Friday, August 31, 2012

"Tout est fini"

Banff Gran Fondo #1.  Got the jersey; shortened course due to a grizzly and cubs (my heart was *broken*); 104 km instead of 142 km; freakin' cold early morning start; finished in expected time; felt more prepared for the hills; apparently hill repeats are beneficial. 

Fait accompli.
Oh look at me, pretending to be bilingual.  

I would recommend the Banff Gran Fondo as the scenery was beautiful and the riding -- not flat.  Didn't have quite the "fun" vibe that I experienced in the STP - Seattle to Portland Gran Fondo I completed in 2008 and it was 200 miles in 2 days. I did see an STP jacket at Banff though!!

Ironman Canada athletes that I know and train with had amazing results with huge PB's. Congratulations every one of you!!

Really enjoyed learning new skills on my mountain bike, collected many, many bruises, earning every one. Will definitely continue on with that next season.

I had a mediocre tri season this year. I did OK at Wasa, another cold day! Felt defeated after Victoria, but happy that I pushed through and finished. Now what?  Tri club doesn't start again until October. Too early to think about goals and plans for next season?

2 rides planned this weekend; running starts for me again on Sept 1st; I will not surrender!

Ciao, Cindy

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On and Off the Bike

Back to some mountain biking yesterday with my Spin Sisters buddy. She's very patient as I was LATE AGAIN.....  This is becoming a nasty habit and I must stop it. (Thanks for waiting for me Melissa).

We decided we needed to see some new trails and since neither of us have made it out to many of the Spin Sisters rides lately, I didn't have much to offer.  Hit up another co-worker, who does lots of riding, for information and headed out to West Bragg Creek.  After canvasing the parking lot with our map (I have no shame), we decided to try "Braggin' Rights".  Good choice.  I do believe it was Steve Walsh and his riding partner who pointed us in the right direction.  I do believe he may have been in some of the ETS classes, way back when??

The trail is one of the new ones this year in WBC.  It was a climb the first km and I really need to learn to mount and dismount from both sides of my bike.  My first fall off the mountain occurred in the first km.  Fall off, roll down hill, remove bike from on top of me, crawl back up hill with Melissa's assistance with my bike.  Ride on....  Turned out to be a great day.  Would love a new bike - full suspension? 29er? Wait, I'm saving for India.  Never mind new mountain bike, carry on.

It was a really great morning.  We were both pleased with our effort and decided, even though we didn't ride much this summer, we saw improvement in ourselves compared to our last ride at Jumping Pound Loop.  Met a guy on the trail who gave us some more pointers and we finished the loop (9km).  We are quite slow and do walk uphill a fair bit, but we get it done.  Perfect weather.  Finished off with a beverage at Cinnamon Spoon and headed home.

I headed to Bow Cycle as my gears were skipping a fair bit, especially uphill.  When I had my bike tuned at Speed Theory, Doug did say I may need to replace the cassette.  So Bow Cycle was able to do that on the spot for me!  Thanks guys.

Next up, Banff Gran Fondo Aug 25!  God, I hope the weather holds.....

Good luck to all those completing Apple Tri in Kelowna this weekend and IRONMAN CANADA next weekend.
Happy training and racing!

Ciao Cindy

Monday, August 13, 2012

HA!! It was the computer

An important update to defend my exceptional computer skills.
I looked at my computer prior to putting my bike in the Rav this morning and noticed the screen is no longer "sleeping", but blank!!  Dead battery.
Ha, I win and my reward is a trip to the store for a new battery.
Stupid computer.....
Got through my hill repeats on Road to Nepal tonight with my Garmin, which I managed to set to biking, rather than running.  I'm a super-user now!!
Cathy, thanks for the company.
Ciao, Cindy

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I get a really BIG "X"

Having my training partners peeved with me wasn't my intention, but where I ended up on Sat - MY BAD!

It goes like this.... someone puts up a possible route, then we discuss, agree or make a different suggestion.  I obviously don't know all the intricacies of this format.  I suggested an earlier start time, didn't hear back from the others, talked to one of the group in person and he was undecided about an hour earlier start. Then I forgot to set my alarm, but when I woke up at 8:01 I thought, no worries, I'll just meet everyone at 9:00, b/c I didn't hear back from anyone about the 8:00 start anyway.
I was surprised at the phone call at 8:10 saying "where are you"?  Well, I've just washed my face and I'll see you at 9:00.  No, they are all there, except me, who requested the earlier time - oh crap!! Sorry...

