Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amazing end to an amazing year!

This triathlon was so overshadowed by the 1/2 ironman I did that I kept forgetting I'd even signed up for it. Throughout last week I wasn't thinking of it at all -- just when someone would ask me if I had plans this weekend and I'd go: oh yeah! I have a triathlon!
Though I've done other sprints, I'd never done this shorter distance before: 750m swim / 20k bike / 5k run. When you look at this distance compared to the longer ones you think automatically that shorter is easier, and in a way it is, but it's a different type of race – faster! If you've been training for endurance, as I have been these past months, you won't necessarily do well in a short race.

So, the swim was pretty good although the water was FREEZING! They said it was 72 degrees, but there is no way it was that much. I'd say maybe 62. Thank God for wetsuits! A few people did not use them, and I don't know how they did it. The first 2/3 of the swim I did fine but I had a really hard time seeing the last big bouy to swim to and definitely swam a very curved line toward it. Also, at the end it got quite shallow for about 50m -- too shallow to swim but very tough to run through. My time was not bad, but definitely could have done better. 15:56.

T1 was a little hard because it wore me out getting through that water at the end, but my time was not too bad. 1:46.

The bike was going amazingly. I think it was my best bike ever. I was just racing past everyone. Only two people passed me and I must have passed at least 50 people. That is, until the last 3k or so. I had just passed a great big group of people and was going down the last hill planning to steam my way to T2. I switched to a nice big gear to get some extra speed at the end of the hill and then CLUNK! My chain fell off. I won't repeat here the words I said there. I pulled to the side and that chain was not just off, it was tangled! I don't know how long it took me to get it back on, but it was at least two minutes. I estimate between two and three. In my peripheral vision I saw all these people I'd just passed, pass by me. Humiliating! I managed to get back on the bike and pass two or three of them before we got into the very very irritating no passing zone, where I felt like I was crawling my way to the finish line. (we're all going at the pace of the slowest person at that point) On the whole I would guess that chain incident cost me a minimum of four minutes. Bike: 36.30

T2 was pretty good, even with wiping the oil from my hands all over the grass -- 1:13

The only problem with the run was that my feet were still numb from the swim - honestly! (72 degrees! Yeah right!) In fact I heard quite a few people say the same thing. It probably took until 2k until I could feel my feet. That's just about the point that my left lace became untied, which didn't cost me too much time.

If you've never been in a triathlon before, you should know that your age is written in big numbers on your calf. I had not noticed anyone in my age group (45-49) until that point, but at around 4k I noticed a woman with 46 on her calf. My competition! I found another hidden gear, powered my way past her and just kept powering to the finish line. Run time: 27.11.

Total time was 1:22:36. I was pretty happy with that, especially considering the chain loss. There is no doubt I would have been well under 1:20 had that not happened.

After grabbing some water and food and walking around a bit, the results were posted and I saw that I'd won my age group again! Yippee!

I'll post a picture when I get one.

So in my four triathlons this year I came 4th, 3rd, 1st and 1st. My husband is joking that we'll need a new room to hold all my hardware!

I just hope people aren't disappointed in me when I sign up for some highly competitive races (with international competitors!) and don't place as well. I'm warning right here and now that it's going to happen next year, so don't be disappointed in me when it does.

What I do in my races, and what I'll continue to do, is just set my own time goals. I can't dictate how other people do; I can only do the best I can myself. If that results in a 1st place, that's a bonus, but if it results in a 10th or 15th, then that's okay too.

I'm deciding already on my races for next year, and yes -- the finale will be a full Ironman!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I spent the last week riding my bike in a city that is not known for an exercise adventure, the City of Sin. Darin had a conference in Los Vegas and I joined him for 5 days of riding in the Dessert, part of the lure for us was the beauty of the bike course in a triathlon I had done a few years earlier in Lake Mead National Park. We travel with our bikes almost everywhere we go and have found that every city has a handful of bike routes, a cycling community with open group rides, and beauty unique to the city we are in.

So this trip we found ourselves on the famous Los Vegas Strip, staying in the new Aria Hotel, and driving to the outskirts of the city for some amazing riding in 42+ degree heat. We carried water everywhere we could, in pockets, inside jerseys, and stopped at every opportunity to re-fill our bottles. We rode the beautiful Red Rock Canyon (see the picture of Darin), a bike path through Lake Mead National Park (see the video - it rose up to 50 degrees this day and I ended up calling a cab to cover the last 30 km, too hot for me, but not for Darin), and up to a ski resort where the temperature went from 39 degrees at the bottom to 24 degrees at the top in a beautiful forest that offered completely different scenery than the dessert landscape we had been riding in. Other routes were planned, we just ran out of time and decided to spend our last day at the pool instead of on the bike, a welcome change for me as I felt like I had been frying on the BBQ the last few days.

The beauty of riding in different cities is that it provides a completely different view of the place being visited, a peek into another part of the city’s culture, and a way to stay fit while also giving in to taste bud temptations. Traveling with my bike also keeps me motivated to ride, it’s exciting to explore new places on two wheels, to really see, smell, and experience the location at a slower pace and to venture in to places you wouldn’t do in a car or by foot.

I would encourage everyone to plan a bike trip, doesn’t have to be far from home, even an hour or two from the cities we live in offer new experiences when pedaled. As someone who is happiest exploring new place by bike I would love to hear about places that you have enjoyed riding, so let me know about your favourite hometown route, the most beautiful place you have ridden, a memorable vacation destination, and exotic locale, I am excited to read about your recommendations and become motivated in planning my next vacation.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

After a miserable Olympic last year I somehow made myself feel better by signing up for my first 70.3, the Vermont Half Journey at Lake Dunmore. Of course, I had to pick one in hilly Vermont! I found and booked a cottage shortly after registering, booked the week off work and planned to get to Vermont (a 12-hour drive) on Friday the 27th, race on Sunday the 29th and then have the rest of the week as a vacation with my family.

The location was spectacular. Honestly I don't think they could create a better venue. Jerrod Rushton, who runs it, was always approachable and helpful and the wonderful volunteers were ... well, wonderful. I truly love the volunteers at all the races, and I even get choked up when they're thanked at the end, because my own thanks are so heartfelt.

Anyway, back to the race. I knew going in that my training was not as great as it could have been, but also that it would be adequate for me to finish. If I looked at my best times for each event (minus transitions) I would end up somewhere shy of 6 hours, but seeing as I'd never done the events together and seeing as the terrain was hillier than I was used to, and seeing as it was going to be a hot, hot day, I figured I'd be happy with 6:30, but secretly hoped to be closer to 6.

The swim was fine, as always. I really feel the swim is not ever adequately long for these events, and that's as someone who doesn't swim all that often and certainly does not train enough in the water. Honestly, it's not too tough to wing it, which is unfortunate for an endurance event. My swim was 34 minutes.

T1 - transitions are never my specialty, and I'd told myself going into this race to take as much time in transition as I felt was necessary. Mine was 2:18. Not bad, for me.

The bike was a pretty nice route, mostly on a not-too-busy highway with great paved shoulders. The one direction was a little more uphill but with the wind at the back and the other way was more downhill but facing the wind, so I guess they were fairly even in difficulty. The worst part of the whole bike was this hill after turning off the highway when I thought it would be smooth sailing back to transition, and this unexpected hill just knocked me out. Honestly it took all my willpower to get up it, and it really wasn't all that huge. Finally did make it up after lots of positive talk to myself, and then it was an easy ride into T2, but to be honest I was feeling pretty beat already.

T2 - 2:02 -- this was the first triathlon my husband had ever been to, and he was a little worried about me, asking if I should stop. Of course I didn't!

