Lockdown Cycle Commuting

Lockdown has had an impact on everyone. Racing on hold, training sessions with friends on hold, life in general, somewhat on hold…. nothing new there really!

It has been a bit of a strange time – my own hectic life has slowed down massively, with some positive side effects!

I’ve turned back to some of my old hobbies – in particular sewing, and I’ve been indulging my love of history researching women cyclists from the mid-20th Century.

More impressively though (no I haven’t started running), I have been cycling to work as opposed to driving. I will admit that it has partly because the weather has been so good but even on the not so great days I’ve cycled in. I have barely driven my car in the last few months compared to normal. I am hoping that it will be a habit that sticks actually – although will change when I start tutoring face to face again.  Advantage is that it’s only an extra 10 minutes travel time as there are road works – one that I can cut through on a bike but have a 5/6 mile detour in the car and I get in some miles on the much neglected winter bike. Admittedly though, it does mean a bit more faff getting changed and risking rain but so far so good. My routine is even getting quicker in terms of having what I need for work packed and layering up on the bike – I’m managed to get it about right recently. A skill in itself. It has made me more paranoid about checking weather forecasts – which comes in handy when discussing the weather at work…. (customers – it happens a lot!).

The biggest benefit though I’ve found is how much more awake I am at the end of the day. This week is a prime example. Cycled in Monday (and came home the long way) and Tuesday and Tuesday was a really busy day at work – got home, full of energy. Wednesday drove, as I had to bring home quite a bit of stuff that I would never have got on the bike, got home, really tired! Rode in Friday – tailwind home, which was awesome, and not shattered. Some correlation I think, but I have always been more awake when I’ve got to work when I have done an early morning swim, so shouldn’t be surprising. Although I have found that it takes longer to get to work usually than to get home – it takes me ages for my legs to get going on a morning!

I completely get the attraction to commuting to work by bike at the moment – not so sure id be as keen in winter, with a lot less light. Even with quieter roads, there is some awful driving going on and I am seriously debating investing in a camera for the bike.

Anyway, my love of data and statistics is happy – when I upload rides – I can see my miles clocking up – by the end of this week, I will have cycled more in the last 6 months than I did in the whole of last year! Which makes up to an extent, the depressing sight of my swim stats!

Hopefully soon I shall be back in the water….

Lil’bit of Turbo love in…

Seeing as I can’t swim – the bike has been getting all the attention. This week though – well – I thought doing two spin sessions, a virtual TT and a 50km virtual club ride was an excellent idea….

The two spin sessions – Monday and Thursday – went well – really enjoying them and loving the fact that I am getting my cycling legs back. These have become weekly staples in my week where everything else is a bit up in the air. I’ve even managed to tag along to some Zwift group rides too. More on this later.

But on Friday, sporting DOMS, I decided that doing a virtual club TT on Zwift was a wise idea. I love time trials. I love the feeling after putting the effort in. I love the single mindedness of the effort. I love the fact that its just you against the clock, it takes the pressure off thinking about what everyone else is doing. I had also forgotten JUST HOW HARD they are. In fact, I think turbo based TTs are actually harder. It also reminded me how rubbish I am at warming up before hand. It wasn’t even that long an effort! But a race mind set kicked in, in a way that it doesn’t if you are just training or riding (proving that as soon as it’s a ‘race’ mindset and effort changes). It still hurt! By the end I was wondering how the planned Saturday morning ride was going to go!

The weather on Saturday mooning, although cooler than last weekend, was almost nice enough to tempt me to sack off the virtual club ride with chat over discord so I could ride outside. I resisted though. I often work Saturdays and I miss group rides – I miss riding with people! So just before 10am this morning, set up with two water bottles, discord app up and running with headphones and sat on the turbo, so began 2 hours 13 minutes of staring at a screen and turning my legs. Longest turbo session to date and only manageable due to the virtual and distance company of knowing that six fellow club members and mates were doing exactly the same thing.

