Wednesday, February 3, 2016


New Feed

Just to let you know. We are now publishing daily and you can reset your feed to:

Library Feed

That will pick up all our articles.


The Lucky Country

Monica and I are back in Noosa for the winter and this time we have a little surfer girl with us. How the heck did I manage to end up back here? This week I'll chat you through it.


A little over a year ago, I was a director of a company (highly leveraged) that found itself in a position where the board invited the bank to appoint an insolvency practitioner. It was a British company and that is how the Brits describe "going bust". For those of you familiar with the technical aspects, the company is in administration so it lives on.

At the time that we made that decision, I knew that I was (likely) firing myself from my role with the company as well as putting the jobs of the entire local team at risk. However, the law in the UK is pretty clear and the directors face unlimited personal liability if they fail to take action. So, despite the large downside for everyone involved, the decision seemed pretty straightforward to protect the creditors.

Something I had been told when I moved out to Asia was "always be willing to make a little less money, to preserve your values". I think about that advice often and have adjusted it in my head to... "be willing to trade a little success today, for an enviable life tomorrow". It doesn't come naturally for me but it does come easier with practice.

About seven weeks after that board meeting, on my 40th birthday no less, I was reviewing a huge stack of Statements of Affairs. These are legal documents that have to be prepared/reviewed/commented... by the directors when a company goes into administration. That was probably the lowest of the low (December 26th, 2008). My new business (this site) came on line two weeks later and things started perking back up.


What does that story have to do with Australia?

On Break

Blogging is on break. Please check back mid-April.


Vision Questing

Our photo this week is Robbie Ventura, one of the most genuine people I have met. We were descending Figueroa on Day Two and he started taking pictures of me at over 30 mph -- suffice to say his bike skills are far, far superior to mine. Robbie is the founder of VisionQuest Coaching. You might have seen him on the Versus Tour coverage the last couple of summers.

Robbie has a really special gift -- when he talks to you, you feel like you are the most important person in the world. Sounds kind of irrational but all you want to do is agree and help him out. There is a special vibe around him (and the VQ Coaches) that leaves you happy. It is a powerful kind of charisma.

Robbie and his team at VisionQuest Coaching were hosting a Solvang Spring Camp and the Boulder team (Mat, Alan, Justin) came across for the experience. This week I will share ideas that flowed out of five days of hammering with the roadies.

First a few announcements:

Spring Employment -- I am doing a personal training camp from April 3rd to 14th (start Tucson, end Santa Fe). We'll drop by the Grand Canyon en route. I need a couple (or two pals) to run sag/support/logistics. Please drop me a line if you are interested in helping out. This is a working, rather than training, position. Pay based on experience -- more if one of the duo has a massage qualification.

eMail -- I am now officially buried. My hopes of taming my inbox faded this week. I'll keep chipping away. Thanks for your patience.
Tucson Camps -- one of our campers noticed that the first weekend of our March 22-30 camp is Easter. As a result, we have an opening for March. Drop me a line if you are interested in joining us. As a reminder, you'll want to be in 13-hour IM shape, or quicker. Both camps have a range of people signed up.
Solvang is beautiful! Great riding, a decent swimming pool at the local "Y" and nice country roads for running (there could be trails, I haven't gone exploring). A wide range of riding terrain from flats, to rollers, to 'beyond category' climbs.
More than the location, what makes the VQ camp special is the VQ team. Robbie has assembled a unique group of folks around himself -- (coaches, staff, mechanics, athletes). Most everyone has a positive, open vibe. Even the cagey, roadie-types are friendly -- they run you off the road with a smile (joking... kinda).
If you are interested in what we've been doing then you can have a look at Petro-World or JD's Blog. Both Mark and Justin have been writing daily updates. As you will see, there has been a period of all-out effort at some stage of EVERY day at the camp. As an athlete, I don't come to a roadie-focused camp and expect anything else.
One of the VQ-Vets (Jim Sauls) took us for a ride the day before the camp. Jim's legs were glowing (they were that white). Jim let me know that the Chicago-based athletes had been off-the-roads for weeks prior to the camp. Sitting on their trainers, waiting to be unleashed in Southern California. Similar to Epic, Robbie started the camp with a TT to enable the stronger athletes to blow off a little steam. See if you spot the difference...
VQ TT Day -- 10 mile warm-up; 5 mile TT with uphill finish then two hour (very) solid group ride // rest up to hammer the tri guys tomorrow.
Epic TT Day -- 50 min run; 3K swim includes 2K TT; ride 140K with 2 KOMs; 43K dead-flat TT with 10K upwind finish -- limp back to motel wondering about tomorrow.
The strong VQ riders had plenty left for Day Two -- a monster climb that felt a bit like a cyclocross course at times. We rode the back side of Figueroa. The road was washed out in sections and my front fork filled with mud. Felt like I had my brakes on! I have had my TT bike in some unique places; that climb makes the Top 10, for sure.

In the early days of the camp, the roadies thought that we were nuts to place ourselves at such a disadvantage by using our TT bikes. By the end of the camp, some may have changed their minds -- more about that in the Petro-Blog.

Mental Fatigue -- an interesting thing that I noticed with the bike camp is that my desire to "go hard" was fading faster than my physical ability. All the cycling intensity seems to wear down my immune system and my drive -- much more than my body.

Average Workout Watts -- with the entire camp on power, we were able to compare wattage throughout the camp. It was a reminder that you can't tell much by averages (even normalised) -- there was huge variation in the people that rode around me as well as people that went out the back while holding the same average watts as me. Remember that power is most useful to track yourself against yourself.

Lab Testing -- Alan's most recent piece was about the difference between two lab tests. Camper-of-the-week would have to go to Mat Steinmetz (one of the tests analyzed). Mat's lab tests, background and pre-camp performance gave ZERO indication that he was about to ride out of his skin (literally on Day Five). The guy was drilling me on Mt Fig and took over Molina's normal role in my life. Mat's performance was a clear reminder that we only get a snapshot with physiological testing (and tests don't always track the most important aspects of performance).

Benchmarking -- the structure of the camp rides // 5M TT; 1Hr Uphill KOM; Century Ride; 45K Handicap Race // that gave each of us ample opportunity to benchmark our power (and pace) against a wide range of campers. My only regret was a malfunctioning SRM on Gardie Jackson's bike. Gardie is the most complete athlete (body, mind, spirit) that I have met in a long, long while. If you ask me what I aspire to in my athletics then it is the physical power resident in Gardie.

The guys say that a large element of bike racing is leadership -- when I am riding with athletes like Robbie and Gardie, I would gladly toss my entire week away to help them get the job done. True leaders and genuine guys -- very inspirational stuff. It was strange to be in a group of elite athletes that fostered a selfless feeling within myself (not something that anyone close to me would recognize).

As the camp progresses, and we all get tired, it is normal to wonder... "is it optimal to be smashing ourselves day-in day-out for a week?" The triathletes, especially, wonder if it is "OK" to be doing all of the threshold and VO2 efforts. My advice has been to have fun and train lots.

While you don't want to fill your entire program up with high intensity sessions, taking a week in March and really challenging yourself can be useful -- especially, when you've been chained to your trainer for the last few months.
When the campers get home, I recommended an easy week (to absorb/recover) the returning to their normal (sane) program -- hopefully you return at a higher level. The mental challenge that follows camps is not continuing to smash yourself. With the memories of all the hard training fresh in your mind, it can be tempting to pass-along some hurt to your training buddies. In my experience, that is a mistake and will leave you flat when you would rather be fast.
With my own fitness regime... I will be coasting for the next three weeks. I am working in Europe for a fortnight then returning to Boulder. This camp was very, very tough and I need to settle down for a while. Having coached a few athletes that consistently peak in March, I am choosing to lose a bit of fitness to protect myself from myself. I will start to ramp back up beginning with our first Tucson training camp.
One final thought, I think that a lot of triathletes give roadies a bad time because they don't like the way that strong cyclists deal out punishment on the bike. When the VQ-lads are laying down the hurt I remind myself that it is business, nothing personal. There is no way that I could this sort of bike training on my own and really appreciate how they have welcomed us into their world. I would like to offer a special word of thanks to my buddy, Mark Pietrofesa. Mark got the absolute best out of me this week.
Road cycling has a lots of lessons for life -- you can be having your best day and still get spat out the back. Acceptance and non-resistance are worth extra power in that environment -- the Zen of self-shelling.

Lately I have been giving thanks every morning for the chance to enjoy another day. Sitting here on Sunday afternoon, this has been a very special week in my life. Not just for the training -- the full story can wait for another day.

On Holiday

Hi Gang,

I'm on holiday so won't be publishing for a bit longer.

In the meantime, we have published another article from Clas -- click through the Alternative Perspectives link to the right. This article explains his view on how he runs very, very fast in Ironman. I hope you enjoy.