Run -- here's where things got tough. Finished the bike and said to myself "okay, now you just need to run a half-marathon!" But really I didn't find the distance too intimidating. I repeated to myself: "It's just two hours. You can get through anything for two hours." It ended up being longer than two hours, but there you go. It worked.

The run was really quite hilly. I live in a hilly area, but it's a different type of hill. My hills are anaerobic hills; you power up and then go down. These were longer, aerobic hills that wear you out. And the heat made it worse.

I really worked at staying positive through the whole thing, joking to the volunteers about whether they had a beer instead of Hammer gels. The last three miles felt like 12 miles. They were not even the hilliest, but they were tough. I felt throughout the run like I was just plodding, and began to re-think my time. Maybe if I come in past 6:30 it would be okay. I knew with the swim and bike I was a little under 4 hours, and I figured I would be at least 2:30 on the run. Lots of people were walking or walk/running at this point, but I felt like if I stopped running I'd never start again, so I just kept going.

Finally reached the finish line and saw 6:15. Yahoo! By my calculations that means I did it in 6:09 (because of waves) although my official time was 6:11:11. Honestly at that point I was so happy simply to have completed the race I almost didn't care about the time. Then I slowly became quite happy about my time, and then the results were posted and I found I'd won my age group!

So this was my first 70.3 and my first 1st place at any distance. What a day!

Almost immediately after the race my son told me he figured I'd now be doing an IM in two years. My first reaction was to tell him there wasn't a chance, but he said "you trained for this one for what, eight months? Now you have two years to train for an Ironman!" and now I'm thinking "hmmm..."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Running Feels So Good ... Until the Next Day!

So it's been awhile since I ran last and had this brilliant idea to enter a running race ... well, really what happened is my teammate e-mailed me and said "we should do this race!" My first reaction was "you're nuts", then felt intrigued by the challenge, then said "count me in!" Truth is I crave running as September comes and figured it might be the boost I need to lose the pesky 5 pounds that have set up shop in my mid-section. So my teammate and I met to talk about things, got all excited, and we decided to sign up. Now, normally I would mention which race and the distance and encourage others to join in, but after suffering through my first training run and waking up two days later almost unable to get out of bed, I'm second guessing my decision.

So after a day off I went for another training run, which still feels awkward. It's like my right side and my left side, and my arms and my legs don't communicate with each other. My left foot turns in and tries to trip the right foot, my right elbow points outward and draws figure eights, and my left arm twitches in all directions. Watching me run is not a pretty sight!

I am persistent though, have a plan in place and am looking forward to getting more efficient and comfortable in my running shoes. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bronze at Bala!

My second triathlon of the season, and my placing improved!

Bala is beautiful and the day was perfect. I did not sleep in this time and my younger son was with me, which I always appreciate -- he's been my cheering squad since my first tri, runs with me on the course and has only missed two ... which happened to be my last two. It was nice to have him back.

My goal this time was to try to improve transition. When I began triathlons I made a conscious decision to not worry much about transition but to make sure I was comfortable going into the next leg. Now I've done a whole bunch I've gotten faster but still not where I should be. My goal was to have each transition come in under 2 minutes.

So, the swim -- wave starts, and thanks to my age and gender I was one of the later starts. I don't mind that though -- I'd rather be later than first, frankly. I tried but failed to find someone to draft, so I was on my own. At one point I saw someone who looked to be struggling and called out to make sure he was okay, and he said he was, so I continued on. The first half of the swim was moderate. The last half was much better, and it had nothing to do with current but was because of my breathing patterns. There's a way I breathe when I train which works very well for me but just doesn't work in races. You'd think I'd figure this out at some point and stop trying to do it during the race! Next time. Once I settled into the proper racing breathing pattern I sped up quite a bit. My swim time was 15:36 for 750m (including the short run up) so it was pretty close to my last race.

T1 went pretty well, I thought. Took off the wetsuit, shoved a bit of banana in my mouth, threw my helmet and shoes on and went running off. My time was 1:57, so I made my under 2 minutes goal!

I kept hearing about how challenging the bike course was, but I found it pretty good. Again, I didn't do quite as well at the beginning as the rest, and in retrospect I think that was because I kept hearing how challenging it was and was waiting for the big hills! They never really came and it was honestly just a nice ride. A couple of guys passed me at the beginning and then I passed dozens, especially in the last quarter. I did think my time had been better than it was, but I did 30k in 59:26 including the run up/back from transition. One of the faster women's times.

T2 I thought I might not have beat my 2 minutes because as it turned out I hadn't done my helmet up properly and couldn't get it undone. I had to somehow slip the strap over my head (not sure how I managed that) but as it turned out T2 was 1:31 -- pretty good!

But as soon as I started running, I knew what was coming. I'd been really, really dumb the night before and ate some curry and rice. Normally this food is totally fine, but running ... er ... churns things up in the digestive system. The gas pains began, and definitely affected my running. My son was waiting for me and it was so great to have him there through the run. I was pretty sure I didn't have a great run time and I was right -- 42:36 for 7.5 km. I should have been at least two and more like three or four minutes faster. And since the woman who came in second was less than two minutes faster than me, that hurt a little! Next time I have to listen to myself when I tell myself not to eat something before a race. The woman who came in first was about 15 minutes faster (yes, really!) so I wouldn't have had a chance at that position.

Anyway, I did feel I'd had a good race and anxiously awaited the results. I was thrilled to see I'd come in 3rd, and my son was very proud of me. Then I was afraid there might not have been very many people in my age group -- it's not nearly as good coming in 3rd out of 5 as it is coming in 3rd out of 12, for example. As it turned out, there were 17 in my group so I felt even better. And overall I came in 21st out of 150 women. I was pretty pleased with that too, at nearly 45.

Onward and upward, I guess now I'm shooting for second. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Routes, Roads, and Roving

I have been struggling lately to get out and train, I seem to have lost my motivation for getting the heart rate up and pushing my limits. Perhaps it's because there aren't really any races coming up that excite me, I should probably sit down, look at the calendar and really put together a plan, but instead I seem to be drawn to doing new routes, getting out of the monotony of my weekly schedule and go long distances and explore new areas.

One of the things I like best about riding is the distance that you can cover and what you see by bike that you don't see by car. This past Saturday I mapped out a route along roads I had never been on. The goal was to do 130 km; however, due to construction and the slow going on the 10 km of gravel that I found myself on, I ended up completing 107 km in the time I had to ride before getting back to prepare for a dinner party. The wind was blowing on the way out, I wasn't riding very fast, but I enjoyed every second of my ride and would have been quite content to ride all day.

There were no fewer than 5 towns or hamlets that heard my wheels woosh by and saw my pearly whites as I was smiling the entire time. I started in Oakville and rode past a garage sale at the church in Limestone, found myself in Terra Cotta waving at the volunteers for the "Garden Tour", my eyes darted from one cute house to another in Glen Williams and I made a note to return and spend time in the galleries, down Main Street in Georgetown I used all my will power to not stop in the bakery or coffee house where I have spent time enjoying a treat in the past. And the wind was at my back as I headed down the familiar roads on my way home. What a great way to celebrate a Saturday.

Once a month the women's group that I meet on Thursdays meet on Saturday for a long ride. The picture is of the cafe in Glen Williams and the plan is to return on July 31 and stop in to refuel with the gang - I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot Hot Hot Water Water Water

How are you enjoying the weather we've been having in Ontario?! For those in other parts of the world, it has been stellar hot here, 40 degrees celsius and I have been loving it, but with hot weather comes the need to hydrate, hydrate, and if you are exercising outside, hydrate some more.

