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Monday, October 15, 2012


A group of elite Nacho athletes is travelling south (in an RV) to Wilmington, South Carolina this week to compete (survive) in a 1/2 Iron distance race called Beach to Battleship. We have resurrected this older blog since some of the postings about our adventure might not all be PG rated.

The race is on Saturday, October 20th and there are 6 Parry Sounders travelling south for the race.

Stay posted to this blog for updates on our adventure - if you dare.

Here are competitor numbers for checking out how well/poorly we do on race day at the following website:


David Bialkowski         840

Chris George               898

Tim Graves                 870

Peter Jones                 878

Gord Lane                   871

Marty Martelle            859

Matt McLean               882


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I was going to write my own race report but I decided that it was much easer to rip off Wendy. So from her blog at www.wendystriathlonworld.blogspot.com

here's a good race report. Gotta do something to fill this blog these days.

Ironman Cozumel!

Ironman Cozumel Race Report
November 28, 2010
Cozumel, Mexico

Well I guess I better get my act together and write some sort of race report. This was Ironman #2 this year and #6 in total. I cannot believe that! Crazy! I was ready to be done for this season and needed to get through this race. I was hoping for another PB. Based on last year, I figured I should have been at least 15-20min faster than IMC but I also knew that I had such an awesome race at IMC that this may be difficult. However, if anything, I wanted and figured I could come in under 12:30.

This time around I travelled with a group of triathletes from the Parry Sound area from the NachoAverage triathlon club and boy did I have a blast! Made some new friends and great memories! We arrived the Wednesday before the race and did the usual packet pickup, registration, short training sessions, and bike and gear bag drop off with some lounging and play time sandwiched in between. Race day finally came and I did my usual morning routine of taking a quick shower to wake me up, drank three high protein chocolate Ensures, half a bowl of oatmeal, a banana, and this time two cups of coffee. Boy was I pretty hyper in the morning! The caffeine really hit me and I was basically bouncing off the walls! LOL!

We were one of the first to arrive at the race site and waited for transition to open up. I loaded up Limey with my bottles and nutrition, took a potty break, and then just hung out with the guys waiting for the race to start. It wasn't until we were waiting on the dock at the swim entrance where I was surrounded by nervous energy that I started to get a bit nervous myself. I just really wanted to get into the water and start swimming.

The dolphin show right before the swim start

Swim: 1:06:21

I had originally planned on taking the same approach to the swim as last year and start close to the shore and avoid the masses. However, when I got in the water it seemed that lots of people heard about the awesome current we got to experience last year and were heading in the same direction. So I made a quick decision change and swam out to the starting buoy as no one was there. I treaded water for a bit waiting for the swim to start and had to continuously swim forward because the current kept pushing me back behind the starting buoy. The horn went off and all ~2200 of us started to swim. I had pretty open water for the start so there was minimal man-handling until I got to the first turnaround buoy. At this buoy I came to a complete halt and stopped swimming. It was sooooo congested it wasn't funny. Seriously, does everyone have to turn right at the buoy? If I could I would have swam wide but I was swimming to the inside of the buoy so I was basically stuck there. A canoe with some race officials were yelling at us not to swim underneath the buoy and other people started to panic. I just wanted out so I grabbed the buoy and somehow pushed my way around it and then started swimming. Unfortunately, there was no magical current this time around. The long leg of the swim was very difficult to sight. I felt like I was zigzagging the whole way. I got to one buoy, looked for the next one and felt like I had to swim way out to try to reach it. The current kept pushing us towards shore. I felt like I was swimming great, my strokes felt great and I felt strong but it felt like it took forever. Got stung by a few jellyfishes which to this day I still have some markings from the stings. Finally made it to the exit steps 10min slower than my swim last year. Ah well!

Link to my Garmin swim stats (prob not very accurate!)

T1: 5:04

It was pretty straight forward in T1. I had no assistance so I just went about putting my bike gear on and spraying myself with sunscreen and off I went to go and grab Limey for the 180km bike ride.

