Wednesday, December 22

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

> what is a grue?
The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale

Night time is upon us. We wake up in the dark. We go to bed in the dark. In between i live in a basement.

Running at night, riding at night, training at night. If it wasn't so damn quiet it'd be depressing.

On my own running on my local trails with nothing to entertain me. Turn my brain off. Listen to my breathing and foot falls. Just run.

There are some benefits to winter.

Thursday, December 16

Bradford National Series

Taken from Heidi Swifts blog:

As bike racers we sometimes confuse approval of our successes for love. I remember the first time I got anywhere near the front of a race – the way people reacted differently as I came around course. More intense. More earnest. More approving. It felt good. I wanted to feel that way all the time.

It can get confusing. You have to sort that shit out and remember that you

are not your results. You are a human being who happens to pedal – amazing at so many other things, important for so many other reasons.

Bike racing can fuck you up, man. Don’t let it.

Stay in control. It’s ok, you’re ok.

Bradford was to host a round of the British National Trophy in Peel Park. Hoping to get some faster races in before Nationals this year, and to take a chance to race my first elite race outside Ireland i aranged to meet Alan Dorrington and steal his food and accommodation for a few days prior to the race. A quick ferry over, training session in the ice with Dave Haygarth and a trip to the Chirstmas markets in Manchester with Pauline sorted the first few days. Saturday was spent preparing bikes, getting all the little bits done and just waiting to race.

Sunday morning up early and inserting food into me, bikes into car, and extracting the contents of my bowls. Normal pre race roulette at the moment of if a toilet is close enough at any point in time. A quick drive out to Bradford saw us arrive with plenty of time to pre-ride the course before Alans race in the Vet's group.

Initial feelings on the course were: Hard, iced up, and rideable...even the off camber wall of death was doable. Then it happened. It started to warm up, the ground thawed and then they let 3 races go before us. It was never going to be a pretty race, but at the same time it was never going to be an easy race.

After the break we got a chance to re ride the course again. My previous tire choice went out the window, Fango's off, Rhinos and Mud's to try. Then it happened having ridden 'the descent' in warm up i was confident of both line options. But i wanted to try them both in the mud. I tried the left line and dropped the bike. Ok...not the end of the world go again...dropped it again....broke my shifter....felt like an idiot...the beginning of the end.

Lined up, last min on the line pee and waited to get gridded. Middle slot 4th row. Not ideal, but not the back either. Commissars checking wheels, brakes and all the bits they like too do. No issues with the wheels i was running which was nice. 1 minute to go call. Check HRM, check brain, check gear. 30 seconds. Hooter and rolling, working to clip in as fast as possible.

OK start, coming into the first corner where i wanted to be, take a few places in the first section, and get into the line-out going into the first fast descent and manage to get away with it by running hard and fast. Go as hard as i can for the first lap until the off camber mud traverse section, opt to run this on the first lap and see how it goes on the way. Approach the run up and realise just how many people have crowded around to watch the race. Very different than home. Cross the line and bypass the pit on the first lap. Bike still ok at this time. Hit the descent running and get a 'good option lad' from a local Yorkshireman as i pass 3 guys trying to ride the drop. Hill running experience paying off there again.

Then the wheels came off. I started dropping wheels, thinking about changing bikes to a bike that I'd borrowed from Alan. Thinking about THAT run-up again, THAT descent, and all the other things that cause you to ride like a dog on tiles. HR dropped, breathing increased, RPE went up, a shitstorm hit my body and i could not cope. I'd love to say that i kept it together, i'd love to say that i clawed it back from the brink and chased down the places i lost, i'd love to say that i fought on and was able to overcome my daemons.


I failed on all accounts to deal with my brain and put it in its place. I went backwards, worse than i think i have ever done. Last place, lapped on the 4th lap, looked at by the commissar and given the option to bail. Hit the pits, jumped out of the plane and didn't pull the cord. Race over. Disappointment, apologies to Alan and Pauline who did an amazing job pitting for me, clean bikes when i needed them, no complaints from them at any stage.

Experiences like this need to be learnt from. Nationals are 4 weeks away. I have to look at what i want to do there and see if it is possible. I have to work on my technical skills again. I need to sort my brain out so i can claw it back when it goes into spiral mode.

Wednesday, December 1

Ulster Cyclocross Championships

Friday through Saturday and the snow started to fall. Not only were we being given small craft warnings (bikes are small crafts aren't they?) but the temperature was due to plummet. Safe in the knowledge that the Irish road system would fail with even the slightest hint of snow i opened a beer late on Saturday night and settled into a night of relaxing before a race that i assumed would be cancelled. However not to be outdone i did ease off after the second beer, pack the kit bags, set the alarm for 8am, and get to bed by 11:30pm. Just in case.

8am alarm call and I've been away for an hour anyway. Body is adjusted to winter time now and tries to get as much sunlight as it can in the morning. Open the curtains to find 10cm of snow in the back garden and the car under the same in the front. Wander to the loo and send people some texts. Mostly no commital answers until one back from Andy saying 'Robin is on his way up, slowly'. Bugger..... if he is going there is a reason. Text Robin to hear that its slow but he's not hit the M1 yet. Living only 10mins from the main road to the north has its benefits...and if it was clear...even vaugly... Text back at 9:10am 'M1 clear, slow going, get move on'

9:15am, car packed, two bikes, 3 wheelsets, kit, water, ski pants and jacket. 9:17am rolling/sliding to the M1. 10:00am hit the M1 after witnessing some terrible drivers trying to drive at 60kph on sheet ice. One lane open on the main motorway, 40kph until Balbriggan when it opens out fully and can get up to 80. Once past Drogheda there is no snow, frost yes, but its like a different world. Dublin got hit bad for a change but the North was fine. very very weird. Rest of the way to Rostrevor as fast as the limits allow sitting in the car park for the race at 11:15am. Perfect.

Kilbroney park in Rostervor is one of those CX venues that I love and hate. A DNF there last year saw me fall from a top 10 place to a pile of vomiting hell for a week or two.Met up with Robin, Evan, Dave and Andy after sign on and a quick lap of two. The course is great but you need to be fit, very fit. Freezing conditions had left the course like a road race. The MTB races before did nothing to cut the ground up and it was perfect for us. Gridded on the second row had me in a good position for the first section but the first two corners were going to sort it out quick enough. Sure enough after the gun Glen Kinning dropped it in the second corner and a bunch of 12 us managed to get away.

the first lap had us all together until a fracture saw Robin and Matt Adier get away. Shortly afer that another move saw me in a group of 4 hanging off the back of an 8 behind the lads. Matt wrecked his derauiler and that was that for the day. Scrapping would ensue among these groups. Andy Newman from WORC worked his way up and past me and replaced Dave O'Neil (WORC) in the pain train. Glen made his way back up to help his team mate and we played cat and mouse for the next 6 laps. With the course running hard and fast average speed for the race was 21.3kph. Second last lap and i binned it trying to attack out of the group i was in. Glen was smart enough and attacked the second he got past my flailing corpse and i had to work as hard as i could to get back to him. At the exact point again on the last lap where i caught him Glen attacked again. Couldn't get onto his wheel, totally spent but had to defend from the two guys on my wheel. Luckily into the last section of single track i could pull back, ease off and recover. The final climb would be where the attacks came from and i needed to go with them. James McMaster from Curran Racing attacked on the last hill and i went with him before he got to my hip. With an on coming bush in his way he backed off and i went again. Jack from East Antrim CC managed to get past James and that was the end of that.

