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Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


New blog location.

December 11th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Good day all – my future blog posts can be found here —–> http://www.matohalloran.blogspot.com/

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Ilocos Double Race Weekend.

December 5th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – this past weekends I raced back-2-back races in the province of Ilocos Sur of which is in the Northern Philippines, some 8 hour drive from our home in Laguna! The races where organized by 2 different groups and had pretty big prize purse for the local standards, so it attracted the strongest and smartest athletes locally – and when I say smartest, I mean that some should have been here but were M.I.A.

The Saturday race was a draft legal Olympic distance in the city of Narvacan.

The Sunday race was a point-to-point Half Ironman that started in the small town of Santiago with the swim in its beautiful cove, then the bike course went down towards Candon City where I raced/won this past March and then went back up to the historic City of Vigan for the run on cobble stoned roads of which I consider to be ‘Eurasian’  due to its Euro atmosphere and great food!

First race report: Pretty simple approach, spend as little  energy needed to win. The 3 loop swim course with a run on the beach meant that this would get technical, a young athlete from La Union lead me on the first loop, I pulled on the 2nd loop and then got a slight gap on the 3rd loop. The bike, was 4 X 10k laps of which is great for the spectators, but a but hard when I start to overtake athletes, none the less I build the pressure on my pedals every lap but due to the ruff roads and jarring, my left aerobar extension came out of its sleeve on the 2nd lap…Putangina!!!

From then on, I rode on my drops on the technical/bumpy sections and then held on with both hands on my right aerobar and keeped the other extension inside my tri-suite! All the while there was a legal-draft-fest going behind including the relay athletes with the individual athletes!

Once on the run, I focused on running the entire way nose breathing and making sure nobody gets to close, apart from a bit of confusion on the run course, of which has no real bearing impact on the over-all results, all went fine! Joyette got 4th place overall and our new recruit Bea got 5th place overall, with the fastest swim prime in her first triathlon, where both got a small paycheck and where very happy =)

After a quick nap, lots of food, compression socks, an easy swim, a race briefing and some ice cream – its was time to wake up again @ 3h30am for the next race!

This time I would have a Pro from Belgium challenging me.

My plan was simple: build into each leg, fuel early and leave EVERYTHING out on the course!

On the swim, I swam on the feet of the Belgium guy and then took the lead on the 2nd lap when I loosened up and felt the pace weaken, I lead all the way into T1 and once I got on the bike, he passed my like I was ridding still and simply disappeared into the distance…

I focused on gradually increasing the pressure on the pedals, stayed dynamic around the technical sections all the while staying positive.

Staying controlled, aero and hydrated!

In truth, I was not half Ironman fit for this race, I had been on a 5 week vacation in August/September, crammed training for 3 weeks before Safeguard 5150 and then focused on Banjo before the Taiwan 70.3 were then of course, coach Brett resigned from the team, which meant that November was a stressful and busy month for me!

Never the less, I believed in myself and got to T2 5 minutes behind the leader.

I started the run in a brisk pace that I knew I could build upon! Very rarely I find myself on the OFFENSIVE on the run course, most often I am on the DEFENSIVE trying to hold my lead/position. I struggled to get accurate splits to the gap in front and due to the nature of the course, it was easy to get out-of-sight-and-out-of-mind.

All of a sudden, at about the 13km point I caught a glimpse of the lead car, this was the crucial part of the race, I put in a surge to bridge the gap, my thinking was to get to him sooner than later, sit on his shoulder and KICK IT in the final stretch as the run course was a bit complicated and I did not want to find myself in a pressure position.

I manage to catch him at around 16km where I sat behind him for a moment…All of a sudden, my body just shut down, I mean literally like a switch being turned off, I went from running fast and strong to barely running at all…I watched him gradually pull away by simply maintaining his pace while I fell apart, got shivers and simply started to cramp in my hamstrings…I tried to get going a few times, start to build at this tree, then after this speed bump, walk a bit and try again…nothing…

I soldiered to a respectable 2nd place, loosing around 5 minutes in the final 5 km…

As much as I could blame racing the day before, my nutrition, my lack of fitness, blah, blah, fucken BLAH! The truth is, I should have reeled him in slower, been more patient and simply keep my rythym going to blow by him right at the end by taking no prisoners while motoring to the finish line!

