Archive Page 2


Contender ready ?

Would you believe we are considering doing “Little Pig” for a fun?  Strangely the length of the race is not the problem but the possibility of doing real damage to my back or ankle need careful consideration. That said I need a test event to decide which distances I will race more seriously next season as a duathlete.

Yes I have enjoyed this period of my training and without the pressure of pretending to be a triathlete(I do swim a little when I enter them) I have really trained quite well.

Last bike shakedown was on Tuesday night with a 300 watt 10 mile TT, crap time but good effort.

The rest of the week has been a mix of taper and recover from the weekend, must admit the pain in my quads has really surprised me.

Bring on Sunday !!


Tuning up

I have been out on the TT bike the last few weeks just trying to spend some time on it so I thought maybe what I needed was a tune up race before the National so a quick search in the internet and I found the Ashridge Duathlon. Off road run and TT bike friendly lapped road course. Entered the sprint as I wanted to do a hard effort off no rest.

Hotel booked nearby so Em and I cruised up on the Saturday evening and ate near the hotel. Mad all the drive plans for the morning and got to bed reasonably early remembering the clocks went forward.

Race day and initially all went to plan including testing deep heat on my legs (BLOODY HELL) to make sure I wasn’t cold. Thermal base layer and neoprene gloves were out again.  I put the bike in transition and then noticed the issue. There was no garmin on my bike!!! TWAT !!! Warm up became a tempo run to the car and back. No worries made the line nicely warmed up.

Off we went and I quickly noticed that my breathing was a little rougher than I would like, that said I settled in and ran a solid effort on the first run, went for the calm transition and a smooth easy exit . Jumped on the bike and although the garmin was running there was something frozen on the screen so I rode on how I felt. This went ok as I felt very strong on the bike, went hard on the hills and rode 2 pretty even laps. I knew I was relaxed as I hadn’t really worried about getting out of my shoes which seems silly as I think about it now. I also remember having to twist my leg as my left foot was on the ground. Another smooth and relaxed transition. Analysis showed that I can go harder on the bike which does back up how I felt. I had ridden myself into 2nd place so pretty good really.  As I left T2 the guys in 3rd and 4th were only just coming in so I felt pretty calm when suddenly I got that telling pain in my calf. Shortly after I was standing still and stretching it out. Not sure why I bother as I know it doesn’t work until it is ready.  Thanks to the stop my gap to first was bigger and gap to second smaller and relaxing was now out the question. Once running again I was back to 6mm and pushing hard until I knew I was totally safe which was about 200 metres from the line.

2nd overall and 1st V45 – solid day out off the back of a high volume week,  the only concern seems to be my left leg deteriorating even in a small race like this. I want to laugh it off but with less than 2 weeks until the A race I’m a little concerned.

Oh well, not a lot I can do now beyond make sure I am on the line fresh a week on Sunday.






Oulton Park Sprint Duathlon

In with the big fish.

I like riding a bike and to be honest in places we don’t want to go I admit that I rather love my running.

Thanks to Towers getting me to do some pacing I have been in reasonable shape for the last 3 years so as much as I am in denial I run quite a bit.

As I work with a few triathletes I have been dabbling a little with triathlon and doing a few local duathlons, safe to say I have been quite successful.

This got me thinking that maybe it was time to see if I have been avoiding the sport I am probably most suited to. YES duathlon. I’m not a brilliant runner or a time trialler but I am strong and can back up my efforts quite consistently.

I last had a go at National level in 2010 and 2011, I wasn’t shabby, got a bronze at the GB Age Group champs in 2011, raced at the Worlds and the Euros over those years. There were things at that point I didn’t enjoy and to be honest I was filling a gap as I expected to be back running ultras and collecting my Celtic plate vests running for Wales. Sadly more leg and back issues put paid to that and so the bike has become more and more the focus.

So for the first time since 2011 I was on the entry list for a World Age Group duathlon qualifier but lets be clear right now I am not interested in the blue suit. Not saying never but for now I just want to know where I am and do I have a future at National level events.

I came out of CX season pretty healthy this year but also lacking any real endurance as all my training has been focused on racing for 40 mins so I entered the draft legal sprint. I also banned myself from any MTB racing to avoid silly injuries. There is a possibility a certain bloke is reading this who once questioned my logic of riding an MTB just before a national champs after I crashed and cracked 2 ribs. Seems I have changed and he may have had a point.

