Category Archives: Triathlon

Midnight Man 2016

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This should have been good. I had been swimming well and although I’d not done as much cycling as I had wanted to my run post comrades was strong. Although the 10:15 of last year looked a little out of reach a sub 10:30 I hoped would still be achievable.

Instead I got a DNF, my second of the season.

So, what happened? Well I got ill on the bike. That’s the short story, but I’ll explain more.

Saturday morning, parkrun day. I hadn’t intended to do parkrun, but having just received my new elastic laces in the post I needed to get a small run in to check they were tensioned right. Southend parkrun was the venue and I plodded round, throwing in a few strides to loosen the legs for the first 2 laps, keeping at just believe 5min/km pace. At the beginning of lap 3 I got chatting to a guy who was looking to break 24:30, seemed rude to not try and help him so the last Km and a bit was a little quicker. Nothing too stressful there.


At home little Langdon who had also done it started to feel a little ‘off’ and kept taking himself off to bed for short naps. Once I’d sorted my kit out I had my pre race dinner/breakfast of pesto pasta  (what would be dinner about dinner time the night before if it had been a morning start. Timings can be trick)  too went for a short nap.

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Delicious pasta. Not so sure if it’s at 10am for breakfast

2hrs later and having hit the snooze button on the alarm 4 or 5 times I dragged myself out of bed. Should have known then that something was up as I felt hung over. However I had a big bowl of muesli (having had pasta for breakfast) and jumped in the car.

Upon arrival I registered and then stuck gels and naumbers in my bike, excellent.


Down at the start line bake racked and wetsuit on I was good to go. Time to get in the water, passing the finish line I hoped to see in 10 hours or so.


The swim was a deep water start, we all climbed into the lake and swam to the start point. Along side the full iron distance there was also a half and quarter distance race being run so there were a fair few people in the water. Some would be doing one lap, others two but for me it was to be four laps of the lake. I swam a 1:07 the year previously and hoped to go a little quicker than that this year. i managed to pull clear of the washing machine start fairly quickly and settled into my rhyme, albeit with someone on my toes for a large chunk of the first two laps, I apologise if it was you as I’m pretty sure I kicked them in the head twice as we made some of the turns. s the swim wen ton the faster quarter and half distance racers finished and the lake emptied slightly,  I sped on, keeping good stroke rate and with a solid breathing rhythm. Out of the water in 1:05 on my watch (1:06 by the time i made it to transition and the timing mat, quicker than last year but feeling fresher. Excellent.  A quick dry of the feet and arms, socks, arm warmers, glasses, helmet and shoes on and off i went on the bike.


The bike started well, I was makig good time and not getting caught up i too much traffic. The frst few laps got busier as more people finished the swim but I knew by the wee small hours it would be very quiet. Trying to figure out where the wind was was always a challenge, as it was last year, and I settled into it. A long time to go.

It was only a few laps i that I started getting a headache, odd, carry on. Then it got worse. I’d done a good few laps but now I was feeling weak. Headache was getting worse and I felt like I had no energy. Mmmmmmm, this is not right, I ploughed on. For a bit. Well to almost the end of lap 9. This was the point where I had to pull over and be quite sick at the side of the road. This was not good. I pootled back to the transition area and called it a day. With 7hrs of racing still to go I was in no condition to carry on.


Checking my phone on the journey home I found that the boy had been quite poorly after I had left to race and needed medicine and cold compresses to cool his temperature. Whatever he had I had got too.

the next morning he was fine, and 24hrs after I started feeling ill I was better too. Whatever we had had was a real 24hr type thing and it had arived at the worst time. I suspect that had I not been racing and putting that kind of stress on my body to exacerbate the issue I would never had know.

Looking at the times for each lap I was doing well compared to last year, but you can see the sudden drop off!

I will just have to return next year then and at least I’ll be fit for the Team Relays a fortnight after!

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National club team relays 2015

…Or just triathlon relays as it is now!

