Category Archives: Cycling

Cheering, not competing

I may have mentioned that I’m a member of Team Bear – it’s a virtual Tri Club with members spread all over the country. As we’re virtual the support we offer (and lots and lots is offered) is usually over social media etc. Despite not having met each other (or possibly because of it) the team bond is very strong – in fact it a Team Bear member offered to support me in Guildford before we had ever met.

So when the chance came to support in person and to return the favour to other team members I jumped at the chance – especially when the event in question came through my village.

So that’s how my son and I found ourselves stood in the rain for about an hour and a half watching cyclists whizz past so quickly that we weren’t sure if they were team members or not – so they all got a cheer and a clap just in case.

What they were taking part in was the Outlaw Half Ironman event, organised by One Step Beyond, and in the end we managed to spot nearly all of the Team Bear entrants as they were wearing the ace team trisuits. And once we had cheered them all past we got into the car to join the rest of the cheering crew at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham – about 30 minutes away. Once there the Team Bear corner was easy to spot and hear – cowbells were the instrument of choice.

From our area we were able to see the runners twice each lap of their two lap half marathon (which was preceded by the 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile cycle ride). To see the combination of joy, pain, suffering, grit, determination and refusal to surrender was great – the competitors weren’t bad either!

Once we’d seen them all run past our vantage point we made our way round to the finish where the decibels increased and the emotions became even rawer. To see some of the people finish, often with kids joining them for the final ‘sprint’, and the look of joy and achievement on their faces was amazing.

I did a couple of sprint triathlons very badly last year and I’ve not really run since then, but the whole atmosphere on the day made me think, maybe… I’ve got more swimming goals to accomplish first, but once they’re done…

In the meantime, to read a proper blog post about the day, see Vikki’s here.

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LetJog Update

We’re now five months into the LetJog challenge and I’ve finally got ahead of a ‘par’ score. Here are my stats:

May

– Swimming – 52.5km actual – 157.5km adjusted
– No running or cycling at all in May

Year to date

– Swimming – 184.26km actual – 552.78km adjusted
– Running – 97.39km – 97.39km
– Cycling – 110.96km – 27.74km
– Total – 677.91km

Of course the May total was helped by swimming 38.4 actual kilometres over the first bank holiday weekend as part of 2Swim4Life (a total of 115.2kms adjusted), but it’s nice to be slightly ahead of the game, for now at least.

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LetJog Feb Update

Feb’s included nearly a week of illness, but I’m still doing ok and am only a bit behind the targets for the month.

– Feb total – 115.59kms

– Year to date – 242.86kms

– To target – 23.81kms behind schedule

March should hopefully be a better month, starting with what will hopefully be about a 16km run later today and culminating in the Coniston 14, with of course plenty swimming in the month too.

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LetJog15 Update

The goal for this year is to complete 1,600 kms (or 1,000 miles) over the course of the year – that’s all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats and then just over 100 kms on the way back again. This equates to 133.33 kms per month.

My January numbers are:

– Swimming – (29 actual) – 87 kms amended
– Running – (24.92) – 24.92 kms
– Cycling – (61.37) – 15.34 kms

Total – (115.29) – 127.26 kms

So I’m just under the monthly target, but I’m pretty pleased with that. January is always a tough month and I was nearly there. I’m sure Feb and March might be a bit under the target as well, but once I get properly swimming in the summer I’m sure the numbers will increase.

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LetJog14 Done!

This morning I went to the pool and towards the end of my swim set I reached John O’Groats. That means I can take all of the rest of the year off!!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then a group of us on Facebook committed to completing a distance equivalent to travelling from Land’s End to John O’Groats (the two most distant parts of mainland Britain) in out training in 2014.

It was a great idea and I know that it has helped many of us to keep focussed on the important (but often slightly dull and certainly not much fun) training sets when there isn’t an event to aim for. It’s this training that lays the foundations for great performances later on, but equally it is this training that is often missed.

Most of the group are runners, so they have run the distance. I however, as a swimmer, have allowed myself to include swimming miles (multiplied by three to equate to running distance) and cycling miles (divided by four). So my totals for the year are:

– Swimming – 402.37kms = 1,207.10kms
– Running – 128.13kms
– Cycling – 524.27kms = 131.07kms

– Total – 1,466.30kms

There seemed to be a little confusion about the exact distance at the very start of the challenge, so I adopted a distance of 1,400kms. Some others have been aiming for 1,400 or 1,407 I think. If I had gone for 1,407 then I would have hit the target during the first few lengths of my swim on 15th December.

Next Year

Now that the 2014 challenge is done, it’s time to look at 2015. I’m definitely going to sign up for it again, but this time I’m going to increase my target distance to 1,600kms (or 1,000 miles).

I’ve actually managed to complete the 2014 distance even though the last four months have been well below target (fortunately I had built up a surplus over the summer), so I should be able to manage an extra 140kms if I don’t slack off at the end of the year. That said, at the moment my main swimming activity is in technique drills which take longer than just regular swimming, so my swimming distances may be down slightly at the start of the year. Although I could make them back up with one swim alone in May,

And if you want to read more about the challenge, then check out this post by the guy who set it up.

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LetJog14 Update

I’ve mentioned this before, but this year I’ve joined in with an online group who are all planning to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats over the course of the year. And when I say run, they are using that distance as motivation for their training and want to cover the equivalent distance (rather than run those actual roads) of 1,460kms this year.

It has been great motivation for us all and it has been to good to keep in contact with everyone through the Facebook group. Some of course completed the distance very early in the year (and my even get all the way back to Land’s End), others will unfortunately miss out. For a few, me included, it was always planned to ‘just’ hit the target by the end of the year.

