Thanks Fiera Race Team, from Clara Hughes.

thank you


2014 Season Donations


As you may remember, for each race one of our club members participates in, they can register their result and entry fee amount on this website. At the end of the year, Fiera Biological Consulting then makes donations matching the sum of these fees to our chosen charities.  As a result, Fiera Biological Consulting has just made donations totalling $3742.50 to the following charities:

Camp Health Hope & Happiness Society

The Canadian Red Cross Society

Stollery CHildren’s Hospital Foundation

Food Banks Canada

Doctors Without Borders Canada

Right To Play

Thanks for racing, and helping to have an impact.  We are looking forward to more awesomeness in 2015.


Eastern Ontario CX Season a Wrap

Here are the highlights of the 2014 Eastern Ontario Cyclocross Series, courtesy of Brian Schlachta.

As always, it was a great fall with Bob and crew managing to attract more and more racers every year.  Over 400 people participated over 10 different Sundays, with an average of around 200 racers coming out every Sunday to throw down in one of three races.


2014 Eastern Ontario Cyclocross from 53 x 11 on Vimeo.

Speaking of Local Legends:

If there is anyone out there who does not know Alex Stieda and why he is a legend, you need to watch these two videos.





Aaron Schooler HR Block / Norco

Aaron Schooler HR Block / Norco

Cool footage of a local legend. 

2014 Edmonton Spring Series Road Racing

On behalf of the organizer, check out the information below. If you have time to volunteer, contact me at doggoneriding [at] gmail [dot] com.





 May 3

 May 4 

May 11

REGISTRATION:  Race Day Registration, all riders must be members of a club for insurance


TIME OF RACES: 1:00pm – five minutes between groups.


  • Group A – 6 laps (76.8 kms)
  • Group B – 5 laps (64 kms)
  • Group C – 4 laps (51.2 kms)

START/FINISH: East of the intersection TWP 223 AND RR 512


We are encouraging everyone to ride to the course, remember we are training.  If you must drive please park your vehicle in one of three locations:

1. Colchester School (west end township road 520, near Anthony Henday, 20 kms)

2. Olympiette Center (in cul-de-sac of RR 224 and TWP 520, 10 kms)

3. Cooking Lake School (in Cooking Lake, 4 kms)

You can use the County of Strathcona map or a service like to find the parking locations and a route to ride to the course.

COURSE MAP: Please note the course has moved east one Range Road.


The Alberta Race Scene for 2014 has broke away early!!!

Winter bike races have not been a common occurrence in Alberta during my decade+ of racing. However, a couple seasons ago the Devon Bicycle Association hosted the Blizzard Bike Race, which is looking forward to its third annual race this February! For some perspective on this race check out our Blog from 2012.

This year Juventus also hosted, on January 5, a fun little cyclocross race, the Waffle Cross, in minus 27 C weather, expecting optimistically, that maybe 20 racers would brave the cold – over 50 riders showed up, myself included.  It was awesome.  The race lasted less than 15 minutes, and was an all out sprint and great anerobic test for the pre season training.  There were mountain bikes, ‘cross bikes, fat bikes and run bikes; there were old guys, older guys, young guys, younger guys, women, and children; fast riders, slow riders, riders who used-to-be fast, and riders that never quite got fast.   This was my first winter bike race, but I sure hope it won’t be my last. And it looks like there is no reason it should be, as another winter bike race has popped up on the schedule.  Check out Life in the Fat Lane, scheduled for January 18 in Calgary.

Now, for some of us, it is not all bike, all the time, and so I don’t want to conclude this little blog without reminding folks that registration is still open for the Canadian Birkebeiner Cross-counry Ski event on February 7-8, 2014.

So, to sum up, lets just say that there is lots of winter left, but that is no reason not to get stoked for racing in 2014 – it has begun. Don’t get left behind.  You can get your Alberta Bicycle Race license now, and will be able to register for Fiera Race Team soon.  Standby for an update on that.

And so: On your mark. Get set. Happy 2014.


Race Report: Einstein Triathlon in Ulm, Germany

By Lenka Plavcova

Last weekend Jan and I took part in the Einstein Triathlon in Ulm, Germany. It was the grand premiere of the sport of triathlon in Ulm and the organizers promised a great race of magnificent proportions. There were 3 different distances (Sprint, Olympic, Half-Iron) to choose from. The highlights of the course included a swim in the Danube (downstream), a challenging bike course with 14% and 16% grade hills and a flat run course winding through the historic center of Ulm. We decided to sign up for the race in May. At that point, the sprint distance was already sold out, so I opted for the Olympic, whereas Jan chose the less dynamic Half-ironman distance.

