2016 RBC Granfondo Whistler Recap

RBC Granfondo Whistler event was last weekend.  This was my first experience racing the women’s 122km Giro racing event and it was amazing!

It has been a long time since I have pinned a number to my jersey rather than a race belt.
It has been a long time since I have pinned a number to my jersey rather than a race belt.

The RBC Whistler Granfondo is a 122 km ride from Stanley Park in Vancouver to Whistler Village.  The event started as a community ride and has evolved to include more than 4000 riders and include a sanctioned race with a cool $15,000 going to the men’s and women’s winners.  It is the race to do in September if you are a roadie.   I think it is also beneficial to do if you are a triathlete which is why I was there – lots of fitness to be gained from long road races!

The race winner was Alison Jackson, a member of Canada’s National Cycling Team headed to the World Championships in Qatar later this year. I ended up 11th after a 20 minute time trial effort to get away failed as I am not much of a sprinter.  That is 11th out of 15 in the front pack…LOL.  I even went into the penultimate corner in 3rd so I know where to be I just can’t do the sprinting.  It really isn’t useful in Ironman so I’m very rusty.

Thank you to TOIT Events, Inc. Neil McKinnon for the invite, St. Regis Hotel Vancouver for the amazing stay, and to RBC for sponsoring this amazing community event. Congratulations to Alison Jackson on the win! Thank you to the women’s field for making it a fun and challenging race… great to see Olympians in the field like Jasmin Glaesser and Katka Nash out there adding to a strong field! Thanks to my sponsors – I am almost ready to hit the start line for IRONMAN Augusta

Enjoy the show.

 

2011 Frontrunners Westshore Bear Mountain 10km

I was lucky enough to be invited to run in the Bear Mountain 10km for the third year in a row.  Nick Walker (yes THE Nick Walker that won the 10km race at the Maui XTERRA Worlds this year) and Mark Nelson put up a heap of prize money for local elite racers to stir the pot at the front of the race and many of the local endurance junkies were up at the Westin at 9am sharp ready to rock.  This year they upped the ante with a 1/2 marathon version of the race which attracted a special breed of maniacs.. but the majority of us (and those in for the prize money) opted for the still-very-hard 10km classic.

It was just as hard as any other year and the competition did not disappoint. Care Nelson won the ladies with Claire Morgan taking second and me third.   Although I have been running some of my best lately and I put everything I had out there I have to say I am a bit disappointed that I did run slower than I had two years ago (last year we had a shortened snow version) so that was not what I had hoped for, really.  I was never going to beat Care who crushed the course record and Claire did have a great run so the outcome was still quite excellent, and I managed to stay in front of Laura who got me last year!  I guess I just didn’t have as bouncy legs to beat my own time or I just didn’t have my head in the game enough.  There will be other chances to give it another go.

The men’s race was won by a very fit looking Jason Loutitt, followed by Shane Ruljancic and my favorite, Jasper Blake.  We made a fetching couple of triathletes accepting our 3rd place checks on stage.  He was wearing his moon boot running shoes which had him towering over me.  (not really)

Thank you so much to Frontrunners Westshore for putting on a fun race that lets us invade the Bear Mountain Golf course for one day a year.  Thanks to the Lululemon chicks at about 6km who had the totally funny signs at the feed zone(something about all the cute ones keep running away.. )…

 

Thanks to the elite ladies in the womens race for making it a tough and challenging pace.  Thanks to the Parkway Physio guy Wesley for the nice achilles massage after (I think I need about 4 more hours of that) and thanks to the Bear Mountain Westin for housing us and feeding us post race.  Good local fun.  I can’t wait to do it all again next fall/winter.

 

same bear mountain poster..  🙂

Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Las Vegas, NV

The 70.3 Worlds didn’t go as well as I had planned.  I felt really great, thanks to Specialized and Shimano my Shiv was working awesome, the course was fantastic and the wether was perfect.  My luck was not good. In my mad dash to pass as many people as possible as early on the bike as possible I got tangled with one of the pro men and earned myself a drafting penalty for moving into a gap on the right to avoid riding on his wheel.  I guess I didn’t see that I wasn’t at the back of the girls I was with because I never looked back.  FOUR MINUTES is the end of your day at the Worlds.  I was not going to stop Melissa Rollinson from storming her way to the top of the podium in her most impressive race of the year.  I was also inspired by Karen Thurigs fantastic race to second and I was so happy for Linsey Corbin to get herself into the top 3 after a very difficult season for her.  All of those girls deserved every bit of satisfaction and recognition for great races.  Congrats!

