Our Board

Rick Anderson
President

Dave Stirling
Vice President

Aaron Boyes
Treasurer

Diella Siemens
Registrar

Vince Dimanno & Kristina Paule
Nerd & Secretary

Bruce Hendren
Director, Member Relations

Our Coaches

Hilary Scott

I have been involved with the sport of triathlon for over 12 years, racing in everything from sprint to iron distance races, and completing over 30 races to date. In 2010 I was selected to race for Team New Zealand at the World Long Course Championships in Germany where I finished sixth place. Highlights of my career include winning my age group at both Ironman New Zealand and Ironman Canada, and racing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2010 and 2011. In 2011 I trained to be a triathlon coach with Triathlon BC. I began offering coaching services through Revolutionz Coaching, and have thoroughly enjoyed helping athletes of all levels reach their potential and goals. I love sport science and enjoy developing myself as both an athlete and coach.

Ashleigh Graham

I entered the world of competitive sports at the tender age of 6 after a spectacular belly flop into the pool for my first ever swim race. I had been chosen to compete for the school I attended  in South Africa…not because I was any good, but because I desperately wanted to. I was the only “little kid” there.  It was terrifying and exhilirating at the same time. My team mates were decked out in their red bathing suits,  wearing red and white face paint, waving flags, making noise.  It was fantastic! After that I was hooked.  From there I spent the majority of my adolescence training 11 times a week, and racing in provincial championship swimming events.  I began coaching during my competitive years and loved sharing my passion and enjoyment of the sport.  I am an NCCP level 2 technical swim coach and an NCCP certified triathlon community coach. I have coached people of all abilities for over 13 years, taking non-swimmers to Ironman level. I was introduced to the world of triathlon by my good friend and fellow ATC coach Hilary Scott and immediately decided that this was the sport for me.  I love running and cycling and swimming best of all, and am excited to be part of such a fantastic, community oriented club in the Fraser Valley.

Mikey Ross - NCCP Coach #5851040

I am a trained NCCP Cycling and Triathlon Community Coach, currently wrapping up my Competition Level certification.   I bring 13 years of triathlon experience to the Abbotsford Triathlon Club, racing locally and internationally in all race distances.  I was extremely fortunate to qualify for and participate in the Kona Ironman Word Championship in 2010. I can sum that up in one word: LAVA!

My background as a competitive runner morphed into a love for triathlon after saying something snarky and being challenged to try one by my triathlete sister.  The event was called “My First Triathlon”…we swam in the Harrison Lagoon. Ughhh!  I instantly fell in love with the endorphins you get after any race!  To date, I’ve competed in over 240 road races, X-country competitions, duathlons and triathlons. I thrive on setting myself lofty personal goals, then I work towards achieving them with a combination of determination, confidence and joy.  I simply love this sport and look forward to sharing my unbridled enthusiasm with you!

Amongst the several “hats” I wear, I am also the Administrator and a constant contributor to the public and “members only” Abbotsford Triathlon Club Facebook pages.  I also operate, along with Coaches Kevin and Bryan, “Tri*Joy: the Spirit of Multisport” a public Facebook page dedicated to all things Triathlon!

Kevin Heinze

From my 1st coaching position in provincial level table tennis in Saskatchewan in 1982, to teaching reading, writing, and life skills to incarcerated adults today, I have always been interested and passionate about helping other people succeed in both athletics and academics.

My coaching influences include Gordo Byrn, Brett Sutton, and Sean Clarke.  My sport heroes are Jens Voigt (cycling), Dave Scott (triathlon), Alistair Brownlee (triathlon), Clara Hughes (speed skating), Muhammad Ali (boxing).  Just like triathlon is made up of 3 primary disciplines, I believe that in order to successfully participate in the sport there are 3 key elements: race day execution, training, and lifestyle. To help you achieve success in these 3 areas I see my role as a mentor, motivator, and expert in training and racing strategies.

My recent athletic achievements include: 10 K champion, Historic Half, 2014. Third place overall, Black Diamond Endurance Duathlon, 2014. Second place in age group (50-55), Challenge Penticton, 2014. First place in age group (50-55) UBC Duathlon, 2014. Other athletic achievements include: Champion, Black Diamond Endurance Duathlon, 2008, 2010. Second place overall, Iron Mountain Triathlon 2007. Ironman Canada finisher, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2016. Sprint Distance Champion Rocky Mountain Triathlon, 2001.

Vince Dimanno

The newest Coach to ATC! Read his bio below…

Bryan Wilkinson

I am an NCCP trained community coach with years of experience in both triathlon racing and Aussie Rules Football.  I have been a volunteer coach for Agassiz soccer teams and have trained for and participated in Triathlons for several years.

Erica Thomson

Erica is excited to be a part of the 2017 ATC Coaching Team.  She comes with experience as a swim coach and is currently volunteering with a local youth swim team.  She will be submitting her coach biography soon.

Athlete Biographies

Aaron

I obtained my CGA designation in 1999. For over 10 years I have been running my own business, A & A Accounting services, which provides accounting, software and related business services to support small and medium sized businesses with their operational and financial requirements.  I have participated in team sports and a variety of other sporting activities since childhood.  As an accountant I have managed the finances and logistics for the sporting teams that I currently play on. I am taking on a similar role as treasurer for the Abbotsford Triathlon Club.  I will ensure the club will be a financially viable not-for-profit entity that can support the membership and purpose of the club, while at the same time ensuring that integrity and transparency is maintained in all areas where ATC is affiliated.

Alanna

In 2014 I destroyed my ankle playing roller derby. Not only did I dislocate it, but I also broke my tib and fib, which are now lovingly held together by a set of screws and plates.

The physical injury was difficult to get over. I was in bed for 2 months and wore a cast for 4, but it doesn’t come close to the mental hurdle of recovery. Working through being able trust myself and my ankle again, is still a work in progress.

That being said, I managed to push myself to complete my first sprint triathlon in May 2016 it was an amazing and cathartic experience. I was really proud to set a realistic goal, put the mental and physical time into it and just do the work.

On the personal side I’m a SAHM of 5, that has a small (read huge) obsession with boardgames, makes use of every minute in a day and likes to doodle about my misadventures.

I love sushi, favorite singer is Dean Martin, because I’m an old school kinda gal and my favorite color is blue, so never come over to play a board game expecting to be a blue meeple. It just won’t happen.

Angela D.

My name is Angela and I have been a runner for around 15 or so years but have not ventured into any distances longer than about 10-15 km. Prior to completing the cultus sprint triathlon in September, my favorite races were the 5-peaks trail running series. But now that I’ve gotten the tri-bug cultus would be considered my #1. Although I’ve been running the longest of all 3 disciplines, oddly, it is not my strength. I much prefer to be in the water or on a bike.

I have three young kids and they are just getting into running. My oldest (who is 8) would also like to start doing triathlons!

Favorite food- a good steak with mushrooms and potatoes.

Favorite color- grey (I know! So exciting)

Right now my favorite music is christmas music! I can’t get enough of it.

My goal this year is to do another couple of sprint distances and then probably a standard distance for cultus in September.

Pic #1- cultus lake triathlon
Pic #2- run for water with my 2 daughters
Pic #3- color me rad. (I hated the race but like this picture 😂)

Angela J.