I've been reading up on the info about the Banff Gran Fondo; they advise if you can't maintain >20 km/hr you may not be fully supported for the ride as they have allowed 7 hours total.  I was a bit concerned with this, getting myself all worked up, as I did in Victoria.

I was now on my own and I decided this was my last opportunity for a really long ride as Banff is in 2 weeks.  Off I went from my place, out passed Bragg Creek, to the Texas gate on Hwy 66 and back.  Saw the bird jersey 3 times on my ride (plus mine was 4!).  Quite fun, as you recognize the jersey first, look closer to recognize the rider and give a big wave b/c you inevitably know them.  Stopped to have some nutrition every half hour, and kept plugging along.

Stopped for chai in Bragg Creek and ran into Heather and Ian, who're just back from the Olympics!!  Had a quick chat about the events they saw. Then off to get more Gatorade for the trip back when my bike is standing against the wall, a lady stops to chat about my bike and her great dane. The dog is as tall as my bike!!

Stupid bike computer wouldn't restart after Bragg Creek.  Why is it every sentence I write with computer in it, also has stupid in it.  If I wasn't so confident it was the computer and not the operator, I'm sure I'd have a huge chip on my shoulder by now....  I persevered and I'm happy to report that my total ride time was 5:30:00 for 140 km.   I was concerned at my time and average speed at the half way point, but was an hour faster coming back in a tail wind, so it was all good.  At least I can work my watch.

Olympic watching almost done too.  I admire and I'm in awe of all our athletes and their preparation, but feel for them too.  Canada has had so many heart breaks in 2012.

Happy training....

Ciao, Cindy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Better Get Crackalackin'

Yes, Victoria was a learning experience.  Probably the worst head space I've been in for a race.  But my "grateful list" served me well.  Self talk is a powerful tool, only to be used for good, not evil.

Had a little break after Victoria, necessitated by a minor surgery and stitches. No swim, bike, run for 10 days, how will I survive?

Now, back to hill climbing....
Went out to Jumping Pound Loop for a mountain bike on a warm, sunny Sunday.  Decided I may never move beyond the "beginner" trails, but I'm OK with that.  Also decided I'm a bit of a "Princes" on my mountain bike.  Again, I'm OK with that.  Didn't fall of my bike - and I'm OK with that.

Another great ride from the Stoney Nakoda Casino up Highwood Pass on Hwy 40.  The original plan was to go to Longview ~140 km on the other side.  I didn't get the part of not coming back over Highwood Pass so when I got to the starting point I was a bit confused.  The others in the group were in the process of dropping cars off at Longview.

Off we went.  I wasn't sure if I would make it all the way to Longview, but the plan was to get as far as  I could and the others would pick me up on the way back if they were that far ahead.  They headed off and I plodded along on my own, uphill.  I got to the 4 hr mark (65 km) and wasn't quite at the top of the pass, but I was starting to fade - barely holding ~7 km/hr in a headwind uphill.  I made the call to turn around and go back to my car at the casino, lest I fall over and get eaten by a bear.  I'd still end up with 130 km, not too shabby, and I'd also get a "coke stop" at the Gas Plus near the winter gate.  Going over the pass didn't leave me any options for refills on food or water.  Good decision for me - 4 hours out, 2 hr 15 min back, not including my coke stop; mmmm, caffeine.  I made a wise decision b/c I really felt much better riding back after my little coke and food fix, but  still had variable wind directions to deal with.  I didn't have quite enough food with me.  Note to self....

Left notes on everyone's car to let them know I was headed home.  I made the right decision when I realized they still had 140 km drive back to pick-up cars and the drive back to Calgary.

Another brutally windy ride from Co-Op at 12 Mile Coulee Rd out to Ghost Lake this Sat. Got to Ghost Lake going straight through on 1A instead of doing the 70.3 course in reverse.  Just about blown off the bike! Stop pedalling and come to an almost immediate stop - crazy. Worked out well anyway as Tushar and I rode back together on the 70.3 course and I got my mileage in and I almost kept up with him (damn the uphills!!)