Video, Photos, and results from the day. 10th place overall, a good attack from Glen left me dead for 9th place. Great move and recovery from the crash on the first lap. Happy with the result overall, happy with how i rode, just not 100% smart on some sections. Good feelings before the National Trophy race in Bradford on the 12th of December.

Monday, November 22

CX racing

Few races in the last few weeks and a few other things:

Week off the bike bar a single day MTBing in COrk with Enda. On some killer antibiotics to try and kill whatever has been getting me down. Appears to have worked. At the same time i concentrated on some work and got myself in a better position in coaching and work circles so double plus good.

New bike:
It happened, i have been crashing way way to much and a double bike opportunity came about. Will post later about it but HUGE thanks to Paul at the Bike Hub in Howth for sorting me out.

Super Cross Cup - Rnd 4: Tymon
Much much muddier than last time. Felt ok going in. Rode hard as i could as i was gridded pretty badly. Got into top 15 after the first lap then pushed up to outside the top 10. Crashed out following Andy Newman into the off camber on lap 3. Buggered up the bike, so hit the pits for the other bike. But eneded up in 30th. 20 places in 30seconds on the deck. CX has become compeditive now... Pushed as hard as i could but the ribs were killing me. Managed a 26th place but honestly spent the last 3 laps just riding and restraining myself for Sunday. Beers on Sat night were good though :)

Ulster CX - Belfast, Ormeau Park:
After crashing on Sat i wasn't sure how id race today, decided to call it on the morning of the race. Woke up, hurt, but not enough not to go up. Freezing cold day. Horrible course (only cause i felt intimidated by 90% of it) and i was close to not racing. MTFU after i watched Pauline ride well (to 3rd, well done that girl). Course raced well, can't deny that, it just was on the border of what i can ride. All my time was made up on the lower CX section where i could go 100%. One crash resulted in 5 places lots, of which i caught back up 3 to finish 9th. Rode the UJC and switched to the new bike when i realised i needed tubs that were attached. First race this year i am actually happy with my result.

Monday, November 8

Lisburn Cyclocross, Ulster CX Rnd3

Ok, for the first time this season a positive race report. First off to the race orginiers...what a course. Chapeau. You stepped up and it was excellent, fast, flowing, slow where it needed to be, painfull everywhere.

Have been sick for weeks with some sort of viral thing, cant get rid of it, been to docs, have stuff to go on as of tomorrow. Turned up to the Lisburn of the Ulster CX league just to ride, not to race.

Surprised that i got gridded as i'd missed the last round, but always a nice feeling to get called up, sat on the third row. Sitting in a bunch of guys i know but am used to being ahead of was a bit odd, but so be it.

Easy fast start saw a quick stretch of fireroad into a 100m section of grass. This had got boards on, which are a stong point of mine, but they were removed at the last minute and we ended up riding a quagmire. All i can say is thank you tubs and 30PSI. Short fast sections of gravel which rode like mini Belgian sand pits lead to a quick tarmac/carpet climb up to the return section.

Fast rolling descents with some tight off camber corners meant that you were trusting your tires to grip at huge speeds sometimes. Underlying rocks were there to punish those running clinchers, but it turned out that rear mechs were the food of the day. 9 mechs...9 ...were counted as being off bikes by the end of the race. Mud, gravel and speed do not combine well. Personally no chain suck. WD-40 the bike the day before, it works.

Had a few great laps racing Jason Henry until i managed to drop him. Then got dropped by my own team mate and spent 5 laps racing on my own (out of 9). Slowly made my way up from 16th on the grid and first lap, to 11th overall. Two places due to mechanicals, the rest...they just were not willing to suffer.

Positives: No mechanicals, no crashes, never even a single sketchy moment
Negatives: I could go harder, i can push the corners.

Friday, October 29

Injury Free?

It's been a while since ive been injured. Quite a while and it's been great to be honest. Getting told i'd managed to incur a stress fracture and a trapped nerve was a pain in the nuts to put it mildly. Coming at the same time as rolling 2 tubs at one race, crashing 4 times hard in a week, and then puncturing a tub in the next race...well i was in a bad place.

The last week has been recovery, mental and physical.

Went to the physio last night and got the all clear to run again. Not for long, 15mins, and not fast or hard. Somehow i've managed to keep my weight in check with no running. Sitting below 81kg at the moment and i can be happy with 3 months until nationals.

Tonight i will run for the first time in 6 weeks. It will be slow. I may even put some music on. It will be slow, and my feet will get soaked in the grass. But i cannot explain how much i am looking forward to it.

6min/km here i come.

Tuesday, October 26

Weekend away, roads and more roads

Long weekend was on the cards. I've somehow managed to miss the other Bankholidays this summer by forgetting they were about to happen. Not this time, a plan needed to be hatched.

Was working on Friday night at the St Pats vs Bray Wanderers game (it was terrible) so couldn't get away super early. Plan was to head off to Cavan early on Saturday morning, but i didn't get home until 12:30pm as someone did not want to do the business, and i got to bed sometime after 1am as i'd not eaten dinner. Slept through and woke up at I was supposed to be on the road at 10am. OOps. 1pm rolling out of the house with 100km to head to get to Virginia. Must get to Pumpkin Festival!

Mostly the ride was flat with some small kickers along the way. Section out of Kells nearly bored me to death, thankfully music kept me alive. Nearly died twice within 10m of entering Virginia, but 3hrs 45mins later and a good ride was in the bank. Changed, coffee'd, and then dinner with Paulines folks.

Plan for the rest of the weekend was vague. Hotel booked in Achill Island for the Sunday night, get there at some point, get home. Sin e. Drove to Enniskillen that evening and I managed not to kill anyone and watched a good film. I'd no clothes with me so dressed in Mikes clothing for the weekend. Baggy and woollen mostly!

Woke up the next morning to some awesome frost and ice. Inversion on the lake and perfect skys. Drive to Achill was going to be great! Coffee stops and a few other stops on the way and we got to the island in time to enjoy the great weather in a picnic at the Sound. Met a few friends then went for a drive on the island for a few hours to see bits we'd never seen. No surf so not much else to do. Dinner and a few beers that evening before bed, then another long drive back to Dublin. Popped into cinema to see The Social Network (its rather good) then bed.

