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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Windsor to Grand Bend - 250 km Made Easy!!!

I started riding with East Side Riders Cycling Club (ESRCC) about 3 weeks ago.  I have always done my riding alone or with my key training partner Les.  Wanting to add a bit of structure, volume and to truly challenge myself, ESRCC seemed to be a perfect fit.  Cynthia, a dear friend has been riding with them for a couple of years, and leaving out of Lasalle was perfect.

I have met a great group of riders and feel accountable to them, if I were not to show up for one of the scheduled rides Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, I would feel like I am letting them down.  This has been perfect and has already met all my expectations.  Two Saturday's ago, Ali a regular rider, said they were heading to Grand Bend next week (a 250 km ride); you should come he says.  Ali, "I don't know, my longer rides are currently at only 110 km, that's a big jump!".  He reassured me, good group, moderate pace with a few stops that allow for us to recharge.  "Ok - I am in!"

Riding my old S-Works is my only option; how am I going to carry tubes, levers, air, a jacket and all my Custom Infinit to get me through 9 plus hours of riding? After a little research and a quick trip to America, I found this - oh those Germans - what an amazing pack. It allowed me to carry all of the above with ease and a total of 8 servings of my Custom blend, along with two servings of Cold Brew.

Pack set,  I am good to ride.  I'm off to bed Friday night at 10:30 pm, up at 4 am Saturday. On my way to Ali's I'm sipping on Cold Brew to get some nutrition in me.  We start riding at 5 am, Ali and I ride to meet the rest of the group: Karen, Bob, Ben, Tom, Brian and Ron.  After quick intros we are on our way.  My longest ride prior to this was a trip to London, 212 km, but that was a long time ago. Needless to say I was a bit worried about jumping to 250 km, so I was counting on the moderate pace a few breaks to allow me to achieve this new milestone.

After 90 minutes the sun starts to emerge and we are just 60 min away from a quick stop at the Tilbury Tim Horton's.  After a bagel, peanut butter and a small coffee we are ready to go again; after of course I mix up another 2 servings of Infinit.  One of the best things about the ride is getting a chance to talk and get to know each of the riders.  Talked in depth to Bob and Ben about their trip across Canada a few years back, a definite bucket list item for me, so enlightening and inspiring.  Another couple hours and we are already in Wallaceburg, we stop at McDonalds - cool thing when you are riding 250 km, there is no guilt about what you are eating.  Mix up another couple of bottles and we are set.

The route we are taking to the Bend is not the most direct, but man the roads and the scenery are spectacular.  Shortly after leaving Wallaceburg we are traveling along the St. Clair Parkway - never been here before, basically we travel along the St. Clair River all the way to Sarnia.  The beautiful landscape and the continued dialogue makes the time fly by - next thing you know we are at another McDonald's, this time in Sarnia - we are 175 km in and I am still feeling great.  This time I have a Filet-O-Fish, fill my Infinit bottles again and we are off.  We cut through Mike Weir Park, another gem and now we are travelling along the clear, blue waters of Lake Huron; I had no idea that you can cycle right along the coast.  Now we have only 65 km to go and I am already thinking, I don't want this to end yet - one of the most enjoyable rides I have ever been on.  I guess it is all about pace, Ben did a great job of keeping us in check, he has so much experience with endurance cycling - one year covering over 59,000 km; mind boggling, so of course we listen.  We travelled in a single line, each taking our turn, holding 31 or so km down Hwy 7 through to Kettle Point.  Quick stop to refuel, mix another couple of bottles of Infinit and we are ready to go.  Not before the group acknowledges that I have surpassed my longest ride ever, so cool!

All that is left now is the 30 km stretch to Grand Bend, along Hwy 21 - which was an easy stretch.  Love that the group allows me to lead for the home stretch.

Quick picture at the Grand Bend sign.
To finish this out we take a trip down main street and head down to the beach - Elated to finish and I feel so good!  We were 12 hrs total time and moving time was 9 hr 12 min. We finished it off with beer and pizza at John's cottage; a day I won't soon forget.  I am so grateful that I listened to the encouragement of Ali - "you can do this" he insisted.  What a day!

Darcy Haggish, CEO Infinit Nutrition Canada

Monday, August 21, 2017

Getting to Know #TeamInfinit: 20 Questions with Lissa Bissonnette

Lissa Bissonnette is a Canadian Kayak athlete training out of the Pointe-Claire Canoe Club in Montreal. Currently, Lissa has her sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as she was next in line for the 2016 Rio kayak team. Lissa trains up to 16 times a week with some of the top canoe and kayak athletes across Canada and the world.

A few of her accomplishments throughout her career? 4 Gold medals at the 2016 Pan American Championships, one of which was the final Olympic qualifying spot in the Women's K1 500 metre
event; 3 times Canadian Champion; has represented Canada at over 10 International competitions.

Busy schedule, right? Lissa is also an active ambassador for Fast and Female, and Sensi Bikini Graves. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Education, with a focus on Mathematics, AND is a Mountain Equipment Coop employee. Safe to say - her time management skills are spectacular! Learn a little more about some of #TeamInfinit athlete Lissa Bissonnette's favourite things below!

