Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Rat race man versus mountain 2016

Set to start at 0800 on Sunday 3rd September 2016 in Caernarfon castle, a world heritage site of the 800 year old medieval fortress. 

The Man Versus Mountain is a gruelling 22 mile trail run up to the summit of mount snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales 3500feet and the highest point in the British isles outside the Scottish highlands) and then down again following the famous llanberis path. 

Having competed in this race before I was aware of both how tough the event and the conditions can be but the closer the event came it became clear that this year would be extremely different. 

The week prior mandatory kit was increased as the conditions worsened meaning each competitor was entirely self sufficient and prepared for a long cold and wet stay on the mountain side during this monster of an event. 

On race day the the conditions plummeted further with the first starting wave of 0800 being held back as the driving rain and 60 mph gusts batterdd the summit. In light of this the organisers opted to turn all my fellow fell runners a half mile before the summit. Obviously somewhat disappointing but in the interest of common sense and safety it was for the best. 

The rain continued from start to finish in true snowdonian fashion but I saw little sign of negativity out on he course from my fellow rat runners as the scenery is real jaw dropping  once in a lifetime stuff making it impossible not to grin ear to ear as you soak it all up. 

The llanberis path on the descent is slate, slippery but seriously exhilarating and took us from approximately 12 miles in to 19 miles before attacking the VERTICAL KILOMETRE a 1km long monster of ascent rising 500 Metres in elevation over tough tough terrain .  The vertical Km is the only timed segment of the event which rises up to dinorwic a disused mining village and whilst on the way up you are guaranteed sublime panoramic views over the finish more importantly the bragging rights and a pair of merrel trainers are at stake for the fastest time for the day. 

After a final descent of 2 miles into llanberis you are faced with the delights of the RAPID RAPPEL which features a number of water based obstacles designed to separate the men from the boys. The first a high jump into a freezing lake after walking the plank, a short swim through a couple of lakes going over and under flotation devices and after a short run the absail into a lake which may not seem particularly challenging until you've ran 20+ miles. Another short run one icy cold lake crossing and you are onto the home straight BUT rat racers don't get off lightly with an 8 foot wall to navigate and 3 obstacles the required he dexterity you only had approximately 4 hours ago. 

I came in 15th place overall with a time of 3 hrs 34 minutes (2nd place in vet 40+ category) and 4th place for the Vetical KM with a time of 12:20 

Having completed this event before I knew just how spectacular it is BUT that being said the conditions two years ago were significantly different. I cannot recommend this enough as it quite literally has it all to offer and much much more. 

Thanks to rat race for the first rate organisation and to all the fellow rat racers but more importantly to my fellow team member the BEDFORDSHIRE BRUTES. 

Until next time snowdon. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

To prepare to fail is to fail to prepare

To prepare to fail is to fail to prepare…

As a multi-sport athlete with a passion for a plethora of activities ranging from boxing to ultramarathons I have always been astonished at some people’s approach to event prep.

As any builder or tradesman might tell you the key to good workmanship is all in the preparation and the very same is applicable to pretty much everything you may face in life, school, college, interviews and obviously applies to ANY form of sporting activity or competitive sport.

To me and with that matter to anyone who has a true understanding of event preparation the prep itself can be, actually scratch that IS the most important element of competing and is the difference between make or break!

Many many people are able to put in days, weeks or month’s worth of training in key preparation for an event in order to get into the best shape of their lives but for some reason seem to neglect key elements. Below are a hand full of bullet points and none of which involve your current state of physical fitness or ability.

  • ·      Pre event diet
  • ·      Flexibility
  • ·      Travel requirements
  • ·      Race day logistics
  • ·      Race kit
  • ·      Race day supplements
  • ·      Post-race recovery
  • ·      Post-race nutrition

Having just returned from a tough and technical 22 mile race up and back down mount Snowdon I am more than aware that for 99% of us it is human nature (especially for men) to overestimate our level of fitness or ability. Most of us are able to physically ‘dig in’ and ‘grit our teeth’ to push through levels of tiredness or exhaustion but should our race day supplements or kit let us down then quite frankly its game over!

No amount of durability can counteract a ‘bonking’ cyclist, a freezing ultra-runner on the side of Snowdon or perhaps a cramping athlete of any other kind. The key thing to remember is that each and every one of these elements performs a vital role in an athlete’s success and is an essential cog in the wheel.


Monday, 6 June 2016

My first World Championships (felt like first day at BIG school)

So now the dust has settled I can begin to reflect and dissect my preparation and performance during yesterdays event the ITU Duathlon World Championships.

Whilst I knew I wasn't going to set the world alight and win the entire thing or my age group for that matter my intention was to remain positive and convince my self that 'impossible is nothing' during my run up.

Coming from a boxing background it is instilled in me to remain positive and confident in your own abilities no matter how big the opponent or hurdle you face. It's all about a Positive Mental Attitude and never losing your poker face.

In what was only my second EVER duathlon I faced a race against some seasoned athletes and those being the fastest guys IN THE WORLD too. During our Team GB pre race briefing we were given some pearls of wisdom from some of the teams most decorated athletes, one of which whom has won gold in his age group some 11 TIMES!

Treat this race like any other race "go out and run your race" and not get sucked into the whole magnitude of the event. 

"complete the first year and compete the next year"

Whilst I wasn't happy with my overall achievement here I have to accept that it is a very new experience but as i promised i would give it 100% and 'leave everything on the course'. The 40-44 age group is an incredibly tough age category and one with a large number of athletes jostling for podiums.

