Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Zealand

Ok, so it's been a while, nearly 6 months, since my last post but I've not had my feet up all the time.

Post IM Switzerland I had a few plans for some fun racing over the UK summer but 2 weeks of absolute rest followed by a tough 5 days around Mt Ventoux for the penultimate stage of the TdF saw me pretty shattered and with a bit of an Achilles problem. In the end it was September before I was up and running again and with the trip to NZ on the horizon I kept the training light and concentrated on sorting my life out to get everything in order (house rented out etc) to come out to NZ for 6 months.

Flying out Mid Nov I've been here 6 weeks now and Wellington is starting to feel like home. The weather is pretty incredible - howling winds, glorious sun, freezing southerly gales seem to occur in rapid succession most days - I keep being promised it'll settle in Jan. So I'll be out on my bike in the sun tomorrow...

Wellington is more than I could have hoped for in terms of a training location, I have a 33m pool on a beach (Freyberg) 5min jog from the flat so have a choice of open water or pool swims on tap. The running is great with tonnes of on and off road routes and millions of people to hook up with. I couldn't ask for more in terms of riding, in 4 weeks here I've already come across pretty much a group every morning and evening of the week! Sunday group rides from Capital bike shop see up to 60 guys doing a fast 3hrs, with a 30k race back to town on the way home (normally with a tail wind), packs of 20+ racing at 55kph+ seem to be the norm. Awesome.

So 5 weeks of 16-18hrs and I'm starting to feel like my old self. I've been putting off shaving my legs until I was feeling faster but stripped them down this morning, that's going to give me an extra kph this afternoon for nothing!!

Also took delivery of my new BMC TT02 on Christmas Eve. Waiting for the Zipp 808's to be swapped to Campy and then I have a race machine... see the little pick below. Thanks to the guys at Capital Cycles for doing such a great job on it.I have a little tester in two weeks (Sat 16th Jan) down in Wanaka where I'm doing the Challenge Wanaka Half distance. So expect the updates to be coming in a bit more regularly now.

Happy New Year


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

IM Switz Analysis

Results for Hawaii roll down are up for Switzerland. I missed a slot by 15:13, the slowest M30-34 qualifier doing 9:14:09
I just compared it to Arizona last year where I was 14:43 away from qualifying, with the slowest M30-34 qualifier doing a 9:34:13.
Taking into consideration a puncture (which according to my Garmin had me stopped for 4 mins) I just need to find another 11mins and I might get that slot.
Another 8 months of training, a good day and maybe it'll be third time lucky at Ironman NZ next March!!
May as well target sub 9 to be safe !

Monday, 13 July 2009

IM switz

I'll write a proper report later. But for now just a quick one to thank everyone who supported, on the course and especially all those that mailed, text and posted on our forum.

Offered 9:29 with a puncture on Friday I would have taken it. But offered 34th in AG I might not have been so keen. The standard yesterday (maybe helped by some drafting) was incredible. I had a slightly ropey swim, hitting T1 in 63mins, a quick transition and I picked up a puncture at 15k on the bike. 4mins later I was off again and the rest of the bike was good. A great course of decent hills and mega fast pancake flat lakeside.

Off the bike in 5:06 (about 6:12 on the clock) I hit out at 3:10 pace. This lastest two miles before I setled into 3:15 pace which seemed sustainable. Bumped into Justin Webbs teamate Tim Bishop (Optima Race Team) half way into the 2nd lap (of four) and we ran together for nearly 10miles. Thank Tims, without you I would have almost certainly dropped off more. Tim ran off about 20miles and in the end took me for just over a minute. Well done on the Hawaii slot mate.

The last 10k were pretty brutal, the last 5.5 were impossibly hard - sorry Ed there was no chance to enjoy them! Bu I was really chuffed to dip under the 9:30 mark.

In the end I would have needed to go 9:08 to be guaranteed a slot. So even without the bad swim and puncture I would have been lucky to get within 15mins of a slot this time.

Not sure yet what's next. A week or so of R&R and a 'fun' trip to the Ventoux and I'll start making some plans. IM NZ is looking good for next spring!

Thanks again everyone. Lxx

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Ironman Switzerland T - 14 hours

Another easy day today, plenty of fluids and time off my feet - I could get used to this.

We took an easy swim in the lake this morning and it was clear and warm. Nice place for a bun fight!

Also got driven around the bike course by a teammate. It's a cracker. 30k flat along the lakeside. 35k of hills including a couple of decent 5k climbs and then fly back down to the lakeside for another 20k of flat apart from a short sharp ascent of 'heartbreak hill'. And repeat.