Daniels, Coaching, Camps, Clinics

Daniels Running Formula

Mat just posted Alan's article on Daniels Running Formula over on Alternative Perspectives. Alan had been asking me a lot of personal training questions over the past few days. Turns out, that he was using me for a Case Study. Alan's articles do an excellent job of explaining the technical side of our approach to coaching.

For more info you can contact Alan via email.
"alan" "at" ""


Getting into Coaching

I've had several emails seeking advice for getting into coaching. I've asked my friend, Mike Ricci, to do a podcast with me. We'll answer all the questions that we've received over the last month.

If you have any questions that you'd like us to cover then please send them along via email to:
"gordon" "at" ""



Jeff "Dr. J" Shilt is working on two Spring Camps. The camps will be based in Tucson, AZ. Pricing will be around $2,250 and will include everything but your airfare to/from Tucson.

Camp 1 -- March 22-30, 2008 -- this will be a balanced training camp with an emphasis on the bike. For athletes racing IM Arizona, we'll schedule an "honest" race sim ride on March 23rd and make sure the rest of the camp fits into your Peak Period.

Camp 2 -- April 19-27, 2008 -- this will be a bike-focused training camp and the stronger athletes will ride 400-500 miles across the camp.

Fitness -- as a guideline, you'll want to have sub-13 hour IM fitness and/or sub-6 hour Half IM fitness. I imagine that some of my speedy pals will turn up so we'll have two groups each day.

If you'd like more details then please send an email to:
"DrJ" "at" ""
Please include a little bit about your background and goals for the camp.

We're confirming a venue with a kitchen and meeting room // once that's done we'll be in a position to fix the price. We're capping the camp size at 14 athletes to ensure plenty of interaction between us.

There will be the opportunity to arrive early for the camps and receive supplemental consulting, season planning and physiological testing. If that interests then please include in your note to Jeff.

Jeff, Alan, Mat and I will attend both of these camps.


Personal Clinics

We've started to take September & October bookings for personal clinics. If you're interested in a Personal Clinic then drop Mat an email to discuss what we can offer you in terms of testing/consulting.

"mat" "at" ""

Apprentice Coach Position

Hi Gang,

I have room for up to three apprentice coaches in my squad this summer.

Coaching experience is not requried.

If you are interested then please send me an email with details on:

  • Your background
  • Your plans for 2007
  • Where you live and how much time you can spend in Boulder, CO
  • How you would support yourself in Boulder, CO
  • Education
  • Non-formal qualifications
  • Athletic certifications (expired, current and planned)
  • First Aid and CPR certification (current?)
  • Lifeguard certification (current?)
  • Work experience (coaching and non-coaching)
  • Athletic and race experience
  • The three most important things in your life
  • The favourite aspect of your current life
  • One thing that you'd like to change about yourself
  • Questions to me about the position

Please include a copy of your CV as well.


Happy Holidays

Hope you have a nice holiday season.

Back in January,


Boulder Swim Facility

Hi --

If any readers have contacts that would be able to assist with initial capital costings for a 50m swimming facility then please drop me a line. gordo at byrn dot org

We have a draft scheme and need more accurate capital costings to build into an overall feasibility/business plan.

I'll be offline from September 10-27 so replies could be delayed


IMC Bits

Here is some of what I wrote Scott before and after the race...

The big question (as always) is how hard can I ride and still run well. I've been able to check out the entire bike course in pieces and in whole. I have a very good feel for the key bits of it as well as the parts that require mental focus. Here is what I am thinking. I would value your input.

Even in my Oly races, my best swims have come from a relaxed start. Given that it is a long day, I'm going to start relaxed. An hour at 160 bpm in the water might buy me up to 3 minutes. I will get double that if I can elevate my HR in the last hour of the day. Also, the drafting rule will be 10 meters between bikes. That extra five meters makes a big difference — so there is much less motorpacing opportunity on the way down to Richter Pass.

The last time I was _really_ strong on the bike (relative to fitness) was when I rode with Matt Brick in Taupo. I'm going to pace similarly this time...
Settle, eat, drink for the first 20 minutes
Relaxed steady to the base of Richter (about 1:45 ride time)
Mod-hard up Richter (30 min climb)
Relaxed down Richter and through the rollers (2:50-ish ride time, 100K)

Key bit...
At Mile 60 (this is the start of the flat) — (9x) 3 min steady, 3 min mod-hard, 3 min steady, 1 min drink & eat

That will be a 90 minute main set and will get me along the flat, through the out-and back, and up to Yellow Lake. It is this point of the course where (nearly) everyone backs off and fades. It is a very good point to work harder. From Epic, we know that I tolerate this main set very well — it ends with a climb. I then have the long descent from Twin Lakes back to town.

Back to town, stay aero, stay relaxed, steady cycling

I'm going to start the run with a 1L hydration backpack. That will free my hands and give me a one kilo incentive to drink. I'm going to place another 1L hydration backpack in special needs. Last time I didn't get enough calories on the return leg.

I'm going to run relaxed until the lake (the first 5 miles)
Settle, get my drink down, work on cadence
Then 5 miles steady, not tempo, alongside the lake
Careful not to exceed threshold through the rollers
Grab the hydration pack
Return to the flat bit
Five miles of moderately hard to hard returning on the flat
When I leave the lake, there is still plenty of racing to go due to the 2K out-and-back at the end
Push through the end

I'm not going to wear a watch on the run. No distractions, smooth execution, focus forward.


The overall strategy is to use my efforts where they will most benefit me. Treat the race like a personal TT and aim for my best overall time -- the fastest way for me to get from A to B. Speed up where others slow.

There are two hours of solid work on the bike and 80 minutes of solid work on the run. The rest is smooth steady -- moving along at a comfortable, efficient pace. Eating, drinking, good technique.


The Swim

Matt Lieto decided to swim on top of Monica's left shoulder and was riding her for 1200m. She missed the first group and ended up pulling mine. Great swim, felt easy to steady. Some pick-ups with pace changes. The new wetsuit is pretty sweet -- came out with Jasper and Courtney.

The Bike

Five guys passed me on the way to Richter. I was well behaved and let them go. 2:31 thought 90K, negative split. Drank a lot on the bike -- more than normal. I was expecting a hot day and that worked for me.

Duration: 4:58:22
Work: 4339 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 261
Distance: 179.387 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 2046 242 watts
Heart Rate: 0 210 142 bpm
Cadence: 29 180 90 rpm
Speed: 6 77 36.1 kph
Torque: 0 158.8 26.2 N-m

The maxes about look too high in some cases. The averages look about right. Note high cadence average, which includes a lot of gliding downhill. Once my pace was over 45km.h I'd back off. Quite an efficient ride for the split.

To be competitive, I need to get my AeT wattage back up to 265-275w. With my new position that should do the trick.

Duration: 2:29:10
Work: 2198 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 262
Distance: 90.339 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 549 246 watts
Heart Rate: 79 165 142 bpm
Cadence: 29 180 90 rpm
Speed: 6 71.5 36.3 kph
Torque: 0 103.1 26.5 N-m

Heart rate never hit threshold on the bike. Pretty controlled.

Peak 1min (362w):
Duration: 1:00
Work: 22 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 375
Distance: 235 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 308 419 362 watts
Heart Rate: 145 157 151 bpm
Cadence: 57 85 67 rpm
Speed: 12.1 18 14.1 kph
Torque: 34.6 69.8 52.6 N-m

Peak 2min (343w):
Duration: 2:00
Work: 41 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 347
Distance: 511 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 239 419 343 watts
Heart Rate: 144 157 150 bpm
Cadence: 57 91 73 rpm
Speed: 12.1 19.1 15.3 kph
Torque: 25.6 69.8 46.5 N-m

Peak 5min (327w):
Duration: 5:00
Work: 98 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 331
Distance: 1.592 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 240 386 327 watts
Heart Rate: 145 156 152 bpm
Cadence: 70 99 84 rpm
Speed: 15.8 28.9 19.1 kph
Torque: 23.1 49 37.6 N-m

Peak 10min (319w):
Duration: 10:00
Work: 191 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 320
Distance: 3.294 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 207 386 319 watts
Heart Rate: 137 156 150 bpm
Cadence: 70 103 86 rpm
Speed: 15.8 32.9 19.8 kph
Torque: 20 49 35.8 N-m

Peak 20min (300w):
Duration: 20:00
Work: 359 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 306
Distance: 7.776 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 102 394 300 watts
Heart Rate: 136 156 149 bpm
Cadence: 70 105 87 rpm
Speed: 14.5 52 23.3 kph
Torque: 9.9 49 33.5 N-m

Peak 30min (287w):
Duration: 30:00
Work: 516 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 297
Distance: 13.024 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 394 287 watts
Heart Rate: 122 156 147 bpm
Cadence: 66 119 87 rpm
Speed: 14.5 52 26 kph
Torque: 0 52.1 32 N-m

Peak 60min (262w):
Duration: 1:00:00
Work: 943 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: 275
Distance: 32.045 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 394 262 watts
Heart Rate: 119 160 144 bpm
Cadence: 45 119 90 rpm
Speed: 14.5 52 32 kph
Torque: 0 52.1 28.3 N-m

Run — did the plan. It was pretty toasty out there! The issue with the slow run was more bike fitness than run fitness related. Once I get my bike rolling, the run should move back into normal territory. Nearly even splits, however, we had a buildign tailwind and that helped the return pace. When old school with a mesh singlet — kept it cool and that made a big difference. Think that I'll stick with that in future races.



