Tuesday, December 8

Half way to the middle of nowhere

Trail running. You either love it or hate it. It pretty much is Marmite both in consistency and the dread that people have over it.

Unlike Marmite, i love it. Nothing quite beats the feeling you get running downhill out of control just on the edge of balance in the middle of winter in t-shirt and shorts. A few months back Pauline suggested that we all go do a nice little run in Wales. As I've been more and more inclined to enjoy my running of late i decided what the hell lets go for it. Signed up and promptly forgot about the fact that i hadn't run a half marathon off road in a few years.

The tri season rolled on past and then the cross season rolled in. Running was put on a shelf bar a few short efforts with the bike on my shoulder during training. An early season max test on the lab treadmill showed i was running well about 2 weeks before the race (71ml/kg/min[5.45L/min] @ 14kph on 8% grade) so i knew at least i had the fitness to race.

What i didn't think of doing was any mileage...at all, i think i did maybe 2 20mins rungs in the lead up to it. Sod it, its the cross season, top end work will do me fine......ehhhh no.

Saying that the first 4.5km of the race were great, 23mins across a beach on sand, up and over some steep trails and down some narrow slithery boards. Felt great and was happy with my pace over that distance considering how bloody soft the beach was. Settled on it on the first climb at 5km as i had looked at the map and knew it was going to be a long one. Pauline drifted off ahead of me and i just sat on in with a group and breathed away to myself.

2.2km at an average of 8% takes it out of the leg, wasn't fast, but it was consistent. This lead onto a great 3km descent, let the legs open up, close up the jacket and just go for it. Caught Pauline about 2km in and talked for a while. Ran on together for a while and hit the next climb to a section of moorland where we got split up and ended up about 100m apart for the whole thing. Memories of TransWales came flooding back as we trudged across this section. Wet is one way to describe it ....just a tad.

Descent off the moor was a bit boring to be honest but led to a great section on the coast line of Gower out by Worm's Head. Just great rolling trail like the coastal path i ride and run on most weeks. However at this point (16km or so in) i started getting the initial twangs of my right calf starting to bunch when i went up onto my toes. I'd pretty much forgotten to drink much during the race, and at this point i started to regret that. Had to ease off for about 3km on the relative flat pace heading up to 6:15mins/km.

Thankfully as we hit the last climb i was getting my legs under control, heal running (shudder) and not going onto my toes on climbs were letting me stretch my calves on each step. The last climb is epic, 20% average gradient (sections @ 35%) but less than half a km long, with another little kicker about half way through. Was surprised how i felt when we hit it, kept the HR down and just went on up picking people off on the way up. One guy on my shoulder all the way up groaned as we hit the top and had to keep it going on the rolls top, personally i loved it, chance to pick it up and see what was left in the tank.

Not much as it turned out, got HR back up to 170's for a bit and just pushed it to see what would happen, what happened was i fell on my ass on the final descent :) 1km at 30% average. Just excellent.

2hrs 18mins, avg.HR 166bpm, pace avg. 6:23mins/km, 837m of total climbing over 21.1km.

Great race and well done to the folks at Endurancelife.com, i will be back for another one of your events. This time i might even train...

Sunday, November 29

The little penguin that couldn't cross. (Supercross Rnd3 report)

Story time!!! there was a little penguin called Greg

He didnt have a Ferrari, but he did have a nice red cross bike instead!

He was really happy cause it was VERY cold and wet and kinda reminded him of home, he didnt like the hot months in Ireland and all the fish tasted a bit off too.

So he decided that it might be fun to ride the red cross bike around a field up north

So he did, he rode it round and round and it turned out that there was a race on! Penguins like to race, LOTS, so he decided to enter

He met some guys (he thought they were penguines as they were wearing black white and orange too!) and asked them if he could ride with them

SO he lined up with all these HUMANS! and then they started to race

it was very muddy, which was kinda slippy like ice so he was happy, but very wet like the sea

HE rode around with 5 of the other penguins and then 7 mins later he was at the start again! But they were still going, it turned out they had to do it 7 times!

The second time around he was cycling up a very icey part of 'snow' and racing some other HUMAN, and then WHAM he fell over on his beak!

he hopped back up, squalked at the man who had knocked him over, then gave chase.

Then his chain snapped and his race was over.

he did a little puke and went home as he couldnt cool down.

The ENd

Thursday, November 26

Phlegm and darkness

About this time of the year, every year, i get sick. I think its a combo of SAD and generaly trying to get away with wearling as little kit on the bike as possible. But i get into a period of poor eating, following poor moods, then sickness of the green phlegm kind.

Normally i catch it when its too late but for a change i appear to have got it a little earlier than normal. However it still necessitated 3 days off 'work' and doing shag all. Trying to get my head back in order, and get the body to follow suit.

However something did come along to brighten the week up. My new Inbred frame! Waiting about 2 months for it from On-One due to the fact that its a special limited edition or something. All i know is that it ROCKS. I haven't had a steel hardtail in years, forgot how good they can look, skinny tubes and loverly welds.

So i built it up mixed with coughing and grease and just looked at it until i could go no further. Had to go for a ride this evening, needed to see if the legs were there. Up to Howth, onto the local run.....WOW. Slack head angle, short stem, risers and long travel...i forgot how fast i can ride. Hitting all the sections flat out, in the slithery mud....and in the dark.

Gotta love winter, empty trails and rabbits. Time to get new lights me thinks.

The Pig of Happiness

Wednesday, November 18

Hipsters make me angry...

They just do. Get a helmet, get some bloody proper riding kit, stop buying useless shite for your shittly looking bikes and actually race some real bloody races.

I've been riding and racing track bikes for the last 6 years and now it just makes me cringe when i see a total dullard sitting on a cross bar in town posing at lights.

First they ruined my MTB back in the late 90's, now they have ruined my commuter, next its going to be cross, you know i'm right. This just sums it up.


Monday, November 16

Manchester sweet Manchester

Its been a while since i have had an actual weekend off training and racing. Decided a long while back that 4 weekends in a row racing was enough and booked tickets to go over to Pauline in Manchester, see some track racing, and have some fun with the lads. It also nicely corresponded with my birthday weekend.

Late on Thursday night i got a ring from the UK to hear that Pauline had had a run in with a car. Great! So Friday was spent wondering if she was broken or not. In order to distract myself from that I went mountain biking with Waggers for the morning, went shopping for a new MTB for him in the afternoon then headed to the airport. Arrived in the UK to find that all was well and that Pauline had tried to eat an entire SUV....she failed and mostly just hit it with her face.

Good nights racing at the track after a trip to Decathlon for some new kit, and Rusholme for some curry. Few beers at the velodrome then off to Fallowfield for a few beers before bed, pretty relaxed weekend as i think we were all tired anyway.

Sunday saw a lie in (first for me in months) and then a real sunday of reading, shop for milk, then off to the pub to watch the Ireland vs Australia rugby match. Mmmm english mixed grill for dinner. Total lazy Sunday, havent done that in a long time eiter. Saw what remains of Paulines front wheel and the rest of the bike was OK, some bits writen off some not so.

Late back to Dublin, then off to bed. Lazy day today, but going to spend most of it catching up on work i fear. Back to the real world for me it seams :(

Sunday, November 8

Supercross Cup Round 2: Tymon North.

Another race another chance to clean my bike.

About this time every year i get sorta sick of cross, mostly because of the amount of time it takes to clean the bike, then me, then my kit after a race. Then when its done I'm happy again and looking for new parts to get for the bike that are going to hold less mud, yet take more effort to keep working. Its a circle that keeps happening and i don't think will ever stop.

Now last week i broke another set of Eggbeaters. Cranky yes, but at the same time they were over 7 years old and had only ever had one rebuild. So not that pissed off if i am honest. However this is now 3 pairs in 6 months....so getting disillusioned at this stage. So in a rush i just grabbed a set of the cheap MXR's that they do to get me through the race yesterday.....what a bad idea.

Good warm up, few laps of the course and i had it nailed, nice and fast and a great usage of the hill compared to other years. Big success for IMBRC, seriously good course. Fast but wet, grip but slippery, all that cross is supposed to be.