The bike is checked in and nothing more to do but gather my bits for the morning, eat some more pasta and get an early night.

Don't forget you can watch my progress at and I'll post an update soon as I can.

Cheers for all the good luck msgs.


Friday, 10 July 2009

Ironman Switzerland T - 2 days

Arrived in Zurich yesterday. All is well. After a small bag mix up (all my fault) I got to the hotel, set the bike up and went for an easy ride and run.

In contrast to Arizona last year I am not feeling the same amount of pressure for Sunday. I'm genuinely excited about the race. Obviously there are the normal nerves and desires to just be started, but all that's normal.

The course looks fantastic, a warm (ish) clear lake swim, moderate ride - on great roads, and a pancake flat run around the lake.

I'm feeling as strong as ever. So fingers crossed I can do myself justice out there.


Friday, 3 July 2009

New Garmin 310XT

Many thanks to Paul at Garmin UK and Jo at sweatshop for helping me source one of the new Garmin 310's for Switzerland next week. Waterproof and with a 20hr battery life I can take it real slow!!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Harwich Olympic Triathlon

Another good blast this weekend on the way to Ironman Switzerland.

I've not completed an Olympic distance triathlon since Swanage in 2007 so I was eager to give it a really good crack. Looking at the field I knew local vet Roy Young would be strong and Toby Radcliffe was due to start, so that might be fun! Also my good buddy and training partner George is easing himself out of injury and decided to have a crack, so we were bound to have a decent scrap, especially in the water. Then last minute another training mate Darren Treadaway entered, so things were looking tougher!

With the race kicking off at 10am it was a leisurely drive over (thanks Alex for the lift) and we had plenty of time for a nice warm up run and to sort everything in transition.

George, Darren and I were all in the first wave (of four) and with small number in each wave we were quickly off from the beach start. I few jostles of the beach and I got in a group of three (one George) very quickly.

A solid swim, just losing George at the final turn buoy left me out of the water 5th in our wave. I slipped through T1 though and came out just on Darren's shoulder in 3rd. I watched Darren ease away on the bike for 20 mins and then he seemed to slow, I kept the pressure on and at about 40mins I went past him. Unfortunately that was te kick up the &ss he needed to then charge back through me and take a minute out of me in the last 15k - gutted!

Around T2 Darren took the fast swimmer guy for the lead and had me for a minute or so, and George was maybe 2.5mins behind me battling for 4th. I had 2nd place in my sights the whole run, chipping away at his minute lead as best I could. I found my legs in the 2nd (5k) lap and pushed on, eventually ending in a sprint finish where we finished shoulder to shoulder.

So in our wave Dazzle was first, me joint 2nd and George got pipped back to 5th.

Hanging around for the awards Darren secured the win by a country mile, I got pushed to joint 3rd by local hero Roy Young and George slipped a couple of slots to 7th.

The swim and bike were long, so the time was of no consequence but I was pretty pleased. I clearly have a lot of sharpening to do to be competitive at this distance, but that's not were I'm aiming at the moment!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Weymouth Middle Distance - 4th Place

It's been a while since I've updated the blog, but then it's been a while since I raced!

This weekend was the first 'tri' of the season, one of only two before I head out to Ironman Switzerland next month.

I wanted to find a middle distance tri early June and in the end Weymouth was the best fit with various family commitments.

After the last few weeks of great weather arriving Saturday afternoon was a bit of a crash back to UK summer reality. 25mph winds, torrential showers and 3 foot of wind swell in the bay were not exactly what I was hoping for. But it would be the same for everybody. I got myself registered into the 7am wave with the quick boys, got my numbers and headed over to Devon for an afternoon 60th birthday party!

Coming back to Weymouth early evening the weather seemed to have deteriorated, my mate Ed and I got some food and an early night.

Incredibly the wake up call at 4:30 brought sun coming through the thread-bare curtains. The sea was gently lapping at the cobbled beach, roads were dry and things looked a lot more favourable.

As I'd moved wave I didn't have a slot in transition, so the Ref placed me against the fence of the tennis court. I set the bike up right next to Bike Out in prime location, pulled on my suit and went for a quick warm up swim.
Apart from feeling like I still had a couple of kg's of carbs sat in my guts I was feeling great.

I lined up with mate and rival Justin Webb (Optima RT) and only 10mins later we were off.

