Coming off of the 4th in Barbados, I was feeling really motivated for St. Anthony's and had a great lead up to the race. My Mom and Dad were both conveniently in Florida on vacation, so we had some good times together before the race. My Dad had his road bike with him as well, so we got to put in a few rides together before the sun got too hot! My Mom gave me some pointers on how to navigate the waves and take on sharks!
The race started at 6:50am, so the heat from some of the previous races I had been in wasn't going to be as much of a factor. The replacement factor was the wind! The swim was cut down from 1500m to 900m for safety due to the high winds, but there was still a lot of separation in the groups. Safety should always be a priority so kudos to the St. Anthony's race referees and team that made that decision. I really enjoyed the choppy water and had a good swim. It was the first time I had ever raced in the HUUB Albacore Swimskin and it was lightning fast! In the ITU style racing that I normally compete in these suits aren't allowed. Last year I didn't even have one, but this year I was far more prepared. I came with my Bruce Wayne alter-ego swim wear and punched out of the water with the leaders. Then I had some bad luck...
When I arrived in transition, I quickly took off the HUUB Albacore Swimskin and strapped on my helmet...only my helmet was broken. The ear flap was busted and as I ran out of transition I just tried to tuck it into the side of the upper portion of the helmet and my head. I was still with the leaders when I mounted and ducked into the aerobars...only my left aerobar was no longer attached and my arm rest was wobbling loose. The only thing I can think of is that in the high winds my bike blew over in transition and caused all the damage. An official probably set it back up and didn't notice what had happened. I later found out on the course that my rear brake was rubbing too. I lost a lot of time on the bike course, but in the end I still was happy to cross the finish line.
I was definitely feeling a little devastated after the race. Last year I crashed on the bike here and this year my bike crashed without me even being there. I worked as hard as I could though, and controlled everything that I could. Sometimes you just have bad luck. There's a quote in our weight room at the University of Guelph: "You're not training to be the best in the world. You're training to be the best in the world on your worst day." My Mom and Dad also used to say a similar thing to my sister and I when we were kids. They told us that they didn't care whether we finished first or last as long as we never gave up and tried our best. All that is to say that as much as the outcome of the race wasn't what I wanted, the process behind the race was really the same had I finished any higher. I had tried my best. Also, true to their words to a younger lycra swim short and cotton t-shirt wielding triathlete version of myself, my parents gave me a hug after the race (when I was less covered in sweat of course). They also made me realize just how fortunate I am and how much work I have ahead of me for Mother's and Father's Day.
There were two big highlights though on the trip home worthy to share!
1. My Dad and I climb Mt. Mitchell, the highest point East of the Mississippi River on our Cervélo bikes. My Mom thankfully saved us with warm clothes. Definitely worth the trip if you are ever in North Carolina!
2. Gen made World Standard at Payton Jordan and had an interview with FloTrack!
The next race up is the Major League Triathlon in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 19th and it will be my first as a Carolina Glider!
Thanks again to all my sponsors for their support on this journey:
Caledon Hills Cycle/Cervélo
The April Sunshine Only Tour continued last weekend in Barbados! I went to Barbados last year and was pretty excited to be back on the island again. Having both Matthew Wright and Jason Wilson as teammates on Guelph Triathlon Project from Barbados, it's always good to check-in on GTP's secondary HQ - Bridgetown/Guelph South. Matthew Wright's parents, Lynn and Paul were incredible hosts as always and they both made some delicious local Bajan recipes for all of us to try. Flying fish, fried plantains, and fish pie (Shepard's pie with fish, not the dessert pie you were thinking of...although you will want seconds and maybe thirds) are all worth testing out if you ever get a chance to visit the island.
After arriving in Barbados, I was invited to my first pre-race press conference along with all my teammates on GTP! That night and the next morning, we were across all the national news and newspapers. Barbados is an incredibly tight knit community and as the word spread, you could really feel the energy building leading into the race, and you couldn't help but feel some extra motivation.