This Angela, who is going as Ang, is friends with fellow running club friends Dave and Marie, organizer of the Santa Shuffle! It’s a small world after all. She is heading to Disney World Florida (jealous) in January to do Dopey’s Challenge…get this, a 5k, 10k, 1/2 and Full Marathon 4 days in a row !!!! Yup! She loves running!

Bruce

My name is Bruce Hendren. Many moons ago I was very active. Boxing, aikido, running, hiking … but I was never competitive. In my mid 20’s life got in the way and exercise took a back seat.

In 2014 my best friend since 1977 died of a heart attack at the age of 47. This opened my eyes to how short this life really is. After some thought I prioritized my dreams. Almost all of them required me to be in far better physical condition than I was in at the time.

I started running again. Before long I joined the Running Room. At one point I opened my big mouth and said I would like to do a triathlon. In December of 2015 I bought my first road bike since 1986, started swimming again. Knowing nothing about triathlons, I went to the Ironman website and signed up for the Victoria 70.3 in 2016. It was my first successful triathlon.

After the race I realized how big of a challenge it was and was hooked (I thrive on challenges). I signed up with ATC, signed up for the self transcendence olympic, the Penticton medio fondo, and the Cultas Lake fall olympic. All in 2016.

Hopefully, 2017 will hold one olympic, two 70.3’s, the BMO marathon, the Penticton granfondo and the Rattlesnake Island swim. 2018, hopefully, will be the Ironman 140.6 in the Canary Islands to celebrate my 50th year of life.
In 2019 I will attain one of my dreams. The assent of Kilimanjaro and a photo safari through the great rift valley. Hemingway’s “The snows of Kilimanjaro” captivated my young imagination. 😎

As for some of the interesting things that I’ve done: I’ve stood between a cougar and a bunch of scouts, I’ve been honour guard to lady Di & prince Charles, I’ve climbed cliffs and still need to learn how to use ropes, I’ve partially built a replica of a 1966 AC Cobra kit car, I’ve completed a frame off restoration of a 1966 Mustang, I’ve beaten a Ferrari in a race driving my Toyota, I had the 3rd highest marks in my engineering class, I have climbed most of the hills around the lower mainland and I have had a number of friends for more than 30 years. Some of whom I’ve trusted my life with over the years.

I’m looking forward to making new friends and having new adventures with ATC!

Chris

Chris is a late adult onset athlete who avoided running until his mid 40s and couldn’t put his face in the water to swim. I got into the sport as my son joined the club in Bridgewater, NS and my wife and I ended up driving him to races.

There I saw the supportive and inclusive community that was Triathlon. So I started training, did a team with Karen, my wife and Sarah, our daughter and was hooked.

When we moved to Vernon 10 years ago the first thing I did was join the local KalRats and moved up through the distances from Sprint to the full Iron Distance at Challenge Penticton, with the support of the tri-community and community coaching.

After a couple of years away from racing it is great to be back in a social and support focused club.

Dan & Rayna

We are both in the 45-49 age category. We have 3 kids (25-Karley,19-Jacob & 15-Natalie) Dan raced BMX as a kid and then when Jacob was 5 and decided to try BMX Dan raced too! I honestly don’t have much fitness background. I downhill skied and did some racing in my early teens.

I have struggled with my weight since my kids were born and have been a yo-yo gym attender and have done a bit of running. I’ve done a few 5k races and the Run for Water, Heritage to Hatzic & Sun Run 10k distances.

4 years ago, after attending Leigh Ann’s spin and crosstrain classes for a while, we decided to head up to Whistler and cheer her on for Ironman. This was our first experience with this. We missed the swim portion thinking it wasn’t that important (HA) and were there in time to see her transition from bike to run and to see her part way through her run and then watched her finish. It was such an incredible thing to watch.

Dan and I then decided we would try doing a shorter distance one ourselves. Unfortunately, that first year I ended up with an Achilles injury after training too hard too quickly after a surgery and was unable to compete in any events that year. Dan did Cultus Lake Fall Tri that year. He wasn’t prepared for the swim and the fact that his wetsuit that he had rented didn’t fit right.. He almost tapped out. BUT made it through the swim completely on his back! He completed his first Tri and & I was excited to be able to do one myself once I was healed.

The next year, we joined Ryan Clifton’s master’s swim class to strengthen our swimming. Through that class I learned about the Abbotsford Triathlon Club and it’s introduction to open water swim classes at Whonnock Lake that Kevin was going to start. I asked how much it was to attend and was told if I joined the ATC, I could join in. So I did just that. I was able to feel comfortable in the water and we even swam out at Harrison Bay to practice our open water swimming.

I did my first triathlon in Oliver in 2015. Dan did this race as well and came in 2nd in his age category. I was dead last but that didn’t bother me one bit. I completed it and that was the best feeling. I was still having Achilles issues so a finish was a win to me! We did Cultus Lake Fall Tri, and Dan also did Abbotsford Tri that year too. Last year I did Oliver again, and the Cultus Lake Fall Tri. Dan has had some knee issues so he’s really unable to run anymore. He did the 7k Rattlesnake Island swim which was a huge accomplishment! He did the Cultus Fall Tri but he knows that he’s really limited in what he can do now.

I’m still slow as molasses but at Cultus, I overcame some of my fear. I was able to complete the race without panicking, I was calm in the swim, calm on the bike, and was able to run the full 5k without walking(which has been a real issue for me). It was a good way to finish the year.

Goals for 2017-
Dan is finishing his apprenticeship for Electrical so will be limited in his training this year. He is planning on doing the Rattlesnake Island 7k again this year in Peachland, and the 2.1k Across the Lake swim in Kelowna. He says most likely he’ll do the Sprint again at Cultus Fall Tri. Who knows what else may come up.

My goals- I will be doing Oliver sprint, Cultus spring sprint, and my plan is to do the Olympic distance at the Cultus Fall. I am going to do the 2.1k Across the lake swim in Kelowna and I’m seriously considering doing the Rock n Roll ½ marathon in October.

Dave S.

I am the vice president of Abbotsford Triathlon Club.  I am also a CFES personal trainer and NCCP Olympic weightlifting club coach and have been participating in triathlons, cycling, and running events for over 5 years.  I am excited to be part of the ATC team to promote the sport of triathlon in the Fraser Valley. I will strive to make this club an enjoyable and inclusive experience for all levels of triathletes.

 

Deb

My name is Deb (ugh 45-49AG).  Back in my early days I used to be national level track and field.  I loved to run.  I brought that into my career chasing bad guys every day….never lost a foot pursuit.  In Nov of 2002 I suffered a workplace injury.  Damaged spine, torn SI joints, torn hamstring, rotated pelvis equalled multiple visits to doctors, numerous procedures and the constant comments of you won’t be able to run again played like a broken record.  In 2010, after another injury and surgery, I took up swimming for the first time.  This led me to my first sprint triathlon in Summerland.  I was hooked.  I continued my “rehab”, researched the crap out of non traditional remedies and did everything I could to get myself back running again.  In 2014 I completed my first half ironman in Oliver.  To date, I have completed 5 half ironmans and are scheduled to complete another 3 for 2017.  I’m not the fastest or the best runner out there but I don’t give up.  Aside from triathlon’s, I’ve returned to playing hockey, yoga, music and I continue to work with dogs as a civilian handler.   I recently resigned from both the local Search and Rescue team after 15 years and the Provincial SAR Dog Team after 14 years.  This just means I need to fill the void with more training!  I’m looking forward to another season and cheering on the members of ATC in their endeavours

Diella

Hi. My name is Diella and I am 48 years old! I have been married for 24 years and have 4 children, 15, 17, 18, and 20. Yes, I had 4 kids in 5 ½ years. Some tough years, but great years and great kids.