So here are some tips to surviving the heat.
* Drink more water during the day, before you exercise, pre-hydrate
* Take more water, or money if you will be near stores, then you think you will need. It is recommended that you drink a water bottle every hour, so when it is hot plan to drink 1.5 to 2 bottles.
* The other option to point 2 is to plan your route around a community centre or some other building with a water fountain so you can re-fill your bottles.
* If you like cold beverages put your bottles in the freezer half-full the night before you exercise. Then top them up with water before you head out to exercise.
* I prefer drinking water that is the same temperature as me to keep my temperature constant rather than drinking cold water.
* Take a bottle with an electrolyte drink or electrolyte supplement of some sort such as e-Load Discs, especially if you sweat a lot and notice white marks on your helmet straps or hat.
* Drink more water than you normally do after you are done exercising, especially if you feel a headache coming on.
leave your wrists exposed and turned in to the wind, or blow on them to cool yourself down.

Hope some of these tips help.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chin Picnic

A few years ago I raced in the Chin Picnic. I had been excited about the race, it was a Criterium, meaning it was a 1 km loop at Exhibition in Toronto and would be fast. I love Crits, they are short, generally under an hour, and full of action. Usually, they are so much fun that I forget about how hard I'm working and get caught up in the tactics of the peloton, but that's not what happened in 2008, that year I got dropped early and eventually pulled before the end of the race. I had never been more disappointed with myself, it was just a bad day with lack of training leading in to it.

So this year I was ready for some sort of redemption. I still haven't been training like I used to, or would like to, but was feeling good heading in to this year's race and had the plan to simply do the best I could, ride smart, corner well, stay out of the wind, and do the best I could. There was a good field of women with all the categories making up a field of 33 and I started out feeling good. I was moving through the pack to be in the position I wanted to, but wasn't aggressive enough to hold the wheels I wanted to and would slip backward and have to use unnecessary energy to move back where I wanted to. I saw all the attacks as they were happening and positioned myself well to react without having to over exert myself, but then an attack went that was just too fast for me and I saw 14 riders ride past me, leaving me in no mans land.

I rode hard by myself for several laps until the chase group behind me caught up and I rode with a group of about 7 riders, always staying in the top 3 and doing my share of work at the front. With 5 laps to go I started planning where I would initiate my sprint for the finish line with the plan to be the first one in my group to cross the last line. The last lap went as I thought it would and a few women in my pack initiated an early sprint, then I jumped and started chasing them down, but one women was a bit too strong for me and I came second in my group, top half out of all the women, and I won my category. Turns out I won $100, some cool prizes, and made new friends, not a bad way to spend Canada Day!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tosca talks about her first triathlon!

At the age of 51, Tosca Reno wanted to challenge herself so she signed herself up for an Iron Goddess triathlon. Watch as this Eat-Clean Diet rider (and the author of our famed series) recounts her race experience just two days earlier on

Monday, June 28, 2010

QUICK UPDATE! Two 1sts and a 4th!

Eat-Clean Diet Women's Cycling Team racers Tosca Reno and Rachel Corradetti just returned home from Michigan after grabbing 1st place finishes in their sprint age categories at the 2010 Iron Goddess Triathlon!

Back home in Ontario, Eat-Clean Diet racer Wendy Morley (see her race report below!) finished in 5th place (final race results say 4th place now) in the Welland Triathlon.

Full reports to follow!

Congratulations Ladies!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Maybe leaving late suits me!

So today was my first triathlon of the season. It's what I call a long sprint -- 750m swim/30k bike/7.5k run. I only signed up for it on Monday because it's extraordinarily difficult to plan around kids' soccer, husband's work, other commitments, other races and find triathlons that I can actually get to. Welland Ontario by default became my first of the season.

Now, I don't live near Welland. According to Google the drive should take 2 hours and 23 minutes if I take the 407, and about 2 1/2 hours if I take the 403/QEW. The race began at 8:30 this morning and the cutoff for getting your number was 8:15. Because it's a triathlon (3 events) you have to plan your little place out pretty carefully with everything you'll need for all three: bike, helmet, bike shoes, running shoes, water, nutrition, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc etc. Plus each triathlon is (obviously) set up very differently regarding where transition is relative to swim and all that. I like to get there quite early so I can see ahead of time where I'm swimming, the distance and path to transition and all that. I was planning to get up at 4:15, leave the house by 5:00 at the latest and get there by 7:30. That was the plan.

Thank God I got everything pretty much ready last night, because at 6:15 my husband woke me up, saying "why are you still here?" YIKES!!!! I jumped out of bed, said "OH NO!! There's no way I can even make it now!" And then I remembered our clocks are just a wee bit fast. I said, putting on my outfit that I'd thankfully laid out the night before: "Well, I'm going to try and make it."

My husband made me a tea with warm water while I threw on my clothes and ran for the car, three bananas in hand.

I'm not much of a speeder, rarely doing more than a few over the limit, but I pushed it a wee bit today. Got about 10 k from my house when I realized I had not taken my bottles pre-filled with water, oj and salt to bring on my bike ride. Nothing I can do about that now. Looked at my gas gauge. 1/4 tank. It might bring me there.

Decided to take the 407 after all to avoid the mess that always clogs up Oakville and to pick up the pace a bit. Oops! Got messed up by the sign for QEW (thinking QEW Niagara) and ended up getting onto the QEW right before Oakville! Thankfully at that time of the morning there was no traffic jam.

I'm heading down the QEW making pretty good time (oh, and by the way, I was unsure about the cutoff time to pick up your number. I thought it might have been 8) but the minutes are just clicking by. I noticed that my gas gauge was looking pretty low and sure enough, the gas light came on. I debated for a couple of exits whether I'd have enough to get there but figured I'd better pop into a gas station.

The gas station had these 15-packs of water on sale so I grabbed one of those and a bottle of OJ and headed back on the road. The gas station guy told me Welland was 20-30 minutes from there, depending how fast you drive. My clock said 7:45.

Raced toward St. Catherines, finally got on the 406 and raced toward Welland. Thankfully I'd printed out directions the night before too, or I'd have been totally lost. Got to Welland and eventually got the right exit, and then tried finding parking. Every lot was full! I turned around, looking, and almost parked at the hospital and then asked someone who told me of another spot around the corner.

Parked the car, ran to transition (not even knowing where it was!) then found I had to go inside this building to get my number before I could bring the bike in. I kicked off my sandals and ran barefoot into the arena, got my number, ran back to transition, got set up, pulled on my wetsuit up to my waist and headed to the river.

The swim was started time-trial fashion every couple of seconds, and people were already swimming when I got there. I found my spot and could finally calm down for a minute, but I was sweating like crazy! I was with some very nice women and we chatted while moving closer to the water. By the time I got close to the water I'd cooled down enough to pull on the wetsuit, which gave me just enough time to put my goggles on before entering and swimming. The cool water felt lovely!

I felt my swim was pretty good. I was cautious getting out of the water and going (quite far) to the transition area, because I've had some issues running out of the water lately with low blood sugar .... and I definitely had low blood sugar this morning. The distance from the swim to transition was substantial, so I walked a bit until I knew I was okay and then jogged the rest of the way.

Getting on the bike was fine, made sure I had my timing chip (If you read an earlier post, you'll know why I said that!) and set off on the bike. My speed seemed okay although when I got to the 5k mark I said "what? Only 5k?" I had the same reaction to the 10k. I had to work to stay positive. 1/3 down! I told myself. It was drizzly, which was not bad. Was passed by a few who looked very strong. Saw a couple of people at the side of the road changing tires, which made me wince. At turnaround I decided to really work hard the last half to keep up my speed, and I passed lots of people, especially in the last 5k. Only trouble was that I'd chosen not to wear bike shorts since they're impossible to run in, but the shorts I chose were bunching up around the bend in my hip joint, which became quite uncomfortable (esp since they're wet). But soldiered through. Spent about 2k riding inches from a cement truck, which was not fun.

