Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Ironman videos

I've never done a triathlon as I'm a very very weak swimmer but it is something I want to do. I plan to take some swimming lessons next year and then made try a short tri. Ultimately, I'd love to do an Iron-man.

This is an incredible video. It makes tears stream down my face when I watch it.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Weekend Report

Friday night was my poker night with friends. Its never about the poker, just the great company. I didn't drink as I was driving and giving lifts to 3 people and I avoided eating the pizza. However, I did forget about my current diet restriction and tucked into the garlic bread. Whoops!!! I got home at 2am which wasn't best but I had a great time.

Next morning, I woke at 8am very tired. At 9am our new flat pack shelves arrived and Cath wanted me to make them before I went out on the bike and as usual with this type of thing, it takes much longer than you think. Anyway, I got out at 11:30 at headed off to Surrey.

I initially thought I didn't have enough clothes on as I was cold but once I got going, I warmed up a little and then the sun came out a bit more and I was fine. I did my usual route to Box Hill and then came back taking in several other hills, doing little loops to make the most of the ride. My legs were fine on the flat and ok when climbing out of the saddle but I did feel a little discomfort when climbing seated. I was careful and didn't push too hard so got through it ok.

In total, I did 87.2 miles in 5 hours 30 minutes. I really wanted to do over 100 miles but it was felling very hard towards the end and I was glad when it was over but given how I was 10 days ago, I'm delighted.

On Sunday, we had a family party for my wife's aunt who is 75 and visiting from Los Angeles. It was at my sister-in-laws who lives near Bromley so I set off early on the bike and got in some miles before arriving at the party at 12:40. My wife and daughters were already there. I got some funny looks as I walked through the garden dressed in Lycra so I quickly retrieved my clothes my wife had brought, had a shower and got changed.

After the party I rode home to finish off doing over 50 miles which was great. This weekend has been really good and got me right back on track. My mate Ed wasn't had such good luck with terrible food poisoning. I hope he's back on the bike soon.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Another step to recovery

I woke on Wednesday to another beautiful day. My first thought was to get out on the bike. Just a small ride, nothing to extravagant. But I came to my senses. My knee was a little sore from Tuesday's 30 miler and I didn't want to rush its recovery. So I decided to take the day off and continue my jobs around the house (I'm redecorating the front room). It felt lazy but sensible.

On Thursday my knee felt better (its the first thing I think about when I wake) so I went out for another ride. Rather predictably, I went to Richmond Park. I took the long route via Kingston and then went round clockwise. I was feeling good, it was sunny again and it wasn't busy so I was really enjoying myself.

I'm not sure but I might be feeling a little benefit from the hard few days in Devon followed by rest. I felt a little quicker than usual and was doing over 18 mph average during the second hour.

By the third lap I was feeling various niggles and knew it was time to go home. Very pleased with my progress. I will probably rest again tomorrow and then go out on Saturday for maybe a 50 or 60 mile ride.

Distance: 40.26 miles
Time: 2:21:38
Average: 17.1 mph
Max Speed: 36.8 mph
Ascent: 2330 feet


With some people its beer or wine, others chocolate or sweets, some like burgers and pies but for me, its bread. I like food in general but I can put most of my unwanted cuddly bits down to bread.

Hot buttered toast made with thick white bread, croissants, chunky brown bread with soup, ham sandwiches, fruit loaf, pita bread, cinnamon bread, cheese toasties and malted brown bread still warm from the over - to name but a few.

I'm pretty sure that if I'd never eaten bread, I'd be the svelte person I've always wanted to be. So after the disastrous two weeks following the Devon trip of eating and eating and being injured, I had to regain control and at least keep the weight off before the Fred Whitton.

The easiest and hardest solution is no bread. Easiest in that it will produce results, hardest in that I just can't do without bread. Its now been 4 days with not a slice in sight. I've not even nibbled the crusts off my daughters school packed-lunch.

18 days to go and I can taste the 9 slices of toast I'm eating on the Monday morning in the B&B after the Fred. Yum.

(I can't tell you how hard it is just looking at these pictures)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

More chairty thanks

Its time for more fund raising thanks.

I've had 6 more donations recently. My Mum & Peter, Grant, David, my brother Phil, Malcolm, Helen & Isaac and Ben & Sarah have been fantastic and pushed me over the £400 mark.

Less than £100 to go to reach my target and still 88 days to go.

A huge thanks to everyone.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Feeling lucky

I got back on the bike today. Its the longest I been off the bike in over 10 months. So after 15 days, I took the bike out for a spin. It is a stunning day in London. A perfect blue sky and warm without being hot. I took my Shuffle, put on some tunes and was away to Richmond Park. I didn't have a plan other than to check out my injury so I stayed in a low gear and high cadence and just span along.

