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Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Cobb SHC 170 Saddle Review.

April 15th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – well its around that time of year where sponsored gear comes in! Last year I received the Cobb Max and wrote my thoughts on it —>HERE<—.

I had such great sensations with the Cobb Max, its questionable and even hypocritical of me to fiddle around with what works. As clichee as is sounds:  If it aint broken dont fix it!

It started around X-mast last year when I got my hands on a Cobb SHC Dirt saddle for my mountain bike & really loved it, my blog about it can be found —>HERE<— so I figured, it be worth it to try its road alternative! I mean, considering the Cobb SHC 170 is lighter and more expensive than the Cobb Max, it definitely classifies as an upgrade on my Cervegnolo P3! Either you like upgrading triathlon gear or your wrong – bahahahaha!

So after ridding my new saddle on the road, indoor trainer and in a race, here are my thoughts:

The narrower tip and thinner ‘memory foam’ allowed me to be more DYNAMIC in my ridding, getting out of the saddle, sliding back on a down hill or ‘nose ridding’ up a steep hill was much easier to do. The Cobb Max was great for STATIC ridding where I could settle into the saddle’s thick ‘memory foam’ and stay there for long duration’s without any discomfort what-so-ever, but I did notice a bit of a bouncing/squishing when getting in and out of the saddle repetitively over short duration’s.

Considering the technical nature and short distances of most of my races on my schedule in the first half of this year, the Cobb SHC 170 did suite much better!

Also, considering that like a true TeamTBB solider, I grind a big gear, there is less pressure on my saddle as more of it is spread on my pedals! If somebody with the spinning (90-100 RPM) approach combined with an LDS methodology, I would advice to stick to the Max as there will be much more pressure on your seat.

Considering my morphology, narrow hips and around 150ish pounds, the narrower Cobb SHC 170 suite sme very well! But if I was a heavier with wide hips, I personally can imagine the Cobb Max would be better!

Another VERY IMPORTANT aspect is the ascetics ;) hehehehehehe of course, this is triathlon! The Cobb SHC 170 looks sleeker than the Cobb Max which has a funny looking nose, of which has compelled  a few NON triathlon friends and roadies to say: WTF? And then process to feel it!

Just like the Cobb SHC Dirt, the Cobb SHC 170 FLEX’s in the middle part, of which made me migrate to sitting more towards the middle of the saddle, thus ensuring comfort as it absorb’s vibrations/shocks caused by miscellaneous road conditions which will help to reduce friction/rubbing between me and the saddle so that we are in a way, COHESIVE with one another instead of being two different entities on top of each other.

The flexing also helps those with a leg-length-discrepancy, which most of us have as well to ‘cradle’ itself when sitting on it!

Without pressure.

With pressure.

Anyway, hope you have found this blog informative – if I have helped just 1 person chose a saddle that suites their morphology as well to their ridding style, then I am happy because an athletes relationship with its saddle is an INTIMATE one ;) Just as a disclaimer, I’m definitely keeping my Cobb Max on the side because its just such a comfortable saddle, that I know I’ll be tempted to swap it around if I ever get the chance to live/train somewhere I can do long rides outdoors and prepare for a long distance race!

Last but not least, heres a short tube with John Cobb himself & TeamTBB‘s Sam Warriner discussing the Cobb SHC 170:

YouTube Preview Image

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Pico De Loro Invitational – take 2.

April 10th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers –  last Saturday I competed in the 3rd annual Pico De Loro Invitational Triathlon in the beautiful region of Batangas in the Philippines! Its part of the Hamilo Coast Development run by SM Land which is actually the location sponsor of Alaska TeamTBB Philippines and where we had our team launch around this time last year!

I was very exited to return and compete again because last year when I won, it was in fact my biggest paycheck of the year so I knew that my athletes could also maybe win something significant for their efforts! To add, the race is on a Saturday which allows for a great beach after-party with a live band and delicious food to give an all encompassing experience to all participants!

In fact, this year had double the participants from last year, a testimony to the growing triathlon population here in the Philippines!

To add to my excitement, there was hype of a ‘King/Queen of the mountain’ competition where a special prize would be given to who would ride up the fastest over the very steep 1km incline @ the start of the bike!

I dont consider myself to be a great climber, as im tall-ish and somewhat ‘muscular’ so I have to put in more effort due to gravity versus the lighter weight Filipino Elites competing against me!

Two weeks before the race, I was informed that the prize purse would be 50% from last year…Considering me and my athlete got free entry’s and the race was close to home, I wasn’t all that bothered – simply grateful I had been lucky enuff to win the big prize last year :)

How-ever, at the race briefing, only a few hours before the race, it was announced that it had been cut further, where basically the winner would get ~80% LESS than last year…The prize purse was to be spread out across the age groups champions which allowed my little Joyette and many of my local tri friend to make a bit of cash as well to part of the entry fee going to the preservation of the environment!

