World Championship Silver – Bitter Sweet.

It’s always a tricky one when you race a big event like world champs, a lot of pressure, a big stage, fierce competition.
And your goals at the start of the day swiftly change as it unfolds before you.

It’s hard to be annoyed at myself considering I got a silver medal, I raced some really good numbers, and I’ve only had a few weeks training.

Although considering I had to do it one legged, I know there was plenty more in the tank.
The swim:

Going into the water I felt good, I found a nice rhythm early on and found some clear water in amongst the crowds. Considering I hadn’t swam for so long I felt like I was moving well & I knew this part of the race would be damage limitation. As always.
I managed to sight well & swim a good line, for once.


Until we turned into the sunrise.

Trying to sight through misty goggles heading towards the sun is like trying to ride a uni cycle on one leg blindfolded. If you’re me anyway. There was zero chance of that happening. It lasted around 400m before we turned back and headed for land. I managed to keep a decent rhythm the whole way and keep my energy levels nicely in check.

I emerged from the water in 59 minutes. Job done.

I took a bit of time in T1 (transition) to regather, apply suncream & head out on the bike.

The bike:

Usually my favourite part of the race, it’s very safe to say I hated 80% of it. A beautiful course that I couldn’t even play on.

The first bit was tasty. I knew off an hour swim the top guys were only maximum 20 minutes ahead, so I’d be able to get a visual early on and scope out who I was chasing.

Unsurprisingly I was chasing everyone.


The first 25k was an out and back flat road to the north of the lake, and I had only one job. Shut them down.

Legs on like a rocket, I felt alive. I knew I was on for a good day, ticking over counting people off one by one. The new bike was really purring, ripping up the road like it had an engine.

Going through some of my age group like they were a stop sign – make a statement – you won’t catch me.

Back through town and my knee began to twinge, trouble. Big trouble.

95km left and the pain has started, do I quit now & discharge myself, or keep going?

I put my head down & carried on. More flat before we hit the first hill. More people ticked off the list.

By the top of the first of the 4 hills, I knew I knew I was in for a bad day. I was still moving ok but I’d been limited to one leg. The left leg was spinning, but not generating any power. And it wasn’t a little niggle, it was an all out pain. I was burning through my Science in Sport hydration mix & bars faster than I’d have liked, the pain was talking it’s toll.

With every pedal stroke a knife been stabbed into my knee, I told myself I’d stop if I slowed down.

It was a draining experience, I felt sick with pain & I didn’t even know if I’d be able to run. I carried myself through the next hour before taking the foot off the gas & just coasted for the last hour.

A 3:10 bike split – job well done but a bitter taste in my mouth. There was more in the tank & I knew it wasn’t good.
A quick moment to pull myself together in t2 & decide whether I was actually going to run, before heading out on the course, ready to walk the last 30k for a medal. Happy with the day I’d had.

The run:

I was approximately 2.37 seconds into the run, I don’t even think I’d crossed the timing mat, when I heard mum scream ‘you’re in 4th, and there’s 5 minutes in it’.


Fantastic, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about even finishing the race, the pressure was now on. 5 minutes over 30k, unless I’m racing a pure bred runner, I back myself to shut that down.

So I made the decision there and then. Push through the pain, deal with that later, run hard & have a go at gold.

My legs felt good, the constant twinge in my knee took my mind off anything else. As the sun began to really set in, the temperature started to approach the 30’s and I knew it was going to be a tough one.

For 3 days I’d drank nothing but electrolytes, science in sports finest, so I knew the cramp should hold off, at least for the most part.

Quickly into third mum was relaying the times to me, 3 minutes & two beyond him. I’ve not travelled all this way to be outrun, it’s a mental game from here anyway.

I found a nice routine through the aid stations – water to the face – ice down the top – energy gel – something to drink. It was doing the job. I had an asics bottle belt keeping my hydrated between so I didn’t miss a single drop.

Step by step I knew if I stayed consistent, I’d get there.

And then, at 15km, bang on the half way mark, he crumpled. Second came tumbling backwards as I glided through & I knew at that point it was on.

Chasing & chasing. I’d already taken 3 minutes, could I take another two?

I was running hard, I’d thrown the game plan out the window completely and this was an all or nothing job.