I work from home (best job ever) as a Medical Transcriptionist and am so lucky to be able to be fairly flexible with my training… meaning I can wait until the sun comes out. I think my fast fingers come from my years of piano playing, as I have my grade 10 piano and used to teach.

I have never applied for a job – they have always come to me I have worked as a piano teacher, a unit clerk, Elections Canada (all positions), a magazine company, a cleaning lady and transcriptionist.

I have always loved sports. In elementary school I was always found on the “boys” side of the school yard, chasing the soccer ball, and I played on any team possible. I loved competition and challenges. When I was 20, I lived in Coquitlam and commuted to work every day by bus to St. Paul’s Hospital but one day I decided it would be far more time efficient to combine my workouts with my commute so I started riding to work via the great SFU hill One day a co-worker found an ad in the Vancouver Sun for a cycling trip across Canada and I jumped at the chance. It was an amazing experience, combining all things I love…cycling, camping and the great outdoors.

I think I got my love of the outdoors from my Wildlife Biologist father and my competitive streak from a long line of athletes, including my semi-pro baseball playing grandfather, who once pitched against Satchel Paige. I’ve hiked the Juan de Fuca, West Coast trail, the Grand Canyon, Banff, and Zion National Park. LOVE hiking.

During my years of raising children I stopped riding my bike but continued running and even finished a marathon while pregnant with a time of 4:09, which I would LOVE to try to beat one day. I also completed the 50km Lost Lake race, Chuckanutt Mountain, Washington – 10,581 foot elevation gain. One of my proudest moments as it was a very difficult race, and I put in a lot of training time for that one.

I remember when I was about 22 thinking how much I would love to do a triathlon. Twenty-five years later my girlfriend suggested I look into a club her friend (Ash) was starting. A triathlon club! So, I jumped on board and entered my first ever race…the Penticton Challenge ½ distance! It wasn’t until I got into the pool that I realized that I couldn’t swim as well as I thought. I grew up in my grandparent’s pool in Kamloops swimming and diving for balls in the deep end with all the cousins but little did I know, I was terrible at freestyle, afraid of things under the water, claustrophobic, and unable to breathe. I persisted however, adapted as best I could and came up with Plan B: The breast stroke. I finished that race in 6:19 but have decided that I will not enter another one until I get the swimming under my belt.

In the meantime, the challenges keep on coming. In September 2016, only 10 days after the triathlon, I left on a cycling trip for Prince George and in March 2016 In March I cycled up the famous Haleakala Volcano, 10000 vertical feet, the first ride after being off ALL exercise for 6 weeks due to an injury, and December, this month, I finished the year with a professional photo shoot as I won the 4Core 12 week fitness challenge involving clean eating and weightlifting – a new found sport I LOVE! Great complimentary training for triathlons.

My summer 2017 plans include a warm up ride to Regina in the spring followed by a ride down the coast to California in August. I LOVE adventure and long distance challenges and hope I can enjoy great health for MANY years to come.

Editor’s Notes: Diella is one of our “1st year ATC’ers”. She has a huge heart for others and thrives on challenges. Diella, you are AMAZING! I know who’s going to be asked to contribute to our Mental Toughness 101 Workshop in the spring…gotta let us in on one of your secret Toughness Tools.

Geo

Geo has been with us for a long time. He is such a cool dude but it’s like pulling teeth to get him to talk about himself. Coach Mikey just HAD to post a couple of pics to give you an idea of his love of UberWaterExperiences… and to show how much we DIG him…get it…the frontendloader thingamajig digs, right???

His message for us all: “Do what you love to do.”

A bio to end all bio’s.

Geo, you rock!

Hilary

I’m Hilary (one of the founders of ATC). I am in the Age Group category 30-35. I grew up In New Zealand on a large farm with all the room in the world to run around and explore. After high school I completed a masters degree in Speech Language Pathology. As part of that, I did my last internship in Iowa. From there traveled up to Canada to experience “snow” and met my future husband. Most of my 20s was spent traveling around doing triathlons and working as a Speech Language Pathologist.

I developed a passion for running in elementary school and played several team sports. Fitness has always been a part of my life and I have tried my hand at several different things.

I did my first “YouCanTriToo” tri in 2001 and haven’t stopped since. I was inspired by my PE teacher who had all his ironman race numbers up on the wall. I never thought I’d do one, or do well at it. He was a really influential person in my life, gave me a old bike and wetsuit and drove me to my first triathlon. From there I was addicted and kept wanting to do more and more. I have completed over 30 tri’s now with several half ironman and 6 ironman races including two trips to Kona.

Goals for 2017: I now have two young children so I get little snippets of training in when I can or pushing my “loafs love” in the double stroller. I have also been working on strength training and try to get to yoga as much as I can. My goal for 2017 is to do a pull up from a dead hang and just keep as active as I can.

I enjoy sleeping. I really like to sleep and to play with my little ones, as well as snowboarding and hiking with my husband. I am often sewing up a storm and reading (but not usually at the same time 🙂

Editor’s Note: Future CLUB RACE KITS!!!! Beautiful creations, Hilary!

Joe

Joe: I was born at a very early age, through my whole life, I searched for something. I don’t know what, just a reason for going through life . Alcohol was an issue, ah but not the answer, so 27 years ago I quit. Although I don’t like being a quitter, this time was a ok!

I’ve always had this thought of running in the Terry Fox run even though I’ve never been a runner, so at the ripe old age of 59 signed up, ran the race and finished:) . Then my future daughter in law signed us up for the Gibson 1/2 Marathon. With the help of the Running Room book, I did the race and finished it!! 🤗.

Said I will never do that again! Then I heard about the Master Games in Vancouver, so I signed up for a triathlon (“sprint”, whatever that was!) I could swim a little, ride a bike (did that lots as a kid) and the run was only 5k, I could do that! Then I search for some pointers on google.

ATC came so I joined, met Mikey and others at Rotary track: they let me waddle around with them. I thought “these people are very outgoing people…they could teach me some stuff” so I bought a road bike with no peddles! What’s with that , no peddles?

Anyway swam at the pool… some people there showed me a few things in the pool so I could make it from 1 end to the other. Then they told me I needed a wetsuit so Mikey told me to go to this place in Vancouver. $400 later I’m ready to go! Then went down to Jericho beach, struggled to get the suit on. Went to swim out to the buoys…got halfway there, water started coming in my suit, water was so cold, I started to panic because I thought it would fill up and drown me! Headed back it shore in an anxiety attack, made it barely!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I tried again… this time just swimming along the shore line were I could touch bottom. Thought “not bad, I can do this!” Well the next week the race was on , got down there with my wetsuit, bike, runners , let’s do this! Suit on, goggles on my forehead, stand on the waters edge, horn goes, in the people went , I thought I would give them a head start😛then dove into the freezer cold water, goggles still on my forehead, took about 20 strokes, panicked got back to shore… having another anxiety attack…(Shit, 20 strokes!)