What did rub me the wrong way, is that I was ‘called out’ over the micro phone in a room full of triathletes during the briefing and told “Matt your are NOT eligible for this prize” as the Elites where not eligible for the ‘King/Queen of the mountain’ competition…I mean, considering the massive drop in prize money, it would have been a nice compensation to have a shot at this prime or at-least have 2 categories: Elite, Age Group and maybe even relay for extra excitement.

The poster clearly states “fastest athlete at the top will be crowned” and of course, in the end, me and my athlete Jenny would in fact record the fastest time up the very steep 1km hill (excluding the relay) but would simply sit at our tables and look on as a pair of athletes who had climbed the hill slower than us be crowned ‘King/Queen of the mountain’…

While I may appear petty speaking out about this small predicament, its simply not in the spirit of transparent/honest sport. I love endurance events because its a ‘no-spin-zone’ where results are cut and dry – we dont get judge on our out-fits, there’s no style points, no half time break, no pre-lims, no practice runs and not time outs. Once the gun goes off, its just you and yourself to get to the line the fastest you can according to the circumstance.

I did also feel for the Filipino Elites who came behind me, picking up much smaller paycheck than expected for their hard efforts on a challenging course in the heavy heat. Elite sport performance is very much lacking in The Philippines and a situation like this does not help, in fact, it may deter some from  stepping up pursing sport more seriously due to the financial un-certainty…You can take my word for it, that the best/hardest local athletes are in fact the ones who come from under-privileged backgrounds and know what its like to work for it.

THE RACE: start was in fact @ 14h30 and when we drove into the venue, Joyette’s car indicated it was 36 degrees Celsius with very thick humidity! Just going around registration, race briefing and transition, I was sweating buckets! The beautiful white sand on the beach was like walking on fire! It was quite amusing to see all the athlete ‘tip-toe’ towards the ocean!

Once the gun went off, me and Dhill quickly took charge in the warm water and opened up a big gap on the rest of field pretty quick! In fact, last year was when I meet Dhill for the first time, he was doing the relay as a ‘pure swimmer’ and I had actually dropped him good on the 2nd loop – how-ever after 1 year of triathlon training, he stayed on my feet until I gaped him in transition!

Once on the bike, I went over the initial up/down hills and technical sections near the marina, it was an out and back so I got to see my lead over the chaser! Once on the flat/strait roads, I put my chin closer to my stem and cranked up the big gears! It was hot and windy out so I took it conservative, slam down a couple Ignite Naturals Reload Energy Gels and made sure I hydrated regularly!

Thanx to Ricky Led. for this cool pic and post race over-view!

Up and down the big hill and I bounced onto the run course with my ON Cloud Running Shoes! I knew from the first few steps this was going to be a heavy run for me…I always know from the first few strides how my run’s are going to be and this one,  I would have to fight for it – I just did not know how hard!

I ran the first lap pretty conservative with a short stride and deep breaths, hydrated, cooled myself with water and keep focused! Mid-way into the 2nd lap, my friend David rode pass on his Cervelo towards transition and shouted “he’s 45 sec behind you!”

WHAT???? WHO????? WHERE??????

I swear the closest athlete was around 5 minutes at the last bike turn around!

Now I had to fight, I bit my lip, pumped my arms and opened up my stride! All triathlete will agree, to pick up the pace in the 2nd half of a race on the run when its crazy hot it very difficult! I ran hard, no for the prizes, but rather for my ego and the fact I wanted to repeat my victory from last year since I was in fact wearing bib #1!

It was  3 lap course and starting the 3rd lap I could not tell who was where, I was lapping athletes and some where starting the run! With 1km to go I started to feel some chills and got dizzy around the small lake so I slowed down…Once over the bridge, I felt like I was loosing my balances so I walked for about 30 sec…

SHIT! I looked back and all I could see was a line for 20-25 athletes running behind me – my vision was blurry and I could not tell who was who? I started running again and ran the best I could regardless of how weak I felt!

I came down the finish shut and once again walked, about 10 steps as I struggled with my balance …I ran again in the last 50m and hit the line absolutely drained and cooked!

I made my way to the ocean with a Gatorade bottle and laid in the water for about 10 minutes, just to relax…By that time, I realized I had won with  a 4min gap – thanx for the good intention David ;)

I was happy to see Banjo get 4th place overall after being sick earlier in the week and finish off all his school exams as well to have Jenny come in 2nd Elite female less than 3 minutes from the winner while holding a full time job and being a mother! Then Joyette came across the line 3rd female overall and 1st in her age group –  as usual!

The effort really took a toll on my system, I had chills for some time after the race and really took a lot of Gatorade (thanx Ton) to get me feeling good again! After the awards, I was tired and grumpy so we just decided to drive back home and call it a race!

