London to Paris in 24 hours on a bike.

What a great experience! In fact this ride was one of the favourite events I have done! Last October I ran the Lincoln Half Marathon, I ran with a friend of mine, supporting them run their first half marathon. What I enjoyed the most was the fact it was purely just for the fun of it. Paris in 24 hours was just the same!

LP24-Trafalgar

The event was organised by a bunch of guys from DBS data, and what a cracking job they did. There were 14 guys and 1 girl. Some of the guys could have jumped on their bikes and ridden straight back. For others among the group this really was the pinnacle of their cycling achievement. I rode with a group of 9, and what a great pleasure it was, a real “one for all” mentality. We amassed 9 punctures between us, I think one of the guys managed to get 4, I am not sure how that is possible but it was!!!

We left London at 4pm on a Friday – Not entirely sure this was the optimal time to do so; I have never seen road rage like it! One guys was held up for about 7 seconds and went hopping mad, unfortunately that same poor guys is likely to die 10 years prematurely because the self inflicted stress and anger he must live with. A bus driver taught me 4 new lewd hand gestures because I robbed 1 meter of road from him! Being a Yorkshire country lane cyclist London rush hour was an experience.

Fortunately it was not too long before we reached the open country. After nearly 5 hours of biking we reached the south coast, rolled onto a ferry and tried to get 2 hours sleep lying on the floor in the public area of the ferry. I picked a spot under the main stairs on the aft deck, closest I have come to feeling homeless curled up in a sleeping bag under a staircase.

We rolled off the boat into Normandy darkness with the goal of reaching Paris by 4pm. Riding a direct route to Paris you don’t end up on the most scenic of roads but as cycling is the French national sport the divers are far more understanding and to be fair it was still a great route.

As the hours and the miles rolled by I became increasingly impressed with the group of people I had the pleasure to ride with, smiling through the pain and enjoying the moment and their achievement. A few of the guys were riding for charity and it turns out more that £11,000 was raised, helmets off to you guys, you are a real inspiration.

The most painful part of the whole experience came at lunchtime, dreaming of fresh French bread, cheese and maybe some meat, unfortunately the consensus of opinion was lunch should be had at McDonalds!!!!! 14 days on I am beginning to feel the disappointment subside!

We made it to Paris. Paris made London feel like a small town, I am not sure if it was fatigue and 170 miles in the legs but Paris just felt mad!

As a die hard pro cycling fan it was fantastic to ride up the Champs-Elysees, a cycling experience I will never forget weaving between the traffic on the cobbles – crazy, crazy, crazy. I think my bike handling skills improved more than my fitness on this trip to Paris.

paris2.jpg

Note to self because my mate Alun had driven over to Paris for a little jolly and to be as great a support as ever, having his range rover at the finish line I was able to dump my bike, get to the hotel and get a quick shower. This meant we made it to the celebration dinner one hour before everyone. 2 pints of beer on an utterly empty stomach felt like 6 or 7! I am not totally sure what I had to eat that night, but I am sure it was great!

paris1

Strava Link UK  –  Strava Link France

Link to pre Paris blog

paris

Save

Jumping Red Lights – in agony in Hamburg!

I was fortunate to find myself in Hamburg Germany for the Online Marketing Rockstars conference. I always pack my running gear, it’s the best way to get out and see a new city!

Ever since my Yorkshire 3 peaks attempt on Valentine’s Day (see blog post) my ankle is more painful than normal. I am basically always in low level pain with my ankle (read more). If I do some exercise or spend any length of time on my feet my ankle pain changes from a dull background pain to something like a throbbing head ache. The rule of thumb is for every 2 hours of exercise I do it results in 24 hours of more intense pain. I am generally able though to run it off unless its super cold. I remember getting told off by my PE teacher at school when we were on school camp in Snowdonia, we had just climbed Snowdon and I told the teacher my feet were done in – after running around in the evening I was accused of putting it on earlier!

The pain in my ankle has not eased up from the 14th of last month yet. I know that is partly to do with being FAT, I can always judge my weight by how quickly my ankle becomes painful. It must also have something to do with spending so long wearing my Salomon Ortholite Trail shoes, because of how cold it was the ground was pretty solid. I generally wear ON Cloud Runners with specially made orthotics for shorter road running or my trusty Hoka Ones (I go through a couple of pairs per year) which give me way the best support. In hindsight, I maybe have been better in the Hoka’s or even my walking boots on the 3 peaks.

So I have spent the best part of a month with what I can only describe as a throbbing head ache in my foot.

While running in Germany I experienced a whole new level of pain, which was akin to chronic tooth ache inside my ankle to the point I could not even put weight on it.

