Hyperthermia in the New Forest

As we sat there in the sunshine on Saturday afternoon at race briefing, there were whisperings of hurricanes and foul weather. The race organiser was making sneaky gags and all his local mates in the know, were sniggering about the beautiful weather forecast on Sunday, all non locals were looking at each other and looking up. Blue sky, no wind, talking crap, no chance. 

Regardless of anything mother nature could throw, I’d had to do some serious thinking about tactics and race plan for once rather than just go flat out from the horn until my legs fall off. So getting up and heading to race at 4.15am is just never fun, but swigging my cup of tea and chilling with Classic FM was the perfect pre race start. Big contrast to the Led Zepellin fueled back seat of Marks Audi in Chantilly. The last tune was the theme from Westside Story (I wanna live in america…) which, while definately homo was also quite jolly. So all pre race plans in place.

Transition 10 mins before start. How dark??

I had my swim plan, which was….. Wide open lake and the first blast was about 500m to the first buoy, so start way right so I don’t get smacked in my blindspot, get into a rythm, use raw pace to burn off those other punks and swim like a marlin. Worked like a dream, got to the first buoy about 40th out of 300, just went quicker and quicker, lovely smooth stroke, no panics, no slaps in the mush, no shark attacks, all the time humming I wanna live in America (well it was still early), 2 laps of the lake and into T1 about 25th place out of 320 which was ace.

 

So into transition and the weather’s getting really bad. So socks and bike top on, lots of gels and bars and last minute decision….banana in the jersey…Go go go. So hills and lots of them and having to dodge cow and horse obstacles. The wind by this time has really started blowing properly all the while pouring down and getting colder and colder. Lots of bikers struggling with punctures with frozen fingers and some having come off and were getting St.Johns ambulanced away, which was probably a blessing in disguise. Anyways I’m counting down my 10k’s in blocks. Coach Martin had said just remember it’s a triathlon not a bike race so save some juice in your legs. At 60k I had no idea whether I had anything left in my legs because I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down which was definately mildly concerning as a red blooded male. So 75k almost there, had my banana, best banana ever eaten, which got my spirits up and final slog with no punctures and into transition. A nice Marshall took my bike off me and racked it, which was very cool because I couldn’t feel my hands, so what a legend.

So bike top, lid, glasses off, trainers on, more gels energy beans, quick drink, go. Couldn’t feel my feet for 3 miles. Good because my body just got into run rythme, actually bad because my feet are now bruised and got a seriously sore achiles/ankle/calf. At 4miles I met a guy called Jeff who was suffering, so we ran and talked about kids, sport, our seasons anything but running until about 9 miles, happily this got him out off the bottom. I was going through a rough patch just as he was talking about how he’s now up for taking on an Ironman. I was just thinking what a total mentalist because I think my leg might actually have fallen off a mile ago, hill running in porridge. No fun. So I packed Iron jeff off with his sickeningly fresh legs. Common sense kicked in though because I was on a wide open moor, the wind blowing, freezing cold and if I’d stopped I’d have got real cold real quick. So thoughts of Estella, Anna, everyone that’s sponsoring me, Sparks children, the mighty Leeds Rhinos and I dug in and dragged my tired, cold ass onwards. Found some road at 12miles which was a relief especially as it was downhill all the way to the finish. Got to the line and there was just a massive roar from the crowd for every finisher, everyone understood how tough that was. So half ironman distance in 6:28:59 (With a shocking 2:21 14 mile run). Lots to work on for next year. 

So 216 finishers, 114th for me, which was ok, but 101 DNF’s. Unbelievable amount of people that didn’t finish shows how tough a race that was.

All in all, the toughest thing I’ve ever done by a country mile and every one I do from now on will be a doddle compared to the New Forest 2012… Sorry about the lack of pictures, turns out the pro photographers cameras all flooded so no race pics just yet. Here’s one from the last few days of post triathlon lash to tide you over.

Navy Seal Wig & his pet native

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French Revolution

So the setting of the Bond film, A View to a Kill, turned into a ridiculously stunning venue for the latest round of the Castle Series triathlon http://castletriathlonseries.co.uk/en/chateau-de-chantilly/. Not a trace of Grace Jones in leather, just pure competition between the French the English and three young British athletes looking for a place at Rio 2016.

