How it Started

2006 Subaru Guelph II Try-a-Tri!

A beginner triathlete, on his road to Ironman France (Nice 2009)

In late 2006 a friend invited me to participate in a Triathlon. The obvious reaction was “What? Triathlon? Are you out of your mind?” After listening for a while, he explained you didn’t need to be a superman to finish a triathlon, there are quite a bit different levels.

The first time I heard about triathlons was back in Brazil, I was probably 13 years old. I used to sail (windsurf, laser, 470, etc) at a Yacht Club called “Iate Clube Lagoa Grande”, close to Belo Horizonte. At the time I looked at those guys and I thought to myself “Wow, this is a sport! You got to be in really good shape for this!”. I remember the buoys being so far away… little did a I know, it was just a Sprint Distance race!

From left to right: Paulo, me and Bruno (yes, Bruno and I were a bit chubby!)

Anyhow, my first race was in 2006. I can’t say I was at my best shape, but a my friend Bruno convinced Paulo and I to try one. At the time I was running a “lot”, like 5 to 7 km 3 times a week! Swimming? The last time I was 10, when I swam for a few months part of a kids swimming club. Biking? I had a $200 Canadian Tire mountain bike! I really thought that a bike is a bike… how could someone spend more then thousand dollars on a bike??

Well, lets not talk about that now… I’m on my 3rd bike, and I’m pretty sure my wife will kill me if I even mention a new bike. Having said that, I’m pretty happy with my Cervelo P3C. It is way better than my first bike! 😉

Wetsuit? What for, it is summer in Canada! Well, I wish the water temperature would reflect that in Canada. I can’t remember a race with the water temperature above 20C.

Anyhow, The Subaru Guelph II Try-a-Tri did not look that hard, after all it was just 375m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run. After a couple of months and adding a little biking and swimming to my weekly routine I was able to finish the Try-a-tri in a non impressive 56 min and 44 seconds.

Place: 28th out of 35 (Male 30-39)

Time: 56:44

Sporting Life 10km run May 2007

Let it snow, let snow!

For the Winter of 2006-2007 I went back to my running routine. Religiously challenging the Canadian Winter, running outdoors every other day, including some -18C days! As the snow melted, I was determined to give it another shot at a triathlon, but before the season started I participated in a 10km run.

Place: 2465th out of 8006

Time: 51:45

By now you probably realized I’m not a good runner!

And so it started… the 2007 Season!

Milton Try-a-Tri June 2007

A new "concept" triathlon wetsuit

The Milton Try-a-Tri, just another competition for an “experienced” triathlete!

Did I mention that I used to scuba dive? As it turns out, the wetsuit are a bit different on both sports… A little better than the first triathlon; however as you start getting in better shape you start realizing that it is not only about training but also how you train, what equipment you use, what you eat, and so on. You start understanding why other people are passing you with your $200 CCM Mountain Bike!

Place: 36th out of 52 (Male 30-39)

Time: 51:45

Subaru Guelph I try-a-tri June 2007

Specialized Transition Elite

Things were starting to get more interesting as I unveiled my secret weapon for this competition: a brand new Specialized Elite Tri-Bike! What a difference, 25 min compared to 33 min last time in the same course. The second big change was the adoption of the “Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide” from Matt Fitzgerald. The real goal was to finish the Guelph II Sprint Triathlon later this season.

If you are a beginner looking for a starter bike, this is the one. I don’t think you can do much better for the money.

Place: 17th out of 59 (Male 30-39)

Time: 49:35

Subaru Niagara Try-a-Tri July 2007

Get out of my way!

About a month after the Guelph competition, the unthinkable happened… 1st place in my age group! Probably just luck, but I prefer to think that my dedication paid off. OK, let’s be honest, I wasn’t even considering that it could be possible. Having said that, it was awesome!!

Time to move on to Sprint races.

Place: 1st out of 50 (Male 30-39)

Time: 44”17

HSBC Toronto Island Give-it-a-Du August 2007

Well, not quite time for the Sprint yet. I had scheduled a HSBC Toronto Island Give-it-a-try, which due to the water temperature became a Duathlon. It really didn’t played to my advantage, since I had trained so much for the swimming. Regardless, it was fun!

Place: 5th out of 35 (Male 35-39)

Time: 40:25

Subaru Guelph II Sprint Triathlon September 2007

Finally, what I have been preparing for for the whole season! My first Sprint Triathlon. At the beginning of the competition one can tell that these guys are not he same as the Try-a-tris… The crowd looks different and so do the bikes and wetsuits. Fortunately it was still the same good old atmosphere and I’ve survived, I finished it!

Place: 38th out of 59 (Male 30-39)

Time: 1:56:02

An so it began! In 2008 I did a bunch of other races, including Sprints (750 m swim, 30 km bike, 7 km run), Long Distances (2 km swim, 55 km bike and 15 km run) as well as my first Half Ironman, or 70.3 Ironman as they call it. I have to say it is better marketing than “Half”… 🙂

Please go to for race description.

My next goal:

3.8 km Swim – 180 km Bike – 42.2 km Run


6 responses

4 06 2009
Jules Pede


Awesome history of your running! i have been reading some of your blogs. Good luck in Nice!!

3 06 2009
Joe Pizzoferrato

Don’t forget how it all started, over 10 years ago, when I took you out for a run and kicked your ass…lol congrats and good luck with your journey.

29 12 2008

So, whether you are 8 and just getting into skating, or 80 and enjoy mall walking with your pals, get active!

That’s our pledge for Vancouver 2010: inspire people to include an exercise program in their routines and have fun with it! Cause everybody can! And who knows, you might be carrying a torch one day… (check


25 12 2008
Verena Ritter

Hans, adorei seu site, muito bem feito pelos padrões de webdesign. Senti cosquinhas para fazer algumas correções em inglês (erros de digitação, é claro, pois vc. é um canadense nato!). Admiro a sua perseverança metódica e despretensiosa, sem perder de vista os seus objetivos. Gostaria de dar um toque de anjo (ou será de capetinha?), para lembrar que vc. tb. não deve se esquecer de exercitar da mesma forma o seu outro lado, pois o corpo tem limitações e validade determinada (ainda que na maioria das vezes oculta para nós), mas o espírito é ilimitado nas suas possibilidades e tem validade indeterminada. “Você não é uma ilha” (é o título de um livro que aliás eu não li), por isso não deixe de olhar para as pessoas que correm na vida junto a vc, as que correm mais devagar, as que ficam prá trás e as que estão prestes a desistir de correr; vc. tem muito o que dizer ou o que fazer por elas, ainda que algumas, ou muitas, não se disponham a ouvir ou ser ajudadas. Nesse caso, porém vc. fez a sua parte. Não se preocupe com os resultados; muitas vezes desprendemos enorme esforço em um objetivo para que outros recebam o troféu que deveria ser nosso, ou de repente não vemos troféu nenhum, apenas destroços. O esforço depende sempre de nós, os resultados nem sempre, ou menos vezes do que achamos que merecemos. Entretanto, nada se perde, tudo se transforma, e é importante aprendermos tanto com os nossos erros quanto com os acertos, e fazer de cada obstáculo um degrau a mais para se subir, no início às vezes penosamente, depois até com gratidão e alegria no coração.
Beijos de sua irmã mais velha, Verena.

25 11 2008
Jennifer Chia

KUDOS HANS! Great website! What a great way to track your progress.


5 11 2008

Well done and congratulations. Great story. I lived it with you. I noticed you did way better when you concentrated on the goal and left the details to wait. 🙂
Awesome and well done. Can’t wait for the next installment.

Congrats to the ground crew too.


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