Felt like I made pretty good time on the bike and did not have the least problem going from bike to run ... considering I've really not been doing bricks I was surprised how easy it was. Lost a little time in transition because I had a pebble in my shoe. Then the run. To be totally honest I had a hard time on the run. By the time I got to turnaround I felt like I'd been running far longer than 3.75k or whatever it was at that point. But I just concentrated on my breathing and forced myself to pass people. No one at all passed me till near the end when two separate men in their 30s passed me. I had to really push myself to the finish, and at the finish line just downed water and rested, leaning on the table for a couple of minutes. I felt ill, like I might throw up, but I knew it was my low blood sugar, so headed off in search of the food. As soon as I began eating I felt better. Walked around eating for a while and then allowed myself to sit, feeling pretty good about my race on the whole.

Eventually went and packed up my stuff at transition and then found out the results were up. I came in 5th in my age group, which is the best I've done yet. I was really hoping for a sub-two-hour time but I got an achingly close 2:00:35! Darned pebble. I'm choosing to look at the long run between swim and transition and telling myself I actually did sub 2 hours! A number of women came up to me to tell me how great I'd done on both the run and the cycling. My average cycling speed was 33 point something, which is not shabby in a triathlon. I did the run in 39 minutes, which is a 5.15-minute km -- not at all bad for me.

I will never intentionally show up seconds before a race again, but in this case it seemed to work okay for me! I will post a picture when I get one.

UPDATE -- according to posted results, I actually came in 4th. One step away from a medal!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Motivated, Moving, and Merry

The week-end before last I had the pleasure of helping the riders racing for the Eat Clean Diet Women's Cycling Team at the Grand Prix of Gatineau. This was a professional race with an elite field and Anne Samplonius, Krista Ruby, Cynthia Wilson-Nelson, and Leigh Hargrove raced awesome! The road race was 100km that the women finished in 2:26 - that's an average speed of over 40 km/hr! I rode in the team's support vehicle with driver Jason Cheney and mechanic Sean Wakefield. Luckily our team had no mechanical issues and the highlight for me was feeding Krista from the car, a first time for both of us. She took up extra bottles to Anne and did a great job filly domestique duties.

Anne, in the picture on the top courtesy of Rob Jones, has been a professional for close to 20 years and she was a great asset to our team. All of the riders on the team were competing in their first professional race, or in Leigh's case, first pro race in 13 years, and the advice and guidance that Anne offered was appreciated. She was very supportive which helped the newbies whose eyes were wide open to learn as much as they possibly could. I can't express just how proud I am of how everyone rode, it was a hot day at over 30 degrees, the speed was smoking fast, the pack was bigger then what the women have been racing in, and I came away from the race motivated and excited to be in the sport again.

My training and racing over the past month has been inconsistent. I raced the Niagara Classic, which is where the picture was taken by Shannon Nesdoly, and the Effingham Hill kicked my butt - I just haven't been training enough to hold my own on a hill this steep. Then I had some good and some really bad performances at the Tuesday night training criteriums. I went in to the St. Lawrence criterium excited to race downtown and with confidence from a good, solid, week of training, only to get whipped by young boys. I had one of the worst rides I've had in a long time that day, I didn't feel like I belonged on a bike at all and old injuries crept up. But after being in Gatineau and watching the women race I was reminded of what it was like to race well, and to have fun at a big race, and was motivated to start training harder and get my fitness back.

Since the week-end in Quebec I have had great rides, and more importantly have really been enjoying my time on the bike - all I want to do is ride and it is feeling good! With summer now officially here I am looking forward to the next few months of hot weather and good riding. See you on the road!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1/2 Ironman prep and hills

I just suddenly realized that I'm only 10 1/2 weeks out from my big race this year, my first 1/2 ironman distance aka 70.3. This is a 1.2 mile (2k) swim, then a 56 mile (90k) bike then a 13.1 mile (21.1k, or 1/2 marathon) run. It's in Vermont, and we're taking our family vacation around it, driving the nine hours or so two days before the event and then staying a few days after at the beautiful-looking Branbury State Park.

I signed up after a dismal Olympic distance triathlon last fall, (my second at that distance) where my bike seemed to be going through quicksand, (the result, I suspect, of a bad tire pump that left me semi-flat) I lost my timing chip and had to look for it in transition (found it after a good 10 minutes of looking), and ended up coming 236 of 251. What, that wasn't challenging enough for me?!?!

That's okay, I've been into the challenge since signing up. But I'm getting a little nervous now. Vermont is hilly. Very hilly. And in preparation for my first 1/2 marathon in May, I stopped doing hills because I was concentrating on increasing my distance. Oops!

So for the next eight weeks or so, I'm going to be doing lots and lots of hill runs and bikes. Luckily there are lots and lots of hills around where I live. I've done a couple of hill workouts lately, and the best was this past Sunday, which I wrote about in my last post on A hilly 2 1/2 k run to the top of a steep hill, ran back and did a bunch of hill repeats on a tough 375m hill, and then home. I'm doing that once a week and adding one more repeat each time I do it.

I represent The Eat-Clean Diet now so I have to make sure I do VERY well in my race!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team Debuts at International UCI Women’s Race

Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team Debuts at International UCI Women’s Race

June 11, 2010 - Leigh Hargrove of The Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team returned to international racing today at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau. Leigh got her start in bike racing in 1991 when her Dad took her to a time trial. She was hooked! Her love for cycling led her to climb up the ladder to becoming one of the best junior cyclists in Canada by 1995 where she won the national road title and placed 14 in the world. As a senior rider she continued to race for the national team until 1997.

After thirteen years away from the sport, Leigh has returned and is still as passionate as ever. She founded the brand new Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team to provide a supportive environment for female competitive cyclists to assist them in taking their riding and racing to the next level, and the UCI (Union Cycliste International) race in Gatineau is the perfect race to do this.

Every race Leigh has competed in this season has her getting closer to the elite rider that she once was, and being on the same start ramp as some of the World’s best female racers today was motivating and encouraging, and helped propel her to a solid finish, completing the 17.7 km time trial in 30:45.

Tomorrow Leigh will be joined in the green Eat-Clean Diet® jerseys by long time professional, national champion, and former silver world medalist in the ITT, Anne Samplonius. Former professional triathlete and long distance national champion Cynthia Wilson, and first year senior Krista Ruby who competed at last year’s track World Championships.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


June 10, 2010 – Gatineau will play host to women cyclists from around the world this upcoming week-end on June 12 and 13th in the 7th edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau. Riders from as close as Ottawa and as far away as Australia will compete in a 17km time trial and a 100km road race and The Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team will be there!

“We are excited to have a race of this caliber in Canada, especially after the cancellations of the races in Montreal” says team founder Leigh Hargrove. “Hopefully this race will continue to grow and become a staple on the international race calendar. The organizers have pulled out all the stops and are keen and dedicated to making this an impressive weekend. There will be over 80 women on the start line – it will be a great show!”

The Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team will be sending a composite team to the Gatineau. Hargrove, a former national team member, is on a comeback after taking 12 years off the bike. After some strong results this season, she is looking forward to the challenge of being back in a pro peloton.

Anne Samplonius, who has a plethora of wins over her career, including several Canadian National Championships, grand tour wins, and a silver medal at the 1994 World Time Trial Championships, will be joining the team for the road race as a guest rider and riding under her Team colours with the Vera Bradley Foundation Cycling team for the time trial. Her experience and expertise are a welcome addition to the team.

Krista Ruby, a member of Canada’s Junior Worlds Track Team last year, joins us as a guest rider from La Bicicletta for the road race and is excited to test her legs in an international field and join the Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team for this race.