My little Joyette manage to also get 2nd place overall to snag her biggest paycheck ever! We combined for 115k php in both races, of which is almost 3k USD so it was a good weekend where we went on a short vacation afterwards up in Pagudpud and Laoag!

Enjoy the pictures and captions =)

Checking out the giant windmills!

Gotta do a jump-off-shot!

Beach time!

Checking out the reef's during low tide.

Joyette visiting her old yaya from many years back - she was very surprised and happy to see us!

Next stop!

Yes thats a real army hummer!

Yes thats a real machine gun i'm gonna shoot!

This is very precise - hehehehehe!

Joyette's turn to shoot - dont mess with her, she nailed a can on her first try!

Our target and cans on the ground!

Lets go for an ATV ride in the sandunes!

Going down - feels like being in a roller-coaster!

The terrain we will eventually conquer!

Going up!

My turn to drive!

I want one of there for x-mast to go around Manila!

With our generous and entertaining host: Carlos!

Gotta try some sand-boarding before sunset!

Joyette decided to take safe option and go down on her bum ;)

Anyway thats it for now – final event of the year is will be a fun race at the ExTri next weekend where I will look to three-peat =)

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Cebu 70.3 Report.

August 8th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – last weekend @ the Cebu 70.3, our team had some great, some okay and some bad results.

Personally,  I came back from this race with so much more than I arrived with, I got humbled as an athlete once again but encouraged as a coach after seeing some of my athletes so well!

We also got the unique chance to hear apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas freestyle on stage at the meet-the-pro’s conference 2 days before the race! apl.de.ap was actually competing the 90km bike ride in the relay to raise money/awareness for his foundation to help kids in The Mindano Province.

I write this on a flight back Canada with Joyette, my first time in 2 years and her first time ever. I’m looking forward to a nice ‘home vacation’ and switch off as much as I can…My day-to-day life is triathlon 24/7 so im looking forward to escaping for 5 weeks so that my mind/body can be stimulated by other activities and non-triathletes ;)

My focus and desires to prepare/race as a pro have slowly been diminishing this year as I have been doing the same workouts, over the same roads or on the training for quite sometime where it seems to be getting dull…

Having Banjo win the Filipino Elite title at the tender age of 19 years old was the highlight for me and made me realize how much I love coaching! Banjo took a risk this summer; we agreed that he’d be best to skip a semester of College to focus on the 3 major races of the year: 5i50 SubicCebu 70.35i50 Clark and then return to school in Cagayan De Oro in mid-November


Needless to say, the risk and commitment paid off because only those who arm themselves accordingly and hunt for the big pay checks will ever get a chance to cash them ;)

Since April Banjo has been living in my house in Laguna where he gradually got stronger, faster and fitter by doing consistent training. Nothing extreme or high-tech, simply maximizing each training day the best we can with a no-bullshit attitude as we follow the proven TeamTBB training guidelines.

This result is a firm step forward in our program but it’s definitely not the time to get complacent, comfortable, or take a rest, but rather, rightfully dream bigger, aim higher and take more calculated risks towards our team’s objective to create Elite Level Filipino Triathletes.

Regardless if it’s creating an Olympian, medaling at the Asian Games or a podium in international level race, it’s a huge team effort. I know triathlon is an individual sport, but it takes a big support group composed of coaches, sponsors, managers, training partners, family etc. to reach a serious level and stay there!

In The Philippines, there is this “the chosen one” mentality where promising athlete are spoiled, idolized and smuttered  in compliments. This simply keeps the standards low, instigates a sense of entitlement and complacency. This is what I call the “start comple”‘ for those who’d know some athletes who have gone down that road.

This is where CULTURE comes into play. Canada has great hockey players because the standards are high because of the greats from the past. Brazil has great soccer players because the standards are high because of to the greats from the past. Kenya has great distance runners because the standards are high because of the greats from the past. And so on.

It’s human nature that each generation aspire to be better than the past one – so it’s only normal that when a certain country has little history or accomplishments in a particular sport, their hard pressed to find their bearings.

This is where general perspective comes into play. Last Sunday, Banjo was not 6 minutes ahead of the 2nd place Philipino Elite, but rather, 28 minutes behind the first overall athlete – that’s the reality.

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5i50 Subic Bay Race Report.

June 25th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – well not sure how to start this blog – usually it comes to me easy but this one not so much…Here goes:

I was very excited to compete in this race, I liked the point-to-point dynamics of the course, training had been going well, I knew the race course very well, I had made sure the trip for my squad was organized ahead of time and the weather gods where on my side; in short, I felt like I had my ‘ducks’ lined up.

