13 May 2014

Ironman Frankfurt - The fourth time round!

Yep, you've heard that right. I'm taking on Ironman Frankfurt on yet again this year. I have 8 weeks to go to rip myself into shape. No small task, but it is doable. Look for updates over the next few weeks!

15 September 2013

Ironman Wales

It has been too too long since I've posted here. I probably should have posted only here and then pointed to this link as I've blasted this all over the houses.

Here we go!

Ironman Wales 2013 Report


We arrived at Tenby on Friday afternoon after a +4 hour drive from St Albans. The Ironman village was in a car park at the highest point in town which meant that it was the breeziest place in Tenby! As the weather had suddenly become autumnal within a few days prior to the event, Sunday’s conditions were looking pretty mixed, so that breeze was not a positive. The registration was pretty pain-free as we were processed and tagged and out the door pretty quick! Luckily, there wasn’t too much kit to buy, so we ended up buying the standard Ironman swag. Then it was suddenly time for the event Pasta Party. Not my thing, but we got a chance to meet up with Sue from Watford Tri. It was good to catch up with Sue as she and her friend Claire had been to Tenby before.


I had my customary pain au chocolate, banana, a bit of porridge, and coffee at 4am to get myself fueled up for the day. I had a look outside and it had already rained itself out and was about 6C. Hopefully, the weather could only improve. We got to transition with plenty of time to spare at about 5:30. Pumped up the tyres, loaded my drinks up and time to drop off my dry kit. What was different about this event is that the transition is about a mile from the swim start requiring a short run back to transition. So we were provided with bags to stick our running shoes to hang along the railings on the zigzag ramp down to the sea. Our walk down to the start was a surreal procession with 1600+ athletes in wetsuits and running shoes. What a spectacle that must have been. I realised that I ended up at the front of the procession and standing next to me was the legend who is Magnus Backstedt! He really is a nice bloke and was completely approachable. Nice meeting you Maggie!


The swim was pretty pan flat. It’s a two lap affair consisting of a big triangle with an Australian exit. I got a bit caught up in the crowd at the first turn which held a lot of us up. The rest of the swim was pretty much uneventful until we got to the last straightaway. Unfortunately, that bit was absolutely chockablock with people at various speeds and I absolutely couldn’t pass anyone. I got completely blocked. I guess either I need to get more aggressive or learn to swim underwater! Upon exit, we ran up the zigzag ramp where our T0 shoe bags were for the intermediary transition. The whole route leading up to T1 was rammed with spectators.
Swim: 1:13:50


Transition was pretty smooth. I did notice however that I must have brushed against a jellyfish as my left side of my face was a bit numb. Anyway, I started with what felt like an easy 32 kph pace and most people were pretty chilled for the first part of the 40 mile loop. Unfortunately, I punctured at about 10km as I caught some flint. It was absolute carnage as there were punctures all over the place! I road my heart out to catch up to the group I was riding with. Then about 15 km later another puncture and another piece of flint. I road through some really beautiful wind swept countryside and finally got to the secondary loop that we were to take twice. It really got hilly here. Up and down one country lane to another and then it started raining. There was no letting up and very few flat bits on this part of the course. Then, again it happened, I punctured again! I felt like chucking it in at this point as I was out of spares and sat down at the side of the road. This would have been my second Ironman DNF for the season and I was pissed! Suddenly, a fellow competitor asked if I was okay and he circled back. He actually gave me a spare tube and a CO2 canister and road on. I was absolutely gobsmacked at his generosity. I crossed my fingers and got to fixing this final puncture (hopefully). I finally made it around to the hard bits of the last part of the first lap. Geez that was tough! Scott Neyedli passed me on that 16% climb. He was looking strong and steady. Marek (men’s pro second place) passed me on heartbreak hill, but he looked totally flat. I pushed a little harder and road along side him until I had to peal off for special needs. The second loop was a bit of a survival fest for about 30km as I hit that infamous bad patch. I got some gels down me and finally got my act together. This was probably one of my worst performances on an Ironman bike course, but shit happens and that’s Ironman for you!
Bike: 7:37:17