Went home with my tail between my legs , totally defeated! Pissed right off. I sent out a text message to see if anyone was doing an open water swim at Cultus Lake the next day. Simon said he would and would meet me there.

I never met Simon before , but we met there, we swam maybe 1800 meters, he was very patient with me asking me how I was doing , we would tread water then swim to the next buoy. What a great guy! That was on a Saturday, then I sent out another text message to see if anybody wanted to do another on that holiday Monday.

Well there were 14 or so people and kayakers. We all swam , Erica helped me with some feedback, then most of us went for a bike ride into Yarrow and back! Wow, these people are amazing!

So I went to the September Cultus Lake Triathlon , completed the sprint, finished third in my age group (there were only 2 of us) No there were 4! I do believe this is the thing I’ve been looking for🤗!!!

As for this coming year I’m Tri-ing to do a race a month, some just runs, I want to do a sprint, and a standard, and if all goes well a half 🙏and run a full marathon to see if I could do a Ironman some day!

I know with this physical & mental help along with the positive energy, I can do it. Thanks to everyone, sorry didn’t know I would be this long winded.

Editor’s note: not long-winded at all…it’s a great example of how far someone can take themselves in one season with the support of friends, resilience and determination. Way to go, Joe!!!!

Joni

I moved to Langley a year ago this month from Phoenix, AZ. My husband accepted a position at Trinity Western University. I was a running specialist for a highly respected triathlon Coach in Scottsdale. I was also coaching several athletes in distance running and a few tri athletes as well. I ran competitive marathons for years and then got burned out.

Five years ago I ventured into the tri world. I’ve only done a few Olympic distance races and in 2015 was training for IM 70.3 Boise. Four days before the race I had a very serious bike accident resulting in a grade 6 AC shoulder separation. After two surgeries I was finally able to get back on the bike. Last August I crashed again on a railroad track in Ft. Langley breaking my collarbone. Let’s just say it has been a battle both physical and mentally to get back into the tri mindset.

I was very active in a tri club in Scottsdale and have felt a huge void up here not having that community. Training on your own isn’t fun! I’m not coaching up here but recently took a position at Kintec store managing their community events and partnerships for all 10 stores. This keeps me active in the majority of trail/road races in the Greater Vancouver area.

I seriously look forward to training with you and sharing this crazy tri world we have embraced!! Let the fun begin!

Juliane

My name is Juliane. I joined ATC in September when Zack whispered in my ear over the summer about triathlon. I had mentioned putting together a bucket list that included a half marathon and Zack goes “You know, there’s a tri club in town that will help you with that, right?”

Three months in and I can honestly say that was a good choice. In the past my sports of choice were soccer and swimming, including Rep soccer and Masters. There were a few other sports thrown in the mix as well. At the moment I’m in school for the two year nursing program that will finish May 2017. Thus far I have yet to do a triathlon race but THAT will come to an end in 2017 as I plan to race in Oliver as well as the spring and fall Cultus races.
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Editor’s Privilege: I get to ADD to this cuz I’ve been working with and getting to know this Newbie frequently…she shows up at practically everything! Jules is a “Dig Deep” athlete and has a wicked sense of humour…She has, in three short months, improved her cardio fitness and her technique in all three sports. She knows her limit and “works out” within it. She remembers to eat and drink during and after intense workouts and she is NOT afraid to “go hard” when necessary . She will make a fantabulastic nurse and I can’t wait to help her celebrate her graduation by throwing herself into triathlons AND a Tough Mudder (a little birdy told me that)!

Kevin

I have been running long distance since 1977, doing a lot of the 1.5 and 3 kilometer distances in junior and senior high. After high school I kept running and did what was likely my very first 10 K (The Terry Fox Run) in 1981. It was sadly the last time I ever beat my big brother. I did my 1st marathon in about 1992,

My first triathlon was on my sister’s Cannondale mountain bike back in 1991. I participated in Olympic distance races from then until 2000, when I decided to (along with my wide Elise) “go-long”.

Since 1993, I have been to every Ironman distance race in Penticton, either as a spectator or as a participant (an August tradition). To date, I have done about 40 Half Ironman races and  9 Ironman-Distance Races.

For the upcoming year, I already have a fairly busy season planned. My goals for the year are to:
a) Run a sub 40 – 10 K.
b) Set a PB bike in at least two triathlons.
c) Make the roadies suffer in the Wed.night crits.
d) Set a new PB for the Thurs. night TT.

When not training, racing, or earning money I enjoy trolling on Slowtwitch, coaching, reading more about how to get fast, DRIVING!, waxing my orange GTI, making spicy foods and encouraging Mikey Ross to follow his true athletic talent, bike racing. I also like to write! Check out my blogspot and podcast at http://www.fitspeek.com

Kristina

Hello world! My name is Kristina and I am:
– firmly in the 30-34F age category
– a loving supermom to 4 beautiful, exasperating, talented, wonderful children
– always ready to laugh or cry with, support or smack my family and friends
– employed full-time plus part-time piano and vocal teacher
– love to try new things, eat, dance, play the piano, eat, laugh, eat, travel, did I mention eat?
– spoiled princess (because Vince does most of the cooking)

My story in triathlon is very much my own “frog in the slowly boiling pot” story. Tackling a sprint triathlon wasn’t so much a conscious decision as it was a bucket list wish because I really had no idea what to do or where to start. I have danced my whole life (even taught ballet for a long time), played various sports recreationally and even ran semi-regularly, but I have never been much of an athlete. It was only after having kids that running became my therapy – I would run alone, with friends, with my kids in their jogging stroller. I would run when I was feeling happy or sad, energized or tired, blah or mad. Running, I figured I could do but swimming and cycling? Help!

I think the universe was on my side because that was right around the time that I met Vince, who has 25+ years triathlon experience. I’m not sure if Vince tricked me or just enabled me but within 6 months, my workouts went from exercise videos with treadmill warm-ups to 2/2/2s (swim, bike, run) a week. A swimsuit, cycling shoes and a new-to-me road bike purchase later, I lost my mind and registered for the Langley MEC Sprint Tri. On the actual day, I had gotten sick so was on antibiotics and food was not my friend. Vince packed me up, dragged all 4 kids out of the house at 5am, pumped up my tires, laid out my transition towel, put my cell phone in my saddle bag in case of a flat and sent me off to the pool for check in. The race was amazing, the people were great, I was smiling the whole time and my kids were there during every transition as my own personal cheering squad.

I crossed the finish line feeling like a rockstar and there was a teeny weeny little voice in my ear telling me “I could have gone faster”. That was it, I was officially hooked and after completing a standard distance tri in 2016, my triddiction has only grown! Joining ATC has been such an amazing experience – everyone is awesome and I love having friends that eat, laugh AND work out with me. Happiness truly is having friends that think triathlon training is normal!

In 2017, I hope to consistently get in 3/3/3s a week and complete a standard distance tri in under 3 hours. Vince always tells me “Don’t worry about the race, just enjoy the training.” Keeping that in mind, my other goal is to laugh at every single training, race or other event. Hope to laugh with you all soon!