Cynthia Wilson, a local from Ottawa and Ride With Rendall cycling team member is coming off an impressive 6th place GC finish at the Killington Stage Race and is excited to be racing in her back yard.

Rounding out the team roster is St. Kitts cyclist Kathryn Bertine. There are few sports this athlete has not competed or participated in, including touring with the Ice Capades, and it was an ESPN assignment that got her into racing her bike full time. The Eat-Clean® Diet Women’s Cycling Team is excited to have such a diverse and colourful group racing on the same team this weekend in Gatineau.

The Eat-Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team is a brand new cycling team devoted to encouraging and supporting women in cycling and creating opportunities for women in cycling. They are supported by The Eat-Clean Diet®, e load™, Hoo-Ha Ride Glide®, Gears Girls Cycling Club, and .

To find out more about the Eat Clean Diet® Women’s Cycling Team log on to Photo L to R: Wendy Morley, Rachel Corradetti, Tosca Reno, Leigh Hargrove, Petrina Tulissi and Mel Crosby.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Running my first 1/2 Marathon

I'm a little late with my Mississauga 1/2 Marathon post, but here you go! My first 1/2 Marathon ever.

The race began at 7:30 am but I got there about 6:30 to make sure I got a parking spot. I would have loved to have had some company, but I didn't, so just wandered around trying to stay warm, stretching, and checking everyone out. There were a lot of people! I had no idea it took so long to get through the start line but I'm sure glad we wear chips so we can see our real running time.

I started out at a comfortable pace at pretty much stayed at the exact same pace (around 6 mph / 10 kph) for the entire thing. Except for the first 5k the course was lovely. Mostly flat or slightly downhill, except for a climb at the 10k mark which I didn't find trying at all. I had prepared myself to get tired and negative at 18k, because that's the longest I'd ever previously run. So at 18k I said to myself "you've got a lot more than that in you!" and picked up my speed a little.

I picked up the pace a little more at 20k and then sprinted past lots of people to finish at 2:07. My goal had been 2:15, so I was happy to say the least. At the finish line the guy you see behind me in this photo came up and told me I was his inspiration through the race. He said to himself "If I can keep up with her I can meet my goal time!" and he did.

All in all a wonderful experience on a beautiful day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stage Two - Time Trial pains

Today's time trial was an event I was looking forward to. Generally when people detest time trials - I love 'em. The Race of Truth as they call it.

Anyhow, today was exciting. The course was challenging. A 10km slightly uphill start followed by 7km of rolling course. The headwind total was out of control on the last 7km. I misjudged my plan, going into the race I wanted to go strong for the first half (leave it all out on the hill) and then hold it steady for the last 7km (which seemed mostly downhill).

The headwind changed everything today - it was all I could do to survive after yesterday's tough effort.

The first part went super fast and before I knew it I was on the flat stretch. This is where I bonked. The headwind just about killed me...

All in all I was tired today. Day 2 of the 3 day stage race. I pushed as hard as I could. I think my time was alright compared to the 17.6km time trial I do with the Oakville Cycling Club.

I am pretty nervous about stage 3 - it looks like there are three 10km climbs. I am excited to be here racing and getting some amazing training in while doing so. Tomorrow's race I will race hard, try to stay with the pack as long as I can and then push hard right to the top of the mountain!

Stay tuned for the grand finale!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stage One - Done!

I probably look a little nervous here - and I was...more nervous than any other race this year. When we drove into Killington last night I was pretty intimidated by the hilly area...I mean - yeikes!

I was also a little nervous about the first 10km of the 30km lap - all downhill followed by a gradual 10km climb to the QOM (Queen of the Mountain Sprint). But, bike was working, body was working - so far, so good!

Here's today's 30km loop climbing profile:

37 women started today - a good sized field for a senior 3/4 women's race. The sky was full of grey clouds that let down a few drops here and there but nothing to cause a fuss over.

The race started off quite calmly - especially for a descent of 10km. Surprisingly a headwind on the way down actually slowed down the pack. There was a lot of chatter going on so I decided to mix things up a little and I launched an attack about 5km into the race. This attack strung out the field but the wind was so nasty that I didn't open up a gap or anything. I humbly slid back into the field and tried to conserve some energy. I truly enjoyed it though - riding in a pack is so exciting...I just love it!

At the bottom of the 10km descent we turned right onto a single lane bridge and into the start of the 10km "gradual climb". Things picked up a bit so I positioned myself nicely in about 10th or 13th spot. The field was pretty good. At one point I thought I was done for when the girl beside me overlapped a wheel and the hit the girl's wheel in front of her. She was able to keep her bike upright and when I commented "nice recovery!" she said "Must have been all that cyclocross I did last fall!"

I had a giggle (or was it a sigh of relief) and proceeded to mash in my 53-tooth big chain ring up this gradual climb.

The 5km mark came, the 1km to go mark came and I blew. Things were going so well - I just came off the back as the pace grew.

Alas - the race was not over - in my mind, it was put PLAN B into action. Chase, chase and go go!

I chased and chased. A girl caught me and we worked together for 10km, echeloning and pulling 10-20sec pulls and then rotating through. With 20km to go we caught three other riders. We then worked as a group of five. I stayed with these girls up the climb (but it hurt!).

The last 10km was excited, these girls were not giving up! They kept pushing the pace. With a kilometre to go I knew we had a sprint on our hands. I drafted a wheel and then jumped with 500 metres to go. I held it until about 200 metres to go and this lady passed me. I had someone on my left and she was inching towards passing me but I nipped her at the line.

I smiled as I crossed the line and this group of five gave each other a floating high five and congratulated each other on finishing.


It was tough - but it was so worth it. Results will be posted later today. Also - lots of Ontario girls out today - Stevens, 7th Groove/Reform and Nanoblur...will let you know how they did too!

Tomorrow's stage is the time trial - my favourite event. 17km of pure pain! The race of truth as they call it... stay tuned!

Killington Stage Race: Pre-race!

A few weeks ago I registered myself for the Killington Stage Race May 29, 30 and 31. I got a lot of strange reactions from people - mostly "Why are you doing that race?"

A lot of the reactions were followed by things like "there is a super killer climb in that race" to "those racers in Vermont are fast!" to "it's a tough, tough race."

I've never done this event. In fact, it was around in the nineties but this is the first year it's come back in ten years!!! Before it used to be a 5-day stage race during the Labour Day weekend - back in the days when Coors Light was racing. (I remember going to this race and watching my Dad do it and gushing over bumping into Roy Knickman and Alex Steida back at the condos while they unloaded their bikes!) I was a big fan and only 12 or 13 at the time...

But even though I didn't race it I knew it was a tough race - just looking at the faces of those riders climbing the final climbs - it looked heinous!

So, I guess I am here for a bunch of reasons:

The first - to challenge myself. The second - to see what happens. The third - for good training.

To be honest, I was a little intimidated at first after the reactions I got. I mean - who I am? I am really in my first season back of racing. I've only got 3 races under my belt this season so far - the Good Friday (DNF), Calabogie (45km - 2nd place) and the Niagara Classic (46km - 15th place) - plus two time trials and 4 mid-week crits. But that's it!

Training has been going very well - considering the balance of life, work, team, writing and important loved ones - I seem to be holding it altogether and adapting to this huge transition of additional miles and time devoted to racing. (And it's been a huge transition I tell you - try racing a Tuesday nighter after 11 hours at work and six hours of sleep!)

Strangely/oddly enough - I was okay that there was going to be three stages:

Stage one: 60km circuit race
Stage two: 17km time trial (mostly up hill I believe!)
Stage three: 100 km road race (1 lap)

I was intimidated again when I finally got my hands on the race technical guide four days before the race. The recommended gearing for this race was a 39x27. Check out the last stage's lap profile for the 100km route. The last 40 km are all slightly uphill!!! Argh...