While most of the participants are runners, I did modify the details somewhat to fit in with my plans of primarily swimming. For every kilometre I’ve swum, I’ve multiplied it by 3; I’ve divided cycling distance by four and kept running distances as is.

Before illness and injury struck there was an outside chance that I could complete the distance at the end of November during a 10k I had entered. But the 10k had to be missed and so did the training for it. As of yesterday I was just over 56kms away from hitting the goal, but a good swim (x2) and a go on the bike in the gym last night means that I am now only 42kms away.

Will I get there before the end of the year?

If I could run (as well as swim etc) then I’d be confident of doing so, but my leg still isn’t strong enough to let me do many (if any) running kms before the end of the year. And I’m not a confident enough cyclist to go out and do much on wet and dark roads. So it’ll mainly be gym biking and swimming that will see me through and to do that I have to rely on the gym being open when I can train.

So… it’ll be close.

Current totals are:

– Swimming – 390.52kms (adjusted to 1,171.55)

– Running – 128.13kms

– Cycling – 471.27kms (adjusted to 117.82)

– Total – 1,417.50kms – left to go 42.50kms

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More Arch to Arc

I’ve mentioned the amazing Arch to Arc challenge that someone I’m honoured to call a friend recently completed. Well, here’s some more.

I met Paul on the SwimTrek trip out to Mallorca and while I used that as the foundation to [badly] complete Windermere this year Paul was not only training to swim the channel, but run from London Dover before the swim and cycle from Calais to Paris after it – a combination of madness and extremely inspirational.

Anyway, during all the training and the challenge itself Paul had a photographer from Reuters follow him and take some amazing photos. Like this one:

You can read more about Paul’s journey (and Neil’s the photographer) here or here – and I urge you to do so.

– – –

Paul is listed as “the oldest person to complete the race” – he’s 49. Because I’m a bit crazy like that, part of me reads that and says, “right then, a target for my 50th!” We’ll see…

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LetJog14 Update

At the start of the year a good Twitter friend of mine (I don’t think we’ve ever actually met in real life, we should correct that Dan) suggested that the runners of Twitter challenge themselves to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats – a total of 1,460kms – or LetJog.

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What I learned yesterday

Yesterday I did another sprint triathlon after doing one two weekends ago. This one was in a village about a 45 minute drive from me, so again it was a nice gently start to the day. It wasn’t quite so gentle later on and this is what I learned:

1 – Triathlons are bloody hard work – even the sprint distance.

2 – Sprint is very much a misnomer – I’m not sure that other than a quick burst in the pool I officially sprinted ever during the event.

3 – I owe Steve £20 – I made a silly bet that I was bound to lose, but that’s ok because he has done 14 triathlons this year for charity and I’m happy to pay up to his charity – you should too if you’ve got a spare tenner (https://www.justgiving.com/Tri2014/).

4 – Actually, despite the above, it’s a pretty good way to spend a Sunday (especially when you can then go down the pub afterwards and have a few pints and a game of darts – which is what I did for post-event refuelling).

5 – It was great to meet Rachel in real life and I love the TeamBear ethos.

6 – I could spend a LOT of money on kit – I’m not going to, but it’s fascinating to rack my bike up next to bikes that probably cost more than my car.

7 – I have a very weird relationship with on course support – and I’ll probably blog about this more later.

8 – I’m not going to enter another event before I sort out my personal life – I probably won’t blog about this later – I’ll leave it intentionally cryptic, those that know, know. But if I need to go to *that* place at the moment I find it full. I don’t want to make excuses, but I do think this has affected *some* of my performances this year.

9 – Some driver are dicks. There were 3 or 4 that passed me by the absolute narrowest of margins on the course, but the trophy today goes to the woman that decided to turn right next to me in the village at the end of the event. She crowded me at the junction, turned with me and then overtook me even though I was indicating to turn right. I do hope that the 13 seconds she gained by that helped her out.

10 – I need to find a way to stop nipple rash – nuff said.

– – –

11 – Monday morning update. Number 4 was a bad idea!

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Suffer but NEVER surrender

I’ve got my second triathlon coming up in a few days – I’m going to East Leake to do the sprint triathlon down there. The course is a little longer than the Southwell one I did the other week (a slightly longer bike ride), but it’s meant to be flatter too.

I’d like to say that I’m looking forward to it, but….

However, something that I will be using as a mantra for the event is:

“Suffer but NEVER surrender”

Team Bear Logo ButtonThis is the motto of the great Team Bear tri team that I am proud to be a member of. It’s a virtual team of like-minded athletes who want to support and cheer the effort (not the times or results, but the effort) of each other. Where possible there is physical cheering too, but there is always a lot of virtual (social media) cheering.

I talked recently about the great community within swimming – and that’s true – but it turns out that its not just swimmers, there are other nice people out there too. I’ve been chatting on Twitter to a couple of people who have provided great support and cheering over the last couple of months (especially after Windermere) and as we got to know each other better I realised that they were part of Team Bear, so I checked it out and I LOVED the ethos of the team (apart from the cake bit). I told them I loved it and they asked me to join, so I did – as simple as that.

I’ve already found out that another Team Bear member will be doing the East Leake tri too – it’s actually his 14th triathlon this year and he’s raising money for Derby Hospitals. To make it more fun, I’ve told him that if he beats me on Sunday, I’ll put £20 in the pot (as Team Bear is not really about the results, I’m gonna put £20 in the pot no matter what – but don’t tell him).

So if you see someone with “sbNs” written on their hand on Sunday it’s likely to be me (or Steve). Please cheer us on in true Team Bear fashion.

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