I got to Richmond Park and my legs were good. The left had no problems and the right was ok although I could feel the tightness in my quad and a slight feeling in my knee but very very low level.

I first did an anticlockwise loop to avoid the steepest section up Broomfield Hill and minimise the stress on my quads. It all went very well and I had to keep reminding myself to take it easy and not go flying off. When I got back to Roehampton Gate, I turned around and did a clockwise loop. Again, nothing too serious. Just some niggles if I chose a high gear or pushed up a hill.

I was really enjoying the second lap. The sun was out, my music was good (it always is) and I was back on the bike. I counted my lucky stars that my injury was not half as bad as it could have been. By the end, I did feel my legs were getting a little tight. I could have carried on but this was perfect for a first day back.

When I got home, I quickly changed into my gym gear, switched bikes and went down to the gym for 40 minutes of stretching and a bit of core. The worse thing I could do now would be to think its all fixed and revert back to my old bad habits. Its stretch every day from now on. Promise.

I've just been back out on the bike. 30 miles. I could feel the injury but only a little. I didn't push on it at all, just span around RP twice. Then came home, into gym gear and off to the gym for 40 minutes of stretching and core. Feeling more positive today.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Injury Update

After 4 full days off, I ventured back into the gym today. My legs have felt gradually better each day with my left leg feeling really good on Friday morning. My right leg felt ok but I was aware that is was not completely healed.

This was confirmed as I cycled the 2 miles to the gym. I was fine on the flat but as soon as the road rose at all, I would feel a tightness in my right quad. Nothing too serious but enough to know I couldn't go out and ride up Box Hill without risking future injury.

At the gym, I did another 25 minutes of cycling and then did 50 minutes of core work and stretching. I did loads on my aductor, quads and ITB and I could really feel it. The good news is that my legs are definitely less tight than there were before Tuesday's sports massage. That was money well spent and Rene at Balance Physio is fantastic.

I'll either do the same again tomorrow or try a little ride out on my road bike. I'll see tomorrow morning if I get any reaction to today's cycling.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Well it had to happen eventually. I've been injury free for over 18 months so I was almost expecting something to go wrong before the Etape.

I ran 14 miles yesterday and for the first 11 miles I was really enjoying it. I ran from home to Richmond Park and then ran the 7 mile trail around the edge. It was going really well but then I could feel my quads on a couple of the hills. I stopped to stretch but it came back as soon as I ran again. I stopped as soon as I got back to the car park where I was meeting my family. I had originally planned to run 16 but I was in some discomfort.

I stretched for a while and then felt ok so went for a walk with my family. My legs were still a little sore but nothing too bad. I stretched again in the evening and went to bed. This morning, the first thing I thought as I woke was "Oooh, my quads are tight". Then walking to the bathroom, I knew it wasn't good. It felt at least as bad as the morning after a marathon. My thighs are shot.

So I'll stretch on and off all day and I have a sport massage booked so I'll ask her advice. I might go to the gym tonight and do more stretching as well as some core and upper body weights.

I am worried about this. It does seem that there is an underlying problem. I hope its nothing more serious than tight ITB, quads and adductor. I don't know if its better or worse that its both legs. I guess its just rest and stretching for a few days and then reassess.

Oh and I also have a cold and I got a really big blister from the run, my first blister in a long time. I am going to retire my trainers. I have three pair that I rotate and they have all done between 300 and 500 miles. I already have one brand new pair and I've just got another from ebay.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Lazy week with chocolate

This was never going to be an outstanding week but its turned out as a nothing week - a wasted week. Ever since coming back from Devon, I've been tired, unmotivated and very very hungry. I've done practically no exercise and eaten loads (Easter eggs didn't help). If I lost any weight in Devon, I've certainly put it all back on.

I know I gained a lot of fitness cycling 240 miles and it was all worth it but I've got a serious case of post event lowness. I've got to draw a line under it and start again, eating well and doing loads of hard work. It will have to be mostly running as its still the Easter Holidays so I've got the kids all week but anything will do. I'm looking for at least 6 sessions in the next 7 days. Nothing less.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Pictures from Devon

I took a moment to stop and look at the view on the 6 mile climb from Tavistock to Princetown. This was the longest climb we rode and was perfect training for Mont Ventoux.

The top of the moor was bleak but very striking. The weather helped a lot. Apart from Saturday when it was blowing a gail, we had sun and little wind. Very lucky.

Ed beat me up the hill by such a distance that he had time to make a phone call!!!!

