Great news, I’ve signed up for my first triathlon, the Halesowen Triathlon. It’s a Sprint Distance but most significantly for me has an indoor 400m swim in a local pool. I’ve no experience of open water swimming yet so see this as a good first event. I’m also considering signing up for the BRAT Standard later on the year as I’ve heard very good things about it.
New Year’s Resolutions…
Not really, I’ve just done the stereotypical thing and joined a gym with the good lady. Unlike many others I fully intend to go regularly and have done so thus far. Sadly where we used to live we had a great public gym, whereas where we are now we’re limited so we’ve ‘ended up’ at David Lloyd. The facilities are fantastic and most impressively the pool has been practically empty whenever I’ve gone, despite the new year rush! I had my initial meeting with a personal trainer and was again very impressed, after 40 minutes discussing what I want to achieve, my drive, my aims etc he is devising a strength and conditioning program to compliment the triathlon program I am already following. Incidentally the program I am following is the Beginners one recently published in 220 Triathlon. At first glance I thought it looked simple, 5 days in I’m definitely feeling it!!
Garmin Forerunner 920xt
I’ve been playing with my shiny new Garmin Forerunner 920xt which was a Christmas present to myself. I’ve done one of everything now, from a running and cycling point of view its remarkably similar to the Forerunner 620 I used to own. Today I got to try out the swim section which was the main reason I upgraded in the first place. Today’s session called for a 30 minute warm up (How fit do they think I am!!!??) followed by a nice pyramid of 25-50-75-100-75-50-25 with a 30 second rest between each set. I started to struggle with form as I got more tired but remained fairly consistent with the pacing, the watch was very useful to review post event but I didn’t feel confident to monitor it during the swim. I’ve certainly improved my swim since I started in September but I’m far from a ‘Master’ yet.
I’ve been researching nutrition extensively as I am conscious that it’s something i neglected in my running training. I’ve been a fan of Maxi Nutrition so figured i’d give that a go and hey, if it’s good enough for the Brownlee’s…. So far, i’m a fan of the Viper Boost Energy Bars, but the Recovermax tastes pretty awful. I’ve never been a fan of Orange flavoured drinks anyway but i find it really hard to get down, if it works though maybe we’ll stick with it. I may find myself mixing some SIS in there as the Rego Recovery gets good press and comes in much nicer flavours!
Well yesterday was a significant day, I had my first run since ‘completing’ the London Marathon in April and also the final run of 2014. Suffice to say that last run didn’t go well, with pretty major damage to most ligaments in my right knee. Months of physio later, an inguinal hernia and a hernia operation we reach today. The knee is not quite 100% yet and I’m strengthening my quads and lengthening my hamstrings on the physio’s orders but I really wanted to get a run in.
It was an ideal time to try, ice on the ground and freezing cold. Having recently moved house, finding my running clothes was not too easy either! All that said I was relieved to find that I settled into a nice steady pace of around 7:30 per mile, sadly in not too great a distance I also discovered that not running in such a long time has an impact on your fitness and stamina! I had only planned a short run anyway but backed off a little as the heart rate rose a little too high.
Things are a little achy today, as expected, particularly the calf muscles which is common with my Brooks Pure Flow 3 due to the natural running style. Fingers crossed as I am not planning any long runs I should be able to build up strength and speed for triathlon events, I’m planning to sign up for the salubrious Halesowen Tri in April!
Speeds Cycles – a new local bike shop!
In other news I also visited a local cycle shop Speeds Cycles near where we’ve moved to, handily they’re a Trek dealer. I managed a bit of drool too as they had a Project One bike in the window in my colour scheme, from speaking to them it turns out they sponsor Hannah Drewett and it was her bike, see below.
She also works on their blog and they’re working to get her in for talks in the evening too. All stuff to look forward to, as well as the bike fit i’ve arranged for early in the New Year – I’ve decided it’s a sensible thing to do given the knee injury.
The Droitwich Half Marathon was finally held today, an event I was due to run in the build up to London 2014. Sadly as my knee still hadn’t recovered and owing to the hernia I handed my position over to my sister. She’s a good runner but had never done anything over a 10k before. Perhaps giving her more then a months notice might have helped too…. As it was though, with a bit of coaching and some nutrition advice she went out there and set a PB (obviously) but more impressively was 2nd in her age group and finished in 1:44:50. Great stuff!!