SWIM: 51:57 | BIKE: 4:58:23 | RUN: 2:56:36 | OVERALL: 8:51:23 | POSITION: 3

TOTAL SWIM: 2.4 mi. (51:57) | 1:22/100m | 15th

TOTAL BIKE: 112 mi. (4:58:23) | 22.52 mph | 9th

FIRST RUN SEGMENT: 13.1 mi. (1:27:29) | 6:40/mile
RUN FINISH: 13.1 mi. (1:29:07) | 6:48/mile
TOTAL RUN: 26.2 mi. (2:56:36) | 6:44/mile | 3rd

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 2:52

The strongest man (and woman) won. The ten meter rule is great! Really makes the winner earn it. It's also easy for the officials to enforce.

Ten months to an 8:20 Ironman starts in November. Considering that I couldn't even run a half marathon last August, my body did great this year. I'm going to give it a big break.


Tri Talks

Hi Gang,

I'll be talking to the Seattle Tri Club on September 13th -- details on their website

My race schedule filling for 2007. If I happen to get close to your club and you'd like me to drop by for a chat then drop me a line and we'll see if we can make it happen.

Nov/Dec 2006 -- Noosa, QLD
Early Dec 2006 -- Sydney, NSW
Mid Feb 2007 -- Atlanta, GA
Mid March 2007 -- Las Vegas, NV
End March 2007 -- Lake Havasu City, AZ
April 2007 -- New Mexico
Early May 2007 -- Napa Valley, CA
Mid May 2007 -- St George, UT


USAT Long Course Clinic

Hi All --

Click the title or paste this link for full details...


Employment Opportunities // Short List Filled @ Aug 14th

Also... if you happen to speak Italian fluently and are interested in helping with Epic Italy (summer 2007) then please drop Johno (or me) a line.


Team MonGo Employment Opportunities

Related to my 2007 outline below…

Monica and I are planning a trip around the Southwest USA for the Spring of 2007. We are looking for two people to run our support.


***Trip will start mid-March from Boulder, CO

***Trip will end mid-May in Boulder, CO

***Return airfare will be provided to/from Denver, CO

***Total duration will be ten weeks with two five-day “rest periods” that will be paid

***Group size will be four to six persons (including support team)

Transport & Accommodation

***I’ll be buying a Class B RV to act as the Mother Ship

***We will stay in modest motel accommodation and there is likely to be some camping. When we camp, life will be pretty basic!

***March planned as California & Nevada

***April planned as New Mexico & Nevada

***May planned as Nevada & Utah


***Weekly schedule will include five days of point-to-point training/travel

***I’ll be racing most weekends (running; duathlon; triathlon)

***Travel will be between race locations

***Support crew focus is work. However, there will be daily training opportunities (not high volume, though).

Duties (Split Between the Support Team)

***All food shopping & lunch preparation

***En route drink stops & sag

***Post meal cleaning & basic cooking


***Massage (see below)


***Travel to/from Denver

***All expenses covered while on the road

***$500 per week per person ($5,000 for the entire trip)

***If certified massage therapist and willing to do ten massages per week (on top of standard duties then $1,000 per week ($10,000 for the entire trip).

***A couple with one being a CMT could bank $15,000 for ten weeks work.

Interested parties please send your application to me via email (gordo at byrn dot org).

Summer Vacation

My summer vacation in France is coming to an end and I am pretty whipped. Eight days ago, I told M that I was “going to enjoy my summer” and “have some fun”. Well, if you read Molina’s Epic blog entries then you’ll know that our definition of “fun” is a bit different than most. I extended myself a bit in my training and that was a lot of fun for me. Right now, I’m working through my fatigue from the training-festivities of last week.

In a few hours, I’ll be back on the road for work. We were very fortunate to be able to spend a month in France. We were mainly in the south but a little up in Paris. That photo at the top was taken at a great restaurant in Paris called Chez Georges – I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good place to eat.

Here in the south of France, we’ve been staying with Pyrenees Multisport and I highly recommend them if you are thinking about a cycling trip to Europe. If you do come here then Ian will be able to chat you through the “house records” for both mountain and flat riding – I took distance and total climbing titles from a group of Kiwi lads (sorry fellas).

Another benchmark that you can take a shot at is the “Pyrenees Triple T” – Tourmalet Time Trial – the current benchmark is held by Ian’s son, Lewis, who dropped my brother-in-law the other day. As I had the “full sit down” half way up, my last time wasn’t eligible. The route starts at the last roundabout leaving Lourdes and finishes at the top of the climb (about 45K total distance and 6,000 feet of vertical). If you are with Ian and Lewis then… be ready to get seriously motorpaced at the start (the I-Train) and save a little bit for the last 3K – that’s where Lewis likes to make his move!

When I get shelled, I think a lot – mainly because I am too tired to read/write and don’t watch TV. As I spend most of my holidays either shelled (or training), I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking!

So far we have not instigated a wholesale change in Team MonGo’s strategic direction but we have been filling out a few details. When I use “we”, M likes to point out that I must be talking about “me and the mouse in my pocket”. It seems that I often pull her into the mix without consulting.

Forum status – quite a few folks have dropped me a line to ask about the Tri Forum. Here’s the game plan. We’ll get it back up and running before the end of the year but not before the end of the summer. We need a bit of time to review software options, configure the new software and get the board running the way I want.

When we relaunch, the moderators will approve each member account. The board will be free to search and free to read. To post, you’ll need to subscribe for a small fee. That fee will go towards my hosting, software and IT costs. If we generate surplus cash beyond my expenses then I will give it away to a worthy cause.

If we get hacked again then I’ll pull the plug – so your subscription (and my time/IT/software investment) will be at risk. I’ll also reserve the right to put members on break if they get a little too feisty.

Some folks asked about the dbase of the old board(s). They are gone. I didn’t have confidence that I could offer them up without the risk of Trojans. So we wiped them off my server. Sorry about that but I didn’t want to be the source of any IT nightmares.

Ironman Seminar – we’ve got the dates agreed – the afternoon of Friday, November 3rd and all day Saturday, November 4th. Speakers will be George Dallam, Tim Hola, Bobby McGee and me. Pricing (including meals/accommodation) will be around $140. The schedule is being cleaned up and the registration details are going up on Active.Com. I’ll post more here once I know.

My talks are going to be on – The Nature of Ironman; Bike Training and Effective Race Execution. The focus is going to be towards coaches – how do we help our athletes – but the presentations will be interesting to athletes as well. Clinic is open to both coaches and athletes. The camp opens with a session on effective swim coaching that Monica is going to lead.

In my handouts and discussions, I’ll be expanding the workouts (swim, bike, run, race simulation and combination) that you see in my Coaching Long Course Athletes article on my website. Each of the presenters will submit their written material so all attendees will get a binder that should be pretty useful.

The presentations are going to cover the full range of athletic abilities. Our main focus is going to be the athletes with whom coaches spend the majority of their time (adult, working full-time, mid-pack). Bobby is going to specifically address run training for novice and time-limited athletes – an important topic that (I think) he covers better than anyone I’ve met. He’ll explain his run-walk protocol.

We’ve allowed time (both days) for open Q&A to let attendees discuss topics outside of the formal presentations.


CoachGordo – I rewrote my coaching website last week – suppose that I have been reasonably busy after all. Anyhow, I simplified it and the changes will come on line once Brian gets a chance to upload them.

Coaching 2007 – I’ve decided to increase my coached athletes from three to six. Five of the slots are spoken for currently but I have an opening for the 2007 season.

I think that I am a good fit for:

(a) an athlete that has read my gTips as well as Going Long;

(b) an athlete that has trained with me in the past, or will be able to train with me in early 2007 (Epic New Zealand in my preferred location for that);

(c) an athlete that is looking for a multi-year relationship working towards performance at the highest levels; and

(d) ideally some overlap with our key races as well as training geography.

Male, female, elite, agegroup, young, vet, supervet – I have worked successfully with many different types of athletes.

If you are interested then drop me a line and we can start a dialogue.


Dangerous ideas – I was sent this link a while ago… and have been working through that site from time to time. The guy that sent me the link asked me to consider what my own dangerous idea might be. My dangerous idea has always been “what would happen if everyone came to their senses?” If you read the second part of this entry then you’ll see that someone already wrote that one out – Just goes to show that there are very few truly original ideas. In fact, that’s why much of what I write resonates within folks – a lot of us are thinking quite similarly.


