Ottawa pride Ryan Cain
Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Thu Aug 08 2013
ST: Thanks for your time.
Ryan: Iím a big fan of Slowtwitch and always read your athlete interviews. IĎve always wanted one, but never did anything to warrant one, so I appreciate your time and to be honest its super cool to be in that group of athletes that youíve interviewed, there are some big names and rising stars!
ST: You know, there is always that random age grouper option.
Ryan: Which I think is awesome as well. I think you guys do a great job of including the masses so to speak. Itís whatís really cool about triathlon that we complete the same race on the same day! You actual just interviewed two other age groupers from Ottawa. So weíre getting our group on the map.
ST: Did returning to work help you get down from the Lake Placid high or was there none?
Ryan: Returning to work definitely helped bring me down from the high of my race in Lake Placid, the unfortunate part is that I didnít want to come down. But having to return to work the day after any race, good or bad, brings me back to reality and helps keep that balance in my life.
ST: You mentioned before that you feel more like an age grouper than a Pro. Is that because you have a full time job or because you are not earning your income from racing?
Ryan: Good question, I think itís honestly a bit of both. The main reason I feel more like an age grouper is that I lead the age grouper lifestyle. Nothing has changed since turning Pro, with the exception of the fact I have gotten a bit faster. I still have to fit in all of my training around working a full time job, my wife and commitments outside of triathlon. My coach Nigel Gray from NRG Performance Training understands that balance and has done a great job with that. Unfortunately, I do not get to chase the endless summer and have to face the realities of winters in Ottawa. I also still have to pay for all my own travel, accommodations, entry fees, etc. I am very fortunate to have some great gear sponsors, so a lot of my equipment is taken care of. But otherwise I feel that I am very much an age group athlete racing pro.
ST: What exactly do you do for the National Defense of Canada?
Ryan: I work with a great group of people in Ottawa that are responsible for all of the personal training and fitness testing of all the Canadian Armed Forces members stationed in Ottawa. It works well with training, as I get to really practice what I preach. At one point, we had 3 professional triathletes in the same office, including 2x Ironman Wisconsin winner Dave Harju, he actually trained me at my job when I first started.
Ryan: They understand for sure, we have a pretty wide range of very successful athletes here and we all understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. But with that being said, if I come in from a 200km ride or a 45km double run they still think itís crazy, but in a good way!
ST: When did you actually get your Pro license? Was that for the 2011 season?
Ryan: Yes, I first started racing pro in 2011. More so out of convenience than anything else. The reality was that I couldnít plan my life that far ahead and give WTC all that cash up front, I just didnít have it. So racing pro gave me more flexibility with scheduling and allowed me to race at the front. I was always comparing myself against the top guys, but itís a completely different race than racing with the masses.
ST: Do you think that is part of the reason why see such a large number of 'Pros' listed in the KPR points?
Ryan: For sure, but I think the bigger reason is that triathlon is growing so fast worldwide. With the advances in training and technology, a lot of people are getting faster! The depth at each race is still awesome and I think there are a lot of quality guys out there that can benefit from going pro.
ST: Last year you finished 4th at 70.3 Mt Tremblant and 5th at Ironman Mt Tremblant, but somehow we would think this Lake Placid 5th place found you better.
Ryan: Absolutely! When you look at those results and my 8:45 in Florida, I was much further back and really wasnít part of the race. I just benefited from smaller fields that werenít quite as deep. Tremblant wasnít on the triathlon radar like it is now. However, when I look at my results from Placid, I was much closer to the front and right with some awesome company. Potts, Mikelson, Csoke are all Kona qualified guys, Scott DeFilippis had one of the fastest run splits at Florida last year and finished 3rd in 8:09. Those are super quality guys and Id like to think I was pretty close to them. Also from an execution perspective, my race in Placid went really well, I donít think I could have asked for much more. Well except for losing to Balazs in that sprint finish, Iíd prefer to have been on the other side of that. But he had a great race and did what he needed to do to secure his spot in Kona; hats off to him.
ST: Do you consider yourself a decent sprinter?
Ryan: I thought I had decent top end speed from my sports background, but I havenít been using those gears lately, or at least not as much as Balazs.
ST: Going into Lake Placid, did you feel well prepared?
Ryan: Actually, I really did! I didnít have any doubts. I had a great build up after a very disappointing DNF at Ironman Texas, but coming from the Canadian winter and only having a couple days to acclimatize, that heat really got to me in Texas, but I was determined to avenge that in Placid. My coach and I focused my training around Placid, long runs in hilly terrain, double run days before and after work, for example running up to 45km on Thursdays, long rides on weekends, lots of open water swims, it all just seemed to go well and I felt ready.