One bad thing, I may struggle to get my Garmin FR620 back as she borrowed it in the build up – i think she’s rather taken with it too!!
A quick heads up for those in the UK, Channel 4 broadcast the Ironman 2014 Kona World Championship UK TV Highlights at 7am this morning. The programme is available for the next 30 days. (Sorry to say guys that at the time of writing 22/01/15, the Channel 4 highlights have gone, I’ve not yet found any other sources either, sorry folks!)
Ok, through some random exploring i’ve managed to find non-highlight versions on YouTube, i’ve put these in a separate playlist. It’s not ideal but if you’ve a spare 10 odd hours to spare…..
I’m sure if you have an interest in Triathlon you already know the result but it was a great race, with good performances from many UK athletes and some top performances from all the pros! I did a write up on the results earlier with some of my random thoughts and musings.
Given my current situation of being house bound the decision to stay up and watch the whole of the Ironman 2014 World Championship from Kona was not a difficult one. Thanks to Livestream this was also a possibility.
Whilst it might be a long day for the athletes, being a supporter from the UK wasn’t easy either as the race started at 5.25pm UK time. I eventually called it a night just as Rachel Joyce crossed the line for 3rd. I wish I’d have known that Jodie Swallow was going to come home 4th as I’d have stayed up to cheer on another Brit! Having only previously seen the NBC Highlights shows I missed the regular updates on what was happening outside of the live pictures. I can understand how difficult that must be for the broadcasters though.
I don’t think there were too many surprises in the men’s swim, Andy Potts is consistently up there, but the ferocity of he and Jan Frodeno trying to get to shore first was impressive so early on! Sebastian Kienle was nearly 4 minutes down but his time was on par with other years. No dramas in transition either.
The women had an extra person in the frantic dash for shore but again no real surprises; Jodie Swallow, Meredith Kessler just followed Amanda Stevens out. Mirinda Carfrae was nearly 6 minutes down at this point. Overall the women’s swims were all a bit slower than previous years. Meredith Kessler seemed a little slow in transition though as she wasn’t seen leaving with the others.
No real surprises on the bike either, Andrew Starykowicz setting the early pace, however he wasn’t to power away as in previous years. Sebastian Kienle and Maik Twelsiek (lovely bike!) chased him down and by half way were both in front. They would swap places once and Kienle would eventually finish 3 minutes ahead of Twelsiek. Last years winner, Frederik Van Lierde had a good bike split and was my tip to win based on his marathon performance last year. Jan Frodeno suffered a flat and was penalised 4 minutes for not changing it in a designated area – he sounded quite baffled by it. The penalty put some pressure on Frodeno and he lost over 7 minutes directly but he stated the cost to his rhythm hit him worse. Andy Potts was having a great bike too, around 7 minutes up on his ‘usual’.
The women were led out of T1 by Jodie Swallow and Amanda Stevens. I’m not sure what happened to Meredith Kessler from the swim but she was nowhere in sight. Thankfully Meredith was soon back on track, dragging Mary Beth Ellis up to Jodie. Somewhere in the first 30 miles Jodie received a penalty for drafting an incident no one is quite sure of, not least of all Jodie.
At the half way stage the order settled down, Daniela Ryf had moved into the lead and was pulling away. Rachel Joyce was 2nd with Mary Beth Ellis 3rd. They would stay like this until the run, Jodie recovering to 4th, just over 5 minutes down which makes you wonder what might have been as in the men’s race. Previous year bike star Caroline Steffen once again performed well to come home in 5th. At this point Mirinda Carfrae was 14:32 down on the lead and I was confident that Rachel Joyce was on to win it.
Sebastian Kienle never looked in trouble on the run, he kept it steady and overall the gap never really changed. Ben Hoffman was having a good dice with Frederik Van Lierde for a good portion of the race until the Belgian appeared to suffer toward the end. Prediction number one gone… Jan Frodeno didn’t disappoint, posting one of the fastest run splits, as I said earlier, without the bike penalty this might have been an incredibly exciting finish. The eventual result would be: Sebastian Kienle from Ben Hoffman with Jan Frodeno rounding out the podium. A fantastic result and effort from all and huge congratulations from little old me! A special mention for Andy Potts too, a mammoth performance. He’s clearly been working hard on the bike and run. One thing of note his T2 time was almost a minute slower than Frodeno, who he finished just over a minute behind…. could have been an epic finish.