I started to freak out a little bit - I mean, I don't even have a cassette with that kind of gearing. I made a bunch of phone calls and finally a quick email to my favourite bike shop (GEARS BIKE SHOP) in Mississauga assured me they could help me out and get me all set up. It was true - ordering a cassette like this in a flat-area like Ontario (well, flat compared to Vermont) turned out to be more of a challenge - especially with all of this good weather - supplies are high in demand and low in quantities!

So - despite all these fears and obstacles, somehow I have managed to get myself to Killington, Vermont on Friday May 27 in 9 hours from the Toronto area (left at 8:15 arrived around 5:15 or so...).

I made it to registration. I went grocery shopping with my Mom, we drove the first stage's course and drove home on the final climb for Monday's race. We made my favourite pre-race dinner (Spaghetti!) and got to bed at a decent hour.

I was pretty nervous Friday night - but I was also excited...who knew what the weekend would hold? All I knew was that I was just going to do my best, believe in myself and look to the future. Everything helps you towards your next race...

Stay tuned for stage one's report...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Criteriums were my thing back in the day when I was at the top of my game, I just love them. I love the speed, I love the game, I love the distance, I love cornering, the skill, the technique, the tactics .... A criterium, by definition, is a circuit race on a course that is less than 1 km. It is usually a square, or something that looks similar to a square, but it can also have more than 4 corners and my favourite race had 8 corners and was shaped like an infinity sign with sharp edges, so we would make right and left hand turns. I think the reason I love them so much is that I have some sprint ability and there are so many things to think about during the race that I forget how hard I'm working; need to make it to the front, ok, just do it. Need to catch a wheel, ok, just do it. Feeling good, ok, attack.

Most cities have a weekly crit series for training and I recommend them for everyone. For starters, you will ride much faster than you think you can, secondly it will quickly improve your bike handling skills, thirdly, you will meet new friends and riding partners. Mississauga Midweek Club has a learn to ride series on Monday nights, a kids series on Thursday nights, and on Tuesdays they have two races, the early race for the "slower" riders who average around 36 km/hr, and the "faster" race which goes over 40.

Last night was my first time out to these races in over a year, maybe even two, and my memories of them were that the speeds weren't all that fast, but as I lost fitness I would not be able to adjust to the changes in acceleration - well, last night was a real eye opener for me, and testament to not having stuck to a racing plan - funny how work and travel get in the way. I suffered, got dropped, and felt like a bag of nails had exploded in my lungs. On the plus side, I can only get faster, I have the experience to know what to do, I just need to start working hard, sticking to the plan, and have the confidence and patience to know that my sprint legs will come back. Easier said than done?

Since it is too hard to take pictures while riding at my maximum speed I don't have any, so attached is a picture from Canada Games taken by Murray McComb

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This Spring has gotten off to a great start in meeting a bunch of new women riders and I've had the pleasure of helping with several clinics for beginner riders and cyclists looking to refresh their skills as we head outside and start riding with friends and new groups. I was with the Gears Girls this past Saturday and they did great! They rode through cones, practiced signaling, shoulder checking, and drinking from their bottles while riding. What impressed me most was how well they did in trying to pick up a water bottle that was on the grass while riding their bikes; job well done! As I headed home from the skills session I started questioning the last time I went through these drills and realized that it's been awhile. I have been riding for some 15 years and believe that it is always good to go back to basics, so if you are like me and haven't practiced weaving around water bottles, riding along a painted line with only one hand on the bars while riding in a straight line, riding no hands, picking up water bottles, holding hands with a partner, touching your partners shoulder etc. then I suggest you head out to a quiet residential street and practice, and if you plan to race then practice touching your partners wheel while staying erect. What have you got to lose? It will only help make you a more solid rider, more comfortable, for confident, and when you see me out on the road it means you can wave hello while riding in a solid straight line! See you on the road, Petrina.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I'm thinking of doing a cleanse; anyone out there done a cleanse? I know there are lots of options, the Wild Rose one that clears your system of gluten, the lemon juice and chilly pepper one that seems to last forever and quite frankly sounds scary, the juice cleanse that surprised me by tasting better than expected, and a whole slew of others. The only one I've ever actually followed through on from beginning to end is the Wild Rose one as it doesn't limit calories, follows a lot of the Eat Clean philosophies, and can be quite tasty once you get the hang of the foods you can eat.

This is why I'm thinking of doing a cleanse - energy. I am tired of feeling tired; it might be the grey and rainy days we've been having, it might be the salty snacks I've been eating that are contributing to feeling bloated, but whatever it is, I feel I need to "reboot" and a cleanse is a good way of doing it. I don't believe in them for weight loss, but they do help to cleanse and clear the pallet and help end the bad habits, leading to more focused and smarter eating habits.

So, can anyone recommend a cleanse?

PS: The picture is of me buying Banana Bread in Hawaii last year, not recommended for a cleanse, but it is the only picture I could find on my computer with food in it. I do definitely recommend riding in Maui and a stop at this road side stop for warm, fresh out of the oven Banana Bread. It was very yummy and I carried 3/4 of the loaf in my jersey pocket for over 60 km; may not have looked all that appetizing at the end of the ride, but still tasted great!

Race leaders for Mississauga Marathon

Eat-Clean riders Melina Crosby and Leigh Hargrove will be riding with the lead marathon runner on Sunday, May 16th at the Mississauga Marathon in Ontario this weekend! They will be joined by teammate Wendy Morley who will actually be running the half. Stay tuned for results and Wendy's report soon!

The marathon will have cyclists paving the way for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place runners in order to alert pedestrians of the upcoming racers and to clear a path for the runners during Sunday's event.

It is a great honour for the girls to be riding their bikes in and being involved with such a prestigious event. You may be able to catch Mel who is also volunteering her time in the 10km event on Saturday night for the 1st place woman.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cycling camp story - in the press!

The cycling camp was a success and and was there to cover it. Check out the story here. Photo gallery coming soon!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Eat-Clean in the media! posted a series of photos from this week's mid-week crit - Eat-Clean Diet women's rider Leigh Hargrove was in the mix - image #6 - check it out! Woohoo!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mel's report: Midweek Cycling Club LTR

Midweek Cycling Club Learn to Race Clinic update…1st night

Being the team novice, I knew I had to get some experience under my belt before attempting a real race. So I decided to do the Midweek Cycling Club Learn to Race clinic. I had heard good things about the LTR clinic and knew friends who had done it in the past so I decided to sign up. My first night was awesome!

Overall, it was a big group of men, junior cyclists, and women. But divided up into ability levels, groups were smaller and more easily managed. Our two coaches were amazing and really encouraging. I must admit, I was a bit nervous when we did our initial lap of the course, but I got over that pretty quickly. The coaches took us through the course and showed us how to take the corners.

It was a pretty steep learning curve – can’t say I’ve done a lot of tight cornering at 30+kms/hr, but I felt good. One of the coaches – who’s name I can’t remember…I think Steve – was funny. He was riding next to me for about a lap and a half pointing at the spot he wanted me to ride in – pointing and yelling - getting me closer and closer to the woman in front of me. There was a lot of yelling and pointing for about half a lap, but I got the hang of it. When I finally recovered enough to tell him that it was my first night he laughed and said that he thought I had been there last year. Jumping right into it does help with the learning though.

We worked on cadence, sprinting, out of saddle stuff…all pretty cool. I felt good – really, good. Towards the end of the session we had one big group race – three laps all riding together. All 40 of us started together – the goal was to make your way from the back of the pack to the front of the pack. Of everything, that’s my biggest fear. Riding close front, back, and side to side…all squished together.