Anyway, I strongly suggest all Pinoy triathletes to do this event at one point or another as its an honest/challenging course with a festive atmosphere! It has everything one would want for a local triathlon and the venue has great facilities if you want to bring your family along for the weekend – in fact, if your not a member of the Pico De Loro Club, this race is actually one of the few ways you can stay overnight and enjoy the pristine beach!

See you all next year as I look to go for a three-peat!

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Candon City Triathlon.

March 18th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

HEY! Doing this race was a last minute decision – I had been in a bit of a ‘funk’ since pulling out of X-Terra Cebu as well to being busy with the usual coaching stuff and then a good friend of Joyettes, Reymond ‘Mon’ Cruz past away last weekend during a triathlon in Subic Bay…So to say the least, when we traveled to the City of Candon in the Province of Ilocos Sur, we where both looking forward to get away and refresh our souls for the weekend to enjoy it!

Considering that the total prize purse of 360 000 pesos (8686 USD) – this race attracted many top local athletes who where at one point or another or still on the National Triathlon or Duathlon team.

The day before the race we went on an organized bike ride to check out the course which was on some pretty narrow, technical and bumpy roads…Combined with the fact that is race was also draft legal where the relay athletes could draft with the individuals as well and that many of the under privileged competitors might have an edge with their road bikes…

All the while my banged up wrist from X-Terra Cebu started to ache a bit mid way into the ride…I did have a brief paranoid moment where the scenario of having a bad swim due a full week out of the water and those behind me working together to hunt me down…

Well, turns out that 14 years of bustin’ my A$$ up and down a pool did not just go away over a week and that my chasers during the race would fail to consolidate their energy, but rather, battle each other and let me do my own race: out of sight & out of mind.

Thumbie giving the final details on the swim course - we actually had a vote on which direction we would swim - the unanimous decision was COUNTER clockwise!

The swim was pretty wavy and it being a 3 loop course meant we had to brave the braking waves near the shore 6 times total. My strategy was to have a fast/short ‘tornado’ stroke into the waves and then go for a long/strong stroke with the waves at my back.

First lap done - good start for me but Dhill still needs to transfer his pool abilities into open water prowess!

Each lap I felt like I handled the waves better and better - im not great @ dolphin diving nor running in the water but on this day I would do it progressively!

Woah that was a challenging swim - happy to be out of there and on dry land!

Once I got on my Cervégnolo P3 I spun a higher RPM than usual to start, slammed down a Reload Energy Gel and charged down the road.

I like to do my early season racing without 'toys' as to give me something to look forward to in the bigger races further in the season!

My plan for the bike was to break down the 41k bike into 3 sections: the HAMMER in the big gear on the smooth strait surfaces – caution on the sketchy sections – SPIN on the technical/slow sections. I was able to stay in my aerobars for maybe 75% of the ride all the while modulating my gears and varying the pressure on my pedals according to the miscellaneous terrain/circumstances.

Basically, pacing myself would have been a bad idea and I would have lost time in some sections and risk a flat or crash in other sections – I had to really gut myself in some of the early stages and then just go slow and recover over some of the ruff roads.

The course included a gradual 4km uphill where we went down the back-side, turn around and then came back up afterwards.

Once I got into the run, I nose breath all the way to the first turn around (~2km) as the sultry South East Asian summer sun was up and doing its thing – after the turn first around I crossed my chasers and knew all I had to do was put on my ‘bullet proof vest’ and get to the finishing line without melting…Easier said than done ;)

^Running ON Clouds ;)

I broke the 10k run into 4 sections and increase my turn over on each section all the while skipping every other water station…In the final stretch, I saw that I had actually extended the lead over my chasers, bear in mind running off the bike in the heat is my weakness and very often the local Pinoy athletes advantage over me!

I crossed the line with the cheering of the crowds of which many had just witness their first triathlon – in true Filipino style I was congratulated by anybody and everybody with a big smile- posed for various pictures and was referred to as “Joe” or “Americano” and a few times “Gwapo” by some locals!

Me and Dhill @ the finish line with Congressman Singson!

Dhill got 3rd place in the U23 and snag his first ever triathlon paycheck!

Joyette won her age group as well to collect her 3rd paycheck this year!

As well for the top prize – I won a Magic Sing Karaoke machine which was handed to me the Congressman Singson (on my left) who is the brand owner & its also a product endorsed by Manny Pacquiao.

Me and Joyette with the beach!

After lunch, me and Dhill set out on the 63km ‘cold down’ ride to Vigan City which is actually a World Heritage Site as its an old Hispanic city!

There is actually some plans to do a Half Ironman this December on these beautiful coastal roads and this event served as a prologue to get a feel for the participants and race organization!

This might be one of the most Europeen spots in Asia!

We hooped on a horse powered chariot to our supper location!

