Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Kiln-Baked Rectangular Block of Clay (AKA Brick)!

I submitted my blog posts to peer review and got the comments back today. It... wasn't pretty. I was told to "turn down the suck" and "drop more names." Sigh. I'll take it as consolation that Fitzgerald wasn't appreciated in his own time, either.

Anyway, turning a new leaf!


On November 8, Keith "I-Don't-Run" Bystrom awoke to a fresh post-storm morning. He hopped out of bed directly into his tri suit. He doesn't go anywhere without the protection of a chamois these days, and this day in particular was likely to put his butt padding to the test.

For it was the day of the Brick! That sadistic combination of biking and running that only du- and triathletes would choose to do. What a delicious feeling, to have your legs so full of lactic acid that it feels like you've forgotten how to run. Keith turned on the kettle and poured himself a bowl of his favourite cereal - Fruit Loops with nonfat goat's milk and a dash of Teflon-based chain lube (it helps him stay regular). He chewed thoughtfully and prepared himself mentally for the race; it promised to be a good one.

Moments later, outside the Boulevard Cafe on UBC campus, Keith sat and waited for the arrival of his competitors. Chris "Aero Aaron" Hart rode in in Euro bike mode and decided he needed a pre-bike Americano in addition to his regular post-bike espresso. All that caffeine was sure to get his mood cyclic[ly] AMPed up.

After familiarizing the team with the course, Keith stripped off his "warmup gear," revealing his super aero and super revealing tri suit. The clock was ticking! We had to get into gear before he succumbed to hypothermia.

Jen "Fearless Leader" Moroz lead the way down Southwest Marine Drive, followed closely by Anna "Double-Tab" Martin, who needed to look presentable for work (no road grit) less than two hours later. Ariana "No-Joke" Aktary and Celina "Put-Your-Hands-Up" Lim took an unorthodox approach to the race series by being friendly to each other. This author detected no hints of sarcasm, trash talk, or accusations of low aerobic capacity in their friendly pre-race chit chat. Weird.

The men took pity at Keith's lack of insulating body fat and let him go first. Ben "Chains-of-Death" Morash followed with a roar, filled with rage and foaming at the mouth. His anger was matched by that of Florian "Götterdämmerung" Heinkel, who has recently been contact by physicists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor to see if he can use his strength and raw animal magnetism to contain the high-energy plasma needed for fusion reactions.

Winston "Stylepoints" Guo was back to form, blazing new trails in haute couture with bib shorts over top of everything else. He's been sighted recently at runways in Milan and Paris, picking up the latest trends from across the pond. The Georgia Straight recently cited him as the most influential person in Vancouver bike courier fashion, so look to him for tips on to impress your Main Street hipster crush. Remember, looking good is the first step towards owning the podium.

Shortly after Chris made the turn back towards campus, the adrenaline of competition overtook his normal physiology, and he went Super Saiyan. Under normal circumstances this would have guaranteed victory; his power level, as measured by his bike power meter, was well over 9000. However, he did not account for the increase in body mass that accompanies his mad Super Saiyan gainz. His puny 23mm tires could not handle the pressure and burst, hobbling him for the rest of the race. But he was not down and out! The Saiyans were known as much for their character as for their athletic prowess. Chris ran the rest of the bike, clickety-clacking all the way up the 16th Ave hill.

An excellent Race Series event all around. We're almost at the end!

Who is Riff Raff and why does he have his arm around the love of my life?

Coming up next week, the Denim mile! Dig out your Canadian Tuxedos for bonus points!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

5k Time Trial

I've been catching a lot of flak lately for the length of time I take to compose these blog posts. But you know, F. Scott Fitzgerald was known for writing, editing, and re-writing his work countless times before publication. Masterpieces take time, and I'm just trying my best to live in that literary tradition, alright?

Last Thursday night (not to be confused with last Friday night) a group of intrepid triathletes left the comfort and safety of the Nest to test their night vision in the cold and alien world of Post Daylight Savings Point Grey. This is a convenient time for a friendly reminder to bring your headlamps to run practice from now on! It's a cruel world full of ankle-rolling hazards out there, my friends. Be ever vigilant.

The state propagandists in charge of the elementary school curriculum in China told me that the Long March was long, but I don't think they've run five-and-a-half laps of the Acadia Loop. A 5k is lung-burning, glycogen-depleting, lactate-building long. In a brazen attempt to verify special relativity by moving really fast, we only managed to stumble upon physiological relativity -- that is, a sensation of time dilation proportional to the intensity of discomfort experienced.

No problem, though, for these are triathletes accustomed to sufferfests. They inched up to the start line with some reluctance, burdened by the anticipated pain, spurred on by the possibility of glory.

At stake: the coveted Vincent Lavalleé Cup.