The next little item on the summer agenda was "Mudhero".
SOOO much fun, on a hot Sunday in July, with NO WIND! Went with a group from work. Did my usual of finishing at the end of the group. And I'm the one who does all the training!!  LOL... They were all sore today, but not me...

Going to volunteer at the Talisman Tri Club tent for a water stop on the Calgary 70.3 course next weekend and continue hill training.....

Ciao, Cindy

I'm Grateful.....

First, a confession....
This is sort of a repeat blog b/c I accidentally deleted the original blog. Yes, my most *excellent* computer skills continue.

I was initially upset with my performance at the Subaru Victoria Half Ironman on June 17.  I had self doubt welling up inside of me when I arrived in Victoria and drove the bike course - I may not make the bike cutoff, this course has no significant downhills or flats, I may be in trouble.  The nerves followed me all the way to the start line race morning - a very windy day = choppy swim, with leaky goggles, which leads onto a windy bike course.  Self talk continues on the negative side, this is not good!

When I got out on the bike, I went by a church with a billboard inviting the "flock" to share what you're grateful for prior to the service that morning.  With no time to stop (although I seriously considered it) I thought this was something I could do to rethink this race, b/c I really wasn't in a great head space.

And that's exactly what I did.

I'm grateful for so many things in my life....
A co-worker reminded me, "I was one of the 2% of the population who has ever completed a triathlon", when we had a discussion about "what we did on our summer vacations".
I shouldn't feel disappointed in finishing 2nd last when 11 people didn't finish that particular race.
I actually liked the run!! It was on a hard packed dirt trail around the Elk Lake x 2.  Beautiful trail, no significant hills, in the big trees and shady.
I still maintained my personal record of always completing a race.
I have a great group of fellow athletes to train and race with.  Jon and Felix did amazingly well. Jon had a PB and Felix met his goal on his first half. Congratulations guys.
I have a very fast red bike that I love to ride; along with my road bike and mountain bike, and 1 more bike for India.
I'm still growing and learning and enjoying the challenge of trying to get a personal best!
I got to see Brent McMahon, (2012 Olympian with Simon Whitfield and Kyle Jones) b/c he was on a relay team here. Man he's not much taller than I am, but he's a skinny little guy, perhaps that's why he's such a fast runner?
I'm still learning new skills on and off the training field - I'm loving my forays into mountain biking and I'm enjoying the diversity of my new job.

I could've hung up my race belt if I'd chosen to do Chinook Half instead of Victoria - there were only 2 other women in my age group - I would've been on the PODIUM!!  

Next up, Banff Gran Fondo!!

Ciao, Cindy

Monday, June 11, 2012

WASA Recap

Wow, 2 blogs in one week!!  The previous one was under construction for a couple of weeks and I finally finished it.

Sooooo, how cold was Wasa Lake?
(I didn't partake in Grant and Jon's swim/bike clinic b/c Ghost Lake was mentioned and it's June and it's just the start of spring run off and thanks, but no.)
As I'm yapping in the change room to fellow tri club members about how wonderful Wasa is: shallow lake, you can see the bottom for the whole swim, warm'ish water, flat sprint bike course, flat run course.  Am I now eating my words?  Well no, but these were the worst swim conditions I've ever experienced their in the 5 races I've completed.  And for the record, water temp = 13.6' C.  Made good use of my sexy neoprene bonnet.  So cold that they decreased the Olympic swim to 750 m instead of 1500 m.

My race was uneventful except when I look at my bike computer and then race results that include T1 and T2 into your bike time - all right, add on 10:30 minutes for transitions!!  Good for me!  I would not have given back a minute to be without wool socks, hat under helmut, gloves, long sleeve top and wind jacket.  All put on with numb hands and wet everything.  I didn't have a personal best, but did complete the race, always my goal.

I am in awe of all of my team mates!!  All of you did an amazing job and Talisman Tri Club had so many athletes on the podium!  Good work everyone.  A pleasure to be in your company.  Thanks to coach Ed for your race day support too.
Congratulations  also go out to Ari on his strong age group result at "Escape from Alcatraz" in San Francisco, June 10.

