Resetting for 2020

Triathletes are often goal oriented, type A go getters.  2020 has presented a challenging year and while some things are returning to normal others are still on hold.  Why train?  What are goals in 2020?  These questions and many like it are proving to be more difficult to answer than ever before.

Its July, we have made it past the halfway mark.  For me personally this is a check point on my mindset from New Year’s 2020.  Each new year for the past 4 years, I have participated in choosing a theme word for my year.  In the past I have chosen words like commitment and growth.  For 2020 I found myself inspired after listening to Simon Whitfield talk back in November.  Simon was talking about how he finds motivation and how he tries to inspire motivation as he coaches his kids cross country team.  There was some discussion in the group around fun in workouts but Simon said he doesn’t like that.  He said no one goes out and does 1K hard repeats for fun, it sucks.  He went on to explain that while is not fun, it is satisfying.  At the end of that workout, he said you feel good about yourself.

I choose satisfaction for my theme word for 2020.  Back in January I wrote about what this means to me.  Now in July I re-visit this journal entry.  I was surprised and grateful to see how much this word still works in the pandemic.  I hope by sharing this theme, you can find satisfaction this season.

Satisfaction is formally defined as the fulfilment of one wishes, needs and dreams.  Let’s be honest for 2020 no one got their wishes or dreams fulfilled.  BUT as a theme word, it has to apply every day.  That is the rule of theme words.  Themes aren’t goals for the year that only pay out when done.  They need to be in place all the time.  So when I step away from the big picture and define satisfaction daily, it works even in 2020.  It is the very thing Simon was trying to communicate.

Satisfaction as a theme is the simple joy that comes when we push.  It is the mindset that sweat makes you sparkle, it’s runner high.  When the time comes to train or watch Netflix, I ask will I feel satisfied that I trained?  Will I feel satisfied with my binging?  The answer is always training.  There is no such thing as a Netflix high, its really more of a stupor.  There is 100% such a thing as the post training high.  The pandemic made it easy to forget the joy of that post training high but it did not stop it from showing up if I showed up for it.

Satisfaction as a theme is amplified by TCoB.  The high from training only gets better when we can all do it together.  There is an energy that fills the air when we get together.  Last week at the brick you could feel it with every breath, at the swim seeing other swim buoys out and about made me so glad I could be there and I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me “I always go faster on Friday morning interval then when I am alone”.  Just seeing others push for their satisfaction is satisfying.

The most powerful thing about satisfaction as a daily theme is that it is internal.  Nothing can take it away.  Me, the individual, has control to see it, feel it and go get it.  Sometimes I feel satisfied that I got out of bed and did the workout, other times I feel satisfied that I was on fire on that workout.  I get to choose the satisfaction for where I am each day and each day it helps move forward a little more.

COVID-19 Season Kick Off

2020’s season starts Monday and as excited as we were to offer a new schedule with more lake swimming for now we will be training individually but not alone.  We have revised the focus of the workouts planned for May and June based on the upheaval from Covid-19 and in awareness that there are no races in the near future.

This is a great opportunity to increase base training. Remember the slow steady gains made through
base training are longer lasting and less susceptible to atrophy or detraining. There is however a case
that can be made for some intensity work. The workouts laid out are built with assumption that the
present physical distancing environment will remain until the end of June. If this changes the workout
focus will also change. Stay fit, say strong and stay positive!

Monday & Wednesday Strength
The program will assume you have NO equipment other than a mat, your body weight and some odds
and sods of normal life around the house/back yard
Tuesday Brick
The goals of the brick workouts are 4 fold
1) Obviously to increase your bike/run and cardio fitness
2) To do some intensity work to push your threshold and indeed your pain threshold a little higher
3) To get your body accustom to changing from a bike dynamic to a run dynamic quickly
4) To fill up time since we all need some structure in this environment
Thursday Track
This is definitely an exception to the objectives noted above. This will be an intensity based workout
(much like Friday’s bike workout). Remember this needs to be quick but not so you feel like throwing up
after each interval or set. This should be zone 4 work or keeps you somewhat short of breath. Ideally if
you were in the midst of an interval you should be able to get out a few words to the folks working out
around you – but not so hard you feel you are hyperventilating and unable to catch your breath.
Friday Bike intervals
As noted for the workout on Thursday, knowing the intensity is key. With cycling there may be a little
more muscle specific fatigue (i.e. your legs will be sore) rather than central fatigue (breathing and heart
rate). But you may be lucky enough to experience both 😉
NOTE: the workouts specified assume a warm up of your own design. It should be sport specific, very
slow to begin with and move towards a few more intense spurts. The entire warm up last 5-10 minutes
Train on!