Major kudos to anyone doing longer sessions and the 24 hour challenges! The same times and distance is certainly easier outside – if only because my backside hurts less! I mean, I was happy to finish but seriously – roll on being able to go out on actual group rides!

So now I am sat here, Sunday morning, with a wee bit of a to do list and still tired legs. I was debating actually going for a run today and having a bit of a go at the IM virtual race as it’s a sprint distance this weekend however, I think I really just need to chill and stretch out! So yoga and stretch is penciled in for later on and I am going to potter through my To Do list and rest.

(And MAYBE run tomorrow….)

Whose idea was this anyway?

Mine unfortunately!

img_9192
This chainring was even more caked up that this originally!

A couple of years ago, if not longer, my dad was having a bit of a sort out under the sheds at the farm and had put his old Raleigh Traveller on the junk heap with the intention of getting rid. He’d been given it by a neighbour years ago when I was a little girl – maybe 7 or 8? I remember it simply as I’ve quite a good memory and remember bike rides around local parts and him buying new whitewall tyres and a new saddle for it from the local bike shop – not that he was much of a cyclist himself. At all. Anyway, it got to the point where, even for quite a short lass, I used to take it and potter around on it as it was a lot easier to ride than my old hybrid. For sentimental reasons and also for the fact that I cannot bare seeing bikes go to waste – well, classics like this, being scrapped, I vowed to save it.

So it sat, back under the sheds. Then it moved. To outside of the shed. Where it has stood for the last year or two, within sight of the kitchen at home. Looking sorry for itself – it has spend the past decade neglected, unloved and gradually gathering more and more dust and muck. Until today.

With covid-19 still doing the rounds and showing no signs of abating, today has been the day where I have started to pull the bike apart with not really much idea of what I am doing. I will reiterate now that my mechanical knowledge of bicycles is little and that when it comes to actually pulling a bike to pieces – well. Virgin territory right there. On my regular bikes that I actually use, I’ve only just, in the last year, got comfortable with taking off and changing cassettes – through necessity with turbo trainer and new wheels.

img_9197
With the chain guard off so I can clean it and see what I’m dealing with – and surprised at how little wear there is!

First things first though, washing the bike seemed like a good idea – just to see what I’m dealing with (apart from a lot of rust). The sheer amount of muck though on that bike was (and to an extent still is) pretty epic – but the grease and oil had done a pretty good job of preserving some of the chrome work on the hub and chainring – so far, not too bad. Washing it down and scrapping what mud and crud I could first without taking anything off the bike was useful and I was able to start looking properly at how things fit together. From a starting point of taking things off – I was actually starting to enjoy figuring out what to do first that was within my capabilities – although with a little elbow grease/brut force from my Dad managed to make a start.

What have I done this afternoon then? Well, managed to convince myself that this might actually be an achievable project despite my lack of knowledge – and that I might actually be able to rope a few people I know in who are happy browsing/searching the internet for parts etc (I haven’t asked him – I know he’ll probably read this and realise who I’m talking about!). I have also taken off the chain guard so I could get to the front chainring to check it over and clean it. I have, with the help of my dad, taken the kickstand off and the back wheel – unhooking the dynamo (which still works if the light at the front is anything to go by!) and taken off the back light, as well as give it a proper wash. I’ve kept relevant bits together and taken photos to help in the putting it back together stage but I think I need to make a mini to do list for jobs that need doing and research needed in terms of fixing and getting things re-chromed etc!

If nothing else, it will give me something to tinker with rather than looking at screens or bemoaning lack of training/days out! No doubt this will cost me more than the bike is actually worth but seeing as I’m emotionally attached to this bike – I think it’ll be worth it!

…. hello Bike!

After waving swim temporally goodbye I have turned to my bike to fill the gaping hole where swim was.

