Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review; The Sufferfest The Machine

One of the benefits of being a Knight of Sufferlandria is that you get to see what is coming out of the cruel and demented mind or Grunter von Agony, Grunter is the Directeur Sportif of Sufferlandria.

While The Sufferfest is predominately known for creating unique cycling videos that use footage from the biggest bike races in the world; Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and so on. More recently they have unclipped from their bike and laced up their running shoes, Chrysalis was the first incarnation which was a nice transition (no pun intended) from cycling to running as it was a triathlon training video. Steamroller was the first 100% running video, this has now been followed up with The Machine and Revolver Running.

Recently I was fortunate (I use that in the loosest sense of the word) to be able to preview a copy of The Machine. In the same way the cycling videos utilize a bike trainer, the running ones require a Treadmill. The Machine is a hill based program and uses video from Marathons from Prague, Rome, Frankfurt, Stockholm and Beijing. As with a ‘fests there is a storyline, here the story of how those five races have created a machine that makes it more difficult for you than for other runners by making things get steeper for you as you go on <insert evil laugh> mmmwaahaaa haa haa!

With a clear focus on hills, this video warms you up and then takes you through high speed efforts through climbs that vary between 2 and 8%. This is how the workout breaks down;

  • 4:00 – Warm-up
  • 6:00 – Hill 1 – Prague
  • 1:00 – Recovery
  • 3:00 – Hill 2 – Rome
  • 1:00 – Recovery
  • 3:00 – Hill 3 – Frankfurt
  • 1:00 – Recovery
  • 3:00 – Hill 4 – Stockholm
  • 1:00 – Recovery
  • 3:00 – Hill 5 – Beijing
  • 3:00 – Cool Down

As you can see it’s short, only 34 minutes, don’t let that fool you! While the incline is going up so is the RPE the final effort is all out! This is how it looked based on my Garmin data. The HR is a prefect representation of the hills! I count myself lucky that there are only 5, 6 and I may have run out of graphing space!

image The Machine BPM…

…and by HR zone!

If you want to put this into some perspective here it is compared to some hills I ran up this week! The dips are where I stopped to take a photograph!

image Los Robles Trail out and back

The hills have eyes…and 800’ of gain over 2 miles!

As we have come to expect the production quality is great and there is a pumping sound-track to keep you motivated and moving! There are clear instructions about effort and intervals along with countdowns etc. You would think that watching other folks running is, well to be honest a bit dull but the storyline and on-screen prompts keep you engaged and do make the time go by. The videos are available on July 31, 2014 from The Sufferfest along with a third running video called Revolver. I have yet to put Revolver to my head but it’s coming!

The Sufferfest The Machine Sample from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.

For a limited time the videos will be offered as a bundle for $25.99, this is great value as individually they are 9.99.

I am a firm believer in training for the terrain but sometimes a treadmill is all you have. Avoid those bullshit doldrums miles and treat yourself to a kickass kick in the ass workout like this and make those miles count!

Checkout my other Sufferfest Reviews;

Steamroller – high intensity intervals on a treadmill

Chrysalis – Triathlon transitions with four bike/run interval…a real “quadrathon” if you like!

And my cycling Reviews; A Very Dark Place, Angels, Downward Spiral, Hell Hath No Fury  and ISLAGIATT

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ultra…it’s not always about running!

After crossing the French Alps non-stop last summer, Mavic ambassador Mike Cotty prepares to take on his longest and toughest journey to date, a 1000km traverse of the Dolomites, Eastern Alps and Swiss Alps featuring 21 mountains and 23,000 meters of elevation.


Following his progress here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review; Saucony Peregrine 4

So it seems somewhat fortuitous that my decision on my future race calendar more or less coincided with the good folks at Saucony sending me a pair of Peregrine 4s for review. I wrote a review on the original Peregrines back in April 2011 and I raved about the shoes then so I was keen to try out the newest iteration. Given that I am 3 versions behind it’s probably pointless in making comparisons so this review addresses the shoes from a standalone point of view.

photo 3

I have worn these 3-4 times now the shortest run was only 4 miles and the longest 13 miles so these have somewhere around 30-35 miles on them in total.

