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Freitag, 11. Juli 2014

it's been a while!

Hi everybody,

It's been a while since I last updated my blog. There are normally just two options why this is happening a. I am not motivated to write something or b. I am too busy to write something. Looking back I would say it was clearly the B option this time!

I was racing a bit, worked a bit and moved a bit... Everybody knows that a move should be a thing that is done in a few days but unfortunately the reality is bit different. Jenn and I moved almost 3 weeks ago and we are still living with a lot of boxes around us as we just don't find the time to unpack them (I could do it right now but I set my priorities for today). Leading up to the move the packing and all the things that come with it are not so much fun and fitting it in to a almost full 40hour coaching week and the own training is not so easy. Unfortunately the training was the part that I had to let go for a few days as I wanted to get the move done as soon as possible. We hired a company for the actual move but we still had to invest many hours packing and unpacking.

In between of all the packing I did my first bike race after a 13 years break of road racing the weekend before the move. It was in Devon just outside of Edmonton and we used the time to visit Jenn's parents who are living close to there too. The race was a lot of fun. We rode with 6 guys in the team and we all worked for our captain of the day. It started fairly slow and my job was it to keep the field together. I brought back the attacking riders and the most fun part was to ride the last 10km so hard that nobody would even think about attacking again. I wrote about 8km alone from the front and kept the pace around 50km/h. My legs started to cramp but the yelling of my team mates made me keep going till I totally blew up 500m before the finish. The sprint was open and our captain finished 3rd. and could collect important points to move up into the next category.

As I said the weekend after was all about moving and we finally moved on Monday. On Tuesday, July1st, Jenn did her race comeback after an almost 3year break due to her concussion she got during a bike crash. It was so great to see her back on a race course and I am happy to switch sides and support her during her races as she is always there for me when I am racing.

The next day we left to St Andrews in New Brunswick to be a part of the first Challenge race in the beautiful little ocean town. We were welcomed by Pat and Peter, our wonderful homestay hosts. The weather on Thursday and Friday was nice and we had some time to get familiar with the course and the area. I think there are not many places in the world that have a better set up for a race like St. Andrews. With some rain on Friday evening the weather shifted and during the night I experienced my first Hurricane. The wind and the rain were crazy and most parts of St. Andrews were without power for at least 24hours and many trees fell and crashed onto cars, houses and many fences. The whole race set up that the Challenge team put in place had to be set up again once the wind calmed down on Saturday evening and with lots of volunteers they made the impossible happen and the race could start as planned on Sunday morning.

My race performance was pretty much like I expected it prior to the race. My swim was solid and I was 4th after the swim. I can swim faster but with being alone for 1800m or the 1900m it was hard to pace myself all the time. Having a group around you would have had helped! The bike was a bit frustrating. I knew that it wouldn't be great as I have not spent much time on the bike the 2 weeks before the bike but of course you always hope that you can pull it off on race day even if the training wasn't great the weeks leading up to the race... well it wasn't the case and I got dropped and was 7th or 8th or something like that after the bike. And than the run. With 6 months of no running at all I just can't expect to run a sub 1:30hrs that's why my goal was to run solid and under 1:40hrs. I started and felt pretty good and was hoping that I will not blow up like I did 4 weeks ago in Oliver. I ran solid, had not too much pain and finished my longest run of the year in 1:39hrs. Not an awesome time but realistically all I can expect at the moment. I am very confident that I can work on my run shape in the next weeks and I am looking forward to it!

We are back in Calgary since Monday night and spent the last days with work, a bit of training and (big surprise) unpacking boxes. We will leave again on Sunday to head out west to stop first in Canmore where I will race at another bike race in the morning before we continue on and drive out to Penticton for a week of training. I want to be as much as possible on the race course of the Challenge course to know every pothole and just know the course inside out!

I will keep you updated how the next bike race was and which races are coming up between now and the big day at Challenge Penticton at the end of August!

cheers,

Elmar

Freitag, 2. Mai 2014

What happend the last weeks....and 2014 race plan

Hi everybody!