We started the race at 10:30am on Brandon's Beach with a lot of spectators from the age group race earlier in the day and people from all over the island. Looking at the photo from our race start reminds me of when my Grade 1 teacher would tell our class that it was time for recess. In spite of the chaos, I did have a good start and was able to get clean water and share the lead all the way back to shore.
I lead into T1 and was off on the bike. Edson Gomez (Mexico), Matthew Wright (Barbados), Brennen Smith (Canada), and I (Canada) made up the lead group, but after the first lap of the bike, Edson and I separated ourselves.
Edson and I worked really well together on the bike and in spite of a large chase pack behind us, we were putting time into the field every lap. At 12km though at the turn around, Edson crashed. I narrowly missed him, and then rode the remaining 8km by myself off the front. Thankfully Edson did get back up and finish the race. I worked hard on the bike to try and stay cool and keep the advantage Edson and I had worked so hard for. Having put in the miles before the race, I felt confident on the bike. I was actually able to maintain the time lead Edson and I had worked so hard to get over the field.
Out of T2, I started well on the run, but the heat got the best of me. With 2km to go I was past by the eventual race winner and with 1.25km to go, I was in a battle for 3rd. I battled for 3rd right up to the finish line, but I eventually crossed the line in 4th. It was really hard to miss the podium again, but I am truly happy with the way I approached the race. I went fast from the start and put myself in a position to compete for the top spot on the podium. Putting yourself in that mindset and putting the best version of yourself on the start line is all that you can ask of yourself.
After the race I also got some exciting news that I moved into the Top 100 on the ITU Points List! Being ranked amongst the Top 100 is a big honour and hopefully with some bigger ITU races over the next few months, I'll be able to move even higher!
Thanks again to all my amazing sponsors for giving me the opportunity to compete with the best in the world and do what I love.
Cervélo/Caledon Hills Cycle
I have one race left in the April Sunshine Only Tour at the St. Anthony's Triathlon! I've had some great prep this week leading into the race and I'll try my best to crack the podium again!
Who knew there was more than one Hamilton? Turns out there is another one in the world in Bermuda and it's gorgeous!
Bermuda is known for it's white stepped roof tops which each house uses to collect rainfall for consumption since there are no fresh water lakes, rivers, or springs on the island. Bermuda does use desalination plants and underground water supplies as well, but the design and water consciousness makes for a pretty amazing sight around the island.
I was very fortunate to have a homestay for this next leg in my 2017 season at the Butterfield family home. Jim and Debbie were incredible hosts and even opened their doors to the Jamnicky brother-sister duo as well! Jim and Debbie made the trip feel like a home away from home (a Hamilton away from Hamilton?) and are truly some of the nicest people I have ever met. It was great to make two new friends and hopefully next year I share the 2018 World Triathlon Series experience with them!
The race was the start of a big month of racing in April with races in Barbados and St. Anthony's to follow (but you of course knew that by reading my Schedule page on the website :). I came into the race with a lot of confidence especially after my race in Sarasota and I was excited to execute again in Bermuda.
The swim was in a small harbour and I got off to a great start. I came around the first buoy and was with the lead group, but followed a little too far off the back before T1. With sprint distance triathlon the best part for spectators and athletes alike is that 1 or 2 seconds can make a difference. For me, it almost made the difference of making the lead group and being in the chase. Luckily, I've been doing a lot of work on the bike and the crowds along the streets in Bermuda were incredibly encouraging. The bike course was very technical with 68 turns to navigate over the entire course including a very steep climb with some sections over 10%. I was able to use those sections along the sections that weren't uphill or turning to my advantage and close the gap with the chase. Before T2, I knew I wanted to position myself better than I did before T1 so I dismounted and left T2 in first!
On the run, I went out fast with Eli Hemming and Jason West, but unfortunately I just didn't have the legs for the run on the day. I kept on the effort though and crossed the line in 5th! I was certainly hungry for more, but I am in no way disappointed with my performance. Every result I've had recently has shown some great progression in a different aspect of the sport. In Bermuda, honestly I feel like I have taken some valuable lessons that I will be able to carry throughout the rest of the season and my career. In Sarasota, I think it was relearning confidence. In Hamilton, it was finding the mindsets that will allow me to perform at my best in competition. It was also the mindsets though for after competition.
