2 Tickets To Paradise. Race Report Part 2  


This is Part 2 on the past weekends Paradise Triathlon If you missed Part 1, just click here.

But before I get into my race report, here’s a little about the race itself, the course and the conditions.


Years ago the local YMCA organized a June event that kickstarted the local tri season. a sprint distance, with a 500m indoor pool swim, but the pool was smack dab in the middle of the city, and I think traffic safety challenges on the bike course eventually led to it’s demise.

Then in 2006, with no early season event, one of our local athletes, part of a group training for late season Ironman Races (Including me) offered up her home for anyone interested. She happens to live in the country, on a quiet road, on Olivers Pond. It was a perfect setting, but totally unsanctioned. Given it’s popularity, there was clearly a need for an early season sanctioned event. Thus was born the Paradise Triathlon.

The course

The town of Paradise lies just a few miles west of the city of St. John’s. The swim takes place in Octagon Pond, a deep medium size water body in the town. That makes it choppy when the wind blows, and cold nearly all year round. Routinely, you can see white Caps on the pond as you drive by.

The bike route was originally a relatively flat 3 loop 20k course that travelled out Topsail Road, briefly onto the Trans Canada Highway before turning back to Kenmount Road and McNamara Drive. But Topsail Road is the main thoroughfare in the town, and again, out of traffic safety concerns, the course was altered. The new course was a tough, hilly, out and back 25k route. The fun starts right out of Transition as you climb up MacNamara Drive. You are riding uphill 5 separate times including one long ascent as you turn onto the ramp taking you to the Trans Canada, then riding a slight up grade until you reach the on ramp to the Conception Bay Bypass road where the grade picks up and you climb to the highest part of the route.

The run is a 5.5 k trail around Octagon Pond. It’s mostly flat, but for good measure, there’s one hill thrown in as you access Topsail Road and then climb back up to Octagon pond. The run is pretty, but you only get to see competitors in 2 locations. The start, and the stretch along Topsail Road. The rest of the time, you are in the woods and oblivious to your fellow competitors. If you are chasing someone, you better dig deep because you have no idea how far ahead they are.


If you like cold choppy water, and a hilly windy bike course, this race is for you. The water temps in the week leadng up were in the 10 to 13 degree celcius range, but with the help of a couple of sunny days leading up, it reached 14 on race morning. The wind that morning were 25 to 30 km/h with gusts up to 44. So race morning I knew I was in for it.

Next up, MY RACE. Stay Tuned.

2 Tickets To Paradise. Race Report Part 1  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

This weekend was the much anticipated season kick-off event here on the east coast. The Paradise Triathlon".

This is part 1 of a multi part series about the event. This post will cover the lead-up week. Part 2 with a description of the course and conditions on race day can be found here.

Strange I know for all the 70.3, and Ironman vets out there, a lead-up post about a sprint distance race, but it was a critical event for me to gauge where my fitness was early in the season.

This was a planned B+ race. Not the primary focus of my training, and no taper, but certainly a race I wanted to do well in.

Starting with the weekend before the race, a long weekend at that, I did an Epic Training weekend, logged some serious Clicks on the bike as well as a 10k, followed by another serious event, the Summer Solstice 50K ITT On Tuesday. Wednesday was going to be a swim and long run day, but it quickly turned into a recovery day with a recovery effort swim, and a short recovery effort run. My arms and legs just didn’t have anything more intense than that in them.

On Thursday evening, by the time I completed my Family duties, (Supper and Soccer) I managed to squeeze in a 1 hour brick. The run was short, (20 minutes) but felt awesome. I had to real myself in several times so I didn’t overdo it.

Friday I took off, Then Saturday, another short brick. This time it didn’t feel quite so good. My legs were heavy, and it took effort to make strides. But after a rest day, that’s how it’s supposed to feel, so I didn’t panic.

For the rest of the day, I did some gardening chores, took the kids to the park, then took the evening and cleaned my bike,(After helping with Birthday Party Preparations) Would my routing reep benefits? Stay tuned for Part 2.

Summer Solstice 50k ITT  

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This event is a club tradition every year, on the Tuesday closest to the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, we run a special, 50k event more than double our weekly 20k.

June 22 started out rainy windy and cold. Eventually, the rain stopped and the sun came out, so the committee gave it a go ahead. Still, it remained windy and cold. By race time, the wind had died out somewhat, but the wind never dies out completely here, and since the course is a large loop, you are guaranteed a headwind somewhere. Today, it was coming home.

I was not looking forward to this event for a bunch of reasons.
1. I was the slowest rider in the field. Yes for this one, only the true bike geeks signed up. All the new riders sensibly took a pass.
2. The conditions. Cold. 5 to 7 degrees Celsius. Winds 20 to 35 clicks, plus a wind chill.
3. The course. At 50 k, More than double the normal distance. The first 10k is mostly uphill. The second half is just up and down. At about 35k, we hit a climb that is a couple of kilometers long. Then home stretch is 10 k into a headwind.
4. My Sunday Ride. I did the same route on Sunday and it took me 2 hours. Granted I was on my road bike, at training pace, in VERY strong winds at nearly 40 kmh, and I did stop a couple of times for snacks and “Pause Au Natural” but still, it was slow.

