Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Avchen (Harivel) Pinkard

With great sorrow I report that our friend Avchen passed away on July 26, 2007 due to complications from a medical condition at St. Paul's Hospital. She was deeply in love with her husband Jeff and will be missed by her family, her friends and her dog, Denver.
Avchen was a physiotherapist at G.F. Strong Hospital and made a big impact with those that met her.
She travelled the world and even worked at an orphanage in Africa.
I was lucky enough to coach her at the tri club and see how passionately she lived her life. She had the drive and tenacity to learn to swim in her 30's and went on to compete in the Victoria Half Ironman. I remember her big smile in the pool as she attempted to learn fly, and her heroic effort at changing a tire at the bike clinic.

Avchen and her best buddy.

We will miss you Avchen.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Honesty at the Bike Store

There are three "serious" bike stores in Vancouver. La Bicicletta, Campione, and Speed Theory. Four if you count BSP but I'm not sure about them.
Jeremy is great at Speed Theory, but he's pretty new and I have a history with the other two stores. Rob Herron and Mike Wry are part timers there. Hilarious.
Anyway, I am tired of being overcharged by Guiseppe at Campione - It's cheaper for replacement parts for my Mercedes. But his mechanic is really good.
I really like La Bicicletta - They are a serious roadie store, and Paul Haim did a fantatic job at keeping this community alive during the 90's and actually accomodating triathletes. Paul has since retired, but the staff hasn't changed much.
La Bicicletta, thank you for being honest. I appreciate it - you saved me $4000 dollars.
I have some disposable income and wanted a lighter bike.
Brian "That Titanium Lightspeed Ghisallo looks great. Do you have it in a 55?"
Paul " Why do you want that bike - you just bought a bike three years ago"
Brian "Yeah, but it's about 1.5 pounds lighter than mine"
Paul" Uh, 1.5 pounds? You're not exactly as light as you could be. Why not save the money and lose maybe 10 pounds of fat."
Brian - speechless. "uh. you make a good point"
I do not own a Lightspeed and recognize that I could still lose 10 lbs (but I'm not going to)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bay Challenge 2007

The Bay Challenge is a nine kilometer open water swim from West Vancouver to Kitsilano Beach sponsored by the Vancouver Open Water Swim Association.

Picking up the boat at 6:30 am Sunday Morning. That's right 6:30 am Sunday morning.
The boat rental woman told us our boat was at the end of the dock. At the end of the dock to the left were these little powerboats. To the right is a 86 foot yacht named Amnesia IV. We presumed that he forgot where he moored the first 3. We were hoping to get the Amnesia IV for the $45/hour, but settled for a power boat. Robin was swimming solo and his wife Tara and I were his support crew.

It was raining lightly with 19 kph winds when we set out. Conditions could have gone either way. We took the boat from Granville Island across the channel to Sandy Cove in West Vancouver.
While the support boats were beached at Sandy Cove some large waves came in and caused two boats to crash into each other. Gary Logan's boat propeller smashed into the boat next to him, cracking a blade. He was lucky it didn't cause a hole in the other boat. Tara and I rushed into the water to steady our boat and we wondered if a Small Craft Warning would be called the race cancelled. I guess the waves were caused by a freighter, but we couldn't see because visibility was fairly poor. Yes, the swimmers traverse the shipping lane! Incentive to be fast.

The sky cleared and Robin was able to sight and swim towards Vancouver General Hospital, a landmark aligned with the finish line. Robin was a very consistent swimmer and I was amazed considering he only trained 11 weeks for this event. Who likes to go to swim practice though? Not me!
Robin swam Thursday nights at VOWSA and then did his long swim 3000 to 4000 m on Sunday morning. During the race he drank Cytomax and took Hammergel every half hour for the 3 hours it took him to finish.

Team Johnstone.
Robin had a very respectable swim and beat his 3 hour goal.

Tara and I were exhausted, wet and cold- being support crew is hard work!