I am missing swim a lot – to the point that I have, like many other swimmers if Facebook and Twitter are anything to go by, started looking at pools. I have resisted so far from parting with any money though!

With everything being in lockdown – I am home more which has some advantages. I am cycling more (it’s replaced swimming – lets not touch on running though) and travelling less – life in itself is less hectic.

Cycling more and quickly getting back some of that fitness means I am slowly starting to gain some definition in my quads again – sort off. After doing little over winter and not feeling motivated, I have managed to get back on it – I’m even enjoying turbo sessions and making the most of my Zwift subscription. When I’ve actually been out on the bike though, it’s made me miss riding with my mates, despite the fact that most of my riding is solo anyway. I enjoy cycling with mates more. More surprisingly is the fact that I am actually doing spin sessions at home – and enjoying them! Though I have no intentions of letting on how much to my mates. I think part of this is just routine. I’ve put off going and refused point blank all winter but this is partly due to the fact that Monday and Tuesday are my busiest days work wise. Although after all this, this may change and I may have to reassess my workload. The other bonus is, that a combination of following a plan, my mate’s spin sessions and cycling out, I have improved my FTP by 10 watts in three weeks. Apparently. I am a little skeptical about this but I think it just means that I am getting back some of my fitness – my FTP was considerably higher at the end of 2019!

I’ve also had time to read more and self study.  I’ve read and debated starting sewing again, however, I still need to keep things ticking along with the business and looking into that. Theres a few things I want to try but its making me a bit nervous and I’ll admit I’ve been putting it off – but a few Zoom catch ups (via quizzes and murder mystery games – seeing my face on video isnt quite so bad!).

Day to day though, I am still working the day job but being home more is actually quite nice and I am eating better/more regularly – just need to keep healthy and as fit as possible – I may even come out of lockdown bike fit at this rate.

I am very much looking forward to lockdown ending as the more I am at home, the more things I am adding to my bucket list and researching in to random trips…

Well, might as well live life to the full!

 

So Long Swim

A week ago as Friday, as suspected, was my last swim of the year for the foreseeable future. Anyone who reads my ramblings or happens to actually know me and STILL reads my ramblings, know that this is one of the hardest things I think I have had to give up – and clearly not through choice. I am missing it.

The closing of gyms and the temporary halt on training as we know it – was, I suppose, inevitable in light of recent events. I’m just going to have to suck it up and wait it out. It is what it is and in the greater scheme of things – it’s not the worst thing ever (although I am mighty glad I swam – I’m currently on 70km swam for the year). My bigger concern with the swimming is more that it really helps manage my stress levels and keeps me happy. I’ll just have to find some alternatives – although before anyone suggests it – running wont be the alternative to swim in terms of making me happy.

So what to instead? Well, I was debating getting some TRX but I’ve some resistance bands and some bits and pieces to keep me occupied, but I have noticed that I am paying more attention to the bike.

I swapped bikes on my turbo (no mean feat – it means messing with cassettes and wheels and shifting one bike from my bedroom to the garage and taking one back with me). My comfier summer bike is now on the turbo as opposed to my TT (and it’s not so great saddle). I can honestly say that the investment I made in a direct drive turbo several years ago is one I am now grateful for. At the time I wondered if I had done the right thing. Along with a subscription to Zwift – I should, I suppose, cycle more.

I could, and should, run – but with all my races cancelled or at least postponed until September at the earliest, I’m going to leave it a bit longer, focus on what S&C I can do at home and turbo it. Which reminds me, I need to speak to my PT about that.

So while we are on a lockdown of sorts, the bike will, no doubt, win out. I am already planning a trip north with a mate to take in the sights when we can. I would love to say that now have time to catch up on all the books I want to read and research I want to do but truth is, trying to sort out business and working 6 days a week, while trying to avoid catching this nasty virus is just tiring in itself.

So I am calling it quits for today – looking at screens for work, I’m off to ride my bike, read a bit and sleep.

