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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

I Won! - a race report - Calgary IM 70.3

It's Tuesday - but I'm still hoping the weekend won't end.
Pre-Race Meal at my house w Liz Lyles, Jarod Shoemaker & my wife Shirley. So fun.
A few weeks ago - somehow through facebook, I learned that the organizers of Calgary 70.3 were looking for host homes for the professional athletes.
I immediately said "Yes" ... and asked for two.

Talented Mom Liz Lyles and Past World Champion and Olympian Jarod Shoemaker were our pro athletes for the weekend!

I'm shocked at what these athletes eat. They simply are flexible. Jared arrived first on Friday. We had food in the house ... but he told us he would stop prior to arriving at home to get some snacks for the weekend. I was curious what 'snacks' were.
I was delighted to arrive home.
He had fucking chips in the house!
... I LOVE chips.
 Liz assured us ... all she needed was coffee in the morning.

Well this is my fucking race report - so screw off Liz and Jarred.
I was fucking fast. (In my standards).
Actually - the guy in front of me was fast.
I followed fast feet.
At one point, some crazy prick ... actually stopped swimming and pushed me TOWARDS the finish line. He was pissed at me as we rounded a buoy and were slapping each other. Shit happens.

It was unmemorable - other than seeing Jason Pohl pass me ... and me thinking I was happy to beat him on the swim. I thought I could hold him ... and was disappointed I could not. (25 year old punk.)

I ran.
Jarod Shoemaker was 5th and Liz Lyles was 4th at Calgary 70.3 Ironman, July 2016
At the finish line, I ran into Jarred who is somehow a mysterious silent partner at Speed Theory and probably also the owner of this race.
He said, "It was funny ... you looked like shit going out ... and coming in ... but you were moving."
That is pretty much how I felt.  Yes ... I could move in a forward direction ... but I had no spirit - and simply no spring.

Results: I WON!
I'm 49 years old ... and I'll be 50 in November.
For all those years in elementary school and junior high school - when I was the last picked for every fucking sport ... Fuck You!

My birthday is in November.
I'll be 50 in November.
This week, I raced in 50-54. I'm 49 - but in this fucking devision.
I beat all those fucking bastards.
Dan on the left & Winner of the day -  Josh Amberger in 3hours 40min - a freaking course record! - me on the right. Dan will be joining Josh at World Championships in Aussie in 5 weeks. Josh didn't seem worried about the competition.  

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

How Training and Racing is like Selling Real Estate

Sunday, July 3, 2016 was my first triathlon of this year - The Great White North in Edmonton - a half distance Iron Man. This is the year I age group "up" ... so it is the year I do Ironman.  I think of Ironman as a 5 year health check up. I've been doing it about every 5 years since my first one in 2001. This is a tune-up race to get prepared for my "A" goal race this year -  Ironman Arizona in November.

Swim - 2km - 29 min 08 seconds
I like swimming. Yeah ... it can be boring ... but swimming well has great advantages.  I feel that because I swim, I don't have to go to the gym and do weights. (This is probably not correct thinking.) Most awesome about weekly swimming ... is when on vacation in cool places ... you can hit the ocean, lake or river and really feel comfortable and experience the awesomeness of nature.
Currently I'm the slowest in my Tuesday and Thursday 6am swim group. However, when I put on a wet suit ... I get tremendous advantage. Possibly through years of playing Rugby, I also do pretty well in the 'smash up' of the triathlon swim. I don't mind the thrashing of arms and kicking of feet. I look for a heavier faster athlete and just hang by their feet in their bubbles, enjoying a draft - which apparently can have a 37% advantage!
On this race day - I was able to beat my friend Faizel, the fastest in our lane, by a minute!

Bike - 90km - 2hours 49 min
On Sunday, I got three flat tires.
Prior to my first flat ... I actually thought to myself ... "I'm feeling GREAT and will hammer this bike and to try to get the fastest amateur bike split of the day."  (After looking at the results and the speed of the cyclist that day ... I realize I am completely in la-la land. I had no chance of getting the fastest bike split of the day! It's fun to be an optimist.)
Why did I get three Flats?  Poor Preparation. There were two holes in my back tire! These tires were old.
The night prior to the race, I decided to change my wheel set. I looked at the tires quickly ... and thought they were fine. I wasn't surprised by getting the first flat, the second ... or the third!

Run - 21km - 1hour 35 min
The course was nice, interesting. While I was already out of the race, I was able to comfortably run - not pushing too hard. It was fun to see old and new friends on the double loop course at various times.

