hilary!

For me, I am continuing to not race as well as I had hoped/expected/prepared for.  That is racing, sometimes you are in the zone and sometimes you are in the muck.  I need to find the reset button and hopefully soon.  No matter what I do in the 2 weeks between races, my body is just not cooperating.  I swam in the pack and then I pretty much cracked early on the bike and went backwards as the stronger riders on the day took over.  I thought I might rally for about two miles on the run then my stomach turned and I hit the bushes/lava/rocks at various spots on course instead for the first time ever in a race.  Ever tried to hide pulling down a one piece in a lava field?  Awesome.  This despite not really changing anything nutritionally so my body just rejected whatever I had been feeding it.  It was pretty much a miserable racing experience from that perspective but honestly, the views, the crowds and the beauty of the Kohala Coast really have my chalking it up to another great experience.  I haven’t done that many 70.3s so in every one I learn something and this one is no exception.  The half distance is a long way if you don’t feel good and I cannot imagine what the athletes in Kona go through on a bad day.  Whoa.  It wasn’t even hot!  

I am still staying in contention on the bike even if I don’t have very good legs because of the Speed Concept.  It really is all the bike right now and I can’t wait until I can actually apply more watts to it.  Last year I would shake my head why I couldn’t get in the race at a 70.3 even when I seemed to be on fire at XTERRAs, this year I am riding well even if it isn’t my best day and I can still find the front at some point.  I am so happy that I have that sorted out.  On Saturday I was just holding on in the crosswinds while the Speed Concept quickly delivered me to T2 to run it in.  I use my Polar heart rate monitor to evaluate the race after the fact and it shows I am fit, just not racing at the intensity I would like and that bike is keeping me in the game. 

To say I am frustrated is an understatement but I have no real option right now but to stay the course until I go home for 5 weeks before Vineman and start to rebuild.  For this last race, I am hoping maybe a 1 week break between races is better than these 2 week breaks that are not working at all.  We’ll see what happens in Richmond.  I am an optimist.  It’s funny how sometimes it can be like a switch turning and suddenly, you feel great.

I am really excited about my new shoes from AVIA.  The new 2013 Mantis is really comfortable and lightweight.  The race at Honu with no socks and no blisters was confirmation this shoe is excellent for triathlon.  I think I poured half of every aid station in those suckers with not even a chip in my pedi.  Love it.

Thanks so much to all of my supporters.  Thanks to all of my sponsors for helping me pursue my goals and to all of the race organizers and local supporters that give us professionals and amateurs alike the opportunity to test ourselves.  See ya in Richmond.

melanie sponsors 2012 v3