Whistler 50 - Ultra Marathon Relay

GWA invasion of Whistler this past weekend...


The GWA crew invaded Whistler this past weekend and participated in the Whistler 50 ultra marathon.  We had an 8 person relay team in the 80 km run.  It was a blast.  I'm not sure what was better the race or Buffalo Bills...If you look at the pictures you can decide for yourself. 

Participants: Al Horkoff, Al Winterflood, Shawn MacKenzie, Jon Bula, Pam Bula, Denon Goldstein, Patrick McNary, Joel Williams.

Good times!

New York Marathon: easiest run ever...

giants-stadium-1 What can I say about the NY Marathon?  Not much actually...If you didn't hear they cancelled the race late Friday evening after assuring all the participants up to the early afternoon that day that the race was on.  What do you do but make the best out of it, so can anyone say "Giants vs. Steelers"Now I'm not going to lie, I was really disappointed that the race was cancelled.  But honestly, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that going ahead with the event was a bad idea especially when a bunch of the city was still without power,  when the subways weren't fully operational, when many people were staying in shelters, when there was a fuel shortage, with water and food shortages in some areas.  Come on, really?

I can honestly say I felt a bit guilty going to NY for the race with all that was happening, but we were assured that the race was happening and that there weren't going to be any refunds for those who chose to stay home.  With everything having already been paid in advance there wasn't much of a choice really.

I feel bad for all those people that poured their hearts and souls into their training and didn't get to race.  Oh well, life goes on and there are plenty of races out there.

Being in NY we weren't about to waste our time thinking about what could have been...Troy and I along with our other marathoners embarked on a great 3-day NY adventure.  We did a couple short runs, had amazing dinners, partied all night long, and got tickets to the Giants vs. Steelers game.  So much fun.  It wasn't the short holiday I expected but it was still fun.


Everything is big in the States...


Troy and Kate and some stadium Coors Lights - only $9.50 per bottle - what a deal...


Jon with a nice beer and gift for Laura - who couldn't make the trip due to some guy's baby growing in her belly ;)


This was supposed to be our groups' pre-race meal.  We still had a great meal, but probably drank alot more wine then we would have.


Jon in a picture with the ladies.  We were doing some pre cancelled race hydration...


Troy, Kate and Troy's mom Ricci at the race check in.  They did their check in and then a few minutes later found out the race was cancelled - what a burn...

Whistler Gran Fondo 2012

jb-and-gs-whistler-2012-edited What a day for a ride to Whistler.  The weather was perfect and Graham Stanley and I were ready to ride.  You can see Graham just behind me in the white jersey.I wasn't planning on doing the Whistler ride this year.  I had decided that I was going to do the 'anti fondo' with a bunch of friends.  Ride up Friday and then mountain bike in Whistler Saturday and Sunday.  Graham, a client of ours who is relatively new to road cycling, asked me to ride for him.  He sweetened the pot by paying for my entry and promising dinner that night in Whistler if I road with him during the race.  I decided to do it, a free entry and expensive dinner are hard to pass up.  Well I can now say I know what it feels like to be a domestique.  I spent most of the 120 km in the front of various groups, doing the work and pulling people along.  I felt obligated to work hard (and I sure did), but it was a great day.  Graham rode really well and we cruised to a very respectable time of 3 hours 53 minutes.  Good enough coincidentally for Graham to post a better time than all his friends (supposedly stronger and more experienced riders), hahaha.  I was pretty shattered after the ride, but it felt good to leave it all out on the road and I was pretty happy as Graham was super pumped with how the ride went.  We even beat his old hockey buddy Geoff Courtnall by 5 minutes.

A bunch of other GWA clients kicked some serious ass this year as well.

Christian Frandsen was 4th overall at 3 hours 24 minutes

Matt VanNostrand was 5th overall at 3 hours 25 minutes

Dan Shepansky kicked butt with a 3 hour 37 minute time

David Schaffner flew to a 3 hour 52 minute time despite being involved in a crash and getting some great road rash as a souvenir

Dave Tims clocked a very respectable 4 hours 3 minutes


Matt on left and Christian Top 5 Fondo Finishers (studs) - looking good boys

End of Summer Blast

capitol-forest-2 Capitol Forest 50/100 Mile


Tyax Adventures: 3-day back country mountain bike trip

What an amazing end to the summer.  I signed up on a whim for a really tough mountain bike race: The Capitol Forest 100 mile race in Washington near Olympia on August 25th.  I also just finished a 3-day trip in the Chilcotins doing some back country mountain biking this past long weekend.  Needless to say I'm feeling a little tired today...

The Capitol Forest 100 mile was a last minute decision.  My friend emailed me on the Tuesday and said, "I'm doing this epic race in Washington, you've got to come."  So of course I signed up and 5 days later I was suffering through a grueling 10.5 hour 160 km race on a really hilly but extremely fast and fun course.  I felt great for the first 5 hours (no wonder since I've been doing mostly 3-5 hour races this summer) and then started to hurt around hour 6.  I managed to pull through after spending some time at an aid station stuffing my face with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, banana, and watermelon.  All in all I finished well and was quite surprised to have finished 11th overall.  The best part was that I finished 3rd in my age category, but had no idea.  I missed my chance to stand on the podium and receive my cheap and tacky medal. hahaha.  I didn't check the official results until 2 days after the race.


Graham Tutti and I in the first few minutes of the race, it was still dark when we started.

This past long weekend I was in the back country doing some really cool mountain biking.  Day one was a grueling 9 hour ride into Trigger Lake.  We spend at least 4 hours pushing our bikes up some brutally steep climbs.  At one point we crossed Dear Lake Pass at an elevation of more than 7500 feet (hard to breathe up there).  We spent the night in tents at the Trigger Lake Camp and our camp cook who brought all our food and beer in on horseback the day before was great.  Super fun night.

