Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ironman melbourne

This event was years in the making and surprising that it took so long. But what they've produced will be brilliant. The course, the logistics, and the beautiful (but ridiculous) sport that is Ironman will combine with the best city in the world for an incredible day in March next year.

Most Ironman races around the world are still open for entry in the months leading up to them but the two previous races in Australia sell out in 20 minutes every year. When they announced that a 3rd race in Aus will be held I knew this would sell out fast. Registrations opened at 4am this morning, London time, and I was ready. I made sure my account was ready, I knew my password, I had all the web addresses saved and I had money in my account. But I slept though my alarm. Dickhead. Reports are coming through that this sold out in 6 minutes and I also heard 3 minutes. So I don't expect to have got in anyway but it would have been nice to have tried. Congratulations to everybody entered- simply registering would have been harder than qualifying for Kona.

There's definitely scope for more Ironman races in Australia but that's a rant for another post and I will go on for ages. I'm annoyed I missed out but this lifted my spirits:

Thursday, 25 August 2011


The Curiosity Show is up for sale, complete with colourful jumpers and creepy facial hair. The production company of the children's science show from the 1970's and 80's has gone into liquidation and is to sell off all assets. The downside, though is that the two presenters are not selling their half, and you need to bring your own scissors, toilet roll and kettle.

What is exciting, however, is that the production company also own Humphrey B. Bear. The mute bear who made the effort to wear a waist coat, hat and tie but neglected to wear pants is up for sale along with the merchandising and all intellectual property (pardon the pun) relating to the show.

Despite Humphrey's nose being dirtier than the Blarney Stone, I think I, too, may have kissed it in my youth so I'd like to see Humphrey wildly gesturing in a park on a sunny day (providing it's a sanctioned event- he's borderline shady) or see him back on TV.

Now taking bets as to what he's worth...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride Wales

Ouch. That hurt. Another 200km+ day but more hurt than I've ever experienced on a bike...

It started with Carla talking with pride about the Tour Rides she organises and how much more value for money they are than triathlons (not hard to agree there...). So I decided to do one for the fun of it (and brownie points). But then it escalated; I get free accommodation, paid for by the charity so it would be nice to raise some money for them. I wondered who would give me money for something I do most weekends anyway, so I upped the game for my donors and for me. A guy who also works at the charity wanted to race me (and who am I to turn it down?) so I agreed that I would double my donations if I lost this 'race'. We had never ridden with each other so this was a big risk on both our parts.

The power was on from the outset and at 99kms I bonked. Completely ran out of fuel and couldn't hold the pace any longer. From there on it was a lonely 88kms through the finest, windiest, most energy sapping hills Wales had to offer. While I struggled between 100 and 150kms I kept pushing as hard as I could (mostly so I could get some food as soon as possible) and then started to feel good, in a strange ability-to-suffer kind of way. I powered through from 150 to 180kms and recorded my fastest 180kms ever in 6 hours 35 minutes.

Unfortunately for all involved, it wasn't over there. I could see Caerphilly Castle (the finish line) having done 181kms and was then forced to turn left. Given the density of Chavs in this town I thought someone had changed the signs but then I saw someone ahead so I tried to pick them off. It wasn't until I got 200m up that I realised this was the killer hill you can see in the profile.

"It's just a blip compared to the others" you say. Nuh ahhhh. I have never ridden anything as steep as this monster. Even the 70km/hr I hit on the downhill on the other side didn't make this climb 'okay'. ...and I love climbing.

Crossing the line I struggled to make any expression. I think that's a look of disdain at what I'd put my body through (much like the look of disdain when I saw that it would cost me £9 to buy this photo). I lay down while Carla asked me questions I couldn't physically answer! Now that I've recovered I'm glad I'm still saying it was the toughest ride I've ever done- mostly due to the rapid pace from the outset. The Pro's race this course on 14th September and I can't wait to see it.

I lost so will be paying up £150 to the Prostate Cancer Charity. If you would like to donate to a great cause, please do so below:

Bristol to Exmouth Night Ride

After bailing on Todd before the last night ride I was quite excited for the Bristol to Exmouth night ride. We had all trains booked, nothing left to fate (but the ambiguous ride directions) and even allowed ourselves a few hours in Bristol to check the place out.

The great weather for a Saturday afternoon pushed the whole city outside so it was tough to find a pub with outdoor seating for dinner but after doing a few laps of the nicer areas of Bristol we found a pub that happened to serve a great burger. Being a relaxed ride, it'd be rude not to have a drink too.

After dinner we headed down to the pub where the ride started to take a look at all the flouro-yellow jacket wearing old men who have been riding fold up bikes and recumbents since before we were born. I think some of the t-shirts we saw were also from before we were born. Social bike rides really do attract a weird crowd. 20 minutes after making ourselves comfortable in the beer garden we noticed a man climb out of a hammock he had set up in the trees, fold it up into the 60kg worth of luggage he had attached to his bike and get ready for the ride. A few hours earlier we met 2 girls who had just ridden to Paris and they had less luggage than this guy. If he wasn't riding around the world then I'm not interested. Finally, it was time to get started.

We waited for the biggest group to depart and hung on to the back of them. Surely they're locals and have experience in deciphering these hieroglyphic directions. First roundabout: 25 dudes asking which way we turn. At least it was all light hearted and pretty funny. Todd and I got into a nice rhythm with a big pack until we got out of Bristol and then jumped between packs depending on how we felt. This continued nicely for a few hours and while sitting in, possibly the largest pack of the night, Todd's drink bottle cage fell off his bike with a clang! We stopped to pick it up and lost the pack but this was the fun part- in the middle of nowhere with some strange directions we made our own way.

I think the highlight of the night was the first stop at around 102kms in Cheddar Gorge. We knew there would be a nice downhill leading into this but didn't realise there would be sweeping bends on smooth roads. We flew down there as fast as we could but were limited by a few over-cautious riders. For the rest of the night there were ebbs and flows of energy, excitement and disdain over the terrain, and a mix of interesting and strange people to chat to. My mega powerful light from Exposure was incredible and on a mixture of settings it ran all night.

After one last food stop at sunrise, the roll into Exmouth was nice but very quiet and with such a crap finishing point it was almost an anti-climax. I think Todd and I were quite happy with ourselves but too tired to consider it!

The train home was like a kindergarten in the Wonka Factory but a bottle of water and a beer preceded us both passing out. Back in London we were a little more jovial and had a few celebratory drinks at a quiet pub in the sunshine before canning it all and crashing out early.

I'd definitely recommend the ride to anyone, despite a 200km night. Take plenty of food, take some friends, take your time and you'll love it.