I hold my head high as after looking at the stats this morning I went onto the bike in 179th place overall and came off in 135th. It was a hard hard tough ride and race altogether.

race splits and stats
I have so many people to thank for getting me here supporting, inspiring me and encouraging me in one way or another and hopefully I have made those of you proud in one way or another. I will come back faster, fitter, stronger and ultimately wiser.

Thanks for being a part of this once in a lifetime journey. For now i'm focussing on the positives which sees me 20TH FASTEST 40-44 YEAR OLD SPRINT DUATHLETE IN THE WORLD!

post race patriotism

Friday, 3 June 2016

The final countdown

So were here, yes here, like REALLY here. Despite the worst possible start to my experience I could have asked for we have actually arrived and started the final preps for the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Aviles, Spain. 

Packed and ready

as excited as a school boy (pre flight delay)

Sinead & I reccing the venue

I finshed early

KOM on this beast this morning

Beautiful panoramic views

Race registered

Hotel Zen Balagares (bike recce)

Test ride to recce the course

our 2nd police escort

Thursday, 2 June 2016

So close but yet so far!

So we're here.  Well we are 'here' but not quite there yet as we're currently sat on the Tarmac at stanstead due to textbook French air traffic control strikes.

Anyone that's been on holiday and has been delayed knows the pain only too well. Fortunately there are 40 team GB athletes on the plane so I don't feel like I'm going to miss anything. The Mrs is asleep but I'm like an excited or anxious kid waiting for his first day at big school to begin.

All the training I can do is done, the bike is as prepared as it can be (although I do have to put it back together at the other side) and the bags are packed. The race face just needs to go on and were good to go!

I don't think anything too exciting or energetic will be happening today as it was a 01:45 start which is rather annoying as the delay will be longer than the flight itself.

Fingers crossed I'll have time to update once we arrive in  Aviles.

Monday, 30 May 2016

thanks thanks and thanks again!

I would like to post here to thank the many many people that have helped to make this dream become a reality and whilst technically it’s still a long way off all the hard training, planning and prep is done and hopefully I can now focus on the taper and the event itself.
There are countless people I would like to thank for their part in the process. There are people that have inspired, advised, comforted, stretched, massaged, offered training advice, given diet advice been training partners, coached, mentally supported, given mechanical support, technical support and last but by certainly no means least financial support. Sadly triathlon / duathlon is an expensive sport and without that it just wouldn’t have happened.
My story (like many others out there) is the kind I would like to read about, a real feel good story filled with highs, lows, sacrifices but ultimately a happy ending. At school I was never sporting and was pretty much the smallest kid in class for what seems like forever.
As a young man I never imagined for one second that I would lead the active life I live now and most certainly never even dreamed of representing my country at the world championships. Most certainly not at the Age of 40. I may not be competing at the Olympics in Rio but it most certainly feels like that to me and putting on the GBR kit simply fills me with pride and I know the feeling is mutual for those who surround me! I only wish my grandparents were here to see it.
When you’re younger you just don’t see it so being a mature age group triathlete I have often had time in training to reflect on things.
Why do I have the tenacity required to reach to the top?
I have realised (and have them to thank) that I have my mother’s tenacity and my dad’s perseverance and seem to apply this in everything I do but most importantly I have the endless love and support of a good woman in my fiancĂ©e Sinead. Most men don’t want to admit it but there really is a good woman behind every good man!
This time next week the event will be over but CERTAINLY not forgotten. From there it will be onwards and upwards to the European Championship qualifiers and an Ironman to train for.
Thanks once again to those of you who have been a part of this journey no matter how big or small ‘were all cogs in the wheel’.
The final countdown

Friday, 27 May 2016

my first Cub 10 mile TT (and how NOT to do it)

Last night I took part in first 10 mile Time Trial after a disappointing attempt at my first last week, sadly I arrived all excited to find the road closed and the event cancelled. Fortunately its right on the doorstep but due to my outrageous work like balance it never seems to work for me.

Despite doing everything in preparation for an event that you SHOULD NOT do I thoroughly enjoyed it and put in a reasonable performance coming in 15th Overall and possibly top five for road bikes! Not too shabby.
HHCC Club 10 (15th overall)
Hemel 10 stats
As I said for yesterdays TT my prep was not what you would call 'orthodox' but I had already intended to simply consider it a training right for next Sundays Duathlon and as I hadn't done one before I had no time to gauge by so its a guaranteed PB. Win Win!

0545 UP Ivanhoe Beacon (BLISS)
I started my day off yesterday with an easy brick session leaving home at 0530 for a 30Km loop across Ashridge and up Ivanhoe Beacon. I dont often stop (at all) for photos but the views were sublime so it had to be done. The 5K run off the bike wasn't too hard as i wanted to save a little for the TT in the evening.

Brick session stats
Not being content with the brick session in the morning in the legs I decided to go to see Alina for a sports massage and for those that know really you shouldn't be doing any activity after but the TT was calling. I hate to make excuses and hate to say 'BUT' however my legs didn't quite seem as efficient as they should be for some reason!

It's been a great month of training and I've been fortunate enough to squeeze in so much training around work and play but i have to thank Sinead and Andrew 'GIBLET' Ibbott for his support in every way possible! I really couldn't do it without the 1st rate support.
What a lead in month!