What/ who is your favourite: 

Athlete: Roger Federer, I love how he behaves on and off the court. He is a true example for all the athletes and for the future generation. Also, he is born in December, like me.
TV Show: Right now, Homeland
Movie: All the Disney classics; Lion King, Alice and Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas.
Song: Before a race, I always listen to AC/DC (T.N.T.) before getting on the water.
Food: I love getting messy or playing with my food so a good BBQ or smoke ribs are the best to get messy.
Cheat Meal: Guilty pleasure at the end of a long training camp I often go get a box of Captain Crunch to satisfy my sweet tooth or a box of Decadent chocolate chip cookies.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid I always remember my grade 1 teacher teaching us to write in those calligraphy books and I am still amazed that I remember my grade one teacher’s name Madame Annick. So I believe she made me want to be a good memory in the future of some kids.

What is your favourite/most memorable moment as an athlete?
Winning is always memorable, but my favourite moment is when I qualified for the first time to race the K2 500m at a World Cup event with my partner at that time (Nicole Brown). It wasn’t my goal of the year, we just wanted to go race at national team trials and have a good race. When we crossed the line we were 2nd. It was the first time I realized that I could be an Olympic athlete one day. It was the beginning of my 2020 Olympic dream.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Being able to juggle supply teaching, finishing my degree as a Mathematic teacher, being active in the paddling community, training about 25~30 hours a week and still have some time for a social life. To me this is an accomplishment.

Who is your hero and why?
It’s maybe a cheesy answer but my parents are my heroes. Because they taught me to set my priorities and my goals to achieve what I want.

What does being an athlete mean to you?
It means so much, but briefly, being an athlete means being dedicated. Athletes face early morning practices, late nights, lack of sleep, hard workouts, hours in the weight room, studying technique and much more. We are expected to give our all, all of the time, even work on skills on our own time. Once they excel in all that, they become what I call «mentally strong» which means they are ready to strive through every condition that life will throw at them on the important day.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
I give myself some small daily goals for each training to make sure I am satisfied and proud of what I am accomplishing. Every small victory brings me one step closer to my Olympic dream.

What would be your ultimate achievement in life?
Representing Canada at the Olympics and making it easier for athletes to continue their education degree while performing in their own sport.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
Have fun! Enjoy it!

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
I heard it during some hockey playoff and it stuck in my head. I’ve been using this acronym all year and it’s the meaning of every letter for me of the word W.I.N.: 
I remind myself of my work and goal every practice for the big day race day.

Do you have any pre-race/competition rituals?
The day of my race, I usually wear my lucky yellow shirt underneath my racing shirt and for warm up. It’s a tradition I started with my coach when I moved for training in MontrĂ©al. 10 minutes before leaving for my race I put on my ritual T.N.T. from AC/DC as my pump-up song. Then, I’m ready to enjoy my race and go have fun.

If you could train with any athlete, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I think it would simply be my teammates. We are a good group of ladies that push each other to get better together. I wouldn’t trade them for anything, and they are the best in our country.

What’s something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
I started alpine skiing when I was only two years old.

What is your training schedule like?
In the summer, I will have approximately paddle 10 times a week, 2 run practices and 3 to 4 weights.
In the winter, when I’m not down south in training camp I do lots of cross training like swimming, running, cross country skiing, paddle machine and weights.

What does a typical “Day in the Life” look like for you?
My typical day in the summer looks like this:

6:00: Wake up & make a pot of coffee (a lot). I sit on the couch and watch the local news.
7:00: Drive to practice
8:00: FIRST PRACTICE OF THE DAY – Paddle for about 2 hours
11:00: SECOND PRACTICE OF THE DAY – Either run or weights (90 minutes)
13:00: MEETING time – I usually meet with my nutritionist, my sport psychologist, the performance analysist / the IST team.
15:00: THIRD PRACTICE OF THE DAY – Paddle for about 2 hours
18:00: Cook dinner
20:00: Look at my social media and try to find a movie on netflix
21:00:BEDTIME … about time

Monday, August 14, 2017

Getting to Know #TeamInfinit: 21 Questions with Julie-Anne Staehli

Photo credit: Michael P. Hall
Julie-Anne is a Canadian distance cross country and track and field athlete. She spent her University years competing for the Queens University Gaels, becoming the first 5-time All-Canadian at the University. In total, Julie-Anne has been competitively running for 9 years, and in that span she has represented Canada on 4 National Teams. She has raced at the 2014 FISU World Cross Country Championships, the 2014 NACAC Track Championships, the 2016 Pan Am Cross Country Championships, and the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships this past March.

Currently, Julie-Anne is training in Kingston, ON with hopes of representing Canada on more National teams, including the team that will be sent to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Welcome to #TeamInfinit, Julie-Anne!