Since we left Canada, we slipped out of the influence of crazy sport geeks from the UofA Tri Club and Fiera and lost our weekly triathlon routine. Actually, some of those geeks surprised us in Europe and we got some good training hours with Mike and Emily and we suffered in the X-trail marathon with Dave and Bridget Anyway, our training for the race consisted mostly of running. Besides that, I bike to work almost every day. The commute is about 10 km long (one way) and includes 2 km uphill with 150 m elevation gain, so it is a quite good morning workout for me. I largely neglected swimming – my favorite part of the triathlon (blink blink). Since we returned back to Europe last September, I went to the pool twice I guess. In early June, the race organizers put on a test swim in the Danube. I was glad to finally try out my wetsuit that Jan won as a door prize in Canada and that I didn’t have a chance to use during the ITU Triathlon in Edmonton because water in the Hawrelak Lake was too hot. Water being too hot wasn’t really an issue in the Danube in June as the temperature during the test swim was only 15°C. I blamed the cold temperature for not allowing me to submerge my face in water and swim freestyle.  So the test swim was very informative, telling me that I should practice cold water hardening and perhaps even swim more often than twice a year. Having learned this, I went open water swimming 3 more times in July. The good news was that I could swim freestyle in open water; however, all those swims were rather short.

With the race day approaching, things changed slightly. Because of the dry and hot summer this year, the river temperature rose to unusually warm 21°C so I didn’t need to worry about the cold hardiness any more. Instead, I started worrying they will ban wetsuits. The day before the race we learnt that the wetsuits would be still allowed (good news). However, the organizers also confessed that the swim would be longer than the indicated official distance (bad news). When preparing the race, they decided to account for the river current and extended the swim course by a factor proportional to the typical flow rate. But because of the drought, the Danube discharge was now extremely low, providing almost no advantage to a swimmer. Oh well, bad luck…

A sweet thing about this triathlon was that it started late and directly in the middle of our home town. Jan’s race started at 9:45 and mine at 11:30, so we didn’t need to get up crazily early. I went with Jan to the start line to cheer him on and also to see the main star of the race – a former ITU Triathlon world champion Daniel Unger who was competing with Jan in the Half-ironman race. Unger was actually the big teaser for the race as there was a 5,000€ prize awarded to those who beat him. I watched the start and then walked along the river towards my starting spot just 1 km downstream. I still had plenty of time so I sat down at the river bank and waited. The time passed quickly and shortly I was standing in my wetsuit on the pontoon. We were given enough time to jump in and test the water, which I appreciated. The race went off and I started with my excellent freestyle technique. The first 20 meters went fine, I enjoyed the bubbling water around me, but then people started to cross in front of me and bump into me which I found annoying. I had to constantly look up and started to run out of breath, so I switched to breaststroke. I tried to switch back to freestyle again but I could not get into a comfortable rhythm, so I finally gave up and continued with the breaststroke. 20 min into the swim I started to feel tired and gave freestyle one more try. However, when I realized that I was swimming into the bushes rather than straight ahead, I surrendered again. The swim started to feel really long and I was looking forward to seeing the exiting pontoon. To my great relief, that happened after long 47 minutes. As I was exiting the water, my head was spinning and my legs were cramping. I guess I used mainly the legs to power me through the water. I toddled into the transition zone and grabbed my bag. There was a line of chairs to sit on while taking the wetsuit off, which I gladly accepted and sat there for a little while.

Lenka, making sure she still had a pulse after completing the swim.

Lenka, making sure she still had a pulse after completing the swim.

I put on my Fiera jersey and ate some gummi bears that I had in the pocket. I started to feel better so I ran for my bike and out of the transition area. I mounted on and quickly headed out on the bike course.

The course started with a 12km-long flat section, followed by a rather short but steep hill. The organizers set up a prime there to spice the race up. I felt pretty well on the flat part and climbing the hill was not so bad either. The course then went over some rolling hills in the middle of fields. Uh, did I mention that it was 35°C and burning sun that day? It felt pretty hot so I made sure to drink enough water. I also started to wonder if I should perhaps eat something. I reached for an energy bar and started to chew on it bite by bite. I don’t like eating while moving. Even when I buy an ice cream on a normal day I prefer to sit down or at least to stop while eating it, so gulping down the energy bar was not a big pleasure, but soon I could feel the new energy in my body. I knew that one big hill is still waiting for me at the kilometer 35, so I decided to have a gel. It was the first energy gel I ever ate and I can tell you it won’t become my favorite treat (yes, I know you’re not supposed to try out new things during the race but I have an adventurous spirit). Maybe thanks to the gel, climbing the 18% grade hill was not that hard. I even overpassed two riders there which was an occasion that didn’t occur during the entire ride so far. The last stretch of the bike course was a nice long descent towards the stadium. Overall, I really enjoyed the bike part. The course was interesting and diverse and closed for traffic which was really sweet. In contrast to my swim experience, the bike felt nice and easy.