Michelle

I’m in the mid-life age group. My life changing experience started in 2009 when I had a bike accident while riding home from work. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Spent a couple of nights in emergency going through multiple tests. I was told that I repeated the day’s event to everyone. I also found that I could not walk even though I had no broken bones nor bruises. There was a disconnect between my brain and my legs. Needed a walker to move around.

As a runner, this was frightening. I was put in contact with GF Strong Rehab Center. They provided me with a team of specialists. Over time I graduated from a walker to a cane. Went through depression wondering what my life would be like if I couldn’t regain my legs. I still remember the early stages trying to cross the street with my cane. I turned back because cars began approaching. I burst out in tears and the cars stopped on both sides to allow me to cross. I went through a lot of anxiety, frustration and struggled with the unknown. No timeline as to when I was ever going to walk again without the assistant of a cane. I eventually did recover and completed the San Francisco Marathon.

My other challenge occurred 3 years ago, a simple bunion surgery that went wrong. I ended up walking with a cane for 1 year before having another corrective surgery. Again, the fear of the unknown future and that I might need a cane for the rest of my life. During this time, I decided to take swimming lessons as a alternative sport. From there I was introduced to endurance swimming. I met a wonderful group of amazing ocean swimmers. Although I was not as good as they were, they still invited me to swim with them at Whyteclliff Park in West Van on Saturdays. We often started swimming from one bay and finished at another bay. They would run back to the first bay to retrieve my shoes as I couldn’t walk without them. They even helped me getting in and out of the water when the tides were low.

Since moving to Abbotsford in 2013, I had found a physiotherapist. I would do 3 x the exercises he assigned and gradually I was able to run 100m, walking 10 minutes… eventually 5k. We joined the Pheonix Velo group two years ago. Intimidated at first but Nigel made us feel welcomed. From then on, my bike handling has improved a hundred percent.

I have completed a Sprint, a Standard, 2 Half IM and 1/2 of a Full IM (working on completing one one day) before I joined ATC. Running, biking and swimming alone is definitely challenging and lonely. Through Pheonix Velo, I was recommended to speak to Mikey because I had a dream of completing a full IM one day. Thanks to Coach Mikey and Kevin. They are so kind to show me the ropes and allow me to be part of ATC. Everyone at ATC is great support!

I joined ATC and signed up for 2017 Dynamic Series on the same day last September!!

Spare time?? What’s it? My husband’s complaint: You can never sit still.

Monika

My name is Monika and I’m also a new member to ATC. My partner and I moved to Mission from Vancouver almost three years ago.

When we haven’t been working, we’ve spent a lot of time running up the local mountains and running around or kayaking through the gorgeous lakes with the two pups shown below.

I’ve been absent from training with the group as of late as I have recently finished school and am working towards changing my career; hopefully however, things will settle in the new year and I can return to the fabulous Wentings spin classes and run events with the group.

By far my favourite race has been the San Francisco Alcatraz Swim- Run duathlon a few years back.

I’ve never been part of a club before so I’m excited because triathlon training can put your motivation to the test when you’re flying solo. I’ve done a few half marathons, a fondo and an Olympic distance tri race but truly just for the pure joy of completing them with a smile on my face and the ability to walk at the end of it.

Everyone has been so welcoming since I signed up!! Thank you and have a safe and wonderful holiday season and see you all very soon I hope!

Mylene

My name is Mylene- pronounced Me-Len. If you can’t remember Mimi is fine. When I order a coffee at Starbucks or food over the phone, I always say my name is Mimi, so that I don’t have to spell my name forever and everybody knows how to say/spell Mimi. It speeds things up J

Talking about speed – I love speed. I enjoy watching movies about runners and I get goose bumps when I watch a sprint – E-V-E-R-Y T-I-M-E!

Racing – Racing is something I enjoy a lot. I always enjoyed running and I was part of the cross-country and Track & Field club at my high school for five years. My favorite moment in a 100m sprint was the seconds just before the gun fires on the starting blocks. My favorite memories in the cross-country races are when my mom, who was attending ALL my races, was screaming at the end of the finish line louder than everybody else to encourage me. It was precious to me, even if I was a teenager.

I did numerous 10km runs between the age of 20-35 years old. I am now 37 years old. Two years ago I did my first ½ marathon. I was working with Mikey at the time. I used to ask him a thousand questions (and I still do) like: What do you eat before a race?, Which gels do you buy?, Where do you buy them?, etc. Two weeks before the Run for Water half-marathon, I sprained my ankle and a week prior the race I got strep throat. I saw a physio hoping he could do fix my ankle before the race. Two days before my race, I was celebrating with my colleagues, Mikey and his lovely wife Judy, at their retirement party. I remember I almost gave Mikey my spot in the race because I did not know if I could make it. I didn’t. The morning of the race, my ankle was still bugging me. I took an Advil and my last pill of antibiotic and sucked it up. My goal was to finish the race under 2 hours and I finished in 1:59. I am very proud of that.

I am a member of the club since the end of January. I am very grateful to be in this club because first of all, everybody in the club is sooooo nice! Second, I learned so much! I learned about intervals on the track, time trials on the bike, Zwift, swimming techniques, etc. I will be competing in my first sprint triathlon on June 25th 2017 at Cultus Lake. I just realized today that it is in seven weeks. I am very nervous and excited at the same time because I still have a lot to learn. But, I am sure that my fellow ATC members would say to that is that we never stop to learn. I know, that’s what I tell my students all the time! I talk to my students about the club sometimes and I tell them that it is important to have goals and to find something that they really enjoy doing outside school. I work full time and I have two children. I am racing to two different daycares every morning, then I race to work, then I race in the hallways between bells and I even watch races because I am the Track coach at my school. I race all day long. However, when I am training with ATC, I really enjoy it. It is something I do for myself, not for anyone else.

See you at practices!

Patrick

Editor’s note: I have trained with Patrick a few times but we’ve never had a chance to talk about moments like his BearBonding experiences. Thanks Patrick and Salamat also to your girlfriend. Over and over we are hearing about the importance of a circle of support for Triathlon.
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Patrick says:

“Hey. Age group 55/59. I’m 57 (*Editor’s note: Youngster!!!)

Last few years I’ve been doing Long Course, Half’s and one long each year. I’m not built for Long Course, but my body and mind are 2 very different entities. I have never done a race that is a half or longer where my calves have not stopped me in my tracks. The event turns into a walk/survival in most cases. I have never quit, but that does not make me brave or smart. I always forecast to the event being over, me on the couch and pissed about not finishing… instead I’m on my couch pissed I DID finish and can’t move…Go Me!

This is the time where I’d like to say, if it wasn’t for my girlfriend and her support ( Salamat ), I would not be able to look after myself once I cross the finish line. I really look for her during my events and sure am glad she finds me after, because to be honest my 2 long races I finished this past summer, I did not finish as the guy I started as.

My first event was the Oliver Sprint. I did not know I couldn’t swim very well: I grew up in cottage country in Ontario and now realize jumping in and swimming back to the dock was not swimming.

Growing up I played hockey and football, also did a lot of one on one sports, in which i really like having total control over my outcomes…until you take into account that the other guys are thinking the same thing.