I was nervous the first lap, but by the second lap I made my way up about half way in the pack. Getting used to having someone pass by so closely will definitely take work. At one point, one of the coaches was working with someone else and yelled “that’s wide enough to fit a friggin’ house trailer through”. I thought they were talking about my butt; turns out they were talking about the amount of space between me and the rider next to me. Next thing I know, some young kid comes darting between the two of us. I just stared straight ahead and kept reminding myself to stay loose, breath, have fun, no white knuckles, etc.

One of the coaches (Rachel I think), rode next to me and had me get out of the pack and ride up to the front. Amazing how much the wind is blocked when you’re tucked away in the middle of the pack. But I was able to ride up the side and get to the front of the pack. Granted, we weren’t going that fast but it felt pretty cool making it to the front.

We ended the session with another race – this time there were 4 of us in my group. First lap was neutral, second was a race lap with a sprint finish. Once the race lap started, not knowing tactics, I started out on my own; but the coach corrected me and had me draft behind the front rider. It worked well because as we came into the final stretch I still had lots of energy to sprint to the finish and actually win the race. Granted, there were only 4 of us…and none of us were going that fast…but I felt like a rock star.

I had a great time last night and am super excited for next week. I can’t wait to see how I improve over the next 8 or 9 weeks. So cool…so cool!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Leigh: The time trial season begins!

The calm before the storm!

A training plan is important and meeting your daily and weekly and monthly training goals is just as important.

When the weather seems to disagree with your plan this often causes a dilemma. Do I train or not train? Do I go or just stay home and do my workout indoors? Do I skip my workout? Do I risk the weather?

Wednesday night's training called for the Oakville Cycling Club's first time trial event of the 2010 season. A time to go out and do a long, hard effort.

I looked out the window last night and the sky did not look promising. The forecast called for thunder storms and the wind was definitely a blowing.

I emailed the club organizers and they said they were going for it. I decided that perhaps the weather 50km away would be better than the weather in my neighbourhood. It turned out I was right - somewhat - and I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived in Moffat, Ontario to a non-raining environment.

I arrived early enough to chat with club president Robert Narejko and actually sign up for my new club membership with the Oakville Cycling Club. I then had time to realize that my old-school time trials bars no longer work with my new bike set-up so I just got ready to do a "sans aero" time trial! Preparation is everything - it pays to come prepared - in every way. I admit, I wasn't as prepared as I could have been...

I got in a good warm up and headed over to the start line where I took this picture above! The steam was coming of the ground and the sky was turning an odd colour - the calm before the storm! Just as we lined up for the start it started to pour and the first 5 minutes of the race was done in an all-out downpour followed by a pretty wet experience of rain, rain and more rain!

Still - you must focus in a time trial and just do your thing and ignore everything else - focus on the effort. The Oakville CC's course is pretty nice - only four corners (all right-hand turns) and fairly flat with a few rollers on each stretch that mix things up pretty nicely.

Being the first time trial of the season I just wanted to go out and go hard! I kept my heart rate between 180-182 for 32 minutes and I was pretty happy to get my muscles warmed up to a hard continuous effort.

Pretty soon the pain was over and the deed was done - training goal met for the day!

I love the social part of club time trials - after a hard effort you get to chit chat with fellow cyclists and relish in your effort. After tonite's effort we hung out (soaked and somewhat chilled), read over the results, prizes were handed out and the night was over!

It was a good time. Oakville CC will be hosting them twice a month on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Their schedule can be found here and I believe the event is open to members and non-members!

I'm really looking forward to this summer and doing club events and rides with the Gears Girls as well as the Oakville Cycling Club time trials and doing some crits with the Midweek Cycling Club.

The Eat-Clean Diet Women's Cycling Team will be posting stories and blogs all season...stay tuned for more tales from the big ring...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A whirlwind of 2 weeks!- photo essay!

The Eat-Clean Diet Women's Learn to Race/Ride Skills Camp was a success - click here to read more about it! 40 women came together to push their skills a little further and at the same time, met some great potential riding partners as well.

The weekend got off to an early start for the team because we tried to fit out team photoshoot in just before the camp. We met up with photographer Waverly Wyld at 7:30am to get our team shots posted - will have a gallery soon - but below are a few shots from the morning's shoot.

Earlier in the week, Leigh attended a Company of Women seminar on a Winning Attitude. She was one of three athlete panelists who spoke on the correlation between the mindset and skills you need to succeed in sports, and the success factor required to do well in business. The panel spoke about what it takes to succeed in any arena and how to deal with the setbacks that can come along. Leigh was joined by World Champion sabre fighter Donna Saworski and world-class boxer Wendy Broad. Photography provided by Shannon Eckstein.

April 18th saw Petrina and Leigh take a long drive to Calabogie (5hrs) to race on the Calabogie Motorsports race track with the master & senior 3 women's field.

The 10-lap race saw lots of action with tons of jumps and attacks during the 50km race. The course was on a 5.05km closed race track with 23 turns and an elevation change of 20 metres per lap. Leigh took home a 2nd place and Petrina with an 8th place.

You can read Petrina's race report here.

Earlier that week, teammates Wendy Morley and Leigh Hargrove ventured into Caledon, Ontario on April 15th to speak to grade 7 & 8 students about nutrition and goal setting. The seminar, "Tools for Life - Sound Body, Sound Mind" resulted in a school project for the students to develop a vision board for their goals and dreams.

The motivational seminar was given to both boys and girls and Wendy and Leigh were assisted by Bob Knuckey and Taylor Reid.

On April 14 Mel hosted the first Gears Girls "Meet & Greet" of the season.

In the last few weeks, Mel has seen over 45 members sign up for the club this year and e load was on board to give out nutritional samples to the cyclists while they checked out some new casual wear clothing pieces for the club designed by Niko Apparel Systems. (Mel's wearing the club's new Tee!)

She's planning an upcoming clinic for members - more details will be posted on that soon.

April 2 kicked off the season for the team with the Good Friday road race. You can read her race report here. Leigh was able to use the camera from to film the first lap of the race. Footage from that event will be posted on but you can watch the 3-minute trailor below:

April was a busy month for the team, with two races under our belts and a series of events, we're very excited to be reaching out to the cycling community and putting our best foot forward!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 2 Camp Success!

What a crazy great weekend! Day 2 of the women's learn to race/ride skills camp was a success despite the cooler temperatures and wet conditions.

Due to weather conditions, the schedule shifted around slightly to leave the riding to the end of the day so that camp participants wouldn't be sitting around wet and cold all day long. Participants enjoyed a morning seminar on gearing and gear ratios, followed by an inspiring session of goal-setting, training journals and vision boards.

A quick session before lunch gave the team members a chance to talk about the team and the great sponsors that came on board this year. Each camp participant was given a goodie bag filled with some samples and information from each of the team's sponsors.

Lunch came quickly and Momma Hargrove came in with some cold salad conconctions that thrilled campers.

The afternoon saw wheels came off and hands getting dirty. Joined by Oakville Cycling Club President and camp volunteer Rob Narejko, in groups of five or so, the women took their wheels off, pretended they had flat tires and proceded to change their flat tires. This session was the last of in-class prep before the women braved the cool, wet weather and got ready for their group riding drills and skills.

A cold ride saw the women practice their shifting, climbing, group riding and communication skills.

The weekend was a success. A gallery of photos will be posted within the next couple of weeks.


Rumors were heard that a second skills camp closer to the fall might be in the works...we'll keep you posted!

A big thank you to Rob, all team members, Momma Hargrove (and helper Jeff), all our supporting sponsors, and of course, all the brave women that signed up for the camp this weekend! Thank you!!!!!!!

Success: Day One Cycling Camp!

The Eat-Clean Diet® Women's Learn to Race/Ride Skills Camp DAY ONE took place yesterday, April 24 in Oakville, Ontario.

