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Monday, 28 September 2009


Steve Birtwistle at New Forest Triathlon 2009
I've had a nice rest week and had a great weekend with the family and even managed a nice sociable ride with James G on Sunday, weather was glorious. We headed over the Purbecks over to Lulworth and Durdle Door, and happy to say that legs were in reasonable shape, nice to ride steady and not have to worry about pace and heartrate and all the other things that go with training.
So I have now signed up for a few running events. The Solent Half marathon on 11th October, Sandy Balls Duathlon on 25th October, the AECC Dash Back 10k on 1st November and the Wimborne 10 miler on the 15th November. That's plenty of variety and will help keep it fresh as we head into winter training. Still havingan easy week this week, nothing structured, just whatever I feel like. Bought new running shoes today and a new pair or racers. Still gone with the Asics GT2140s, I tried a few pairs of other shoes on, but can't escape the fact that they feel right on my feet. A new pair of Nike Zoom racers felt lovely on my feet, light and fast. Well, hopefully fast!!
So might go and have a jog off-road towards the end of the week and get out again on the bike at the weekend, and possibly dip my toe in the pool on Thursday, but nice to have no pressure and I am really looking forward to starting the long haul through to Challenge Roth next July!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon 2009 Results

New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon 2009 Race Report

James Gilfillan was going to win, I said it for weeks before. Having run and biked with James a fair bit over the last few weeks I knew he was up for this one. He was going to win, just a simple question of by how much. I did think 10 minutes. I knew once out of the swim if he had a 4 minute lead then that would be game over. He dominated it, every leg, by over a 13 minute margin. Awesome performance!!
As I crossed the line back in 12th place having suffered with cramp for the last 3 miles of a long run leg, 13.45 miles on my Garmin, James was there with the customary 'what time do you call this, I've been here half an hour!!' Yep, thanks for that James! Was really pleased for him, he's had a fantastic season and is just getting stronger and faster.

So, the day started at 4am as usual for these things and all sorted very easy and off to Ellingham Water. Got sorted in transition and was very relaxed, focussed and looking forward to getting out there and giving it some. Water was lovely, air temperature was warm, not a breath of wind and off we went at 7am. I set about trying to find feet but couldn't, so I just knuckled down to solid swim pace, nothing frantic but certainly a hard effort. 2 l;asp of Ellingham water and a slippery slipway out of the water, and it seemed like I'd been swimming along time. In fact, it was a very long time, 36 minutes to be precise. Now I'm no Michael Phelps or Harry Wiltshire! but I swam 29' 12" at Antwerp 70.3 I have been swimming 1' 30" pace for 100s consistently well for a few weeks now and was in good swim form. As it turns out all swim times were 'slow'. Long course, as everyone will tell you. Just mention now that on the results, Transition 1 is added in with the swim time and T2 in with the run. So I got to T1 feeling good, had a good swim(despite time) and took far too long getting suit in the designated bag and then shoes on, helmet and getting bike. Not my normal swift changeover.
Anyway, to the bike. Now I did set off like a loon at Antwerp and did hold it together(apart from when I crashed) but here I thought I'd just ride within myself for the first few miles and feel my way into it. Anwyay, turns out that riding within myself actually was still damned quick! I felt in great shape on the bike, big ringed the climbs, pushed on over the top and felt smooth on the flat bits. Didn't really notice the headwind on the sections going North, and before I knew it I was getting info from some spectators and marshalls(thank you guys) that there were only 7 riders ahead of me. Oooh, that's pretty good going. I caught Nick Buis with about 5 miles to go and then as I got to T2 I saw Will Newbery just going in. One big problem I forgot to mention, I lost a bottle on the bike, don't know where, must have been going over the numerous cattle grids. But I was worried a bit as one aero drinks bottle is not enough juice for a big lad like me.
I hopped off bike, jogged into T2 and got run bag and sat next to Will, who I think was surprised to see me. We were at down next to each other as I emptied my run bag, took off cycling shoes and helmet and tried to stuff them in the bag. Now Richard and Jo Iles have put on a fantastic race, perfect. But Guys, please get some bigger bags. Trying to get aero helmet and shoes into one of them when your brain is not at it's most youthful ain't easy!! So while I was faffing Will got away and I shortly followed.
So to the run. I know this course, having doen the Heartbreak Half back in February with a stinking cold(should not have run) and it's tough. Very tough. But I felt awesome! I was in fantastic shape. I looked at my heartrate, big mistake! I saw 160 and thought, ok this feels very comfortable, I'll hold it here for a while. And that was it I managed to hold it for the rest of the race, no wonder I ran so slow!!! Felt great thought. Nickl Buis went past me after quarter of a mile, and I saw Will up ahead, about 200 yards infront, and that was my second mistake, should have gone with him when I felt good and not play chicken. But Ididn't know what would happen later with the hills and not having enough liquied on board and there being only water on the drinks stations. Sorry, Infinit guys, I'm not liking the drinks! Up to mile 9 my hold on a top 10 position was looking good, but then the cramp kicked in. And the rwest of the run was spent trying to fend it off. With 1 hour 10 of the run done I had done 9.25 miles and thought, ok, if I can up it a bit I can squeeze under 1:40, and I would have taken that. But cramp was no good and still some long hills to do, Sandy Gallop, Heartbreak Hill and the last hill up to the road for the mile run in to the finish. Cramp would not let me push on and I was resigned to just holding on. But I had a smile on my face for the rest of it and I throughly enjoyed it all. Loads of support to the finish. In the end I stuck it out for a 12th place finish with a time of 5 hours and 1 minute. Not that far off where I wanted to be and I was really pleased with how the race went.
Great day, great race, fantastic course, great marshalls. Shall be back next year to swim, bike and run faster! But definitely run faster! With stronger bottle cages!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Pics for now