My most interesting training experiences usually have something to do with me and Bears. 4 times in Whistler this summer alone, I was riding up the Callahan early and it was the Saturday of “The Tough Mudder”. I noticed 4 vehicles passed me going up the hill (I know this because my coach had mentioned it would be busy, and to be prepared for traffic going up…that was the reason why I was riding early). Anyways, it was very foggy out and a little damp. I was moving around one of the small bends in the road and noticed a small pickup truck off to the side on the shoulder of the road. I was sure I didn’t see that vehicle pass me, so it must have driven up before I started my ride. As I was getting closer I chose this time to have a gel. I usually ride with my head down while climbing…as I’m pulling up to the truck, i noticed the window down and something barely sticking out if it. I think “what the hell is this dude doing?” I finally see it’s a camera lens, I can’t say what i was thinking… (*editor’s note: probably something like “What The #*(% !!! “)

I look over to where the lens was aiming and there is a Bear standing on the shoulder of the road eating something. I think “Holy sh_t”.

Well, now some quick thinking…if I turn around to head downhill, I have to turn toward the bear…keep going, just after eating my delicious gel, up hill and take my chances…”I wish I was on my couch”.

I look forward to working out with coach Mikey and the team……all sprints this year.

Editor’s note again: I can BEARly wait to train and race with you this year… GO PATRICK!!!!!!

Paul

Paul is one of the newest members of ATC! He’s retired, but not tired…of triathlon 🙂 Moved here recently from Vernon, his proudest moment in Tri was coming 15th AG at the ITU World Championships! Woot! Woot! He has a Canada suit to show for it too! Paul is a happy Dad to two daughters and is proud that he and his wife have raised two great moms. His favourite Carb-Loader is his wife’s homemade lasagna. He hiked MONGOLIA in the summer (and has the legs to show for it, I hear!) You wanna know his WORST race? 2004 Boston Marathon. 90 degrees with a hot, dry wind (don’t read this Ang, we know you are headed there this year!) Even though Paul was 50 minutes slower than his qualifying time…hey PAUL, it’s BOSTON. Instant cred just for running Boston, buddy!

Pic1: Paul with his grandson. They BOTH did a tri together…who else can claim that?

Pic2: ITU Championship: go Canada and go Paul!

Pic3: Paul has a fun side: he still plays with toys! YAY!

Rick

I am the president of Abbotsford Triathlon Club. I have been a resident of Abbotsford since 1993. I began running in 2007 and have since run several marathons including the 2009 Boston Marathon. In 2010 I began road cycling and have since competed in several GranFondo events, and the Group Health’s Seattle to Portland cycling event; a distance of 325 km in one day.  In 2011 I completed my first triathlon-Ironman Canada in Penticton. I am dedicated to the sport of triathlon. I look forward to helping new athletes complete their first triathlon, and experienced athletes improve their performance in future events. 

Sean

My name is Sean and I belong to the “Fossil” Age Category. I have a wonderful, loyal and soft companion of the four legged variety named Kai. She is a Shiba Inu and a true joy to be with.

Fitness is my hobby, I gave up on golf when i couldn’t break 80….lol. Yes that would have been on 12 holes. I started going to the gym when I was 14, I wrestled in high school, and was an aspring golfer, see above 😮).

I started running just to “get in shape” for ball season. I played baseball (hardball for +20 years). I started running to help a friend check the marathon off his bucket list. That was in 1998 and I stuck with it. I ran over 20 marathons before I got into Triathlons. I recently ran the California International Marathon in Sacramento and finished the course in a P.B. which means a lot to me as I also ran the course in 2004 in a P/B. time. So 12 years later I am faster….age doesn’t have to mean you get slower!!

After growing tired of “just running” I joined a friend in triathlon training, first I had to learn how to swim though 😮). If you see me swim now you will agree that I need to learn how to swim! I have done 4 IM’s, many 1/2 IM’s and a couple of Olympic distance events. I love the events and the energy that surrounds them. The people who run marathons or do triathlons are all amazing in their own way and I enjoy them all.

My goals for 2017: Run a faster marathon and do one or two 1/2 IM’s

I have hiked the Inca trail in Peru and done rapelling in Zion Park, Utah. Love adventure and doing epic shit!

Re: What you enjoy in your spare time…What the heck is spare time?? I have a dog now so she is my spare time joy.

Shane

My name is Shane and as of the 2017 tri season I will be entering the 40-45 age group. This upcoming season will be my 3rd year of triathlons. A co-worker of mine that I have ridden bike with for several years has been doing triathlons for several years and kind of mentioned it to me and thought I would enjoy them. Another friend and fellow member of the Abby Tri Club (Erica) also knew about my love for cycling but my absolute fear and dread of water… a horrible experience as a child kept me from ever feeling comfortable in the water. However, Erica has been an amazing coach and over the last two years has helped me immensely to get over my fear of water and the ability to swim more than 25 meters at a time, actually being able to breath while swimming and even getting over the fear of…. Open Water Swimming!

I try to fit my training into my work breaks, early morning or late evening sessions… in between my two kids begging for dad’s attention. I have always been involved in sports and have tried pretty much every sport you could think of…. triathlon is a whole different beast for me however and I am loving the new experience and the mental push and physical challenge it takes.

I don’t have a lot of triathlon experience, 2 years with one sprint and mainly have completed olympic distance. This past season I completed the Oliver Half Ironman is record setting heat (42 degrees!!) and vowed I would not do that again…. then several weeks later I watched the Whistler Ironman and changed my tune and have vowed I will complete an Ironman, or two, or…. well, I’ve got the bug clearly!

Not really sure what I want to accomplish in 2017 but want to have one race where I put everything together and feel like my training peaked perfectly for one race…. but isn’t that what we all want?!?

Fun fact about myself… in 2012 my dad, several other family members and myself completed the climb to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Probably the coolest “sporting” experience in my life and until my Half Ironman was the mentally hardest thing I’ve done.

Spare time enjoyment means anything to free my mind from the stresses of work and life… hence cycling with head phones!

See you all on training days or at the start line.

Simon

Hi my name is Simon. I have lived in Mission for 10 years and have been married for 15 years. We have two children, twins, a boy and a girl 12 years old. My hobbies include camping, fishing, hiking, music, woodworking(also career cabinetmaker). I also collect Lego and have an extensive Lego collection and dedicated Lego Room.

I joined the club in about June 2016 after Coach Mikey hunted me down on Facebook and practically had me registered with a couple comments to a post.
I started running and fitness training 3 years ago now. At the time I was quite overweight and a heavy smoker. At the time 37 years old I cringed at the thought of making serious improvements to my health. In all previous attempts I never stuck with anything long term and I had failed several attempts at quitting smoking.

Until one day 3 years ago when a little program was started at my work. They wanted to do a team building exercise so my company paid for a bunch of us to have personal training once a week for about 10 months and then we were going to do a spartan race. There was originally about 12 of us, dwindled to about 6-8 of us actually did the race. During training for the race I became very dedicated to getting in all of my workouts. Stuck to an almost all whole food diet for many months and trained myself to run 10km (still smoking heavily). I finally did quit smoking about 1-1/2 year and half later. I became committed to buying a good bicycle and being a non smoker. I couldn’t afford a bike at the time so I used this as a quit smoking technique along with some other tools and finally quit cold turkey, saved every penny of my smoke money for 8 months to purchase my “tri” bike. Now cigarette free for 1yr 295 days I have completed a half marathon clinic at the running room, led a half marathon clinic, then completed a full marathon clinic, I also co lead a marathon clinic. I have completed 3 half marathons, 2 marathons, 1standard distance tri, and 3 Spartan races. I now love to run, especially trail running and racing, any time of year in almost any weather works just fine for me.

