Family, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, weekend, Whistler

Monday wrap

tbt I’m starting to understand more and more what people mean when they say that weekends go by too weekly.  Seriously, how does that happen?  One minute it’s Friday night and I’m relishing 48 hours off and the next I’m back to making school lunches.

My grand plans to return to the Test of Metal this past weekend were foiled by injury and babysitting costs.  So on to plan B we went… The Whistler Valley Trail Run.  The boys both promised they’d run the whole thing.  Will kept his word.  Rory, however, not so much.  Pushing 75 pounds of kids through the trails is the same as running 10k, right?  Right. kids

Anja rounded off the team effort with the Teddy Bear trot.  No dress this time, I don’t know what got into her.

(Editor’s note: Why don’t more people do this run?  Cost?  Location?  Timing?  It could be so good and yet…) 

Sunday I celebrated Father’s Day by sleeping in till 7:30 and then treating myself to a 2h solo trail run.  That was pretty much perfection right there.

runLater that afternoon we tackled the trails for some kid mountain biking.  We’re working on our “descending and cornering”.  Also known as “slow down and watch where you’re going or you’ll give your mother a heart attack”

(Editor’s note: to the woman who snarled at us on Happy Trail because our kids were “in her way”: trail karma will get you and it will take you down.  If not,  I will, next time you do that.)

Phew, I feel better already.

Next up: a trail race without kids, Comfortably Numb.  My body has blocked out the pain from the last time I did it, let’s see how quickly those memories come flooding back next weekend.

Biking, Pemberton, Racing, Triathlon, Whistler

This girl’s take on the IMC bike course

When I first moved here 13 years ago, rare were road bikes on highway 99 between Whistler and Pemberton (and rarer still, south to Squamish).  With the increase in cycling events and cycling’s popularity in general, we’re starting to see LOTS of bikes on the roads and this makes me happy.  It’s a sport that I love and I’m happy to see so many people, local and visitors alike, embracing it.

With Ironman Canada looming, the roads are getting busier every day.  I’ve had the distinct pleasure of eavesdropping on some conversations had by these riders, be it in coffee shops, the gym, the grocery store…  It’s provided a few good chuckles when I hear some of the athletes say things like “Oh, the Callaghan is definitely the hardest part”.  My internal monologue takes on a super condescending tone, saying something like “Oh honey, you have no idea”.  I’d never dare say that out loud.  I’m opinionated, not stupid.

That said, I know lots of Iron athletes are signed up who won’t be able to ride the course ahead of time.  Herewith, my opinion of how the ride will go.

(Editor’s note: I don’t ride with a computer, a GPS, a power meter or a watch.  I have no sense of elevation, power, watts, etc.  I like to ride by feel and fun.)

You’ll leave Rainbow Park (or in this case, T1) and right away, the fun begins.  Heading north, you’ll hit a few shorter climbs right away before cruising south on Hwy 99 towards your first major challenge of the day, the Callaghan climb.  Hopefully, the highway through Whistler will be lined with lots of cheering sections to boost your morale as your start your journey!  It’s a nice, mostly downhill, section all the way to the Callaghan.  inukshuk-callaghan-valley-bc-290

When you make the right hand turn to start climbing to the Callaghan, you’ll start climbing for about 10k.  I personally find it to be quite a nice climb with no steep grades to really suck your will to live – with maybe one exception near the top.  If you’re hoping to see some bears on this course, the Callaghan is going to be your best bet.

Useless fun fact #1: When I worked at the ski jump venue at the 2010 Games, this road was closed for about 40 minutes so that USA VP Biden could make his way to the venue with his entourage.  Have a good look around when you get to the top!  This venue didn’t exist prior to 2008… 

When you hit the bottom of the Callaghan and head back into Whistler, don’t discount these climbs!  They are shorter but steeper.  After descending for quite some time, spin our your legs or you’ll be miserable for a while.  Be prepared to shift a lot on this course (your gears and your body.  All the up adn down will require it).  Savour the cheers of the crowds back in Whistler.  You won’t be seeing many people between Whistler and Pemberton.