Al fresco dinning in Eurasia =)

Me with A LOT of Longaniza sausages which is a local specialty here in Vigan - I actually had Longaniza Pizza before this picture was taken =)

Anyway thats it for now – the last thing I’d like to add is how appreciative I am of Triathlon, for all the places is has (and will) taken me across the globe, many of which I would have never cared to visit or see unless there was a race there. In the end, we all have our own personal purpose to compete in triathlon, some for health, others for the lifestyle, many for Kona, for healthy, others for time/performance and others just for the bling  equipment ;) But in the end, the locations we visit and people we meet along the way are the true takeaways and far more valuable than all other reasons combined…In my opinion of course ;)

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X-Terra Philippines Race Report.

March 5th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey – well if im gonna blog about the good ones, I gotta blog about the bad ones a well…For my sponsors, for the generous race organizers, for my fans and for my own personal closure.

2 days before the race, I was checking out the race course with the other Pro’s when I came into a downhill a bit to hot, ‘Tokyo Drifted’ into a tree and smashed my right hand up real good – initially I though it be fine, but the next morning my hand was very stiff and simple tasks like shaking hands, typing on a computer, eating, brushing my teeth, ect where all painful and difficult to do…

Like any day before the race, I had  a mountain of things to do and going to the hospital as far form convenient…Race morning came, I hoped for the best, stayed positive and planned around my injured hand.

I did my race warm/up and the salt water burned my open wounds and made sure I was aware of it…I hoped this would be the worst of it and did my best to keep my head up.

Once the gun went off I charged into the water and my hand started to hurt as soon I as I put some power into my stroke – you can be sure I’m one of the ‘swimmers’ who GRABS a lot of water!

After a one handed transition I did one loop of the very challenging bike course and decided to pull out after sever pain in my figers/hand/wrist…

Here you can see how I'm resting my slightly open right hand on my handle bars versus my left hand that his firmly gripped!

Banjo was 2nd Filipino out of the water and leading on the bike until he got a flat in the coral section…A second flat afterwards ensure he would finish further back…

Joyette was the only good performer from room # 118 where she grabbed 3rd spot in the Filippina Elite category and a small paycheck! Her swim keeps to improve, she has mastered the hammer up the hills and walk down the hills strategy and had a very strong (overall) run slip over a tuff run course.

And then Joseph Miller, my partner in Putik Pare last year won the Filippino Elite race and gave a very good/grateful speech with his daughter at his side.

I would like to point out that Joseph is a bike mechanic at The Brick Multisport Store in Cebu and actually went from the race back to the bike store to pack the bikes of some athletes who where too tired to pack their own bikes and where leaving soon after!

Young Filipino athletes, are you paying attention?

Now, this is the section where im supposed to insert some cliché quote/statement post failure but none come to mind – I mean this was my 2nd only every DNF and 11 years in between. There is for sure the: shoulda-woulda-coulda thoughts that drift through my mind…Did it hurt enuff to pull out? Could I not have just gone slower and limit the pain/damage to my hand?

Stopping mid race gave me instant physical relief, but temporary mentally relief…When I would see some spectators/fans/friends/organizers/sponsors/ect asking me what/why/how I stopped, was about the time I wanted to go hide in dark/deep hole far-far away…For the first hour I had stopped,I had repetitive urges to get back on my bike and re-enter the bike course where I had stepped out, you know, to finish what I had started and not disrespect others who where having a bad day, had also crashed or where suffering from any other adversity over a hot and grueling course.

Well, it-is-what-it-is. I pulled out. I quit. I stopped. I DNF. I tap out. I give up.

Last but not least, let me finish with something more positive:

While I may not be Filipino, I feel a sense of bride to being associated by these races organized by Sun Rise Events because every single foreigner that I talked to had a genuinely fantastic experience where they will remember the atmosphere, the energy and local hospitality of this race for ever – they will go back home and rave about the event, say good things and recommend this unique event to their peers!

Trust me, its easy to focus on the negatives of The Philippines, their everywhere! But some-how, the race organizers put these big idea’s into reality, regardless of the logistical complexity, chaotic environment and poor infrastructure – it gets done better than anybody would ever expect!

I would be very interested to know if/which other events that draw’s such a variety foreign tourism, gives The Philippines a great name and allows the visitors to leave with more than they came with?

One of those who did way more than his share of true  Pinoy hospitality was my Kuya from a different mama Noy Jopson – yes everybody knows him, hes that Filipino guy talking to everybody, smiling/laughing and helping anybody who needed a hand all the while having a good time himself!

Regardless if it was organizing transport, tours of Cebu or giving out spare tubes/Co2′s/tires/tire levers/saddle bags to those who needed and asking for the money AFTER the race – Kuya Noy was every-where and any-where ready to help regardless! He managed 2nd in is age group despite being slowed down by a flat tire!

Anyway, thats it for now – check out this cool clip from the race:

YouTube Preview Image

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The Peoples Park: Palace In The Sky!