It was a simple swim, out to a buoy, turn right, swim 900m's parallel to the beach, turn-around, swim back, left around another buoy and into the beach. Rather than my usual fight to get clear water and breathing under control I didn't worry. I took a breathe every 2nd stroke and went for it. 5mins in I was top 20 (or so), then got into a rhythm, trying to keep my arm t/o as quick as possible and started to move through the packs. By the furthest turn-around buoy I was inside the top ten. I took some feet for a few mins, then pushed on again. I took one or two more in the last half of the swim and exited the water in 33 mins.

With only one person going under 30mins, I'm pretty sure it was long, so I was very happy with the swim.

A quick fall in transition (slippery steps!) some irritation fumbling with my number belt and I hit the road in 34:54 (my target was sub 35!). My tactic on the bike was to really go for it - complex plan! Not quite the level of my 50m TT last weekend, but certainly pushing it more than I historically do in Middle distance.

The only real climb of the course was the first 5miles out of Weymouth, were I took a couple of the fast women from our waver (Yvette Grice, etc). Onto the dual carriageway and I took a couple of guys and got taken by eventual winner Edward Charlton-Weedy. I stuck within 50 yards of Edward for 15mins but then he started to drift away, finally just before the first turnaround at around 50mins, I overtook Toby Radcliffe and he confirmed I was in second place - I must have taken a few more in transition.

I saw the back of Edward as I came back onto the dual carriageway from the flyover and that was the last I saw of him. From 55 mins I was on my own, I gave a shout to Ed and team mate Adam at various turnarounds and timed to see Justin was 5mins back.

Maybe it was the sea water I drank, maybe it was the extra effort, but I struggled to get any water or food down in until 75mins. I had a bad patch then and forced a gel and some cake bar down.

The rest of the bike was uneventful, rolling dual carriageway in and out of the wind and a shower and then a fun decent back to Weymouth and T2.

Target was 2:14 for the bike and I got through with T2 in 2:15:24, so still pretty much on schedule. As I rode the final 500m's into transition I saw Edward running out the other way (I later heard he was 7mins up) - impressive riding.

Onto the run, the legs felt like lead. It wasn't a hilly run, but was rolling. I'd targeted 6:15/miles but try as I might couldn't get much under 6:40's. My excessive carbo loading was maybe taking the brunt! At 2 miles I got taken for 2nd, and again try as I might I couldn't get back onto the guy. I manged to hold a 30 sec gap for the rest of the first lap, but there was no impression to be made.

The next 10miles I ran on fear, knowing I wasn't running quickly and that Justin and Co. would be chasing me down. Justin was in form to run 6:15's and at 25secs a mile I wasn't sure if he'd quote get me. Toby Radcliffe has run 3hrs off the bike in an IM so he's no slouch.

I pushed on at the same pace to the last mile and rolled through the line in 4:15.11, I'd wanted to go under 4:12, so please enough. It was great to have some supporters at the end and better still to see Justin had worked his way all the way through the field to come in 66 secs behind for 4th (3rd in wave) and Toby another 80 secs behind that.

In the end Matt Hammerton, who went off in a later wave, had a great race to finish in 2nd, leaving me in 4th and Justin in 5th.

Still good preparation for Switzerland. Several lessons learnt.

1. Force yourself to eat
2. Don't kill the bike if you want to run fast! (I had a 154 Av HR on the bike, compared to 155 on the run)
3. You can overdo Carbo loading / race prep eating!
4. High arm turnover makes me fast open water

Harwich Olympic distance on the 21st, then a taper for Switzerland on the 12th July!

Monday, 1 June 2009

New Race Team - University of Essex Human Performance Unit

After protracted negotiation on package I am pleased to annouce that this year I will be racing for The University of Essex Human Perfomrance Unit

I have been working with Dave Parry and Tom Cudmore over at the HPU since 2005 and am really excited to be part of the race team that they are putting together.

For details on the coaching and testing services available at the HPU, see

Monday, 2 March 2009

PB at Barcelona Marathon

I’d talked up the fact I was trying to go under 2:50, but I really wanted to go for 2:45, so there was no hiding from the job at hand when I toed the line for Barcelona Marathon yesterday morning.

The plan was simple, run a 1:22:00 first half and then keep going and do another the same. In the end it worked pretty much perfectly to plan.

