Sunday, February 28, 2010

Swimming Analysis

After my long ride/run session on Saturday 27 February , I had a swim analysis in the arvo with Paul Newsome at the Claremont Pool .I had booked the session after IM Busso in December .(he was pretty booked up) .

The swim analysis was very revealing.My 3 main faults were:

1 My breathing in particular exhalltion which was causing my lungs to remain with air and cause my upper body to float upwards and my legs to sink. My breathing was also causing me to be out of breath and that was just adding to my woes as far as trying to inhale and not focussing on my stroke. The solution is to blow out constantly whilst underwater and to practise the techniques in the various articles below.

2 My entry of the arm particularly the left is crossing over my middle line and skewering my propulsion forward .It also leaves me with the elbow sinking below the hand and leaving me concorted as I struggle to breathe. Focus on my middle finger and trying to keep both arms straight as the hand enters the water .Keep the wrist cocked down and the angle of my elbow at 100 degrees or so.

3 My kicking is splayed and scissor liek and everywhere.Focus on keeping my torso and stomach straight and elongated , squeezing my butt and my two toes touching each other so that the heels of my feet are breaking the water line.

That is the theory but it isn't so easy .

I will focus on one aspect each swim and the main ones will be the breathing and getting my legs much higher as the film clearly shows.

I went swimming this morning at the Cott. It was a flat calm day and I was pretty tired but managed the swim ..Did about 2km and found it good .Not so relaxed and my breathing was still strained.I felt I was kicking better and my legs were higher.
Early days still.



Dear John

Points to remember:

1. Exhale the whole time your face is in the water. Remember breathe-
bubble-bubble-breathe to help you with the rhythm and body balance.

2. Leg kick - focus on kicking from the hips by squeezing your bum.
Point and tap your toes to correct scissor kick.

3. Hand entry - avoid crossing the centre line especially with the
left hand. Practice the sculling and doggy paddle drill with a pull
buoy to help float the legs.

These links are relevant to your swimming:

Visualisation Presentation Video For Intermediate Swimmers: http://www.swimsmooth.com/visualisation.php

Breathing Technique: http://www.swimsmooth.com/breathing.html

Exhalation: http://www.swimsmooth.com/exhalation.html

Bilateral Breathing: http://www.swimsmooth.com/bilateral.html

Freestyle Kick: http://www.swimsmooth.com/kick.html

Triathlon Tips: http://www.swimsmooth.com/triathlon.html

Catch and Pull: http://www.swimsmooth.com/catch.html




Paul Newsome

Its the journey



"If I have given my all and still do not win. I haven't lost. Others might remember winning or losing. I remember the journey." Apollo Ohno, Olympic speed skater



After the hard ride on Tuesday , I was able to rock up for swimming on the Wednesday morning and it was a hard session .I did about 2.4km and was lagging behind the others . I ended up being about 300 meters behind the main swimmers in my lane .At least I know what Iam doing wrong.Its trying to correct the faults that aren't so easy.

I do know that I swim lots better with a Pull buoy and that keeps my legs from dragging which is part of the problem.I do have to relax more and still try to focus on so many minor but critical issues .But half the problem is knowing there is a problem.

On Wednesday evening the temperature for the day was hovering in the high 30s centigrade and I decided to run on the thread mill.It was hot in the gym even with the airconditioning and I did a hills session of 50 minutes with a maximum 7.8% gradient .I am now managing to hold a cadence above 92 and at times above 96 .So I am making some progress.Still haven't ventured out to do any long runs which I do need to focus on. Did just under 8.5km today.

Thursday was the usual bike ride round the river with Tony.Up early and I got out the door at 5am . It was again a hot day at 42degrees. We got round to Applecross and over the bridge and down to South Perth where we stopped for a quick cool drink at the DOME Cafe before I headed to the city and work.It was then a short ride home after work. A total of 70kms .



View of City from South Perth at 745 am on the ride

Friday was a rest day as there was no swimming and I finished work late so did not have time for the planned run.

Saturday was another warm day and I headed out early for the ride down the freeway cycle path. I was planning on a 4hour ride. I managed 1.50 down the freeway to the turn off at Baldivis. About 55km and then turned back.I was doing well and kept it reasonably easy for the first hour and then moderate for the next hour. I then started to go harder and about half way through that session I ran into a fellow rider Bruce. we talked for a few minutes then he took off and I tried to stay with him and managed that for 30 minutes till he started to slow up as he had a new saddle and he was sore.I then took off and managed a good pace around 34-35kph and got to Mt Henry Bridge averaging 30.7kph for the 100km . It was then back home via the city and traffic but I did about 110km averaging over 30kph. It was hot by then and the wind was strong across the path.

