16 February 2015

The Terrible Twenty Ride; No really......This is going to be fun!

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." --Ernest Hemingway

Champagne Time 3rd Place on the Day
Podium at the top of Mt. Doug
Photo Credit: Surly Dave
Pain Face
Photo Credit: Surly Dave
This past Sunday I signed up for a non-sanctioned event called the "Terrible Twenty." Essentially a group of 40 cyclists did a grand tour of the hills Victoria has to offer close to town. 20 hill efforts with 20 KOM/QOM points up for grabs. With the hills ranging from 45sec to 6min long. I rode well  and stayed consistent throughout the ride. We did hills I didn't even know existed! What a fantastically hard ride and super well organized by the guys at Broad Street Cycles. I had such a blast and we were very lucky to have such sunny warm conditions.
Chasing after Cory Wallace
Photo Credit: Surly Dave
Hope all is well,
Ciao for now,
Andrew McCartney

6 February 2015

A New Chapter

"I have a reset button called presence and I ride that button constantly.Once that button is functional in your life, there’s no story the mind could create that will be as compelling. The imagination is always manufacturing scenarios — both good and bad — and the ego tries to keep you trapped in the multiplex of the mind." - Jim Carrey, 

Well it isn't a complete reset but I am entering a new chapter in my life. After 14 years of competative  triathlon and 11 years of ITU racing I have descided to pursue a slightly different direction. This year I begin my Long distance Triathlon endeavours. Specifically I will be focusing on Half Ironman 70.3 distance.

For other Video's please visit my Vimeo page.

With numerous coaching opportunities and limited daylight I have been doing a fair amount of trainer workouts. With the power meter, I have been able to really dial in on what I need. I have always had pretty descent 10second Max Power (no Cavendish but good for skinny triathlete) What I need to work on is that steady steady Time Trial Power output.

So in the last months I have recieved some solid advice from local 'Strong Man' Time trial specialist Curtis Dearden and other fantastic role models in Victoria. A ride I have been doing begins in Downtown Victoria and carves it's way along the coast all the way out to Leechtown on the Galloping Goose. From a training perspective, the gravel trails (with cross tires) and steady, non-stop, consistent riding makes for a perfect training venue. The ride out is so incredibly beautiful! Big thick forests on each side of the trail and then a window opens to the Sooke Basin. Later in the ride you turn away from the coast and start riding up and away towards the Sooke Potholes. After crossing over a couple of impressive trestles, a raging river guides you all the way up to Leechtown. From Victoria to Leechtown and back is 110km. The great thing about this network of trails is that you can jump in to the trail at many points along the way so the distance is up to you.

Well, it is time to head out for a run and I've been itching to go.
Hope all is well and talk soon,

8 July 2014


"I Seek Failure" - Adam Kreek
And so shall I.

This has been my motto for the past month. I got the idea from Olympic Rower Adam Kreek and Jacob Wetzel as mentioned in Adam's Tedx Victoria presentation. It is a simple concept and sometimes a scary one but my goal is to make it less of a scary thing. If I can make it a regular part of training then I won't be afraid to fail or risk failure. It can be difficult to purposefully put yourself in that position. However, if you think about it, in freestyle skiing, when they risk failure the consequences are quite great. For swimming, Biking, Running and Triathlon the consequence is not as dangerous. In the water your arms feel like they are going to fall off. On your bike your legs are unable to turn the crank. Running, you flop down on the ground catching your breath. Thats not bad, right? If you can master this skill success is attainable in or out of sport.

The past 7 months have been such an awesome experience. I have seen places I never thought I would see in my lifetime. The season began in New Zealand. I raced in New Plymouth and Aukland. both of which reminded me of Canada and never met a local who was not friendly. I raced in Cape Town, South Africa, a place I thought I would only read about or if lucky sail past. I competed in what felt like old stomping grounds in Yokohama, Japan. We moved on to train in Basque country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain with it's endless roads and medieval architecture. From there we raced in London's Hyde park.

