A week of swim, bike, run (and eating) in Newfoundland

We arrived up here late last Sunday night, ready for a bit more than a week on ‘The Rock’ – Newfoundland, Canada.  For those not quite clear where that is, think Greenland, and then go a little bit southwest – it takes less time to fly to London from here than it does to fly from NYC to San Francisco.

At any rate, we’ve had beautiful weather almost all week long, with only a single day of rain. I’ve been mixing in rides and runs pretty much every day – with the occasional swim tossed in as well.  Plus, a bit of random sight-seeing.  Though I’ve done most of the local tourist-related items on previous trips. As regular readers will remember, The Girl is from here.


We started off the week heading over to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in all of North America.



Me, The Girl, The Girl’s Sister, and The Girl’s Sister’s Boyfriend:


We even saw a whale go wandering on past us.  Thus immediately saving us the $60 a person in going on the whale watching boat-tour (ironically the very whale watching boat floated on by a minute or two later).




I’ll be riding out there tomorrow for my long ride.  Should be great since the weather looks promising.




For Tuesday I had a bike-run brick on the schedule.  But before that happened we decided to go for a swim in a local pond.  There are tons of ponds around here – making it a bit of an openwater swimmers dream, at least if you don’t mind the occasionally chilly water.


Now, when I say “swim”, I mean more of a float.  Not really a true openwater swim workout this time.  But that’s all good – we had fun (me, The Girl’s dad, and her brother).


The Girl meanwhile decided she wanted none of that.


With the swim complete, it was onto my scheduled bike-run brick.  I’d decided to do it all right from the house, making it quick and easy with minimal logistics.  The bike was a roughly 30 minute affair before going into a longer run.

First up, the bike.  It’s nice being on generally quiet roads – nothing to worry about except the odd moose.


With the bike done I headed out for a run.  I was doing 10-minute long interval sets at two varying intensities.  The winds here in Newfoundland tend to vary between ‘ugly’ and ‘downright nasty’, and in today’s case it was actually quicker to run uphill with the tailwind, than downhill with the headwind.


Despite the winds though, the run went fairly well.

Post-brick, a BBQ awaited.  The Girl’s dad had ribs cooking up… ahh yes, ribs – something not so easily found in Paris (at least good ribs anyway).




Wednesday was our one day of rain.  A fair bit of rain.  We ended up going out to a little town called Brigus about 45-50 minutes away by car.  At least during the time we were there the rain largely subsided.  Enough to skip rocks for a bit.




Post-rock skipping (obviously, a heavy calorie burning event), we replenished with blueberry desserts.  The town is known for its blueberries.


Given the rain, we pretty much stayed indoors all day.  We did end up picking up a few bags of chips at the gas station though for card games later that night.  They had a Moose & Maple flavored bag:


Quite frankly, they were horrible.  I like maple, and I like moose – but whatever occurred when these two items mated was not a good thing.

Much better was the Sour Cream & Bacon:



We ended up doing a bit more relaxing on Thursday.  I had a run that I did with The Girl (a bunch of 800’s), but beyond that we just enjoyed hanging out.  Their backyard has plenty of things to enjoy relaxing around.

For example, there’s the flower gardens they meticulously work on.





In between the flower gardens are the vegetable gardens (multiples of them).  We had fresh veggies from the backyard every night.





Then there’s the greenhouse her Dad built two years ago.  It’s just simply awesome (and that’s ignoring the fact that it’s nice and warm in there – increasing the awesome level).






This past spring he built a root cellar. Yes, you know, just went out and built it, by himself. Bam – root cellar!


Though, one of my favorite areas is up behind the little cabin (yes, he built that too).


It’s here there are trails that meander around the fir/pine trees, with thick moss growing on the forest floor:



Finally, as if a root cellar wasn’t enough for one spring, he also built this entire structure (it includes a secondary BBQ at the back) – including the table and benches.  Over time grapevines will grow up the sides and on top.


For dinner we had moose burgers on the grill, and then we finished off the end of the day getting The Girl’s sister’s boyfriend “Screeched In” – and yup, I’ve already done that a few years ago.


I should point out that it’s entirely possible I’ll end up 20 pounds fatter by the end of this trip.  In looking at the recipe card holder, it seems pretty clear why:



I headed out for a bit of a 75-80 minute ride.  It included 2×20 minute interval chunks in it, all at roughly threshold pace.  The Girl’s Dad recommended a nice quiet road, which I did two 12-mile loops off, only saw one car on the first chunk of the road – pretty awesome.




Though, in looking at things a bit later, I may need to re-evaluate my threshold assumptions a bit based on it (upwards).


For those curious, here’s what the wattage comparisons looked like (left to right: Vector, Quarq Elsa, PowerTap G3, Stages):


Post-ride there was a moose appetizer followed by steaks.  The steaks were covered in chanterelle mushrooms – which were picked from the forest a few hours earlier.





Finally, that brings us to today.  I started off the day with a 13.2 mile run around a local lake.



The path is 2.35 miles per loop, so I did a bit over 5 loops of it – plus some extra.




I was pretty excited about how perfect my pacing was per mile.  Albeit not on purpose since it was tied to heart rate zones (Z2), but I was pretty happy with it (especially given the gravel path for the majority of it, which slows things a bit compared to concrete/asphalt).


I did some intervals after mile 12, so the paces are all wonky there…

Post-run, I found the cookie truck in the parking lot.


And once you find the cookie truck – you simply can’t top that.  Thus, I’ll end this post here.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend – and thanks for reading!

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  1. Sven

    Cool trip – makes me jalouse.

  2. scott buchanan

    What a wonderful house and garden!