Steve Birtwistle runningJames Gilfillan runningJames Gilfillan and me in action at the New Forest triathlon.

New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon 2009

James Gilfillan dominated the New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon to win by 12 minutes!!!!! I was 6th off the bike and hung in for a respectable 12th place!! Good day at the office. But oh boy, my legs hurt, that is one tough tough run!!

Results, pics and race report to follow.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Weather Forecast

Wind has dropped, going to be dry and clear. Do I ride with the disc wheel or not? Got 3 hours to decide as have to take bike today and rack it for tomorrow. To be honest on that course I don't think it will buy me any time.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

New Forest

Ok, so 3 days to go. I've just got back in from a solid ride, including the Wareham-Wool 10 mile TT course, which I rode at a good pace and was pleasantly surprised by how quick it was in very difficult and blustery conditions. Thank god I didn;t have the disc on because a few times I was fighting to keep the bike in a straight line! Definitely no disc on Sunday.
So tomorrow is just an easy swim and jog and then Friday easy spin and down to Sandy Balls( ok I still giggle at the name) Campsite to register for Sunday's race, which also include racking the bike at Ellingham Water ski park and droppping run kit off at Sandy Balls. Split transition which is a bit of logistical pain, but it is what it is and I'll just get on with it.
Last race of the season, and I've not really done a great deal of racing this year. And I've not put my training into practice yet. I was there at Antwerp but wet tram lines brought me down in full flight and that put paid to a great finish. But these things happen. Sunday is my chance to put things right and do myself and my coach justice.
Big up to James Gilfillan, he's in great shape and he's gonna be tough to beat. We had coffee today and were discussing the weekend. Both in a positive frame of mind and raring to go!
And what's more, after Sunday I can have 2 weeks rest!!!! Yippeeee!!
Pics and race report to follow as soon as poss.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Training update

Well, just ticking over at the moment, getting through my sessions and doing them well. Bit tired and life is busy as always, but should be able to get to Sunday in good shape.
Here is a link to the website for the New Forest middle distance Tri.
James Gilfillan is looking strong and I don't see anyone getting close to him on Sunday. Once out of the swim, he'll be gone. As for big ol' me, if I give it 100% then I'll be happy.
Nuff said!

Monday, 7 September 2009

School reunion

Well, this was either going to be a disaster or a riot! It was fantastic. Best time I have had for a long ol time! So many happy memories returned and just great to catch up with some people that I had forgotten how much they still mean, even after little contact for the last 20 years!
On the day I still managed a 2 hour bike in the morning and a 10k run. The Blackpool Hilton 10k. My god, the weather!!! Shocking! Almost swept away by the sea! And that is only a mild exaggeration! 40 mins and 8 secs, I'll take that on the day, and ran strong, espeically after a tough 2 hour tempo ride in gale force winds and having driven up from Poole to Blakpool the day before, not getting in til midnight.
Richard Daniels was third, old school friend and great to catch up with him. Richard if you read this, well done, good solid 3rd place there and just a shame we didn't get to have a good natter at night. Usual thing of trying to catch up with everyone! Definitely coming to see you next summer when I'm at Roth.

Back to full on training this week. Swam this morning, bit tired, but ok swim time wise. Will spin on rollers tonight, in need of some bike miles in the legs! But plenty in the schedule for the rest of the week and will get me up for New Forest tri in 2 weeks! Just hope this lousy weather improves!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Catch of the day

Great fun! Me and dad went fly fishing on the River Avon, up near Tomintoul in the Highlands of Scotland and got great reward for our efforts. This fish tired me out as I had biked for the best part of 2 hours and swum for an hour beforehand!!
The fish had merely swum a mere 3000 miles from off the East Coast of Canada and was happily on it's way upstream only to be pulled out by some mad fool resembling something of a fisherman! This time, not on a bike! The fish did go back and will hopefully now be in Loch Avon with her partner. :-)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Quick update

Just got back after 2 weeks away from Blogging! Had a great time in the Highlands of Scotland, some quality swimming, biking, running and fishing! Eating and sleeping(not enough!) And just hanging out with the family and the boys! Pics and write up to follow.
Just building up now for New Forest Middle Distance triathlon on the 20th September. Confident of doing well, and hope that the quality training I have been putting in can continue to bring some good results.
Off for a swim, be back soon!
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