As for me, it is difficult to have not nailed a single 70.3 race I attended this year.  Thank goodness I have XTERRA to still have had a great season. I did finish up the bike in Vegas on Sunday and when I went into the run I was determined to finish strong for the training but didn’t really have the same intensity a podium potential can draw out of you.  I passed my teammate Tenille (she had a hard day) and three other girls in the last lap of the run and discovered there were more right there in front of me.  If I could just minus the 4 minutes I sat on the side of the road in the penalty tent I was in the top 10 so I had potential to do something… but there are only the things you do and those you don’t.  The motor is good at least and the chassis is strong… good to go for the rest of the XTERRA season.

My bike is flippin sweet!  Photo by Jay Prasuhn from Lava

 

It is funny.. I was sitting in the tent with Lesley Paterson and I started thinking that we are like those expendable characters on a television show.  You know, the ones you like and have some connection with, but really they aren’t important to the overall plot so if they are gone you aren’t up in arms about it.  Same with this race.. both of us aren’t A lister WTC athletes (yet, hopefully!) so maybe I just need to prove more often that I can ride very well so that it is obvious I don’t need to draft which I was definitely NOT DOING since I was moving my way THROUGH the field not IN it.  Then maybe I can become a main character and be there at the climax of the story.  Maybe. It is important for the women to be able to have the cleanest race possible at the front and it is sometimes difficult when new pro men at the very back of the mens race are mixed in.  It isn’t fair to us.  We should have at least a 5 minute gap to be able to race on our own.  I also think that the pro men should not be working in with the pro women.  That is not classy.  It is the Worlds… let the girls race on our own.

There isn’t much to report from the race because it was just so darn disappointing but I can say that I really enjoyed being in the mix with athletes like Heather Wurtele and Joanna Lawn.  They were so kind to offer their condolences to my crap #13 luck after the race.  They also were very impressive racers in an event ½ their normal distance.  I also appreciated so much the fun I had with Jeff and Joe at the Specialized truck.  Mallory and Shawn offered me a lane in the “lap pool” and some jokes as well so the whole red “S” family was great.

Outdoor demo madness… you need to check out the 2012 Fate 29er

I am at Interbike for a few days before heading to Park City to prepare for XTERRA Nationals.  I had a chance to ride a 2012 Specialized Fate 29er women’s bike with some dealers at ODD.. that bike is my go to bike for the Nationals and for the Worlds this year.  So sweet!  Thanks to Specialized, Shimano, AVIA, Maxxis, Sundog Eyewear, Champion System, Powerbar, Profile Design, CycleOps, USANA, ESI grips, Genuine Innovations, Saltstick and Nathan for putting me in a position to win another XTERRA Overall Championship Series.  Here’s hoping I get it done!!

This was transition.  IDENTICAL to the XTERRA Vegas transition.. just one or two more bikes in there 🙂

 

Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3, Lake Stevens, Washington

This was a race of first times.  First time I have flatted in a road triathlon.  First time I have been the lucky recipient of a penalty from a referee (to be fair that is in an Ironman event as I did get a penalty at the ITU Worlds in March this year for having my shoe fall off my bike in transition).  First time I had too much time before the start of the race by being EARLY.  First time I forgot the adaptor for my disc wheel.  And lastly, the first time I completely kept my head together when all was going sideways around me.  I am so happy with second place in Lake Stevens this weekend.  I raced four races in seven days as part of my plan to train hard for the Las Vegas World Championships and all four days were totally solid so my form is really, really great right now.  Although I won this race last year and of course, TRY to win whenever I start, who am I kidding?  Racing a 3 day UCI stage race against some of Canada’s best at Transrockies did not leave me 100% and over a week without proper run training is a tough ask at a half.  Tyler Stewart ran FANTASTIC at this race and it would have been tough for me to run as well as she did no matter what I was up to this week… she was fast.   My cycling ego is counting the minutes lost on the side of the road fixing flats and waiting out penalties but really, unless I throw down in Vegas is just doesn’t effing matter.   However, it would have been nice to have my bike split to run with her at least for awhile and make the show a bit more exciting.  Que sera, sera.  Read more for the story….