I’ve been thinking about my tri-future.

Currently, I’m working towards being speedy in August 2007. I’ve pretty much finished the schedule from now until then. There are a few gaps that I’ve been mulling over but, broadly, I know where I’m heading. I’m going to build a mini-business around myself (as I did in 2004) and figure that I’ve got at least one more speedy IM in me.

It’s been pretty straightforward to organize – that is a big benefit of having supportive folks in my family and business lives. My six years of mixed training/working have also enabled me to fine-tune my ability to work by combining excellent IT, effective time management and frequent 10-14 day business trips.

Beyond 2007, I’ve been thinking… What would be fun to work towards? What would be fun to achieve?

Here’s the list so far…

#1 – do a really fast IM, win the amateur race overall and qualify for the AG race in Kona. I’m thinking Florida 2008. I’ll be ITU-40 for that event – not sure how they will count ages at that stage. The gap between the elites and the agegroupers would enable me to race a-la-Evans; push the swim/bike; and see what happens.

Dr. Tommy races with honour and class – if I am swimming AG then I’d like a chance to ride off the front and see what I can do. We can save the five-meter-hoax-a-thon (wink) for other events.

#2 – with a 2009 Kona slot in hand; do some ITU-AG racing (World’s; Europeans; Shorter Stuff). While I won’t try a Molina (ITU-short course champs the weekend before Kona), it might be fund to train specifically for some different events.

#3 – end my 2009 season by targeting the AG race in Kona. I have a few theories about racing there that I’ve only been able to try on my athletes and in my training. I’d like to see what I can do trying them out in the race. I also think that I’ll have the swim skills and physiology to do well by then.


Two trends that I’ve seen in IM racing… split starts and less elite slots for Kona. Personally, I see this as an interesting development.

Split starts (as well as male/female-only elite fields) – these give the AGers a chance to “win” a race. In my view that’s a lot more fun than waving good-bye to the elites 200 meters into the swim leg.

Less elite slots for Kona – not sure if anyone has noticed but it is getting really tough to qualify for Kona as an elite. Basically, you need to be Top Three to get a slot at early races and Top Five to qualify later in the year. I have no problem with this because if you can’t podium at an international race then you aren’t going to cover your expenses with a trip to Kona. The fact that you are getting didly prize money and no slot will also send some folks a message that they might not otherwise hear.

What’s the impact of this? Well, great athletes like Ken Glah and Fernanda Keller are going to be pushed into the AG race if they want to get to Kona. Younger second- and third-tier pros are going to realise that they might never get to Kona. Older pros (like, say, me) are going to see that the competition in the agegroup race is very solid. Speedy AGers are going to stay amateur longer to build their experience.

Take all of the above together… and I expect you’ll see ever increasing quality in the elite fields (athletes rise to the standards placed on them) & some ripping fast times in the agegroup ranks (consider the elites that are 37+ today). We’ve already seeing some of that in the 45+ division (Molina in Arizona last year). If there is a “weaker” elite field at a race then we might even see some “old” pros win the overall race. Peter may have retired but think about what a guy like him could do racing AG in four years time. Dave’s still racing elite in his 50s but, even he, might decide that it’s OK to race AG (perhaps when he’s sixty). Winning the AG race in Kona in his 50s would be quite an accomplishment and I’d like a benchmark to shoot for!

Anyhow, that’s a sample of what’s been running through my mind. There’s more but I’ve got to get ready to hit the road.



Tri Talk, Edinburgh, July 31st

31 July 2006, 7:30pm
Royal Ettrick Hotel
13 Ettrick Road
Edinburgh EH10 5BJ

Open to all
A general chat about endurance training as well as audience Q&A

Book Two Opener

Shortly, I'll be disappearing from the net for a couple of weeks. I won't be writing any Epic Camp updates this time (you've heard enough from me recently). Monica and I have been apart for two weeks and I'd rather hang out with her than write.

I'm sure that I'll come back from my third cyber-retreat recharged and full of ideas that I kicked around while getting crushed by Molina at Epic Camp. Frankly, I've been online too much these days. It all started when I broke my _routine_ in Brazil race week. Should have known that my discipline was limited!

In the meantime, here's my concept for my second book. Part Two is going to be a talk that I give at our Ironman Training Seminar, November 2nd to 4th in Colorado Springs.


I’m sitting at my desk on a summer’s morning and asking myself the question, “Why should you read this book?”

Thirteen years ago, a journey of personal transformation started when I decided to go for a walk. I was living in England at the time, working as an executive in a successful investment business. Shortly thereafter, I moved to Hong Kong and tried to start running. That didn’t start out so well for me; I often found myself walking back home after only a few minutes. As my body adapted, running moved to hiking; hiking became trekking; trekking led me to mountaineering; mountaineering led to expeditions; and expeditions eventually led to ironman-distance triathlon.

This book isn’t about how I moved from the couch to elite athletics. While that might make an interesting read, athletic success is the least important aspect of our journey through sport. So what does matter?

Success is a process which can be replicated across many areas of our lives. This book lays out different approaches and considerations on the path towards breakthrough performance. As a coach, the technical knowledge that I offer is a small part of my role. Rather, the area where I am able to effect lasting change is helping my athletes create the structure and habits that lead towards personal excellence.

As a writer, I love books and have read a tremendous amount about all levels of athletics. My favorite titles are sorted by topic and listed at the end of this book. For my own athletics, the titles that have been most helpful are the ones that explain the process of achievement. These books document how an individual took themselves to a level far beyond what they thought possible.

Aside from the field of Sports Psychology, I’ve found a gap in the literature surrounding athletic performance. Many authors write about the skills, workouts and structure of their sports. This work is essential to provide a strong foundation for athletes and coaches. However, there are very few titles that discuss how the very best create an environment for success. Communicating the framework and approach necessary to take ourselves far beyond self-imposed limits is my goal for Breakthrough Endurance.

The story of Lance Armstrong is well-known. After reading this book, I’d encourage you to go back to Lance’s books. Consider the differentiating factors in his domination of the Tour de France over seven years. Consider the team, the support, the money, the experts and the time that goes into one man’s performance. Imagine what you could achieve by building a small business centered completely on your sporting achievement.

You might view Lance’s approach as impractical for yourself and, generally, you’d be right. However, in your athletic career you are competing against athletes with superior: funding, support, talent, skills, experience and/or training. Against that background, if you want to achieve your very best, can you afford not to do everything possible to succeed?

This book is split into four main sections. In Part One, we will review the fundamental aspects of performance that apply across all endurance sports. Our minds constantly seek short-cuts and we are often tempted to follow the easy way to athletic success. To counter these tendencies, it is worthwhile reviewing the basics. Part One focuses on key concepts rather than the fine details. I would encourage you to review your sport-specific approach in light of the concepts.

The heart of this book is explained in Part Two. In this section, the Elements of Breakthrough Performance will be presented and explained in detail. There is no magic formula for success. Daily, you will find yourself seeking to “guess wisely” on the back of imperfect and changing information. Incorporating the elements into your life will help you build a routine and support structure around yourself. If you are successful then you will find yourself in a virtuous circle where your training “lives” in an environment than sustains your efforts. This section will help you learn how to “work smart” over a long period of time.

Ensuring that our efforts are not derailed by common pitfalls is what we will consider in Part Three. In all areas, we have blind spots that can hinder, or end, our quest for performance. By discussing the most common road blocks, I hope to improve your odds for navigating around, and out of, these obstacles.

In the last section of the book, we will discuss concepts that may seem contrary to the theme of relentless dedication that runs through much of what you’ve just read. This is because there is a performance paradox that runs through every area of our lives. The paradox lies in the fact that we need to balance total commitment with low personal attachment. Meaningful achievement flows most easily from individuals that define themselves in light of what they do, rather than what they accomplish. Our ultimate performance flows from freeing our body to do what we’ve spent thousands of hours preparing it for. There comes a point when we must get out of our own way.

Above all else, persist.

Edinburgh, 10 June 2006

Educators, Mentors & Entrepreneurs -- Part 2

Part One is Below.


I spent the second half of the nineties working in Asia, about six years. While in Asia, I did quite a bit of business in India and worked closely with a company called Blue Dart Express. Blue Dart was founded by three men. One of these men, Clyde Cooper, is the driving force behind the company as well as being an entertaining and unique guy. I was fortunate to follow the founders for many years and have a lot of respect for what they had achieved. Express Delivery is a tough business in any field, imagine trying to make it work in a place like India. The entire team at Blue Dart are experts at making things happen on-time consistently.

I think it was during a drive from the Blue Dart offices to a shareholders meeting when Clyde looked at a beggar on the street (then looked at me) and commented that, “we all do what we can for the poor, but, really, what can one do?”. I think that the comment was for me as Indians sense that many Westerners have trouble wrapping their heads around the nature of poverty inside India.