Congratulations to Grant for his WIN of the Wasa Olympic race.  Yeah Grant!!

Congratulations to Jon - 5th place finish at Escape From Alcatraz in San Francisco on Sun as well.  Outstanding job!!

I'm so proud to call both of you my coaches, we are lucky athletes to be recipients of your expertise.

Next up, Victoria for 1/2 Ironman on June 17 (putting a lot of faith in racing at sea level...)
I've decided to fly to Victoria since I'd otherwise need about 3 days to drive to Victoria.  I drove myself to Wasa and had to stop for a nap at Dead Man's Flats on the way.  I think that's about 45 minutes out of Calgary.... Made it all the way home without a nap!

Happy training,

Ciao, Cindy
(Do I know how to suck up to the coaches or what)

This week's bruises brought to you by Jumping Pound Loop

My new endeavour into mountain biking has gotten off to a rather bumpy/fall off the bike kind of start..... I'm now a full fledged member of Spin Sisters Mountain Bike Club.  I'm trying to get in at least one mtn bike ride each week, as I still have my 2 triathlons to do - June 10, Wasa Sprint; June 17, Victoria 1/2 Ironman.

First stop - Spin Sisters "bike skills" clinic.  They did a great job and had a large group of us - 51!  Beautiful sunny morning was spent on the grass at Bowness Park learning some basic skills.  Then off to the other side of the river (Bowmont Park) for uphill and downhill techniques.  OK so far, feeling rather confident....

Afternoon was actually out on the trails.  We're on a steep hill, the trail is only 12" wide at the most, then down to the river (no escape, no trees/bushes to impede falling into the river).  They keep referring to it as "single track", I'm thinking "death track".  Big hill, skinny trail, corners of trail eroding into river = I'm going to die today.  Through many heart rate spikes and adrenaline rushes of fear, I did survive the day.  I was very UNconfident as the afternoon carried on.

Mtn biking is so different than road biking....
Road biking - go faster, go farther; downhill = bigger gear, pedal, go faster, stay as aero as possible to transition up the hill and keep your speed/cadence up.
Mtn biking - pick your line, gearing has to be dead on, look where you want to go - yes, you will magically avoid the rocks and be able to ride over the roots!!  Stay alert, keep your eyes up the trail, so much concentration.

Mtn bike # 2 - Bowmont Park again.  Pretty much same outcome as 1st ride, except I fall off the bike and slide into the thorny bushes. I really need to shave my legs more often, would've been easier to distinguish the thorns from actual hair!  Picking thorns out of leg for rest of week b/c now they're red and oozing a bit - now I can distinguish hair from thorn quite easily!  Contemplating giving this up - scaring the hell out of me, how many bruises can one body take, I'm too old for this S*!t.  Oh wait, INDIA, ride on Spin Sister....

Mtn bike #3 - Fish Creek Park.  I've never actually been here.  OK, I may survive after all.  Only a little bit of the "death track" at the beginning of the ride.  Don't know if I'll ever gain confidence on that.  Then we are in amongst the trees, roots, up/down.  Still falling off bike regularly, but felt so much better this ride.  Still came home with new bruises, but long pants, prevent getting whacked by bushes and no thorns lodged in legs.

Mtn bike #4 - Jumping Pound Loop.  Really enjoyed this ride.  Confidence improving slightly.  Like that there's not much likelihood of getting lost, 1 trail = 1 loop.  Still lots of walking - 10 km in just over 2 hours.  We had a ride leader for this ride and she was great - thanks Michelle.  Since we're the "scooter" group (beginners) we have lots of stops and starts.  This trail had everything, EXCEPT death track, I continued to fall off the bike and collect a new set of bruises.  Even one on my abdomen.  Considering clipless pedals on the mountain bike.....

Mtn bike now at Speed Theory for major tune.  Next stop Wasa.

Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, April 28, 2012


So proud of my brother, Steve!  After 10 years of studying part time he received his degree in Justice and Corrections in Lethbridge on Friday.  Maintaining a life balance with his wife and 2 busy kids, a full time job, and taking 2 courses per semester has brought him to the finish line!!  After Convocation, family and friends went out for a lovely lunch to celebrate a great day!   I wonder if he's going to go for his Master's???  Maybe won't say say that aloud in close proximity to his wife....

