National 12 Hour Time Trial Championships

Having been right on the front line dealing with Covid-19 as a Renal Technologist and seeing the impact on all aspects of life, riding this event at the weekend meant a huge amount to me considering we all thought that no racing would take place in the real world. So for the organisers and marshals I am eternally grateful indeed.

I was still incredibly motivated to train, even though one by one my events disappeared under the dark cloud that was CV19, my calendar was getting smaller and smaller. Then a small ray of light re-emerged in the shape of Time Trialling. Now I was no stranger to this, but being a Triathlete I’m not a specialist but understand the merits of riding these events. Training for an Ironman means a lot of time in the saddle (as well as the pool and trainers), so I knew I was bike fit. Entered a local 10Mile TT and first time out set a 90 second course PB, then this basically turned into my season, event after event I was setting course PB’s and then an all time 10Mile PB and going under 22 minutes for the first time ever!  Around this time the National 12 Hour TT organising team were confident they could put on the event under the current restrictions, so a quick chat with my coach from www.veloclinic.co.uk and I applied for a slot (not guaranteed) and waited! A few days later it was confirmed I was in, so we had 4.5 weeks to prepare, nothing like cramming for an event!

Training consisted mainly of racing TT’s in the middle of longer rides with a long ride at the weekend, culminating in riding me into the ground and a crying sweaty mess sat on a Garage forecourt completely drained just a week before the event talking to Callum on the phone who forced me back onto my bike and finishing the session, for this I cannot thank him enough, it had the desired effect the following weekend.

Teresa and I had also been working for a few months with a nutritionist in the shape of Matt Gardner from https://mattgardnernutrition.com/ . We did two sweat tests and took detailed notes of fluid and energy intake, he formulated a detailed plan and some amazing suggestions and ideas covering all eventualities, I cannot express my thanks highly enough to him, I had zero energy depletion and never once came close to blowing up and my body only starting to fail around 11 hours! I also had to eat a ton of food 2-3 days out so I had enough stores, now usually this would be a problem, but to try and consume 4,500+ calories and good ones is pretty hard and a lot of food too 🙂

Teresa and I had talked about her supporting me throughout the event and looking at the map we knew exactly where she was going to be on the course and what she would hand up to me, this was thrown in the air when the organisers were forced to make a course change due to roadworks and traffic lights on one of the legs, no matter, just a re-plan and we felt confident it was going to work.

With the change in course came more elevation, so a big lad like me meant it would affect my end result more so I re-adjusted my target and thought maybe 242-247 miles was possible, but also being this was my first attempt at anything like this, I had no idea what was going to happen at 8 hours and beyond. Callum and I had discussed a power target and settled on 210w so I could hopefully finish strong and keep pushing throughout.

We drove up Saturday with a view to meet another rider at a point to do some recon of the middle course, Teresa had agreed to support him to and he fell into place where we had planned to hand me support. We rode the middle section of the course and it was an OK road surface but as expected more rolling, but the wind was gusty so made for some interesting bike handling! We then drove some more of the course, found the hotel and headed off for some much needed food and an early night.

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My start time was 7.07AM so I was awake by 4.30am and eating breakfast at 5! Bundled in the van and drove to the HQ, signed on and loaded up nutrition for the first leg, kissed Teresa goodbye and off she went to set up…….at this point I felt so alone, but oddly felt like at least one or two people may be with me as we had worked out I could run a live tracker from my Garmin and phone (carrying a phone turned out to be invaluable) so Morgan mate, you are freakin genius and thanks for the lend of your longer lasting battery in the shape of the Garmin 830 :-).  I used the roll to the start to warm up the legs and make sure the bike still worked, 7.06 and I was on the start line, jesus 12 bloody hours, what was I thinking, 7.07 and its a self start (no more push offs with CV19) clipped in perfectly and start the Garmin, the first mile was uphill and so slow, numbers in my head were 20.4mph average, 210w and 140BPM, this was destroyed in the ride out to the start of the bottom end of the course, speed was 17.5mph, 240w and 150BPM, but I didn’t panic, this is the new patient, focussed model of Andy!!

I hit Prees heath roundabout and saw Teresa where she handed me a bottle for the start of the first 28 mile out and back leg, she was amazing and brilliant and just perfect, back into aero and started riding 14 miles south to the Upper Battlefield turn. I had taken the decision to come out of aero every 15-20 mins to make sure I stretched, but with the increase in climbing it sort of worked perfectly that riding the ups on the bull horns made sense, and standing on the climbs meant I kept flexibility!

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Later riders were still passing me and at some effort too, fair play to them, but some would absolutely pay for it later, power meters and heart rate are two massive weapons in my arsenal of awesomeness that’s for sure. Saying this I was aware I was riding harder than I should and arrived back at Prees heath roundabout grabbing a bottle from Teresa and a very loud instruction from her via Callum to ‘Back the f*ck off’, I know, I know, I knew this totally, but also really chuffed that he was definitely watching via the tracker too, the advice was beaten into me and I definitely backed off. It was at this point I decided next time round to stop when I take nutrition off Teresa, I had grabbed the bottle but the gels dropped on the floor, we had planned for this as I was already carrying extra stock so there was no problems, this was about hour 3.

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2nd ride of the leg was easier and I was starting to see my average speed start to creep up to target and power was still a little high but much lower than previously, HR was stable at around 147BPM, back to Prees heath roundabout where the heavens had opened and every single supporter and helper there was soaked, you cannot ever underestimate the power and dedication of great support crew, mine was brilliant, at every point I got to her there was no panic, no rush and she knew exactly what to say and do every time to get me back out there.  Stopping was a genius idea, unloaded rubbish, loaded back up with fresh nutrition, and then back out to start the 3rd Battlefield leg, there was supposed to be 4 times on this leg but an early rider was setting such a ferocious pace that this would be my last time on this leg, so when I arrived back at Prees heath I got directed onto the middle circuit for 7 possible loops, I was still ‘only at 97 miles and 4hrs 40mins! During training I knew that the second hour seemed to take at least 3 hours, and this was no different on this day, but a change of loop meant I knew I was going to see a familiar face more often and a smaller bottle to take meaning less weight on the bike, therefore more speed!   I passed 100 miles in 4hrs 47mins so the average was up to 20.9, meaning I was ahead of the game and was at least looking on for at least 250 miles, but things could happen so I wasn’t thinking that far ahead! On a side note, I rode an Ironman bike leg (112 miles) in 5hrs 22mins, which although would have been slower than target for Italy which I was training for, I assessed how I felt after this and realised I was in way better shape to run a marathon than after Vichy last year, so who knows, maybe I could have run a 3.30 marathon!