My knee was agony but I knew if I didn’t stop, it wouldn’t buckle. Stay strong.

Counting out the km’s I could see myself getting closer & closer, could I take gold?
I managed to shut the gap to around 40 seconds before he opened his legs & started his final sprint. I had nothing to match. I gave a brief chase before residing to enjoy the last 2.5km, a smile on my face, knowing I’d done what I set out to do.


59′ swim.

3:10 bike.

2:18 run.


If you’d have offered me silver the morning before, the week before, two months ago, even four months ago. I’d have bitten your hand off.

But knowing I lost out by two minutes, when I could have had another 10-15 on the bike and maybe 5 on the run. Is a bitter sweet ending.


So I’ll get myself fixed up, piece it back together. And get after the next one.
Kona.

Return to Fitness – The FAQ Section

Hello!

How’re you?

Are you well?

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I know, I know, it’s been a while. I’m sorry.

In the mean time I’ve been trying to convinced the next generation to get out on their bikes & try something new.

I’ve been really struggling with this knee injury. Diagnosed at a 2 week recovery, it’s now been 5 months ongoing! So I know there’s been lots of unanswered questions, so just a quick update on where I’m up to, how everything is going & what my plans are moving forward.

 

 

 

How’s your knee?

Erm, well if I’m honest. It’s sore. It still hurts 80% of the time, maybe a 2 or 3/10 pain so nothing too much to worry about, but it’s not completely fixed. The problem is we’re not entirely sure what is cause the inflammation, so we’ve kind of been working in the dark to get it fixed up. But I’m in the best hands now and we’re confident it’s moving forward.

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Have you been training?

If you follow me on Strava you’re probably missing my regular updates & crazy adventures. Don’t worry, I’m missing them just as much! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been out on the bike, I’ve been in rehab for 3-4 weeks now, but in that time I’d say I’ve done 3/4 sessions I would count as training. The rest are just making sure that my body is working properly & trying not to aggrovate the knee. 20-30 minutes here and there.

Are you planning on racing Canada/Kona?

I’d love to say yes, but in truth I have absolutely no idea. Canada is only 4 weeks away & I have an anti-inflammatory injection booked for August 14th, so I suppose we’ll see how that goes. I may bumble round the course for a long training day, similar to Tony Weeks, who medalled with me at last years World Champs. These things happen, but now it’s time to look to next year.

Kona… I’d like to say yes, I’m planning on racing & navigating the course. Whether my fitness is up to scratch we’ll have to see. I won’t be “racing” this year, but that was never the plan anyway. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I am planning on seeing what the event is all about.

 

What’re your plans for next year?

Well I’ve been in lots of discussions with a lot of people, and I think we’ve come to the decision that I won’t be racing any full ironman events next season. The plan is to target a late season Ironman such as Wales or Barcelona. I’m planning on working hard with Ric my swim coach, & my new running coach at City of Stoke AC to push the boundaries through the winter & into the early season to really see what my legs are capable of. That will hopefully lead me to lots of middle distance & maybe even some olympic distance early season.

 

I will be running a marathon April time.
I will be trying for a fast half ironman time.
I will be having another go at BBAR and a fast 12 hour Time Trial.

 

*injury dependant.

There are also rumours of me making an appearance in some international duathlon races.
For those of you that don’t know, it’s like a triathlon without the swim…. I don’t think I’d be very good at that though, so will currently neither confirm nor deny these rumours.

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18880341_1149315725175152_1739032410084837259_oHave you sold your Canyon?! (Sad face)

It’s true. I have in fact sold the canyon.

However I’ve got a new weapon of choice. Over the next couple of seasons I’ll be working with Cyclestore.co.uk and they’ve provided me with some shiny new kit all round. So I currently have a Giant Trinity Advanced. It looks just like the canyon, but is black & blue, not black & white. Cyclestore only sell the best gear so I’m very sure that it will be just as quick if not quicker than the canyon. But you’ll have to watch this space for confirmation.

 

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You were doing a lot of running races this year, will that continue when you can ride?18056679_1115158271924231_5447854826666611028_n

 

Absolutely!


