Monday, December 23, 2013

Review; The Sufferfest ISLAGIATT (It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time)

I have written a few reviews of Sufferfest Videos since I started using them back in January 2010! Yes I was an early adopter, you can read them here. This is a review or one of the more recent; ISLAGIATT (It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time).

As a reminder The Sufferfest video recipe is;

  • A long pour of footage from actual Pro Bike races; TdF, Giro, UCI Worlds and so on
  • A splash of storyline
  • A set of finely chopped instructions
  • An earful of kick ass soundtrack
  • As much sweat as you can provide

ISLAGIATT mixes these all up of these and the end result is to have you well and truly done to perfection! A superb storyline will have fighting over the hills with five other riders as you vie for the title of Most Aggressive Rider. #shocker

Coming in at just under 2 hours (1:56 to be precise) it’s the longest Sufferfest to date by over 30 minutes, a record previously held by Local Hero (1:25). It features footage form the 2013 Giro d’Italia, you know the one with the snow!

This ride is four climbs. After 15 minutes warming up you have a 15 minute climb, a short rest and you get to go do another 20 minute climb followed by another short recovery, this gets you to the half-way point time-wise and so you think it must be downhill from here (insert evil laugh)…it ain’t! Another 20 minutes of climbing followed by a short recovery and then the last climb of 8 minutes. In case you lost count that 1:03 of climbing! There’s no coasting to the end as you have a fast flat finish for the last 7:30 followed by a nice cool down, during which you can reattach your legs and regain your composure.

Over the last 3 years there have been a lot of changes in the presentation of the Sufferfest videos, by far the most noticeably is the quality of the actual video which are now in HD, the earliest video’s by comparison look like Super8! The only downside is if you are using these on a portable device (iPad, iPhone etc) is the file size the entire library is not at around 25GBs and ISLAGIATT is 3GB+ of course you could splash for the 64 GB device but I prefer to spend my $$$ on bike parts so these are all loaded onto an old pc in the Pain Cave!


On the soundtrack there are variations across the existing ‘fest library which vary from Thrash to Indie Rock to out and out Trance music and this one falls across the latter (the last two) of these styles with a smattering of easy listening (on the ears not the Tony Bennett variety) during the rest intervals, it works for me as there is a nice correlation between BPM and RPM especially at those standing intervals

All in all this is definitely one of the best Videos, none of them are bad but this is one I see myself reaching for (not retching at) in the future. For those Data Geeks out there here are the output files from TrainerRoad and Garmin Connect as well as the trailer!


The Sufferfest - Trailer - It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.



Yours for less than the price for two Venti Lattes what would you sooner have coursing through your veins!

PS if you like the soundtracks you can listen to them using Spotify here!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Still alive and getting stuff done!

Yes I am although I have been a bit busy of late; family, work and training!

Five weeks of training for St George 70.3 is in the bank…mostly, a couple of missed sessions. I have not been so detailed with posting numbers or blogging as you may well have seen in the past so here is a report on it so far;

image image image As always consistency is key and so far things are going well. All things considered it’s been a pretty quiet training/racing year but with hindsight that’s been a good thing as I apart from a couple of big injuries I have been at it since 2007. Moving house, remodeling, blending two families (of two boys each) and mostly recently getting engaged and starting to plan a wedding for next year has taken a priority and that’s just fine! Yes in case you missed it I got engaged to the most wonderful and beautiful (and bad ass) TriBeccaTO!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New running buddy!

image image image

Meet Cali! She is a rescued Blue Tick Coon Hound …and yes as cute and smart as she looks! You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tour de Big Bear

In much of the spirit of this blog this year this race report is neglected and late and anyway it wasn’t a race and yawn and blah and whatev’!

The morning was cold, 55F, it got hotter during the day and topped out at 104! That’s what my Garmin said, although I think that’s actually a temperature taken when the bike was sat in the sun, which it was…a lot! More of that later. The start was staggered based on your distance as we were signed up for the century we were the earliest to go. We set out conservatively, a combination or pacing, the unknown factor; the altitude and not wanting to end up in a pile up in the first five miles meant that discretion was a good plan. The first climb was uneventful and it was an out and back, we skipped the Aid Station at the turnaround which was busy and bustling, the return was also uneventful and then at the next Aid Station we stopped for a strip of bacon and a pee. At that point we were around mile 25, it’s taken 1:35 and everything is just hunky dory!