The middle section was soaking wet at the top near Prees Heath on every lap, poor buggers supporting, and bone dry and sunny at the bottom, with an incredibly fast section which saw some good speed and really helped push the average up, and it was with a tail wind meaning by the 6th loop I was at 165miles and 7hrs 50mins and saw my average jump to 21.1…..it was game on now, I was feeling good, still pushing 225w, not hugely tired and the only issue I had to deal with about an hour earlier had disappeared, my undercarriage had really started to hurt on the previous lap and I asked Teresa to get out the Sudocrem so I could put another massive dollop on downstairs, but luckily (maybe) at some point in that lap everything went numb and all pain went away!!!

It was still pissing it down as I started the 7th loop, but in fact right at the top of the middle loop we got pushed onto the connecting road to the finishing loop which was some 16 miles away, I made a quick phone call (invaluable having a phone) to Teresa to tell her this so she could move on, she also informed all the other support crew there so they knew they wouldn’t be seeing their rider again on that loop. Again, I had enough nutrtion for this so no problems for the second time. I took stock of my body during this time, I was not cramping, I was still holding 230w and more when climbing, and my HR was drifting so little. Normally I get hip flexor pain during longer TT’s but this was not an issue at all, my decision to stretch at regular intervals was paying off, I reached the start of the finishing circuits at around 8hrs 30mins, which at the time I calculated that I only had 2.5hrs left…….DOH, I had a really pissed off moment halfway round the 1st lap when I realised my error, it gave me a bit of a jolt to keep the mental strength going! First lap round and I spotted the Gas van (our vehicle is British Gas blue and bright!) and Teresa  dutifully as ever there, grabbed another bottle and away, I was lapping at around 27 minutes for the 9.2 mile circuit, and on this was a brutal climb (OK, only 4% and into a headwind!) which sapped the soul out of you, but then it was really fast for a good few miles. On the second loop around I knew Teresa would be there but I wouldn’t take nutrtion as I had enough and there was no need to stop, as I went past I clocked Tim, Gemma and the girls who had ‘popped’ by (cue 40 mile detour) to see how I was doing, I’m not ashamed to admit behind that big smile was a few tears of emotion of joy….thanks guys…really really helped.  The next lap I stopped and grabbed more nutrtion and a hug form the new support crew, just brilliant! 200miles passed in 9hrs 26mins

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At around 10 hours I was at a low point, things were hurting, I was having to try harder to keep pushing the power and at one point I lost 0.1mph average, while this doesn’t sound alot it made a massive difference to my mental state, it was the first time I had questioned if I could do this, if I could finish, how easy it would be to step off the stupid bike that was sticky, creaky, clearly on the verge of falling to pieces and trying to kill me, the slog up the huge mountain was just f*cking soul destroying and I didn’t want to do it another single time, so as I came round to ‘The van’ I pulled over, stopped and burst into tears telling my crew that I couldn’t do it and needed to stop, and just get me off the bike…..not a single person ever agreed with me, and amusingly Gemma shouted into my ear ‘YES YOU F*UCKING CAN’….this is exactly what I screamed at her during her ironman last year in Vichy as she started her final run lap as she believed she would miss her time cut off, turns out she had miscalculated and didn’t, so she did it…..they pushed me back out and told me to just get on with it, again, the power of support crew…cheers guys, you masochistic buggers :=), also…..Thanks Mags xxx

So, here I was, just over 10 hours in and just had to refocus, so my obsession with data kicked in, maths were done and checked in my head, my time, my current average speed and my body all let me point to 252miles, so 37miles to go and an average of only 19.5….so hang on, I’m doing more than that, hhmmm, maybe I can push this out to 254, come on Andy, stop being a baby, you love your bike, you bloody entered this stupid event…..GET ON WITH IT!

Callum had got a message to Teresa for me to push on now, I tried, I really really tried, at 11hrs things were sore, tired, hurting and my HR was struggling to respond to the extra demands so stubbornly refused to go above 153, power was down to 215w, but I just dug in, I threw all my spare gels and bottles off at around 55 mins to go knowing I had enough in the frame bladder to last and just tried to go again, it was a grind and a struggle but the end was so close now, I past the crew still with 30 minutes to go so I knew at least 1 more lap then ride to the next time keeper and stop where my mileage will be calculated  from the time of day, I stopped my Garmin at 12 hours exactly and it said 253.68 miles, 7,813feet of climbing, 230w power and 11hrs 56mins actual moving time, meaning that stop time was absolutely minimal (I could probably save time if I hadn’t cried like a baby:-)). For some perspective and not get carried away, the winner rode 295 miles at 23 years of age, but I take some solace from this that it was a tough course as ‘normally’, 12 hours are won with 310+ mileage!!

To say I was absolutely over the moon was a huge understatement, in fact seeing my Garmin tick over 250miles was brilliant, I almost stopped right there, what a day, what a ride and what a humbling experience.  My crew found me, because quite frankly there was no way I was riding back to HQ, and one last act of awesomeness, they pretty much lifted me off my bike, I couldn’t swing my leg over.

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The picture above says it all, thanks, love, relief, joy and just being you Teresa…thankyou!   And Callum, mate…..you totally got me through this!

So hopefully this gives you a small insight into this type of event and maybe if you do it too then lessons can be learned, I know my Strava says I would never do one again, well I’ve already looked at next year, but on a flatter course and a nice big round number!!

Last thing, seeing as a certain youtuber kinda had some influence on the decision to do this, I thought it only fair to give him a mention and say my utter disappointment that he couldn’t ride….he does go on about it in this video and his previous ones too! 🤣. https://youtu.be/4ZFnO4MoTNA

Thanks for all your support you gave on social media groups and messages, I read them all back on the journey home and it was a great reminder. Sat here now, im still recovering but have been back on the bike already…..so who knows what 2021 will bring!

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Ironman Vichy

I said to every single person who asked if I would go full that I never ever ever would do a long course Triathlon, but after lots of discussions with friends and coach it was booked.

Vichy was chosen purely because it had a 70.3 on the Saturday and a full on the Sunday, so 7 of us would be racing (4 halves, and 3 full)

The bike course was changed from a flat TT, to one with 6.5k of climbing and multiple laps!!

Training went well, swimming came on in leaps and bounds and a new bike frame was purchased!

We all decided to rent an AirBnB and drive down, so 8 of us slogged it down to the middle of France on the Wednesday before, unfortunately getting there a little later than planned so an early doors ride out to check the bike course the next day meant a cold ride and the realisation that a 5.15 bike split just wasn’t on at all.

I came here with a target of 10:59:59 but quickly changed that to 11:15-11:20.
Also weighing on my mind was the fact I had been in hospital the Sunday before with another Asthma attack so actually had no idea what would happen or even if I would make the start line.