The uppers are thin, thin but strong, this means that they breath very easily and I would imagine dry very quickly when wet, however Southern California is mid drought so I can’t vouch for that. Conversely the thinness means they let a lot of dust in, that’s nothing I am not used to but some folks may have an issue with that. The tongue is sewn in to maximize comfort and try and keep trail debris out. There is nice and solid toe bumper just in case you can’t get your foot high enough in time. The toe box is wide enough for me, by comparison I would say that this is more of a fit to the Virrata2 than the Kinvara4 The heel collar is nicely padded and I had no hotspots which can be an issue especially when dust gets added into the mix. The heel counter is pretty robust and kept my heel nice and snug. One nice feature is the D hook at the front which is for use with Gaiters. Saucony uses a Strobel Board (I thought this would be something that Austrian’s would display a cake on…it’s not!), it is a length of rubber piece inside the shoes that increases cushioning and “step-in comfort.


There is a 4mm heel/forefoot drop with 21mm at the heel and 17mm for the forefoot. I am very used to and happy with this level of minimalism as I run mostly in Kinvaras but newer trail runners of runners used to a more substantial drop may want to use some caution. As it is a neutral shoe so there are no medial post.

Underneath the sole pattern is pretty aggressive, there is a “cutaway” sole which exposes the weave of the nylon fiber rock protector and I am sure reduces the weight. Additionally Saucony has used ProGrid Lite for the sole rather than ProGrid which helps to the lightness of this shoe. The outsole itself is manufactured with XT-900 rubber which is 33 % lighter and has 3 times more absorption than standard blown rubber.

I like Saucony shoes, having migrated from what I consider to be heavy trails shoes (shoes like Salomon XT Wings etc) through to lighter and form improving Newton’s I find that Saucony’s provide the right weight to strength relationship, they fit out of the box, and their expected mileage is good and compared to a lot of trail shoes these represent good value for money on a miles per dollar basis

Overall I liked the lightness of this shoe, the out of the box comfort and fit and willingness to grip, All of these combined makes for a great all day kind of shoe.

Available in three color schemes for men; green, blue and red and three more for women; pink, teal and orange, they are competitively priced at $110 online and if you shop around you can find them a bit less.

If your looking for a ladies review check out Becca’s blog for a forthcoming review, she picked up a pair too!


These shoes were provided free of charge by the good folks at Saucony. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Clif Shot; Electrolyte and Recovery giveaway

Summer is in full swing…so much so that the kids go back to school in 23 days, not that I am counting really.

Fortunately we have been spared the scorching temperatures that we have had in recent years although Summer can extend through September and even October if we’re unlucky! I am not going to harp on about the importance of hydration and post run/bike etc recovery! Of course if you’re reading this you know all about that! So the good folks at Clif have have given me me 3 CLIF SHOT Performance Drinks packages to hook you up with, each pack contains; the entire CLIF SHOT Performance Drink Portfolio: CLIF SHOT Electrolyte Hydration Drink Mixes in Cranberry Razz and Lemon Lime-ade and CLIF SHOT Protein Recovery in Chocolate and Orange Mango.image So here’s the giveaway, I am sure you know the following by now;

  • Like Clif on Facebook – 1 entry
  • Follow Clif on Twitter – 1 entry
  • Tweet the following – I just entered the @quadrathon giveaway for @clifbar Hydrate and Recover#QUADCLIFSHOT you can too here – tweet everyday between now and Friday for one entry per day!
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me what you have done - 1 entry

That’s a total of 9 possible entries

Winners will be drawn on Friday and announced!

Whatcha waiting for…

Monday, July 21, 2014


Having decided that the next 9 months or so would focus on running with a build up for Leona Divide 50m and being in a “lull” between plans it made obvious sense to head out the trails at the weekend. So Sunday morning Becca and I managed to slips the bonds of eggs and bacon which usully have us locked down till 9 or sometimes even 10am (although that will change now Becca is stepping up her IMAZ training) and headed off to the Backbone Trail. If you have been reading this blog for a while there are references to this way back but since I have been on a Triathlon bent since late 2011 it’s been some time!

The Backbone Trail follows the entire length of the Santa Monica Mountains and is overseen been multiple agencies that foined to create and oversee the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, it extends over 65 miles starting just North of Santa Monica and end close to the Point Mugu on PCH. It open for multi use including horse riding and mountain biking but hiking and running are the only activities that are allowed on the entire length. I have run the entire thing, albeit in three sections back in 2010 and maybe one day I will in one go!

image image

So we headed off to the local section that connects Kanan Dune to one of the high points at Coral Canyon neat to Castro Peak. The plan had only been to run out for 5 miles but I suggested that we push onto the natural turnaround at around the 6.5 mile mark giving us a solid 13 miles or so. As you can tell by the photos the weather was perfect, a slight breeze and hardly any sun.