How is Racing like Selling Real Estate?
You have options.  What you decide to do with those options, will have a direct relationship to your results.  You can choose to prepare or not to prepare. In either case, if I do the preparation - I have a shot at "the win".  If I don't prepare, If I don't show up on time ... yes - I'm at the game ... but I don't have a chance at the prize.

In the early years of my career in selling real estate - I had average results.  I was frustrated by this.  It wasn't until I added the principles of how I participate in sport to how I conduct myself in my real estate job - that I began to have success as a realtor.

Selling Real Estate is not Rocket Science. Neither is showing up at the Start line of a Race.  While success can come and go depending on motivation and goals, I find that when I put myself on the line and expose myself to the unknown, I learn things about myself which add tremendous value to my role a Real Estate Sales Professional.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

WNJ - That means Wednesday Night Jam

Roll out at 6pm was relatively small this evening compared to past weeks.
No doubt because rain was in the forecast coupled with a wee bit of bad feelings after last weeks crash.
I'm not sure when I first heard about the Wednesday Night Jam ... but 2015 was my first year attending the occasional ride.
I've been road racing since 2009, and last year I even surprised myself by winning enuff ABA points to move up to Cat 1/2.  I haven't really raced there - I'm sort of scared of that level. I'm happy to take my masters downgrade to Cat 3.

Tonight ... I finished my first ever WNJ with the leaders. (It was a small group - and they were particularly kind and waited at 22X and at the top of Cochrane Hill.)
As normal Sean Bunin was beasting it ... and he's so nice & probably was leading the 'wait'.  It's not surprising he's from Saskatchewan is it? Those folks from Saskatchewan.

The wind was brutal ... and can you believe the leaders broke away from us on the downhill just after the bridge - prior to the first hill on Airport Road.  Jessie did a great deal of the work - taking our 2nd group to 22X.

At 22X someone reminded us of the 9 riders who were hit in Michigan last night - suggesting we take it easy to Cochrane. 4 seriously injured and 5 dead.

I guess we will all die.  I appreciate the thoughts of knowing about those riders who lose their lives last night. Thanks for bring it up ... perhaps it was Brett.?  I rode - with them in mind ... gritting my teeth in anguish -  and really enjoying what I was doing at the same time.

Totally awesome ride tonight. I'm basking in the glory of endorphins ... and beer.

See you next week at the WNJ.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

WNJ - Wednesday Night Jam

I look forward to the Wednesday Night Jam. I begin thinking about it on Tuesday ... I remember not to get up too early Wednesday morning. I restrain myself from going for a run. I think about what I'm going to eat ... how I can best fuel my body so I'm ready for the 6pm bell at the top of Edworthy.
Early today Bill Quinney said he could not make it tonight due to a school council meeting. (I was tempted to make a snide remark about working in education - but thought I'm not really that witty.) Teachers work so freaking hard - and are so under appreciated by many. I miss Bill. He's my age ... and we're about equally fast. (I'm refrain from saying slow - as I'm told 'mindset' is everything.)
Hanging on Rob's Wheel
About 5:20pm ... I felt really good. I quickly donned my kit, swapped out my wheels from my TT bike on to my road steed. Riding to the top of Edworthy from Marda Loop, I ran into Warren Muir... who made me scream Spruce Cliff Drive as I asked him questions about training (I pretended that I was going my normal pace). He will do Bikes on Broadway this weekend, so was doing his own solo preparation for that event.
Ryan Robinson rang the bell at 6pm & away we went.
Nervous energy ... people began to settle into where they fit in the group.
I found myself at the front ... which is not a good thing. The older I get, the longer it takes me to warm-up.
The pace was significantly slower than pass weeks at the normal - first separation on Springbank Road. It was still slow on the downhill and curvy curves. (Dang, those are fun.)
Ryan and I found ourselves with a big gap on the group descending the hill prior to the first hill on Airport Road. Well, I was feeling good ... I thought I could ride up that hill prior to the group ... and hang on at least to the Airport.
Wrong. I was left quickly. Everybody was gone except Ryan and I ... way off the back. I took a 2nd look ... thinking that at least the only girl Kailee Boyle in our group of about 20 or 25 would be back there somewhere. WRONG. I worked quite hard - thinking I would catch the group ... as they disappeared.
Soon Ryan circled back to Calgary. I had ambitious thoughts of riding solo to Cochrane - perhaps I would catch some straglers at 22X. (Nope - looks like everyone stayed together.?) However, these days I hate riding solo.
I settled into an aerobic pace in TT position ... and was just riding along enjoying myself when Robert Crane appeared from behind. I stuck his wheel ... and we had a super ride to 22X then back to Calgary.
It was fun.
Next week will be better. I'm going to get up that first hill in Springbank with the group.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Calgary Police Half Marathon - a race report leading upto IM - experimenting w diet

