Some ideas for beginner athletes & those returning to sport after major lifestyle changes. Have a read here on the DASSI bikes blog.
2 steps forward, 1 step back
Last week I sat out my second (consecutive) major race of the year. Earlier in July I had to pull out of Oravaman, my primary goals for the first half of the year, and it was Alpe d’Huez long course triathlon which I had to watch from the side lines on Thursday.
An ankle problem which has been bothering me since early April and a back issue which reared it’s head in May have failed to resolve themselves despite extensive treatment, rehab and yes, even rest. While the ankle hurt first the problem stems from my back surgery. The pinning and plating on my left hand side is just inhibiting movement enough to put extra strain where it shouldn’t and the return to a full training load at the start of 2016 found out the weakness. The metal work will probably have to come out otherwise it will just be a recurring problem and I guess I have to be grateful that it is an option. It wasn’t initially expected that I’d ever be able to have it removed as the vertebrae that were bridged were it such bad shape, however they have repaired well enough that it is back on table.
Something new for my site. As an experienced cyclist , and not an entirely bad one, I thought it could prove useful if I share my insights on the various triathlon bike legs I have ridden for those people who plan to take then on at some time in the future. What follows will hopefully be of more interest (and more use) to people than progress & race reports and as such will be more enriching for me to write. Here goes....
2016 sees the first year of the Lakesman (click here) full iron distance (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run) triathlon centered around Keswick. While I'm not participating this year I thought I'd take a look at the bike leg and offer up my thoughts and advice for anyone planning to do the event. This is a pretty comprehensive look over the bike leg and it's nuances which might be a bit intense but I hope their is something here for everyone. All feedback welcome!
Sunday 22nd of May saw me at Grafham Lake near Bedford for the UK AG Middle Distance Champs (70.3 or 1/2 ironman distance if you will) which was run as part of Nice Tri Events Grafman Triathlon.
My winning streak of good weather, literally going back to my first forays into triathlon in 2012, continued and a dodgy weather forecast improved all week for near perfect day.
Race hooter sounded at 8 a.m. and the 'rolling' start commenced with those with the fastest predicted swim times into the water first. This was probably the worst of all worlds as it just turned in to a mass start through a narrow entrance point and I've never received such a kicking. Lots of poor souls stood in the shallows groping for goggles that got knocked off.
Howdy partners, race time again! This weekend is the UK Middle Distance Championships held as part of the Grafman triathlon over half ironman distance. There seems to be a lot on this weekend so not sure how that will affect the depth of the field as, following my usual protocol, beyond checking I'm on the start sheet I haven't really looked.
This will be my third attempt at the UK champs which has not been my luckiest event is has to be said; 2013 at Beaver saw me crash on the bike while leading and peeling myself head to toe. Despite being urged by the organiser to perhaps quit and stop upsetting children with my bloody appearence I struggled through the run to finish 21st. Turned out I'd broken my pelvis when I crashed but I only found that out a couple of months later when I was still struggling to run.
I was back at it in 2015 in Bala but this race was stopped due to the tragic fatality of another competitor. So here's hoping it goes (much) better for all concerned than either of those outings
Training has been going okay if not brilliantly. I've been off running since early April due to a Achilles tendon problem but I have managed 3 short runs this week (total 16km) which has been a confidence boost. At the end of last week I thought I might just be using the event to test my swim & bike and pulling out at T2 but now I'm taking to the start line with a finish in mind.
With no pro wave the rolling swim start rather than a mass start is new to me and I'm not sure it benifits on hinders me. I don't like the madness of a mass start but there are big advantages to drafting and navigating, we shall see. Water temperatures are hovering at a heady 13 degrees which means the swim shoud be full distance. In the past I'd always have been pushing for a shorter swim if it was in the balance but given my improvements so far this year I'm not too worried either way.
Bike has been very solid and while I haven't been making top end gains (I'm not training to, so no suprise) my ability to sustain a higher proportion of my current threshold is improving so I'm upping my target power for the bike leg from 80% of FTP to 86%. I don't know the course at all but hope to squeeze in a drive around on Saturday evening to give me an idea of what it will be like.
So all in all, looking forward to pinning on a number again and giving it a 100%. See you on the other side.
AND we're off!
By the time you read this I will be back in the UK after the long drive from the Costa Blanca but most importantly I have the first race of my season under my belt. I usually kick things off with something shorter like a duathlon, some time trials or fell races but this year I jumped straight in with a middle distance tri, just short of 1/2 ironman distance.
Been a good while since I posted an update on what I am up to but all good things have to come to an end so here goes.
Why now? Well because racing is imminent, this Sunday no less, and I thought it best to get an update done before I have to tie it in with a race report. I've been doing quite a lot but don't have much to report in all honesty. The ankle injury I sustained during Ben Nevis Tri has pretty much run it's course as expected. Kept me away from running for just shy of 3 months (as I was told it would) and it has taken me another 3 months to rebuild to the point that I can race on it. Still requires daily treatment (and is expected to do so for up to 12 months) but it works and doesn't hurt.
Time to TRAIN.......ALMOST
Morning all, thought it was an appropriate time for a blog as, while today isn't the end of my winter break, it is the beginning of the week that will be. Got it? What I mean is on the 1st of December it is time to train again!
After a bit of light turboing (not training, I was just playing on some VR software, more on this later), I'm told by my Garmin it will be 27 hours before I have recovered based on my HR variability. Clearly it has been a long off season (since the 4th of October actually) and I am more than a bit unfit.
A few weeks ago I took part in the last race of my 2015 season, the Braveheart triathlon up in Scotland. It's a half ironman distance event that starts with a (freezing, well okay 12 degrees but cold enough) swim in the sea, goes on to an out and back lumpy bike course and finishes with a nice run up Ben Nevis and back down. It's pretty challenging.
SEPTEMBER RacING update
As I've (for 'I' read someone else who actually gets s**t done) just updated the rest of my site I thought it was probably about time (okay, it was long past due) that I got my racing up to date.
After l'Alpe d'Huez tri I totally failed to take a break as I was in the mountains and enjoying myself way too much. I managed 4 days of pottering on the bike, on foot and in the pool and then decided to go benchmark myself on one of the climbs I fine the most difficult; the ascent to Vaujany ski station. The result was.....pleasing and I came dangerously close to getting the Strava KOM for it which was a big surprise as I find the climb a) too steep b) too much variation in gradient c) too short for my preference.
Hi, I'm Ali. I like riding bikes and coaching people to achieve their athletic goals. I've been coaching for more than 10 years now and have never failed to make an athlete faster (I can't quite believe this myself either). I used to race bikes, triathlon and in 2014 I broke 9 vertebrae and my skull. Follow my journey here and on Twitter.