February 20th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – now that im rolling into X-Terra Philippines on the first weekend of March, I thought I’d share my most favorite ride to do on a Mountain bike 8)

I was in fact a ‘mountain biker’ for about decade before I even sat on a skinny wheeled road bike! To me, mountain biking always represented freedom, skills and reaction! Most triathlete now-a-days can get very up-tight when the road is not smooth, flat and clean! Shifting gears is such an ‘inconvenience’ we now have electronic shifting, hydration systems that are hands free and of course and of course my favorite ‘sit-on-your-bike-experts’ because, ridding a bike should not be un-comfortable…Right?

Anyway, I went about 4 years without mountain biking until I moved to the Province Of Laguna where I was advised to buy an MTB and what do you know, my best triathlon season happened right after that! Of course, I ride my Cervelo on the trainer LIKE A BOSS & mix it with some off road ridding – it has made my handling skill’s sharper, gave me a better sense of pacing over modulating terrain and of course, spike the intensity of my training to a level I rarely hit on the road!

Still one of my greatest adventures - mountain biking around the Rift Valley in Kenya for almost 6 months in 2007!

Anyway, one of my favorite rides is going up to the Peoples Park: Palace in The Sky which is a ~10k partially congreted uphill road going up to the highest point on the Tagaytay ridge ~2100 feet above sea level – it encompasses all the basics for a great ride, its challenging, scenic and quiet!

Its actually a piece of Philippines History, just above the Canlubang Golf Course (the entrance) there is the old ‘weekend & guest house’ of disgraced former President: Ferdinand Marcos. In fact, this enormous mansion clearly wasn’t big enuff for all of his wife’s (Imelda Marcos) 2700 pairs of shoes and extravagant lifestyle; which earned her the nickname ‘shoe lady’.

They decided to build a house even higher up, on the highest point around, so they needed to build a road and then clear some land @ the very top!

Well, ole Marcos, who was in fact placed 2nd in the top 10 most corrupted leaders in a 2004 survey made by Transparency International. Unfortunately, The Philippines is the ONLY country to have 2 people in the top 10 and if this survey is re-done this year, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will probably sneak into the top 10 as well…

Now, during the 1986 peoples power revolution – Marcos was overthrown  and left The Philippines until his death…His new house, that was only a fraction built, well remains like that until today…You pay 50 pesos entry (~1.25 USD) to see a spectacular view with a rusted skeleton of a building with a bunch of antenna’s and 20 pesos hot dog’s for sale…

The Tagalog word for this is sayang which means what-a-waste…if not for the usual political B.S. this could be host to a prime hotel or restaurant that caters to tourists, foreign and domestic a like!

In my opinion, it represents a standing symbol that the Philippines Government has yet to make much progress in its transparency and integrity where private company’s spear-head the growth and development of this beautiful country with such hospitable people!

Anyway, here are some pics accompanied by comments – enjoy =)

A nice shot on a clear day!

Look left - the top of that mountain is where I'm heading!

Getting closer - the top is there in the middle of the picture!

Now the real climbing starts!

Canan dito - not everybody is allowed up this road...Often you gotta 'name drop' a member of the golf Club to enter the premise!

This is the old Marcos house overlooking the golf course - it still gets maintained regularly and has a STEEP climb to access it!

This is a painting on the side of the house - Marcos and his wife - clearly they had good intentions but couldn't walk their talk...

In the 1960′s The Philippines economy was apparently the 2nd best in Asia behind Japan…once Marcos took power in 1966, the foreign dept was bellow 1 billion dollars – when he fled Malacañang Palace in early 1986 (around the time I was born) the dept stood at a whopping 28 billion dollars, making The Philippines one of the most indebted countries in Asia!!!

Now, the Philippines tax payers look to pay off the Marcos dept until 2025 (if all goes well of course), 39 years after he was kicked out…

As I mentioned, its part road and part off road and been like this a while too!

My newly married buddy Colin setting the pace as we roll into another climb!

Matteo giving-er like a boss with metro Manila in the background!

Palm trees and Pine-apple plantations are a very common site on this road!

An abandoned 'house' with a priceless view!

The view is worth the effort!

Pwede umihi dito ;)

The final pitch gets very steep - I figure above 15% for at least a kilometer and thats after almost 30 minutes of climbing!

Me, the road and nature - LOVE IT!

Who's a little hill monster?

An edited version of the final bit of the main road - its actually nice and smooth asphalt!

An un-edited version...

We are NOT allowed to ride our bikes to the top of the hill…But, for some reason’s they allow loud, polluting and rude Jeepney’s to go up! I have offered up to 500 pesos (1000% of the entry fee) with no love…And I thought this place symbolized corruption?

An aerial view.

Has not been upgraded since I was born...

A view from the inside...

I drove my mother up when she came to visit - she enjoy the view!

A nice view of Taal Lake/Volcano!