Racing has not been to my potential but it is not a physical thing. I can take positives from each event I have competed in this year but a fear of failure has limited my performance. Every day in training I entered into a combative environment ideal for World Triathlon Series Racing(WTS) and yet many of the races do not reflect it. After London I realized I need to take a step back in order to take steps forward in my sporting career.

Since I have been home my approach has been completely different.

"every week we train from Monday through to Saturday and I pick one workout every week where I will willingly push myself through my known limit and I will embrace failure. Infact my body will fail on me and for the rest of the week I will know what this limit is. I will know what this limit is and I will hover below it. And intact the greatest point of growth occurs below your limit." Adam Kreek - I Seek Failure Click Here for full Video

I have taken such joy in this over the past month. I have failed I think 3 or 4 times this month and I'm ok with that. Infact it was a highlight for those days. I go into every group ride, every workout with the motto, I Seek Failure.

I am having so much fun putting myself in combative training opportunities it sends a chill down my spine. Twice a week I have a active recovery day where I feel blue because I miss the opportunity to be combative. Do distract myself I pour everything I can into recovery tactics. I make it a social event by trying to convince both myself and friends to join me in the icy pacific ocean to soak the legs. Date night for Brianna and I includes a bit of Yoga, strength work and the always painful trigger point foam rollers.

I plan to take this momentum and pure joy into next couple of weekends racing in Toronto and Magog Quebec. Lets have some fun!!

Till then, I hope all is well.
Ciao for now,

16 February 2014

In the Thick of it.

We arrived back into Wollongong on a very stormy rainy day. Our first night in our rental was....ok. The quarters are a bit tight and the walls are a bit thin but Brianna and I are doing our best to make it feel a bit more like home. Music always helps.

Two days after our arrival was Australia Day! To celebrate, we all entered into the Australia Day Aquathlon. A very popular event gathering huge crowds and something like 500 competitors. Given that my swimming has been limited and my runs have been pretty much all base I was not sure what to expect. As a wetsuit swim, we took the 900m swim out fast. I moved to the front and lead the majority of the first lap. Considering my current state of swimming fitness I conceded the lead and swam comfortably 2nd or 3rd feet for the remainder of the 2 lap swim. Out of the water the run hugged the beach on the grassy fields and did a loop through Puckeys park and back along the shore to the finish line. With no speed work under my belt I am pleased with my effort and it was a fun way to kick off our time in Wollongong.

Since then, training has really picked up. After a few days recovery from travels and the aquathlon my swimming went from 3 sessions a week to 6. Cycling frequency has gone from quite little to frequent with efforts and the runs have become more structured and intense.

With about 5 months of solid base running and logging more miles than I have every ran in my life my recovery from run to run feels shortened greatly. Also my ability to sustain efforts increased.
A weekly effort includes a straight up 16km tempo effort with the final 2km faster. We do this run as a straight out and back along the shoreline. Which in Wollongong around 3pm in the afternoon means Head wind on the way out tailwind coming home. The pace is sustainable but tack on 2km at the end no faster than 3.05 pace... and it wraps up the run nicely.

This year with a power meter, I am learning quickly how many watts a certain "Rate of Perceived Effort" requires. It has made me conscious of my cadence, gearing choice and the damaging effects that being in the wrong gear out of a corner in a race situation can have. However, knowing this and through the nature of WTS racing we do have to train for this. We have to have the ability to manage the low-cadence/high torque efforts as well as the preferred high-cadence/low torque accelerations at 7.5-8 watts/kg. Through studying the number of turns and the nature of the course we can train pretty specific to the task at hand. This year, instead of 'feeling' ready, I will know I'm ready.