Clyde’s comment might leave one with a feeling of futility. To me, it struck at the heart of the issue of charity. Because for all of the people that I met while working in Asia, Clyde did the most to reduce poverty. Through his leadership, he created a business that gave education, employment and satisfaction to thousands of people. He held his people to the highest standards. He even banned himself from smoking in his own office because he felt that was best for the business’ standards.

The point of the story is that, for me, contributing to the community has very little to do with giving money to “worthy” causes – money is the easiest thing to give. Giving time, effort and thought to a community on a consistent basis is far more valuable. Creating organizations that facility the transfer of time, effort and though -- also highly valuable.

Teachers, Mentors & Entrepreneurs – these are the people that drive a civil society.

How’s this related to affirmative action? To me, it seems that it is in all of our interests to ensure that we provide the TME skills base to as wide a portion of our society (and the societies of our “enemies”) as possible.

Within our societies, I also think that we should provide the infrastructure (legal, physical, financial…) to support people in these fields.

How best to do that? I haven’t quite thought that through for you – nor do I have to. What I’ve been doing is considering what all this means to me.

For me, I’m spending time putting together a feasibility study for an indoor 50m pool in Boulder, Colorado. The community has a need for a quality swim venue and, I believe, that it will become a catalyst for a lot of positive events in people’s lives. Having seen the impact of Christchurch NZ's indoor swim facility over the last five years -- it is a practical way to have a long term positive impact on the lives of many people.

My grand vision is a world-class multisport training centre – something similar to what’s being created down in Christchurch. Match the two hemispheres up for the elite athletes/coaches; build a local adult and kids program around them; and create a venue for coaching/retailing/massage/medical/other business.

It’s a big project and won't be easy. I figure that I am looking at $5-25 million depending on how far one takes it. Key things that I need at this stage:

** Site – 2-10 acres;
** Development Partner – to assist with build cost projections; and
** Planning Liaison – to work with the city.

I expect that the commercial, retail and residential development around/inside the sports complex would be very profitable, especially if one was able to tie up surplus land and do a high density residential build out. It’s exactly the sort of facility where young professionals and families want to live -- the facility in New Zealand is a large part of why I moved there in 2000.

From the city's point of view, I think that it works because, done right, you provide affordable housing along with a high quality sports complex – privately funded and managed. Responsible development that creates a community of desirable citizens.

I’m also looking at a straight-up pool (re)development. That’s simpler than the training center but doesn’t have quite the same “community of excellence” angle.

Anyhow, if you have any ideas (or a site!) then drop me a line. I want to hear from you.

Educators, Mentors & Entrepreneurs

If you’ve been trying to access my board the last two days then you’ve probably noticed that it is out of action. I tried to resuscitate it; Tech Support tried to resuscitate it; and now we are on Plan C. Not sure if it will be back any time soon. If it completely gives up the ghost then I’ll shop around for something more stable and get it up during the summer. So there could be a few weeks without a daily fix on the board – probably a good thing for you, me and our employers.


This topic has been kicking around in my head for the last two years. After my time in Asia, it became clear to me that everyone in the developed world has won the global lottery. Within these half a billion lottery winners, there are probably a half a million that won a further lottery. Lightning striking twice.

** Born in the Developed World;
** Male;
** White;
** Tall;
** Well dressed;
** Educated;
** Pleasant to look at;
** Sound of body; and
** Calm of mind.

If you have a background in social psychology or if you’ve read Cialdini’s book then you’ll see that the more boxes that you can tick off above, the greater your powers of persuasion over the world around you – in other words, the greater your ability to create your own reality.

It may not be convenient. It may not be fair. But there is a fair amount of research pointing that direction.

Why’s that important to recognize?

For me, it was important to recognize just how far the deck is stacked in my favour. Most of the people that I know that can tick-the-boxes above are pretty happy people. Why wouldn’t they be? Life’s been stacked in their favour pretty much from the get go. With that much of an edge, you’d have to actively work against yourself not to end up with a reasonable outcome. If you didn’t see it that way then (odds are) the persuaders of the modern consumption culture have moved your expectations out of whack. Dissatisfaction is largely driven by excessive “want” in our lives – whether want to become something other than what we are… or craving more and more possessions.

Back to my realization…

One of the most powerful things that you can instill in a person is hope. A little hope goes a long way – examples that I’ve come across over the last few years:

** Inner city youths risking their lives to earn minimum wage selling crack – hoping to make it big;

** The religious faith of millions of Filipinas working alone overseas to support a country that is prone to natural disasters and poor government;

** The large percentage of second- and third- tier elites in baseball, golf, triathlon and tennis. Not good enough to make a decent living but barely scraping by on the hope that they just might “get there”.

People will put up with a heck of a lot if they have hope. Likewise, revolutions happen once people have lost hope.

If you’ve been following the immigration debate in the US then this seems to be a consideration that you rarely hear mentioned. You could put the entire army on the Mexican border behind the Great Wall of America… if the people of Central and South America lose hope then what are you going to do when a few million vote with their feet (shoot them as per East Berlin?).

Hope, personal safety and successful economic management within Latin America are key issues to consider in formulating immigration strategy. Those are the factors that keep people at home. Personally, I get nervous when I see a peasant take over the presidency of a Latin American country. I fear for his country if he lacks the experience to sustain effective leadership.

Where am I heading with this?

Well, on the face of it, the ruling elite can appear to have the most to lose from “leveling the playing field” towards those at the lower end of a socioeconomic spectrum, the establishment often putting up the most resistance to change. However, elites always bear in mind that revolutions happen quite frequently throughout the world and if one wants to live atop a civil society, as opposed to an authoritarian society, then ceding on a few fronts could be in one’s long term interest. Besides, no matter how far you tilt things, the “lottery winners” have a structural and psychological edge.

The wisdom of the Champagne Socialists is becoming clearer to me.

Anyhow, at least in educational enrolment, that line of reasoning has led me to change my view in support of affirmative action. Once you are through the door, however, I don’t (yet?) see the need for double standards. Also, I wouldn’t compel privately funded educators to adjust their policies. I would seek to inform them on the diversity and social benefits to their institutions and communities, respectively

Off to meet KP for a coffee.

Part Two later.

The Sweet Spot

Before I get into my topic a few updates.

My personal technology management strategy is working out great. I'm offering up better quality work, ticked off a sub-goal from my Top Ten list (submit book outline to publisher) and participating on my board is back to being something that I look forward to.

Most importantly, I am staying on top of (my "reduced" level of) everything and have more time for things that directly impact my personal Top Ten. Much of my time was being spent on items that poisoned my mood and didn’t benefit my list.

I suppose that I’d lost control of a big chunk of time within my week. Nice to be clawing that back. It is tough to break the habit of checking in all the time but I turns out that it wasn’t necessary. I’ll have to remember to thank my friend Allen when I see him in ten days.

OK, on to my topic.

Last weekend I ran a “mountain marathon” called the Motutapu Icebreaker. Here is how their website describes the run…

…The run starts at the Motatapu Station 9kms from the Glendhu Bay Motor Camp and, follows a well-maintained farm trail up the Motatapu Valley. From there, the course climbs gradually over undulating terrain with several small stream
crossings, until topping out at 887m when you reach the 35km mark.

The course descends gently until it reaches a steep, rocky descent down the Soho Creek into the famous Macetown Road. There are several river crossings over the last 8kms. Depending on recent rainfall, stream levels can vary dramatically sometimes reaching waist deep in places. But often if you look carefully there will be a shallower route across. The course finishes in historic Arrowtown.

Kiwi “undulations” – if you’ve been down here then you’ll likely smile with the memory of your first undulating ride or run. As much as Americans have a tendency towards “the greatest”; “the biggest”; or “the toughest” – Kiwis prefer to massively understate.

Scott set us up in Arrowtown, close to the finish. As the route is point-to-point we needed to take a shuttle to the start. So, at 6am, we were standing in the dark waiting for a bus to drive us to the race start. That had me hoping that the race was going to follow a short cut back to Arrowtown. However, I had a feeling that the short-cut might be straight through the mountains that we’d been skirting.

We arrived around 8am and had a short jog to the start on the sheep station. Ultrarunners are “different” than other runners and I get a kick out of hanging out with them. While my full-body-shave and Speedo appearance might indicate otherwise… inside, I am an Ultra Dude.

They tell me that there were about 500 runners doing the marathon and with the toot of an airhorn, we were off!

I find race starts (with the exception of open water swim starts) quite entertaining because there is always a selection of folks that go totally bananas. Last weekend was no exception – my favourite was a lady with a large backpack that started at 6-minute per mile pace. I found myself in about 15th after the first km. My strategy was to try to keep the leaders in sight for as long as possible. That was going to prove pretty tough as a group of five took it out HARD!

In the first 5K, the “undulations” had my heart rate up pretty high but I was keeping a lid on things as I wasn’t planning a go-to-the-wall marathon.