Trail running is just a joy and I had forgotten how much I love it. With no headphones it’s just you, your footsteps and breathing. We stopped often for photos and finally hit the turnaround after 90 minutes and sucked down a gel. The clock was ticking so we headed back. At the 10 mile mark we both concluded that we were done, but with another 3 miles to go we had to push on. Both of us were feeling the aches and pains that would set in and last a more than a few days from the ups and downs, the rough terrain and the general lack of trail time!

We reached the car and of course did the worst thing possible, got in a drove home, no stretching. So here I sit feeling like someone has torn my legs off and hit me with the bleeding stumps…still I did get some nice photos!

 IMG_9373IMG_9378IMG_9353   IMG_9368

Back to the trails is going to take some time but fortunately I have 250+ days to get there!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Revised plans…back to my roots!

After much kicking it around it’s shaped up like this! Heading back to the road and mostly trails!

race list image

Stand by for the infamous selfie trail shot


…or as they have become…the doubly!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review; The Sufferfest Intermediate 10 week Triathlon Plan

Once again I find myself writing a review of a Training Plan. Not only does this give me the opportunity to reflect on my training but hopefully someone looking for a plan may find this useful.

As a recap I used the Sufferfest Intermediate 10 week Triathlon Plan. Before you start the plan there is a simple questionnaire to go through;

  1. You are aiming at competing in Sprint/Olympic distance events and want to increase your average speeds/pace with lowering your final overall time OR
  2. You want to compete in either Half or Full Ironman-Distance races in the next 12 months and need a solid a base to build a foundation.
  3. You've been training for years, and have a solid fitness base, but it's been awhile since you've made a big jump in performance.
  4. You're used to consistent training: you're comfortable training frequently during the week and getting longer sessions in on the weekends.
  5. You’ve started to drift from your once dedicated and motivated need something that will get the body and mind back into a routine and get back to a focused athlete.
  6. If you want to keep your job and the family happy, you need focused, compact training sessions.

imageI pretty much fitted the bill on all of these with the exception of #2 for which I would actually be racing a Half Ironman at the end of the plan rather than use if for a base. Just to set the stage I was coming off of solid base of cycling having completed the L’etape du California and my Sufferlandrian Knighthood in April and the 6 Hours of Temecula MTB race in June. On the flip side my running had been neglected and my swimming is always the weak leg. Additionally I only got my Tri bike back on the road mid June so my time aero was limited. I had used a Trainer Road build plan (reviewed here) to build up to L’etape and have previously used a Sufferfest Intermediate bike plan last year for the Tour de Big Bear so I was very familiar with the format.

These are the plan highlights;

  • The plan is 10 weeks long. Weekly volume varies in length from 5:15 to 12:05 hours in duration
  • It uses a step up step back methodology; test, build, build, rest, build, build, rest, build, build, build. I had a one week taper for week 11
  • Every week has one rest day, some weeks have two, the rest weeks have three
  • Every week has a minimum of two days with a double, some weeks have three. Every week has a brick; either swim/bike or bike/run
  • Not every ride is trainer based
  • There is a heavy use of the Chrysalis, the Sufferfest Triathlon video, this is best done using a Treadmill but you can use run off the bike on the road which is how I reviewed it here
  • In addition to the Chrysalis Video you will need; Hell Hath no Fury, The Wretched, Blender, Fight Club, ISLAGIATT, Rubber Glove, The Long Scream and Local Hero

So that’s the quantifiable details, here are the qualitative details;

  • The plan is easy to follow, it’s well written and structured. Instructions are clear, my only complaint is that when printed it’s black on gray and a very small font, not great for failing vision!
  • The is room for flexibility. In an ideal world you would follow the prescribed days exactly but as I am not a Pro and have to fit my training into life rather than the other way round, there is room and flexibility to move stuff around
  • There is a lot of structure around warming up/cooling down, this is great in avoiding injury
  • There is speedwork; I like this! Specifically for the bike and swim
  • Effort is based around RPE or HR/PWR zones, choose your poison

I did deviate from the plan some;

  • Long rides at the weekend were often made longer as were the brick runs
  • I ditched the swim drills. I rolled up my swim warm ups into 3 x 100 and 1 x 300 pull. This is by far the longest warm-ups I have ever done. I also skipped the backstroke cool-downs and swam freestyle with a pull buoy instead

Totals excluding Taper week and Race day;


Results, well you can read my race report here, unfortunately the reality of race day does really do any justice to the effectiveness of the plan so I have to look back at my training data to get that information.

