Sunday, 30 June 2013

Ironman Austria 2013 - a day of reflection

Well this time a year ago I was probably in the best shape of my life and was generally pretty pleased with myself as I had just become an Ironman, completing IM Austria in under my target time of 13 hours (actual time of 12:23:03).

A year later I have been following a friend do the same race and re-living the experience. Dan Armitage completed IM Austria in 12:18:03, exactly 5mins quicker than me. I will get a full race report on his return but looking at the initial results he looked to have a strong swim and bike with a tough run to finish - sounds familiar! I am really proud of his achievement and how far he has come in such a short time.

I now have three weeks to prepare for my 'A' race (Vachery 70.3 middle-distance event) and know I need more focus in my training if I want a decent time on the day. In addition a few pounds off my body weight should help on the hills, I understand that both the bike and the run are lumpy.

As my road bike is out of action (waiting for Ribble to pick up in order to check the frame) this is an ideal opportunity to get more time on the TT / triathlon bike. Some strength training will also be of benefit, especially if I can improve my power to weight ratio.

I will share some specific training sessions in future blogs, which should help me to focus on my race goals at Vachery.

Meanwhile on this anniversary date, I am getting itchy feet and feel like getting an Ironman distance race in the diary for 2014. Will let you know what I decide.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A year ago today

It was a year ago today when I put my 'out of office' on and travelled home to pack for the long drive to Austria.

I have been reliving some of those final days in the run up to the event by following Dan Armitage's blog, which logs his remarkable journey to Ironman Austria 2013.

Over the last year or so it really has been a real honour to know Dan and witness the amazing progress he has made in a number of areas in his life - the guy is simply an inspiration. I do also feel quite humble that I had a small part to play in his decision to sign up for this epic race as I believed he enjoyed following my training blog back in 2011-12.

So I am very much looking forward to following him in Sunday's race - I almost feel I will be there with him.

I expect I will devote a full blog post to Dan next week but meanwhile I wish him all the very best wishes.

I now have quite a long list of ideas for posts that I need to publish so need to get busy writing. If you are a follower of this blog you must please also let me know if there are any areas that is of interest to you so I can make every effort to include them in future posts.

Many thanks for your continued support and remember to check out Ironman Austria 2013 and watch out for Dan.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Remember to hydrate

This week's training has been put back a little because I have been a bit forgetful of my fluid intake.

Looking back over the recent rides and training (well on plan until Friday) I realise I have not been drinking enough fluids during exercise and generally throughout the day. I do drink tea, coffee and the occasional glass of wine. In addition I always have some juice in my water bottle on the bike, albeit I might not drink enough. I know I should be drinking much more water during the day. It was also highlighted to me on my recent London 2 Paris ride when I was getting a massage, apparently the oil was soaking into my skin to quickly indicating I was somewhat dehydrated.

The upshot of all this is that I occasionally  have kidney stone problems - quite nasty  - suffering severe pains in my lower back and nausea.

Well on Friday it must have caught up with me again and I have been suffering for the last few days. So annoying as it is something simple and in my control but I have yet again let it happen.

I expect to be back in training soon but hopefully writing this blog post will help me to remember to take on more fluids in the future.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A great result - Well done Matt Ryley

Matt and I joined the local triathlon club at about the same time, started swimming in the slowest lane (lane 6) and now swim together in lane 3, although there is no doubt that Matt is stronger and often swims in lane 2. We also competed in Ironman Antwerp 70.3 (2010) together and our first full Ironman (Austria 2012). It is in these competitive events that Matt really pulls out all the stops and has had some great results.

For any long-term followers of my previous Ironman blog you may remember that Matt was featured back in April 2012. In the run up to his training for Ironman Austria he was unfortunately hit by a vehicle and ended up breaking his back - check out the story:

At that moment we all felt that it was simply a miracle he was alive and thought his Ironman dreams were over, at least for that year. Well he really did surprise us all and came back from that awful injury to not only compete in Ironman Austria but to record an amazing time of 11:39. Again he gets a mention in one of post Ironman blogs:

After last year's Ironman event Matt decided to continue with his training and booked in some serious events for 2013 including the official 70.3 Ironman UK race and I believe a full Ironman later in the year. He also retained the services of Coach Mark Tickner to keep him focused.

Last week he competed in very tough conditions (weather and terrain) but completed Ironman UK 70.3  in an amazing time of 5:33. His splits (taken from official Ironman website) were as follows:

Swim (1,900m): 35;08
Bike (90km): 3:10:47
Run (half-marathon): 1:39:32

This great effort (very hilly course) earnt Matt 4th place in the 45-50 age range and more importantly gained him a place in the 70.3 world championship in Las Vegas.