Lenka, looking good in her Fiera Jersey, and comfortable on the bike. Photo credit to a roadside gofer.

Lenka, looking good in her Fiera Jersey, and comfortable on the bike despite having to detour off pavement through a section of African savannah! 

Bike to run transition went smooth. It was really nice to run on tartan through the track and field stadium. The first kilometer of the course was shaded by trees. I met Jan heading in the opposite direction and waved at him. I was running 5:26 min per kilometer pace and was passing people. However, then I hit the sunlit pavement and started to feel overheated. I had to stop in the aid-station at 2.5km to have a drink. I continued running at a pace of around 6 min/km but felt pretty awful so I stopped occasionally in the shade to cool off. It was too hot. There were a couple of sprinklers set up on the course, which was awesome but didn’t help for long. Thanks God for the aid stations! I had Gatorade and water at every 2km and was wondering if I should also eat something but my stomach didn’t feel so happy about this idea and was cramping every now and then. I kept running and was very happy to see the mark for the last 3km. Shortly after Jan passed me from the back and asked how I feel. I said that I feel awful and that he should run ahead. So he ran and I ran too, just a little bit slower. I skipped my obligatory rest and drink at the last aid station and ran into the stadium for the final stretch on the oval track. Hooray! After 3 hours and 37 minutes finally crossing the finish line!

Lenka, finishing her first Olympic distance triathlon! Congratulations.

Lenka, finishing her first Olympic distance triathlon! Congratulations.

To sum it all up, the race was a great experience. The organizers did a great job in all respects. I was particularly impressed how promptly they responded to the unusual heat wave and reinforced the aid stations and cooling possibilities along the course. This race was the first Olympic triathlon race I’ve ever done if I don’t count our family triathlon last September that admittedly is a bit less professional and less competitive. It was definitely the longest and hardest race I’ve done so far. So here is my take on it:

Swim: I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to swim freestyle during the race. I learnt how to swim freestyle just 4 years ago thanks to the awesome swim coaches from the UofA Tri club and my technique has been improving since then. I’m able to swim 750m freestyle in a pool and I’m still secretly hoping that a day will come when I complete a race swimming freestyle in open water. Sadly, it didn’t happen in this race. Maybe I need to practice more, or maybe I just need more mental toughness to get over the initial discomfort.  My only excuse for the 47 minute swim is that it was not 1.5km but almost 2.5 km according to Google maps.

Bike: When I looked at the results, I realized that feeling great and relaxed on the bike might not have been such a positive thing. I didn’t have a bike computer and I wasn’t monitoring my speed during the race but I was hoping my bike split would be better than 1 hour 37 minutes. I don’t think it was the uphills where I sucked the most. I suspect I was losing mainly on the flats and downhills. Next time, I should try to wake up my inner ‘fiera’ and ride more aggressively pushing a bigger gear. Learning how to ride with aero bars might also be helpful.

Run: I finished the 10km course in 1 hour and 4 minutes which corresponds to a pace of 6:24min/km. This is definitely not a great split and I can run faster than that. I’m not really sure if it was the heat that killed me or if I was too tired from the previous disciplines. Result-wise, the run was still my best discipline and I managed to move up in the result list to a nice 72nd spot out of 86 women.

Also, here are some details about Jan’s race: The only training Jan did was that he bought a Tri suite a week before the race. He struggled on the swim, although a bit more successfully than me. On the bike, Jan focused on getting the hill prime. He started his mad climb! The crowds went nuts! However, 50 m before the line he ran out of gas and had to slow down. In spite of this, he had the 19th fastest time (out of 861 contestants) and even beat the world champion Unger by one second. Unfortunately, this heroic effort wore out not only Jan but also his bike and a couple of kilometers later he had a flat. He managed to fix it but knew that his race today will not be the fastest. With these thoughts, he went into the run. He ran nice and easy, not on the edge of collapse as he usually does. So in summary, Jan had fun out there and the final time of 5 hours 15 minutes was not a disappointment for him.

Jan showing off his tri-suit!