On the bike there was some improvement. Switching bikes half way through the plan didn’t help and I was more than a bit nervous getting back on my Tri bike.

imageOn the run; it’s hard to pull “vs” data as the runs were all very different except for the Zone 2 brick efforts. I do have two conclusions on the run training. My run did improve, I was able to settle into a decent pace and could keep it up longer, here is a sample of the runs during the final three weeks, yellow blocks are around 8 minute miles, not fast by any measure but pretty good when you running base was a thin as mine. My one complaint was that the brick runs were too short, at least too short for a HM plan.

image The biggest gains were in the swim. Considering I am essentially self taught beyond some swim lessons when I was 9 years old and with some coaching from Becca and a pal in the UK it’s really been a case of get in and get on with it. So the proof of this improvement was shown in race day where I took 3 minutes off my 2012 time and in the closing weeks of training where I was hitting that early 2:00 pace mark, when you usually swim 2:15 or more this is a huge gain…at least I think so!

imageConclusion; as mentioned this is a easy to follow plan. It takes the thinking out training which I like, I have been around the block enough times to understand the fundamentals, periodization, intervals and so on so it makes sense to me but there are very nicely laid explanations of things for people who have less experience. The workouts are well structured and effective. There is flexibility to fit it in around your everyday life. There is some investment needed in buying any videos that your don’t own already. Priced at $29.95 it is a bargain compared to plans available through Training Peaks or Beginner Triathlete which are double or even more.

Training volume is a personal thing, we are all busy people and some people do well on minimal hours. Personally I like volume, but I caveat that with specificity rather than just mileage for mileage sake. This plan covers some of the specificity with the interval training and drills, after all if you want to race fast train fast. So my only complaint is lodged with hindsight; namely that this plan is a bit light for a Half Ironman. This is underlined by my concern over the shortness of the bricks and the runs specifically, running 30 minutes off of the bike (best case for me is 4-4.5 miles covered) is a long way from the 1:30-2:00 that you will need to cover 13.1 miles on race day. But to a point that was covered in the initial questions, were I to be aiming for another Half Ironman in the fall some serious revisions of the plan would be needed to add the volume I need.

So all that’s left to say is there is clearly a gap in the market…over to you Mr. Grunter von Agony!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Vineman

Well actually it was Vineman 73.3!

I have written and read enough race reports to (hopefully) be able to keep this brief…so here I go.

image  image

Becca and I arrived at T1 and dropped off our bikes, she had other issues to deal with, you can read about them here. My set up was pretty simple, I had opted to go with my road helmet rather than my aero helmet as I hadn’t worn it in over a year and I was twitchy enough about my lack of Tri bike time. The biggest issue was going to be the mud as the Transition area is a dusty parking lot and when you add 2000+ wet swimmers the dust turns to mud and well you can see the issues. My shoes were on my bike as I planned to run out of T1 and up the short hill at the start of the ride rather than mounting on a slope and toppling over. So with my number/race-belt, helmet and sunglasses hanging off my bike, some gels on my towel I was done…like I said simple.

I pulled on my wetsuit and was able to see Becca’s wave start and the first Pro’s out of the water and with that I headed to the waters edge for my Wave start which was next. As soon as I could I was in the river, getting wet and used to it. I had had a practice swim the day before and my wet suit was nicely stretched out and felt actually pretty good. I hovered at the back and with a countdown we were off.

My swim went really well. I focused on form and sighting and pretty soon I was passing people in my wave. I knew the turnaround was past the halfway point but it seemed a lot longer than that. The turnaround was very shallow and I walked round it. Swimming back was fine and I was mixing it up with others in my AG without issue. I reached the Exit and was on my way to my bike.

My swim measured 1.3 miles and while my sighting wasn’t great I felt good as Becca’s swim was the same distance. Swim Time; 43:11 (a “Good” swim was 42-44:59) given the extra distance it was almost a “Great” swim (40-41:49), this was 3:39 faster than in 2012!

image image

T1; pretty straight forward, wetsuit off, fuel in pockets, helmet and glasses on and run! 3:31 significantly faster than in 2012 which was 6:08!