During the race weekend, I could not help but feel envious of the other athletes I saw around the venue, they seemed so happy and excited, versus me who was on the edge and stressed. Racing as a pro athlete against other top pro athletes all the while leading a group of ‘scholars’ or elite development athletes during a race weekend at your sponsor’s event is a tough task.

I do my best to be a BIG PICTURE kind of guy, I have to, I am a coach. Race weekends, turn into a detail-fest: equipment, food, schedules, clothing, budget, pictures, final workouts, rest and importantly: PERFORMANCE! I feel their highs,  I feel their low’s and any problem I must fix.

I understand this challenge.

I accepted this challenge.

I understand this challenge is very rewarding.

***Deep breath***

Most of my career as a junior triathlete before I joined teamtbb where spent battling ‘side stiches’ on the run leg. Seldom did they ever appear in training, I could start to feel them near the end of the bike, only worsen on the run, making me incapable of lifting the intensity on the run as well to maintain a tall/upward posture. I was always puzzled on why they happened in races and never in training. I did research, asked questions and tried many things – avoided others.

I mean, these would feel like I had been stabbed in my abdomen, my lungs pushing against my diaphragm and often, in the races where I would gut myself through there, I could feel a sore spot for a few days after a race…

In the end, it really came down to controlling my breathing @ the end of the bike and start of the run. Racing longer distances or non drafting short/course races at lower and more even intensity lessened their likely-hood as well to severity, which has helped me become a more successful triathlete than before. Put still, in training I can get the intensity very high without this problem.

RACE DAY MORNING I felt good physically during my warm up but had a few things on my mind…I looked to block them out and be selfish for a couple 2 hours. Once the race started, I got on the back of the front and just cruised it. After about 500m I felt the pace slow down with a bit of swerving sideways so I casually made my way to the front and got into a sustainable rythym.

I tighten the screws gradually in the final 300m and secured the 300$ Alaska Milk Swim prime =)

A quick T1, jump on my bike and charged down a road where I had done some of the my hardest bike workouts from 2008 to 2011. After some ridding with my swimming mates for a few km’s, I found myself in no-mans-land  where I could not see anybody in front nor behind me.

This is where my mind started to swerve away from the present – I figure my expectations where that I’d be ridding with the lead group until T2 like last year – the reality of this year was, the top pro’s would come into T2 all spread out.

I rode the course the best I could, remained  dynamic over the modulating terrain; on the final and steepest uphill of the bike course, I developed 2 side-stiches (1 on each side) near the top as I ‘danced’ out of the saddle and gasped for air! There was a short flat, then twisty down hill, flat again towards transition where I did a final push in my aero-position I where could feel some tightness in my abdomen gradually increasing…

Once on the run, I was happy to see the 3rd placer just up the road, I took in deep breath and focused on a short/fast stride with relaxed arms. Within a few minutes I had serious abdominal pain, I push through them until the aid station up the road, I walked, sipped on water, took in some deep breaths again and then build back into a solid pace.

Now I was on the ‘golf course road’, somewhere I had ran up and down many times, not far from my old home on Lanzones st! The pain came back, more intensity where the impact of the road felt like was like being punched left and right in my torso…Not to long after this I got passed by 4 athletes within a 1 minute…

This is where I basically mentally ‘checked out’ and simply jogged to the finish line…I felt exhausted mentally and simply did not want to fight against myself no more…I got passed a few more times and did a FLYING POSE DOWN  at the line for the competition for the box of Shotz gels because my girl friend likes them a lot!

All in all I’m simply disappointed with myself – I eased off the gas when I should have punched it. I allowed non-tangible things to distract my focus and I let my abdominal pain get the better of me, once again.

On the bright side, my athletes did quite well – Jenny won the Filipina Elite with a nice pay check all the while balancing a full time job with the Lozada Swim School, a family and being hesitant to join the team last October!

Banjo, who’s been living with me for almost 3 months now, was the youngest Filipino Elite in the field and took another step closer to the to the top local athletes in the country by being 4th Filipino Elite, ~2 minutes from the podium and 9th Overall.

Dhill manage to win more prize money in 1500m than he did in his entire swim career! 1 year ago he did his first triathlon here – 1 year later he cut almost 25 minutes from his time! He still how-ever must improve his overall cycling abilities as well to endure the pain/strain of running if he is to be the first South East Asian to qualify in triathlon @ the Olympic Games.

