2013 news - September
Please note: Our webmaster has been away (cycling in sunny Spain). I'm back but have lots of catching up to do so please be patient!
Super Saturday No 1 - 28 September
The first of EIGHT planned Super Saturday sessions rolls out this weekend. Please let Sally know of you are planning to be there:
Here are the details for this Saturday coached by Jon and Scott
- Start of session 9.30am outside the CPSIC
- Part 1:Turbo session (endurance or race pace interval options for those still racing)
- Part 2: Run session in CP Park or Woods (2 x ability groups)
- Part 3: Stretching / debrief with Core exercises (time permitting)
- Finish of session 12pm
What to bring: bike, turbo, towel, drinks, run and bike kit.
The Club has some turbo trainers for members to borrow, contact Jon if you need one.
ALL ability levels will be attended to so do come and try it out if you haven't before.
Session Fee £7.50 or included in Annual training fees.
The next seven dates for your diary are:19 October, 2 November, 30 November, 4 January, 25 February and 1 March.
These are being planned as a linked series of coached sessions aiming to provide increased consistency of coaching approach, progressive workouts and continuity of feedback where possible. The more regular attendees are likely to benefit most - but better one than none!
Saturday shorts - road rides for novice, not so novice and Saturday morning types
Selwyn, Scott and a number of other willing supporters are planning to accompany these rides out from Elmers End. These rides are not coached.
They will leave the Elmers End roundabout at 09:15 and aim to be back by 11:30.
The rides will be paced to look after the slowest member and will aim to introduce those new to road riding in a group to good etiquette and practice.
There will be scope for different speed/distance groups when there is sufficient support for more than a single peloton!
You will need to be confident on your bike, able to use the gears appropriately and fit enough to cycle at a steady pace (18-20 kph) for two hours without a significant break. Check your bike is ready for winter roads - tyre tread, brakes etc. and that you have a spare inner tube and pump in case of a puncture.
These rides have worked very well over the last two years and we hope that those who are familiar with them will be joined by lots of new faces. If you are not sure about your speed, endurance, bike skills etc. please do come along to a bike session at the Velodrome (Tuesdays 19:30-21:00) and/or a Super Saturday Session beforehand and talk to a coach.
There will be no charge for these rides as long as we have the support of volunteers to help out.
Dates: 12 October, 26 October, 9 November, 23 November and 7 December.
Long distance finishers and IM Wales race report
Congratulations to Chris Hall and Hans Geberbauer who finished IM Wales and Phil Wright, his first (and probably last) endurance race, at Challenge Henley.
Times have been added to the Ironman Roll of Honour.
Photo right: Phil crossing the line at Challenge Henley with his daughter, Lottie.
Ironman Wales - The Gracious and the Plodder
My race performances can increasingly be summarised as “should do better”. But the same cannot be said of the people who famously make this an unbelievably atmospheric iron-distance race, some of whom I encountered close up.
First up, Mandy the miracle working massage therapist who worked for 40 minutes to release a spasm in my lower back that had plagued me since sleeping in an awkward position on a flight earlier in the week. Thanks to her healing hands and three Ibuprofen, my back didn’t trouble me once during the race. I sought her out after the finish to thank her and she was so delighted for me that she hugged me although I was still wet and covered in sweat, spilled electrolyte, snot and… (well, you know, it’s not pretty).
Next, the spectators at the steep rise out of Saundersfoot harbour and the unbelievable noise they produce – the section is maybe 50 metres long but the support along there alone makes participating in the race worthwhile – and it makes having to climb that steep little f*cker twice something to fill you with joy, not dread. And if you give them a smile for their efforts, they go completely wild, as if I was some important athlete. Fabulous. Then, the farmers' families camping out on their drive way, mum, dad, kids, in the middle of nowhere along the bike course, come rain or shine (we had both and no, the ranks of intrepid Welsh spectators did not thin out even as it started to pour).
Third, a young man whose canonisation as St Tim of Narberth must be imminent: Twelve miles from the finish, I had a flat in my front tyre; a tub. I have no idea how to fix those (they came with my Canyon TT and I hadn’t appreciate the difference between tubs and clinchers at the time). I try a sealant spray, to no effect. I waive down a motorbike patrol who advises me to head back into Narberth for the mechanic's tent. It’s tough to double back on yourself in a race, with fellow competitors coming your way all the time, but it’s the only option. The mechanic investigates, reckons the valve popped, screws in a new one, pumps the tyre up, gives it another check and sends back on my way. A mile up the road, the tyre is flat again. I turn around – again.
This time, the mechanic identifies a puncture. After carrying a spare tyre at Challenge Henley without any idea really what I would do with it in an emergency, I had decided against doing so here. The mechanic though can’t help me without one as he’s run out of all spares as a result of earlier repairs. My heart sinks. The race could be over. Step forward St Tim of Narberth who had already cheered me on at my first stop at the mechanic’s. He rushes home and produces a front wheel. How will I get it back to him? No worries, says Tim, asks me where I am staying and tells me to leave it at the hotel reception where he’d pick it up on Monday. How would I get my Zipp 404 front tyre back? No worries, says the mechanic, he’ll place it with my bike in transition and switches my front wheel for Tim’s. Agreeing these logistics takes all of 45 seconds.