The bike course didn’t scare me, it was the heat and the run.
A note to Ironman here, the briefing was terrible, sound quality was shocking and they just read of a PowerPoint slide presentation that was exactly the same in the athlete guide meaning no jokes, motivation or banter and certainly no atmosphere😫

Saturday was just brilliant seeing friends finish and complete some gruelling conditions with some massive smiles and PB’s and my other half Teresa qualifying for the 70.3 worlds in Taupo with a 4th place AG finish at her first try at this distance. She was mega and even beat her time target to bag a 5.51!! 😁

The time between getting their bikes out of transition and getting ours in made it pretty stressful and meant I missed seeing her at the roll down, but we got racked and sorted in transition with bags hung and route through them sorted. One friend Tim is a 6 time finisher and was an old hand, Graham was a first timer and just needed reminding it’s just a longer version of anything else he has done previously!

Sunday morning was pretty chilled and managed a lay in until 4.15am as our accommodation was an 8 minute drive. Got into transition and checked my bike and put my nutrition on, it was then I realised what a twat I was an left my bottles at home in the fridge, I changed my prescription race routine and it kicked me in the ass. Mad dash back to the house for a couple of our supporters who were still suffering from the day before racing!
Anyway, safe to say the stress levels rose but they made it back just in time to put them on my bike and my internal bladder, put my wetsuit on and line up to jump in.

Swim: 1:14:28. 82nd AG

Wetsuit Swim, but kinda wished it wasn’t as I was swimming so well that I would have made more gains on others this way.
All three of us lined up together after persuading hem to start in the 68-72 pen a little ahead of their comfort zone.
Still love the rolling start, but do miss the huge bun fight at a mass start too. Jumped in and bloody goggles came off, retrieved and put back on the accepted the water in my eyes, already happened earlier in the year so knew I’d be ok.
I was swimming OK and was finding some great feet to follow but thankful so much that my asthma issues hadn’t returned (if only I knew!) I also felt really comfortable too, this was clear at the end when I got out and was gutted to see my time, I knew I was capable of at least a 69, and would have been really excited with a 65! Lesson learned, you can go harder in an Ironman swim!
Turns out I was second out of the water in our group after expecting to be at least 8 minutes up the road already. And we were all in T1 at the same time but we didn’t see each other at all. I was first out of T1 though!

Bike: 5:45:49. 24th AG

Perfect flying mount as usual, gotta love the CX training in winter! And started to ride out to the meat of the course, having ridden the first smaller loop and driven the larger loop we were to do 3 times I knew exactly what was going to happen, there is a short sharp hill about 2 miles in and people would smash it up there, and I wasn’t disappointed with a whole heap of hero’s passing and then dying at the top meaning I just rode away from them never to be seen again.
The road surface getting out of town was shite and a rule of no aero bars was told to us at the briefing and we were told there would be signs everywhere, what this actually meant the ride back into town was like this and enforced!
The only really flat section on the course was the ride out to the start of the first climb on the small loop, was holding a steady 240w and was noticeably faster and quickly reached the base of the first climb, and holding 260-280w up it, legs just felt great, but noticing HR higher than it should have been but no aerobic distress around 168.
The descent off the back was just what dreams are made of and showed up my new found descending skills too without taking huge unnecessary risks even passing aero round some corners receiving shouts of encouragement.
We reached the join point of the small and big loops then it was a gradual descent down until the split point to go back into town, people were on their TT bikes on the bull horns descending, people really should learn to ride their bikes.
The small climb in Cusset was an absolute amphitheatre of noise meaning every single time I got carried away smashin it like a tit up it and into the first feed station and grab all the water I could get cause it was hoooooot already! Pro tip…..get water on your calves, quads and wrists.
Now into the meat of the bike and up the long climb with some excellent enthusiasm from the spectators providing much amusement. The top of the course was a non stop rollfest meaning very little rhythm to get into and I became very aware how hard I was riding too, so was a constant battle with my rational side to slow the fuck down or you are going to explode. Then we hit the 20k descent and grabbing back all that lost speed. Again, people should learn to ride their bikes but at least it they held their line and weren’t dangerous.
The next two laps were ridden easier and definitely thinking about the run, still amazes me though how many people smash it up the climbs and then die over the top, they do remember it’s a marathon on the end right!
Up the last small climb at Cusset through the deafening roar and split off left to the last 5 miles back to T2, I knew I’d done pretty well as the number of bikes was low but still had to concentrate as the road surface in town again was terrible.
Saw the support crew about 200m befor ethe dismount line and my feet were already out of my shoes ready to dismount, I got a face full of two arses meaning I completely forgot about the mount line and half my wheel went over it……PENALTY….what a dickhead.
Ran through T2 knowing I had to stop just before the arena to serve 1 minute. Ah well, legs felt amazing though.

Run: 4:38:53. 84th AG

First off it was now 36 degrees and oppressive but plan to walk every aid station and get hosed down and drink, HR was elevated again and planned pace of 8.20mm went pretty quickly so 30 secs slower seemed to recover this, then mile 3 and boom…..my fucking asthma crept up and reminded me how old and knackered I am so slowing the pace right down the Rest of the day, this worked for two laps then just got progressively worse, I was pissed off as my legs were in great shape and running through the finish arena and as electric, IM do put on a great show. I served my one minute penalty and was really chuffed to see our support crew all over the place around the arena entrance and exit.
Lap 3 and I had to start managing my breathing even more, but at least I wasn’t dying from heat exhaustion like others all around me, even saw an athlete being attended to by members of the public in town, it was brutal.
The pass was made by Graham bear the end of lap 3 who had made up the 29 minutes I put into him on the bike and he was moving well, he would eventually end up running a 3.48 for an overall of 11:28, he had a great day.
The last lap was pretty special, the feeling of smugness of having more lap bands than anyone else and just soaking up the atmosphere around the whole run course, Vichy embraced this race and delivered with awesome support.
Coming into the arena for the last time was pretty emotional, having lost my sister suddenly just a few weeks previous meant grief came flooding out and getting to share the experience with great friends and I squeezed a sub 12 too then I’m happy with that and know that I can take chunks of time off next year too. Kalmar probably but we also have a holiday in New Zealand to plan for as well.

Tim turned himself inside out for the sub 12 but ended up in medical trying and just going over.
My legs were fine and I was moving OK so I just ran around making sure everyone knew what was going on.

In recap, I should definitely have swam faster, I absolutely nailed the bike with power figures/targets and nutrition and I also questioned whether I should have started really.  The run was terrible but again for reasons known, and also nutrition stopped going in halfway round lap 3 so I need to look at that.

i will also definitely race another one too!

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ironman 70.3 world Championships, Chattanooga

Never would I have believed that I would get the privilege to stand amongst some of the worlds best athletes, including former world champions, Olympic medalists and others from the top of their other chosen sports, and didn’t feel like I didn’t belong there at the end of the race.