Race day

So typical of 2016 I rocked up in terrible weather that only seemed to be getting worse. I registered and racked my bike placing my shoes under a bag with my helmet on top facing down. Not good for speed but somehow dry shoes and head just for a few minutes seemed a good idea. The briefing was long and I was cold even with 5 layers on but then it was time to start. I kept a base layer on and Neoprene gloves and as I stood on the start there was for a few moments SNOW !!! I was questioning my sanity.

Then we were off, cones down the side and running through water, people were flying and after a minute I was aware that my pace was 4.50 per mile and I was going backwards. Thoughts were like this

  1. I suck
  1. They will blow up
  1. Slow down before you blow up

Sure as my name is Gobi people started to slow and I started to move through what was basically the 3rd group.  It was still a shock to be so far down and I was concerned that I wasn’t at the races.

Afterwards I discovered I was 24th and 1st V45 so it seems old and slow was fast enough.

Onto the bike, after my slow transition I left the pit to flying mount my bike and set about making up places. (I put my shoes on and then run out)  It was minging out there but initially I was passing people so spray was not too bad. I caught a pair after a few laps and for 1 lap they did a turn each before I pulled away, it was a handy break in effort but vision was hard and the rain kept coming.  On lap 3 I had the only scary moment when I approached the hairpin at speed and some poor young lady just didn’t understand my request and veered across me twice, I don’t believe I was rude but if I was sorry and I hope you had a good race.

With about a lap to go I was just pushing hard, focused on the run but unbeknown to me at this time starting to suffer in the cold, stats showed my heart rate drop yet I had no perception that my effort had dropped off. Sadly the second I got off the bike I knew things were bad. That said what was obvious was that I could ride a bike.

5th fastest overall on the bike and 1st V45, I was always confident on my biking as this track had the sort of recoveries I am used to in Cyclo cross.

Back to the race.

I dismounted and was instantly aware of cold feet, tight calf and tight hamstrings to the point I was not really running as I left T2.  Distressed that my body was breaking down I just kept pushing forward hoping I would warm and loosen off but as I approached the hairpin the left leg went PING. I stood and watched a people ran passed as I stretched, all my good work drifting away. After what felt like a day but was more like 60-90 seconds I was running and I mean running, last KM was 3.47 not brilliant but a start contrast to the first 3.7kms of the 2nd run. I even got back a couple of places.

41st for the second run and 2nd V45 – this was not good!!!

I crossed the line shaking badly wth Em on hand to throw clothes at me.

Next thing David appears and shouts, welcome back you just won the V45 :¬) Turned out I had beaten all the V40s as well.

Finally having some food I sat there with Em and I discussed my happiness at being competitive and my distress about the state of my legs in the cold, was more the state of me. If it had been standard distance I would not have finished. It is however very hard for people to understand that finishing 17th overall and 1st Vet I could be disappointed yet somehow I was.

Why? I still stand on a start line and race for the overall first and my biking had given me a shot at the top 10, my first was hard but not over the edge so to give up 60-90 second on the 2nd run really hurt.

Plans for next cold event are already coming together but hopefully not needed in April.

Bedford for the National AG champs and this time I will be back on the TT bike and doing the Standard distance, like I said earlier, I’m testing the water and seeing where I am OH and deciding what I want to do next year duathlon wise.

So as far as short distances go the answer to the question ” Is Gobi competitive at National level?” The answer is a resounding YES !!!!

Race well and stay safe



National Cyclo X CHampionships 2017

So I’m sat here gutted as I try to reflect on how my race ended.

How did it end? Oh that was my standing at the top of a bank leaning over my bike in pain. Ironically not through crashing or mechanical issues but through being broken by the course. Yes me, I was broken by the course.

I don’t want to bore people so,  those who know about  my medical issues know but suffice to say it was my left leg that was beaten by the course with my DNF in effect caused by severe cramping in my calf. Sitting here now I am still in pain but I am walking normally which tells me I stopped in time. I’m tender from my knee to my ankle and things are a little discoloured but I’m ok.

