Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Causal Link or Just Thug Policing?

Before I start this rant I must clarify that in my opinion being a member of any police force would be a very difficult job, and not one you can ever take a holiday from. There seems to be very little reward, much scrutiny, and impossible conditions created by poor Government support in many jurisdictions and constant cut-backs. Anyone who knows me would also know that I am often in complete disagreement with the way many individual police officers handle matters and this is one of them. I must say that I disagree with the decision handed down today by the Crown Prosecution Service that the police officer who pushed over a protestor that later died will be facing charges of Manslaughter.

At a protest in London in April 2009, Ian Tomlinson was pushed to the ground by PC Simon Harwood. There was footage of this which has been played over and over again by UK news channels throughout the inquest into his death. In the extended version of this footage Mr Tomlinson actually sits up and also walks away after being pushed, although looking shaken. While I see the police officer’s actions as incredibly excessive I don’t see the causal link between a man being pushed over, and the man having a heart attack minutes later. If any reasonable person were to consider the ramifications of pushing someone over, I don’t believe that suffering a cardiac arrest/ death would feature, even with the force exhibited by the police officer.

Watch the video for yourself.

I do believe that PC Simon Harwood should be disciplined for extremely excessive force, maybe assault and most likely removed from the police force but I don't feel Manslaughter is the appropriate charge. If, on the slim chance, he is convicted there will be flow on effects further reducing the effectiveness of police which could only be detrimental to order within society.

Holding police accountable for their actions is a rare sight for the general public; the last inquest I remember was that of Mark Saunders, the Lawyer who was shot and killed by police marksmen after what seems like a series of avoidable mis-communications within police ranks. The inquest was run with the 3 marksmen remaining anonymous and ultimately cleared. From a general public point of view these things look like they’re just swept under the carpet. There are plenty of police actions which could be looked into but I hope this officer facing Manslaughter doesn’t receive unduly harsh penalties as a result of previous unjust acquittals...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Mallorca Gets Hot

Three things that attracted me to the Mallorca 70.3 were clear water, hills and the heat. With 180-something people in my wave and a beach start, the water was no longer clear. In 5 years away from my beloved Dandenong Ranges I am no longer good on the hills and in 5 years away from my beloved warm days I suck in the heat! With those three things against me I am still relatively happy with the result; a PB swim and aggressive descending which got me up to 70km/hr coming down some switchbacks. I had a great time chasing with some guys at 60km/hr through small towns.

The only real downfall was on the run. In the heat my stomach decided to stop processing anything so I shuffled through 21kms with a full sloshing stomach and no water/ nutrients going to my muscles. That hurt. 1 hour 53 minutes of hurt killed my hopes of that elusive sub 5 hour race, finishing in 5:17. I would also advise against swallowing 3 or 4 huge mouthfulls of the Mediterranean. In hindsight this wouldn't have helped my stomach.

Thanks to Tomeu at Bequi’s bike shop for fixing my crank, a different Tomeu for straightening my muscles, and the random guy at the 14km mark who gave me a generous helping of French Voltaren for my ITB before pushing me off as though I were on a bicycle. For the record, Voltaren doesn’t work.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Missing Posts

Not sure where my last two posts have gone but I've heard Blogspot has been down. I'm sure they'll be back...

Here's a photo to compensate.

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Things I Saw Today

The Med was a lake. I had an incredible swim with a guy I ride with in London. The water was crystal clear, like glass and 19 degrees.

Faris Al-Sultan, a German powerhouse and 2005(ish) winner of the Hawaiian Ironman trying to get to the German race briefing and pasta party but being stopped by everyone for a photo. I didn't hassle him for another pic, so you get his bike instead.

After the English race briefing some hotel/ resort sponsor put some singing and dancing on- a stage full of glitter and jazz hands prancing around to the most camp showtunes you can think of. This didn't go down well in front of 400 or so A-type personalities. Needless to say I didn't get a photo but the look of dismay on the ambitious, agressive triathlete types was priceless.

My race gear.

Do all these German athletes walk around their own streets wearing lycra all day or just while around a race? Some of this is ridiculous!


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Friday, 13 May 2011

It Took A While To Wind Up...

...but I'm going now. As I sit in the lobby of this... let's call it 'family friendly' hotel I listen to some cheap cabaret version of Hall and Oates 'Man Easter' and am reminded of swimming lessons at Harold Holt pool in (when would that song have been released?? 1984?? Hopefully they did me some good (the lessons, not Hall and Oates) because I have my second half ironman in 2 weeks on Saturday and I'm tired.

With the swim traditionally being my weakest discipline, it was always a worry when I was feeling better in the water than on land. Luckily today, while I do feel better in the water, I am feeling confident with the run and, slightly less-so, the ride. Bike issues this week have been painful; 2 attempts to ride the course were both shot down within the first 3kms and left me sitting on the beach with the other fat seals (obese tourists).

I have been in Alcudia since Monday and it took me a while to get going- especially because the weather throughout my whole trip has been average. Yesterday and today are the 4th and 5th sunny days in nearly 3 weeks. First world problems, I know... I could never do this pro triathlete thing. As well as liking money too much I also like the challenge of fitting work, training and other committments in. Having all day to do just a few hours of training leaves me with no motivation and this weather is very conducive to sitting on the beach and getting drunk. But today I shook out my lethargy with some bike sprints (it worked!) and a long overdue straightening on my muscles. So despite the enormous dinner I just ate I am feeling fast.

I've been looking at this photo since October (through the long cold London winter) and today I finally stood in this place and it looked just like that. Thomas Hellreigel, one of the German Ironman powerhouses I looked up to when I was 16 in racing on Saturday. And I'm feeling fast. I'm looking forward to Saturday.

But for now I need to get out of here- they've just started up the kareoke machine.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Random Pics

I have written my race report from the Lisbon half ironman but am waiting for photos. So while I wait at the airport for another 2 hours I'll give you some pics that were on my phone...

Ever since I saw 'Malcom', the 1984 Australian ripper of a movie starring the legendary Colin Friel, I've wanted to see the trams in Lisbon. After I got this shot my purpose had been served.

The swim course in Lisbon on the only sunny day I saw. It pissed down each of the other days, including race day and never looked this good again.

I tape my gels to my bike's top tube so I can just rip them off during a race and they're open. I didn't realise til after that I had quite the variety of flavours. They don't taste as good as the wrapping colour suggests.

The City Gates in Valencia were huge. I love to put myself in the position a city might have experienced when things like this were built. Good luck getting past these puppies with ya bow and arrow.

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