A few years ago, along with friend Greg, we decided we would do an Ironman distance triathlon every 5 years.  I think we both think of it as a bit of a health check up.  2011 was my last Ironman ... so this is Ironman Year - the goal race being Ironman Arizona on Nov 20.

One of the reasons I like this 5 year Ironman plan ... is every 5 years ... I'm forced to get real efficient with my time, and because of all the training ... I am forced to take a serious look at my health and habits.  Currently, as I ramp up my training and research - I am a bit amazed at all the new supposed 'hacks' - at how to get fitter and faster.

For the past 6 weeks, I've been experimenting with a Ketogenic Diet (High Fat and Low Carbs). I began down this rabbit hole by Listening to a pod cast by Tim Ferris as he interviewed Dr. Peter Atilla & later Dom D'Augustino. Since then, I've listened/read other proponents of this 'way' ... Mark Sisson and Ben Greenfield.

Proponents of training and racing in a Ketogenic State (as I understand it) - suggest that you should not need to fuel your body until after 3, 4 and even 5 hours of training/racing.  Your body will burn more efficiently on fat (versus what we all mostly believe - which you must use Carbs).

Since January 1, I have run 36 hours. That is approximately 2.5 hours per week. At the same time, I've been skiing, cycling and swimming ... gaining fitness.
Since early in March, I've been waking in the morning ... drinking bullet coffee ... and getting on with my day of a morning swim or run, then working ... often having the first low carb meal at noon. (This is to practice becoming a fat burning machine.)

Sunday, April 24/16 - Calgary Police Half Marathon - Time to test the training & diet
I woke 2 hours prior to the 8am start, I drank a bullet coffee (adding butter and cream). I weighed in at 160.2 lbs - which is about 5 pounds off my standard 'natural want to be weight' of 166 pounds.
15 Minutes prior to the race start, I drank some Ketoforce (It contains 55 calories with Sodium & Potassium Beta Hydroxybutyrate ... supposed to help me be a 'fat burning beast'.)

Prior to the race, I decided I would try to run sub 1 hour 30 min ... which is a pace of 4 min 15" per km. (I did similar pace in November.) I felt great at the start of the race, running the first 8 km's between 3:52 and 4:07. To see on Strava, click here.

Somewhere between 9 and 11 km, my legs felt VERY heavy. (I wondered ... do I have enough miles of running in these legs.)

1 hour into the race, against the strong proponents of this diet, I had a gel. I was told if I did this ... it would be like rocket fuel and I'd fly the last 30 minutes.  Nothing. (I wished there was a telephone booth near, so I could get my Superman cape out.)
In the last kilometer, I had another gel. I got pasted by two runners.

I had no kick - no fight to truly race.

My average heart rate was 163, max bursting to 188. This may suggest that I was going as hard as possible ... as my threshold is around 163 (from my own self testing).

I ran 1 hour 30 min and 30 seconds - a pace of 4min 17". I finished 25th overall and 6th in my age group. According to Strava, the course was a little long.

What did I learn:
  • I'm enjoying the diet
  • I should try the next event with a fat filled breakfast (eggs fried in coconut oil/butter & spinach)
  • I should run more than 2.5 hours per week

Saturday, 20 February 2016

family in the dominican republic

Celebrating Margaret Howard's 80th Birthday, Las Galeras
Last day of my Mom's 80th birthday vacation. A group of 24, our ages ranged from 12 years to 80 years. What a special week.

My mom pointed out last night that it was a poignant time to have a large family vacation. (The grand children are pretty much all adults, and there are no great grand children yet.)
We did yoga most every morning with my healthy and active Mom.

Individually we spent many hours sitting on our varanda's watching the coconut trees sway in the wind and the waves break on the shore. Together we enjoyed walks, swims, and meals.

Yoga each morning with my 80 year old Mom in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic 

A hike to Playa Madama

Buying Chicken in Las Galeras

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Is cycling in the Dominican Republic Safe?