  
Once again the trip was made to the national water sports centre at holmepierre point in Nottingham for a mornings racing described by the organisers as ‘organised chaos!’

I missed out last year due to still coming back from knee surgery so was looking forward to this years trip. The only problem was it was the weekend after midnight man and although I’d had a weeks rest and loosening up in the pool I was pretty sure I’d still struggle. Oh well, not a lot I could do about that. Once again I was hoping to not embarrass myself. 

I was to be the first off in my team, which meant I had the pleasure of the mass open water swim. Although only 500m it was brutal. I’ve never been in such a washing machine of a swim before. Everyone was going for it and I had to pause and catch a breath as I was quite recovered enough for that kind of fight.  

 
There were only two turns or make in the water and the first was horrific, but the second, only 50m further away, was much better and the last straight to the exit point was fairly clear and I was able to smash myself to get back some if the time I lost. Exited the water handed I’ve the wristband to my teammate Neil and looked at my watch. 8:31, not bad, not great through. 

I jogged back to the LBT hq we had set up to dump my wetsuit and goggles and then headed back to the transition area to wait for the fourth swimmer to arrive. He did and I set off on my three bike laps round the lake. 

Only I didn’t really set off. I mostly cocked up getting I the bike. Having not raced for nearly two years my race craft was to be honest fucking awful. I’d put my shoes on already due to the stony nature of the transition area (and having received a small cut on my foot my first year) and I couldn’t get clipped into the bike, wobbled, nearly crashed had to stop and have a word with myself. Utter atrocious.  

 
Once I got going it was ok. I was making good speed but I felt empty and like I was working way harder than I should have been for that speed. Clearly I was not recovered from Midnight man. Still I pushed on and handed over in a decent time. Quickly back to hq to drop off my bike, have a quick drink and pop on the running shoes. 

Fortuanatly there is more time to recover during the course of the bike than the swim so I was feeling almost refreshed when Graham, our fourth biker, went past and it was time to head down to start the run. Not sure what happened but despite joggin down I was late for the handover. By about a minute. The race announcer was calling my name and a pretty cross Graham was looking for me. Shit.  

 
I grabbed the tag and hared off for the run. The sun was out properly now and it was baking hot. The run course was one loop of the lake and thee was no shade and the headwind from the bike had died. It was a matter of running through the still heat trying to make up some of the time I’d lost through incompetency. In previous years the first person off did a little more than the others but they had changed the start of the run route so I ended up doing fractionally less, coming in by my watch in just under 19 minutes. I didn’t know where the time lost by my lateness would be added, my run or Graham’s bike, but felt quite happy with the run. 

It was added to my run! Only fair.  

  
 Once we had all finalised it was time for the best bit, the BBQ and team photo

Looking at the results I swam 8:03, biked 25:09 and ran 19:41(including time lost for stupidity), I’ll compare it to previous years later on.  

Compared to my team mates I ran and swam fastest, biked third fastest, but only by a matter of seconds. Most importantly it was a great laugh, and they eventually forgave me for being late. But only after the appropriate amount of piss taking.  

 
Nice t shirt too! Ifonky it hadn’t taken weeks to write up. 

Midnight Man Race Report

Saturday night was the big race of the year, Midnight Man. An iron distance triathlon starting at 6pm in the evening and going through the night into the wee small hours. It would be fair to say that the lead up hadn’t been ideal. A less than impressive Milan marathon in April followed by overcoming the sustained injury from that, followed by knackering my shoulder crashing my bike…. Well, I wasn’t expecting much. I had however had a good couple of bike rides in the shape of the Etape de Yorkshire and RideLondon so it wasn’t all bad.


Registration took place a couple of hours before, a pleasent change to doing it the day before like other iron distance races. Perks of the late start. Racked the bike, bits set out in transition I was about good to go, just enough time to continue my pre race hydration.