In total i think i've doubled or tripled the entire amount of time i have ever driven a car in this one weekend. Simple as TBH...

Tuesday, October 19

Supercross Rnd 2: Tymon Park IMBRC

Tymon Park was where i popped my cyclocross cherry all those years ago. I'd done a race or two on a mountain bike but had never raced proper on a CX bike. I managed to scrounge together a beater of a bike in the form of an old Flanders CX frame. It was heavy, i was heavy, and the course was a nationals that went down in history for being over within 20m when a crash occurred into the first section of singletrack. Suffice to say i got my ass handed to me and finished +3 laps. It was a birth by fire for me.

4 years on and allot has changed. Gone are the singletrack sections, gone is the crazy start, and gone is the mud and tears of being a fat bloke carting a 12kg bike about the course. 3 years later and this is a course i love returning to and this year it was perfection. 3m wide the whole way round, UCI standard for 99%, and fast as you could make it.

Race was going to be stacked from the start, all the big names were out and looked like a great race with was in store. Personally i was feeling ok. Had just recovered from a chest cold, but after being struck with a case of the 'stop training Greg' in the form of a trapped ulnar nerve and a stress fracture in my leg i pretty much should have just hung up the wheels. However being gridded always has a bit more behind it and its great to get called up to a race. Makes you feel like you've achieved something...or such.

Either way i opted to race, for good or bad i don't know. First few laps were ok, then it all went wrong. The course was a top end course, you needed raw V02 power and mine was still covered in phlegm and it made its way up on more than one occasion. 4 laps in and i started to realise i was going to be lucky to get through this in the top 20 let alone 30. Recovery mode and just ride to maintain places. 3 laps later and it wasn't getting better. Keith from Sundrive passed me noting that i looked like shit and should pull over. In a nice way. But Karma had other ideas and i punctured my front tub. Right before the techy off camber bits. Cock.

Ran a bit, realised this was bad for my leg, then just finished the lap and pulled in. Pissed off, but then i found out that 15 people suffered the same. Me thinks that people in the UK will be getting muchos money from Irish riders looking for new tubs!

Friday, October 15

Supercross Rnd 1: Swords CC

The Stevens Supercross Cup. Alwyas good racing. Always a deep field at the front end. Always hard. Always fast. Always excellent. This year we are back in Leinster for the 4 round series. Back and bigger than ever. With 34-40 people turning up at training and this the first race in the South all year it was going to be a big one. 50 people presigned. 15 more signed on at the startline. This was going to be epic.

The course designed by Dave O'Neil was a definite Dave course. Fast corners, fast straights, no uber tech, but forced running that paid well for cross riders, and corners that you could only just maintain grip at high speed on. A crew from Team-WORC arrived to help set the course and clean as much of the grass and cans off as we could.

Starting grid was stacked in the front two rows. Robin, Giller, Dave O, Evan, Gormo, Aiden, Peter, Myles, Niall...i knew everyone on the front two rows by name and new this was going to be a very fast start. Some random roadies tried to slot in at the front and were promptly run through when the whitle went. 10 laps flat out. Bring it on.

Straight line it from the gun into the first corner, 3 wide with Stu on the right and Niall on the left, pull away from Niall but he's all over me on the next corner. Avoid the corner we all assumed would cause a crash and hit the speed dip to bypass the river. Up onto the dirt corner like a supermoto course and Niall is trying to undertake, quick flick into his line and he's forced to go high, i go low and make the run up before him.

Massive attack out of the run up and try to gap him Latch onto Stu and Noel from WORC and we work like hounds to gap the group. Hit the ride up fast and have got 5-10m's on the Rocky Mtn boys. Down the straight, first time over the boards (385mm of UCI goodness). Down the grassy edge of the GAA pitch and into the funnel to the 'drop'.

Ride the drop and realise this is a great spot to attack. Pull ahead of Stu and Noel as they are suffering a bit and spot Myles in his Bikepure kit ahead. Target sighted. Attack. Cross the finish line and 200m later I'm on the back of the group with Myles, Colm and Sean. Sit in for half a lap until I decide to make my presence known. Track riding taught me to control from the front like a good kirin rider so i move past them on the boards and get to the front. Also allows for blocking if its needed.

3rd lap and I'm getting pissed off with the guy from Tiernans on my wheel. I made an attempt to bridge to the next group and you are wheel sucking. Shouted 'Either work, or i will drop your sorry ass'. He didn't so i went harder. Myles was smarter than that and half a lap later he is all over me again. Ease off. This guy can ride and we still have 6 laps to go.

And so it went until lap 8. I'd attack, drop Myles, he'd work his balls off to get back onto me and drag the Tiernans rider up to us. Colm had punctured somewhere around lap 7 so was gone, and Sean was off the back and suffering....i hoped. Start of lap 9 and i had to go. As i was winding up to go the lad from Tiernans goes. Let him go, hop on his wheel and get ready to spring board after the run up. This has to be hard as i can no sticking around to see if they chase.

Big right hander. Fast. To fast for my confort. Tub goes off the rim. Rim catches. I highside and end up on the ground, the same place i rolled in warmup. Curse as Myles and co ride past. Throw a massive Millar time and then cop on. Roll the tub back on. Get running kid. Run the section to the corners as Stu comes back to me. Tell him to ride on as i cant corner. Eventually get to the pit, change the front wheel and start again. This is going to be hard. I'd gone from 10th to 21st in a matter of seconds. Chase as hard as i can, corner way to ragged, hold it, get a place. Get another one at the boards and bridge to Asa and another lad.

Holding on as Asa leads into the drop. I know he is going to attack, and he does, just manage to get to his wheel again. 100m to go and a series of 90' corners and a big 180' corner. Skills need to work. Think of it as a match sprint. Hold my line behind Asa sitting on his wheel. Final corner, he jumps the Newry rider, 50m to go and I'm already in the drops while Asa is still on the tops. Leverage will win. Drafting till 30m and i have to go. Out of the saddle. Full gas, head down, death or glory.

17th place. Two rolled tubs. Less points than i needed, but a good performance let down by a mechanical. Myles finished 10th. In my position. Tomorrow will be different.

Thanks to Waggers for the photos.

Tuesday, October 5

Lurgan Race File

Bit late i know but may as well stick up race file from the weekend in Lurgan last week.

Looking through the file I was probably a little too hyped at the start line. HR was very very high and that probbably didn't help with trying to chase back onto the bunch after I crashed.

Lap times (bar first one) were pretty consistant, but you can see my HR dropping the whole way through. Just wasn't pushing near the end as i had nothing to chase for. Need to sort out the head for the race tomorrow. No matter where i am, treat it as a race, treat every place as if it was first place.