In my efforts of perseverance I continue to work on my running.  I think I have to revert back to 10/1 intervals for my long runs and on race day.  I'm falling apart after an hour, so I need a new strategy to get through a half marathon....  I'll see how it goes tomorrow on my long run.  I have been steadily adding time each week, so I'm moving in the right direction.

I'm very happy with my swimming at the moment.  I finally have my "right arm back".  I bought a training snorkel to focus on my stroke and it seems to be helping - 44 seconds faster on my most recent 500 m time trial.  That's more like it...

Biking is slowly moving outside.  Brought my road bike back to Speed Matrix and Adam improved my  position further, as I finally bought a new saddle.  He also adjusted my new Sidi cycling shoes and they feel better with relief of  numb feet.  Next step, find the route to ride to work, so I can counter sitting at the computer and have a more pleasant commute.  I can't understand why Calgary cannot synchronize lights, riding will be much less aggravating than driving....

OK, happy training,

Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Build Continues.....

My oh my, I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted anything. Sometimes life just hums along with progress, obstacles, and changes.

I've have had a lot of life changes in the last 3 months. I'm still training, but have also decided to pursue another goal in the process, still related to training. It started with a visit with my RRSP guy - I'm about to leave his office when I see his Financial Planner designation on the wall and I ask him if he can get me to India to ride my bike for 3 months with Tour d'Afrique and how can I save "x" amount of dollars on the money I'm making now?

This leads to another appointment where he shows me the math.... In my own defence, I am aware of this and have been working full time hours for a few months already. The plot thickens as I see a job posting at work that might help things along. The timing is right, I can keep my present activities - Talisman Tri-Club, save for India and buy 1 more bike (for India).... Apparently, I don't have to be old and poor and let my estate settle my debt, as has been my long term financial plan - who knew??

I applied for this new job and accepted the position as Clinical Lead for the Homecare Physiotherapists. I have only been in my new position for a month and I'm settling in slowly - my "arch nemesis" - the computer, is now where I spend most of my days.

That took up most of Feb and March. My Doc has helped me with my sleepless nights - what a relief, pre-menopause sucks! I continue to train pretty consistently, although swimming is making me crazy at the moment. I spent a great Easter weekend cycling in Penticton with 4 friends from Tri-Club, in the sunshine, almost green grass, but still in long sleeves and long pants - really enjoyed it. My biking is coming along. Kind of depressing in Penticton when it became evident how slow I am. Not to worry - 3 of my 4 buddies trained for Ironman last year and they've gained in leaps and bounds, whereas I had an easy year. That's OK, this will be my year to get going again. Running is coming along nicely and I'm adding some variety to include a progressively longer Sunday run, some hills/stairs and intervals.

And to keep me focused on my new long term goal of India and upcoming Half Ironman Victoria, I've joined Spin Sisters Mountain Biking Club. I need to be prepared for anything in India and thought this will expand my bike handling skills. We'll see how this goes. I actually have a mountain bike, but I'm sure by the end of the outdoor season this year I'll be wanting a new one.... and so it goes.

Happy trianing,
Ciao, Cindy

Saturday, January 28, 2012

AND LET'S BEGIN.... (again)

Well, I survived the cold/sinus crap that was almost a "man cold". Back to my regular training schedule of triclub classes and work on my own.

I've really noticed my body responding well to recovery rides/runs and just the right amount of intensity. That was a hard lesson learned last spring with way too much intensity.
Had a little chat with Jon in regard to running. He suggested getting more, shorter runs in and not struggling to get in a long run on Sundays as much as just getting time on my feet. I'm going to take his advice and make my longest run 50 - 60 minutes, then keep the other 2 or 3 ~30 minutes at a comfortable pace. Need to get my Garmin heart rate monitor sorted as I replaced the battery, but couldn't get it to work - apparently it has to be resynched with the computer. Why are electronics such a challenge for me? Honestly, all companies should idiot proof their stuff through me first! So that will be my next little project.....