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog (like almost always)! The last weeks and months have been very busy and at times very crazy. Overall my fitness improved a lot and I am on a good way to get race ready. My knees are tolerating some solid training but I still have to make sure that I balance the stress-recovery for the knees well.

I am currently in Calgary, and after we had a few nice days it started snowing again tonight! I was suppose to be in Spain right now and run a training camp for the Talisman Centre triathlon club. BUT I am currently between two work-permits and while I am waiting for my permanent residency and an open work permit I am in a so called implied status. During this time I am not allowed to leave Canada. I had for the longest time a wrong information from my lawyer and that's why we started to plan the camp. Less than 48hrs before I was suppose to leave I became the confirmation from the Canadian boarder control that I can't leave the country even if I am going on a work trip for a Canadian company to serve Canadian clients. I could go on and on about all of this but unfortunately it change nothing. Beside the fact that it effects the camp it will effect my race and travel schedule for at 2014. The estimated time that I will hopefully receive my permanent residency should be the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. All over this situation is very frustrating but I have to deal with it. Mallorca is probably my most favorite place on the planet and I just have so many good memories when I think about this island. Currently I have the feeling that I let my athletes and fellow coaches down that I am just sad not being able to train there with them.

I will make the best out of it and do my best to get race ready for 2014. The first race will come up pretty soon. In less than 4 weeks will it lace up my shoes to race the Oliver half triathlon. It is a first test to see where I am at before I will fly all the way to the East cost to race at Challenge St. Andrews. I am excited about this race as it will be the first time that the Challenge family will have a race in St. Andrews. In between this two half distance races I will try something "new" and do some bike racing at two weekends.
I joined the bicisport team here in Calgary and I am excited to be more involved into cycling again. The last time I raced a bike race is about 12 years ago :)! Beside the fun I hope that I will get some solid speed work out of this races...

I might do another half distance race at the end of July before the final preparation for my main race in 2014 starts. Challenge Penticton was a really bad day for me last year but the atmosphere and the course left no doubt that I will have to go back and do it better in 2014. Shortly after I will start to another trip to the East coast and will race 2 weeks after Challenge Penticton in Montreal at the Esprit triathlon which will be held in downtown Montreal and I will write more about this special course once we come closer to race day!

I really would like to go back to Palm Springs in December and try to defend my title but I have to wait what will happen with my papers...

It's been a stressful time in the last weeks and I hope to be able to focus more on the important things and having a lot of fun training, working and enjoying life!

Cheers,

Elmar

Sonntag, 9. Februar 2014

The love hate relationship athletes have with their coaches

Hi everybody,

I had to smile when I read one of my athletes blog's. Cindy and I started working together not that long ago and I am helping her to reach her goal for the 2014 season- IM Arizona.

Cindy's blog reminded me on some of my own coaches in the past and how often I thought they want to kill me. When my athletes complain that the training is to hard I always tell them that I am not here to find new friends. This is actually something that one of my former coaches told my training group when I was a teenager. His name was Willi and I will never forget how we had our very first meeting with him and the team and he said "Gentlemen, my name is Mr. Belgo. I will be your new bike coach." He continued on and talked but one sentence sticks in my head till today: "I am not here to find new friends! We are here to be successful together and if we reach this goal and still talk to each other beside the training we archived more than we can ask for!" 

My approach is a little bit different than Willi's was but I still think he was right to a certain point and the coach should be your best friend and worst enemy at the same time. The athlete should always know that I, as a coach, always want the best for you, as an athlete. This also means that I have to help you to bring you out of your comfort zone and push you to new limits.

I am looking forward to share a great race season with my athletes!

cheers,

Elmar

P.S. If you want to read Cindy's blog click here!

Montag, 20. Januar 2014

January Challenge blog

Hi everybody,

Once a month I am writing a training blog for the Challenge Penticton. This January blog is about my opinion on gym workouts during the winter and if it makes sense to keep it up for the entire year or not... If you are interested to find out what my take is click here!