As the lead group went through 5K, things started to splinter and I slowly moved closer. One guy that I passed was complete old-school running (cast on his arm, massive backpack, bandana and sweat flying off him). I said g’day when I rolled on by and he countered by bounding downhill at about 3:30K pace. As I left him behind, all I could think was “that’s going to hurt later”. Not much later, either. Molina passed him shortly thereafter and he was pretty quiet when The Terminator tried to say “hi”.

By the halfway mark, I was alone in third. The two leaders were long gone and I settled into a steady rhythm for the rest of the run. In the last hour I found it a bit tough to hold form so I though about Cam Brown’s running style as that is the smoothest, most compact impact that I have in my internal DVD player. That settled me down.

The ending to this run is unique. Steep downhill and river crossings when shelled. I was glad that didn’t have to duke it out with anyone.

Here’s how it turned out. Ben posts on my board a bit and it was nice to meet him. Chris is called “The Flying Pencil” by the locals.

Marathon - Open Male
1 2:43:39 Cox, Martin 10137
2 2:48:26 Dagg, Chris 10007
3 2:57:44 Byrn, Gordo 10038
4 3:02:29 Thomas, Ian 10051
5 3:08:06 Leese, Ben 10025

Typically, the longest that I’ll run this time of year is the Zofingen Champions Loop in Christchurch – that takes anywhere from 2:30 to 2:45 depending on your running partner (Baron vs. Molina respectively). While this is a bit of a stretch, with eleven weeks until Brazil, I figured that I had lots of time to put back the pieces if I crippled myself. I’m happy to report (on Wednesday) that I don’t appear to have done much other than overload my calves.

The run surprised me. While I was well suited to the course, I didn’t think that I had enough training completed to perform at the level that I did. Specifically, my steady-state pace in the second half was a pleasant surprise. Could I have run with the first and second place guys? Not a chance! However, I don’t need to. I simply need to repeat my run after a “little” aquabike warm-up.

Scott was happy for me as he saw the effect that the race had me. He pointed out that I was in the “sweet spot” – long enough back into training to ride the upswing and far enough from my race so that there wasn’t anything thinking about the event itself.

I pointed out that any outcome in Brazil was hardly going to change my life. But I did like that concept of being in the sweet spot.

One last thing – when looking for a confidence boost, sometimes it is useful to run without data. The only gizmo that I used on the weekend was my iPod Shuffle. Even left my computer back in Christchurch and teased Molina for constantly cranking his computer up. The technology-free days are quite restful.

Top Ten Update

Managed to tick off a Top Ten goal this afternoon with a 5:56, 400 IM, long course.

Turns out that the training was tougher than the swim. Splits were 1:20/1:36/1:39/1:21 -- happy days. M was there as were Glenn and Roly. The whole crew!

Glad that's out of the way. Of course, I now see how I can get under 5:45.

For the record, M let me know that her LCM PB is 4:54.

London -- Then & Now

I spent this past weekend in London and had a great time visiting with friends (new and old) as well as combining a good whack of training with a little bit of business.

Who knew that London was a winter training Mecca? I’m fortunate in that the Epic-Network is extending its global reach and I’m able to get a training fix in my main business centers.

I caught the Thursday afternoon flight down from Edinburgh. Flying into Heathrow late in the day is often subject to delays but it was smooth sailing and less than 45 minutes after touch down I met up with Michael at Ealing Broadway.

I lived in London from 1990 to 1993. In the “old” days, we had a standing booking at the Thai restaurant at the Churchill Arms on Kensington Church Street. Every week, for close to two years, at 7pm. Back then, if I was free early on the Thursday then I would have headed to the pub a bit early and called Stu to sneak off for a few early beers. The standard night was four or five pints and a big night would see us into the high single figures. The nice thing about closing time back then was that it happened bang on 11pm so I could be asleep by 11:30 and, while feeling slow, I’d be able to bluff my way through Friday.

This past Thursday was quite a bit different and the contrast, as always, made me smile on the inside. Michael took me to a pool somewhere in West London. He had a couple of mates that worked at the club. They were Ironman guys and keen to meet me. I find a growing amount of goodwill around the world when I travel. There is a lot of kindness reflected back upon me and I enjoy playing a role in that virtuous cycle.

After the swim we headed off to a local pub/restaurant for dinner and I gave a chat to the Serpentine Tri Club. Man-o-man can I talk! Thankfully, it was well received. Two hours passed and if I wasn’t a half hour late for my homestay then I just might have kept talking. It was a great group of people, who reminded me that one of the best things about living in a truly international city is the caliber of the people you are constantly exposed to.

I have lived and worked in two of the largest business hubs in the world – London & Hong Kong. While they present some unique challenges to my current quality of life, I don’t know any other cities that can compete when it comes to quality of work opportunities. London for the volume of business, real-world educational opportunities and depth of experience. Hong Kong for the upward mobility created when rapid growth meets a shortage of work experience in the home market.

So that was Thursday. Friday was a day off training for me. A morning meeting down at Canary Wharf and lunch time spent writing an update report for a key investor. I was really tired on Friday and made the tactical error of a nap late in the day. As a result, I didn’t sleep much. The one bit of upside was that I had a chance to chat with M in the middle of my night.

Saturday was an entertaining ride. The lads equipped me with a very upscale commuter bike, shoes, clothes, helmet, gloves – the only things that were mine on the ride were my wedding ring and a pair of undershorts.

I had a pre-ride flat so we were underway slightly late. I followed my pre-ride flat with another about a half hour in. Already, I was the “new guy” holding the group back.

After my flat, we headed into the hills and I was working seriously hard to stay with the lads. Oh No! I’d been on these kill-the-pro rides before. However, this one was different, the entire group was rolling forward and I was going straight out the back.

Sweat was pouring off me and I was putting in a big effort. Still, I kept falling behind. The lactate refusing to clear from my legs even going downhill. Even sitting in, I wasn’t getting any draft and had to work extremely hard. It was really strange to be that shelled.

After 30 minutes of getting dropped, I could tell that there was a quiet discussion going on up the road. I was at a total loss. It was a shame to have been invited as a guest rider only to hold the entire pack up. They couldn’t even leave me for dead as I didn’t know where I was (and they were English). The Poms have a great sense of fair play. They’ll only shellac you within reason.

Toby dropped back and (ever so nicely) enquired how the bike was. I pointed out that the bike was doing great. The problem appeared to be the rider!

At 45 minutes we passed a massive peacock on the road and Michael dropped back for a chat. I must have been quite the sight – by this stage, I was white as a sheet, totally soaked in sweat and beyond speaking. The guys were rolling easy at conversational pace. I couldn’t figure it out.

I started to check the rear brake… not rubbing
Feel for friction in the pedals… a little sticky
Sense the hubs… perhaps a bit of friction in there

At one level I was scared to stop because if there wasn’t a bike problem then this was going to be highly embarrassing… “he sucked so bad that he even checked the bike…”

Then I simply had to stop, I was totally whipped. So I pulled over and tried to spin the rear wheel… nothing… not a bit of movement. I looked at the tire and I had just about worn through the sidewall from friction…


Needless-to-say my mood improved markedly from that point onwards. However, my legs never really were the same!

So it ended up being five hours of rolling hills around Southern England. Why do they call them “downs” if you’re always riding up? I don’t know. Suppose that they invented the language so I should just accept it like a good colonial.

The pacing on the ride continued as per standard age-group-global-protocol… i.e. the strongest guy on the ride smacks each assent. However, there was plenty of regrouping, lots of small talk and the delays due to the g-man were socially acceptable.

One of the lads on the ride (Lawrence, one of my favourite English names) – is a 51 minute TT guy. He was telling me that he really likes the training protocols of AC. Not sure if I pointed out, or merely thought, that it was rather logical that he’d fine common ground with a cyclist with similar skills. I pointed out that lifting his FT might be fun but, given that he’s already riding faster than most of the pro field, he should consider swimming and running a bit more.

The best protocol not always being the best protocol – thanks to Dr. T.

Towards the end of the ride Michael got a bit tired. He waits until his A races to leave his training pals shaking their heads. I probably take more pride in being the fastest “slow guy” than Michael but we share a lot of common ground.

Saturday ended with a drive back into London, a chat with Monica and early to bed. Sunday had more fun planned.

I woke up before six on Sunday morning. I had another back-in-the day moment when I realised that I would have only been asleep for a couple of hours (if at all) had this been the old days. One of our most popular weekend events in the 90s was a dinner party at my place in Hammersmith. There would be eight to twelve of us, in the basement, candle chandelier, eating around an old pine table. Dinner would typically include a case of wine. Dessert would be a large bottle of vodka and/or Cuervo Gold passed around the table. We wouldn’t head out clubbing until 1 or 2 am.

My brain wouldn’t re-engage until Tuesday morning.

So this Sunday morning was a little different and we hit the pool at 7:30am – they even had a “fast” freestyle only lane! Any pool where I am the fastest swimmer is alright with me.

The Tour de Parcs started at 9am – like my last run in London, we hit the Thames River trail, Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common and Putney Common. Perhaps a few other places, I wasn’t really sure.