I don’t think anyone would have predicted the result of the women’s race looking at the times going in to transition. Daniela Ryf is unknown at the distance but certainly proven over the 70.3. She lead despite looking uncomfortable in the early parts of the race before stripping down to a sports bra. She was taking on fluids well but walking through many aide stations. She appeared to start to suffer near the harshly named Natural Energy Lab and Rachel Joyce was closing back in. Mirinda Carfare had moved in to 3rd place with 10 miles to go and was nearly 7 minutes down, it was clearly going to be close. Carfrae passed Rachel with around 3 miles to go and wasted no time passing Ryf with around 2 miles to go. She never let up and pushed right to the finish, either to be certain or as she knew the marathon record must be on. The race stayed in that order, Carfrae did break her own record, 2:50:26 is faintly ridiculous for the end of an Ironman! Jodie Swallow came though after a blistering T2 and an identical marathon time to Rachel Joyce of 3:08:45. I wonder if the presence of a certain former multiple champion cheering them on helped? Congratulations to all!
Other worthy mentions to some other GBR athletes too:
Corrine Abraham had a fantastic debut, after a tough start on the swim and a time penalty on the bike she eventually finished 11th, with the 3rd fastest marathon of the day (3:02:47)
Leanda Cave was on form from both swim and bike but suffered on the run and slipped down to 18th eventually.
Harry Wiltshire had to work the hardest of all to get there, competing in 8 Ironman events in 2014. He finished 29th. Just pipped to top GBR finisher by James Gilfillan, an age grouper who put in a sterling effort on the bike. Fortunately for Harry he pipped Mirinda Carfrae by 55 seconds!
Lucy Gossage was on her pro debut, having already competed at Kona twice as an age grouper. She posted respectable times on swim and bike but suffered badly on the run, walking in many places. I’m glad she stuck it out to the finish though, something that makes me proud.
Hardest earned finisher’s medal yet.Gutted but i’ll be back.Ironically exactly same time as my 1st ever IM!Better to finish even if walking — lucy gossage (@lucygoss) October 12, 2014
Dan Hawksworth and Cat Morrison both failed to finish, dropping out on the run.
One other interesting article I found on the way was a comparison of power output from Kyle Buckingham; the leading age grouper from last year who returned this year as a pro. The full article is on Slowtwitch. He clearly had to work a lot harder as a pro!!!
Seen as I can’t do anything other than lie down and take it easy following my operation I’ve resorted to watching highlights of past Ironman events on YouTube, speccing dream bikes and cars to carry the stuff around in… Sad isn’t it!? That combined with reading lots about it lead me to realise that there are quite a few Kona 2014 bikes that I rather like.
I’ve created a few galleries of bikes that have stood out to me from the lead up to Kona 2014, photo credits are added where applicable but apologies if I’ve missed you, please let me know and I’ll be sure to credit appropriately. You’ll notice that my main reason for liking the bikes below are that they more or less fit into my colour scheme. Sad again, but hey!
I can’t find too many details about it this at the moment other than it’s a relatively standard Cervelo P5 with a number of custom graphics pertaining to his family, Belgium and his current status of defending champion with his winning time from last year. The biggest difference from standard that I can see is that rather than being DuraAce DI2 throughout he is using a Rotor QXL Q-Ring with a large chainring of 54 teeth, Rotor Power Meter and from the triathlete link ceramicspeed bearings and a paraffin wax lubricated chain from Friction Facts; with a guaranteed saving of 5 watts. Mavic CXR80 T wheels as before, slowed down with very clean and aero looking Swiss Stop Yellow Kings, hydraulic at the front. Some more official data is out now and I’ve updated the above – thanks to triathlete.com
I’ve been harassing Cervelo about making this colour scheme available, here’s hoping Frederik wins again this year and they can release it as some sort of commemorative model.
A minor thing, I’m glad to see that the top mount nutrition holder doesn’t have to be held on with velcro either.