Every week the suggested workouts will be laid out for members in Team Snap.  Photos of training are encouraged on Facebook and Instagram.

How do records fall?

Over time world records in swimming have improved, swimmers are getting faster.  What is their secret?  The answer is likely a combination of many things from improved nutrition, training methods and technology.  A brief look at the 100 m free record tells this story.

Right away one can see that quite a few times swimmers got a lot better all of sudden.  It was 1924 when the 100 m race was first done in a 50 m pool with marked lanes.  FINA states the “Modern Era of Swimming” began in 1957 as conditions were “most” like today.

We will review the 3 biggest changes in the 100 m record since then.

It was just a year earlier at the Melbourne 1956 Olympics that the flip turn was introduced.  Previously swimmers would touch and go with their hands then to their feet pushing off the wall.  This is the first dramatic drop in the record.  Consider now that there is only one turn in the 100 m, it is a lot of improvement.  Now compound the race advantage into a training advantage.  Flip turns would also allow more distance covered in each pool training session.  Every practice just became more effective by doing flip turns.

Further drops in the record can be attributed to technology.  Advances such as electronic timing, standardized diving blocks, changes in lanes ropes and even optimization of pool temperatures.  The largest drop in 1976 is attributed to pool technology.  Gutters became part of pools allowing water to splash over the edge and be collected back into the pool.  Previously waves would hit the edge of the pool and splash back into the pool.  Gutters greatly reduced turbulence from the race letting swimmers swim even better.

The drop of 2008 is a bit of a blip.  As this drop is attributed to a technology allowed and then later banned.  In 2008 full body “shark skin” suits were worn.  Speedo had developed their LZR suits and they were fast.  So fast in fact that 98% of the Olympic field wore Speedo’s suit even those athletes sponsored by competitor brands.  The specialized material is still allowed but now swimmers are limited on thickness and how much of their body can be covered.

As a triathlete what can be learned here?  We don’t do flip turns in races, there are no walls.  We can’t use technology to calm to the lake or ocean of the open water.  We wear wetsuits not shark skin.  However there is a lot to still to take away.

We may race in open water but we certainly train in pools.  These pool sessions can benefit greatly from using flip turns.  They allow triathletes to work through each wall.  Without an efficient turnover at the wall every wall becomes a little break where we recover in a way that is not going to happen in the open water.  Flip turns help our pool sessions better mimic the continuous nature of an open water swim.

The calmer water of well-designed pools provides us an opportunity beyond our control in open water.  Absolutely the triathlete needs to develop an ability to deal with turbulent water.  However swimming is a highly technical sport.  Proper stroke execution is equally as important as building fitness.  A calm pool provides opportunity for drills and technical work so the triathlete can become a more efficient swimmer.

We may not be able to wear shark skin but wetsuits are a close second place.  Triathlon wetsuits help us become better swimmers.  Most notably wetsuits increase our buoyancy and correct our body position.  In a wetsuit an OK swimmer becomes a great swimmer.  Come race day triathletes may be mandated to wear wetsuits, or no wetsuits or optional wetsuits.  Triathlete should know their wetsuit advantage.  If the advantage is big, cold water races may be advantageous.  Optional races might be worth the wetsuit advantage despite the time lost in getting it off in transition.  Triathletes benefit greatly from knowing the impact of a wetsuit on their swim.

Other random fact learned in researching this article –

Benjamin Franklin invented the swim fins.

At one time you did not have to surface for breaststroke and swimmers would complete near all the 200 m underwater with many passing out due to oxygen deprivation.

The butterfly stroke was developed after Japanese swimmers perfected the out of the water recovery technique as part of their breast stroke.  Swimmer still use butterbreast as a drill to improve both butterfly and breaststroke technique.

The Untold Story of a bike

A special thank you and congrats to past club member Paul Goodrow for sharing his poetry with us.

Trekky’s Tale

We all ride bikes. And we’ve been to bike shops where we examine the merchandise. 
We inspect, we question, we judge. We want a fast bike. We want the perfect bike!
But is ours the only story? Is there another untold tale?

You bet there is!
And I’ll tell you the real story.

My friends call me Trekky.
Me and all my friends, we’re all bikes.
Yeah, I’m a bike.
A fast bike…
really fast bike.
But I’m jumpin’ ahead.

It all started one day at the bike shop
A pretty cool bike shop
Nothin’ but serious bikes for serious riders,
Ya know what I mean.