So far I was over six minutes up on my 2012 and less than an hour into the race. I settled into the bike. I took the first 10 miles a little easier covering them in 34:33, I wanted to not redline too soon and save more for the second half of the bike and the run. The next 10 miles I picked it up covering them in 30:26. So 20 miles in 1:04:59, not super fast but in the right ball park for around a 3 hour ride which by my previous goals would be a “Good” ride 2:55-3:04:59, especially as the second half of the race would be slower as it had the two climbs in it (M31, M47). I was riding along on the hard shoulder minding my own business and picking off other riders as I went when there was a sudden bang and hiss. I looked down a saw my back tire go flat, why always on the back?! I gingerly pulled over and rolled to a stop without issue.

image image

Side note. I rarely flat, really rarely, so rarely I can count the number of times since writing this blog (7 years plus); three times (here’s two of them here, and here), this time was the fourth! On this occasion I was riding deep section (80cm) Mavic Cosmic Carbone Tubular wheels. Significantly more fussy to deal with than regular clinchers!

I spun my wheel and sticking out of it was inch long section of what looked like a 1/8 inch broken drill bit. On board I had a can of Hutchinson Fast Air which is a dual sealant and inflator and 2 Co2 cartridges. After some fussing I managed to get some of the sealant into the tire although I noticed it was bleeding out of the seams, then I added the Co2 and in a hiss the air was in the tire and out again, mostly through the newly created hole which was too big to get a solid seal! And like that I was stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire.

Time to start walking!

After a mile or so I reached a road Marshall who then called for the SAG Wagon to come and help. And so I waited and watched a stream of riders roll by. To be honest I lost track of time but eventually the SAG Wagon pulled up. Unfortunately for me they had no spares that could help me so I loaded the bike and climbed in resigned and disappointed that my day was over. The driver Nick then asked if he could get me back on the road was I interested…hell yeah! So off we sped to Healdsburg a nearby town to a local bike shop where they took my wheel as collateral. Nick left a Credit Card number with them just in case I decided not to go back! They fitted the wheel on the bike and I was back in the van heading back to the course. The plan had been to drop me off where I was picked up but someone had crashed and needed assistance so they dropped me off there and I got to ride an extra couple of miles on the bike course…did I care, no! I was happy to be back on the road and all things being equal would finish albeit in a horrible time!

Somewhere around 90 minutes or so had elapsed since flatting so my “race” was over, that being said I pushed through on the bike and got to the end in an earth shattering 4:23:58 when you take off the extra hour and half it wasn’t so bad but the clock is the clock. Even with the flat my timing mat splits show that I moved up 59 places in my AG Division.

T2; this has a bit of a run in and I was trying to pass someone who was walking, I decided to not be a jerk and rather than edge past I would wait for it to open up into the school’s Quad where there would be plenty of room to pass. I got to my rack, which of course was full, ditched my Bike, donned my Shoes and was out on the run. 5:54 for T2, some 1:21 faster than in 2012

The run was hot, the first four miles were ok the rest just went downhill from there, many, many walk breaks later I finished in 2:30:30 (24:24 slower than 2012) wiping all gains from the Swim and T1/T2 away! Looking back on 2012 I finished at 12:35pm, this year I finished at 2:53pm so I really had the heat of the day to contend with. That being said my run should have been stronger. More thoughts on that to follow.

image image

Here’s the data;

So a disappointing time; yes, but the upside was I finished and did not DNF thanks to some quick thinking from the SAG Monkey support team. My swim was much improved as were my transition times, keeping things simple helped and now things feel more settled and I know more what to expect. But best of all I got this awesome finisher’s photo…which is one I have purchased and is as they say a “framer”!


As for what’s next…watch this space!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vineman; thoughts and goals.

So Vineman is upon me. What started as a registration in February 2013 for the Vineman Monte Rio race in June 2013 to get reserved entry into this year’s race has come full circle. It’s ended up (so far) being my A Race, triathlon wise. This was reinforced by having to pull out of St George after my bike crash in January.