I’ve been absolutely loving running  recently. & when I could get the long miles in I was really enjoying myself. Asics have provided me with some great gear and a top set up. The Asics Frontrunners are a seriously slippery group on a running course. So i’d like to try and keep up with some of them guys at races. I loved the 10k I did and I’m really keen to try a park run. I’ll be joining City of Stoke as soon as my fitness is back to full strength and I can’t wait to see where they can take me!

 

 

 

 

 

So what’re the next steps?

 

  1. Get fixed up. August 14th is my injection so hopefully around then I’ll be back.
  2. Get my fitness back. This will take 6-12 weeks to get me back up and running.
  3. Do something crazy. Got a few crazies in the bag, maybe cycle to london first.
  4. Train really hard – I move up an age group next year so need to be fitter than ever.
  5. Repeat.

Stay Tuned!

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Hard Decisions – Dropping Out

As many of you will know it’s been a tough few weeks for me. Since the week of Manchester marathon I’ve been struggling with a knee injury that I just haven’t been able to overcome, no matter how hard we tried.

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It’s put me in a really bad mind set for the last few weeks, I’ve been constantly trying to get myself patched up for a race, that I’d never have given myself time to be ready for anyway. Beating myself up and rushing back to training that I shouldn’t really be doing. I need to be 100% before I start thinking about racing, not competing for the sake of it.

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I’ve been able to run and swim, although not to my full potential, and I’ve been forced to take a full 6 weeks off the bike. Only breaking the curfew to race a couple of times, making the pain worse again.

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Because of this we decided it best for me to take a complete week off training, resuming this week and holding off riding my time trial bike for another 2 weeks.

And unfortunately the first morning after my test ride my knee was back to being very sore. Due to this I won’t be racing the 70.3 I had planned tomorrow as my practice race and an attempt to qualify for the 70.3 worlds this year.

It’s sad that I won’t be able to race, although we’ve known for a couple of weeks that I wouldn’t be at my full potential. And I have to look at the bigger picture. There’ll be plenty more 70.3’s for me to enter, and I now have unfinished business here in France.

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I’ve started to realise over the last few days that life is too short to worry about these things. I’m only 23 years old. I’ve got 5 years before I even scratch the surface of these pros. And scrambling around trying to string a few little races together isn’t going to help me get there.

So I think some time off, figure out the source of the problem and get myself fully fixed is on the cards. Not rushing the recovery, so I can put together I full rebuild to hopefully save the end of the season.

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It may mean that I miss the championship, my BBAR attempt, and possibly even Ironman UK. Even if it plagues the rest of the season, that’s not ideal for any athlete, and it’s not what anybody wants to hear. But I’ll be back. I have age on my side and I know this is gonna be a long slog, so I have to keep the focus, and know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. And soon I’ll be back to smash through that 9:30 and 4:15 barrier respectively.

I’m hoping to rebuild the strength through my knee in the coming weeks so I can get stuck into the volume of training my mind and body love. Fitness will take time to rebuild, but it’s time I have on my side.

A big block could see me regain fitness just in time for Ironman UK mid July, provided I don’t encounter any more setbacks! But fate is a cruel mistress.

I’d like to thank my ever supportive friends & family for putting up with me and helping me realise that missing a few months of racing won’t end the world.

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Along with John Honey Physiotherapy for their fantastic work through this period to get me to the start line of races and optimising my recovery time. Hopefully we can work to get this problem solved.

If you’re local to the cheshire area they’re definitely the team for the job!

Until then, rest, recovery and rehab!

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Stay tuned over the coming weeks for a big announcement about my final 2017 sponsor.

They’re wheely good!

European Championships – 2nd

Well the title doesn’t lie, and no I can’t quite believe it myself.

A few weeks out from the race I knew I was moving well on the bike, and fairly well through the water, but I still hadn’t had the all clear to run.

It was only 3 weeks before that I finally started putting one foot in front of the other and making progress. A good two weeks running, running a max distance of 10km (6 miles) was hardly the ideal marathon prep.

None the less I had no other choice.

The week of the race was a bumpy one.

I turned up in Poznan excited, eager and anxious. I started my heat adjustment, training in the sun, met the other members of the team and started to settle in. Standard procedures.

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Before id even made it to registration Id come down with a very chesty cold. Leaving me drained & achey I wasn’t sure what to do.

