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August « 2012 « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Archive for August, 2012

My new toy =)

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Hey all – like most triathletes I like new toys!
Especially those that are fresh to the market.
And that will help me get stronger!

After the Cebu 70.3 where I won a small chunk of money – I decided to treat myself to a new indoor trainer!

I killed my beloved Minoura trainer right before the Cebu 70.3 where it lost resistance and would make a VERY loud noises when I was givin’er! Thats a new personal record for me – 9 months to break a trainer!

It did some recherche on which trainer to get next – I felt like I deserved something of good quality because I train A LOT on the trainer! In the end I got the Tacx Booster!

It offers a tone of resistance at low speeds, is much simpler to hook by bike to it and comes with a remote that has 10 levels of resistance!

Here I am 'breaking it in' or should I say it broke me in ;) in my usual trainer set-up going head to head against mister accusplit on a bright and sunny day!

A closer look!

I bought my Continental Hometrainer tire at the same time as the Minoura trainer and strangely enuff – the tire is still going strong!

My cock-pit while im on the trainer is a bit more crowded now that I have a remote for the trainer - on the other side is my I-Pod where I often listen to the local music stations to improve my Tagalog =)

Even if I lived in Tuscany I would definitely ride the trainer once per week since I can do very specific workouts that allow me to tap into an intensity or power out-put repetitively in a short period of time without any distractions from the circumstances commonly found out on the road – in laymen’s term, it adds a new dimension to my bike training!

This attitude of mine must echo the Canadian winters I spent swimming up and down a pool staring at the black line where you get a few seconds rest between extended efforts; versus running and cycling where long recovery periods between intervals seem to be ‘normal’ in terms of training structure.

When I trained at the Canadian National Triathlon Center in beautifulVictoria B-C as a Junior, I was advised to remove my big chain ring off my winter bike, an 8 speed aluminum Eclipse roadie! So I did and spun my legs EVERY-WHERE for months – which was during the Lance Armstrong era.

I joined group rides such as the Victoria Wheelers weekend rides and would get dropped at first, but I learned to spin for long duration’s and hang on – I was committed and trusted those who advised me. When I was asked what happened to my big ring, I simply said I lost it while going up gullible hill – like lots of my jokes, not all got it…

The results of this experiment unfortunately spoke for themselves…

Fast forward to the summer of 2007 when I started to train with TeamTBB where Brett Sutton advised me the complete opposite and locked out my gears in 53 X 13.

Just like before, I committed to it but the difference is that I have gotten much stronger since!

While there is a black and white army out there that believes training/ridding at low RPM is both dangerous and un-efficient, there are more than a few reason’s why triathletes will benefit from it!

Triathletes dont/cant ride as much as cyclist. So to build strength, we need to do more resistance orientated training. It will also hugely benefit those who dont have a feel for the pedal and allow those who are ‘bigger’ to maximize what they got :)

Lower RPM = fewer muscle contractions, less calories burned, lower heart rate and lower core temperature. When it comes to running off the bike, it allows a slight progression in your over all body CADENCE from bike to run as well from using your muscles into using your engine (heart and lungs) for the run with a high turn over!

Of course there are quite a few very good triathletes who both ride/run off the bike very quick and ride a higher RPM – simply put, their engines are far more develop and can maintain a higher intensity for longer duration’s. Unlike age-group athletes and development athletes competing in an extended time trial sandwiched between a swim and a run over challenging terrain and often hazardous weather.

Ridding the trainer allows me to ‘dial in’ my RPM and stick to it without any distraction that may be instigated by geography or the climate. Its also a fully-controllable measurement regardless of the intensity and/or how I feel.

My preferred number for resistance training is 60 RPM because its low, but not to low as to avoid ankle and knee niggles as well to allow a half descent rythym that would other wise be compromised if I go lower…It also makes it EZ to count for those who dont have a cadence monitor, 1 RPM = 1 second.

While I dont RACE as that low of RPM, it gives me a great bang for my buck in terms of training VALUE, compliments/supports my longer tempo efforts and changes my perception once I ride up a hill!

Some of the greatest cyclist in history use to do tones of low RPM or BIG GEAR training – which often went un-noticed by subjective individuals who watched them RACE at a high RPM on T.V. as it was surely a crucial part of their MIX during THE PROCESS to get at their current level in order to ride a BIG gear at a HIGH cadence!

Take any cyclist who has broken the hour record or tried to – they have done some serious big gear training because the UCI un-fortunately only recognizes when those are done on a boring fixed gear bike…

If they ever change their dinosaur attitude and allow evolution to do its thing – then the hour record would surely get popular again!

The final thing about ridding on the trainer is the ability to spin a very very high RPM – while the benefits are few and far in between it makes a good Ying to the Yang of low RPM training. Especially if you race somewhere that will have a strong tail wind or long downhills!