I had pondered how to fuel myself leading up to the race, the normal process being a big pasta dinner the night before and then a bowl of muesli the morning if the race, about 2hrs before the start. I woke on race morning, cup of tea,  big bowl of pasta, sorted bike and then a nap. When we arrived to register I then tucked into some tasty homemade flapjack and malt loaf. I basically tried to recreate everything, but during the day. The nap was nice.

The last things to do before starting the swim was to lube everything and knock down a gel. The liberal application of lube is not only to prevent the west suit chaffing during the swim, but also to make it easier to remove the wetsuit, and prevent any chaffing in over more, delicate places. It’s a long time to be on the bike and you don’t want any rubbing to cause problems on the run.

The swim was 4 laps of the lake/pond starting with a deep water start. About 300 people climbing into the lake. Not all of us where doing the full distance, some where doing the half distance options (2laps) and many more doing the quarter distance (1lap) There were also people doing this distances as an aquabike (just swim/bike) and seemingly each option had a different coloured swim hat. Me, I had a nice light blue.  

The first lap was frenetic as everyone set off like mad and the turn at the first buoy was madness, just as it should be! However halfway through the first lap things got much calmer, the faster swimmes off the front, the slower behind me, I had more of less open water. Head down (literally) I ploughed on, getting through the laps until it was time to exit the water. I glanced at my watch, 1:07. Blimey, that went better than expected. I’d hoped for my normal 1:15ish but feeling fresh, however this was waster and I was feeling fresh. Things where looking good.

Into T1, wetsuit off, quick towel down socks, bike shoes (unlike a normal tri where they go on the bike) arm warmers, shades with clear lenses and helmet and off!

The bike course was 20 laps, yes 20 laps. However it was closed roads and as they said no potholes. It was out and back along the duel carriageway, and then out and back along the express bus lane. All closed, all smooth, all pretty much flat! From doing it the last time I remember ether being a bit of a headwind at various points of the course, and indeed there was. However it changed every lap! 

I settled into my groove. And spent the first few laps scanning the road surface for tricky bits while it was still light. Nope, pretty much all good. A few rumble strips approaching a roundabout and a metal strip on the join of a bridge, but mostly smooth. Nutrition plan had been, and indeed was the same as for RideLondon and Etape de Yorkshire, whereby I had a muesli bar after the first half hour and then every hour after and a gel in the half hour between. I had also a few bottles of energy drink to keep me hydrated as well. Nutrition worked well, I ate and drank the whole way throug and at no point did I feel like I was flagging.

The laps past and as with the swim the first few laps were full of people, and there was a load of drafting. However there were a good few motor bikes out acting as draft busters, didn’t effect me, I was too busy going past people. I was going well and then the dark came. Still passing people, and the only people passing me had much higher numbers (meaning they were doing the shorter distances) this was good. I carried on. Due to the nature of the course I was able to stay down on the tri bars for the long stretches, coming out and stretching as I turned and sprinted out of the corners. Everything was holding up well.

I was passed by a low number on lap 12, he drew along side and checked what lap I was on. We had a bit of a bitch about the drafting and then he was off. So I had one person infringement of me. Maybe I could catch him on the run.

As darkness came there was a problem. Not that I couldn’t see (council had refused to turn on street lights on the dual carriageway) but it was difficult to see all the people who had no lights. Seriously, who rides a night race with no lights?! Apparently loads of people. Still, as the laps went down more and more people finished the shorter distances. I was still passing people, my legs were still good, my spirit still high. The last few laps got colder, with there being a very cold breeze towards the turnaround but I could manage three cold laps, after all, I train in Yorkshire.

The last lap done I was into T2, shoes on, hat off, picked up gels and off! I knew I’d gone under 6hrs for the bike, something I had hoped for. No time to thing about that, the pain of the marathon awaited.


The course was 8laps and flat. Like, proper flat. I had run it four years previously at the Bridge Triathlon so I knew it was flat. The issue with my knee had meant I could only run on ultra flat suraces, so I had been limited to outdoor running, but I knew this was flat.