Ryan: Iíll try to keep this short and sweet. Coming from a non-swim background, I knew I needed to have a really good swim for me to start my day off well. Fortunately, I was able to do that, coming out in just over 54 minutes. I paced my bike ride really well, the first loop felt easy and in control and the second loop didnít feel much worse; power numbers were really good and consistent. I was even gaining ground on guys like Ian Mikelson, so it was tempting to chase, but I knew it was a long race and if in doubt, save it for a great run. I felt good for the first few kms of the run, then as soon as I got out of town the wheels sort of fell off. I struggled with quite a few low points out on the run and never really felt fantastic, but fortunately didnít slow all that much. What I am most proud of is that I stuck it out and kept pushing.
ST: Looking back in time do you still recall the bigger you from when you returned from your stay in Australia?
Ryan: haha, Iíve tried to turn the page on that Ďbiggerí time, but yes I do recall being a bit bigger after my year in Australia. But thatís what happens when youíre fresh out of University and spend a year chasing girls, drinking beer and surfing! But I still wouldnít change that time, coming back overweight is what really got me into this new lifestyle because I knew I needed to do something to get rid of those extra pounds.
ST: Where are you now weight wise?
Ryan: I raced Placid at about 160lbs, which is about 25lbs lighter than when I got back from Australia. Iíd still like to drop another 5lbs or so, but I am racing well, I feel healthy and strong; I donít get injured or sick (touch wood). But I try to eat a very balanced diet. I have tried to cut calories to lose more weight and have found that my workouts and training has suffered. So I am beginning to be ok with my current shape.
ST: To put it in perspective. How tall are you?
Ryan: I am about 5í10Ē
ST: In 2009 I think you finished 2nd in your age group at Ironman Canada behind some dude name Wurtele. You mentioned that you are still chasing him, but do you guys know each other personally?
Ryan: I am not sure if I finished 2nd, but I know Trev won our age group. We have known each other online for a while, but we didnít actually catch up again until NOLA 70.3 this year. But now we email fairly regularly and he has been an awesome resource for me. He is one of the most approachable dudes out there; as are most of the Canadians in the sport. Jeff Symonds is another stand-up guy in the sport and has offered me a lot of advice over the last couple years. The list is pretty long, but most of us Canadians are pretty good people. It would be awesome to get a Canadian Long course team going at some point.
ST: You got married a bit over 2 years ago and it appears you have struck gold.
Ryan: Absolutely! I am very fortunate and definitely Ďout chickedí But just donít tell my wife that, Iím hoping she sticks around.
Ryan: Yes she reminds me on a fairly regular basis that out of all the sports I played and excelled at growing up that I chose the least lucrative. But I donít blame her, 5th place in Placid netted me $1000, whereas 5th place at the RBC Canadian Open which finished the same day netted Matt Kuchar $369,600. I just remind her that if I played golf, I wouldnít have the same physique that sheís become so accustomed to.
ST: But do you think she would secretly rather see you in a preppy golfing outfit than in lycra?
Ryan: She might, but that preppy golfing outfit would hang much better on a triathlete's frame. Just look at all the modeling Craig Alexander is doing. So I think she is getting the best of both worlds.
ST: Muskoka 70.3 is next and then a buildup towards Arizona?
Ryan: Thatís correct. TriMuskoka.ca is a great group of people and they have been awesome with me, the sport and the community, not to mention itís a gorgeous venue. It is about as local as a race gets for me. I really try to race all of the events around Ottawa that are within driving distance to cut back on costs and get my local sponsors as much exposure as possible.
ST: Why Arizona?
Ryan: Given the Canadian winter, I have a limited time to race, so I try to get in as many events as I can when I can still ride outside. We also try to sneak in a few daysí vacation after my last race to kick start 'the month of Lauren' which is basically a few weeks where my super supportive wife gets to call the shots as opposed to our schedule being dictated by triathlon. If she wants a Saturday morning sleep inÖshe gets Saturday morning sleep in!
So to be totally honest with you my wife just really wanted to see the Grand CanyonÖso Arizona it is!
ST: We hope your legs will feel good enough to really explore and enjoy the Grand Canyon.
Ryan: Yeah, we might have to take the helicopter tour if they feel anything like they did after Placid.
Ryan: Yes for sure, I couldnít do this without them. I have been very fortunate to align myself with some of the best people in the sport in Canada. It started with my local multisport shop Bushtukah, who happens to be the #1 Trek dealer in Canada, so they have gotten me an awesome Speed Concept and Madone. They then used some of their connections and got me hooked up with PowerBar Canada. Just this year Saucony Canada has come on board, which is great because I was using their shoes before. I have some other great supporters like Rudy Project, ISM Saddles and TYR. Lastly a couple of local sponsors Doyle Homes, ScotiaMcLeod and Invesco have helped me out this year.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Ryan: I have also just joined the very experienced coaching staff of NRG Performance Training (www.nrgpt.com). Through coaching, I will be able to help a lot of athletes as I know and understand firsthand just how to marry the importance of both life and training, I also have a B.Sc in Kinesiology and am a Certified Exercise Physiologist.
Lastly, the 1st multi-sport race I ever won was a Beer MileÖan annual event here in Ottawa.
Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @ryancaintri
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