Have fun reading!

cheers,

Elmar

Sonntag, 19. Januar 2014

New Partner for 2014

Hi everybody,

it's been a pleasure to tell you that I have a new race wheel partner!

energy LAB is a Calgary based company who helped me already in 2013 with their support!



For me as a tall and fairly heavy guy it is important to have a wheel that is stiff enough to hold the power I can produce once I push really into the pedal. The stiffness of the energy LAB wheels is fantastic and this with a competitive weight is what I call clever engineering.

My favorite set is clearly the VC90 mm front and rear. I rode this setup already in Penticton, Bend and Palm Springs in 2013. I set a personal downhill record with the VC90 wheel-set in Bend last year when I rode 115km/h and I have to say that the wheels really impressed me with how smooth they where running at this speed!

I had my first contact with this wheels at the expo during the Challenge Penticton week. I chatted with the guys from energy LAB and they gave me a wheels-set to try prior to the race. I loved them instantly and luckily the energy LAB guys agreed to borrow me a set for the race. From their on I did all my 2013 races on energy LAB wheels and I am very happy that this will continue in 2014 and hopefully beyond that!


Thank you to the energy LAB  team for your support!



If you want to enjoy the "science of speed" in the future use this online code: "ProElmar" to get a $100 discount of your wheel-set and klick HERE!



Donnerstag, 2. Januar 2014

Happy New Year!


Hello everybody!

A happy new year to all of you!

After some easy weeks and lots of food and family time I am back! The goals for 2014 are set, the race schedule is getting there and I am excited to share some great news with you in the next weeks.

I would also like to use the chance to thank everybody who supported me in 2013 and were in my corner!

Training is taking over again and I am very excited that my girl is back in the triathlon world. Jenn will race the Challenge Roth this year and I am happy to help and support her on the way as good as she supported me the last two years!

Please come and visit my blog again soon, to find out what's going on in my world!

Thanks!

Elmar

Samstag, 14. Dezember 2013

Finally! Good end of the year 2013- HITS Palm Springs Champion!

Hello everybody!



Finally

It was a long stretch and not a very easy one. After coming back from my long lasting injury I was really working hard and hoping for a good season in 2013. Not many things came together on my race days and I was starting to doubt myself. Doubting if it all makes sense and also if what I am doing in my training is right. I am working as a coach for almost 10 years and I helped many, many people on their way to their personal goals. Should I be not able to help myself!?
Everything was different this time. The weather in Calgary was cold the last 4-5 weeks leading up to the race and I decided to train 100% of my training inside and not to risk to get a cold or a stupid crash on the snow/ice. Everybody who knows me a bit knows that I am not necessarily a fan of indoor training, but the job needed to be done. I switched a few things around in my training, did less long training sessions but most of them with a fairly high intensity. All felt good, till I did one track session and had massive knee problems afterwards. From there on it was a fine balance of listing to the body and not pushing too hard, but still put some solid training in. A hard session was usually followed by a rest day for the knee. Somehow it all worked out and I made it to the start-line of the HITS Palms Springs. I didn’t really know what to expect. The training felt completely different than the outdoor training, but I was confident enough, that I did a good job during the last weeks.
Jenn and I flew the Wednesday before the race to Palm Springs and enjoyed the warmer weather and used the time to check the courses.
Race morning: It was cold, not just for Southern California. We had about 7 degrees Celsius at 7am and a water temperature of 15 degrees. The ironman distance race and the half were started together. We had to swim 4 laps with a short run on the beach after each lap, the half distance athletes had to do 2 laps, which makes sense when we do the quick math!
Dave is NOT mad at me, he just wants to motivate me!

For the first lap I stayed in the front pack, was 2nd overall after the first lap and continued with my pace while the half distance athletes started to pick up the pace. One other guy, who was doing the full distance, followed them. I could see in the water that he was a bigger guy and I figured that he must be a former swimmer, who will probably not ride or run as fast as I will. I swam zick-zack for most of the other 3 laps, being busy of finding my way thru the slower swimmers who I lapped.
I was 2nd out of the water of all the full distance athletes and bit over 1 minute behind the current leader. He was still in T1 when I arrived there and I left T1 before him.