So there’s me and Felty and Canon and Cervo
And all the other bikes on the floor –
Ya gotta know we spend all our time lookin’ you guys over when you come in.
Ya don’t think we do to you what you do to us?

And you should hear what we say aboutcha!!
See, we’re lookin’ for the perfect rider
You know – young, fit and strong.
Someone who can make us do what we were made to do.

So one day this older guy –  lotsa snow on the roof – starts snoopin’ around.
We’re like “Whoa grandpa, you lost?
Can’t find Canadian Tire?”
Then –my  horror – he picks me out!

Our sales guy’s starts tellin’ him all my good stuff,
Like how light and aero I am,
Great on hills and in the wind,
“Ok, I’ll take it” he says.
And I’m like “S**t, my life is over …
And it ain’t even started”.

My so-called friends are all ”Yo, Trekky,
You’ll look great with a basket”
“Watch out Trekky, he’ll crash and turn you into a walker”.
“At least you’ll be the fastest walker at the home!”
Yeah, real funny guys.

Next day my guy takes me out for a spin,
To get used to my feel he says.
I’m like “Please don’t tip me over.
Don’t crash me.
Please, please, please”.

Then – my surprise – he starts to ride me like he almost knows what he’s doin’…
Shifts my gears kinda smooth,
Doesn’t grind me
Clips out at stops,
Handles me okay.

Soon we’re out with other bikes.
Real good looking bikes too…with young and fit and strong riders.
They all look fast.

But I’m still “Why me?”
“We’re gonna get dropped like last period French”.
And again -my surprise – we keep up.
I mean we seriously keep up.
This SO doesn’t suck!

The season goes on and we go out on lotsa rides,
Sometimes with other bikes,
Sometimes it’s just us.
And the more we’re together, the more I realize…
Maybe I got my first impression all wrong.

My guy just loves to ride!
It must be the release –
You know, the feelin’ of gettin’ away from it all for awhile.
I heard him say one time I “take him to freedom and beyond!”

Maybe it’s just the country air…
And sense of motion.
Or the honesty and the purity of it all.
You know we can’t go nowhere where he don’t make it happen…
I mean with real, actual effort,
Not just pressin’ his big toe on a gas pedal.

And how he loves all the speed I can give him.
And the danger!
The more the one, the more the thrill of the other.
If you ask me, I think he’s addicted!

One day we’re doin’ hill repeats.
I’m takin’ him up just like I’m supposed to,
And he’s resting goin’ down, just like he’s supposed to.
Then I hear him say to the guys
“I’m going to open it up on the descent.
See how fast we can get it going”.
I’m like “you sure?”
Cause I know how fast we can get me goin’.
And it ain’t called Snake Road for nothin’!

So we approach the first turn and I’m “oh s**t,
We’re goin’ into the guard rail.
But he leans a little more and he keeps me just on the edge of the road.
I’m sweatin’ the oil off my chain!!

Then he heads to the centre line for the next turn,
Takes me to high gear, and then really leans.
If he so much as looks at my brakes,
We’re down and I’m scrap.
But he keeps peddling.
Every turn, we’re Right…On…The…Edge!
I’m thinkin’ either he knows what he’s doin’,
Or he’s freakin’ crazy.

We make it to the bottom and he starts screaming
“Yes, yes, yes”.
I know how fast we’re doin’ and decide
Yeah, he’s a little bit freakin’ crazy.

So he decides to enter a race.
It’s one of those deals where he swims a bit,
Then we ride for a bit,
And then he takes off by himself and runs for a bit.
(I know, don’t ask!!!).

Anyway, we’re into the bike part and I know he’s goin’ to give it all he’s got.
But we’ve never been in a race,
So I don’t know what he’s really got.
I shouldn’ta been worried.

As soon as I feel him get loose, he puts the hammer down.
I can’t tell you how much fun it is passing other bikes.
We even pull up to Cervo from the bike shop…
And then blow right by.
All I got time to shout  “Who needs a basket now?”

Well, it’s been a whole season
And I’ve been thinkin’ about how we started..
And what we’ve done together.
And what I’ve learned.

You know, you just can’t tell by lookin’ how much heart someone’s got.
Or what kind of an engine they’ve got.
Or how much kid is still left inside.

What I’m sayin’ is..
I’m real glad my guy picked me in the shop.
I used to say “I was meant for this”.
But now I know it’s “we were meant for this!!!”