Bike: 6:31:32

I had the same approach for this race as I did for IMC and that was to keep my HR between 140-155bpm. For the first 30min or so my bike computer had a hard time picking up the HR but it eventually did. I felt pretty good for the first loop of the three loop bike course and just maintained my goal HR. However, I made a BIG nutrition error that I do not think I will ever do again! While on the first loop I decided to take what was suppose to be a SIP of my concentrated carbopro/eload bottle. However, for some reason I decided that the mix actually tasted pretty good and I started taking big gulps as though I was drinking water. Well, I guess I did not chase this down with enough water or it was just too much carbs for my poor belly to absorb and I started to really get bloated. This followed with painful stomach cramps and I was unable to stay down in aero and it really hurt to breathe. I was in so much pain that tears were coming out of my eyes. So for most of the second loop I was struggling to keep going. I quickly went from wanting to PB this race to just wanting to finish. I did not know what to do. I first thought drinking more water would help but it just sat in my belly. Then I stopped taking any nutrition whatsoever for about two hours and was trying to wait it out. I even thought about sticking a finger down my throat and try to make myself throw up and then start my nutrition from scratch. My speed went from 29-31kph to 22-24kph. Then I decided to try an Imodium which I was carrying with me. I was hoping one of the guys would catch up to me so I can ask them what to do. I was lost! I then decided to start downing the salts. Not sure what worked but I slowly started feeling better. Maybe it was the redbull I had picked up at special needs. LOL! I had a second super concentrated bottle in special needs which I picked up and then shortly after just chucked it as I wanted nothing to do with it. I went back to my three shot bloks every 20min and taking lots of salt until I ran out of all my salt pills. I was feeling better on the third loop and was passing people that had passed me on the previous loop! Yay! Even though I was feeling better, I started to worry about the run. I wasn't sure how my belly was going to respond to some jostling around. I was hoping to come in under 6:30 but my computer read the course a little long at close to 182km and so I came in just over 6:31. According to my Garmin, the temperature reached a scorching 34C! Yikes!

Link to my Garmin 500 bike stats
Link to my Garmin 310 bike stats

T2: 2:10

Rolled into T2 tentative about starting this run. Handed my bike to a volunteer and quickly switched into my running shoes and grabbed my run stuff. I was also feeling quite dizzy here. Well, I just ignored that and got out of T2 as quick as I could and started the Ironman shuffle.

Run: 4:57:53

Since my race wasn't going as well as I had hoped I started this run in survival mode. I was just going to see what pace I could hold. I really felt the sun and heat when I started the run. It was about 2:30pm or so and it was a scorcher! I had to walk through the first aid station just to take in some water and pour some over myself. I found myself struggling to keep a 7min/km pace but I just kept trotting along. I stopped at every aid station which was every km or so to drink and pour water over myself. I also started my Coke drinking very early, at about 12km into the run. I normally wait til the half way point but I felt I needed it and I wanted it. So began the water/gatorade/coke/salt or the gel/water aid station stops. I saw David when I was on my first loop and I was waiting for him to pass me but I managed to hold him off until I reached the turnaround of the 2nd loop. Hehe! I slowly tried to drop my pace and go a bit faster and also decided that I didn't want to overdo it at the aid stations so I started taking things at every other aid station instead. Then I started to run through some of the aid stations that I was taking stuff from as well. I managed to shut my brain off from any thoughts of pain or despair and kept by brain busy by looking out for the other Nachos. I guess I was in the "zone". Since it was a three loop course and they were a bit spread out, I got to see someone often and yelled out words of encouragement. It was the only time I was able to say anything and it took some extra energy to do so! I was feeling ok during the run and was feeling stronger and just tried to push myself through. I even managed to pass one of the Nachos and gave him a good butt smack! LOL! I surprised myself as to how strong I mentally got. I got down on myself a couple of times because I knew I wasn't keeping the same run pace as I did at IMC but then IMC had better running conditions. I just kept pushing myself and I even managed to negative split the run and still did it in under 5hrs which is always a goal of mine.

