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