Monday, March 31, 2008



It has been a while. I believe the last time we talked was Thursday; a day of baseball, swimming, and an easy base run.

I suppose that's one more thing checked off someone's list of things to do; see a professional baseball game. We watched the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Chicago White Socks, while relaxing in the "Chill 'n Grill" section. Buffet's can be dangerous, especially with all that heart healthy ballpark food, all part of the baseball experience.

I think there were two field goals, and one of the Diamondbacks may have scored a hole in one.

Thursday's swim was of the technical buoy variety. Sitting in the van after enjoying the buffet, I was secretly praying that we catch each red light. Every minute between the ballpark and Ft. Lowell was one more where my arteries were given a chance to clear. Never before have I been so happy to be waiting in a construction zone.

All those hours spent on the Washington Ski Bus taught me how to get comfortable in any school bus or van. Extreme slouch, knees on the chair ahead, tilted fetal position. Perfect recovery for a decent swim.

Friday's focus was our first brick workout of the year. Early recon rides led us to a perfect brick loop out by Sabino Canyon, hilly, smooth, fairly quiet, and only one easy to run through stoplight.

We did a total of 4 bike run efforts, building the intensity on each. On our second loop I thought, "Ok, if this is race pace and we are building intensity, the next two will be all out." Sometimes it's good to go race pace plus. The cool thing about going all out is you are given the chance to think, "I'm going as fast as I can, how do I go faster?" Nice hard work in the sun.

Aerobic afternoon swim, so long and fair thee well to those returning to Victoria, dinner and bed

On Saturday we rode through Old TuKson and checked out the east side of Sagurno (sp) National Park with another ride through Gates Pass. Rolling through the pass we were all mezmerized by the hawks, effortlessly sailing the updrafts.

Back at the Lemmon house we started a summertime classic, juggling the soccer ball. Growing up, a few summers were all about the hacky sac. Fun memories.

Evening easy run, dinner and a movie, bed.

Sunday was with a 3 hour ride out to the air base, and a recovery swim as we prepare for two more weeks of specific race prep leading into a short taper for Mazatlan.

Now I am sitting at the breakfast table with 1/2 an Onion tied to my leg with a bike rag. I think I was stung by some weird TuKson fly on Friday's ride. As a kid, I remember my Grandpa Tom telling me to put an onion on a bee sting.

There is a good chance he was just testing to see if I would actually do it, but either way I will be carrying the pleasent aroma of onion and bike grease for the rest of the day.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


One of the major themes to this training camp has been teamwork. We are a training group; we have particular training partners for different sports; and we are a group of good friends.

In sport we go through natural highs and lows from one training session to the next, even within a single session. Sometimes we feel fantastic, invincible, unstoppable, in a place where we can go forever. Other times that monkey crawls onto our shoulder creating a little extra drag, and we feel it.

Both these feelings take the same amount of energy to create. Add in mental and physical fatigue and the equation might shift. But ultimately, it comes down to choice. This is one place where teamwork comes out to play.

In the past few weeks I have noticed the amount of inner support within our group grow exponentially. I thought about it a couple days ago, then again yesterday morning in the pool, then again during the TT on Lemmon.

Anything from a single word of encouragement, to getting the group a glass of water while we are watching TV, to a smile; these are all actions which compound, creating strength and support.

Teamwork makes the choice to be strong and feel happy a little easier. So, good work supporting one and other, lets keep it up.

Tuesday's run was epic, leaving us nice and loaded for a solid swim set on Wednesday morning. 2400m of race pace effort = soleeed. We left the Lemon Tree house on our stallions at 1:30 returning at 7:30 yesterday evening, with an estimated 45 minutes of stop time. Back home we laced up the running shoes for a 15 minute jog to Taco Bell and a Grande Meal.

Nice. Today is Adaptation.

