Sunday, 21 July 2013


It has been WAAAYYYY too long since I wrote about my training and racing... since February 2nd to be exact.  That is almost 6 months ago, time to get back on the wagon!

I have been so busy these past few months juggling school, work, training, racing, social life, family, etc. The list goes on. I am not the only person in the world who deals with these difficulties, frankly, I would guess that any long course endurance athlete falls victim to time management nightmares. I believe that is one of the best traits of most successful endurance athletes - organization.

In the past six months, I have raced 5 times.  These 5 times have been nothing but my best efforts.  I have had 3 podium finishes (2 x 1st place, 1 x 2nd place), eighth place in a fun run, and I experienced my first DNF at the marathon. Thus far, this season has been a great learning curve and I cannot wait for the finale of my season - Muskoka 70.3.

Steve Crossman, a fellow triathlete from afar, introduced me to the 'mecca' of all training places in the Ottawa region - Gatineau Park. I have been there 3 times in the past two weeks because it is one of the most amazing (and excruciatingly painful) persistent hill climbs.  It is the best place to train for a hilly course (Muskoka being one of those hilly buggers).  The best part is that every time I go I get a little faster, a little stronger, and more confident.

That's all for now; trying to keep it short for now so I continue to write. I have tonnes of training and eating to do!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tour Of Sufferlandria - Complete

The past nine days has come to an end and trust me - my legs are the happiest they have been since 2 weeks ago.  They were screaming in pain today but I managed to pull through.  Each day I would wake up stiff and not able to move like I used to be able to. When I started to spin before each workout, it took progressively longer for my legs to wake up.  However, today seemed easy as I had one thing in mind - one more video and I am done.  Below is the last 4 stages of the Tour:

Stage 6 - The Wretched + The Long Scream

Stage 7 - The Downward Spiral

Stage 8 - There Is No Try + Revolver

Stage 9 - Local Hero

The Tour Of Sufferlandria was the first of its kind, and I really hope it is not the last.  I had the greatest time these past nine days.  The commitment to complete such a tour took a lot of convincing some days.  It was really tough, but I knew it would pay off in the end.  From the original 1024 registered riders, only ~530 riders remained on the final day.  A drop of just less than 50% of the total riders completed this event - demonstrating just how tough the tour was.  
 If anything at all, I can successfully say I came out of Sufferlandria alive.  Here is a summary of the past week:
  • Total Distance: 390km
  • Average Power: 330 Watts
  • Total TSS: 1150
  • Total Calories burned: 11 942 cal

But that is not all, here is a list of my new personal records I set throughout the torture:
  • 20 Minute Record: 363 Watts
  • 30 Second Record: 591 Watts
  • 20 Second Record: 636 Watts
  • 10 Second Record: 661 Watts
  • 5 Second Record: 702 Watts
Finally, a big thank you goes out to TrainerRoads and David, the creator of The Sufferfest Video Series, for putting out an amazing contest.  I know it has been a blast and I will register for any upcoming tours.  Also, congratulations to all the fellow riders who took this tour on, we all know exactly how to suffer.  

Keep a lookout for the grand prize winners - hope I get something good! 

Click here to see more about the Tour of Sufferlandria.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Tour Of Sufferlandria - Stage 3-5

A lot has happened these past few days regarding my venture of the Tour of Sufferlandria.  Firstly, 3 stages have gone by and my legs are killing.  I honestly think a musician could supplement my hamstrings for a guitar.  Nevertheless, each leg of the race truly shows me just how strong I am mentally and physically.  I have pushed past barriers like never before.  Here are the recaps of the past 3 stages.

Stage 3 - Extra Shot & Fight Club

I have never done either of these videos... and there is a reason for that.  Extra Shot was created as an addition to any Sufferfest video.  If by the time you finish one of their 11 other videos and you still have some gas in the tank, then you tag this on after.  The reason - pure suffering.

After I pushed myself through this 20 minute interval, I began my first attempt at Fight Club.  

What is the first rule of Fight Club?

1st RULE:You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If someone says "stop" or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight.
5th RULE: One fight at a time.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.

All rules applied to this race except rule 6. True suffering.

Stage 4 - A Very Dark Place

This is by far the eeriest video I have ever succumbed to doing.  Throughout the painful climbs, this demonic voice laughs, and at the right times. I will be suffering beyond belief and this cackle will begin in the background.  To the creators of this video - congratulations.  I quite literally feel like I must push forward in order to get away from the psychopath.  I also pushed 4 new personal bests - one being a new 5 second record of 703 Watts.