What about the course? I know this is the golden question. Right then, the course was brilliant, a mix of off camber running climbs, riding climbs mud and tarmac. This was a true CX course and a challenge for even the best riders. I think one of the things that hurt most is I loved the course and was racing well(by my standards)

I had decided this year to play to my strengths and use my running where I felt I could save time and ironically it is this factor that was my undoing. Both parts of the course where you had to run for any length of time were steep and off camber putting all the pressure on my left ankle and leg and well after 30 plus minutes of racing the leg said no more. As I came off the banking and went to mount there was just pain. I rode on a little but had to unclip quickly then tried again but as I prepped to descent the banking (on the bike) I stood up and ouch!!. Pulled over and did contemplation:

  • It’s the nationals…
  • It’s my health…
  • There are other races…
  • It’s the nationals ..
  • It’s my health

You get the picture and all happening in seconds.

This is one of the few times in my life where I actually realised that my long term health meant more to me than just being top 50, I’m not a completer so if I had carried on it would have been all in and risk everywhere but it doesn’t change the fact sat here now I am wishing I had tried to carry on. You just think but I’m not that bad now.

The mind is a crazy thing isn’t it ? 


Team Chris worked the pit for me as Em was away swanning it up in Norway. Having chatted before hand we had everything sorted. Thank you gentlemen, showing the mind is crazy I feel bad for letting them down as they worked hard for me.

When I stopped I was ahead of my gridding, I hadn’t crashed and had stuck to my pre-race plan.

I still don’t understand how some people seem to have wheel traction in the mud and I get wheel spin. I was using Limus and FMB Super Muds and at some points I just pushed the pedals and didn’t go forward. Anyone ?

I still think using my strength, ie. running is a good thing but again I need to work on my bike skills, they are improving but I know I can do better. With that I do hope to attend more of the classes that Team Chris put on and of course more MTB racing.

Other questions around my food, and last few days prep need to be looked at but I did taper and felt good on the line so not sure that will lead anywhere.

There are a few weeks of racing left and I shall attend with Em so she can get some practice and for me as I just love to race but I am starting to wind down now and think about my road plans.

Have fun



National Trophy Cyclo X

​CX National Trophy 

Now seems as good a time as any to write that blog that cover the entire series and a little diversion. 

Decided this year I would enter all the rounds, I have been in good shape, not crashed too often and really I just wanted to do National Trophy. Em sees different parts of the country from a muddy field usually :¬) 

Before round 1 I got a few rounds of CX in locally and things looked pretty promising so I knew I had made a good decision. 

As for all trips Em and I get a hotel away so we can always be there nice and early on the Sunday for the pre ride. Probably the wisest thing I have done this year and something that has been repeated at any event we travel for (SO ALL CX RACES).

The most alarming thing has been the weather, previous years from October I have been COLD plain and simple but this year I have been warming up taking layers off and even contemplating my tyre choices rather than going straight to mud ones. 

So as always with National CX my battle is not to be last, a harsh statement but when you line up and see 50 riders knowing most are top 5/10 at local leagues and then you add in all the winners you know it is going to be a tough day. Ok I confess I had hoped to may be break top 30 this year if I got a good day. 

Ironically my best day was round 1, early season and pretty dry ground saw me finish 33rd. You can imagine I was feeling buoyed by this and local league riding confirmed I was holding form. Sadly there is no happy ending to this tail as round 2 saw me drop a few more places and as for round 3 up Durham way, probably deserves a blog all to itself but suffice to say I was poor(no jets at all), my skills were poor  not helped by my lack of jump. The weather was cold (up North so obviously). Just a really bad day and in the end I was thankful not to come last. I was however lapped so another goal is set for next season. 

Round 4 was comedy hour. We travelled all the way to Ipswich, good job Ems parents live up this way otherwise it really would have been a wasted trip for us both. This was a crit race no other way to put it. I had the almanzo tyre on to warm up and it felt good. I was doing 20-30 MPH over the grass, there was nothing technical on the course so this was to be my day or was it ?

It wasn’t as it turns out. Good start and good course reading saw me in a small group just off Crispin and really feeling good. Rounded the corner at the pits and passed the entrance as my wheel came out the frame. Too far to run on a crit race course so walked into the pit exit and a DQ. Race lasted 3mins and 31 seconds!!!!!! Em was concerned as she had done the wheels but I wasn’t as I trust her. In the end it turned out I had a broken frame :¬( but I did learn that if you are between the pit entry and exit you can go backwards on the course. The only real positive from the weekend.

