Thursday, 26 February 2009


First time racing on my mountain bike since the race where I literally ran into a tree face first…so this was bound to be an interesting affair. I didn't have any cat scans after this race so that was nice, and I stayed on my feet (or wheels) the entire time, but did have some rust in both my technique and my navigational skills. The race was an Xterra like MTB duathlon set in the hills of Surrey County on a beautiful sunny day (hard to believe but true) over a nicely technical up and down course. The run was a 10km first leg, followed by a bike leg of 15km, then followed by the final run leg of 5km, and on each run lap there were 8 hills if I remember…which really left their mark.
After the first leg I was in about 4th place and proceed to get through T1 quickly and onto the bike course where I pretty quickly overshot a few turns and then went completely off course into no mans land. Once I found the race course again, I notice that I had been caught and passed by two riders who were some 500-700meters in front of me. Things didn't get better on that lap as I found myself looking straight down at the terrain immediately in front of my wheel (classic beginners mistake) and because of that I missed several more turns. By the end of the first lap I began to get my MTB feelings back and was looking down the trail farther and entering turns better, but overall the course markings made it tough. As I began the second lap, my calves started to cramp up and I could not believe it and decided that my mind might be involved as much as fatigue was and I decided to not ease up and force the muscles to continue to work (ouch!) and only relaxed them on the short descents. By the end of the second lap on the bike, I was definitely pretty tired and had not caught the riders in front of me, but had hope that I might be able to run them down on the final 5km run. I got through T2 pretty quickly but nearly ran off with my bike helmet still firmly on my head (doh!) …got into a nice running rhthym and began to close the gap, although I really started to struggle running down the steep hills as my quads were pretty shot. I cut the gap to about 400meters when I looked down for a moment and missed a sign for a turn and ran off course. I did not realise it for about 30-45 seconds and then it hit me that something was wrong and I turned around and ran back until I saw the sign and then got back on course. That was the end of my chances to get on the podium and I finished the lap with only one thought and that was to race it like it meant something, so I put down a very hard effort to the finish.
Overall, it was a fun race, and it reaffirmed my love of racing my MTB and Xterra racing in general. I can't wait until that type of riding and racing is a big part of my life again...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Last week...

So I put on my facebook update that I was disapointed in myself one day last week, and a few people sent me notes asking what was wrong. Well, nothing really is wrong, except with my I cannot seem to get my head around to take action on some important things when they need action.

As many people who know me, I am a pretty driven and disciplined person, who seems to some to try and squeeze 30 hours into a 24 hour day. I don't quite see it that way, although some days do feel like that's most include more than enough wasted time. Not all of that time is truly wastful, but often comes at a time that causes me to make a choice to do the important activity or to do the other... Well, that is really getting to me and I am fighting with myself every day trying to realize what is really important and then trying to go after those things first and foremost. What I am struggling with is what happens when life throws a knuckleball and makes me work out a new course of action. The first thought is that being flexible is the obvious choice and easiest to prescribe, but I find that even though I am not a super flexible person (have been called stubborn by some..), I do react to changes reasonably well.

What does this all have to do with triathlon and my training for another shot at Kona? Well, if I am trying to follow my painstakingly worked out training plan, that includes good analysis to ensure I plan the high quality workouts with adequate recovery afterwards, and there are either self induced changes in my day to day plan, or changes tossed in by life, I find it causes chaos!

For example, if I have 6-7 runs, 4 swims, 4 rides, 2 core strength sessions, and 1 yoga session on my plan for a week, with 3 runs, 1 swim, and 3 rides being what I would consider 'high quality' in there, and something comes along and forces a change, what happens? Simple, really, I should just skip the workout if there is no smart way to move it without stacking another day, but if there are two events that go off track, then it becomes much more difficult and stacking becomes more and more tempting. Really, I think the only way to make this work is to fight hard for the key workouts and be smart about lifting and shifting other parts of my life (if possible) to the times that at worst impact the low quality training sessions... That, or find 6-8 more hours in the day...

Anyway, last week was mildly successful with 22.5 hours planned and 21.5 hours actually in the books. I did 6 runs, 4 swims, 3 rides, 2 core and 1 yoga and unfortunately a bit of stacking.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Test Week

Last week was a test week (recovery and a bike test were the focus points). In all I did 6 runs (nothing hard or fast), 3 rides, 3 swims, 2 core strength sessions and one yoga session for a total of about 13 hours. The test was a miserably hard affair where I did 20min at the highest sustainable power and boy did it hurt. It didn't help that I again did the test on my indoor trainer, which makes minutes seem like hours! The result is a power number that I modify to estimate my functional threshold power and then set my various training zones from it. I was not happy nor too upset with the result, but I am definitely a bit behind where I wanted to be. The hard thing to understand or get my head around is how my race season was unusually stretched into December and then a break up to New Years before kicking off formal structured training. So, with that in mind, my power levels are not bad with only a month of structured training in the bank, but it is also another reminder of where my fitness was at Busselton.

The week ahead is a race week with a solid amount of training, including 5 rides and lots of swimming. The race is the Wimbledon XC race, which is the last fixture in the Surrey XC season, and my team (the Clapham Chasers) are leading their division so I hope to run reasonable well to gain them some points. This is, however, a 'C' race and as I always tell my athletes, focus on enjoying the efforts, and don't focus on the result. Hopefully I will follow my own advice and try to enjoy the day.

The week also has the biggest Triathlon show in the UK, which should be an interesting affair...I am keen to look at new aero bars and potential carbon clincher wheels. Hopefully, there will be some interesting speaker/presenters to catch while I am there.

Race report next...