Lined up on the grid, stepped back to let Roger Aiken in on the front row, no chance i was going to beat him, felt better letting him get to the front. Clipped in, 5 secs to go, GO, pushed off second foot clipped in went to pull on right foot, BANG, foot blows out of pedal. 'FUCKIT', clip in, pull on left, BANG, second foot blows out....these springs are pure shite. Rest of the race every time i went to pull hard they popped or just stopped short of popping. Teach me for buying cheap again.

So after working my way back up from the back of the group i got onto the front half. Few laps tussling with Rob from IMBRC and Mark from 3D-Tri gave me a real going over in the first 5 laps. Mark binned it into a tree and Rob and i kept trading places. Eventually Rob pulled away and i couldn't get back onto him no matter what i did. Total blow up. Had to try to keep away from Mark but he'd disappeared (turn out a tree ate him and his brakes).

Kept on keeping on and felt good for the last two laps, took a few places back but nevewr came through like up in Carrickfergus. No idea why, course suited me , but obviusly not enough. Gutted for the start though, pretty much lost any chance of racing there and then. Don't have the power to bridge groups, but if i'm in i can stay in. Ahh well.

Photos stolen from the race thanks to Ollie from MAD MTB at:


Monday, November 2

Belgium, beers and prison?

What a roller coaster week i had last week. Monday i was wasted, race the day before had taken allot out of me so i just recovered, two easy spins on the bike, nothing in the legs though.

Tuesday saw the usual cross session in Knocklyon. Felt dog awful on the way into college, nothing in the legs still. Figured it was going to be a bad bad session. Rode on out with Mick and Katie expecting a good deal of personal suffering. Felt good on the way out and by the time we got there legs were feeling great. Tough session focusing on sprints and physical cornering in bunches and i was on fire, really felt on for a change. Last race of the evening i was on fire, starting near the end and held off the big boys (Robin) until the end, didn't get caught, but at the same time Mark got away from me. Focus for this week :)

Great ride home, no bonkage, and great ride on Wed in and out of work. Legs were still going well. Perfect for the two days off that were coming up. Treated myself to a beer that evening too! Next morning up stupid early to head to the airport to fly to Belgium. Decided to ride over, lock the bike, then get the plane. It lashed. Cock. Got to airport very early though as i had a HUGE tail wind, so settled in with Catch-22 and a massive coffee.

Met Ryan and hit the plane, good natter on the way over, nice bit of talk about training and whatnot. Off the plane talking away, off to the check in....cock no passport. Wander up to the nice Belgian man; 'ive got no passport its on the plane' .. 'this is not good for you'.... ' i know, could you ring ryanair?'... ' yes, we will try'.... and so on. Suffice to say the plane took off and ryanair did fuck all. To be fair i would expect nothing less from the flying bus that is a ryanair flight.

Calls to the forign office ensued, escoreted into the police station, put under 'administrative arrest', ringing the Irish embasy, trying to prove im Irish, etc etc. 3 hours later and i get a get out of jail free card and get to leave the airport, under the assumption that i'm a very good boy and dont try to steal Belgium. Or drink all their tasty beer and make a fool of myself. Bit of banter with the police if im honest, a sound bunch of blokes, the whole talking about cyclocross and having my kit with me kinda helped i reckon.

Bus to Brussles, then taxi to the hotel, and manage to catch the last hour of the course. Meet the lads and get a quick de brief then head to get showered and tidyied up. Good dinner, talking about cycling and so on, then a few drinks on the Belgian cycling federation. By the time 10pm local came round i was wrecked, hit the bed and crashed out with the TV still on. Second day more of the same, some more talk, more food (man they like leeks) and more coffee. Picked up by the national team car and dropped back to the airport with 4 hours to kill.....uugh....oh look Leffe....got on the plane and passed out. Wake up, slow ish ride home, telly for 30mins then off to bed again.

Looks like im back on early time folks! Its good to wake up at 7:30am and not be confused. Now to start using this time to train!!!

Tuesday, October 27

Another race and a result of sorts

Another weekend another cross race. Season is kicking off fully now with most people having dusted their bikes off and getting them covered in mud all over again.

Sunday saw a long drive up to Carrickfergus for the second round of the Ulster Cyclocross League, first round also being the Supercross Cup the weekend before in Lurgan. 2 hours 45 mins later we finally arrived in a field in the middle of nowhere. Wind blowing, rain tanking down, and what looked like a sodden field beside the playing pitches. Thankfully we found out that we were going to get showers after the event so the mood was cheered up a little....despite the obvious standing water in the field.

Only 34 riders turned up due to weather, roadworks, and general apathy. On top of that only 5 riders from down South, poor show lads. Gridding up after a pointless two lap warmup, which ment that 30 mins were spent cleaning the bike before warming up on the road again, had me sitting on the second row with a direct line at the holeshot.

10 seconds, clip in, check the gearing. GO. Gun it up the hill and get into the first corner in 6th place. Hold it through the first few corners until the second hill. Drop a place to Fergus and so the fight began. 5 laps back and forth each of us fighting for every inch in the corners and hills. Every descent I'd take him, only to loose it on the hill. 5th lap and I put in a big effort, get a gap of 4m going into the hill and just kept going, needed to drop him! Top of the hill and he's blown, keep it going on the descent and by the end of the lap I have maybe 10seconds on him and he's slowing.

7th lap and disaster; chain pops off as i hit it with my heel pedaling through a tight right hand corner. By the time i have it back on and get moving again Fergus has caught me and gone past. Doing my best for a lap to get back onto him but not a chance, he's motoring and i cant get back.

7th place, just outside the prize money. But good points in the league non the less.

Lots of photos from Andy Potts at : http://mitzelphoto.fotopic.net/c1773205.html

Saturday, October 24

Strip strip strip the weight.

Made some changes to the cross bike during the week and got it down to a nice 9.4kg ish just before the race in Lurgan last weekend. So more fettling insued this weekend to strip it down even further for as cheap as i can!

XT rear derauiler : 260g
XT front deraulier : 160g
Truvativ Cranks & Rings: 655g
Truvative BB: 120g
XT cassette: 345g
Bolts n bits: 50g

105 rear deraulier: 240g
Biopace ring(40): 100g (uurrrrgh heavy)
Truvative cranks & BB (Elita): 692g
Chain plate: 26g
Ultegra 12-27 (9s) cassette: 200g

Weight loss:
332g net profit! A few other grammes from changing tires but forgot to weigh them :( Now down to a more respectable 8.9kg.

Just like Iaranrod Eirean, we're getting there.

Wednesday, October 21


Man that session was crazy after all.

Session time total: 1hr 40mins
Distance : 19.5km
Climbing height: 116m - wouldn't of thought we did that much climbing!
Avg Hr: 157bpm for the session - that included all those breaks we had
Max Hr: 181bpm - my max Hr about 193 at the moment*


Man that session was crazy after all.

Session time total: 1hr 40mins
Distance : 19.5km
Climbing height: 116m - wouldn't of thought we did that much climbing!
Avg Hr: 157bpm for the session - that included all those breaks we had
Max Hr: 181bpm - my max Hr about 193 at the moment*


For the last drill we did i'm just stunned with how hard we were all going!

11 times in total up and down that hill, race distance of5.5km and took 20mins, so 2 mins average lap like we said at the end!

Max HR: 181bpm - surprising...no...still suppressed from Sunday.
Avg HR: 170bpm - ouch... 94% of session max Hr, 88% of MAX Hr..wow
Max Speed: 34kph...on grass...wow that's faster than expected on that course


Now real interesting bit...ok interesting to me....maybe Ryan....

Look at run number 6 up the hill, Bob was behind me and told me to go as hard as possible...so i did.....as you do. Heart rate through the roof...but then slowly slowly starts to drops, then boom through the floor.

Total decoupling of HR and effort, i was in bits at this point. Binned it once, then 3 laps later and Luke passed me.

Moral of the story, my session was over there, no top end sprint work, and racing on a flat out course like that means one hard attack and I'm binned. So need to do some recovery work.

Man im a nerd...but its my job!

*yes i can work harder Bob

Monday, October 19

Supercross Cup Round 1

Up early to meet the lads from WORC and to scab a lift to lovely lovely Lurgan. Racing up North always has a different feel to it, you dont know who's going to line up and it makes for better racing as you dont know just how hard the others can go. Add to that first race of the season and you have a perfect recipie for a good race.

