simon whitfield

Hesjedal 7th in the Tour de France

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How good does that sound?  Congratulations Ryder.

Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria will roll down the historic Champs-Élysées in Paris today as the breakout performer of the 2010 Tour de France.

He’ll also be the Island’s biggest sporting landmark performer since basketball player Steve Nash and triathlete Simon Whitfield.

The Belmont Secondary graduate is assured of delivering the best result by a Canadian in the Tour de France since Steve Bauer of Fenwick, Ont., finished fourth in 1988.

Hesjedal will enter the 20th and final stage of the Tour in seventh place overall after yesterday’s 52-kilometre individual time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac saw him move up from eighth. That will be his final placing as today’s last stage, a 102.5-kilometre flat ride into Paris from Longjumeau, is largely ceremonial.

“To be talked about in the same company as Steve Nash and Simon is pretty humbling,” said Hesjedal from France. “Seven is a pretty cool number, especially when it comes to [overall placing in] the Tour de France.” Hesjedal described the support on the road as “unreal,” saying he saw several Canadian flags waving, keeping him focused after three weeks of hard racing.

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/sports/Victoria+Ryder+Hesjedal+Magnifique/3320453/story.html#ixzz0uoLxRkME

Should I be pacing myself or going all out when I’m training?

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Great article from Alex Hutchinson, from sweatscience.com. The concept applies to much more than running …

Developing a feel for your speed is key to efficient running, Canadian athletes learn

Alex Hutchinson
From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

The question

Should I be pacing myself or going all out when I’m training?

The answer

Last winter, gold medalist Simon Whitfield led a squad of triathletes from the Canadian national team on a trip to Nike headquarters in Portland, Ore., for a 10-day training camp. Their goal: to elevate their running game by learning from the elite crew of distance runners and highly sought after coaches based there.

One of the key lessons they picked up was the importance of finding the right pace – that, at least in training, going faster isn’t always better. It may sound obvious, but sports psychologists believe that learning to monitor and adjust to feedback during training is a powerful tool for developing expertise – even in apparently simple activities such as running and biking.

The group Mr. Whitfield trained with in Portland included Simon Bairu of Regina, who earlier this month smashed the Canadian record for 10,000 metres by 13 seconds at a race in Palo Alto, Calif., running 27:23.63. Chris Solinsky, another member of the group, broke the U.S. record in the same race, and a third member of the Portland group also dipped below the old U.S. record.

“They’re so precise about their pacing,” Mr. Whitfield says. “We came home with the message that when a tempo run is supposed to be, let’s say, 3:05 [per kilometre] pace, then 3:03 pace is not a success. That’s a fail.”

Such precision may be daunting, but it’s a hallmark of “deliberate practice,” a concept advanced by Florida State University cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson and popularized in recent books like Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. The best way to master an activity is not simply to repeat it mindlessly over and over again, Dr. Ericsson argues, but to set specific goals and monitor how well you meet them.

The theory is most commonly applied to highly technical activities such as tennis or violin; for simpler activities such as running, “practice” usually involves simply heading out the door and doing it. But in a study of the training practices of elite runners by University of Ottawa researchers Bradley Young and John Salmela, what separated the highest-performing group from their less accomplished peers was how much they incorporated elements such as interval training, tempo runs and time trials, all of which require ongoing attention to pace and other feedback.

Read more.

London Grand Prix win for Gary Reed

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This one fits into the “better late than never” category but it’s impossible to pass over Gary Reed’s success at the London Grand Prix from a week ago.

For background, see this feature about Gary

Canada’s Reed scores big track win

Gary Reed of Kamloops, B.C., fought off international competition Friday night to win the 800 metres at the London Grand Prix.

John Gichigi/Getty Images
John Gichigi/Getty Images

Reed finished in a time of one minute, 45.85 seconds to earn the big win just a few weeks ahead of the world championships in Berlin.

“The race was great, I am thrilled to get the win,” Reed said in an email to The Canadian Press. “It’s very important to be in the mix heading into the world championships.”

Reed is looking to improve on his showing at the Beijing Olympics, where his finishing kick came just a hair too late in a fourth-place finish.

CBC Sports

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And to get completely caught up, check out this article …

Banner weekend for Island athletes: Kabush, Cochrane, Hesjedal, Whitfield and Reed soar, Times Colonist

Because of certain advantages, such as the year-round mild climate and the national training centres based here, it is in the summer sports season where the Island shows its best …