More good racing even in the dirt happened at local level so with round 5 approaching, a “new” bike in the offing I was ready to go. 

Mud bath time, not as bad as the last time at the venue but it was bad. Warm up told us we would need to change bikes multiple times and Em was in the worst pit in the world. Not idea for sure. Plan with that in mind was 2 laps on the bike so of course that didn’t work. Went past the pit AGAIN looked down and there was my chain on my leg. This time I had a muddy tree section, yes it was long but I thought what the hell and I ran, even got a compliment on my speed. Em was ready with the spare bike and off I went after the people I had got behind. I was riding better than ever so made progress and Em produced the A bike so off I went again. Happy days… ER NO. I got a front puncture and as luck would not have it I was in the same woods so at least everyone was going slow. The fact I rode the bike out is probably the best indication of how much I have improved. Sadly not enough to stop me getting lapped but in other ways probably the most satisfying ride of the year. 

Results – 33, 36, DNF, 43, 43 – never last 

Not really everything I wanted but I see a lot of positives.

National champs left to go and really hoping for a good ride to end the serious part of the season. I have already decided to do National Trophy again next year as it is great and if honest I just like spending nights away in different parts of the country. 

Big thanks to Em for ALL the cleaning feeding and traipsing around. It is a big ask what you do for me and I appreciate everything you do.

Big thanks to Morgan Jones and the team at Banjo Cycles for their work when I break stuff. (Happens a lot)

Big thanks to Martyn at Race Ware for the continued support of my ORANGE garmin mounts.

Happy Mud Plugging 



Coast to Coast

​RatRace Coast to Coast 

It was my brothers fault, some crazy idea about racing across Scotland when he turned 40. I admit it was my fault it finally happened this year but he is 43 now and you can only wait so long for perfect fitness. My theory was that once he entered the cost would motivate him to train.

It was a good start but the weekend over Easter training on the course completely convinced him. I have to say he was solid and stuck to the plan. My plan for him was based on the bike, lots to gain if he could sit on my wheel and I could drive us along, couple that to the engine being the engine and all we had to do was get him run fit by doing enough miles without him being broken. 

If we made one mistake in the prep it was not bothering to Kayak, not in the plan but with his family, my family and my racing commitments we never fitted it in. A little arrogant but as we had both done it before we assumed it would be ok. (we all know about assumption being the mother of all cockups don’t we) More on this later. 

About me, ex ultra distance runner, ex 1 day adventure racer, ex triathlete (retired and not retired, various 70.3 events), GB Age Group Duathlete and more recently a successful veteran duathlete who can turn a wheel and jog at a good clip. On the side I am Orange Approach a rather loud and direct coach of runners, duathletes and triathletes who want to get better. 

Or put another way, a handy race brother for a 10 hour race where cycling and running are involved :¬)

We drove up with Em as support crew, this allowed us to carry 3 bikes and spare wheels, we don’t camp so we had hotels and could travel out for better food.


On so many levels spot on but and this is a big but, staff need to give out the same information. Two people gave us contradictory information but it was done and off we went with 2 numbers and chips(baffled by this even now) Enter as a team expect to be treated as a team. Small things but they make a difference.


The Hotel for night 1 and a disaster, there we are just checking the bikes over and it is one of my bikes that fails, 2 broken spokes, must have happened during the week and as I checked none were loose 2 came away in my hand. I won’t name the LBS that I called who basically didn’t want to know and just wanted to get home and will however give a HUGE HUGE CALL OUT TO HALFORDS INVERNESS, 2 young lads, one a bmx’r and the other a road racer and tester. Took my wheel and replaced the nipples, trued the wheel and sent me on my way and all this for no drama and by 1900 I had a bike ready to race(I had a spare CX bike and a set of tubs but really didn’t want to ride tubs across Scotland). Thanks lads !!!!!!!!!

Cawdor Transition visit 1:

I was very relieved when I arrived at 6am that my bike had not been there overnight. I think that is all I will say on the subject. Bike was racked and we headed to the start. 