This whole thing started way back in April this year having seen a post from ironman that Wimbleball 70.3 would be the last race ever there. This is a race that had bitten me previously and you can read about elsewhere on my blog so I wont go into it again.

I only had 13 weeks to make a decision, enter and change my training to suit the stresses and needs for what’s considered the toughest 70.3 course in the northern hemisphere, I also noted at the time of entry that the world champs where to be held in Chattanooga. Halfway through my training I realised it could be a possibility to qualify so I started saving and asked my employer for some logistical and financial help, brilliantly they said yes, so some extra pressure was really on now!!

The long and short of my race at Wimbleball was wet bike but OK, and my body bit me on the run course meaning I felt like I just squeaked in with qualification but got the job done so I could crack on with training for the worlds.

I knew I was in my best shape ever already having achieved a win and two second places in my Age group at other triathlons this year, something I would never have dreamt of 5 years ago.

Friends decided to come along for the week to as support, you can never underestimate the true value of cheering and words of encouragement at dark points in an endurance race. So the 4 of us booked our flights, accommodation and other logistical travel arrangements and it was all set. We had decided to fly out on the Tuesday before so I could acclimatise with training and also be tourists having done some research on the area it looked like a great destination to visit, and we were proved right, its worth putting this into a holiday if you can and go visit Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, Mission ridge, The incline railway and loads of other stuff too, we weren’t diasappointed and the people of Chattanooga embraced the whole race week and were so friendly and welcoming.

Having arrived Tuesday evening the first order of business was rebuilding the bikes, this was before unpacking the suitcases even :-).  Wednesday was a planned ride around the bike course (we all took bikes out) testing power numbers up the hill and the rolling mountain road. Having ridden out of town two things were already noted, the train tracks are bumpy so care should be taken, the road surface was hot so pressures would need to be lower so as not to overheat the tyre and cause a blow out.  We got to the bottom of the mountain climb and I was expecting a bit steeper having read reports on forums and social media, I should add at this point that we spent 8 days in the Alps 2 weeks before this doing nothing but climbing so my legs would be very used to it. I rode up the climb no problem, but got to the top and started to pick up speed on a descent and my rear tyre exploded at around 30mph. No crashing but this meant that the others had to go back and get the truck and drive back into town to find a replacement. I run a tubular tyre on my race bike for speed and weight, this is the tyre and inner tube all in one so if you do get a puncture then it will deflate but I run a substance in them that reacts with escaping air and seal it with latex so never worry, on this occasion the tyre sidewall had been rubbed away by the brake block and caused the sudden deflation with too big a hole to seal, bad Andy!!

We found a great local bike shop got a replacement and I stuck the new tyre on my wheel and left it setting for the next morning. We got up a little earlier and planned to ride the course again, we did, no dramas and loads of fun too but I was still noting where to ride hard and where to back off. Im glad we got to do this as a group though, it will still remain one of the highlights of my trip, and also that I got to see the whole course before the event so I knew what to expect. We got back to the truck  having ridden 50 miles no problems, just loading the bike and I noticed a flat rear tyre, I pumped it up but air was escaping out of the valve somehow. It was too late to go back to the bike shop today so I  planned to go back the next morning after swimming in the river, however it didn’t open until 10am and plans had to be quickly changed meaning I didn’t get back to the hotel until late Thursday to re-fit  a new one (the last tubular tyre in Chattanooga!!!) and let it set Friday, stress levels were high but I made myself not get angry about it as others were also here on a holiday with me.

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Saturday morning I decided to ride my bike into town to test the tyre as I had to rack my bike in transition in the afternoon. It didn’t deflate again, but this put a big niggling doubt in my mind for the rest of the weekend though, and as usual I deflated both front and rear tyres when I racked my bike as I have seen so many times tyres go bang in the extreme heat, and yet again witnessed 5-6 stressed people running around transition asking for spares at 6am Sunday morning….learn lessons guys, its a simple tip.

This year ironman had decided to split the womens and mens race up for the world champs and hold it over two days, Ladies on the Saturday, Men on the Sunday. Although this made race week a little longer it created a great atmosphere with both parties watching each other, but I don’t know who I felt sorry for most with couples competing, The men on the Saturday watching the ladies race a trying to support partners and not exerting to much energy for their race the next day, or the ladies who were clearly in quite a bit of discomfort having raced the previous day. I personally think the format worked extremely well and meant that over 4,500 athletes could race the course in total, it made for a very expensive bike transition area, we estimated at least 8-9 million pounds worth!!

Sunday is usually an extremely early start on Triathlon day at around 4am, but a new feature for this years race was swim waves at around 8-10 mins apart, this meant I didn’t need to start racing until 9.23am (the last wave off), however I still needed to get into transition, pump my tyres up and check my kit and be out of there by 7.30am, so a more leisurely start of 6am was decided upon. This meant we could go and get breakfast and watch the pro’s, para-athletes, and early age groupers go off.  Soon it was time to suit up and head down to swim start, so I said goodbye to my support crew, used the loo’s and headed down. We didn’t have any swim warm up so I went ‘dry’ swimming and got warmed up and we were put into pens ready to dive into the Tennessee river, the beeper counted down from 5 and I executed a perfect dive into the warm river, it was at this exact moment I realised I needed to loo again. I was in quite a bit of discomfort for the whole swim, and nearly half of it was against a stronger current than Im used too, but it could have been a lot worse having swam in the river in the week and I think ironman was concerned about it enough to convince the hydro-electric dam owners to turn it off for Saturday and Sunday for 3 hours so we could swim a little bit easier in the river, so only managed to exit the water in 38 minutes.A new touch for me at this event was the ‘strippers’….volunteers who literally rip your wetsuit of you in seconds rather than you having to fumble with it yourself, its amazing and having watched it earlier I knew to rip my arms out of the sleeves, drop to the floor and the volunteers rip my suit of my legs, I loved this. I grabbed my bike kit and saw my support crew with the first of many banners they would hold up throughout the day to make me laugh, and it worked very well. Got changed in transition and grabbed my bike and out on the course.