Russ-the-dentist (uber-50 year old – fast guys are everywhere) and I… well, we hit it a bit at the end. Michael started giving us directions and, when I do that, it normally means that it’s time to head off. So Russell and I trotted down the Thames trail at a fair old rate and he got to see my definition of Iron-speedwork. I was a bit fired up when we arrived at Chiswick Bridge so he was also subjected to a few minutes of run form, training protocol and main set tips.

The run rounded my weekend out to about 8.5 hours of training. Not bad and, aside from the wheel rubbing incident, I think that I’m OK following Epic.

After all the training, I met up with a friend and her family. She has the unique position of being my only “peer” that I’ve been in continuous contact with for twenty years. I was only 17 when I met her. I think that her kids are 9/8/7 now and it was a lot of fun to have lunch with the entire crew. It had been five years since I last saw the kids.

It seems so long ago now but that day ended by getting on this plane and starting my five week trip to the Southern Hemisphere. Visiting with M and a two week vacation in Tasmania. I’m looking forward to a bit of training.


So I've been spending the last week and a half in Edinburgh and I thought that I'd jot down a few observations.

I have quite a bit of business going on in Scotland and need to travel here for the next few years. So, I decided to arrange for a flat -- a small two-bedroom flat. It is the sort that is favoured by most of our professional tenants. Folks that commute to Edinburgh, like me.

I was in the UK a fair amount in 2005 setting up my new business. While here I was living with my business partner. That worked well to keep overheads down but now that we're funded, I figured that it would be best for the longer term if I moved out on my own.

My flat is in the 'New Town' of Edinburgh -- as a Canadian there is something entertaining about the 'New Town' being older than my country. Historically, the New Town is the main area where we've invested -- about 2/3rds of our capital is tied up in this one part of the World. The neighbourhood is about 170-200 years old, very nice period buildings and well located. Ten coffee shops, four bookstores, three supermarkets and a few dozen pubs/restaurants are all within a ten minute walk of my wee flat. As a bonus, I am less than 3KM from my pool.

The flat is owned by one of the businesses that I advise so it was interesting to try our product from the other side of the landlord:tenant relationship. Things went very smoothly. Probably the toughest part was getting my gear unpacked when I moved in. At the end of last week I found myself sitting in the middle of a batchelor pad but I managed to get back on top of things over the weekend.

Seeing as I'm based in a new part of town, it's thrown my standard running routes up in the air. Being a fan of routine, I had developed a 10K loop and a 10M loop. At first, I tried to recreate my existing loops but I'm not as well placed for those runs. So, I purchased myself a bike map of the city. I smiled when I bought it -- even in the early stages of my triathlon 'comeback' I still choose my runs based on cycling routes. Go G!

Over the weekend, I spent my time exploring the city as well as a series of sites that we've identified for development/refurbishment (that's what the JV does). We focus on the high end of the residential market so the main question I ask myself is 'would I want to live here'. I also wandered around George and Princes Streets listening to the crowds and asking myself 'would I want my economic livelihood to depend on these people'.

What struck me the most during my journeys around the City Centre was the number of different languages I heard. I consider that a very good thing for the long term health of a city -- historically one wouldn't think about the end of January in Scotland being a particularly international time. We had heard anecdotal evidence from a friend that is a serviced apt operator (he's been booming through the winter with weekend visitors).

Top all this off with ten-year swap rates recently hitting something like a 50-year low in the UK and all we need to make my 2006 perfect is some unexpected property market volatility. A well-funded investor loves short term adversity once the fundraising is closed.

One of the strange things about private equity/direct investment is that the best time to go fundraising is nearly always the worst time to be investing. Investors 'know' this in their hearts but it is still a real slog to raise capital is a countercyclical manner. I remember when I joined Schroders in the early 90s -- we lost out on a ton of deals (which can be frustrating) then we did a stack and made great returns as the market swung in our favour.

Fortunately our main joint venture partners see us as a countercyclical play -- choose good teams, establish relationships when the market could be a little toppy, set high standards for deal terms and wait... if the market keeps rolling along then everyone continues to make (relatively) easy money... if the market tightens then the combination of motivated managers and funding lets the venture lock up some attractive deals.

Over a seven to ten year time horizon, it is a great model -- espcially when the lead institution takes higher than standard margins across its entire investment. Nine months ago, I couldn't quite see the larger strategy for the bank, now that they have funded us (and three other teams) I can see the larger game that they are positioning themselves to play.

That's all for now.



Back at the airport after 24 hours in Singapore. The wet season is a great time to come here because, although still humid, the cloud cover and constant breeze result in some very pleasant temperatures. Dave was still surprised that I was in full-sweat after a short walk to his place from the Metro.

Had a double espresso here at the airport to assist with my sleep management strategy for the flight to London. Proofreading this piece twelve hours later, it seems to have worked. Waking up at 2am (UK Time) isn’t far off what tends to happen when I fly over from the US.

Back to the Lion City. In Dave’s sector of the market, rents have fallen by about 40-50% from their peak a several years back. While this doesn’t make Singapore “cheap” – it is presently much more affordable than other major financial centers such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Bermuda. My buddy’s place here would be at least double to rent in New York or London – triple in a similarly located neighbourhood (in terms of convenience).

Knowing the work ethic of the Singaporean people, I can see why I’ve been hearing so much about Singapore becoming an off-shore financial center. It is quite a nice way to break up the journey between Australasia and Europe.

Enjoyed a nice Thai dinner overlooking the water at Boat Quay this evening – the hustle of Asia – I don’t miss it but I am entertained by it when exposed again. I was feeling very chipper as I knew that I’d better take advantage of the outdoor dining opportunity before arriving in Scotland – I think that Edinburgh’s daytime high was about 6C today, with drizzle in the forecast, for the next three days. Good weather for indoor swimming, running and working on spreadsheets!

Now it wasn’t all completely soothing – armed guards at the American Club this morning were a very visible reminder that there are a few people in the region that aren’t exactly welcoming to folks that happen to look like me. Swimming in a very nice pool, in the tropics, with a few armed guards at the door… brought back memories of The Year of Living Dangerously.

The American free-rider effect on certain parts of the world is a topic that I may write about in due course. We rarely value that which we are given for free, and the USA gives a lot to the world for free. This subject is a topic that can get me a bit irrational, especially after eavesdropping on standard dinner conversation in Boulder. It’s weird to be a Canadian that is more of a patriot than many of my neighbors. Some folks really need to travel more – I actually see the rest of the world, rather than shopping for Tibetan trinkets on Pearl Street. OK, enough of that or I’ll get myself into trouble.

Well, that’s all for now. Since the start of this trip, I’ve sent along two emails to my travel lady. Both are aimed at adjusting future plans so that I can insert a few more of these “regroup” days into my schedule. A swim and a meal with a good friend go a long way towards ensuring that I can arrive in one piece. With the need to connect through Sydney to get onto the World’s Favourite Airline, I might as well visit a few pals along the way. Besides, I know a good indoor 50 meter pool that has generous lap swimming hours.

The Dudes

Jonas, Clas and Bjorn set me up with TWO (!) Swedish bike jerseys, one Swedish Cross Country top, a Swedish Monster-Chocolate Bar and a selection of Alsolut.

Top guys.

National triathlon gear always gratefully accepted.

The photo above is the four of us in Hanmer Springs. The last time we were all together like that was World's Toughest Triathlon in Auburn, California.

Epic NZ, Week One

Sunday morning -- the bulk of the crew are just finishing up a local Half Marathon race that Johno and Scott lined up. Pretty impressive results from the lads -- have to say that I am impressed with everyone here. The guys are all training out of their skins -- hopefully, they are sharing their experiences.

Most of the lads hit their weekly PB for volume some time on Day Three -- and we kept it rolling thereafter.

I started the camp with new pedals and a complete lack of pace discretion -- gut feel is that the combination overloaded my calves and toasted one of my ATs. Currently hooked up to an eStim machine with Voltaren flowing through my veins (I don't like anti-inflams but I hate the idea of a van ride more). Tomorrow is 220K+ over at least 3 saddles/passes. Not really sure what's going to happen.

Still, it's all good. The lads aren't the only one's training out of their skins. This is far and away the easiest way to get into shape. I've been spat out of a few times but that's OK -- the guys doing the spitting (Skin & Bones Bayliss and The Baron) have what it takes to be low-8 IMers. Hopefully, Stephen's eyes have been opened as well -- he rolls a good gear on the flats for a 70kg lad. I was at the end of a five-man pace line -- dead flat, no wind and I went out the back at 45kph near the town of Hope -- that was Thursday. I was lost at Hope. I did get a bit of satisfaction of using my local knowledge to beat everyone on to the College through better route selection (I told the guys that I could be useful).

...and Mike C should remember that. He's right there shoulder-to-shoulder with them. Something about Canadians and big volume -- Robo Seth and now Mike. We need to think up a nickname for him. Something about these Canadians -- they are just so... cheerful! Great guy.