Alan Bell won again for the 7th time, but there was some 20 something year old Nicole Kolstad from the praries that came in just three minutes behind him. And it was her first open water swim race! Will Alan win next year?
Alan plans on swimming the English Channel.

Many people pulled out at the last minute this year. Congratulations to my friends that competed under potentially treacherous conditions:

Annelle Harmer
Lee Buckley (why didn't Sage race?)
Don Hutchison
Kerry Chow
Gary Logan
Robin Johnstone

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why can't I have..

When I was a kid I always wanted a dolphin like Flipper. And I know we have them in B.C. They are called Pacific White-sided Dolphins.
"Why can't I have a dolphin? I really want one." Dad didn't have a good answer for that one but I never got my dolphin.

He did have a good answer for bears. Apparently our backyard just wasn't big enough.

Well what other kind of cool animal can I have? After that summer at Webb's Holiday Acres I decided that I definitely didn't want anything to do with horses.
Ride Leader Randy: Brian you can ride Violent Storm.
11 year old Brian: Violent Storm keeps running under low branches and knocking me off; can't I ride Slinky Dog instead?
Ride Leader Randy: No.
11 year old Brian: (under his breath) dammit.

I'm still not so keen on horses but I met the cutest little pony. We were out for a bike ride Saturday and we came across this little guy just down the street from Gerard Charlton's house near U.B.C.
Sunny the pony's stable is in the Southlands but his owner brings him up to the house and he lives in the yard for the weekend.

Why can't I have a pony? I really want one.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canada Day Challenge

YES I do name drop, but please do not compare me to Brian Tsuji.

There was a big turnout for the Sasamat Lake Canada Day Challenge. 117 people in my 2 km swim race and 114 in the 4 km race. I did OK - 38 minutes, but I certainly am not fast right now. It did get me motivated to actually train for a race, but we'll see. Not bad for a guy that never practices though. My race strategy was to complain loudly at the start about how I pulled my hamstring then sprint to be the first to reach the 500m buoy then pull out because of my "injury". But then I realized I didn't even have a 500 sprint in me so I just took it easy.

Two of my Ironman projects competed in the 4 km swim:
Pam Kalas took over Project Nelson and has made amazing improvements with him.
Charles managed a 1:16! Good work Pam - you too Charles.

Project Vaughan is progressing nicely. He pulled off a 1:18.
Neil had a relaxed swim, no issues and now has the confidence he needs for Ironman. By the way Neil, Ironman has fewer buoys to swim around and you actually can see the finish line.

Brian MacDonald and I took the NCCP triathlon coaching course together many years ago. He's one of the old triathlon Gods and friends with Roch Frey and Paul Huddle. He's been very successful in business and now is able to spend more time having fun and coaching the new breed of professional triathletes. Two of the more promising athletes are Mike Simpson and Kyle Kennedy. It didn't take long for Michael to become recognized as a true pro and he now trains with the big dogs down in the U.S.
Michael won the 2 km swim in a very fast time. Kyle came in just after Leo and Jessica Depew so it wasn't the fastest swim - but his background is Mountain Biking - the swimming will come just like it did for Simpson. Brian says Kyle is the one to watch and that he probably will be faster than Simpson. Hopefully Kyle will start swimming with Janice Hanan and Pam at the Dolphins Tri group.
Brian, Kyle, Brian and Michael.

I loaned an old wetsuit to my friend and co-worker Leo Gomez-Garcia. It's hard not to laugh when newbies put on a wetsuit backwards. Zipper goes on the back Leo. Nice swim in 30:39

And of course Pam did extremely well.

First in her age group and 8th overall.
MacDonald may have Kennedy and Simpson, but I am claiming Pam. Her running is great too. All I have to do is teach her to ride at an average pace of 32 km/hour and she'll be as fast as Christine Fletcher. Just think Pam you can be a professional triathlete! Project Kalas eh? hmmm.