Friday, 19 October 2012

Wiggle Discount Codes

So I signed up to become a wiggle affiliate as I seem to spend fair chunk of change there and never knew any discount codes. But they have chosen a time to email me when I don't currently need anything, nor have the money, so I thought I'd share them with you luck lucky people.

You can get 10% off on orders over £100 for clothing and run gear using the code 10OFF (expires 25th October). Now that the weather is getting worse I wish had this sooner before I bought all my gear.

Update: If you really want to spend some money then you can use 20OFF to get 20% off if you're spending £200.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

How far can you get in a lunch break

Over the last couple of weeks I have taken to using my lunch breaks to fit in short bike rides. I have been trying out different routes to see how many kilometres I cover before I need to be back at my desk, without getting stuck in too much traffic. This has worked out quite well by blasting down the coast towards Worthing, into the ever present headwind, trying to calculate the perfect time to turn around to let the tail wind carry me back to my desk.

However yesterday I decided that it was time to get off the flat roads and find something with a bit of a bump. Opposed to heading down the coast I decided to head inland and see how far over the Southdowns I could get before the inevitable time to head back to work.

The quickest way to over the downs was to head straight over Devils Dyke. Cycling out trying to keep my heart rate and sweat levels down, as not to annoy my co-workers too much later, I kept looking at my watch to make sure I didn't over run. Making it to the top of Devils Dyke with more than enough time to descend the other side before having turn around I decide to sit up and take a look around. The beautiful downs lay before me. With the sight of rain blowing in from the distance. This wasn't going to be about distance. It was a race to get back to the office without getting wet. It went down hill from here. Which in this instance was just what I needed, making it back to the office before the rain arrive.

Not as far as I wanted to go, but not left soaking wet at my desk for the remainder of the day. So all in all a win in my books!

Friday, 12 October 2012

From The Past - My First Triathlon

Here is a post from 2010 back when I did my first triathlon, back when I could take it or leave it.

My First Triathlon

So last Sunday I did my first sprint triathlon, the Mid Sussex Triathlon. The day started at 5.00 when me and Tom woke up to a quick breakfast and a cup of tea. A short drive to the Triangle Leisure Centre in Burgess Hill and we were set to have our numbers draw on us in the strongest permanent marker in the world (Which took 3 days to wash off). After registration we took our carefully packed tri boxes and bikes to the transition area.

After laying out my foot towel in the perfect foot drying position and my helmet, shades and top in the most efficient way possible. All this in the vein hope that when it came to the actual transition I would have some clue what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

Stuff sorted we waiting casually chatting with the other competitors about the course and general pre-race banter. Ranging from our kit to subtle ways to psych one another out. After the race briefing the first swimmer started at 7.00. Me and my brother took a walk to the observation deck in the pool to watch the starters. This was when the nerves started to kick in.

More and more of the swimmers started my start time neared and my position in the line grew shorter. With only four competitors I turned to my brother, now feeling really nervous, and said "Whose stupid idea was this?"

Swimming Section

There was no one in front of me and I was in the pool. Three. Two. One. I was off. Nothing quite prepared myself from going from full of nerves to race mode. Halfway down the first length my body woke up and all the training I had done kicked in. No longer nervous. A single thought in my mind. Swim straight, don't drown don't waste to much energy.

The final length of the swim drew to a close and it was time to get out of the pool. Using the steps, as not to make a tit of myself if i fell over, I pulled myself out and started the run to the transition area to get ready for the bike ride. I had no idea what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I got to the transition area remembering only one thing. Make sure you helmet is on before you touch your bike. I stand on the towel, move my top out of the way and put my helmet on it. Pick up top and realise that I need to take my helmet off, put my top on, put my helmet on and step into my shoes. Now its time to pick up my bike and run with it to the mounting area. Enter the mounting area mounting my bike and start to ride narrowly missing a woman trying to get her bike into gear. A luck escape as I don't think she would have been too happy if I had ridden into her. Exiting the leisure centre the race portion begins.

Section Two - The Ride

For the majority of the bike ride there was nothing to worry about. A side from needing to practice on gear changes on the hills it all went fairly well. I was taken back a few times as the more experienced competitors, on really expensive bikes, wizzed past me closer than I expected. But after the first couple of times that happened I started to check behind me more often so that I knew who was behind me, and so that I wasn't causing an obstruction people who were clearly better than me. Like the people who overtook me on the steep up hill sections.

With the bike section drawing to a close I changed down gears to try and warm up my legs ready for the run. In my haste I changed down to many gears and was left coasting with my legs spinning around aimlessly. Coasting into the dismount area I jump off my bike and run it back to my place in the transition area to rack it up. Throwing my helmet into my box and picking up a bottle of water I head out for the final section, the run.