From Green Lake to Pemberton, it’s mostly downhill with 2 exceptions: the shorter steeper climb at Shadow lake and the beloved Suicide Hill.  Be watchful on this section of road.  The paving isn’t the best and you’ll come ripping down a couple of the hills to some train tracks.  Bike handling skills come in handy here…

Useless fun fact #2: On January 4th, a train derailed and went off the tracks at the bottom of suicide hill, thus closing the highway for several hours.  Fear not: trains won’t be running on race day.

Suicide Hill is steep but fairly short.  Some locals are planning a fun surprise here (think that weird devil dude at the Tour de France) – I hope they pull it off.

welcome-to-pembertonOnce you get to Pemberton, you’ll head out the famous/infamous Pemberton Meadows road, a flat 25K out and back.  I say infamous here because it’s the one I recommend cyclists be the most cautious on when training in our area.  While many, many residents actively support Ironman, there is a small minority of people who just as actively don’t – and they aren’t afraid to show their displeasure.  I strongly suggest staying in single file (while training), even if it seems like no one is coming.  Trust me, someone is always coming…

Useless fun fact #3: In 2009, the far end of the meadows experienced major forest fires, resulting in middle-of-the-night livestock evacuations.  You can read about one farm’s experience here. In 2010, there was a huge landslide at Meager Creek, once again affecting farms out the Meadows. 

Be prepared for winds.  They seem to be at their strongest past 2pm, but they can always surprise us.  Plus, they have that delightful ability to surprise us and turn, making you think that you may have had a tail wind coming to you but…no.  Headwind both ways.  It happens.  Stay loose!

Back in Pemberton, smile and wave at the crowds, put your head down and be prepared to work because let’s face it… what goes down has to go back up, right?

Useless fun fact #4: In 2003, Pemberton experienced an early snowfall followed by a melt and epic rains.  This led to major flooding and to the highway being closed for several days due to the collapse of the Rutherford Creek Bridge.  Something to think about as you pedal over it!

The ride back to Whistler is hard.  Point blank.  Even on fresh legs, it’s hard.  It’s hilly, frequently windy and about 36k long.  But don’t let it break you.  This part can be mentally broken into several parts and it won’t seem so bad that way.  If you are totally struggling and/or overheating, there’s a great pull out across from the motocross track.  Dump your bike, dunk your helmet in the ice cold river, take a deep breath and get back at it.  Once you get back to WedgeWoods, know that the hardest part is over.  You’ll have a few more shorter climbs to tackle but the bulk of the cycling work is behind you.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, seen from Green Lake
Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, seen from Green Lake

Cruise into Whistler to the cheers of your adoring fans, rack you bike and get ready to run.  Fun, right?

I’m editing this to include this message from Frank Savage, a planner at the Resort Municipality of Whistler, because I think it’s an important one:


Hello Whistler Tri Club, Team Whistler and local riders,

With the growing number of local and visiting cyclists using Highway 99 and other roads in the Sea to Sky Corridor, there is a concern about safety of cyclists. Some are training for Ironman or GranFondo, others are riding for fitness, and many are just using a bicycle to get around. There are many economic, health and societal benefits to cycling, and the Resort Municipality of Whistler and other Corridor communities are encouraging cyclists to come to the Corridor to visit and to train. We want them to enjoy the experience and be safe.

However, cyclists and motorists may not be fully knowledgeable of the rules of sharing the road, so we are developing key messages to both cyclists and drivers. Attached is a brochure previously prepared by the Whistler Tri Club. We may update it and we will prepare new materials to post on websites, send to the media and distribute with maps, etc.

The following is a draft of key messages to drivers and cyclists. We want simple, positive and balanced messages to both. (The last point in each is a throw-away, there if we want to keep it light.) Please review and send me your comments on the draft key messages and the brochure. I would appreciate comments by Wednesday, June 5 so we can start getting the message out.