The next 15 miles are flat and fast and I tagged onto a couple of faster riders and we zipped around Baldwin Lake for another 50 minutes. From there it’s uphill for 7 miles to the top of the first summit; Sugarloaf Mountain at about 8500’. This was the 70 mile ride turnaround point. Becca decided to stop here…I was not so sensible. We agreed to meet up in a couple of hours after I finished the 30 miles out and back.


The downhill went down and down and down for 2000’, basically lower than the start point! A couple of short sharp, well not so short climbs and descents for a total or 10 miles and I was faced with the ascent back up Sugarloaf Mountain, so in total this was 15 miles of climbing! I started out fine but two miles in I bonked hard. My HR was north of 160bpm for 35 mins non-stop which for me a real no-no on the bike.


I took several stops to get it back under control and finally topped out where I met Becca and we nursed our way back along the last 25 miles to the finish which included a doozy of a climb; a 15% residential road. That being said everything was better after a stop for 1,2,3…4 ice lollies!


We we one of the last riders in and the sweepers were on our tails, but we finished with a smile and we headed home for burgers and beers!


Extremely organized and well put on this ride really is a lot of fun but don’t underestimate it is best described as ball busting…see you next year!

And that was that!

Monday, August 5, 2013

TDBB Week 8 (Rest Week)

Ok well with a couple of weeks…of not blogging there has been a fair bit going on!

Not least of all a two week, three destination vacation which included the target ride of the Tour de Big Bear but before that let me brig you up to speed with the last week of training.


While the training plan was actually a 10 week plan I started a week late and so it became a 9 week one, that actually worked out pretty well as the rest week worked out to be a fake taper week. So Week 8 was low in volume and miles and basically each workout was on a trainer in a hotel jacked into my laptop following along to Trainer Road…boom that was it!

I packed my bike, my trainer and my boogie boards!


That led into the Tour ride at the weekend, more of that in a longer post of course!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TDBB Week 7

Week 7 in the bag. Another solid week, mileage jumped up from the prior week as my body adjusts the increase in volume of training and this week I broke through the 10 hour barrier again. This pales in comparison to Ironman volume from last year where I maxed out at around the 18 hour mark, that being said but I am happy with it. As usual the week was a muddle and I did miss one Sufferfest ride but I added in two commutes; it’s a 28 mile round trip and a 1000’ of gain each way so I wasn’t too worried and it allowed me to ease off a day before Sunday’s big ride.

Saturday night was another opportunity to catch IRL (In Real Life) with an online friend when TribeccaTo was extended an invite to see The 39 Steps by Louis, I have known Louis online for the last couple of years and although we live in the same town it was a chance to meet him in person and in fact watch him act in the plat. The play was awesome, a 4 man production that covered 150 characters! It was packed with laughs and was a romping good show, if you are local I recommend you catch it before the limited run ends! We stayed locally and that cut our drive on Sunday morning by half.

Sunday’s long ride was a change from the proposed Mt Baldy Road and instead TriBeccaTO and I opted for the Glendora Mountain Road to Mt Baldy Village, a longer in duration overall climbing with 16 miles of climbing in total but not quite so severe.


It’s by far the longest climb I have ever done with over 5000’ of gain, so I was a little worried about what to expect but it went really well, I paced myself pretty solidly and although I was tired at the end my fueling and nutrition went well with the standard issue Hawaiian Sweet rolls with PB&J doing the business! The weather certainly helped with low flat cloud for the entire ride. Suffice to say the scenery was amazing even with the low cloud and it’s somewhere I would love to go back and explore some more. I decided to switch out my cassette to an 11-28 and that helped although strangely the spacer between the new and old cassette was a different thickness and in addition to not giving me as clean a shift it also scratched the hell out of a brand new Ultegra cassette (argh!)

Here is the elevation profile and links to the data;


Garmin Connect and Strava

One problem I am having is a twitchy HR strap, it could be a weak battery but it is frustrating as I am able to get a clean set of data, it’s making me rethink going back to a power meter which of course digging deep into my pockets and when you’re remodeling a kitchen it’s a matter of priorities!


Reminded that you can’t take this too seriously!

So this week was a tad less than 150 miles but I broke through the 10,000’ of elevation mark, which is a first. This coming week is a rest week, followed by a week on vacation and then it’s race (ride) day, it’s not a race and people shouldn’t race a century ride IMHO!


Some photos from the ride, including the almost flying car!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Cleaning up!

So last month I upgraded to Strava Premium and stopped using Daily Mile, I am a bit of a training site whore, I originally used Nike+, that became Runner+ then Buckeye Outdoors, then Go Wagon, then Motionbased, SportsTrack, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks and now Strava!

