GWA's Jon Bula has signed up for the 2011 Trans Portugal Race starting April 29th. The 9 day stage race covers 1150km of riding through beautiful Portugal. Having just purchased a new bike for the race you will be able to find him in the trails of the North Shore and Squamish over the next six months.
Well what a day!! Here we go (lots pictures and video at the end of the post):
3:30 am The alarm is set for 4:30am but I am awake.....4:45am Get out of bed, eat, drink, shoot the before video....5:15am Drive to the start, get marked, drop off special needs bags, pump bike tires, relax ....6:15am Put on HR monitor, wetsuit....6:30am Warm up swim, then stay warm....6:45am Watch the pro's start, fight the nerves.....7:00am START the race with 3000 other swimmers
SWIM: The start of these races is always exciting--adreneline is pumping and it is important to stay calm and focused. Jon started the race on the left side of the group which is the most direct line on the first length and is busier than the right side which is where I started (and our friend Greg). All of us got kicked and hacked for most of the first 1600m when things start to spread out a bit after the first turn. I drafted a massive guy the whole first leg and he cut a path through everyone for us. After the first turn it is 450m to the next one and 1800m home where I drafted another swimmer the whole way. As you see the two towers of the hotel get closer you realize the swim is almost done and it feels good! Swim Time: Jon 1:06 Troy 1:16 Greg 1:13.
BIKE: After a fast transition (Jon) and slow transition (Troy--I ran into a guy I used to play UBC Hockey with!!) we took off on the 180km bike course. Basically Penticton to Oliver to Osoyoos, to Keremeos and back. Jon is a really strong rider and took off hard passing tons of people, Greg and I started more conservatively wanting to manage our bike to have lots in the tank for the run. The bike this year was one of the hardest on record at the Ironman as we experienced a huge headwind after turning at Keremeos. This combined with rain and hail made for a cold end to the ride. I figure the head wind added half an hour to our bike times. It is important to eat and drink properly along the ride--we all had individual plans for this and stuck to them. At the 120km mark you get a special needs bag which can have what ever you want in it. Mine had oranges, chips, water bottle with Boost, and a peanut butter and a jam sandwhich that I did not touch. From here there is another climb up Yellow Lake and then a decent into Penticton. It is hard to describe to someone the number of people on the bike course cheering you on--it is unbelievable. People screaming and yelling for you everywhere. You also where a race number with your name on it so lots of people call you by your name. It means alot when you are tired to have someone call out to you and urge you on. Bike Times: Jon 5:37 Troy 6:34 Greg 6:36
RUN: The run absolutely destroys some people--a marathon 42km! The key is to manage your bike, nutrition, and hydration properly so you have enough in the tank. After arriving downtown on your bike to a massive crowd you head out on the run; again through the crowd. It takes you to the very end of Skaha Lake (OK Falls) and back. My favorite discipline is the run and I always look forward to it--both Jon and I have the ability to get off the bike and hammer the run. Once you get through town there are less people lining the route and you start to see the really fast people running back--some of them in control and some with pain etched on their faces. About two-thirds of the way to the turn around I saw Jon running back--he passed me some Cliff Shots and looked really strong. At times in later parts of the run it is a mental battle to not stop--I repeated many times: just keep your feet moving. The aid stations are set up every 2km or so and I would mix water, gatorate and coke in with power gels and sponges to keep cool. You really feel like a pro when you pass through one--just yell out what you want and they have it for you. My goal was to not stop running once--some people walk the aid stations--and I achieved this. Near the 35km mark is a long slow incline that sets you up for the big crowds to take you down Main Street to the finish. It is a tough part--your pace drops and HR rises but knowing that once you got through this the end was near definitely motivates you. Once I got past that I knew the corner that all our friends and family would be at just before the finish--I was excited to see them all. As I ran past they were screaming so loud--awesome!!! It is a quick out and back to finish--I got some advice from a 10x Ironman finisher he said: fix your gear, look straight ahead, smile, put your arms up and break the tape. Don`t mess it up you only have once shot!! Run Times: Troy 3:46 Jon 3:48 Greg 4:42
Overall Times Jon 10:41 Troy 11:51 Greg 12:45 Official Results at: Ironman Canada
THANKS: All three of us would like to thank family, friends, wives, girlfriends for their support this past year and during race day. It is an event where you have to sacrifice time with others to properly prepare and we appreciate acceptance of this. On the actual day the feelings you have knowing that these people were waiting and watching for us definitely gives you a boost in the low times. Thanks Again!! The Dalton`s (Doug, Ricci, Jody) The Bula`s (Perry, Pam, Laura) The Mackie`s (Tim+kids, Monica, John, Mary-Jo), Kate, Jeff, Alsi, Nicole, Julie, Kyle, Genvieve, Don and anyone I might have missed.