The competitors piled into the race wagon on a bright and breezy morning. Mark insisted on psyche music like Led Zeppelin, which was a horrific choice for 5.45am. Alfred was almost sick in the back with longing thoughts of Classic fm and a skinny latte.

Yet another rushed transition set up, led to the three amigo’s sprinting down to the swim start, pushing Frenchmen out of the way and muscling their way to the front, 4 seconds later, horn goes and everyone gets stuck right in. Wiggy, who was modelling himself on iconic swimmer Mark Spitz, flew straight off the front of the pack. Alfred got a smack in the mush and then floated around bellowing like a harpooned Walruss and Mark tucked in to try and conquor his fear of drownage. With the help of the current, all three flew through the swim in Olympic qualifying pace times of 23/24 mins all exiting the water within touching distance. Wiggy led the way up the ramp, trundling across the lawn glistening like a well fed otter. Alfred tore past him on the way to transition with a footballers pat to his amply padded ass, and Mark, not believing how quick he’d swum staggered along in third, coughing up pond. By this time the supporters club had made it out of their tents, croissants and champagne in hand, and were chearing in a raucous manner, befitting of the Barmy Army. A mention must go to little Estella who ignored all the action to chow down her first ever pain au chocolate. Great priorities kiddo.  

Having slipped out of their sharky skinned wetsuits, the lads charged off on their trusty steeds into the surrounding French countryside.

Pantani

This is where Mark ‘Pantani’ Selby came into his own on a flat, fast course. With the carefree shout of a ‘Dans Votre Visage Pal’ and the spring in his step of a lad knowing the race was already won, he tore past both Alf and Wiggy who were both struggling to get out of gravel traps (Probably due to weight carried) at only the 5km mark. The bike leg was stunning actually, through idilic French countryside. Wiggy obviously got a little too engrossed with the view as he was comprehensively ‘Dropped’ as Pantani and Alfred sped off into the distance.

Mark came in to T2 with a solid 3 to 4 minute lead, unfortunately for the lad, the lack of training from bike into run transition cost him dear and was caught by your wiley author at the 1km mark of the run. This transition takes a lot of practice, as the bodies natural reaction is to run like you’ve anally ingested a large root vegetable until your legs get into a rhythme. As Wiggy headed out on the run there was a genuine question on whether he had ingested said vegetable voluntarily. Comment of the day came from a run marshall as Anna screamed at the top of her voice, ‘Come on Wiglet run like the wind’. Marshall retorted ‘Wiglet, what sort of dumb name is that’. He’s right too, blame the lad with the floeing, curly mullet I say.

Wiglet or Billy Crystal?

So anyways some inspired running form all three athletes saw Alfred of Great Briain fly over the line in a new pb of 2.34, Mark finish a brilliant debut in 2.42 and Wiggins finish in  a respectable 2.55. Outstanding effort and glad to report that all athletes promptly knocked down giant sausage baguettes to celebrate.

Winner

Loser 1

Next race New Forest half ironman this weekend which will probably include pain and vom in equal quantities.

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Usain, The Mobot and Wiggo

Mobot, living ledgend

Firstly what a blue week it is this week. The Brownlee’s Hyde Park Heroics, Usain’s ridiculous 3 golds, the velodrome domination, the national love of the Mobot and the furiously raging debate of who’s fitter, Pendleton or Trott, is less that a week ago, having given us a year’s worth of memories. I find myself wondering how life can be complete again with the gaping void in my evenings which Fencing, Taekwondo and  Beach Volleyball have left behind.

