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!!!
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.