Jonas had a few tough days at the start -- I suppose two workouts in December (total) wasn't the best prep. However, he took the pain and is getting stronger every day. Mentally, it is quite a bit tougher for a <8:30 dude to get spat out the back then a <10 guy. The big guy had me doing fly in the pool yesterday and was back to his goofy self. I predict that he'll be back to his monster-self once we are churning down the Old West Coast Road on Thursday -- I hope to be there!

KP tells me that my board is spending a lot of time debating training protocols. Tip of the day... make a choice, stick with it for 2006 and search the dbase (while stretching) when you feel like kicking it around again.

Bella has been on fire the whole way. An example of how ride, don't think, can really work. She's riding blind (no HR, no speed, no cadence, no power, no problem!). Just hangs on. We dropped her last Thursday because she ran out of gears on a descent. Back on the flats, we keep the pressure on and, despite that, she towed Brandon back up to our group. Some folks train very well in a group situation, she's one of them.

So what about the title... well, Dave likes to train with Simon. Now Dave is the fittest guy I know in his 50s... however... Simon is the fittest guy that I know period!

Dave loves to run with Simon -- speed is addictive and training with the big dogs is a lot of fun. However, often our mind and muscles are stronger than our connective tissue. As a result, Dave spends a lot of time with running injuries and I've been known to comment that it's simply nuts to do run training with Simon.

If you've been reading Wim's blog then you'll know that my pacing strategy has been remarkably similar to Dave's. The results not far off either.

Oh yeah, Wim's taken the exact opposite approach to me. He's up at the front but conserving and being very moderate in his approach. That probably is not appearing in his numbers because he's in such good shape. One of the best things about these camps is getting to meet guys like Wim. I hope that we'll be able to train together in the future (fingers crossed he doesn't get too fast or I won't be able to hold his wheel!).

Scott's suggested easing off a few times, in private and in public, however, I can't help it. It's just a lot more fun to be the slowest guy in the fastest group.

Can't promise when I'll get a chance to write again. Things are about to get tough for the next few days.

Ten Hours

Well, ten hours has turned into 40 hours. I expect that I might get a chance to write a bit on Sunday -- depends as there are rumours of back-to-back eight hours days on the weekend. We'll see.

If you've sent me an email then I will get to it eventually. Current inbox is 200 and climbing.

The lads tell me that they are writing so hopefully they are offering sufficient coverage. As for me, I'm in survival mode.


Epic NZ, Jan 11th

Phew, I am surviving much better than expected. However, after another eight hour day of training, I need to go to bed. Hopefully more in about ten hours when I wake up.

The lads have found bootleg wireless so I'll let them speak for me.


Epic NZ, Jan 10th

OK, I am a little shelled right now so Dave's story will have to wait a bit.

Quote of the day to Wim and Mitch...

Wim: I wonder what it is going to be like when you guys decide to ride hard?

Mitch: If I wanted to ride easy then I would have stayed at home.

Tomorrow is dedicated to John Newsom. The first mega-ride that I ever did was with Johno. We rode from Christchurch to Nelson in two days -- 500+K.

One of my first bonks ever -- a really serious one where I nearly chundered happened about 30K into the ride tomorrow (that was about 180K into the ride that day). At that stage, Johno was feeling far to chipper and offered me some wine gums -- didn't go down so well. For the rest of the ride... "want some wine gums? each time we swapped out". Suppose you had to be there. Johno thought it was hilarious -- I was less sure.

Anyhow, it was rides like that that helped me really improve my cycling performance and learn to cope with the fatigue and emotional valleys that we fact in IM racing.

The guys did great today. Absolutely massive day on Monday then another solid outing with 3K swim; 140K ride; and 50 min run. Some of the lads tacked on to the ride and a few even swam 6K -- took them more than 2 hours!

Pretty tired -- I did better today and didn't hit the wall.

Tomorrow is a tough 180K on the bike -- a number of us are going to swim/run before. A good idea because we aren't going to feel like a run when we arrive.

OK -- more later.

Epic NZ, Jan 9th, round up

Oh my that was a tough day.

We opened up with 3200m in the pool (good to see Roly again). Main set was 2000 timed. I swam a 29:10 which was at least 10s per 100 faster than anything I had been doing in Montpellier -- can't beat the group environment.

Then we rode 190-205K depending on the group and the route home. I did much better than I expected for the first five hours. Some good times there. The highlights...

Wim and I dropped back for a pee and the lads picked it up -- swapping it out for 15 minutes we averaged 325w+ and bridged back. Just as we caught the group they slowed down -- naturally they claimed it was an accident we had to work so hard.

Did OK on the first KOM -- 9th over the top, no points but nothing too bad.

On the second KOM -- had a little more trouble, started to feel dizzy at the top but managed to be 7th over the top and get a single point. Probably the first climb (ever) that I legitimately beat Bjorn -- of course, he'd done back-to-back 180K days before today!

Later it was Swedish revenge though when Mister A freighttrained me out the back after 40 minutes with the A Team.

Had a great smile when we were sitting well over 40kmh and I am thinking about rolling out the back. I look over and it is KP!!! He was hanging with the Big Dogs.

The lads notched it up a level and that was it for KP, and me shortly thereafter.

Jonas smoked by a little later -- guess his van ride over the 2nd KOM let him freshen a bit... (check the photo gallery later, oh the SHAME...) he was penaltised. Anyhow I was going to say something but Bella was on his wheel. Big J pulled over and Bella put the HURT on me. Ouch! It's been five years since I was dropped by a girl and as soon as Jonas assumed control, I went right out!

Baron ended the day in Yellow by winning all the KOMs and getting to 200K. Pretty impressive given he's been injured for the last two weeks. He's very tough to beat when he has the attitude that I saw out there today.

My ride ending with an hour of personal time totally blown, nearly riding off the road once. I was pretty darn depressed. Then I got a flat, had a break and perked up a bit. After a 40 mintue break at HQ, managed to get my run done with a couple of the lads. That run was a big victory. No way I would have done that on my own.

Quite a few guys set distance and duration PBs to day, including Monica.

Tomorrow is a bit more reasonable -- 140K as 60K flat then 80K rolling up hill.


Lots of emotional ups and downs for me today. That's a lot of what this is about. It's just like an ironman -- we need to learn to control the peaks and get ourselves through the valleys.

Have to say that I didn't really master my pacing. Wim summed it up nicely... "Nice ride today, g. However, given your preparation you might have managed it a little bit better." I think that Wim is going to have a great camp. He's got an excellent attitude and is in great shape.

Plenty of horsepower out there on this camp! We have some outstanding Civilian athletes. Mike from Canada was right up there all day. Dude has some massive quads and climbs like a goat.

OK that's enough. I gotta go to bed.


Tomorrow is dedicated to David Plew -- your homework is to google the Queenstown AG Standard Distance World Champs.

I'll also write a little bit about what I am going to talk about tomorrow after dinner. "What are we trying to accomplish here?"

Epic NZ, Jan 9th

Woke up early. Slept real good last night. I think I might be close to 95% freshened up after my little illness.

Looking around the room last night at our briefing there are some FIT dudes on this camp. It will be interesting to see how things play out over the course of the camp.

OK, each day (if I remember), I am going to dedictate the day of training to someone -- a pal or someone else that I've either found entertaining or learned something from.

So today, today is KP Day.

Kevin Purcell is a guy that I meet about six years ago. He's come along to every Epic Camp that we've done over the years. The return leg of the ride that we are doing today is similar to the ride that we ended the first ever Epic Camp. With one exception, today, we don't return over Long Bay Road.

I'm sure my account of Long Bay Road is somewhere on the Epic Site. It is a climb that even had the Baron swerving back and forth across the road. KP was sitting on about 170+ bpm for most of the way up -- not because he wanted to, but because that was the only way to get up.

As he neared, what he thought was, the top. He saw all of us waiting and poured it on for a big finish. Admirable except that he had about another 10-15 mins worth of climbing along the spine of the crater. I remember smiling to myself and telling him, "great finish but we're only about two-thirds of the way up". His smile said it all.

Kevin loves choosing the hard way. In fact, as an advisor to him, I spend a lot of time trying to convince him that he needn't always choose the _hardest_ way. It's like that with a lot of my high achieving athletes -- I spend a lot of time dialing them down.

At Epic, we have a policy that everyone has the right to do as much, as hard, as often as they want. So we won't be dialling anyone down.

Of course, I hope the guys realise that Bjorn and Bevan are only along for the day. Last year, I spent a day on Mister A's wheel and never recovered.

Oh yeah, in that photo are Chris McDonald, KP, John Mergler and Clas. KP was training with a couple of <9 IM guys and a Top 5 Kona finisher. None of us knew that at the time, though. What we did know was that we all liked to train, hated to quit and chose to head up Long Bay Road rather than take the easy way back to town.

More later.