Last years nationals were hosted in Lurgan and it proved to be a mixed bag, good but not great, not a race i'd rank as A1 but not a B class race. Yesterday the Apollo boys pulled all the stops out and the course was as good as any UCI cat race you are going to get in the UK.....not as good as the St Anne's round mind you ;)

Warmed up with the WORC boys (my other club) which felt good, all 5 of us trucking around, checking out the roots and lines and generally looking professional. I'm sure we looked like cocks but sure thats just the way. 5 laps warm up, then told the race is 30mins late, 2 more slow paced laps and we're lining up. Very warm day by cross standards so shorts and jerseys were the order of the day, long finger gloves still though.

30 seconds to start, clip in right foot, look for a line through the mess that's about to occur. GO, hard out, hitting max HR in about 30 seconds, into the first 15 and hitting the first bend, get a few places here and push push push. Boards, flat, boards, uphill and corneres, singletrack, straightaway, start finish area. 9 more times around this...this is going to suck.

Ollie on left, Arek on the right, Polish Ultra Man!

Got dropped by the bunch on lap 3 and ended up in no mans land. Stuck it out for a lap then let Arek and Ollie from MAD get up onto me, hid behind Arek into the wind section, passed him on all the tech stuff. Ollie was there 2 seconds ago..where's he gone! Good hard racing, needed to stay alert as Arek was bound to attack me. Laps 6-7 i recovered, watched Arek and figured i could beat him on the last straight and all the runs, on the singletracks i needed to get ahead of him, he owned me there. Must work on my twisty stuff.

Lap 8 it all kicked off, we had picked up another northern rider and they started rotating attacks on me into all the single track sections. Had to dig in hard so as to not get beaten to them. Every time we got in i eased up and tried to get the breathing under control while checking every 5 seconds. Mind was getting tired but the body was even worse, cramping, needing to puke, usual joys of cross.

Massive attack from Arek, tried to go around me on the straight. out of the saddle 50*14 trying to get ahead of him, massively late breaking into a corner nearly puts me in the spectators but he didn't get past. Suffering, need to recover. Northern lad attacks, cant get his wheel, he's into the singletrack before me, riding fast need to catch him. Cant get him, flat section, Arek goes past. Boards, the boards will save me, these guys cant run. Hit the boards section flat out, in between the lads and running hard, quick mount and back on the gas, ahead, now recover on the twisty climb. Second boards, 5m's on them. Into the single track Arek right on my wheel, can hear him breathing hard, he's on the edge. Must attack early.

Last section of single track i'm clicking up the gears, hitting the exit onto the fast section i'm in 50*15 and still going faster, click, out of the saddle, click, sprinting, 100m to go, quick glance, he's blown! Click click click down, squeal go the brakes, right, left 180 turn, roll over the line. Roll around catching my breath, shake hands with the lads, roll off and try to keep the vomit down, i need a drink bad. Stomach and thighs cramping. Best feeling in the world.

All this for 22nd place. You gotta love cross.

Saturday, October 17

Operation Lightificate cross bike

Season offically starts tomorrow. Round 1 of the Supercross Cup. Lurgan Park, a technical course with some sloppy slide moments on it and some odd bits, apparently the water feature has been removed though!

So in order to get the bike ready for the nationals in Jan I've started to tweak.....not myself, but the bike. Geometry is all dialled in now with the switch to a 90mm stem and a rise of the bars, we know how we will be riding. Now to sort what ill be riding.

I'll not be changing frames for this year, just updating what i have. So a list is in order and a few pics:

Frame: Planet X: Uncle John Cross
Fork: Planet X: Carbon Cross fork, alu steerer
Cranks: Truvative Rouler compact 50/39
Pedals: Eggbeaters, cro-mo basic ones
Drivetrain: Shimano XT F/R
Cassette: XT MTB one, 11-32
Shifters: Shimano 105
Brakes: TRP EuroX
Stem: Some Deda brick of a thing I've borrowed of Mick
Bars: FSA Carbon Pro
Headset: FSA Orbit CX (knackered, new ones on way from On-one)
Bartape: Eastons finest
Saddle: Planet X Team Ti
Seatpost: Planet X superlight (??)
Cables: Mix of DA and XTR cables
Tire options: Vitorria Cross XG pro, 700 x 32, Continental Twister Pro 700 x 32 (345g per)

Wheel option 1: Shimano Ultegra Fr/Mavic Open Pro with Powertap SL 2.4 hub (3,200g with cassette + skewers)
Wheel option 2: Shimano Ultegra Fr/Rr (3,200g with cassette + skewers)
Option 3: Zipp 404's with...nothing yet as i haven't decided on what tubs to use yet.

Total Weight : 10.1kg

Time to start the lightificating procedures

Monday, October 12

My First Motorbike

Just saw this flick up in the side bar on my computer. I'd nearly forgotten how the bike that i learnt to ride on looked like. 1987 Honda Transalp, 600cc and my first bike.

I remember when i learnt to ride i started at the 'school' on a Virago 125cc, horrible piece of shit, hard to steer and hard to even get comfy on. After 30 mins the instructor moved me onto a BMW F650. Hopped on, and within 10 mins was whizzing about. Reason why? Cause it was just a big MTB.

Now i have beastly, my lovely Africa Twin. 750cc of pure Japanease lovely. But this is where it started, on a bike JUST under the legal limit....when it was full of petrol. Good old power to weight.

More on that tomorrow though
Posted by Picasa

End of season review

I do hate this part of the year, but at the same time it forces me to think and re-assess my training and look towards what i want to do next year. The 'season' or training period starts for me each year in November, i like to take a few weeks off in October, turn off, drink some beers and catch up on TV. Training tends to be nice and un structured and just keeps me going. Last year i had just started working with Rich so October was not a month off, it was a month to tweak running and start me up for the cross season. So info for the last season is 13 months.

This will take a few posts to get thorough i think....

  • Bike: MTB & CX 73hrs / 810km
Not a huge amount of MTB distance compared to last year, not enough if im honest! However i tweaked my wrist at the start of the march , and i did decide the i was going to focus more on the triathlon side of things this year, so all in all not to bad. Probably missing another 100km in there from fatty spins with the DCU lot, but not worrying to much
  • Bike: Road: 176.4hrs / 3,079km
Time here is not totally correct, i don't always include my spin into and from college unless it is an actual training session. On top of that, a large skew for me this year was the focused week in france riding. Great training, great hill work and i will be back next year. Happy enough with the road mileage but on years previous this is quite down. I do feel this also showed in my on bike work during the year, and i didn't bike as hard as i could during races, however i did bike more sensibly.
  • Racing 19hrs / 285km
General idea between MTB race, CX races, running, and tri. Not a whole heap of racing hours when i look at it. Not including some things like 3 peaks and some MTB challenge races, but actual focused race time. Not that much when i look at it this way.
  • Run: Road 32hrs / 232km
Massive volume increase for me here, untold increases in my running have been gained this year. Only way i can say this happened was through a long slow process of refining a poorly developed running cyclist into a slightly less poor one :) Happy that i can now run 20min 5k's off the bike in sprint races, can go under 1:45 for a half marathon and am in and around the 44mins for 10km on the flat.

  • Swim erm not sure yet
I dont tend to track my swim volume and time. I probably should, its now my weakest area. Somewhere to focus on for the next few months.

Saturday, October 10

Two weeks post and allot of cake

I do like the off season. Three peaks was to be the defined end of the season. I only actually noticed that i'd made this decision over a year ago when i went to play with WKO+ and noticed that it'd rest to 2008 :)

So what have i been at, very little. Random un-organised training, blowing in and out of exercise for the last two weeks and i have to be honest its been good. Getting my brain on track, catching up with old friends, making new ones, and getting a better focus in work.

Backing off all things competitive, not even thinking about it has felt good, i'm even feeling the focus coming back. Albeit slowly.

Had a good weekend out in west of Ireland with Waggers. Headed off to ride the Derroura trails near Galway. I'd been there a few months back with Pauline and thought of them as Ballinstowe with Soul...yes capital S. First lap around was fraught with Wag's having some major drivetrain issues,thankfully great weather and a 'couldn't care less' attitude meant that the 2 hour lap for 17km was not annoying. Fixed the issues back at the van, donned lights to the bike and headed back out for a second lap, much more respectable 1hr 3mins. Have to say i love those trails, rocky and slippy in the right way, with all the height gained on proper single track climbs.

