After doing an article on the evolution of my swim I thought I would do the history and development of my biking. Biking was the first sport that I got into with my family. I started mountain biking when I was about eight years old, I rode for fun at first doing the occasional O cup and 24 hour race with my dad. It was a great way to stay active and learn very key bike handling skills at a young age.
When I started running at the age of fourteen I truly found my competitive spirit. It was a very logical path to start racing duathlon and triathlon. But for the first few years I did not ride much, I just wanted to run. After racing a few kids of steel races on my yellow full suspension mountain bike I finally made the call to go full on in the triathlon world.
Luckily my mom had a steel Opus bike that fit me when I was sixteen and allowed me to race in my first draft legal race at Junior Nationals in Brampton. This was my first real triathlon. After this race I was hooked and just wanted more. During this time I was doing a lot of riding with the higher-level age groupers. They were strong enough to push me on the bike. At this time I was riding about three to four times a week with a long ride of about 90min. It was difficult to do much more than that with school.
Once I had been in the sport for about two years I purchased my first bike, a Tarmac that I still have. The bike took me through my entire junior career. When I was a junior I rode with my teammates that were all around my age. At this time Sean Bechtel was the man we all looked up to on the bike. He taught me a lot of the skills that allowed me to excel on the bike. During this time I had upped my biking miles I was still biking about five times a week but longer rides and more specific workouts. Every week we did a brick workout, an individual time trial and a long ride.
Being a poorer swimmer at the time I was always playing catch up on the bike. This really forced me to develop my bike skills at an early age. Which paid off when I went into the longer non-draft racing.
The next big change was when I got to University. By this time I had a matured as an athlete and was ready to take on some big bike miles. I also had a little more time in the day to ride and get in 3 workouts a day. This allowed my bike rides to become much longer probably biking closer to six times a week. Also having a longer summer break allowed for better training and recovery during the hardest training blocks. I still was coming out of the water near the back of the field. But now I was strong enough to bridge the gap to make it to the lead bikes. During this time my three best biking moments were: at Junior Nationals where I biked from the chase pack to the lead pack and still had the gas to run into second. At the Edmonton world cup I came out of the water in about third last but was able to close the gap between myself and the leaders, I then ran into the top 15. Then there was my last ITU race at the Huatulco world cup where I came out of the water with Tyler Butterfield and almost dropped him going up the hills. In the end he played his hand properly and dropped me but it was a very good glimpse into what the long course triathlon would hold.
I was 23 when I chose to make the switch into non-drafting Triathlon. This was the last year of my university degree and the perfect time to make the switch. The bike training changed for sure at this point. There were a lot more rides that were close to 100km and two specific bike workouts a week. The biggest change was getting used to holding the TT position for hours on end. But once I had that under control it was just time in the saddle.
After university I switched over to the Paulo Sousa squad. Under his guidance we added in the occasional double ride days but not a whole lot different from what I was already doing. The key now is to make sure every workout has its purpose. There are no more ‘garbage miles’ on the bike. There are very few easy bike rides in my training program now.
I really look forward to seeing what I can doing in 2017 and how far I can push myself. My first race of the year is scheduled for March 19, 2017.
I have to thank Sean Bechtel, Nat Faulkner, all my teammates, Barrie Shepley and Paulo Sousa for helping me become a better athlete.