Greg & Troy Two Days before
Before the swim start. Jon started close to this side, Greg and I the far side
Jon--loves to talk
Top fans at I man
Gotta give some love to the fans. Rumour has it no one wanted to wash their hands again.....
Mackies, Ricci Dalton, Perry Bula
Just about to bury this guy
Jon immediately post race
Jon, Greg, Troy
The two loudest fans everytime I went by Kate & Jody
On Sunday Jon and I competed in the Subaru Half Ironman in preparation for the Ironman. It was an overcast day and a 6:30am start into the ocean at Jehrico Sailing Club for two loops of 1000m...let me tell you it wasn't warm. After that is was 90km on our bikes in the form of 4 loops with a climb up UBC hill in each one followed by a half marathon (21km) down Spanish Banks. Jon had an amazing race at 4:42, knocking almost 30 min off his time from 2 years ago. Troy did 5:01 and would have broken 5 hours if he didn't have trouble putting on his shirt. Try it: purchase a skin tight Under Armour shirt, step in the shower, step out and try and pull it on hahaha.
A number of Groundwork Athletics staff participated in a few different events this passed weekend. Alan Winterflood and Warren Hatch competed in the Fall Classic run at UBC on Sunday. Warren was competing in the 5k while Alan competed in the 10k.
Jon Poli and Jon Bula battled it out on the soccer field for their respective teams in the VMSL's Mens Premier League on Saturday, it was a well fought battle, J.P's team came out on top with a late second half score to win 2-1. Thanks to all who came out to support.
Emilia D'Aversa competed in the Phantom Race Trail Run on the North shore on Sunday. She completed the 24km run with mud up to her knees, but it was a great experience non the less!
Jon and Troy are joining 18 other adventure racers to compete in the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race in Cumberland on Saturday. www.mindovermountain.com/momar/ As mentioned our group consists of 20 experienced adventure racers and 10 minutes before the start we are drawing names to create teams of 4. Should make for an interesting day!! The race is approx 60km of kayaking, mountaing biking, trail running and orienteering--we expect to finish in 5-6 hours. Check out the blog post race to see how we did.
Jon's One Cut
One of Many Cuts for Troy...
best looking team in the race
support + Ben.
Done! Day 7 was listed at 30 km around Creekside in Whistler--the hardest 30 k I've ever done!! We had some wicked climbs beginning with 7.5 km right off the start, then later a loose gravel climb that kept going up around each corner, and finally 2km on a road 20 minutes before the finish. We hammered it again-- I particularily have now found my riding legs--in 2 hours 42 minutes. The pro's did it an hour quicker than us. To summarize our race:
- 374 km
- 29 hours 43 minutes 13 seconds of riding
- 2 flats
- 1 pair of wrecked bike shoes
- 4 ferries
- calories burnt ????
- cuts Troy-100 Jon-1 (see photo)
What an amazing experience in all aspects--weather, trails, food, fitness..... I find challenging yourself to do things like this allows you to test your mental strength; often times you have the physical capabilites to continue pedalling but its your mind that wants to stop. You learn to control your thoughts and push the threshold at which you have these thoughts arise upwards. You can apply your experience from these challenges to everyday life -better controlling what is limiting us mentally from achievment. Pick a challenge and get after it; you have nothing to lose.
A special thanks goes to Larry & Perry-Lynne Bula (Jon's parents) and Laura Bula (Jon's wife) for all they did with race support. We literally ate, slept and rode and did no have to worry about anything else. We couldn't have done it without you. I'd also like to personally thank my sister Jody & two friends Mac & Tim and Jon's brother Ben for coming up to watch the finish at Creekside. (also Bob Faulkner) It means alot to see people you know and have them there cheering for you at the end of almost 30 hours!!