The heat of the race fires the crucible from which PBs are forged, and this race was hot. The personal dramas are revealed in the results themselves, so take a look and see if you can decipher the strategies and triumphs.

A group of us stayed around for some much-needed refuelling in preparation for the next events of the Race Series. Next up, the Brick and the Denim Mile! If you were aching for an opportunity to gain some style points, this will be your chance.

Post-race pit stop. Note the Bluman salute.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Race series update: 50m Swim Sprint and Aquathon!

Hang on to your chammies, tri-hards, we have a double blog post ahead!

Last Wednesday saw the inaugural racing of the new addition to the race series, the 50-metre Swim Sprint. Sure, we're known for our endurance, but that doesn't mean we can't giv'er when the situation demands it.

The pool was a roiling cauldron of athleticism for the ten minutes or so it took for the 22 triathletes to make it through the six heats of the race. It's kinda hard to describe the action -- imagine the classic piranha feeding frenzy, only instead of meat, they're going after Clif Bars, and instead of piranhas, they're triathletes.

The story of the night was Noa "Sleeper Agent" Sison's turbo-charged performance of 31.6s. Coach Tia definitely felt scandalized that Noa had been hiding this speed. 

To satisfy the cardio junkies, Coach Tia designed a special Halloween themed swim relay as cool down. But now that I've seen things from her perspective, I'm suspecting she makes us do these swims partly for personal entertainment...

Coach Tia giving out instructions for a post-race Halloween-themed relay.

It's a good thing this event didn't deplete all the glycogen, because just a few days later was the Aquathon, reported below by club President and Guest Blogger Jen Moroz!


Even though the morning forecast called for rain, rain and more rain, six athletes showed up to compete in the clubs first multi-sport event of the Fall classic race series – the crowd favorite aquathon!  This race consists of a 500m swim, followed immediately by a 2.2 Km run.

Martin made a grand entrance with his brand new tri-suit.  Built for speed and cold weather racing, it appeared that he might have a huge advantage over the other competitors.  An advantage felt by Flo and Jen, who were later found tampering with Martin’s shoes before the race.

But that wasn’t the only shenanigan for the day.  Nima was caught racing with a self-made jet pack after barreling past Jen and Martin less than 100m into the swim (despite starting 10 and 20s behind them, respectively). Tia had to confiscate the contraption before allowing the race to continue. Lucky for Nima, his burning desire to win the race allowed him to continue pushing the pace, setting him up well for the run.

Ariana and Ben worked well together in the swim to give them a huge lead heading into transition.  However, their inexperience caused them to blow this lead as both casually suited up for the cold run, and even stopped to sign a few autographs for their adorning fans.  During this time, Nima ripped past them, looking poised to get the W.  Jen surprised the entire crowd by posting one of the fastest transitions!  (Yeah, we didn’t believe it either).  Guess being the last out of the water meant she couldn’t waste precious time helping her competitors remove their wetsuits, nor give out free hugs.  ;)

Out on the run course, Ariana and Ben were in chase mode after the rapidly moving Nima.  Close behind, the chase pack of Martin, Jen and Flo (dressed up as a fairy!) did their best to close the gap.  Only Jen - channeling her inner Gwen Jorgensen - had the leg speed to charge after Nima.  But, she was unsuccessful as Nima cut the tape first with a final surge along the blue carpet.  Ben was the final competitor to make the podium, crossing the line less than a minute behind the leaders.

The excitement continued as Flo, Ariana and Martin were switching leads several times.  In the end, Flo used his fairy powers to propel him to a fourth place finish just ahead of Ariana, who was closely followed by Martin.

Up next are the 500m swim TT, the 5Km run and Brick.  Who has what it takes to dethrone Jen and Nima?  Will a new member surprise everyone with a dominant performance in one of these races?  Only time will tell.  Stay tuned!

November Sponsor of the Month: ATAC

As club veteran Winston "Style Points" Guo points out, half the battle of triathlon is looking good. UBC Triathlon Club has special assistance in this regard from one of our sponsors, ATAC Sportswear. The threads they provide have caught the eyes of competitors and civilians alike as we train and race in Vancouver and beyond.

UBC Triathlon Club ladies decked out in ATAC-supplied gear after dominating Storm The Wall 2014.

Key to the awesome look and high performance of the gear are the quality technical fabrics and high-tech printing process, something called "sublimation printing." I won't pretend to understand how that works, but take our word for it -- this ain't your grandpa's cotton T.

If you're in the market for some sportswear yourself, look no further! You can pick your item of clothing, upload your design, order, and you'll be swathed in sweat-wicking swag in no time. They supply way more than just triathlon gear, so consider ATAC the next time you have a company dragonboat team-building exercise.