Xmas in September

It's always exciting to get a parcel pick-up tag in the mail. Even more exciting to pick up a huge box from the post office that you know has a bike inside! We decided that we needed another time trial bike. Last year I used Jason's since he wasn't racing, but went back to my road bike with clip-on aerobars this year. I love my road bike but it is nowhere near as fast as a dedicated TT bike. Next year I want to do an Ironman again, and Jason wants to race again, so that was it - another bike for the stable.

The biggest decision was what to get, and we tossed a few ideas around. In the end, we both love the Specialized Transition - smoking fast and fits us both really well. Why go with an unknown when there's a perfect bike you know? So today Jason's 2011 version of the frame arrived, and after Kona I will be inheriting his 2009. I feel like a kid at xmas, I'm so excited! Even though it probably won't see the light of day until spring now, but I feel we'll spend lots of trainer time together over the winter.

Yay - new bike - fresh out of the box!

Hawaii 5-0

In a mere five days we will be in Hawaii! Jason will be doing his 7th Ironman in Kona, 20th Ironman in total, 20 years after his first. How cool is that? I will be tagging along, getting to experience all the fun race-related stuff without actually having to do any hard work like the race itself.

My to-do list is pretty intimidating for this week. But I'm getting on the plane Saturday morning whether it's all done or not. Plus there's also the all-important holiday to-do list: snorkeling, SUPing, relaxing by the pool... did I miss anything? Oh yeah, cheer on athletes at a little race called the Ironman World Championships.

Aloha time here I come!

One-oh-one (part three)

Part One

42. 80's movies.
43. The way hair looks just after leaving a salon - rock star!
44. Book clubs.
45. Falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (a rare event).
46. Snow days.
47. Goofing around with friends.
48. Curling up with a good book.
49. Road trips!
50. Homemade vegan carrot soup. I have a super-yummy recipe - let me know if you want it.
51. Xmas lights.
52. Walking through the entrance gates at Disneyland.
53. Running into crashing waves.
54. Seeing the lightbulb go on in someone's head when they've figured something out.
55. Sparkles.
56. Getting a card or actual letter in the mail.
57. The cool blue colour of a tropical beach.
58. Bluebird days.
59. The smell of freshly-cut cedar.
60. The sound of waves hitting the shore.
61. Listening to crickets in the evening.
62. Jeopardy tryouts (even though I didn't make it... there's always next time!).
63. Traveling.
64. Coming home after traveling.
65. Clean bathrooms.
66. Pottery shows.
67. Evenings spent entirely outside - cycling, running, any kind of activity.
68. Mini donuts from the fair.
69. Cleaning out closets and cupboards for Goodwill donations.
70. Pedicures.
71. Re-reading Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes books for the millionth time.
72. Raindrops running down the car windshield.
73. Fresh homemade cookies.
74. Remembering to water my plants.

A Week Off Training

A week off training means a lot less laundry. More time to do things around the house. Time to get started on some new projects. Means more time to finish projects which have sat idle for awhile.

A week off training means more time to enjoy the fabulous heat wave. It means not having to rush home from work. More time to sit out on the deck in the afternoon.

A week off training means catching up on reading. Finally finishing those books and magazines which have been piling up on the coffee table.

A week off training means getting more sleep. No early morning to fit a workout in before work. No late evenings because you were on the bike until the sun went down.

A week off training means lots of time to think about events for next year. Sitting at the computer looking up races and planning next season. Time to get training again!


Say what you will about the interwebs, but there's one online thing that truly enriches my life. The connections I've made with people. Sounds cheesy, no? Anyhoo, I really enjoy reading blogs of others. Some blogs are by my closest peeps, some just casual friends, others I barely know, and some I've never met. But connections seem to blossom nonetheless, and reading blogs makes me feel like I do know them. Fun to comment on and receive comments from virtual friends. Turns out we're not on a roller-coaster ride on this planet all by ourselves.