Key Messages to Drivers:

  • ·        Share the road, Show respect
  • ·        When passing, allow at least one metre between your vehicle and a cyclist.
  • ·        When turning, leave plenty of room for cyclists who may be moving faster than you think.
  • ·        On rural roads a cyclist may not know you are behind. Before overtaking, consider giving a tap on your horn as a warning.
  • ·        Cyclists have the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle.
  • ·        Cyclists are not required to ride on any part of the road that is not paved.
  • ·        Cyclists are permitted to ride to the left of the white line.
  • ·        Be considerate. That cyclist you see might be your friend, neighbour, co-worker, child, spouse, mother, grandchild, grandmother, boss, banker, ….

Key Messages to Cyclists:

  • ·        Share the road, Show respect
  • ·        Be visible, be predictable, wear a helmet
  • ·        Use hand signals when you change lanes, turn, stop, slow down.
  • ·        Cyclists have the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle.
  • ·        Cyclists must ride as near as practicable to the right side of the road.
  • ·        Cyclists are not required to ride on any part of the road that is not paved.
  • ·        Cyclists must not ride abreast of another cyclist on the road.
  • ·        Use your head, cars hurt!


Thanks and best regards,


Frank Savage PLANNER

Biking, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Travel, Triathlon, Whistler

Ironman Canada from the sidelines

So, you’re doing Ironman Canada.  Good for you.

You’ve lovingly convinced/dragged/coerced your loved ones/family/friends/crew to join you for the fun.

As a good, caring and unselfish triathlete, you aren’t going to force these fine folks to sit around in your condo or hotel room and watch you lie about with your legs up the wall while you sip your endurance beverage of choice out of carefully labeled water bottles, are you?

No, you are not.

This is a world-class resort with a lot of things to do and explore.  Let’s be good people and send them out the door with a list of things to do while you rest up in those recovery boots, shall we?

The Kids

I’ll be the first to admit that I love spectating at Ironman.  Sure, there are some boring bits, but those are squished between frantic moments of running around the course, cheering, admiring, eating, crying, coaxing, taking pictures and plotting an eventual comeback.  My favourite thing to see, however, is kids cheering on mom and dad.  They make cute posters, wear dorky matching shirts, scream at the top of their little high-pitched lungs. One day, I’ll be that mom with her kids screaming at her to move her ass. But then, they fall asleep.  Everywhere.  In strollers. On a patch of grass.  In a restaurant chair.  It’s awesome but also makes me feel bad for them: don’t they want to be doing something else?

It’s going to be August which means it’s going to be hot (probably) which means – LAKES.  Hit the lakes!  There are at least 3 fun beach parks that will keep those little people in your life occupied for quite some time: Rainbow Park (the start of the swim course, so perhaps not the best choice closer to race day), Lost Lake park (rent a bike and pedal your way out there, it’s the way to go), Alpha Lake Park (again, use the Valley Trail to bike out there).

Speaking of bikes, put those little suckers into bike camp.  DFX camps are awesome and they’ve turned my kids into confident little terrors on 2 wheels.  Arrange (ahead of time!) a bike rental for getting around town.  There are tons of places to rent and most rent Chariot trailers, too: perfect for hauling picnics, gear and tired little people.

The Municipality here offers a lot of day camp options if your offspring aren’t keen on bikes.  Smear on the sunscreen and kiss them goodbye.  They are in good hands.

If you want a night out (which, yeah.  I know.  Not before race day!  But maybe you’re like me and don’t think that having that 1 beer will ruin your race so you’ll go for it), call the fine folks at Babysitting Whistler.  They’re priced like that because they are good.

There are so many activities that you can do with your kids, too.  The Adventure Zone, Zip-Trek, Rafting, Bungee Jumping (if you’re that kind of parent), Yoga, Swimming, Bounce (if it’s raining which it won’t be), the PEAK 2 PEAK, and tons of playgrounds.

The bottom line is this: if your kids claim that they are bored while they are here, someone’s doing something wrong.

Your ironmate

 (Editor’s note: Worst moniker EVER.  If I called my husband my “ironmate”, he’d divorce me on the spot).

Moving on.  I could go the usual route and write something like “treat your lady to a day at the spa bla bla bla” but WAIT.  Not all who do Ironman are MEN.  This is an equal opportunity blog.  Ha.