Sorry to pick out Matt Chrabot's file, but here is the San Diego WTS Race. I have a lot of respect for his riding abilities and think this is an accurate example of what to expect in a WTS such as San Diego. Ideally I would like to know his weight but he is lighter than I am and so 400watts sounds like it would be his 7.5/8watts/kg. He has had to ride above 400watts 50 times. Which sounds accurate due to the nature of the San Diego WTS.
San Diego is no longer a WTS event but if I were to train for San Diego, I would prepare myself for 50+ 8w/kg efforts with a higher than normal base line wattage due to the long straightaways and wide open corners. The big efforts you can see are either a breakaway or the numerous 180 turns on the San Diego Course.
My next Job is to try and find a file from New Plymouth and begin wrapping my head around what the demands of the course will be. For visualization and training purposes.  

Hope all is well,
Ciao for now,

24 January 2014

Hello from the Victoria Alps, Australia

This afternoon I had a 50min run with a build for the final 3200m down to 3.20 pace. The Rocky Valley Dam is a very impressively complex (Mainly underground) structure located minutes south of Falls Creek and 350km north of Melbourne. Today it made for a very eerie run. Fog has filled falls creek and as I ran across the dam the fog flowed over my head making all around me white. I have never had such a peaceful run workout.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brianna and I had one of the best pre-flight send offs. Departing from Vancouver on the 31st of December, Brianna, my parents and I took the ferry to Vancouver on the 30th, had dinner at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant in Richmond (which is one of the best Chinese restaurants I have ever been to. Delicious) and shared a hotel close to the airport. The next morning was a rather emotional goodbye for 8 months.

Once on the flight and on route to Sydney, Australia I gave Brianna a light nudge saying, "Happy New years" as the clock hit midnight in Victoria. We landed in Australia feeling a bit robbed. How did we loose 24 hours!!! I felt better knowing that I will get it back when I return home to Victoria.

We drove straight to the beach in Wollongong for a fun dip in the ocean and a run in the evening. We spent 2 days in Wollongong before joining a convoy of cars heading to our January training camp at altitude in the Victorian Alps. After six hours the road began winding upwards to our final destination, Falls Creek. In the winter Falls Creek is a winter wonderland but in the summer, runners, cyclists and triathletes take over. Everywhere you look packs of runners are heading in every odd direction.

At 1600m altitude I feel I have adjusted to well to the change in elevation. This camp has been the hottest altitude training camp I have ever attended with temperatures reaching 32 degrees C. My run focus continues here with more structure. Double runs most days with such sets as 3x15min at tempo or 4x1km pace checks (to quantify improvements and how we are adapting) plus a weekly long run at 100-110minutes through the tundra/desert like landscape. These long runs remind me of the book "Born to Run" four Aussies, a hungarian and I run through this barren rugged landscape like we are the Tarahumara running through the deadly Copper Canyons of Mexico. Half way through some of these runs I have these sudden cravings for water as I seem to dry up. I see a small stream and am so very tempted to take a sip but my better judgment kicks in.

Although we have only done it once due to extreme heat a highlight would have to be the climb from Mt. Beauty(the location where we swim) all the way up to Falls Creek. It is not the longest climb I've done nor the steepest but as a Cat 1 climb with heat it is a good challenge. The Climb is 31km long and takes about an hour and 25 minutes. At the top we are rewarded by a dip in the cool spring water.
All in all things are well in the Victorian Alps. I do get home sick here and there. I do miss runs along Dallas, rides to East Sooke Park and through the highlands. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss coaching the Uvic Tri-Club.

But, I know that this is an amazing opportunity. Coach Jamie is shaping me into the athlete I want to be. Mentally and physically.

More on that later,
Till then, ciao for now,
Andrew McCartney

Had this in my head for my run today.

20 October 2013

London World Triathlon Grand Final and a Year in Review.


First off, a race report:

London, England. With the Senior World Triathlon Grand Final just around the corner, everything was falling into place, I was confident and absolutely enjoying myself, enjoying the experience and eager to take advantage of the opportunity on Sunday September the twelfth. My body felt strong, I had a very smooth interview with CBC and risotto with coach Alan and Steph most nights. We had such an awesome support crew. Even with everything in place however sometimes there are certain things that are just purely out of your control.