On Sunday, it took me 34 minutes to ride the first 12k, but yesterday, I did it in 24. I had a 5 minute head start on the number 2 rider which was a good thing and he didn’t catch me until about the 10k mark. The second rider, who started 7 minutes behind me, didn’t catch me until about 35k, and the 2 race leaders caught me at about 40k. Also, I didn’t finish last. Yes, of the 8 who braved the conditions and started the event, I crossed the finish line 5th.

And the end result, 44:42, just under 45 minutes, more than 15 minutes faster than Sunday. Next up is the Paradise Triathlon, and I have 4 days to recover, so Stay Tuned.

Epic Training Weekend  

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An extended long weekend for me thanks to a civic holiday, and a few extra hours worked last week. That made for a full weekend of training in preparation for some upcoming events, including a tough 10 k race.

Friday, 2 hour ride, taking in part of the route for the upcoming Paradise Triathlon. In a word, TOUGH. It seems like to course is up hill all the way, which is impossible I know because it is a loop. It has to come down at some point, but that’s what it felt like. Will be a tough sprint.

Me 687. about 200 metres to go to the finish. Dude in the black came out of nowhere and sprinted to the line.

Saturday, Molson Light Downtown 10k. This was the race I set a PR on about 5 years ago. 44 minutes and change. This time, the course was modified to the much hillier South Side Road, on the south bank of the Waterford river. As well, the direction was reversed meaning predominately uphill on the way home. I knew It was a tough course before the start, and I barely broke 50 minutes.

Made his move. I hope he is sore tomorrow!

Sunday, I did a training ride from my house to the start of this weeks 50k ITT. The wind was absolutely howling. It usually takes me 22 to 25 minutes to get to the turnaround of our 20k route. On Sunday, I was over 30 minutes. Granted, it was a training ride at training pace on my road bike, but still, give me a break. Again, this is a tough windy hilly course. Another tough event.

Monday, Swim at the Paradise Tri swim venue. Operative word, COLD. 11.3 degrees celcius. The race committee has stated that 10 is the cut-off. I am not sure what the ITU regulations are, but I really hope it warms up. My teeth are still chattering.

That brings me to today. The 50. It’s drizzly, and windy. The rain is supposed to let up this afternoon, and the sun is supposed to peek out, but the winds are predicted to be 30 kmh gusting to 50 from the north, meaning more cold. 7 Celcius to be exact. Can’t wait. Such fun!

So there you have it. An epic training weekend in Newfoundland.

You know you are in Newfoundland When!  

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You go out for a run inn a rain storm, and come back with heat stroke!

You base your attire on the Wind Chill, and it’s June 16th !

You finally switch over from snow tires to summer tires, but you are nervous about it!

20K ITT Tuesday Postponed, Rain Drizzle, Wind Warning!
20K ITT Wednesday Postponed, Rain Drizzle Wind Warning!
20K ITT Thursday, We’ll have to wait and see.

The season kick-off Paradise Triathlon June 27th is in danger of having the swim cancelled if the water temp at Octagon Pond doesn’t reach 10 deg C.

All part of what makes it fun to race here in Newfoundland. We have a few really cool events coming up in the next 2 weeks. Molson Light Downtown 10k on Saturday, Our Our summer solstice ITT on Tuesday, (That one is a 50k on a very hilly, and “GO FIGURE” windy course) Then the Paradise Triathlon next Sunday. And I am not prepared for any of them, so I am in for some painful training and racing.

And next time you are pissed about the heat and humidity, buy a plane ticket to St. john’s, and come for a visit. You’ll never complain about weather again.

Healthy Recipes for Athletes and Cyclists?  

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An interesting email found it’s way to my inbox today. Bicycling.com periodically finds my email account. I must have signed up for something at one point in time. There is usually at least 1 interesting article to check out.

This time around, its “Healthy Recipes for Athletes and Cyclists” which always excites me as I love to eat, and I love being healthy. Everything is a balancing act, and this is no exception. That’s why you see a dish like Paella Hortelana under the same heading with Appalachian Trail Cookies.

Ones I would love to try? Well, the afore mentioned Parlla, Trail cookies complete with M&M’s and One I can live without, Un-Fried Rice With Poached Egg and Seaweed, and Lobster Puttanesca. I can’t stomach seaweed, and If I am cooking lobster, I am not chopping it up and throwing it in Pasta.

Anyone trying any of these, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.

Reason I love St. John’s No 28  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

4. Foggy Houses, St. John's, Canada
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: 4. Foggy Houses, St. John's, Canada

You wouldn’t think that the windchill would be a factor in June. I planned my Long ride this weekend, (3 hours) on Sunday. After waiting for a few hours to see if it would warm up, I hit the road at about 11:30am in 6 degree damp and misty condition. Thinking it would warm-up as I road away from the coast, I slightly underdressed. MISTAKE.