Could I race? Would I be ok? Should I rest?

It came on too fast to have caught it on the plane, I must have come down with it in Britain. A classic British cold.

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Determined not to make excuses and to race on the bigger stage I filled myself with orange juice & vitamin C, and sucked it up.

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When race morning finally came around it had improved to a sniffle and a small cough, nothing I couldn’t handle. So I put on my pre race playlist, had my oats, yoghurt & granola. And walked over to the start.

There was nothing more I could do from here, nothing that would change the outcome of the day. I knew I just had to trust my training, believe in my miles & pray the run didn’t blow up in my face.

The opening ceremony was soon out of the way & we were in the water, ready to go.

Game time.

The canon erupted next to us, sending a thunder of noise echoing down the lake and this was it. Head down and go.

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The swim was fairly smooth & felt over almost before it had started. The course was slightly short which I knew would play to my advantage. Barely seeing any other swimmers I knew I’d held off the next wave & kept myself in contention for the race.

T1 was a shambles.

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Tripping up the ramp and leaving my Garmin in my transition bag I had to re rack the bike and go back. A direction nobody wants to be headed.

None the less I was finally out on my bike and making strong progress.

I knew id have to keep my heart rate exceptionally low if I wanted to finish the marathon after only running 10km. So I was aiming for a 140bpm.

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I’d have to trust my cycle legs would still take care of business in this zone.

And I was flying.

Ticking people off one by one I knew they wouldn’t hold me off for long.

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After an uneasy patch on the second lap I began to build again. Turning on the heat as the others started to hurt.

And true to form I got out of the chair feeling fresh in a 4:45 cycle. 142bpm.

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Mission accomplished.

Now in the back of my mind was the infamous sub 10 ironman. Propelling me into the top 2% of ironman athletes. I didn’t know my current position but I’d assumed I’d need roughly a 4 hour marathon.

A comfortable target, when I’m on form.

I took the first 12k very steady, but before I made it to halfway, the pain came on. And it came hard. And it wasn’t stopping there.

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I was determined to not stop running. No matter what, no matter how much it hurt, I was just gonna put one foot in front of the other, and run.

By the third lap I was in tatters.

My legs had blown up, my head was swimming, my lungs tight & empty. I was in pieces scattered around poznan.

But I was still running.

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With a monumental will power, like nothing else I’ve ever had, I wasn’t stopping.

I wouldn’t quit.

And before I knew it I was on the final lap.

10km left.

The pain was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Every fibre in my body was screaming out.

And then it got me.

The cramp.

My toes curled up with a force I couldn’t control and my calves seared with pain.

Falling into the sand I curled up, was this it? Game over?

I couldn’t let myself stop 6km from the finish.

I managed to get up and keep going. 1km later it got me again, another brief pause. I could do this. Come on.

And with a final push I trundled round to the finish area, through the crowds not even managing a wave or a smile.

 

It was over, the clock showed 10:13 and I was done.
Curled up & whimpering into my family I finally stabilised and sorted myself out. Never again will I run ill prepared.

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A quick glance at the online results quickly revived the mood.

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9:58, 2nd.

In an unreal turn of events, the clock had been showing the male pro time and I had done it.

European championships – success.

Drinks all round it seemed.

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Let’s go get worlds.

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The Chronicles of Northern – My First Three Day Adventure

All it takes is an off-hand comment, a little joke, someone probing me and my mind is off. Crazy adventures spring out of the most ridiculous situations, ideas that just grow and grow in my mind, ideas that become plans, plans that quickly come round to reality.

It must be about 6 weeks ago that I came up with this one, I needed miles in my legs for the fast approaching Dragon Ride, and a kick start to the freedom of post uni life.

My ankle was bad, but that’s a minor detail.

I had decided that the first week post hand in I was going to do some miles. Some serious miles in the chair. I’d created the starve routes, told my sister, told Lightfoot, told my mum, I even told Sian and Polly at the filming. The idea was slowly being mulled over and over in my mind.

750km, in 3 days. Bath to Cheshire. Cheshire to Bangor. Bangor to Bath.

Easy right?

