Tarantula Trail Training

With the move to San Francisco comes the welcome opportunity to train in a new environment with a better climate, challenging terrain and a variety of different wildlife.

Having settled inland from the City in the East Bay regional town of Walnut Creek, I’ve been exploring the 20,000-acre Mt Diablo State Park on the bike, with its 10.8 mile summit climb and on foot with various trails going up and around the summit.

Mt Diablo

It was out running on the trails when I stopped to read a local noticeboard.

A sign on a local trail noticeboard

A sign on a local trail noticeboard

Having read this I thought it wise to read up on anything else that I might encounter whilst running around the mountain. Errrrrr…coyotes now seem rather tame when compared to rattle snakes, tarantulas and mountain lions..!

Camera on full zoom...

Camera on full zoom…

Aware that I was losing the light whilst out running the other night, I decided that instead of running the trails back home and risking getting lost, I’d opt for the road. A longer route but easier to navigate home. I thought this was a smart move only to realise that when the park cools down the wildlife seeks the last remaining heat of the day by crawling, creeping and sliding on to the warm tarmac.

Thankfully, I only came across one snake, cuddling a cats-eye in the middle of the road and didn’t feel any significantly large crunches under foot thank goodness. I’ll set off earlier next time.

Canary triathlon knockout

To give something back to the sport I volunteered at the Canary Wharf Super Series at the end of June. Canary Wharf Triathlon

The evening event took place in the heart of the business district. A series of eliminator heats for international elite athletes and a corporate race.

Triathlon in the heart of London's business district.

Triathlon in the heart of London’s business district.

The Wharf was lined with spectators enjoying a pleasant Thursday evening after work drink. The weather threatened but it remain dry, which ensured the crowds stayed in to the evening cheering on the athletes.

Transition - Channel 4 cameras capturing the action

Transition – Channel 4 cameras capturing the action

The Aussies dominated with relatively comfortable wins for Erin Densham in the Women’s race and Brendon Sexton in the Men’s race. Brits Holly Avil (2nd), Jodie Stimpson (3rd), Aaron Harris (2nd) and Matt Gunby (3rd) put in great performances.

Triathlete Europe Article

The men’s final:

The women’s final:

I worked in transition guiding athletes out of the swim and on the run course. Because there were a number of quick heats lasting about 30 minutes our main role was to get the bikes out of transition after T2 and in to a holding area for the athletes to pick up later.

Transition - Elite men's holding rack waiting for collection.

Transition – Elite men’s holding rack waiting for collection.

The format of the event meant that the action was fast, furious and very entertaining. For me, it was good to work in the heart of transition where a lot of the action was.

All the volunteers were well looked after by British Triathlon with food, drinks and a free event t-shirt. I’d definitely recommend watching or volunteering, a great evening.

Deca Update

Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the UK Deca Ironman due to a busted achilles (right) that I picked up towards the end of Day 3. Having won the first three days and comfortably leading the event, it was an extremely difficult decision to make.

However, as a coach I think it’s important to know when it is time to take the sensible option to preserve yourself for future races. It got to the point where I had to take a lot of painkillers just to get around the course. Masking injuries in this way is never a sensible option and you’re only setting yourself up for permanent damage.

Having decided this, I took the bike easier and walked the marathons for the next two days to achieve the quintuple ironman, which is a fantastic achievement I’m very proud of.

I went to the hospital yesterday and they have confirmed a minor rupture to my achilles and said it could take up to 12 months to recover. The pain I am now in when trying to walk is further testimony to the fact that I made the right decision.

Guy's lent me some crutches...

Guy’s lent me some crutches…

Anyone who has had to pull out of an event will understand what I went through. I sat in my tent on the morning of Day 6 listening to those (now friends) still left in the deca go down to the lake for the swim. I thought about joining them and lost it when I heard my name being called out by Steve taking the roll call. Thankfully, I had Rachael there to re-assure me (stop me) that I was doing the right thing. If I’d have gone down to the lake that morning I would have seen the pain the others were going through and forced myself to continue. We band of brothers (and sister!)…

Would you believe it..!!!

Would you believe it..!!!

We didn’t have a great web link in the New Forest, which made uploading to a daily blog a bit difficult. I do have lots of notes, pictures, videos and experiences to share so I’ll put these up over the next few days/weeks as I recover (it’ll give me something to do now that I can’t train).

Deca Day 3

Day 3

People coming down to support has been fantastic…massive thanks.

Finding things very tough now. Right foot (arch) and left calf very painful. I’m also going to lose a toe nail on my left foot. Compede, ibuprofen and zinc tape.

With Rachael’s amazing support, I’m managing my hydration well and yesterday involved lots more stopping for real food unlike the first day. This made me feel better but eats in to your sleep – five hours last night.

It’s 4.45, bike needs racking in 30mins then wetsuit on and waddle to the water. The swim is the nicest bit by far as no-one is trying to kick anyone’s head in.

The bike is quick if you gun it and I can stay aero for 90% of it. Burley village is deadly and you have to be prepared mantally for all the stops caused by tractors, OAPs, BMW drivers and the wild ponies and cows.

The run is brutal, very little flat and if it ain’t uphill it’s down which means your feet and knees take a pounding on very uneven ground.

The event is fantastic and the crew can’t do enough for us. The course is a different matter and there were big concerns about the drop out rate. People are still finishing at 1.30am..!!! It’s that tough.

More soon…

aaaarrrrggghhhhh – 2 days to go

Two days to go…

As always you have a long time to prepare and everything is in control but then nerves creep in and it feels like a rush.

During the event:

– you can follow me via a live tracking system.

– if you’re coming down to watch contact Rachael on: 07789860937

– if you’re driving down the sat nav postcode is: BH23 8EE. There is a car park for visitors. You won’t be able to use the main driveway as that will be part of the bike course. Any problems call Rachael and she’ll guide you in. BRING PIZZA..!!!

UK Deca Ironman: 4 days to go…

Use it…or, you lose it..!

As a coach, I’m all too aware of an athlete’s conditioning and I spent a lot of careful time training for this event.

I’ve been tapering for about a month now. I built my training up to a final block of eight back-to-back days that included minimum half ironman distances in each discipline.

My concern has been how long to taper without losing the accumulated fitness. In coaching terms – Reversibility.

I decided to take about a month, with shorter more power focused sessions to keep me sharp. I did the TriGrandPrix two weeks out to have one last big full throttle effort. Since then I’ve been doing more open water swimming, 10-13km runs and joining the Paragon club for low intensity aerobic rides e.g. today’s 80km.

80km club ride to turn the legs over

80km club ride to turn the legs over