That night we we drove to Clifden for dinner and beers as i had to test in Westport with the An Post boys the day after, plan was to get some of the western way in on the way up. Great night out after we found the local old mans pub and settled in for the night. Few scoops, couple of games of pool, and some good talk. Great evening, first time i've switched off in a long time.

However Waggers decided falling out of his hammock and landing on the large storage boxes was s good idea in the middle of the night. Long story short, he walked like and old man for a day, drove home, and now he has broken ribs. Off the bike for X weeks :( Funny as hell at the time! So as he was broken i went for a run on Croagh Patrick. From the back side, ohh er, i summited in 28 mins, great time up, dodgy on the way down, 21 but took a longer route.

This week i have done nowt, few spins on the bike, light running and a cross session on the nationals course yesterday. Was supposed to go for a ride with Ollie today...but he was hungover...and im feeling lazy. Run later, going to work on bikes for a few hours and get all greasy!

Tuesday, September 29

3 Peaks 2009

In true Pulp Fiction style lets start at the end, that's me tapping down Pen-y-Ghent after the nice American chap i met at the top. Rode most of they way home together in a mixture of cramp and smiles. So i may as well do it the right way round....

The last month has been hell. No training, work pressure, research pressure, life pressure and just general feelings of malaise have meant that i am in absolute terrible condition. Light, but in no good shape.

Saturday morning, packing, packing, realising my bike is not race ready, but its in UK ahead of me. Balls. Last minute lift to the airport (thanks Andy) and getting ready to go when the phone rings, PhD supervisor on the phone...not a happy camper...instantly i'm in no mood to travel. Don't want to do anything, want to just crawl under a rock and hide. But i'm past security and they ain't going to let me out are they. It's almost as if the race is trying to mess with my head before i'm even in the country.

Hop on the plane, Simon Burnley's Cyclocross is on my lap as if i'm going to get any last minute tips to win, and mp3 player blaring Skinny Puppy in my ears, just daring a flight attendant to tell me to take them off. Plane goes up, plane goes down, spits me out of the flying bus. Meet Pauline in a total mood and head off to Decathlon to get last minute nutrition and tubes. The drive up and banter get my mood raised, find the lovely camp-site in Austwick after some food in Settle, a pint of local in Helwith Bridge and a quick scout of the drivers route for Pauline who was doing crew for me, and settle in for the night (pun 100% intended).

Sleep. Wake. Urinate. Sleep. Wake. Insert food. Drive to start of race and register. Just get my warm-up in and i'm lined up, 30 seconds later after spotting Trio the race is go. I love the road section at the start, fast, technical, and scares the crap out of the pure MTB heads. No crashes this year, even spot Twinklydave at one point on his nice new Rodwell, me likey. Nice easy average power at 280W, not to hard, but staying to the right of the pack to avoid the wind from the left side. No issues on the way to the bottom of Whernside, hit the bottom and am walking earlier than last year due to the hoards of people who cant ride up a hill, and are puncturing all over the place. Kids, cmmon, basic one, don't run 20PSI, its not actually a CX race! Shoulder and run time. Gain a few places by the time it gets seriously steep. Damn i'd forgotten just how steep Simon fell actually is. Oh well, get on with it and move. Short fast steps allow me to keep my place and move on up the hill.

Onto the moonscape that is the top in a total fog out. Bleep, and turn for the descent, see the first crash of the day guy in the boulder field below the steps off the top, looks nasty, but people are tending to him. Then the daemons arrived. No idea why, partially because i've not been on the CX bike much this year compared to last year, and partially due to nerves, but i rode the descent like a granny. Felt tight, sloppy and scared. Got to the feed grabbed my bottle off Pauline, and had to stop to put it in the pocket. 'Are you ok?' Pauline shouted, 'No' was the simple response as i pulled off onto the road section. Time down, felling low, only a third into the race.

Missed the tail of a group and ended up solo. Ok triathlon boy, lets see what you can do. TT time. Tucked up, head down and gunned it, caught the group and kept going, picked up one guy who did nothing, dropped him on the steep hill. Looks like France paid off anyway! TT...TT...TT...drink..TT...TT...eat...TT...TT Ingleborough. Rode as far as the little legs could go then hit the climb, not stopping ever was today's plan. Peak at the watch let me know i was on time for last years ride, hmm ok, well once i'm not slower. Got to the top of the never-ending staircase and started the lovely ridge ride, oh how i love this section. Descent time, no punctures are allowed, ride clean, ride fast, ride smart. Quicker than i know it i'm off the slabs and on the flatter section, passing people and descending like i am supposed to. Better, but not best. Feeling strong as we ride to the via-duct. Just about hear Pauline to get the bottle and shout a happy 'Thanks!' back. Feeling good as i hit the road, no cramps, not issues, and a big ring that works this year. TT time all the way to Horton. Hard as i can, pass a lot of riders i know will get me on the climb so i need to make as much time as i can.

Pen-Y-Ghent lane and i have issues. I nearly gave up at this point last year, due to a combination of cramping; tiredness; and hatred off all things vertical. Rode the whole section up to the gate. Stunned. i have no idea how i did but i did. I am taking this as my shining point from the day. Up up up we go, all the way to the top, once again the people who give us water half way up are gods among men and cyclists. I love you guys so much for not making me drink sweet carbo drink. On the final section my head started to calculate for the first time. 20 mins from the top to Helwith bridge to go under 4:30.....doable...but realistic i dont know. Descend like a daemon for the first time, feeling good, but wait is that....crap left calf starts to cramp. Ok, no jumping re-mounts. 5 mins later and the right starts to go. Damn it...descend, worry about it at the bottom.

Hit the road in a bunch of 3 look at the other lads and make the obvious statement. 'Want to go for this lads?' A resounding YES and i hit the front giving it all i have which proves to be a pathetic 290W. Turn it over to the American, and the pace stays high, not looking at the clock, keep gunning it. We drop rider number 3 and i take the front again. On the edge now as i spot the bridge and bring it home, avoid the gravel face plant add cross the line for a respectable 4:35. 5 mins outside what i wanted, but 10 mins faster than last year.

I've only toyed with the power data from the Powertap, although not the lightest option, it should give me some interesting data to look at. I'll do a post about it tomorrow if i get time.

Am i happy, yes. Will i be back, yes. But am i disappointed, yes more so. I had a terrible lead up, no specific training, and little to know enthusiasm. But next year, it will be different.

Also have to give a big thanks to Amy who without i would have not got an entry this year. I owe you something large and pink.....ehh ok...that sounds very very bad....erm....oh well.

Race around ireland 2009 Day 1

If you don't like needles....maybe not the best to look at all the photos.

What an event. The concept of it boggles the mind. Teams of 4 riding 2,131km around the country in under 96 hours. Then add in the solo's doing it in under 120 hours. Crazy. Totally so.

So to make it a little crazier it was decided that one team of cyclists would lend me their bodies, blood, saliva and urine for the name of science. This team was the wonderful lads in An Post Connaught.

What can i say about the race from an outsiders point of view. Controlled chaos. Riders would wait for a while until everything was about to explode and then jump into action, bikes set, gear on and in 2 mins the new riders would have arrived and the recovered riders would be on the road. Every 4 hours this rotated between resting and riding. Day and night, luckily through near perfect weather.

But my side of the race is what i want to talk about and how i experienced the event. This is going to be a bit like 24, but not as many explosions, but very similar amounts of blood.

-12 hours to race:
Navan, god how i hate Navan, something about the place. Sitting at the local sports partnership at 7:30am waiting for the boys to turn up and the sensors van to rear its head, please god let it turn up of 15mins penalty even before we start. 7:59:50 they turn up and Colm sprints in to sign on. Oh dear.....this is how its going to be then. Sign up, get the vans ready, accelerometers on the bikes and riders. Off to the main town centre to get the van accredited, done, happy out. Get my blood, psych, saliva and urine samples. Say my good lucks the the lads, turn all the kit on, bail back to my lab. Run my samples, pack the van, hit the road.

-1hour to race:
Phone wont stop ringing, ive just driven to the other end of the country and people want me to sort shit out. Get over it and deal with it!! I'm tired and i want dinner.