Just ahead, the road dipped steeply and is where we recorded our fastest speeds. 48.6 mph has my fastest. The second and third time we decended here, we were a little more tired and more timid and only got to about 42 mph. We'd have liked to get over 50 mph but there is a bend in the road which made it a little hairy.
Ed crests one of the many climbs. About 30,000 feet of climbs in 4 days.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Hills, hills and more hills

With one daughter off on a school trip to Italy and my wife and other daughter in Lanzorote, there was only one thing for me to do, paint the house. But I decided to put that off and go cycling instead. My mate Ed took some time off work and we set off to Devon on Thursday for four days of cycling in the hills.

We stayed with my Dad in Moretonhampstead which is on the doorstep of Dartmoor. The plan was to get there at lunchtime on the Thursday and go straight out for a short ride. We got there in plenty of time so it was lycra on and out the door. We rode along the B3212 to Two Bridges which is a tough way to start; 1,200 feet in 5 miles. We turned left down to Widecombe where we met a couple of very big hills before we ran down to Bovey. Then it was up the main road back home. 34 miles and we knew we were in hilly Devon. We were then treated to a great dinner at Bovey Castle by my Dad and his partner Julie. Fish and chips followed by rice pudding. Yum.

Friday was the biggest day with a century planned. Like with the rest of the rides, speed was never a consideration; it was all about the distance and the hills. We set off in great weather again riding out on the B3212 before turning south to Widecombe. Then Ashburton, Totnes, Beesands, Kingsbridge, Ivybride, towards Yelverton and then on the Princetown road all the way home (if anyone wants the routes then I can send them to you as .GPX files).

This was a triumph for both of us. Ed's first century and my second in 7 days. It had more climbing than either of us had ever done in a day and more than all our planned rides other than the Dave Lloyd which is only slightly more and the Etape.

Saturday's route was designed so that I could visit my mum for lunch. She lives in Yealmpton, 30 miles from Moretonhampstead. So, it was back up the now familiar hills towards Princetown but it was not the peaceful day we had thought it was. Up on the moor is was blowing a gale with winds whipping off the moor and making the bike very twitchy. On hills where I had gone 40 mph the day before, I was struggling to get to 20. It was very slow progress. We finally turned south off the moor and out of the wind towards Dousland and then going cross country until we reached Plympton. It was then a short hop over the A38. We were treated to a nice lunch and a fantastic Rhubarb Crumble. It was then back on the bike to do the journey in reverse but with more than half the climbing still to do and a stomach full of food. It was hard work but mercifully, the wind had dropped.

Sunday was always down as a flexible day. We knew we would go out but had no real idea how far to go. Neither of us were on our last legs but we were tired and new that it would be hard work. We decided on a 40 mile route to Tavistock and back. My Dad had said that the road from Tavistock to Princetown was pretty much up hill for about 6 miles. This was the kind of hill we came for as there is nothing like that in Surrey.

I quickly realised I was very tired and Ed was much less so as I struggled up the now familiar hills out of Moretonhampstead up to the moor. Ed quickly had a sizable lead but there was nothing I could do. Anyway, I was slow but really enjoying myself as it was lovely and sunny and I was climbing very smoothly. Ed waited at a couple of spots and we made it to Tavistock in around 2 hours. Having freewheeled into Tavistock, I knew the climb I had to do and whilst I was not quick, I was comfortable and never once felt I was getting into trouble.

All in all, it was a brilliant few days, really good training and a lot of fun. I need to take a few days off and have an easy weekend over Easter as I have heavy, stiff legs but I'm sure I will reap the rewards of this in the weeks to come.


Distance: 34.40
Time: 2:17:29
Average Speed: 15.01 mph
Ascent: 4,274
Max Speed: 41.4 mph
Average Heart Rate: Not recorded
Calories: 1,670
Weather: Sunny, 15 degrees, little wind
Nutrition: PSP22 (1 bottle), High5 4:1 (1 bottle), 1 nut bar

Distance: 103.2
Time: 7:08:17
Average Speed: 14.46 mph
Ascent: 11,451
Max Speed: 48.7 mph
Average Heart Rate: 135 (73% max)
Calories: 5,203
Weather: Sunny, 16 degrees, little wind
Nutrition: PSP22 (2 bottles), High5 4:1 (2 bottles), 1 Power bar, 1 Viper, 1 nut bar, 1 cheese scone

Distance: 60.86
Time: 4:26:36
Average Speed: 13.8 mph
Ascent: 7,601
Max Speed: 44.5 mph
Average Heart Rate: Not recorded
Calories: 2,572
Weather: Cloudy, 10 degrees, strong winds in the morning
Nutrition: PSP22 (2 bottles), half a nut bar, lunch half way

Distance: 41.59
Time: 2:53:26
Average Speed: 14.39 mph
Ascent: 5,183
Max Speed: 43.6 mph
Average Heart Rate: 127 (69% max)
Calories: 2,107
Weather: Sunny, 16 degrees, little wind
Nutrition: Half a nut bar and 1 bottle PSP22 (weak)

Distance: 240.1 miles
Time: 16 hours 42 minutes
Calories: 11,552
Ascent: 28,509 feet (8,690 meters)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Cyclist or Runner?