To all my peeps, you can climb in my wagon anytime. To the peeps I've never met, hopefully we'll be able to connect in person sometime!

It's All About The Choices We Make - Whistler Xterra Race Report

I love riding in Whistler. I love being in Whistler - the shopping, the patios, the trails, the mountain air... it's a fabulous place. We decided to spend our last week of summer vacation there, and coincidentally there was an Xterra race taking place at the same time. I thought, why not, so I signed up for the "Sport" distance (off-road tri's version of a sprint).

We got to Whistler several days before the race, and one of the first things we did was ride the course. I mentioned I love Whistler riding. Generally it means riding the super-fun trails in Lost Lake, or suiting up with armour and baggies and trying some tougher stuff in the valley trails - usually with Jason as a spotter and lots of do-overs. But I'm thinking for racing, I'd chose the super-fun stuff I can ride well on. Unfortunately the bike course was of the harder, really technical (and very Whistler) variety. It started nicely with a single- and double-track climb, and then wound down flowy xc trails. After that, the course turned ugly. Really technical, super difficult, and not fun. It also went over A River Runs Through It, which is an amazing trail but not one I can race to say the least - big stunts, bridges, drops, and generally pretty crazy.

After pre-riding the course once, I figured I couldn't do it and wouldn't start the race. After all, this was my vacation and I was here to enjoy myself and have fun! Jason and Kiki talked me into keeping an open mind, so Jason and I went back the next day to ride the course again and work on some of the harder stuff. To get my confidence back, first I headed into Lost Lake and ripped around on a trail I love in there, and can clean all the bridges and drops. That helped, as I ended up doing better on the second pre-ride.

Life truly is all about choices. I was really stressed about the bike course, and couldn't decide whether I should start the race or not. I kept going back and forth. That evening we went to a birthday party, and everyone there agreed the bike course was crazy hard, and not really like any other Xterra. I felt less alone in my loserishness, and decided I would do the race. I also decided that I would choose to have FUN, and laugh when I was over my head instead of get all miserable about it.

On the beach race morning, it seemed like a lot of other racers had that same internal dialogue as there were about half the number of athletes on the start line than the race director announced had registered. I reminded myself I was choosing to have fun. The race started, I sprinted off the start then settled in, and ended up with my fastest 750m swim time of the year, and 6th out of the water. Then a long silly run into transition, then another longish run out as we couldn't mount our bikes until after a set of railroad tracks. I chose to take it easy in transition because as soon as you are on your bike, you are climbing, so I wanted my heart rate to be under control.

The climb was uneventful, then on the descent I passed a couple of people. One guy said I was a good descender (which of course made my day) and said he was going to follow my line down. We ended up riding the rest of the bike course together, laughing and joking when we were way over our heads on some stuff. Thanks Jim from Ottawa, you made it easy for me to stick to my choice to have fun!

Near the end of the bike leg.

We started the run together, but it didn't take long for him to drop me. This was a course for the super-strong runners, as it's steep uphill, then more steep uphill, then even more, then steep downhill. I don't know what was harder - the up or the down. I chose to stay positive and turn it into a power hike, and decided I'd say something positive to everyone who passed me. That turned out to be a good choice as it helped keep me in a good frame of mind.

Heading out onto the run course.

I was pretty happy to see the pavement again, as it meant we were almost finished (a weird surprise at the end of the run was winding down two flights of stairs at a resort before the finish line). My time was brutal, but I had FUN! The cherry on top was winning the women's 40-49 age group... but I won't tell you how many competitors were in it besides saying the victory wasn't completely uncontested.

Humu and I post-race with my first-place medal.
You see Tana, dogs are allowed on Whistler couches!

For anyone thinking of doing this event in the future... I'd leave you with a caution. I think the Whistler Xterra is a great event for mountain bikers who want to get into off-road triathlon. If you're a triathlete who wants to try out off-road, pick a different Xterra. Come to Whistler instead for fun!