Marc completed his first Olympic Distance Triathlon and manage to dose his efforts accordingly by not starting to fast, of which is something that cannot be bought @ the store, learned in a book or have somebody else do for you; simply trial, error and growth.

Despite a flat tire, Martin managed to finish on the podium with Marc by using a well balanced/conservative effort and having to overtake a lot of people since he was in wave 2.

Last but not least, my little Joyette had another strong race – having Hector on the micro-phone warning the male athletes out on the run course she was coming behind was sure high-light for her!

Anyway, all-in-all it was a successful weekend – I simply need to focus more on enjoying the positives and not let the negatives blind me from the present…Its impossible to make everybody happy and it can never be x-mast every day ;)

Heres a sweet video of the race – you can catch me twice, once @ 1:50 and again @ 2:50!

YouTube Preview Image

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Staying Refreshed With Ignite Naturals!

June 17th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – as a cold blooded Canadian who’s been living/training/racing in the steamy South East Asian climate since 2007, I am very much cognitive about the daily struggles and challenges of staying or should I say TRYING to stay ahead of dehydration or even worst, hyponatremia!

Getting very dehydrated can take most mortals a full day if not more to fully replenish their electrolytes levels back up to par for: proper cell function, ‘communication’ between your mind/body and perform natural bodily functions!

The human body may gradually get used to taking in less liquids and electrolytes with the help of discipline, acclimatization and time because there is a strong correlation between a high tolerance for dehydration and high performance in the heat.

Finding out what works for YOU is a matter of trial and error; a common mistake is to over drink pure water and ‘flush’ your electrolyte stores. Another one, is to over drink or ‘chug’ liquids spontaneously and then not drink for a while, making you extra thirsty and giving an uneven distribution.

In the ideal world, sipping regularly, pre/post and in training on an electrolyte drink that’s wholesome, easily absorbed and versatile will be your surest bet to get in what you need to avoid or limit G.I. distress as well to feasibly take in nutrition, during or after exercise.

Many of the typical, accessible and/or mainstream electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade contain food coloring’s for commercial appeal and visual distinction  such as: Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6 or Blue 1.  As a rule of thumb, when looking on a label, any color followed by number is a food dye which has multiple side-effect where its advisable to avoid them or find a healthier alternative.

Check out Gatorade ambassador Jeremy Lin’s video:

YouTube Preview Image

Now guess which flavor he’s been drinking? You can bet his ‘within’ are also that color…!

Not only do these modern electrolyte drinks have health consequences, they can be high in calories, have acidic PH levels and taste foul when warm which is an important consideration for those who race in the heat! Often, they will contain little to no Calcium and Maganese which are less important minerals but still part of the electrolyte puzzle where a lack of over extended duration’s may instigate electrolyte imbalance followed by physical consequences!

Having a low osmolality electrolyte drink allow’s your intestines to absorb it quicker and easier! Considering that your body spends a fair amount of energy in breaking down, absorbing and then metabolizing what you take it – best to keep it all simple and strait to the point so you can use that energy elsewhere!

An electrolyte drink thats low in calories will not cut your appetite when drinking it between meals nor hinder the absorption process as you pair it up with nutrition in racing/training as it will increase the overall viscosity of everything as it will end up in your stomach together!

I personally deter athletes from drinking those supper thick ‘syrups’ in races because they have such a high failure rate. Sure, they are convenient to carry on your bike or while running and theoretically add up in calories, but unless your out for a medium duration or are motoring at the high intensity of a pro athlete, you best to chew your food (the sooner in a race the better) and pair it up with a light but all encompassing electrolyte drink.

The human body doesn’t ‘register’ liquid calories the same as solid ones since little to NO digestive enzymes are secreted by the salivary glands by in your mouth during regular mastication.

So, whats a healthy and wholesome alternative? Coconut water is one of them, but its not very practical to carry around and for many westerners, difficult to buy or maybe quite expensive when ‘bottled’ as well to possibly be saturated with preservatives or extenders…

One commercial alternative is Nuun Electrolyte Tablets which are practical, encompass all electrolytes and have a subtle taste at any temperature – unfortunately they contain a chemical called Sorbitol which has been known to give problems such as bloating and diarrhea when taken in large quantities or over extended duration’s…

Then there’s I.N. Refresh which I have been recently experimenting and a great help here in The Philippines since the dry season has been extended as well to make me extra thirsty training towards my 2 biggest races of the year: 5i50 Subic Bay and Ironman 70.3 Cebu.