Day 2 was an incredibly fun day.  We road a route that is best described as gravy with a few lumps.  Super fast and fun downhill with the occasional steep punchy climb.  It was a 6  hour ride that day so much more sane.  Tyax Lodge hosted a great dinner/party Saturday night which made the final ride on day 3 a little tough...

Day 3 was a 2 hour rip in Whistler on the trial called Train Wreck.  What a great weekend.


Top of Deer Lake Pass: way up there above the tree line: 7500 ft elevation

Valley First Gran Fondo: Really Hot!

in-the-start-chute Sunday was race day for many GWA clients and myself.  More than 2,500 riders braved 34°C heat in the South Okanagan to ride the second edition of the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan on Sunday.  Congratulations to the following riders: Dan Shepansky, David Schaffner, James Demens, Justin Cheng, Matt VanNostrand, Kate Ramsay, Laura Bertram.  For a brief summary of my personal race and few photos see below.crv-loaded-up

CRV loaded and ready to go to the Okanagan


Justin and James doing some much needed 'carb loading' the day before the race at one of 8 vineyards we visited (I somehow bought 2 cases of wine that day...)


This is me at 6am ready to head to the start of the race, it was already 25 degrees out there


Dan Shepansky doing some last second email/texting on his phone


In the start line, ready to fly...


A few riders in front of me (started too far back and had to work way too hard to get to the front group...)


Many more behind...


After the race, Laura looking better than me as usual.


My Ride:

I was a little bit nervous about this race because I wasn't feeling rested going in.  On Wednesday I ran stairs with some of our hockey players (only because they were calling me a wuss for not wanting to do them because of my upcoming race).  My legs were so sore after that and it wasn't until the morning of the race that I could properly walk down the stairs (I knew better than to do something like that before a race...)

My legs felt fine however so no excuses there.  I started a little too far back in the start line so I had to work really hard to get up with the front group.  I got there after about 10 minutes and settled into a furiously fast pace for the first 50 km.  The lead peleton relaxed a bit after that.

I stayed with the race leaders until the 120km mark where I got dropped on a steep climb.  I was too far back in the peleton and when some of the riders in front of me started falling back I just didn't have the legs to bridge the gap between us and the lead group.  The gap was only about 50m but it might as well have been 2km.

I ended up riding solo a bunch during the last 40 km, and there was a viscous head wind for a lot of it.  Needless to say I was suffering something fierce.  I was low on water (you don't stop at aid stations when you are in the lead group - stupid I think...) and the heat was getting to me.  I managed to cross the finish line only 16 minutes off the winning pace so all in all a pretty good ride.

Next time I will pay more attention to where I am in the group before the climb and carry an extra water bottle in my jersey pocket.  It was a great day and I had a blast.  My average speed was 36 km/h over the 160km course.  Top speed was a blistering 79km/h.  Average HR was 153.  Max HR was 184.  Burned in excess of 3200 calories, no wonder I've been hungry all day.

GWA takes on the Spartan Race

pre-race JB, Dougy, Shawn, and Big Al all took on the Spartan Race this pat Saturday.  Highlights included Al's labored breathing up the first hill of the day, Dougy's incredible good looks and beer garden antics, and Shawn's coolness...dougy-looking-cool

Dougy always looking fashionable


The  boys after the race.  We were a little muddier before hand but visited the 'Fire hose' station post race to a spray down.


Big Al signed us up for the first heat of the day, so we were officially the first 4 racers in the bear garden.  Good times this weekend.

Day 5: Levi's GranFondo Route

jon-and-jim Day five of the training camp was an epic day.  We rode the same route that the Levi's GranFondo follows.  It was honestly one of the most beautiful rides I've ever done.  This was a fantastic 103 mile day through rolling hills, ranch land, forests, and beautiful coast line.  There were some great challenging climbs and the descents were steep and wickedly fast.  We rode for over 6 hours today...big day.  Check out the map of our route.

5th Annual Auction the Trainer: March 16th


Friday March 16th is the date of our 5th annual Auction the Trainer charity event. In the past 4 years we have raised close to $20,000 in support of Right to Play. Last year we raised close to $8000, and for 2012 our goal is 10K. This year we are changing things up a bit with a local charity Athletics for Kids. Below is their Mission Statement and Goal:

Mission Statement

To work diligently and thoughtfully in providing financially disadvantaged youth in the community with greater access to organized sport in conjunction with their academic endeavours.


A4K’s overarching goal is to be there to assist any B.C. child in their dream of playing amateur sports. In other words, we want all kids to have the opportunity to play

We are really excited about the opportunity to help local BC kids afford amateur sport. Similar to last year we will be auctioning off our trainers. The highest bidder wins 15 minutes where anything goes as far as making your trainer do the exercises you hate the most. We will also be showcasing ‘group events’. A Group of trainers will do something fun and embarrassing if a certain dollar figure of pledge is met (last year Shawn shaved his head, what will it be this year…).

We will be featuring a cash raffle again this year, with tones of great prizes generously donated by clients and friends. We would appreciate any prize you might be able to provide for the raffle – nothing is too big or too small.

You are invited to come take part in the event. Friday March 16th 5-7pm at Groundwork Athletics (and for those interested till much later than that). There will be an assortment of beer, wine, and snacks. As always good times guaranteed. Don’t miss out on what is guaranteed to be a great event.

To donate a prize or for any event questions please contact: Jon Bula jon@groundworkathletics.ca