I started fairly hard on the bike. The course was 3 laps 30km out and back. Like this I could see every 30km where my followers are. After 10-15km my front wheel made a wired noise and I noticed that the break pad was rubbing on the rim. I didn’t know what exactly happened but I knew that I should open my break as much as possible. It was better afterwards, but the rim still touched the break pad at one point. I figured that I will have to ride with a little bit more resistance today as I wanted to- after the race I found out that my front break was broken.  
After the first turnaround I was a little confused when I figured that I had already a 10min lead. I continued to push and did my best to let the lead grow. It was the first time that I was leading a long-distance triathlon and I had the feeling I had everything under control , but I also knew how fast things can change during such a long day, so I wanted to stay focused and get as much of a lead as possible off the bike.  The wind picked up, as the forecast said, and we had some sections with great tailwind but unfortunately also with strong side wind or straight from the front. Especially the last 12 miles were tough. First we had a really strong side wind (I was told that it was up to 50mph at some points) and the last 3-4 miles we had a solid head wind. I rode fairly hard but couldn’t bring my speed sensor over 20km/h.
Head-wind is never nice!
In T2 I had a lead of about 45-47 minutes.
That was a solid lead but I had too many bad marathon experiences in the past to think that this race is over and I have my first long-distance victory. Usually when I start my marathon I don’t feel great for the first 30min, before I find my rhythm and pace. But this time everything was different. I started and was shocked how fresh my legs felt and I remember how I was thinking “if that’s the bad feeling, I am excited to feel how it feels in about 20minutes”.
I didn’t want to risk anything. I had a solid lead and as long as there was nobody in the top 5 who can run a sub 3hrs marathon I should have podium finish safe. It was a 2lap 10,5km out and back course and beside one 2km climb towards the half-marathon mark and the finish was it totally flat. I took enough nutrition at each aid station and slowed down a lot to make sure that I actually got everything into my body and not just chucked the water in my face and not really much into my mouth. I ran an ok pace, but was scared to go harder. I knew I could go harder, my legs felt good, but I didn’t want to risk too much and pay for it at the end. At the half-marathon mark my lead to the second was almost the same and I thought I could maybe go a little bit harder and see how my body feels. At the last turnaround at about 30km Jenn and my friend Dave were waiting for me. They said that I still have over 40min to the second guy. I stopped, gave Jenn a kiss and started the math. If I would walk he would catch me, but as long as I run I should be good- and my legs felt strong.
I ran, but I stopped at each aid-station and beside the normal nutrition I had enough time to talk the great volunteers and to say thank you for being out there for us all day. I knew that would cost me a few minutes in total, but I think it was the right thing to do. How often do you get the chance to do that, when you are going to win a race and I don’t know how many volunteers I passed in my life during the 21 years of racing, without saying anything to them?! THANK YOU to everybody who ever gave me water, coke, gel, bar or whatever I needed, without you all the races in the world wouldn’t happen!
I enjoyed the last 10km a lot, for sure the best 10km I ever had in a long-distance triathlon and for sure the most emotional 10km I ever had in a race. During this 10km I thought a lot about the last 2-2,5years and how much I wanted a good race. I had really a lot of moments where I was very close to give up and stop racing in the last years. I came stronger out of these two years than I was ever before and I will continue my way and continue to work hard for a great 2014! It only just begun!

Ah yes, important side note: I WON!

I can’t thank enough the people who believed in me during the last years!
 First of all Jenn and my family but also my sponsors! Ingolf and Peter from SPOCE. You guys supported me from the very beginning and you had to be very, very patient with me. Robyn from Taya chain was also on board from the very beginning. Deano and Deb& Drew from Huub. Deano, you just know what to do with black rubber! Deb& Drew, you helped me a lot when I first came to Canada and I appreciate that a lot! Last but not least, Kelly from EnergyLab. You helped me in the 2013 with the fastest wheels I have ever ridden and I am looking forward to start into 2014 with you! Thank you!

I will be back soon!