Whilst not quite my colour scheme I do love this bike. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing around with Trek’s Project One system and am currently in to the tune of around £9,000 to get the bike I want, which as far as specification goes isn’t a million miles from this. Linsey is using in house brand Bontrager Aeolus 7 and 9 wheels, SRAM Red with a Quark Power Meter and 55/42 chain rings with an 11/26 rear cassette.
I’m clearly showing a lot of brand loyalty here… But as I said it’s all about the colour scheme as at this stage I’m quite certain the biggest weakness is me and not the bike!
The Cannondale Slice does intrigue me though, I love the shape of it, it’s not too fussy but looks right from every angle, it certainly seemed speedy enough under the likes of Chrissie Wellington too!
Specification highlights include 3T Mercurio LTD 80 Clinchers, DuraAce Di2 with an O-Symetric chain ring (56/44 equivalent – eek!) and Ceramic Speed bearings in the dérailleur pulleys. Not sure I’m keen on having to Velcro a nutrition box on though, surely some sort of standard mount like bottle cages should be standard by now?
An obvious reason why I’d love this is that my real name is Scott. It’s a shame that the colour scheme isn’t quite right, the 2014 models were perfect so there is hope!
One of the features I love about the new Scott bikes is the integrated nutrition that aids aero performance. I’m no aerodynamicist so don’t know the exact details but still feel that Specialized have nailed it with the Fuelselage but I’m pretty sure they’ve patented that so we won’t be seeing it anywhere else! This seems pretty decent though and certainly looks great.
Jodie seems to be using a relatively standard setup, apart from, like many others, a Rotor Power Meter but unlike others uses round 165mm crank arms. Otherwise DuraAce Di2 all round, although like Victor Del Corral she too uses Ceramic Speed components in the rear dérailleur. Sponsored by Enve the presence of their wheels is hardly surprising and why not when they look this good!? Those custom designed aero bars are a thing of beauty too, incredibly aero too – look at how close the bars and pads are together!
Some older style Trek Speed Concepts, a Giant Trinity, Cannondale Slice and my other leading contender a Specialized Shiv. Oh and a random picture of the SRAM Red R2C (Return to Centre) bar end shifters which are the best out there for me. I just don’t seem to get on with the Di2 electronic shifters, possibly due to the size of my hands and thumbs!
Well rather than the usual training report for this evenings swim I have slightly different news. Seems as if the operation on the hernia has been bought forward. Rather than the 2-4 months I was originally estimated by the NHS, they called today with news of a cancellation. Can I do Thursday, at 7am? The obvious answer being, yes, yes I can.
As a result I can now look forward to being in some considerable pain for a few weeks after getting my innards hacked at!
I’m actually really happy that it’s happening so soon as the pain has been getting worse. It does mean that the knee will be the prolonged issue which needs sorting, which is not what I expected!
Maybe it’ll give me more time to investigate what Garmin are up to with the Forerunner 920xt, but who knows!
Yesterday was spent at The Cycle Show 2014, at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. I went with a friend, thetrinerd, who was partially responsible for getting me in to the triathlon scene.
Having never been to a cycle show I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially from a triathlon point of view, but was pleasantly surprised. Notable manufacturer absentees for me were Specialized, (though they had a small Body Geometry stand), Scott, Cervelo, Fuji, Felt and Cannondale. So that should give some idea of what was there.
I asked the inevitable question about the Forerunner 920xt to the ‘Garmin’ stand but they knew nothing; this was probably more due to the fact that the stand was being manned by a local cycle company rather than Garmin themselves.
One thing I was looking into was a turbo trainer; due to my current injuries I hoped it would allow we to get on the bike. Sadly having tried out a few it was clear that I was not in a good enough condition to use one. That said, anyone interested, the updated bkool trainer was on a show special at £275, which is a bit of a bargain. The updated software version looked a lot sharper than the original and the new unit was pretty quiet, although on a show day this isn’t the easiest thing to check.
Elite announced that all of their current range will be retrofittable with a bluetooth unit to send real time power meter data back to their E-Training app for use with VR and video rides. Sadly they couldn’t give an indication of when this until would be available, or what the cost was but it appeared to be a simple bluetooth unit that attaches near the mag unit on the rear. You’ll also be able to upload videos filmed on a phone (or other GPS enabled video machine) that can then be shared with others and used as videos to ride. Prices ranged from £159 for the Novo Force to £1099 for the direct drive Real Turbo Muin.