Rest well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Sweetest Thing

We're having more great training each and every day out here in the Tukson valley. Here's a brief recap on the last few days:

Long group ride out through Gates Pass and into the neighbouring valley. My hat goes off to PK for providing us with support in what must have been a smoking hot truck throughout the day. We all greatly appreciate the support. I also need to throw a shout out to the rest of our group for the awesome company and great ride. Sharpie, Aaron, Kerry, and the Lemon Tree team, Scotty, Andrew, and of course J "rock star" P, that was a nice ride. Great work all the way through, especially on the final climb up Gates pass.

Nice quick run off the bike with Andrew, 10 minutes at race pace followed by 20 steady. Good run.

Ahhhhhhh . . . a little bitta rest, to the tune of adaptation.
Recovery swim in the sweet U of A pool, midday relaxation in the shade with a good book, late afternoon run by the wash, Easter dinner, and that's a great recovery day.

Fast Swim in a Fast Pool, Smooth Bike on a Great Route, Fast Run on a Fast Track. You know the chorus: Fast is Fun! Thanks for the great workout guys. Scotty, nice work finishing off 8 solid K's. Andrew, as always, great running.

Now I am far past due for a shower.

Rest well.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Have you ever heard Paganini? Before departing to TuKson, a friend lent me the 2 concertinos. Playing the violin solo part with an orchestra in concert is like the Stanley Cup of Violin, or World Champs of triathlon. Pretty amazing sounds.

On Thursday we had a recovery day with 1h50 on the bikes and a 4000 yard swim. It was nice to catch up on a little sleep, do some laundry, and generally relax for the day. Good preparation for what was a beauty day of training yesterday.

We met up at the base of Lemmon at 8:30 to start our climb. We will have at least 3 attempts at the hill, the idea being to descend each one. This being our second full assault to the top, we all had a place to go from.

To me, the first attempt was about introducing myself to the Mountain, and getting to know her. By the end of my second attempt I was hoping to be on a first name basis. We are now pretty good friends and I am learning a few of her secrets.

I decided to toss a water bottle, TT bars, and some clothing in the support vehicle (Thanks PK for the sweet support), so Andrew and I started the climb a few minutes back from the group. We had a solid rhythm to start, averaging about 4:20 for the 1st two miles, then back down to a steady 4:30ish pace.

Riding through the peleton was sweet as we had some encouragement from the guys. You guys seriously rocked that climb! Nice one.

This time through, on the advice of A-Russ, I decided to put back a couple gels during the effort, 1 every 8 miles. Good advice, Thanks. The first time it was easy to throw one back and consequently feel like a humming bird. At 16 miles I was more focused on pedalling than eating, so most of the gel ended up on my bars, where it still is.

At 18 or 19 miles PK rolled up in the truck with a nice cool bottle of water and a few words of encouragement. Save some for the TT! More good advice, Thanks. Now I know one of the places where I will shed a few more minutes.

This time, Summerhaven and 24.5 miles in just under 1h43.

We rode back to the Lemon Tree house for a brief tempo run off the bike, only having time for 10 minutes tempo, 10 minutes base before a quick lunch and back to Ft. Lowell for a buoy swim. (No worries, it was a nice and fast tempo.)

Swimming outdoors is sweet. Buoy swims are sweet x 2.

Thanks to Mt. Lemmon for being there. See ya in a few.

Rest well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


One particular Fall day back in Guelph, Suke and I went out for one of our epic roller ski sessions. We would drive just past the town line, park the car on the side of the road, clip in, and be off. It was sweet to point the skis in one direction for two - three hours, turn around and head back.

When you're out training for these long sessions, the mind can wander off to discover different places, or remain right in the one place where your body lies. Conversation too, can wander. When you think about it, we spend a lot of time with one and other, learning more about ourselves and our training partners. There are only a handful of sports where one is fortunate enough to train this way.

Mike, remember the base runs. Those long base runs are some of my fondest memories from Ontario.