So yeah, there are spas, of course.  The Scandinave happens to be spectacular.  But adult-folk can do lots of the same things I suggested for the kids.  The mountain biking in this place is amazing.  If you are keen to learn the bike park, go for it.  Listen, I get that it looks insane and totally intimidating and super scary but there really is something for everyone (and if my 4 year old rode it last year, then so can you).

Golf.  I hear there’s good golfing around here.  I personally run out of steam at 7 holes, but if that’s your thing there are at least 6 courses for you to get frustrated at between Squamish and Pemberton.

If you’re a runner, let me be the first to encourage you to bring your trail gear and explore our valley.  The trail running here is second to none and you can thank me later for telling you to go.  In fact, why don’t you race, too?  The 5 Peaks is the day before Ironman and a perfect excuse to get up the mountain.

If your person wants to cheer you on, well that’s just awesome.  The swim start is at Rainbow park and, unless your fan club has a bike, I’d advise against going out to the start.  Rather, have them stay in the village, enjoy a coffee and watch you and 2,499 or so of your friends fight for open water on the big screen in Whistler Olympic Plaza.  That way, they can enjoy some village time while you pedal your heart out up and down our hills for the next 180 km.

(Editor’s note: Oh yes, you know I’ll be writing my own personal review of the bike and run courses.  Maybe the swim and the transitions too, if I’m feeling particularly detail-oriented.  Wait!  Maybe I’ll GoPro the whole thing!  Actually, no I won’t.)

The bike will be tough to spectate – but let’s be honest, isn’t it always?  Apart from coming into and out of the transitions, your personal cheer squad is going to have to find a way to get themselves out of the village without getting stuck in traffic and/or impeding the race.  Unless they can pedal their way out there?  I’d stick to cheering the run course.  Which is going to be awesome!  With shade!  Pull up a lawn chair, crack a cold (non-alcoholic, of course) one and yell till midnight, at which point you can come and join me for some teary-eyed cheering at the finish.

Before and After

If you can, come to Whistler a week before to experience my favourite event of the summer: The Slow Food Cycle.  It’s a week out from race day – surely the 35-ish kilometers you’ll have to pedal aren’t going to hinder your race prep, are they?

Load up the bikes, the kids, the trailer, bring some water and sunscreen, leave the lycra at home (I beg of you), slow down and enjoy being part of something that will surely be the highlight of your visit.  Trust me on this one.

If you’re sticking around after Ironman, or visiting before, get out of Whistler and explore a bit!  Pemberton has some great trails, a perfect lake (or 2) to chill at, Mile One, Blackbird Bakery, and so on and so on (I’ve bragged abotu these places before… I’d send you to Squamish but all I really know about Squamish is where to ride and I’m sure you can figure that out on your own.

There’s so much more I could share, but really it’s up to you to make the most of your time here. Get out here and do it!

And for the love of god, start waving to each other on the bike.  It’s just rude not to.

Family, Kids, Racing, Running, weekend, Whistler

Whistler Half Marathon: a comparison report.

Whistler Half-Marathon 2012.

 Day before:

-Collect my own race package.  Keep feet up, hydrate, eat right.

Night before:

-Pack my own bag, lay out clothes, check that the sitter is coming at 6:30am, go to bed.

Morning of:

-Enjoy a hot shower,  leisurely coffee, a well-planned breakfast, some stretching.  Sneak off before kids wake up.


-Warm up, run in the sun, enjoy, wave, take pictures, laugh, etc.

-Admire pics taken by Robin of me running with my 2 best friends.

Team Red 2012
Team Red 2012


-Eat, sit in the sun, stretch, bask in the glow of our accomplishments.

-Return home to house full of kids being cared for and well fed by Pete and Kev, relax (sort of) for the rest of the day.

Whistler Half-Marathon 2013.

 Day before:

-Collect 7 race packages: mine, the husbands, the 3 kids and the neighbours.

2 adults + 3 kids = thanks for the new grocery bags!
2 adults + 3 kids = thanks for the new grocery bags!

 Night before:

-Pack kids snacks, pack kids bags, pack rain gear, pack bike gear, stay on my feet for as long as possible.  Go for a walk.