Up early on Saturday I landed at Barcelona airport late morning, took the train into the city and wandered up to the Expo to pick up my number and get some excellent free pasta. Thankfully my hotel was within a 5minute walk of the start line, so 30minutes wandering around with a map and I was there! A few hours nap, a very short run with some pick ups, some dinner and I was ready for an early night. My first ever night in Barcelona and I was in bed by 9:30pm...

Having a hotel so close to the start took away all the stress of dropping a bag and finding toilets; I went for a warm up run, nipped back to the hotel, stripped to my vest and jogged up to the start line for 8:15. Five minutes later I’d necked a gel and was 12 rows back from the start counting down the last 10 minutes with some very excitable Spanish hype. I was surprised at just how frantic the first couple of miles were, I thought I was far enough forward to avoid the jostle but everyone seemed to go off at 5k pace. Remembering the last time I ran a standalone marathon (3:36 in 2003) I avoided the temptation to do any weaving and stuck to the pace of the pack. My plan was to run under 6:15/Mile pace, the first two miles passed in the high 6:20’s but the legs felt incredible and I kept reminding myself I have over 2.5 hrs to get back a few lost seconds. Concentrating on ‘Loose is Fast’ (mantra of the day – thanks Ed) I started to ease up the pace, mile 3 was a bit quicker and I went through 5k in just over 20mins. By now the crowds of runners had cleared and I was cruising through some heavy breathers - what were they going to be like in 3hrs if they were that knackered at 5k?

I found the course fantastic, a proper city marathon route, big roads, no acute changes of direction and very little in the way of inclines and the views were spectacular. It actually felt like there was more downhill than up. 30k passed without incident, I ran my own race the whole way. I joined a of groups, and a few guys tagged onto me at times, but each time I ended up moving through them. There was one local guy I ended running with for the majority of the last 20miles and a guy from Ely who was also trying to go under 2:45 but we lost him at about 15miles. I was wearing the Garmin but soon found that it didn’t correlate very well with the official k markers, I ended up having to run 6:06/Mile average on the Garmin to stay on target for 2:45 pace. I think my official ½ marathon time was 1:22 and 20 odd seconds, the Garmin had it at under 1:20.

I promised myself a gel at 55mins and 1:50 and I was ready for it at 29k, the caffeine in the SMART gel did the trick and I pushed on from the little group I was running with, again the only guy that came with me was the local chap. We caught a couple more and another group formed as we dropped to the coast and ran into a headwind towards the old town, me leading on caffeine power! About 36k the caffeine started to disappear and I had my only low point, it lasted about a k and my local friend got 15/20metres on me. I went back to the mantra ‘loose is fast’ reminded myself I only had 5k left and that was less than 20mins, you can do anything for 20mins – yea? By 37/38k we were into the heart of the old town, the roads narrowed and the crowds grew, I concentrated on keeping the pace even, not getting excited by the crowds and on slowly reining in Mr Barcelona. The hilly finish I'd been warned about didn’t appear, there was a bit of a drag at 40k, but by then I was home and dry, I pulled back another 4 or 5 in the last k and finish directly behind Mr Barcelona.

All in all a very satisfying day. I felt I was running within myself the whole way, I stuck to within a few beats of my target HR and pace and it paid off. According to the Garmin, I ran 1:20:19 for the first 21k and 1:20:22 for the second, pretty even splits for a marathon. I don’t think I could have done much more without risking an almighty blow out, but there is certainly more to come if I can do a 2:44 off the back of 5 weeks running and 5 weeks eating and holidaying. I guess there is still some good base left from Ironman Arizona.

So now I have a decent standalone marathon in my back pocket when I get off the bike in (Ironman) Switzerland in July. I’ll be trying to ingrain an easier pace so I can come off the bike and get straight into the grove. If I could run 3:10 off the bike in Switzerland going sub 9:15, and that Kona slot, start to look more plausible.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Too much snow...

It's been a tough month and I haven't quite had the preparation I had hoped for coming up to Barcelona Marathon. The man flu lingered into the 2nd week of Jan and it was only 3 weeks ago that I really started training again.

I have a few decent weeks in the bag now, the run mileage has crept up to a steady 50+miles and I've picked the bike fun up.

We've seen a load of snow this week, which has hampered things a little, so the mtb has seen more action than normal. The pictures are of my ride to work on Monday!

Just 3 weeks tomorrow until Barcelona, from the point of view that I want a motivator to get the run miles in, it's worked well. In terms of running my best possible standalone marathon this isn't going to be the occasion...

It may be I end up running the race as a long training run. I'll let you know in 3 weeks.

(below: David enjoys the snow - it was fun for a day!!)