I got back just after 10 am and ran off the bike for 30 minutes.I did 10 x 30 sec sprints in the middle of the session and I was really feeling it in the legs but they were definitely lots better than last year .I hadn't really pushed myself on the ride to the point my legs were stuffed.

The lesson is to try and control the ride so there is still some strength in the legs .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Unnatural Swimmer

Another week begins after a weekend of no training which was unplanned. But after Fridays swim I was exhausted and just slept a lot .I did start the week well with Swim training in the morning.A good session of 2.3km with a 500m warm up with free and 200 medley.Followed by a 300m firm , 200 firm , 200 firm , 100 med , 100 med , 100 x 1.5 times a total of 1600m and then a cool down with the kick board and free for 200m. Ran on the threadmill in the evening for 50 mins @90-96 cadence with 10 x 30secs and 45 secs flat out (15.5kph).

Ross did say that everything about my stroke is unnatural so I do have my work cut out in respect to improving my performance in the water. Having said that , I know I am slow as in the water but I firmly believe I can improve no matter what. It will take time and I intend to keep focusing on the stroke and getting it as perfect as I can. Unnatural or otherwise , there is no turning back.

Tuesday morning , I rode from home at 5am to nedlands , a distance of 18.5km and then did an hour hard with Johnny, Ten , Michelle and myself with a new rider to the group , J .It was hard and I had to miss my turn in the front rotation as J was driving the group really hard. In the last lap he took off and the rest of us just tried to stick it out.Very impressive riding from the rest of the group especially the girls who kept attacking and pushing the pace.I was coughing up a lung but managed to hang in there by just picking the times I would rotate to the front.We did over 36km and my average was 36.8kph.That is the fastest for a Tuesday session to date.

I rode a total of 70km for the day riding to East Vic Park after work to get my new car.I don't think too many people cycle in to the sales room to collect their car.

But every time I feel my training is hard I just think of Rod and Julianna. The Race is becoming very hard going especially when you get sick.

The latest email from them:


Hello


So since Gondar we have ridden 7 days and had one rest day. We are now in Addis Ababa. It seems that either Juliana or I have been moderately ill the whole time. There is this low grade nausea that is making the rounds and Juliana had a passing out deal one night that we are doing some blood tests to figure out what happened - we will keep you posted.


The riders that still have ridden every f'ing inch is now down to 14 - we are two of them. You can definitely see a shift in peoples' attitude once they ride the bus, they suddenly don't care about riding and jump on the bus if they just don't feel like riding.


So as far as us and the race goes we have gone into just completely stages these last few weeks with what feels like none ending illness. So this means riding the heart rate at or under 70%.


Feb 14 115k, 4:22 from Gondor to Farm Camp. Today was just a survival day as last night Juliana passed out and I was scared that she was going pass out at anytime. This camp was stupid because the kids were trying to steal everything from right under you nose.


Feb 15 61k, 2:13 to Bahir Dar. Nice short day with a party that night. Rod started to feel ill this night and ended spending the whole next day - a rest day - sleeping unable to move. On the ride about 10 minutes out of camp we where going through a village when an old battle axe ran in front of me. I went down but not too hard - but still pissed off.


Feb 17 162k, 6:47. Bahir Dar to Field Camp. Rod was still ill from the rest day and the cycling to survive continued. Rod had no power and pretty much whimpered trying to hold Juliana's wheel.


Feb 18 116k, 5:32. Today was rollers and damn neared killed Rod. He felt like he was working flat out like 80% to 90% of max HR when in fact it was under 60%. Again Juliana pulled Rod along as he cried and whimper for her to go slower.


Feb 19 86k, 4:46. Today ended with a 22k time trial up the Blue Nile Gorge - 1600m elevation gain. We rode as hard as we could but again we had to back off due to Rod up-chucking and cutting the heart rate back to below 80%.


Feb 20 4:08, 87k. Today Rod felt worse then yesterday, the TT did not help. The suffering continues.


Feb 21 5:04, 102k. A none race day and finally Rod and Juliana are both feeling good at the same time.


The last week or so has seen us loss time in the race but this was require in order to try to get better - stay EFI. We have also ridden together every day so far, this has been nice.


We are both well and in good spirits although the illnesses of the last few weeks have tested our mood.