I mounted my bike and frustratingly the nose of the saddle dropped again, although not as bad as Newbury Tri the previous week, everything checked out and I had even checked my tyre was still inflated in transition, so just get on with the job of riding to plan and attacking the climb. Ironman events have closed roads for the bike leg and while this was the case mostly at the worlds, I was more than a little surprised to be overtaken by the odd vehicle and even come across and overtake a huge truck on the mountain descent!  I arrived at the base of the climb in good shape and climbed well exactly to plan and the support at the top of the climb (very close to where my tyre blew) was nothing short of phenomenal, even know it makes my hair stand on end, so much support, cheering and high fiving the kids as we crested the hill. Next was the rolling top road where the urge to need the loo again came back with vengeance so after persevering with position on the bike I had to admit defeat and stop again to use the loo, this only cost me about 4 minutes, so back on and feeling much better. The turn to the descent came up pretty quickly and having ridden the course earlier in the week I knew the line to take and just enjoyed the speed, there was a speed trap sign halfway down and it flashed up 44mph, my Garmin later topped out at 48mph, I love the feeling of speed on my TT bike and this was so much fun. All too soon it was back on the flatter part of the course and time to get back to work for the next 25 miles with only 1 little climb left, now at this point I have to mention the amazing volunteers who stood out in the heat (although the locals suggested it was a bit cold) at the aid stations letting us race past and grabbing liquid or food supplies, I only took the water to drink and put on my neck to try and cool me down which worked very well. Coming back into transition I jumped off my bike and handed it to another volunteer who took my bike off me to rack it for me and grabbed my run bag in 2h 45mins, target met again with power at 259w and Normalized at 277W. Happy Andy

A pretty quick T2 saw me out on to the run and my legs felt OK, but I knew the run course was a bit lumpy with nearly 1,000ft of elevation on it, so just stuck with the plan at 7.36 min/mile pace and believe in my ability, but the first thing that became very apparent was the heat, past experience has shown how much my body breaks down and suffers in the heat, today would end up being no different. The organisers had recognized this and had put aid stations every mile with liquid and food nutrition, I took on mostly liquid but also consumed shot blocks too, these taste like sweets and really perk me up. My amazing support crew kept popping up in the right places with their signs, smiles and encouragement and never let me even think about stopping, no way was that going to happen. The run course was two laps and there was a section that went stepp up, steep down, steep up and easier down, I think this was the toughest section as at one point we were running on a coned off section along a main highway of concrete, this reflected the heat and I was burning up, at every opportunity I was looking for shade anywhere, even if this meant running a longer line, I was starting to suffer badly but at the same time really enjoying the event and the support from all the supporters and the locals sitting in front of there houses having a bit of a party, great atmosphere. As I turn onto the pedestrian bridge for the last time I knew it was just 1 short mile and mostly down hill, the emotion started to come forward and I found myself thinking about all the training sessions, races, help from friends with advice and kit lending just to get here and experience this whole thing. Running down the red carpet was great and as I crossed the line I just let out a roar of joy, saw my support team and just went over to hug them all, but reserved the biggest hug for Teresa my partner, then the tears really flowed, racing like this gets really emotional and all the hard work and relief just comes flooding out I don’t mind admitting. My run time was 1h 47mins with an overall time of 5h 19mins 40secs, my race target time was 5h 20mins so I was so massively happy with the overall result. Digging deeper into the results I was 205th overall in my Age group and 9th Brit home.

Post race the first thing I wanted was beer and cheesecake, I had abstained from alcohol for a number of weeks and was desperate to right this oversight, and the cheesecake was because my diet is Gluten Free I hadn’t had this for over 18 months and was not worried about the outcome at all.

In summary about this race I could have raced harder on the bike and run certainly, but I wanted to back off that 1-2% to really take this in and make some awesome memories, it doesn’t mean this was easy, far from it, but I have raced a harder bike course, although the run course was the hardest just because of the elevation and heat.  But without the generous support of my employer B Braun the memories I made just wouldn’t be possible, and without the help of Callum, Morgan and Martyn I definitely couldn’t have raced as efficiently so a great big thanks to you and including the numerous messages and comments of support, truly a humbling week and one I cant recommend enough.

Andy

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Reboot…!

I haven’t blogged since April 2014!  I stopped because it was becoming difficult to be interesting, but most of my blog was a log for me too, and due to my attention to detail in my trai…

Source: Reboot…!

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Reboot…!

I haven’t blogged since April 2014!  I stopped because it was becoming difficult to be interesting, but most of my blog was a log for me too, and due to my attention to detail in my training logs I was just over repeating myself. I know people like to read about their friends and have a small insight into their life etc, but those who know me already knew what they needed to know!

So why start again now I hear myself ask?  Mainly because I have regressed in performance and ability by at least 12 months due to Chest/CV/Asthma issues (well, that’s the thinking at the moment)

A quick almost 2 year re-cap:

  • I scored 5 podiums by racing team formats, 3 in Mountain Biking and 2 in short course Duathlon having won overall in November 2014
  • I left my cycling club and now have the privilege to ride for a local Bike Shop, Banjo Cycles
  • I am now a lover of all things muddy in bike racing, Cyclo-Cross and MTBing
  • I proudly watched Drew score a win and a very hard fought 2nd on his MTB and watch his serious grit and determination to race higher up the Wessex league with 2 top 10 finishes and a 13th overall in the league

Much more happened but not overly noteworthy. I removed some people from my life and surroundings that had any detrimental effects or I just couldn’t be bothered with, having put up with them for long enough.

So to the present, currently I am living with my Asthma in its worst state for any time in my previous 44 years with it. A bit dramatic I hear you cry, but having 6 ‘attacks’ over a 10 month period where I’ve had to resort to a course of Steroids to put me back on an even keel, and stupidly (and this is my biggest Dumb Arse moment) going to hospital in the middle of a long course MTB race to sit on a nebulizer and have steroids, then to rejoin the race and do a further 2 laps before realizing what a huge tit I really was.   A lot of people have questioned why I do what I do, why not have fun, why take it so seriously…..well, my idea of fun is pushing myself to the absolute limit of pain and endurance knowing I gave it everything I could to extract the best possible performance out of myself, this is something I do in my work and personal life, and as for taking it too seriously, well how can I, I earn zero cash or rewards for doing this, it really is a passion I want to live too.

My targets last year (2015)were to complete 240 miles in a 12 Hour Time Trial, run a sub 20 minute parkrun and race a sub 4hrs 45 mins Half ironman.

The time trial first, in preparation for this I raced a 100 Mile TT up and down the A31 near Bentley, Hampshire. I ended up with a 4.27 which I was really happy with, but know I could have taken off at least 4-5 minutes had I not gone out so easy at the start, but this was all a learning curve for the upcoming TT. Then I got a bad case of Gout (again), I first had gout about 6-7 years ago which was a direct result of my life style, bad diet, bad living, bad weight and too much booze and once you’ve had it you are pretty much prone to it for the rest of your life, its all about managing it and knowing the triggers!  I know why it triggered after the 100, because I re-hydrated on Cider, and lots of it!!!

The gout put an end to the 12 hour and I was gutted having ridden up and down the A4 with such committed monotony I felt it all went to waste. 

The one highlight of my year was a 19.58 5k and smashing a 4.40 half iron in pretty grim conditions in reality, some consolation. 