But I’m only 12 weeks back into training, and my ankle is still very sore… but I was determined to give it a crack. I’d cycled home in the past but remember barely being able to move the next day. 250km home I knew I could probably make with a solid day, a flat 160km over to Bangor as a rest, and then the big one. Bangor to Bath, 340km passing right through the centre of Snowdonia. The length of Wales.

It really didn’t take long for the 6 weeks to come round and me to find myself checking over the cannondale, making sure I had enough rations to survive the journey. Saddle bag on, pockets packed with Belvitas, a couple of gels and bananas, and I was off.
The 8am start didn’t feel too bad, and I started off in my home territory, the Bath/Bristol bike path. Legs quickly into a chunky rhythm and I was purring along the bike path, set for a solid days riding.

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The first few hours were pretty boring. Nothing different to a regular training ride, quite reserved not putting all my cards on the table, I was quickly through Gloucester and up into the unknown. I was following a route on my Garmin Edge 520 so the roads I was using were fairly quiet and reasonably surfaced. The next point of call was Worcester, Tewkesbury, 120km in and I knew I was half way, still making very good pace. I stopped at around 130km to refill the water bottles, have a quick pack of kettle chips and some magic juice.

Ohhhh the magic juice.

Those of you that know me well will know I’m caffeine sensitive. The slightest drop of caffeine and I’m a very hyper boy. So what better to knock back than a 500ml bottle of cherry Pepsi Max. It did’t take long for it to hit me and I was off again on my way to the North.

160km back and I knew I was into the unknown. I hadn’t ridden this far in a day since Ironman Wales back in September 2015, my ankle was still very sore but my power balance was at 50:50 so I knew it wasn’t misbehaving too much. So head down I cracked on. It was at this point that I realised I hadn’t left my big ring all day, my cadence very low as usual, I knew this would be draining my legs of power. Although I hadn’t encountered any real hills, just the odd lump.

At 180km the legs started to struggle and I hit a slight dark patch. Still riding somewhat reserved to my usual self due to my ankle and the looming days ahead, I kept ploughing northward, cutting through the beautiful English countryside, I think I even had a conversation with myself.

It’s at this point I realise that the story so far is quite boring. Boy sits on bike. Boy spins legs, eats a few biscuits. Few hours pass. Boy arrives at destination.

Sounds about right for the first day really. Nothing exciting happened and within 40km of home I was back in my own territory and knew exactly where I was. Mum quickly whipped a steak on, tub of Ben and Jerry’s at the ready and it wasn’t long before the three of us were watching pointless, while I stretched with the cats, oh I can’t wait for the next year…..

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So I finished the first day very uneventfully, with no mechanical errors, no real bonks (running out of nutrients) at 30.6kph and an average of 220 watts. A very successful day.

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But we hadn’t even scratched the surface.

The next day was tough.
160km on heavy legs, again into the wind like the day before, in the overwhelming sun. My ankle again started very sore but I had little choice but to get my head down and crack on.

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The first 60km I knew very well, the back lanes of cheshire and over to Chester, soon to become my hunting ground, not many people love them more than me.
Pan flat, well surfaced roads, perfect for the fresh legged rider. But not today.
Time went slow for the first 60km, I was enjoying myself, but I was having to work. My heart rate was unusually low due to the fatigue and the sun wasn’t helping the situation. I was trying to keep my water consumption low so I didn’t have to make too many stops, an error I won’t be doing again.
I was soon on the Chester millennium Greenway. A beautiful sus-trans cycle path that took me across the border and the river, and onto the north coast of wales. Very flat and a joy to ride, I would thoroughly recommend this route to anyone looking for a gentle day out on the bike.

The north coast of Wales. Well theres a strange place.

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A mixture of beautiful coastal views, perfectly surfaced cycle paths, strange holiday resorts and plenty of retired biddies. Still only making my way through one bottle of water, the heat started to get to me. I stopped to put my arm warmers on. Arm warmers? if you were too hot?

They were actually a life saver.

Taking the sun off my skin, stopping it draining my energy and cooling my arms and I was quickly back to it. I didn’t really enjoy much of the route through north east Wales, it was windy, my ankle was sore, my legs were struggling and there wasn’t much of a view.

But the second I passed the station at Abergele and Pensarn my breath was taken away!