Rod and Juliana

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Is An Efficient Freestyle Stroke? Part 2

From the Swim Smooth Website and Paul Newsomes commentary on an Efficient stroke.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Swimming Hurts

It has been an unplanned but easy week .I swam on Monday , Wednesday and Friday and have done at least 7.5 km this week.I only rode once and as everyone else was doing a bike and run brick I was riding alone mostly so did not really push myself.I did only one treadmill session on Monday and then really just had a big rest for the rest of the week.Decided against a long ride on Saturday as I felt tired from the swim session on Friday .It was a surprisingly hard set.500m warm up, 1300m with 400 fast and rest firm followed by a 400m swim with 200 fast and an 8 x50m swim and then a cool down. I had my stroke filmed on Wednesday so once I get the CD I will post it up .It will be worthwhile to compare my stroke to the film 18 months ago.Whilst I am not a natural swimmer ,I do believe that hard work can improve my efficiency .

I read Bret Suttons short piece again in an earlier TBB newsletter and the message was simple : swimming hurts.It does now with my focus on getting my elbows and arm as high during the stroke cycle , stretching my arms and turning my hips and importantly getting my arm in the right position when pushing back through the water.A lot to think about especially as my legs are still dragging and I need to be efficient in getting my legs up.

Lots to work on and I have my work cut out for me even though the swim leg is not critical I do want to cut the time down .

I will be running and swimming tomorrow and then i will be back to my training cycle although I am doing a lot more mileage than the same time last year.



Armstrong v Lieto on the Queen K

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chase your Dreams

Macca: Chase Your Dreams
By Chris McCormack
2/16/2010

http://www.xtri.com/features_display.aspx?riIDReport=6260&CAT=23&xref=xx

I read Maccas article on xtri.com. He hit the spot as far as what I feel about triathlons.Call it a lifestyle sport or whatever but it changes your life , it changes your attitude and it surrounds you with a positivity. I feel that energy every time I am at a race or with fellow triathletes.

I had a chat with my fellow club members before and after the race on Sunday.I am continually amazed at the transformation of members who have done their first triathlon one or two seasons ago and are now are doing IM races and casually talking about 4 hour rides .It is the positivity of taking your life in your hands and squeezing all the energy you can extract .Every ounce of life force. There is a cockiness and confidence.I can do it.It comes with the first unsteady steps of training and concludes with the goal of crossing that line .There is no better high.Ask any triathlete and they will remember that rush and that feeling of achievement.

It may be a lifestyle but for me it is more .I feel totally relaxed in the exhaustion of training and totally focused .It is for me a meditation and a celebration of feeling alive.

There is clearly the danger with any activity but no more than any other sport.Clearly it is safer that the luge .But even in that sport ,what attracts sportmen and sports women to such a dangerous activity as rushing down an icy chute at 140kph .It must be the rush and feeling of being alive.

I read the piece following Kumaritashvili's death on the star.com:

Luger's death stirs gruesome memories
Ex-Canadian Olympian Chris Lori suffered horrific spill in 1987
February 13, 2010 Dave Feschuk

VANCOUVER–When Chris Lori watched the frame-by-frame video replay of the luge crash that killed 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia on Friday, he was one of the few people in the world who could say he'd experienced anything similar.

"The dream has got to be bigger than the pain. You're either going to live with that for the rest of your life, the fact that you backed down to challenge and backed down to fear and (gave up) your goals and your dreams," said Lori. "As sliders, only we know what it's like to stand on top of that mountain and look down that mountain. (Kumaritashvili's death) is a terrible shame, but we've all been there as sliders. We've all stood at the top of a mountain that we feared, and we've all got to go down that mountain."



In triathlons we don't stare down the mountain but we do have our run in's with danger especially on the road.I read all too often of triathletes losing their life on training rides .The latest sadly was a Canadian triathlete training in Canary Islands for IM Wisconsin later in the year.

During my week ride I heard of another cyclist hit by a vehicle on a hills ride and I ran into my friend Kurt , a lwayer today.He is training for IM New Zealand in 2 weeks and he nearly had a nasty crash with an inattentive driver pulling out into him.He was lucky and wasn't hurt.

It doesn't stop me despite a colleague who is a medical doctor telling me today that after a visit to the spinal ward at Shenton Park hospital (here in Perth) you wouldn't want to be on a bike or motorcycle.I disagree.I have been to the ward ,seen the broken bodies and I cycle but I try my best to stay safe.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

Everybody gets knocked down, how quick are you going to get up?
For EVERYONE OUT THERE HAVING A GO...Keep doing it.