Leaving the transition area water bottle in hand I start the run. My legs feeling heavy from the cycle I knew it would only be a little longer before they would feel normal again. The run went fine with brownies lining the route with list of everyone's names and numbers ready to cheer you on just when you need it. With the final stretch drawing to a close, the cheers from the brownies getting louder and the finished line getting closer it was time to muster the last of my energy. It was time for a sprint finish. My legs where not quite feeling up to the job. Then I spy my bother, who had already finished waiting on the finish straight. I hold my arms out for a high five. High five received I now have the energy, pulled from the ether, to sprint the last little bit to the finish. Crossing the line and stopping my watch. Covered in sweat and in dire need for a shower and a cup of tea I look down at the time. 1:19:55. Happy that my first triathlon went better than my first marathon.

The Finish Line

Beep, beep, beep

Swimming is all about technique. Sure there is strength and aerobic fitness thrown in but deep down its all about your stroke. Do a quick search online and you will find umpteen million guides about hot to improve your catch and maximize your pull.

Trying to count laps and make sure all your limbs are moving in sync like a well oiled machine is a difficult enough task as it is. How can I make this more complicated and increase the chances of downing by breathing in when you are meant to be breathing out? Then use a Metronome.

A swimming metronome sits under your cap or goggle strap and emits a nagging beep that you attempt to sync your stroke with. The idea behind these are help increase you stroke rate to your optimal strokes per minute. An increase in your strokes per minute equates to cold hard time.

However it is not as simple as pop one under your hat a dive in. Like I said before it takes a little more concentration. I have only had a short time to play with one at a swim session and so I might need to find one to see if the gains become a reality. That and get used to being the pavlov's dog equivalent of swimming.

A swim coach at my club often uses this analogy:

"When you're on a bike and you want to go faster you either change gear or increase your cadence. You have no gears in the pool so your only choice is to move your arms faster."

So I'd better improve my multitasking and get those arms swinging faster. If I get one then I will write more about them.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

How not to finish a triathlon

There are many books, coaches and websites out there that will tell you how to get faster. How to train like a pro, set a new PB, improve your splits. This list is like that but for the opposite, how not to finish a race. This is suitable for anyone who wants to participate in triathlon not just people who have an accidentally entered one.

So without further ado here my list.

1. Don't Enter

Not entering or leaving it as late as possible so that the event is fully booked is by face the easiest way to not finish. If you can avoid turning up the first place then you won't have to worry about anything else and you can have a lay in that morning instead. Many people at transition will probably be wishing that they had also stayed in bed so you will be one up on the.

2. Get Lost On The Way

If you have managed to enter but still looking for an out then don't write down any directions of how to get to registration. Ideally leave your phone and or sat nav at home. This will increase your changes of getting lost and driving around the middle of no where at the point you wave start. This will give you ample excuses to locate the nearest place to buy coffee and ask for directions back home.

3. Forget something or everything

In the unfortunate event that you have not only managed to enter in time and make it registration there are still things you can do to weasel out of it. Forget something important. Ideally you want to make sure that it is not something that another competitor can lead you. Your bike would be a good start, but someone might notice that when you leave. Something smaller like a helmet or wheel (if you need to take it off to fit on/in your car). The easiest way to do this is leave the packing to the last minute, ideally 5 minutes before you leave. Rushing in the morning will also help add to the mix and will add an air or authenticity when explaining to the other competitors why you can't race. At this point it is most likely that someone has brought a spare piece of kit with them which they may offer to lend to you. You must try your best to politely decline their offer otherwise you will have no choice but to go to the start line.

4. Disorganise Transition

When laying out all of your kit don't put them in logically positions. Make it as hard as possible to find what you need when you come in from the swim and the bike. Ideally you want to make sure that you don't put your shoes together, if you do make sure that they aren't a matching pair. This will add some extra fun by making a mini treasure hunt in the middle of the race.

5. Safety Swim

Now you have resigned yourself to the fact that you will be starting the race so it would be really dangerous to yourself and other people to get over worked up and have a panic attack during the swim. Just take the swim as slowly as possible, making sure that you don't hold up anyone else. You don't want to cause someone else to have a bad race and risk being disqualified, that would just be bad form.

6. T1 Support

Don't run too fast to T1 after the swim, remember you have wet feet and don't want to slip and injure yourself. When entering T1 see if there is anyone else around that you can have a chat with to psych yourself up before the bike. If you have been lucky to drag some supports out of their beds to watch you then the least you can do is have a chat with them to make sure they are enjoying them selves.

7. Enjoy the scenery

The cycle route will probably take you though a nice area, possible through the country side, so it would be rude not to take it all in. Make sure you sit up and look around as the organisers have chosen the route so make the most of it.

8. Get lost

Keep any eye open for other road users and competitors but make sure you look the other way when ever there is a course sign. You can increase your chances of getting lost by not looking at the route before hand. If the bike course is laps thenSeE don't count them, just keep going until you think that you might have done enough. If you aren't 100% sure then do an extra lap anyway so that you don't get disqualified.