Last lap was a bit off due to 2 chain drops, hopefully new chain retainer arrives today. CRC be kind to me!

Monday, October 4

Ulster Cyclocross League Round 1: Lurgan Park

Edited since posted:

First race of the year. Always nervous, always apprehensive, always a big start to a long season. THe course was big, the course was long, the course was more akin to a mountain bike race than a cyclocross course.

I was not impressed at first.

Lurgan has held some fantastic races in the past. This year its to be the national championships so they are aiming to step up to a race that needs to be run well or they will receive abuse. The location is excellent, huge area of land with a tennis pavillion at the start, food, playgrounds and a massive amount of mixed parkland to work with. But suffice to say the water jump raised its head again....arrghghg. I don't mind it, it just takes one twat to cream him/her self on it and they are screwed.

The warm up was odd. With a 12-13 minute lap (told you it was long) only 3 laps were done in warm up. very little time to learn the course and by the 3rd racing lap i had maybe got it sorted in my head. Not a good sign!

The MTB support race ripped up the ground less than expected and to top it off Pauline got 3rd place. Well done that to get her a cross bike. Lining up on the start line you could tell that it was going to be a hard start. All the fast boys up the front and not very much space.

Race kicked off and 50m in Matt Aider bumps me on the left and then he's on the ground. 3 other riders went down on the fast tarmac start, but this happens every now and again. Fair dues to the guy he chased back on and won the race! But...100m down the road a bunch of 7 of us had got away. At the first turn a rider went down taking myself and another rider with him. Straight to ground in a heap. Picked up bike and ran to notice chain was off. 6th -last in a split second. Myself and Rob from WORC started to chase back, but at that point it was race over.

First lap saw me get back up to 16th position but i'd spent any energy i'd have used for later in the race. Havent had to go so hard for so long in a while, good to know i can do it, but not the time to use it. A stupid mistake on the last lap saw me drop from 12th - 16th as i missed a gear change and hopped my chain again. Suffice to say i was angry crossing the line. Course ran better in racing than warmup, bike and rider are ok if a little bruised, but not the best start.

But hey, thats racing.

*I am thinking of changing my name to Theo Bos....

Photos to come later:

Wednesday, September 29

Cross Session Review

Every Tuesday during the cross season for the last 4 years a group of misfits has congregated in a field in Knocklyon. Riding in the dark beside a motorway under the residual light and flashing bike lights makes for interesting training. In the dark you learn to feel the bike better, learn when your tires are about to give way, and learn when you can and cannot go hard.

This year I've been busy for the first 3 sessions, last night was the first of many for the season in the run up to national championships in Lurgan this year. The sessions follow a mix of short laps with lots of tight corners looking at maintaining speed. Then normally a few fast hot laps with some mini racing, a bit of start work, and then if all goes well a bit of racing at the end.

This is where the magic happens, 1hr 15mins into a fairly intense session and you try to hold race pace for 15 or so minutes. This is where we find out who is going well, and who is going home.

This was last nights race. 15mins on a 8 lap course with a gradual climb each lap that tried to suck the tires off your wheels. One dismount and some super slithery corners may not have made for a fast course, but what it lacked in speed it made up for in pain. Two falls, a near crash into another rider and 3/4 of a lap gap between us and the scratch group meant that getting 18th out of 30 was harder than expected. Not to add that my Vittoria CX at 20PSI were not up to the level of grip.
But whatever doesnt kill you makes you stronger. 180bpm is a target i haven't hit in a while. For the last year or so i've not been able to hit any higher than 176bpm in a max test in the lab, or during simulated 20mins time trials of any sort. Working at 95% of max for 15mins is something I am happy with. Strength may be lacking, but at least the heart is coming back.

Tuesday, September 28

Cross Season Looming.

Busy season this year, lots of races, lots of weekends, and a few double headers between southern races and up north. Going to be hard to pace for the whole season. Calendar is at : for those of you who haven't had a look yet.

I've been thinking about the year and what races I'm going to aim to go well at. Obviously we are going to aim to do our best at nationals in Lurgan this year, and a least get a place on the team prize. Supercross Cup is a biggie, but missing one round means that i need to make sure that i perform in the other 3 (maybe 4...shhhh). Ulster League, not a focus, but one or two of the courses suit me and i know i can top 10, maybe top 5 on them.

Training tonight should give me an idea where i am in relation to the Dublin crowd. Opening up the lungs and legs for the first time in a bunch of peers is always hard for me, for some reason I've always been paranoid about this, don't know why, but I'm sure I'm not the only person.

Bike ready. Rider ready. Courses....we will see.

Friday, September 24

Science Nerding again

Interesting week, more and more people preparing for the cross season and some late season Ironmans. Helping out a few different riders and triathletes at the moment and really starting to understand how years of study actually relate to some thing.

Got some nice data to play with off Russell Cox , full timer in the IM game, and had a play with it looking at his rates of carbohydrate usage and fat oxidation. About two years ago Rich Brady came to me with the magic number. 2.5g of CHO/min. At the time i didn't know where he'd gotten it from but turns out years of training and racing as a pro had given him the idea. Figure i better credit the guy/coach/my ex coach.

Of late in the labs, and through some pretty hefty reading, ive looked into where this number may come from and how it will relate to performance not on the bike leg of the IM split, but more so on its effects on the running leg.

Starting to think more about not only the rate of CHO oxidation but perhaps the ratio of CHO:Fat oxidation as a better predictor. Obviously having more fat being oxidised at a given intensity as well as carbohydrate is ideal, but hitting the max fat burning intensity for racing is not exactly the ideal situation as it may result in super maximal/sub maximal burning of CHO at that point. Which in turn may not be optimal for the run.

More of a stream oc conciousness idea here, but what if we were to look at improving the ratio fo CHO:Fat not as a more CHO to Fat or more Fat to CHO but as an optimisation of the fat oxidation with minimal CHO utilisation at intensity that may not traditionally be fuelled this way. Possibly a dynamic pacing approach to the bike that initially up regulates fat oxidation and CHO consumption but allows for a throttling off of CHO usage and higher ability to oxidise fat could be used.

I could also be wrong.

It happened once.

Monday, September 20

Weekend of stickyness

Cross season is looming. Way way way over weight myself but its coming down slowly. Just need to start ramping up the training again. Main thing is that nationals arent until January, so a good time to drop down to sub 80kg again. Mixed bag of a weekend, but overall pretty awesome.

Weekend riding:
Pauline was up for the weekend and looking to get into the idea of IM training. End of a good season for her racing Oly distance so we decided on a nice early long ride on Saturday. 7:30am clock went off....9:30am got up (FAIL). 11:45 rolled out of the house in the rain. TBH it was one of those days where we knew it was going to be a slow one, so didn't mind too much!