Perception is funny. Strange how fog is mysterious and romantic in San Francisco, and London, but nothing but a nuisance here. The damp and foggy air cut through my long sleeve jersey and base layer like I was naked. When I stopped for a snack and a Pause au Natural at Sunshine Park (Irony Aside), it seemed to be warming up a little, but once I started on the road again, that chilled to the bone feeling quickly returned.

By the time I got home, I was like a corpse. I quickly put on a pot of coffee, and warmed up a pot of campbells gold fish chicken soup, and slurped it back while still in my slightly sweaty and smelly riding gear (Yes despite freezing, I still managed to sweat. Go figure)

So here’s to looking forward to some warmer temperatures, sometime soon.

Chicago Wins Stanley Cup.  

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Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for capturing the Stanley Cup last night with a 4 to 3 overtime win over the Philadelphia flyers, in Philadelphia.

For the non hockey savvy crowd, that’s the first win for the Hawks since 1961 ending the longest Stanley cup drought in the NHL. That puts the leafs next in line for that distinction.

Captain Jonathon Toews won the Conn Smythe trophy as the NHL playoff MVP, adding to his Olympic gold medal, and of course the cup.

But most importantly, it means the end of the season, and none too soon. June is definitely too late to be watching hockey.


Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

That’s the most important trait any weekend warrior triathlete can have, IMHO. Not being able to do the sideways splits or bending over backwards like the pic above, but being able to hit the road for a workout at a moments notice.

Take yesterday. My second 20K ITT was scheduled for the evening, but the weather was very iffy. Warm (15 deg C) but with drizzle, and wet roads. The committee had a tough call to make, and left it until the last minute to pull the plug. So what to do?

I had to get in a workout. Monday was a rest day and 1 day off ok, but 2 is too long. My son has a wolf cub outing on Saturday, and Tuesday was the info session. Here is how my day went.

3:00pm I’m hungry, but what to eat. If the ITT goes, I don’t want to rush home and fill up on supper, but I want to be sure to eat enough to not be hungry before the ride.

3:30pm Still no word. Send an email. WTF I’m starving. Should I have a cliff bar and start my pre race prep, or just a light snack and then have supper?

4:00pm Return email. The committee is split. Weather is improving but roads are still wet. Wednesday looks better. Will decide soon. I am still starving. Ok, my gut feeling is no ITT tonight. I’ll eat my pineapple. Should I eat supper when I get home, or hit the road and do a ride?

4:30pm It’s official, no ITT, and I’m outa here. The weather is improving and I could do a short ride this evening, but I should go to the cub meeting. The meeting is 7:00 to 8:00. I could ride after. It won’t be too dark by then.

5:30pm BBQ wings for supper. Ok they are too good to pass up. I’ll have supper, clean up, then go to the meeting, and ride after.

7:00pm Off to the meeting with the boy. But wait, CRAP no one is there. Darn it, the meeting is 7:30. My plans for a ride have been foiled.

7:30pm Back to the meeting, CRAP, still nobody there. Must check email, (Good thing we live next to the school where the meetings are held)
Darn it, cancelled. The leaders had other commitments tonight, and will email details of the camping trip later.

7:35pm I am now in transition. What to wear. Too cold for shorts? Too warm for long pants? Ok shorts and long sleeve jersey it is.

7:40pm I am on the road. Finally. It’s getting kinda dark. Hope the cars can see me.

8:35pm Back home. Good ride with a couple of hard spurts. Back before total darkness. I am ready for tomorrows ITT.

So does anyone go through this much deliberation to get in a workout?

Back in the saddle  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

I’m Back much to the relief of the thousands of followers who rush to their computers every morning for my next update.

Here’s the update. The Wednesday following my 20k ITT two weeks ago, I did a set of 4 mile repeats. By Thursday, the inside of my knee was killing me. I tried to ride on Thursday, but It was hurting so bad that I had to cut it short and head home. Every time I put downward force on the pedal, it felt like someone whacking the muscle on the inside of my kneecap with a hammer.

I decided to take a couple of days off, but did a lot of yardwork on that weekend, and I guess I was moving in a way that was compensating for my leg because by Sunday morning, my back was in such pain, I could barely straighten up.

When you end up injured and feeling crappy, you don’t feel much like writing. So both my training and my blogging took a much needed week rest.

After a week I slowly started back. Easy ride on the mountain bike last Thursday, (Low Gears) then a 2 hour ride on Saturday, on as flat a route as I could find around here. Then another 1 hour with some repeats on Sunday, and now I am ready for my second attempt at the 20k.

I have a busy schedule in the next couple of weeks. A 10k road race in a week and a half, and then the first sprint triathlon in two and a half weeks. I can’t afford more downtime, so fingers crossed, wish me luck.