For the working week to start again tomorrow.

 

Maybe I’m a Triathlete after all…

After a complete loss of mojo coupled with injury (of sorts), horrible weather and work, I appear to be slowly back training again – this has come as a shock.

It started last Sunday. I decided I was actually going to get in a turbo session. It was about time I re-accustomised myself to the bike seeing as at the end of the month I’m off over the the National Cycling Centre in Manchester to play on the velodrome. This was the first shock to the system.

The second shock came when, on Monday, I managed to fit in a second turbo session.

Two turbo sessions, three swims, a PT session, the new Yogalates session at the gym – on a roll!

Major shock no.3 came with a run!

You read that correctly. I actually ran. Not so much willingly, more that my mate made me run. And I managed a continuous 4km – it wasn’t fast. It wasn’t pretty either, but I did it. Small steps back!

I also managed to have a play on my PTs Watt bike – and was quite impressed so my intention is, this weekend at some point – to maybe go and do my FTP test on the Watt bike and see what happens (this may or may not happen!).

I say this but I came home from work at 2pm this afternoon and proceeded to watch three hours of Say Yes to the Dress on Quest and I’ve done very little else so yeah….

Maybe I am actually a triathlete. Of sorts!

 

Gently easing into 2020…

January always feels like the longest month but equally it feels like it has gone pretty fast too. I have to admit that I have eased myself back in and all I’ve done in January in reality is swim a lot and work a lot!

Training wise…

28km of swimming done and in the bag. I also did an impromptu CSS test which resulted in my CSS pace coming down a bit to 1:56/100m – but easily knocking out 1:45/1:50 on 100m sets. My CSS though must be pretty spot on – I did a continuous 1000m in bang smack on 19 minutes so it isn’t far out. I am training really consistently , which is greatly aided by swimming with a mate who is training for an Ironman. My swimming is also aided by my PT sessions.

I am still going to my PT sessions – I really need to add in another gym session on my own but I don’t think I could ever quite push myself as much as I do when I go see my PT. I end up with DOMS the day after but I do feel some what stronger!

On the slightly less than great side – I have barely (not) touched my bike – I did 11km the other day just to check I could still ride a bit but it was harder than it should have been so really need to get back on it! I haven’t run at all either however I have changed physio.

Changing physio has been a good move I think. I feel more assured that she has a good idea of what the issue actually is. Her questioning and assessment was far more thorough than the previous one and her exercises more precise for what seems to be the issue. She is also very good at explaining how things work in the body and links. It makes sense so hopefully I shall be back running soon. I am not the biggest fan of running but I am starting to just miss it. However hard I find it. My run fitness is just rubbish!

Love life wise…

Well, after feeling a bit down about the whole dating scene after dating the loveliest guy ever over Christmas and New Year – there has been no change. I have mixed feelings about starting dating again. There is a group of us going up to Northumberland at the end of February – maybe I need to try up there!

Into February, the plan is to start increasing my cycling and try running again. I have already given up my place for Coniston 14 but I am, I think, slowly getting back my mojo.

January has felt like a nice gentle introduction to 2020…. time to get on it (and get my coaching course finished!).

 

For the Love of Cycling

If you were to look at my reading list this year, it would consist mostly of cycling related books. I have been to see Beryl at the East Riding Theatre and have just watched David Millar’s Time Trial. In fact, it’s his book, ‘The Racer’ that I am currently reading and has had me wondering what I find so fascinating about cycling.

I know I do triathlons – I do actually enjoy them even if I do hate running. Swimming and cycling win out for me every time though. My biggest love is swimming. I make no secret of that. Cycling though, has an appeal of it’s own.

I don’t really follow the actual racing itself all that closely. I cannot name riders on teams like some people can reel off football teams and their members. I don’t even ride as much myself as I should/would like. So why the interest?