Sunday morning, I woke up with a horrible kink in the neck...... I quite literally could not turn my head left. I jumped out of bed and ran to Sue Loft's apartment. There was little that could be done accept ensure me that I would not do any damage wrenching my neck to look left. I accepted the fact and moved on.

Ranked 34th I started in the middle of the pack. I had a fast start. From what I could see I was in descent position. Upon arrival at the first buoy I got blindsided. I could not see what was coming from my left and got roughed up. There was no chance of bi-latteral breathing and was swimming blind.

I exited the water in sub par position. (10th)

I jumped on the bike and rode hard. Needless to say my neck was a distraction. I was struggling to get on to Gomez's wheel and settled for a small 2nd pack of 6. We got into it quickly. Rolling through well as my goal was to get back to the front break. Soon however we were joined by almost the entire field. The rain and wind picked up and it got messy. With the kink in the neck I was surely going to cause an accident. For safety sake I slipped further and further back in the pack till I was sprinting hard out of every corner and working way too hard. Finally I was strung out, I sprinted to get back to the pack and in doing so began to cramp up. I rode the final two laps on my own trying to limit the damage.

Off the bike I ran as hard as I could on the edge of cramping. Tempo effort was all I could do at this point in the race. If I took it up to my goal pace I felt my legs seizing up. I finished....disappointed and angry.

Results can be found HERE.

5 weeks later and after a 1 month of down time, I have had a lot of time to reflect on the season and look to the future.

I read over my goals for the 2013 season and I have achieved many and surprised myself in some ways. Although it is not how I had planned to finish the season I am excited about a number of opportunities in the 2014 season.  Starting in November I will be working with coach Jamie Turner who I believe will bring my training to another level. Jamie has a huge amount of experience and knowledge. I am eager to learn.

Some changes of my own include something I have known for some time but have not been in the position to acquire. I have now read three books on the importance/how-to's of training and racing with a power meter. Training will no longer be a guessing game. Consistent and efficient training.

I am so lucky.

I have the best group of people around me.

My partner Brianna who has been so supportive over the years. I love you.

My parents who have given me this chance and these memories.

My coach Alan Carlson who Motor paced me through some of the worst weather Victoria has to offer and stood on a dock through stormy rainy open water swims.
My sponsors Mizuno (10 years and counting), Wilier, OGC/Giro, Aquasphere Wetsuits and Smith Optics.


Here is to the season to come.

Ciao for now,

Andrew McCartney

20 August 2013

Triathlon Canada Media Release

New Era of Elite Canadian Triathletes Focused on Grand Final of ITU World Triathlon Series