Link to my Garmin run stats

Total: 12:43:00

Got to the finishing chute and was a little disappointed when I saw the finish time. I wasn't paying attention to the overall time while I was running so I had no idea where I was in regards to time. I was more disappointed that I was 7min slower than IMC. This time David wasn't at the finish line as he got lost on the way to the condo and missed my finish. But I was thankful I was in pretty good shape when I finished since I usually refuse the med tent regardless of how I feel. I guess I didn't give it my all but I do not know if I could have done more. I'm pretty sure I left it all on the course. I was 26/72 in my AG, 117/460 women, and 804/2248 overall. After talking to the others I felt better about my race and was pleased with what I have done! It was a pretty solid and consistent race for me so I will take it! It is my 2nd fastest IM to date! Ironman #6 is now in the books!

I was happy I got to see the other guys finish! Congrats to all of you! It was a hard day out there and you all came through! And a big thanks to my family and friends for all their support and advise! I greatly appreciate it all!!! Bring on 2011!!! (after a nice long break of course!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Centurion 100 Canada

This past weekend along with Dave Wright, Al Decloe , Alex Hamilton I tackled the Centurion 100 (yeah right) in the town of Blue Mountains.

This was the first organized century ride I have entered, and wasn't too sure what to expect other than well-stocked aid stations. Over 1000 riders rolled out from the village strung out in a huge peleton that must have been close to a kilometer long. Leaving the town in tight formation with music blasting was a great experience. After only a few kilometers the road went sharply up!

With tons of people around and adrenaline pumping, the first climb although long was pretty easy. What followed was a fast, straight descent that had me shitting my pants as i experienced my first ever speed-wobble at 75kph. Not fun. I just rode it out and the slope became more gradual and I was back in control and could breathe again.

From this point Dave & I rode together with a good group and made great time until the 2nd aid station. There was an amazing descent from Rob Roy that was on a twisting road shrouded in the forest. Fun descent but a little scary with all the people around. Once we bottomed out we hit a corner, flew through and right by aid station #1 with no warning. Oh well, we can hit the next one. From here it got pretty flat, then a small climb and then descent into the town of Creemore. Creemore was awesome with lots of people out in the streets cheering. We hit aid station #2 for a bio-break, some food and drink refills too. I removed some of my cold weather gear as I had started out with leg & arm warmers as well as booties but now with the sun out stashed them in my jersey pockets. We seemed to linger at this station a bit long and upon leaving got with another good group of about 5 others and started to make up some time.

The next big climb was upon us and by the top we had got split up. I carried on and got on with a pair of cyclists but we were not able to work that great together and after about 10 mins a big group came flying through with Dave in it so I jumped on to that one. The road was pretty flat now with a bit of small rollers and as we hit aid station 3 I stopped again. As I got out of the toilet I saw that Dave had not stopped as his bike was not in the rack so I thought, 'crap, better get a move on!'. I was now alone as the huge group was thinning out now so for really the first time I went hard for a while and after 10 minutes or so caught up to Dave who was riding solo at this point. Dave was starting to feel it in his legs as he was pushing hard earlier with the group that had caught up with me before.

We rode together for a while, picking up a single straggler on the way. Again I had to stop this time on the side of the road for a piss on a flat stretch of road about 4-5k from the start of the next big climb which was the 'King of the Mountain'. As I got going again there was nobody close by so I had to solo to the bottom of the climb. The road here was dead straight so I could see basically the 5k in front of me to the bottom of the hill and then the entire 4km (or so) climb which went completely straight up a hill. All I was thinking was how smartly I had rode to be ready for this climb but now here the few kms before the hill I am out on my own soloing - d'oh!

I hit the bottom of the climb feeling good just a few seconds behind Dave. I let it all out on the climb and ended up averaging a 174hr for the climb, so a little higher than our Thursday timetrials and took just under 12 mins for the climb and was very happy with that.

The aid station at the top was at the summit of the climb so I stocked up and when Dave came through we rode together again knowing the end was in sight. At this point there were not a ton of riders but we seemed to be making our way through what was left of the field. At about 155k we split up and finish on our own. We were now into a gradual climb that would take us to the top of the escarpment and from there it was all downhill to the finish.