I have been asking myself recently, am I a runner or am I a cyclist? What would I like people to know me as? What would I like to be best at given the choice? It was playing on my mind during the duathlon last Saturday.

Whilst I know I don't actually have to choose, people like to pigeon-hole you. Most runners don't want to know about cycling and most cyclists think running is a waste of time (generalisation, I know). Only the tri boys and girls like to talk about both and given that I don't swim, I'm not part of their world.

So, given the amount of money and time I am putting into cycling this past 6 months and at least the 5 months to come, it might be surprising that I have come to the conclusion that I am a runner first and a cyclist second. Here are my reasons:

1. Fulfilment
When I'm cycling, and specifically during the Epic and Ashdown rides, there were moments of pure joy. Getting to the top of Glascwm at the Epic, coming down the final hill at 40 mph, passing people up 'The Wall' at the Ashdown. All superb. But the sense of achievement, whilst strong, is fleeting. I don't feel that I've completed something really big. Running 21 miles however, stays with me for ages. Whilst I don't get big thrills during the running race itself, the feeling after is so strong. I'm still amazed that I can do it and I get such a sense of achievement.

2. Difficulty

If you are a serious cyclist you might want to cover your ears but I think in general, running is harder than cycling. OK, so there are lost of different types of running and cycling and I know I haven't tackled the really hard riding yet (Fred, Dave Lloyd, Etape) but I think its true. I think its the freewheeling (stay with me....). For me, you are either running or your not. Walking is not running. When I run 21 miles I run for the entire 3+ hours. But on a bike, people freewheel all the time. You can rest whilst still making progress (this makes more sense in my head, sorry).

3. Faffing
I don't think I will get over the level of messing about there is before, during and after a cycle. The amount of gear you have to get ready and carry with you does annoy me. Especially as I am a faffer anyway. It takes me 10 minutes to get ready for any run but not so for riding. Then there is the repair equipment just in case there is a flat and then the cleaning at the end. For the Meon Valley Plod, the biggest headache was regular shoes or XC shoes and actually, either would have done.

4. Stopping
I can't get my head around feed stations on rides. I know you don't have to stop and nutrition is vital but stopping for a chat is common place and part of cycling. That's cool but it seems odd coming from a running perspective. During a running race, if you stop at a water station or marshal point for more than a minute, people start asking if you are injured and do you need a ride back to the start.

5. Cost
Over £2500 for cycling so far in the last 12 months. £120 on running.

Many of you (as if thousands read this) will disagree with a lot of this especially the difficulty points. Others might point to my 6 years as a runner and only 9 months as a cyclist and they have a valid point. These are just my deranged thoughts after 4 hours of running and cycling on Saturday. When it boils down to it, I'm just pleased I don't have to choose and I can run and ride a lot.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Got my bike back from Prologue last night. Its looking very sexy. New Mavic wheels fitted, new chain, new cassette, new cables, new handle bar tape and new GP4000 tyres. Sweet.

I was very surprised at just how much lighter the bike felt with the new wheels. Also, the freewheel is very quiet which is a big change from the noisy Fulcrums.

Monthly Stats - March 2009

A fantastic month. It started slowly as I suffered after doing the Meon Valley Plod 21 mile run on the 1st. Once I got going, I met all my goals and felt good with it. According to MapMyRide, I burnt off 33,408 calories which is amazing if true. I did 41 hours 52 minutes of exercise, ran 63 miles, rode 528 mile and climber 32,800 feet climbed on the bike.

March Goals:
Do over 60 miles running - PASS (63 miles)
Do over 450 miles cycling - PASS (528 miles)
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions - PASS (100%)
Complete the Meon Valley Plod in under 3:50 - PASS (3:32)
Complete the Burgess Hill Classic in under 4:30 hours (riding time) - PASS (4:25)
Complete the Ballbuster in under 4:00 hours - PASS (3:46)
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target - PASS (First 10 miles of Burgess Hill in 28.30)

April Goals:
Do over 50 miles running
Do over 550 miles cycling
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions
Ride over 200 miles in Devon
Average 18 mph for 1 hour
Break 5K PB in under 22 minutes