Jan showing off his tri-suit after having a quick road-side shower.

Always eating! Better safe some sausage for the run!


The results are here:

And finally I want to take the time to congratulate Joe on making the cover of Alberta Outdoorsman!

In case you did not know, Jan doesn't just eat sausages and race triathlons, he is also a photoshop genius!

In case you did not know, Jan doesn’t just eat sausages and race triathlons, he is also a photoshop genius!


Edmonton Firefighters Off-road Triathlon: Race Report

By Brad Danielson
Success at my first Triathlon!

In the days leading up to the 3rd annual Edmonton Firefighters Off-road Triathlon, I was getting worried that the forecast rain would turn this event into a muddy, slippery mess.  However, the trails actually stayed dry in the week preceding the race, and the weather-man was wrong about race day as well: the expected grey rainy day turned out to be perfectly clear and sunny!  I think all the racers and the many volunteers were very relieved.
This off-road triathlon is put on by the Edmonton Firefighters as a fundraiser for the Firefighters Burn Treatment Society.
In previous years, only firefighters were eligible to compete in the race, but this year the organizers decided to expand the event and allow anyone to race in order to bring in more participants and raise the profile of their fundraising cause.
My wife, Brita, and I had signed up as volunteers for the event back in February.  But 2 weeks ago, the volunteer coordinator emailed me to ask if I wanted to race instead of volunteer.  It seems they had enough volunteers, and were trying boost the racer numbers.  (And he’s been gently prodding me to get out an try a Tri for a while now… Thanks Kevin!)
I’ve always liked the idea of doing a triathlon, but I’ve never actually done one because I’m simply not motivated to spend enough time in a pool to get good at swimming long distances.  But I was told this was a good beginner-triathlon: a short pool swim vs. a big, open-water, mass-start swim.
So my race-entry decision making process went something like this:
Can I run 5km?  Yup.   I don’t run much anymore, but fairly certain I could pull off 5km.
Can I bike 8km.  Check.  The Fiera Thursday night MTB rides and Sunday Power Hour have been giving me plenty of practice!
Can I swim 600m?  Only one way to find out.  I marched myself to the University pool…
After a few lunch-hour practice swims, I’d convinced myself that I might not be the fastest swimmer, but I could do it.
Time to sign up and give this a try!
6:30am on Race day gave me my first real glimpse of the competition: a mixed bunch ranging from total first timers (including some first-time mountain bikers!) to some experienced triathletes in their one-piece tri-suits and talc-powdered shoes.  Oh yeah, and since most of the racers were firemen, there were a lot of heavily muscled dudes!  But the general vibe was that there were 70 people out to have a fun race and enjoy the day, along with a LOT of great volunteers and supporters.  It was a very non-threatening and supportive atmosphere!
Because it was a pool swim, we were split up into heats to avoid congestion.  I’m sure no-one wants to crack open their skull in a crowded swim-lane.  Fortunately, I was put in the first heat, so I didn’t have to wait around and get race jitters.  Swimmers entered the pool with a 10sec staggered start.  I was second-last into the pool, and second-last out; a zero-sum segment I was just happy to get through.  I knew I had about 18 people ahead of me on the bike course when I ran into the transition zone.  I slopped into my shoes, zipped up my Fiera jersey, ran to the mount-line, did a flying cyclo-cross style leap onto my bike, and took off!
 Brita transition zone
The bike course started with cruel and unusual punishment: the steep hill leading from the Kinsmen center up to the High Level Bridge.
However this worked to my advantage – I think I passed 4 people on the first lap up that hill!  After the hill, we dropped into a nice circuit of twisty, technical single-track, followed by a fast gravel path section back to the base of the hill, making a ~2km loop.  I burnt through 4 laps of that as fast as I could go, taking any opportunity I found to pass the faster swimmers!
Brita was working in the transition zone, directing people to the appropriate exit gates.  All I remember about the bike-to-run transition was her yelling at me: “You’re in 2nd place!  Good job!  Now get running – I wanna see you SUFFER!!!”
I have such a supportive wife.  There’s a reason I call her my Drill Sergeant.
More cruel and unusual punishment: the run course started with the same hill as the bike course.  That, I did not enjoy so much.  My run felt ragged and choppy, and I was not able to get into a good rhythm until I’d cleared the hill and got onto the flat section of Sask. Drive.  I was just very glad I didn’t get caught on that hill, as I knew there was another runner not too far behind me.  He finally caught and passed me 3/4 through the run course, but I latched onto his pace and hung with him.  He had more kick left at the end, and out-sprinted me to the finish-line, but it was very close.
Transition from the bike lead strait up a steep running climb - cruel, but not unusual.