Onwards to cyclo-cross season, training went well but I was hit with another Asthma attack, I just couldn’t control it after putting down a hard effort.  Mentally this was starting to take its toll. So fast forward to the end of the season and dismal performances at the tail end of ‘cross season then the final nail was an attempt at a favourite race of mine, the Cirencester Off-Road Duathlon, I ended up slower than in 2013 and absolutely no sense of effort and came away not understanding where I go next, my asthma was bad and my body in pieces, now 3 weeks on I am no nearer finding out why my Asthma is the worst it’s ever been and why my lungs feel like the are on fire while someone is sitting on my chest not allowing me to do very much at all, it’s pretty frustrating really. 

I have looked at my diet which wasn’t that bad and decided to try gluten and dairy free focusing on fresh non-processed foods at all. I have been referred to a chest specialist so maybe something will come of this? 

As a consequence of not having the opportunity to train and achieve my goals this has affected my mental well-being, To safeguard myself I withdraw inward and block out most other things, it’s something that’s a work in progress here!!!!

It’s now a journey into discovery and one I hope can get me back racing again. 

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Team TTing, VLM and Tri season starts!

After my last blog and coming out with my intentions in trying to qualify for the 70.3 Worlds I had a lot of messages of encouragement, so I would publicly like to thank you all and keep watching this space!  I know Stouty is coming down to cheer me on, but if anyone else wants to join him it would be much appreciated as I will need all the help I can get!

So, 2 Saturday’s ago, I was asked to make a team up for a 3 man team Time Trial. I had never even done a 2 man before and was a little hesitant on two counts, the first not being quick enough, and the second was the close proximity I would be to my team mates while on the aero bars!  Well I needn’t have worried about either as we were all pretty much the same speed and as we were moving along nicely it meant no dramas at all, the only incident was me hitting a large pothole and getting away with no damage and no punctures, my Chinese Carbon rims are seemingly bullet proof!   You can see our attempts on the link below and I am number 63.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQbD7B40sik&feature=youtu.be

We finished 19th O/A out of 61 teams, for a first attempt we were very happy with it!

The next day we I had arranged to go and watch and shout at/cheer friends on in the Virgin London Marathon, so I decided I would ride to Hounslow West tube station, meet Nicki and Drew there, chuck my bike in the back of the car and get the tube into Central London….well thats exactly what I did. The ride was super easy with very little elevation at all and I took full advantage of riding my race bike as its light, and looks bloody lovely #poser!

Now having usually watched the VLM from the comfort of my bed/sofa I had always had a little hankering to do it, but when I became a runner I quickly found out that this wasn’t the only marathon that was available to do, but the crowds looked amazing, too amazing it seems as getting there at the 13/22 mile point it was already 4/5 deep so spotting ‘our runners’ became a full-time job and combined with keeping up with the tracker on the VLM website it meant I actually saw very little!  The noise from outside the barriers was loud, god knows what it must have been inside the ropes.  I did see the leaders and marvelled in their speed, and Mo too this meant I missed a runner friend though, sorry again Karen.      The people who I went to support got big cheers and because I have such a massive gob did manage to hear me, although the people stood next too me weren’t quite so pleased I knew so many people. well they all finished some beat or hit their targets, others not but they all got the medal and kudos of doing the VLM……will I be entering the ballot again…ermmmm NO, there are plenty of other marathons with the same enthusiastic support albeit fewer people. I am running the twins round Edinburgh and I have been told it’s just as loud so I guess we will get the same feeling.

My training has been going very well too I made a bit of a break through with my running. Tuesdays is noW my sufferday where I put down 2 hard sessions, an early morning run with the boys at 8mm pace for 11 miles is the norm however this week with Gobi away we seem to just kick the pace and ended up with a run at 7.30mm pace with the same Heart rate as a slower run, it was sustainable and comfortable at points, but I don’t care who you are, running Andover Hill hard still bloody hurts, this, coupled with my weight loss which is now down below 90kg again and staying that way, and my new-found speed means I need to give Newbury parkrun some serious attention again soon as I do believe a sub 21 is definitely there for the taking.   In the evening I take my TT bike to Reading Velodrome and ride for an hour with the session being a warm up, 5 x 6 lap at threshold pace with 5 mins recovery in between…it hurts, but I may ditch this soon as I think it may be impacting the club TT events.

H10/3r was on Wednesday and I was really targeting a 22.xx ride, well I failed for a whole host of reasons, but I didn’t hold back on the ride as I looked and felt like crap afterwards

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Having a day off worked wonders for my first Tri of the season on Good Friday, it was a pretty local event based in Radley College, Abingdon. I had raced this for the past 2 years and was ill last year so was expecting a slightly better time. Went out for a run course recce as a warm up then I set up transition with the intention of just wearing my Tri-suit this year after previously having had to wear extra clothing on the bike and run due to the cold, with this done I headed to the pool to get my chip and start in my wave.  Watching the other swimmers the nerves kicked in and the realisation of never having done enough swimming came to the fore, I had done a PB in training but being told I couldn’t warm up in the diving pool, panic set in….I was in lane 3 and first off, 5 seconds, start Garmin, and go, big push-off and into a swim pattern, my stroke rate confirmed this was a 25 metre pool (19 strokes a length) but with little grip at either end it meant I was losing a couple of seconds each end, I can’t tumble turn and can’t be arsed to train at them. 16 lengths done and out of the water, great to see I was first out of the water in my wave at 7.04, the path to transition is along poolside so running is not allowed, fast walking and out the doors into the outside weather…….OMFG it was cold, but got to my bike, helmet and shoes on and away, it was a slow transition but steady.  It’s a 2 lap affair of around 6.5 miles each, the first part being a steady uphill grind, I just couldn’t get my legs going and after a speedy exit out of transition I suddenly found myself in a bit of discomfort for the first 2 miles, but coming to a fast downhill descent and spinning through this soon saw me back up to speed. The only annoying bit was being held up at ‘the’ crossroads for around 20 seconds. My cornering ability has certainly improved by taking a KOM on Strava through a twisty section!  I negative split the laps and performed another brilliant flying dismount to take me back into transition.