Following the crash I switched my focus to the road bike. I had a lot of road rash and swimming was out and running was painful. Since then I completed the Tour of Sufferlandria, my Sufferfest Knighthood, the L’etape du California and the 6 Hours of Temecula. That’s a lot of cycling since getting back on the bike I have covered 2250 miles from Jan 24 to today. The problem is that I have only been on my Tri bike a handful of times, I am not lacking the strength just some of the confidence.

My run is coming back and while I have had some sucky runs I have had some good ones. It’s my go to and although sometimes I hate it, I can usually rely on it to get me to the finish line.

As mentioned in my Week 10 review, my swim has improved, it’s always been the weak leg of the stool but I am really happy that I have been able to reduce my usual 2:20/100 splashfest to something hovering around the 2:00/100 mark.

So what about this weekend? Well it’s a race, against everyone in my AG, the clock, my PR and Becca.

The last and only time I did Vineman (and it’s my only 70.3 to date) I finished in 5:58:39, I had at the time a great swim (at the time) a good bike and a horrible run. My transitions weren’t great either, but it was only my third triathlon ever!

This year I should have, by comparison, a better swim, a fair bike and a good run. How will that translate? Hopefully something like this:

Swim; (2012 46:49)

  • Great 40-41:59
  • Good 42-44:59
  • Crap 45+

Bike; (2012 2:52:21)

  • Great sub 2:55
  • Good 2:55-3:04:59
  • Crap 3:05+

Run: (2012 2:06:06)

  • Great 1:45-1:51:59 (8:00-8:31)
  • Good 1:52-1:59:59 (8:32-9:21)
  • Crap 2:00+ (9:22)

I can shave some time off of transitions too. The joy of a blog is the ability to read back in time, and during T2 in 2012 I put on Compression Sleeves, they’re out this year and went to the loo…not sure about that!

A “Good” race will be around 5:40-45!

Either way I hope to PR and catch Becca in the process!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vineman; Week 10

The last week of training! It was set up to be a good week but I lost focus towards the end managing to pull it back onto track. I had hoped for another 12-14 hours but in the end it came in at just under 10. It may sound a bit odd to hope for time but as mentioned in the Week 9 review I do think this plan is a little bit light in volume for a Half Ironman. I will write up my thought in another post later on this topic. So on with the review.

Monday, off! I was happy to comply after a pretty big end to Week 9.

Tuesday; brick. Sufferfest Local Hero and a short run on the Treadmill.

Wednesday; an hours’ worth of intervals on the treadmill. I am really happy how my run has come back. One thing I have noticed is that I am taking longer to settle in. I think while this is a function of the training it also has something to do with my age, I am no spring chicken anymore and things just take a little longer to warm up! This is something that I need to remember on race day. That being said I was happy to be able to hit sub 6s on the intervals!

Thursday; more intervals. This time less intensity and more duration, 3 x 10 minute at RPE 8 with 3 minutes easy in between. I forgot to turn off my GPS on my 910 and so I was getting all kinds of weirdness but the ‘mill kept rolling and so did I!

Friday; July 4! Mini Tri, totally off plan. I wanted to throw all three elements into one workout just to make sure I could. I swam for 30 minutes, rode for just over an hour and ran for 37 minutes so a 2:10 workout that was somewhere between a Sprint and an Olympic in distance.

Saturday; Swim. I actually forgot the workout and so I improvised and swam 21 x 50 with warm up and cool down.

Sunday; brick. Back on the plan and I rode Sufferfest ISLAGIATT and then ran for 30 minutes on the Treadmill.

A couple of notable items. While running on the Treadmill I have been watching YouTube and to get my head in the right place and been replaying old NBC Ironmans’ During one the commentator mentioned that rotating the body during the swim reduces drag and as my swim is not great I am happy to tray anything that might help. So the last two swims I have been consciously focusing on that and lo-and-behold it worked!

My Mini Tri swim was a 1500 cold start nonstop swim. I finished in 29:43 a 1:59/100 pace, that’s the fastest I have ever swam, ever!


The next day the 21 x 50s netted out at 2:00/100 pace and my fastest one, the last one was a 1:43! WTF! I guess that rotating thing works!

The other item is that I crushed the ISLAGIATT ride covering 38 miles in just under 2 hours which is a good 3 miles further than I have ever done and PRd on TrainerRoad with a new 60 and 90 minutes average Power Hopefully this bodes well as I am a little worried over the lack of riding on my Tri bike!