I consider triathlon a huge accomplishment physically for not only to being able to run and bike those distance but overcoming training and learning how to swim those distances was the hardest part for me (thanks Ryan of the Mission Masters Club for his great training).

My goals for 2017 are to complete all of the races of the dynamic events series including the Oliver half iron and the cultus half iron. I would also like to do 2 more marathons (undetermined yet) and a spartan beast race and lose all of the weight I gained when I quit smoking (it was more than I’d like to admit) and just simply get faster better and stronger. Another goal of mine is to run every single trail on Bear and Red mountain this year and learn them both like the back of my hand. (I will post some runs for people to come along) My long term goal is to do full iron man but will not commit to that until my kids are a bit older and I feel the timing in life if right. Eventually I would love to qualify to race in Kona.

I’m a career commercial cabinet maker of 22 years by trade and am currently employed as a project manager for a local commercial Millwork company doing contracts with restaurants, bars, retail stores, and commercial office spaces.

I absolutely love the support and family feeling from the ATC. When I joined the ATC I had never done an open water swim. I had posted on Facebook that I was hoping someone would take me out I had David U. instantly responded. He met me at Cultus lake and gave me a few pointers to make me feel comfortable in my suit, and in the open water when I couldn’t see the bottom. In no time I was off to the races. 3-4 weeks later I saw someone else in similar situation in Facebook. Now feeling comfortable in the water, I was so happy to be able to pay it forward so soon. I look forward to being able to do it again. I absolutely love the support of the club just from member to member without the coaches even being involved as well as the coach support and the social atmosphere the club brings. I see myself as part of the club for years to come and possibly fall into a coaching role in the years to come when I have more experience. Hope to get to get to know you all better in the 2017 season!

You can like my Lego Facebook page here: Simon’s Lego Room.

Tom

My Name is Tom Advocaat, I am 53 years young and a father of 2 excellent adults, a 31 year old son who is autistic and a 29 year old daughter who is also hoping to get out for at least one sprint tri in 2017.

I am married to the most supportive person possible. It’s the only way that it could have lasted for over 21 years! I have had a ton of jobs, I was a Private Investigator for 15 years and currently work in Law Enforcement( NOT as a Police Officer) but my favourite is working occasionally in the film industry as a back- ground performer.

I coached soccer for 2 years and have been coaching Alpine Skiing for Special Olympics for over 15 years. In 2013 I was selected as an Associate Coach for Alpine Team Canada and travelled to S. Korea for the Winter World Games. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.

Several years ago, triathlon was the farthest thing from my mind. My passion was hockey and I played goal, along with a love for cycling. So how I got here is kind of a long story. In 2005 I lost over 60lbs and through many life altering (not in a good way) events that took place between 2007 and 2010, I lost my passions but managed to stay fit. I tried a few hobbies but nothing stuck.
About 2 years ago my daughter asked me to join her in an obstacle course race called the Spartan. We did the Sprint (5km) in North Van and the Beast at Sun Peaks (25km and 1500m vertical). I finally had something to focus on. In 2016 we did the Spartan Sprint again and I also did the Battlefrog obstacle course in Squamish which left me feeling like I had been in a car wreck. Meanwhile, Allen kept whispering in my ear about triathlons. So, in September I tried the Sprint Tri at Cultus Lake and I am hooked! The following weekend I completed the Spartan Beast again, an hour faster than last year.

So, this is my first off-season since the 80’s and I’m a bit out of my element right now, but I am finding my way with the help of A.

Vince

I hate talking about myself. It’s a quality that has always done me a disservice in life, business, and elsewhere, but Kristina and Mikey won’t let me off the hook, so here goes… I grew up like any Canadian kid, playing hockey, but since I was born in England, I played soccer too. Most kids had to make a choice between sports at a young age but I got to put that off until I was older, old enough to have played Junior hockey with the Langley Eagles in 1985, in the BCHL. After one year of getting smashed around the boards, I decided to focus on soccer (which was my passion) and I excelled at it.

When I was 12, I was runner up in the Coca-Cola Kid Skills Content. I lost by 1 point to the 17 year old kid who went on to win the worlds that year. When I was 15, I was runner up for the Vancouver Sun Soccer Boy. The year before, it was won by Bob Lenarduzzi. Soccer seemed to be my destiny. My father coached Canada’s 1976 Olympic Men’s Soccer Team, coached the Whitecaps Reserve team (he turned down the main team and so that job went to Tony Waiters) and he was one of only a dozen men in the world to have the FIFA International level coaching certification.

As a young teenager, I practiced hours and hours, either with my team or on my own. Literally, 4 to 6 hours every day with a soccer ball at my feet. At 17, the Canadian National Soccer Association changed the rules to allow someone my age to play for money. I played for the Queen’s Park Rangers in the Pacific Coast League and my notoriety as the youngest professional player in Canadian soccer ended when a kid named Domenic Mobilio came on the scene.

With a full scholarship at SFU for soccer, and a try-out opportunity lined up the following summer with several English premier league teams (an extremely rare occurrence for a Canadian soccer player), life seemed to be perfect. I also felt my life was mapped out for me – a professional soccer player with fans and all the accolades. I’ve had my name chanted by 10,000 people in a stadium. I was 17. I have no idea how I am a relatively normal person today, but there you are.

It was however, short-lived, as fate had different plans. Towards the end of the season, I suffered my 6th and final ankle injury. I spent 16 weeks on crutches and 6 weeks with a cane. As I was now a liability, the team, the scholarship and the try-outs all went away before my 18th birthday. I went through rehabilitation and even tried to make a comeback at 21 but I was too old and no team would take a risk with me. I went from a rising superstar to a simple liability.

After my last injury, I wasn’t ready to give up. I needed to stay in shape. I was swimming, cycling and running to stay fit. Keep in mind that this was in 1986 – so someone asked me if I had heard of that new thing called “triathlon”. It sounded like fun so, like most of you, I stupidly signed up for 2 triathlons, 7 days apart. My 1st race was the Crescent Beach Triathlon – I finished in just under 3 hours sore, chafed and hooked. One week later, I raced in the Vancouver International Triathlon and racked my bike just a few spots down from Mark Allen, who won that day.

For the next 4 years, I thought triathlon was my way of being a better soccer player. When my comeback failed, I took the advice from my Dad, Doctor, and Physiotherapist and, for the ultimate long-term health of my ankles, I left soccer and focused on triathlon. By 1992, I had completed over 50 triathlons, had run 3 or 4 marathons, spent $10,000 on a titanium bike and entered my 1st Ironman. Fate wasn’t done with me yet though…oh no.
One month before the Iron Man, I was on a training run and a child stepped in front of me at just the wrong time. I stepped off the curb to avoid the child and twisted my ankle for the 7th time putting me back on crutches until 3 days before the race. I went to Penticton, had a great swim and bike, ran 10km but walked the remaining of the marathon proudly finishing my 1st Ironman (finish time just under 13 hours).