This particular roller ski was one of those perfect training sessions. We have all had these perfect moments in some shape or form; whether it be sailing with Orca whales into the sunset along the Georgia Strait, enjoying a hike through the mountains, or playing some good music.

On our way back Brian said something that has stuck with me. "Isn't it funny how when we're out training, we talk about training? I mean here we are training right now. This is it." Simple but true. This is it.

I think that our thought process during training evolves along with the training itself. Every now and again, I experience what I consider a major shift in my thought process which carries through from daily living to training and racing. In early September I started on a new journey during a hike up in Strathcona park. The message has always been present, but timing and awareness allow us to understand.

In the past day or so I thought about the cyclical nature of our sports. They are repeating motions. As we finish on one side, we begin another. There may exist a brief pause in between motions, I'm not sure yet. It's much like the cyclical nature of the rest of our life, living, eating, breathing. I'll leave it there for now, because the rest will sort itself out in the journal.

Have a nice day, and Rest well.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Training Updates


Chilly day by TuKson standards. Beauty day by Victoria winter standards. Morning ride, 3.5 hours. We found a sweet trail along one of the dried up river beds. It's a little like the paved sections of the goose back in Victoria, perfect riding.

The day warmed a little by mid afternoon. Good time for a swim in Ft. Lowell. 5K and I'm happy to be doing some "real" swimming.


AM swim in the University of Arizona pool. Sweet pool! It's hard to beat any kind of swim when you're outside in the sun, enjoying every stroke.

Afternoon ride to the base of Lemmon, 60 minutes smooth steady state up, turn around, and back home. That's good for another 4.5ish hours. It was nice to slow down for this climb and enjoy a bit of the scenery. The differnence between just a few km/h is huge when climbing. It takes lots of self control to keep the pace down, but definitely worth it.


Early morning swim back at Ft. Lowell. Real swims are sweet + I was feeling awesome. 1:50 on the bike for an easy ride up at the foothills. Lunch. Run this afternoon with some fartlek. It'll be a nice and hot one.

Time for a nap.

Rest well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank You

A quick post as my eyelids now require routine propping open.

Things are great in Tucson! I love the dry heat. I love the riding! I love swimming outdoors! Running feels awesome and all is well.

I just had the feeling like I need to send out a big Thank You to everyone who is and has been a part of the living adventure. Everybody has been so gracious, helpful, kind, and I am truly thankful.

I will catch up with some training updates tomorrow.

In the mean time, rest well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


A few days before heading down to Tucson, I heard a funny story from my past.

The year is about 1990, and it's time for me to learn how to swim. Do you remember the old school intro to swimming levels?

Well apparently one of the first levels was Guppies. After that you graduate to salamanders. If you were the swimming type, from there you could upgrade to other marine life, at some time eventually moving up to the shark level. After that were the coloured levels, yellow, red, purple, etc. I think these have recently been replaced by numbered levels.

Ok, back to the story. I'm attempting this whole swimming thing as a first time guppy. 1 month after starting lessons, it's time for our evaluation. Here I am in the Grand Forks public pool, age 5, 40 lbs soaking wet, and I was declined my guppy status. Harshness.

About 12 years later I attempted swimming again. Apparently you need to pass a swim test in order to coach sailing. Probably a good thing.

So I swam in the Oak Bay Rec pool for a couple months and just barely passed the swim test so I could coach sailing. Enough of that.

A year or two later, my buddy Joel and I decided to swim in the morning at the Rec Centre. I can remember sitting in the hot tub with Joel and his old man Adam one morning. I remember Adam's exact words, "So Stevo, do you try and look like you're drowing while swimming?" I didn't really have an answer. Probably because I had just gulped down half the water in the pool.

Fast forward. Today my swim felt like it hasn't changed. Harshness.

Fast forward again. Post race flush swim. I finally started to relax. What's the difference here?

G-man, remember gymnastics? I remember watching some of your earlier competitions; tense during the judged competition, and perfect when fooling around after.

It's all part of the journey, and I suppose things may have improved slightly since guppies.