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Transition went smoothly but again nothing amazing, and quickly out into the run, now my Garmin has Multisport mode and requires just a press of the lap button to change between disciplines, but on this occasion I must have pressed the stop button just after as when I was around 200m into the run I didnt see the pace change, pressed start and was annoyed until it caught up, but my target of sub 7 minute miles was nice to see, the run followed the first mile of the ride so was a gradual climb uphill, now I was fully expecting people to start passing me as I am not the best runner but on this occasion I started to catch some competitors in front of me, I concluded they must be just people out training, but no, they had number belts on, I didn’t change my pace but ran past them with little effort, turning left to go off-road and again up a drag I was continuing to reel people in, this never ever happens, EVER.  The run is sort of 2 lap affair and you rejoin up the uphill drag again around 600m after transition, I was still sub 7 minute miling and going well, dont get me wrong it was starting to hurt but looking at my watch I knew I had already beaten last years time, onto the off-road again and still overtaking fellow competitors, I actually convinced myself at one point that I wasnt going to finish, my HR was a little down, however I now know this was because I was carrying the start of an illness, and my legs were getting very heavy. Coming to the final split it’s onto the athletics track and time to give it all for the last 400m, I crossed the line and just fell into a heap to record a 9 minute course PB and an astonishing sub 21 5k.  It took me a little time to recover and I wanted top 15 going into this, the upshot was 12th overall and 3rd in Cat in 1.08.50. I was very happy with this!

I couldn’t have raced this any better or harder (OK, I need work on transitions) and my weight is still the stumbling block here. I fell ill 2 days later that put me out of training for 4 days and knocked me sideways but I am sat here now back into it and looking forward to racing my first Crit race in 2 days, you will read about it all here!

Thanks for all the support as always to all my friends and followers.

 

 

 

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Setting my Stall out

So an innocuous e-mail from the UK 70.3 Ironman team asking if I would like to move my start wave forward to the leading pack led me to ask myself how much I wanted to race this and try for a better position within my Age Group. The upshot is after a realistic conversation with Gobi is, yeah, I moved it forward with a very real view to trying to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Canada on September 7th 2014.  I need the perfect race, I need to lose more weight, I need to do a little more run training and a little bit of luck wouldn’t go a miss either!

To automatically qualify for the Worlds I need a top 6 finish in my Age Group (M40-44) as there are 6 slots available at this event for it, however in previous years the top 6 havent always taken up the option of this slot so this is where ‘Roll-Down’ happens. the quickest finishers are asked first and if they don’t want the slot (still have to pay) it’s moved onto the next finisher so on and so on, last year it went down to 16th place with a time of 6.02. I am targeting 5.35-5.45 and should see a top 12 finish from this, and with the Worlds not being in Vegas this year (its Austria next year, closer) I am going to assume it could be a done deal. Obviously a few things need to go my way, but its given me something else to race for!

My planning for this event hasn’t changed because of this, but it will encourage me to make sure I don’t miss sessions!  I am off to Wimbleball (the event location) in May for a couple of days  training  with Gobi. This will give me a performance marker for the bike course and a race pace run effort off the bike will be a tell as well, this will be a Friday and Saturday, then Sunday I will be competing in the season’s first 50 mile TT which I know will be slightly compromised because of this but it’s the bigger picture now!

Never in a thousand years would I have thought I would be trying to do this, but I believe in my training, my passion and my ability Am I setting my goals to high with a view to being crushed if I fail to achieve them…some people will probably say that, but I have learn’t along the way that setting the bar too low means I get very little satisfaction from what I achieved, I have set my stall out and now lets just wait and see what happens, if anyone wants to laugh at me…a heavy bloke who can’t run very fast then so be it, but get on a bike and try to beat my arse!

So my constant question with will I give up long distance triathlon still rages on, I have even less idea about the answer now but this year could well be a very long year indeed.

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Hello again world

It’s again just been way too long and already we are into my season, lack of enthusiasm and commitment to blogging methinks.

Round-Up

My early target was a PB at Wokingham Half of 1.35, I was in shape and know I would have cracked it such my the confidence in my ability having seen winter base and early speed work improving. Well, British weather decided I wouldn’t race, it was cancelled 2 days before due to flooding, it’s not the organisers fault and they will have lost money, and we have all been given free slots next year….but I was totally devastated, I worked hard to try to find another race, anywhere, even prepared to travel at great cost but it just didn’t work out. This cause me to lose mojo with running and started to make small excuses not to get out with the lads to keep training. this soon passed but was starting to hit the bike again harder.

A few changes to friends personal lives was hard but these things happen and life moves on.

Start of Season

It all kicked off with a Relay Duathlon at Castle Coombe again, still with Daz and still looking for the win, well we didn’t because Gobi and Ian G waded in and stole our thunder, to be fair Mark is running so well, and Ian is just un-catchcable on a bike that we were always racing for 2nd. the only thing we beat them in was transition..slick!   I recorded 9th quickest bike split to put us 23rd overall and 2nd cat the cross winds that day were horrendous but my new-found handling skills worked.

Then it was a go at the Reading Half, having entered earlier I was going to race this but having laid of the running I knew I wasnt fit so decided to run this with Lee we started at the back and just ran through the field easily turning this into a progressive run. Lee just tried to break me all the way and this saw us sprinting for the line to record a 1.45 which for the most part was a cruise, great day out though having ridden there and back, a long brick session it seems.

Now I have to stop moaning about my run form sometime as I recorded a new 5k PB at Poole parkrun having pulled up with a  calf strain 2 weeks previously, I ran a 20.22 which wont set any records but shows big gains and not bad for a heavy lad.

March saw me challenged by 3 ex-work colleagues to a race the World Champs qualifying Duathlon at Oulton Park race circuit, 2 of them had just got into running and cycling and thought it would be a laugh, and it was, of course it hurt but I knew I was always going to be beaten in the first run by Gary, but once on the bike I passed him in less than half a lap and ended up ‘winning’ our little duel

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Again, it confirmed I am a cyclist recording 13th best bike split but around 119th for the runs, I finished in 71st place, and 13th in Cat and very happy considering there were some world-class boys there too, but was stunned to see them struggling in the cross winds!

TT season got of to a strange start with the first on on H10/3a ridden at tempo plus but still being over 2 minutes quicker than the same point as last year I had my bike resprayed over the winter and rebuilt by the local bike shop and they did a superb job culminating in this below

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I then punctured, then the following week found my limit after PBing at Poole I attempted to ride a hard TT, cramped at 8 miles and rode gingerly back to the finish still recording a time! The following week, the day before Oulton Park I rode our very hilly brutal course, I raced Nigel and came out on top, any day of the week I would have bet my years wages Nigel would win as he is so strong up the hills but I went deep and ruined myself to pip him by just a few seconds, it’s going to be a fun year Nige!

Last weekend I rode H10/3A at an effort in a headwind and only just missed out PBing, rode it again on Wednesday evening and PB’d by 4 seconds, I know for sure now that an early year target of a 22.xx is definitely going to happen!

The local duathlon organised by Team Kennet was at the weekend too, I raced this hard and was in a world of pain, but held of a mate Tim who is just an awesome runner to come 15th overall and still 7th in cat with 6th best bike split a good day out with a lot of friends, next year top 10 maybe?

A great new pain face on the 2nd run too!

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2nd run pain!

