One thing confirmed at the weigh in was that I have had a good winter! Since completing Challenge Roth last year I have put on 6.8kg of blubber, which was great fun to accumulate and did its job over the winter months. So how much am I going to lose? Having raced Roth at 79kg last year I felt that I could comfortably lose another 2kg. Knowing that I boxed in the army at 73kg which was hard work to get to and a weight I can't realistically sustain, I suspect that 75kg is my basement weight. For reference I am 173cm in height and medium build.
I am going to attack the weight loss in 2 phases. Phase 1 aim will lose a kilo a week achieved through some serious distance and mountain work combined with a 'modest' reduction of alcohol and unhealthy snacks in my diet. Phase 2 will see a more graduated and controlled weight loss to identify a comfortable race weight achieved through exercise in my training programme and a more regulated diet substituting any remaining unhealthy snacks with tasty, healthy alternatives.
You may wonder why I haven't decided to try a more effective weight loss diet such as the protein diet? The simple answer is that I enjoy my diet which is pretty healthy aside from unhealthy snacks which 'should' accompany a beer or glass of wine. The easy calories to eliminate from my diet will be reducing those unhealthy snacks and portion control which means that I don't need a 'new diet', my existing diet just needs a tweak. When I hit 80kg I will start to minimise alcohol and unhealthy snacks whilst trying to identify healthy ways of satisfying the 'hunger monster' created by the training programme.
I will also start experimenting with solid foods for the race nutrition plan... Prior preparation and planning, prevents piss poor performance! The 5Ps for success...
I have pressed the ‘pay now’ button for the Double Brutal but I suspect that most of the payment will be made in September in blood, sweat and tears in Snowdonia National Park!
More importantly I now have to set some key objectives, produce a training framework and understand what I need to do to cross the line without crippling myself.
I have set some initial objectives, which consist of losing weight, increase strength and flexibility, continued improvement of swim technique and sort out my existing niggles with the physio.
I fly out to New Zealand for 5 weeks in the morning which sorts out my immediate training framework… Mountains, mountains and more mountains. Fortunately the open water swimming in Lake Wanaka is as good as it gets and I’ll use the opportunity to build up to being comfortable for 2 hours in the water.
Whilst I’m out in New Zealand I will develop a training framework for the UK and flesh out the race plan. I will also start to look at the admin and logistics requirements to sustain the support team and myself over the weekend.
When back in the UK I am going to see a very good friend ‘Grant Breese’ who is a personal trainer and performance coach (https://www.breese2you.com). Aside from catching up for a few beers I am going to ask him for his take on preparation, training and managing your body for an event like this.
I’ll post progress and developments for what will hopefully be an enjoyable, painful, challenging and healthy journey to a successful weekend!
Not strictly true but bikes definitely make noises when they are unhappy. I recently disappeared on holiday to Crete which btw is a great sea swimming destination. In the days prior to flying I had a couple of wet road and mtb rides, in my rush to get sorted for a week away I didn't spend the 2 minutes it would have taken to spray the chains with some GT85 or WD40 to protect them until my return. I knew this was a mistake but felt under pressure to get sorted for a week away and decided to chance my arm...
I return from Crete to some cracking British weather and take the mtb out for a spin, my chainset was already fairly well worn after lots of wet and gritty highland abuse. Instantly the ride started with unhappy feedback noise from the chain and sticky shifting. The gritty noise and sticky shifting gets worse, I turn the volume up on the podcast I am listening to! I have a feeling this will lead to disaster but crack on anyway eventually the chain snaps amidst a mistimed climbing shift and I have nobody else to blame for the walk home...
The following day having stripped and cleaned the mtb, I confirmed that the chainset had pretty much reached the end of its useable life I ordered and a new set. But I had wasted the opportunity of a great days riding the previous day through bike abuse and neglect. Time to take the roady out, the chain looked ok if not a little crusted up from some of the muddy puddles the Cotswolds had gifted on its last ride. The flat spin up to my local hill session ride seemed uneventful until I started the first climb and the chain immediately started making scary bottom bracket cracking noises. Having already ruined the previous days sunny ride I headed straight home for a quick clean and lube. Back up University hill and the chain was purring with delight about its clean and shiny state.
This was a useful reminder for me that looking after your bike with a couple of minutes post ride love will save problems on your next ride, which due to Murphy's Law will always be a rare blue sky British sunny day. Bikes make lots of noises all of which provide riders with feedback about set up, component wear and how well your bike is maintained. Next time your bike starts talking to you, take a minute to understand what its trying to tell you!
After Challenge Roth in 2016 I decided that I wanted a bigger challenge in 2017. I started to look for Ironman plus distance events and whilst supporting a friend’s team in the Double Brutal triathlon in Llanberis, found my event!