Coming out of T2 I actually felt fine. The 4 laps of this marathon were both mentally and physically. The run out of town to the first out and back was uphill and long. It wasn’t until I got back into town on the 1st lap that my wheels fell off. My left achilles started pinging at this point and as this is a seriously hilly run course it’s not exactly forgiving for such injuries. I had to walk the uphills for about 2 laps until a handful of ibuprofen would kick in. After lap 2, it started to chuck down again and didn’t stop! My achilles finally cleared up for the last lap and I was able to run all the way to the finish line.
Run: 5:02:56

Overall Time: 14:14:41

I’ve done most of the tough Ironman courses out there and Ironman Wales hands down is one of the toughest out there. Even with more than an hour lost to mechanical issues, it is a knacker cracker! It’s got the hills, the weather and erm... more hills! However, it is one of the most beautiful courses that has great local support. It certainly is a world class event that I will surely do again!

Also, BIG thanks to Ian Pickett who served as my personal Sherpa for the whole of the weekend last week! You are a great friend and will do well at Kona next month. Good-luck Ian!

28 July 2011

Ironman70.3 Antwerp

It's been a huge amount of time between postings, but I've been on various social networking platforms recently. Anyway, this year has been mainly focused around IM Lanzarote which turned out to be a bit of a letdown. I decided a while back to to do Antwerp as it was looking to be fast and flat. So I thought that I'd have a go.

A week leading up to the event my sore back had really flared up. I had a massage on the Thursday before, but the drive to Belgium made it steadily worse. So the question was, do it or not? I figure unless you're about to lose a limb or you're on your deathbed, there are no excuses.  The weather forecast looked bad for this event and yet another excuse to pull out. In fact all of Northern Europe was looking pretty miserable so various events were looking to be pretty wet and windy. Oh well such is triathlon, you can't plan around the weather!

The swim is in a lake just next to the Schelde. Funnily enough it wasn't brackish/salty as I expected. We had a good 17C in the water so it all looked good. The check-in was up until 10h, but my wave-start wasn't until 11:40. This meant waiting around in transition whilst it was blowing a gale! Brrrr.... Anyway, it gave us a chance to watch the pros finishing their swim. Bart and Axel were the favourites and were out pretty early. I saw the disabled athletes come out just after Natasha Badman before our wave was called. I did not have a good swim at all as my goggles kept on leaking for the first 600m. By then, my pack was way off and I couldn't catch them. My back started pinging a bit too, which was a bit worrying. I got out in pretty slow (36 minutes) and off the pace by about 4 minutes.

The bike seemed reasonable until we hit some headwind. We had what I can say is worse than I saw in Lanzarote this year. On a flat course this can be pretty painful too! ;-) At about 5 km we entered the tunnel to link up to the main part of the bike course. By the time we reached the bottom part there was a go slow section due to a fatality on the road. Arthur Aghajanyan (from Antwerp), sadly crashed in the Waaslandtunnel and later on died in hospital. It was an appalling sight, but we all continued riding. Things were okay until we hit a 3-lap section in the docklands area. The headwind got worse and my back was in severe pain. I had to ease off and used very little power. There was nothing I could do about it. The sections with the wind were fun, but again I could not manage to put any power in. There were a few bunches here and there which I tried to avoid. Unfortunately the refs were a bit overzealous and I got a penalty for slow passing! That's a first for me... I think that I managed about 2:56 and about 30 minutes off the pace.

The run was a three-lap affair through the city centre. It was okay, but I think all that wind wiped me out. And further insult to injury was a long penalty lap I had to run! I really hated most of that run. My feet were sore and my back was stiff. A 2:02 and the slowest Half Marathon raced in years. More than a half hour off the pace!