 Morning of:

-Roust crew at 6.  Shove waffles down some throats, coax peanut butter sandwiches into others.  Almost forget own breakfast.  Load truck with bags, bikes and blankies.  Slurp coffee.

-Meet neighbours for caravan to Whistler.  There may or may not have been some yelling to “get in the truck already!”

-Meet sitter in parking lot.  Kids explode out of the cars in 5 different directions.  Have fun, babysitter lady.  Realize that rather than teaching her their names, I should have just numbered the kids 1 through 5.  Much simpler.  Next year.


-Send of 10K-ers.  Bye 10Kers!  See you in about 2 hours.

10K Jay.  It rhymes.
10K Jay. It rhymes.

-Almost forget bib.  Where are my socks?  Oops.  No body glide.  Oh well (and also – ow.)  Don ridiculous but oh-so-comfy sleeves.

-Run with Maja, wave to crowds, take pictures, find self irresistibly amusing (see photo), suffer from 15K onwards.  Stupid Nimby legs.

Sleeves + stupid jokes = funny looks.
Sleeves + stupid jokes = funny looks.

-Finish with a smile and head held high.


-Do not sit.  Do not rest.  Try to keep track of kids.  Shovel grilled cheese into my mouth.  Chase kids to start of 1K.

Anja: front line.  All I could think was "please don't get trampled".
Anja: front line. All I could think was “please don’t get trampled”.
Will.  Orange shirt, mid-pack.
Will. Orange shirt, mid-pack.
The future of Canadian running, right there.
The future of Canadian running, right there.

-Sprint across lawn during kids race (note to self: never, ever sprint after a ½ again).

-Squeal like a stuck pig cheering for off-spring.

-Feel nauseous.  Head to skate park.  Negotiations to go home ensue.

-Succumb to my inner tri-nerd, don compression tights, enjoy the best nap with Anja EVER.


What a difference a year makes.

Team Red 2013
Team Red 2013
Day-to-day life, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

Introducing the Higgins

David and Brandi Higgins have been fixtures on the Whistler Triathlon scene for as long as I’ve known about the club.  Without their help and training, I surely would have drowned in my first Ironman.

Since meeting them on the pool deck in 2003, I’ve come to know them as good friends, racing partners and commiserating parents.

wetsuits pre-race

I’ll always remember one of my first “real” conversations with David, a few days before heading to Penticton for my race.  I didn’t know him well and was actually quite frightened of him (he had that Russian-style of coaching which I’ve now come to embrace: “you suck but whatever – try this.  It might help.  But probably not.  Just go faster”).  We sat down on the edge of the pool and he basically said: “So, you are racing this weekend.  Are you scared?  Ask me anything”.  I thought – and still do think – that was pretty cool and a really nice way to make a newbie feel welcome.

David World Champ Honolulu

Brandi has become a good friend, fellow shoe lover and fun race-seeker.  She’s a wealth of knowledge and has a commanding presence pool-side.  Everyone needs  a friend like Martini Brandi!  She also makes a mean sticky-toffee pudding (which I happen to lurve)… One of Brandi’s pet peeves when racing at the same event as her beloved is that the announcers always tend to point out that they are married and inevitably shift their focus to Dave’s race.  So, to that end, let’s lead with her interview, shall we?

Brandi Finish Ironman

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

a. UBC…because it was there.

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

a. Realizing post-race that the suit I had worn was essentially see through when wet…don’t you just love neon!

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

a. Me, myself, and I.

4. Bucket list race?

a. One that I am actually happy with the results.

b. It’ll never happen bucket list – Kona.

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

a. The hills.

i. Best because once you’ve trained here pretty much no hill should bother you.

ii. Worst because it’s always uphill coming home!

Brandi on bike in Oliver

6. Fave post-race food

a. PRINGLES! And Coke. Always a coke!

7. Race superstition?

a. Don’t know if I have any. When I played basketball I had to keep my legs shaved, because I was sure on the day that I didn’t I would sprain my ankle. The doctor was cute. Do the math.