In the end, there are 3 types of RPM’s: Low RPM – race RPM – High RPM. Obviously the most important one to master is the race RPM as to get a fluid and efficient rythym going but the low RPM allow’s to SUPPORT extended efforts at race RPM as well to be very beneficial over hilly course – same goes for the high RPM, of which can occasional compliment your race RPM by maintaining a bit of SNAP in your legs!

Cycling is a very basic sport bio-mechanically, your range of motion is always the same according to your crank length – regardless your ridding EZ – STEADY – FAST or low – race – high RPM’s uphill or downhill or your feeling great or terrible.

Unlike swimming and/or running where your range of motion constantly changes according to your speed, effort level or if/when your muscles are tighten up…

Thanx to that fact – the major difference is the force applied on the pedals, the size of your engine and how much pain your legs and brain can tolerate. So why not use your time wisely and get good at applying great force on your pedals and teaching yourself how to hurt? We have swimming and running to develop our engines =)

Cheezy Bacon Fried Rice!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Hey ALL!

As westerner who lives in Asia more specifically The Philippines which is a white-rice-centric region of the world – I tend to struggle…

Growing up in Canada I was educated and constantly reminded that white rice and white bread contained ‘empty’ calories and that brown/wild rice and whole-wheat bread was a more whole-some alternative.

So I was basically programmed to believe that eating white rice 3 time per day is ‘un-healthy’…I am right? Who know’s? Who cares?

The point – is that living with my Filippina girl friend can be a nutritional challenge because I am a westerner who is competitive in endurance sport where nutrition plays a critical role.

My biggest challenge, keeping my ‘tank’ full and not loosing to much weight (what a drama).

To live in harmony, I had to create a new ‘go to’ rice dish!

Ingredients needed:

-Enuff day old brown rice for 2 people
-4 normal sized eggs (2 per person)
-More mozzarella cheese than there should be
-Enuff bacon to feed a small family
-Olive Oil
-Black ground pepper
-1 large diced onion
-Soy sauce * Optional

Total prep/cook time is about 20-25 minutes!

Cook all the bacon - put pepper BEFORE cooking.

Like most Filippino's Joyette likes her meat to be VERY CRISPY!

Once cooked, put the bacon aside and leave as much BACON GREASE as possible in the pan as to lube and flavor the onion's! Also refrain from picking on the bacon while cooking ;)

Put the onions in the boiling bacon grease with some pepper - cook for 1 minutes only.

Turn down the heat to half-way, add in rice and put a generous amount of olive oil!

MIX and let cook for a few minutes.

Next is to add in beaten eggs!

MIX and then cover. Mix again every few minutes until its starts to get 'crusty'.

Once the eggs if cooked - turn off the heat and add in the CRISPY BACON!

Followed by the cheese! Now it should start to SMELL VERY DELICIOUS!

MIX quickly after adding in and make sure there cheese doesn't clump up!

Once MIXED - cover and then leave 'simmer' as the pan/stove top is still hot! This is a great time to get a heads start on dishes - I suggest around 5 minutes to make sure the flavors blend together nicely!

LETS EAT - I personally prefer moist rice versus dry-ish ones...

Thats it – dont judge before you try it!

Cebu 70.3 Race Report!

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Mabuhay tayo!

Last weekend was the Cebu 70.3! While it wasn’t my best performance this year…I did get a solid result and learned a very valuable lesson.

In short, after some troubles on the bike and run, I found myself in a dark/negative state on the run…But managed to turn it around and run the FASTEST 2nd half of the run leg by over 2 minutes !

As an active player/coach I find it imperative to lead by example both in training and racing. Last Sunday simply reinforced those clichee theory’s to “never give up” and “do your best regardless” until the finish line.

Now, bellow is a whole bunch of randoms pictures I collected from FACEBOOK with some brief captions to give an entertaining weekend report!

A great race venue that will cater to all, especially those travelling with a family and/or young children makes it the ULTIMATE destination race 8) Just a bit pricey ;)

12 season's racing in 11 different countries - this is BY FAR the best race expo I have ever witnessed!

Local Cebuano and world renowned artist Kenneth Cobonpue was the creator of the very unique medal/trophy!

Pro Q/A



What a welcome!

Triathlon carbo load's are sometimes just as intense as the start of the swim leg where everybody is eager to get doing, bumping elbow's and hungry!


Its a bird? Its a plane? Its IRONMAN!

Moments before the race start - soooooo nerve racking these deep water starts!


Typical triathlon swim chaos brings out both the strongest or the weakest side of some...Especially with 1000's of other in the water!

2nd out of the ocean!

Lets go uphill run to T1!

Me at the top of Marcelo Fernand bridge – the highest point of the bike course!

2nd place in no-mans land and soon after my first problem would start...

As I went down the fast and bumpy downhill. I quickly started to feel the head set of my stem coming loose! I could not believe it, such a rookie mistake as I had re-build my own bike!

Soon after I went into a technical section and it got pretty dangerous.
I had to turn right very gradually and then left very aggressively to get my bars lined up with my front wheel!