Transition from the bike lead strait up a steep running climb – cruel, but not unusual.

So I ended up coming across the line 3rd.  I knew I had made good time on the bike and run course, but because the race was run in heats with the staggered-start swim, I didn’t know if my total time would be good enough for a top-3 finish.   The results weren’t posted until right before the awards ceremony, so I was oblivious until they started calling names up to the podium!  I was a bit dumbfounded, as I was expecting 3rd place at best.  But to win first overall and take the bike prime was a bit of a shock! Full results here. 
Podium Shot.  Brad, keeping those big burly fire fighters humble.

Podium Shot. Brad, keeping those big burly fire fighters humble.

Obviously the mountain biking segment made this race for me – so a big thanks to the Thursday Night crew for all the great rides lately!
The race was well supported with donations from Mud Sweat & Gears, Track’n’Trail, and some other local shops and restaurants, so there were lots of prizes for participants and volunteers.  Brita, the uber-volunteer, came away with an arm-load of sweet shwag, including a fancy jug of beer!  I can attest to it’s deliciousness, as she graciously shared it.   (I not-so-secretly coveted it.)
Volunteer Prizes, coveted by all.

Volunteer Prizes, coveted by all.

The race organizers told me that they successfully doubled participation from last year, and they want to double it again next year.  So I was told “Bring your friends!”  Consider that an official invitation for more Fierans to try this out next year.

Bringing home the hardware!

Bringing home the hardware!

Race Report: Blackfoot Ultra 100

They say the first step to recovery is an admission of guilt. This is my story.

It started out like this. Some months ago Darren-endurance-athlete-extraordinaire-McGregor sent me an online communicator note asking, “BF100 registration opens today, do you want to?” I paused, my mind spiraling into the permutation and combinations of repercussions. “OK”, I replied. “Really??” the message came back. Seconds later we were both signed up for our first 100km trail run.

Fast forward some months later. Saturday May 25, 4:59AM to be exact, I find myself in an outhouse near the start line at the Cooking Lake Blackfoot Prov Rec Area. “Chad, I think they just started,” said Darren also dropping a pre-race deuce in the next outhouse. “I’ll wait for you.”

We walk quickly but casually over to the now vacant starting line, the race director standing there blinking at us. “Uh, we missed the pre-race meeting. Is there anything we need to know?” I ask him. “No, just GO GO GO!” he yells at us.

Knowing a couple minutes won’t make or break a 100km race, I slowly shuffle off down the trail. Darren-I-don’t-know-how-to-pace-McGregor sprints off ahead. “See ya at the finish!” I shout after him. A few minutes later I catch up to him as he latched onto a pack of runners shuffling along even slower than me. We keep pace with this group for a few kilometers before we decide it’s too slow. We find our own pace and settle in for a long day.

For those unfamiliar with ultra-marathon running (i.e., anything longer than 42.2km) the pace is typically slow. For mere mortals, you conserve energy by walking up hills, you stop at aid stations to eat, you run the rest, but slowly. We’re not Kilian Jornet. We don’t have a VO2 max of 89.5
Mortals suffer. Badly. Pain management is the name of this game. They say ultras are 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. Some people think we’re totally mental.

My day is spent thinking about each and every footstep, trying not to trip or slip, trying to keep moving forward, somewhere. In the Blackfoot PRA the wetlands are too numerous to keep track of, the hills too insignificant to be memorable, the trail too consistently muddy to be recognizable. The only way to track my progress is by the aid stations spread at approximately 5km intervals around the 25km loop we have to do 4 times. 100km is too far to comprehend. 5km to the next aid station makes it mentally manageable. And with each aid station brings the satisfaction of fistfuls of salty potato chips, fruit and soup broth.

Hours blend into each other. My kids are waking up now and watching cartoons. I’m still running. Now they’re probably eating lunch. It’s starting to rain. “Is that all you got?!” Darren-I’m-too-muddy-to-care-McGregor screams at Mother Nature. Now it’s a downpour. I’m still running. It’s afternoon, I wonder if they’re napping. The mud is thicker and greasier. A cold wind howls. I’m still running. Finally, late afternoon and I see the finish line. I want to cry but I’m too tired. A small crowd cheers me in. I cross the line but find it hard to stop moving. Endorphins and adrenaline surging. I pace around grinning like an idiot. Oh man, this is going to be hard to kick…

Hello, my name is Chad and I’m an ultraholic, results here.