Energy Bars, Gels & Drinks
One thing of note was just how many companies selling and sampling energy and nutrition products were present. By about 11.30am I think I could have taken on the BMW jump course.
It was clear that all of these are an acquired taste as the two of us had very varied tastes in what we could tolerate, let alone like! From my running days i’d got into liking SIS, but I was a little disappointed to discover that they use aspartame in some of their products i’ve been using so will be looking to replace those in my routine. Clif had a small stand but had plenty on display, their energy bars and blok were delicious as ever. Torq stood out, probably because they had one of my dream bikes on display, the Wilier Twin Blade, but they had a great range of things to try.
Their energy gels will be my next attempt in competition as the all natural ingredients appeal, Raspberry Ripple, Banoffee etc are all great words to be in a gel. Some were a little sickly sweet and might be difficult to keep down in a long run, hence wanting to try them, they may be fine on a bike mind. The drinks they had on display were, for me, disgusting, but were the biggest discrepancy as thetrinerd loved them. The protein recovery drinks were also a mixed bag, possibly due to the fact that I usually make mine with milk rather than water, Chocolate Mint had potential, but for now i’ll be sticking with MaxiNutrition.
High5 and PowerBar were there also, but i’ve tried them before and not been a big fan though they were both offering good value show deals. ZipVit had some more pleasant bars but nothing really stood out too much for me, they don’t appear to be too readily available either. Finally Beet-It were another that stood out, i first discovered them at the London Marathon Expo and loved the taste of the energy bar, the drink is an acquired taste and i’ve no data on how well they work for me, but thankfully the prices seemed much lower – something that had put me off previously.
TheTriNerd was on the look out for a new aero helmet but we ended up leaving empty handed as the main brand of interest, Kask, were’t on display. We looked at and tried on a few others but were generally quite appalled at the quality of some them, especially for the money they were asking.
I guess the main reason for going was to look at the bikes on offer, for some reason normal road bikes held very little appeal so I concentrated on the triathlon and time trial bikes. So, in no particular order:
The bike that Sir Bradley Wiggins rode to the recent 2014 World Time Trial Championships, unsurprisingly this was a popular machine so getting a decent photo was rather difficult.
The updated version of that used by Leanda Cave in The Ironman World Championship 2012. It looked lovely, though the teeth styling were a little strange.
A bike I love, but the price always makes my eyes water. Seeing one in the flesh you can see the engineering that goes into it, but the eyes still water. Priced at £5900 with SRAM Force gears and Bontrager Aura 5 it’s at the lower end of the scale.
The Vitus Chrono TT appealed as it matches the colour scheme I’ve somehow ended up with. This particular one belongs to Robert-Jon McCarthy, riding for the An post Chain Reaction Cycling team, Chain Reaction Cycling being the owners of the Vitus brand and sole distributors in the UK. They’re competitively priced at £1799 for the frame. Chain Reaction Cycling said they’d be moving to frame only sales next year, I suggested they build in a configurator as there is nothing us bike folks like more than tinkering with configurations of bikes!
A quite interesting machine, specced sensibly with Ultegra all round. It looked fairly long on the top tube so maybe good for the taller, or more aero capable folks. The black bike in the background appeared to be an all black track bike, somewhat lacking pedals, gears et though…
Against some of the other brands, this looked particularly good value. The Canadian brand are quite popular at Kona and I can see why from seeing one in the flesh. Ultegra Di2, Fulcrum Racing wheels as standard and from £4999 (this one had upgraded carbon wheels, Racing Quattro’s are standard).
Two triathlon specific bikes from Cube, the Aerium HPC SLT is their flagship model, the SL the ‘cheaper’ sister. No brand loyalty exists for Cube, as you can see Mavic wheels, Rotor Q-rings and Ultegra Di2 on the SL. Reynolds Aero Carbon wheels, FSA Metron crank and Dura Ace Di2 on the SLT. Prices from £3499 for the SL to £6999 for the SLT.