What/Who is your favourite:

Athlete Gary Reed
TV Show The Office
Movie The Italian Job
Song Stubborn Love by The Lumineers
Food Mango
Cheat Meal Going back to the main course after dessert.
Author I’ve read a lot of Nicholas Sparks …

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

What is your favourite/most memorable moment as an athlete?
Winning OFSAA in 2011/2012.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
First 5-Time All-Canadian at Queen’s

Who is your hero and why?
My parents, for raising me.

What does being an athlete mean to you?
Learning a lot about yourself.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Being patient and consistent.

What would be your ultimate achievement in life?
Run every day.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
Enjoy the journey.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Dreams don’t work unless you do.

Do you have any pre-race/competition rituals?
Running through the race in my mind before getting on the line.

If you could train with any athlete, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Claire Sumner and Victoria Coates, the best training partners I have and had.

What’s something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
All of my family is from Switzerland.

What is your training schedule like?
Two workouts a week, 4 E-days (60-80min), and a Sunday long run… usually works out to 105-135 km.

What does a typical “Day in the Life” look like for you?

Wake at 8, brew some coffee, pet and feed Charlie (cat), head to the lab, 5 o’clock run, post-run swim, come home and make dinner, play some piano, plan for tomorrow, FaceTime a friend, have a snack, bed by 11 … usually fall asleep with a book.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Getting to Know #TeamInfinit: 22 Questions with Fawn Whiting

Fawn Whiting is a Canadian triathlete and member of #TeamInfinit. Fawn splits her time between Vancouver, BC and Mooloolaba, Australia. Before she fell in love with triathlon, Fawn competed in gymnastics and figure skating, before transitioning to distance running when she began University.

Throughout her University career at UBC, Fawn completed her masters in physiotherapy while also racing for the Thunderbirds in track and field (marathon) and cross country. After graduation, Fawn began to train in swimming and cycling, as was soon signed up for her first long distance triathlon in 2012, at Ironman Canada in Penticton, BC. After finishing as the 9th female in the race, Fawn was hooked and the rest is history. Learn a little more about Fawn through the questions below, including her favourite cheat meal, the most valuable piece of advice she has learnt, and what a typical day in her life looks like.

What/Who is your favourite: 
Athlete: My favourite athlete is Bo Horvat. I like that he was a rookie, but blew everyone away in his first year as a Canuck.
TV Show: Suits
Movie:  Ocean’s Eleven
Song:  “Free”- Rudmental
Food: Peanut butter
Cheat Meal:  Still peanut butter
Author:  Mitch Albom

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
A gymnast or a veterinarian

What is your favourite/most memorable moment as an athlete?
Placing 3rd in my age group at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 2016

What is your greatest accomplishment?
In sport my greatest accomplishment is my most recent race. I finished 5th Female Pro in Ironman Canada in 9:46:07.  It was my first time breaking 10 hours in an Ironman and it was a challenging course and windy day.

Who is your hero and why?
My mom, because of her strength, patience and selflessness.

What does being an athlete mean to you?
Dedication to sport and striving for improvement in the good times and in the more difficult times.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
1) Consistency: I don’t believe in major breakthroughs in ability or at least this has never happened to me. My improvements have come slowly from training day after day, week after week, and year after year.
2) Putting in the effort and not giving up in my workouts.  Some workouts may not be as speedy as others, but I’m always giving my best effort.

What would be your ultimate achievement in life?
To always keep striving for improvement…. Keep the possibilities open.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
When I was on the track team at UBC and was running my first marathon, my coach told me that there would be highs and lows in the race and to expect them. This is even more true in Ironman racing so I don’t worry too much if I am having a low, because chances are it won’t last.  

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
“Why not?” 

Do you have any pre-race/competition rituals?
Trying on my race suit at least a few times during the week before the race
Eating the same dinner the night before the race- rice and tuna

If you could train with any athlete, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Heather Jackson – I am so impressed by her strength and modesty

What’s something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
I broke my elbow a month after I did my first Ironman in 2012 and ended up having 2 surgeries to fix it. Now I have a metal piece about 2 inches long in my elbow called a radial head replacement. I still don’t have full range of motion and likely never will but I don’t let that stop me.

What is your training schedule like?
I swim 5-6 days a week, bike 4-5 days a week and run 4-5 days a week. I still work as a physiotherapist 2 days a week.  My training is variable based on where I am at in my Ironman build but typically Mondays and Tuesdays are my easier days, Wednesdays includes a hard bike and Thursdays, a hard run. Friday is a lighter day and Saturday includes a long ride with a run off the bike, and Sunday is a swim and a long run.

What does a typical “Day in the Life” look like for you?
I love to train in the morning so I’m typically up early for my first workout, usually a swim. I enjoy my second breakfast and coffee after my first workout and then typically I’m out for my second workout of the day.  Several days a week, I go to work in the afternoons and see patients until the evening. On the days I don’t work, I try to relax and rest and prepare for the next day’s workouts. When I can fit it in, I practice Pilates or yoga. I’m lucky that my partner does Ironman events as well so we can train together on the weekends.

Favourite Infinit blend:

Repair in Chocolate Flavour (InfinitTip: Just leave us a note a checkout asking to try it in Chocolate!), but I’m excited to try the new Infinit Cold Brew!