My degrees at university were history and I specialised in social history on the whole, mostly women. It’s people. It’s the social history, It is the stories behind the riders, the history behind  the races, the achievements of individuals and teams. The sheer ridiculousness of it all. The personalities and characteristics of the riders, as a whole, and the mystical beast that is the peloton.

It’s the developments, the technology, the individuals testing boundaries. The tradition against the modern and the issues that come with that.

It is also the freedom that comes with riding a bike, sharing the joy of riding a bike with mates, the racing of said bikes. Who’d’ve thought I’d love a good TT? Im not particularly great at them but I don’t care.

I am sat looking at (one of) my bikes sat on the turbo as I type – I want to get better and I want to do my FTP test…

 

I should go do it.

 

I Spy

Most of my generation and older will be familiar with the I Spy books by Michelin (or rather now by Collins in association with Michelin) and if you are not familiar with the books, you should certainly be familiar with the game.

I have spent a LOT of time at triathlons and other various races, at which, hanging around can just be simply quite boring. There have been a few occasions when I have been with mates where I have mentioned that I should write my own I Spy book for others in a similar position but equally as an athlete racing – playing I Spy is pretty fun!

So, here it is. It is, as it stands, a bit of ‘tongue in cheek’ and as much as I would LOVE to publish this as an actual book, I am not sure Collins would be too game for it. I may just email them any way to ask.

I Spy…..

Pre Race

  • Registration Tent – filled with hardy volunteers, mostly lovely and supportive – especially at Tri Club organised races. They understand!
  • Lost race licences and stressed athletes looking for said race licence (pre-race nerves).
  • Sleepy looking spouses and families who have been dragged along for the day.
  • Someone eating a banana/gel/breakfast.
  • The über-keen triathlete, rocking up with a full TT bike set up, with matching disc wheel for a super-sprint.
  • Lost safety pins. You can never have enough. Really!
  • The panic-strikened athlete who has forgotten *inserts important piece of kit* = panic-strikened athlete.
  • Discussion of race tactics – this is just a scare tactic…
  • Technical officials telling people to move their kit! Don’t try to mark your spot people! It’s just not on…. although that bright pink bar tape….
  • Race briefing – nod and turn up – usually a wise idea (like reading the race pack).
  • Maps of the race – because sign posting may be hazardous or you may want to just scare yourself about the elevation…. that you didn’t check before you raced.
  • LONG queues for the toilets – and possibly even someone sharing wet wipes – this happened at my last big race. He was a hero.
  • The athlete asking someone to help them into their wetsuit/zip it up. Common occurrence!
  • The athlete who has forgotten their body glide and asking if anyone has any lube to help them out!

Swim

  • Forgotten or lost googles. Take two pairs. This is sage advice.
  • The swimmers doing breast stroke – and feeling smug that your front crawl is OH SO GRACEFUL.
  • People swimming. Obviously.
  • Lost swim caps!!
  • Pontoons/deep water starts.
  • The swimmer who put a swim time down that was a bit too ambitious. We all know someone who will do this, claiming adrenaline will kick in on the day….
  • The swimmer who does extra laps in a pool based tri or swims a lot further than needed in OW. I know several who have done this!
  • A swimmer getting kicked. Inevitable, especially in open water. Rude people. Just rude – although some people see this as a sport in itself.
  • The swim being cancelled due to blue green algae or some other reason. Come on people – we are supposed to be hardy triathletes. Who wants to do a duathlon?
  • Swim cut short due to weather/other reason unfathomable to mankind – although at the inaugural (and only) Edinburgh 70.3 – I saw the sea and, well, yeah… wise move!
  • Swim buoys that cannot be seen. Without my glasses, I am NOT going to see that buoy around that far distant corner….
  • Kayakers – wise people. Usually lovely too. Major kudos to those supporting LONG swims.
  • A swimmer going the wrong way! (Bonus points if more than 3 swimmers are following) – watch the buoys people – I’ve seen this happen.
  • Flipflops littering the start line. Honestly do NOT understand why getting from T1 to the start isn’t given more thought in some races.