One of my favourite moments from the race was meeting a young girl who was handing water in the finishing chute. She held out a water to me, and I held out my hand for a high five instead.
Seeing this little girl smile at the end of the race made my day and reminded me how rewarding this sport can truly be. It was a good reminder of the influence we as athletes can have on and off the race course. Also that there are rewards off the race course that are just as big or bigger to be had.
I would like to give a big shoutout to my sponsors for helping me continue to race around the world with the best!
Caledon Hills Cycle/Cervélo
Also a special thanks to Jim and Debbie Butterfield for being everything more than a homestay! Hope to see you again soon!
Finally, see you all next week for a recap from 2017 Bridgetown CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup and Central American and Caribbean Championship!
Before the start of the 2017 Major League Triathlon season, Dylan Sorensen - Marketing Manager of Major League Triathlon decided to catch up a bit on the past, present, and future of Carolina Glider, John Rasmussen.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in a small suburb of Ancaster. Hamilton is situated about an hour South of Toronto and an hour and a half West of Buffalo, NY. It has a population of around half a million people, but still has a very tight knit community feel. I think with Toronto being "The Big City", Hamilton has always had this sense of being the underdog and tried to differentiate itself in its own unique way. That culture has definitely encouraged creativity and pursuing your passion. You can see that now in the Hamilton Supercrawl and the revitalization going on in the city. Equally so, it may have just been my awesome parents fostering those values and similarly minded parents in the city, but I will always have fond memories of Hamilton.
How did you get involved with triathlon and in what sports did you participate before triathlon?
My Mom and Dad were both great role models for both my sister - Sarah and I being active and healthy. I played just about every sport you can think of growing up. I did hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, waterpolo, orienteering, rowing, swim lessons, cross country, track and field, cycling, and anything else that my parents would drive me to or the gym teacher could come up with! I was always really into cycling since my Dad competed on mountain bikes when I was young. I was "late" to competitive swimming, but I always enjoyed swim lessons - probably for the sticker you got if you passed and I enjoyed the challenge. It was running though that I'd say I feel in love with. After my first cross country race at Rousseau Public School in grade 3, I was hooked. As soon as the bus dropped me off in the morning, I would leave my back pack with some of my friends, and run around the perimeter of the school yard until the bell would sound for classes to start. I did that everyday from the start of grade 4 until grade 6, regardless of the weather and sometimes in rubber boots.
It was my Dad who brought home a flyer from the Toronto International Bike Show in 2000 from the Ontario Association of Triathletes at the time (now Triathlon Ontario) highlighting that triathlon was in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games though that really got me started in triathlon. It said that there were triathlons for all ages and even kids! They even had a series called Kids of Steel. I mean who wouldn't want to sign up for something called that? I was already doing swimming, biking, and running, and my sister and I convinced our parents to drive us almost 3 hours to Leamington, Ontario for our first triathlon. I came 2nd in that race and then spent the following week convincing my parents to make the same drive again just a little further to Windsor, Ontario for the Provincial Championships where I came 1st!
I've been doing triathlons ever since! My parents always made the trips to races a fun weekend holiday excursion, so every summer my sister and I would look forward to the triathlons. We still kept on doing all our other sports during the year even through high school and I think that was really valuable in my sport and mental development.
What is your goal with the sport?
My goal is to be the best person and triathlete that I can be. It is really important to me to leave a lasting positive impact on the sport and my country. I want my performances to be a reflection of my dedication and determination, and to demonstrate that anything is possible. I believe that if I commit myself to my goals, I can represent Canada at the Commonwealth, Pan American, and Olympic Games, and be competitive at a world class level internationally and within Major League Triathlon.
What is your strongest aspect of triathlon, and why?
My strongest aspect of triathlon is my mental game. It's taken a long time to develop over years of competition and training, but the mental side of triathlon is what separates the smallest and largest of margins.
What is your least-strong aspect of triathlon, and why?
My least-strong aspect of triathlon is taking recovery days. I struggle taking days "off" and shortened workouts because I love training, but I am learning now that these days are just as important as my days "on".
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy going on adventures and spending time with my girlfriend, Geneviève Lalonde and all my family and friends. I don't know if you would call it a hobby, but I am currently trying to learn how to speak French/Chiac, which has been a fun challenge. Reading, playing the guitar, making stained glass, and playing board games (especially Settlers of Catan) are some more honest conventional hobbies.
Where do you live and where do you enjoy training the most?
I live in Guelph, Ontario with Geneviève Lalonde near the University of Guelph where we both now train full-time. Geneviève trains with Speed River Track and Field Club under Dave Scott-Thomas and I train with the Guelph Triathlon Project under Craig Taylor.
One of my favourite spots to train is on Appleby Line near Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. It's a really challenging climb on the bike and often followed by some hard efforts on the University of Guelph track and preceded by some quality work in the pool, so it's a good day.
Where have your race travels taken you?
I've travelled a lot through triathlon. In Canada, I've been from Victoria all the way to Moncton. In the US, I've been from San Francisco, California to Portland, Maine. I've traveled to Mexico, Puerto Rico, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Australia as well for competitions. It's pretty amazing to travel the world and do what you love.
For how long can you see yourself racing?
If this healthy eating and exercise pays off, I see myself registering in races into the 100+ age category. I love triathlon and I don't see myself ever quitting. I'll definitely try new sports and new adventures as I get older, but triathlon will always have a special place in my heart.
If you could offer a piece of advice for someone looking to enter the sport, what would it be?
My piece of advice would be to have fun and set a goal! The best part of triathlon is that a 20 year old is doing the same course as a 75 year old. Both can have totally different goals, but both can cross the finish line with a big smile and feeling of accomplishment. If your goal is to run the entire run course or to break a personal best in the swim, set up a training plan before the race so that on race day you can accomplish your own goal. The journey can be just as or more rewarding than the destination.
What would you like to do after you are finished racing in triathlon?
I've always really enjoyed cardiology and working with children, so one day I hope I can go back to University and pursue a career in medicine combining those disciplines. I also enjoy research on how the brain interprets the world and how we interact with it. I also enjoy the idea of having my own small farm and garden. Thankfully I hope I have some more time in triathlon to postpone how my brain will decide on what career path is best to follow.
In all honesty, I've surrounded myself with an amazing group of people that are incredibly supportive and that network is not going to disappear after sport. I hope that wherever life takes me and I take life, I will be able to return the kindness and generosity that I have received over my triathlon career.
Which team do you think will bring home the MLT Cup this year?
See team logo below...
This past weekend was the culmination of many months, hours, and seconds committed to being the best athlete that I can be.
It began by moving to Guelph to train with Craig Taylor and my good friend, Andrew Yorke at the Canadian National Training Centre. I must first acknowledge how they have influenced and helped me develop as an athlete. Andrew Yorke retired this year from triathlon after representing Canada incredibly over the past few years, but perhaps none more so than at the Rio 2016 Olympics! There he got tangled up in an awful crash on the bike, but got up and finished the race like nothing short of the legend he very well is. You didn't have to be identified as a rising star at a young age, you didn't have to win every workout, you didn't have to be the strongest in anything besides what was between your own two ears and what was beating in your chest. Andrew Yorke was more than a training partner, and continues to be one of my best friends. He has taught me that many things are possible and there is no such thing as impossible. I look forward to the day when we can do the "impossible" together and do a swim workout in the Hamilton Harbour.
Those same lessons from Andrew have been echoed by Craig while I have been training in Guelph: "Good process. Good process. Good process." Not that I haven't been listening to them, but over the past few months, I've noted a transition from when they were words to where they are actions. Process is a catch-all to describe balancing all the multifactorial components of triathlon - training, nutrition, recovery - while keeping an internally motivated focus for the pursuit of your own personal best. The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence as one Canadian triathlete once called it. Geneviève Lalonde as another. It's training hard when you need to, training easy when you don't. Trusting that progression does not always mean taking steps forward.
Sarasota CAMTRI Sprint Championships was the first opportunity to show what that has all been about.
Back to the race, before it began, I was definitely a little nervous especially with it being the first race of the season. What snapped me out of nervous to excited was a few brief words from another Canadian triathlon legend - Lisa Bentley. I grew up as a young kid idolizing her through triathlon magazines and reading about her blistering runs to win Ironman Canada or another title in some far off country. Her words of encouragement put me instantly back into the mindset I had practiced.
When I stepped on the pontoon, I lined up with the first turn buoy and used my strengths as a swimmer to my advantage. I got into a comfortable rhythm with the lead swim pack and positioned myself to prepare for a hard bike.
There was a small separation between the lead group and the first chase, but just at the end of the first lap our packs came together and formed a lead group of twelve. The hard bike I positioned myself for in the swim turned out to be a little more challenging than I anticipated. Suddenly, I realized that I had a slow leaking flat in my rear tire! I tried my best to stay upright in the corners and keep it hidden from my competitors so the attacks wouldn't be too merciless. Unfortunately I didn't have a spare wheel to exchange at the wheel stop, but the races are so fast in sprint distance, I'm not sure I would have had the time to fix it and catch back up to the pack. Regardless a tubular race wheelset may be a valuable investment in my near future (...Dear Mr./Mrs. Future Wheel Sponsor). I was happy to get off the bike safely and I think the fact that I was able to do so, shows how phenomenal the Cervélo S5 is as a bike that it can compensate for the lost watts to a ever approaching flat tire with superior aerodynamic design (subtle promotion?). Having an always comfortable ISM saddle in spite of some low rear tire PSI was certainly welcome (super subtle promotion!). I also had a sweet pair of orthotics from DKOS in Hamilton, Ontario, which were essentially rocket fuel aboard the Cervélo spaceship (nailed it!).
On the run, I felt surprisingly fresh. I've had a pretty amazing run training partner for the past two years and a bit, so I think that's been adding up. That and she gives me some really sweet kicks!
Which I then turn into this...
On the run course, Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX), Eli Hemming (USA), Matt Sharpe (CAN), and I (CAN), separated ourselves. I felt like we ran pretty consistent paces throughout the run, although Gonzalez was sure to put in some surges in there every once in a while to keep it honest. I stuck to my own race plan which was to run my own race. The four of us exited T2 together and ran probably 4.5km of the 5km together. In those final 500m our group broke apart. I ended up finishing the race with my fastest run split ever off the bike in 15:32 to finish fourth overall! Obviously it would have been great to step up on the podium, but I executed almost all of my goals for the race and I gave the race everything I had. Good process. It was an honour to race so well at the CAMTRI Sprint Championships and it also meant that as the second Canadian male, I had earned a spot on the top Canadian relay team to represent Canada at the CAMTRI Mixed Relay Championships the following day!
The Canada I relay team was composed of: Dominika Jamnicky (5th), Joanna Brown (1st), Matt Sharpe (3rd), and myself. We had a very competitive team amongst a competitive pool of athletes from the USA, Mexico, and our other Canadian teams. I raced to the 3rd fastest split of the day completing the 350m swim, 6.4km bike, and 1.5km run in 17:31. A decision was made during the race to support the Canada II relay team and give the honours of the top spot on the podium to them. I was just thrilled to represent Canada twice in the same weekend and back up my performance from Saturday the next day. Good process.
Now I am back home in Guelph, and super motivated for the next block of training. I am very thankful for all my incredible sponsors, family, friends, and community for their support of my career and hope that this will be the start of my best season yet! My next race will be on April 9th at the 2017 Hamilton CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in Bermuda and I can't wait to board the plane!
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