Human Chain from NikeSportswear on Vimeo.



The NIKE Human Chain Commercial

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gondor and Its Not LORD OF THE RINGS

As I enjoyed my weekend of cycling in the hills and the sprint tri, Rod and Julianna are still racing .They are still in contention as it is a long race and lots can happen . Makes the hill ride a picnic in the park.

Hello sports fans

We are in Gondor and it is nothing like the Gondor from Lord of the Rings - no Elves. We have just finished 7 days of straight riding, 55+hrs and 824k with about half on dirt roads. These seven days have taken their toll on people and equipment. There have been several serious crashes resulting in people having to take days or weeks off of the tour (we are not mentioning names to allow these riders to contact their families first). There has not been any major bike failures but one of the support trucks lost its brakes on a major descent, overrevved the engine during compression braking resulting in catastrophic engine failure. The truck incident should have resulted in a major accident with loss of life but the driver was fricking amazing (I was not there but the downhill was fast and curvy; also the truck stopped within a couple 100m of detour around a bridge under repair - it would have never made the detour without brakes.)

Feb 5 Left Khartoum and rode to a desert camp; 4:56, 158k. After the last email (within hours) Rod became very ill (ended up collapsing in camp) with tonsillitis and went onto antibiotics. So we rode fairly easy today and Rod focused on just getting to the end of the day with the smallest expenditure of energy possible. We lost a good 30 minutes to our nearest competitors. Rod suffered today. The road was all paved, flat, tailwind but quite a bit of traffic - probably the best day to be ill.

Feb 6 Desert camp to desert camp; 5:10, 161k. Rod was feeling alittle better but we still rode easy with the focus on energy conservation. Again we lost 30 minutes. Today started out with quite abit of traffic and it left quite unsafe so we rode on a small service (dirt) road beside the pavement for 20k. After the first 40k or so the traffic thinned out and it was quite pleasant. At about 130k we passed through the district capital and the people where out in force - cheering, banners, TV cameras, fricking awesome. It turns out we are the first tourist group into this area in decades, as it had just re-opened to tourists this year. The crowds went on for about 20k without a break and by the end it was quite tiring (always watching so as not to run into someone while trying to appear grateful). The riders coming through near the end had some trouble - things throw, body parts touched, etc. In camp after dinner the local authorities planned a sports demo for us in our camp. They bussed a group out to us and they put on a Karate demo and a Gymnastics demo. It was amazing these boys were doing hand springs and stuff on gravel in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt - tough.

Feb 7 Desert camp to bush camp; 6:28, 134k. Rod definitely feeling better. Lost time to Stewart, he fly on the dirt, and to Dan but gained time on Gizzy who got lost and barely made it to camp before dark (the cut-off for losing EFI). The first 40k were on pavement and then to dirt. The first 30k of dirt had some serious corrigation on packed dirt / sand. Then the corrigation eased off but the temperature went crazy. We stopped once at a village for water - the best experience. The villages are straight from National Geographic - grass hut, half naked kids, etc. So we stop by a local, motion we need something to drink, and are lead to a hut with a couple of elders chopping up dried dung. We sit in the shade (lovely) on a bench made of steel and strip of dried goat hide (surprisely comfy) and wait. The group has grown by this point to a dozen or so local men with all children having been chased away with a stick. After chatting with the guys for 10 minutes or so, a young man appears with 2 glass pitchers full of cold water - amazing. We fill our bottles, thank everyone and are off. The rough road has caused Rod's right wrist to be sore.

Feb 8 Bush camp to bush camp through Dinder National Park; 9:30, 128k. EPIC. The started rough and turned to cracked clay most closely resembling a rock garden containing only rocks the size of a baby's head. After about 40k of this we reached the park where we were made to wait by the local officals until there was a large group of us - their take on racing is clearly different then ours. We were forced to keep our pace low so the group would stay together. The road was rough and sandy, we were going to fast for some and too slow for others, tempers were flaring. At lunch, some 78k in we were told the camp had been moved from 140k to 118k, ok we had 40k to go and about 4:30 until it got dark - sound easy. The road leaving lunch looked decent and we no longer had to travel in groups. We filled up with liquids and set out. Within a km the road became that same great cracked clay that we have learnt to hate with patches of tire swallowing sand and thorns the size of nails. It became a death march. Juliana and I ran out of water became dehydrated got more water but it was too late. We rode as hard as we could but could barely manage 9km/h - the road was fricking so rough. We got to 116km with about 20 minutes to spare - we were told the camp was at 128k. Shit! At least the road was much better. We rode but could only manage 19km/h and rolled into camp right at dark, which is interested as we only had prescription sunglasses. I ended up riding the last 10minutes with no glasses and Juliana following my outline / voice. As it turns out the EFI finish line was at 115km and we could have gotten a ride the last 13k - nice to know. This day has changed us and is defintely near the top of hardest things we have done.