After all, as PK says, "The reward is in the journey."

Back to preparations.

Rest well.

Saturday, March 15, 2008



Started with a little tempo run to fire the running gears up. We headed out to find a running venue and ended up in the U of A courtyard. There's a grassy field about 600m around, perfect for loops. Running through the U of A also adds a little motivation to look the "runner" part.
20 minute warm up with 5 minute build to tempo, 10 x 2 minutes tempo with 1 minute easy jog, 15 minute cool down. I have always enjoyed the dry heat. Tucson is perfect.

A couple hours on the bike, exploring the town, finding some routes, and we were ready to hit the pool for what was an increadibly easy and creative swim.

Back home to the Lemmon tree house, pick up some groceries, and it's dinner time.

We have been making "family dinners" where we all sit down at the table, or infront of the TV. It's great to finish a hard training day and come back to the house to enjoy some good food and company.

We have a pretty good routine in the mornings too. I'm sticking to the usual oatmeal and eggs. Great start to the day.

Today we had a nice slow start before our ride and swim.

Tucson sprint race tomorrow. Sweetness. Now it's time for a snooze.

Rest well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Awesome Day!

Arizona = Awesome!

First a recap on the day then some thoughts.

Short Course 25 yard swim with an eye opener. Short Course + Yards = 2 x Fast. Fast is Fun. Great swim. For the past 3 days I have been feeling quite a bit different in the water. It's a good thing.

Ride to base of Mt. Lemmon, eat some muffins with PB and granola courtesy of Craig the man Taylor, re-apply the sunscreen, and hop to it.

Lemmon was a great climb. We began at about 2000 feet and climbed to just about 9000 over a total of 25 miles. Then there's a bonus 2 miles to the ski resort. We started the climb as a group and found a nice rhythm. It's the sort of thing where you might feel a little out of your zone to start, but with a little more spinning comes rhythm. Once you can feel the beats, you're ready to rock and roll.

I was amazed with the changes in scenery. There is a very visible line across the mountain at various climate zones and altitudes. Starting in the desert, it's pretty cool to finish up in the pine trees.

There were sections where I was absolutely awe struck by the beauty. A couple times I thought about catching a few pictures. Naaa, I'll remember this picture and feeling in my head. Now it's time to climb. I will continue to bring the camera on rides, and eventually will catch a picture, but in the mean time, just imagine a great place.

Andrew and I made it up to 25 miles in 1h 52 minutes. With the bonus 2 we were just under 2:02 to the ski hut. Nice climbing man, that was absolute awesomeness.

Roll down the hill and back to the Lemmon Tree house. Total riding time 4:45.

Eat some pretzels, drink some water, lace up the kicks and it's time for a 30 minute spin, running style. I really like building the run off the bike, especially after a long ride. With some conscious attention to forward lean and relaxed arms, I found a nice stride for the last 20 minutes. Awesomeness again.

My thought for today really comes back to the presence theme. When we're climbing a hill, out for a run, swimming, or doing anything, sometimes the mind wanders off to thinking, "How much have we done? How much is left?" These are important questions to understand for things like pacing etc. However, sometimes I find these thoughts to be distracting.

Right now I'm happy to be climbing this mountain, feeling the rhythm. I'm happy to be here in Tucson running in the sun. I'm right here, right now and regardless of how much I've done, or how much is left, this moment is perfect.

Now it's recovery time.

Rest well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Numero Uno

Here's a brief outline of the day.

Wake up to sun! This is definitely something my inner cat appreciates.

Easy run through the burbs and into the U of A campus. It took a little while to find my stride, but it showed up when it was ready, as usual.

Grocery shop, lunch, and hit the road for a little tour with Sugar Cane before our swim.

I felt great in the water today. Thanks to Craig for letting us hop in with his group for a couple days.

I'd love to share more thoughts on the day, however Yoga awaits.

Rest well.