Fortunately the next challenge is just around the corner and it gives some young, potential Team GB 2016 athletes, a chance to reinforce our own Olympics dreams,. It also gives us the chance to dash many Frenchmen’s, in the colloseum of dreams, that is the Chateau de Chantilly. And so the contenders that are hoping to kick, down that finishing straight to the flash of camera’s, to the roar of the crowd and the sound of French hearts breaking in their wake are raring to go and ready for action. Ladbrokes have got some interesting odds on the go so lets get to know these would be podium toppers:

Ambassador for Ron de Medallin

The Beast of Brighton, Mark ‘Constantly Psyched’ Selby

What race would you be if not British: Eskimo – Loves the cold, loves cycling up hills, (scared of Polar bears)

Favourite Saying – It’s only -14 outside, what’s the matter with you yoof, get out on your bike you loser

Runs mountain marathons with hoods on

Achiles Heel: Getting injured by falling over walls when lashed.

Form: Outstanding cyclist, new PB in run, the one to watch (Although drowning potential high)

Odds: 4/1 Fave at Ladbrokes (no pressure)

Simple Wig

Christopher ‘Never says no’ Wigginson

Triathlon Essential Kit: Extreme rehydration salts

Favourite Holiday Moment: One night in Vegas……$2200

Favourite Movie: Top Gun ( Once mistaken for Maverick)

Wigan Cruise

First words uttered on crossing the line: Mine’s a Cooking lager and don’t forget the jaeger

Form: Been on the lash for 17 weeks straight, however…..Swims like a dolphin, good biker, runs with mouth open (Potential victim of wasp sting to the throat…Oh man I’d laugh so hard)

Odds: 16/1 at Ladbrokes (no expectations, lots of potential laughter)

Your humble author, Alfred ‘He’s mobile for a big lad’ Buset 

Favourite Olympic moment: Gotta be the Mobot right? ‘It’s a lonely sport, running 120 miles a week for 2 years’ – What a total legend!

Favourite movie: Forrest Gump – Loves the way Tom Hanks runs and delivers perfect Bubba impression with lip (Little bit racist)

Most used phrase in the Triathlon Chateau de Chantilly: Dans Votre Visage Pal (Unless it’s Mark or Wiglet and then it’s translated)

Best accent impression: West African. You know it.   

Form – Part fish but runs like a panda, let down by Hungarian genes, built for eating not swimming. Fond of mid race nutrition.

Potential Winner?

Odds: 6/1  at Ladbrokes (Got a chance if the blood gets up, picture Hungary being invaded Alfred….again)

So there we have it kids, tune in next time for the Chateau de Chantilly Highlights Show

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Off the Mark. Thank the Lordy!

Quite simply the biggest ear lobe ever seen. Reel not fake

So, is the ideal preparation for a must-finish-well triathlon; early nights, fruit and protein shakes? Or is it a boozy day at the cricket, dirty pork products and the Strauss brothers taunting you for only having 4 or 5 pints? Yup you got it! With Strauss abuse ringing in my ears and England getting a pasting by South Africa I focused hard on my Castle Howard preparation. Concentrating on Sparks Charity and those less fortunate, including this fella with quite simply the largest ear lobes ever seen, I brushed those lash brothers, refused that final Asda sausage roll (Containing 9% pork) and shepherded Anna and little Estella into the car for the trip Norf.

The morning of Castle Howard dawned bright and sunny which was such an amazing change.

The Hampton Court to Kingston Swim was postponed until October two weeks before, because of too much water. How is a swim postponed cos of too much water you ask?

River Debris…

Well apparently it was excessive debris floating down the Thame. You know, bits of boats, tree trunks, National Grid vans…..

Anyhow, none of those shananigans at sunny Castle Howard, however there was a late course change due to the weather. The organisers thought it would be fair to add an extra 6km onto the 40k bike and also a 1km steep uphill run from the Swim to the bike transition. Cheers lads. Cheers a lot.

So first to the swim course, which was loopy and complicated with a few obstacles, namely a family of ducks on the start line and a load of pond weed. Nothing like swimming through a bush underwater, to instill a mild sense of panic. Anyway the stroke quickly came together and i promptly smashed the swim, coming out of the water in 15th position out of about 70. Happy days! now for the long run up the lawn which as it transpired was covered in Goose dump.

Soft under foot…

Nothing like the feel of that between the toes! So, quick transition and straight out on the bike course with the fear of sharp rocks and punctures coursing through my veins.