Feb 9 Bush camp to Sudna Ethiopian Border; 8:54, 140k. The first 110k were off road and then pavement. The dirt road started out good and became a nightmare. At one point the cracks in the dried clay were so big your wheel would fall in - we walked this section. By the end Rod's wrists were so sore he could barely hold on and Juliana had some serious saddle sore. The ride through the park had taken its toll but we were not the only ones, no one rode today pain free. We lost time to Stewart and Dan but gained over Gizzy.

Feb 10 Border to bush camp; 4:58, 98k. Everyone rode easy today as the border crossing made it a non race day. In the last three 3 days at least 10 people have lost EFI. The scenery has changed - trees, grass, rolling hills, and Ethiopia feels poorer then Sudan.

Feb 11 Mondo Day to Gondor; 5:59, 105k. There are several manditory days that every racers most do inorder to stay in the race, this was the first one. Then are the hardest days. Today was hard because of the climbing. The 8k climb in the morning was pretty full on with the last km being dirt. The downhill was great but this is were one of our large support trucks ran into greif. Gizzy was on fire today and won it for the women (a 30 minute bonus) plus she was about an hour faster then us. Stewart and Dan also put time into us.

Currently I have Juliana leading this section for the women and Rod is in 8th place. Overall Juliana is in first and Rod is 5th.

Rod is all better now (wrists and throat). Juilana is well.

Thank you very much for the emails of encouragement.

Rod and Juliana.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day Hillary Triathlon



Sean O'Neil wins again



Transition Area



My bike at Transition


It was only fitting that I do a triathlon on Valentines Day.My wife loves to sleep and I spend more time with my mistress the bike , that it was natural that my morning on valentines day would be with her.

After all I not only ride her , I clean her and she has her very own room . The Hillary Triathlon is part of the TWA Triathlon Series and it was a perfect day for a race.The Triathlon Pursuit was a 750m swim, 21km ride and 5km run .Lots of familiar faces.I decided not to ride out to the start as I think that would be pushing the whole weekend training bit a tad too far.

I drove down and it was nice to have a race in my backyard.Had lots of time to get set up and even helped Rob with changing a flat tyre a Newbie had before the race.I had to change the tube on my back wheel as well as it was completely flat when I was loading the bike.First flat in over 10 months .

The race was in waves and mine was the seventh .I found the swim initially hard but after the first buoy settled into a good rythmn. I got to the beach in the rectangular swim in about 16 minutes and I wasn't last.

I got my race belt , helmet and sunnies on and off I was to the bike line with my first attempt at transition with the shoes clipped on.As I was wheeling the bike the rubber band holding my shoe/ crank pedal horizontal broke and they were flopping around which made the mount difficult but I eventually got there.It was a 3 lap circuit with a few slight climbs. My computer did not work so I had no idea how fast I was going accept that I got off the bike at about 1.58 into the race and had a very good dismount of the bike.Even the bike Marshall at the dismount area was impressed. I passed a few people in T2 so something must be right. The run was a straight out and back course but it was hot and my legs were jelly. I hung in there and finished in under 1.25

Pleased with the weekend and my transitions and I know where I am with my running.

Chinese New Year Eve Ride



The mornings have been fairly good although it is getting light later in the day but by 5.30am the sun is creeping over the horizon.Saturday 13 February was no different accept that I decided to ride with the Chevron group who were doing a Hills ride .Tony was not able to ride although he got to the start but he had back soreness from Pilate's and decided to rest it.Was very wise as there are hills in Perth and grinding up even a gradual gradient will hurt.

There were seven in the group and we met up at the Narrows bridge in the middle of Perth. I rode from home and had 14 km on the clock.We set off south on the freeway cycle path and then to Mt Henry via the esplanade and then through Bullsbrook and Ranford road and then Armadale Road before hitting the first climb, a 11km climb on Albany Highway .it is deceptively gradual but it is long and along the wya there is a cross which says " RIP COOKIE" .A little disconcerting when my nickname is cookie.First saw the sign last year whenI rode with the Chevron group in Winter and the dips in the valley were cold and foggy as we wound our way through the forest roads in Araluen.It is both eeire and strangely peaceful.