So the totals for the week; 10 workouts 9:47:58 112.98 miles

  • 2 swims; 1:10:38 3100 yards
  • 3 bikes; 4:32:20 82.48 miles
  • 5 runs; 4:14:00 28.74 (that’s nearly 30 miles…I haven’t done that in a very long time!)

So the plan is done, this week is a taper and race day is this weekend!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review; Dorcy LED bicycle light (41-4001)

Bike lights tend to come in two flavors “lights to be seen by” and “lights to see with”, the former are usually small and blinky, their main function is to alert people to your presence on the road, usually weight is a factor and you’re looking for small and discreet. The latter are more weighty and industrial, weight loses out to illumination. So when the folks at Dorcy wanted to send me new light to try that carried 220 lumens I was very interested, the last premium flashlight I purchased was back in 2008 and LED technology has significantly moved on. I was specifically interested in this one as it used a wide angle feature that illuminates the road or trail rather than the sky, seeing as I want to see where I am going and not have a plane land on me this seemed like a great idea!

From Dorcy’s website

The new Dorcy LED bicycle light and person light produces a Wide Angle Uniform Light pattern for better and safer biking visibility. Our Wide Angle Lens spreads the light only horizontally, not up in the trees or sky where you don't need it. This keeps the brightness up and lights the full width of the road or trail in front of you. In addition to providing more lighting area for the rider, it will not blind oncoming pedestrians. With the patented “Quick Release” for easy removal of the light when you are not using the bike you can use the Flashlight for personal use. The lights are made from Durable Aerospace-grade Aluminum Alloy, corrosion resistant and with excellent Lumen output, and Battery run time. Water resistant to IPX-6 Standards the weatherproof switch has three positions - Constant on/Flashing mode/Off provide. Flashlights also have a flashing mode for increased safety awareness and with the Patented Battery Cartridge holder for either end orientation for easy consumer use Clamps are tool free

Rather the rely on a long winded and verbose post here are some photos!


The batteries (which are included) are installed in a unique 3xAA cartridge, this makes the light short and ticker rather than a long and thin. The clamp can be used in four different configurations depending on you cockpit set up, over under and front and rear. It’s a very simple set up and no tools are required. Alternatively you can remove the light from the clamp and it can be used as a hand held flashlight, there is a small hold at one end where you can loop a lanyard. Here are Several sets of photo’s for the actual light;

In my back yard with distances ranging from 6’, 15’ and 25’, I used my yard simply as it was darker than the street;

 IMG_9446 IMG_9447 IMG_9448 

On my street, there are no street lamps but the houses have lights on them. Distances ranged from 6’, 10’, 20’ and out to about 50’

 IMG_9454 IMG_9455 IMG_9456 IMG_9458

As you can see the “letterbox” feature works really well, illuminating the entire width of the street and that's what really matters, not only does it light up “what’s coming soon” but there is a good deal of light shone onto “what’s here now” I haven’t had a chance to take this onto the trails either running or mountain biking but I have a feeling it’s going to work very well! The light has a flashing mode too which extends that battery life from 7-8 hours for regular use to to 12 hours. Seals around the battery compartment are rated up to IPX6 which is perfect for riding and running in the rain, not so good for scuba diving but as this is called a bike light you shouldn’t be diving with it!

As i have said in the past I like products that work, and this falls squarely into that category!

Available through Dorcy’s website this light is priced at $55 which when you consider how expensive bike lights can be this is good value for money! Now as bike lights tend to come in pairs and next is the rear light!

This light was provided free of charge by the good folks at Dorcy. See previous gear reviews in the tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June Summary and half year numbers

Just a place marker to capture June’s numbers…well here they are!

Solid month reflected through all three disciplines swimming is improving, bike and run is just putting hay in the barn.

image Big six months 170 workouts across 181 days. Pretty solid considering two weeks off due to bike crash. Half year numbers as follows;


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hedging my bets…

So as you know this year I will be heading to Ironman Arizona as a Sherpa to support Becca as she races, not that I am providing any aid as such but I get to ride and run around after her screaming and shouting etc!

imageAs Arizona sells out immediately the only real way to get an entry is to Volunteer which is what we did last November. Now to hedge my bets “just in case” I want to race in 2015 I have signed up to volunteer this year. I have picked something that doesn’t interfere with the weekend itself and from what I can see this really a groundkeeper role at the Athlete Village at Tempe Beach Park.

If you fancy volunteering you can sign up here!

Maybe I’ll see you there!