-10mins to race:
FUCK OFF, i don't care about it. MAKE SURE ITS ON. Simple strokes as Niall would say.

4 hours RT (00:00am):
Cant sleep, totaly shitting the first night, no idea if this is going to work, really not enjoying this not knowing whats going on.

11 hours RT(07:00am):
Phone on, P just rang. Van has blown all its circuits, fuse fucked, no power, but got it sorted. To make things worse, total blow out on the van. Stress building, people not happy, no idea if they are going to let me sample them. So so nervous.

14 hours RT(10:00am):
Met the lads....everyone is actually chilled...quite confused. WTF happened and why aren't they annoyed! Waiting for the lads to arrive for the switch over and every one is just lolling about, drinking coffee kicking heals. I'm very very confused, yet chilled.

15 hours RT(11:00am):
Riders here, switch done, Mick and Padraig in, Noel and Daire out. What a total anti climax! So fast, saw everything, which was nothing. Time to take samples off the lads. Have the van in a nice corner of the carpark away from everyone, however sticking needles into cyclists in the public's eye is something i need to keep quiet!

15:30 hours RT(11:30am):
Shit the wheel with the puncture is still in the follow vehicle, chase time! Got it an hour later, then had to skip on ahead onto Sligo to get it fixed. This is a puncture kids.

19.5 hours RT(3:30pm):
Sligo, another petrol station, new tire fitted in record time in Grange. Time to stab the lads and get more blood in another dodgy spot. Lads are holding up very very well. Local area now so they are happy out, playing up for the people and just talking easily to everyone.

29 hours RT(11:00pm):
Just arrived in Tralee, drinving from Sligo to Tralee in one go sucks so much. Wrecked, lads are still riding, apparenlty ok. Will see in the morning. hope i can get more than 5 hours sleep tonight.

This gives an idea of the first day. Seriously hectic moments and other not so hectic moments. I'll do some more tomorrow, to tired now! All leading up to this:

Tuesday, September 1

End of season race's

Ireland can be a great place, one minute its sun, the next its rain. The last two races i've done have reminded me of this more than ever.

K-Capital Round 2: Carrick Mountain
Second race of the WORC league was always going to be a biggie. Long course at 40km, but on the day we had to shut it down to 30km due to the weather...have a guess what....it was raining. But not just rain....torrents from the sky in the days leading up to the race. Was so worried that it was going to totally wash out the course.

Luckily it was not as bad, no the weather was still crap, but it was soaking. More to the point i wasn't actually racing i was sweeping. *sigh* long long day in the saddle on my own. Lost my water bottle 5km in, no water until about 12km. Add into that a race at the Bray Aquathon and a long run session the day before and my legs were shot. Felt so lonely for the whole ride until i caught the back markers. Saying that i enjoyed the day out, but it's made my mind up that i am not marshalling any more races this year.
Dublin City Triathlon
Week later and a week less training. Horrible week in work, stress, stress and more stress. 3 weeks before the main data collection for your PhD is NOT the time to try to do an A race. Once again i blame Xterra France for sucking SO BAD at getting themselves sorted. grrrrrrr. Anyway..

Great race as usual, cant fault the Piranha folks on this. Pure excellence. As normal not a hitch and the had transition sorted perfect for this one. Very little flow and the water was not smelling as bad as normal. Cold swim, but more or less uneventful bar nearly loosing a tooth when i got an elbow about 500m into the swim. Need to get FASTER to stay AHEAD of the pack. Left with a slight bitterness to the swim 00:30:15... wanted under 30. Welcome to the trend of the day.

Bike was good, aiming for a 1:10 split and did a 1:10:32, just outside again, i probably could have paced better, but the efforts were euqal on each lap, all the times within 30 seconds of each other, cant argue with that for 5 laps..

As for the run...wow...first 3km, felt great, hammered it, going to go under 2:3o, no issue, might might do a 2:20..then kaboom, legs toast, down to 5:20km's, shit shit shit, head fell out, and then it happened, pace dropped and couldnt do nowt, even had a bit of a walk....how sad is that.


2 mins outside of my season goal. Result. Bitter. But.... im fitter, faster, lighter and more motivated than ever. The cross season is on the horizon and im looking forward to it. Life i good, i have a job, and relationship. Lets be honest. Its just a race.

For now

Monday, August 24

A week of climbing: part 3

Took a while to get back to writing this!

Next few days of the holiday were pretty memorable. Epic ride out to Annecy. head wind all the way ment that Pauline had a mini bonk about 5km from the lake...however we didn't know how far we actually were. 73km in the wind took its toll but a bit of a push, and an omelette and chips, made her alive. Pauline went off for a swim with Paul, but taking the 'sensible' option i decided to ride home.... erm bad call Greg. Wind had turned in the valley and i had another 73km of head wind. This time though the descents on the way out were all climbs. The last 17km of the ride saw me climbing up the valley just wanting it to end. Gels in, water in, nothing appeared to want to make my legs work. Felt crap, but soldiered on. Nearly collapsed when i got back to the house. Beer, massage then dinner made me feel better. Off early to bed and i slept like a log shaped Greg.

Next day was Col de la Madaline. Apparently going to be a 101km round trip, with the main climb being the 26km up to 2000m.Two epic days in a row ehy? Sure why not. Felt ok leaving the house, legs were slow to warm up but not that bad. Took it cheesy on the flat acting as a wind break for Pauline on some sections, but as we reached the base of the climb i just eased off as the others decided it was go time. I figure in a 26km climb with sections off continuous 10-11% you don't want to leave all your rubber on the tarmac in the first 10km. Surprisingly enough i was right.

Great evening meal as usual and off to bed, tomorrow was to be the last day and i wanted a big day. Cormet du Roseland was the pain of choice and i wanted to be on form. Woke up the next day feeling perky and got the food in and the legs in order. Ride out was probably a bit faster than the group wanted but i wanted to be warmed up by the time we got to Bourg. Picked up Paul and rocked up to the base of the climb. Stuck with the group for the first km to get the legs going again and then in the finest tradition of Cervelo Test Team decided i was Thor and went for it. 19km climb on my wn, balls out, no easing up. Power over 270W for the whole thing, do not ease off, do not stop pushing, fast as i can. First 9km hurt like hell, next 9km hurt more, the last km was both terrible and gratifying at the same time. Hit the top and rolled around to stop my legs cramping. Parked the bike, quick puke (not intended), lay down and started the clock.

10mins later the first of the group rolled in, 5mins later Pauline, then the last rider 25mins later. Thankfully it was pretty warm at the top or i'd have frozen! Best ride of the week by far and i felt strong all the way bar a 1km section about 8km in where my mind was sure i was cashing a cheque i could not pay. WRONG. Rolled down slowly to enjoy the view i missed on the way up. Going to miss those mountains, such a fantastic place.

Saturday, August 8

A week of climbing: part 2

Had a great dinner the day after Petit San Bernard and retired nice and early.Unfortunately the local cockrel and peacock decided that i was not to sleep, add that the the church bell that decided it needed to toll twice and hour and freak out at 7am and 7pm each day.....well lets just say i got little to no sleep....and Pauline got attacked by the sneeze daemons and kept us both up! Short story long, i pretty much got no sleep for the first two nights. I unfortunately am a light sleeper...need to change this....i did find a way though. Wine.

The next day was very very hot (35' in the shade) so we just chilled out, i wasn't feeling to good for a change in the heat and pretty much. Woke up early and got a 6km run in before breakfast. Got in two 15km rides and a swim. Think i didn't drink enough the day before so spent the day drinking and getting hydrated again. Hit the beds early that evening after a few glasses of the house red, ZZZZZZ when combined with earplugs.

Local lake and swimming spot

RAIN, alpine rain, and lots of it. An 8am breakfast turns into the most leisurely chill out to wait for the rain to pass. At about 10am it lets up so we prep and head out at 10:30. Along the main road, through the tunnel, and off towards Moutier. Right turn after a few km and we arrive at the base of Notre Dame Du Pris. a 10km climb with sections of 9%, nothing to hard, nice and short but fun... apparently. Went out nice and hard as we were warmed up and kept up the pace, held off at to get our breath half way up, and found une petit petit lapin.