We grouped again at the turn off to Canning Dam road , the road I took 2 weeks ago on my 10 hour ride.But on this occasion I did not have to ride back to Albany Highway.

Canning dams Road is an undulating road that goes pass the Canning Dam and then on to Araluen , a large Public Park .We had a roller coaster ride and I got to my all time fastest speed downhill at 75kph. It was still warming up so it was great riding weather. There was a puncture along the way and I waited at the end of the turn off to Canning Mills Road .We then rode to Kalamunda where we had coffee and cakes at the Best French Patisserie in Perth.I had a coke and a petit baguette .Just needed the sugar.My computer failed at Kalamunda and I used MapMYTri to work out that I would have done about 120km all up by the time I got back.

After the break , it was hard getting back on the saddle and it was hot.We rode down the zigzag and I should have taken a picture , but the best view of Perth is from the top of Zig Zag .It was a cloudless and clear day with the Perth Skyline 39km away.

We cycled down the zigzag which is a narrow road previously the route of a train line to Kalamunda. from there it was a flat ride to guildford and then on the the cyclepath at Bayswater where I rode home and the Chevron group made their way back to the Narrows Bridge.

I felt very good and no soreness in the legs which was a significant change .It was a good workout , the real test is Sundays race and how my legs will hold up.



View of Perth from the top of the Zig-Zag , Kalamunda

The Year of the Ox

Children dressed in tiger costumes perform during the opening of Longtan Temple Fair on the Lunar New Year Eve in Beijing. Photo: AP (from sydney Morning Herald)



The week has picked up and on Thursday I rode to work again getting up extra early heading out at 5 am and meeting up with Tony at Subi before going round to freemantle .Keith was supposed to join us but wasn't able to make it.The ride was not fast but I think with the wind it was a hard honest ride.I got to work at about 720am and did approximately 2over hours with about 55km on the speedo.

In the evening I rode home via the gymand did a 30 minute core work out .I clocked about 72 km for the day.

On Friday morning I was at the pool early and rode down for the first time.We did a warmup of 700 m mainly free with some 25m breast and backstrokes.The 200m x 9 set but I only managed 8 and then a cooldown .I realised that the reason I really swim at one pace is that my strok is not really efficient and probably my hand is pushing down more than back and that is causing my legs to drag as my head /upper body is pushed upwards so the faster i try to go the more drag I create.The trick is correcting it which isn't that easy but something to focus on.

It was a good workout and I did 2.7km then rode to work and back home after work adding another 28 km .

Saturday is Chinese New Year Eve and the year of the Ox ends and the year of the Tiger Begins.

From the Chinese Zodiac website (http://www.yearofthetiger.net/);

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, which commences on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011. The Tiger is the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, and it is a sign of bravery. This courageous and fiery fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the sign that keeps away the three main tragedies of a household. These are fire, thieves and ghosts.

Tigers are physically powerful, gracious, independent and brave, they are extremely bold animals. They are friendly and loving but can also selfish and short tempered. Tigers seek attention and power; frequently they are envious in a relation. Tigers live dangerously which often leads to trouble.


So as the year of the OX ends , I will celebrate the start of the year of the Tiger with a hills ride and a Triathlon race on Sunday and hopefully it turns out to be a year of some dangerous but courageous experiences.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As always my week starts really slow as I struggle on Mondays .I feel a little lost without a programme and any specific race to train for . Iam getting a little to blase about the Busselton half!

3. blase - nonchalantly unconcerned; "a blase attitude about housecleaning"
unconcerned - lacking in interest or care or feeling; "the average American...is unconcerned that his or her plight is the result of a complex of personal and economic and governmental actions...beyond the normal citizen's comprehension and control"; "blithely unconcerned about his friend's plight"


I skipped swimmimg and feel really guilty as I have really avoided the one aspect of training i should be focussing on. I just have to knuckle down to doing the yards as much as the gains are small but worthy .

Had a bit of a lecture from him today as well and I know he is right .I have 10 and a half months to just get my swimmimg up to a decent level.

I have promised myself I will maintain the swimmimg sessions above all else. I did a 50 minute session on the threadmill with a 30 second fast as I can run x 10 and that was at 15kph on a 1% incline and a minutes rest inbetween with a warm up and cooldown run.I managed to maintain a 90+ spm for the warm up and cooldown and ran at over 96 for the sprints. it seems to be hard but its coming along slowly.

tuesday , 9 February , I did manage to get up early and meet the group at Nedlands .Ross and the others had raced the perth Criterium series , a bunch of triathletes taking on the purist and did vety well.Top 10 placings in all the races , I believe.I would have liked to have watched but time is a factor.