You can find more of Paul’s work at:

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report 2018 by Roger Barker


I decided several years ago that I would compete in the 2018 Mont Tremblant Ironman, this race because I heard good things about the race, it is driving distance from home, and this year because I age-up, and at my age (75) it is a significant advantage to be one of the youngest athletes. I had entered IMMT in 2016 in order to reduce the time interval between my last IM, Austria in 2014, and the next. In training for this event I suffered a hamstring injury just weeks before the 2016 race and went as a spectator, not as an athlete. I also decided that 2018 was to be the last year of ironman for me and, with that in mind, I hired my first coach, Greg Pace. In my previous 7 ironman races, my runs had been inconsistent, some good and some poor, which I attributed partly to sub-optimal pacing on the bike; in order to improve my bike pacing and training I invested in my first power meter, a Garmin Vector 2S.



Training went well. Several of my Toronto running friends made the effort to come and support both me and another Toronto friend, Martha doing her first ironman. My daughter, husband and 3 grandkids aged 12, 10 and 7 also came, which was really neat, plus coach Greg and several other Tri Club of Burlington members were competing. My wife Mary and I drove to MT on the Thursday before the race, got settled in the condo and rode most of the way up the chemin duplessis hills; they were even steeper than I remembered from a training weekend back in 2012! Friday I registered and did the Expo thing in foul wet weather. Saturday the weather was good and the forecast for race day Sunday was good. There were only 3 of us in our age group, Graeme, Howard and myself. Greg, Mary and others had all of us plugged into Athlete Tracker so that they could update me on our relative positions as my goal was to win the age group and qualify for Kona.



Thankfully the water temperature was in the wetsuit allowable range for age-groupers, but not for the pros. Race day was fine, except for fog over the lake. At times only one buoy was visible from shore, at other times a few were visible. The start was delayed by about an hour, and then they decided to start and get everyone in the water by 8am. This resulted in more congestion than normal and we subsequently talked to 2 athletes who suffered concussions from being kicked in the head; one was unable to continue. As one of the slowest swimmers, self-seeded as 1:40 to 1:50 estimated time, I missed the worst of the congestion, but couldn’t see buoys 2 through 4 at all – I just followed the feet of other swimmers. It gradually cleared with buoy 5 and visibility after that improved rapidly. I wasn’t very successful at drafting, but I had a comfortable swim in 1hr 47 min 59 sec, not my best but OK for me. As I jogged to Transition, Greg told me that Graeme was 30 minutes ahead; this was not a surprise or concern as I knew that he was a good swimmer but usually slower than me on the run. Transition 1 was longer than it should have been, 11:32, partly because I picked up the wrong numbered bag, then repacked it and exchanged it for the correct one! I also forgot to look for the volunteer with sunscreen so set off on the bike with no sunscreen.



I set off conservatively, trying to stay within my targeted wattage zones. The sun came out and the temperature climbed to 27 C, warmer than ideal but not nearly as hot as many of our training days. There was a slight tailwind heading north on Rte 117, it seemed to be a stronger head wind coming back! It was great to see all the family and friends at the end of the first loop. The hills were tough, even tougher on the second loop and I wished that I had invested in an 11-30 or 11-32 cassette instead of my 11-28, to reduce the wattage on the steep bits. I was standing up on my pedals and was way above the wattages that Greg had recommended. Several riders were walking the steep bits on the second loop.

I was happy to finish the bike in 7hr 22min, 57 sec and was very happy to learn from Mary that Graeme’s lead was only 15 minutes. T2 was an OK 7:00, I prefer to run in running shorts, and the extra time to get out of my bike shorts is well worth it.



It is always a relief for me to get off the bike and run, as running is my strength, but my legs were trashed from those damn hills on duplessis. I walked with Greg for a while, who confirmed the gap to Graeme and gave a description of him to help me spot him. Greg also told me that Howard had dropped out after one lap of the bike. My legs were cramping a little, so I took a couple of the sachets of mustard I carry just in case. I tried to walk just the hills and run the flats and downhills, but there was a lot more walking than planned. I wasn’t too worried and was confident that Graeme was also walking. This was confirmed when I spotted him at about 10K close to the turn-around on the petit train du nord trail. I caught and passed him at about 13K; we chatted briefly and I made my best effort to open the gap between us decisively and not look back! It was great to see the grandkids on their bikes in the village and the message they recorded on the Telus big screen. My pace improved a little on the second loop of the run as it cooled down in the dark and the biggest challenge was seeing the edge of the trail in the dark. Mary ran the last 500m with me, then peeled off before Mike Reilly told me that I was an Ironman and everyone else that I was 75 years old. My run was my worst-ever time of 5hr 26min 24 sec, but I was happy with my overall time of 14hr 55 min 49 sec. Graeme finished in 15:38:31.