Certainly something to aspire to - well done Matt.

Matt - next stop Las Vegas

Matt and I at IM Austria finish 2012

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Getting back into it - the week ahead

It has been a while since I posted what I am doing in the week ahead so to help me focus in getting back into it, here goes:

Mon - recovery day (legs still a little fatigued from Sunday's race, despite being short distance)
Tue - 2:00 Bike: on singlespeed RPM / Hill sets
Wed - 1:00 Run: Z1-2 easy pace + 1:30 Club Swim
Thu - 2:00 Bike: on singlespeed tempo / recovery sets
Fri - 0:45 Run/Strength set around Preston Park
Sat - 1:00 Club Swim
Sun - 2:30 Bike: either MTB or Tri bike (road bike being repaired)

Total time planned - 10:45 - quite respectable if I complete as planned. Hope to build back up to around 12 hours in coming weeks and in preparation for Vachery 70.3 middle distance event and RideLondon100.

Looking forward to next corporate event (cycling related) on Monday 24th June - all are welcome - details can be found via the following link:

Great to meet with anyone that follows the blog.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Not back to normal training yet - Club Sprint Tri report

It was a slightly odd week - after returning from Paris I had 2 days in London followed by 2 days as hosts of the Arundel cricket festival, which was not the best set up for my training.

I did however get a short run in on Tuesday morning and my normal Club swim on Saturday morning. Not much but kept the legs from seizing up.

On Sunday morning and after an evening of dancing (not great race preparation) I was up early to jump in the lake for the Club's sprint triathlon race, 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

I started poorly, there was around 15 club members that started the race and I think I was probably around 12th out the water. It didn't feel that slow but I am simply not as fast in a wetsuit as some of the other guys, definitely an area to work on and gain some improvement.

My first transition was also slow (times to be confirmed) so I had some work to do on the bike. Fortunately I felt strong, may be because I didn't kick that heavily in the swim or possibly recent bike strength from London 2 Paris event. I quickly gained on the competitors in front and within 10km had moved up to 4th place. I was actually surprised that I had gained so many places and even managed to take 3rd place before the end of the 20km bike. My 2nd transition was slightly better although my feet were quite numb (I was not wearing socks as only a short distance triathlon).

I set off at a reasonable pace but had no sight of the 2 club members in front of me. At the turnaround point on the run I realised I was only a couple of minutes down on 2nd place. I did close the gap to nearer a minute but was unable to make up the ground as I crossed the line in 3rd place.

I will post my times and splits once confirmed with the race officials and will be keen to analyse against previous races. In summary a good result given what I felt was a poor start.

Looking forward to getting back to some normality and consistent training over the weeks ahead.

Update to post (18.06.13) splits on Club Sprint:

Swim (750m): 14:58
T1: 01:08
Bike (20km): 36:31
T2: 00:39
Run (5km): 22:25

Total 01:15:42

In 2008 I completed the same race in 01:16:40 (although the bike then was only 18km but slightly more hilly) 15:30, 37:23, 23:47

In 2009 I completed the race in 01:15:57 (same course as 2008) 17:50, 35:39, 22:28

In 2010 I completed the race in 01:08:11 (same bike course as 2008 but only 500m swim) 09:58, 35:37, 22:36

In 2011 / 12 - no Club sprint event

So all very similar but I reckon just about a Personal Best 'PB'

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Final Day of London 2 Paris charity ride

Day 4 and the ride into Paris is always a memorable one. I rode with Group 1 for the first half, no time trials on the last day and a relatively steady pace because of the poor weather conditions, unfortunately the day started with some heavy rain.

We re-grouped for lunch. I managed to get my third massage of the tour even though I didn't feel like I had any aches and pains. The massage was welcomed and there actually some areas that needed some work on, so I was told. It was certainly painful but after some recommended post-stretches I was ready to go again.

The final 50km (total of 95km on last day) was as one large group. We only had a small window of opportunity to enter Paris on closed roads so there was quite a lot of stopping and starting that broke the flow a little.

Riding into the centre was as expected an amazing experience (yet again). A huge cheer went up as we saw the Arc de Triomphe and the atmosphere was electric as we passed the Eiffel Tower for the last few hundred metres of our 460km journey.

It was quite an emotional finish and the celebratory dinner that evening was a great finale for one of my top cycling events to date.

My bike certainly needs some serious attention so I will be investigating different options and costs over the coming days.