The team started the day off with a team photoshoot crammed into 45 minutes bright and early Saturday morning!

Team rider Tosca Reno kicked off the day with a great discussion about nutrition which unveiled a lot of questions women have about eating, working out and nutrition itself.

Tosca's presentation was followed by team rider Petrina Tulissi's humourous and informative review of bike mechanics and maintenance.

Ladies took a quick break for a lunch - a big shout out goes to Momma Hargrove, who cooked up a storm of eat clean recipes including vegetarian chili, a nice fresh salad and Tosca's Power Balls!

Papa Hargrove and friend Jim Dolson came out and reviewed group riding and ethics, paceline how-tos and even the benefits of drafting and the execution of an echelon.

This was the most amazing group of women to come together! The group of 40 women was divided into two groups - one for group riding and the other for bike handling drills.

Group one, led by Peter and Jim, rode over to the local track (those lines were excellent for keeping everyone straight!) and each group successfully rode a single paceline, a double paceline and an echelon.

Group two got a chance to take off their bike wheels (surprise test by Petrina) and proceeded to review skills necessary for day two's lineup of events.

Day two is Sunday and the agenda includes gearing and shifting, hill climbing, goal setting, time trialling, changing a flat tire, and a review of other resources available to participants...

A big thank you goes out to all team riders for helping coordinate the camp day and being so helpful and informative, even getting up there and teaching! Another big thank you goes out to volunteers Peter Hargrove, Jim Dolson and Phil Preston - thank you for giving up your time and coming out and passing on the love for cycling and teaching what you know! Last but not least, a big thank you to Mom and boyfriend Jeff Fower, lunch was delicious and I can't wait to taste today's medley of food!

Monday, April 19, 2010


I had such a great week-end! After not racing seriously for about 5 years, and having not done a road race in 2 seasons, it was really exciting to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Leigh, her boyfriend Jeff, and I drove the 5 hours to Calabogie for a circuit race on a car race track and it was great!

I liked that my first race of the season involved a road trip and an overnight stay as the packing up of clothing and equipment helped me get more focused about the race, it made the event feel special, and having Leigh to share it with was fantastic. The last time I raced in Ontario I was independent, would travel to races alone, and as much as I like my own time, space, and solitude, it was a bit too lonely for me and lacked the excitement and fun that comes with being part of a team.

Race day morning was chilly, but the sun was out, a welcome sight after driving up in the rain. We did our warm-ups, took to the line with about 20 Master Women, a group of Cat 3s and Junior women, and cadet boys. Our group was about 35 to 40 riders, a pretty good size and I was excited to have lots of places to hide from the wind. Leigh and I the wind. Leigh and I did our "Hoo Ha" cheer to commemorate our sponsor Hoo Ha Ride Glide™ and off we went.

(PLEASE NOTE - If you are interested in ordering the Hoo Ha Ride Glide Chamois cream made for women, 15% of all orders made with the code: EATCLEAN1015 will go back to the team's fund.) Let us know if you do it and try it and what you think!

The women in the group were friendly, rode confidently, and I felt very comfortable in the pack.

There were several attacks by Junior Rider Florence Laplante-Lamarche who showed early on that she was the strongest in the group, but she wasn’t able to get away as the group worked well together. The course has 23 turns and it was easy to get disoriented as to where you were in relation to the finish line and which side you wanted to be on to get the best shelter from the wind.

One of the things I was most proud of was being able to move around in the pack, make my way to the top six before the “hill” where someone would attack almost every time around, and ride between riders to fill “holes”. In the past I have been a bit nervous riding between people when I didn’t know them, but I completely trusted this group, and it felt great to be back in the mix. This also allowed for maximum protection from the wind and save energy.

The other thing I was proud of was my gear choices. Bad habits are hard to break and riding in too heavy a gear is something that I have been known to do in the past, but I kept the gear easier than I would normally and cadence high, so I could “dance” up the rollers and keep my legs feeling fresh – which I think helped, but with only 2 weeks of riding leading in the race after being away for a month for work without a bike, my legs weren’t as strong as I would like. That said, I felt way better than I thought would.

There was confusion with 2 laps to go and for some reason our race was cut short. So with 2 km to go they announced that this would be our last lap and the pace quickened as riders tried to get in to a good position for the finish. I got caught near the back and just couldn’t make up enough ground, then we made the final turn in to the finishing straight and in to the headwind. My “sprinters” legs have yet to show themselves and I lost a lot of placings in the last few hundred meters, which was disappointing, but watching Leigh kick it in to high gear, pass riders, and continue to sprint forward was inspiring.

At the end of the day, Leigh came second in our category and I was 4th – not bad, but there is still a lot of room for improvement and I am looking forward to getting back in to a training routine.

Good Friday video footage

Although my race got cut short I still managed to get some great footage of the Senior 3/Master Women's road race. Jeff, my boyfriend, filmed the ambiance shots!

Check out this great 3 minute video that our sponsor, put together...

The full-length video feature will be up on within a week or so!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Petrina: iPhone ride

Riding with a group is a great way to get faster, improve skills, and enjoy the social aspect of cycling; however, there are times when it is nice to ride on your own. After spending the better part of the past two months off the bike due to travel for work and some beach time I am getting back in to a training schedule, so on Saturday I squeezed in to my tighter than normal fitting bike shorts (did I mention the time away from the bike?), slipped on a jersey and jacket, fastened my helmet, tightened my shoes, put in my ear buds and placed my iPhone in my pocket. I don’t condone exercising with headphones and am well aware of the safety concerns; however, I like the entertainment and am sure to have the volume at a level where I can still hear the cars … plus, for reasons I’ll go on to explain, it motivates me to get out riding.

A few months ago I was with the National Track Cycling team before they went to the World Cup in Beijing and we got to talking about what they listen to before they race. Some answers were expected, elektronica and rap, but some were surprising, Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero”, Pointer Sisters “Jump”, and “Holding Out for a Hero” from Footloose, plus some other great 80’s hits made up the playlists of this group of 20 year olds. I will admit to having some cheesy songs on my pre-race playlist with “I’m so excited” by the Pointer Sisters at the top of the list, but when I am out for a long endurance ride I don’t listen to music at all.

I have several podcasts on my iPhone and have been known to listen to the news or other informative shows while riding, but more often than not, I listen to Comedy. I like CBC’s “Laugh Out Loud”, but my ultimate favourite, and the one that gets me out the door on days I don’t feel like riding is Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café. For those not familiar with this Canadian Gem, he is a humourist, story teller, author, and CBC radio personality. He travels the country, visiting small towns, putting on “concerts”, and entertaining and educating us on the history, character, and personality of these towns that make up our Canadian Identity; but what he is better known for are his tales about “Dave and Morley”.

So on Saturday, I was all kitted up, pressed play on the podcast and started riding. I often wonder what others think of me as they see me riding down the street, huge grin on my face and quite often laughing out loud – Stuart McLean is funny, and better yet, his stories of Dave, Morley and the kids are hysterical. After being away for work the last month, I was excited to catch up on the Vinyl Café episodes I had missed and the first one that came to life was the episode from March 27th about Dave’s friend Ted, the cyclist. It is pretty funny, and I think anyone interested in the sport will also find it funny, you can find the Vinyl Café on iTunes Podcasts, or here is the link from CBC if you are interested on the CBC website.

As I get ready to race next week-end I will be creating a playlist to get me motivated, and help me dig deep as I know the race will hurt. I have not done the preparation that I would have in the past, it is tough to stay on schedule with all the traveling I’ve been doing, but hopefully I’ll get back in to the swing of things and as the season progresses the results will improve. So let me know what you like listening to, maybe there’s a song on your playlist that will do me well!