And I’m off, reinvigorated by gratitude**. And finally, I suppose, the good folk of Tenby and Pembrokeshire generally, whether marshals or bystanders. Everything that you read about how supportive they are of this race and the competitors, before, during and after the event, is absolutely true and contrasts refreshingly with the upper class twits around Henley who harrumph about having to leave their Land Rovers on the driveway for a day when Challenge Henley is on.
IronMan Wales is not the easiest iron-distance race (a course recce is essential) but I thoroughly recommend it and I’m immensely proud (despite the underwhelming splits) to have completed it. A must do race. I may well do it again next year. Apologies to Chris Hall for not checking who else was competing and being on the look out for him. I was cheered by a competitor on the run with shouts of “Crystal Palace” which I suppose must have been him – I was in a dark place at the time and didn’t look up quickly enough.
** Did this put me in receipt of illegal outside assistance? I say no with confidence (and a cheeky smile): the exchange happened at the mechanic’s station (where assistance is expressly allowed) and with the mechanic involved at all times. The mechanic popped on the new wheel. He just sourced it innovatively. When I finally hobbled into transition many hours later, there was my Zipp 404 zipwired to my faithful Canyon. And we were barely over the Severn Bridge on Monday morning when Tim dropped me a line to say that he had successfully picked up his wheel from our hotel. His generosity (inspired, as he wrote to me, by his own participation in IM Wales last year) and quick thinking blew me away and made my day. What a grand fraternity endurance racing is.)
Welcome to new members Stuart Milne (right), Phil Vickers, Grace and Ross Fountain..
Haute Route Alps race report
When Wim retired from long distance triathlons after Challenge Henley, I cast about for the next big thing to undertake and train for together and chanced upon the Haute Route Alps, a seven day 870km/20,000m elevation gain sportive from Geneva to Nice. Wim, when consulted, grunted in what I liberally interpreted to be the affirmative, and I signed us up. Preparation would be like for Challenge Henley minus the swimming and running, i.e. lots of long sportives in the UK, plus a trip to Andalucia to practice on continental roads. But what with the long weather, injury, exams, we only managed to rack up about 2,500km in the 12 months before the event (and that includes the 112 miles cycled at Challenged Henley) when I had anticipated 4,000km (apparently, the average is 7,000km for Haute Route riders).
Except for the time trial day (1500m), each stage included at least 3,000m of climbing, sometimes over as little as 110km, and several of the days had net ascents of hundreds of metres (whereas our prep events were invariably out and backs, so 0m net ascent). And this seven days in a row. So I was a touch anxious whether we’d beat the broom wagon and avoid a DNF. Wim remained characteristically chilled. Day 1 from Geneva to Megeve was already a cracker at 153km and 3300m of climbing, Day 2 was shorter with a more aggressive cut-off, leaving us merely 20mins clear of the broom wagon by the time we limped into Val d’Isere. The organiser made much of Day 3, the marathon stage, but Wim and I were relaxed: the vital stats (162km/3800m) looked almost the same as the King of the Pennines – ok, there’d be a net ascent, but there’d be no 20%+ gradients either (but the threat from live stock was just as high as in the Yorkshire Dales – swinging around a corner on thankfully a flatter section of a descent, I nearly ran into a herd of goats). It worked out beautifully and during a particularly dispiriting false flat section climbing out of Susa in Italy back towards France, we picked up quite a few struggling riders and chainganged them to the next feed station as quickly as their tired legs and shattered minds allowed. Over the days, a rhythm emerged whereby after I’d skip up ahead on the climbs (often placing rather well on the timed climbs), we’d set off on the descent together and I’d catch up with Wim at the bottom (not easily done if Wim managed to get a hold of a group and I didn’t, as happened twice), to then tackle the flat sections together. It all became a bit of a blur of col de this, cime de that…
Endurance events are much about the mind. As the day grinds on, the field stretches out and glycogen stores start to deplete, demons of despair drift out of the dungeons of your brain. You better have a good playlist of bright and cheerful songs and thoughts ready to evoke in your mind. Better yet, don’t ride alone. Race numbers with names and country flags (confidential to Kati P. from L.: despite many years of living in England, Wim and I sported the German flag) made it easy to strike up a conversation, and by then end of Day 1, we had already met the group of riders who’d be a fixture over much of the 700km that remained: Mao the cheeky chatterbox Italian who talked countless stragglers up the ascents, Dutchman Joris whom I caught quietly drafting behind us, sent up front to take the wind for a while and adopted for the rest of the sportive when he did so in good grace, grizzled German Holger, a competitive rider at national level in his youth until a crash nearly crippled him, to name but a few of the many courteous, generous and often technically accomplished riders with whom we shared this adventure.