The bike course was stunning, super hilly though, through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. All the turbo trainer bike training seemed to have paid off, although it was a constant either grind up hills or bomb it at the speed of sound on the downhill, so annoyingly I didn’t get anywhere near enough nutrition on board during the bike. Also got very very close to being finished by a caravan which would have been just plain embarrassing.

Sped back through transition in lightening time and out onto the run course which was 2, very hilly, 5km laps. Straight away, the running legs felt real heavy and energy was in short supply so it was an attritional run, lots of upper body work and lots of flashes of inspirational family and mates. My energy beans were doing a sterling job of digging me out of dark places and I even managed a surge to overtake a rather large lady who was alternating strides between running and vomming. Quick surge I can tell you. Anyhow with outstanding support from nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, wifes and The Stella’s, the Sparks chugger ploughed over the line in what seemed like a ridiculously crap time of 3:17 (after pb of 2.34 in London last year).

Serious Slow Chug

So immediately after, whilst cramming pate and sausage sanga’s with multiple latte’s down my neck (Who needs maximuscle when there’s Kate’s Brownie’s on offer) and quietly pondering how I got my bike pacing and nutrition so wrong, someone snared my finishing time and placing. Unbelievably managed to bag 52nd place in the senior lads category out of 232. Just goes to show that triathlon is never about times, each course is a great leveller.

Team Uber Cool

So to finish, obvs well happy with finishing the first race of the season and doing pretty well, but also totally amazing to have my ridiculously cool family there to dole out the High 5’s on those final chugs to the line. Thanks for all that and also to all those dudes for the texts and sponsorship dollars. Next race Chantilly and a show down with Mark followed by magnums of champagne with the Geary-Davieses, bring that on! Best to @hazyg for knee surgery recovery beforehand.

But for now, lets all go nuts for the Olympics. Go you Brownlees, Helen Jenkins and Wiggo!!!! Hard cheese Cavendish. Total Shocker….

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First race of the season – Epic fail

So, Marlow on Saturday for the race briefing and racking for the Marlow Half Ironman, cannot wait! It looked really well organised and there was a good positive vibe, everyone really looking forward to the big race on Sunday. Even Estella wanted to good look over my transition set up and was suitably impressed. 

We piled into the car at 5.30am and got to the race, music was pumping and everyone was looking bang up for some serious racing. The river was looking glassy and perfect and quite frankly I wanted to pile in and get cracking with my season. Training for this Summer began on 31st December last year and I’ve been hammering it 5/6 a week since then so it was about time I got some race awareness going for Sparks and all my super generous mates.

Buggy on bricks

It was written in the stars that today wasn’t going to go as planned when Anna and Estella managed to bag a puncture within a minute of getting out of the car. If you’re going to get a puncture, get one where there’s a professional cycle company sorting out 400 competitors wheels. Anna swapped a cup of tea for a geezer fixing his first buggy puncture!

So 7am, bloody early for a dip and I’d already managed to lose my energy bars. In the river we went, quick yeeha then waaaaa, the off. It was a straight out and back swim course, a swim start is always really tough because there are loads of dudes trying to swim through or over you, it’s dark, it’s cold, you can’t breath and you only woke up an hour ago. Anyway I got some relatively clear water against the current on the way out and got a hold of my breathing, after the turn with the current, things clicked and I flew the second half, coming out of the water about 20th out of 200. I bombed it past Anna with a quick high 5, where she sorrowfully yelled that she couldn’t find my missing energy bars, I promptly found them in a bike shoe, result!   

Grabbing my trusty steed I sped off towards Henley feeling super positive. Absolutely flew the first 20k and began to think that I had a real shot at a good time. Then just when you’re feeling up, the triathlon gods know how to kick you firmly in the back wheels. The road surface was super bobbly and worn and sure enough with a flap and a hiss, by bike tyre went flat. Balls! So I whipped out the inner tube and replaced it which took about 20 mins and off I went again. 4km later, went over another bobble and the brand new inner tube copped a hole, pulled over again. By the time I’d patched and fixed this, I was miles off the pace and my pump had nackered. Cross fingers everything works out for the next 60km right!!! So I gritted my teeth and thought about Sparks kiddies and all my mates and thought screw it, lets go for it regardless of the time. There’s always chances to run like lightening for a lad of my ample size right…Sure enough at 45k, pop, third puncture. Can you actually believe it! Never had a puncture before and three in one day!!!! Busted pump lashed in a nettle bush. Race over. A 10km bumpy and painful cycle on a flat back to transition. Absolutely gutted.

