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