But it wasn’t all plain riding. We had just broken the back of Day 6, having reached the top of Col de Valberg, the second climb of the day, well within the cut off time. And with this, the toughest day, nearly done, there was no question we had conquered the Haute Route. I swung out from the feedstop onto the newly tarmacked road leading off the short side of Valberg, some 50m behind Wim and Joris. A smooth surface, wide open bends with excellent visibility – a far cry from suicidal English descents. A left hander, then a right hander. Wim and Joris looked like birds swooping as they leaned into the right hander. Then Wim exploded onto the surface. Bits flew. The bike slid unto the other side of the road where a car approached. Wim bounced like a ball. In his bright Tour of Wessex outfit against the black tarmac, the scene looked like an egg being cracked into a black frying pan. The oncoming car stopped. Wim jumped to his feet, Joris and I off our bikes. We cleared the road, inspected Wim who just had the usual road rash and was fit to continue the ride (as the medics confirmed when they arrived a little later). But the top tube of the Canyon sported a star shaped crack. A marshal arrived who called the Mavic technical support team. But Mavic had no more reserve bikes available, and the Canyon was evidently unsafe to ride. The race director had arrived on the scene and advised that Wim would now have to wait for the broom wagon. That would mean a DNF for Day 6 and the Haute Route as a whole. We’d come so far. We hugged and had a bit of an emotional moment, surrounded by the medics, the Mavic chap and the race director. The race director said he’d consider crediting Wim Day 6 with a notional time since he would have been able to continue had a reserve bike been available but he’d have to consult the jury. And a bike would still have to be found for Day 7. It occurred to me that Wim and I very nearly paid a high price for my vanity - “that’s my son”, I’d say smiling smugly when people thought we were mates or, occasionally, brothers. So I finished Day 6, including the genuinely nerve racking second major descent of the day (if Wim had crashed here, he might not have come home), in a subdued mood.
Wim was not DNFed for Day 6, a bike was found for him for Day 7 which was shortened due to the threat of thunderstorms. At the finish in Nice, I was just glad to see Abby at the finish in Nice with our boy alive and healthy if scratched up a bit.
Three years together of cols conquered, descents mastered, choppy waters braved, miles of glorious British countryside traversed, mountain ranges crossed and finish lines of great events gained – that’s a rich tapestry of memories Wim has graciously agreed to weave with me when he could have been sleeping late, lounging about, doodling on the internet or whatever else it is that teenage boys ordinarily get up to. So his retirement from endurance events has my unreserved blessing. Three cheers to the finest training and racing partner I could have ever wished for.
Triathlon London AGM - 22 October
The AGM for Triathlon London Region takes place on Tuesday 22 October. As members of a London Region Club you are eligible to vote and stand for election to the Board - if you are interested in helping promote and develop the sport of triathlon in London in the way that you want, your support would be greatly welcomed. Read full details on the London Region website.
parkrun results - 21 September
The missing results for 7 and 14 September will be added as soon as Louise is back from holiday. The following results are for Saturday 21 September.
Crystal Palace parkrun
15th Suse Fairfax 21:00
47th Dave Crockwell 24:04
56th Glyn Tully 24:43
8th Martin Leat 19:35
South Manchester parkrun
152nd Ella Fields 25:05
parkrun results - 31 August
Crystal Palace parkrun
55th Glyn Tully 25:38
18th Adam Spencer 22:06 (PB)
South Manchester parkrun
151st Ella Fields 25:58
The parkrun PBs page has been updated.
Southwater Relays - Sunday 1 September
Another great CPT presence at the Southwater Relays, with Jon, Greg and Mark 3rd Male Vets and Kati, Sara and Ruki 3rd Female Vets.
Thanks to those who stood in at the last minute, especially to Dan Duran for going first in one team and third in another to make up the numbers! Congratulations to Michael on his first triathlon and to Adam, a junior member, for filling Uncle Bruce's shoes, to Jilly for completing her first open water swim, Theresa for her first triathlon in five years and bad luck to James who went the wrong way on the first roundabout heading down the A24 (to McDonalds we suspect!!).
Photos to follow.
Newbiggin Sprint Triathlon - Sunday 1 September
Rob went all the way up to Northumberland to compete in the Newbiggin Sprint Triathlon. He reports: "I struggled with motivation for this one after having forgotten to register intent to qualify for the 2014 Euros, and nearly gave up after blowing a tub on the way to transition in the morning!
Despite a number of other calamities (as is usual for us Triathletes in a sport where so many things can go wrong), it ended up being a fun race. Icy cold sea swim, multi-lap bike with some fierce winds, and promenade run lined with crowds.
Went for a cheeky sprint finish past some guy who didn't look best pleased until I let him know that I wasn't in the running for a qually spot.
Provisional results would have got me Q4 in my age group – oh well, lesson learnt there (I'm pretty sure I sent a mail to the club earlier this year reminding everyone not to miss this step…)