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

a. Paula Newby-Fraser cause she was f…ing fast and ate pizza the night before IM.

i. Caveat…do I have to train with her, or can I just ride in a car and talk to her while she trains? ‘Cause we all know I wouldn’t survive 5 minutes riding with her!

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

a. Taking my espresso machine everywhere I go.

(Editor’s note: Another reason I like travelling to races with Brandi.)

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one…

a. Unfortunately, my athletic heroes have taken a bit of a beating…Marion, Lance. Of course, I still think Lance should keep his titles…if he was juiced so was everyone else and he still beat them, and Lance and the Livestrong foundation did a whole lot more for the general public than any other racer and their (non-existent) foundation did.

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc.

Event: KOS and the Lil Rippers run. And comfy numb when we were organizing it.

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Completer not competer. Or. I am a diesel truck: I am big, I am slow and I am in it for the long haul…and don’t you dare get in my way (hahaha).

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants)

The course runs through an amusement park on a cruise ship and I keep getting lost and realizing that everyone else is finished.

14. 3 words that describe you as a person

Loud. Caffeinated. Opinionated (aka know-it-all).

15. Dream sponsor?

Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo.
(Editor’s note: SEE??!  Fellow shoe-lover).

 David’s Turn:

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC, 1991.  I was going to school there and the swim was going to be easy.  Got a little more difficult after that. 

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

Any time Nicholas finished in front of me.  Fortunately it didn’t happen often.  Other than that nothing.  I seem to manage to keep my pants on in transition, haven’t fallen off my bike (yet) and not really hurt myself running (in the race). 

(Editor’s note: That would be Paul Nicholas.  You’ll be meeting him soon, if he ever finds 3 minutes to fill out my questionnaire!) 

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

Kevin, Scott and Paul, pushed me real hard and getting me faster.   Went running with them when I started and the three of them killed me.  Oh look there’s a hill let’s go up it.  I needed to keep up with these bozos.  Still can’t keep up to Kevin, but I am working on it.  I don’t have a race foe I can think of – maybe Dave Kirk. 

(Editor’s note: Kevin Titus, Scott Pass, Paul Nicholas.  Whistler local’s one and all.) 

4. Bucket list race?

Wildflower would be fun. Waimea 10km just cause it’s in Hawaii. 

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Best part is the quality of people, you get some fast yahoos here who really just want to have fun.  Worst part is the snow, lasts far too long. 

Fall Classic 2012 option 2

6. Fave post-race food. 

Burger, big greasy Burger. 

7. Race superstition?

Need to eat a lot before a race.  Pasta for the morning. 

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why? 

You know I found all the people I want to train with.  Though if I could make Brandi train with me all day, and she had to like it and not complain (that would be harder than getting anyone famous) – that would be fun too.

 (Editor’s note: Awwww.)

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

I get a training routine and then I have to stick to it.  Tues/Thurs/Sat Swim, Wed/Fri/Sun Bike, Mon/Wed/Sun Run.  A little OCD. 

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one… 

Changes depending on the day, time and year. For example in 1991 it was Alex Popov

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc. 

I used to really like the Whistler 10k

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence. 

Gun goes off, I am in the race, no race I am all fun and games. 

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants).

I got nothing here. 

14. 3 words that describe you as a person.

Talkative, competitive, know-it-all. 

15. Dream sponsor?

Hershey’s Chipits, I like making chocolate chip cookies!

(Editor’s note: my children and I are thankful).

Thanks Higgi!  Stay tuned for more…

Family, Whistler

One love.

It’s funny what you remember about certain people in your life.  I’ve known Julian for over 20 years now, and I knew who he was long before we’d actually met.  He was a big shot bike racer and I was a lowly slowpoke.  To this day, I clearly remember the first conversation we ever had: we were at Silver Star resort for a Canada Cup race.  Organizers had made changes to the race for reasons I can’t remember (forest fires, maybe?)  Anyway.  One night there was some sort of dirt jump contest and we sat in folding chairs at the end of the course and chatted for most of the evening about all kinds of different things.  I was so intimidated by the idea of him but he turned out to be such a genuinely nice, open and friendly guy.