Soon after, Cam Brown came by me at a steady pace – I went with him for a bit but knew I needed to prioritize fixing my bars. As he rode off a motor cycle came by and heres the exchange:

Me: PUNTA PUNTA (jeepney calling hand motion) yung problema ako!

Motor cycle guy: Anon problema?


Motor cycle guy: What size sir?

Me: I dont know!?!?!?

Motor cycle guy disappears for a few minutes.
Suddenly shows up with a full set of long rusty allen keys!

I ripped on the brakes while in my 54X12.
Then grabbed the tools and tighten by stem LIKE A BOSS!


And remember, I stopped in my 54X12 gear.
Im sure you can imagine the next few seconds hehehehehehe!

Back at it and soon after I see the race leader and defending champ Pete Jacobs coming back with Cam Brown not to far behind. At the turn around I grabbed by first bottle of the race and then saw the gap to the others behind me.

Now new plan, limit the damage to the guys in front and keep the chasers as chasers.

Its starting to HEAT-UP!

I rode 99.99% of the bike on my own...

Apart from briefly following a media motor cycle off course and having some back/neck pains due to the bumpy road and the fact that I rode on the trainer most of my preparation of which made me un-accustomed to vibrations, the rest of the bike was un-eventful and I finished it strong while arriving in T2 in clear 3rd position!

Within the first few steps of my running in my ON Running Cloud Racers I knew I was in trouble…Since the day before the race I had been suffering from LBS which had also affected my belly…

The impact of the ground just made it worst…I walked all the aid stations to cool myself off, regain focus and see if there was a porta-loo somewhere…

Soon after I could not hold it no more and went to the bushes and passed a nasty wet one! I definetly felt better and then I got going soon after only to be past quickly by age groupers, pro’s and by our very own Xena!

The next aid station I walked again to ‘wash’ my tri shorts ;) and fuel up…Only to over do it and spew all over soon after…ARG!!!

At this point, I was not even 5k into the run leg. I saw the race leaders coming back the other and I felt shattered physically and mentally.

Not to long after American pro Bree Wee came by cheering me on and telling me to run with her. I was pretty grumpy at that time but the magic phrase that she said was “only 1 hour to go”.

So I got jogging with her, the pace was quite casual and steady! We introduced each other and chit-chatted a bit! I re-hydrated carefully as well to slamming down a few Ignite Natural Gels!

At the half way point I grabbed a can of coke and slammed it down and I really felt it in my blood stream!

Bree asked me how I was feeling – honestly I felt pretty good! She told me to go for it and that I did not need to keep running with her!

Just like that I went for it in full stride!
The rest is a bit of a blur.

I passed all but 2 of the athletes who had passed me.
Which are 2 very strong age groupers who could cut it as pro’s!
And a testament that triathlon training is NOT about volume.
But rather quality and intelligent training!

In the finish-ing strait!

I could not help to feel disappointed but my mood would change soon after I learned I was 3rd pro across the line!

Exhausted at the finish!

Now this is something rare - the owner of the race is one of the first to greet you and hand you water at the finish!

Something rare as well in races but awesome are ice baths where athletes congregate and talk about the race!

Me and the legend himself - Efraim Manzano AKA the Croc runner! Seriously, he runs and even bikes with Croc's and pretty well also with a 3h15 marathon to his name!

Joyette with a HUGE picture of me!

On the podium with good company!

My scholars had a descent outing, 3rd in the MIX relay (including a longest ride every and a longest run ever) as well to Banjo finishing 7th Pinoy Elite in 4h50 at only 18 years old with the fastest swim by a Pinoy!

Me with the PARA-TRIATHLON relay team. Very unique and inspiring athletes all with a disability; whats your excuse?

This is a shot of their swimmer Arnel @ the 5i50 a month ago - just EPIC!

To conclude, the overall race was well executed.
Especially considering it was a first year venue.
Growing pains are imminent!

When I heard that Cebu was going to host the 70.3.
I was skeptical about the FULL road closure.
But come race day, there was no cars whats so ever on the road!
Simply tones of locals on the side’s of the roads cheering us on!

Just one look around the race venue/course.
Its clear that A LOT of effort, time and thinking went into the race.
Because putting up a race in a developing country.
Has a whole lot of possible problems!

In the end I was in awe by the friendliness of everybody. As well to the encouragements. I heard GO MAT! or was congratulated, thanked or ask for a picture countless times before/during/after the race!

It really touches me as a foreigner…I have been very lucky to all these opportunities that living in the Philippines as given me and well sometimes am not very grateful of it!

Finally, as this blog is getting long and emotional. I would like to congratulate all the finishers out there, this was a hard 70.3 with the heat, humidity and wind! Definetly an accomplishment if this was your first 70.3 and you will know what im talking about if you do one elsewhere – just dont expect the crowds and competitors to be as friendly!

Which is one point that came up often, especially since it seems that its the same pro’s and foreign age groupers that come back to the Philippines to race!

24 hours awake and it finishes with how I fell in love with the Philippines and with Joyette as well to a big reason why many join the big races - THE BIG AFTER PARTY!!!