Ignite Naturals uses ALL NATURAL plant based ingredients which makes it: very healthy, easily absorbs and tastes fine when warm!

The ingredients in I.N. Refresh are all free of GMO, vegan friendly and gluten free! Here’s some examples of the ingredients: Dried fruits, unprocessed Cane SugarAloe Vera and Lo Han Guo.

My first thought when I drank the Tangerine Passion Fruit flavored I.N. Refresh was how mildly sweet it was! When you get dehydrated, its quite common for sweet food to taste overly sweet, so this makes is gentle on my teeth’s enamel versus other modern sports drinks that can be too acidic and damage our teeth!!!

Only 1 small scoop is needed and it mixes easily in water!

Also, since its Fructose based its very suitable for diabetics and will give you more than enuff for your daily amount of vitamin C to protect/boost your immune system!

Salt Tablets/Pills are also very popular with endurance athletes and work for some, but best to avoid them if you have not practiced with them extensively because such a spontaneous, unnatural and high concentration of electrolyte may instigate severe stomach pain or vomiting!

One of the painful dangers of regular dehydration and replenishing with poor electrolyte sources is: kidney stones. I have noticed how prevalent these are getting recently in endurance athletes that have been competing for many years! I remember back in 2003 when 2 time defending Ironman World Champion Tim Deboom passed some DURING the race on side of the road in Kona Hawaii!

Last but not least, most of our daily/regular diets contain to much sodium to start with; it can worsen hypertension, osteoporosis and water retention . In these modern times, REAL FOOD is almost a commodity as it may often be harder to find, more expensive and may not be as tasty or visually appealing compared to their synthetic counterparts….But you can be sure they will always be absorbed easier, give you more energy with no side-effects and better long term health!

PS: If interested in trying out these products at a discounted price, kindly use my online coupon code: TBB0502 ——>Ignite Naturals Online Store.

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Dinagat Island Challenge Race Report.

June 5th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – yes this race report is over-due but as I mentioned in my last blog, the memory card in my camera stoped working after swimming in 10 foot waves in Cloud 9!!! Okay, so this race was on Dinagat Island in the Mindano region of The Philippines which actually has a bit of history to it since its the home base of the Philippines Benevolent Missionary Association founded by Ruben Ecleo Senior. Having traveled some around the globe and knowing how the media can paint a very cynical picture of some locations, I always like to check it out for myself and then judge from there!

Honestly, this is what I race for these days, to see new places, meet new people and get new experiences! There was a nice chunk of prize money for top spot as well to paying 10 deep in both men and women respectively! The only down side is, that it was a tedious 12 hour travel from Manila by car/plane/tricycle/boat!

Thats Banjo crammed in the back of a tricycle with a couple bike boxes on the roof!!!

Our vessel to the Island!

The race course was honestly the HARDEST short-course race I have done in my life! It was a 2pm start, which meant 35 degrees celcius and 100% humidity as well to some decent sized waves on the 1000m swim course since it was mid day and it was an out and back 3/4 of the way to an island and back with lots a current!

A large crowd of locals was present to watch their first ever triathlon!

The bike course, was basically 27km of the Naithon Beach section in the Laguna Phuket Tri in Thailand. NO FLAT sections and all concrete with a few ‘off road’ sections with multiple 2-3km uphills that where around 15% gradient – I kid you f*cking not!!! I remained hydrated by sipping on my I.N. Refresh Tangerine Passion Fruit drink from start to finish.

This shot was taken the day before @ sun-set while checking out the bike course - there was some spectacular views!

One of the few sections I could stay in my aerobars!

The run, well it was *ONLY* 4.9km long where we had to run UPHILL for 2km strait up the same type of hills as the bike towards the Ecleo residence near the PBMA shrine. We had a whole 50 meters of flat to get ‘ready’ for this ascent that had 100′s of supporters cheering outside their homes that where slanted on the steep roads!

The castle here on the top of the hill was near the turn around point - you get the idea, sea level to there in 2km!

The spectacular Ecleo residence was one of the highlights of the run course!

Another cool view - a guitar shaped pool!