Next week I hope to get back to some normality and better balance on the training front. Meanwhile the 20 hours I spent on the bike should help me as I look towards my next events - Vachery 70.3 middle-distance triathlon and RideLondon100.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Day 3 of London 2 Paris - one of my best days ever on the bike

Day 3 of the London 2 Paris charity bike ride and all I can say is that is was simply one of my best ever days on the bike. Not just for the great cycling but location, variation (steady pace cycling to super fast time trials), great banter, fantastic organisation and overall 'big smile on your face' adventure. 

It started with a decision whether to go back to the fast Group or spend the day in the slightly easier pace Group 2. Despite my bike being close to falling apart and a little dangerous I opted for Group 1 - it was supposed to be less hilly so I had a better chance of staying with the elite cyclists.

We had a bit of a wait in the sports hall as we were the last to leave but it was a good opportunity to have a chat with the other cyclists - all very friendly. Here I am with the legendary ex Crystal Palace and Arsenal player, Ian Wright.

The two time trials during the day (both around 9km) were super fast even on the rolling terrain - not as flat as I thought. I was averaging speeds of well over 40km on the flat and 35km overall. You can imagine what the Elite boys were doing as I was one of the slowest.

At lunchtime I got a massage which certainly helped later in the day - fortunately still no aches and pains to report. There was a speaker playing motivational music on the lunch stop and a got a chance to play one of my favourite tracks, 'Infinity', which was loaded onto my iPhone. It brought back magic moments of the Ironman events and was well received by the cyclists.

Met some great people, many very inspirational - elite cyclists, triathletes, celebrities and also lots that have only taking up cycling in the last 6-12 months - amazing!

Also met a personal trainer / triathlete that completed a Deca-Ironman - he swam the channel, came straight back by boat, cycled 1,800km around the county and then race to Paris (10x marathons). I knew that the event existed but I never thought I would meet anyone who had completed such an amazing (mad) goal.

I could go on and on with fantastic and inspirational stories that I have heard over the last 3 days, may be subjects for future blogs.

For now I am going to get a reasonably early night so I am fresh for the last 100km ride into Paris tomorrow. The roads will be closed so it is going to be a very special day.

I will report back soon.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Day 1-2: London 2 Paris Charity Ride

I managed to pick up some Wi-Fi in the hotel tonight at the end of Day 2 of the London 2 Paris Charity bike ride on behalf of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research:

Covered 240km so far with 220km to go (next 2 days). Feeling pretty good and no aches and pains.

Day 1 started very slow as the organisers  and Ride Captains tried to get 200 riders out of London. Thereafter the speed picked up and for most of the day I found myself with the top 20 riders. Given my good experience on day 1 I started day 2 in the Elite Group (there were no categories for Day 1). For the most part I kept up with the small group of 15-20 cyclists, albeit I typically lost some ground on the hills. Then we hit a 10km time trial section and the more experienced cyclists put their foot down. I really struggled to keep up at those high speeds although there were still a couple of guys behind me.

My chain has come off a number of times and one of the mechanics kindly checked it over. I had apparently not put the cassette back together properly after its recent clean so that was sorted. He also pointed out that the chain and front cogs were worn which was the main reason for my problem. Anyway the bike held together for the rest of the day.

I joined Group 2 in the afternoon and enjoyed a slightly easier pace and some good banter with the riders including legendary ex-footballers Geoff Thomas, Ian Wright and Mitchell Thomas.

Bring on Day 3!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Countdown to London 2 Paris Charity bike ride

As I had expected last week was minimal on the training front, mostly because of work commitments (2 days in London), a little bit of cold symptoms (not too serious) and thoughts of my preparation / tapering for a good number of hours in the saddle.

I couldn't resist getting out on on my mountain bike for another session on the Downs, again fantastic conditions (as pictured above).

I am writing this blog whilst travelling up to London in preparation for a charity bike ride to Paris on behalf of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. It is over 4 days so not too heavy although still 460km in distance. I plan to ride with the Group 2 riders (Group 1-5, 1 being reserved for most experienced and fastest cyclists), which should average around 30km per hour each day.

I participated in a similar ride in 2011 but over 3 days rather than 4. Again I will be joined by Geoff Thomas (ex-professional footballer) and his merry crew (incl. Ian Wright and John Salako). In total I understand there will be 200 riders.

I am really looking forward to the event and all the friendly banter with the boys - we always have a laugh. Meanwhile, it is great to raise a few pennies for such a worthy cause.

Hopefully I will have time over the coming days to update my 'Tri Hard Training' blog with the team's progress.

E-Bike adventure

I know, you must be thinking 'E-Bike adventure'.... that's it, he has finally given in to old age, no more 'Tri Hard Dave...