The Start and first run: 

Experts away and listen to the debrief, made sure we were in wave 1. Run 1 is a kids event really, you just jog along on the flat for around an hour, unfortunately the bruv had a few issues with the camber and so we had to be aware of how his quad behaved. That said we stuck to the plan and held our planned pace (well close enough).  No real drama and an hour so later ….

Cawdor Transition visit 2 and that first bike:

We had already decided that T1 would be chilled out and calm, this was obvious as we had not even put the Garmins on the bike :¬)  That said we had already made places up by the time we were leaving. Doing day 1 in a TRI suit was a very wise move. Putting my brothers bike together on Road tyres was an act of pure genius. 

What followed was 50 miles straight into a headwind with my brother holding my wheel, he was class. I was happy being his bus driver but didn’t want to be a train driver so he soon got used to me surging whenever we approached another rider on a CX bike. Monitoring his heart rate we climbed wise and descended resting where we could and just spent the ride passing people. The only time I really worried about him was the last 2 miles of climb. The wind at this point was horrific and I am not really big enough to fully protect him. That said he dug in and he climbed it, cramp in his quads, burning in his calfs he climbed it. What was really nice though was how he used the descent. All the bike training had improved his bike handling so we made good time down to Fort Augustus…

Fort Augustus and some water sport:

Bikes racked, trainers on and off we jogged to the water. We were somewhat undone here by the brother getting cramp in both hip flexors and quite frankly the worst kayaking in the world. It was the only time we shared tense words in the entire day and that last 5 seconds before we pissed ourselves laughing. I even found time for a little Hawaii 5-0. Jogged back and were done inside 4hrs and 30 mins – SIMPLE :¬)

Review of day 1: 

Solid run, my brother was disappointed we didn’t sub hour but on the grand scheme of things it was a good run

The ride, he was brilliant all day. We got everything right. 

The Kayak, lol and the one place we could have really improved but given how short a part it was no major damage. 

We had despite the wind hit our target. 


For reasons beyond common sense I had booked 2 rooms in the lodge, on reflection having finished by midday we could have stayed in Nairn or Inverness. None of the things in life I like were here. It was without a doubt camping but with solid walls. I don’t camp and paid a premium for the pleasure. Safe to say we showered and got out of dodge fast and went on the hunt for a good meal. Parking challenges when you book a hotel are not good enough. I shall take some of the blame for not realising the lodge was actually in transition. There you have the only plus about the lodge, the next morning we wheeled our bikes to the start. 

Day 2 start and ride:

The announcement of no Kayak due to the weather, sad but also great news for us :¬)

No results anywhere, poor. 

Request that slow people start first, poor and how would you know when there are no results? 

Kit check, before the ride meant anything from have you got stuff to empty your bag. 

There were also questions and hazy answers around kit carrying and getting the bikes out of the last transition. As we worked out later, I could have carried nothing and a near empty bag on the yomp.

At this point I was getting my first feelings of completer land with timing and not a race at all. That said as I stood in transition (wave 1) it was obvious that various other “quick” people had also decided that getting away was wise (Em told us later we had been smart as she saw carnage at the single track) 

We had put offroad tyres on the brothers bike with a view to knocking out another good bike and then yomping. Our start along the canal was excellent as was the initial trail riding. For a lad with very little skill practice offroad I have to say he just got on with it. Sadly we were visited by the puncture fairy twice in 10 mins. At this point we had our 2nd round of heated words. I had lost my foam sealant and not heard the call. There was a mini stress by both parties with me being concerned about the tyre being damaged. It soon passed and we were moving, there was no 3rd puncture. 

As my brother got more fatigued it became harder to surge passed people and after getting ‘Simon the leach’ on tow his fatigue showed in a terse exchange. Simon took a tow and then dropped us. Then it happened, for me the moment of the entire weekend. We were approaching a group that ‘Simon’ had latched onto and I commented that I was backing off so we didn’t just collect people. So here we were climbing side by side and CATCHING the group in front, we were chatting as we rolled passed. Hitting the top John(the brother) shouts “GO NOW” and with a few clicks we went full gas. A few minutes later we looked back to see ‘Simon’ in no mans land. Even now when we chat he has no idea why he suddenly had all this jump but we used it. It was AWESOME!!!!!!!