Once @ the top, well you can only go down for 2km and that was just as painful but in a different kind of way where I was glad to be running with my ON Cloud Racers to absorb the impact!  Once @ the bottom, we got discount and ran half way up the 2km half before turning left to towards the administration area.

Up, up and UP some more as every part of the course was lined up with spectators!

Woah – I did win the race but more importantly I conquered the terrain. Banjo was 2nd place and effectively earned is largest ever pay-check while Joyette won the female race and also won her largest paycheck ever!

Post race refreshment!

Who's thirsty?

All in all is was a great experience – I felt very welcomed, we where all well taken care of and it was all very safe! The course was FULLY closed to vehicular traffic as well to me personally finding the residents of Dinagat Island to be disciplined and respectfull where I was informed as well to believe  it has very low crime rate due to the dictatorship type of ruling! There is plans for a bigger race with more prize money next year =) check out for updates —> www.triathlon.reesfi.com

We had more than enuff escorts for the pre-race course reckon!

The spectacular view from our hotel balcony!

As well to a very classy carbo load supper with lots of lechon - ahahahaha!

Now, the major take away from this race is that you got to be in it to win it. This event had plenty of prize money but few locals showed up…Im sure they all have ‘reasons’ why not to but as a development coach and 3rd tier pro triathlete I am cognitive of the ‘prize fighter’ mentality needed to make a living from triathlon.

Competing for money is what pro sport is all about – when an athlete can rely’s or fall back on sponsors or funding, it can make them weak or complacent if they dont have a strong ego drive and not make them push that final 1% or take that risk and go to to that far away race that ‘cherry pick’ event in the middle of no-where against a bunch no-body’s.

Being able to race under financial pressure is no different than the pressure of racing for ‘points’ or for you countries honor – its part of the process of athlete development to be able to get a direct and tangible return from a race instead of being content with performance, which is also very very important but not what will always pay the bills and of course, its impossible to always out-perform your last race.

This is a lesson I look to ingrain in the heads of my scholars here in The Philippines. They need to be able to compute how much money can they win on a good day? How much money can they afford to lose on a bad day? How much is the travel? Entry fee? Accom? Food? Whats your next race after? Ect.?

These are all things that must be taken into consideration and are part of their apprenticeship. My girl friend Joyette has won 60 000 pesos in prize money ~1500$ USD in the past 6 months from racing. Yes its not much in the ‘real world’ but here in the 3rd world its significant as well to considering she’s an age grouper! Just like with my development athletes,  we sit down together, look at the race calendar, plan our travels/budget and see which ones she can get a return or gain experience or get a nice race-cation in. This event, she got all 3!

Anyway, after the race me and Joyette spent part of our winning and a couple nights in Siargao Island which is a world renowned surf-spot and really cheap to stay! We had some lazy mornings, after-noons in the waves and evenings getting drunk and food-tripping – ahahaha!

Here are some pictures:

Our cabana's during our stay!

Cruzin' on a cruiser ;)

Checking out the surf tower!

To surf or not to surf?

Ummm lets go body surf instead!

One of the last shots I got in before the memory card stopped working...

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May 27th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – yesterday I raced the X-Terra Mud Run at Filinvest in Ayala Alabang – here in The Philippines its been a casual start to the rainy season but the day before this event, the sky’s just opened up = extra mud!

The dynamics was a 10 km off road run with 10 different obstacles to over come that ranged from climbing up a wall, crawling in muddy trenches, crossing a mud-pit with a robe, carrying a heavy car tire, ect. all with a guarantee to get VERY DIRTY!

I have been very busy in the past few weeks as well to be and Joyette being sick on race day so I put extra emphasis on my mental approach to this race. Especially since there was lots of unknown’s for everybody on the start line.

My goal, was to break the course into 3 different sections, the caution sections, the steady sections and the HAMMER sections. I was released in wave ‘B’ 10 minutes behind wave ‘A’ so it meant I had to overtake 100′s of runners in the process on top of the added physical and technical challenge off road events bring. Its the athlete against the terrain and their minds – not against the clock!

Pre-race briefing.

The one thing I noticed, was a much more laid-back and joyful atmosphere at the start line! Nobody was there for a ‘best time’ but rather a good time and face a new/exiting challenge on a new race venue!

Everybody seemed like they wanted to take advantage of the first 800m as it was asphalt!

Me taking the lead of my wave right before the first obstical!

This picture is worth 1000's words and needs a funny caption!