There were still lots of people out on the road supporting the riders and as I hit Ravena the road went left and the hills got shorter but very steep. Soon after I hit the 160k sign and thought "awesome, 8k to go and most of that will be downhill". Problem was that a few km later there was a sign saying 10k to go. WTF?!?!??

Oh, well. Just put the head down and keep climbing. After cresting another summit the road swept around to the right with an amazing view to the left side of the road of Georgian Bay. Definitely no more climbing now! Started the descent to the finish and what an insane descent this was. The road surface was not great and the road snaked down the escarpment to the village. One lane was closed so cars could come up the hill so we were cycling down in the left hand lane. Very scary, I kept it under 70k and each time a car would emerge from around a corner my sphincter would tighten up.

Hit the bottom and started to head into the village thorough what seemed endless access roads and parking lots. Finally the finish! Rolled through looking for Michelle and Angela who had been there over an hour and half already ( and another hour plus to go!!). I heard the announcer and people cheering which was cool, but the people were just a blur. Went to the car, changed and made it back to the finsh just missing Dave come in.

Time for a beer, some food and of course Nachos with the crew.

Great event, well organized, lots of volunteers, tons of police controlling all intersections making it a very safe & fun event.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Website is UP!

Head to the new official Nacho Average Tri Club's website. This will replace the existing blog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cuba 2010

Before our trip to cuba I had scouted out some routes using Google Earth. We were staying on the south coast and I had a ride planned east toward the interior that would be pretty flat and a second ride west and then north into the Escambray Mountain range.

A couple observations about cycling in Cuba in general: Safer than I expected due to the very low volume of car traffic and the fact that Cuban drivers are very aware and deferential toward cyclists. If drivers here had the same attitude toward cyclists, the roads would be much safer.

Feb 11th - Valle de los Ingenios
Started out on a Thursday Morning after assembling my bike the day before. Rolled out of the resort knowing I had to go to Trinidad and then head east on the main (only?) road out of town and that my destination was about 20k east of the city. My assumption was that I would easily be able to find my way to the main road after studying the sattelite maps in Google Earth the week before. The road from the hotel to Trinidad was mainly very good surface but a little worse as you got closer to Trinidad.

Not much car traffic, a vew buses and lots of horse-trailer taxis and bicylces. I hit Trinidad and tried to get my bearings based on my memory of the maps and the bus ride through the day before. Of course I ended up getting lost. This wouldn't be so bad but for the cobblestone streets. There are a couple main roads but most of the town is really coarse cobblestone that has to be close to 400 years old if not older.
Some Trinidad Pics:
Sign in the background "The Fatherland or Death"

Lots of these cars:

I'm sure I looked like a total fred, decked out in bike shorts, jersey and helmet on a tribike while gingerly traversing the cobbles at 5kph while I looked around. At least it was a nice way to see some of the town. I asked a couple people how to get to the main road out of town and finally was able to hit the city limits and head east. It was nice to ride the asphalt again and I was able to get up to touring speed and cruise along the roadway. Saw some interesting sights, nice flowing valleys, not much vegetation and blue sunny skys. I knew that I had close to 20k to go to get to my destination and I would be able to see it well in advance as there is a 50m lookout tower where I was heading. Riding, riding through the county, a few houses, bus shelters and guys on their horses. Finally I saw the Manaca Iznaga lookout tower in the distance and pulled in. After a climb to the top for some beautiful views and pics it was time to head down and back to the resort.

During the ride back because of the layout of the road a bus got behind me and amazingly was super patient and must have waited patiently for 5 minutes trailing me until he found a safe spot to pass. I was very impressed!
The ride back was amazing as I had the fortune of a steady tailwind all the way back.

As I got back to Trinidad I got detoured again as I was unable to take a direct line through town and to the resort. This time it wasn't so bad and now I rolled through avoiding the cobblestones and back on my way to the resort. The last 10k are the worst - flat, windy & boring. Just grass and bogs to either side of you until the last couple kilometers.

