Lost Sole 1, Greg 0

According to Wikipedia, a "Coulee" is:
Coulees are generally deep steep-sided ravines formed by erosion, commonly found in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. If you try to run across Coulees, they will destroy you, crush you, and you will hurt. And they will make you cry like a baby.

(OK - so maybe I 'edited' the definition a bit)
The Coulee-happy Lost Sole 100 mile ultramarathon in Lethbridge, Alberta makes Ironman seem like a walk in the park - in an electric wheelchair. Many accomplished ultramarathon runners I spoke with confirmed that the Lost Sole is the toughest-ass ultra there is. And the total elevation gain/lost of 18,000 feet is less than some of the other killer ultras out there like Sinister Seven which is 30,000 feet over 90 miles, or Western States 100 with 40,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. (Leadville trail 100 is 15,600 feet).

I think what makes the Lost Sole so soul-sucking is the unbelievable grade of the climbs and descents. The climbs up the coulees were like a cross between stairs and a ladder, and many of the descents had me 'skiing' down the rocks and dirt and falling on my butt and getting pricked by cactus. It was slow going right from the start.

The day started at 6:00 am with a pre-race weigh in. If you lose 5% of your body weight after the first 50 km loop, you get kicked out. After the weigh-in, I had breakfast at Humpties with Robert - a friend I met at Sinster 7 ultramarathon. Rob was doing the 100 km race and it was his first ultra.

The pre-race meeting was at 7:00 am and we started the race at 8:00 am. Rather than relying on drop bags for my supplies like I did at Sinister 7, I brought two crew members with me this time - my buddy Gary and my sister Theresa. I must say it sure was nice to have some support! They were really great and kept me going when the going got rough. And it did get rough.

Gary shot this photo at the start - check out the elderly lady beside me! She was doing the 100 km race! She is tougher than I am, as I believe she finished and I only made it to 95 km.

The course is 3 loops of 53 km each totaling 160 km or 100 miles. There are three, very well stocked and supported aid stations or check points that you pass through 6 times on each loop.

I was really hurting for the first 53 km loop because of some weird stomach issues. I really have no idea what caused it because I was feeling crampy and sick right from the start. I don't think it was nerves because I've been through this before. Maybe it was my oatmeal at Humpties - not sure. But I was constantly looking for bushes and tree groves to duck into to for at least 4 bathroom 'emergencies'. At this early stage, I knew this wasn't good. Diarrhea is very dehydrating and the forecast was for HEAT.

Things got worse near the far end of the first loop during a 3 hour span between check points and I only took ONE water bottle with me. Duh! The temperatures down in the valleys of the coulees reached 30 degrees and I got VERY dehydrated - full-on chills and everything. I know... stupid.

After the first loop (53 km) and back at the main check point, I started to re-hydrate. I drank do much my teeth were floating. Theresa and Gary tried to talk me into eating some real food. I was resistant because I felt like crap, but they insisted. Theresa brought me a hamburger and as soon as I smelt it, I knew exactly that was what my body was crazing. I DEVOURED that hamburger and I think it was the best burger I've ever had in my life. I don't think I will ever forget it.

The first half of the second loop went much better. I really focused on drinking as much water as I could get in me, and I think I successfully re-hydrated myself. I was running the flats at a pretty decent pace, and plowing up the inclines. By 6:00 pm, it cooled down considerably and I started to come back to life.

Just before dark at the far check point at about 14 hours into the race, Theresa talked me into some more solid food and again I resisted. She brought me a plate of bacon, perogies, and a grilled cheese sandwich. As soon as I smelt it, I again knew that's exactly what I needed. Man that was soooo good!!!! - I can't tell you how amazing that meal was! After my first bite, my body told me how badly it needed the nutrition - I couldn't stop shoveling the food down. The food and support at the 3 check points at Lost Sole is truly second to none. Absolutely first class. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potatoes, perogies, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, candy, potato chips, chicken soup, hot chocolate, soda pop, gels, energy bars - you name it. Really amazing.

I left the far checkpoint and headed out on the longest leg (the last time around it was about 3 hours between check points). It got very dark and started to cool down. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and I had another sweater tied around my waist. I was feeling pretty good and still running a good pace on the flats.

Night time down in the deep, dark valleys of the coulees is like you are on another planet. Very surreal. By this stage of the race, the runners were so spread out, it was maybe an hour or two between encounters with another runner, so I was alone for most of the time. Down in the valleys, I was surrounded by steep canyon walls and it was totally pitch black. It was a cloudless night, and the moon hadn't risen yet so the stars were piercing. I saw many shooting stars blaze across the sky. I turned off my headlamp and stopped for a few seconds once to take it all in. The stillness and quiet was unreal. It was so quiet I could hear ringing in my ears. No wind, no cars, nothing. Then a frog croak, then a few coyotes howling in the distance, then total silence again. Very cool!

And speaking of cool - it started to get cool - I mean cold. By the time I reached the river, the temperature started to drop very quickly, and that second sweater wasn't cutting it. I started to get very cold which eventually lead to uncontrollable shivering. By this time my legs were getting sore and I was starting to slow down, but I knew I had to keep my pace going to keep my heart rate up to avoid hypothermia. I also knew I had at least two hours to go to make it back to the checkpoint and this is when things got especially difficult for me.

All I could think about was sitting in front of a fire with blankets wrapped around me. I was fantasizing about sitting in Theresa's car at the check point with the heater going full blast. I knew that wasn't going to happen for at least two hours, and I also knew that it was getting colder by the minute. I could see my breath, and my fingers started to go numb. To say I was MISERABLE would be the understatement of the year. This was hell. And to add to that, I knew that I was barely HALF way!! 16 hours straight and I was only HALF finished the race - how depressing!!

I eventually made it to the check point where Theresa ushered me into the warm tent, sat me in a chair and wrapped blankets around me. I sat there with my head drooped down, eyes shut just savouring the stillness and warmth. I couldn't move.

Gary had moved back to the hotel for some sleep because he planned on pacing me through the last 53 km loop. I felt horrible and I didn't want to let Theresa and Gary down, but there was no way I could see myself getting through the 12 km remaining to complete my second loop, not to mention an entire 53 km third loop to get through! I had just been through hell and back and I was only slightly more than half way done! It's no wonder the average finishing times for this 100 miler are around 30 hours, and the cut-off time is 37 hours!

As Gary wrote in the final Twitter post "Lost Sole 1, Greg 0". Regrettably, I turned in my race number and we returned to the hotel and went to bed. I woke up at 9:00 am and we had to drive back to the checkpoint to get Gary's car. Seeing all the runners still going, I realized that I could probably could have grabbed a few hours sleep at the hotel, returned to the checkpoint and resumed my race. With a 37 hour time limit, I may have had enough time to finish! Next time. Lessons learned.

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Be careful what you wish for

The photo above is from July 4 (almost 4 weeks ago) near Frank slide shortly after the start of a VERY long trail race - the 147 km Sinister 7 ultramarathon. My first attempt at running this distance resulted in having to drop out after about 19 hours and 120 km with severe blisters.

It has been a long time goal of mine to someday run 100 miles and I decided that I was going to go for it this summer. I started with a 50 mile race in Bellingham Washington and had an amazing race despite running off course and extending my run by about 90 minutes.

After that race, I felt I was ready to continue on, and registered for the almost-100 miler Sinister 7. Since that ended prematurely, I was possibly looking at a 100mileless summer. Once you start these races, you might as well keep going because you can use each ultra as a training stage for the next one. I immediately started looking for another ultramarathon and found the only one that fit our summer travel schedule - the Lost Soul Ultramarathon which is on September 11th and is a full 100 mile race. Of course, the race was full, so closed to new entries. So, I made the decision to give up the quest for this year and possibly go after it again after my Pacific ocean crossing next summer and started focusing on cycling training to get ready for the 2-man test-expedition in October. (South down the Pacific ocean from Vancouver Island to California).

Of course, I got the phone call this morning that my name which was on the Lost Soul ultra waiting list was accepted, so it looks like I'm running the Lost Soul!

I'd better start running again!!! 100 miles is a freaking LONG way to run. I'll hit it hard again this weekend in Whitefish on Big Mountain.

In other news, I wanted to show you some photos of the Kens awesome work on the crush zones for WiTHiN. The crush zones are the tips of the bow and stern that are solid foam and covered with carbon. The purpose is if I run into a log, dock or whatever, I will damage this section and not risk de-laminating the carbon from the sides of the hull or risk breaching the far bow and stern compartments.

The bow is completely wrapped in carbon BEFORE this additional foam tip is bonded on. The foam tip will also be covered in carbon. If the tip were to smash into something, then it would be crushed and cracked and (hopefully) leave the main hull intact. ie: any delaminating of the composite layer would be limited to the crush zone.

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Hamburger Feet - the Sinister 7 ultramarathon

"No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm." ~ Charles Kettering

There was a storm and I got off my ship. It was my second dreaded DNF (did not finish) in my athletic career - the first was the 24 hour human powered distance record attempt in Alabama. My steering bar snapped in two and I ended up on my side skidding down the race track at about 30 kph which forced a premature ending to that attempt.

This time it was two feet covered with nasty, painful blisters at 120 kilometers into the 146 km Sinster 7 ultramarathon.

Little did I know, but the wise imparting of wisdom passed from father to son would come back to bite me in the butt. I told Cody the day before the ultra that periodically experiencing a bit of physical and emotional stress is something that I think us humans are probably genetically geared to require from time to time. I feel that one of the problems in our modern sedentary society is that we don't expose ourselves to that anymore, and as a consequence, I think that maybe some brain chemistry gets out of sync and we suffer unknown effects.

A study done by Duke university found that after 10 weeks, exercise was as effective in treating depression as depression medications were and after 10 months, exercise beat the doors off the medication. This leads me to wonder what kind of undiagnosed forms of mild depression most of us are living with from day to day as we move from our beds to our cars to our desks to the car to the dinner table to the TV then back to the bed. And maybe we don't even know it because we've always felt that way.

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you've physically and emotionally challenged yourself in a big way. If you have experienced it, you know what I mean. The best way to describe it is that you feel very alive - before, during and after the event. Days leading up to your race you feel excited, nervous and apprehensive. During the event you ride an emotional roller coaster as you deal with your fears, your physical pain, your joy, your hopes - it's a microcosm of life itself. After it's all over, you enjoy the happy camaraderie of your peers who shared your journey with you, contemplate the lessons you learned and take pride in your accomplishment. In some very small way, you have been to hell and back and you survived. And you can put things in your life into proper perspective, and life is good.

My Sinister 7 ultramarathon adventure started on Friday night when I arrived at the Safe Haven B&B and discovered that my socks didn't make it into my backpack. Since the house was being shared by other runners also doing the S7, I asked around and Bonita and Bony from Vermilion, Alberta who were running as part of a team in the relay event kindly offered me their brand new Sinister 7 socks they had bought at registration. This is an example of the kind of people that you find at events like this - always eager to help.

At registration I met up with my buddy Mace Mortimer who was also part of a team and running 16.5 km leg 1 which would be his first race ever, and Blaine Penny who was looking to redeem himself after he dropped out last year after running 80 km and his second round of puking. Unfortunately history repeated itself for Blaine and he quit after puking his guts out again at about 80 km. Mace had a successful run and the latest news is he is looking for another race to enter.

The race started at 7:00 am on Saturday morning as the sun rose above the mountains in Crowsnest pass. It warmed up very quickly as we tackled the gradual uphill climb through the rocks and boulders of Frank slide. I ran with Mace for a bit and he was doing well, so I caught up to a couple of friends from the B&B, and then proceeded forward and started making new friends. It is so easy to make friends during an ultramarathon. There is really nothing else to do but talk, and so talk we do. About everything - past races, this race, a bone by bone report of how we're doing physically, our hopes, our dreams, our fears. The first thing I ask is "how are you feeling?". This is always met with a variety of responses and they are always honest.

I wasn't feeling all that great - not bad really, but not like how I felt 4 weeks ago at my first ultramarathon which was the Northface endurance Challenge 50 miler. I was on fire at the NF ultra and feeling fantastic for most of the race until I got lost - another story. I was being pestered by niggling little aches and pains - my left achilles, my right lower quad, my right hamstring - nothing major, just nagging little reminders that I wasn't entering this race at the top of my form. Maybe some of those issues were left-over injuries from the NF race, maybe some new ones from subsequent training runs and maybe even some new cycling injuries.

In every race there is always someone who is perfectly matched to your own pace. And you discover this person because you always seem to be right around them - either you are in front and they catch up to you or you are behind and you catch them. Hours can go by, but for some reason, they are always in the general vicinity. In this race that person was Greg Sumka from Edmonton. I found Greg somewhere near the end of leg 1 and ran with him on and off for the remainder of the race. I think Greg and I developed a good friendship and we helped each other psychologically. It was either me encouraging him to start running again when things started to slow down, or visa-versa. We had developed a pretty good partnership.

After leg 2 and a total distance of 32.5 km, we passed through the first transition point again where I had a chance to get some food from my gear bag. Lucky Greg and other solos had support crews with them, so they arrived at T1 to a waiting lawn chair, a change of socks, new shoes or whatever else they needed. Arriving back at T1 was a really motivating experience. Everyone cheered and yelled as if I was Lance Armstrong wining a tour stage. It really gave me a needed shot in the arm.

Leg 3 was 33 km and had the most elevation gain of 1237 meters (3711 feet). During the big climb it started to COOK! most of the trails were quad tracks, so they were wide enough that I was exposed to the baking sun and the big climb up to the continental divide on stage 3 was an oven. Since I was smart, and left my water bottle sitting on the water table at the last transition station, I had no water. Not the kind of thing you want to do before heading into your 60th km, mid afternoon, and huge climb remaining, and temperatures warming to the upper 20's. I didn't realize this until I had climbed 30 minutes of the ski hill. I didn't want to backtrack, so I just kept going. Luckily, I found a stream which probably saved my race. I figured ingesting some microorganism from the river water would take a couple of weeks to incubate in my stomach, so it wouldn't effect my race, and was certainly better than risking dehydration.

When you are running an ultra, there is always too much of one thing, and not enough of something else. There was too much heat and it was really killing everyone. And then when we got near the summit, a thunder cloud passed over and it started to rain which was very refreshing! And then it started to POUR, and then sleet and then hail and then wind started to blow. After 45 minutes of it, I was starting to get cold and wishing for that sun to come back. The trail got very wet and muddy which was probably the catalyst for my eventual down fall - wet feet which lead to blisters. The sun did shine again - and of course after an hour or two we were all wishing for that rain again. Such is life on the trail.

After leg 3 (total 65.5 km travelled), we arrived back at the main transition and Blaine's support crew told me I was doing well and in the top 10 solo racers. I was very surprised to hear that and it motivated me to keep up my pace even though I was really starting to feel drained and sore everywhere. I popped a few vitamin A's (Advil), caught up to Greg and we kept pressing forward.

Leg 4 was the longest leg (33 km) and with 3000 feet of elevation gain, it was pretty gruelling, but I would have to say that I think it was my best leg. My left achilles had an annoyingly sharp pain that shot electrical bolts up my leg on every step, and I was starting to feel some blisters developing on both feet. For some reason, I had the strength to keep pushing and I started to pass some other solo racers. Greg and I finished leg 4 together in 8th place.

My feet were soaked by this time, with mud up to mid-calf. Greg and I ventured out on leg 5 which is ranked a 6/5 and the most difficult leg of the Sinister 7. After about an hour, I started to have problems with my feet and Greg kindly gave me one of his hiking poles to help take pressure off, and to help balance while stepping over rocks in the many streams and mud pools that littered the quad track. The pole was really helping, but I was slowing down. I told Greg to go and he left me his pole. Thanks buddy! As it turned out, I really needed that pole!

The pain started to get worse, and then it got really bad. I found a branch, cleaned off the twigs, and made myself a second pole which seemed to take a bit more pressure off of my hot spots. By this time, I was probably only half way through leg 5 and I was taking baby steps because the pain was so bad.

And the mental game began. At first I started to ask myself how much pain I could endure in order to finish the race. First, I had to quantify what it meant to finish, and at that point, it meant getting through the remainder of leg 5 which was basically climbing 3000 feet with very little elevation loss. Then there were 2 legs remaining - both short and both downhill. I calculated that I could walk the remaining 40 km and still make the cut-off time of 24 hours. If only I could endure the pain.

It started to get dark and I put on my headlamp. By this stage of the race, we were so spread out, that there were very few other racers around. I got a bit cold due to my lowering heart rate due to my hobbling steps and I put on my arm warmers and rain jacket. The elevation grade started to ramp up at the same rate as my pain. The scenario was being re-evaluated: Now, I could see the kind of grade I had to climb, and I had a much better sense of the kind of pain that would have to endure. I knew that there was no way I would be able to finish the next 2 legs, and after a while, I was wondering if I could even finish this leg. Calling for help would have meant declaring an emergency and it would have meant that the race organizers would have to organize a 4 wheel drive quad to come and rescue me. I didn't think it was at 'emergency' level. Yet. So I struggled on, step by step trying so hard not to think of the pain.

A solo racer with a didgeridoo strapped to his back caught up to me and tried to encourage me. He told me what his daughter had told him when he was going through a rough time: "Dad - there will come a time when you cannot do these races anymore, and now is NOT THAT TIME. Keep going". I thought about that a lot, and I was doing everything in my power to just make it to the next transition station. I wasn't even sure I would make that.

Finally I reached a water station at the very top of the climb where there were a few volunteers who had camped out for the night. They had heard about my problems from some other runners and were concerned. They radioed my situation to the crew at the next transition and told me that it was only 6 km and it was mostly down hill. In my confused, delirious mind at the time, I didn't think 6 km was very far - I mean, I can run 6 km in 30 minutes. It wasn't until I overheard the volunteer on the radio as I hobbled down the trail that I realized what I might have in store for me. He was telling the T6 station that I would be there in about 2 hours. That realization was very disheartening to say the least. It ended up taking me over 3 hours!

Finally, I reached T6 where the medical volunteers were waiting and ready to take care of me. Boy - they were SO GREAT! I have to hand it to the organizers of Sinister 7: Brian Gallant and Andrew Fairhust. They really do run a great race in every way. The medical volunteers were very caring and supportive. They checked out my feet amongst oohs and aahs from all of the other people at the station looking in. They told me they didn't know how I even made it there on feet that bad. One guy told me that my feet looked worse than the guy in the movie Run Fatboy Run.

The crew arranged a ride back to the main staging area with this family from heaven who sat me down in front of the fire, put a blanket around me and make me a cup of chicken noodle soup. That's the kind of people you meet at these kind of events. I would like to contrast that with a story I heard from Ben Saunders who recently ran the Thames Ring 250 - the longest ultramarathon in the UK where three runners in his race actually got mugged:

"And I still clench my jaw with rage when I recall the jarring news at the second checkpoint that three runners had been mugged, on three separate occasions during the night (one apparently on his knees, begging to keep his stopwatch, another beaten by three men as a fourth filmed the scene on a mobile phone)"

I was dropped off at my car, and struggled with my clutch as I made my way back to the B&B in Coleman, had a quick shower, and was sound asleep by 3:30 am. The next morning we all shared our war stories over coffee and a wonderful omelet made by our host Allanah. Then it was back to that dreaded clutch for my 3 hour drive back to Calgary. Can you say "cruise control"?

I checked the results, and realized I forgot to turn in my timing chip, so my times aren't listed. But, playing that always wishful and somewhat foolish 'what-if' game, since I was with Greg Sumka up until part way through leg 5 and about 110 km, and he finished in 7th place overall, I 'could' have been right up there with him. This is definitely fuel for thoughts of returning... There were 49 solo runners, and 27 of them finished the race. The winner was Chris Downie who finished in 15 hours, 51 minutes and he actually beat all of the teams except for 3!

All in all, it was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. If asked to do it all over again, I just might say yes!


My back yard

If you don't live here (Calgary), I am sorry and I don't mean to rub this in your face or anything, but check out the pictures from my Saturday training run with my buddy Bryon.

Bryon Howard and me at the 9100 feet summit of Mount Allen in Kananaskis
It has been a long-time goal of mine to complete an ultramarathon, and I am very happy that I was able to accomplish my goal 2 weeks ago by finishing the Northface endurance challenge 50 miler ultramarathon which was an amazing experience.

After the race, my knees were swollen, achillies tendons very sore, my quads were trashed and my toes are black and blue and I will lose 3 toe nails. A long, restful recovery is required and I am happy and satisfied that I have achieved my goal.


Instead, I went and signed up for a 90 MILE (146 km) ultramarathon called the Sinister 7 in Crowsnest pass in 9 days from now! YA!!!! Bring it on!

me running (& lost) following an animal trail trail

The Sinister 7 solo race starts at 7:00 am on Saturday morning, July 4. The 146km course will take me through the most rugged, remote and beautiful terrain in Alberta's stunning Rocky Mountains. With over 5,050m (15,150 feet) of elevation gain across the course, this race will punish those who are not prepared.

The Sinister 7 is open to solo runners or teams of up to seven and racers have 27 hours to complete the grueling event. The course is split into seven stages, each featuring a geographic and historic highlight of the area. The race's name is inspired by the treacherous Seven Sisters Mountain that looms over much of the course.

my buddy Bryon sitting at the summit
I actually think I can leverage the Northface race and use it as a training stage for the Sinister - the two races are about 4 weeks apart. I spent the last 2 week in active recovery from Northface, and I felt like I could put in a really tough 2 day training weekend before tapering for the Sinister race. So, last weekend my buddy Bryon and I headed out to Kananaskis to fast hike / climb Mount Allan. Wow! What a hike. It was straight up for 2 hours to the 9000 foot summit. the views were breathtaking!

There was a bit of climbing, but not much, and not very technical
ON the way back down, we got off track and ended up on the other side of the wrong ridge and followed a mountain goat trail to a water fall where a heard of big horn sheep were crossing. That was a really incredible sight. We ended up making our way back over the ridge by following goat trails and eventually made it back to our hiking trail. It was a really cool day.

Then on Sunday I climbed Moose Mountain to the fire lookout station at the top. It took me 4.5 hours for the 30 km round trip and 8000 feet of elevation gain/lost. Now it's rest and recovery time and I feel ready to tackle the Sinister.

I was looking at the solo race results from last years Sinister, and the winner completed the race in a blazing 17 hours! the next finisher was almost 21 hours, then 22 hrs, 23 hrs and the remaining finishers were all over 24 hours. 50% of the starters were able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 27 hours. YIKES! I think my goal will be to just be able to finish this in less than 27 hours. This is going to be TOUGH.

Bryon Howard

In other news, we are still making progress on WiTHiN - the expedition boat. The portlight and hatch holes have been cut-out and we have started preparing the edges which is a very time-consuming job! Each of the cut-out holes have to be de-cored, filled with micro, then reinforced with 20 layers of unidirectional carbon running around the perimeter of the hole with a final layer of bidirectional carbon to cap it off.

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My first ultramarathon - race report

The Northface Endurance Challenge Gortex 50 mile ultramarathon race report

To say I was having a good day would be the understatement of the year. I was on fire and after 9 hours I was flying through the mountainous course feeling WAY too good. Something bad just HAD to happen...

My first triathlon coach gave me some very wise advice regarding preparing for a race. He told me that the things that we most worry about effecting us on race day NEVER happen. Instead, it's always always something that we don't expect. So far, after 12 Ironman races, about a dozen marathons, four 24 hour world record attempts and my first 80 km ultramarathon, this advice has proven to be very true.

I was quite nervous going into this 50 mile (80 km) ultramarathon because it was my first shot at running farther than the standard 26.2 mile marathon distance. In fact, the distance is almost a double marathon. My right knee had been swollen and sore for about 3 weeks leading up to race day. Most of my training has been on steep hills and the constant downhill pounding really effected my right knee and it wasn't showing much improvement during my taper leading up to the race.

Thankfully, and true to my coaches advice, my knee injury never really bothered me during the race and instead I was inflicted by another injury that I never expected - a BRAIN injury! Basically, I got a bit stupid for a while and it cost me about 1.5 to 2 hours in additional running! Here's the story:

The race started at 5:00 am with the blow of a horn and I kissed Helen goodbye (she was running the half marathon that started at 10:00 am), turned on my headlamp and and joined about 80 fellow 50 miler runners as we launched ourselves through the start line and disappeared into the forest for a very, very long day. A few minutes after we started our first climb I heard a voice calling out from behind me down the trail; "is GREG up there?". It was my buddy Dennis from Boulder, CO who had driven out to Bellingham, WA to run the race with me! It was so great to see Dennis and I had totally forgotten that he was coming out, so it was a really cool surprise to learn that I had someone to run with.

Our paces were very well matched - I worked to keep up with Dennis on the up-hills and he worked to keep up with me on the downs. I think we were pushing each other. The course is a brutal 13,000 feet of elevation and rated 4 out of 5 for technical difficulty, and 5 out of 5 for elevation. You are either running up or down - never flat. We were both feeling pretty good and after a few hours of 'warm-up', so we started to 'pick-off' runners one by one as the day wore on. We would see a runner down the trail and take aim, focus on our pace, eventually pass them and move on to our next 'victim'. Sometimes it would take an hour, but we never got passed and were passing runners one by one as the hours ticked through. It was really a lot of fun and kept us both focused on the race.

Dennis shot this photo with his iPhone while we were running
After 4 or 5 hours my legs started to feel that soreness that creeps in after a marathon, but that just seemed to dissipate with the realization that were weren't even HALF done. There was no choice but to ignore the achy fatigue and push through. I think when you know the end is near, the pain becomes very apparent and real, but your adrenalin allows you to push through to the finish line. When you know that you are only half way there, and realize that you will be living with the pain for another 5 hours or more, I think your body just sort of pushes it to the background and you kind of start just running through it. That worked because I started to feel pretty good and was able to pick up my pace a bit. We started walking less of the ups and running the downs faster.

At 8 hours, we reached a fire road that was a reasonable grade and I was still feeling pretty good at that point, so I decided I would try to put the hammer down a bit and really focus on maintaining an aggressive pace all the way to the finish line. I figured Dennis could keep up and would probably catch me on the next up hill like he typically had been doing all day, so I took off.

I cranked up my music and switched over to tank mode. I was taking no prisoners! I was flying, singing to my music and having a blast - really. Just loving every minute of it.

At 9 hours I figured I had less than 5 miles remaining and I was pumped with the realization that I just might actually make my 10 hour goal. And this is where the 'brain injury' stopped me cold in my tracks. After a blazing 30 minute downhill segment, I reached a highway by the ocean that wasn't supposed to be there. I thought: "Oh, oh... I don't remember seeing this on the map. Wait.. Where are the route markers? In fact, I don't remember seeing ANY of the orange flags that are supposed to mark my trail during the last.. well... quite a while. Oh no! This can't be happening! NOOOOO!!!!"

Realizing that I had missed an important turn, I turned around at the highway and started to back track wondering just how far I had to go to make it back to the course. I ran back up this steep grade for another 40 minutes before I found my orange flags. UGH! I was exhausted from running back up that horrific grade and the whole time I kept thinking - no... hoping, that my course markers were just up around the corner. When I finally made it back onto the course, I looked at my watch to consider the damage, and realized that I had just wasted about 75 minutes including a grueling climb! This was a disaster. Plus, it had been a few hours since the last aid station and I was out of water and out of food.

Of course, the part of the race course that I started back on was the steepest, longest UP HILL section, and my legs were already fried from my little detour. I started to get very discouraged and started to walk quite a bit. I was also getting cold because I was becoming dehydrated and running low carbs. dumb, dumb, dumb. I could be finished by now I kept thinking. There goes my sub-10 hour finish. (I discovered later that a 10 hour finish would have earned me 4th place in my division).

About an hour later I met a Search and Rescue guy and asked him how much farther to the next aid station. He told me it was still 3 miles away and kindly offered me an apple and some water which I devoured. I finally made it to the aid station and chowed down on a plate of potato chips (I was craving SALT), Skittles, Smarties, brownies and drank a gallon of Mountain Dew.

I eventually made it to the finish line just short of 12 hours where Helen was waiting for me. Dennis finished in 11 hours and assumed that I had already finished and headed back to the hotel room, so he didn't stick around. I talked to him after and he told me that just after we separated, his knee locked up on him and he spent 20 minutes sitting at an aid station trying to massage the cramp out. He got it worked out, but he said that last 10 miles was pretty brutal.

In the end, I was totally happy with my day and my primary goal was just to finish in under 13 hours which is the cut-off time. I was expecting it to be difficult, and the last few hours certainly were (mostly due to my stupidity), but for the most part, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself and found the general organization of the race, along with the volunteers at the aid stations absolutely AWESOME. One of the best races I have done and I look forward to running it again next year.

In fact, I loved it so much, I'm thinking of signing up for a 90 MILE ultra called "sinister 7" in July. Why do I get myself into these predicaments? Yikes - 90 miles!!! That's probably going to be 24 hours of straight running. What am I thinking?

Helen had a great half marathon. She finished 5th out of 20 in her division with a time of 2:24 (which goes to show you how tough these trail races are!)

Helen and I relaxed for a couple of days in Seattle after the race. We rented a kayak and paddled in West Seattle.

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Cabin top

Well, we have the cabin top assembled! This is pretty cool because it's the first thing we've made that actually looks like Ocean WiTHiN! We're also pretty psyched to see that Stuart Bloomfields design magic works like a charm. After building the cabin top jig and fitting the 3 cabin top carbon panels into position, they fit PERFECTLY - amazing.

All the construction steps for the cabin top are below, but first a quick training update. As you may recall, I signed up to compete at the Northface Endurance Challenge 50 mile ultramarathon on June 6 in Bellingham, Washington. This will be my first foray into 'ultra' territory which is typically defined as distances greater than 30 miles. I'm really, really enjoying the training which basically consists of 2 long runs per week, back to back. On Saturday I ran up and down Moose Mountain trail in Kananaskis for 4 hours, then I ran it for 5 hours on Sunday.

Running a hilly trail is easier in ways than a flat course. The constant muscle changes from climbing up the steep incline to running down hill seems to 'spread the load' a bit more than the relentless flat and level run. I feel better after 4 hours than a flat run for sure and feel like I can keep going.

The Northface Endurance Challenge Gortex 50 is a TOUGH race with over 13,500 feet of elevation change over 80 km of mountainous trails. The rule of thumb for predicting finishing times for a double marathon is to take your best marathon time, double it and add an hour. This would put me at 8 hours, but that isn't the case with this race. The WINNING time for my division last year was 9 hours! This is one TOUGH race.

My training run on Moose Mountain is a 7.3 km, 2000 foot climb up, then 7.3 km down. I timed myself on my 5.25 hour run on Sunday and calculated that if I could hold the same pace for the entire 80 km race, I could finish in 9 1/2 hours. That's wishful thinking though because I will surely start to slow down after my 5th or 6th or 7th hour! I will be happy if I can break 10 hours.

OK, on to the cabin top building steps:

26. Here is the completed jig station box. It's flat and square and very rigid with coasters so it can be moved in and out of the shop.

27. Ken is tracing the jig station patterns onto some 1" thick MDF wood.

28. The jig stations are cut out and assembled onto the box at pre-specified spacing

29. The jig stations are aligned to each other using alignment targets and a tight string.

30. The carbon sandwich panels are placed into position in the jig. Note that the peel ply and blanket layers are still on the panels. This is to prevent us from rubbing off the peel ply texture which is required for a proper bond and paint.

31. The edges of the peel ply are ripped off showing the carbon. The panels are screwed into the jig sections using a strip of particle board. This will force each panel to curve into it's exact position.

32. The edges of the panels are joined with a radius of micro/epoxy

33. The joins will be reinforced with a strip of carbon tape. To avoid fraying the carbon, a large sheet is whetted out with epoxy resin first, then cut between 2 layers of poly.

34. the carbon tape is placed onto the seam. The epoxy/micro filled radius in the join is semi-curred to a tacky consistency to assure a good bond between the carbon and the micro.

This shows the carbon tape fully whetted out

35. The carbon tape is covered with a strip of peel ply and a strip of absorbent blanket, then covered with plastic.

36. Normally, this carbon tape wet layup should be curred under vacuum, but in this case it would be difficult to obtain a good vacuum due to the seam between the two carbon panels. So, we used about 100 lbs of sand to press down on the wet carbon.

37. After curring, the sand is removed, and the peel and blanket layers are removed. The inside is temporarily reinforced with wood spacers.

38. The cabin top is removed from the cabin top jig.

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Blew through another iPod

I seem to blast through iPods as fast as I blow through sneakers. Last summer during training for the 24 hour human powered boat record I purchased a totally water proof enclosure for my iPod from OtterBox because my previous iPod got wet and eventually died. I was sick of buying new iPods so I decided to invest my money into a water proof and shock proof case.

Good idea in theory, but because this OtterBox case fits the iPod so tightly, inserting and removing the iPod for updating and charging wore out the headphones plug and now the sound is shorting out. So, Time for a new pair of shoes, and yet another new iPod.

I searched the house for as many old, broken iPods as I could find and shot this photo. Included in the collection is the very first iPod as well as the mini, nano, shuffle, touch, classic and probably some I don't even remember the name of.

Ken and I applied the first carbon laminate layer on one of the panels yesterday. We picked a panel that contained seat parts so if we made a mistake we could correct it before we got to the more crucial hull panels.

The layup was 1 layer of unidirectional carbon on the .5" Corecell core, then bidirectional weave at 45 degrees. The layup went smoothly and we ripped off the peel ply this morning to reveal a beautifully flat and strong panel. For the next panel we are going to try to do BOTH sides at the same time.

Above shot is the sandwich panel curring in the vacuum bag. We have about 9 panels to make and I am thinking we could build one panel per day - so in a couple of weeks we should have all of the carbon panels made. Next step is to cut out the panel shapes, build a jig for the top and bottom hull half's, then assemble the panels. Easy. Ya right...

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New space

After only 2 days into my Peru trip, I got a text from Ken with the bad news that we got kicked out of the hanger that my friend Steve so kindly offered to us as to build the new ocean crossing human powered boat - Ocean WiTHiN.

I guess the owner of the Citation jet that was hangered in there didn't like the idea of us lugging long 2x4's under the wings of his baby (understandable I guess), so Ken looked around for another space. The cheapest he could find was a full hanger for $1500 per month - no way.

I knew my garage would be the perfect size for this job, so I sold Helen and Krista on the advantages of parking the cars outside for the entire summer. There weren't many advantages and admittedly it was a tough sell.

So, I spend a couple of days and totally GUTTED the garage and my shop, washed the floor, cleaned it all out and made room for the almost 40 foot long, perfectly flat, most awesome panel layup table that Ken had already assembled at the hanger. Ken installed more lights and we are now totally set to get started on the panels! There is room beside the layup table for a jig that will hold the panels in place to form the top and bottom hulls.

I've been playing with my 3d model of Stuart's design for WiTHiN to get a better understanding of how my drive leg and keel will be incorporated into the hull. Rick Willoughby wants to use the drive leg bay as a torque tube to transfer the rolling moment from the keel into the hull. My good friend and sponsor George from MitrePak is building the drive leg.

Speaking of 'drive legs', here is a before and after shot of my strange swollen foot after we got back from Peru. My Dr. friend Chad thinks it was swelling due to extreme altitude changes and sitting on a plane for 10 hours. It was fine the next day, and I was able to get right back into my ultra marathon training program, so no worries.

The training is going good - no injuries to speak of so far. I'm handling the volume OK. This week I did a 4 hr run on Saturday, 3.5 hr run on Sunday, 1 hr yesterday and I'm off to do a 3 hr run today. I have the Police half marathon to run this Saturday, and I'll probably be running it TWICE - the first time as fast as I can, and the second time in survival mode.

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I just finished a 100 km running week. I'm not sure if I have ever run that much in one week previously, but I didn't find it that tough. I think the most difficult part was running INSIDE around a track for two, 2-hour runs and one, 3-hour run. The weather here is still cold and icy and I really hate running outside when it's minus

I've been passing the time listening to audio books while making my endless circles around the track. The most recent book that I'm REALLY loving is "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. I really like it because it really supports what I truly believe, and speak about - that if you want something badly enough, you CAN accomplish almost ANYTHING you set your mind to. And, that innate talent isn't really a very important factor for success.

What do hockey player's birthdays and The Beatles early gigs in German strip clubs teach us about MOTIVATION?

They both serve as really great evidence that innate ability is NOT a very important factor in achieving success. When we realize that and take it to heart, we are encouraged to believe that we can indeed accomplish ANYTHING if we are willing to do the work involved, and that knowledge provides us with the motivation we need to pursue our goals with confidence and enthusiasm.

According to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers", a very strange coincidence was noticed in a hockey player roster - an unusually large percentage of of the players on the team had birthdays in January. The remainder of the team had birthdays in February or March. He looked into it and discovered this strange birthday effect in other sports in other countries around the world. And he also found this effect is other disciplines as well - not just sports. The reason people born early in the year were better at sports, and music and chess and school and many other challenges in life was simple - every time you have a cut-off date to join a group when you are young, those born earlier in the year have a TIME advantage over those born later in the year.

So - in our 'clever' system designed to filter through millions of young children to select the best of the best of the best in terms of innate talent for our sports teams, dance competitions, debate teams, piano recitals, etc, what we actually end up doing is simply sorting our kids by month of birth, and singling out those born earlier in the calendar year who are up to a full year older and more mature than the other kids in that 12 month age bracket. When you are 8 years old, 10 months worth of age advantage is a full 10% of your life!

Why is Tiger Woods such an amazing golfer? It is no secret that he practiced like a maniac from a VERY early age. Tiger was playing golf on a regular basis when he was 2 years old. Because his father introduced him to golf at an extremely early age of 18 months and encouraged him to practice intensively, Woods had racked up at least 15 years of practice by the time he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, at age 18. Did you know that the Beatles used to play on stage in Hamburg strip clubs for 8 hours per day? By the time they became "over night sensations" in North America, then had already practiced more hours than most other bands did in their entire careers!

Same goes with Bill Gates and programming computers. He just happened to have access to a university computer lab that had new, very fast time-sharing mainframe computers, and spent thousands of hours leaning programming. By the time he was in late high school, he was probably one of the most talented computer programmers on the planet.

What does this have to do with motivation? Well, it turns out that success in almost anything at all has WAY more to do with the amount of TIME we have to PRACTICE (or WORK at learning how to do it) than innate talent. So, if you really want to be the best drummer in the world, the best speller in your grade, the best chef in your city, the best sales rep in your region, the fastest runner in your age group or simply the best friend you can be, then you need to know that you can do it if you are both willing and able to WORK at it!

Studies have shown that we we BELIEVE we can accomplish something, we are far more likely to invest the time into working toward that goal. Kids in groups who were told they were the top 10%, practiced an average of 30% MORE than the remainder of the group. And this had nothing to do with talent - it's just that those children were slightly older than the other kids in the age-grouping and had the benefit of almost a full year of extra practice time under their belts. Since they were singled out each year as the best in their groups, they eagerly increased their practice time by an additional 30% over the other kids. This has a compounding effect - 30% more time invested each year, year after year, means that when you turn 18, and a hockey scout watches your team play hockey, you are probably going to stand out as some kind of super star.

In my speech Bold!, I say that the first step in accomplishing a goal is to get out there on the edge and make it big. Our boldness toward choosing a goal provides us with the, excitement and passion that we are going to require on our journey. Anything less and we just won't care enough. But the very first step in this process is to boldly BELIEVE that you ARE capable of doing it! Your belief will provide you with the motivation to invest the time and effort into achieving your goal because you will KNOW that you are capable of achieving success!

So what is it that YOU want to accomplish? Is it BOLD enough? And are you willing to go to work? If so, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. Believe in yourself and in the words of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: "What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. For boldness has genius, power and magic in it." BEGIN IT!

Have you become world class at something? If so, I would like to hear from you. Send me an email, or add a comment to this blog post and tell me about your accomplishment AND, tell me approximately how many hours you invested into it. Malcolm has calculated that it takes about 10,000 hours to become world class at almost anything. I'd like to run a little experiment to see if this is true. Send me a note and I will compile the results in a future blog post.



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Marathons, Motivation, Making Boats & Most Extreme

Surf City Marathon

Helen and I just got back from a GREAT trip down to Huntington Beach, California for the Surf City Marathon - a top rate event which I HIGHLY recommend if you are looking for a scenic marathon to run. We were there with our good friends Kevin and Cindy Casper.

Cindy had a great race and she qualified for the Boston marathon! Way to go Cindy! Kevin ran his first half marathon, and Helen successfully finished her 15th marathon - whew! I had a good day as well with my 2nd best time of 3:17, 11th in my division and a Boston qualification.

Ultra Marathon

As you might recall, I am planning a possible attempt at the indoor velodrome 1 hour unfaired recumbent record for some point next Spring/Summer. However, since my training for the Surf City marathon went so well, I have decided to also plan something that I've been wanting to do for many, many years now - a 50 mile (80.5 km) Ultra Marathon. Yikes! I haven't picked the race yet, but it will be in June which gives me about 4 months to train. My training started on the day after the Surf City Marathon with an attempt to run which was quite laughable. More like a very enthusiastic hobble than a run. Boy was I sore from that marathon!

Training for the ultra will consist of short runs almost every day with two back to back long runs each week consisting of 3 to 4 hours each. I am actually looking forward to the challenge.

New Web Site

My speaking career has been keeping me very busy. I was in DC a couple of weeks ago to speak to Nutricia Corporation and that was a TON OF FUN! They are a GREAT group and I got a super enthusiastic response from them. Future bookings include a potential presentation for a Winter Olympic sponsor event in Vancouver!

A lot of my business is generated by Google search, and my web site place on organic google search for keywords "motivational speaker" in very important. To improve my position, I need to start to generate links from other web sites to my web site.

You would be doing me a huge solid if you could link from your web site - possibly with the linked text "motivational speaker" Many thanks, and I would be happy to link back to yours from this blog in return.

Also, if there is anything at the speaking web site that you care to comment on, please email me your thoughts at Sometimes we are so close to our trees, that it become difficult to see our forests if you know what I mean. I have worked very hard with my mentor - motivational speaker Steve Donahue, on staying relateable in my actual presentation which I think has resulted in a very impactfull but honest presentation. Your comments - both good and bad are appreciated. progress

Ken and I have ordered and received all of the carbon and core supplies and we are ready to sart construction of the new ocean crossing boat. We are just waiting for final details on the drawings from naval architect Stuart Bloomfield.

As you may recall, last year I made a 30 mile trip out into the Pacific ocean from Tofino, BC with the prototype version of WiTHiN and encountered some 15 foot swells and I got so sick I thought I was going to die. Link to that blog post here. I really love the wild west coast of Vancouver Island and was so inspired during the two sea trials that I conducted there, that I decided to look more seriously into a new route for PedalTheOcean.

Rather than crossing the Atlantic by human power which dozens (and dozens and dozens) have already done, I could be the first person to travel from Canada to Hawaii under his own power - this has never been attempted before. The distance is about the same as my Canary Island to Barbados route, and the currents, waves and average weather conditions are also similar.

I contracted weather expert Rick Shema at to do an analysis and comparison of both routes, and Rick thinks the new route is doable. I have a PDF report if anyone is interested in reading it. A departure window of May/June is required, so I am looking at possibly June of 2010. This gives me this winter and spring to finish construction and this summer, and next winter for sea trials and experience building.


OK - check this out. Ollie Hicks has departed from Tasmania on his ultra extreme ocean rowing quest - to be the first person to circumnavigate the planet by rowing. He is circling Antarctica via the Southern ocean. Ollie is rowing 18,000 miles of the most hostile marine environment on earth. He will will encounter freezing temperatures, 50 foot waves - OMG! You can follow his progress here. I will certainly be watching.

Also Mostly EXTREME

Jennifer Figge is attempting to become the first women to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Figge is a 56-years-old mother, ultra runner, and swimmer. A few weeks ago she dove into the Atlantic ocean with the goal to swim across 2100 miles from the Cape Verde Islands off the African coast to Barbados. According to Jennifer, her epic swim should take about two months, swimming around eight hours a day, but the math doesn't add up. An average endurance swimmer can swim about 3 km / hour (on flat, calm water - not in rough, open ocean!). 8 hours per day * 3 km/hr = 24 km per day. 2100 miles converted to km is 3300 km. 3300 km / 24 km pr day is 137.5 days! that's about 4 1/2 months, not a couple of months. Still, I wish Jennifer the best of luck and I will definitely be following. Here is Jennifer's FaceBook page.

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24 hour HPB record report

Wow... "this is one of those moments that I will never, ever forget"
I thought. My senses were being overloaded. It was nothing less than absolutely spectacular. From my three sentence blog that I typed in over my Blackberry from on board Critical Power 2 in the middle of Whitefish lake sometime around midnight: "15.5 hours into this world record attempt and I'm feeling amazing. The lake at night is absolutely spectacular. I know it can change in a minute but I'm really having a great time right now." I wondered if I was on another planet. I was turning my headlight off to get a better feel for this surreal night and I had just seen my 3rd shooting start. There must have been some major meteorite shower happening as these weren't just specs of light streaking across the sky. I'm talking full-on fireballs that leave long, dark smoke trails in their wake. On top of it all, I was feeling amazing. I mean really, really good. My average was slipping, but I was feeling no pain, and very little fatigue to speak of. The water had calmed down substantially since early evening, and I was still really cruising along rocking out to my iPod and singing at the top of my lungs. I was truly on top of the world. To experience this moment, I thought, was really what this adventure was all about. To experience a moment like this, in fact, is what EVERY adventure is really all about. This one single fleeting moment will last forever as a memory and it definitely makes every bit of effort, stress and hardship I had dealt with over the previous 5 months totally worth it.

The song that I chose to start my attempt to break uber kayaker Carter Johnson's unthinkable 242 km world record was fittingly appropriate - as it traditionally is. "Shut up and let me go" by the Ting Tings. It had been a big-time stressful week for me leading up to the attempt and I kept focusing on what I was there to do - to GO. To go as hard as I could for 24 hours without ever stopping. DOING the record was the easy part in many ways. The months of boat designing, building, testing, training and organizing was the hard part, with the stress definitely culminating in the few days leading up to the big event and I was really looking forward to getting on with the real job at hand. So just let me go!

I arrived in Whitefish on Wednesday and met with Skip Schloss who lived right on Whitefish lake and who kindly offered to act as my event organizer. Skip had found some volunteers to act as officials, helped me with some valuable ideas about exactly where to best take advantage of calm water for my course, booked a work boat to set the buoys, booked a surveyor to measure my course, sent out press releases to the local media, and got permission from the State to string some buoys to mark a course, and to use the lake for a 24 hour period. Skip was a gold mine of resources and a tremendous help.

One of the problems we had to overcome was where to station our official observers so that they could see me at all times as I made my way around the course. This took a few days to iron out, as I had to design my course along the protected west shore in Google Earth, download the way point coordinates into my Garmin GPS, then ride the course with Critical Power 2 to make sure that I was able to make the turns with her tiny, but efficient rudder. We also had to confirm that all of the markers would be visible from our observer stations along the course. This required many revisions, as my first course design was too tight and I found myself drifting dangerously close to shore, and some other ideas were hidden from view.

By Sunday, we had designed a 5.79 km out and back course with two turn around loops at each end that was placed along the west shore with the north turn around near a dock at the north end of the lake. This meant that we could station one observer on the dock for 24 hours to watch me clear the buoys in the north turn around loop, and we found that with a small array of telescopes situated in Skips house, on his deck and his neighbors lawn, that a second observer could see all of the buoys in the south turn around.

On Saturday I inflated 12 buoys, assembled and fastened flashing red LED lights to each of them, purchased some cinder blocks and some rope from the local hardware store, picked up some borrowed scopes and binoculars, confirmed with my official observers, and went through the pages of other last minute details before 'riding' my course just one more time. As luck would have it, during my last test on Whitefish Lake with CP2, I slammed the right outrigger float directly into the dock during a miscalculated 'landing' and snapped my outrigger standoffs in two. When I took CP2 out of the water, I found that the shock of the crash caused all of my 3/8" aluminum bolts to gall up (stick together, or seize) and I had to torque them apart with a wrench. I replaced the thick aluminum bolts with some thinner 1/4" stainless bolts which I thought would be fine, but would actually cause me some grief later on during the record attempt. The bolts secure the outrigger floats onto the outrigger struts in a level attitude and stop them from teeter tottering over the waves.

On Sunday, Helen, Ben, Theresa, Pat and their two kids Nick and Andy arrived from Calgary and while Helen and Theresa did some last minute shopping to get all of my support supplies ready (food, water, clothing, etc), Pat and Ben and the guys from the Whitefish Lake Services got to work dropping the buoys down into the lake to mark my course.

By Sunday night everything was ready for a 9:00 am Monday start. It was all up to me now and I wasn't exactly bursting with confidence.

Every calculation I had done - every simulation, every speed test - all confirmed that I would NOT be able to break Carters 241.8 km record. I had three 24 hour events that I had completed previously and I knew exactly how many watts of power I was physically capable of exerting for 24 hours. Knowing that I needed to end up with at least an average of 10.1 km/hr average speed to break Carters record, I also knew to a 10th of a km/hr, how fast Critical Power 2 was at various power inputs, and my average power required to maintain that critical 10.1 km/hr speed was about 10% higher than I was capable of. And this was during ideal, perfect conditions of zero wind and mirror glass calm water, which I don't think really exists for 24 hours anywhere on any lake in the world. Add some wind and waves, a few stops to change clothes and you end up with power output requirements of up to 20% higher than I have ever done before for 24 straight hours.

I had shaved Critical Power 2's weight down to just under 40 pounds, as I had calculated that every pound of additional weight could be worth up to 1 km at the end of 24 hours. I had even lost 6 pounds of body weight to weigh in at 148 pounds on race day in the hope that if I did everything possible to make CP2 faster, that it would result in slightly less pressure on my own physical performance.

I had done everything I could possibly do to make Critical Power 2 competitive with Carter's Surfski kayak record and it was now all up to me. I had to perform like I have never performed before. This was going to be tough. There was a long history of conventionally human powered boat 24 hour distance records I was challenging and there were many skeptical paddlers following my attempt, so the pressure was really on. Here is a quick history of the 24 hour paddle records, as well as the 24 hour 'pedal-boat' records. As you can see, there is obvious reason for the paddler to be skeptical of what I was attempting to do.

Kayak 24 hour records:

Date Rider Type Distance
1986 Randy Fine surfski 193 km
1991 Marinda Hartzenberg canoe 220.5 km
2006 Brandon Nelson kayak 235 km
2006 Carter Johnson surfski 241.8 km

Pedal powered boat 24 hour records:

Date Rider Type Distance
2000 Kevin & Karin Hughes Microcat Ultra 90.25 km
2000 John Howard Pedalos 168.43 km
2005 Team of 3 riders Trieste Waterbike 176.8 km
2007 Greg Kolodziejzyk WiTHiN 173.76 km


As you can see from the "pedal powered boat" record list, I had attempted this record in June last summer. I did successfully beat John Howard's HPVA ratified 168.4 km record by pedaling my pedal and propeller powered kayak 173.76 km in 24 hours. I was contacted soon after what I thought was a victorious world record to be told that Carter Johnson along with a long list of others using conventional human powered boats like kayaks and canoes, showed a history of distances in 24 hours far beyond my paltry 174 km.

My objective regarding my pursuit of the human powered boat record is the same pure ideal that I believe in and used to guide my human powered vehicle record quest that was successful in 2006 of 1142 km - that is, to go farther than any other human has on water (or land in the case of my 1142 km land record) in 24 hours using my own power. Simple and elegant and pure. A paddled kayak DEFINITELY counts as self-powered, and as far as I am concerned, basically re-labels all of the previous 24 hour HPVA HPB records into a category that should be called "PEDAL POWERED boat records", not "HUMAN POWERED boat records". They are grossly mislabeled. John Howard's 168 km 24 hour human powered boat record from 2000 is NOT a "human powered" boat record. It is a "pedal boat" record because 14 years previous a fellow by the name of Randy Fine paddled his surf ski 193 km around a lake course setting the true "human powered" boat record. In all fairness to the HPVA, none of the previous canoe/kayak record holders were members of the HPVA, followed the HPVA competition rules or had their records ratified by the HPVA. Except for Carter who took the trouble to register with the HPVA, use HPVA officials and submit his record to them. Carters record has not yet been ratified by the HPVA, but I recognize it as the true bench mark for human powered 24 hour distance on water, as I do all of the kayak and canoe records dating back to 1986.

If the true goal of the IHPVA is to encourage technological innovation in the pursuit of human powered efficiency, then we need to know what works best, where to start and what the real targets are. If paddling a boat with oars or paddles is more efficient than propelling it with pedals and propellers, then I think that is what the IHPVA boat designers and record attempters need to be focused on either as honest bench marks that can be challenged using innovation and new technology, or as existing technologies that can possibly be improved on.

My goal was to see if human powered pedal and propeller boats could possibly be more efficient than a paddled boat at long distances. If I could beat Carters record, then it would be the final straw in the old debate as to which method of self propulsion was better, as all of the shorter distance records are currently held by pedal powered boats.

The Attempt

After a huge and delicious spaghetti dinner, followed by a large slice of calorie drenched cheese cake at our traditional "Last Supper" at Mambo Italiano restaurant in Whitefish we all headed back up to our cabin on Big Mountain and I enjoyed a restful nights sleep. I woke up refreshed at 7:00 am on Monday morning, ate a good breakfast, downed a couple cups of java and we all headed down the mountain to Skips house on the lake. When I got to Skip's house, I met with my two IHPVA officials Tom Arnone and Glen Nye and went over some IHPVA rules, their stations, viewing my course through the scopes, recording my lap times in the binder, using the atomic clock to time the start, and the race finishing procedure for Tuesday morning (which really felt strange because it seemed so very far away!).

Then Ben and I climbed into Pat Lor's boat and headed to Senator Weinberg's house where CP2 was waiting for me at his dock. I negotiated through a rather thick patch of weeds on the short trip from the Senators dock to the north observation dock and official starting line. The water was like glass - as per what the weather forecast was predicting. There waiting for me was the rest of the crew on our second support boat - a large pontoon flat deck boat rented from Extreme Motorsports. We cleaned off the mop of weeds from my prop, bow and rudder, then allowed the officials Glen and Tom to inspect CP2. After finding no secret sails or mini nuclear powered motors, we got prepared for the starting countdown. Using the Atomic clock we purchased at Radio Shack the day before, head official Tom Arnone counted the seconds down to exactly 9:30 am, and shouted GO! I crossed the green start buoy and headed out to my first marker.

My plan was to be conservative and to try to maintain an easy pace of 10.5 km/hr from the start to the finish which would put me at 252 km total and about 10 km over Carter's record. But this was far more difficult in reality because 10.5 kph felt far too easy and I was feeling rather ambitious, so decided right then and there that I would try to nail 11 km/hr for as long as I could and allow the overall average to slowly drop down to 10.5 as the 24 hours rolled by.

Once every hour or so, I would radio Helen and Theresa to tell them what I needed as far as my nutrition and hydration requirements go. Helen and I decided that since I have had stomach issues in the past, this time we were going to try to stay away from the typical carbohydrate packed energy bars and try to incorporate more regular food into my diet. I consumed 300 to 400 calories per hour consisting of pretzels, fig newtons, some balanced energy bars with a higher percentage of protein and fat with the carbs, bagels with peanut butter, noodle soup, some natural honey gels and even a cheese sandwich. To hydrate, I was consuming about 1 liters per hour of water mixed with an electrolyte. I got sick of the taste of the electrolyte after 10 hours, so switched to regular water. Over the night I drank 2 cokes, 2 Redbulls, a cup of coffee, and a cup of hot chocolate in the morning. I am happy to say that this plan worked out very well and provided me with a steady energy level without spikes and a very happy stomach.

The support package hand-offs were conducted via an extendable golf ball retriever pole with a soft vinyl lunch basket hung over the end of the rod. The extended pole was typically held by Helen from the edge of the pontoon boat. Without pausing the turn-over of the pedals, I was able to cruise right under the basket, grab it and keep on going. While I pedaled on, I unzipped the basket, removed my goodies, threw in my garbage and empty water bottle, then tossed the whole bag into the lake. They would follow me in the support boat and pick up the basket from the water.

Helen and Theresa had set up a camp at Skip's neighbors dock on the East side of the lake. My course was on the west side. When I needed something, I would call them via the two way radio, and they would hop onto the pontoon boat and cruise out to meet me somewhere along my course at the north end. This system worked out perfectly. While Helen and Theresa were handling my support needs, Pat and Ben were busy in Pat's ski boat ferrying the local press around, taking Jeff the surveyor from F & H Land Surveying around to the buoys for precise GPS location measurement, activating the LED lights on the buoys, and other general running around as issues popped up throughout the day and night. Ben was busy inside Skips with web updates, and on the course taking photos and shooting video. What a team! They were efficient, organized and had everything under control. I was able to do my thing without a concern or worry in the world about the all the crucial stuff that was happening back stage. I am very lucky to have this kind of support and I do not take it for granted.

At about 4 hours into the record attempt, the wind started to pick up from the South and make rougher conditions at the North. There was no shelter from this wind or waves along my West side course, so I had to increase my power output a bit to counter the slowdown caused by the waves. To maintain my current 10.9 kph average, I found that I had to maintain 11.5 kph on the leg going into the wind, and 10.5 to 10 on the downwind leg. This was frustrating, but I knew that it was typically the windiest part of the day and that it should calm down as night approached.

At about 7:00 pm, the water got much better and I had watched my average slip to 10.7 km/hr from 11 during the windy day. I was really going to try to not let it slip further than 10.7 if the night would stay calm. But it didn't. The wind slowly started picking up and not before long it was blowing from the North this time making whitecaps at my south turn around. I was still feeling very good though, so I just sucked it up and tried as hard as I could not to stop pedaling and not to let that average drop any further.

I was really surprised at how warm I was staying. The forecast was predicting evening low temperatures of the low 40's and I could definitely feel the temperature drop as I approached the North turn around and observation dock. But as soon as I got back down over deep water, I warmed up immediately. I think the lake water absorbs some heat during the day which was keeping me in a light sweater for most of the night.

At about 3:00 am I took my first and only quick break to slip on long tights over my legs and a light jacket. I also placed foot warmers into my socks. This pit stop took all of about 3 minutes and I was off. My average had been slipping through the night due to the ever increasing wind and was now at 10.4 kph. I now wasn't totally sure I was going to make it to 242 km before 9:30 am on Tuesday.

The last 5 hours were pretty tough. I was tired, no longer hungry, but kept stuffing food in, and getting pretty fatigued. I was also having problems doing the math. The average on my GPS was still showing an above record pace of 10.3 kph, but I knew that this wasn't my "REAL" average, as we were counting laps that were surveyed and my real average speed was the total time divided by my actual distance covered as per the surveyed course. I radioed the south observer Greg B who had taken over during the night shift from Tom and asked him for my actual average. He gave me the disappointing news that it was much lower than I had hoped for. I had to keep my speed up, I could NOT give into the agony and slow. Greg was kind enough to continually reassure me that I had the record if I could keep my speed going and this was exactly what I needed to hear.

So I pressed on. I passed Carters 241.8 km world record on my 42nd lap at 09:19:40 on Tuesday morning with a total full-lap distance of 243.2 km and I knew I had a bit more than 10 minutes left to tack on as much distance as I could, so I really started to hammer. By then, the lake had calmed remarkably which was good, but I was noticing that one of my outrigger floats was bouncing around quite excessively. My smaller 1/4 stainless bolts that were replacing the thicker aluminum bolts had worked lose and the left hand float was how flopping around on it's strut. The bow of the float was plowing right through waves rather than skimming over them. How long had it been like this? In the calm water of the last 30 minutes, I figured that this torpedo float was costing me a couple of 10ths km/hr. This was not good. I think it was flopping around like that since the peak of the wind during the night. I am lucky that my average didn't slip any further than it did!

The support boat with head official Tom, the rest of the crew, and a TV and newspaper crew from Kalispell and Whitefish. Tom counted down the finish from the Atomic clock and Ben threw in a new buoy from Pat's motor boat at my finish location at exactly 09:30. Head official Tom was watching to ensure that the buoy correctly marked my finish location. Tom took a hand-held GPS reading of the finish buoy and recorded it. After subtracting 33 feet from the GPS reading to allow for the GPS accuracy, we would add the partial lap distance to my full lap distance to come up with a final distance. Since I was near shore, a land mark on the nearby shore was also noted and recorded as a reference to my finishing location.

Here are the UNOFFICIAL Distance calculations:

Course distance by F & H Land Surveying, Inc. = 19,003.88 ft (accuracy less than 1 cm)
Number of full laps completed in 24 hours as counted by official observers = 42
Total full lap distance (42 laps x 19,003.88 ft) = 79,8162.96 feet
Final partial lap distance calculation:

Distance of finishing point (dropped buoy at 09:30) from last surveyed marker (B6) = 3410.12 feet (Garmin GPS accuracy of 33 feet)
Distance of finishing buoy from last surveyed marker corrected less Garmin GPS error (3410.12 ft - 33 ft) = 3377.12 feet
Total distance of last partial lap from start buoy (B9) to finishing point (279.58 + 965.28 + 1559.84 + 3377.12) = 6181.82 feet
Total finishing distance = 804,344.78 feet (245.1642 km, 152.338 miles)

This record is NOT official until the records committee at the International Human Powered Vehicle Association ratify it.

Thanks to my HPVA officials:

Tom Arnone
Glen Nye
Greg Bradley
Bryon Howard
Eddie Monday

Thanks to my loyal and efficient support crew. Most of these amazing people have been with me through thick and thin since the first Alabama HPV record attempt in 2005.

Skip Schloss
Helen Kolodziejzyk
Ben Eadie
Theresa Lor
Pat Lor
Nicholas Lor
Andrew Lor

Special thanks to Whitefish Lake Services for donating their work boat and their time to set my buoy course. Special thanks also to Jeff Bell and F&H Land Surveying for providing me with a survey of my course and a distance calculation. I would also like to thank Skip's friend Sandy for taking some awesome photos, and Senator Dan Weinburg for letting me store Critical Power 3 at his house the night before the attempt. Thanks to Tom LaChance for the use of his dock for our North observation station, Skips neighbor Rick Anderson for the use of his dock and lawn for my support crew and of course Skip Schloss for the use of his house and his generous hospitality.

And finally, there would be no record if not for the help from Aussie engineer Rick Willoughby with the design of Critical Power 2 based on Rick's V11. With Rick, I had unlimited access to one of the true geniuses of the human powered boat world. In my opinion, there is not a more efficient boat design on the planet. Thanks Rick.

What's next

I am asked that quite often these days. I need to get back onto the Pedal the Ocean project. That needs to be completely re-organized and I'm just not exactly sure what that will be yet. But, I have realized one thing since taking a break from the Atlantic crossing, being on the water so much this summer and our kayak trip to Johnstone Straight. It is something that I really WANT to do. I will focus on that and find a way to organize the project in a way that makes my journey across the ocean safe and fulfilling.

Until then, I have another project that is in the incubation oven. With human power, I have conquered land, water, then ......

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Killer training days and Killer whales

Killer whale in Johnston Straight, Vancouver Island, BC

Helen and I, along with our good friends Val and Gary Erickson just returned from a 5 day camping/kayaking trip through Johnston Straight in northern Vancouver Island. It was a rough, wet, cold, dirty but AWESOME week! We saw Killer Whales every day - amazing. To do a trip like this once a year is nourishment for the soul.

Johnston straight is shown on the map above.
We had to take a 2.5 hour water taxi boat ride from
Campbell River, BC to our camp in the rain forest.

Helen and I in the tent

Helen in her kayak

Helen and Val and kayak on a misty morning

Helen and Val and our guide with a Sunstar

Vancouver Island is amazingly beautiful

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle eating a Salmon

Gary and Greg back to civilisation

Training and the record attempt

A date and location has been set for the record attempt. Monday September 8th on Whitefish Lake in Montana. My man Skip Schloss has kindly volunteered to act as the event organizer for me. He has a house with a dock on the lake and many friends and contacts in the Whitefish area. I'll post more details later when I get more time.

Today i finish a 4 day heavy volume training period where I will complete a total of 24 hour of race-pace pedalling on Glenmore Reservoir here in Calgary. I did 10 hours straight, non-stop on Wednesday and finished with a 10.9 kph average speed. 10.2 kph is required to match Carter Johnson's current 24 hour kayaking record.

On Thursday I experimented with a slower pace and managed to end my 5 hour day with an average speed of 10.4 kph. Compared to the average power I had to maintain for 10.9 kph, 10.4 kph is a FAR more efficient pace.

I calculated that it took 25% more power on Wednesday's 10.9 kph effort to produce only 4.8% more speed on Thursday's 10.4 kph effort. My strategy will be to conserve as much as I can during the first 12 hours be being as efficient as possible with low power output, then slowly increase the power through the night until morning if possible.

On Thursday I lost my prop when my shaft broke! OH NO!!! Since I am not using a strut to hold the prop, when the shaft breaks, the prop falls to the bottom of the lake. I marked the location by dropping a way point on my GPS, but accidentally errased it. The lake is VERY weedy and dirty where it fell, so diving in to find it probably isn't possible. Also if I get caught in the water I will get fined because you are not allowed to swim in the reservoir. Since I didn't have a paddle with me I started to paddle with my hands, but quickly realized that I wasn't going anywhere. Luckily one of the rowing coaching boats was near and the two girls (who I see EVERYDAY out there on the lake) kindly gave me a ride and tow back to the dock. I have a spare prop, but now I need to ask Manny to CNC machine me one more. I hate asking because he is so busy right now with PAYING work.

Fridays 5 hour ride was without the SRM power meter because the battery died, so I wasn't able to monitor my power output. I ended at 10.4 kph average speed and included a bunch of pauses for this and that and varying intensities and speeds throughout the day.

Today's final ride will be harder because I want to try to stress my muscles after 3 days of heavy miles and fatigue. I'm thinking of aiming for 180 to 200 watts for 5 hours, and an average speed above 11.4 kh.


Don't forget that you can enter to win a free Nomad hand held computer by correctly predicting my finishing distance during the 24 hour record attempt. As more information about my speed and training results become available to you, you can revise your prediction as many times as you like by re-entering the contest. We will take your LATEST entry as your official prediction and the contest will close on Sept 8th.

Here is the online entry form:

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Whitefish lake

We were in Whitefish, Montana at our cabin for the weekend and I got in two great days of 8 hours straight, non stop in CriticalPower2 on Whitefish Lake.

The good news is that the conditions were way less than favorable and I still managed to end above record pace each day. I also found that because the lake is so big, that if you know what direction the wind is coming from you can go to that side of the lake and get calm water.

On Sunday I was on the north side of the 10 km long lake enjoying flat, calm, glass-like conditions when the water on the south side was rolling with 2 to 3 foot waves! By mid-afternoon the waves on the south end would swamp my hull from the tip of the bow all the way back to behind my seat. I got soaked and CP2 took on so much water through the seams that I couldn't lift her out of the water.

On Fridays ride the wind picked up in the afternoon while I was en route back to the south dock and I got blown to shore and had to jump in and drag CP2 onto the beach. I waited for 20 minutes until it calmed down a bit and re-launched. Made it back to the main dock safe and sound. On Sunday I used my large rudder which made ALL the difference with control in the rough water. With the large rudder on (slower due to increased drag), I spent about 50% of the day in waves and wind I was still able to maintain an average of 10.4 kph (10.2 required for record). My small rudder is more efficient, but I can't use the small rudder in large waves - just not enough control. The large rudder worked really well.

Sunrise on Whitefish lake

I think I can do the record attempt at Whitefish lake. According to rower Skip Schloss and a few fisherman I spoke to, it was unusually windy for the weekend there. But even with that wind, I was still able to find large areas that were very sheltered. On Friday the wind was from the south west and I had the entire 10 km west side that I used that was very calm. On Sunday the wind was from the north and the north tip of the lake was very calm. On a typical calm day, I would expect that there could be many calm areas. I was also told that the ski boats disappear mid-August when school starts back again. I found that the waves from the boats don't effect me as much as I though they would. There were dozens of motor boats all around me on Sunday, and I didn't see my speed being effected that much from them. The wakes are large and rolling, not choppy. I think additional skin friction is caused by small, scattered waves, not by large rolling smooth waves.

I think that a large, retractable rudder for turning would be beneficial. When I was looping around the North end of the lake, I found that I could do a fairly tight turn and stay in the calm water easier with the large rudder than I could with my small blade. When I was touring the west side of the lake on Friday, my turns with the small rudder took me way out into the middle of the lake which was fairly wavy. The small blade is more efficient for keeping on track though.

I borrowed the retractable rudder from my Hobie Mirage drive kayak and I want to install it on the stern of CP2. When I need to turn around at the end of the lake, I'll just flip down the large rudder, do my turn, then flip it back up again. I think this would be more efficient in the long run than doing HUGE wide turns with the small rudder and risking drifting into windy, wavy conditions.

After I finished shooting this video I found a plastic bag in my waste pouch and placed the camera into the bag. A minute later the wind and waves pushed me into shore. I had to jump out and swim to shore with CP2 in tow. I landed on PGA pro player Tyler Erickson's beach. He kindly offered me a ride to the main dock, but I was able to push off after a few minutes when conditions calmed a bit. Thanks anyhow Tyler - nice to meet you!

Early morning on Whitefish Lake

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1000 meter sprints

This is rather encouraging.

I have analyzed and calculated and ran numbers in every combination and permutation regarding my chances to break Carter Johnson's 242 km surfski 24 hour distance record. So far, to be brutal honest with you, I have not been totally convinced that I can do it. Carter is a formidable opponent and it is very difficult to beat the simple efficiency of a Surfski kayak and a paddle.

Is my boat fast enough? Am I physically capable? Both really important questions, and both difficult to answer independently.

Typical afternoon thunder boomers rolling in

However, I found a way to directly compare man and machine. I found a YouTube video of Carter doing a 4 minute, 11 second thousand meter sprint in the same Surfski kayak that he used to set the 24 hour HPB distance record. I figured that if my fitness and my boat were both up to the challenge, I should also be able to complete a 1000 meter sprint in about the same time. And I did - 4 minutes, 11 seconds exactly.

Below are the two YouTube videos - the top one showing Carter finishing his 4:11 sprint in his Surfski kayak and below that, me finishing my 4:11 sprint in Critical Power 2 human powered boat.

I haven't been training these short bursts, so my sprint interval power is probably down from what it used to be, but I was able to complete a few very painful 1000 meter intervals between 4:11 and 4:16. My interval was also interrupted by some waves from the SS Moyie paddle boat, and my prop striking the hull near the end of the interval when I was pushing out over 400 watts to finish. I am certain that I could shave at least 11 seconds off with some additional training - which would probably be good for me anyhow.

I think this is a fair comparison and at the very least, it provides me with some level of confidence that I should be able to go at least 242 km in 24 hours with the assumption that my long distance endurance is at least equal to Carters.

I have postponed the 24 hour record attempt until later in August to allow me more time to find a lake and get organized. We're off to our cabin in Whitefish, MT this week and I am planning for some epic long training days on Whitefish Lake and maybe even Flathead lake with CP2.

I just had an email conversation with Jeff Potter about what exactly we are hoping to prove to the world by beating a simple kayak with a complicated pedal and propeller powered boat. Jeff really makes me think about the bigger picture. I get so immersed in my challenge that I sometimes lose site of why any of it matters at all.

If the record is a vast improvement over the kayak, then we could certainly state that our system is simply a better way of travelling on water by human power. It's not that simple, and I really doubt that if I break the record, it would be by a substantial amount - however, 1 km over the current record in my books at this point *IS* substantial! A kayak is simple, light weight, and inexpensive. It can be dragged up a beach and generally weeds don't effect it's forward progress much. There isn't much to break on it and you can paddle in shallow water because the draft is so small. The pedal powered boat is none of the above.

A pedal powered boat does have it's merits though - The advantages might be equal efficiency to a surfski - but I would say more comfortable to more people for longer distances than paddling. It also frees up the arms for fishing, or reading, or whatever. Most of the rowers tell me they would kill to be able to use their hands and arms during a long rowing journey.

The technology we develop in pedal powered boats, however, has far greater importance than for what Joe Sixpak wants to tool around in on the weekend. Because we are developing a means to power a boat (or a road vehicle for that matter) that does not rely on large oars or paddles extending from the hull, we have a way to make our boats more aerodynamic for wind and weather sheltering for the rider(s). On long journeys, this is substantial (as PedalTheOcean hopes to prove).

For the advancement of energy efficient water transportation, what we are developing with our pedal powered boats is DIRECTLY APPLICABLE to that end - whereas, paddle powered boats are not (I doubt anyone would be interested in pursuing a solar powered rowing boat). An adequate solar panel on CP2 would probably be the most energy efficient boat on the planet. I'm not sure how you could use a solar panel on a Surfski.

I've said this before - Human power is about the pursuit of doing more with less rather than our current way of always trying to do more with more. Someone calculated that a gas engine in Critical Power would demonstrate fuel efficiency of over 10,000 miles per gallon.

I would like to extend a HUGE congratulations to Carter Johnson who recently won the men’s solo division of the Missouri 340 kayak river race. Carter finished the race in 37 hours, 46 minutes. Johnson’s time is record-setting for this race, now in its third year. He finished more than eight hours faster than the winner in the men’s solo division last year. WOW!

Carter Johnson during the 2007 Texas Water Safarai
Image courtesy of

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fairing test and 10 mph!

Because I realize that dealing with some wind for most of the afternoon during the 24 hour distance record attempt is going to be a given, I decided to test out a fairing. At 10 km/hr, an aerodynamic fairing won't help very much, when when I am pushing CP3 10 km/hr into a 10 km/hr head wind, my apparent speed is actually 20 km/hr, and at 20, the advantages of a fairing could be substantial.

The fairing was easy to make - just a thin PETG clear plastic sheet curved over a curved plywood bulkhead. I had a few large sheets of PETG in the shop from when I was making canopy domes for Critical Power streamliner. Both the front and rear fairings took me a total of a few hours to make.

The test was the same loop I did at the reservoir on Friday at 150 watts and my average speed was 11.5 km/hr. This is .1 km/hr faster than without the fairing. That's only about 2.4 km over 24 hour and only 1.2 km if half the day is calm. It was typically windy with some calm periods. I would say periods of 10 to 15 km/hr winds with patches of calm.

At this point, I can't say for sure that pursuing this fairing is worth it. I will experiment with additional fairing to fill in the area behind my seat and possibly some additional covering for the sides of the cockpit. Over 24 hours including some calm periods where a fairing would not help at all, I would say the weight of the fairing which increases the displacement could result in a SLOWER over all average.

I can still set the entire boat up at the car in the parking lot and carry it on my shoulder down to the dock.

Here is a video of me hitting 10 miles per hour (16 km/hr) in CP3.
I'm not sure why the image is so washed out.

I decided to maintain 400 watts as I approached the dock and got Gary to film this. I hit 16 km/hr then the prop flexed up so high it struck the hull. I've done 15 km/hr before and the prop clears the hull - I guess 16 is the limit for now unless I lower the angle of the shaft and gear box. I think I could hold 400 watts for about 4 minutes which means it might be possible for me to average 16 km/hr for 1000 meters.

Mixing it up with the rowers

My buddy Gary was with me and here's a photo of him taking CP2 for a spin. The fairing might not help the speed all that much, but it sure looks cool! It would look even better if it was painted silver with a giant Critical Power 2 logo on the side.

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6 hour trial results - not great

I got out to Glenmore reservoir yesterday for a 'race-day' simulation. The goal was to maintain my target wattage non-stop for 6 hours following a GPS route that I plotted on my Garmin etrex using Google Earth. I would then have a really good idea how close I could get to Carters 242 km kayak record using this real-world test data and extrapolating my result out to 24 hours.

It's very close, but probably slightly UNDER Carters record at this point. My average power was 160 watts and 11.4 km/hr average speed. I plugged these numbers into Ricks excel calculator and came up with an expected average speed of 10.1 km/hr for 120 watts which is the average power I hope I could end up with for 24 hours. This is a total of 242.4 km - almost smack dab exactly what Carters record is. BUT, I didn't allow for the difference between my actual track and the surveyed course. Since I would be rounding the marked course to the outside of the buoys, I will end up travelling further than I am given credit for. I was also able to measure this 'slippage' and it works out to about 1.9%. Adding 1.9% to the total distance of 242.2 km would mean that just to EQUAL Carters record, I would need to go 246.8 km - an additional 4.8 km, or .2 km/hr additional average speed (significant). I think I can reduce the slippage but it would mean more buoys in the water marking out a rounder, smoother course. One of the reasons my slippage was so high was because I had plotted a GPS course using very few waypoints which meant that my corners were sharp. You can see in the image above how far my track veered off of the course.

The other issue with the projected 10.1 km/hr average speed is that it is based on ending with 120 watts of average power and so far, my peak average power for a 24 hour event has been 115 watts. 155 watts would convert to 10 km/hr + 1.9% slippage would equal 235.4 km. This is 6.6 km short of the record.

My average speed would have been higher if there was no wind, but for the first 4 hours of yesterdays test, the wind was pretty calm - probably about what I could expect for a day of very calm weather in Calgary. Probably 5 to 10 kph wind with periods of flat calm and periods of ripples. At the 5 hour point the daily poltergeist thunder storm blew in and I barely made it out of the water before all hell broke loose. I was racing back to the dock with 2 foot whitecaps breaking all over the deck and got slammed head first into the dock because I couldn't stop. I had placed a new 62 tooth front chain ring on my cranks and my chain pulley wasn't tight enough to allow me to back pedal, so I had no breaks.

My average speed also would have been a bit higher if I weren't carrying so much additional weight. Since I was by myself on the water yesterday for 6 hours (cut short by 45 minutes due to the storm), I had to carry 6 hours of water, food, some extra clothes, a life jacket (got in trouble from the patrol boat the other day about not having a PFD on board), etc. I figure I was carrying an additional 15 pounds which is quite a bit. Without that additional weight, I might expect 11.4 km/hr at 150 watts of power rather than 160 average watts. This would equate to 10.4 km/hr at 120 watts average power (249.6 km total), and 10.1 km/hr at 110 watts of average power (242.4 km total).

Jeff posted a comment regarding the rules, GPS data and the surveyed course to this blog post that I thought was rather important, so here it is along with my reply

  1. Now, if you could keep an average speed of about 13.0 km/hr for 120 watts, I might win the computer.
    seriously though Greg, what ever the end result, you will still be a winner to us that are rooting for you.
    The course you will be going around. Will the actual distance be taken from how many laps you complete in 24hrs or will they accept a GPS reading as it is in basically still water?

    Jeff in the UK

  2. # Blogger Adventures of Greg

    Jeff: The IHPVA will only accept the # of laps I make around a professionally surveyed course submitted with verification by qualified observers that I followed the course.

    Guinness on the other hand will accept transmitted GPS data as long as the GPS data is transmitted wirelessly from the GPS on board to a remote station and the data is sent to Guinness and has not been in contact by me.

    IHPVA may accept GPS data for distance, but I would have to subtract the known error which could be up to 20 meters per waypoint (significant). The alternative is to find a high resolution GPS. I haven't looked into that, but it may greatly reduce slippage.


As I progress along with these tests and further refinements to CP2, you can revise your contest prediction as many times as you like. We will take your latest prediction as your final prediction and the contest will close the day before the record attempt.

Enter your prediction or revised prediction here:

Physical issues:

The majority of my distance training has been on the M5 lowracer which is the exact same geometry as CriticalPower2, so I would expect that my muscles are fully adapted to the position. This does not seem to be the case. After my 5 hour non-stop ride on the water with CP2 yesterday, I notice that I was getting a sore knee which is a bit tender today. There seems to be a difference between pushing the pedals around on the road bike vs pushing them around on CP2. I think that there is a lack of momentum helping the pedal stroke around and this stress is relatively new to my legs - meaning that I will probably require more specific boat training to be fully ready for 24 hours and especially if I want to achieve the higher average power output required to break the record.


Every time I do an Ironman race (or marathon) I try to come up with a prioritized list of goals for that race. For example, here are my goals for Ironman in order of importance:

1. To place high in my division and qualify for a world championships slot for Ironman Hawaii
2. To set a new personal record
3. To break 11 hours
4. To finish the race

The idea of using the ranked objectives is to provide some alternative goals if the first goal doesn't look like it will be possible. At Ironman Arizona in 2006, I had the race of my dreams and was able to accomplish the first goal and got a Kona slot. I have finished 13 Ironman triathlons and have accomplished goal one once, goal two a few times, goal three a few times, and goal four 13 times.

Here are my goals for the 24 hour human powered boat distance record:

1. To break Carters human powered boat 24 hour record of 242 km and have the record ratified by the IHPVA (International Human Powered Vehicle Association)
2. To break my own pedal powered boat 24 hour distance record of 173.76 km and have it ratified by Guinness World Records

The difference between the Guinness record and the IHPVA record is the IHPVA record allows ANY kind of human powered boat including a kayak, a row boat, a pedal powered boat or even a swimmer. It is pure and simple and an ideal that I believe in and pursue with passion. The HPVA record is the record that Carter owns (in my view, but it has yet to be officially ratified by the IHPVA records committee for unknown reasons). The Guinness record that I own is from last summers record attempt. I was able to beat the existing IHPVA 24 hour HPB record of 168 km, but wasn't aware of Carters 242 km pending record. I was able to establish a record category at Guinness for pedal boat distance in 24 hours, and was awarded that record. Goal number 2 is to break my own record of 173.76 km which I feel should be fairly easy to do with Critical Power 2 compared to the big and slow WiTHiN-24 which was essentially a tandem kayak with a recumbent seat and pedals. It was heavy and inefficient compared to the new CP2.


My search for a QUIET, isolated lake has not been going well. I have been speaking with Rachel from Parks Canada about using Emerald lake or Lake Louise for the attempt. She has been helpful, but has determined that it would definitely be considered an 'event' and as such would require various approvals from Parks Canada. She thinks she can get me final word on these approvals by the end of August! I'm not holding my breath. Another problem with the mountain lakes is they are typically situated below glaciers which feed them. I've been told that cold catabatic winds blow down the the glaciers every afternoon, so I'm not sure how much additional wind shelter these mountain lakes would provide.

Moving further west into BC has some issues as well. I was speaking to a BC parks guy and he tells me that most lakes that are accessible by vehicle are filled up with water skiers and motor boats every day during the peak summer season. There are a few lakes with motor bans, but they are typically very small - possibly too small for my 24 hour record attempt.

So, I've been taking another look at Glenmore Reservoir. If I can pick a good, calm weather day, I might expect 5 to 10 kph for most of the afternoon with calm during the night. I would say maybe 50% of the day could be calm and 50% could be a bit windy. That's why I consider my test yesterday at Glenmore pretty typical of a calm day. I had periods of flat calm, and periods of 10 to 15 kph winds with ripples and small waves.

I think that rather than pulling my hair out trying to find a windless lake far away from Calgary and all of my volunteers, observers, family and friends, I am going to have to plan and deal with some wind and just try to pick a good weather window for the attempt and do it here in Calgary on Glenmore where there is no motor boats allowed. Many of you have suggested taking a look at a fairing, but according to our calculations, a fairing would not be very effective if the winds were less than 5 kph. With winds varying from 10 to 15 kph periodically, a fairing could possibly be effective. It won't help with reducing drag due to the wavy water surface, but pedalling CP2 10 km/hr into a 10 km/hr head wind is like 20 km/hr wind on the bow of the boat. At 20 km/hr, a fairing becomes very effective.

Have a great weekend!

Greg is challenging kayaker Carter Johnson's
24 hour distance world record of 242 km
with a new human powered boat specially built
for this record attempt. (Last week of July, 2008)

Enter now:

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Sonoma bike trip

M5 lowracer touring modification with rear panniers. It's the way to tour!
(lowtourer or tourracer?)

Helen and I just got back from our self-supported bike tour around Sonoma Valley, CA. Since I needed the recumbent position training benefit from the trip, I fastened a rear rack onto the M5 and clipped my panniers on and hauled all of our clothes and gear. It worked out great - no problems at all aside from being a bit invisible to traffic as I usually am.

We had tons of fun, ate plenty and drank a some really great wine. The hills on the first day were the steepest inclines I have ever ridden and had to walk the steepest parts. The rear panniers with our stuff probably weighed 50 lbs and I don't have hill climbing gears on the M5. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. The training effect of powering up those climbs should be good.

It was four days of awesome riding and a long run on the beach thrown in for good measure. See below for some additional photos of our Sonoma trip.

24 hour record progress

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

It's kind of coming down to the crunch right now. I would like to attempt the record during the last week of July which leaves me just a couple weeks to get organized. I spent most of the day today doing some research on possible lakes for the record attempt

The photo above is Emerald Lake in Yoho national part which is about 3 hours west of Calgary. The lake is in the wind sheltered region west of the great divide, and is about the perfect size for a 1 km diameter loop. Any lake larger than Emerald tends to create larger waves and ripples with wind. I need to keep the lake as small as possible to minimize the wave size, and as large as possible to keep my circumference route as large as possible. Emerald seems like it is suitable.

But, Emerald lake is in the National Park and I need a permit. I spoke with Rachael at Parks Canada today and she is going to seek permission on my behalf. She told me the only problem she can foresee would be the recent cougar warning for the area. This might make stationing an observer on the far side of the lake in the middle of the night a bit risky. I think that we could station shifts of observers on row boats, canoes or kayaks rather than on shore to deal with the cougar and bear risk.

If Rachael gives me the OK, I need to scout the lake to make sure that it would work for the 24 hour distance record. Then my next issue is finding enough official observers who would be ready at a moments notice to travel out to Emerald and sit in a row boat for 12 hours.

If you would be able to act as an official for any day during the last week in July, or know of anyone who might be able to help, please contact me. or 403-651-2748

If you have not already, please take a couple of minutes to register your distance prediction for me during my attempt. Trimble has donated a Nomad rugged hand held computer for whoever comes the closest to predicting my final finishing distance. It's free to enter. The entry form is here:

Following my progress during the 24 hour record attempt:

You can follow my progress during the 24 hour record attempt at the blog:

Or you can subscribe to my Twitter feed and get quick updates via email, web or your cell phone during the 24 hour attempt:

I will NOT be using email to post updates, so if you have entered the contest and want to follow my progress, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the blog, watch the blog, or subscribe to the Twitter feed.

Photos from Sonoma:

M5 tour-racer and a Sonoma vineyard (click to enlarge)

Helen and her carbon Kestrel Airfoil triathlon bike at our hotel

Big mistake - when you are bike touring,
don't ever eat at a French restaurant.
This was Helen's main course.
It consisted on ONE single, solitary, solo, lonely
square inch of fish.

Me and the M5 at Bodega Bay on the coast.

Tan lines. It was 107 degrees everyday for the in-land portion of the trip!
(OK, maybe I am flexing just a bit...)


Hello from the lake

I'm typing this on my blackberry (image from the camera phone) from the middle of Glenmore res, 4 hours into my training ride. Nice day, but the wind and waves are starting now. This morning it was stellar yet I was averaging speeds less that what I have been expecting for calm, flat conditions. I think it might be due to the extra weight I am hauling on the boat for these long training days. Rick thinks that an additional 20 lbs could be worth a few 10ths as far as speed goes. I hope so.

Chasing ducks and goats


Chasing Ducks with CP2 & Goats with the M5

Rather than doing my super long ride this week, I opted instead for a steady build-up of boat time. On Monday I did a hard M5 ride (the thunderstorm), Tuesday, 2 hours on the lake, Wednesday, 3 hours on the lake, Thursday 5 hours on the lake and Friday 2 hours on the M5 (hard again), and Saturday 3 hours on the lake. Then next week Helen and I are off to Sonoma for a bike trip, so I should be able to amass some decent mileage on the M5.

When I get back to Calgary, I want to do as many daily boat sessions as possible with one 8 to 10 hour day, and I would still like to get a 16 hour M5 ultra ride in before the record attempt.

Speed data:

date lake power watts wind kph waves rudder prop loop size km loop dir other SPEED kph
06/05/08 elbow 150 5 ripples big thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat big thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thick .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter prop strut pulled into hull with cord 11.6
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat none thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 clock
06/09/08 elbow 150 10 ripply small thin .5 counter
06/12/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thick .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thick .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter skimmer 10
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter skimmer 10.2
flex shaft & freehub
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterflex shaft & freehub11.8
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterflex shaft & freehub11.8
flex shaft & freehub10.3
06/16/08elbow200calmflatsmallthin.5counterflex shaft & freehub13.2
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub10.9
flex shaft & freehub11.6
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub11.6/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.52counterflex shaft & freehub11.5
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.56clockflex shaft & freehub11.6
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick1out&backflex shaft & freehub11.7/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick.7out&backflex shaft & freehub. NO PROP STRUT
11.8/11.2 = 11.5
06/28/08U Kanan
15010waves, ripples,
some calm
smallthin7.19out&backflex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripples
smallthin1.19clockflex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripplessmallthin1.13counterflex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan15010waves, ripples
smallthin10.3giant loop of lake - counter
flex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan12010waves, ripples,
smallthin10.1giant loop of lake - clockflex shaft10.1
06/28/08U Kanan1205ripples

smallthin1clockflex shaft10.5
06/28/08U Kanan1005ripplessmallthin1clockflex shaft9.6
07/01/08Glenmore1505-106 to 8" waves
smallthick2out & back
flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
07/01/08Glenmore1505-108" wavessmallthick6clock loop entire lake
flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
smallthick.8out & back
flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
07/02/08 Glenmore 150 10-15 wavey small thin .8 out & back flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
07/03/08 Glenmore 150 0 calm small thick 1.5 out & back (same above)
heavy boat
07/03/08 Glenmore 150 0 calm small thick 5.6 counter loop
(same above)
heavy boat
07/03/08 Glenmore 200 5-10 ripples, waves
small thick 5.6 clock loop
(same above)
heavy boat
07/03/08 Glenmore 120 5-10 ripples, waves small thick 5.6 clock loop
(same above)
heavy boat
1. Every 5 kph of wind equates to .1 kph decrease in speed
2. Big rudder is .6 kph slower than small rudder. Small rudder is .1 kph slower than no rudder
4. Paint vs packing tape was worth a speed increase of .1 kph
5. Elliminating the prop strut is worth an additional .1 kph in speed.
6. Counter clockwise loops at Elbow Valley lake are worth an additional .2 to .3 kph average speed due to current.
7. remove the seals and backing off the lock-nuts on the gear box are worth an additional .1 kph average speed.
8. The narrowed 1/4" spring steel shaft compared to the 3/8" stainless shaft is worth .1 kph speed increase



Training is going well, but the weather isn't exactly cooperating. I did a 3 hr hard & fast ride last night and got caught in the worst electrical storm. Total down pour mixed with hail and thunder and lightening all around me. I got drenched and wasn't really anywhere convenient to pull over, so I just hammer through.

Same thing today, but this time I was on Glebmore res. Luckily it's just warm enough outside to stay warm through it by stoking the furnace with about 250 watts.

I'm trying to get out to the lake for as much training as possible this week because Helen and I are cycling Sonoma in California next week. I'll be on the M5 for that.

I got some decent speeds today on Glenmore despite the rough water due to the winds. 11.3 kph average speed for a 5.8 km loop of the entire lake at 150 watts. most of the lake was ripples with sections of 6 to 8" waves, and even some waves breaking over the deck. Updated speed data below:

Speed data:

date lake power watts wind kph waves rudder prop loop size km loop dir other SPEED kph
06/05/08 elbow 150 5 ripples big thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat big thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thick .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter prop strut pulled into hull with cord 11.6
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat none thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 clock
06/09/08 elbow 150 10 ripply small thin .5 counter
06/12/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thin .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thick .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thick .5 counter
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter skimmer 10
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter skimmer 10.2
flex shaft & freehub
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterflex shaft & freehub11.8
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterflex shaft & freehub11.8
flex shaft & freehub10.3
06/16/08elbow200calmflatsmallthin.5counterflex shaft & freehub13.2
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub10.9
flex shaft & freehub11.6
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub11.6/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.52counterflex shaft & freehub11.5
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.56clockflex shaft & freehub11.6
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick1out&backflex shaft & freehub11.7/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick.7out&backflex shaft & freehub. NO PROP STRUT
11.8/11.2 = 11.5
06/28/08U Kanan
15010waves, ripples,
some calm
smallthin7.19out&backflex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripples
smallthin1.19clockflex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripplessmallthin1.13counterflex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan15010waves, ripples
smallthin10.3giant loop of lake - counter
flex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan12010waves, ripples,
smallthin10.1giant loop of lake - clockflex shaft10.1
06/28/08U Kanan1205ripples

smallthin1clockflex shaft10.5
06/28/08U Kanan1005ripplessmallthin1clockflex shaft9.6
07/01/08Glenmore1505-106 to 8" waves
smallthick2out & back
flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
07/01/08Glenmore1505-108" wavessmallthick6clock loop entire lake
flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
smallthick.8out & back
flex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
07/02/08Glenmore15010-15waveysmallthin.8out & backflex shaft, alum spiners,
heavy boat
07/03/08Glenmore1500calmsmallthick1.5out & back(same above)
heavy boat
07/03/08Glenmore1500calmsmallthick5.6counter loop
(same above)
heavy boat
07/03/08Glenmore2005-10ripples, waves
smallthick5.6clock loop
(same above)
heavy boat
07/03/08Glenmore1205-10ripples, wavessmallthick5.6clock loop
(same above)
heavy boat
1. Every 5 kph of wind equates to .1 kph decrease in speed
2. Big rudder is .6 kph slower than small rudder. Small rudder is .1 kph slower than no rudder
4. Paint vs packing tape was worth a speed increase of .1 kph
5. Elliminating the prop strut is worth an additional .1 kph in speed.
6. Counter clockwise loops at Elbow Valley lake are worth an additional .2 to .3 kph average speed due to current.
7. remove the seals and backing off the lock-nuts on the gear box are worth an additional .1 kph average speed.
8. The narrowed 1/4" spring steel shaft compared to the 3/8" stainless shaft is worth .1 kph speed increase


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WOW! Spectacular day!

Long training day on upper Kananaskis Lake

What an amazing day! I met Chris Comfort at Upper Kananaskis lake on Saturday morning and spent the next 4 hours collecting speed and power data by blasting around the large 10 km circumference lake on Critical Power 2 (yes, it now has an official name and logo - perhaps you recognize it?)

Things look OK - not super great, but good enough to move forward with my plans for an attempt at the 243 km human powered boat distance record.

The big problem is I realize that WIND is a huge issue around here. I will NOT be able to find a day with zero winds. On the very best weather day, I can probably expect glassy conditions at dust, dawn, perhaps during most of the night, but mid-afternoon there will always be at least 5 to 10 kph winds.

I think my 24 hour record venue lake has to be small enough NOT to allow 5 to 10 kph winds to build up big waves. Upper Kananaskis lake is large and the winds only ever got to 5 to 10 yesterday (when they were easily 15 to 20 in the city), but the waves were over 1 foot high with white caps. On my long, 10 km loops around the circumference of the lake I often got tossed around quite a bit and the wind really does suck speed away. I have always measured better test results from doing small loops in small lakes because even with a 5 to 10 kph wind, the waves never get beyond ripples. A ripple in a small lake becomes a 1 foot wave in a large lake.

Here is the data for the Kananaskis lake day:
  1. 10 km circumference of the entire lake, 150 watts, 5 to 10 kph winds, waves at times, dead calm at other times, very windy at times = 11 kph average (I repeated this TWICE and got the exact same average)

  2. Same loop as above, same mixed conditions but with 120 watts average power (this is what my overall average power expectation will be for 24 hours) = 10.1 kph (that's 242 km total in 24 hours)

  3. Small, 1 km loop in protected bay. It was still 5 to 10 kph winds, but water was ripply rather than wavy. 150 watts = 11.5 kph (repeated this both directions with same average)

  4. Small, 1 km protected loop at 120 watts (my goal wattage for 24 hours) = 10.5 kph (255 km over 24 hours)

  5. Small, 1 km protected loop at 100 watts = 9.6 kph (230.4 km over 24 hours)

At Elbow Valley lake, the best I measured during calm conditions was 11.8 kph for a 150 watt .5 km loop. If I subtract .3 for the current, that would equal 11.5 which was what I got at Kananaskis yesterday for 5 to 10 kph windy day. I can probably ADD .2 kph for a windless day and I would be at 11.7 which is .2 kph higher than the best I was getting at Elbow. The .2 kph gain could be due to the freeing up of the gear box.

lunch break with Chris

I cannot use the lake at Elbow anymore for a control! I went out there the day before yesterday and the weeds are growing up to the SURFACE! I did not get one single run in without having to stop to tear weeds off the prop. I think that same thing was happening at Ghost and Glenmore which was why I was getting such poor test results. There was an article in the paper last week about weed growth in local area lakes being a big problem this year.


The 4 hour solid effort yesterday was a good experience for me, and I realize that spending more time training in the boat is necessary. There is a subtle difference between pedaling on my M5 road recumbent and the boat, and I didn't 'feel' it until after I was finished yesterday. In preparation for the 24, I have been doing plenty of single leg drills on my M5 rides. I am now able to go almost indefinitely with one leg on the M5. This has been good to strengthen and reinforce my CIRCLING, but it is still different that on the boat.

With the bike, I have momentum from a 'push' pedal stroke that carries through to the 'pull' portion of the pedal stroke. During the pull, I can take advantage of the previous push force, and most of my pulling effort is just lifting the weight of the leg around. On the boat, there is far LESS momentum due to the increased drag of the water. For the portion of the pedal stroke (VERY small portion, but it is still there) where a single leg is doing some pulling, there is a greater resistance and therefore more effort during that phase. It adds up over time. The test to really feel this is to compare a single leg drill on both the M5 recumbent and the boat. It is much easier to keep a higher wattage on the M5 with one leg than it is on the boat because I take take advantage of my powerful PUSH muscles on the M5, whereas on the boat, I must recruit weaker PULL muscles slightly more often - like I said, over time it adds up.

I am starting to experience some of the same issues that I experienced last year, and earlier this year - sore knees and sore Achilles again. This makes sense because the portion of the pedal stroke that is not being assisted by the opposite leg the most, is near the top - the 'rounding over' of the pedal. This action to the leg, is like kicking a soccer ball and directs more stress to the knee - the same road bike geometry as an extreme seat-forward position which is known to cause knee problems. The opposite leg is doing the same from below, but it is the Achilles that is doing the work.

Not that I would bother trying this at this point, but I believe the easy solution would be to incorporate a fly wheel into the drive. And no, I don't think the freewheel helps because this is all happening way to fast for the pawls to kick in. The more difficult solution is to continue to train into this geometry.

Speed data:

date lake power watts wind kph waves rudder prop loop size km loop dir hull floats other SPEED kph
06/05/08 elbow 150 5 ripples big thin .5 counter taped norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat big thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thick .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter painted norm prop strut pulled into hull with cord 11.6
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat none thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 clock painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 10 ripply small thin .5 counter painted norm
06/12/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thick .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thick .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter painted skimmers rods 10
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter painted skimmers no rods 10.2
flex shaft & freehub
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.8
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.8
flex shaft & freehub10.3
06/16/08elbow200calmflatsmallthin.5counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub13.2
flex shaft & freehub11.1
paintednormflex shaft & freehub11.1
paintednormflex shaft & freehub10.9
flex shaft & freehub11.6
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub11.6/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.52counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.5
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.56clockpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.6
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick1out&backpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.7/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick.7out&backpaintednormflex shaft & freehub. NO PROP STRUT
11.8/11.2 = 11.5
06/28/08U Kanan
15010waves, ripples,
some calm
smallthin7.19out&backpaintednormflex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripples

flex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripplessmallthin1.13counter

flex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan15010waves, ripples
smallthin10.3giant loop of lake - counter

flex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan12010waves, ripples,
smallthin10.1giant loop of lake - clock

flex shaft10.1
06/28/08U Kanan1205ripples


flex shaft10.5
06/28/08U Kanan1005ripplessmallthin1clock

flex shaft9.6
06/28/08Glebmore1505-106 to 8" waves
smallthick2out & back

flex shaft, alum spiners
06/28/08Glebmore1505-108" wavessmallthick6clock loop entire lake

flex shaft, alum spiners11.3
smallthick.8out & back

flex shaft, alum spiners11.4
1. Every 5 kph of wind equates to .1 kph decrease in speed
2. Big rudder is .6 kph slower than small rudder. Small rudder is .1 kph slower than no rudder
3. Right hand turns dramatically slow the boat down.
4. Paint vs packing tape was worth a speed increase of .1 kph
5. Elliminating the prop strut is worth an additional .1 kph in speed.
6. Counter clockwise loops at Elbow Valley lake are worth an additional .2 to .3 kph average speed due to current (??? need to verify)
7. remove the seals and backing off the lock-nuts on the gear box are worth an additional .1 kph average speed.
8. The narrowed 1/4" spring steel shaft compared to the 3/8" stainless shaft is worth .1 kph speed increase

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360 km day!

I talked my friend Bryon Howard into joining me for a 310 km Highwood loop ultra training ride and he actually said yes! Bryon is training for Ironman Canada. A 300+ km training ride is probably a bit excessive for Ironman training, but Bryon had never done a ride that long, so he was into the challenge.

I needed to extend the day, so I woke up at 6:00 am and did two hours of cycling inside on the mag trainer before we started the big ride.

Flat #1

Flat #2

The day started out with Bryon getting TWO flats - the first on the front tire and the second on the rear tire - BEFORE we even got to the end of my driveway!

Other than the flats, the trip was great! We finally took off by 9:45 am and made it home by 10:15 pm. 12.5 hours and 310 km + my 50 km inside ride for a grand total of 14.5 hours and about 360 km.

Bryon checking his crackberry in Black Diamond

Almost home as the sun starts to set

My buddy Greg Bradley met us on the home stretch

Bryon and Greg B

Almost home!

Highwood loop - the award winning, critically acclaimed movie


Grizzlies and a freeprop

Our climb up the Highwood
Great training day on Friday with Dennis from Boulder CO and his friend Danfa from San Diego. We drove out to the start of highway 40, about 40 km east of Banff and cycled south about 150 km up and down the pass which is still closed to traffic until Sunday. It was a good, hard ride - they are both fairly experienced and capable cyclists and I was challenged to keep up with them climbing the pass. We saw mountain goats, big horn sheep and two Grizzlies.

Dennis and Dafna as we climb the Highwood pass

There is still plenty of snow at the top

Mama grizzly bear and her cub at the side of the road


The problem with using the 3/8 stainless rod as a flexible shaft for the pro is that it will eventually fail. Rick calculated the stresses for a number of different materials and I think in order for a fail-safe stainless shaft it would need to be something like 10 feet long. The alternative is to use 2011 T8 aluminum or spring steel. We can't get the 2011 aluminum anywhere and I found 1/4 inch spring steel from a flexible drill shaft manufacturer and purchased some from them.

It's 1/4" OD rather than 3/8", so none of the couplers that Manny machined for me will work, so I just welded a 3/8" stainless length to the end where the prop hardware slides onto. I would plan to ask Manny to machine some nice parts for me, but I wanted to make sure that the spring steel shaft would work first (the length, depth, feel, etc).

I wanted to see what riding with a free wheel would be like so I cut apart this old Shimano freehub that I had and coupled it to the shaft. Now the ride should be more like a road bike than a fixed gear and I should be able to coast a bit without having the stopped prop add so much extra drag. Again, Manny can machine some nice parts for me to mount the freehub, but I wanted to make sure that this freeprop was something that is worth even adding - not sure about that yet - I need to give it a try.


Labels: , ,

Chasing goats

Mountain goats hanging around on the closed for traffic Highwood pass
I had a fantastic ride yesterday! I started at 7:30 am from my house and headed west on transcanada hwy to Kananaskis. It was already starting to get a big windy, but the advantage of starting early in the morning and heading west is an escape from the inevitable headwinds that really pick up in intensity in the afternoons.

Once I turned into Highway 40, the mountains provided quite a bit of shelter from the wind. I was making great time and generally feeling good - my right achilles wasn't at all sore, and my feet are getting numb less often now. I am finding that inserting chemical foot warmers into my shoes (even on warm days) really helps keep the blood flowing. I also found that once they start to feel a bit tingly, I can curl my toes down into the shoe to temporarily remove pressure off of the bottom of my foot until the blood flow returns. This usually only takes a minute or two and I can continue to pedal rather than coasting which is what I used to do.

The climb up the pass went well and I met up with a few big horn sheep, gangs of rowdy mountain goats, an Elk and too many white tail deer to count. No bears (that I saw). The Highwood pass is closed to traffic until June 15th to allow animal migration. It is open to bikes, and it's the perfect time of year to cycle the pass because of the wildlife. I ran into a few other cyclists but otherwise it was pretty desolate.

At the top it got cold really fast and started snowing which turned to rain on the way down. The trip down was a blast on the M5 lowracer. I reached a top speed of 80 km / hr.

By the 200 km mark I started to get this really bad headache. It started at the top of the pass but progressively got worse and worse. This is strange because I never get headaches and I've certainly never gotten a headache while training. At first I thought it was because of the altitude, but the throbbing in my head didn't go away. This made that last 100 km pretty rough - every bump on the road was killing me.

At the end of the ride aside from my pounding head, I generally felt ok. My achilles on my left foot was starting to get a bit sore, and my right knee was starting to hurt a bit. I know I will be ready for the 24 hour record attempt when I can do a 300 to 400 km ride without any of these niggling aches and pains at the end.

At 7000 feet, the Highwood pass is the highest paved road in Canada. The total ascent is 9200 feet and 3000 foot climb from my house to the summit.

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300 km Highwood loop

YEAH! Tomorrow I head out to tackle the 300 km Highwood pass loop. I'm pumped.

It's an epic ride and should be even epic-er tomorrow because the pass is still closed to vehicles. That means wildlife galore - bears, big horn sheep, elk, moose, etc. In 2005 when Greg B and I rode the pass we ran (almost LITERALLY) into two grizzlies laying in the middle of the road. They didn't pay us much attention and we didn't feel like a challenge so we turned around and headed back.

The M5 is packed and ready to go

At 7000 feet, the Highwood pass is the highest paved road in Canada. (click on "show elevation" on the route map below). The total ascent is 9200 feet and 3000 foot climb from my house to the summit.

I checked my training log, and this will be the 6th time I've done the 300 km loop. I did it 4 times in 2005 leading up to my first attempt at the 24 hour HPV record, and once in 2006 leading up to my successful attempt at the same record. In 2005, the most epic Highwood loop ride was 370 km where I started at 4:00 am inside with a three-hour inside mag trainer ride, then packed up and headed west in the dark and cold before the sun rose. It was a very memorable day.

On the rear rack of the M5 is a pack containing food (Cliff bars, gels), cell phone, money, a camera and some additional clothes like a rain jacket and arm warmers. On top is my 3 liter water bag.

My training leading up to the 24 hour human powered boat record of last June wasn't nearly enough and I'm not making that mistake this time around. In fact, I can't make that mistake because Carter's 245 km record won't be reachable unless I am able to fully expend my available wattage.

Note the can of bear spray strapped to the front boom

Here is a comparison of the weekly long-rides from before the 2006 HPV record where I felt I was well-trained and capable of accomplishing a record, and training up to now this year.

12 weeks leading up to 2006 HPV record attempt
  1. 4 hrs
  2. 6 hrs
  3. 8 hrs
  4. 5 hrs (fast)
  5. 9.5 hrs
  6. 6 hrs (fast)
  7. 12.5 hrs
  8. 6 hrs (fast)
  9. 14.5 hrs
  10. 4.5 hrs (fast)
  11. 1 hr
  12. 24 hrs (record)
18 weeks leading up to tomorrows 12 hour ride:
  1. 4 hrs
  2. 4 hrs
  3. 4.25 hrs
  4. 5 hrs
  5. 4.75 hrs
  6. 6 hrs
  7. 7.5 hrs
  8. 1.5 hrs
  9. 8 hrs
  10. 8 hrs (Achilles pain)
  11. 6 hrs (Achilles pain)
  12. 2 hrs
  13. 9.5 hrs (Achilles pain)
  14. 3 (Achilles pain)
  15. 3
  16. 2.75
  17. 8.5 (Achilles resolved)
  18. 12 (tomorrows Highwood ride)
If my ride goes well tomorrow, (hopefully this Achilles issue is resolved, and no other issues suddenly appear) then I should be ready to challenge the HPB record soon. I would like to get at least 2 or 3 very fast 100 mile rides in, plus at least 3 more ultra rides - another 12 hr, a 14 hr and maybe a 16 hr. At least two of the ultra rides need to be on a lake in V11G.

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Training woes, and 24 hour record boat progress

Progress updates:

You can now follow my micro updates by subscribing to the PedalTheOcean Twitter feed. I am thinking of updating this feed during the 24 hour record attempt every hour. The advantage of following a Twitter feed is that you can choose to receive updates on your cell phone, text messages, email or follow using the Twitter web site, the AdventuresOfGreg web site (upper right hand corner), or my FaceBook page (status updates).

As with everything in life there is always give and take, pros and cons, good with the bad. Very seldom is anything easy and straight forward. The new 24 hour record attempt human powered boat build is going really great - too great in fact. Something needed to offset all this great progress and that something is the Greek sea-god Achilles.

My Achilles tendon on my right leg is swollen and very, very sore and is becoming an issue for me.

My weekly long training rides alternate between an ultra-long, but moderate paced ride which progressively grows longer each 2nd week as I near the record attempt date and a 5-hour, very intense, hard ride. Today's 5 hour ride was supposed to average 200 watts and I made it to 3 hours and had to quit because my Achilles tendon was too sore.

It's been getting worse over the last few weeks and I continue to hope that it will just disappear. Last weeks 10 hour training ride outside with my buddy Greg Bradley was very painful for the last 4 hours of the ride. Today, I didn't make it past 3 hours. I need to get this problem resolved!!!

My buddy Chad who is an Ironman triathlete and also an MD, suggested I purchase this cool portable home ultra sound device called Sonic Relief:

I've been using it aggressively in combination with a topical anti-inflammatory cream and it seems to reduce swelling. I will keep at it.

What I really need to do is to give my foot a break for a couple of weeks to allow the Achilles to heal, but I am afraid that I will lose too much fitness and won't be able to stick to my scheduled 24 hour human powered boat distance record attempt for late June. We have a pretty busy summer, so it will be tough trying to schedule the record attempt for July or August.

Since postponing the Atlantic crossing until December of 2009, I now have time for other athletic pursuits, so I signed up for Ironman Arizona in November. I really have to get this 24 hour record attempt done and finished with by July at the latest so I can recover and switch training focus back to Ironman. My goal for Ironman in November is to make it back to World Championships in Kona! I have a special reason for going back to Kona, Hawaii in October of 2009 - more on that at a later date.

24 hour record boat progress

Above is a computer model of what the new boat will look like. Click to enlarge. My recumbent seat sits on a 10" wide, hollow carbon fiber hull that is 24 feet long. There are two, light weight carbon outriggers for balance that typically sit a few inches ABOVE the water line while underway. My forward momentum should be enough to keep the narrow main hull balanced without the extra drag of the outriggers.

The main hull is 2 layers of 5.8 oz carbon fiber + 1 layer of 6 oz carbon+Kevlar weave. To add stiffness and strength, I inserted six bulkheads which I cut out from a left-over section of the carbon fiber sandwich board frame for Critical Power. I think it is cool to have part of Critical Power in this boat. (Critical Power is the name of my human powered vehicle that I set a 24 hour distance record with in the summer of 2006).

I kept the cut-out sections of this sandwich board frame for Critical Power
and used them for the bulkheads for the new boat

I was very surprised when I weighed the hull with the outriggers because it was one pound LESS than when I pulled it off the mold. Even with the carbon bulkheads bonded in, it is only 13.5 pounds. It will weigh more when the top deck is on, but this is a good start!

You can see the Kevlar (gold) with the carbon weave.
Kevlar will prevent the hull from ripping apart if it is holed.

The top deck will be a 24 foot long piece of closed cell foam core called CoreCell. CoreCell is what we are building the new ocean crossing boat WiTHiN out of.

The CoreCell will be covered with 1 layer of carbon each side, then cut to fit onto the flange of the hull.

The short sections of CoreCell are joined with tabs that are epoxied over the seems. This should also provide a bit more stiffness to the top deck.

The rudder tube is an old carbon tube that I had. It wasn't quite strong enough, so I reinforced it with a wrap of carbon. After the carbon went onto the tube, I wetted it out with epoxy resin, then wound a tight layer of electrical tape around it. I poked holes in the electrical tape to allow excess epoxy to seep out.

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112th running of the Boston Marathon

112th running of the Boston Marathon

After twelve Ironman triathlons including the world championships in Hawaii, seventeen marathons, and three 24 hour cycling events (one world record attempt and two world records), the Boston marathon on Monday was one of my most memorable races. It was truly an incredible event.

25,319 runners qualified to run the Boston marathon this year by finishing in the top 10% of their age groups in qualifying marathons from around the world. It is indeed a great honor to compete with the greatest amateur athletes in the world. The last time I was lucky enough to compete in a world-class event like this was at Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 2006 where I learned a very valuable lesson. My goal and sole focus for three gruelling years leading up to Ironman Kona was to place in the top 5% of my division at an Ironman triathon and win a qualifying slot for world championships in Kona, Hawaii. When I placed 4th in my division at Ironman Arizona in 2006, I had accomplished that goal. (the blog report is here) Ironman Hawaii that October ended up being a long and miserable day because I was suddenly goal-less. I had made it to Kona and simply 'doing' the race made it almost impossible to push past the agony of the distance, repressive heat, humidity and relentless wind. I really suffered in Kona.

I learned that a man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder, and I wasn't about to make the same mistake in Boston. I needed a reason to give Boston everything I had in me and I found that reason in a book I picked up at the race expo which I read in the few days leading up to the race. "Duel in the Sun" by John Brant is about the 1982 Boston marathon where two American favorites Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley raced neck and neck to the finish line. In a speech given by Dick Beardsley 20 years later to a group of runners at the Victoria marathon, he offers this golden piece of advice:

"Tomorrow at your marathon, you're going to give it your all. When it's over, you can look back on a job well done. You'll be able to relax. You'll be finished." In applying this bit of wisdom to our everyday lives, Dick goes on to add: "Every morning, I feel like I'm getting up to run the Boston Marathon all over again."

So that is exactly what I decided to do. I was going to run this race "balls to the wall" right from the start gun. There are two start waves - the first wave is finishers with qualifying times faster than 3:30 and it started 30 minutes before the second wave. Helen was in the second wave, so I decided that since it was chip timed anyhow, I would just start with Helen in her wave. This meant passing thousands of runners which was quite a challenge with 25,000 runners on the road! I finished the first 10 km in 47 minutes and I was felling pretty good. I started to make deals with myself. "Just hold this pace until 20 km, then you can coast for the remaining 24 km". I reached the 20 km mark in 1:32 which I was quite happy about. I was starting to feel the pain in my quads from the hills, so my second deal was to make it to 20 miles holding my current pace, then relax for the last 6 miles to the finish line. After 20 miles my legs were SCREAMING at me!! All of the pounding from the hills was taking it's tole. It took everything I had to block my mind from focusing on my pain, and to keep my pace up. At this point I figured I could possible make it another mile before slowing, so I held onto my painful pace.

The crowds in Boston are like nothing I have ever experienced in any race. Non-stop cheering from spectators lining the race route for all 26.2 miles. The screaming and cheering reached ear-plug levels for the last 6 miles with fans 3 to 4 deep lining the course! This was my fuel that got me to the finish line without giving into my agony. The motivating cheers from the crowds in Boston is like nothing I have experienced in any race before.

I finished with a personal best of 3 hours, 15 minutes, 51 seconds placing me a humbling 943 out of 2773 in my division and 3422 th over all. Helen had a great race also and broke 4 hours.

Training lessons:

Denis Waitley said "You must learn from your past mistakes, but not lean on your past successes." I try to learn something from all of my races, and recording the lessons in this blog is a great way to retain the education and possibly help others who might be in the same boat.

Training for the Boston marathon was to be a bit of an experiment. I was still injured with a sore calf and hamstring from last summers 24 hour HPB (human powered boat) record attempt, so I decided to ease back on my run training distances leading up to Boston. I am also training for another shot at the HPB record for sometime this summer, and I didn't want to sacrifice any of my bike training with additional running that might further injure my hamstring and jeopardize my HPB record attempt. I limited my running to one run per week which was my long run - and limited my intensity to VERY easy. My longest run was 3 weeks ago, and maxed out at 3 hours at a very slow pace. The following week I did a 2 hour fast run at race pace with short rests every 30 minutes, then last week a 1.5 hour very fast run. That was it aside from about 12 hours a week spend on my bike. Typically when training for a PR marathon, I will run at least 4 times per week consisting of a short distance speed intervals workout, a tempo workout, a moderately fast long run and at least one easy recovery run.

According to conventional training wisdom, I was VERY under prepared for Boston. Yet, I ran a personal best. Go figure. I think the lesson in this is to not underestimate the power of a good, multi-year base, and fully rested and recovered legs. I now appreciate the true power of a "less is more" strategy in a training program.

My training schedule and journal are here if you are interested:

Here is a table showing all of my previous race results:

Race Results:

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Am I a Sea Biscuit?

Am I destined to end up as yet another Sea Biscuit?

After hearing the 100th story about the Sea Biscuit from the locals in Tofino, Murray and I decided to do some investigating and learn more about this ill-fated world circumnavigation in an eight foot sail boat.

Sea Biscuit is a 8-foot (yes, as in EIGHT feet long from bow to stern) sailboat that Floridian Harley Harlson built to circumnavigate the globe, nonstop. Construction details here. Previously, the smallest boat to circumnavigate the globe is 12 feet long, sailed by Serge Testa. I highly recommend his book called 500 days. A really great read! In my opinion, Serge really knew what he was doing - I'm not so sure about Harley, but then again, perhaps people are saying that about me.

Harley arrived in Tofino to start his world circumnavigation in August of 2006. He made it from the trailer to the public boat launch dock where he discovered a foot of water in the bottom of Sea Biscuit that leaked in through his rudder bolts. Failing to repair the leak, and missing his weather window, Harley returned home and docked Sea Biscuit at the marina at the end of Olsen Road in Tofino where Murray and I found her on Sunday.

The two stories we heard from the locals were: "He was lying in a wet bed pan for 2 weeks bailing water out with a sponge" and "The coast guard seized his boat and wouldn't let him go". Neither story was true. It's funny how a story sort of has a life of it's own that may only be loosely connected with the truth.

I am not sure just how much testing Harley did previous to his failed launch in Tofino. I did read in an interview that he tested Sea Biscuit in a lake, but I am really not sure about how much open ocean sailing he did with her. That might have been a good idea.


I have said this before and I think I need to repeat it - if not just to re-confirm my own objectives regarding this record attempt. About 1 year ago in my blog, I said:

I want to make this clear - this challenge is NOT about doing a solo, unsupported survival adventure across the Atlantic ocean. I have the highest respect for those who do that like current ocean crossers Roz Savage, Jason Lewis, Bhavic, Ralph Tuijn and previous ocean crossing expeditions Leven Brown, Greg Spooner, Colin and Julie, and the many others I follow and have followed.

My 'thing' is the combination of technology and human performance. A fully supported human powered Atlantic speed record attempt is exactly what this expedition is. The support / safety boat will accompany me and provide supplies, traffic lookout, water making, equipment backups, communications, repairs, food, company and even occasionally a safe place to escape to (if ocean conditions allow). This allows me to focus on designing and building the fastest, most efficient human powered ocean boat possible, and my ability to pedal the machine 3000 miles across the Atlantic ocean in less than 40 days.

Since then, I have decided that a "fully supported" speed record isn't a fair comparison to the existing unsupported Atlantic crossing record of 43 days set my Emmanuel Coindre, so my support boat will be a safety boat only, and will not be used for support of any kind unless there is an emergency in which case my unsupported crossing either becomes a supported one, or I am rescued and have to abandon the crossing.

I certainly hope that this project is viewed by others as a serious endeavour to demonstrate the potential of something long forgotten - our human power in all of it's forms. PedalTheOcean is a physical, mental and emotional challenge unlike anything I have ever set out to do.

Seeing Sea Biscuit falling apart in a pile of seaweed under the dock at the end of Olsen road, is a really good reminder of how I could potentially be viewed by the people of Tofino - those who saw me on TV, read about me in the paper, or have seen me come and go from the WeighWest marina.


Like every worthy challenge, there is always more to it than you can ever imagine or can possibly plan for. At times like this I need to remember this bit of greeting card wisdom: "Persistence prevails when all else fails". Following are a few of the "learning experiences" that I am dealing with right now:

EXPERIENCE: After Mondays 9 hour training session on the water I know first hand how important gaining the appropriate experience will be in my ability to succeed at this challenge. The best kind of experience will be time spent in WiTHiN on the ocean - there would be no substitute for that. Murray and I discussed this during the drive back from Tofino, and what I would like to do when the new boat is finished (calling it "Ocean WiTHiN" for now) is dock it in Tofino fully equipped and provisioned for multi-day trips. Then I can fly out from Calgary which is a very easy and inexpensive flight and head out to sea in WiTHiN. I could start with a day trip similar to what we did with Matahil's support boat, but do it on my own. Then I could slowly advance to an over night trip, then a 3 day trip, etc. I would experience all kinds of weather and ocean conditions and I think this kind of training would be very good for me.

Sea sickness: They say it can't be trained, but I doubt that, as I know from many others that 2 to 3 days is usually when the body gets accustomed to this alien rock and roll environment and stops getting sick. That is basically what training is. There was an episode of Myth Busters a while ago where they tested sea sickness cures. They found only 2 cures that worked: Ginger and medication. I will experiment with both, as well as some trampoline training. I used to be a gymnast in high school and was very surprised at how dizzy I got doing simple flips on a trampoline a while ago. I am certain that I can train this motion sickness away by simply doing trampoline flips every day. If that's the case, perhaps there will be some residual inner ear / spacial awareness that I develop that will carry over to the ocean environment.

OW (Ocean WiTHiN) design: One of the causes of motion sickness is a miss-match between where the eye registers the bodies location in space, and it's actual location in space. As soon as I looked away from my small front window, I got sick. I also found it very difficult to see anything outside - I rarely saw Matahil and he was always close to me. I think I would like to re-visit the sliding canopy idea for the new boat design. The Naval architect Stuart Bloomfield designed opening hatches and a small sliding pilot hatch on the roof, but I don't think this is enough to provide me with the 'livable' open environment that I want in the cockpit. I would like to 'really be there' - not watching everything from the detached view point of a closed-in cockpit. The advantage of a sliding canopy cover is that I always have the option of sliding it over for really bad weather or big seas. Of course, the sleeping cabin is closed off with a bulkhead and hatch, as is the bow storage locker, so with the bilge pump on the cockpit floor, even if WiTHiN flooded, I would still be capsize safe.

Stuart Bloomfield and Ricks closed canopy/hatch design (click to enlarge)sliding cockpit cover

I noticed how much work it took to stay on my bearing and I think I will look into installing a small autopilot. This should not only make my forward progress a bit more efficient (always on track), but will also ease the work load for me. If anyone knows of a small, very efficient autopilot, let me know. The smallest I have found is this Simrad TP10.

Support boat: Being the optimist that I am, I always thought that I would be able to find someone sailing from the Canaries to Barbados who would be willing to accompany me as my safety boat. I know now that this is a lot to ask, as staying even in the broad vicinity of me in the middle of the ocean takes a lot of work. After speaking with a few boat brokers and yacht management companies, my best bet is to arrange my own crew, and buy a yacht capable of a trans oceanic voyage, then sell it at my destination. My friend Stefan Dalberg has volunteered to skipper the support boat, and I hope I can find a few more crew interested in the experience.

Spanish coast guard: This is a problem. I have heard from others who tried to deal with the coastguard, that they do not negotiate with individuals. Letters and attempts to contact them go unanswered for months. So far, every independent ocean rower who has departed from Canary Islands has left at night incognito. One option is to join the Atlantic rowing race in December of 2009 which includes a support boat shared by all of the race participants, and Spanish coast guard clearance. I like this option because of the community and the publicity opportunity. Speedy WiTHiN is an interesting contrast in amongst all the sluggish row boats.

Shipping WiTHiN: I had budgeted about $7000 to ship WiTHiN to the Canary Islands. Because she is over 20 feet long, she has to go in a 40 foot container which is twice as expensive as a 20 foot container. Plus, it will take up to 2 months for delivery! OUCH. And another $14,000 to ship back to Miami.

Schedule: December of 2008 is definitely OUT. There is no way I can get proper training, finish building WiTHiN, test her and ship her this year. Looks like December of 2009 for Canaries to West Indies route, or I could leave as early as June of 2009 if I were to change routes and head across the Pacific instead (this is an option that I am considering, as it also eliminates my shipping problems. More on this later).

We have made some serious progress since I made that comment about the support boat a year ago, but I still have very far to go. I need to remember that it's all about the journey, not the destination. This journey will be a long one, and I need to stop every once in a while and remember to enjoy it.


Here are a few more photos from Mondays sea trails in Tofino:

Soon after we left the dock, I started to over heat. With the new keel, standing up in WiTHiN is no problem

Leaving the Weigh West marina at sun rise

Long Beach

WiTHiN leaving Tofino with the town in the background

We got home just in time - just missed a big winter storm!

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Big Seas!


Watch this video in HD - click here!

"At first you are afraid you are going to die.
Then you are afraid you are not going to die".

This is what my support boat driver Matahil Lawson says about sea
sickness. I can now attest that it is completely true, and in the
midst of barfing my guts out for the third time in a brutal 9 hour
training session 20 km into the pacific ocean off the west coast of
Vancouver Island, I was having serious doubts about what I was setting
out to do.

It was an amazing experience - one that I will never forget, but also
a real eye opener for me.

My buddy Murray and I met Matahil for breakfast at 7:00 am at the
WeighWest marina in Tofino, BC where WiTHiN was docked, and we were on
the water by 8:00. Matahil has a 24 foot open aluminum boat that he
built himself and agreed to support me for a full day out on the
Pacific. My friend Murray from Houston, TX kindly agreed to come along
and help out (he didn't know what he was in for). I had been watching
the surf report closely for the week leading up to our sea trials, and
I was anticipating some 5 meter (15 feet) waves further west off the
coast. This would be my opportunity to experience some real open ocean
conditions in WiTHiN - I was excited and ready.

Packed on board was 7 liters of drinking water and a few packs of
dehydrated meals with my JetBoil camp stove. I was wearing my life
jacket with a personal emergency locator clipped on and had my GPS,
SRM power meter, and iPod charged up and ready to go . I was in 2-way
radio contact with Matahil and Murray, and I had a cell phone for back
up. The objective was to get as far west off the coast in 4 hours as
possible, then turn around and pedal back.

I was immediately impressed with the visibility through my front
window. During my last trip to Tofino, I had to use my video camera
monitor system to see outside because my window fogged up on the
inside, and water drops collected on the outside. This time, I had
installed a manual window wiper, and my doctor buddy Chad gave me a
bottle of his special surgery liquid that stops fogging on optics.
Both worked perfectly and I had clear vision through the front window
for the first time.

We cleared the northern tip of Wickaninnish Island and headed west out
to sea. The swells started to grow and within the first hour we were
in 12 footers. I was apprehensive at first, but I didn't find them too
scary. After a couple of hours the waves grew bigger and started
coming in from different angles and my comfort level had grown
considerably. I had my top hatch off and both side windows open for
venting. As the water mountains grew in size, I became increasingly
comfortable with how WiTHiN and I were handling the conditions.

The new keel really helps dampen the rocking and it's all I need for
stability to stand up without tipping over. My speed was about 7 kph
on 150 watts into an oncoming sea. The wind was low and there is a 1
knot current that runs from south to north along the coast for about
200 km from shore which I was cutting directly across. My speed ranged
from 5 km/hr riding up the swells to 12 km/hr surfing down. I headed
West for 4 hours at an average speed of 6.4 km/hour and reached 20 km
west of the coast.

After 2 hours I started to feel a bit queasy, at 3 hours I felt very
nauseous. It took every bit of concentration on the horizon to avoid
throwing up. At 4 hours we reached a pod of feeding hump back wales
(watch the video - truly AMAZING shots by Matahil and Murray from the
support boat!) and as soon as I stopped moving I got violently ill.
Serious projectile vomiting over the open top hatch - repeatedly until
there was nothing of my breakfast left. I felt horrible. How was I
going to make it back to shore now - maybe it would go away.

Nope. I got sick 2 more times - each just as violent as the first, but
the last time there was nothing left in my stomach so I just choked
after each dry heave. By 6 hours in I had eaten exactly NOTHING and
drank about a liter of water all day. Typically on long training rides
I eat 300 calories per hour to keep my muscles fueled and my blood
sugar levels up. I was TRULY running on empty - an empty stomach, low
blood sugar and dehydrated. And on top of that, I felt like I was
going to die. - no, I felt like I wished I would die. We couldn't tow
at this point, as the ocean was just too big and it would have been
too dangerous - this was obvious. I just had to suck it up and keep
pressing on back to shore.

I think Murray had it worse. He started to feel sick almost as soon as
we reached the open ocean and he was sick for almost the whole 9 hour
ordeal. When I saw him at the half way point I thought he looked like
Fred Flintstones green Martian friend Kazoo. When Murray saw me he
wondered if he looked as bad as I looked, and I was wondering the same
thing about myself. Dam it, there goes another new friend. My friend
burn rate is pretty high these days.

When we reached the protected waters of the coast Matahil used a rope
and a bucket as a drogue which he tied to my stern and he towed meback
to WeighWest marina. I was completely spent.

Total time spent pedaling was about 8 hours, total time spent on the
water was 9 hours. The distance traveled west out to sea was 19.88 km
from the far northern tip of Wickaninnish Island. The distance I
ACTUALLY traveled as measured by my GPS track was 20.7 km. The 4%
additional distance actually traveled is due to how much WiTHiN was
veering off course due to directional stability issues caused by waves
and surfing. You could call this a 4% "wobble factor". If I had to
travel a 4000 km straight line, I would actually have to travel an
additional 160 km due to the wobble factor.

My moving average as measured from the GPS was 6.4 km/hour and my
average watts of power was about 125 watts as measured by my SRM power
meter. That compares to about 7 km/hr without the keel.

Overall, it was a pretty thrilling experience. The ocean is one wild
place - very humbling. We saw sea lions, a bunch of sea otters,
numerous whales, an albatross, and some seals. Matahil was impressed
with the average speed I maintained, and the fact that within a few
hours we were 20 km out to sea in my human powered boat WiTHiN, which
at it's basic essence is just a tandem kayak. He thought that pitching
is a problem as is the directional stability. In some of the video
footage, I can see the bow swing from right to left as waves push it
around. He also thought that WiTHiN could benefit from a dagger board
which would help her track straight when surfing down a wave. He
noticed WITHiN veering right or left in the troughs rather than
pushing straight through. Because my situational awareness inside
WiTHiN is so poor, I really have no feedback aside from watching the
heading indicator on my compass fluctuate wildly. Matahil said that
ANYONE would get sick in WiTHiN in the conditions we were facing. It
was really rocking and pitching quite a bit.

Where do I go from here? I just don't know at this point. I need some
time to digest these recent events, as it seems that there are many
problems with this expedition and solutions aren't exactly obvious. I
will expand on that later.

"Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even
though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop
character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we
endure help us in our marching onward."
Henry Ford

Greg K

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SBS TV Korea Interview

Here is the SBS TV, Korea documentary on human power featuring Pedal The Ocean in Tofino during sea trials. Pat and I were very impressed with producer Jin-Kyu Yoo and his camera man Sang-Ryun Woo. They even spent the effort and expense to produce a custom computer animation of WiTHiN for the special.


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V11G outrigger floats

My new friend Murray Flanagan stopped by my shop this morning to meet me and see WiTHiN and Critical Power. We had a really nice chat, and then, of course, I put him to work! I seized the opportunity and recruited Murray to help out with the carbon work on the first outrigger.

Rick Willoughby and I have been discussing ways to use the CNC machined foam hull and outrigger forms as plugs that could be re-used. The advantage is not only having the original foam plug available to make another copy of the V11G (24 hour record boat) hull, but mostly, the resulting carbon hull will be SUPER light without any Styrofoam inside.

So, what we did was tape packing tape all over the foam outrigger plug. This worked out better than I expected - it was very smooth and glossy, and *hopefully* will allow me to pull the carbon part off of the plug leaving the outrigger plug in tact. I say hopefully because it's curing right now. I've never had any problems in the past with pulling composite parts off of duct tape or packing tape, so I'm confident this won't be an issue. But you never know - I've been through too many "surprises" to know better than to assume anything!

To strengthen the finished part, I'll insert a couple of foam bulkheads (with carbon) and place a flat carbon top over the hollow, topless outrigger hull.

We'll do the same with the V11G hull - cover it with packing tape, lay on 3 layers of 5.8 oz carbon, vacuum bag and pop it off the foam plug. Then insert some structural carbon panels, and a flat panel top deck. This will result in a part that is very light weight and hopefully strong enough. THANKS Murray!


I have been tiring of training in a slightly different geometry on the M5 than in my trainer downstairs, so I welded up some seat extensions for the M5 and resulted in a duplicate seat position - basically a MUCH higher seat bottom which puts my feet below my heart at the peak pedal stroke. This has helped keep blood flowing through my feet - a problem that I have suffered with for years. See the comparison seat position photo below (click to enlarge).

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Discovery Channel interview & sneak preview of the ocean boat!

When Pat and I were out in Tofino for sea trials, my PR genius Mark Dusseault arranged a media day in Victoria for local media to shoot pictures of WiTHiN and interview me. The entire afternoon was spent with a crew from Discovery Channel filming a second interview. The first Discovery Channel show is here:

The second piece turned out well, but I think they kind of focused in too much on the window issue - it wasn't really that big of a deal. Over all the goal was to see how stable WiTHiN was in waves and chop, and it did OK. I think the biggest thing I learned was I wanted to see what a keel would do to mitigate the excessive rocking. We'll find out soon.

Speaking of the second sea trials, WiTHiN is pretty well ready to go. The keel is now finished, and the other day I added this manually operated windshield wiper. I had also replaced the PETG window plastic, so it's no longer frosted slightly with paint over spray like that last one. This should make it easier to see out the window.

You can see the handle to operate the wiper under the top deck.

Another problem I was having in Tofino was my vent fan falling off the Dorade vent. It was held in place with a Velcro-like fastener. The reason is so that I can rip it off and manually shut the valve on he vent if I had to. To keep it in place, I bonded 3 latches onto it. To remove it, I just flip the latches and pull it off.

The last item repaired was where the old stops were for the outriggers. I had to kick them off to get WiTHiN through the door of the pool when we pool-tested the keel. I grounded the rough fiberglass down smooth, and filled over with micro.

Ready to go! Now I just have to find a support boat. I made a call to a friend who works for the Canadian coast guard office in Tofino to ask about boat availability for a couple of days within the next week or so to support me during my trials. He says that whale watching season has just started and many of the whale watching boats are fully booked. He's making some calls for me.

Is anyone local interested in going with me to Tofino?

The 24 hour human powered boat record

I just finished a 7.5 hour ride. Ugh! It was -10 C degrees this morning, but it was supposed to warm up later and the sun was up, so I figured I would break the day up by doing 5 hours outside, then another 3 inside. The outside ride was not fun. I froze my toes.

My hamstring started to get pretty sore. I'm not sure if it was because of Wednesday's KILLER AT intervals, or because the geometry on the M5 isn't exactly what I've been training on with the inside trainer. Anyhow - not a lot of fun.

One advantage that postponing the ocean crossing has is affording me a bit more time on other projects - including the 24 hour HPB record. I was thinking about an early June attempt, but I only get 1 month of unfrozen water here to train on. Glenmore res opens in May. That means that most of my training has to be either downstairs on the inside trainer, or outside on the M5. Outside is fine, but that really sucks when the temperature is less that 10 degrees C. I would much prefer a month or two of warm weather to alternate some long, 14 to 16 hour outside epic rides with some ultra long lake training days on the new boat. Scheduling the 24 hour record attempt and race for later in June would give me an additional month to train.

The Styrofoam hull and outrigger floats for V11G are due in from Saskatchewan today. I will order my carbon, epoxy, and other supplies on Tuesday, then schedule a composites work day here maybe the following week - depends on if I can get all of my supplies.

Manny the CNC machinist extraordinaire has finished machining the new prop for V11G !! It is a piece of ART!

Sneak preview of WiTHiN-ocean!

Postponement of the 24 hour record has it's drawbacks - I am counting on this summer to complete all of the testing required for the new ocean crossing version of WiTHiN. Even with the postponement of the ocean crossing until next December (actually, it will probably be much earlier - like next JUNE. More on that later), I need this summer to complete all of the testing. This includes basic testing, as well as a few multi-day trips with the boat FULLY provisioned and equipped.

World record winning naval architect Stuart Bloomfield has completed some preliminary designs for the new boat. Check it out:

The big advantage to using the flat panel method of construction is speed and ease of building it. The panels can be made before hand using core materials and carbon on both sides. Then the panel shapes are laser cut from computer files. The carbon panels are seamed together to form the boat.

The front windshield is raked back, but there are two 'A frame' beams running from the roof line to the bow top deck. The beams are both structural and aesthetic.

Boston marathon

Helen and I have the Boston marathon next month and this will be an interesting experiment for me. I've been running only ONCE per week because of an old calf injury from last years 24 hour record. It's not going away, so I've cut my running way back. One long run per week - that's it. This week I did a 2.5 hour run and next week it will be 2.75. So far, it seems to be working. I have plenty of energy during that long run, and my calf hasn't been hurting. I wont be setting any personal bests in Boston that's for sure!

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Keel-girl back by popular demand

I said "Hey Helen, can you take a break for a sec and come help me in the shop?" She said sure, and I told her to do stand beside over the freshly bondo'ed keel as I grabbed the camera. She claimed I was shamelessly using her to get BLOG traffic!

Anyhow, this 100 lb beast is almost done. To fill in the leading and trailing ends of the keel bulb, I mixed in my lead shot with Bondo and spread it into the steel sectioned nose and tail like I was baking Frankensteins birthday cake.

Then I tapered the keel tube aerofoil with Bondo, and smoothened over the lead-bondo areas and sanded it all smooth. Well, as smooth as it's going to get. I'm not making anything I expect to last a lifetime here, nor am I expecting any quality workmanship awards. I just need to get through about 20 hours of sea trial testing. This will do the trick.

I'll be heading back out to Tofino sometime within the next 3 weeks for more trials/training. One test I really need to do is to measure my power output, resulting speed and the exact wind speed so we can develop a power profile for WiTHiN to better predict her parameters in various wind conditions. It would be great to experience 30 to 40 knot winds.

I made some calls to see if I can hire a support boat to follow me out, and it might be tougher than I expected. When I was last in Tofino for the first sea trials, it was January and way-off season for the tourism industry. March is the start of Whale watching season, and I've been told that many of the boats are booked with tours.


Training is going great. I did a 6 hour ride INSIDE on Friday and it actually went by faster than I expected. In large part, this is due to my new iPod Touch. What a GREAT invention! I bought a water proof enclosure for it from OtterBox and a Ram mount. Brilliant! I can listen to an audio book, watch YouTube videos, listen to music, read and type emails, and browse the Internet - all right from my pilots seat.

I am planning on using the Ram mount in the new WiTHiN for the ocean crossing.


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Keel pin-up girl

I figured you were probably getting sick of seeing my (just turned 47 year old) face on the blog, so I got Helen to pose with the new keel for you. You are welcome.

The keel consists of a 3.5" diameter stainless steel pipe welded to a 3 foot long stainless tube. The tube slide over a stub tube which is welded to a 1/4" stainless steel plate which is bolted to the hull through the seat rails.

I welded a 1/16" thick steel fin to the keel strut. I'll fill the gap in with bondo and shape to an airfoil. Everything was going too well. I finished welding on my fin and went to slide the keel onto the stub post and it didn't fit! Then I realized that I forgot about the weld-through on the other side of my stainless tube! ARGH! It was a bead running about 12 inches down the inside of the tube - impossible to grind off with a standard grinding bit for the dremel.

I ended up having to make my own took to reach down in the tube to grind off that excess weld. It took me as long to grind that weld-through off as it did to make the whole keel!

The keel is bolted onto the plate on the hull with two bolts to nuts welded to the other side of the tube. To get the keel on, I will tip WiTHiN onto her side and from the dock, slide the keel tube onto the stub post, then screw in the bolts.

The big cylinder was filled up with lead shot. I purchased four x 25 lb bags (EXPENSIVE! They cost $50 a bag!). Unfortunately, only 50 pounds worth of shot filled the 24" long cylinder. I think the cylinder pipe itself + the keel strut, etc is probably worth another 20 lbs, so I'll have a total of about 70 lbs. I wanted 90 lbs, but I will have additional ballast on the floor of WiTHiN, so I'm pretty sure I can match the stability we experienced during the keel test at the pool last week.
To fair out the leading and trailing ends of the ballast cylinder, I welded some plate on to form a round leading edge and tapered trailer edge. I will fill them up with bondo mixed with lead, then sand smooth

Expedition Progress:

Have you ever noticed that progress comes in bursts, and in between these bursts you slip backward? Right now I feel like I am stuck in an anti-progress eddy!

Quotes for shipping WiTHiN to the Canary Islands are coming in at around $14,000 one way! And I have to drive it to New York. This is about double what I had budgeted. Then another $14,000 to ship her back from Antigua to Miami, and again, I would need to drive to Miami to pick it up. I also found out that I need to allow 7 week delivery time.

If I am to meet Nick (my support boat) for a November departure, I need to have WiTHiN shipped out by the beginning of August. I set a deadline to have the new boat built by Early June, but that was based on getting plans finished two weeks ago.

We have to finish the drawings, contract a builder, have the entire boat built, install all the hardware, and equipment and supplies and then get it out to Tofino for sea trials - all before August first. Oh, and then I have to drive for 3 days to New York.

Postponing for 1 year is something that I am seriously considering. One advantage is more time to seek that elusive major sponsor, and another advantage is more time to develop that sea experience that I am so lacking thereof. If I did postpone departure for a year, I would definitely plan some intermediate challenges.


I had a 6 hour training ride scheduled for tomorrow, but the weather is going bad. Snow and a high of zero, so it looks like I'll be riding inside for the day. Yeah! fun fun fun.

The good news is I got an iPod Touch for my birthday, so I plan on watching some TV shows, podcasts and YouTube while sweating away downstairs in my basement for 6 hours. Maybe hour 1 I'll read my book (see what I'm reading on my FaceBook page - Greg Kolodziejzyk), hour two - play some Guitar Hero, hour 3 - a bit of email on the iTouch or Nomad, hour 4 & 5 - watch a DVD movie on TV, hour 6 - watch some YouTube videos on the iTouch. I can also listen to a couple of audio books I have started (Long Way Down and The Proving Ground), and some tunes.

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Live Life!

Live your life to the FULLEST. Susie did.

Susie Lantz (left) and Helen (right) on a beach on the Oregon coast

Canmore resident Susanna Lantz was skiing with a friend in an area known as Chickadee Pass, on the south side of the Great Divide bordering Banff and Kootenay national parks, when an avalanche swept down the side of the mountain around 4 p.m. prematurely ending the life of this wonderful 28 year.

Helen and I met Susie a couple of years ago on our Oregon coast bike trip. She was this amazingly energetic and enthusiastic spark who was living her dream by cycling from Vancouver to the tip of South America. We spent a day with her, then we split off and wished her the best of luck on her adventure.

Her unfortunate story made the front page of the Calgary Herald and Helen recognized her face, and I recognized her name. A few minutes spent digging through photo archives of our Oregon trip resulted in a sad confirmation - it was indeed Susie.

Susie - your positive attitude, energy, enthusiasm and zest for life was infectious, and you will be missed.


Ocean WiTHiN progress:

I am happy to report that we have contracted a naval architect to produce working drawings of Ocean WiTHiN. Stuart Bloomfield from Bloomfield Innovations will be talking the basic dimensions from my overview and drafting plans that will go to a composite fabricator for construction. I am considering a few builders now.


If we can negotiate an early departure from the Canary Islands with the Spanish coastguard of November 1, then I will be crossing the Atlantic with skipper Nick Dwyer from Around-in-ten as my safety boat. Working back from there - this is what the schedule looks like:

November 1st - DEPARTURE from La Gomera Spain
Oct 15th - WiTHiN and I arrive in La Gomera
(two weeks to get WiTHiN ready)
Sept 1 - deliver WiTHiN (fully provisioned and equipped) to the
container ship on the coast for 6 week
transport to Canary Islands
Aug - second sea trials
July - first sea trials
June 30 - WiTHiN ready for sea trials (equipment, electrics,
hardware - everything installed and ready to go)
June 1 - WiTHiN bare-boat built
March 1 to 7 - plans delivered to boat builder

I made cardboard cutouts of the various Lewmar port lights and sat in the mock-up to figure out exactly where these windows should be placed. I plotted a horizon line on the coroplast canopy and shifted my view by moving my head forward, back, right and left such that I could get a full 360 degree view around me to watch for other ships.


I am still planning on another attempt at the 24 hour human powered boat distance record for early June. As I have said before, this intermediate challenge motivates me to start taking my training seriously now! After the 24 hour event, I will be perfectly situated to start some seriously long distance training which will get me ready for the ocean crossing.

My long rides have been inside in the little red coroplast playhouse trainer, but the weather here has been marginal for outside rides, so I cleaned up the M5, and in an hour I'll be heading out for my 2nd 5-hour outside ride with my buddy Dr. Chad Anker who is training for Ironman Coeurdalene.


As you know, I will be building a brand new human powered boat for the 24 hour 'Pedal vs Paddle' challenge. This is Rick Willoughby's tried and tested design, so there shouldn't be much time consuming R & D involved in this build. Jarrett Johnson is CNC machining the hull and outriggers out of solid foam right now. They should be finished next week. Ben and myself and whoever else we can grab to help will be adding carbon and Kevlar to the foam hulls. Then a drive frame and seat goes on, rudder, prop and I'm done - ready for testing in the nearest unfrozen lake to Calgary.

I had purchased a bunch of Chrome Alloy to fabricate the drive frame with, but decided to build it out of aluminum instead. I've welded aluminum before, but I lost faith in my welding skills when a simple bracket I made failed at the weld. I thought I would give it another try.

I welded up a test join -two tubes about the same wall thickness as the tubing that I planned to build the frame out of. The welding very surprisingly well and I smashed the test part with a hammer as it was held in my vice and it failed on the tube - not the weld. Good news. So I went for it.

I am VERY happy with the result. It weighs 2 pounds without any hardware, pedals, etc. My seat weighs 3 pounds. I need to add a bracket for the right angle gear box kindly provided by one of my sponsors MitrPak, a shaft, the prop (we're hopefully getting this CNC machined), aluminum frames for the seat back and outriggers and the rudder.

I am really trying to have this new boat ready for water testing in March sometime. If it tests out as expected, then I will 'pull the trigger' and officially announce the race.

In March, I also want to get back out to Tofino for another round of sea trials in the prototype WiTHiN using a keel which I still have to build.

So much to do, but I am hanging in there! Susie will be my inspiration for March.

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My little red Coroplast playhouse

The new design for the ocean crossing version of WiTHiN is here:

I am still working on nailing down the exact measurements, and in order to learn about what those measurements need to be, I built a wood and coroplast mock-up trainer:

The sliding canopy works exactly the same way it will on the actual boat.

I can reach my bow storage compartment by leaning forward and crouching right in front of the drive leg. I will cover the hatch opening with a pull-off kayak-type hatch instead of a hinged hatch because the swinging door would interfear with the drive leg.

I can access the stern sleeping cabin through a Lewmar hatch that I cut out of plywood by opening up the sliding canopy cover, standing up, turning around, opening the hatch door downward, and sitting with my legs through the hatch opening. If need-be, I can also enter the hatchway with the canopy closed by lying on my stomach and entering head-first.

The problem I had with entering the cabin head-first in the prototype WiTHiN was that once I was in the stern cabin there was no way to turn around again. I need to sleep with my head toward the hatch and the cockpit.

Behind the seat is an enclosed storage copartment that will hold the water maker, and sea anchor. One of the features of the sliding canopy cover is I can kneel up on the storage compartment to deploy the sea anchor to the stern. The forward wall of this compartment behind the seat is sloped with storage bins accessible while seated.

There is a smaller perimiter deck in the gunwales that will hold the steering handles and sliders. I can store things in these arm rests as well.

Since all supplies and equipment are kept in water-tight compartments, the cockpit can get wet, splashed with a wave, or completely flooded. There will be an electric bilge pump in the foot well which is the lowest part of the cockpit.

I still need to build-out the walls for the rear sleeping cabin and experiment with those dimensions to make sure that it is comfortable enough and that I can move around in there. I also need to figure out where the horizon line is when seated and looking out the front window so I can draw where the port lights (small side windows) need to go. I need to be able to see 360 degrees from my seat to spot other boat traffic. This doesn't mean that I need a contiguous window all around - I can move my head right to left and forward to back to expand my total field of vision through each window. I want to use a transparent hatch cover for the sleeping cabin so that I can see through it and hopefully see through the rear window as well - something else to experiment with.

When moving around in the cockpit and into the rear cabin, the seat is in the way. I need to figure out some way of either easily moving it out of the way, or folding it down. I would rather move it right out of the way because it makes standing up in the cockpit and reaching things stored in the bow compartment a lot easier. Any ideas?

My seat is now higher also - in fact high enough off the hull bottom that I will be able to remove the seat to squat over a toilet bowl - something else to experiment with. No, I won't invite you over to train with me on that day.

Training - foot numbness, hours and power

And finally some really good news - with the new higher seat position, some super-lose shoes, and exagerated 'circling of my legs', my feet are no longer going numb.

My training hours in my little red playhouse are now up to about 10 hours per week. I am in base-building phase right now preparing for the 24 hour 'pedal vs. paddle challenge' in June. I always start each training season out with a maximum 20 minute effort which serves as a baseline to measure any fitness improvements as my training season moves forward. A sad 250 watts was measured - but I expected this. My peak 20 minute power output has been as high as 309 watts on my triathlon bike.

Pedal vs. Paddle Challenge

I am still moving forward with the Pedal vs. Paddle 24 hour human powered boat distance record attempt and race for early June. I have a new design from Rick for his fastest boat yet - V11G:

Jarrett Johnson from Innovention Technologies in Weyburn Saskatchewan is CNC machining the styrofoam hull and outriggers. My friend and PTO sponsor George from MitrPak is providing the gear box. I'll be doing the carbon fiber composite work, and metal fabrication myself.

I plan on building a web page to announce the race and make it official, but I think I want to get the boat finished first just to make ultra-double-extra certain that it is as efficient as it should be - that is, that I didn't make any construction blunders resulting in a sluggish boat. Not only is Carter Johnson going to join me in the race, but I am also interested in inviting a couple other types of human powered boats to race with us. A rowing skull, an outrigger canoe and maybe another kayaker. It should be pretty interesting!

New T-shirt design:

Be part of a WORLD RECORD Support Greg's quest to become the fastest human to cross the Atlantic ocean under his own power with a $100 "Across With Greg" sponsorship that includes YOUR NAME on his boat "WiTHiN" and this super-cool T-shirt!

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I've been spending some time planning out a pretty daunting schedule for the coming year, and if I can accomplish everything that I have set out to accomplish, it will be one hell of an amazing year! I am really excited about it all - I have TONS of work to do, but I say BRING IT ON because I am totally FIRED UP.

The first major event of the year will be another attempt at the 24 hour human powered boat world record in June!! This time, kayak world record holder Carter Johnson has kindly agreed to join me here in Calgary for a race. Carter currently owns the 24 hour HPB record which is 241 km which he set in his Surfski kayak in the summer of 2006. Last summer, I set a 24 hour pedal boat record of 173 km.

I'm only 68 km short! YIKES!!! To deal with that, Rick Willoughby and I have come up with a new super boat design that I will have to build. It will be very light, very narrow and WAY faster than the bathtub built for two that I raced in last summer.

I was looking for someone to build the new boat for me in exchange for some publicity, but I haven't had much interest, so I'm going to need to suck it up and get back into the shop to build it myself. That's OK - I can do it. I just have to get myself into the right mind set, clean up the shop, roll up my sleeves and make it happen.

I have already started my training program which will slowly ramp up my long 'ride' from 4 hours, once per week to 16 hours shortly before the record race in June. This new boat will be capable of almost exactly 240 km in 24 hours based on my previous power output, so beating Carters record (and beating Carter) will require that I am in better shape than ever before.

A June race will make the perfect training milestone for the Atlantic crossing next December. And for that, not only do I need to finish the design for the ocean boat, but I need to find a builder, get it built, test it, train and all of the other zillion things that need to be done to get me across the Atlantic ocean in less than 40 days. Wow - less than 40 days. And less than a year to make it all happen!

I have been speaking with Kathleen Dohan from the OSCAR program at Earth & Space Research. Kathleen has kindly offered to provide me with research, data and real-time forecasting of the currents along my Atlantic crossing route from the Canary Islands to the West Indies.

I would like to introduce my PR man Mark Dusseault who did such a fantastic job organizing my Victoria media day. The story got picked up by a national news feed and ended up being broadcast right across Canada. I got a phone call from a friend who was in Toronto on business and he saw me in the Toronto Star! We are lucky to have a guy like Mark working with Pedal The Ocean.

click to enlarge (photo by Pat Lor)

For whatever you would like to donate to Pedal The Ocean, I can superimpose your logo onto the bow of WiTHiN in the above photo that Pat Lor shot from the support boat in Tofino, BC. I can also provide you with a large framed wall plaque for your office, and a jpeg file for your marketing. This would also include a small logo on the ocean crossing boat itself, of course. If you are interested, shoot me an email with your suggestions, and I'll put it together for you. 10% of all sponsorship sales go to KidPower.

Got to run - I have some work to do!

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Victoria media day and more sea trials photos

Man and machines - Greg Kolodziejzyk stands beside WiTHiN human powered boat with Critical Power human powered vehicle in the background on the docks at the Victoria Gorge Rowing and Paddling club.

Mark Dusseault and Greg Kolodziejzyk

Mark Dusseault is amazing. Mark volunteered to organize a media day at the Gorge Rowing club in Victoria and to say he did a fantastic job would be an understatement.

Pat Lor and I arrived at the Gorge at 9:00 am and it was pretty well non-stop interviews, talking with the public and demos until 4:00 pm. The afternoon was spent with a crew from Discovery Channel who are filming a follow-up segment for Daily Planet.

Thanks to Marty and the great guys from the Gorge Rowing and Paddling center for letting us host the event at their facility in the Victoria harbor.

The story got picked up by the CP news wire feed and the stories are just now being published. Here are a few that were published today:

Victoria Times Colonist
Canadian Press
Prince George Citizen
Yahoo News
CBC news
Calgary Sun

Here are some more photos from the sea trials in Tofino:

I'm in the cockpit closely watching my support boat "Close Encounters" through the video monitor

View from outside the cockpit of my support boat "Close Encounters" - a whale watching boat from the Weigh West Resort and Marina in Tofino, BC

Sang-Ryun Woo from SBS TV Korea shooting some footage of the sleeping area in the rear of WiTHiN

I am eating my dehydrated meal in the cockpit of WiTHiN while moored to the dock at Weigh West marina in Tofino. It was a VERY rough night! The video camera that you see was recording some of that miserable night for SBS TV.

Here is my view from the video viewing system mounted on the top deck of WiTHiN

Pat Lor finds the top hatch that blew off WiTHiN!!!

Pat Lor standing by WiTHiN as we wait to board the ferry to Vancouver Island

A seal in Victoria

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Ktrac review and photography

One of our presents to each other this year was a couple of new cameras. I started doing photography when I purchased my first SRL camera when I was 13 and had a full color darkroom in my bedroom shortly thereafter. I got into doing some model photography during my first career as a freelance graphic designer (yes, when I was young and single), but dropped it all when we made the move into software development.

So, I am looking forward to getting re-acquainted with my old hobby, and I'll try to start including better images in the blog for you. Here are some of my first shots with the new Olympus SP-560 from Whitefish, Montana during our Christmas vacation.


I'm writing from our ski cabin in Whitefish, Montana. We're getting
dumped on with snow, so I thought I would take the opportunity to
thoroughly test out my new Ktrac tracted drive and front ski fitted to
my Cannondale mountain bike.

The reason I was originally interested in Ktrac was as a way to keep my bike training up over the winter. The Atlantic ocean crossing is less than a year away, and I would like to have developed a HUGE base before I start really getting into some serious distance training this Summer. The plan is to get WiTHiN out to the Pacific often throughout the winter, spring and summer for some extended trips. I need to start developing a good base now, and mixing in some outdoor cycling this winter is a great way to add miles to my training week and break it up a bit.

Also, I am still trying to arrange another attempt at the 24 hour
human powered boat distance record for possibly June this spring. I've
been talking to the current 24 hour distance record holder Carter
Johnson (240 km in 24 hours on a surfski) about racing me in June and
he's into it, so we'll see. It will be quite a challenge. We've also
discussed the possibility of inviting some other forms of human
powered water travel such as a rowing skull, and an outrigger canoe.

Back to the Ktrac - first of all, here is/was my expectations/hopes.
At a very minimum, I wanted to be able to bike over machine grooved
ski and cross country ski trails up decent grades. Next, I thought it
would be great to have enough traction and floatation to make way
through some fresh powder - not too deep - maybe a few inches on a
packed base.

The Ktrac rear tracted wheel replaces my current standard knobby
mountain bike tire and the installation is very simple - no more
complicated that replacing a wheel. It comes with it's own 8 speed
cassette and my rear caliper break fits onto the Ktrac rim. I also
installed the Ktrac front ski and used it exclusively for this test
because I had forgotten my front wheel at home. The Ktrac rear wheel
is VERY heavy. I don't have a scale with me, but it's got to be 15 to
20 pounds.

I started out sliding down my steep driveway on a layer of hard packed
snow/ice. The front ski was surprisingly like a front wheel! It is a
short ski with some curves cut into the sides like popular down hill
skis. Those parabolic curves bite into the snow and carve nice, tight
turns. It took a few seconds to get used to a bit of a delay in the
input/output compared to a front wheel, but overall it was fairly easy
to adjust to.

The Ktrac rear tracted wheel provided enough traction to climb back up
my driveway without any noticeable slipping. I'm not sure any knobby
wheel would have enough traction for this driveway - possibly a
studded tire tough. The street out front climbs a very steep hill to
the top of the hill our house is built on. Cycling on the road was
fairly easy except when small rocks got caught under the front ski.
When I reached the top of the hill, I took the bike off-road onto a
groomed ski trail. The small trail from the road to the ski trail was
foot-packed, but very deep snow. I had to push the bike through this.

When I reached the flat section of the ski trail, I was surprised that
I could not pedal the Ktrac through this at all! Both the front ski
and the rear track sunk way deep into the snow - even through the
snowplow packed top layer. I was able to ride down the hills though,
as some speed really helped me get enough floatation to stay on top of
the snow. Once I had some speed up, I was able to move across
flattened sections better, but once the inevitable slow-down came, the
Ktrac would get sink into the snow and get stuck.

The downhill runs were fun, and I can see now why Ktrac seems to be
marketing their drive as a way to ride your mountain bike down ski
hills. If you are looking for another way to ski down mountains, then
I think the Ktrac could provide you with loads of exhilarating fun and
challenge. This is not what I wanted to use the Ktrac for though - I
have a ski closet packed full of downhill skis, cross country skis and
mountain boards for that.

Overall, making way over the ski trail was a pain - I was constantly
having to get off and push over the flats and uphills while enjoying
short downhill runs at full speed. I'm not sure if a knobby tire would
have fared any better, but I am certain a good winter knobby tire
would have been better on the road which was the only place the Ktrac
sort of worked.

I do think that I could get the Ktrac to work for me though... I think
what it needs is more flotation. I was talking to the inventor of the
all terrain vehicle who was exhibiting beside us at Wired Magazine's NextFest this
summer in LA. He told me that they designed the skis to distribute 1
pound per square inch of ski area to provide enough flotation to keep
their mahine on top of the snow. If you look at
snowboards, or downhill power skies, they all use something close to
this formula.

I think the Ktrac could be built into the rear wheel of a recumbent
bike, with two skis mounted on each side of the rear Ktrac drive. The
front wheel could be replaced with ski as well, but longer and wider
than the standard Ktrac front ski. If the two rear skis were depth
adjustable, you could set them such that the Ktrac sunk deep enough
into the snow for good traction. The other benefit of the trike
approach would be stability the triangulation provides.

I would be fun to experiment with this and I think that maybe the M5
low racer just might be a good platform for the experiment. It already
has 700 cc rear wheel, so the Ktrac would fit. I could fabricate two
arms which clamp to the M5 frame to hold the outrigger skis.

Be part of a WORLD RECORD.
Support Greg's quest to become the
fastest human to cross the Atlantic ocean
under his own power with a $30 "Across With Greg"
sponsorship that includes YOUR NAME on his boat "WiTHiN".

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getting ready for the mini-expedition

I've been busy getting the prototype ocean crossing boat "WiTHiN" ready for a training and testing mini-expedition to the Pacific ocean on Canada's west coast.

I need to accomplish two tests, the first is a multi-day trip through protected waters which will be a great opportunity to experience what it will be like to sit in the capsule and pedal all day. I need to learn more about how my equipment handles the ocean environment, how to cook while at sea, where to store supplies, communications, etc, etc.

above image courtesy of Pacific Surf School in Tofino, BC

The second test will be a whole lot more fun. I have been speaking with Jay Bowers of Pacific Surf School in Tofino, BC on the Pacific coast of British Columbia about helping me experience some winter open Pacific conditions safely. He really knows the area well and has a few spots in mind where we can 'nose-out' into some really big swells with a RIB boat accompanying me for safety. This could be a second trip out west - not sure yet, as I am still trying to orchestrate it all.

Check out this animated map of the swells in the Tofino area:

On Christmas day, the forecast is for 32 foot waves! Out further (shown in PINK on the map above), the swell is 48 feet high! According to my buddy Stephan who has sailed the smallest sail boat in history around Vancouver Island, in winter this coast is known as 'the graveyard of the Pacific'.

Don't worry, I'm not going out in 32 foot swells. At least not if there is big wind.

Believe it or not, a South Korean TV production company wants to fly in to film the sea trials and interview me. Go figure.

I have been very busy getting WiTHiN ready for these sea trials. I'll take you on a bit of a tour through the following photos:

The armrest gunwales are now covered with a white vinyl to cover over the sharp fiberglass ugliness. I also have foam padding under the arm rest in front of the steering handles on the gunwales. I installed two cleat-cams to secure the outriggers in. The outriggers slide in and out through two aluminum tubes behind my seat. To pull them IN, I use two cords through pulleys. To lock the floats tight up against the hull, I just slip the cords through the cleat cams. The cleat cams can also secure the rudder steering lines if i ever wanted to lock the rudder. I have bungee cord running through hooks on the gunwale wall to secure supplies and equipment.

Show above from bottom to top: My personal EPIRB (yellow), on the wall is my LED flashlight held in place on a Velcro strip, my water proof Rugged-Tech keyboard, up higher on the wall is my diving knife, the yellow Trimble Nomad computer, and up top on the instrument bar is my GPS. A secondary GPS is built into the Nomad which is running Memory-Map Pocket Navigator. This very slick piece of software allows me to plot my position on a moving map and as well, plot the position of tankers who are transmitting a radar signal with the addition of an AIS reciever.

On the floor in front of my seat is 6 liters of drinking/cooking water.

On the far right is my air horn (red horn) and on the bottom (blue) is my JetBoil cooking system from one of my sponsors. This is a fantastic gas stove which fits onto a neoprene protected cup. I can boil enough water to cook an entire dehydrated meal in about 60 seconds while HOLDING the entire stove. JetBoil also sent me a coffee press, repair tools, spare parts, and a hanging kit which I plan on using as a gimble - I'll just hang the JetBoil from the roof when boiling water. I used this system on our Broken Island kayak trip and LOVED it!

Lower right is my VHF two-way radio and above that are the electric switches for the vent fan, sound system from another sponsor - Rock The Boat Audio. Left to right on the swinging instrument bar is my Garmin GPS, SRM meter, Satellite radio and the LCD monitor which shows video from the camera mounted on the top deck. At the very top of the photo you can see my pedals, the chain-ring and part of the drive leg.

Behind the seat is the 12 volt marine battery, to the right is a coiled line and behind that is the fire extinguisher. Hanging on the right is the headrest. the blue and white box on the left gunwale is the AC charger for the 12 volt marine battery. Under the seat is an additional 3 liters of drinking water with a drinking tube. Upper left is the vent fan.

Behind the seat is my vinyl covered mattress and I have 3 gas onto of that which will be held down by bungee cords which hold the mattress down. The sacks contain my sleeping bad, blankets, clothes and 3 days worth of food.

This photo shows my navigation light which is mounted on a pole bolted to the rudder tube.

The sleeping compartment in the stern.

I've been trying to keep my training up this winter, so our (early) Christmas presents to each other (Helen and I) was cross country skis which we have been taking full advantage of. These photos are from Lake Louise with our good friends Val and Gary Erickson last weekend.

I've been back onto the recumbent bike at the gym for an hour a day. I will be increasing time spend on the bent as I approach the mini-expedition, then increasing time and intensity even more leading up to a possible repeat of the 24 hour human powered boat distance record attempt this June in Calgary with endurance kayaking super-star Carter Johnson.

Aside from another shot at the 24 hour record, I have Boston marathon with Helen in April, so my running right now is in recovery/maintenance mode - about 30 to 45 minutes per day on the elliptical trainer.

the plan is to make many extended WiTHiN trips to the west coast this winter Spring and Summer. Hopefully by Spring, we'll have the actual ocean boat construction completed and I'll be able to switch from the prototype to training on the real thing!

Rick Willoughby and I are collaborating on the ocean boat design right now. Here is a sneak preview - it may end up VERY different than the prototype boat:

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LV marathon: mission successful!

As I indicated in my previous blog post, the goal for this years Las Vegas marathon was to pace my wife Helen in for a personal best, and a Boston qualifying time goal of 3 hours, 50 minutes. I am very happy to report our MISSION COMPLETE! We smashed her goal and finished in 3 hours, 44 minutes. The time clock in the finish photo above differs from the actual chip time due to over FOUR minutes of congestion getting through the crowds at the start line!

Helen and I made a deal years ago to do the Boston marathon together, so outside of Ironman training, we've both been trying to qualify for Boston. I got lucky and hit my 3 hours, 20 minute time last year, so it looks like we will both be going to Boston in April.

We were in Las Vegas with Helen's sister and AOG photographer extraordinaire Jennifer Armand and her husband Cyrille. It was Cyrille's first marathon and I designed his training program and coached him through it. Our goal for Cyrille was 3:30 and he finished in 3:28 AND a Boston marathon qualification! That's amazing for a first marathon!!!

Left to Right: Helen, Greg and Cyrille

"Across With Greg" sponsorship list growing!

Thank you all a million times over for your support! The list of "Across with Greg" names to go on WiTHiN is growing every day. Here is a list of all the sponsors to date:

As I indicated in my last blog post, I am planing on a mini-expedition to the Gulf islands this month or January for further testing. WiTHiN is being painted now, and I plan on adding logos for my corporate and small business sponsors to her before the mini-expedition. I am expecting some press to cover the event, and we are talking to Discovery Channel about filming a follow-up to their original segment on Pedal the Ocean.

For as little as $250, you could have your company's logo on WiTHiN for the mini-expedition. Click here for more details:

$250 small logo & plaque:

$400 small logo, 3 T-shirts & plaque:

$1000 bigger logo, 10 T-shirts & plaque:

$3000 medium logo, advertising content package & plaque:

$10,000 major sponsor:

$25,000 title sponsor:

For an over-view of all of my sponsorship products, click here:

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YOU are invited to be part of this world record attempt

Thank you all for your input and advice regarding my sponsorship offerings. In the end, my conclusion was that it is as important to build a community of support as it is to raise the capital that I require to pull it off.

Therefore, I have decided to sell "Across With Greg" sponsorships that include your name on the expedition boat WiTHiN at an very affordable level of $30. I am also offering packages of 3 and 5 names for $75 and $100. I figure this might make a cool Christmas gift, so with each purchase you get a nice printed folding card that describes what the Pedal the Ocean Atlantic record attempt expedition is about, and features the recipient's name that will be printed on the boat.

I am also selling T-shirt + "Across With Greg" name packages for $100, and premium expedition gear packages for $150.

I have received quite a bit of interest from small businesses interested in having their logos displayed on WiTHiN for an affordable price level. I am offering a small business or group sponsorship package which include your company logo on the boat for $250 - pretty reasonable I think. These small business packages include a framed plaque signifying your companies support for the expedition.

I have also developed additional sponsorship products that range in price from $400 to a title sponsor position for $25,000.

I think you will find the online store easy to use. I accept VISA, MasterCard and PayPal. All sponsorships include a 10% donation to KidPower.

To challenge the current 43 day human powered Atlantic crossing record, I estimate it will end up costing me over $200,000. If any of you are interested, I can provide you with a breakdown of the budget. Assistance in the form of sponsorship income is GREATLY appreciated, but I also value the support you all have given me and hopefully will continue to give me in other, non-financial ways. Just being out there listening and offering your feedback helps me more than you can know! THANK YOU!

If you can't join me as an official sponsor, then perhaps you could pass the web site URL along to some friends who you think might be interested in Pedal The Ocean record attempt and/or my KidPower school education program. If we can get news of my quest spread in a viral way, then $30 per name can really add up!!!

Adding this as a signature in your email is also something that would help:

Be part of a WORLD RECORD.
Support Greg's quest to become the
fastest human to cross the Atlantic ocean
under his own power with a $30 "Across With Greg"
sponsorship that includes YOUR NAME on his boat "WiTHiN".

The sponsorship main page where you can make your purchases is here:

A list of current Across with Greg and corporate sponsors is here:

The main Pedal the Ocean web site is here:

To stay on top of my progress, the Blog web site is here:

More information on KidPower can be found here:

I thank you for your support. I'm not sure I would be doing this if it wasn't for you. (well, I probably still would, but it wouldn't be nearly as fun!).

Best regards,
Greg Kolodziejzyk

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Winter Training

On Monday, Helen and I returned from a bike trip through the Tuscany region of Italy with Backroads. It was a wonderful trip! Despite cycling mammoth hills every day (2000 ft up, 2000 ft down, all day long), I managed to gain 10 pounds. Imagine that - eating Pizza and drinking Chianti Reserva day after day with reckless abandon and you will gain a few pounds. Oh well - it's back to a serious training program for this cowboy.

Helen and I are doing the Las Vegas marathon on December 2nd, so I really need to get my running form back. I designed a new training program that will hopefully convert me from my sluggish present self to a lean and mean marathon machine. My goal is 3:15. My training program is here if you care to look it over.

I am also biking an hour everyday to maintain a cycling base plus 3 days of weights (2 days of legs and 1 day of upper body). My goal is to really pursue the Greenland Ice Cap crossing in the spring. Tons of stuff needs to happen first, but I am going to assume that everything will work out as I have planned (ha, ha, ha - good one!), and I want to make sure that I am really super ready for the biking volume that I will need to have as a base. If I can break the 8 day crossing record, it may end up being a solo RAMM-type of effort -RAMM is Race Across America where solo competitors cycle up to 20 hours per day for 8 to 10 days in a row racing their way across the US.

My daily hour of base cycling is now on the mountain bike which is probably what I will end up using to cross the Ice Cap. My goal is to cycle to the gym 5 days per week regardless of what kind of nastiness winter wants to throw at me. This should get me used to various wintry surfaces, and dressing appropriately. It snowed again today - but this year I am actually really looking forward to the snow and cold. Learning about winter biking, camping and survival is kind of exciting.

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Kayaking trip

This whale breached right off the bow of my kayak!

I just returned from our 4 day kayaking/camping trip through the Broken Group Island chain off of the West coast of Vancouver island. We had fantastic weather and it was a really great time! We saw sea lions barking on the rocks, sat in the middle of a group of seals feeding, watched a whale breach, right off the bow of my kayak, and paddled along with dolphins. I also got the chance to experience a channel crossing with 3 to 4 foot waves and large swells from the open Pacific which was a good experience. Great, great trip. It was a highlight of my summer for sure.

We forgot (well, I forgot) the tent poles for one of our tents, so we used our axe to cut new ones from a drift wood log. It worked perfectly!

When we broke camp to move to a new island, I had to haul the new tent poles with me.

My daughter Krista chillin in the tent

Helen and Val getting ready for another day of paddling

Seals feeding

Seals feeding

From left to right: Gary, Val, Greg, Helen, Dustin, Cody, Bridget, Krista

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3 weeks until Ironman Canada!!

photo from my favorite training ride - the top of the highest paved road in Canada - the Highwood pass

Well, I have survived another Ironman training epoch and I have now entered the taper phase. This is the time where my priority is to allow my body to FULLY recover from the stresses and damage that the last few months have conflicted upon it.

The 'damage' started with the 24 hour HPB record on June 3 - mostly my right knee and my left Achilles tendon. Now, my knee seems like it is recovered, but I have a very tight and sore left hamstring, left IT band and left Achilles tendon.

My focus for the next 3 weeks is going to be more extreme than a typical Ironman taper. I am cutting out ALL intensity and endurance work, doing nothing but recovery work between now and race day with a few short, race-pace intervals placed in when I think I can handle it. This means daily easy bike rides of 100 to 130 watts, and daily walk-runs. I will still maintain a similar swimming program as before - 3 times a week for about an hour each session.

I know from experience that recovery happens when you are ACTIVE, not when you rest. Your body tends to go into a state of suspended animation when you sit around all day - Injuries just sort of stick around, as there is no pressing reason for your body to fix them, so it doesn't. If you are doing nothing, then your body does the same regarding it's injuries. The way to recover is to be active to the point where you are not further stressing the injury. By doing this you are telling your body that you still require the use of the injured parts, and that it had better fix them. Or you might get eaten by the saber tooth tiger. If you are not using it, then your body thinks you don't need it anymore and as a result, it does not allocate any resources to the repair work required. "Use it or lose it" is my recovery mantra.

My last big training day was with Greg B. This is tradition - before every Ironman, we finish our training with an epic 9 to 10 hour training day. This was a 216 km ride from hwy 40 at the Trans Canada, up to the summit of Highwood Pass, down the back to Longview, then around to Bragg Creek. We had driven and parked two cars in the morning before we headed out. We also inserted two, 20 minute runs into the bike ride - the first at the top of Highwood pass and the second in Longview. It was a great day despite getting soaked with rain through a few thunder showers.

Helen and Greg outside the Banff Springs Hotel

Helen is also doing Ironman Canada on August 26th. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we like to escape on the weekend by cycling to Banff, staying in the Banff Springs Hotel and then doing a long trail run the next day. The long training weekend finishes with a 120 km bike ride back to Calgary. We've done this 4 times this season, and it's really a great way to keep the training fresh and fun.

This is the 25th anniversary of Ironman Canada - the oldest Ironman race in the world next to the original Ironman world championships which is in Kona, Hawaii. The last time I did Ironman Canada was in 2004. According to my race report, I did a 5:15 bike split and blew up on the run finishing in about 12 hours. I 'would-have' qualified for Kona again in Arizona earlier this year if it wasn't for two flat tires on the bike. To solve that issue, I am going to give a new product by Vittoria a try. It's called Vittoria Pitstop ( Vittoria Pit Stop ). It is a small canister that will inflate and seal a flat tubular tire. I testing it out on an old tubular that I have and it worked really well. I punctured the tire by hammering a nail through it, then simply inflated the tire using the Pit Stop product. It pressurized to about 100 psi which is good enough to get me to the finish line and it took all of about 1 minute to do! You don't have to take the wheel off, or mess around with trying to pry your tire off the rim. you don't even have to carry any of the heavy tools or spares with you - just a small canister of Vittoria Pit Stop - pretty nifty!

The tire eventually went flat again in about 3 hours, but after re-pressuring with a Co2 cartridge, it stayed fully pressurized for the next week. I would recommend taking a couple of Co2's along on race day just to be sure than it the tire started to lose too much pressure, that you could top it up with the C02. I think this largely depends on the size of the puncture. In my test, I used a fairly large nail, so it was probably a bigger hole than your typical puncture.

My plan at IMC is to do what I can with the swim - I'm a slow swimmer and nothing I have done over the last 7 years has resulted in any appreciable decrease in my Ironman swim time, so I will be satisfied with an hour and 10 to 15 minutes. According to the SRM data that I have from past races, I know that a 5 hour bike split in Arizona equates to a 5:10 in Canada, so that is what I would like to do.

I was using Pyro Platforms on my bike with water socks, but I recently switched to wearing my running shoes with the Platforms. The reason I was using the platforms with socks is because i found that by providing a FLAT platform for my foot without the restricting shoe, that my feet were not sore after I came off the bike - a problem that has plagued me in the past. I also discovered that when you pull up with your leg on a pedal stroke, that mostly you are just pulling up the weight of your leg and not really adding much to power moving you forward. I found that I could pull up just as well in the platform without any kind of strap holding my foot down to the pedal as I could with a shoe. In testing with my SRM, there was no difference between using a traditional bike shoe, or my platforms with socks (or bare feet).

The reason I switched to using a full running shoe in the platform is that I figured i could save a couple of minutes at transition by being able to run direct from my bike out to the bike course without having to stop in transition. Since all that I required from my T2 transition bag is my running shoes, I am good to go directly from my bike. After a slight seat height adjustment, wearing the running shoes on the platform feels no different than wearing the aqua socks, and for time trial distances like Ironman, I do not see any valid reason to wear tight, restricting, uncomfortable bike shoes.

After my 15 second T2 transition, I hope to better my 3:50 running performance at Ironman Arizona in 2006 where I came in 4th in my division and qualified for world championships. If the plan is successful, I will finish between 10 and 10:15 which should be good enough for a Kona slot.

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I'm now a salty dog

This is me now, one experienced salty dog.

Helen, my son Cody, and I spent 5 days living and learning aboard our chartered 39 foot Bavaria yacht cruising the islands south and east of Vancouver Island. Our captain was a lovely girl from Brisbane, Australia who teaches here in Canada during her winter, and runs a charter business at home with her husband during her summer.

The weather sucked - rain set records and this photo shows fog that never happens in July. We didn't mind though - the scenery was spectacular.

The purpose of the sailing adventure was two-fold. First, Helen and I have often wondered if sailing the seven seas was something that we might like to get into some day. Second, I need some real ocean experience and education and this was the perfect starting point.

This is Helen at the Helm, our instructor Kelly from down-unda on the Starboard side and my son Cody texting his girl friend.

After our exams, all three of us walked away with our "Canadian Yachting Association Basic Cruising Standard" certifications. We can now charter a 34 foot sailing yacht by ourselves. yikes.

Cody at the helm

Our fearless instructor Kelly from Melbourne, Australia

The next step is to advance to an intermediate course that would take me out into the open ocean. This course should better prepare me for what I might expect on an ocean crossing.

Kelly was a great captain and the course was very informative. My brain is still sore from all the thinking and learning. Sailing terminology seems like a whole new language. Port, Stern, Headsail, Mainsail, Halyard, lines, sheets, a close hauled tack. But the week was fantastic - we all loved it and feel like we learned so much.

Kelly learning us some 'portant sail'n stuff

Cody MSN'ing his girlfriend. Sometimes we docked in a marina that offered wireless.

A morning photo from the deck of our yacht "New Beginnings"


Last summer was pretty crazy with adventure and travel packed into our very short 3 to 4 month window of summer weather a-way up North here in Calgary. This summer is no different. Here is a quick list of some of events that we have checked off our summer to-do list, as well as what is still to come:

June 2-3: The human powered pedal boat 24 hour distance record. Actually, that really started in May with trips to the Glenmore Reservoir with WiTHin (my human powered pedal boat) where I ended up logging over 60 hours pedaling WiTHiN around the lake.

July 11 - 15:
Helen and I spent a week in Montreal for Cody's Senior National Diving Championships. Cody did very well and Helen and I were able to take advantage of the change in environment to fit in some great training for Ironman Canada.

July 18-24:
As soon as we returned from Montreal, the three of us were off to Victoria for the sailing course. Krista is in Ecuador on a Teenage Adventure trip with Adventures Cross Country
August 16-27:
We are at our Cabin in Whitefish, Montana to fit in some last minute training.

August 23-27:
We will head straight to Penticton, BC to compete in the 25th anniversary of Ironman Canada on August 26th!

August 28 - Sept 2:
From Penticton, we head directly to Vancouver Island for a kayaking/camping trip through the Broken Islands off the east coast of Vancouver island.

Sept 10-18:
Ben Eadie, John Mackay, Helen, Cody, Krista and myself fly off to Los Angeles to participate at Wired Magazines NEXTfest.2007 technology exhibition where we will display Critical Power and our new streamliner simulator.

Sept 20-30:
Helen and I are off on a bike trip around Italy to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

Sometime in October:
A trip back out to Vancouver Island for some ocean testing in the full top-deck version of WiTHiN!

Have you seen this map? It's pretty frightening:

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Visualizing the future

WiTHiN - the prototype ocean crossing human powered boat

The various Adventures of Greg projects like Pedal The Ocean expedition are all about to move into a higher gear. After some serious soul searching since the 24 hour HPB record, I have decided that if I am going to accomplish my long term goals, I need to structure my operations to better focus on what I need to be doing with my time.

I find that after a day of hard training, I am next to useless in the shop, and nothing gets accomplished. Either that, or the progress I do make is crap because I have taken short cuts or have failed to see obvious way of solving a problem.

The other problem that needs solving is that I have been avoiding the 'hard stuff' - no, not the 8 hour training days, or expedition planing, but the real 'hard' stuff - getting on the phone and contacting potential corporate sponsors, lining up media partners, finding gear sponsors, doing PR, etc, etc. I know I am the best person for that job, so I decided that I had better suck it up and learn how to do it, or it won't ever get done.

Ben Eadie

With that said, I am happy to announce that I hired Ben to work with me 3 days a week. He'll be mostly working in the shop over the next few months getting the Critical Power HPV simulator built for NextFest and getting the full top-deck version of WiTHiN finished and ready for sea trials this fall.

WiTHiN - the ocean crossing human powered boat

I envision being able to accomplish a lot more in the pursuit of exploring the limits of human power with Ben's help. Certainly far more than what I would be able to accomplish as a one-man-band like it's been for the past few years. We have some pretty cool plans for KidPower, ideas for a video blog series, and some really awesome human powered projects on the drawing board! Just training for, and organizing all of this is a full time job. Someone has to build the stuff and that is where Ben comes in.

Here is a brief preview of what may be store for you over the next year or two:

KidPower: We want to build a web site where kids can register their own little mini adventures. I'd like to call it, or (those specific domains are not available). The goal of the mini-adventures is to set a personal or community record, or to accomplish a difficult challenge. All mini-adventures would be physical activity based and through the web site, the kids would be offered blogging tools and support from the KidPower team and community. We could solicit Corporations to donate prizes and awards to encourage the kids to accomplish their adventures.

Some early ideas for some challenges:

1. Walk a 1000 miles
2. Walk a 200 km in a month
3. Run 100 km in a month
4. How many km can you run in one month?
5. How many km can you bike in 6 months?
6. Skate 100 miles this winter
7. Dance 100 hours
8. Run a 5 km race
9. Run a 10 km race
10. How many basketball bounces can you do in 2 hours?
11. How many skipping rope skips can you do in one day?

SolidWorks Critical Power Simulator simulator (funded by - We are building a new portable streamlinerSolidWorks corporation) that will be a part of all school presentations. Now all of the kids will get a chance to feel what it is like to pedal Critical Power to 50 kph and navigate through the busy streets of a virtual city!

The SolidWorks Critical Power simulator

Pedal The Ocean trans Atlantic record attempt: The prototype ocean boat WiTHiN will be ready for sea testing by the end of September and I will be heading out to Vancouver Island for sea trials.

New Adventures of Greg record attempts: Here is a quick preview of some of the potential projects that are being considered:

1. A Paddle vs Pedal 24 hour human powered boat race. Is 260 km in 24 hours on water by human power possible? I think it is!
2. Human powered ice cap crossing record (currently 8 days for solo)
human powered ice cap crossing vehicle concept

3. Human powered flight record
4. Human powered circumnavigation of Vancouver Island record attempt (currently 28 days for solo)
5. The human powered hour record (currently 86.77 km fully faired, or 45 km unfaired)
6. The human powered recumbent 100 mile record

People are always amazed at how far or fast you can go when you mix a little cutting edge technology with good old fashioned muscle power. Human power doesn't pollute, and it's use is the key to solving the serious health issues that we are facing today. My goal is to raise awareness of the problems afflicting modern society caused by our sedentary lifestyle. I hope that through my various projects, I can inspire and motivate others to become more active. EVERYONE - not just the kids!


Here are some more photos of the kind of riding I get to enjoy here in Calgary. Greg B and I drove about 40 minutes west to the Kananaskis turn off and cycled up the Highwood pass, down the other side and back to the car for a solid 6 hour ride.

We say a bunch of mountain goats, some big horn sheep and one Grizzly. Well, I say it was a large Grizzly because it was brown and had a hump on it's back, but Greg thinks it was a small black bear. I saw it at the side of the road and yelled to Greg who was in front of me. My voice startled the bear and it suddenly looked up at me like it was going to charge. Can a bear out run a Cervelo P3 carbon?

The ride was super tough for me because my legs were fried from the Stampede half marathon I did the day before. It was a good race for me - I came in 4th in my division out of 125 guys with a 1:33 finish time, so I was happy. My PR 1/2 marathon is 1:27, but that was barefoot, so this race was a good chance to compare the effect of your running shoe weight on your average run pace. The rule of thumb is 1% speed gain for every 1 ounce of weight saved on your footwear. My runners are 9 ounces and my kayak booties weigh 4 ounce which is a difference of about 5 ounces. That would equate to about 5 minutes which was just about how much faster I was when I didn't wear my shoes at the Police Half last April.

In theory, this is all really great, but in practice, I have yet to be able to run longer than about 90 minutes without suffering from brutally sore feet. A lifetime of running, walking and standing in shoes has resulted in some serious atrophy in my foot muscles, so building up to being able to run a full marathon without shoes is going to take some time. Currently, I do about 1/2 of my running without shoes. I usually alternate a day with shoes and a day without shoes. Also, when I am not running, I go barefoot or wear my flat sandals.

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Taking a breather

This is the view from outside my backdoor!
Sorry for the hiatus in blog updates! I've been taking a bit of a breather since the abuse that the 24 hour HPB record inflicted upon my body and mind.

Helen and I have been focusing on our training for Ironman Canada coming up on August 26th. Calgary is such a great place for Ironman training! A days ride (180 km) and check out the kind of scenery we have to suffer with.

This is total training heaven: Helen and I drove out to Banff 2 weeks ago and did an hour swim, then a 2 hour trail run in the mountains. We stayed at the breath-taking Banff Spings Hotel, then cycled 120 km home the next day. The following weekend we reversed it by cycling the 120 km to Banff, staying at the Springs again, then doing a long run and swim the next day and driving home.

This weekend, we cycled 180 km (uphill and into a strong headwind!) to Lake Louise and stayed at another very famous hotel - Chateau Lake Louise Then the next day, we did a 2 hour hike first thing in the morning, then cycled 2 hours back to Banff and did the 2 hour mountain trail run (a favorite of mine!) and stayed at the Springs again. Then we cycled the 120 km back to Calgary the next day. This is how training should be!!!! To do it right, you need to make your training a part of your life.

If you check out the links to the hotels you will probably think that level of accommodation is quite excessive - however, periodically Fairmont Hotels, who owns both the Springs and the Chateau, offer some spectacular deals to local Calgarians. Typically some rooms go for over $550 a night, but during special times, locals can get them for $120.

I think the 24 hour record on June 2 /07 took more out of me than I thought. Since starting back on my triathlon bike, I only just this weekend had my first real great training ride. My knee is almost fully recovered and my runs are up to 2 hours. My swimming sucks as usual, but I've been doing some 90 minute long swims without any major drama, so that's cool.

My goal in training on the bike this time around is to try to maintain at least race intensity (210 to 220 watts) for my entire long rides (5 to 8 hours), and to make sure that I get more than adequate rest between hard training sessions. My goal for run training is to first and foremost, not injure myself. That means taking more days off between hard or long training sessions to be sure that I am fully recovered.

I have some weight management goals as well. I want to try to make it to race day at 156 pounds instead of the usual 152 pounds. When I qualified at Ironman Arizona last year, I raced at 156 to 157 pounds and had the race of my life. I am currently 158 pounds which is pretty heavy, but I think it will be OK.


The plan for this summer was to get WiTHiN ready for the ocean. I still plan on getting that done, but the thought of getting back into the shop and into the epoxy isn't thrilling me right now, so I'm going to chill a bit more on that.

As I mentioned before, WIRED magazine has invited me to display Critical Power at NextFest.2007 in September They want us to build a new simulator for the show, so that is something that I will probably start on right away. Here is a picture of the concept:

We need a new sim for the KidPower school presentations anyhow. The old simulator was worked right into Critical Power, streamliner but after a few hundred kids, it just wasn't robust enough and broke quite often. So, we decided to build a new stand alone unit.

SolidWorks corporation - the same company who makes the awesome software used to design Critical Power, has kindly offered to sponsor the KidPower simulator! This is very good news because we can now afford to build a proper stand-alone simulator that can be used for both the NextFest show and our KidPower school presentations that will start again next fall.

You can pedal up to 150 watts and navigate via the steering bar through a crowded city street looking at the LCD monitor. The virtual city course is based on an Xbox game - when you turn the steering bar, it moves a push/pull rod which is connected to the thumb knob on an Xbox controller. It's really quite a lot of fun for both kids and grown-ups alike!


Check out this really cool European e-magazine called Beta-sway who just did an article on the project: Click on the July issue.


And the final item is some web site changes. I have changed the main AdventuresOfGreg home page a bit, and added some more photos to the 24 hour HPB record

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when you are going through hell, keep going.

The lake was like a mirror on Saturday. The paddle wheel boat in the background is the SS Moyie - a recreation of a paddle steamer from Heritage Park that cruises the Glenmore Reservoir

Paula Newby Frasier who is probably the most famous Ironman champion in history - an 8-Time Ironman Triathlon World Champion once gave me this advice from a presentation I was at. Typically, first timer advice from experienced Ironman triathletes is to 'remember to have fun'. Paula says that Ironman isn't fun. It's not supposed to be fun. It's probably one of the hardest things you will ever do, and when things are hard, they're not fun. That's what makes it such a challenging event. I know this and agree 100%. I don't have fun on race day. But I have the time of my life after I have crossed the finish line! Especially when I have successfully achieved a goal or two. In fact, the 'fun' lasts for a very, very long time.

The pain is temporary. The pride is forever.

I am afraid of next weekend. It's going to be tough. Very tough. It's worse for me, because I know what I am in for, as I have been through it a couple of times before. 24 hours of non-stop pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing. Ugh!

Winston Churchill said "When you are going through hell, keep going!"

But, I must say that 24 hours of lake-side scenery sure beats going around a quarter-mile race track 1800 times.

As I type this blog update, my chair keeps bobbing up and down. I just spent 7 hours on the lake today on top of 8 hours yesterday. The feeling of floating with the waves does not stop when you climb out of your boat. It was a bit of a challenge to maintain the 7 km per hour speed average that I need to break the 24 hour human powered boat record ( IHPVA). And I was only out there for 8 hours. My knees are slowly getting a bit better, my right knee is pain-free now, and I am hoping that my left will follow suit by next weekend.

WiTHiN was not designed for a 24 hour HPB record, it was designed for an ocean crossing. While she is not the best hull shape for a speed record, she is probably just fast enough for the 24. That is what will make this challenge so difficult. There is no room for any coasting.

That said, I promise you all that I will give it my best.


Here are some photos of Fridays continuation of the Discovery Channel shoot. They rigged up these tiny lipstick cameras to various locations on WiTHiN for some really cool footage.

Al and Neil from Discovery hooking up the lipstick cams

This is a photo of the 'mission control center' on WiTHiN showing my new Garmin eTRex Venture Cx GPS and the SRM power meter.

The 2 AA batteries on the Garmin supposedly last for over 50 hours! I am timing the battery life now to see how long it will last with the back light on. We decided that it would be easier and more accurate to simply have me follow my route on the GPS than having to string a long line of buoys that would have to be marked with lights. I tested this out on the lake on Saturday, and it is pretty easy to follow a pre-set route on the Garmin. It would be great if the batteries last for the entire night. If the batteries don't last, then I will look at installing a small LED light to illuminate the Garmin screen.

My buddy John Mackay helping out

The plan is to mark the turn-around buoys and any obstacles near my path with glow sticks. June 2 is a full moon, so regardless, I should be able to see across the lake.

Ben picked up some of this really slick Loc-Line modular hose for me. I'm going to clamp it on the side perimeter deck and then mount the GPS and my iPod video to the other end so I can swivel it around for easy viewing without having to hold them.

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BIG training day

I successfully finished a full 10 hours on the Lake in WiTHiN yesterday. Whew! That was one LOOOONG day. Local kayaker Chris Comfort joined me for the last couple of hours which made the time pass by - thanks Chris!

The day had some slight windy moments and 1 to 2 foot waves kicked up. At the right angle to the waves, some were splashing over the perimeter deck and soaking me. I guess I should probably install some sort of splash lip on the cockpit edge in case it gets windy during the 24... I wonder if there was something temporary and removable that I could make just in case? Any ideas?

During parts of the day it was also dead calm, sunny and HOT. It reached a high of 29.5 degrees and the water was like a mirror.

My speed while I was peddling averaged around 9 kph. Including some lengthy stops to adjust my seat, etc, etc, my average was still hovering about 7 kph. If I could end up with a 7 average after the 24 hour attempt, that would convert to 168 km which is at the current record. During the record attempt, I am not planning on any stops at all if I can help it, so I really hope that I can maintain a least a 7 kph average by the end of the day. My goal is to end with a 8 kph average which would be 192 km. My 100 watt speed is about 8.3 kph, so an ending wattage average of 100 is realistic, as I have done it before.

My KNEES are becoming a problem now!! What a pain (literally). My numb feet weren't a problem since I have lowered my seat back and replaced my small Speedplay pedals with larger Time pedals. The reclining of the seat back puts less pressure on my butt and lower back, so I think that it encourages better blood flow down to my feet - don't know for sure. However, since the new open hip angle, my knees have started to ache. I think this has to do with one or a combination of these factors:

1. My lower cadence of 70 rpm for 150 watts
2. The knee position is ABOVE the pedal position at the maximum torque position of the crank.
3. Possibly a wider foot stance (Q factor) due to the position of the cleats for the new TIME pedals.
4. Possibly a closer than normal seat position (I've been playing around with various seat positions, shoes and cleats in order to resolve the numb issue, so that could have resulted in a closer than normal seat position)

I was out on the M5 for 2.5 hours on Tuesday and hammered for most of the ride at 250+ watts. I was using the new TIME pedals and I had NO indication of any pain whatsoever. The seat position is slightly different though - the distance from the seat bottom to the cranks is the same, but the seat back angle is higher. I can't lower it any further on the M5 due to the addition of a mid drive last year.


new prop - 1/2 km/hr faster!

I got my new prop yesterday and hauled everything out to the lake for a quick test and training session. Rick Willoughby made it for me and it only took about 1 week to get here by mail. From Australia!!

I could tell immediately that it was different because my cadence to produce power was about 10 rpm slower than my prop. It was also faster! On average .5 kph faster at 150 watts. I did some speed intervals on 10 watt increments and here is the result as compared to Ricks estimate:
We're getting much closer. I still think the remaining gap is due to the hull shape.

On the agenda for this week is to get my HID headlight installed on WiTHiN. We're still waiting to hear back from the city of Calgary as to weather I will be allowed to use the lithium polymer batteries for the light on the reservoir. My proposal to them is to have the batteries tethered to the boat or the dock at all times.

I also need to deal with the hydration IN/OUT systems. A water bag for hydration, and a 'dirty water' bag for outgoing. This bag will be handed off to the crew about once per hour when I circle around to the home base dock where I will pick up a new water bag and what ever food i require. For comm, I have decided to just use my cell phone instead of my two way radio. It's lighter and the battery should last all day.

I am testing out my Trimble Recon PDA. It features a GPS with moving map software. I downloaded a detailed photo of the Glenmore reservoir from Google Maps and added it to the Fugawi GPS navigation software. It worked perfectly!

I also want to experiment with a video iPod, or portable DVD player. This would be a great way to take my mind off the monotony of going around and around in circles for 24 hours. The advantage to a DVD player is I can just stick any DVD in to watch it on the big screen. The disadvantage is poor visibility on the screen during the day, and poor battery life. The advantage to something like an iPod video is a bright screen and good battery life, but here in Canada, you can't buy any video content from the iTunes music store - that sucks.

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Day on the lake

What a great day! I spent 8 hours on Glenmore Reservoir today pedalling WiTHiN-24 human powered boat around the lake. It was a perfect day - very little wind, a clear sunny sky and a high of 26 degrees. I got fried, but I was loving every minute of it.

Good news though - I think I may have resolved the numb foot issue by increasing my seat back angle. I lowered the seat back and opened up my hip angle. This puts less pressure on my butt by transferring more load to my upper back. It seemed to have solved the problem which is great, but I have introduced new muscles that have not been training for this particular geometry. When ever you open up the hip angle, you introduce more hamstrings, so they were pretty sore at the end of the day. Also my knees were a bit tender do to this new position. I really hope that the 3 weeks I have remaining to train for my attempt at the 24 hour human powered boat record is enough time for my body to adjust. This is NOT ideal, as I would prefer 3 months to train rather than 3 weeks, but it's the only time that works into my summer schedule, so I'll have to just suck it up and go for it.

I have created an information page for the 24 hour record attempt on June 2, 2007 (yes, only 3 weeks away!):

And here is a map of the reservoir showing my planned route. It's an out and back dog leg that is approximately 2.5 km long. My home base and support will be staged at the Glenmore Sailing School dock at the south end of the reservoir. My route goes North and turns around at the Glenmore Trail bridge. There is a location on the bike path near the bridge for an official observer. The current HPVA record is 168 km, so that would be about 33 1/2 laps.

We require 2 observers aside from Rob Hitchcock the HPVA official that I am flying in to act as head official. If you are local to Calgary or willing to fly in from Vancouver or somewhere equally convenient, and would be interested in acting as an official observer, then please contact me.

The new propeller that Rick Willoughby made for me just arrived from Melbourne, Australia by MAIL yesterday. It took less than a week to get here!!! That's better service than UPS ground from the states. I'm anxious to install it and see if WiTHiN will be any faster. I still think that majority of the slower than expected speed is due to the Nimbus sea kayak hull shape which was designed for stability, not speed. This is perfect for the ocean version of WiTHiN, but not ideal for a record attempt. However, it is probably good enough and the experience and publicity stemming from the 24 hour event is great for me and the ocean crossing expedition.

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WiTHiN Lake Test!

The lake test was fairly successful, but our speeds were about 10% slower than predicted.

Our 150 watt predicted speed was 10.2 kph and I measured 9.2 kph. That's only a 10% decrease, but it required 50% more power to reach 10.2 kph than expected which is quite a bit. Here are the speed test results:

100 watts = 7.8 kph

150 watts = 9.1 kph

200 watts = 10 kph

250 watts = 10.3 kph

all packed up and ready to go

150 watts over 24 hours will net out to about 110 average watts (using SRM data from my two 24 hour HPV events). 110 watts is about 8 kph average speed. 8 km * 24 hours = 192 km which is 24 km over the current 168 km record. This is OK, and for what we are trying to accomplish with the 24 hour record event as an introduction to the Atlantic expedition, it is acceptable.

My friend Bryon Howard was my support boat for today

Rick is concerned and thinks we can narrow down where some of the losses are coming from. Starting with a new prop that Rick kindly made for me and is en route from Melbourne now. Some other refinements include cleaning up some underwater fairing issues and more tests. Another reason for the slower than expected speeds could be due to some incorrect hull shape information. It appears that there is more displacement than we originally calculated. I suspected this, as the Hyak kayak hull that we used for WiTHiN is a lot more stable than we expected. That stability comes at a cost - great for the ocean boat, but so quite as good for a 24 hour record attempt.

I am assembling the rudder. Note the drive leg and gear on the dock

Test ride thoughts: It was PLENTY of fun! I was pretty thrilled about it all. We spent a couple of hours tooling around the lake. It felt exactly the same as my M5. During M5 training rides, I focus on extended periods of non-stop pedaling on flat terrain, so that aspect of pedaling the boat felt pretty typical.

Bryon Howard

To not have to deal with traffic, noise, beeping cars, etc was a joy. I far preferred being on the water, but I think mostly because it is something new to me. I would much rather be there than on my road bike now, but getting WiTHiN to the lake is a bit of a pain. However, I appreciate how much easier this is than what I went through preparing Critical Power for the 24 hour record! Finding a closed track to do tests on was VERY difficult. Also, we could not test on anything other than almost windless days. Added to that, the fact that I always required help meant that we were able to test CP only a few times! This was VERY frustrating.

Loading WiTHiN on my car and driving out to Glenmore Reservoir by myself won't be difficult. I can see that weather won't be a huge concern either.

Rudi - my dad is an integral part of my team

Ben Eadie - camera man

We instantly drew a crowd. I met two families who were with kids that went to schools that I had visited for KidPower presentations. Kayakers were all generally stunned that a pedal boat could be faster than a kayak. I let Bryon Howard, my kayak instructor friend take it for a spin and he was thrilled at how comfortable and fast it was. Bryon and I compared our effort levels at various speeds. My long distance cruising intensity of 150 watts speed was equal to his 20 minute all-out effort pace.

I am in the process of getting some decals made up with the WiTHiN and the PedalTheOcean URL on it. The more often I am out and visible, the more buzz I will generate. This is my biggest reason for mounting the 24 hour HPB record event.

I am concerned about the speed, of course, but if it is due mostly to the hull shape, then there is not much we can do about it. That's OK - it is still fast enough for a new record, but I will have my work cut out for me. There are other issues that I need to balance with finding the speed – making sure WiTHiN looks great – that's hugely important. People have to instantly recognize that she is something new and unique. WiTHiN has to invite curiosity and has to look sexy in her newspaper and magazine spreads.

WiTHiN compared to a tandem and single kayak

Launching WiTHiN is a one-man job

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PR half marathon 1:27 and 9th place. BAREFOOT

PR half marathon 1:27 and 9th place. BAREFOOT

It's always thrilling to set new personal records. I've been trying to break the 90 minute barrier at the half marathon distance for years and I demolished it today with a 1:27 finish at the Calgary Police Half Marathon. I also moved into the top 10 in my division which I am totally thrilled with.

Ready for my secret weapon? Here it is:

Well, It's not actually BARE foot, but close enough. They are aqua socks - made to keep scuba divers feet warm in the water. They feature a thin rubber bottom that provides some traction (they work awesome on ice) and a small measure of protection for your feet bottoms.

Would you be surprised if I told you that 3 million years of evolution has provided human beings with feet that we can run with? Gasp!

There has been plenty of research on the merits of using our built-in equipment rather than something from the Nike marketing division. The short of it is, less injury, better economy. Read this abstract for the nitty gritty.

My buddy Barefoot Ted runs 100 mile ultra marathons on rocky trails BAREFOOT. Check out this video clip of him running on ROCKS

How dark the con of man.

Helen had a great race too with a PR coming off of a really bad hamstring injury. The day was pretty cool with rain threatening but there wasn't a lot of wind like last year - probably perfect temperatures for a half. Pool test for WiTHiN tonight - hopefully my lucky streak continues.


First long training ride

I completed my first long ride today - 5 hours from home to Elbow Falls and back. It felt great - the leg fatigue that I felt on my first 90 minute ride of the season a couple of days ago was gone. My watts average was up as well. My last long ride was the 24 hour distance record on July 22, 2006 - 9 months ago. Today I felt like I could have gone 8 hours if I had to.

My training goals are to increase my weekly long ride by about 100 km per week. I started with 120 km today, next Friday I'll do 200, then 250 the next week, then 300, then I'll taper to 100 km the following week and then the HPB record the week after that. This is going to be fun.


First ride of the season!

Yippie!!! I finally got outside for my first M5 training ride. Boy, have I got a LOT of training to cram into a very short amount of time. In fact, I'm kind of worried about it.

We are tentatively planning a shot at the 24 hour human powered boat record for the first weekend in June. Ya, that's 4 weeks away! My endurance should be pretty good right now having completed Ironman Arizona a week ago today, but I don't think the road bike training is 100% applicable to the recumbent position. At least, thats what my legs were telling me today as I struggled through my first 'bent' geometry ride since the 24 hour HPV record on the race track in Eureka California almost a year ago.

I did 90 minutes out to hwy 22 and back today. My heart rate was low, but my legs felt like they were doing something new and a bit strange. Again, more evidence that using heart rate to measure physiological efficiency doesn't work as well as most people think. I also noticed and remembered that my heart rate is about 5 to 10 beats LOWER at the same power output (watts as measured by my SRM power meter) than my triathlon bike. For some reason, your heart works less when you are reclined than upright - this is well known. But, just because your heart is pumping fewer beats per minute does not mean that you are more efficient. The way my legs feel right now after climbing Springbank hill - I probably couldn't cycle 3 hours right now, and yet a week ago I cycled 5 hours at an all-out effort.

To get to the point where I can do 24 hours straight seems downright scary to me now. The plan is to get out everyday for at least 1 hour. I'll do my first long ride (probably 3 to 4 hours) in a few days. Then 5 days later I will see if I can push it up to 5 hours. Then 8 hours a week later, then 12 hours, then maybe 15 hours as my last long ride. Then I should have about 5 days to recover, and then a shot at the 24 hour distance record on Glenmore Reservoir. Here is my training plan.
I have the Police half marathon next Sunday, so I did a fast 60 minute run yesterday, 1 week after Ironman. My goal at Police is to smash the 90 minute mark. I think I can do it. I feel like I need to redeem myself after my sucky marathon performance at Ironman Arizona last week. I went 1:32 at the Police last year and placed 22 out of 230. I need to break 1:28 to make the top 10.


Flat tire deflates Greg's hopes for Ironman

Flat tire deflates Greg's hopes for Ironman Arizona 2007

In 10 Ironman distance triathlons, I have yet to experience a flat tire on the bike course, so I was not all that surprised when I heard the terrifying "psssssstt" sound coming from below me as I was half way through a sub five hour bike split at Ironman Arizona 2007. As if a premonition of something that I needed to prepare for, when I left the bike store that installed my tubular tires, I asked the cranky bike mechanic if he glued the area of the tire at the opposite end of the valve so I could remove the tire if I flatted and he launched into this "there's a thing called liability insurance you know, and....." bla bla bla.... to which I replied; "Sorry, I should have asked you to leave an inch or two unglued so that I could remove the tire if I flat during the race - my bad, I forgot". He told me that he wouldn't have done it anyhow due to the previously noted liability issues. I always glue my own tires - I was just real busy and thought I could get a 'pro' to do it this time. Lesson learned.

So anyhow, there I was, around the half way point on the 112 mile Ironman Arizona 2007 bike course with a potential personal best sub 5 hour bike time when I had to pull off the road to fix my first flat during a race. My sub 10 dream vanished as quickly as the air vacated from my rear tire. I wasted no time pulling the wheel off and preparing my spare tubular. If I could limit the fix time to less than 5 minutes, I just might be able to hammer hard enough to make back the time.

The famous B-line highway in Tempe cuts through a beautiful natural desert setting featuring a brilliant red hue in the rock from iron oxide, rich hematite deposits and smashed beer bottle glass. The last ingredient was probably responsible for cutting up my right knee as I knelt down on the unpaved shoulder to fix my wheel. With blood dripping down my leg, I struggled to pull the tire off. And I mean STRUGGLED! It just wouldn't budge. I ended up using a piece of natural desert garbage I found road-side to dig under the tire to lift off a small section, then muscled the remaining tube off the rim. After I stretched my spare tire on, I proceeded to waste two of my precious three CO2 cartridges by trying to fill the fire using the right-angle valve adapter used to fit the CO2 nozzle into the small hole in the side of my Zipp carbon disc wheel. The pressure form the CO2 kept blowing the adapter off the nozzle! ARGH!!! This was really frustrating. I have practiced this before and have not had a problem, but that was probably with a slightly different CO2 inflator. This particular model would not grip the 90 degree elbow. I jammed the third CO2 nozzle into directly into the valve without the elbow and was able to inject about 90 psi into the tire. In so doing, though, I bent the valve cap slightly and this caused a slow leak.

According to the SRM, I spent about 25 minutes messing around with the flat. I mounted my Cervelo P3 carbon and took off again with the goal of trying to catch up to some of my buddies who had zipped past me while I was struggling with my tire - Greg Bradley, Matt Hoffman, Mike Gorman and Bernard were a few local Calgary triathletes who were also doing the race.

I ended up catching Matt during the 3rd and final lap, but by then I was really starting to slow down. My rear tire was almost flat again, as I could feel even the smallest bump bottom out against my carbon rim. My 220 watt effort wasn't producing nearly as much speed as compared to the other cyclists I was passing, so I knew I had to fix the problem. I wasted another 10 minutes or so riding on this soft flat looking for a support van to get a pump from. Finally I found a support guy and pulled over asking him for a CO2. He quickly produced a fresh cartridge for me and I re-filled my tire to about 100 psi - good enough to get me to the finish line.

I ended up putting in a 5:38 bike split was was good enough for 21st position in my division. Here is where I start playing the WOULDHAVE game. I WOULDHAVE finished in just under 5 hours if not for the flats. My watts average was 208 watts for the first lap, 209 watts for the second and 181 watts for the third ending in 198 watt total average for the whole bike race. 198 watts of power over 180 km (112 miles) is about 4 hours, 55 minutes for me and my P3. Believe it or not, the fastest bike split in my 45 to 50 year old division was 5:21 !!!!! I WOULDHAVE had a 20 minute lead on my competitors in the marathon.

Anyhow - lets not dwell. My swim wasn't that great. I felt like I was having a great swim, but exited the water in an hour 16 minutes which is 2 minutes slower than last year. You know all about the bike, so I'll stop going on about that. My run was mostly un-fun. A fairly slow 4 hours, 5 minutes. I felt great coming off the bike - for the first time I was able to run without any foot pain so I thought I was going to have a great run. I think I started to slow down after the 2nd of 3 laps of the 26.2 mile marathon course. I'm not sure my heart was fully into pushing through the misery. It was very hot and VERY windy. In order to really push the run, you need to be in perfect mental shape. I had done the mental math and figured that there was no way I could win a Hawaii qualifying slot after the bike fiasco, so I sort of checked out. Also for some reason my chest was really getting sore. The winds were especially high that day, and there was quite a bit of dust being blown about. I was starting to cough a during the run which was sort of concerning. I spoke with many triathletes after the race who reported the same symptoms during the run and the next few days after the race. I figure it was due to either the pollution (Phoenix is now the THIRD largest city in the US and there was a high pollution advisory on the days leading up to Ironman) or the dust storm.

My finish time was 11:06 which was good for 16th place out of 203 guys in my age group (top 7.8%). The last Ironman World Championship qualifying slot went to the 8th place finisher with a finish time of 10:41 - only 25 minutes faster than me. I feel good knowing that I WOULDHAVE qualified easily if not for the flat tire. But as everything in life, you can't blame anyone but yourself. I know that. It was my own negligence that resulted in 35 minutes of wasted time during the bike - I had not properly prepared for that and I have learned my lesson.

A while ago I looked into a new product by Vittoria called PitStop. This is a compressed air canister that seals and fills flat tubular tires without having to remove the tube. You could theoretically fix a flat in under a minute. When I first heard about it, I tried to get some, but no US mail order bike supply company would ship the compressed air to Canada and it was not yet available here in Calgary. My next race is Ironman Canada on August 25th, so I will try to get some before then to experiment with.

I am looking forward to giving this another shot at Ironman Canada. It's my favorite Ironman race and I know a ton of people who will be racing, so it should be a lot of fun. I'll be in great shape by the end of the summer, and I WILL BE PREPARED for a flat this time. I vow to break 3:45 on the run, 5:15 on the bike (IMC is a tougher bike course), and 1:15 on the swim. That should get me a Hawaii slot for world championships in October!

gratuitous injury shots: black toes from the marathon, wet suit chaffing because the neck came undone during the swim and the Velcro sanded down my neck, and my tri jersey was rubbing on my underarm and carved off some skin.

I am looking forward to a GREAT summer and I hope yours is equally as great!

Greg WOULDHAVE K, and support team Helen.

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24 hour record attempt and the seat

The seat is now in and working.

I was encouraged not to give up on those spring loaded pins by some emails I got from y'all, so I gave it another go. I cut off one side of the T-handle and filed down the other side so that it would not rub on the boat bottom.

Then I drilled and counter-sunk a straight line-up of holes down both stainless rails and welded the entire seat hinge together. It works pretty well - I can pull both "L-handles" (formerly T-handles) out and slide the seat forward or back as much as I need to. When all the way forward, the seat will lie flat on the floor.

To support the seat back, and to also make it adjustable, I plan on extending an aluminum tube from the right side of the hull to the left side. This way, the seat back will rest on the tube and the tube could be moved forward (tilting the seat UP) and backward (reclining the seat).

And also, I finally weighed WiTHiN.

Drive Leg: 9 lbs
Rudder: 4 lbs
WiTHiN with seat and seat rails installed: 84 lbs

The center of gravity is 114 inches back from the bow (not including the drive leg or the rudder)

The summer is starting to shape up nicely - very exciting actually. When I get back from Ironman Arizona, it's FULL SPEED AHEAD on finishing WiTHiN-24:

1. Perimeter decking
2. Seat back support rod
3. Drive leg bay plug
4. Drive leg fairing
5. Gear box fairing
6. Prop
7. Add soft deck cover
8. Seat cushion
9. Sand smooth the rough fiberglass
10. Outriggers if required

Then it's FULL SPEED ahead on a new training plan for the 24!!!!!. It looks like we might schedule an attempt at the human powered boat 24 hour distance record for early summer, so I don't have much time to squeeze in the ultra milleage training I need to be ready for the challenge. But hey - that just makes it even more challenging, so I'm really looking forward to getting into it.

I might have only around 6 weeks - so a 150 km ride the first week, then a 170, 200, 220, 250, 300 ? I hope that's good enough... For the 24 hour HPV record I worked my way up to a 400 km ride! but that was over a period of 3 months - not 6 weeks. I think I can do it.

My official expedition coach is Cory Fagan. I'm planing on meeting with him for a full line of physiological tests. Then I get the old M5 ready for the road, and get out there! I love the M5 - such a pleasant change from the tri bike. It's different enough that it gets plenty of interest from other people and other cyclists. And, it's WAY faster than any road bike. My favorite thing is to hit the road on a weekend when all the roadies are out for some ROADIE HUNTING. I approach drafting packs, slowly pass, pull to the front, pull away a bit while watching them stand up to catch me, then when they get near, I put the gas on and watch them disappear in my mirror. So much fun. Really looking forward to the change from slogging away on my triathlon bike in my basement all winter long.

Anyhow, I leave for Phoenix tomorrow morning for Ironman on Monday. I just finished reviewing my race report from last year where I had the race of my dreams and came in 4th and qualified for world championships in Hawaii. The real value in keeping a Blog is that I can go back and refresh my aging memory so I don't make the same mistakes twice (or three or four times!). My goal this year is to win my division, but who knows what will happen. This will be my 11th Ironman race and I know well enough by now that anything at all can happen, so I'll just be happy to be there in sunny 30 degree C weather and away from all this snow Calgary has been getting!

On top of the new training, I am REALLY getting exciting about getting WiTHiN onto the water and seeing what she can do. This will bring such a cool and different angle to my riding - it's going to be a blast. The plan is to get her into Glenmore reservoir (google maps link here) around the 1st of May when the ice melts. Perhaps into a pool for some tests before hand. As usual, I'll keep you well informed.


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Training update

I was out today for the second bike ride of the season. This kind of sucks because I only have 3.5 weeks until Ironman Arizona All of my bike training so far has been inside on the mag trainer. You don't realize how much harder you work outside until you get out for your first ride. Now that the weather is so-so, I'm going to try to get out for as many rides as I can over the next 2 weeks.

Other than that, I think I am ready. My running has never been better - higher speeds at a slightly lower heart rate. The reason is because of a trick I discovered about running more efficiently and I'm not telling. Yet. I need some more data, more time and one good race (Arizona) before I can really speak about this. I will tell you this though - at a heart rate of 135-140 bpm, my old pace was 8 min/mile. Now it's 7:30 min/mile at the same HR. My PR marathon (marathon-only, not an Ironman marathon) time of 3:17 could theoretically drop as low as 3 hours. It's been a dream of mine to run a sub 3 marathon, and I think I just may be able to do it someday.

I would be thrilled to do a 3 1/2 hour marathon at IM AZ. We'll just have to see what the day brings. You can't be guaranteed anything on Ironman day. I know that all too well. Anything from forest fires, to freak wind storms, to sweltering heat waves can happen.

My bike seems to be pretty good also - hard to say. The reason is that my watts/heart rate is higher than it's ever been, meaning that my economy is improving, but like I said, my first outside ride last week was an eye opener! I'm not sure what kind of muscular endurance I have in my legs to push 220 watts for 5 hours straight. I certainly wasn't there last week, nor was I any where near where I need to be today.

My swimming is very average. Well, poor in comparison to where I really should be, average compared to old ladies and toddlers, but pretty good relative to previous levels of fitness. I did a 1500 meter time trial with the wet suit on the other day and hit a personal best time of 25 minutes, so that's not bad. Again, my swim volume has been fairly low - averaging only 2 to 3 hours per week, so I don't know how that's going to effect me in Phoenix.

Comparing my training schedule to last year, I was surprised to see that I have put in less training hours since Jan 1, as last year at this time! I think this year my training has been of higher quality. I've dropped out all of the low and slow stuff. Most of my rides are steady state without any coasting and no recovery rides (inside mag trainer work), my runs have all been FAST - minimum 8 min/mile pace, and well, swimming is just what it is...

2006 Swim=34.15 hours, Bike=136.4 hours, Run=66.95 hours
2007 Swim=31.38 hours, Bike=122.3 hours, Run=50.5 hours

My race day goals? Well, I'm not stressing the swim - I can do a PR in 1:10 or an average IM swim of 1:15 which is only 5 minutes difference. I would like to repeat my 5 hour bike leg from last year, and like I said, I would be thrilled if I could do a 3.5 hour marathon. If the plan materializes on April 15th, it should get me pretty close to 10 hours and possibly 1st or 2nd place in my division. I placed 4th last year in Arizona. But like I said before, I know anything can happen on race day, so if this goal is out the window, then my second goal would be to qualify for Ironman World Championships in Kona again - typically, this requires a top 8 finish in my 45 to 49 age group. If that fails to materialize, then I would like to break 11 hours, and if that doesn't happen, my last goal would be to simply finish the race.


Las Vegas Marathon

My buddy Matt Hoffman, Helen and I flew off to Las Vegas over the weekend for the Las Vegas Marathon. Unfortunately, Helen couldn't run due to a hamstring tear, but Matt and I had good races. I was aiming for a 3:15 and ended up crossing the line a little over 3 minutes over that goal. Matt was aiming for a 3:20, but hit the wall with 6 miles left to go and finished in 3:29

The run was pretty nice - 16,000 runners with Blue Man Group playing at the start. It was mostly flat with a slight downhill grade and a tail wind for the first half with the inevitable upgrade/headwind for the second half of the 26.2 mile loop which made it a bit challenging. The first hour was pretty uncomfortable, as my right leg from the knee down went completely numb as I knew it would. I have no idea what causes this aside from an accumulation of training hours. It seems that whenever I reach 5 to 6 hours of running per week, my right foot goes numb for about an hour when starting a run. It's very uncomfortable, but usually goes away after the first hour, so I wasn't too concerned.

I knew when we first started out that the out-leg would have to be at a slightly faster pace due to the tail wind and favorable slope, so I reached the half way point with a 3 minute buffer on my time. Then I just tried to hang onto that 3 minutes for as long as I could on the home stretch. I thought I was doing a pretty good job though, as I was fluctuating between 1 to 2 minutes over my pace by the final 6 miles. That's when I started to really feel the soreness creeping into my legs and even though it felt like my pace was the same, my speed really started to slip.

That last 6 miles was very difficult and took quite a bit of focused mental effort just to maintain an aggressive pace. The agony you feel from shooting pains and fatigue in your legs during that last 10 km is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced it. At every mile marker I would check my pace band, and be shocked to see that I had lost another minute! But that only fueled my determination to mitigate the time slippage and push through the pain.

I was pretty happy to cross the finish line at 3:18:52, only about 4 minutes slower than my goal. As it turned out, I would consider this a personal best marathon even though I ran a 3:16:46 at Tucson in 2004. Tucson was an all-downhill marathon and I finished in the top 20% of my 40 to 44 age group. In Vegas, I placed 22 nd out of 504 runners in my 45 to 49 age group which was a personal record top 4.3% finish.

Here is a chart that I keep showing my AG % finishes for all races since 2001:

I waited at the finish for Matt, who crossed about 10 minutes later. He was with the 3:20 pace group until the last 6 miles, then suffered the same bonk fate that I did and had to let his 3:20 dreams slip away. All in all, it was a fun weekend - caught a show, rested a bit and we both had great races.

Helen was sad that she couldn't participate, but she needs rest and recovery right now, as we both are committed to two Ironman races this spring and summer Ironman Arizona in April and Ironman Canada in August. Training for Arizona starts very soon.

Greg posing beside a fine art sculpture in the Mandalay Bay lobby.


The twisted drive, and Las Vegas marathon

(click pictures to enlarge)

I have been SLOOOWLY cleaning up the shop over the last month or so. I gutted it, cleaned everything, then slowly moved stuff back and put it all where it could be found once again. I love an organized shop. I bought some new bins at Home Depot, and a bunch of blank sticky labels. Now I have a bin for everything - bottom brackets, headsets, clamps, hinges, velcro, tape, glue, funny shaped things that look like this, etc, etc... It really helps when you are building something or prototyping. To have a part, a special fastener or a piece of tubing that's already bent a certain way is very handy. I thing it's really part of the creative process - to be able to envision something and then just build it using stuff you have in a bin somewhere.

And this is what a well organized, well equipped shop will get you:

This is a drive leg for the prototype boat. I built it in less than a day using parts and materials from my many little magical bins. Plus, it EVEN includes a prop which I 'borrowed' from my Shuttle bike human powered bike kit.

The prop bolts onto a Shimano octalink sealed bottom bracket cartridge that is screwed into a bottom bracket shell. The BB shell is welded to the end of my drive leg shaft - a 2" x 1" rectangular Chrome Alloy steel tube. The other end of the bottom bracket cartridge is a Shimano Dura-ace 11 tooth cog from a bike rear cassette. I welded a round plate to the back of it, drilled a hole in it and bolted it to the bottom bracket cartridge.

The chain is Shimano 9 speed Ultegra which twists up the drive shaft to a 39 tooth chain ring on a Shimano sealed bottom bracket cartridge with two brackets welded to the BB shell. 4 bolts secure the bracket to the rectangular shaft allowing the chain ring / cranks assembly to slide up or down the shaft for various lengths

A take-up pulley guides the chain down to the small cog.

I can pedal forward or backward and because my main chain ring is adjustable, I can take out all of the slack in the chain and the chain stays on the gears.

The plan is to sand down the cromaloy steel and coat it with epoxy or powder coating. For extra water proofing, I could wrap a couple layers of fiberglass/epoxy around all of the tubing which probably wouldn't be a bad idea. The bottom brackets are sealed and should withstand prolonged periods of being submerged under water. At least, that is the experience of others who have used standard bike bottom brackets as bearings for props. Mountain bikes can take quite a bit of mud, dirt, water and torque and a decent quality bottom bracket cartridge will last for years.

The best thing about using standard bike parts is they are all easily replaceable. If the chain goes, it can be replaced with a new chain, or replacement links can be added. If a bearing fails, the entire BB cartridge can be removed with a standard BB wrench. I could carry 3 or 4 or even 10 spare replacement parts - they are all very light weight and take up very little space. This entire system could easily be overhauled - even on the water if required. Well, that's the idea anyhow - and one of the purposes of this first drive leg.

I will need to make a fairing for it to keep the water out of the spinning chain. Ill probably wait until I know exactly how this drive holds up under some decent abuse before making a fairing.

There are a few obvious issues with this first drive leg design. Mostly, it appears to be a lot wider than I thought it would be and that will make it less efficient as it slices through the water due to the extra width of the fairing that needs to cover it all. Since I wanted to keep everything 'standard bike stuff', the main chain ring is offset to the right (typical bike mechanical geometry), but the prop is directly below in the center. Therefore the chain near the top is further to the right than where the chain is at the bottom where it joins the prop. I'm not sure how to re-work this, or even if it's necessary.

The main purpose of this drive leg is to TEST it!! I Want to know for sure that the twisting chain will stand up to at least 500 hours of use in salt water. I am going to mount the drive over a large bucket filled with salt water and rig an electric motor up to the crank. I'm going to replace the chain ring / cranks shown with my SRM power meter so I can set the speed of the drill to approximate my typical power output which will be about 150 watts. In fact, I'd like to overshoot that for this test and run it 24/7 at 200 watts to see what wears out.

I am going to sand down the metal parts and paint a coat of epoxy over them to protect the steel from the corrosive effects of the salt water. My plan is to run the chain directly through the water and make sure that it is always well oiled via daily lubrication.

The drive leg that will be used on the boat will be mostly water tight and I would like to use stainless steel, so I don't expect too much salt water to ever even touch the steel or the chain, but I want to get an idea of what the worse-case abuse would be. What if my fairing cover over the drive leg is smashed, or develops a bad leak and everything gets permanently soaked in sea water? I want to have some idea as to what would happen and how all of the parts would handle that kind of exposure.

I'm going to run some numbers through JavaProp and design my own prop. Rick Willoughby has been making his own props by bending stainless steel plate like Cory Schaffhausen's home made prop.

Las Vegas marathon

I am recovering fast from my sub par performance at Ironman Hawaii - in fact, if it wasn't for my bad ankle, I felt like I could have done another Ironman 4 or 5 days after finishing Kona (not that I would want to!). I think that shows you how hard I really DIDN'T go in Hawaii.

Helen and I are doing the Las Vegas Marathon on Dec 10th. I've been slowing getting my running back - starting with plenty of elliptical trainer, then moving some volume to the soft tread mill, and slowly doing more track running. I'm at the point now where 50% of my running is on the track and the other 50% is split between the elliptical and the tread mill. But, my ankle is healing, so I think I'll be OK for the marathon.

My goal is to break 3:20. My best marathon time is 3:15, but all I need to re-qualify for the Boston Marathon is a 3:30. The deal Helen and I have is we will only both go to Boston if we can both qualify. She just did the Portland marathon and missed her 3:50 qualifying time by 2 minutes! I think she just might do it in Vegas, so I better do it as well.

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Ironman Hawaii 2006 race report

October 27, 2006

"You must learn from your past mistakes, but not lean on your past successes." Denis Waitley

Greg finishing Ironman World Championships 2006 in Kona, Hawaii

I learned a valuable lesson at the Ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii last week. That bit of wisdom is best summed up by a quote from Thomas Carlyle: "A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder."

Aside from simply finishing the race, I didn't really have a goal. As I've said before, the challenge for the past 4 years has been to make it to Kona - to finish in the top 5 (in my division) at any Ironman qualifying race in North America. After 7 Ironman races in 4 years, I had finally achieved that goal, and finished 4th at Ironman Arizona in April this year with a time of 10 hours, 15 minutes. I was ecstatic - I had finally done it. I figured it out. I had qualified to compete head to head with the best athletes in the world at the Infamous Ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii. Participating in the historic, exalted event in Hawaii was to be my reward.

At the practice swim 2 days prior to Ironman. The waves were HUGE!

But as Ralph Waldo Emerson said "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." My reward was received way back in April when I succeeded in accomplishing my goal - the race in Hawaii itself was no reward. It was just a really long, brutally hot and painful 12 hour slug through 140.6 miles of desolate lava fields.

Why? Because I had no goal in Hawaii aside from simply finishing. And from the moment the cannon went off to signal the swim start at 7:00 am on Saturday morning in Kailua-Kona Bay, all I could think about was the finish line. That's no way to do an Ironman.

Dr. Richter of Johns Hopkins Medical School carried out an experiment that attempted to measure the motivational effect of having a goal. The experiments involved placing rats into cylinders of water that were thirty inches deep by eight inches wide. After a short time, half of the rats were momentarily rescued by being lifted out of the cylinder for a few seconds, then put right back into the water. The other half were not. The group that was given hope swam for more than three days. The other rats drowned almost immediately.

The rats that knew there was a chance of being rescued again had a goal - to stay alive until the next rescue. The other group had no goal, so they just gave up. I think that's kind of what happened to me in Kona on Saturday - I didn't really have a goal, so I sort of just checked out. That's a very painful way to race an Ironman. It makes for one VERY long, VERY difficult day!

The waves outside our hotel room were splashing up on decks two stories high

I learned about the necessity of a worthy goal. We are motivated by challenges that are only slightly out of reach. Winning Ironman Hawaii wasn't even in the realm of possible outcomes, and placing somewhere in the middle of the pack was the best I could hope for. After all, I was racing with the best Ironman triathletes in the world. I figured that just making it to the finish line would provide me with enough incentive to enjoy the epic event, but evidently, I need more than that.

The swim start at Kona Pier

Here is how my day went:

I woke up at 4:30 am on Saturday morning which wasn't a problem at all because Hawaii is 4 hours ahead of my mountain standard time zone here in Calgary. 4:30 am Hawaii time is 8:30 am for my internal clock. We were staying at the Sheriton Hotel which was about a 15 minute drive to Kona, so Helen drove me down to the Kailua-Kona Pier and dropped me off. I got my race number stamped onto my arms by some friendly volunteers and proceeded to the bike racks to pump up my tires. One of the big differences between Ironman in Hawaii and any other Ironman that I have done in North America is the number of volunteers. A regular Ironman race is extremely well organized with hundreds of volunteers available everywhere you turn - really, I must hand it to Ironman corporations Graham Frasier who truly produces a world class event. Ironman in Kona takes that to an even higher level. Long lines of yellow tee-shirted volunteers waiting for their chance to guide you through the transition area, help you find stuff, answer questions, etc, etc. Basically, it all makes you feel RFS (real f*ing special).

Shortly before the swim start

Having lived 45 of my 45 years north of 50 degrees latitude, I found it very strange to be walking around outside at five o'clock in the morning wearing nothing more than my tri shorts. 80 degrees is pretty comfortable. On the mainland, 5:00 am Ironman mornings are ccccccold!!! I spent the hour or so hanging out in the swim transition area chatting it up with as many others as I could find. It really helps with the pre-race nerves to strike up a conversation and make a new friend. One of those friends was Steve from Ontario who did the race last year and was a sub-average swimmer like me. He told me to stay with him and he would show me where to start and not get all tangled up with a hundred other swimmers trying to swim over and under you.

The swim start

The swim was a definite source of stress for me. I'm not the greatest swimmer and I have always really relied on some buoyancy aid from a wet suit or pull buoy in training or racing. Wetsuits are not allowed in Hawaii, so I basically had to re-learn how to swim without any buoyancy aids. I wasn't sure how it would feel to have to swim the full 3.8 km in the ocean without the buoyancy of a wet suit - plus having to deal with the horrific pummeling typically enjoyed at an Ironman swim start.

Greg exiting the swim

Another issue was the much larger than normal surf since the earth quake which rocked Kona the week prior to Ironman. Out hotel room at the Sheriton looks out over the Pacific and the waves were crashing onto the rocks so hard they were splashing up onto hotel room balconies 2 stories higher! The hotel restaurant even had to close off a part of their deck due to dangerous surf conditions. I wasn't too sure how or if that was going to effect my swim. In a practice swim at the Kona Peir two days before Ironman, the waves breaking just to the left of the swim area were well over 15 feet high. I had no problems with the practice swim though - big swells, and some breakers on entry and exit, but I found that I could swim absolutely comfortably in it all. Thankfully, I had no issues at all with the rough conditions.

On the bike

Luckily, the ocean conditions at 7:00 am on Ironman morning in the Kailua-Kona Bay were very calm. I followed Steve out into the water when the announcer told everyone to get in. The swim start is a deep water start which means you have to swim out to the end of the pier where the start line is, and tread water until the start cannon blows. We stood back on the beach for as long as we could before officials made us swim off to the start. Steve and I swam out to the far left side near the breaking waves and the start cannon blew just as we were nearing the start line, so that worked out well.

The swim goes into my books as one of the best Ironman swims ever. Not as far as my overall times goes, but as as to how comfortable and enjoyable it was. I don't think I ever even touched another swimmer the entire race. In fact, soon after the start, I worked my way all the way to the right hand buoys and swam a pretty tight loop without any interference.

About 15 minutes into my swim I started to learn my second lesson of the day:

Lesson 2: HUMILITY

The understatement of the year to to say that it is humbling when a guy with one leg passes you on the swim. And then you are passed by someone tethered to a guide and you realize it's the blind girl. Yep - I was passed by a blind girl AND a one-legged guy in the first 15 minutes of the swim. I rock.

When I reached the turn-around point - a sail boat that was 1.2 miles out into the bay, I took a quick glimpse of the time and discovered that it had taken me 40 minutes. 1:20 is about what I was expecting, so I was happy. However, there was a pretty strong current on the return leg and I ended up finishing the swim in a 1:33!! That's VERY, very slow.

Coming out of the bike transition area

After a slow four and a half minute transition, I eagerly headed out on the bike course. My goal on the bike was to average 220 watts on the SRM meter and hopefully finish with a overall average of 195 to 200 watts. My 198 watt bike ride at Ironman Arizona got me 2nd place on the bike in just over 5 hours. I figured that the same power average on the windy and somewhat hilly Kona course should get me around 5:15 or so.


I rolled over the bike finish tape at a disappointing 5:36. To be positive about this, I would have to summarize the bike leg as pretty darn brutal. At first, maintaining my 220 watts wasn't difficult, but after only 30 minutes I started having some problems. First, I was hiccuping uncontrollably and enjoying projectile vomiting about every 15 minutes or so. I threw up about 4 times in total on the bike, and I don't really have any idea as to the cause. Perhaps i swallowed too much salt water during the swim. No sure, but I couldn't keep down my Hammer Gel, so I started to drink the course coke and Gatorade at the half way point. My first half average watts was a decent 214, but slowed to an average of only 183 watts for the second half. I was pleasantly surprised to finish with an overall average of 198.8 watts which is a personal best for me, but really disappointed that it translated to a relatively slow average speed of only 20 mph. It wasn't typically windy, although we did have a bit of a headwind for the route back from Hawi. I think the rolling hills probably sucked out more speed than I originally thought. Another reason could be the amount of time during my return leg that I spent out of aero position. Since the climbs in Kona aren't super steep, I had planned on spending 99% of the time in aero position - just like other flat courses I've done. But i found near the end that I just was getting too fatigued to handle it, so I got up onto the hoods way more often than I planned on. I am sure this slowed me down.

The second half of the bike leg felt way too long. I thought it would never end. It was hot, I was sweating like crazy, I couldn't hold down any nutrition and I didn't have any energy. Just nothing at all - totally drained. This is when i realized that my goal of just finishing the race wasn't enough motivation to keep pushing the pace. I gave in to the urge to sit up and ease off the power at every opportunity.

The heat, humidity and my sore ankle was slowing me

As I headed back out of the transition area on the run, I was thrilled to see Helen, Cody and Krista as well as my sister Theresa, Pat and their two kids Nicky and Andy. They were all wearing their Critical Power tee-shirts to support me. That was the highlight of my day.

The run was long. long, long, long - very long. Endless. I had been concerned about my ability to run at all - in fact it had been almost 3 weeks since I had run at all! I had developed this pain in my left ankle that I was afraid was a stress fracture so I had stopped all running until Ironman in the hope that I would heel in time for the big race. After 4 precautionary Advil before the start of the run, my ankle didn't bother me at all. A bit of limping and pain to begin with, but that went away after an hour and didn't return.

The continued. In the first 15 minutes of the run I was passed by a 60 year old man. Our ages are inked on the back of our calves so you can see who you are passing, and who is passing you. In my case, it was a bunch of 50 year old women, and this 60 year old man. I just thought - wow. I am really honored to be competing with the best athletes in the world! This is really humbling. Then a 67 year old guy passed me. I rock.

It got dark later and under the new moon on the isolated and desolate queen K highway, it got very lonely. Every square mile of my body was telling me to stop and walk, but I wouldn't give in. Not because I wanted to finish with the best time I could, but because I wanted to end the misery as quickly as possible. I knew from experience that a 15 hour day feels twice as long as a 12 hour day, and I wanted to get to that finish line as fast as possible. In my mind, I kept searching for reasons to keep on - reasons to run faster, reasons to not stop, or reasons to not walk. I decided I needed to focus on something immediate that I was looking forward to. All I could think of was sushi and my bed. Not sushi in my bed. So that's what got me through the run - the thought of my comfy bed and all the sushi I could eat. Sushi is salty and by now I was probably becoming a bit sodium deficient. When you get that way, your body craves salty foods.

Greg crossing the finish line

After a very slow, lackluster 4 hour, 45 minute marathon, I finally made it to the finish line shoot. Music blasting, people shouting and clapping and the announcer calling out my name, I flung across the finish line and almost fainted into the arms of my catcher. I was done and I was trashed. My finish time was 12 hours, 4 minutes which places me 125th out of 167 in my 45 to 49 year old age group. That really does kind of suck - bottom 25%, but oh well. I really was honored to be competing with the best in the world. Looking at the final results, this really puts the caliber of competitors I was against into perspective:

  • six 60-64 year old guys beat me
  • one 65 year old guy and one 66 year old guy beat me
  • eighteen women my age finished before I did
  • seven 50-54 year old women beat me
  • four athletes competing in the handicapped division beat me

Cody, Krista, Greg and Helen at the finish line

To summarize, the Hawaii Ironman for me, was "world-class tough". First there was the oppressive heat and humidity - it just sucks the life right out of you. All you want to do is sit in a lawn chair and drink Mai Tais. Second, I had just gotten over TWO colds in the previous month and my training took a huge hit. I was not going into this race with the kind of training volume typical of previous races. Third, I hadn't run for almost 3 weeks prior to Hawaii due to my ankle injury. That's not the best way to go into an A priority race. And finally, I didn't really have a lofty goal for the day aside from just finishing, so I didn't really go into the race with the appropriate mental arsenal required to motivate me to achieve my best.

I have always said that one of the biggest reasons I BLOG is to have some structured way to plan my life. My BLOGS are detailed transcripts of what actually happened. It is an INVALUABLE TOOL to be able to look back and learn from previous mistakes or to build on previous successes. Our memories are short and unreliable. The human brain has a tendency to build up our successes and minimize our failures. You learn more from your mistakes than your successes, so recording everything that happened - the good, the bad and the downright embarrassing is an ESSENTIAL part of any successful plan.

Now I need to consider what I learned from this experience, and sort out some goals for future Ironman endeavors. My next goal for an Ironman qualifying race is to win my age group. In Arizona, I finished at 10:15, 4th in my age group and was only a couple of seconds behind the third place finisher. My friend Myles Gaulin from Calgary finished in second place with a sub 10 hour time of around 9:52. The winner of IM AZ 06 was just in front of Myles. That means that I need to shave about 25 minutes off my time and that's not going to be easy.

Pat and Greg enjoy sushi after the race (I was craving sushi!)

First of all, I need to start working on my swimming. My 1:14 swim time at IM AZ was 84th out of 205 in my division which is only slightly better than average at top 40%. Most of the top guys in my division are swimming close to an hour. If I can make some serious improvements in my swimming, I could potentially shave up to 10 minutes off my total time.

Second, I know I can put in a faster marathon. My run time at AZ was 3:50 which was 7 out of 205 in my division. That's pretty good, but I know I can do better than that. I spent the first hour of the marathon limping on a sore foot from my bike shoes. If it wasn't for that, I really think I could have done at least 3:40 - that's another 10 minutes off my time.

And, if I qualify for Hawaii again, then my goal will be to finish above the half-way point in my division. That's somewhere around 11 hours which I should be able to do. If I work on my swimming over the winter, perhaps I could get it down to a more reasonable 1:15 for Hawaii, a slightly better bike at 5:30 and an average 4 hour marathon would put me at 10:45 or so.


Your freshly humbled and re-goalified Greg.


Feather weight Greg vs heavy weight Greg.

(left) 1997 - 180 pounds / (middle) 2000 - 200 pounds / (right) 2006 - 148 pounds

This is pretty funny. We found an old family video of when I was 200 pounds about 6 years ago, and I thought it would be fun to show it to you and compare how my body type has completely changed in the last 6 years. The scale read 148 pounds this morning which is lighter than I've been since high school.

Obviously, I was weight training when I was 200 pounds, but let me tell you that I was NOT healthy. I got sick all the time and every minor cold virus turned into a 5 week bronchitis ordeal. I used an asthma puffer almost every day to control my asthma which I had been suffering with since I was 5 years old. Plus, I had developed a disc bulge which caused sciatica pains in my piriformus and down my leg.

After 6 years of training for Ironman triathlons, my Asthma is completely gone. Also gone are my allergies and I get sick about once a year now and it lasts only for about a week. When I am under 160 pounds, my sciatica disappears. In my opinion based on my experience, being lean and focusing physical energy expenditure toward aerobic fitness rather than the development of copious amounts of lean body tissue is a far healthier way to live.

I know plenty of other latecomer triathletes and marathon runners who have said goodbye to life-long health issues due to a reduction in body fat and a dedication to aerobic exercise. My program is pretty simple: At least an hour of aerobic exercise per day (work your way up to 1.5 to 2 hours per day), eat as natural and healthy as you can, try to do a 3 to 5+ hour endurance activity once per week and stay away from unnecessary medical treatments and medication. It's about as close to a fountain of youth as you can get, and it's attainable by almost everyone.

The Hawaii Ironman is next Saturday - only 7 days away! We leave for Kona on Wednesday and I am really, really looking forward to it. My goal for the last 3 years has been to qualify for Ironman world championships in Kona and now that I have succeeded, I just want to enjoy my race in Hawaii. A personal best of 10.25 hours in the heat, humidity and winds of Kona is really unlikely, and a top finish in my division just isn't going to happen, so I'm not going to stress about having the perfect race.

I've developed a bit of an ankle injury which could make a long day even longer, but that's OK. My only goal next Saturday is to cross the finish line within the 16 hours they give you. And smile a lot.

The 2006 Hawaii Ironman can be watched live at on Saturday, Oct 21


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