Fast-forward to present day…  Juliand and his little family are facing a challenge that no new family should have to endure.  Let’s just say that cancer sucks, affects all of us and really should just be wiped off the face of the earth.

Even if you don’t know Julian and Vanessa, surely you know someone who’s been affected.  So it’s simple.  Donate, do the right thing and let’s help them the best we can:

Do it.

Biking, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

Up Next: Superwoman

Alright.  I had fun interviewing my first candidate, so here’s another one!

Christine Suter is a well known and very speedy Whistler-based triathlete/ultra-runner.  Perhaps you are currently getting whipped into shape by her hands-on coaching.  Maybe she’s drawn blood when making you feel like dying on the bike (seriously.  She pokes your finger with a needle.  It hurts and you swear.  I know this from experience).

You’ve seen her around, I’m sure: always smiley, quick with a friendly word and wave.  Usually wearing unusually large mitts on her bike.  Recently gained semi-fame as the kayaking dog-rescuer of Pinecrest.

I know her as a friend and coach – that is, when I get my act together and need accountability and butt-kicking.  She’s so good at making me push myself but understanding my need for some kind of balance.

An Ironman athlete several times over, she’s become an invaluable resource to many, many athletes in our community.  So without further ado, here she is!

1. What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC back in 1987

2. What was your most embarrassing race moment?

Squamish Tri in the swim to bike transition and I got stuck trying to get my lycra top on over my bra top-  you know when it all rolls up and I could not get the top down- being a good swimmer I was one of the first female swimmers out- so there were lots of spectators.

(Edited to add: this happens to me all the time.  In the locker room.  Ahem).

3. Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

Greg Sandkuhl

(Edited to add: I sense I need to ask him these questions)

4. Bucket list race?

Ultraman hawaii

Team Lizzie Sandwich!
And some other dudes 😉

5. Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Worst- Snow salt on the roads so a late start to outdoor riding and being cold!

Best-  the hills because I have yet to race anything worse than where I live and the ride up to Callaghan.

6. Fave post race food

Since I usually cannot eat anything after a race-  chicken soup.

7. Race superstition?

Don’t really have one.

8. If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

My husband Paul because he has not been able to do anything for 5 years and I miss being able to go out training with him!

(Edited to add: awwwwww.)

9. What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

I like to sing one phrase of a song to myself over and over again to keep me motivated or I count my foot strikes while running to the count of 8 and keep on repeating it

10. Who’s your athletic hero? If you have one…

Jon Blais

11. What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc

Rubble Creek Classic

12. Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Constantly seeing how far I can push myself and my body.

When your country is on your chest, you've totally made it.
When your country is on your chest, you’ve totally made it.

13. Describe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants)

I sleep through my alarm and miss the start.

14. 3 words that describe you as a person

determined, too serious.

15. Dream sponsor?

Visa! Then they can pay for my flights, my hotels and my gear!!

Ok, so normally, I’d end it here but I needed some pics of Christine so I Googled her and feel it only fair to point out that she’s the only person I know to have ever competed nationally in… synchronized swimming.  No photographic evidence available.

Thanks Suter!

Stay tuned for the next one!

Biking, Racing, Running, Triathlon, Whistler

But enough about me.

You may know her as triathlon age-group slayer Liz Cullen.  2x Ironman finisher.  Or perhaps you remember her from her ski bum days as a long-time Whistler local (let’s face it: she may live in Vancouver but I’m pretty sure her heart’s up here).

Some of you may know her as The Sarcastic Triathlete (if you don’t, it’s a refreshing read: go there).

I know her as a training partner/racing ass-kicker/co-adventure planner and good friend.

She’s currently incubating a human, so we won’t be running any races in matching shirts in the early season, but I have no doubt she’ll be back in action in no time.

She’s the first subject in what I hope to become a regular feature here: interviews with some of my favourite folks.

Herewith, I introduce to you Lizzie.

1.     What was your first tri – and why that one?

UBC Sprint tri in July 2003.  Because my mom was doing it so I thought I’d give it a try on her old bike.  I then did a random smattering of tris until 2006 when I actually started training for them.