Transition Time


I am sitting in the back of United Airlines flight 703 enjoying some of my favourite Violin & Viola duos, and in my head I have just entered "transition time."

Whenever I hop on a plane, train, boat, or bus I think of it as a transition. Especially for trips of longer duration, I find the transition to be hugely beneficial.

There is something special which happens during one of the flights. It's a shift in perspective, a shift in focus. When the plane takes off I am pressed against the seat. I imagine as if everything from the past is being sucked out, allowing open space for the future. In fact, I can choose what from the past I want to bring with me, throw it on the carousal and be ready to go.

When the plane descends there is a light feeling as my weight is lifted ever so slightly. It's a feeling which reminds me to open and allow. Allow new experiences to happen, and shift into the new mode, ARIZONA TRAINING CAMP MODE!

JP, Scottie, Andrew, and I are on our way to find the Lemon Tree house and train up a storm in preparation for Mazatlan. 6 hours into the trip & I can tell it will be a great one to remember for years to come.

Tuesday Morning:
Arrived safe and sound. The Lemon Tree house is Awesome!
Time for a run.

In the words of Bob, from Bob's Dogs, "Keep Smiling!" and

Rest well.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Well, that was very fun.

Great Saturday, Great Sunday. I'd have to say goodness all around. I'm sitting at the computer and know that sleep would be a good thing to do right now. However, I'm on the verge of being too excited to sleep. I am still going to give it a try. But I promise you, if I wake up in the middle of the night I will post some thoughts on the past few days.

What must be said and can't wait is the the shout out to our group today for some nice running and riding. Everyone from our pro-star, quickly recovering, injuries-are-something of-the-past cheering squad to Andrew "the Champ" Russell, played a big part in making today great.

Thank You.

Rest well.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Papaya and I must have been functioning on the same wavelength today, because we had an awesome ride. The ride began with a rip through the Camosun trails where things were muddy! Riding a different set of wheels with different tires makes a huge difference. I was feeling confident to start out, easily making my way over and around some obstacles which have proven to be challenging in the past. Today however, we could have rocked the Dancing with Stars competition, smoothly gliding across wet earth and over mossy rocks, barely flexing a muscle.

Part way through the ride I decided to hop over to Prospect Lk road, just to play it safe. Then I saw what was for me a brand new trail. Ahhh... just go for it, one more rip through the mud.
As this was my last cross ride for the season, it was fitting that I kiss the ground, a fair thee well and good by kiss. That is especially after spending so much time being cushioned by soft rocks and tree stumps this winter.

We connected and I thanked the ground for so much fun during the off season.

I was happy to fit in one last cross ride, because Papaya is moving over for the new bike in town, and we're sticking to head down, no fooling aroun', speed.

Today's swim was a 4.8K back to swimming swim. Good stuff.

Our run was one of my favourite pre-race workouts: 15ez, 10 base, 16 fartlek, 5 ez, drills & strides, 5 minutes ez, ice. When you have this workout, it means you are well rested, activated, and ready to rock for a fast run.

Now it's the night before the night before. Rest well.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Home Turf

As I prepare for TuKson AZ, I try to spend a portion of each day enjoying something particularly West Coast.

This evening's home turf adventure:

And only in Victoria could you find numerous specialty Tea Shops, carrying such varieties as Tea of Serenity.

Definitely an apres ice must.

Rest Well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


A correction to last Wednesday's post, My o' My . . .

The first quote from Neil correctly reads:
-The human species has survived on this planet because of our ability to live beyond pain.

I had it written as:
-The human species has survived on this planet because of our ability to overcome pain.

Both have a distinct Darwinian tone, but in this case the difference between overcoming and living beyond lies in dissociation of time, and association with presence.

If one is to overcome pain, this suggests a temporal struggle which is won in the short term, only to be lost in the end. For the pain never really disappears, it is just for the duration of the experience that it is overcome. That is to say that the pain still exists as part of our subject.