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1st run

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Coming in off the bike *note feet out of shoes

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Post race banter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The future

My Triathlon season starts on Good Friday and know I haven’t done anywhere enough swimming, but I am just hoping it will be OK, I am targeting a 75 minute finish, with a top 15…fingers crossed!

As for my decision with Ironman, I will race the two halfs this year and go sub 5hrs at Marlow then probably give up the itch for a Full Ironman….however, I hear Stouty wants a crack at one…cant let him have all the limelight!

 

I will try to blog more, I like looking back!

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Transition times?

Wow, my 2nd blog of the year so far and only 8 days since my last one it’s a new 2014 PB already!

My calf is behaving again and I am back to running, except the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time in the prep for Wokingham Half, instead of peaking then tapering I am now going to have to rebuild the mileage and use the last 2 weeks as a reverse taper almost with my last quick, long paced run 5 days before and hope all is OK on the day. Plan is to go out at 7.22mm pace and kick at 10 miles again, I am hoping this will bring me in at 1.34 and pay testament to the hard work I have put in over the winter, you will know what happens in 2 weeks!

The last 2 CX races of the season have been cancelled meaning the next time I will be back on the bike in race trim will probably be May in the Newbury CX race series run by BanjoCycles. I am a bit disappointed and will be keeping an eye out for any one offs between now and then, and if it fits I will race.  This meant I could get out on the Newbury Road Club 8am training ride, this is a fast paced ride between 18-21mph and if you get dropped or puncture you get left behind, basically for me it is a case of sit in and take the punishment and try to take my turns on the front. I survived last weeks, got dropped on the 4 major climbs but managed to ride myself back to the group before finally getting completely dropped on the last hill just coming back into Newbury, I was completely knackered but still managed a run off the back of this, not my smartest move with my fragility at present!

I had a bit of a Eureka moment in the pool too, I was advised to ‘engage my core’ more as when I swam slowly my legs would sink, now I didnt really have a clue what this meant so got some advise from some forums I am a member of and it basically means push my hips down and forwards to lift my legs upwards and not cause extra drag on my swimming profile, well I persevered and finally got to grips with it, I tried a 400m TT and even this early in the season I was only a few seconds off my PB,  and the fact I get to help Drew improve his swimming at the same time is an all round bonus in my book!

I am also starting to have a re-think or change of heart when it comes to Triathlon as well,  I know I am entered into 2 Half Iroman events this year, but my inner cyclist keeps coming out. There is a 12 hour Time Trial the same day as the Wimbleball event and its being very locally and within very easy reach of home not necessitating a stay away from home for 3 days, it also serves well for the little itch inside me about having an attempt at a 24 hour TT.  I enjoy triathlon, but I also enjoy cycle racing/TTing just that little bit more, I still have Marlow to race and go sub 5hour for it, its just my full Ironman itch is starting to wane a little.  Smaller, fast and thus a little harder to race flat-out still have a slot as I can race these and still have the rest of a Sunday with the family….I guess we will have to wait until I can actually make my mind up.

Thanks for reading, and any input into this would be most welcome!

 

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2013 and now

It’s been way too long since my last entry and while I promised myself I wouldn’t let this happene, time just got away from me.

I sit here again today in a bit of pain, I have hurt my calf muscle, left side this time but the same problem as previously on the right. I ran last Thursday and needed a nature stop and left it a bit too long this changed how I ran and meant some tensing so pressure on left side, I really am made of fragile stuff. I also crashed on my bike Tuesday on ice right at the end of a ride I went out with no ice on the road, came back and down I went, I am now sporting a bruised Thigh and cut Knee, I am a little sore.

bruised thigh Cut knee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To sum up 2013, it was a very good year overall with some excellent gains in both Time Trial terms and running terms, my weight still remains an issue but after a Christmas of control (mostly) it is now going in the right direction, 85kg by June is a target I have in mind.

My year in numbers:

Swim                     33hrs  31mins       50 miles

Bike                      379hrs 41mins    6,054 Miles

Run                       144hrs 10mins       918 Miles

Other                      12hrs 15mins          65 Miles

Calorie count      386,000 burnt

As for climbing, it seems I went up Mount Everest 9 times!

total hours were a smidgen under 600 hours, and considering a few breaks in the year after my major races then I am very happy with this.

I took up Cyclo-Cross at the end of last year and now have a dedicated bike for this whilst I am never going to set the world on fire, it is a pure sport with no racing tactics and it really is a case of the fittest and faster person comes first and you are left wanting if you really don’t try.  I know I will not be coming first in the near future, but its a pure threshold training session for an hour, it tells me my limits and it gives me the biggest grin.  The last race will be in 2 weeks, and the next time I get to race will be the Summer in Newbury CX organised by Banjo Cycles.

My personal life has become more settled to meaning I get to see so much more of Drew and we have built a pretty special relationship in 2013, I do think he is now mentally older than me but we do have fun.  Financially things look very good too, this enabled me to make additions to the Bike stable with a dedicated Cyclo-Cross bike, a race bike for this year to go road racing, and also to get my TT rig stripped and painted, its away at the moment but is due back in around 10 days.   There were some frindship losses too and whilst this is sad I cannot look back and think what may have been, I just wish them all the best.

My race season will kick off with the Wokingham Half Marathon again and slowly build into my 2 main races of the year, the UK 70.3 Ironman down in Wimbleball, and F3’s Half Ironman in Marlow with the sole aim to go 4.43 and top 25 on this one, I will be disappointed if I fail at this.  There is talk of me helping a couple of friends round Edinburgh marathon for them to hit their target, they have been running very well and have discovered pace and control too, I must say I am tempted if just to say I have run that far.  Time Trialling has specific goals too, to beat Nigel head to head this year (yes Nige, even on the SPOCOS) get a sub 23 in a 10 and maintain the sub hour mark in all 25’s. I plan to get at least 2 50 mile TT’s in before June, but looking at the CTT calendar and available dates for me there may be a bit of travelling involved. I would like to try a 100 mile TT this year too with a target of 4h 30, but we will see. Being a member of Newbury Road Club I noticed there was noe 24hr TT record either, I have been investigating the viability of this and 2015 would be a good year to have a crack at it, I would need a lot of support though, so all help gratefully accepted for this.

Training in december was mostly easy (well except the CX racing), but when we hit January the wick was turned up a notch, it wasnt a shock to the system but seeing early season form was nice, i just wish the weather would start becoming better, but I fear the cold snap we usually get in February is coming.

Just a lot of thanks really to Nicki and Drew, and to Gobi for all his help and abuse, and to my many friends who have put up with my complaining and stupidity. And you lot for taking the time to read and comment on my blog, I will be better and hopefully weekly this year.

I look forward to 2014 and having an even better year, I am off to eat some lentils and Celery.

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