Happy New Year!! If anyone has visited the Photo Album recently they can see the evidence of the festivities we had at the Fairmont Empress the first morning of the year. Good times! We missed the annual MelRoss place party so we had to get the partying done in their dining room rather than ours. Good thing because I would rather me dancing on their tables than dancing on my own- oops, sorry Todd!
Anyway, I have been doing a number of things other than party since the Worlds in October. The first was take a break, which I did for most of November. It is very, very hard for me to stop training but I am happy that I took the time. Ross and I went down to Palm Springs (without bikes!) and hiked in the mountains, cruised modern and vintage furniture and checked out some old vintage cars. We also made it to Joshua Tree National Park, which was spectacular and cold! It is at somewhat high altitude up there (5000 feet and more) so the two fools from Palm Springs in their shorts got a little chilly by the end of our three hour hike. We had fun visiting the Parker Meridian hotel with Richard and lounging by his pool. Palm Springs is badass…
That trip marked the end of my break so early December I started into the preparation phase of the season. That includes a lot of hours running, biking and swimming interspersed with some cross training like road hockey. However, I injured myself playing the first time out so I am over the hockey for the season. I am ashamed as a Canadian to play hockey as poorly as I do.
I try to do lots of mountain biking in December to February and run hilly courses rather than do a lof of interval training. This is my time of year to log fun time doing the sports I like. However, due to one of my new goals for the year, I have been logging a lot of time in a sport I don’t like. Swimming. It is a necessary evil. I made it through last year on 9 km per week in most cases. I did 25 km last week. Crikey, that is a lot of swimming. However, for me, I seem to respond to volume in the pool so tons and tons of perfect stroke swimming for me, which has cut into my squash time. Oh well, there is time for more fun sports after triathlon.
Mountain biking has been great! I have a Shimano SAINT group on one of my big bikes with a big Fox 36 fork that allows me to ride things I really should not. Technical ability is my focus for this time of year and given it is wet, sloppy and sketchy in the trails around her right now, I could not be in a better environment for this kind of focus. Victoria has a lot of beautiful trails for mountain biking and running and this is the time of year I get the most use of them. Most of my running right now has been focused on strength so TONS of hills. It is so easy to run for an hour in the rain and so terrible to ride for 10 minutes on the road in the rain. I like my increased run mileage… it is helping me survive the winter.
So if it sounds like I am training a lot, I am. That is not a major departure from last year. In fact, my plan for this year is a small change from last season. I believe I can increase my maximum volume by 10% this season, which has brought me up to 33 hours. Thank you so much to all of my sponsors because I truly have a full time job, when you add in core, flexibility and therapy. I often have weeks where I spend over 40h on training related activity. So I took that 10% and added it all to swim and run and left the bike the same. We’ll see where we land in October of this year. I am sure all of the girls are going to be faster, stronger and more determined so it is going to take a lot of focus and a lot of work to hold on to my titles. But that is my plan – to keep them both!
I am excited to announce my sponsorship partners for next year. In just a few days I will have the whole program to announce. The support this year has been astounding… and in fact, nearly all of my sponsors are back for another season. Some of my sponsors are signing me for seasons I am not planning on racing (Chris!) ha! You never know what will happen I guess, maybe I have more years in me than I am planning. For now, I have two years of racing to focus on 100%.
So stay tuned for more training tips and stories over the next few months. I am heading to Temecula to train with Powertap and Floyd Landis in a week or so which will be great. Given it has snowed 15cm and the city does not own snow plows I am ready to get outta here. Luckily I have some projects to work on while I am not training. I am now a regular contributor to Triathlete Magazine online as well as some other print magazines this summer.
I look forward to sharing stories from the season with all of you. Stay tuned for more training tips, race stories and general ramblings on our website… which may be changing. I leave you with a great quote to help you through the tough winter training sessions and remind you of why we do what we do:
"Whatever we have done with our lives makes us what we are when we die. And everything, absolutely everything, counts…"