So as you can see I have training data everywhere! I don’t mind so much as I rarely go back and look at it but at the end of the year it’s nice to review and it’s useful to track the mileage on various bits of kit’ wheels, shoes, chains and the like.

So I decided to go back to Strava to try and clean some things up as I was faced with a history page like this!


Fortunately I can reconcile it with other sites and as all my Trainer Rides are based on using TrainerRoad rides so it’s pretty easy to go back and clean things up.


Yep that’s 7 days spent on a Trainer!

Now one thing occurred to me as I was going through the Strava data that there is a pretty simple way to add a quick note to the ride, thanks to Social Media and in particular Instagram, take a photo and it is attached to the ride, in fact I noticed that I had done that a couple of times,

imageIt’s usually a photo of some horrible power curve or something…anyway if you follow me expect to see some odd (well odder than usual) photo’s in my stream…like these!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TBDD Week 5 & 6

Week 5 is in the rear view mirror, way behind me so I don’t have much to say about it now. I followed the plan and that was that really, miles were down as I cut out the commuting. I took one ride on the mountain bike and was humbled as I had to dismount and walk up “Heart Attack Hill” in front of a local girls HS Cross Country team!


Whatcha mean you have to walk up 21%?

Week 6 was a bigger and better week; more mile more elevation, it’s creeping back up slowly. My knee/hammy is just what it is it’s rolling along around 90%...that’s good enough for now, I had a massage yesterday and that helped.


Mostly a week on the trainer so the two rides that were on the road had to count! The first was an extended local loop with a couple of short Cat 4 climbs, no problems there and plenty of Strava PRs! And I even nabbed a Top10 overall! I was happy with the average speed of this too.


The second on Sunday was an all-out roller coaster in the Santa Monica Mountains. It ended up being not as long as I expected in distance which meant I missed my weekly mileage goal but I was happy with the elevation gain, lots of seated climbing.


My Honey was kicking butt too and she is riding a freaking Tri Bike!


I am running a 12-25 in the back and thinking a 12-27 or 11-28 might be a better choice, not sure about that yet and I think this coming weekends ride will help make up my mind, we’ll see! The plan is to head to Mt Baldy where you can see the Tour of California most years…I think this is going to hurt…


Ok that’s enough graphs, here’s a video!


Onwards and upwards, not in that order!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mission Care Enduracool Arm sleeves winner

Without further ado…


2nd Place VeganRunningMom

3rd Place Louis

While there was only one pair of sleeves to give away I got some extra goodies from Mission Care and I am always happy to share the wealth!

Email me or DM me on Twitter your mailing addresses and I will get the the goodies out to you.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

TDBB; Week 4 (Rest week)

Week 4 was a rest or step back week, so I took full advantage of that, in fact I probably took too much advantage and missed one Sufferfest ride but managed to swap it out for a commute so it wasn’t all bad. The digits and gain are pretty low and I was tracking to a target of only 100 miles when I managed to tweak my knee/quad, it feels more like a tweak than overuse as one minute it was fine and the next it hurt. So in addition to the missed ‘fest I cut short my Sunday long ride and then have babied it for the last couple of days, so we will see how it feels by the end of the week. Just short of 500 miles in four weeks is a good start and actually for June its more mileage than I did in my biggest month when I was training for IMAZ…of course I was running and swimming at the same time then too!


Beyond that nothing much to report, I dropped my Cervelo off for a service at a LBS; new bar tape and a new chain, the old one had over 3600 miles on it and with the increase in miles it would have needed replacing in a months’ time! So for this week I am on the TT bike and I’ll be hopefully taking a stab at commuting on trails using the mountain bike, I have ridden most of it…well maybe about 80%  and I can guess the rest of it. It looks like this from Google Maps;


Wicked good cartography skills (and no, I do not work in a Mortuary!)

I have made it to the arrow in about 50 minutes before so I am thinking it will probably take 2-2.5 hours one way so let’s see how that all plays out with my knee!

Other than that the wheels keep turning!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Back to Tempe!


No I am not racing in 2014, but TribeccaTO is and volunteering is best way to get your slot! This race sold out in 3 minutes online in 2012 when I did it!

I case you’re wondering the Speed Pass is a get to the front of the line on sign up day in return for being out on the course till midnight in a hard to fill volunteer spot…sounds like a plan to me!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Review; Mission Care Enduracool Arm Sleeves

I reviewed the Mission Care Enduracool Towel last August I was keen to try the new range of clothing that Mission Care launched this year and they kindly sent me a pair of arm sleeves to try out.