The official bike supplier of British Triathlon. One of the things i love about Beaconfell is the configurator, who doesn’t love speccing their own bike!? (Sadly you can’t see all of the wheel options :() The only triathlon bike on show was this, the BF-55. On display in a relatively entry level spec with Shimano 105 groupset and Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels for £1999.
Entering in to the realm of silly money, the Storck Aero 2 IS starts at £8999. They do a ‘basic’ version from £5299 the sign lovingly stated. You do get Dura Ace Di2 and solid Mavic Cosmic wheels for your £9k. They do get a nod to the configurator, though it is fairly ‘basic’ (free mind, not just over 5 grand!) The bike gets great press reviews but up close and personal it looks like you’d need to be pretty flexible to ride it in the pictured spec!
Not a brand I was familiar with before the show. The matte finished colours looked stunning in the flesh. Not many details available, even on their own website. Not many details were shown, other than Ultegra Di2, no name wheels, but Easton for the bars.
Back into the silly money realm, this one came in it a bargain £8999, but all things considered the complete Dura Ace Di2 setup is hardly cheap.
Another Italian and another looker. Very helpful of Vision to let us know how many spokes that front wheel has too, i’d have been wondering all day if they hadn’t written it on there. One thing that baffled me here is the TT bar shifter, it appears to resemble a brake more than a gear shifter and not a very comfortable one at that. Anyone know anything about it?
Non Triathlon Bikes
Another Ritte bike that stood out, unsurprisingly I figured my good lady would like the look of this….
Another one for the good lady… it’s actually pink, not red. Very odd forks, not sure what the benefit of wavy forks is supposed to be, but i trust Pinarello know more about that than me.
No further words available.
It took a while to be able to get this photo as it was unsurprisingly a popular machine. It still looked radical, even in the presence of all the other machinery, including the Air 9.8 as used by the Brownlee brothers.
As a somewhat newbie to the world of cycling it was interesting to see the various choices a cyclist gets to make. Of note for me was that despite both my current bikes having Shimano gears, I am now erring towards SRAM. The Di2 shifters for both handlebars and bar ends felt a bit clunky and for people with larger hands, such as me, the bar end buttons in particular were difficult to accurately hit. As such SRAM it shall be going forward! Campagnolo might be worth a look but their normal bar shifters were far from ideal as the thumb shifter wasn’t in an ideal place for me.
Overall I enjoyed the show, despite not being in a position to buy anything. I was a bit disappointed that a lot of the other brands weren’t there. Working for a company that exhibits at these large shows though, I appreciate the costs involved with being at the shows can be prohibitive, and a return on the cost can be hard to measure. If you’re not there though, no one gets to see what you’ve got. I was particularly keen on taking a closer look at the Cannonade Slice, Specialized Shiv and Scott Plasma but this will have to wait.
A lovely and early start today, just heading out the door for a training session at the local pool with my club. The early start was so I could try eating before the swim based on my hardly surprising earlier discovery that energy in, helps with energy out!
After that I’m off to The Cycle Show. Not sure if it’s quite the UK equivalent of Interbike but we shall see. Plenty of shiny new things to see and maybe I’ll see what Garmin have to say about the Forerunner 920xt….. Must remember to leave my wallet behind!
If it’s worth it and I get enough pictures and information I’ll stick up a post about the bike show later too…
Thankfully the pool was much quieter today, I think arriving a little later – 7.15pm probably contributed to this. There were was me and 4 others in a double width lane and all bar one were capable swimmers (I seem to count myself in that category…)
I felt much better also, which I think I’ll put down to eating about an hour before. I don’t usually worry about nutrition in swim training sessions at the moment as I’m not exactly pushing myself, however based on this session even just a flapjack seemed to make a big difference. I felt able to keep going and at no point did I feel exhausted. I’m still doing my own thing with my training but focussing on technique and increasing my continuous distance. This session was sets of 100m with a break (length of my choosing) between each set and I did a total of 8 sets.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was trying the Get Speedo Fit campaign, however it became apparent that even the warm up would be a challenge for me at this stage, as such when I feel I can complete that, I’ll start on the campaign.
In other news I got chatting to another guy who was beating himself to death by doing breaststroke with hand paddles – it looked hard work! He like me is more of a mountain biker and not convinced about his abilities at front crawl, he may come along to the triathlon club on Saturday!