August 12, 2013

TORONTO—A talented group of 15 rising Canadian triathlon stars will return to the 2012 Olympic course in London, England where they will embark on a mission for excellence at the Grand Final of the ITU World Championship Series in, September 11-15, 2013.
Kyle Jones, who made his Olympic debut in London where he was the top Canadian, will lead five members into the showcase event on the international triathlon calendar. The 28-year-old Jones, of Oakville, Ont., captured a silver medal at the Edmonton World Cup earlier this summer. Jones will be joined by two young Canadian teammates on the men’s start line. Andrew Yorke, of Caledon, Ont., and Victoria’s Andrew McCartney will also suit up. Yorke, 24, has been picking his way up the international standings, while McCartney, 25, posted a career-best seventh place finish at the season-opening World Triathlon Series race in Yokohama, Japan.
Victoria’s Kirsten Sweetland and Winnipeg’s Sarah-Anne Brault will look to be in the medal mix for the Canadian women. Sweetland has been on a comeback trail since being injured for most of the last five years. The 24-year-old fed off a bronze-medal finish at the Edmonton World Cup to place sixth at the punishing World Triathlon Series race in Kitzbuhel, Austria last month. Sarah-Anne Brault will help form a dynamic one-two punch for the Canadian women. The 23-year-old heads into the Grand Final after posting a career-best 11th place on the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg, Germany.
“This is a very young group of athletes that have made huge progress, and demonstrated over the last year they can perform under some of the most intense conditions,” said Libby Burrell, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada. “As a team, we have been focused on peaking in London. We have been making steady progress as a group, and the athletes are ready to demonstrate their hard work and fitness with some strong results in London.”
Triathlon Canada will send a strong mix of three women and two men for the under-23 competitions in London. A trio of 20 year old Canadian women including Amelie Kretz (Blainville, Que.), Calgary’s Ellen Pennock, and Joanna Brown, of Carp, Ont., are sure to be in the hunt for the medals in London. Kretz won her first World Cup race in Edmonton this summer, where Pennock celebrated her first World Cup silver medal.  A two-time medallist at the Grand Final in the junior and under-23 categories, Brown, will look for her first World Championship title.
Canada will be represented by Alexander Hinton, of Kingston, Ont., and Victoria’s Matt Sharpe in men’s under-23 racing.
The nation will also send five juniors to London including three men and two women. Winnipeg’s Tyler Mislawchuk will lead Quebecers, Xavier Grenier-Talavera and Alexis Lepage, to the main event. Saskatoon’s Gabrielle Edwards and Emy Legault, of Ile Perrot, Que., will make their World Championship debut for the Canadian women. 
“Competing at international competitions is a critical component to the continued development of our sport, and the World Championships are the first major test for our team on the road to Rio,” said Burrell. “This is a confident group of young Canadians who have had a great deal of success in North America, and are now ready to take on the world’s best in their age group and see where they stand. It is my belief, with this young group continuing to progress through the system, our sport is in good hands for years to come.”
For a complete schedule of the ITU Grand Final in London, please visit www.triathlon.org.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000 and Paralympic medal sport as of 2016, Triathlon Canada’s mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.
Chris Dornan    
Media and Public Relations
Triathlon Canada
T: 281-703-4394  

14 August 2013

European Adventures and Miss-Adventures

Triathlon has given me so many opportunities to see some very cool places. The amount of work and money to put on an event like an Ironman or a World Triathlon Series event, tends to require a large amount of travel. An adventure from North America to Europe can have its challenges but with challenges come opportunities.

Kitzbuhel WTS ----"Dude, What the f*** were you doing in the bush?" -Jarred Shoemaker----

Brianna and I landed in Munich and hopped into a taxi which climbed further and further into the mountains till we arrived in a fairy tale town. Kitzbuhel is a beautiful village sandwiched between the Horn Mountain and the Hahnenkamm.

I had been focused on this event since Yokohama. I have always loved climbs. In Victoria I had been riding up and down Finlayson-Arm continuously to prepare for the 14-22% grade climb up the Horn. I was ready. Everything was in order.

Race day, the general mood in the athletes lounge was that of excitement.

The gun went and we started fast. I got a bit caught up in some fighting around the first bouy but started moving up on the later half of the swim.

I excited the water in descent shape and with a fast transition I was out and riding hard. I jumped onto Alistair Brownlee's wheel and was quite content to stay there. Unfortunately about 500m into the ride when I began slipping my feet into the shoes, Alistair swerved right and so did I. In doing so my shoe twisted loose of the pedal. At 50km/h the shoe went bouncing into the forrest next to the road. Several thoughts went through my head including, could I race without it? Quickly realizing that I can't ride a H.C. climb with one shoe, I stopped quickly and began backtracking against the flow of traffic. After fishing my shoe out of the bush, I quickly slipped my foot in and jumped back on the bike just as the last rider went by.

Frankly, the race was over but I made the best of the situation and began time trialling as hard as I could along the flats, nearly making the back of the pack at the base of the climb. I worked hard all the way to the end of the race. I came to Austria to race up the Horn and so I did. Not the way I'd hoped but I finished.