  3. patrick dalton

    Still around? We have a combined sprint/Oly race here next weekend. :)

  4. Ed

    THat might be the best, most stomach rumbling DCRM post ever.

  5. patrick dalton

    Next time you’re coming, send us a tweet, there’s a cycling group and loads of triathletes that ride and run on the weekends.

    Where did you stay outside the city? Nice spot, doesn’t look familiar.

    • Hi Patrick, my family lives just out in Portugal Cove- St. Phillips. If you guys can promise the same weather next summer as this one I might try to talk Ray into 3+ weeks here next year :)

  6. JT

    The Wife’s family’s compound (I would say house, but their are way too many structures for that) looks amazing, and the food just as great! Have you thought about spending the Canadian summer there? (only a few weeks, right?)

    Please take heed of this Canadian stat when eating the moose meat: link to twitter.com

  7. Remco Verdoold

    Picking chanterelles is very nice. In Holland it is forbidden to pick any mushroom from the forest, but at my wife’s it is a national sport (Latvia). We pick and clean them followed by chopping light frying. Then we freeze them and use them all year round in Holland. They go for insane prices in the shops.
    Spending a week with family far away is always very nice thing, especially in harvesting season :).
    My parents almost visited New foundland a few months ago, they had their off-road camper shipped to Halifax but due to delays they missed the opportunity to take it to New foundland. I guess they missed a pretty beautiful piece of Canada.

  8. John S.

    Are we seeing an upgraded helmet and sunglasses? Fancy!

    • John,
      YES! I told Ray it was time for an upgrade :)

    • John S.

      I bought the same sunglasses last month and a matte Giro helmet is on my wishlist, so chapeau for your guidance.

  9. Joe Meehan

    Looks like he went with Oakley Flak Jackets, with the XLJ lens, if I’m seeing correctly. The glossiness of the black ear stems/socks makes it hard to discern any specific identifiable detail.

  10. Andrew Miller

    Love the cookie truck! We passed he Decadent cookie truck on the highway yesterday and my wife was commenting how much she loves them. They are pretty darn good.

  11. After seeing the vector’s post, I would have gone with new shoes myself lol

    So glad you guys had great weather and a good time

  12. Tommy

    Having just come back from Maine, which is quite a bit south of NF, I can agree with The Girl, that water is more than a little cold in the northern latitudes! It would need to be in the 90s for me to do more than dip my feet in our lake, which is spring fed and around 60 degrees.

    Love the regional Lays potato chip flavors. I recently tried Chicken and Waffles flavor, and although I love chicken, and I love waffles (and I love chicken and waffles together), it just did not work on a potato chip!

  13. Gerard

    Glad you and the Girl had good weather while visiting St. John’s and area. I agree with Patrick, please send us a Tweet the next time your coming to the Rock. I’ve been following your posts for years now, (loving them) and it would be great to meet and perhaps have a run with you.

  14. Kelvin Ng

    How long are you out there till Ray? I’m back out there again on Thursday

  15. JimL

    What’s with the power variation from the Stages meter?

    • It’s left-leg only, so it’s likely that as I fatigue I slowly drift towards right-leg dominate.

  16. adam

    Hey I have that same Sportscenter shirt! Do people say “da na nun, da na nuh” to you too? I don’t know maybe the music/show is different in Europe…

    • I can without question state that I’ve never had anyone do that to me. In any scenario, on any continent. Ever. 😉

      Is this a frequent occurrence?

  17. yucko

    The benchmark (2nd picture), in Canada, really has the USGS markings? Must be…don’t see any French in that. Wonder why the Canadian gov’t allowed (or used) American-labeled benchmarks…

  18. THE GIRL: Well, we did promise good weather for the race this Sunday, so I predict fine weather all next summer.

    The ride out through PC/SP is my usual route, (Indian Meal Line, up the cove road, and back home) :) Fantastic 30k ride which I’m trying to crack an hour in. :)

  19. Sean Ryan

    Wow – it is absolutely beautiful up there! The water looked very clear in the lake where you went for a “swim” – is that an optical illusion, or is it really not typical lake water? Any chance you could get more details/photos of her dad’s root cellar? I’m looking to build one myself.

  20. Guillaume

    British Columbia and Newfoundland are the two provinces left for me to visit.

    Guess I know which one is next!

  21. Your “girl” is really lucky to grow up in such a beautiful place. So much natural beauty and great photos. THough, I don’t know how you managed that “selfie” whilst swimming.

  22. Martin jobs

    The ride would have been mighty improved with a video from an action cam. Maybe a Garmin VIRB!

    Will you be reviewing this product?

    • Yup, I’m working with Garmin to get a unit and get a review put together. I’m liking the ANT+ potential.

  23. Les Russell

    Great post, run pacing is so consistent, any tips? Natural pacing ability, paying attention to current pace or some combination?

    • For this particular run I was using HR as my pacing tool. I had a HR zone, but for the most part I was within +/- 2 beats. Given the pancake nature of the route, it was pretty easy to keep consistent pacing by just keeping my HR consistent.

      I also kept lap-pace as well up, and sorta kept that in mind. For example, up a tiny 5-10ft rise here or there in a few sections on the loop I’d slightly increase effort going up and monitor it coming back down.

  24. Nemo Brauch

    You are making me homesick! While I was racing IMMT, my family was celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my uncle and aunt in Heart’s Content.

  25. Champ


    What camera did you use for the photos on Thursday at the garden? Photos are so PRO!

    • Thanks! The Garden ones were all the Canon 7D DSLR (with just a stock 18-55mm lens). Enjoy!