My brother and 4 sisters began planning my Mom's 80th Birthday party in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic over a year ago.  So I was coming and I like to ride my bicycle.
I asked a few people about cycling here.
I tried to do some google searches.

For the most part, I was strongly discouraged from bringing my bike.
I read and heard:
Dominicans are the worst drivers in the world. 
Cycling in Dominican Republic maybe safe in the higher Corderilla, but with any of the towns and cities on the coast, you would be taking your life in your hands on a bike.

The cycling here has been fantastic. The roads are good, the shoulder is sufficiently wide, and the Dominicans are good drivers.  There are cows, donkeys, horses, and many types of slow moving mopads and other motorized cars.

All my rides to date have been incredible .. if only picking the two favourite:
1. Las Galleras to Playa Rincon to Samana and back to Rincon. 90km
2. Cabarette - about 15 km south ... then turn inland to the Mountains. Ride up and along the ridge as far as you have time for ... then scream back to Cabarette.

Selling Fish in Cabarette

I got three flats - getting a patch was easy in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Our Dog Max (Sept 2002 to Feb 12, 2016)

Shirley and the kids visited the dog pound in September 2002, and fell in love in with our dog.  I was reading about dogs at the time. A few books from the Library, “How to choose a dog".  Shirley managed to return home without Max … and asked if I would go check him out.  I consulted my book more and the next day enroute to my new winter gig as a realtor at Century 21, I popped into the SPCA. I was quietly excited. I didn’t need to go to the SPCA until after work - but went first thing in the morning.

Some of the things I remember from the book - In Choosing Your Dog:
-pinch it’s paws
-squeeze between it’s toes
-feel it’s teeth
-squeeze his ears
-blow his face

By doing these things, you will learn what type of aggressive behaviour the dog will have.
Max almost did not react to any of this. He was sweet.

Another test:
-Pick the puppy up and set him up on the other side of the room. Depending on his ‘mojo’ he ‘should’ bound back to you with puppy love. Max sat where I placed him … sort of shrugging his shoulders.

I returned home to Shirley and the kids. I was concerned about this last test. I spoke to Shirley about this ’standoffishness’, that the dog may have. I very soon conceited that if we were going to get a dog, this one maybe as good as any.

I remembered those first months. Teaching Max to go outside to use the washroom. I remember the newspaper in the house, where Max would pee. I remember Bruce’s Dad, John MacDonald, who told me about dogs. John loved dogs. He told me how they liked being in a kennel. They feel secure. They know it is their place. He described how to use a kennel & sold us his old one.
 To Shirley and the kids (and to me), it seemed so cruel to put Max in the kennel. Max never spent much time there.

That first winter I began running with Max. In the beginning, I think he enjoyed these runs. Actually, I think he was just trying to behave the way a dog is supposed to behave. “Mans best friend”. 

The next year, in August 2003 we moved to Calgary. Shirley, Robin & Jacob flew. I drove a Van piled with 4 kayaks on the roof & towing a U-Haul. Max came in our only ever new car, a 2002 Rio Kia. We found an Islander, like us, wanting to move West. He took Max and our car to Calgary. Max was always an amazing traveler.

He loved leaving the house with us. The fount car door would open on the passenger side, and Max would climb in and would seemingly try to make himself disappear. He was so relaxed. It was as if he did not want to be any trouble at all in case he would not receive further invites on any road trips.

For years we travelled to Golden, BC for many weekends. In earlier years, I would drive, Max at Shirley’s feet. In more recent years, Shirley would drive, Max at my feet. Max was amazingly loving on any trip. He would just sit on the floor as if under a ‘disappearing cloak’. He liked to be patted, but did not require it. We could drive for hours, or stop frequently. On the stops, he was fine to be invited out for a short (or long) walk, or just stay in the car.

I had one assumption about dogs. I ‘knew’ dogs like to run.
Those first few years of Max’s life, I automatically would take Max with me running.  I was running frequently with Max after we purchased our first Calgary home,1936 48 Ave SW, in August 2004.
We would run, and often Max would try to stop on these runs. I might swear at him … and pull him along. He’d continue.

Perhaps it was the winter of 2006, when Max began hiding whenever he noted me putting on my black running tights.  It took us awhile to notice, but he would try to hide between Shirley and I. He would divert his eyes into her legs or into the wall. It was as if he thought, “If I cannot see you, you cannot see me. I am not going with you!”