Em was waiting just before the gate and we gave her our bikes. Ironically she could have handed us basically empty bags and shoes there instead of us riding with them. There was no control in place. Defies the same rules for everyone feeling and there is no doubt this rule was abused by people. 

The Final Transition and a walk with some jogging:

30 mins of stop clock available, a full change of clothes and get ready to go for a walk. It was nice to put running gear on. Even got a kiss from Em :¬) 

No longer 14 miles but 15. In our heads we still thought 3 hours is solid and that was how we approached it. For the next 3 hours we jogged the flat cruised the downs and walked the ups and all the time seemed to be moving at or around 12mm. I could tell you we saw 100s of people and how the mountains are lovely but really it was a 3hour walk in wind and I hate walking. On the final technical descent we were able to shout to a chap ahead who had missed the turn which felt like the right thing to do and then we arrived at what can only be described as the biggest disappointment of the entire event…

The Finish:

We see the sports centre we turn the corner, no funnel, no people no line. In fact, we walked into the hall and then they said “OH have you scanned in?” the damn mat was outside. We had missed it in the entire underwhelming experience. 10 hours of racing to finish in a doorway. 

We were then bused to the “official finish line” 

Never in all my days has an event finished so badly. I appreciate the Kayak was cancelled but some effort at a line would have been nice. 

Getting off the bus I frankly didn’t care about the medal or funnel or picture but fortunately had my brother there who had achieved a great feat for him. We had done 10hours and we were in the top 10. Analysing the rather rubbish results we were 6th, 3rd team and first full vets team.

We would have been happy at 100th as long as he had worked hard and achieved.  

Review of day 2: 

The ride, he was brilliant all day and that moment on the hill will stay with me forever. 

The yomp, what can you say ?  We did it and on target even with the extra mile. 

The Kayak, lol. It not happening could only be good for us 

We had hit our target and I am very pleased for John. 
Closing down:

John was brilliant and even though I coached him and watched his training he still did far better than I expected, I feel very proud of my little brother :¬)

It’s a good event that has a lot of potential but as a racer it is let down on a few levels. I have fed back and made comments through the blog so shall leave it there.  Depending how they come back to me could dictate the future but I fancy racing this over 2 days and 1 day.

I am tempted to look at some other adventure racing again as I got a bit of a bug for this. Probably look at a few that involve maps and checkpoints if they still exist. 

John and I have talked about doing the event in 1 day, I think he needs a good year of training so although he could go back next year giving it a few might be wise. 

Really though this was about my brother John and him training for and then achieving a hard goal for someone who does not do endurance sport. It was my please to support him.

Finally :

Thank you to Em for being our crew. She drove around during lugged bikes and generally organised us. The cottage and food on the last night was the stuff of legend.

Sarah and family: thank you for giving John the space and time to train . Your dad(husband) is AWESOME!!!!



Monster Middle distance

It's a question of what if?

As many of you know I have been working with Andy Holgate for a little while. Like 
all coach/athlete relationships it has its challenges. Andy AKA "The Glass 
Librarian" is a victim of misfortune, illness, injury and anthing else that can 
break up training. It was after one of these moments and during a coach/athlete 
catchup he said "Do you want my place at Ely Monster middle distance triathlon"? 
Basically a 70.3 including a 1.9km river swim. A little thought and I said yes.

After saying yes I asked him not to tell anyone I was doing it so basically Em and 
Andy knew and I attempted to make subtle changes to my training without giving much 
away. Everyone knows I don't swim well and I really didn't want to overly think 
about the race when I had other events. Having entered AdH tri and duathlon the swim
training(loose statement) was being covered nicely but I wasn't getting out on the 
TT bike enough and when I was it was not going that great, 2 years of just not 
feeling right. That said power was good and results were ok. My joy of running 
covered the weekly 10 miler. 

Well after AdH initially I tried to cover it with I am supporting Morgan and 
socialising but AdH was bad and I needed more help. I confessed to a small group 
what was going on. The general consensus being I had unfinished business after 
Cotswold last year. 

Would you believe I have never been sub 5 in 4 finishes over the distance? Actually 
as you know my swimming readers you probably do and although a solid runner I did 
70.3 so long ago I was not the same biker I am now. Cotswold was going to be
"how much can a bad swimmer make up" but I was stopped by a puncture. I'm not a 
completer so carry no spares. 