This challenge, you have to crawl over these boards that was covered it slippery Vaseline - note how they are all smiling =)

The OVER and UNDER section!

Quite a few people lost their shoes during these obstacles - speed laces are not a good idea!

Even the boss himself got down and dirty!

The wall climb was the hardest of all the obstacle in my opinion!

The local Police participated in strong numbers!

Sprinting to the finish!

Finished 1st in my wave and 3rd overall - both 1st and 2nd placers where in the first wave so they had a slight advantage of clear trail but there is also a special prize for winning your wave as well so all good may not have won that one if in wave A!

Woah thats was hard!

After my finish, I gave a few tips to the 5k wave behind me ;)

Big bright smiles where easy to spot at the finish line!

Joyette manage to get 2nd place overall female in the 10k!

All in all this was a great experience – I strongly recommend this to those feeling the redundancy of typical road races and looking for something more out of running, whether its for extra enjoyment or a bigger challenge or more discovery – these events will not disappoint!

Anyway, some of you might be waiting for my Dinagat Island Challenge race report – yes it will come soon, its just that I damages the memory card of my water/shock proof camera playing around in the 10 foot waves of Cloud 9! Hopefully I will be able to get the pictures back…I realized that I would have rather the camera break, even though its more expensive it is replaceable able versus the pictures which are not replaceable…

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Mountain Biking To The Next Level!

May 7th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – many of you know that I DNF’d the recent X-Terra Philippines after crashing 2 days before the race…Well after the race, I ultimately had 2 options:

#1) To put my MTB in the corner & focus to ride on Cervégnolo P3.

#2) To suck it up and keep ridding my MTB.

Well since its the dry season here in The Philippines and the trails are crips, dry and fast I decided to go with #2 and make a few changes to my MTB set-up – more specifically use a CamelBak and take off all the stuff hanging from my bike to make it lighter!

Before with water Bottle/Cage/Pump/Co2/Levers/Saddle Bag with 2 X 29er tubes.



You, get on my back - ya'll fit nicely & centered!

But you GoPro, even though your heavy, you can come & hang out on my 3T ARX Pro Stem occasionally ;)

My blog assistant =)

Apart from the occasional ride with my GoPro - ridding with a ‘naked’ frame has added a new dimension to my ridding. I estimate I got 3 pounds off my frame, which is very noticeable when I ‘bunny hop’ or swing my bike side to side when I climb or accelerate and when I go over ruff terrain I feel like I have better control of my bike where I can maneuver much more feasibly!

The CamelBak gives me more freedom and selection when I want to drink – the water stays cooler longer and allows me to carry more liquids as well! Considering I have a titanium collar bone from 2008; I had the preconceived notion it would be a hassle & make me feel hot! Au contraire – I am now a believer!

“Look ma, NO HANDS” (with hillbilly accent inspired by The Simpsons) – ahahahaha!

Multi-tasking: drinking, hammering & taking pictures for my blog all @ once!

Cornering @ the top of a short power climb.

Mooooooooooooooooo-out-of-the-way cows!

Ridding through a tunnel with my chin close to my 3T ARX PRO stem & bent elbows!

Cleared the tunnel with a different bike kit & GoPro angle!

After the tunnel comes a river x-sing!

A view of the tunnel from the other side of the river.

My Micheal Jordan impression!

Taking a picture NOW!


Not focused ;)

Lets go!!!

And keep going!

Over some rocks.

Ridding a bit too close to the bush!

Goofing around!

More goofing around ;)

Trying to get aero on the road...

Not much traffic out here!

Chasing Joyette.

Finally got to pass her - giving the 'look back' to make sure she keeps puhsing!

Anyway, I will be getting as much MTB’ing as I can before the rainy season starts…Where it will be mainly ridding my Tacx Booster from there going into Subic 5i50 and Cebu 70.3!


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Spam Musubi.

April 24th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – if your a healthy food freak, well best to close this page now coz you wont like what your gonna read – hehehehehe!

Last year when Joyette came back from X-Terra Worlds in Maui Hawaii she had brought back this small and pink plastic rectangle thingy  with a sort of a ‘press’ as a lid? She keep raving about this Spam Musubi thing she would buy at 7 Eleven and how delicious it would be!

I was like “ahahahaha Spam and white rice in a sandwich? You’re really desperate to get me to eat white rice & meat!”

Sure enuff she cooked up some samples and now we eat these a few times per week! Of course, we have tinkered with the original recipe since then – here it is!