Stage 5 - Angels

The title of this video makes one think that it is an easy ride.  What can be painful from angels? Right? Wrong.  The name is foreshadowing of how much pain you'll endure.  You will be broken time and time again until you start to see angels guiding you to the light.  This workout made me really second guess this tour and why I am suffering day after day.  To prove I can.  The last interval of this workout is up one of the most iconic hills on cycling - Alpe d'Huez with the last 20 seconds being an all out sprint.

I am over the hump and 4 more days of suffering.  In total, 6 more videos... which means the next two days are back to back videos.  

Shut up legs.  Pain is relative.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tour Of Sufferlandria - Stage 2

The dogs were set loose and they had one mission, to hunt me down.  Today, I pushed through adversity and showed those howling dogs who was their master.  If you have absolutely no clue what I am talking about, then you have never tried The Sufferfest Video - The Hunted.

It is a great workout with two intervals; 20 minutes at FTP with some bursts followed by 10 minutes at just below FTP (somewhat sweet-spot) with 5 progressively longer sprints to finish it off.  Lets put it like this, my legs were screaming the whole way.

My favorite part of the video is when you are climbing one of the hills and a prompt comes on screen saying "Lance looks like he is in some trouble." If Lance is in trouble, then the average rider will be tearing in agony.

Throughout the video, whenever the chase pack gains closer on you, the audio cuts out and you hear dogs howling.  This is a simple video/audio editing trick, however it makes you truly switch into high gear and keep pushing up those dreadful climbs.

Day 2 is complete, and I have still maintained my intensity at 100%.  Heck, I have even set some personal bests for 20 minute average powers.  New PB is an average of 363 Watts.  That is going to be tough to beat...

Tomorrow - 2 workouts. 2x the pain.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tour Of Sufferlandria - Stage 1

The first leg of the online cycling tour, the Tour of Sufferlandria, started with one of their longest videos - Hell Hath No Fury.  Let me put it like this, they are right.  This video pretty much takes you to the gates of hell and back twice.  The two 20 minute intervals that are full of bursts and never dip down past your FTP truly make you question your insanity.  Not to mention, the video is a montage of professional womens cycling races so it makes the most macho of men feel like wimps.

Needless to say, I have completed stage 1 of the Tour with keeping my intensity at 100%.  My goal for the next 9 (now 8) is to keep the intensity at 100% and not drop it at all.  I know this will be a killer around day 5, but I have made this my goal.  Hopefully my legs do not fail me early...

Here is the graph of my ride to hell and back:

Tomorrow - Stage 2 - The Hunted.  I believe Lance Armstrong makes an appearance...

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tour of Sufferlandria

If you have followed my blog in the past few months (which has not had that much activity) I have become insanely passionate about the Sufferfest cycling videos and its incorporation into TrainerRoads.  Well, they have once again cured my itch for more with:

The Tour of Sufferlandria
The worlds toughest indoor cycling tour

What is the tour?  Nine days of hell starting on January 26th, 2013.  Over the 9 days through Sufferlandria, one will perform 12 of The Sufferfest Videos.  What makes this worth the torture is that if you have the TrainerRoads Software, you are eligible for prizes including an iPad mini!  Not a bad way to get some training in in my opinion...

For more information and to register, click here.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Free Swimming Workouts

Before I introduce this - I want to confirm that I am not one to give any advice on swimming besides the fact that one should practice, practice, practice.  I was not born to be a fish, nor will I advocate proper swimming technique as I have never had one-on-one professional help, however have gained lots of quality education from the competitive swimmers apart of the University of Ottawa Triathlon Club.  Without them, I would have been swimming countless hours of freestyle without implementing drill work.  Thanks to all of you!

If you are like me, you show up to the pool and decide your workout right there on the spot.  You might not even have an idea on how to structure a swim workout.  Don't worry, everyone has to start somewhere (even me).  So, I bring to you my finding of the day: 100 Free Swimming Workouts.

This website is super easy to navigate and takes no time to find a workout suited to your needs.  The workouts are categorized into 5 groups: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, One Mile, and Open Water Preparation.  Furthermore, each workout is described by its primary goal and the total amount of yards are given in the last column.  Head on over to the website to find out more.  It takes the guesswork out of swim training - for free.