Anyway Tuesdays rides tend to be hard and this one was no different.I started off with James and John and Tenique.It was hard from the start and I was struggling to just hand on and trying my best to take my turn .I lasted a lap before I resigned myself to just hanging on and then taking the odd turn in front . We were averaging the high 30s and it was hard just holding onto the front cyclist . Jason and Stuart were soon in the group and they were just a couple of notches faster than us so the speed just got faster. I recall climbing a slight incline with stuart just easing a way and me huffing and puffing and wheezing myself to death just staying on his back wheel . I was clocking 37kph just before the crest. We finished the hour session and I was dead tired.my legs were history. My speedo showed an average of 35kph that included my lesurely ride out to Nedlands so I would have been averaging alot more than that. It was a good ride and I have to build on that to be able to take my turn in front.

Wednesday , 10 February. Skipped swimming in the morning as I was just too tired. I ran a 50 min leg with 10 x 1 min all out sprints and a 1 minute jog between. It was hard keeping the cadence above 90 in the jog but was easy for the sprints. Spoke to Ross at swimming. Iwas intending on swimming at 6.30 but finished the run late and I was just too tired. I overtrained last uear and it really just doesn't work ...I don't get faster just lots slower.

Had the lecture about swimming . Well there just isn't enough hours in the day.

The only other aspect of the week which was troubling was hearing about Enrico's mishap (http://lead2tri.blogspot.com/ ) with the taxi after a 230km ride.Getting hit by a taxi in Singapore , just really puts everything in perspective.He is Ok but I can't help mulling over how dangerous being on the road can be. My 10 hour ride alone in the hills could have been disastrous .I try and avoid riding at busy times but there are a lot of really irresponsible drivers. Iam just glad he is well. Bikes can be replaced , people can't.It shouldn't stop all of us getting out there .

Finally ,I have attached a really good clip of the Northbridge race in the Perth Criterium 2010.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Meditation , Focus and Dreams

The training week was fairly light .

On Tuesday while everyone was doing transitions , I rode around Nedlands at an easy pace with Lajos ,JL ,Ben and Rod . That evening I skipped the workout at the gym to watch Bicycle dreams.

Wednesday turned out to be a rest day as I just slept in and worked late. Life just can't be planned with precision ? Thursday turned out to be a mega training day as I rode from home to Tony's and then round the river via Freo , Applecross and Mt Henry before heading to work .A total of 60kms and then home via the gym .I did approximately 76 km .I then did 40 minutes of core work in the gym and cycled home .It was a massive training effort .I slept in on Friday morning and did my swim session in the evening. We did a few drills and a few 100 and 50 m sprints. A total of 2.3 km.

On Saturday I decided to ride North to Two rocks a regular ride for the Club and as expected caught up with the few who were riding , at the McDonalds Joondalup. I did an easy 1.5hrs and then a harder 1.5 hrs .Just short of 90km .The weather was a lot cooler and the wind seemed favourable for most of the ride so it wasn't too bad. Had coffee and a good chat with everyone before riding home which was a further 24km . I ran off the bike for 32 minutes.The first 15 minutes I was able to keep my cadence above 92 and close to 96 but the return run was harder and I struggled with the cadence and I think I was just hungry.

I have read a few articles including Coach Troys blog about Training and racing in your 20s v 40s .He makes lots of sense but as triathletes it is difficult to accept limits . I do find it harder to recover from a hard session and I think the lack of a defined programme has been good.

Another interesting comment made in his blog:
In my audio CD I produced in 2004 called IRON FOCUS, I made a comment that people have told me resonates with them... "'Triathlon' is what you do, it's not what you are... it doesn't define you as a person." You've gotta maintain that balance.


Again so true but can I see the wood from the trees.

Having said that I do find the training both mental and physical .It is my form of meditation . There is just you running , swimming or cycling.Nothing else.It is the only time I can hear my self think , my heart beat and my breath .It is the only time I am in nature. I actually hear natures sounds ,like this morning ,the Galahs squawking away as they flew around .All else is immaterial.I am in that moment ...focused.

Lastly I read a number of articles and websites on endurance cycling including a ride from Perth to Albany organised by the Audax Club.The club also sanctions 24 Hour rides by riders or group of riders .The current record is 605km in the 24 hours.