So I did the 2 x 25 mile TTs badly on the transition and accepted I would try a Shiv 
at some point. Finally I told "the Smell of" thread on Fetch, implied initially more
than told that I would be there. 

Bang I crashed big style in the 50 mile 2 weeks out, incredible Andy Holgate type 
luck, 2 OW sessions lost, no hard long run, no last TT. I did some jogging and some 
volume for a week but it was like tapering. After 5 days I got in the pool but even 
I can cope in the pool. 9 days out and although in discomfort I was able to ride the 
TT bike and running was ok. Went to the lake on Tuesday 5 days out and did a lap in 
the lake, steady and no legs issues. A conversation with Morgan about testing the 
Shiv came up and I collected it with a view to a one off TT on the Thursday.  
Wednesday AM I ran and my hip hurt, wrote it off to bruising and trained hard at 
intervals. Managable with common sense I thought. Cool !! Thursday and Morgan and I 
did not make the TT but I made it to Morgans. Shamelessly we 2 upped Nick Silcoxs 
KOM on "Le Petit" Sorry Nick :¬) What a bike, felt more comfy in 50 mins than I had 
been in months on the transition. Large frame happiness, the next day I bought the 
bike and Morgan set up getting it ready for Sunday. Yes I was going to ride a bike 
for over 2hours that I had only ridden for 51 min such was my feeling after the 

Ok ok ok, this is supposed to be a blog about the Monster Middle Distance and how 
the duathlete does in a serious event.

Em and I had a lovely hotel near the venue(5 miles) so after Saturday registration 
we retired to the hotel and booked a table for dinner. 

Two things are interesting:

1. I was really chilled out even for me, the crash has me accepting I was not at my 
best so much so I fitted a new tub in the hotel on the Saturday and planned to race 
on the wheel off no test riding. 
2. How focused I really was, we were in a hotel and had traveled with bread, butter, 
jam, coffee and a cafetiere. I also wanted to be up at 0400 and at the venue by 
0530. No place like home it seems

So relaxed yet serious was the message. 

Parked the van and it was raining, TRO must be nearby was the thought in my head :¬) 
It was windy, obviously I am here. Between the two of us all bad weather was always 
likely. Mini panic when the front wheel wouldn't go in but largely calm morning even 
when collecting my new number for Wave 2. Can thank the RD enough for that very easy 
wave change. 

Bike racked and a lot of hellos were said. Nice to see Dawn, HoD and TRO before the 
start. At this point I don't have any race head and am my usual loud self. We 
wondered down to the lake, as Em was there she acted as my "pit bitch" and carried
my wetsuit goggles etc to the start. So a nice race briefing as I put the wetsuit on 
and made my way to the start. 


Ok it was never going to be good, missed sessions, generally crapness but I was not 
expecting the wind to make me feel like I was in the sea. I didn't have a panic 
attack but I could not sight or find rhythm so my swim became a very broken mixed
stroke affair. The only really bad bit was when the 1500 metre people in the 
standard starting coming passed. The fast people have skills but the slower/average
(brilliant to me) swimmers smacked and bashed me a little so I did lose a little 
time here to not quite stopping but being rather self aware. End result was a rather
shocking swim time.

Swim - 3rd from last in 53.13 - I had predicted a poor 52 mins from training

As is known I do not race until I have a bike so jogged to transition and took time 
getting organised, ok more time than planned as I popped the visor off my S-works 
lid.(this is why when speed matters in transition I will use the Kask and Shades)

T1 including run from water - 3.51 - seems my jogging is not that slow and with 
everyone gone it is easy to find your bike :¬)


I had done analysis and basically I was riding to power while being aware of my 
heart rate. 150 is a good HR and power between 234 and 279 was acceptable for 
prelonged periods, anything under and the question was why and raise the effort,
anything over 279 was why and establish control back under 279. Fact is that power 
from testing said 294 for FTP but I had only ridden 27X in the 2 x 25s in build up.