The only thing making me feel slightly better was there were loads of people that had pulled out with punctures, still rods me off to the highest degree nevertheless. 

So, Summary -

Determination to smash the next race at Hampton Court – Monstrous (Wiggy also competing, having a BBQ after if anyone wants in)

Fear factor of the sound of flappy tyre – Slighly higher than cobra’s but not as high as being savaged by a badger

Level of guttedness – Off the chart

Likelyhood of crap bike being lashed in the Thames – 100%

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Hello Summertime

Whhhoooaaaaahh there, 3 weeks to go til Viva Las Marlow. Where’s 2012 gone!

Just love love love my run training course.

The sun’s shining, (despite the slight blip of freezing cold pouring down Jubilee weekend where 50 people got hospitalized with hyperthermia – very British though, a bit like putting old people in the supermarket fridge sections when there’s a heatwave on) so anyway, Hello Summertime. Amazing how much more motivating it is to get up before work and get out to the pool when it’s not hammering down and a force ten gale. So beautiful summers evenings to train have their pros and cons. I was knocking out a solid training run the other evening, feeling all happy and energised, counting the bunnies and green parrots on the Kingston river path only to chance upon a bunch of half naked, stella fueled, Chessington-ites getting their unashamed dry-hump on. Nothing like a ‘What you lookin at, Jog on’! to disturb ones early summer inner harmony.  

Been keeping up all motivationary media too, twitter has been awash with action since the start of the Tri season. Sparks kiddies charity, who I’m about to get my fundraising on for, came through a treat by doing me the honour of a little bit of publicity on their webbage. http://www.sparks.org.uk/media-centre/news/2012/ironman-dad/ Even got a retweet from England world cup winner and 1966 hattrick bagger, Sir Geoff Hurst no less. Big time.

I love beating women……………to the door so I can open it for them

Twitter as ever has been getting me through, another decent follow for you 

@SuccessAndBlack. Genius satire on black stereotypes:

Bagged myself a new running App on the instruction of demon biker Mark Selby. ‘If you want to get your run speed up, Runtastic is totally the way forward, it’s reliable and will coach you every step of the way’ said the knowledgable hill grinder. It turned out to be the first app i’ve seen that is based on cold, hard, bullying. Good job I’m happy and confident in myself as it would have broken a weaker spirited youth. I deviated from my target speed merely once or twice and the computerised voice turned on the agression, might as well have said, ‘Pick up the speed fat boy, what’s the matter, ass dragging on the floor slowing you down?’ As for reliability, it turned itself off mid run and sure enough re-appeared half way through the managers meeting the next morning by yelling out…’You’re pace is too slow, pick it up…’. App of the century!!!

Calf problems are like so a thing of the past

Training in general has been going pretty well, despite the constant calf strain. bagged these little puppies though which are keeping everything together real nicely. 

It’s not all about the physical though, race time is all about the mental edge over your competitors too. There are some golden rules that triathletes no matter how talented absolutely have to follow:

1) Always carefully select which previous race t-shirt you wear to the pre-race briefing, so you can silently boast to your soon to be toast rivals.

2) Always talk loudly before getting in the water that you haven’t done any swim training before absolutely smashing it at the starters gun.

3) When bearing down on competitor bikers from other countries, never ‘sit in’ behind them, but instead overtake at the first opportunity whilst maintaining a facial expression suggesting that you’re not even trying.

4) Always, always destroy any cyclist wearing an aero-helmet and ‘drop them’ no matter how fast and out of control you have to be.

Last year I fell into the trap of feeling good through spring and summer and easing off before events, making me feel a little undercooked on race days. This summer I’m hammering it right up to race 1 especially as it’s a long summer of events. This last few weeks it’s been all about getting the mileage up to build endurance. Been knocking out 2.30+ bikes straight into 12k+runs which is proving really good to see how close I am to collapse, should be a good indicator of death or not come racetime. been focusing less on the swim, that being my strongest suit although still hammering out 4k on sunny mornings each week. Not counting my hens though, am only too aware how a smack in the mush can unravel even the best laid aquatic practice.