The Audax website:http://www.audax.org.au/public/


I wonder if I can get anyone interested in a 24 hour ride?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Race Continues



Rod ...one cyclist back

The Dynamic duo are still in the race. Everytime I think I have it tough I just have to think of a 12000km race in Africa.

This is what you call living the dream ....

Hey Gang

We are in Khartoum, Sudan. You may not realise but Sudan is a dry country - no alcohol. So you all may be surprised that Rod had his first drink of the tour in Sudan. After Khartoum there are seven solid (dirt & hills) days of riding before the next rest day in Ethiopia. We have been told that the internet is questionable in Ethiopia so do not panic if it takes awhile to hear from us again.

Jan 31 - 139k, 4:21. Rode from Dongola to Dead Camel Camp. Yes, the camp had three dead and dried out camels in it. The race today was fairly uneventful, Gizzy and Juliana rode together while the fast boys put some time on us. It is fricking dry and not a plant anywhere - just sand.

Feb 1 - 144k, 4:12. Rode to another desert camp. The heat was oppressive today, the group all stopped together at a roadside shop for a "cola". The air actually hurts which is weird because it is not crazy hot only in the low 40'sC - maybe it is the hot sand hitting the flesh. While the group was in camp, huddle in the only shade for miles, a local rolled up in his nice Toyota Landcruiser and chated away with us. Invitied us all to his place in Khartoum for cofee, I gave him and his posseysome water. The girls race went unchanged but I have put some time into Gilles and Dan S. has put time into both Stewart and myself.

Feb 2 - 147k, 3:56. Rode to another desert camp near a check point. The check point meant we could all get some "cola" but the camp itself was sandy, windy and hot. Rod rode sick today, breakfast did not agree with him so there was some puking - fun times. Again the girls rode together so not much change there - it is worth noting that the timeing system is only tracking the minutes so it is possible for two rides to ride together - clock a time of 3:56:05 and 3:55:59 - resulting in one riding gaining a minute. I believe this may have happened over the last few days with Gizzy and Juliana. So Gizzy is just 1 mintue behind Juliana. There is sand everywhere. Also, if you are ever in a desert sand and you take "the shovel for a walk" (toilet time), unless you walk for 5km the camp can still see you and if you face away from the camp they camp see your ass. Proper etiquette is either walk 10km away from camp or face camp while squatting so that if someone accidently glances up they see you grunting face not your barking butt.

Feb 3 - Happy Birthday Justine. 20k TT, then 46k road race, then 40k neutral section into and through Khartoum. The time trial was ok - hard but ok. The times to be posted are off but it does not matter because the time to lunch was the time that counts for the full tour. Rod did 20k in 31:59 and Juliana did 33:28. Ok crew before you go off the hook with the great times we have been posted the last couple of days, you have got to now we have had a crazy tailwind since Dongola.

So, Juliana has won this section for the women - yah!! Rod is in fifth overall - yah! We are both starting to feel the fatigue building - tired and hungry all the time, Rod's mood is not great and we (like most of the camp) are fighting a cold. Starting tomorrow we will change our riding to become much easier and let Gizzy and the other racers go. If we feel like this when the hills start it'll be bad. Oh ya, I was told what one of the climbs was like: 6-7% for 22km.

Juliana's tendonitis fine gone - the seat was too high. Both of our guts are fine - at the moment. We just have a cold, nothing to worry about.

Rod and Juliana

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bicycle dreams



Today after work and my morning bike ride , the group I ride with on Tuesdays gathered to watch Bicycle dreams.I won't spoil it for those who have not seen it but it is worth watching if you are an endurance junkie.

Nothing is tough in conparison to riding for 12 days with minimal sleep trying to cover 3000 miles.That in a nutshell is the Race Across America ( RAAMS )

http://www.2010raamblog.com/2010/02/movie-review-bicycle-dreams.html

Here is a summary of the film from another cyclist blog : RAAMblings - Sandy's RAAM Blog: Movie Review - Bicycle Dreams

I enjoyed the film , the company and the enduring spirit of challenging ones mental and physical endurance. It is humbling . I will never see my long rides in quite the same context after watching this film.

Training has started with swimming resuming on monday and I did a 2.3km session of drills . I then ran in the evening for 50 minutes trying to maintain a 96spm .the wind was howling along the river but I managed to maintain the stride rate above 92 atleast.

Tuesday turned out to be an easy day with a casual ride around Nedlands doing loops while the rest practised their transitions.

Needed the break I think.