On to the ride, jogged out of T1 and CX mounted on the bike, I looked good :¬) game 
on, the course is flat with a few drags and I was quickly moving at a good pace, 
sadly the wind was everything I expected and coupled with the road surface the 
average pace came back down. Usual why do this thoughts on the bike as my race was 
over after a terrible swim but all the time my HR was good and power was ok(noted I 
used a low to mid 80s cadence especially over the crap ground) and importantly I was 
passing a lot of people, including Dawn and HoD(before he jumped off his bike). As I 
headed out onto lap2 I was "in the game" smoother on the rough stuff and not held up 
by the tractor. The bike was behaving flawlessly, I was moving a little but I think 
the wind had a lot to do with that. Gel strategy was perfect and I was never low on 
energy, I did run out of fluid with 5 or so miles to go, seems I need more than 
500mls for a 2hr 30 ride so next time I will fill the bladder :¬) There was no 
negative impact however as I kicked on in the last 6 miles.

Bike - 3rd overall in 2.28.57 - missed second due to that tractor and working the 
traffic - bike is ugly but awesome :¬)

T2 - 43 seconds - I'm a duathlete who races at the sharp end, not rocket fast but up
there :¬)


This has always been my strongest discipline, it is my background, many people will 
say that deep down I will always be a runner first. Either way I hit the course with 
a plan, aware of my body and the missing session a sub 90 run would be respectable.

I tapped out the early miles with no more than a little fatigue, formed my drink 
strategy from the aid station(worked like a dream) and got on with the business of 
securing my sub 5, Em got her first report on my back. On my second lap a young lady 
came by me and for the next chunk of the lap I became her shadow which was fortunate 
as my back loosened up a little and on the next climb I was able to get moving. Em 
got the report of a tight hamstring. Seems my niggle was moving. The third lap was 
probably my best except for the wheelchair and pusher walking blindly out in front 
of me but sadly a false dawn as come the 4th lap the hamstring was now pulling the 
back of my knee and my adductor was tight when climbing. Full blown management mode
(felt like miles after 40 in an ultra) now and then flat foot as the first calf 
tightness as well. All that said I was still moving around 7mm which was fast enough
that I was moving passed everyone. There was no ceremony as I ran to the line, no 
hero sprint, just a calm knowing that I had achieved an indifferent goalmas a non 
swimmer. Woman in the tunnel remarked that I didn't look like I had raced, trust me 
dear I was sore. 

Run - 2nd overall - 1.23.23 - happy in the knowledge that the engine was even better
than the time suggests. 

So they call it triathlon as you have to be able to do 3 events hence I finished 
16th overall, people must be glad it wasn't a duathlon though as I was fastest 
overall once I was on the bike :¬) 

So the big questions have been the usual:

Am I happy ? - I am content, I have gone sub 5 as a non swimmer but no I like 
winning not completing for arbitary numbers

Will I do more ? - I have finished 5 of 6 now and this has been my best one. I have 
put last years DNF to bed or have I ? I was in better shape last year and confident 
I could have run faster as my training was more focused. One a year at the Smell
Smackdown does not seem a bad idea to me. 

Will I learn to swim ? - The 50 million dollar question, I am better in a lot of 
ways and interestingly since AndyS worked on my shoulder I have swum this year
(liberal use of the word swum) with very few real issues, it also escaped injury in 
my crash. I am serioulsy thinking about doing some more and seeing if I can find a 
way but I know from the past it is not a road I will go down if it impacts my 
cycling or running meaning I have to add more training but it may be possible.

What am I ? - I claim a cyclist who jogs a bit but as Greppers says "Truehurts" I am 
a duathlete, there I said it. Next year I shall enter the age group qualifiers, not 
to qualify but just to see how I really stack up in a loaded field. I have a feeling
there will be two triathlons in my year as well.

Just as closure, a few things 

Monster racing organise a good event, I can honestly say it was well marked and 
marshaled except at 1 point where the marshal seemed disinterested and just 
assumed we all knew where to go. 

Lapped run courses around nice towns are good from a crowd point of view, I liked 
knowing where the drinks were each lap and bad from a members of the public crowds 
point of view as they don't always pay attention. :¬) 

One of the best things about the day was actually hanging around and seeing people 
you know racing and finishing the event.  

Finally, if the DarkLord learns to swim people near the front could be in trouble.



August 2017
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The Dark Lord Speaks