Met some random cars blaring out Europop and shouting 'Allez' at us through the speakers on top of the car. Something was afoot we thinks. As we get to the top it turns out there is a local fete on! Welcomed in with cheers from the lashing rain we get free coffee, pizza and snacks. Pauline even gets her own cheer as she gets to the top 'la femme! Allez'.Paul tries to pay and the woman just waves us away. Gotta love the French. Long cold wet descent in the slithery rain and we get back to Mascot. Great ride albeit kinda wet.

Had some food back in the pizzeria after spending 2 hours trying to get food...i HATE when French towns shut down and don't feed me. That evening we went out for a second spin up to La Plange. Long hard ride straight up from the village. Decided to drive it with Paul for the first 9km and we just rode each other into the ground until one of us gave up. Paul broke first....but only just, very much on the edge when he said 'enough' and we recovered for a section or two. Picked up Pauline as we recovered in the shade, and we rode on towards the top. 13km in and my legs were shot, and Pauline wasn't doing much better so we turned for home and had a descending masterclass for Pauline on the steeper 10% sections. Good ride, but needed fooooooood!!!!

Bob sleigh course near the top

Friday, August 7

A week of climbing: part 1

Ok, this is going to be a long one so i may as well split it up. A while back i became a bit disillusioned about the whole training thing. Life, work and Xterra France getting cancelled basicly ment that i pretty much jacked it in for a week or 4. Still trained but it was a bit haphazard and kinda pointless. So with that in mind i had suggested to Pauline that we go to France for a week of focused training/relaxing/time together. This is the story of that holiday:

Last minute breakage of my tri bike on Tuesday meant that the cross bike was being called into action. Flap flaps from Dublin to Geneva, minor delay at Dublin as they couldn't close the plane door....getting scared now. Hour 40 jump and we landed in Switzerland. Ok...its hot out...very hot, late 20's kinda hot. Met Toni and Paul and the other 3 Irish people who were on the same flight as us! Hopped in the car for a nice long scenic drive to Mascot la Plange...wherever that was. Arrived at the most idilic little French village, which turned out to be our home for the next 8 days. Beer in hand i went about putting the bike together.

Home for the week

The evening was spent talking to guests who were just leaving over dinner and meeting the people we'd be riding with for the next week. 3 dentists; one IM/HIM distance tri-athlete and partner, and a sportive rider. Mixed bag of ideas on riding so we all agreed to let Paul decide the ride for the day after and Col du Petit St. Bernard it was. Nice easy 15km on the flat, 30km climb and descent after, then 15km flat home. 90km in total on the first day with a 30km climb with sections of 6%...up to 2,180m....WFT am i doing here, i can't climb for shit!

Rolled out after the soon to be traditional breakfast of porridge, bread, coffee ,boiled egg, bread, coffee, juice, coffee and bread. I do like breakfast. 15km easy enough to Bourg St Moritz and got the legs warmed up for the 30km climb up to Petit San Bernard. Sections of 6% but mostly rolling 4 and 5%. Took it handy after realising that there was no point gunning it from the get go. Talked most of the way up with nice low HR then chilled at 9km to go waiting for the group. Last 5km Paul decided it was time to gun it so hung on for all i could. Lungs and legs were burning but i would not get dropped. Hit the top and caught my breath in the sunshine waiting for the others to catch up.

View from Half way up
The top and Pauline's new friend.



Descent was fun on my CX bike, breaks of cheese make for silly lines around hairpins. More or less a sprint recovery session on the way; break hard into corner, sprint out x lots. Great ride and nice cool down after coffee in Bourg. Only after did i figure that Paul might be testing myself and Pauline to see where we were, as the others had been here before! Dinner that night outside was worth it and talk of tomorrows ride in the heat made me a little sceptical...a run was planned and a bit of a swim. Slowly slowly catchy monkey....but not this monkey.

Monday, July 20

Athlone Triathlon

Not bothered typing a separate report on the race; Here is what i wrote to Rich, my lovely coach type person. Anyone wants the powerfile i'll mail it to them.

Evenin monkey man,

Man Athlone is one well yet poorly orginised race... 2,500 people on some very very narrow roads. very very busy course on both bike and end of my run. Happy i can bike well or i'd have wanted to punch all the people who tried to draft on my wheel. I actually passed 3 guys from the same club doing up and over together. Pointless. Also shredded my feet on the roads for T1, lads, its pretty simple brush the ground and take up the glass FFS its not that complex.


49th Gregory May IRL - Belpark
Swim: 0:12:27 AG Pos:85 (load of horse shite this time is)
T1: 5:32 76
Bike: 0:37:56 AG Pos:31
T2: 5:09
Run: 0:20:02 AG Pos:104
Overall 1:21:05
Time from Leader: 0:17:04

Swim time is well wrong, everyone i talked to in my AG said the same thing, time on my watch was 11:18, not fast but at least it's coming down from earlier in the year. They changed the out and back to a down river swim, so i just sat in and relaxed, wasnt here to get thrashed wanted to do a hard bike/run so just chilled.

Transitions; no i did not stop and have a coffee, it was nearly a kilometer in and out on shite roadsurface and just a joke. Total disgrace in comparison to the 45 ITU racers, lets be honest 2,500 ppl, you'd expect a semi descent surface so you can actually run to your bike.

Bike was good, uphill and head wind out, then back at high speeds. Pushed hard ish, but well sub threshold on the way out, focused on steady, no spikes for a change. 244W avg way out, 238W back. Pushed hard on the way back on the hills. Constant gradual decrease in my HR which was odd, didnt pay attention to it, just kept power constant but no increase. May be time to re assess HR power in the lab again, if i get a chance i might try do it before i go to France. I'll stick up the .wko file later. (20km TT on Sat should give me an idea if FTP has changed)

Run: Another stupid transtion, then onto my legs. 20mins...watch said 18 something...but sure we wont argue. First off. Came onto my feet and felt strong, no jelly legs, nothing, hopped on a setanta lad and went for it. Felt good. about 3km in i started to not be able to breath (memories of childhood asthma) and started to panic, couldnt get a full breath in, so just eased off. Didnt go away but was bearable. First time i've been on for a fast run split and had to hold back, pissed off. I dont think i went to hard on the bike, but i have changed the position a bit and may not be used to it. Going to do some tweaking on the turbo tomorrow and see.

For a race that i kinda entered to go see my mate i'm happy enough, it was an experience, and good to get on the course just incase by some miracle i managed to qualify for it for next year. Saying that...if not i probs would avoid doing it again.

Anyway, enough typing, bored in work and just killing time.


Monday, July 6

Mid Season review and renew

Back into the grove this week, swim tonight, then back to it. If i train hard i can race hard. If i can think hard i can work hard. This is the plan, and this will happen. I've now resolved to do the following things:
  • Bed by 10:30pm Sunday-Thursday - Fridays and Sat's i can go to 12 if a good film is on. Need to get my sleep cycle back in gear
  • Up at 8am Monday - Friday - Sat and Sun depends on if i'm racing, or doing long sessions. Flexible but not stupid. Bed no later than 10am.
  • Focus on my work and read 1 journal paper a day
  • Reply to emails on the same day if they need doing
  • Train with focus and dedication
  • Make a little me time every week, but at the same time make time for others
Think that's it.... hopefully it'll actuall happen this time!

Overall not to happy with this summer so far, but things have been busy, and not everything has gone to plan. So i'll aim to rescue the season by turning out a PB in DCT (under 2:28) and 3 Peaks (under 4:45) so if i can do this i'll be happy. But more on that later :)

Friday, July 3

Feeling a little more motivated

The last 3 weeks have been hard. I've been about as motivated as a fish to leave water, i know i need to do it eventually, but lets be honest it takes allot of work.

Had a bit of a down week on training last week, just do what i wanted when i wanted to. Got some runs in, a few bike rides, even got out on my MTB. Hit the pool once, but should have done two anyway....