With the season ready to kick off though, my support team have been unbelievably cool and here’s their take on precedings…

Love it when @Abuset pulls post bike pizza out of the bag

Just far far far too cool for school

Back next time with the Maxifuel Marlow race update, fundraising for Sparks starting imminently…..

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New dudettes of the month

So we have a new pair of Dudette’s of the month. At 20.36 on Thursday 1st March, little Estella Chrissie was born to the world. Anna with German effieciency and the organisation of a Deutschebank event manager coursing through her veins, managed the whole event to a swift climax. Unfortunately it was so efficient, that she didn’t give herself time for pain relief. Total warrior. Not so, for husband and Papa who emerged shell shocked and in need of sweet tea to calm the nerves. Estella seems super happy and healthy which makes me even more motivated to do my very best this summer for Sparks Children charity. Not every parent is so lucky.

So not much time or energy so I’ve been keeping myself motivated with a couple of beauty twitter follows, @sports_greats and @itsWillyFerrell. Both slightly different but both do the job. Here’s a couple of favourites, you decide which follow they came from:

A true inspiration

When I’m feeling down I take a deep breath and go to my happy place…the fridge.

Pain is just weakness escaping from the body

The superior man blames himself, the inferior man blames others

Stepping on Lego is the childhood equivalent of getting kicked directly in the balls.

I hate when old people poke me at weddings and say ‘You’re next’. So I’ve started doing the same thing to them at funerals

The beer diet is not very good for losing weight . However if you want to lose a wallet, phone or girlfriend…it’s perfect

The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders.

Follow your dreams! Except for the one when you’re naked at work

Talking of work we’ve been doing a lot of work on our brand perception and how we are reflected as a creative team this last month. We’re currently looking for creative promotional video ideas. Found one with the help of Liam and I reckon this is about the most memorable promo around. Totally gonna copy it…http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/06/dollar-shave-club/

Slap King

OK so new kit update, been waiting for these puppies for a couple of months and finally they turned up looking sweet. Speedo Aquashere swim paddles. They’re designed to make your stroke more efficient because it works focuses on the catch and pull phase. Get it right and you stay brilliantly aquadynamic and fly through the water like a dolphin. Get it wrong and your little finger snaps off and you flap around like a shark victim. First few k of using them, drew a few smug giggles from other pool goons, next few k they weren’t so mouthy. Ought to watch their mouths really, cos these paddles, makes me the splash king. Jog down Moorfields eye hospital suckers!

Would love to talk about inspirational recent sporting stories that are pushing my training on, despite sleep depravation but by my reckoning it’s been about the worst sporting run in a really long time. Leeds Rhinos are flat and off the boil, Englands cricketers have lost 4 tests on the hoof, Ali Brownlee snapped his achilles, Leeds Utd got a 7-3 spanking and even Mo Farah fell over when he had a gold in the bag (Check him out chewing track and stud). These are far from inspirational training stories but actually things have been coming together ok.

Not much time or energy but maxing it when I do get the chance. Ran a half maro after work the other day, knocking out 2+hour bike sessions and long bricks (bike/run’s). Time in the weights room is whats really missing though. Went to give Estella a hug the other day and she handed me off into a wall. Pathetic, sort it out Alfred.

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Foolproof way of making the Olympics

Sir Kev King of the World

Great month for sport all over the box and great to make you feel like you can still make that international squad, despite being a bit old and porky. I mean the six nations is in full swing, will Scotland ever score a try? The premiership and FL seasons are hotting up, will Tottenham win the league and will it be Weaverhampton’s year? The World Club Challenge has been played and the Mighty Leeds Rhinos are the best club side in the world, again. Get in!