Transition  (T1)

  • Lost athletes. Walking transition before a race is a GOOD IDEA for a reason.
  • Athletes fiddling over watches – common in T2 as well. I’ve only just got the hang of mine.
  • Athletes who sit down to put on cycling shoes – again this is me. I am a very lazy triathlete.
  • The triathletes who have managed to master the art of keeping their shoes on their bike and put them on as they mount.
  • The technical official reminding people to put their helmets on before touching their bikes.
  • The athlete getting told off for mounting too soon.

Bike

  • A hybrid/mountain bike – especially in super/sprint triathlons – sometimes the sign of a novice/doing it for the sheer hell of it. It goes to prove that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got the swankiest bike – I love seeing people getting involved.
  • An aero bike/TT bike – love the variety actually and the ‘oooooo that’s nice’ – I don’t get bike envy much any more but can appreciate a nice bike. It’s more amusing though in small local races when it might not be so serious that some people take it so seriously… if that makes sense.
  • Clip on TT bars – I’ve given mine away to a mate now I have a TT bike. I never really got on with them in terms of my position on the bike, but definitely useful and not to be sniffed at.
  • Trainers! Not every triathlete is there with cleats etc – does make for SPEEDY transitions though.
  • Drafting in a non-drafting race – just don’t. It isn’t a group ride.
  • Pointy helmets – you know what I mean! Aero/marginal gains! I will admit that I have been looking at new helmets…
  • Full kit w*nkers – I have nothing against this – I am just too tight to buy full club race kit. In all honesty though, in triathlon, it could just be a club trisuit… always good from a support point of view though as it makes athletes in your own club easier to spot and often volunteers and general supporter are far more likely to support in terms of ‘Go York!’ etc.
  • Lost water bottles. Easy done.
  • Gel wrappers strewn on the road side – actually against the rule – and littering is bad anyway – you managed to carrying this far, you can take it home!

Transition (T2)

  • A technical official or volunteer reminding someone to take their helmet off
  • Stretchy/Elastic laces – time saver in T2 if you are that keen.
  • Wetsuits strewn all over – it tends to still be reasonably tidy after T1…
  • Bikes racked wrong way.
  • Someone scoffing a gel or food before heading out to run.

Run

  • Run/walkers (this was me at my last race!) – nothing wrong with this at all.
  • Runners flinging themselves down the descents. This happens all the time anyway – free speed!
  • Walking runners until they see support or get near the finish line.
  • High-fiving support especially from small children.
  • Awesome support banners – way more common on the run – love them! The more insulting the better!
  • Someone handing out haribo/jelly sweets – yes we love you.
  • Amazing marshals who are dancing and enjoying it as much as you aren’t – there was one couple at Outlaw X this year on the back section of the run who were just incredible – I do not know how they kept it up.
  • ‘Only a parkrun left to go’ – yes I know – knowing doesn’t help!
  • Stretchy/elastic laces – mentioned again as they are just cool.

The end!

  • Hands up in the air in celebration of surviving – you all know what pose I mean!
  • The joyous support crew who finally think that they can go home – we all know that this is a big lie and that there is about to be lots of faffing and reviewing of said race.
  • Post race queue for a massage – thankfully I was so late/slow, the queue was minimal – I quite often skip them though.
  • Athletes who put on their race t-shirt on as soon as humanly possible, along side medal – yes you!.
  • Comparing results with friends/clubmates/rivals/enemies, and comparing to the nth degree.
  • Someone making excuses for times – everyone is usually guilty of this at some point. My run time at my last race was due to injury – but I was expecting a DNF.
  • Someone doubled up about to be sick – obviously raced hard and given it their all (me post XC or a CX race).