As a child, I used to see my surgeon a couple of time a year and was always told I could not damage my ankle further. In more recent years I have tried to get a medical opinion to no real avail, maybe I will go and see my GP again this week……….

Red Wine Route

Those of you that follow me on strava may have noticed that this is a reasonably regular running route of mine

Strava Link

I do love this short but remote route

You leave Langsett Barn carpark and run mainly downhill on a very well maintained footpath to the far end of the reservoir, you then start the route back by climbing up on to the moor and away from the water on a much rougher path, the top of the climb affords great views back down to the reservoir and the valley beyond. Arriving at the highest point the path sweeps downhill, a long and joyful descent back to the water’s edge. There’s a little kick up again and you are into the woods which are hugely muddy at this time of year, you burst out on to a farm track, pick up the road and finish by running over the dam itself and back to the car.

The other thing about this route is its super close to my best buddie’s house Alun & Jo. If I am running this route regularly it almost certainly means I am single. It seems to be the case that when I am single I go and stay at their house once a week and we have “fellowship group”, which always means a minimum of 2 bottles of red wine is drunk between us – so I have never actually run this route with a completely clear head. Maybe one day!

So, is it better to have a couple of glasses of wine and get a great night’s sleep? Or, is it better to not drink but sleep less well, or at least spend much longer trying to fall asleep? Before you pigeon hole me as being a functioning alcoholic this is purely a temporary state of mind and I am sure normal service will resume in a few months when I am back more in control!

IMG_0040.JPG

New home needed!

I have unfortunately come to the realisation I will never be able to do this bike justice, so it has to go and find a new home. This is a bike to be winning age group races on not fighting cut offs!!!

Boardman Elite Air Time Trial bike 9.4 with 11 speed Di2
Size Large (I am 6’3”)
Only covered about 1,000 km including 2 ironman races, last riden at the Barcelona event in 2015
In perfect condition!
The bike has a number of valuable upgrades:
• Dura-Ace break levers – meaning you can change gear in two positions – i.e. on the low profile bars and breaks
• Ultegra Bluetooth Stages power meter worth £600
• Zipp 404 firecrest wheels
• Double bottle cage mounted behind the seat
• XLab Torpedo Hydration System
• Ultegra Pendle’s

Link to the bike on eBay

What a flaming idiot!

So last year (2016) I completed the London Marathon and the Outlaw Middle Distance Triathlon and in July also completed the UK Ironman in Bolton which was my 3rd Ironman in just over 2 years.

The concept for Ironman Triathlon dates back to 1977,  John Collins a US Navy Commander was debating with friends at an awards dinner in Hawaii – who is the fittest? The winner of  Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles/3.8 km), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles/185 km; originally a two-day event) or the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles/42.2 km). So, on February 18th, 1978, they set themselves a challenge and decided to combine all 3 events together to create a single day race. Each of the 15 athletes received three sheets of paper listing a few rules and a course description. Handwritten on the last page was this exhortation: “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life“. Collins said, “Whoever finishes first, we’ll call him the Iron Man.” Tom Warren won in 11 hours, 15 minutes, 56 seconds with 10 others also completing the race. Collins finished the race in just under 17 hours.

It has to be said that for someone like me who is racing the cut off/ disqualification time (matching John Collins original time of 17 hours), there is a massive sense of achievement in just completing your first Ironman which I did in the late summer of 2014 in Majorca, a totally life changing and remarkable experience.

Bolton 2016 however was a completely different story – I HATED IT and I mean hated it. It also fell at an “interesting” time of my life as I had just resigned from an amazing job, moved house and a 2 year relationship had just come to an end so I am not sure what my mental health was really like on the start line.

It is probably fair to say the UK Ironman races is one of the tougher Ironman with a very hilly bike ride and an undulating run. My problem always starts with the swim as I still to this day have not mastered front crawl so I am always one of the last few out of the water having swam breaststroke for nearly 2 hours. For someone who thought he could ride a bike, I found myself in real danger of missing the bike cut off point – and then that run, that flipping run. Up and down and round and round in Bolton city centre. I finally did actually finish though in a time of 16:28:53. I must say the support on the day is incredible and looking back I know that I know what it is to dig deep and keep moving forward.

13710586_10155007746689838_8340367309490993902_o

I have barely done any exercise since Bolton and alarmingly and the bit that makes me an idiot is, I have put just over 2 stones on in weight!

So we are back to Run Fat Boy Run and back on it with a bang! I love triathlon…… but probably not another ironman!!!

13767164_10155007746844838_8329531693056157081_o