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2011 XTERRA Beaver Creek and Vineman 70.3 Weekend

The last time I did a back to back weekend was another season where I tried to “ride two horses with one arse”.  It was 2004 and I was racing mountain bike cross country and XTERRA and wanted to participate at Canada’s mountain bike nationals and at XTERRA Keystone.  I flew from Quebec to Colorado on a Saturday night in order to make that happen.  I flatted at the muddy Nationals in Mt St Anne and came maybe 6th (not sure, can’t find that!) and then I came 2nd to Jamie Whitmore the next day at Keystone.  It was a tough double and it kept me in the running for the overall series for XTERRA.

Fast forward to 2011 and again, I am chasing two rabbits.  Doing an XTERRA and an Ironman 70.3 in the present season is a different animal altogether.  Not only are the two races so darn hard but the field at both races have gotten so tough that even a tiny bit of weakness is exploited with an ass-kicking.  However, I was in a points conundrum.  If I didn’t go to Beaver Creek (9000 feet Colorado) and at least try to get a 4th or higher placing, winning the US Nationals in Ogden would not be enough to win the XTERRA Pro series at the end of the year.  Boo on that after winning three straight races and a World Championships already!  I want the OVERALL!

Unfortunately, I raced last weekend at the 70.3 in Indiana with my head stuck firmly up my arse.  I had an astonishingly bad race on fresh legs with obviously decent form.  If I did not go to Vineman to race I was possibly going to not make the top 25 in the US Pro ranking selecting athletes for the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas on September 12th in the first round.  The would then require further points chasing. My goal was to race well at all three World Championships, not just participate.  Having to chase points would make me race more rather than less and possibly end up fried by the time I got to the Worlds.    Boo on that as well.

So I figured screw it.  Give it a go at the back to back.  I said to myself: “See how you can do and whether you can salvage your goals by turning your stupid head off for a weekend and just race like you have nothing to lose*.”  I am pretty sure too much thinking was getting in the way of me performing.

None of this is a recipe for high performance.  I would rather go to a race at altitude with the acclimatization I know that I need.  I would rather race a half Ironman with enough taper to perform at my best.  I would rather be racing for a win rather than racing hoping to do okay or aiming for a mediocre result thrilled with a decent result.  That is my preference.  However, when push came to shove I was going to go to the trenches to just get the job done and get myself where I wanted to go.  Even if it was ugly.  I was fully expecting to underperform by leaps and bounds at both races.  After Vineman, Shawn from AVIA told me to stop racing so I can start winning.  He is 100% right.  However, I needed one last weekend of insanity to be able to do that.  This is how the weekend went.

Racing at 9000 feet the week after a 70.3 with only 7 days of acclimation and coming 2nd to a World Champion at XTERRA who lives at high altitude is the equivalent of winning to me.  There is a reason both Conrad and I choose to skip this race every year.  The amount of effort and preparation required to even hope to win at altitude can only be applied to one race:  Nationals.  For a series race at altitude we leave it to Josiah and Shonny to kick butt.  Which they did.  Coming second in the same area code as Shonny for Mel= fantastic!  I had a fabulous and thoroughly enjoyable battle on the mountain bike with Kelly Cullen and Sara Tarkington which made the thin air sparkly and alive.  I briefly considered how much easier it would be to concede to the 4th place I was in on the bike for a long, long while but then I reconsidered.  I dangled off the back of their wheels for the second half of the bike.  On the last climb tried to get back  up to Kelly which briefly unhitched Sara so all of a sudden I was in third.  Motivated, I pressed on.  I had the worst transition of my life and still came out in front of Kelly who beat me to T2.  Free time is a good time.  Kelly and I had a battle royale on the run to about 3 miles when I attacked her on a downhill just to see what would happen and I got away.  That hard downhill running felt AWESOME the next day at Vineman, just fyi Kelly, so I definitely paid for that. 

Riding the new www.specialized.com Fate women’s 29er  XTERRA Photos

Immediately after finishing I was packing my bike, showering and driving.   I was pretty sad to miss what I was sure would be my only podium of the weekend.  Cry I was on the road within 60 minutes of getting home.  Two hours to the airport, 2.5hours in a plane and a further 1.5 hours to Santa Rosa and I had shoes in T2 and a nice soft, comfy bed at Thomas and Diana’s place.  Read more for the rest of the story…

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2011 Ironman 70.3 Muncie, IN