9. Force a Mechanical

This can be done in a number of ways, the best thing to do is to try and ride as close to the curb as possible. This is where most of the road debris ends up increasing you chances of a puncture. Pot holes should be thought of as target, try riding over as many as possible. This should take you out of action without causing damage to your bike or yourself.

10. The Run

So you have managed to make it this far with only the run to go. Assuming that you have packed your run shoes you are left with little choice but to complete the race. You have failed to achieve the goal of not finishing so you might as well enjoy the run, making sure to hydrate at the fuel stations high five supports as you pass them and start thinking up your excuses. Run through the finishing shoot making sure you look your best for any race photographers. Job done.

If you fail to complete any of the steps then you are probably onto something good and should look for one of those lists that help you get faster, better, stronger.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Half to End The Brighton Triathlon Series

Brighton Triathlon Race Series are running their last event of the year, a half-iron distance race. The races are free to enter and run throughout the summer. They are normally a sprint distance described as race conditioned training, which makes them brilliant for people who newly entering the world of triathlon.

Over the course of the summer people of all abilities have racked up on a Wednesday evening to eager to run down Brighton's stone beach for the swim. But similar to last year they will be ending the season on a half-iron distance before the weather gets to bad to swim in the sea (plus they have taken in the swim buoys which mark out the swim course). This has not had a single effect on everyone's willingness to set the alarms early for Sundays race and finish 2012 with a bang.

I should mention that the series is run by one person, Kurt, who motivates every and makes sure the races run smoothly. If you want to find out more information about them check out the Brighton Triathlon Race Series Facebook group.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Race Excuses, or Why I'm Not as Fast as a Pro

So I've already used up my many of my race excuses during the last season but I still have some left that weren't used. Now to I could save them for next year, but I thought I would share them for others to use. So here are my race excuses or why I'm not as fast as a pro list.

Blue Carpet

It's a well known fact that the day before a race a team of gnomes make sure that the run from the swim to T1 is covered in small stones, bits of glass, pointy sticks and Lego bricks. No one knows why they do this but no matter what the race organisers do these horrible little gnomes always make sure that the short run is the most painful thing you do that day.

There is a solution that will scuppa the attempt of the gnomes to cut your feet open. Blue Carpet. Now I'm not sure if it's the blue colour or the velvet softness but if you watch the pros run to T1 none of them make a face like they have stepped on an upside down plug. If all race has the magic blue carpet then I think that would easily save 10 minutes from my time, and hours post race trying to pull our little stones embedded in the sole of my feet.


Anyone who has ever done a triathlon will know that the transition are is full of people nervously racking their bikes sharing previous race stories and hoping for a PB. Everyone will also know that you get approximately half a meter of a-frame to rack you bike, layout your shoes and arrange the rest of your kit. Now this is good for getting to know your fellow competitors but not ideal when you are in T1 or T2 trying to get yourself out as quickly as possible.

Watching the boys from Yorkshire and the rest of the the field race rack there bike in preparation for the 2012 Olympic triathlon (or any other pro race) I spotted my first time save. If I had as much space as they did then I'm sure that would take at least 10 minutes or my time.

Number Belts

Reducing drag and finding the most aerodynamic riding position and gear can make a difference to your bike splits. Money is invested in the making sure our helmets cut though the air. Our wheels slice the wind like a hot knife through butter.

What isn't know is that by wearing a number belt (with number attached) an amount of drag so large is created that physicists are unable to explain it. The amount of drag roughly equates to 1 minute per 5km. There is a formula that explains this but you'll just have to trust me on this as I don't have it to hand at the moment. If we didn't have to wear number belts then I'm sure you will  be able to see how much time that could be saved.

So as soon as they made these changes available at all races the by my crude calculations we will be setting record times!

Comments welcome about your own race excuses.

Attack of the Fluorescent Clothing!

The off season has officially set in. There is no way you can avoid it. It's getting dark by 7, and soon the clocks are going to change. The change in season can mean only one thing. It's time to put the lights on the bike and bring out the fluorescent clothing.

Wearing clothes this bright should normally be reserved for going clubbing, but sometimes you have to throw fashion out the window and try and safe on the roads. Although choosing to wear lycra leaves me little space to talk anything fashion related.

I just hope that the temperature doesn't drop to much too quickly as I still have yet to dig out my long-legged bib. Otherwise those long Saturday rides aren't going to be much fun!

Monday, 1 October 2012

New Batteries

So I have recently put a new battery in the my bike computer I use for training and daily commuting.  This has had a both positive and negative effects. 

I can now read my speed and read the display and the output isn't faded. But I have lost my ODO total. Whilst there is nothing significant about having the total reset it doe shave the same feel when losing a game save with an all time high score on it. There is nothing left but to put more hours in on the bike if I want to play Top Trumps of bike computers with my club mates at any point in the future.