My mommy with a big pine-apple! The Tagaytay area has some of the tastiest I have ever eaten!

A great view of Tagaytay Highlands!

Father leading - son following on the exilerating ride back down!

Maraming Salamat!

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Subic Bay NAGT Race Report.

February 4th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – last Sunday I competed in my first road triathlon since the Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu City last August! Yes it was a very small race, nothing was at stake, simply giving it my all on the day over the given distance to get a no-bull-shit test on where my fitness is as im prepping for X-Terra Philippines on the first weekend of March!

Some of my athletes would also be kicking off their tri-season as well - Looks like Joyette need more coffee ;)

Races like this brought back some nostalgia when I saw the youth race going on and then saw them attentively staring at the ‘older’ athletes racing after them! Thats how I started into triathlon, ripping over a very short distance, and then getting exited watching the adult race, see how’s strong the adults, if my friends mom is hammering the dad of that kid I dont like or how my older club mates are fairing against the top athletes!

Regardless how small this race is, I still went through my usual race routine, what I ate the 24 hours before gun start, visualization and going over my usual pre-race workouts. The only difference is, I did not use any of my ‘race toys’ for this race, because me and Joyette would be in Subic Bay for almost 10 day and were tight for space in the car…

The swim course @ Dungaree beach.

Me and Dhill running on the beach to start the 2nd lap of the swim!

This would also be my first race using my new x-mast toy, a GoPro camera mounted on my helmet which will help me taking my blogging and coaching to a new level =)

Side view - its a bit heavy...ah well thats is life!

As a disclaimer, I put the setting to take a shot every 10 seconds – so it be ‘hand-off’ photography where I would simply move the lever up/down to get different angles. Now the issue with the GoPro is that I get soooo many pictures to chose from, its hard to pick which one put on my blog – just so you know, I do have some pictures of athletes drafting or ridding way left – however, I will keep these to myself…JUST BE WARE OF ANYBODY RACING WITH A GOPRO – MUAHAHAHAHA!

Frontal view - not very aero but you know...

The first part of the bike was in the Subic Bay forest.

Close up view of my cock-pit in racing action!

WOAH - I almost got T-Boned by a motorist on the fist U-turn (in a t-ish-junction) on the 2nd loop - pretty scary moment but all @ low speed!

Racing against my shadow all day...

Time for a flying DISMOUNT!

Running is T2.

Relieved to be finished!

Now time to giver a bend over ;)

When I showed up on race morning, it was dark and the air was tense with combined pre-race-nerves...I could NOT find my transition spot, I mean, for like 10 minutes I SEARCHED! My race number was 111 - well turns out it was put between 239 and 241 - ahahahahaha - In Canada 240 goes between these 2 numbers, NOT 111 ;)

Traditional Pinoy breaky with Lugaw, Pancit, Adobo stuffed break and a touch of Americanism for the race location - BANANA BREAD!

All in all it was nice to race back-2-back weekends – I saw that my run fitness needs to be stepped up, as I struggled some on the 21k and then on the 10k run of this race, I felt like a ‘one speed wonder’…A feeling I know very well…Anyway, still got 1 month before X-Terra Philippines!

I can honestly say, im much fitter than I was last year at this time and have a clear idea what I need to do to get fast-ER – the tricky part, is finding time to train and recover between my coach obligations…Ahhhh the drama’s of my life ;)

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Subic International Half Marathon race report.

January 28th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey all – my 2013 racing season has already started last weekend @ the Subic International Marathon which is organized by the Extribe group where me and Joyette competed in the 21k!

Start time was 5h15 am which meant that the majority of the race would be done in the dark with inconsistent lighting along the course. Im always surprised by the lack of humility by many of the local runners @ the start! I managed to start at the back of the front, just behind a Kenyan!

I tapped on his shoulder and said “habari asubuhi” which means “how are you this morning” in Swahili – he replied with look on his face “Mzuri sana” which means “im fine thanx” in Swahili.

Right after that, the gun went and I shadowed the Kenyan. I followed his line as we cut through the mess in front of us – slowly but surely, the jokers peeled off and then eventually so did the boys - then all that was left were the men.

At 3k the Kenyan would ‘make a move’ to catch the lone runner up the road as we got on the Argonaut highway. This then compelled a few to hunt him down – seriously?

From their running style, breathing and sweet running down their neck, I knew they would blow later on. Sure enuff @ about 5k I was in ‘no-mans’ land running down down a pitch dark road, all I could see what the police sirens of the lead motorcycle with the 2 leading runners as we approach the Subic International Airport – unlike the last 21k I had done here, we would go left towards the forest, which meant we had some hills to go up and down.

At the turn around, my legs felt tight but strong – my breathing was under control and I was maintaining a good rhythm – however as about the 14k mark I went through a bad patch…

My legs tightened up, my breathing rate increased and a few negatived thoughts passed through my mind…

Not long after that, I was passed by an older runner who appeared to be in the army – now this was the hardest part of my race, the point where I made the decision to suck it up ad bridge the 20m gap to him.