80km ride up and around north count Dublin, getting some nice hills in, some flat headwinds and some back country lanes that the cross bike would have been more suited to than the TT bike. Easy out pace (more here) and just a nice day out, albeit in the rain for the whole thing.

Weekend shopping:
Mostly we went shopping for food. However on Friday we made a detour to the Cycle Superstore to check out the end of year tri kit sale. This was both a bad and good idea at the same time. Managed to pick up some UBER deals. Total spent <€500, total worth ~€2,000! Picked up a set of 48mm carbon tubular race wheels that were €1,250 for €400. Unreal, can't believe the price. Credit card took the brunt of it, i'll figure out how to pay for it later. All i know is that i now won't be using my 404's during the cross season!

Also picked up a pair of those funky Zoot shoes that are in fashion, some tri shorts, swim shorts, and a nice pair of leggings. All good.

Weekend resting:
Other than shopping for tri stuff we spent it mostly shopping for food. One of those weekends where we decided that we wanted to eat good food. Made some key lime pie, made some other nice food, and ate well. Only had 4 beers this week (small ones too!) so getting back to the normal levels.

Plans for the week:
Train consistently
Eat well
4 units of alcohol MAX

Monday, September 13

Early season weigh in.

Contenders READY. Cross bikes READY. 3. 2. 1. GO!

Currently sitting at 9.2kg without being anal yet.

Changes to last year already include a different seat (snapped the old one), new SPDs instead of egg beaters (snapped the old ones, 2 pairs), and tubs!

Clinchers are still good for training (and the 25km ride each way on tues) so have the two sets of them sitting about. Now added to the stable are two sets of tubs. the 404's and a pair of Alan aluminium rims.

Few bits to get done; Glue tubs, new rear derauiler, new gear cables, new straddle cables with adjuster bits! :O

Then i can start getting anal again about weight. Main thing is i've decreased the rotational weight on the bike, gained a bit at the pedals, but its low down so ok. Now to scour the web for light bits! Lightest 42 tooth ring?

Monday, September 6

Long rides into the north

Missed out on riding Da Cooley Thriller last weekend due to Dublin City Triathlon. Managed to grab a .gpx file off a friend and decided to try out the courses setting on my 405 to see how it worked (never used it in over 2 years!). Surprised by how easy it was to use, just stick it onto compass mode and use it as a , this turn or that one option. Only got a bit lost once, and that was at the same point that Rob did!
Its a big old loop i have to say. 50km and pretty much 85% on singletrack and some double track. Nice mixture of tech and fast flowing Irish peaty awesomness. Great day out altogether. But...well it was moist when we arrived, and it only got worse. Much much worse.

That was probably the only time it became visable enough to take some actual biking footage. I'll throw the rest up later at some stage. but suffice to say 6 hours in the rain and headwind made for a hard day biking. Even more so when you have a nose full of sheep poo.

Thursday, September 2

Dublin City Triathlon 2010

5 years ago i took my pluge into the triathlon world. It all started with a gateway race at the Fingal triathlon as part of a team relay for the sprint race. A race which we won by miles, and still stands as the crowning moment in my triathlon career. Depresing ehy?

To say the least i loved the race. Enjoyed the atmosphere, loved the pain, and then food after? What the hell we never get this at the track or at road races! I'm in. A few weeks later i had purchased a time trial frame and built up my first triathlon bike. A few days later i decided to enter my first ever race. Dublin City Triathlon, Olympic distance, closed roads, just a few km from the house.

Needless to say i trained like a muppet. Had an ok swim, SMASHED the bike (1:04) and then blew up in spectacular style on the run. The year after followed a similar pattern, with an even worse run and a massive digestive track explosion. Year after i took a break from the race as i was away at the TransWales MTB race.

THe last 3 episodes have gone well, 2:32; 2:30. Times coming down, but the bike times going up resulted in much faster run splits. This year however things had been set to go well. A bit of an up and down season, combined with some mental blowups, led to this turning into an event not a race. No PB;s were to be set even before the race started. I was here to have some fun.

Ok swim at 34mins out and into transition, even paced, not fast but i've not been swimming well this year in the least. Maybe not swimming has done that....Then the rains came, and down went the triathletes. Always amazes me how badly they can ride. Held back a little on the bike, for a 274W normalised power over 40km (1:15) felt great going onto the run, and just ran by feel for a bit. Smashed the first km in 4:17, then had to back down. The ghosts of HOTW past were there and i hadn't properly tested my legs since BOTE. Felt good on the run, but only posted a 45mins 10km as i did hold back.

Saying that i was tired crossing the line, i felt i'd given it the best i could, and was happy with my result. FIrst time this year since Portmarnock triathlon. Feels good to end the season on a high, abiet a failure in goals.

Thursday, August 19

More science waffle: Blood Lactate

Blood Lactate
Lactate production especially when expressed as a function of power output is the single most important physiological determinant of cycling performance as lactate production is an individual response (McLellan &Jacobs, 1989; Stegman & Kinderman, 1982). Both lactate threshold (1mmol rise in blood lactate above baseline) and onset of blood lactate accumulation (when blood lactate reaches 4mmol) have been shown to be valid predictors of cycling economy in a range of events (Faria et al., 2005). A relationship has been shown to exist between average power output during a 90 minute time trial and the lactate threshold, as calculated by the D-max method (Bentley, 2001). This study also showed a correlation between the average power during a 90 minute time trial and peak aerobic power output. This relationship between the lactate threshold and maximal aerobic power output over longer durations leads us to believe that both peak and sub-maximal measures of blood lactate are possible predictors of cycling performance.

These lactate thresholds becomes ever more important during individual time trials where athletes are working at or just above the lactate threshold (Mujika & Padilla, 2001). In ultra endurance races extended efforts (55-60% of VO2max) are performed at or above the lactate threshold by solo riders (Laursen, 1999). The ability to predict performance over extended durations at this intensity can be of great benefit to a cyclist. The lactate threshold is the level at which a cyclist is able too hold a given intensity for ‘a very long time’ before they start to feel the effects of fatigue. A solo cyclist will aim to remain at this level for as much as possible allowing them to exercise predominantly aerobically utilising both carbohydrate and fat stores to produce ATP. In effect is the steady state that most of a road racing is performed (Muijka & Padilla, 2001). Unlike road racing this effort must be maintained for much longer periods. The greater the percentage of heart rate max or VO2max that the lactate threshold occurs at the more economical a cyclist is said to be. By having a lactate threshold that occurs later a cyclist will be able to produce more mechanical power with less of a metabolic cost. An understanding of the lactate threshold response can allow a cap to be placed on the intensity that they may cycle at in order to complete these events solo while lowering the chance of unnecessary fatigue or glycogen depletion over the duration of the event.