2.     What was your most embarassing race moment?

Oliver Half Iron 2008.  I got a flat with 4km to go and decided to just ride it back to transition.  There was one final corner 400m before transition and I washed out and hit the curb with most of the town watching.  When I got up to head to transition my wheel wouldn’t turn so I had to jog in bare feet carrying my bike.

3.     Who is your biggest training/racing foe?

This tiny little cycling powerhouse named Christine, she sometimes goes by SMO.  Oh wait, that’s you.  Biggest foe and best training buddy all in one.  I have the swim, she has the bike and the run is getting close.  When we both start racing again it could get ugly.

**Editor’s note: I can’t wait.

4.     Bucket list race?

Other than Kona. Wildflower.

5.     Best and worst part of training in Whistler/Vancouver?

Best: Kits pool!

Worst: rain.  Lots of rain.


6.     Fave post race food

Salt and vinegar potato chips

7.     Race superstition?

Don’t really have one, but I do have rituals.  I tuck notes of encouragement in my race kit even if they don’t get read and end up a squishy blob.

8.     If you could train with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

How ’bout Heather Wurtele.  Because she seems really fun and nice and I like feeling short sometimes.

9.     What’s your weirdest racing or training habit?

Not sure I have any (others may say differently)  I do like doing handstands in the water before races, might as well get a laugh in.

10.  Who’s your athletic hero?  If you have one…

Other than the obvious of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Kobe Bryant, top of the list: Chrissie Wellington, Natasha Badmann, Lisa Bentley, and so on.

11.  What’s your favourite Whistler event/trail/race etc

Whistler Half Marathon.  Although only in its 3rd year and overcoming course distance growing pains, it’s super neat to run through your own town with tons of supporters.


12.  Describe your athletic style/career in one sentence.

Late blooming, somewhat competitive age group triathlete that combats laziness with lofty goals.

13.  Desribe that nightmare you have before racing (i.e. I show up without pants).

That I miss the race entirely usually because I got the day wrong and show up too late.  I actually did that once to an exam in university so it’s not beyond impossible.

14.  3 words that describe you as a person.

Geez, what is this? A job interview?  I consider myself a perfectionist.  Ha kidding. According to me: humorous, uncomplicated, pregnant (for the next 2.5 months at least).

15.  Dream sponsor?

Ben and Jerry’s. Ok ok, probably Saucony.  You can never have too many bright fun shoes.

Thanks for taking the time, ‘Zard.

So friends: who shall be my next interviewee/victim?

Biking, Day-to-day life, Racing, Running, Skiing, Triathlon, Whistler

Greater tuberosity and other fun things.

Greater Tuberosity.

Doesn’t that sound like it should be a name of a roller coaster at a super fun amusement park?  “Step right up people and have a ride on the death defying GREATER TUBEROSITY!  A feat of engineering, a marvel of adventure!” 

The reality is that “greater tuberosity” is just a fancy name for shoulder.  Which I fractured last week.  Oops.

Considering I’m scheduled for knee surgery next week, my timing is spectacular and this has put a damper on the ski season.  Just when I’d managed to rekindle my love/hate relationship with skate skiing…  Plus, I get total FOMO when it comes to skiing with my kids – I don’t want to miss a thing.  It drives me bonkers when they go without me.

I’m front loading the surgery with as much running as I can as I am not sure when I’ll be able to get out there again (super graceful, one-armed running).  I devastated that I can’t swim (total lie).  Garage biking is happening. I tried snowshoeing but almost died of boredom: I would have been a terrible coureur des bois.

Coming soon: road trip recap!  In the meantime, enjoy some random photos.

anja cold
                           Why would anyone want to miss a ski day with this face?
anja jay
                             Sometimes, you do what you gotta do to keep up.
                                                               Dresses herself.
greater TB
               This is the aforementioned roller coaster.
Snowshoeing. This is about 7 minutes after I started. Notice the boredom yet?
                        Did you know that fractured shoulder = no shoveling. Perk.
“Someone” may have told him that spies dress up so that they can fly business class.
                                                           Sunset at home.