The race in Indiana was dominated by awesome performances by Ben Hoffman and Melissa Rollinson.  Ben rode a 2:01 bike split for 90kms riding into the wind.  Way to go Hoff!  And Melissa has easily transitioned from world class middle distance running to triathlon with a huge race and amazing 1:19 run split on a super hard course.  Wow, in her second year of triathlon.  That is awesome.  Kelly Williamson continues her amazing season with a 1:20 run split and second place while Leanda led the race off the bike and held on for third.  I so wanted to at least be somewhere in the mix at the front.  However, I never, ever was.  I was not even a blip of consideration as I swam, biked and ran the lowest quality ever in my career.  It was scary.  Read more for the story…

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2011 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship

This was the first year the ITU (International Triathlon Union) has organized a World Championship event in the offroad discipline.  The ITU is the governing body for mainly the Olympic draft-legal format of triathlon and to date has only organized a European Championship edition of offroad racing that they have called Cross Triathlon rather than XTERRA (which is a brand like Ironman).  Their World Championship was of distances shorter than what we were accustomed to with a 1km swim, 20km bike and 6km run where the bike was 4 laps of 5km and the run was 2 laps of 3km.   It was a super spectator friendly event and evoked memories of short track racing in mountain biking with the fast and furious race format.
The XTERRA events are generally a 1.5km-30km-10km format so the favourites for this event were not immediately evident.  I am so happy that the top three women and men were all very familiar faces from the XTERRA tour with me earning the first ever World title and USA pros Shonny Vanlandingham and my Specialized teammate Emma Garrard taking the next two steps on the podium. It is only fair that we should own the first ITU titles in our off road discipline of the sport.  I was stoked for Christine Jeffrey of Canada who was the first athlete out of the water and then the first athlete after the podium in fourth.  It was a solid day for Canada as for a long while Canada was leading 1-2 in the race.  In the men’s race my Specialized teammate Conrad Stoltz won with Seth Wealing and Olivier Marceau finishing the podium.
mcquaid-wins-cross-tri-worlds
Fresh new World Champion Title!

2011 Oceanside 70.3

This was my first time at the Oceanside 70.3.  I have done the 70.3 distance six times but Oceanside always seemed too early, too cold (in California!) and too close to the XTERRA season.  Now that XTERRA is firmly placed in the backseat I can now start to try new races and where better to start than one of my favorite California towns.  Luckily San Diego was showing off with some spectacular weather pre race so we were treated to an all together perfect race as far as conditions, organization and course were concerned.

The Specialized US team racing here was completely spoiled by the awesome Specialized pit crew. We were babied by Jeff, Myron and Jo who are the most awesome and pro onsite staff in the industry.  It was great for us to have a place to hang out and a crew to keep us dialed and calm while we wound down from team camp (more on that later).  Jen, Ben, Des, Jordan, Rasmus, Jimmy and I were all there to represent the big red S.  I also managed to spend some time with Shawn from AVIA who kitted me out with the new cool stuff.  Same with Karen from Profile Design. I have a totally custom men’s Wahoo wetsuit that I am quite comfy swimming in now.  Shimano also dialed in my new Di2 on the Shiv so I had pretty much the coolest bike possible for race day.  You can see it now at B&L Bikes in Solana Beach if you are interested.  READ MORE FOR THE STORY… see tab…

Fast riding

Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

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Abu Dhabi Triathlon

Abu Dhabi can only be described with an array of superlatives.  The grandest, the largest, the most expensive, tallest!!  Lots of exclamation points to further the emphasis on -est.  The transformation of this city that a short time ago was merely desert inhabited by nomadic tribes to a modern, bustling metropolis of western-style business activity is thanks to the discovery of oil in the region.  Petrol is inexpensive in Abu Dhabi ($0.30/liter) … I wonder why it is so expensive in Canada, also an oil producing country?  Progress is happening everywhere in Abu Dhabi thanks to this found weath.

The race itself was a spectacle worthy of the grandeur of Abu Dhabi.  IMG UK was an incredibly efficient, professional and welcoming organizing crew.  They flew in a pile of top professional athletes, treated everyone incredibly well, put us up in a fabulous hotel, put on an enormous show and attracted a huge field of foreign amateur athletes chomping at the bit to assault the desert challenge.  The distances of the race were also over the top:  a 3km swim, a huge 200km bike and a 20km run.  This race was not an Ironman but was still very difficult with the hot, dry, windy conditions and overdistance bike course.