During high intensity ultra endurance the riders are able to recover between bouts of cycling. This results in cyclists racing at or above OBLA (Laursen P., 1999). OBLA is the level at which a cyclist has started to work nearly entirely anaerobically. They are not able to supply enough oxygen to return to aerobic glycolysis and are now producing lactate at a much higher rate. This anaerobic threshold is the level above which a cyclist can only maintain a maximal effort for very short periods of time. A cyclist can only maintain this effort for very short periods of time. If they are able to raise the point at which OBLA occurs it stands to reason that they would be able to prolong the effects of fatigue and hold this intensity for longer. With a cyclist understanding the intensity they are capable of sustaining for these relatively short durations, and its impact on recovery, it is possible to work near maximally to gain the greatest possible result. Unlike solo cyclists a boundary can be placed at a much higher intensity (75-85% VO2max) and result in much higher power outputs and speeds.

For cycling describing the lactate threshold as a heart-rate can lead to problems. As heart rate is a response to an input, a hill or sprint, it lags behind. Consequently measuring the changes in power output at these different blood lactate responses may lead to a much better determinant of cycling performance (Muijka & Padilla, 2001). By giving a cyclist a measure of their lactate threshold expressed in Watts an athlete can pace efforts by this measure. Depending on the demands of an event or session they can attempt to stay as close or far away from their lactate threshold so as to maximise performance.

Tuesday, August 17

Split of ideas

I've decided to split my day to day ramblings from my training focused on IM Lanzarote.

Normal stuff will stay here where you are.

Other stuff here

Other site will be more of a progress report and ripping apart my own power files and running stats. This will remain the stream of conciousness that it is.

Thursday, August 12

Science Nerding

Maybe of help to anyone thinking about a power system. Quick chunk nabbed from my Lit Review I'm working on:

The SRM (Schoberer Rad Messtechnik, Welldorf, Germany) crankset was one of the first portable power measuring tools available to the cycling community as a large, albeit at a high price. The SRM system calculates power output from the torque and angular velocity generated at the bottom bracket of the bicycle (E. Farria et al, 2005). This is achieved through a system of strain gauges located between the cranks and the chainrings which measures the deformation between the two. This is proportional to the torque being generated during each pedal rotation. Several studies have validated the crankset and its test to test repeatability (A. Gardner et al., 2004; W. Bertucci et al., 2005; S. Duc et al., 2007;A Juekendrup et al, 2003) and it has been shown to be a valid system in both laboratory and field conditions. Variations of the crankset now exist for both scientific measurement (accuracy +/- 0.5%, weight 827g), Professional (accuracy +/- 2.5%, weight 560g), and amateur (accuracy +/- 5%, weight 640).

The PowerTap (Saris Cycling Group, Madison, U.S.A) is a power measuring device which is located within the rear hub of the bicycle. It calculates power in a similar manner to the SRM system with 4 strain gauges located within the rear hub. The advantage being that it measures the power that is transferred to the rear hub; this takes into account any power loss through the drivetrain of the bicycle. This gives an accurate measure of the power being applied to propel the cyclist. Like the SRM the Powertap has been validated and shown to be a reliable and repeatable source of power measurement (Gardner et al., 2004; Bertucci et al., 2005; Duc et al., 2007). However the price of the PowerTap is over €1,000 cheaper than the base model SRM, has a reported accuracy of 2.5%, and weighs 579g at the most basic model making it a more appealing option for amateur cyclists who want consistent power measurement.

The Ergomo Pro (SG Sensortechnik GmbH & Co, KG, Mörfeldn-Walldorf, Germany) is a system that is located in the bottom bracket of the cyclist bicycle. It measures power generated through a photo-interrupter system which measures the torque generated in the bottom bracket (Coggan, 2006; Duc et al., 2007). This system does not use a strain gauge system like the SRM and PowerTap and is free from any temperature related problems (Duc et al., 2007). However, the sensors that measure the torque generated are only located in the left hand side of the bottom bracket. In order to generate a total score for the torque the figures gained are simply doubled and then recorded by the system (Duc et al., 2007; Coggan, 2006). Although the Ergomo Pro has a purported accuracy of +/- 1% this calculation system inherently introduces a large measure of error as cyclists rarely generate the exact same force through both legs (Burke, 1996; Daly, 1976). This has been shown in studies comparing the Ergomo Pro to both the SRM and PowerTap systems (Duc et al., 2007). The next generation Ergomo Pro, due for release in autumn 2010, further reduces the weight below 344g, while aiming to increase the accuracy through new algorithms and design. Unlike the SRM and PowerTap the Ergomo suffers from no temperature related issues and is not affected by electronic or radio interference.

Friday, August 6

First Cross Ride

Got out on the first cross ride of the season last week. IT felt good. Slow to mount, slow to corner hard, but it will come with time. Feeling fit, if a little fat.

Work is working for a change. The brain has started to fire again, and coffee in no longer results in nothing out. Few late nights this week in the lab but by choice rather than guilt.

Late night tonight, going to reward myself with an early morning cross ride tomorrow, then maybe a curry!

Wednesday, August 4

Cyclocross Preparation

This the season to get skinny, and muddy, and wrecked.

Tonight the CX bike will be re constructed. During the summer Uncle John is a mild mannered bike that has seen me to the top of some of the highest Cols in the French Alps, spent numerous hours preparing me for the triathlon season, and has suffered the indignity of being locked beside lower class bike in college.

Come August Uncle John gets and ictch. He needs to feel the grit in his chain, the mud under his tires, and needs to go sideways in corners rather than straight through. Gears get stripped from 50.39 to a single 42 on the front. Rear ratios change. Tires are shed for some grip and the tubs need to get attention.

Tonight the cross bits come out of the attic. The clinchers go on for some training. Tire marks on the 2009 nationals course is the plan. Hopefully i can remember how to corner and remount.

Wednesday, July 28

Beast of the East Triathlon

Beast of the East is one of those races that chew you up and spit you out the other end. Unfortunatly this happened.

I had a terrible race and i don't want to think about it to much. Swim was apalling at 37mins for 1,500m. No idea what happened i must have just switched off at some point and forgotten that i was supposed to be racing.

The bike was fine at 1:15 on a very hilly course. But dropping my bottle off my bike 1km in and loosing all but 2 mouthfulls of water was not a great place to be in for a 40km TT in the heat. Paced it well and did a 257W average for a very hilly course. But was already considering a DNF on the run as i knew i'd be dehydrated.

The run was the usual spectacularly hilly affair that this race brings. Hard running from the off and no let up as it drops you back down into the valley on a 3km descent at the end. Lung and thigh busting. However with 3 water stations i got to drink for the first time in nearly 2 hours, so all was looking up if i'm honest.

To your right is a broken man, one who was tired, dizzy and sore. i've not dug so deep in a long time and yet finished so far down. It was hard, and i didn't appreciate it at all.

Thanks to Ollie for letting me steal his photos.