In 1993, I raced in St. Croix and drank beer with legends Greg Welch and Mike Pigg. Mike only had one beer, Greg had 12 – no lie – and was ecstatic that he had some Canadians to drink with.

I went back to Penticton in 1994 and almost had a perfect race. I was looking for vindication for my previous race… and I almost got it: 56 min swim, 5:18 bike leg and the 1st 10 miles of the marathon knocked if in about an hour. All was going according to plan…and then came fate again. Unfortunately, I experienced some dizzy spells and had to do some walking. I had hoped to finish sub-10 hours but finished just under 11. I then spent nearly 8 hours in the medical tent.

I knew I had to go back for a 3rd attempt but I was determined to fix my problems and make my 3rd try an attempt to qualify for Kona as well. I also knew that I had to work on some things in my racing. So, I raced a lot and I raced all over. I did unique events like the 49th to Fraser, the Escape from Alcatraz and even a Quadrathlon (a triathlon with an ocean canoe leg off the coast of San Diego).

I had experiences that some of you would be very jealous about. For instance, I was training with Paul Williams and we were both up at Ironman in Penticton and he asked if I wanted to go for a run. I showed up to find that we weren’t alone. Standing there was Dave Scott…yes, that Dave Scott …and Scott Molina. It was all I could do to keep up with these 3 legends and they chatted at about at 5 min/mile pace. I also have the history of participating in the 0 avenue time trials when Bruce Wenting’s father ran the Fraser Valley Cycling Club. When training with Paul Williams, I got to hang out with people like Brian Parkinson who was the World’s Masters Triathlon Champion (still racing today), Ferg Hawke (ultramarathoner who finished 100 miles in 21 hours for fun), and guys like Graeme Fell and Phil Ellis who won the Vancouver Sun Run back in the 90’s the year or two before Paul himself won it…and they all ran about 29 minutes for 10km. I learned a lot running with those guys and had a great time. I truly loved running despite never going under 35 minutes myself. At a race weight of 170lbs back then, I was just too big to go any faster. In combination with all this great training, I raced. By the time I was ready to make my 3rd attempt, I had run 17 marathons with two sub-three hour clockings and a 2:52 personal best.

As the years went by, I made a plan that my best opportunity to qualify for Kona would be if I competed in the next age group up (40-45). When I turned 38, I put my plan into action and training began. The summer I was 39, I only competed in 3 triathlons but I finished in the top 20 overall in each. In those days, race entries numbered 400-500 people for a small race. My finishing times for an Olympic were around 2:05. This made me believe, with all my training combined, that I was ready for another sub-10 hour attempt at the Ironman.

Not so fast. Fate decided it still wasn’t done with and decided to kick me around again. I had tremendous foot pain that started 5K into the run, ironically, at the Crescent Beach Triathlon. It felt like a stress fracture except this pain didn’t go away. The diagnosis was that I had a bone issue caused by the loose tendons from all my previous ankle injuries and the Doctor was now telling me that I had to stop running altogether or risk never walking properly again…ever.

I never made a 3rd attempt at the Ironman. It took 2 years before I could walk without pain. It took 8 years, plus a girl named Kristina to motivate me, before I would run again. After a year of going to the gym, faking a run now and again, and talking about my old triathlon war stories, Kristina said she’d like to try one. I stupidly said I’d do it with her. Earlier this year, we both entered the Kelowna Cherry Sprint. It hurt like hell and my hamstring went POP in the first ten steps of the run, but I jogged it in with a smile on my face. Once again, I was sore, chafed and “almost” hooked. I say almost because if Kristina got hooked, I’d knew I could allow myself to get hooked too. Unlike Kristina, I knew how much pain was waiting for me. So here we are…
I’m trying to run again. I’m actively back with my physiotherapist (yes, the same one who saw me through the last most of my ankle injuries). I’m talking about losing 20 pounds to get to my race weight – just “talking” because it is Christmas and I’m drinking wine right now. Strangely, I look forward to the training pain but along with it, the old ankles are hurting pretty good. In fact, they hurt pretty much every day. As a lifelong athlete, you get used to pain, but it’s a good pain because it reminds me that while they hurt, that pain means I must be trying. I’ve come back from 7 ankle injuries and a couple of good bike crashes. The only way to come back is to hurt. No one wants to hurt, but it’s the only way to heal and the only way to get better.

2017 is now up on us and I’m going to try the Dynamic Race Series, maybe add in a couple of other events because Kristina will probably sign us both up without telling me anyways. If all goes well, I’m hoping to end the season with a Half Iron. In every race, when I step off the bike, I have no idea whether I will be able to run that day, or be forced to walk it in, but you bet I will finish every single one. I’ve only had one DNF in my entire racing history and it was mechanical. I like that record. So, with at least 4 races on the horizon, there will be another chapter for this bio next year.

PS: After 25+ years and 150+ triathlons, 19 marathons, 2 Ironman finishes, countless 10 kms, half-marathons, duathlons… all of those events were largely completed by training alone. I was a member of a couple of clubs but still trained mostly alone. Joining ATC, or any training club, is something I never expected I would do. I was always so serious about triathlon that I never cared about the social aspect of things. I never needed or wanted either a coach or a training buddy. Even though Kristina, who is my “swolemate”, and the initial motivator to join the club, had to push this “lone wolf” to join you all, I can happily say, after this past year with ATC, I wouldn’t do it alone again.

Zack

Zack is already an IronHuman and is biting at the bit to race more this year.

1. Name: Zack (ProZac, or Zack Attack)

2. Age Group: 20-25M

3. Personal background:
“All truly great are conceived by walking” Nietzsche. I discovered triathlon when I was 2 years old. My dad called me “Mario”, because, like an analogue stick on a control thats stuck sideways, I ran in circles, unable to successfully stop moving. And so, triathlon began.

My mom threw me in the pool before I could walk, so legend tells of my having gills (editor’s note: could be Erica’s cuz!)

Triathlon is a mode of being that allows me to fully inhabit my body, and realize myself. Life is short! Triathlon makes it feel longer!

You could say I’m a pretty philosophical runner. Somebody old said that we must be good animals before we can be good men. And that is what I do in training. I start with the basic fundamentals of movement and finish my races at the summit of Mt. Zion. It’s a continual renewal, and I don’t see myself leaving the sport anytime soon.

4. Fitness background: I started running at 14 in mornings before school. I lifeguarded for several years before university. The bike remains my untamed beast. It’s my goal to work on it next season. (editor’s note: Zack was a 5 year old BMX track racer!)

5. Triathlon experience: I have four years of triathlon. My first one was in 2012. My first race was Run For Water 5K in Abbotsford (got 1st place in 16-19 year olds). I have been doubliung my race distance every year. Did 2016 Ironman Canada July 24th with no injuries! (thanks to ATC coaches!!!)

6. Goals for 2017: work on the bike and nutrition while focusing on half iron distances.

7. Something fun about you or something interesting you’ve done: I fell 35 ft out of a poplar tree at Mill lake looking for the sunset. That left me bedridden for 2 weeks. 2 months later, Little Mario went for a 5k run the day the doc said I was allowed to walk!

8. What you enjoy in your spare time: Daydreaming about triathlon, mindfulness, reading, talking with people.