Because I ‘knew’ dogs liked to run, I would insist he come.

I guess I stopped torturing him with these runs nearly 10 years ago. We were both happier not to be running together. However, to this day - when Max notices me putting on my running gear, he has a sense of nervousness. When either Shirley or I ask him, “Max, want to go for a run?”  He immediately will hide behind Shirley’s legs diverting his eyes and holding his ears a certain way as if to say … “please, do not make me go”.

Max was always Shirley and Jacob’s dog. 
Robin & I were hardly sufficient replacements.

One summer when Shirley and the kids had an extra long stay in Prince Edward Island, Max was very depressed. It seemed as though he purposely ate some plumbing fixtures from the Perry’s new build - to protest my company.

On rare occasions, I could enjoy walking Max with Shirley. I pretty much detested walking him alone. There were so many other things I’d rather do. When walking him, especially alone, all I could think … he hasn’t pooed yet. He hasn’t peed yet. Hurry up.
I hate this about myself.

Somehow though, Max didn’t mind. He knew. Max was more accepting of me, then I was accepting of him.

He added such a presence and joy to our home.

I’ll miss you Max.

Friday, 12 February 2016

I was hit by a Mango!

I awoke from La Hacienda in Las Galeras and put on my running shoes ... and headed into the juggle and mountains. I spoke with a traveller the evening prior who had taken a horse riding excursion. He told me, "You may or may not find the whale observation deck ... it's that way."

I was cocky. Pretty sure I would find it. I followed my nose ... and only after one wrong turn ... I found myself running towards the top of a ridge thinking and seeing a structure.

I then thought ... okay ... how far could Playa Fronton really be?
I retraced my steps ... and looked for a natural path to the South. About 400m into the path I there was a Dominican walking ... "Playa Fonton?", I said.

Si, "Playa Fronton", he said with a smile.

A beautiful run ... shrouded in trees ... I occasionally hip hopped my way pass fallen magos being a bit careful not to squash them. However, I landed on one ... and it sprayed my leg. I had heard that these Magos were probably full of ants - and would not be good. I was sceptical.

I continued up ... and then down ... towards crashing waves.
I was pretty sure I found Playa Fronton.  This was confirmed by a group of German Tourist and their guide.
When I asked the guide if I was on Playa Fronton, he assure me I was.  Commando Beaunita?, he said.

He seemed a bit sceptical.

You see, I understand that this is a good place to get robbed.

I didn't stay long on the beach ... and turned back into the juggle where I came from.

11km into my run, I heard rustling in the tree that I was approaching. I looked up in time to see a falling magoe which landed on my shoulder.  I immediately thought ... okay ... these freaking magos must be good eating.
I reached below me and looked at two and choose one. Breaking the skin, I dug in.

It was delicious.

Grabbing another two ... and a third in my small pocket ... I excitedly thought ... this is heaven.
Imagine getting hit by a falling mango.

Life is good.

Monday, 25 January 2016


I first tried Ski Mountaineer Racing about 2009 or 2010. A long time ago.  While never really training for the events, I enjoy the spectacle of the event - getting to the mountains & experience winter to the fullest.
I recently acknowledged how much I enjoy this sport, became a little frustrated with my sub-standard gear so 8 days ago I picked up the phone (on the advice on a few of Canada's fastest skimo racers including Mel Bernier) and called Telemark-Pyrenees in Spain ... and spoke to a guy, "I'm 49 years old, love this sport, and will never win a race. What gear should I purchase?"

4 Business days later - I had some very light and fast new gear!  $2,500 CDN bought me some skills!

On Saturday I lined up at the start with the usual small group of 20 or 30 people.
We went up, and down, up, and down, up and down ... and covered 15 km and 1750m of elevation. For me, the ups were faster, but the downs were much slower. This gear is so light ... it made skiing down a bit scarry. I felt like a beginner.  Because it had rained in Fernie the day prior, the course was icy. While there were nice patches of snow, for the most part - it was icy (and scary). A fall would definitely hurt ... so speed control was my mojo.

In the end, I was faster. I was about 50 minutes behind the winning male Travis Brown and just 15 minutes slower than winning female Kyle Toth.  Normally I think I am at least an hour slower than the top males. I'll have to look back on past years results .... hmmm ... yes, I do really care. Interesting!

While the course was probably the least interesting that I've ever skiied (we didn't get above alpine), I got to see a very old friend who I met in 1990 in Guyana. Was the same day out and back 3 hour drive to Fernie worth it? Absolutely!