This allowed me to open up my stride, clear my mind and focus on the present.

Considering he was an older athletes, I know he had ran with patience, had run miles in his body and would be able to outlast a younger runner.

My goal, stick with him until the last 500m and punch it home.

Well, after doing the ‘cat and mouse’ thing for about 3km on the way back on the Argonaut Highway, which consistent of several accelerations, deceleration’s and a bit of swerving out on the open road. His heels even knocked my knees a few times due to the constant speed change.

Once we passed the GodSpeed gate on our left, which was the last pedestrian cross-walk before the finish – I punched the pace and keep accelerating every 100m after that. I took one quick look back mid-way and saw had a major gap! So I keep the pace on until the line and secured 3rd place overall – the final pay check ;)

I dry-heaved a bit at the line and then had a well deserved sit until Joyette came across the line, 2nd over all female!

Well our times where not great, but it was a solid course, early in the year and in the middle of our 2013 X-Terra Philippines preparation.

This is one of those ‘I’ll take it performances’ that shows me where my level is at early in the season, gives me a good taste of pain and allows to be reverse my race routine!

The race expo area was surely one of the better ones I have experienced @ local run races!

Matching much?

Joyette had a solid race - she ran down some 'pure runners' in the 2nd half to snag a 'bigger' paycheck than me ;)

Its always good to be on the podium of a run race with a Kenyan =)

I would like to give a special thanx to my shoe sponsor On Running – you  really have to try them, test them out for a few runs, especially the Cloud Racers to be able to give an opinion about them – they are really something else! They also attack a bit of attention for their unusual appearance, especially when worn by  podium goers!

Anyway, I will be in my old training base Subic Bay for the next week, getting some training  out in the open and then racing the NAGT next Sunday along side a few of my scholars and of course Joyette!

I like to use  races as a part of my for the bigger races – it allows be to re-hearse certain specific impossible to emulate in training, see where my present level is at and of course, get a good taste of pain!

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Breakfast of Champions!

January 23rd, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey all – I have been eating oats as part of my  breakfast for almost 20 years now! I have also seen many top TBB athletes eat it in a variety of forms like such as Muesli, Porridge or Oatmeal. I remember in 2009 when some athletes on the team did a pro Kona camp on Jeju Island where oats were impossible to find so the first athletes there had to get others to act like ‘mules’ and bring some in – ahahaha!

As a Canadian - its almost my prerogative to eat oats as I come from the 2nd largest producing country!

Now, who would argue this nutritional table? Pure oats are in fact are GLUTEN FREE but most mainstream oats are PROCESSED in facilities that also produced wheat, barely and rye thus, end up contaminated...

I suggest people eat Rolled Oats instead of ‘Instant Oats’ as they will give you a more even distribution of energy & give a more progressive distribution of insulin but take a bit longer to cook!

Yes oats by themselves dont taste like much – over the years I have evolve my bowl of oats!

Heres it looks like as of today:

-1 Cup of rolled oats

-Quarter cup of ground Flax Seeds

-2 Table Spoons of Muscovado Sugar

-Half  cup of Fresh Alaska Milk to cool it all off and increase the viscosity

-1 diced Banana

-A couples dashes of ground Cinnamon

Now, this takes about 7-8 min to prepared/cook with hot water and contains a great deal of nutrients to get anybody going in the morning as well to make them ‘regular’ later in the day ;)

Cheap, easy to use and highly potent in nutrition.

I would classify flax seeds as a ‘supper food’ as they have so many health benefits such a lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and reduce internal inflammation! The also contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are key in balancing Omega 6 Fatty Acids as they are often OVER eaten in modern diets.

Yes, to many Omega 6 Fatty Acids (various meat/oils/dairy products) can increase susceptibility to various  cancers, diseases, make asthma and arthritis worst…

The key, is to of course, like many things in life, have the right MIX of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids.

Eating flax-seeds and fix on a regular is a sure bet, just make sure they are grounded because if eating them as a whole seed will not be digested as they are so small and they will simply appear whole in the toilet bowl! Lastly, cooking flax seeds to hot or to long will damages its nutritional value…

Last but not least – I enjoy Muscovado sugar on more than a few things as its a great alternative for sweetening as its minimally refined, it maintains many of its dietary vitamins and minerals – make to mistake, its not a ‘heath food’ but rather more beneficial than typical refined sugar!

Its actually very popular here in the Philippines and used in many traditional recipes and is readily available almost anywhere – its dark, rich and moist texture make it a bit tricky to use in cooking as its not very cohesive compared to white sugar…

Anyway, bellow are a few pics of what a typical mid-morning snack looks like for me!

Ready - Set - Go!

Now the 'cooking' phase - doesn't look very appealing does it?