Living beyond pain suggests a separation between the subject, and objective experience. In this case the subject lives a separate existence from that of objective casual, and therefore sensorial space. Because of this, time and pain are of no consequence.

Now it's time to close my eyes and find the space between.

Rest well.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just Look Up

and you will see the birds.

This afternoon I couldn't resist the temptation to hop on Sugar Cane and go for a waterfront spin. By spin, I mean the utmost in easy riding to the beach, sitting on a bench in the sun, and opening a book. It was one of those easy rides where speed, effort, and time are of no importance.

On my way past the OB Marina I just happened to look up and see two massive bald eagles perched on a tree overlooking the water. Wow, what a truly magnificent site. There is something about the presence of an eagle that exudes courage, strength, and grace.

On a completely different topic, isn't it interesting to notice the greatest source of energy and resistance are one and the same. There is limitless energy within us, more than one can imagine. At the same time we are our only source of resistance. Ponder.

As you may have guessed, this week Monday - Thursday are all about recovery. We have just finished a good build, and are using this opportunity to prepare ourselves for a high volume camp in TuKson, Arizona. This time adaptation conveniently falls right before the Bazan Bay Fast 5K. I would bet dollars to pesos this was strategically planed! I have been looking forward to Bazan since the moment Hatley Castle was finished. Fast is Fun!

Thanks to Dr. Guan for the treatment today. I always leave his office feeling light, strong, and with many new theories to consider.

Light swims this week 3 - 4K loose, a few easy runs, rides, and back at it with some good activation Friday - Saturday.

Allow and Rest well.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Say the words.

Having finally been out on a ride with Sugar Cane, I now know what if feels like to have no chain. There are a two major differences between Sugar and my previous racing machine.

First, Sugar Cane functionally has a 58cm top tube, while the Bianchi was a mere 55cm. The second difference is Euro vs American styling. Sugar Cane is the American Baby with big angles, big tubes, and a DuraAce groupset. The Bianchi was all Euro with compact geometry and Campagnolo componetti. I also notice that once Sugar reaches cruising velocity, she likes to stay there without much coaxing from me, or my legs.

I'm looking forward developing a strong new relationship with Sugar Cane, and would like to thank the Black and Gold Bianchi for our many great hours spent together.

The past few days:


Once again the short course swim was a confidence booster. I know it has little to do with fitness, but it sure is nice to hit the wall a few seconds early. New short course PB on 100m is 1:02.8. Next SC 100m TT will be under 1:00. Maktub!

After visiting the hard core / sauna department, Andrew and I stocked up on calories with Omelets ala HoJo avec Kerry and Patrick, (thanks for the nice breakfast), and hit the roads for a reverse loop of Prospect, Munns, and the W-WS connection.

Having finished a good ride I decided to collect some cedar drift wood, dry it by the fire, and toss it on for some fast burning heat (lunch and nap). I did this to the tune of the UVIC tracks. 30 minute warm up to SS for our last 15 minutes, 2 x drills and strides, 7 x 1000m descending 1 through 7, 2 x 400m feeling nice and fast for the 2nd 200m.

I can always count on Andrew to pick up the pace at around km 3. Nice running dude. That 3rd K set us up well to finish a strong session.


The first (annual?) NTC Sprint Spectacular: 2x Waddling dog loop (18.5K), 5K run, 800m pool TT. This was a great way to finish off 2 weeks of building intensity and volume. Fast hard training leading up to more fast hard training, culminating with more hard work and a TT makes a taper seem like slacking. Shout out to Scotty who showed that he definitely has cycling legs this year with a wickedly fast start to the bike, and a solid 1st loop on the run.
Fun day in the sun.

Today was my first official date with Sugar Cane. We had a smooth ride and made it back just before the rain. Perfect.

Over the past 2 week build, my biggest lesson learned was about training and working hard despite fatigue. But that lesson needs some time to work it's way through the pen and into my journal.

Just say the words, and it will be done.

Rest well.