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Wapta Ski Mountaineer Weekend w our Canadian Skimo Team

Sport is a funny thing - you get a taste of it, you develop it, you challenge yourself ... and it takes you places.

In 2008 after the World Championships Ironman my family was vacationing in Kona and we ended up meeting Bruno Long at a coffee planation. He was hitch hiking and needed a lift. We immediately were having a great time hanging out. He told me about his roommate Jeff who was doing Ski Mountaineer Racing.  I was immediately intrigued.

Beginning that winter, I started doing the occassional skimo race. I think my first race was in either rented gear, or on my Telemark skii's.  I ended up buying a used lightweight skimo boot from 'legend' Steve Sellers, that I just replaced last week. At that time, Steve also recommended I buy a $250 set of skii's on sale at MEC, and Mohair skins.

For the most part, I don't ski mountaineer. I don't train for skimo. I only 'participate' in skimo races.  (I would like to do it, I would like to train for it, but I have not 'really' allowed it into my life - as it has not been a priority.) Since 2009, I think I must have done ... more than 5 ... but less than 10 races. With a good fitness base, I tend to finish mid pack.

Having the gear, fitness, and willingness to participate in Skimo ... leads you to special places, and I think, life events.
You see, a few years ago, I made the decision that I would do an Ironman race in age group, as I "age-group up" .... meaning every 5 years. I've kept that going since in my early 30's in 2001.

In November I registered to race Ironman Arizonia in 2016.  To mix up training ... I decided to do some skimo racing ... I did the Vert 180 and having a not too bad a result, I invited myself along to The Canadian Skimo Team training weekend run from Bow Hut Dec 11-13, 2015.

Over the course of the 3 days we skiied 3500m of vertical.
It was pretty stellar ... I got to do more of this.

Castle Mountain Resort Skimo Race

On Saturday I entered Canada's first ever Skimo Sprint Race. We lined up in groups of 3 ... and skiied, boot packed, and skiied uphill, before transitioning for the downhill. The winners did the entire thing is less than 2 1/2 minutes. I finished almost 2 minutes slower, in about 10th place. ;-)

Did I enjoy it?
I enjoyed the camaraderie at hanging out at the bottom of the hill ... watching some pretty exceptional athletes prepare and execute some pretty trick moves to be fast.

In order to be fast in a sprint race like this ... there are a few requirements.  While fast twitch mussels are required to win, you also need to have practised lighting fast transitions, and have pretty sleek fast racing boots and skii's.
I suffered in all departments!

Sunday was the main event ... where we lined up and skiied to the top of the mountain ... then boot packed a bit higher. I kept one of the fast girls in sight to nearly the top ... until my ski fell off a 3rd time ... when I dropped farther behind.  The wind was howling, snow was blowing ... and it felt pretty extreme!
The descent down was pretty awesome ... however instead of going to the extreme bottom of the run, I turned left and got of course. I missed the climb to the top of Huckleberry Chair then Haig Ridge. I was disappointed to have missed a good portion of the course ... and was therefore disqualified.

What did I Learn ... Does this matter?
Well, I received a message from one of our best Canadian Female Athletes on Monday ... asking me if I wished to order a Skin Suit.  I said Yes.
I really enjoy these sorts of endurance events ... sufferfests.  I think it is the "awe" of the event.  For the most part, I am just a regular guy who likes to drink beer on the couch ... but somehow ... if I'm lined up with a bunch of people ... and someone yells "Go" ... I love to just try to follow as long as I can!  I see some pretty neat things ... and experience a whack of emotions in a short period of time.  I Love it!

Should I invest in better, faster gear ... and then practice fast transitioning just to have a chance at being competitive?
I'm struggling with this. The sport is 'fringe'.  On Saturday I finished about 10th overall ... which doesn't sound too bad. However, that was DEAD LAST! There are not a great deal of participants.
On Sunday there were about 30 people ... perhaps only 15 or so doing the longer 'competitive' course.

I enjoy the longer course ... and on this course I'm racing with North America's fastest. With lighter gear ... instead of finishing 1 hour and 20 minutes behind ... I finish 1 hour behind.
However, I think I would like to get lighter gear ... I guess the only reason I don't ... is I'm quite frugal.
Life is short.

Canada's First Sprint Skimo Race, Jan 9, 2015. Jason & Mark Toth beat me easily in this heat. (Pic credit to Mark Gallup.)