Mixed and ready to eat - look how cohesive this bowl of goodness is!

DONE - ready to start the day!

Anyway, thats it for now – as always, I hope you have learned something from this post =)

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Year 27.

January 17th, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – well today I am 27 years old!

I cant say I feel like im 27 – my stiff lower back and receding hair make me feel like im 37, then on the other hand my irregular hissy fits and youth full enthusiasm often makes me appear like a 17 year old so its like my 37 year old body and 17 year old mind both meet half @ 27 years old ;)

I remember when I turned 25, it felt special, quarter century made me feel like I was starting true adult-hood. But 27 feels a bit in-different – I dont feel like getting married – I dont feel like buying a house – I dont feel like having kids.

Just feels like im still allowed to be immature and do the occasional mistake!

I can believe that I have achieved more than 99% of 27 year olds out there but I not enuff of a ‘phenom’ to allow me to sit back and think I have ‘made it’…While I do boast a miscellaneous arsenal of talents and abilities – I know I must keep grinding away @ my duties for the next few years if I want to earn a legitimate legacy or a Wikipedia page ;)

On a day-to-day basis I take order and I give orders. The list of those who give me order’s is quite short and the one’s I give orders to is steadily growing =)

Now, looking back @ my 26th year – I can say it was by far my best year where I was able to achieve something special where I have struggled in the past: CONSISTENCY. Something that can trump a lot of better qualities in the long run or in the bigger picture!

For my 27th year, my only objective is to make it 1% better than the my past year!

Well, I did feel like swimming 100 X 100 or running 27 miles or any other wacky birthday stunts a lot of athletes will do  or that I have done in the past – I just want to spend a relaxing day – I want to spend time with people who are close to me, as they are the ones who get neglected when I am in ‘work mode’ 364 days a year.

Bellow is a  little piece I read in a 2009 newspaper about those born on January 16th – I think its pretty spot in!

Your dignified and creative, but your also a ball of energy! One part of you likes a structured system wit h lists and a regular schedule , but another part of you is completely spontaneous. You value learning, and your open to socializing with all walks of life. People love your enthusiasm!

I share my birth-day with these famous people:

Kate Moss John Carpenter Roy Jones Jr. Bayinnaung Sade Francois De Vendome Maik Petzold Drew Arellano

Anyway, thats about it – some memories I have from  my birth-day back in Canada, it always followed the holidays, back to school and it was always freezing cold so there was never any huge party’s cause everybody was in a frugal  mode…

Well at-least now the weather is very different here in the Philippines 8)

Here are some pics from my casual b-day:

Joyette made me Toblerone Chesse Cake which I dug-in @ around 8h30ish am after my long/hill/off-road run!!!

Fresh cake goes hand-in-hand with fresh milk to wash it down =)

Lunch @ Dad's Ultimate Buffet - for 555 pesos (13$ US) you can eat all you can from around 200ish dishes - I of course mainly stuck to the Sushi stop and ate what is worth about 100$ CDN back home!!!

Freshly made stir fried noddles - ITS MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!!!


Umm somebody need to re-load this Tempura and fried Asian cordon bleu (my name for it)!

My lunch mates!

I finished the day off with a massage and a few Tanduay Ice!

For the record, the Yellow T-Ice is my nw favorite flavor =)

Yes, those are so are called ‘lady-drinks’ – hehehehe!

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New Years On Mindoro Island!

January 2nd, 2013 by Mathieu O'Halloran

Hey readers – me, Joyette and part of her family traveled to Mindoro Island to celebrate new years as well to get in some mountain bike ridding in a new location near Mamburao and Paluan!

The welcoming view once we got off the "RORO" ferry boat!

Joyette's family owns a very nice 'cottage-house' on a large piece of land!

We where shown around my the local bike group in Mambuaro!

It was all pretty casual ridding for me and Joyette!

The power-lines shown here on the left-hand side where the latest addition to this desolate region where "Tito Plops" was one of the big players! As you can see, these are roads that will eventually be paved down the road!

We rode along side countless rice fields!

We also passed by this nice lap pool in the middle of no-where!

Joyette ridding over a suspension bridge!

The bike group @ our breakfast stop!

We had a coffee and pandesal @ this beautiful resort in the middle of now-where!

This beach just went on fore-ever along the coast-line!

Our guide here Tito Plops on his first MTB ride in 1 month and first ever on a 29er!

This big here was reluctant to follow his owner cause he new he would be turned into Lechon!

Later in our ride with stopped near a 'sari-sari' store where the 'Lechon-process' was going to plan!

Ridding inside an old river bed!

Ridding through corn fields!

The step uphill road going towards the wind-mill!

The view from the summit is worth the effort!


The view as we head back down!

A solid ride requires a solid snack!

Joyette with the Crocodile head on the last sun-set of 2012!

Fishermen working quick before the sun-set and the years ends.

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