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The cycle path to the west of there is something I recommend anyone that possibly can to run, walk, crawl or cycle on a sunny day. Views that I can honestly compare to the sea front in the south of France.

All the way across to Conwy castle I was mesmerised.

 

I stopped at a little cafe on the coast to fill my bottles up, had a chat to some local riders and quickly got on my way. I managed to keep the days stoppage time to around 30 minutes similar to the day before, including traffic lights and junctions.

30km from Conwy and I had quickly slotted into Bangor. Up their ‘little’ hill and I was greeted by a hungover but smiley little sister. Packed with goodies for me, we enjoyed them in the sun, before I cooked her dinner, watched a film and she headed out for another lash with the gals.

Oh to be a fresher again. Another successful day with the average over 30kph, somewhat lower on the watt front but I had to be reserved for the final day.

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And then the real party started.

34okm.

That’s a really long way.

I didn’t actually know if it was possible, if I’d manage it. Sure I know people that have done it, some people do it quite regularly. 440 people on strava have done it this month. Out of nearly 200,000 people signed up to the gran fondo challenge it didn’t fill me with hope.

I knew people that had done it with friends, on wheels, in groups. People that had support vehicles and flat roads. On fresh legs at the start of the week. But unsupported, solo, on very heavy legs, starting through the highest peaks in Wales. I actually didn’t know if I was going to do it.

But that wasn’t going to stop me trying.

‘Who we are is why we win’

Snowdonia.
“Snowdonia is a region in northwest Wales concentrated around the mountains and glaciers of massive Snowdonia National Park.”

Thanks wiki.

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It’s big. It really big. I started at 7am after cooking a great bowl of porridge for breakfast. Laura grumbled a hungover goodbye from under her sleeping bag on the floor and I was off. 7:30, later than I’d planned to leave, but I had lights so wasn’t scared of getting caught in the dark.

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It was bitter morning. The shorts and jersey I’d be riding in the sun for the past couple of days, (washed by Laura and Mum, legends), was wearing thin. The higher I climbed the mountain pass the thinner they came. I found some solace in the beauty of the landscape, a very different but equally impressive spectacle to the day before.

It was already almost too much. By 60km I’d been riding almost 3 hours, that’s very very slow. I couldn’t feel my face, hands or feet. I was in a bad way.

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I kept ploughing on, 3 bananas and half a bottle of water down and I was struggling. It was really, really, really cold.

As the A5 dropped beyond Snowdonia and into the valley beyond I found a bit of warmth. Spinning my legs with all I had to avoid the juggernauts speeding past me my body began to thaw, and I started to find a rhythm.

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Now and again I would check my distance and average speed, it was slowly creeping upwards. Onto the A49 after Shrewsbury and I text mum, I knew she’d be worrying. My legs were beginning to warm up a bit, maybe they would spring to life soon. Ambitious.

The next 100km was a bit of a dead zone. 340km is a long way. But in my head it was 60, 60, 40, 30, 30, 50, 70.  Make sense?
Snowdonia, Shrewsbury, 100 miles, furthest ever week, Hereford, Gloucester, Bath. That’s how I broke it down.

Never once did I think ‘I’ve cycled (x) distance already today, I should be really tired’.. instead the mindset was ‘only this far to go, you can do that easy’. until the next checkpoint, and the next, and the next.

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The dead zone to Hereford took quite a bit of time. 120km down, 120km to go afterwards, 100km mid section. I span through 100 miles and my legs were feeling ok, they’d warmed up, my ankle pain had taken a back seat and I was just cracking on. At 190km I had a little chuckle to myself. I’d now cycled further than I ever had in a week, in my life, and it was 2/3pm on a Wednesday afternoon. Legend.

And it wasn’t long before I was in Hereford. But I wasn’t in a good way.

I was tired, hungry, weary. There’s only so long bananas and belvitas can sustain you, and I was uncontrollably shivering. The route of A5/A49 had been successful, only a few points of dual carriageway and scariness. But I’m a big boy.

I bought a set of size 10 womens lycra leggings so I could stop crying about my legs. And knocked back 2 Cookies, 3 sandwiches, 2 cream brownies, 2 bottles of water, a pack of salt and vinegar crisps and a bottle of magic juice.

