The Martlet Online – March 16, 2006

UVic alumna Melanie McQuaid is a force of nature on the extreme triathlon circuit. The 32-year-old is investing in the sport’s future as a coach and mentor.

By Jessica Earle

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The Tucson Triathlon Training Camp

The past week I have been training with the Canadian national triathlon team down in Tucson, Arizona. This is my first trip to Tucson and I have to say this place kicks ass for training. This camp has a great vibe and I am so appreciating Triathlon Canada for setting this program up for us because I couldn’t be benefiting more from this experience. Of course, I am getting my butt kicked daily in the pool, am working super hard on the bike and I am running on hilly, sandy trails so I am almost too tired to laugh at the goofy SNL dvds we are watching all the time. It is so great to get away from home to focus 100% on training because in this kind of environment it is so much easier to recover from hard training. My program for these three weeks has been very ambitious and I am happy with how things are going but it hasn’t all been easy sailing. This week is completely different from my cycling training camp I did three weeks ago at home so a lot of new stimuli have been challenging to adapt to.

I spend the winter doing weeks of big cycling mileage to push my base up and prepare myself for harder and more intense work as the season approaches. The point of this camp was to push to a higher load than I have ever done but keep it more balanced and triathlon-focused rather than mostly cycling. It is great to increase my swim volume because more time in the water will inevitably lead to better swimming. However, I wanted to keep the volume and intensity of my riding high to help me prepare for riding hard at Sea Otter in three weeks and at all the Xterra races this year. I will give you a weekly breakdown of exactly what I did this week and why I did it…

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Mels Amazing So Cal Adventure

"It’s important to take pride in what you do or what you stand for. The kind of pride I’m talking about is not the arrogant puffed-up kind; it’s just the whole idea of caring-fiercely caring." – Red Aurbach

This past week I flew down to San Diego to escape the rain. It has totally sucked here in Victoria this winter so I felt that to preserve my sanity and to improve my mood I had to spend my rest week down south. I finished the Pacificsport Cycling Centre training camp (minus one day since my sinusitis came back….. 2 MORE weeks on antibiotics) and hauled my flip-flops and swim stuff down to the mecca of triathlon… all but a swimsuit, oops. The week was incredible, not just because I had a ton of fun with a lot of new and different people, but also in the inspiration I got from meeting some of these people. Really focused and motivated people are so inspiring to me and I will recap some of the great moments from the week.

I stayed with Jimena Florit, LUNA mountain bike team member and mountain biker extraordinaire, and her husband John. Anyone who has met Jimena knows that she is the happiest, most genuinely amazingly sweet person you could ever be lucky enough to meet. Add to that she is fiercely competitive and hugely focused and you have one kickass chick. She was my hostess, so she would make me a nice coffee to drink while she went riding for six hours and I stayed home to do important things like catching up with Star magazine. I didn’t even pack a bike because I was very serious about taking a rest, but I did manage to get a couple mountain bike rides in with Jimena and if anyone is wondering… she is back! Staying with her was my first motivating experience but there was more…

Lots of stuff to do when you aren’t training! Lets see… I spoke at the San Diego Tri Club meeting, went to the Endurance Sport awards, watched me kick some butt on CBS with the Team Unlimited crew, met the Tri Geek Kahuna for some coffee and some swimming drag racing, did some radio with Bob Babbit and Paul Huddle and bummed around with Ross for the weekend (he came down for two days to check it out as well). All in all, a very busy week when you add the shopping and odd swim session in there but it was EXACTLY what I needed and I will describe a few of the highlights and how they will stay with me for a long time.

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