 

Other random things to look out for:

  • Bored spouses/children who have been brought along under duress with the promise/lure of food.
  • Varying degrees of race t-shirt bragging. Martyn Brunt wrote an article for Triathlon 220 on the subject of race t-shirt hierarchy.
  • Limping.
  • Athletes wondering around in Dryrobes or similar – they really are nice bits of kit post race!
  • A mass of VW Transporters in various colours. Definitely a popular mode of transport – I keep jokingly saying that if I had £5 for every one I saw/spotted on the road, I would be a well off woman. I stand by this, as my trip to the gym alone would have made me £20 tonight.
  • People consuming random looking concoctions post race.
  • Random things in post race goodie bags/pre-race goodie bags.
  • Random post-race prizes instead of a medal eg. A paperweight…..
  • Race branding on the most random of items (Ironman I am thinking of you!)

 

I am sure I have missed some bits off here to be quite honest, so I may add to it. This list has been in my head all summer – I jokingly said about adding bike brands are some are more rare than others (Ridleys are pretty thin on the ground in triathlon but in CX, common as muck!!) but then this would be a VERY long list.

Outlaw X – first 70.3

I absolutely loved it!

I should leave it there but I am not going to! Full, rambling review needed while it is fresh in my memory. It wasn’t fast but I didn’t DNF and thats the main thing!

Official times – just to get them out of the the way…

Swim 00:41:30 T1 00:11:05 Bike 03:34:11 T2 00:08:03 Run 03:00:03

Background

So Outlaw X wasn’t originally on the cards – it’s a new race but its one that I deferred to after not being ready for Holkham – which proved to be a wise move despite the cost. I was supposed to be doing Holkham with a friend but what with one thing and another, it didn’t happen. I’ve also been suffering with a knee injury and not run for about 5 weeks. Coupled with this, I found out the ex’s girlfriend was racing – great – at the time it felt like an absolute punch in the guts after managing not to race near home all year. Bloody typical that my first 70.3 would mean they were there – a flurry of texts to mates and I soon got over it. Timing wasn’t great in one respect as was only three weeks after swimming Coniston end to end.

Registration and the day before

img_2638Luckily for me, one of my mates had booked Outlaw X – which meant we ended up going down together – which turned out to be great for me simply because actually my nerves were a bit shot and I was a bit ‘argh’ in the run up to it and a bit of a moany cow about my knee. Both him and my mates had a bit more faith in me to get round than I did! So actually going with someone else racing worked out well.

Registration day though was a beautiful warm sunny day (yes I did catch the sun) – which was deceiving as the forecast wasn’t so great for Sunday! The registration was at Thorseby Hall and it was such a gorgeous location! The briefing, number collection and general organisation was spot on. Racked the bike, walked transition to make sure I knew where I was going – none of us could see the lake – this was a bit weird, had a good natter with people, went to the briefing and then went to find our accommodation and some tea, as well as check we had our race kit ready. The ex bumped into us and tried to make conversation, I pretty much ignored him and let my mate do the talking. So far so good, nerves almost all in check!

img_2637

Race Day! 

Well I probably wasn’t great company at 5am the morning of race day. We were up and out by half past 5 and I was trying desperately to eat – which wasn’t really happening. Think I managed about half my porridge. We rocked up at Thorseby and headed to transition to sort our stuff out. Thankfully I don’t tend to faff in transition too much but everyone was looking up at the clouds debating the weather – I left two waterproofs out over my kit and hoped for the best. My only actually criticism of the transition was that the bag drop area could have done to have been covered – especially with weather forecast (a lot of people didn’t have dry clothes at the end and a lot of bag drops recently have been covered)

Swim…. 41:30

As previously stated, no-one had seen the lake before the race – you couldn’t see it from transition either – so it was an unknown to all of us! Due to the edge of the lake being SSSI, we had to get into the water via a pontoon for a deep water start. It was actually a nice morning and stood with other competitors who were clearly a lot faster than me, I had actually calmed down – probably something to do with wearing my wetsuit. I am not a massive fan of mass starts and although we were waves – I think I was in one of the biggest! I wasn’t sure how my shoulder and back would hold up so never intended on pushing it but did my fastest OW time of the year, with 2k in about 40 minutes. It was a bit of a weird course and the water was pretty weedy but not really cold or bad – swum in better places but swum in worse so fairly average. Lovely location though and managed to draft off some hips.