The original recipe is very simple, Spam/Soy Sauce/White Sugar/White Rice/Dried Seaweed aka Nori.

Heres our own personal with a twist:

We replaced the soy sauce with Teriyaki sauce, replace the white sugar with Muscovado, add in Olive Oil and add in some Parmesan cheese! We have played around with other cheese’s, but Parmesan is much easier to work with and since its strong-ish tasting, a little bit is just enuff to taste the difference!

Step 1) Cut up the Spam into half inch slices and cook for ~10 min in Teriyaki Sauce and Olive Oil.

In the mean time, cook some Japaneses sticky white rice in a Rice Cooker!

Step 2) Cut up the Seaweed into strips and get ready for the rice!

Step 3) Place a bottom lair of rice and press it good with the lid!

Step 4) Place a nicely cooked/glazed slice of Spam on top of the first lair of rice!

Step 5) Place Parmesan on top of the slice of Spam. This is actually where the really fun can be, to throw in anything one might like to combine with the Spam and White Rice!

Step 6) Place a 2nd layer of White Rice on top.

Step 7) Give a good press down with the lid for a tight and compact 'rice sandwich'!

Almost done!

Step 8) Gently roll the Spam Musubi in order to wrap it around!

Step 9) Use a bit of water to stick the Seaweed together and seal the deal!

Side view.

Step 10) Lets EAT! Incidentally, Joyette likes to larger ones and I like the smaller ones - who would have figured eh ;)

Anyway, DONT JUDGE these until you have tasted them! No its not healthy,not every can be and not everything should be. This is a very practical, quick and frugal rice meal many different cultures would appreciate! Lastly, when a foreigner lives with a Filipina, there needs to be a few white rice & meat meals each week to keep a harmonious atmosphere in the house ;)

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My new ON Cloudrunners!

April 19th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – yes ANOTHER equipment blog! As I said, its that time of year =)

I just got my hands on the very new Cloudrunners and got the chance to test them out over a few runs recently! Its a very cool shoe that has A LOT of thought put into – in my option, raising the bar in the shoe industry!

ON, like a few TeamTBB sponsors such as Cervelo, Ignite Natural, Huub Design, Cobb Saddles, etc are very innovative companies and push the boundaries of endurance equipment!

Growing up in Canada, I was often told that I lived in the 2nd best country (all things considered) and that Switzerland was the best!

One of the cool aspect of this shoe is its new *SPEEDBOARD* between the sole and foot that has many useful functions to help forward propulsion, better energy distribution while landing at various angles, assist in guiding the foot upon impact & push off the ground more effectively!

This was a shoe where just looking and touching it out of the box was FUN and interesting! I must have taken a good 30 minutes geeking around with it and comparing it to my other ON shoes – like a kid on Chris-mast morning!

Left to right are the fastest to slowest in vibrant colors!

Each shoe has different size/number/thickness of CloudTec Lugs™ for various speeds and running style!

Gave the shoes a test run during some brisk off road hill repeat!

The shoes really felt good bouncing up and down the hills – very stable as the CloudTec Lugs™ modulated over the various terrain!

Me and Banjo both agreed the larger/reinforced CloudTec Lugs™ on the heel helped to absorb the impact on the way down!

The pattern of the CloudTec Lugs™ under the shoe makes them a great choice for those bowlegged athletes who under-pronate (me) as it will encourage a more neutral/forward push-off with the help to the SPEEDBOARD!

One key feature is the larger CloudTec Lug™ on the outside of the heel!

The CloudTec Lugs™ on these are also ‘filled’ with some added cushioning, allowing for better absorption of the impact and I believe it will also help with the longevity of the CloudTec Lugs™ since there a bit shallower than the other training shoes that ON as on its roster, apart from the Cloudracer which has slightly smaller/shallower ones!

The CloudTec Lugs™ without pressure when in mid-flight!

And BITE upon impact for better traction and absorption before pushing off!

To conclude, this shoe is on the ‘heavier’ side @ 315g/11.1 OZ for size 8.5 US men but considering the advantages and that the lesser an athletes running abilities or heavier they are or harder surfaces they run on or longer distance they cover – these will be very beneficial to help synergies your running efforts all the while absorbing the impact better for energy conservation and reduction in injury’s and soreness!

Last but not least, if your interested in a pair of these or any other ON shoes,  drop me a note at: mattohalloran@teamtbb.com.

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