Arms sleeves provide multiple uses throughout the year, warm in the winter, coverage in the summer and I have even used them to isolate a painful ITB flare up! But basically in the summer they provide some cover from the sun when you don’t want to even think about a long sleeve shirt. Mission Care have taken this even further with protection from the sun with a built in UPF45 block. The main feature of these is when wet they active the CoolCore which is what makes the feel cool on the skin…voodoo you cry! For sure I reply but you know it works. With summer warming up in Southern California (yesterday locally topped out at 102f) anything that can keep you cool is a bonus.

Once on they feel soft and comfortable, they are not overly compressive, the tops are elastic but do not have the tight rubber grippers that you may have seen on other sleeves. The construction is of two fabrics with three quarters of the sleeve being solid and the remaining quarter being of a mesh which allows for some “venting”.


The CoolCore works really well and like the Enduracool towel you have to wet it and snap it to activate it, this is easily achieved by just pinching it off your skin and letting it ping back. At the end of each sleeve there is a little pocket which at first I thought would be useful for a gel but the added weight made them a bit uncomfortable. What actually worked really well was to carry a small sponge in them which I could dampen and wet the sleeves with, this is a much more conservative use of water than just squirting water and soaking an area rather than get them wet all over. Also it sits on your Ulnar Artery which is very close to the skin so if you can keep that cool it will actually cool your blood and you down…look at me getting all scientific! 

So in conclusion with the heat of summer coming fast and furious this is a great piece of kit to keep in mind when you are you are heading out for a run or ride, it weighs next to nothing and is actually proactive in keeping you cool.

With the help of Mission I have a giveaway and discount code for my readers.

For the giveaway I am working on the honor system

Liking them on Facebook gets you one entry

Follow them on Twitter gets you one entry

Tweet “I entered to win the @missionathlete EnduraCool Arm Sleeves from @quadrathon you can too, enter here” at least once a day between now and Friday will get you five more entries;

Leave a blog comment on Friday telling me what you did and that’s another entry for a total of eight, I will draw a winner on Saturday!

If you can’t wait till then, just hit up their website and use this “quadrathon25”code to get yourself some goodies with a 25% discount valid today through July 15th.

These Arm Sleeves were provided free of charge by the good folks at Mission. See previous gear reviews under the Product Reviews tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review; Saucony Kinvara 4s

This review is a bit overdue but then my blogging this year is a bit hit an miss. Anyway on with the show.

So the good folks at Saucony sent me an early release pair of Kinvara 4s back in April, they went on general release in May and now I have about 100 miles on them so it seems like a good time to post my thoughts. I have run in Kinvara 1s and 2s so I had a fair idea what to expect and these shoes well and truly exceeded my expectations.

The big change is in the sole, runners who are familiar with the earlier versions will understand what I mean when I say that after a while they felt a bit flat, Saucony have addressed this by changing the heel compound from ProGrid to PowerGrid which is more resilient than the previous version, they have retained the consistent triangle sole grip pattern. Additional updates also include an improved upper with “FlexFilm”, carried over from the Kinvara 3s with a nice toe bumper, the FlexFilm is very light and breathable. In terms of fit, there is a roomy toe box and solid fit around the heel. Personally from my triathlon experience I switched out the laces and put in some Yankz, they are my go-tos now.

They ride is light (7.7 oz. / 218 gm (size 9)) and easy, they soak up the sidewalk without any issues, and for me the 4mm heel to toe drop (22mm heel and 18mm toe) allows me to maintain a comfortable midfoot strike. As mentioned they are well ventilated and there is no concerns about you overheating. I will be honest and say that I have not run any real distance in these due to my training, the longest run being only around 8 miles but these have plenty more miles in them and from experience I would see no problems up to a marathon.

So in summary another solid offer from Saucony which will keep the Kinvara die hards more than happy. Available in a multitude of colors in both men’s and women’s specific versions you can find these online for around $100
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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sherpa thoughts…

Last weekend I was out Sherpaing for TriBeccaTO while she raced the Breath of Life Tri in Ventura, being a Sherpa can be lots of fun, you get to help someone, which takes a lot of the stress of them. I would say that on the whole triathlon is a pretty selfish sport and giving yourself over to run around after them, carry bags take pictures and tell them to “hurry up, I want to go home” is a pretty neat way of supporting them…well maybe not the last one, (joke)!

Of course you get to see a whole bunch other folks doing some pretty cool stuff and some pretty crazy stuff too!

