Getting real, real fast

This week it is starting to hit me, what I have taken on. I am not lacking in confidence, in fact the reverse. I feel good (real good). I am fit, healthy and am in the hands of an endurance God, so I know it’s now down to me to deliver.

Mark could not have done more to get me to this place. We spoke earlier this week to agree the next weeks training and the taper and we are both happy with where we are at, especially after the illness issues I had at the start of the year. Mark has also guided me on nutrition for the event and there is a conversation still to be had on hydration.

But now I am not thinking training and fitness, I am thinking travel plans and packing, pacing strategy and race scenarios, what kit to take and what kit to wear, breakfast for race day and the recovery meal(s).

There is the final build up from a training perspective – a 1 hr 35 mins pool swim yesterday (circa 150 lengths) was an endurance event in its own right! But a rest day today, another rest day Friday short easy sessions next week and some more rest days, it’s getting close!!!!

Am I scared? Am I worried? Do I wish I hadn’t entered? Not at all. I want to get it on, not in a cocky way, not at all. In an I am ready, I am prepared and I can do this kind of way.

Will I be scared, worried and wish I hadn’t have entered – I am sure these will be my final thoughts as the swim starts!

Thanks for reading

 

Sorry Sir, you need to upgrade

So this week started with a different challenge for me – having realised my bike frame was broken beyond repair during the night rider 100K bike ride, I had 7 days to: find a replacement frame, order it, get it delivered, get all my group set moved across, test ride the bike and get some miles under my belt on the new frame (as a check and for some much needed confidence) and then pack the bike away in the travel box ready for delivery to Austria.

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Thank God (no not you Mark, the other one!) for Corridori cycle shop in Drift Bridge. Once they had seen the photo of the damaged frame they asked me to take it in ASAP as ‘it didn’t look good’. I took the bike in that evening, they called the next day with the best option for me, buy a new Boardman frameset (unfortunately the only one Boardman did was the 9.8 AiR from the Elite range being an upgrade from the 9.4 I had before) they confirmed they would have it ready for first thing Saturday so I could ride it Saturday morning and take it back for any adjustments needed in the afternoon.

Knowing all was OK I could focus back on training for the week – which was getting hard, long swim sessions, hard run sessions, lake swims and before I knew it, I was collecting the new bike.

Saturday’s test ride found one major flaw in the bike, it’s too damn fast. It’s physically hard to go on an easy ride. It’s fast, sturdy, comfortable, confident in its handling and it just eats up the road in front of it. I did just under 50K in just over two hours including a zip up Box Hill on what was supposed to be an ‘easy, get a feel for the new bike, test ride’.

This didn’t help Sunday’s hard 65K ride when the bike was more up for the ride then my legs were. We got through it together, but I had to redefine the phrase ‘hard effort’ for that session.
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It was actually sad to pack the bike away Sunday afternoon, knowing I would have to revert to the turbo now until I got to Austria.

Thanks for reading.

 

KIT, I need you buddy.

I am behind on my blogs again so over the past few days I have been trying to catch up.

Saturday 7th June saw me take part in the Night Rider which is an overnight (see what they did there) 100K cycle ride. Now in reality this wasn’t my event. I was acting solely as a support rider, motivational talisman and dare I say rock for my step daughter Leigh who was doing the ride for the charity Tommy’s. A charity that provides funding for research into premature births and miscarriages.

A noble charity, a noble idea to participate and a huge physical mountain for Leigh to overcome. Taking on a 100K bike ride, with no riding experience to call on, through the night, on a borrowed bike, with only me for company – she must be mad!

Leigh had done a lot of training early on, which for good reason faltered towards the end. We both just hoped the training done before hand, and true grit and determination when that run out – would be sufficient.

IMG_0164We set off at 10.50pm from Crystal Palace and neither of us really knew what we were letting ourselves in for. But for me it was one of the most enjoyable events I have participated in. For Leigh it was hell! The training Leigh had put in run out at on the hill leading up to Ally Pally, but luckily for the charity Leigh was representing, she don’t give up. She sucked it up, grew a pair and ploughed on to the finish, with a smile through the grimacing – I reckon there is a Ironman in the making there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a ‘me’ event. Firstly, it wasn’t timed (why ride in a sportive and not know officially what time you did it in?) Why ride overnight in the dark when you can ride during the day in the sun and sleep at night? Why ride through London when we live so close to Surrey Hills, Richmond Park and several other more scenic areas.

So I wouldn’t have entered this ride if it wasn’t for Leigh. And I would have missed out on the following:-

  • seeing the Olympic stadium and Velodrome – which resembles a space ship plonked in the middle of a field and is an awesome sight,

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  • the sun coming up over London and some beautiful sights from the various bridges we crossed (as shown in the pictures in the blog),

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  • the Thames looking like a mirror before anyone had used it,

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  • the sense of achievement in Leigh’s face as she crossed the finish line and achieved what she thought hours earlier would be impossible
  • and seeing a traffic jam in central London at 3am

It also had a secondary tick of being ‘time on the bike’ getting ready for IM Austria and wrapped around a big swim session Friday evening and a hard run Saturday morning and another hard turbo session Sunday afternoon, it meant a lot of training was knocked over without me riding for hours and hours on my own.

So almost a great nights work.

The almost was because it was the start of another adventure as I broke my frame during the ride. Not good with 10 days to go until the bike went to Austria a week ahead of the event.

Thanks for reading.

Big Fish – Small Pond

It’s been another cracking week, slightly achey legs off the back of the half ironman last week, but that didn’t stop some good sessions this week.

An easy turbo Monday to aid recovery from the tri the day before, then a good swim set Tuesday, a hard turbo Weds night, (so hard I had to knock off the intensity a bit to complete the set) and a 45 mins run Thursday set me up for the weekend nicely.

Up at 5am yesterday, drive to Heron lake for a 2K easy swim (42 mins) and a circa 5K run off the swim.

All this led up to todays 3.8K Big Fish swim at Reading. Up at 5am again! One of the biggest challenges of the day, and the wife and I set off. Got there in plenty of time, registered etc and got ready.

The lake was quite warm, warmer then Heron Lake the day before. A short warm up and we were off. And the swim was quite uneventful. I sighted well so no extra K’s zig zaging all over the place, I kept the pace level the whole swim, no going off fast and running out of steam, if anything I went faster the last 400 metres. I felt really good the whole swim, strong in my stroke, breathing well, trying to draft of others where I could (not much opportunity for that!)

The only down side was the ‘flap’ on my wetsuit, at the top of the zip came undone as I started, so I am sure I was taking on water. I did stop and do it up but it came undone as soon as I started swimming again. So I left it for the rest of the race. Not ideal but I don’t think it held me up much.

I finished the swim in an unofficial time of 1 hour 18 mins. Not too bad. At Heron Lake yesterday I did 2K in 42 mins so I was going at a faster pace for the race. Got a lovely medal too!

I quickly got changed and did a 5K run off the swim. All good, all easy pace, all no real effort. As I ran for 30 mins I was one of the last to shower so no queue.

Then the wife came up with the idea of the weekend, so off we went to the nearby hotel for a full English breakfast. A lubberly jubberly end to a good weekend’s training.

So my first 3.8K swim – so by default a PB and another confidence builder for the Iron Man – only 4 weeks to go now – GULP.

Thanks for reading.