Remake Remodel Reuse.

Over the years I've had a few people come and go and make impressions on my life. During my more haphazard early college years i did alot of soul and bottle searching. If i wasn't drinking i was probably hung over, i sure as hell wasn't in lectures. Over the coming months i started rock climbing more and more, and eventually managed to go on a trip to the French Alps and bag my first few big peaks. Our first trip was slow, cumbersome, and i ended going home early with a screwed up knee and some ideas. Over the next few years i managed several more trips to the Alps, summer and winter. A few to Scotland and then culminating with a 6month trip to climb and mountain bike in Canada. During this time two books came to me. The first, Extreme Alpinisim, was a revelation into the idea of 'light is right' and 'measured danger', a kind of punk rock attitude to big mountain climbing that still resounds with me today. The second, Kiss or Kill: Confessions of a Serial Climber, struck me deeper. A collection of Marks writings from several sources, and a pure insight into another mind that in some way paralleled some of the thoughts going through mine. Over the past few years the books have gathered dust on my shelves. Occasionally being rubbed clean as i pass the climbing topo's that dominate one shelf.

A while back I re-watched The 300 and remembered that the gym Mark had set up was involved in the training. A quick Google later and i was at the Gym Jones site. A click on the knowledge tab and i was back in a place i had not been in a long time. Introspection is not something i do well. I have always tried to portray myself in a manner that is open, happy, and comfortable where i am. Of late this face has been coming down. A PhD is a place that forces me to think internally and it's been a hard process. Riding a bike, running , or swimming alone is the key. Being solo for a long period gives me that time to think, gives me a place to be, gives me a time to break it all down. I've come to the conclusion that things need to change. Change is good, change re-enforces what is good in our lives, and takes what is not and discards it. Once again i found explanation in a mentor long forgotten:

You have to be willing to bite off more than you can chew, to overdose, and to fail. If you won't risk the answer you won't ask the question. If you lack the will to ask then consciousness will not unite with muscle and bone. I criticize such a lack of will (especially in myself) and ask, "What's the worst that can happen?" The fearful part of me replies, "I may fall short of my expectations. I may not be who I pretend to others. My perception of self may be proven wrong, very wrong." The confident part of me says, "So what ... only after breaking myself apart may rebuilding begin." So go ahead, break stuff. Break yourself on the once-hard edges of yourself. And recycle the debris into the foundation of your future.

Mark Twight; Remake Remodel

Tuesday, July 27

Holla holla holidays!

Post Hit the North was dedicated holiday time. I pretty much don't know what happened to Saturday other than i rode around a track flat out and then drank some beers and woke up on Sunday feeling tired but happy that it was raining and i could wuss out of a ride in Cragg Quarry. A long drive up to the lakes (not as long as we thought) and arrived at Sarahs for a bit of realxing and seeing the lakes. Apparently the lakes were mostly falling from the sky all over the ground for the whole time we were there. So we didn't get to see much. I was wrecked for the whole time and was pretty much happy to
just chill out and do nothing!

Morning after a great dinner and evening in watching the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy with some local beers we drove on to Grizdale trail centre. Not a place i'd heard of until i'd picked up MBUK and they had a short piece on it. The North Face Trail sounded kinda cool, and in the end didn't disappoint. Not an uber technical trail at any stretch of the imagination, but 20km of fast flowing singletrack with little to know fire-road or road on the whole thing. Exactly what a trail centre should be aiming to be. Great little spot even though it rained for the whole time and made the board sections into uber death traps that felt i still had to ride as fast as they came at me! Tea and food in the cafe after in the torrential rain pretty much ended the ride and we hopped in the car for the drive down to Manchester to meet Odile.

Curry trip had to be done and then we grabbed some floor space in Odiles after we decided not to drive to Wales in the pissing rain with no camp site booked. Passed out as soon as i hit the floor and woke up feeling much much better (albiet at 7am). Hopped in the van and pointed it south. Arrived in Betwys Y Coed a few hours later and set up Chateaux del Awesome. Both of us were wrecked so went for a wander about the village, ate some food, and hit the bed early. Plan was to ride for the next few days so may as well ride while rested!

Marin trail. Still a favorate of mine despite its amounts of fireroad. Always a good way to get a 30km ride in while in the area. The weather cleared up and we were treated to shorts and T-shirts the whole way around. 3hrs later sitting in Betwys realising that we only stopped once for a bar and a few pee's by me on the way. Good day, legs were starting to come around again. Time to polish it off with some food then bed.

Next day saw some shocking weather
and a decision to skip down to Coed to try and see if the weather was better in the next valley. Twar (Red Bull) in Coed Y Brenin is a great trail. Mixture of evil fire road climbs, hard technical singletrack, and stunning cakes make CYB one of the best places to ride in Wales. Its about 2 years since i rode Twar and my brain was jumbling it up with MBR and Beast. Forgot how some of the lines change in the wet and damp that always hide away in the forrests. While in CYB you cannot leave with out 2 things. Cake and riding Dream-time. Such a good trail, fast, flowing, and always always tempting you to go faster. I still think this is one of the best sections of trail in the UK.

After a MASSIVE dinner at the Dragon restaurant in Betwys (eat here if you enjoy real asian food) and an early night to bed we woke up early to pack down the Chateaux and hit the road. A quick bite to eat and then up to Ogwen. Run up to the slabs, take the steep route to the walking trail and up onto Tryffan. Enjoy the view and then drop down again. Changed by the side of the road and straight to Llanberis to get breakfast in Petes Eats. Best breakfast establishment in Wales and an institution that needs to be visited at least once if you are in the area. Pop into Joe Browns and buy some kit i don't need, but liked the look of, then into the van for the quick drive to Hollyhead and the ferry home.

Monday, July 26

Hit the North 8hr

First up a big congrats to the guys and gals over at Hit the North. Again one of the great races of the season, and a real highlight. Nothing quite like ragging a bike around a course with other fast people to give you a great feeling of being alive. After a week away from the computer its time to get my words down on how the race went.

Head has been wrecked over the past month, no two ways to put it, i needed some time off to get my head sorted, get some big miles in, and have a few beers. Luckily enough a week and a bit in the Uk had been arranged with Pauline, and we headed off.

Rolling onto the early 8am ferry on Friday i turned my phone to silent, switched off the 3G connection and vowed not to check my emails until the following Monday week(today). This was going to be a proper holiday. The normal quick spin to Hollyhead took a bit longer as the boat was delayed, so we ended up about 2 hrs behind schedule. However with the only plan for the day being to get to Decathlon, and then put up the tent i was planning to buy at the race venue, we weren't exactly stuck for time. Tent up, bit of a wander on the course, cram some food in, meet Jason before bed and laugh at the obvious crash points, and generally just chill.