Vitoria, Spain

To keep cost down, Brianna and I joined the Training camp in Vitoria, Spain. Traveling was a bit Chaotic...... After arriving In Bilboa we missed the last bus to Vitoria. Somewhere in Bilboa Brianna and I settled in at the Bus station. Brianna and I took turns one after another taking a 45min nap....
The next morning after a 1 hour bus trip my phone was finally dead and we spent the morning wandering the streets trying to find the Hotel Boulevard while dragging our bike boxes through town.

After one of the worst travel experiences it took a few days to get into the flow.

Once back on track training was great! The Basque country has some amazing cycling and Vitoria itself was a very cool place. Fun Fact: The Battle of Vitoria was the last stand for Napoleon's army in the Peninsula War as depicted in the main square.

Travel to Hamburg from Vitoria was much smoother.

World Triathlon Hamburg

Another Sprint distance Triathlon meant I had to have a fast start especially on this tight swim course. A breakaway of a small group has been quite successful in the WTS series and like Yokohama this was my goal.

I lined up between Bryukhanov and Vasiliev. Both being strong swimmers I was confident that if we work together we would be in good position coming out of the water. I had a descent start and got fairly clear but upon arriving to the first bouy a group on both sides collided. It was absolute chaos with arms and legs everywhere. 500m into the swim I began moving through towards the front but it was too little too late

Out of transition however I missed the front pack.

In a large second pack I tried to maintain a good position but I felt like I was in stuck in second gear. I was trapped in poor positioning sprinting all out after every corner burning one "match" after another.

I arrived at the run over worked due to poor positioning.

16 June 2013

400m Swim, 6km Ride, 2.5km Run, 6km Ride, 2.5km Run

This past weekend Aaron Thomas, Matt Sharpe and I made our way over to Barrie, Ontario for a fun new multi-sport event called E-Games. We competed in the Formula 1 Prospects race with 10 of Canada's olympic hopefuls. It was an awesome bonding experience with fellow Canadian athletes and being such a interesting format in which none of us have trained for, it made for such a fun race. With Rogers Sports Net's Cameras at every angle we all wanted to put on a show. Race hard, put it on the line and see what happens.

The race consisted of a 400m swim and 2x(6km ride, 2.5km Run) before hand, we all had the same question..... how do I race this....whats my strategy.....

The water was unusually cold, around 15degrees. I did a very short swim warm up as my face just froze. We all lined up and I chose far right. With shallower water and a clean line I had a really strong start. I pinned it to the first Buoy and settled in for a strong 400 pace. It was a bit hard to sight coming back into shore as we swam into the sun but I found my way. 

I had a nice fast transition and was off onto the first 6km bike.

I rode the first lap and a half alone but was joined by Sean Bechtel, Matt Sharpe and Tyler Bredschneider. We worked well together to build a lead which set us up for the first run of the day.

On to the first 2.5km I built a gap of about 20 seconds on second place. I felt super smooth and was running strong.

On to the second 6km ride I did a lap and looked back, Simon Whitfield was yelling at me on the sidelines, "Just go for it! Go it alone!" With the Lead car, and the TV cameras on the Motor Bike beside me, I decided to commit to the break.  My goal was to chase after the motor bike. On my own I rode hard for 6 laps of the fun technical course and came of the bike with a 20-25 second gap. 

For the final 2.5km run. I knew Alexander Hinton was pushing hard to catch me. I ran hard but started to suffer on the final lap. With about a 100m to go Alex came past me on the hill. I sprinted hard but just couldn't get there. 

It was a super fun super exciting race. I took a risk on that second 6km ride but came up just short. Either way, the E-games Formula 1 race was a blast and a nice tune up for next weeks Edmonton World Cup. 

Rogers SportsNet should have some awesome film of the event. I will be sure to pass on the showing times.

All in all, it was a great experience coming out east, hanging out with some good people with some fun, fast, friendly racing. I leave beautiful Barrie Ontario with 9 good friends.
More photographs and full results coming soon,
Hope all is well,
Andrew McCartney