Former TCOB athlete Helene Desrosiers gave me my finisher tee shirt and cap, and I made the mistake of taking a beer instead of chocolate milk in the food tent; I waited for my Toronto friend Martha to finish, just minutes after me. We hugged, grabbed some food and sat down. Needing a pee, I got up and almost immediately felt dizzy; another athlete asked if I was alright, then sat me down and got the medics to take care of me. They were great, ascertained that my blood pressure was low  (69/38) and blood sugar was low, so gave me hot chicken broth, a dextrose tablet and apple juice and wrapped me up in a hot blanket. After an hour, or 90 minutes, I was released to Mary’s care and she went to fetch the car and pick me up. I was fine and slept well.

I think that I didn’t take enough nutrition late on the run – I was fed up with gels, and didn’t think that I could digest orange or apple segments, so was drinking flat cola, even my first ever Red Bull. Otherwise my nutrition worked well and I took about 8 or 10 (250mg) salt tablets combined on the bike and run.


Awards brunch:

I always enjoy the Awards banquet. It was great that Canadian Cody Beals was the winning male pro in his first Ironman race, with Lionel Sanders second. Beals gave a good speech, partly in French, very humble and giving a lot of credit to training partner Sanders. I was able to have a nice chat with Graeme while we were waiting in line for our awards. He told me that he would have turned down the Kona spot (which I took); his main reason for racing IMMT was that his son was also racing. So now I get to do it all over again in Hawaii in 8 weeks!


Rotterdam Race Report by Paul Allingham

Well my daughter Tara and I finished the race fine.  I did a report on Facebook but many of the addressees to this email don’t follow that so another report here.  Here is Tara’s race report.
Dad….you were actually 16th in your age group coming out of the water! Too bad about all of the bike issues/cable/2 flats….as you would’ve probably finished up in the top 20.
Glad I am carrying on the Allingham tradition.  Out of 78, I was actually 60th in the swim, and by far my best event.   Even running a 26:21 which took every last ounce and my best run ever even just on 5k runs without any other stuff in front of it, my run was still 67th in the pack.   Now, lets not discuss the bike ride.  I may as well have had a basket with flowers on it, and touring handlebars….at 46 mins, I was 73rd.  But the worst part for me, was the transitions.  Couldn’t get my bike gloves on cause my hands were so cold, so I threw them in the bag and didn’t wear them, but the farting around probably cost me 30 seconds, plus getting my bike shoes stuck in the mud on the way out and couldn’t clip in not great.   But I definitely lost 2.5whole minutes at least trying to find my spot to re-rack the bike afterwards, and had to get an official to help me read the chronologically challenging numbers.  Duh.
I would’ve been about 67th without all that nonsense…but overall a solid swim and run.
My report will be shorter.  The day was the best of the week.  No rain and little wind and 16C which was the same temp as the water.  A bit cool on the hands but fine.  I was very happy with my race despite the 8 min lost riding a flat for 8K and being quite tired from pushing so hard riding the flat.  So a bit slower on the run.  Would have finished about middle of my age group but I still wasn’t last.

Race Reports and Fathers Day Redemption by Paul Allingham

Hi gang,
This is two race reports from consecutive weekends from Guelph and Mont Tremblant.
First Guelph on Fathers Day when I persuaded my two daughters, Tara and Kerri, to join me in doing the Sprint Race for “my” day.  They had little choice so they took it out on me and beat me for the first time.  The only part I beat them in was the swim – my skills are still efficient there.  But both of them beat me in the bike and the run, especially the run where my performance was dismal.  Oh well we had a great Fathers Day and I finished 4th in my age group.
Then on to today in Mont Tremblant where my son Mark joined me in the Sprint and did his first triathlon.  He lives in MT now with Shauna and our 5th grandchild, expecting our 6th next month.  He did very well although not training the swim and lack of experience in that part was his difficulty and I beat him enough there that he couldn’t catch me in the run where he is much faster.  So redemption was mine.  And I did finish 2cd in my age group. I’ve said I might retire if all my kids beat me this year so I guess I have another year to endure and/or train harder.  Special congrats received at the awards ceremony from a TCOB club mate Helen Desrossiers was a surprise.  She was there waiting to do the half Ironman tomorrow.
A few photos from Tremblant that Joanne and Shauna took and from Guelph that Jay took are attached.