Wednesday 8 December 2010

“Don’t Look Back”

Well the end of season break has come and gone and I have already started some more structured training. I have always liked to plan the week/month ahead as I find it allows me to concentrate and just get on with it without having to think what I am going to do. Of course at this time of the year it’s all about base building, stamina work. For the bike, traditionally that has meant getting the miles in, while that is still the case, more and more I favour more specific endurance work. Using a heart rate monitor or watts to measure specific work is a much better way of working and it is less time consuming. It is, perhaps, not so much fun, going out on the bike for 4 hours and “see what happens” is a good crack, so I tend to do a bit of both, structured in the week, go with the flow on Sundays.

It’s traditional to look back at this time of the year and I do wallow in a little nostalgia now and again, especially after a beer, so here is a review of my year
January: Ice & Snow
February: Snow & Ice
March: “I am going well”
April: “I am not going as well as I thought!”
May: Crashed
June: “Oh England”
July: Italian Mountains = good form
August: A WIN!!
September: Tried Hard
October: Older but not Wiser
November: Surprisingly good training
December: Christmas shopping online is not right, so why do I do it?

I first got involved in triathlon right back in the early days in the eighties. My first race was the European Short Course Champs in 87 at Milton Keynes. 1,200 m swim, 30mile bike, 7 mile run, I think, no standard distances in those days. The water was 54 degrees, it was freezing, the continentals were allowed wetsuits but in those days the Brits were not allowed to wear them. The British Triathlon Association, as is was then probably thought they were not “sporting” In any case I did not own one, so just did it in my Tri-Suit, and it was bloody cold, I seem to remember not many people behind me when I eventually came out of the water. Amazingly the police had closed the A5 dual carriageway for the bike leg, so it was easy to warm up on the fast flat ride. A few minutes before the start, I would happily have been any where else than beside that frigid lake. A few minutes after the end of the run I did not want to be anywhere else in the world. No? I don’t understand it either, but I was hooked!
I always like to get out on the bike for an hour or two on Christmas morning, I like to earn my lunch and it always tastes better. It makes me feel a little smug as well, knowing I have done some training when others may have not. Come the season it does not make the slightest bit of difference but I keep on doing it anyway. Boxing Day usually involves the tandem and some beer, probably undoing all the good work of the previous days ride. Ho Ho Ho
That’s enough nostalgia for one year; I am looking forward to the spring and some warm sunshine! Be careful on that ice, “If in Doubt, get the Turbo out”

See you up the Road

Thursday 14 October 2010

The end of the season is always a good time for a bit of reflection on events. Analysis, self assessment, navel gazing, what went right, what went wrong, that sort of thing and very worthwhile it is too. As athletes we can be very self critical about our performance, cold heartedly pouring over data that tells us we are good or tells us we are bad. Our physical condition and fitness are paramount, it defines us, its what we do. There is very little room for emotion in sport and yet it is full of emotion. Perhaps that should read, there is very little room for emotion in training, but that’s not really true either. We have all felt the high after a good workout, that bombproof feeling that makes us think we can take on the world, filling us up with positivity. Likewise the times when things are not going so well, and we want to jack it all in, wallowing in self pity “why me” Embrace it all, it’s the physical work that sows the seed but it’s the emotions that reap the harvest. Picture the boxer, entirely focused in training, ruthless in the ring yet declaring his love for his wife to the camera post race, the long jumper who seeks out his coach in the stands for an answer, when he cannot hit the board, the sobbing footballers, sobbing when they win and when they lose, ahh! When endurance athletes cry it’s usually because they are tired but that does not make it wrong or a weakness. This season has been full of emotion, from the inspiration of 45 year old Julia Shaw winning bronze at the commonwealths to the despair of Chrissie Wellington pulling out at Kona. From the frustration of Wiggins at the tour to the elation of Emma Pooley at the worlds. The betrayal by Contador (allegedly) to the hope of Andy Shleck. That suicidal feeling as England let us down again in South Africa to the life affirming performances of so many unsung heroes of countless marathons, Ironman Triathlons and crazy endurance events that take place every weekend. Sport is not really important but sometimes it is the only thing that matters, so savour the moment, good or bad, after all it’s what you have been training for.

That’s enough navel gazing for one year, I have got a full winters training ahead and it’s all about, heart rate, numbers, zones, miles and intensity, so no room for looking inside, just focus and hard work, Ha, Ha.

I was at the Gold Hill 10km last week in Shaftsbury my daughter was running in it and as my season is over I thought I better go and support her for a change, it was good fun, took a few photos but all I could really think about were those TV adds for Hovis and the brass band music, “Twas like takin bread to the top of the world” I have cycled up Gold Hill but never down it. It’s the cobbles that make it hard, that and the 1 in 3 gradient; some of the runners walked the whole way up and why not!! Continuing the end of season theme, I went to the London Bike Show, the former world champion, the Lion king Mario Cippolini was there, yes I got a photo but again all I could really think was, if I wore a waistcoat, tucked in shirt, jeans, stacked heel boots and three days of stubble I would look a right pratt but because he is Italian he kind of gets away with it! Good on ya Super Mario.

A couple of friends are running the Cardiff Half Marathon; one is aiming for a P B the other is just jogging round. There will be some physical pain, a few questions will be asked and hopefully answered, the hard work and training has been done but it’s the emotion on crossing the line that will live in the memory. Go on “Dig em in”

See you up the Road

Saturday 11 September 2010

Tour of Britain, , Jungfrau Marathon, SXC MTB Champs, Golden Triangle Tour, Poole Wheelers Cyc;locross, MTB enduro, Autumn Road Race, South Coast Rowing Champs, Hillingdon, If in Doubt attack!!

Monday 16 August 2010

First win for over 3 years in the Independance day Road Race, i know its only a "Fish & Chipper" but i worked hard so am happy to take the win!!!

Saturday 14 August 2010

Swanage Triathlon, National age group Champs, Bedford, Ladies 2 up 10, Wool Road race, Olympic distance National Champs, Norway, all of you doing some hard, quality training this weekend. When the going gets tough, the tough get a massage!!

Saturday 7 August 2010

The tragic accident that took Peter Tindleys life last weekend shocked us all. The cc Weymouth veteran was a regular competitor at local time trials, often beating cyclists half his age. Peter held many age related records in a racing career that only started when he was 60 and the current veterans champion of the Weymouth club has been posthumously awarded this years title.
See you up the road Peter