Up early on Saturday as normal, however with a late start of 11am, i ended up being able to pootle about and get a much longer warmup than i'd normally get. Which was nice. Big shout out to Jason who pretty much saved me a long walk back on the warm up as i'd wedged my chain between my wheel and cassette. Simple as, the chain was wedged in good and proper and it took the two of us to get it out. Needless to say if he'd not given me a hand (thanks to the 3 riders who rode past me without even a 'are you ok', wankers) i'd not have been racing. Good when the organisers give a shit ehy??

So warm up done, last bits of food in, pit bunny given final amounts of attention before i crack on with racing (thanks love), and chain lubed with some free lube from the folks at Squirt. Took a toilet break while Pauline racked my bike beside Dave's and got back to the bunch just as it was time to ditch outer layers. The 500m Le Mans style run suited me perfect. Tight fast running and nice ups and downs gave me 5th place out onto the bike for the first lap. Plan was to ride HARD for the first lap, little less so for #2 then settle in for the next X laps.

Grab the bike, quick run out until the end of transition zone. Quick pedal into the first set of single track, down the sloppy descent off camber section, over the lump that sent Ali into the river, left into the bomb hole, over the river and run up the progressively getting muddier, into some muddy ST, then onto the first section of flat. Gun it to the un-ridable climb, sip down the other side, back onto the long flat section and onto the side of the motorway. Up the piece of hatred that was the dry single track that destroyed my back every lap, i hated this part more than anything. Into the trail centre section and hammer again, enjoy the techy corners, and play the 'don't touch the brakes' game. Up the first bridle way section and onto the berms, hammer down, trying to resist launching into the sky, carbon race bikes don't like to fly. Bit more single track, and then some more bridleway, lots of cobbles and the first proper section to eat the contents of my pockets. Into the gravel swoop-track that i rode with Jason at the start apres fixing my bike, great bit of the trail where most people were riding way way to easy. More fast and flat to the drop into the river again (avoiding the chicken chute) and then up the steps to get a bottle and food from Pauline.

Repeat by 12.

Get lapped by Dave TWICE. Dude was on fire. 14laps. 2 more than me. Unreal.

Came 6th....happy with that as i was aiming for top 10, and not being on form it was a big booster for me that i can race hard when i have too.

The usual afters were excellent. Great food (3 dinners), great beers, and some tunes. All in all the way racing should be. The course was great, if a little lonley, and i am so psyched over the winter race next year already. The more and more i ride in the Northern parts of the Uk the more i could see myself living there. The racing sceen is so different to Ireland with people realising that you are not mental for wanting to spend 8hrs and 18mins straight on your mountain bike....or maybe its just the ones i know.

Monday, July 12

Itchiness fading, altitude increasing!

What a weekend. All plans of training thrown out the window due to a last minute decision to go biking in the rain on Friday. Next time when i get the idea to go out in the bad weather to train, i'm just going to get onto the turbo. I blame the weather, as i think its just cruel to blame the pretty flowers.

Saturday was hell, falling asslee watching the tour, trying to fettle bikes and genearllay just being a mope. Went to the shops at least and bought lots of good healthy food (mostly veg so i can feel like i'm getting revenge). Felt down so decided that i'd get myself a bottle of Duvel for dinner, then decided i deserved curry, and had another bottle of Duvel. At about 10pm sleepiness took over and i just had to crash and burn.

So Sunday, more of the same, caught up on some reading, drank coffee, and watched the tour. On the plus side my chili plant needed harvesting as its growing a load more peppers. So looks like tasty food for dinner tonight! 11hours sleep had done me well, but i still felt lethargic, and was scratching like mad, so more drugs.

Monday and the itch has subsided, still there a bit, but no where near as much. Spent the morning constructing out hypoxic tent, and am currently running tests to make sure its holding its values. Fun and games that i may get to use in my work!

Saturday, July 10

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

This post could also be entitled: Can't sleep tigers gonna get me.

Every now and again i suffer from insomnia. Used to it at this stage. Normally manifests itself during periods of high stress, high alcohol consumption, or HIGH workload when training.

At the moment i am scoring low on all of those. Stress from work/life is low (Bound to rise next week before holidays), I've cut my alcohol consumption back to pretty low by normal peoples standards (not athletic standards, still on >4 units a week), and I'm in a flux period of large hours training, but little to know intensity.

I went out for a 2 hour MTB ride in the rain last night. It's a long time since i have trained in the rain as its been so dry, and i wanted to make sure if it craps out for next weeks HTN that i can ride well.

There were nettles, lots of nettles. I also came off my bike (clipped my bars in a narrow channel) and landed in a lovely soft over head high thicket of Foxgloves.

Turns out i am allergic to them and my legs are covered in hives. Thankfully i was wearing long sleeves and landed on my back and helmet as my face is not!

Pretty much spent the entire night awake as my legs are super sensitive to touch. Waiting for the chemist to open so i can get some anti histamines.

This sucks.

Thursday, July 8

Howth Aquathon Mk2- run fatty run

I will re utter this; i HATE aquathons. But this is one of the reason i've made sure to do this series. Bike has always been my strong point, swim used to be ok for me but not swimming for 6months bar in races has changed that somewhat, my run used to be very weak, now its just not fast, pretty middle pack TBH.

The lead into Mondays nights race was not ideal, never was going to be with the Euro's the weekend before, and a long ride 2 days before. But as the book of Gordo says 'get used to training and racing tired'. Very little sleep was not the way to go in tired, i think its supposed to be from training isn't it?

At about 3pm i was still feeling rotten, had been on and off the toilet all day. Probably a combination of long ride on Saturday and eating all the food i could find, mostly sugar, and the bottles of Lucozade sport i sculled in Kildare. i'd forgotten that it turns my stomach to glue for a day. The combination of this, and a few beers to many on Sunday meant that Monday was a write off. Quick hours kip between 4 and 5pm helped so much. Woke up feeling better and managed to get a bit of proper food in before the race.

Met up with Becks and Roger (two of GB age groupers from Man Tri Club) before the race. Got lucky number 1 for some reason at registration, D'oh. Thankfully the tide was in today, but was still going to be a bit of a wade to the first bouy. Maybe an open water start would be good, but who cares, its all part of the sport. Swim was ok, mid pack for the first 500m or so, then a bit of missighting sent me off course and i found myself on my own. Stupid mistake, cost me allot of time.

Had to run hard out of the water (after i ran back to pick up my goggles and hat). Didn't have a great T1 (going to need to change the Brooks runners, not that easy to get into unfortunately- back to the Newtons) so running hard to catch slots on the way out. Ran the first Km hard (3:40 mins/km>

All in all an ok race, 2 mins faster than the last time, but probably lost another 2-4mins (100m in the swim and T1) at least through mistakes. Fresh legs for the next one is the plan, see what i can do in it, hopefully get another 2-3 minutes off the time at least.