Saturday was spent standing around looking like a penguin at Andy and Aileen's wedding out in Celbridge. Great day for all, first time for me as part of the Bridal party and felt pretty important for the day. Nice chance to catch up with old friends, but didn't go to overboard with drinks, think i had less than 5 drinks in the whole day. Surprisingly easy to drink Coke and pretend there is something in it :)

Great day on Sunday, up late ish, off to a huge breakfast and then escape the hangover people and go to Wicklow for some trail running. Lashing rain, we first decided to go for a walk in our waterproofs...then i kinda cleared up...then just as we got changed it lashed. But we went out anyway. 6km run in 32mins on some very very wet rooty trails. Great day, nice easy pace but just loving being out with walkers clad head to toe in layers and us in shorts and t-shirts. Light is most definitly right.

Tuesday, June 30

Auron and beyond

So Xterra this year is out. Pity but we need to move on and deal with it. In my head i am still sorry, but at the same time it makes me want to do it even more. Maybe even try to get in two next year.

Since the cancellation i've decided i need a holiday even more, what better way than to do a holiday than to do a weeks training/riding/eating/relaxing in the French alps. So we decided to go here with these lovely folks: http://www.triathlonholidays.co.uk/triathlontraining.asp

Some HC climbs, bit of running, some swimming and eating and resting. Just what i need in the run up to Dublin City Triathlon. Since Auron is over, this is focal race for the season. Bring on the biff. At least i can get out and practice on the course.

Wedding at the weekend coming up, so kinda just taking a week of unstructured training as Rich puts it...doing what i like. Hour on the bike last night with 2x20mins at FTP. Tonight not sure yet, but may go for a run for an hour, or may go to local airsoft venue. Will have to see.

Thursday, June 25

This is what happens....

...when your wetsuit falls off your shoulder and goes into your wheel.

Tuesday, June 23

Dunmore East Triathlon and other annoyances

Well we were down in Dunmore East for a lovely weekend of sun and sand. unfortunatly not everything lived up to this. Drove down on the friday and camped in a nice we place about 30 mins from the race start. Wandered out to see if we could register, but the website had less than no information so we only had a look about Dunmore East and looked at the start area. Lovely place.

Sat morning it started, first off no lactose free milk for me, so yogurt it was, bring on the burps and farts, but i need to eat. Arrived at registration, i got to skip the que (go being male and under 40!) but Pauline had to stand there for 30 mins, bit shite in my opinion and not very well orginised. But anyway..i went and sussed out the start and got myself and the bikes ready for the time she got back. Dressed up all sexy like in the Belpark kit and we started to roll towards the start. KABOOM, Pauline goes over her bars hard and lands on her back. Couple of panicky minuites checking to see if she'd broken anything then moved her off the road onto the path. thanks to the WTC guys for the help and getting Pauline sorted off to hospital and letting me race! Thanks also to pauline for not breaking herself to bad.

Turns out he wetsuit slipped off her shoulder where she was carrying it, went inbetween her brakes and front wheel, locked up the wheel and threw her over. Thankfully wearing her lid, and was not clipped in at the time. Could have been alot worse, but sure any crash you can walk away from...well hobble anyway.

Needless to say my head was gone for the whole race and i did poor. Not just bad but super poor. I know its a hard course and so on, and blah blah blah, but i did shite. 151st. Ok swim, felt weak on the bike, did crap in the run, couldnt focus at all. Anyway enough about that, so to top it off Xterra France has been cancelled....not going to rant...suffice to say i am not impressed.

Have to go find another race now i suppose. Or save and just do some local races, dunno yet and am not in the mood to think about it at all.

Sunday, June 14

Back to reality and random other bits

Well the jet lag is gone. Was a hard week and to be honest training didn't go exactly as planned. Got a good few sessions in but no where near what i needed to get in. Just could not train the body was drained.

Back coaching with the track guys last week as im taking over for Terry who is away for 3 weeks in France (lucky man). So did a sprint session with the group getting them to work on their skills. Think some people thought it was to advanced, but i've always gone with the idea that you wont improve if you dont put work in, and technique is nearly 100% about repetition, something we dont give out junior riders a chance to do.

Few meetings during the week, then nipped over to the Uk on Wed evening. Savage open water session on Thursday night in an OW venue, £4 for the session in a lovely lake with about 200 ppl rocking out over 2 hours. Few drinks after dinner with some of the Manchester Tri club and late night to bed. Packed the van and legged it to the ferry in Hollyhead on Friday, thought we were going to miss it so lets just say a Irl reg in Uk is a handy thing sometimes. About half way there figured we were fine, but could have been close!

Wednesday, June 10

Jet and lagged

Man i thought i'd got away with it. Pushed out on arrival and hit the bed about 3:30 in the afternoon, but by mistake slept for 16 hours...7:30 the next morning, god i was sore after that.

Since then i've been all over the place with my sleep patterns, just cant get back into a groove where i can go assleep and wake up early. Was talking to someone about possible Fe issues, better look into this some more, as well as it looks like i may be getting more lactose intollerent. Not even funny at this stage, had a pint of mil after the wicklow 200 on sunday, stomach and body have just been in bits since then. I am pratically showing stink lines like a cartoon charachter, i am making smells i did not know were possible. Now this may also be linked to the lack of good food in the states. Not sure yet soe going to have to look into this a bit more.

Wicklow 200 was Sunday. Being the clever sort i slept out, sorry lads. Woke up abruptly and got on the road with the lads, out of the gates at UCD at 8:30 and on the road. What lay ahead, a nice 200km route with allot of climbing, 2,000m or so not sure. Long story short one of the lads bonked maybe 2 hours in, no idea how or why. SO a longer day insued. Kinda happy in one way as i felt dead from the flying and lack of sleep, but at the same time 8hrs in i just wanted to stab everyone in the eyes and watch them scream......i was so so bored. At more than one point i just had to drop off the lads and talk to myself so i would'nt go nuts.

Breath in....breath out....breath in...breath out. Anyway felt fine after, little tired on Monday but no pains bar the one in my shoulder from Whistler. Training has been ok this week but im still all over the shop sleep wise. Not sure why, can never remember jetlag this bad, its not normal, im just sleeping and sleeping and not getting back to normal. Annoying it is.

Off to the UK today, help Pauline pack up and come home on Friday, time off will be nice, dont think i'll even take the laptop, i just want to dissappear for a day or two.

Friday, June 5

Whistler how i love thee

So biking in Whistler ehy? By far one of the best places i have ever ridden, i am biased due to the fact i lived there, but still. Saying that when i lived there i was not as good a rider as i am now. Not by any means. Picked up my DH bike for the day from Summit cycles and waited for lifts to open, hangover abated by a muffin and LARGE coffee. Big kick as beast of a Rocky Mountain Flatline Park edition...yeah words and so on. No idea how it'd ride as i hadnt been on a full on DH rig since my RM9....5 years ago. Saying that it was nice...but so so heavy...and flats....how do i ride on flats again?

Rode on over and got my lift pass for a paltry $46 CN. However i didn't figure how dehydrated i was and nearly passed out on the first lift...that an my HR was through the roof as i looked at the trails on the way up. I'd forgotten just how big Whistler forced you to go. Warmed up on Ez-does it to get the feel of the bike, forgot how shite a trail it was.

Second up lift went straight to B-line, yes yes yes, fast flowy and non technical. 3rd hit B-line again and then added in Heart Of Darkness which has two new big tables on it and a HUGE drop off, nearly spanked myself on it the first time, but god its good when you nail it.

Quick water stop after 4th run to get some fluids in as i was close on passing out, 1l in and two croissants and i was starting to feel the love, 1:30 down in the park, 5:30hrs to go.

Simply put Crank It Up is the best trail i rode out there, huge options from step-ups,wall rides, drops and massive tables all over the place. Best combo Schleyer - Karate monkey - ninja cougar - samuri pizza cat - devils club - H.O.D. narrow and technical with one pedal pushes to drops. Great just great. man DH is so different, fitness was there but not my muscles, XC now need to get more techincal for me, but first i need to get back in the gym :(

Met a sound American dude called Mike, had a good day riding with him till i had a big one and nearly took him down, was retaded on my part, caught my pedal switching into a berm and landed face and shoulder first. Full faces are the best invention ever...as is definite. Great night out with Mike on Monday even if the others decided to take it easy...slackers. Few beers in Longhorns then up to Citta until they kicked us out about 1am. Bed and passed out.

Lost lake the day after so the others could see it and enjoy some sunshine, i just chilled out with them, but in my head i was just looking for an excuse not to go home. I had one or two in my head that were there but one main reason. Saying that i know that unlike other reasons this one i can take with me to BC at some stage.