Here’s are some thoughts and observations on stuff I think is cool, wish I had thought of or is generally awesome and of course stuff which is stupid, crazy or just plain dangerous

  • Riding and running in a tutu and insect antenna!
  • Wearing an aero helmet and a cotton t-shirt?!
  • Running with your friend who is having a really tough time…the last two ladies on the course!
  • Smiling and enjoying it…unless you are competing in which case it’s game face all the way!
  • If you want some crowd support wear a kit with something on it that people can shout, I usually generate “Go Hammer” from my kit and I like it, it’s also easier to shout that as a spectator rather than “go blue Orca kit with white trim and yellow shoes and red visor”, plus that’s a horrible clash!
  • We’re all familiar with the “nearly there” but I heard it being shouted at mile 1 on the run…only 5.2 to go!


This is when you say nearly there!

  • Four 32 ounce water bottles on a bike for a 24 mile ride on a cloudy and cool day; that’s an extra 8lbs you just added in weight after you spent $5,000 and another $3,000 on Zipp wheels to get the bike to less than 16lbs!
  • Mounting the bike and then stop 10 yards into the ride to squeeze your tires to check the pressure
  • Causing a crash and then riding off…yeah that happened!
  • image
  • Following the course markings, I saw someone riding on the wrong side of a divided road into head on traffic
  • Finally as a competitor thank all the volunteers! No volunteers no race!

So if you get a chance be a Sherpa, it’s almost as much fun as racing…almost!

Wordless Wednesday…

Love this pic…

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TDBB; Week 3

Week 3 was big! One extra day of riding and a few more miles…here’s how it shook out!

Monday – rest, ahhhh!

Tuesday – Triple day, to and from work commuting and once home the bike straight went on the trainer for Sufferfest Local Hero, by the end of the day I had accumulated over 3 hours and just under 50 miles!

Wednesday – my local loop, as mentioned last week I need to extend this to 75 minutes

Thursday – back on the Trainer for 50 minutes of the Sufferfest Wretched, this ride is a race sim described as “A pure, attacking, climbing, fighting Tour de France stage”…I would agree, here is the TrainerRoad output!


Friday – I managed to extend my local loop to 75 mins well actually 86 mins (whoops my bad) with the addition of a couple of Cat 4 climbs it’s now a real treat…so I just need to get faster to get it to 75 minutes! The good news is that Grades up to around 7% are becoming very doable…beyond needs some more work!


Saturday – off, boo yah!

Sunday – TribeccaTO was racing the Breath of Life Tri in Ventura, about 30 miles from home, so the plan was to Sherpa for her in the morning and then ride back home, I set off and only made one bad turn, the first 38 miles were pancake flat along the coast on many of the same roads that I trained on for IMAZ last year. Then I turned inland and upward, upward and upward; two Cat 2, one Cat 3 and two Cat 4 climbs and I was home, 63 miles, over 4 hours in the saddle and 3600’ of gain. My legs checked out around mile 52 so that’s a good benchmark for the weeks to come. I am definitly feeling stronger but have some ways to go yet!


Here’s the digits;


Week 4 is a rest/step back week so everything will be down…including my weight which is creeping south!


Monday, June 17, 2013

TDBB; Week 2

Week 2 was a build on week 1, similar schedule but with a little more load and volume.

Monday – off, yes I have this nailed now!

Tuesday – Sufferfest Blender, just to remind you your day off was well and truly over, this is 1:43 minutes of trainer bliss! 3 Interval Sets; Set 1: 5 x Mixed Longer Intervals Threshold/VO2 Max, Set 2: 18 Short/Intense Power at VO2 Max and Anaerobic Capacity and Set 3: 3 repeats of 4 minutes Threshold (RPE 7-8/10)/ 1 Minute Recovery

Wednesday - I was out early carving up a local loop that I have mapped out, this needs to be extended as it should be a 75 minute ride and I am getting it done in around 64 minutes, I have some ideas on where to extend to add a Cat 4 climb into the mix!

Thursday – commuted to and from work for an extra 28 miles and 200’ of gain

Friday – Sufferfest Hell Hath no Fury, UCI Carbon Chicas, whipping my ass for 1:12 and another 20 miles in the bank


The Sufferfest - Hell Hath No Fury - Trailer from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.

Saturday – off…phew!

Sunday – Long Ride, headed out with TriBeccaTo and added another 49 miles with 3200’ feet of gain!


All in all a solid week and good build from week 1


I also upgraded my Membership on Strava so I get some fancy HR stuff like this, I am still playing with it for now;


The goal for next week, stick to the plan, add 10% more mileage and start throwing in some big hills