13288191_10156969763300346_143128792_o

And my word. My legs came to life.

They sprung into action like they were fresh off the shelf. I made incredible time to Gloucester and steamed right through. Before I knew it I was trundling off the A38 and choo chooing towards the bike path. And then I was in my element. I don’t know where all this energy had come from.

I raced myself faster and faster and faster down the bike path. I was actually laughing. I just wanted more. And more. And more. My legs could have just kept going, I really don’t know what had come over me! And before I knew it I was back. In Bath. In a day.

I’d cycled from the north west coast of Wales, through the whole country, and I was back in the kitchen. I could only laugh, I didn’t think I’d manage it! An average speed of 29.6kph, and I can honestly say I could have kept going. If the saddle sore and dodgy ankle had let me. But I was going to hurt in the morning.

https://www.strava.com/activities/587901480

Quite a boring story really. Boy rides bike. Stops, sleeps, eats, rides more.
But somewhere in there there’s something useful to be taken from it.

It’s easy for people to tell you you can’t do something. To tell you it’s not possible. Make excuses for you, hide behind the excuses. They make themselves feel better about not doing it by telling themselves nobody can do it.

Regular boy cycles 750km in 3 days, with torn ligament, after 11 weeks of training.

These kind of people don’t want to hear that, because they want to believe they can’t do it themselves, that they’re not just being lazy. But there’s no audience for hard work. Nobody was there watching me cycle, supporting through the rough points. But everybody was jumping to ask about it, congratulate me, ask how I did it, any tips I can give.

So don’t forget:

A) back yourself. If you set your mind on something, chances are you’re gonna be able to do it, no matter what other people say, or think, or do.

B) Don’t give up. It would have been easy for me to take a day off, stop in Gloucester, get the train. But by keeping going I’ve discovered what I really could be capable of. And I actually had fun in the process.

C) Don’t listen to the internet, they’re stupid. Find examples of why you can, not why you can’t.

“Big thinking precedes great achievement.”

— Wilferd A. Peterson

 

A Catch Up

Hello!

How have you been?

So nearly 2 months since I actually appeared or wrote anything decent, what’s been happening?!

Well I took a break. Stepped back, focused on my degree, and even saw my family over Easter!


Since October I’ve been struggling with a torn ligament and 2 inflamed tendons in my ankle, although I’m glad to say my Strava has now sprung to life and were really starting to get somewhere.


I’ve just been hovering  in the middle of the 90′ indoor bikes and long days in the architecture studio. Hitting deadlines and attempting to build mileage!

I’ve always been very public in posting everything i do, I don’t see any reasons not to. If anyone wants to copy they’d always be one step behind, and there’s no harm in people seeing how fit you are, so you might have caught up on strava.

You may even have seen my guest appearance at the Bath Cc chaingang, helping Rob Pears with a few watts.



I need to give a special shout out to Malcolm at physioimpulse, bath. His extensive knowledge of the mechanics of the body whilst running and cycling has helped me no end in my rehabilitation. His techniques to release the tension in my lower legs and pelvis has really helped my recovery and started me off on a fantastic platform to move forward.

It’s still causing me some pain, and I can’t run yet. However, I can cycle. So watch this space!

Maybe.

When I’ve lost 5kg.

And got through the 33 days until I hand in 70% of my degree. Uh oh!

There will always be losers…

Last month, feminists, liberals and anyone with too much time on their hands took to Twitter, the platform that allows them to dump their thoughts on the world, to praise Mattel for their decision to make different shapes for Barbie.

 

 

 

 

“Wow, all young girls can now be comfortable in their own skin”

“This is amazing. I’ve regained faith in humanity”

“About time!”

 

This is the same as when your friend (who is busy training for the Bath Half) is 1. Worried about finishing and 2. Is aiming for sub 2hrs 30mins- blaming some stupid injury they’ve never worked hard enough to get. For some reason, our society doesn’t champion winners. It comforts losers.

 

There will always be losers. Don’t kid yourself.

 

Some kids are better at Maths than you, most can run faster than you and a shed load will earn more in one year than you will in a lifetime. Blaming the body you were born with for your attitude is not ok.

As Gordon Gekko once said to Charlie Sheen: “It’s not a question of enough pal. It’s a zero-sum game. Somebody wins, somebody loses.” Don’t be the loser.