Not hard to find where to rack your bike 🙂

Click the read more tab for more of the story………………

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2011 Kickoff At the Desert Classic Duathlon

This year’s race at the Desert Classic Duathlon sets a new record for me in early season racing… in that I have never raced in February “for serious” before.  And by “for serious” I mean compete in a race that includes other pro athletes that are trying to win, of which there were many on the start line at McDowell Mtn on Sunday.  Starpower including Leanda Cave, Christine Jeffrey, Jordan Rapp, Ben Hoffman, Pedro Gomes, Nathan White, Cody Waite, Trevor Glavin, BOTH of the Wassner twins, Lisa Ribes…. and more!  Wow.  That was a lot of race winners in there.  So when I said… let’s just take this out easy girls… everyone was laughing.  At me.

The laughter all started the day before when I rolled into Joel’s place.  Joel was my homestay for the weekend.  Everything about staying with Joel was like being at “home”.  He has a wicked party house with an awesome kitchen, a garage full of bikes where the mountain bikes outnumber the road bikes (only way to go), a sweet car but a practical truck and (start the drumroll) a sweetass wine cellar organized by country.  He didn’t even realize that I am a rabid fan of Riesling (although I would put in a bid for Alsace as the best region) and I was thoroughly impressed with the rest of the rather large collection.  It is a shame I didn’t sample some of the Italian gems in there… but I digress.  I was racing this weekend, remember? 

Good times all around.Innocent

Well, I almost forgot the race.  I got up super early to do the Shootout group ride on Saturday in Tucson and anyone who knows me knows that I have a hate relationship with early.  So when I drove to Phoenix I was so tired and was facing another morning of early but had too much to do to get ready to actually go to bed early.  So when my alarm was ringing again at dark-thirty on Sunday morning I hit snooze.  Three times.  Hmmm.

Then I hopped in the car and headed in what I thought was the right direction to get to McDowell Mtn Park, a place I have enjoyed countless mountain bike events at in the past.  Well, apparently my inner compass is dysfunctional in the morning because I kind of found a stupid long way to get there and rolled in with about 15 minutes to spare before the start.  Crappers.  I did about 8 jumping jacks to warmup for the race and wished I had more clothes with me since Leanda looked not only menacingly fast but frustratingly comfortable in her base layer.  Boo for bad clothing selection.

I was, of course, completely dropped in the first mile of the race.  Leanda and Lisa shot out of a cannon on the start and were essentially gone immediately.  The rest of the girls just dropped me normal-like.  Luckily I have actually trained so within a mile or so my legs realized it was go-time and not bed-time and I started going faster.  I had to stop myself from running the fun bermed trails the way I would ride them on my mountain bike.  So many good memories of racing at McDowell!  And, having the run sections off road meant I could make some good time on the downhills and uphills on speedy road triathletes, which helped me make my way to the front of the main group with Christine in tow when we got to T1.  Leanda I think was a full 45 seconds or so away out in front.

mel chris desert du

Classic XTERRA battle 🙂

Then I forgot how to do triathlon again when I ran away with my bike without my helmet on.  Triathlon 101: Don’t unrack your bike without a helmet on.  Stupid girl.  Rack the bike again, Christine left without me, helmet on, get bike, oh and get going.  Off I went with some super slow corners out on the road as I wasn’t sure how slippery rain soaked roads were or how good my handling skills would be with my hands cold.  Did I mention it was freezing out in not-so-sunny Arizona?

kerry yndestad photo bike

Kerry Yndestad’s Desert Du Photo from Facebook

Leanda was super strong.  I cut into her lead a tiny bit but when we did the big up/down/uphill section I think she stretched her lead again to stay safely in front of me.  I did outrun her by a bit on the second run but not enough to really challenge her as I was 29 seconds back at the finish.  I was stoked with the effort and happy for Christine that she was solidly in third at the finish.

So for the first race of the year it was certainly a good eye-opener and an awesome workout.  I think the sun at this time of year makes me happier and thus able to train a bit harder.  Which is necessary given the season is right around the corner.  Leanda is a rockstar so coming second to her is a solid day at the office for me.   Congrats to Nathan White for winning the men’s race and to my Specialized teammates Jordan Rapp and Ben Hoffman for taking 2nd and 4th in a very close race.

Thanks to Joel and his hilariousness for a fun weekend – good luck in IM New Zealand (and send some love to Christchurch!).  Thanks to Brian and Scott for inviting me to finally do the Classic. I love the Phoenix Tri Club for all they do.  Thanks to John Barr for letting me live in his place in Tucson for two whole weeks!  And thanks to all of my SPONSORS for getting behind me this season and getting stoked about my huge schedule this year.  I am pretty darn motivated by the new and exciting challenges I have set for myself.   Looks like things are coming along in good time.