Its ironic last time i was here i was lonely on my own, this time i was lonley but with people.

Seattle 2 Canada....and Keiths

Good conference is what i will say for ACSM. Big trend on the performance side was the train low recover low glycogen idea. I understand the train low, something i do for longer spins, but not the recover low. I like food, i like to insert it pretty damn quick after a session. Sure i don't aim to super compensate but im not waiting 4 hours to eat after a session. Simple as.

Other good talks across various topics over the week and some interesting posters in my own area. Many questions asked and received and many emails to be sent. But i have to be honest by Friday afternoon and my poster i was all scienced out and just wanted to leave, i even had to go buy a shirt in The Gap to fit in for my presentation. Apparently pit shirts don't quite cut it. Whooda thunk it.

Seattle is a kick ass town, loved the area we were in. Liberal is a word to describe it but it felt relaxed, some of the group found the whole LGB thing a bit wierd but i thought it was kinda cool. PPl were friendly and i even spent a night just drinking with locals. But over all the atmos in Seattle is great. Relaxed, fit and happy. No heckling while out running in the city and people wanted to ask you about your training while you stopped to stretch. Never get that at home. Makes me once again realise how detached i feel from the irish population.

Good night out on Friday with the group in a super pub with 160 draft beers, yum yum. Nice to get out with Giles to see a different side of him, spent most of the night talking to Caron, new head med officer for Australian Horse racing, lovely woman, gave me some new ideas for my training and lack of sleeping. Sat morning we went to some outlet mall just south of the border...well we eventually went...i HATE waiting for people. Wandered about and got some stuff but nothing much, not one for shops that dont have bikes, let alone Abercrombie and Fitch...

Did the usual tourist things in Seattle aswell; tour on lake Union, Dinner in the Space Needle, and Science museaum. Others did more but i decided to clock up miles on my legs. Lovely running there, hilly and constant. Legs feel strong but they took a beating.

Crossed the border with no issues, bar the hot Canadian girl in the booth making the males in the car speak 5 year old, then drove on up to Vancouver to get some foods and meet Colm for a few drinks. Well more than a few TBH.....Alexander Kieths how i have missed thee. God i love that beer, and so i decided i need to attempt to drink all of the stocks in BC.

Next day saw us off to Whistler via Squamish and some other gorgeous sites along the way. The drive up was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of 'OH MY GOD' and 'god i miss this'. Forgotton how much of an impression BC and Canada made on me (those who know me well will want o abuse my store and abooting next). Rocking up in Whistler i ditched my bags and got ready to bomb out to town...others wanted to kick about the hotel...WTF kids WTF. Got them out and went for a wander, sure it was warm but its Canada its not always like this! Let them do there own thing and went out for a run to lost lake, went for a sneaky swim at the same time ;)

Bombed back, and hit Citta for dinner, such a good spot, best onion rings in Whistler bar none. Few brews and then off to Longhorns for a few more....well ok many more. Bad bad idea....so hungover the next morning. Woke up and knew i was going to have a rough day in the park...just like old times really TBH.

Friday, May 29

From Fingal to Seattle

Over a week now since the Fingal Triathlon out in the national aquatic centre. Haven't written about it beacause well, i didn't take it to seriously. Strange to even say that but it was a race that we used to probe and prod and see how i am going. Funnily enough quite well.... Came 36th overall with a new PB to boot a 1:13:38 or something. Carp swim, but a good solid bike and run kept me in place. Went out to hold a wattage on the bike and it worked well, held a 248W normalised power, then ran a nice 22min 5km. Felt good on the run, tired from the wind on the bike but ran good. Head kicked in a bit at the same point i cramped last year but i managed to kick my own ass and ignored it. Happy with the day, new 404's were out in force, good time, and 9th in the Intervarsities's...but i have to say i cared not in the end.

Over in Seattle at a conference now, weather is cracking, food is plentiful (to much so) and i've been relaxing a bit on my alcohol consumption, ive actually been out twice since i got here on Sunday and it's been good to relax. Saying that i've logged some miles on my feet, good long hilly miles, but i'll write about that later. Just back from a fasted 10km and getting hungry. Time to ignore mr Jack Daniels (not the whisky) and get the glycogen back in.

Monday, May 11


Well it was bound to come sooner or later, i would actually have to step up to all this training and actually race. Boo-urns to that i say!

First off a big thanks to Andrew Cahil who gave me a lift down to the race. Made for a good day out he got some photos which i'll stick up when i get the chance.

Race was the usual triathlon affair with a bit of a tweak, all off road and with the emphasis on overall fitness rather than the brute speed that tri normally has at these distances. Shorter races are not normally my thing, but as it was early in the season i decided to give it a bash. That and Rich told me to :) This race was a prep for Xterra France, simple as, however i will be back if they do another one. Read on

Swim: 20:20 (44th)
Pissed off here, now in saying that, my swim training has been sporadic at best. First 100m were tough affair as normal, few punches (nose is sore today) but took me about 400m to settle. in At that point i'd lost the lead group and had no one to draft on. Settled in and tried to hold back for the bike. Mid pack out of the water, and got a few places in T1 as i'd worked on my transition, had it laid out and knew what was going on. 1:20 for T1 and out on the bike.

Bike: 47:43 (13th)
This is my strong point...until i burped my rear tire. Do'h. Gas or not gas...just about had enough to ride and it was shlompy so left it, half way through the lap realised i needed to gas it as it was still leaking. Gas in, back on the pedals. Course was a mixture of techyish roots, sand (uugh memories of Moab), and un-rideable obstacles. Most of it was fine but the sand started to eat my drive train and i was getting serious chain suck for most of the second lap, so bad i could not ride the bike for certain sections. I reckon i lost 4mins between this and the burp....and the fact i got sent the wrong way at one point...not going to bitch about it as most of the top 20 got sent the wrong way. Kept it steady and just rode my tits off. Didn't hold back as i knew i could make some time here that i'd lost in the water. Came off the bike in about 26th position and hit T2. 52seconds later out running.

Run: 23:58 (23rd)
Of recent years i have been let down by my running. No other way to put it than its been shite. Only had one or two brick sessions in my legs so was interested in how i would feel doing it 'for real' come race day. Out of T2 with a quick think of 'body forward, light on the feet, fast short strides' and bang straight onto the forefoot running style Rich has had me working on. Felt good, real good, strong and ready to push. Spotted two guys 200m ahead of me and started to chase. Picked them both off about 500m later and hammered past them....uphill. Wow. Was getting eager to see what i could do. half way into the course still no sign of the leaders...how far ahead are they went through my head...no...how far ahead am i needed to replace that. 3.5km in and i see a runner coming towards me 'Holy crap...i'm close to the front'. Look behind, 2 guys giving chase, upped the pace. Counting the runners coming towards me, Art in 3rd place...ok he looks tired....Micheal in 7th....10th place runner coming in from my left WTF??...hang on....catch a guy...blast past him...next runner...hey you're only 2 places up on me....there's the turn. Hit the turn. Running back marshal shouts '1km to go!' Counted that i was in 18th place. With someone on my heals and its all uphill from here.

Over the river, up to the cross...750m to go of which 500m is a long steady climb, footsteps behind me...have maybe 10m on this guy...one ahead...go for it. Stepped up and 'body forward, light on the feet, fast short strides' mantra in my head, drown out the pains in my feet and shoulders 'body forward, light on the feet, fast short strides'. Quick look over the shoulder.. no-one... getting flat step up again...flat out over the bridge into the finishing area. Finish..still no sign of chaser...5seconds....10seconds there he is...over the line.

Aftermath: 1:43:33 (17th place, 7th in AG)
With a burped tire, mis-direction on the bike, and the worst chain suck i have ever experienced i think maybe 4 mins could come off this time for just plain unluckiness. But racing is racing and these things happen. If i'd not had this, i would have made my top 10 aim and i'd have been 3rd in my age group.

I felt i did well, run was strong, not the fastest but its early days yet. Need to get my swim sorted, combination of being a lazy ass and first open water of the season meant that it was slow. I want to be out of the water in Auron in the top 20 in my AG if i can. Simple as. If i want to go to Maui i need to step my game up.

Still...happy out ;)