Injury and Rest – the dreaded rehab

Injury is every athletes worst nightmare, 4 months into an Achilles injury with at least 2 months to go until full fitness I find myself struggling to cope with so much time away from sport.

A constant too and fro with starting training and stopping again, constant physio therapy and lots of ice, how long does it take to really shift an injury?

A heads up from the physio only to find ourselves back at square one after the third week of a rebuild phase.

it’s a tough game

 

I mean if I was fully deabilhitated like David Moore suffering a brutal shoulder dislocation. Rumour has it he was wrestling a bear, however I believe it was more likely in the middle of one of his very heavy workout sets. Straight in for an operation a few days later and bed bound since. This is the kind of serious injury that I could understand such a set back. Although I’m sure with such an admirable mindset he’ll bounce back very soon.

 

The man himself!

It’s often said that if we didn’t train each time we had a niggle we’d never get any training done at all. It’s this resilient mindset that creates the base of successful athletes. The craving for success and the dopamine surge from attaining it.

I’m not talking about being the best or winning, I’m talking about a perseverance to improve. There’s no substitute for the hard work athletes put in, but just when is it time to stop?

Listening to your body is a fundamental lesson every sportsman goes through, but where is the line drawn between uncomfortable and painful.

Anyone coming back from injury will notice a decrease in strength for a short period especially in the injured area, but does this mean no training should be completed?

 

The dreaded view

I think managing any injury is always tough but sessions should be completed pain free. Coming back too slow is better than too soon meaning you’re not back at all.

A very useful tip when coming back is to remember you’re not always testing for pain that day. Pain can come up to 48 hours post exercise. So just because you feel fresh don’t push too hard.

I know it’s tough missing races, seeing opponents making easy wins. But even the best athletes recover from injury to come back fitter and stronger than ever.

 

The perfect set up!

In the mean time, rest, recover, stretch and roll. Get your long overdue chores done until you can manage some form of substitute exercise.

And remember, you will be back!

Don’t Jump the Puddle!

So this morning I went running…. brilliant you might think. We’ve all done stuff, we’ve all run before, you’re a triathlete so surely that’s pretty regular? What do you want, a medal?

And no, today was a pretty standard run, grizzly day in the South West with a wet and muddy canal path to run down. I’m still in rehab so can’t run fast as my achilles is tender. So days like this I’m usually pretty steady and observant.

 

Muddy Path from Saturday

 

As is pretty common for a Monday lunch run, I encountered a few other keen runners, usually training for the bath half around this time of year. But passing them today was particularly difficult.

We’ve all been walking down the high street in a hurry when some little tourist, couple or shopper weaves all about the pavement like they’re a snake. And all you want to do is push them out of the way. Today was no exception to this, and the main reason for the swerve, was to miss the puddles.

 

Flair Trainers

 

 

I can kind of relate, you have fresh shoes from Santa, you want to show off your Christmas flair and the mud is only going to cover them up. Although the summer you’d run down the same path as if there’s nothing there, stepping where the puddles are. So why now suddenly jump 5cm deep puddles as if they’re a 30foot mine shaft. Jumping the puddles can be really bad for your legs and therefore your running.

More canyoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no secret that as you get older you’re more susceptible to injuries and running is a very high impact sport. Most runners run at around 160/170 steps per minute. With each stride up to 550% of your body weight is transferred into your legs. Meaning your quads, knees, ankles are taking quite a beating.

This high impact sport can bring regular injuries at the best of times, putting extra strain on the tendons and muscles in the cold by jumping the puddles like you’re some kind of ballroom dancer, definitely won’t help. A steady rhythm of running is both faster and more efficient, something regularly interrupted by these deep ravines you have to avoid.

So why do you want to jump the puddle?! You’re getting muddy anyway, it’s already raining so you’re gonna get wet, so get stuck in! 40 years ago you and Janice would have loved jumping around and getting muddy. Why stop now?

Most people will run for a maximum of one hour, with your toes being regularly engaged they’re not going to get cold I promise. Your shoes will dry, your kit will clean, so pretend you’re a child again and have some fun! You’re less likely to get injured, and your regular stride will help you run faster too!