Pre Day 6
Post Race Repairs
Pre Race--troy looks bigger
Today was a great day, we hammered it. 50 km around Squamish which took us 4 hours 15 minutes. In races like these you tend to spend each day riding with similar people of equal skills and fitness. Today we dropped our 'group' with most of them coming in 3o minutes behind us! I (troy) felt like I had Tour de France legs today and could climb forever--for once I wasn't chasing Jon which I have been doing this whole damn race!! It was your standard Squamish trails today-the Test of Metal start, Rob's Corners, Powerhouse Plunge and Far Side. What weather 30+ degree's here today. Highlights were Troy getting stung by a hornet while descending a very technical portion of the course, nobody passing us on any climbs, Troy getting a flat 2km out from the finish (we just rode it in!!), and 50 guest riders joining the race today--all sponsors who were fresh! Tomorrow is a short 30km day finishing in Whistler Creekside and followed by the afterparty......the next blog could be later Sunday afternoon!!
Today was a 60 km loop leaving and returning from Cumberland. It was another tough day, but not as hard as day 2!! We had a strong ride, finishing in 4:45 making our total time for three days of racing approx imately 12 hours 15 min. If anyone has ever rode alot you will be familiar with the sore ass feeling, I'd say for me it hit about hour 5 day two. Today included a big hill right in the middle of the day that we thought was 15km and turned out to be 8km, feels good when you expect to be climbing twice as long. Highlights would have been Jon running into a tree trying to avoid a crashed rider, me almost falling off a high brindge and using my forearm on a tree to save myself (the tree won, I am cut), and the suprise of chocolate peanut M & M's at one of the aid stations--we haven't seen them yet. Most of the tenting racers are staying in Cumberland tonight and getting up at 4am to catch two ferries for the start tomorrow. We are currently waiting in Little River to catch a ferry to Powell River, drive to Earls Cove and catch a ferry to Saltry Bay. The race starts at 11am tomorrow so we will get to sleep in while most everyone else travels tomorrow. I love motorhomes. We do 60km tomorrow from Saltry Bay to Sechelt, some great trails that I've ridden before, although with 1800m of elevation gain we have the most climbing of a stage yet. I have uploaded some photos, the video takes too long with our connection so they will have to do.
Well Day 1 was a good warm up!! Only 29 km through some of the best trails in North Vancouver including Old Buck, Bridle Path, Severed Dick, and Pipeline which took us 2.5 hours.
Our day began with us and 400 other riders starting at the Canlan Ice Sports Center where we got into the chute (start) around 350th. This proved to slow us up at times as some of the riders around that start position had not ridden the steep stuff in Vancouver--they were used to rolling stuff in Ontario or other parts of the world!! After a climb up Old Buck we hit the hard descent of Severed Dick across to Mount Fromme (Grouse) up to Pipeline and down to the finish. Highlights of the day were all the spectators cheering us on, Troy just missing going head first into a tree, Jon being called a `10`buy a group of girls watching, and finally Troy rolling across the line about one bike length ahead of Jon!! In his defense he did wait for him a few times, but he`s just getting warmed up!! We have a huge motor home driven by Larry Bula (Jon`s dad) and joined by Perry-Lynne (Jon`s mom) and Laura (Jon`s wife). Yes Troy does have friends and family too for those that were unsure!! Tomorrow is a massive day--we jump on at ferry at Horseshoe Bay and bascially ride off a the other end. Going 72 km from Nanaimo to Parksville in some beautiful single track. We estimate 7 hours or so to complete the stage.
Troy and Jon are competing in the epic seven day BC Bike Race beginning Sunday in North Vancouver. The mortorhome has been rented, driver signed up (Jon's Dad!!), and the training hours put in. Now it is time to deliver on some of the most beautiful mountain biking trails in the world. The race begins in North Vancouver and then heads to Vancouver Island for four days of riding around Nanaimo, Cumberland, and Powell River. We then come back for the last two days in Squamish and the finish into Whistler Creekside. Check our blog nightly for race day recaps and highlights!! BC Bike Race has a great website if you want to learn more about the race www.bcbikerace.com.