White Goodman

There’s some big plans in the office at the moment, some strong words and some fighting talk. Lindsey got a dressing down from a netball ref this week for repetitive fouling and back-chat, deserved a sin-binning for sure. There’s a new opportunity to take out this sort of unbridled aggression at a proper sport. The Go Mammoth London league looks like it will be welcoming a new Haymarket Dodgeball team. If ever you need a role model to make you feel like a proper athlete, there’s only one name…Peter LeFleur and ‘If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball’. Now this has to be the sport to get you into that Hungarian Olympic squad? Mildly concerned about the team name being banded around though…. ‘Average Alf’s’.

Key to a good pre-season is to stay clear of injuries. Keep on ticking over to keep muscle memory good and snapped legs should be rarely seen. Unless of course you try and take on one of those massive, kerasine drinking, dumbbell wielding, hairy gym fellas in a bench press off. One of my good friends and soon to be duathlete, Clifford, has been struggling with achilles, calf and small gun problems recently. Injuries sustained by pushing too hard, combined with a dose of showboating. Fortunately I found the footage of the day he sustained the injury, was it worth it? Judge for yourself… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAepgZ5iM5k
 
So how’s the last week or two panned out in my little training bubble? It’s been freezerinho down by the Kingston riverbank but I’m desperate to shed this permanent calf strain, so what the hell, lets try and run it off. Fab run last weekend in -3 but super sunny conditions. Have been nailing the weights in January both legs and core (and guns obvs) and it’s starting to pay off, taken a minute off my new year 10.6k time and also putting the distance in with a solid 16.1k. Would have nailed the full half marathon, had we not polished off a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir with Charlottie & Banana the night before and been fed hot cross buns for pre-run fuel. What? It’s spring! Gotta wolf hot cross buns whenever you get a chance buddies! 
 
Thanks also to both Brownlee’s for the comments, you boys need to make friends again. If you boys want a lesson in teamwork, camaraderie and national bonding, you should learn from the Hayemaker and Chisora. A shining beacon of British sportsmanship….

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What to do when it all gets a bit parky

Man it’s all gone totally freezing here, winter’s finally arrived, check out this weekend  on Otley Chevin. didn’t spot any Brownlees there despite it being their local training ground…

Now at the risk of being accused of being a little bit ‘Quiche’ again, I’d venture to state that this sort of inclement weather is not everyone’s cup of tea for outdoor training, so how to crack on without freezing one’s ass off in Arctic temperatures? 

Here’s the answer, my totally excellent CycleOps Turbo Trainer, absolutely love, love, love this puppy. So after 2 seasons of triathlon, it’s fairly obvious what a lads strengths and weaknesses are, let’s put it this way, I’m definitely more Otter than Cheetah and am a decidedly poor man’s Lance Armstrong too. Although unbelievably it transpires that the man himself is turning to a new challenge. Check it http://www.220triathlon.com/news/lance-armstrongs-ironman-schedule-revealed
 

It’s really easy to spend the off season just focusing on your favourite strengths and neglect those confidence draining weaknesses. That’s why the turbo trainer is such a totally awesome bit of kit, cos you can build up muscle memory, train hard on general fitness and cycle skills. It also means that you do all of this from the warm cosyness of your own pad. All those with dodgy calves, achiles and dudes that just need to get some non freezing blood pumping, get on it! Favourite TV accompaniments to turbo training have been Biathlon (Totally hardcore cross country skiing with some rifle action, watch out you snowy owls) and also the Africa Cup of Nations, which is a proper tournament where tackles fly and ref’s don’t really care. Excellent. 

Best Chow of February created spectacularly by Banana in honour of Cowley’s comment. Humdinger of a quiche, post gym, roast vegetable and feta. Total bad boy. Little bit ‘Quichey’ for sure….

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Souperior Training Fuel

So winter’s here, it’s cold, it’s tough getting up before work and getting on the bike or getting down the pool. You’ve got to eat well to keep the energy levels up and keep the immune system functioning properly. The best lunch I reckon at this time of the year is a stonking soup. Here’s Banana’s monstrously yummy Minestrone.

All it is is a load of root veggies, leeks, lardons, stock and a chilli lashed in a pan for half an hour. There’s probably about 8 lunches out of about 6 vegetables. So utterly yummy, so good for you and dead cheap. Winner!

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