Feb 12th - La Boca
Today I thought I would just take a quick tour to La Boca, which looked like a small fishing village from the maps. Less than 10k from the resort so a good way to kill a couple hours looking around. Nice ride there as the road was good and the town was quite interesting, not what I expected. There was a very small hint of tourists but quite a few little shops on the main drag selling rum, cigars & beer. It gave off the impression of sleepy tourist town before getting 'discovered'.
Roadside beach on Ancon Peninsula
One of the nicer homes in La Boca
Beach in the town of La Boca

Feb 13th - Topes de Collantes
The big day arrives! After years of watching le Tour de France and dreaming of riding in the mountains, I would finally have my chance to see (feel!) what it is like. While not the biggest climb, Topes de Collantes is at around 720m elevation gain over around 11k. Sounds manageable. At least thats what I thought. The most difficult hill I had ever climbed before was in Milton - about 70m of elevation gain over around 650m. While its hard, its over pretty fast.

Topes de Collantes starts out with a nice warmup and then it gets crazy with about 450m of elevation gain over 4km (a little over 11% over 4kms with a few stretches that are sick). I had to walk about 4 times. My easiest gear is a 39*25 and man, was i woefully under-geared for this ride!! Since I never have the opportunity to climb, I never even really thought about my gearing until I spoke with Oscar, a worker at the hotel who took an interest in my riding and when I told him I was planning on doing Topes de Collantes, he just leaned over and looked at my cassette, then looked at me and smiled.

The steepness of some of these sections was just ridiculious. It didn't help that there was not much wind and we were getting into the high 20s now. I was really struggling, and I thought I had no shot to get to the summit and was ready to turn around and quit. Just a few moments after I was having these negative thoughts I looked up and saw a lookout point not too far ahead. I decided i would go there and then turn around and go home. I managed to make it there with a combination of riding & walking. Luckily the lookout point had a restaurant & bar and even though it hadn't yet hit 10am it was time for a beer!! After speaking with the barman, he told me that I was above 500m and the next 8km to the summit were not so bad. I decided I would go to the top at that point. As I left the bar, the road immedieatly took a turn down! I mean really down! I descended what seemed 150 meters or more, the whole time cursing knowing I would have to climb that again!! Regardless, I was able to make the rest of the ride to the summit without walking and was treated to some awesome views on the way up and lovely panormas at the top.

The return trip was pure white knuckle descending even though I was trying to keep it below 40! The roads were pretty terrible. Its either poured concrete sections with nice gaps between them or asphalt that has all kinds of waves in it that threaten to launch you off the road. It was an exciting trip back until I passed Trinidad, then those boring 10k fighting the wind to the hotel.

Pics from the day's ride:
The Cultural Centre in Topes de Collantes. Music was pumping!

I was suprised to see a pine forest near the top!
Rest up before the assault on the summit!
The climb from above
Farmstead with some veggies for sale
Made it to the top and now i'm sportin' wood for some reason!
Yeah, I don't know what the deal is here....
Lots of bees

All in all, I felt great about the riding and really enjoyed myself. I got to see parts of the country you miss from a tour bus, and do it on the cheap. Spent probably $5 over the two days of riding and kept the rubber side down with no mechanical issues.

A few days after this ride I overheard some talk in the lobby of a bicycle race. Turns out there is a tour de Cuba and one of the stages finishes at the top of Topes de Collantes! 3 Days after I rode it!!!! Dammit if I would have known that a couple days earlier!!

Anyhow, a link to coverage of that stage:

And how the pros do it!!
This climb is no joke!!

One thing though as it relates to Cozumel. The wind along the coast is just obscene. I am sure its similar in Cozumel so I am going to be prepared to many kilometers of fighting a ridiculous headwind.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nature Journal Article on Barefoot Running

People who run long distances without shoes cushion the blow with their gait.
Lizzie Buchen

Barefoot runners may naturally cushion the impact of hitting the ground by landing on the balls of their feet.Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Barefoot endurance runners may have a more cushioned ride than most people who run in shoes, according to a biomechanical analysis.

Lieberman, D. E. et al. Nature 463, 531-536 (2010).
Bramble, D. M. & Lieberman, D. E. Nature 432, 345-352 (2004).

To read article:

Video about research: