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!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Training is important BUT recovery is more importnaterer!

If I have learnt ANYTHING with age about my training its that I simply cant do as much intense training as I used to. All jokes aside I have truly learnt the benefits of structured rest & recovery as part of a given training plan and that ultimately its equally (if not more) important to rest / recover / rebuild and repair.

Alina was thrilled!

In the run up to this event I have been having weekly massages with the awesome massage therapist Alina Archer and I really cannot recommend her enough. Alinas massages have really helped with my recovery and therefor allowed me to keep up the intensity of training that I used to when I was young and fit! 
If you are looking for a Berkhamsted based sports massage then please do get in touch with Alina. Her massages really are first rate and shes a bloody lovley lady too.  She isnt just a sports therapist and does all kinds of girly stuff too!

Alina Archer - 07885 494579
There are so many people to thank for helping to pave the road to the world championships  BUT Alina is one of those who I just cannot go without giving a special mention!

Get in touch with Alina Today!
Alina Archer - 07885 494579

The countdown continues!

With this week being the final 'big' week of training ahead of the Championships I'm praying for the weather to stay dry and to allow me to keep up the consistency.

There is nothing that makes an athlete feel more pro than training like one, believe it or not i feel my best when i get to train twice a day and during the run up I have managed to do that or many more occasions than normal. It's been a great week so far with a decent speed session in the bag from D&T Road Runners on Tuesday a recovery ride yesterday and a brick session this morning ahead of tonights Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club 10 mile TT.

Tuesdays session was a tough speed session in pyramid format which consisted of 2 mins hard (5k pace = 6:00 mile) followed by 2 minutes recovery (easy pace 7:30 mile) going up by a minute each rep (to 5 minutes) and then back down to two minutes. The idea is to keep consistent with the pace!

51% moderate pace
consistent stats
Looking at the stats above taken from Strava and my Garmin heart rate monitor i think its safe to say the pace was consistent. These sessions generally are pretty hardcore and previously took me a while to recover from so last night just consisted of an easy ride over to Luton where sadly my tyre blew out and ended my ride!

This morning fortunately the weather was a little more forgiving and the bike didn't let me down either and i left the house at a little before 0530 for  brick session consisting of 30Km bike and 5K run at a moderate pace. It's always hard to go off hard at 0530 but fortunately im doing the Hemel 10 Mile Time Trial this evening so i wanted to save a bit in the tank for that! 

Absolute bliss up the Beacon at 0545
 Finally my GBR kit is ready to rock and roll with all the sponsors logos despite a considerable amount of trial and error on both my part and blade printings. Keep an eye out for me next week in the kit as i will be doing my tapering in it to get used to the fit and avoid any discomfort during the event! Lesson 1 to anyone just starting out NEVER race in any new kit. Always compete in kit you know and trust.

Thanks to Love Luton / Tiro Partners & SB Digital Media
Special thanks to my employers Berkhamsted School