I had already decided that I would like to compete in two ironman distance events in 2017. Having decided on the Double Brutal as the main event I need to find an ironman distance triathlon in the UK. I am looking for something close to home, not to expensive, well organised with a relaxed atmosphere and enjoyable course. In essence a pleasant warm up to the Brutal later in the year to gauge where I am at. I may have left it a little late with the growing popularity of Ironman distance triathlon and struggle with availability on my preferred events in which case I will be trying something a bit different. Trying something different, not always getting what you want is probably good for you every once in a while…
This left me wondering how other people choose their events. What are the drivers people use for event selection; is it an enjoyable course, high profile event, race organiser, atmosphere, location or availability?
Whatever their motivations they are notching up some serious kudos… there is no such thing as an easy ironman!
The nice people at Time Sport have been in contact to let me know that all of their products carry a 2 year guarantee, which is good news. I was under the impression that it was a 12 month warranty so I was delighted but am now wondering what the other cycling companies are offering on frames and components?
I purchased the pedals through Wiggle who no longer sell the Time Attac XCs so it's time to look around to see who does. I wonder if Wiggle are moving away from Time products as their Time pedal range seems to have vastly reduced.
A good outcome for fans of Time pedals today... a 2 year guarantee isn't something to be sniffed at!
Running and cycling in Europe offers so many enjoyable holiday benefits that we forget about it's forthcomings... Today I was reminded of one, 'the ambush gate dog' that will always surprise the pants off you! Every time you forget about the last gate you were made to look like a startled cat, you are abruptly ejected out of your holiday runs' deepest thoughts by another pair of ankle high dogs barking well above their weight!
I have seen a lot of Europe on the bike and have yet to be bitten, but 'ambush gate dogs' will always get me and to be honest it doesn't really bother me. Mainly because I know that I can drift back into some relaxing thoughts until the next gate...
I have always worked on the basis that change is inevitable and fighting it pointless. When the quality of a great product declines over time and you have to start considering a change, even if it seems like it is going to be a costly one, sometimes you have to press the button.
I have been a long term fan of TIme mtb pedals, mainly because they engage in the UKs worst mud and have plenty of float. Yesterday however, I broke my third set in as many years. Not only did the pedal snap but so did my patience. I have sent an email to Time, Time UK distributor and Wiggle explaining my frustrations about a product I champion with a reliability issue. This set of pedals (Attac Carbon XC8) are 6 months outside of warranty. If this was a one off I could just about live with that with a lot of grumbling. It isn't though I and 6 pairs of their middle to high range pedals on 6 bikes is close to £500, not including 2 sets of pedals that I have ground to dust and sent to a deserving grave after 10 years of hard labour.
I hope this story ends well with Time, their Dist or Wiggle stepping up and saying that they will make it right. I have a feeling that they won't. Before I hit the button... I will wait and see what happens!
Latest casualty.. the retaining pin across the pedal popped out resulting in the spring ejecting itself somewhere in the woods. No spring equals no cleat retention 😥
Had the perfect riding conditions over the past few days in the Cotswolds before the weather closed out. An old army buddy came up from Portsmouth for a 'Tour de Cotswolds' and he wasn't disappointed. One of the great things that come out of adventures with old friends are the plans that you make for the next trip!
The Adventure Cycle Festival in the Lake District (2-4 June) has been agreed and the admin instruction has been sent out to the possibles. Looking forward to the banter over the next couple of months, have already been asked if the 100km gravel race is 'social or heads down', the answer is probably 'both'! Can't wait...
I think life has a habit of getting in the way of being a regular blogger, but, I am going to try and blog with a sort of regular without setting a pattern.
I am up in the Lake District this week trying to get some good product review photos in classic British mountain country. The weather has other ideas including constant rain, wind, snow and poor light less than ideal for photography.
I can't complain as its great to be back in the Lakes and time spent off the hills hasn't been wasted testing local food, coffee and beer. Its difficult not to love the Lake District with its ancient heritage and haunting landscapes. In particular the distinctive half pipe silhouette and imposing faces of some of the mountain passes never get old when moving through them.
I will leave you with a favourite photo of the trip after a bike loop taking in Newlands and the Honnister Passes in some pretty miserable weather.
Finally the sun appeared in UK skies for the whole day yesterday. I managed to sneak out for a ride with my pal Rickie for a 40km loop around the hills and valleys surrounding Bath. We found some challenging washed out ancient bridleways, parts of the Fosse Way, Tithe Barns, decent pub in Wellow and some great little trails linking up an enjoyable loop. Life is good.... but now back to redecorating the house!