T1 – 11:09

Ridiculously slow I know but that includes 500m hike from the lake to T1. I walked it. Not wanting to risk my knee and knowing that in all honesty, if I had run, I wouldn’t have been that much faster! Then I had to try and dry my feet enough to get my socks on. Then walked up to the bike mount line, again – not much point in running. Successfully ignored the weak cheering from the ex. I MAY HAVE GLARED.

Bike… 3:34:11

I made the decision to wear my waterproof on the bike. Not so much for protection from the rain but as an extra layer against any chill and I am really glad I did. I probably would have been fine without it but I genuinely felt strong and confident on the bike – even in the rain, but I think this is partly due to the fact I’ve ridden in worse. It may have rained but at least it wasn’t windy! It was undulating and some roads were a bit busy – I saw some rather interesting (read – dangerous) driving but it was mostly good. Think there might have been one or two accidents but with the weather I don’t think this is much of a surprise. The last 10km were hard though! Just endless. Even with my TT head on – I was glad to get off the bike. The new trisuit is actually reasonably comfortable but I think for any longer distance I would be tempted to have a full change of clothing! I fuelled my ride perfectly – so actually going into T2 I still felt full of energy – I really tried to pace myself on the bike and make the most of descents – but I have to say, Tailwind is awesome stuff!

T2 – 8:03

Yep wasn’t busting a gut out of T2 either – change of socks and race belt (really glad I took my running belt actually). Went to the loo, sauntered out without a care in the world but still smilling!

Run… 3:00:03

Ok ok the run was more walk than anything but with my knee not happy I wasn’t willing to risk running it – even on pain killers. Although in the end – the blister on my left foot on a toe hurt more! I ran/walked the first lap – so far so good, then walked more/ran the second lap with a lad from Darlington Tri Club (both motivating each other) and then I walked most of the last lap with another lady who, having not quite completing Weymouth 70.3 two years ago after chemo, was back with a mission to finish! The marshals stationed near the car part were epic – how they kept it up like they did with the cheering is beyond me! Again, managed to ignore the ex. Without swearing at him!

The route itself was actually really nice – again – no-one saw it until race day due to it being on private property but it was a mixture of road and trail and was just really lovely. I really hope they run this race again as I would like another go at full fitness – three laps and good cheer crowds.

The end!! 

I hadn’t suffered any cramp until the last 200m. Headed off to the finish line and just before the orange carpet got cramp! Sod it – I had to run the finish if nothing else and as I came round the corner – I got my own shout out – and was absolutely beaming – think my mate got a bit of a shock to be honest.

The adrenaline and pure fact I finished without DNF made my day – I can honestly say that even when I was out racing – apart from a wobble during the swim (the bike was my fave part yesterday) – I wasn’t ever thinking ‘I don’t want to. do this again’. I think the attitude in middle distance tris and longer is different. I really enjoyed the whole day! Even the rain. Sort of! I rescued my medal and T-shirt after a massage and went to find my stuff.

Absolutely buzzing! If it hadn’t have been persisting it down – I really would happily have stayed for the free meal but both of us were a bit like – shall we just go get KFC on the way home?

Although couldn’t manage much of it. When I did actually finally get home, I didnt quite have the energy to unpack properly and put things in the wash. Had a bath and basically collapsed on my bed.

The morning after

Tired, stiff and aching. Stairs are an issue and I still need to wash/clean my bike. Still buzzing though! The tiredness is real!

Actually looking forward to potentially doing another 70.3…. and I don’t really like running……

img_2647