Settling into the 3 hour Sat bike class slowly. Managed not to die and complete a time trial this morning. Said yes to it, with great trepidation, as Grant went around the room to see who was in and who was out. I was so excited with my results from Dec, that I didn't want to spoil that feeling. Thought ok, maybe 5 watts more, and not count it at all if it was worse than Dec. I surprised myself and had another personal best!! 3 watts up (not quite 5W), but still the right direction. So happy with that.

All that after a nice evening out for the Triclub Social at Speed Theory Friday night. Good turn out and nice to meet some new members. Can't wait for the floatables in Feb!

Ciao, Cindy

PS: Almost died laughing watching the video link on Grant's blog this week - I had a very serious conversation about "carbon bells" with Cam and Darcy at Speed Theory when I bought my Argon 18... until they clued me in. They are so patient with me, thanks guys....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Oh man, it might be bad enough to be called a "man cold".....

OK, let's not get carried away, but I haven't left the house since Sunday, when I didn't get my hot tub after the track workout b/c I forgot my bathing suit.

Some observations:
  • 3 days without work isn't too stressful, but having to get up to call in sick disturbs my rest and recovery.
  • The weather hasn't enticed me to go out, so it's been a "drug free" cold. Maybe that's the issue. I'm definitely a druggie when it comes to the sniffles. The more the better and in combination. (hmmm, should I be admitting to that and putting it in writing - obviously I'm delusional b/c I've had no drugs!)
  • Amazing how often the phone rings with stupid telemarketers when you're home during the day.
  • You can never underestimate the power of a nap or even 2!
  • Being home to allow the guy in to fix my lack of heat wasn't part of the plan, but having heat when it's been -30'C many days in a row has been helpful.
May have to leave the house tomorrow as I'm almost out of kleenex.
Needless to say, no gym workouts this week. Hope to get back at it on Sat. Not doing a time trial though, I'll still be recovering.... (glad I have good numbers from Dec.)

Happy training,
Ciao, Cindy

Monday, January 16, 2012


Wow, it's mid-January.... and I've been back at it for 2 weeks now. I seem to be carrying the same enthusiasm as I started the fall with. That's a good sign that I'm not overdoing it in regard to Tri Club and ETS classes. Had a strong finish to my swimming and biking in December. Jury is still out on the running ;)

I'm signed up for the same classes this term with a few minor changes. ETS bike on Tues night with Paul, Thurs swim/run with Jon, and Sat 3 hour bike/brick with Grant. I was thrilled to hear that Jon was coming back along with the added bonus of new Tri Club coaches - Heather and Ed. I'll get to know Heather on Thurs with Jon. I'll have to wait and see where Ed and I cross paths. I'm sure it'll be in the spring sometime as Jon and Grant ramp up for their respective race seasons.

Trying to get in a brick, 2 swims, and a longer run on my own. Since I haven't signed up for a comprehensive coaching package in a couple of years I'll have to pick the coaches brain on a regular basis to keep myself focused.

I'm even signed up for my races - Wasa (sprint) and Victoria Half Ironman. Chose to do the sprint at Wasa since Victoria is the weekend after. Excited to travel to do a race. Not sure if I'll fly or drive. I hate driving long distances unless I'm the passenger with my pillow in the back seat. Still considering a later summer race out east, we'll see what the finances dictate.

All that's missing now is some cross training on Sundays in the form of snow shoeing. Felix, Tushar and I did get out Dec 28, but the conditions were not great. Just not enough snow - we went to Upper Kananaskis Lk. The only thing to come out of that trip was a little "gift" in the mail from Calgary Police.... I'm sure our current, lovely weather will help remedy this..... at least we're getting some snow with the wicked cold.

Survived Grant's crazy, hard 3 hour bike class on Sat. Man, was that really necessary? I hope he didn't scare off any of the new people. Maybe they were lulled into an illusion of it not being too bad since a lot of them probably didn't have any training zones yet? Crap, I did - and I was able to hold them and they were my "new and improved" zones from Dec. Take that Grant!

OK, just to frustrate me, I have come down with a stupid cold. Walked on the track for 90 minutes on Sunday and had to miss my hot tub since I forgot my bathing suit. My head was still muddled after Sat bike....

So good to see everyone after the break. Happy training.

Ciao, CIndy