The finish was nice though as my family was around. I also got to see one of my coached athletes finish with a PB. I met Donna Dewick finally which was cool. Finally, I polished off the day with a fine Belgian beer (De Konnick)

Lessons learned:

1- When injured, don't push it and treat an event as training session
2- When it's windy out, eat more as you're expending more energy. Really!
3- Don't wear racing flats on a cobbled course. Ouch!
4- Don't try to pass when it's windy out or the race refs will get you!
5- Sort out that back!

So back to the drawing board. I'm a big boy so I'll pick myself up and hammer myself into shape for the Cologne Half which is in 5 weeks. Laters peeps!

28 November 2009

H2O Audio Interval Review Part 1

I am a big fool for gadgets and new toys, especially when I hear that it's the latest and greatest blah blah blah... I'm also a big geek for portable audio players.  I've looked over the web for quite a while for underwater music systems that you can actually swim with. There are currently three manufacturers that come to mind at this time that are the most readily available: Speedo, Swimp3, and h2o audio. I realise that the last one manufactures cases, but I did say underwater music systems. After going through all the reviews, I decided to go with the h2o audio solution as I really liked the simple way they put this thing together. Anyway, a more formal write-up will follow once I'm finished reviewing this unit. So let me first just provide a simple blow-by blow in the meantime:

I just received the latest h2o audio Interval model and I find it a pretty sturdy unit. If my cold clears up,  I'll be set to try mine out tomorrow for the first time. Initially, the design for this 3rd gen ipod shuffle case has been well thought out. There's no issue with button alignment as the latest shuffle requires control via the cable itself and this has been transposed to buttons on the housing. It does take a bit of reseating the phone jack in to get both earbuds to talk, but that's just a fiddly bit that is easily sorted. Also, the case makes a satisfying click when you close it up. I've done the soak test and have had the unit underwater for 1/2 an hour and my new shuffle survived! I have found buds that fit perfectly, which is a bonus. The sound quality is the same as ported through standard headphones. I'm thinking that if I use my goggle straps and stick the whole setup under my cap, there shouldn't be an issue with slippage found by other reviewers. The form factor is quite good too as it hits that sweet-spot right under the skull. As with anything, it may take a bit of trial and error before I get the fit and feel right. Once I get it, I'll tell you how it works out.  Anyway, for the time being I think that I will mainly be listening to some of the old speed metal classics tomorrow, so stay out of my lane. 

12 November 2009

Feeling Groovy

Well I finally got the disks from the DVD set that my wife and I did for indoor cycle coaching. These are really good quality! We're actually selling them here: http://www.industrialmultisport.co.uk/products.html .

Anyway, back to the training front... I'm still cranking away. I got in a great 10 mile run in for lunch, so the marathon training is going well. this'll be a nice 50 mile for sure!

Rav out!

09 November 2009

Here we go again!

Well after a few stops and starts over the last few weeks, I'm finally back out there and feeling good. Back up a few steps... I have a 14-month old who attends a nursery... picked up every darned cold, flu, illness, etc.. and she in kind gives it to yours truly and her moma. Isn't she sweet. Surprised Anyway, I'm now on week 3 of my marathon training programme and 15 to go. Yes I know that there's plenty of time to get that weight down and speed up. I guess that it's a case of staying healthy and taking it a day at a time.

Next stop Seville!

02 October 2009

Winter is on the way!

It's been a huge gap between postings. However, all my other social media outlets are pretty up to date. I've had ups and downs throughout the year, but we persevere. IMCH came and didn't happen due to a bout of swineflu. Steelhead 70.3 I sort of went through the motions as I was in recovery mode. What finished off the season well was the Cologne Half where I finished with a 5:10 which was longer than a standard half including an underserved 5 minute penalty. This could have been a sub-5 HIM in real terms. I'll have that I believe. So this leaves me with the rest of the year. Where will it take me? We shall see. All I know is that I shall be doing Nice again and a few 70.3's.