The first part of the lap was an out and back with a small loop in the middle with the second half of the lap being a loop. This meant that the first half of the lap I could see how I heald up with the other racers. I saw number 44, the guy who passed me on the bike and he was going well. There were also a few people who we’re going well who’s number I couldn’t see so had no idea if I was racing them. I pushed as hard as I could. I was asked before if I was going to try and negative split the run but for me the marathon of an iron distance is all about going out hard and hanging on for grim death. Exactly what I was doing.

Nutrition was a gel after kilometre 10,20,30 & 35 and as with the bike I never felt low on energy. My legs started to hurt, a lot, as the laps went on but I was keeping fairly good running form and although I was slowing I was slowing slowly. I could see number 44 each lap and every lap he kept getting just a little hit further in front. Not a lot, but just a touch. I had to keep pushing. I was running at my max and knew I couldn’t go any faster, which meant I had to hope that I pressured him into pushing too hard and bonking. It’s never nice hoping for someone to have a bit of an explosion but this did feel like we were racing each other. As we passed for the last time in lap 8 we high fives each other, he had beaten me, but who else had. The numbers had dwindled but I had no idea who was on which lap. Giving it my all I hammered the last 2km, legs burning, lungs exploding I headed to the finish line and crossed in 10:15.

Are you ok?

The nice lady at the finish asked. No, no I was not ok. Everything hurt. Everything. It was quarter past four in the morning I was tired sore and wanted to sleep.

Congratuitous, you came second!

What. That couldn’t be right, I had a good race but surely not that good. Turns out I had. Hearing that perked me right up. Staggering to my feet I collected my finished medal and T shirt and got a cup of tea.

I came second and with that came a nice trophy


But better than the trophy was my time. 10:15:40. I will talk more about the time when I do a proper analysis of the race and splits but my goal at the start of the year had been sub11, given my poor year of injuries I’d hoped for sub12.  10:15 was more than I could have ever hoped for! Time to head home as the sun came up. I needed to drink a lot of recover beer!

And the winner is….

So last night I attended the 220 Triathlon magazines 2015 awards dinner. LBT was up for two awards, club of the year and event of the year (<500).

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There was a champagne reception and then a bit of a fancy dinner and then a brief talk by Graham Obree. Remember him? He’s the cyclist who kept breaking the world hour record on weird bikes, first one like this;

IMG_1011which was made illegal by the UCI, and then on this one;

IMG_1012which was also made illegal by the UCI. And then there where the awards…

First up award was race of the year (<500) and we only bloody won it! I was elected to go and collect it and had to pose for the photos.

IMG_1013 The penultimate awards was for club of the year, and again, we only bloody won it! This time David collected the trophy.

IMG_1014one of the coaches at the club also won coach if the year, but he wasn’t there so Matt collected the award on his behalf. So by the end of the night we had three awards on our table.

IMG_1015So a good return for the Club that evening and I will have to go and buy a copy of 220 Triathlon magazine to see my ugly mug in it.

In which Tom has to dust off his tuxedo.

Yes, on Saturday night I get to dress up and head to Sandown Race a course for the 220 Triathlon awards show!
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Not for anything I’ve particularly done, but LBT has been nominated for awards in two categories. Race of the Year (under 500 entries) for the Ilkley triathlon, and Club of the year, for us being us and generally awesome, an award we won previously in 2012. As a (newly elected) member of the clubs committee I was offered the chance to go. Who could say no to that!? (Well a few people, hence why newbie me got asked!)

More details of the awards/nominees can be found here, from 220 Triathlon

Aside from us, other highlights will include;

Elite male triathlete of the year
Alistair Brownlee
Jonny Brownlee
Javier Gomez

Elite female triathlete of the year
Mirinda Carfrae
Gwen Jorgensen
Jodie Stimpson

Don’t know how many of them will be there, but you never know who I could be rubbing shoulders with.

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