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Triathlon Blog

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Feedback to this page is welcome and comments on blog entries can be sent to triathlonshots@hotmail.com .

Booked myself an entry in the January 2008 'Challenge Wanaka', which is a big part of the inspiration for the entries.

Update, am now booked for 'Challenge Wanaka' 2009(completed so have some new challenges lined up).

Races locked in for me now are 'Challenge Roth' in July, ITU world age group champs in Septmber and 'Challenge Wanaka' half in January 2010.

Challenge Roth 2013 not completed due to illness. Race report below and this blog restarted after a 2 year hiatus.

 

At the present time it is a blog of what I find so don't really want people to take it as advice, but more some ideas to consider.

 

 

 

 

Runkeeper.com swim updates to come !

July 30th 2014

 

I am going to put a few of the swims myself and my brother-in-law did in the past month. The best of all was the full length of Lake Buttermere return. Rydal water and lake Grassmrer were also nice.

And thanks to this websites most recent sponsor, 'Loxley Sports'. Sponsors always helps with the motivation to keep this site updated.

 

 

 

 

Back after a lengthy break ; Challenge Roth 2013 race report.

July 17th 2013

Well I didn't finish. This is what I wrote via email to a few people following the live results on raceday :

I had a flu with swollen sore throat for 4 days before the race and it was still there on race morning.  Because I travelled so far and the course is nice I still wanted to do the swim and try and enjoy the ride. Apart from the last 20kms of the bike when I was quite tired it was alright. I am sure I tired more early on the bike because I still had this flu. When I finished the bike my throat didn't feel sore but I couldn't speak, so not completely healthy...  
I wouldn't have started if it was in my home country race Challenge Wanaka because I would just do it the next year. 

And below is a photo with 10kms left on the bike taken by my great host family,

I look fine in the photo above, but I had lost my voice (surprisingly it wasn't due to talking, I never talked the entire 180kms) by this stage so I figured my sore throat wasn't right. I enjoyed the swim, only feeling a small tickle in my throat, and went just under 68mins. This was good for me considering my swim training has averaged one swim a week for the past year or so.

Well I was looking forward to writing of a sucessfully completed race but it wasn't to be. I completed Roth in 2009 so I didn't feel compelled to finish at any cost (to my health).

It was perfect no wind blue sky conditions on raceday from start to finish, but it did sit around 30 degrees celsius for alot of the day and with a late 7.40am start, I ended up catching more than enough sun on the 6hrs and 18mins I was on the bike. I applied a pretty good amount of suntan lotion before and after the swim, but managed to miss some bits on my back alongside where the tri-suit is cut out, resulting in a bit of sunburn. A bit more flexibility would have helped or bringing along my partner in future to help apply the lotion will help. I did get some slightly uncomfortable stomach cramps about 2/3's of the way into the bike, but I just started drinking a bit more water and they went away. I used all my own electrolytes pre mixed in 3 bottles before the race and I would do that again next time for any 180km ride (some of teh bottles were more concentrated so I washed this down with water collected at the aid stations on the course. To be honest I was quite satisfied to finish the bike course with an active flu and 'touch wood' it hasn't caused any long term health affects. I did take it quite easy on raceday, but with all that said I don't recommend racing when you are unwell. I was working on the theory that the worst of the flu was over, but that wasn't quite right and as I write now 4 days later it is still about the same.

I was quite happy with my minimalist build up, which included at least one 2.5hr ride a week and a couple of 3.5-4.5hr rides in the months before. I also did at least one 30-45min indoor bike ride every week. Running was a bit limited in the preceding couple of months before raceday but I had one 2.5hr run about 2 weeks before raceday which went well. The previous build up race was Challenge wanaka half in mid January 2013 which I finished.

But where things are going wrong for me have been bad sleep patterns due to unusual work rosters and working in with my newborn boy who is now 9 months. This was the worst work roster I have ever had the prior 6 months to this break and it wasn't really avoidable unless I left my job (things are however looking better regarding rosters for the same time next year). Bad sleeping due to a young baby is possible to work around, with one solution being to sleep separately from your partner/baby.

Other areas where I have been going astray is drinking a bit too much wine, which has resulted in some weight gain (93.1kgs on the eve of Roth raceday) and also my hobby of buying old stamps on ebay (which started about 2 years ago and which I have been spending a bit too much time on). With that said however I can say I haven't had a cold or flu for a good year so it was rather unfortunate timing to get sick days out from raceday. I have only had a couple of alcoholic drinks in the 4 weeks before raceday, which was more sensible. I write about these areas where things are going a bit astray so I can address them, and hopefully discuss improvement in new blog entries above.

Even though it was a 'did not finish' I will still discuss some of my build up below.

Firstly I did have some rather bad luck regarding timing of bike parts breaking down, but will go into this in the next blog entry below. On my birthday June 16th, about 36hrs after arriving in the Lakes District of the UK from New Zealand, I fronted up to a Derwent water 3.8km lake swim race and finished it in just under 70mins. I swam quite hard and kicked more than in a triathlon and it was perfect training build up for Roth a month later. And luckilly I was in good company for the rest of the week as a 'brother in law' was into open water swimming, so we swam across 2 more of the Lakes Districts lakes as shown in the photos below,

Lake Grassmere swim completed.

 

Lake Windermere return crossing completed. However I can't recommend this as we were advised afterwards not to swim across this lake due to all the tourist boats.

 

 

 

 

More on a series of bike issues in the weeks prior to Challenge Roth 2013.

Written on July 17th 2013, after the race.

I didn't start writing this blog again until after Challenge Roth as trying to focus on doing rather than talking. I also had plenty to do in the weeks preceding the race due to some serious bike part failures, made worse by the fact I was travelling from my home base in NZ to the UK and onto Germany. It started with the first bike breakdown which occured one day before I flew out of NZ for the UK.

There is a series of bike breakages outlined below which all showed up in the few weeks before the race, but I must quantify the situation first so as not to defame the blue bike brand. I bought the bike frame from a USA based relative in 2007 who was a pro triathlete at the time. He had used the bike for a couple of years and had put on new bike parts such as the gears and brakes. So by 2013, this bike has done a few kms and is also about 8 years old.

The first issue was the brazed on front derailleur mount breaking rendering the bike unusable as illustrated in the photo below:

The break was at either end of the aluminium. This photo was taken as I was halfway through cutting off the defective part with a disc grinder. The solution I come up with was to buy a part made for another bike that used replaceable parts for this mount, and then to rivet it onto the bike frame. The first step however was to flatten off the damaged brazed on mount. I did manage to flatten it off without too much trouble and then riveted on the new part. I used the largest rivets I could get hold of as they needed to fill the large pre-drilled holes in the new mount (bought from plant-X bikes). Two rivets were used, but I did try to put another small one in centrally, however the new mount was made of hardened steel making it incredibly hard to drill an extra hole. As it turned out, just two rivets both with washers was effective and it held together with no issues on raceday.

I did devise the whole plan to fix it, but was fortunate that my partners family in the UK had a neighbour who makes helicopters for a hobby, so he had the right tools and helped out with the grinding and fixing the new mount.

So here below is the riveted on mount with the front derailleur attached :

This image could be better, but to explain it the new mount is the black piece and a golden coloured washer can be made out with a rivet just visible holding it in place. I will take another photo and post it on here at a later date with the front derailleur removed so that the newly riveted mount is more obvious. So that was the first issue solved, an issue the bike shops wouldn't touch.

 

The next bike issue was late on the day before I flew out for Germany (the Wednesday before Sunday raceday) and in the last 5mins of a 50min ride. The issue was a the rear gear derailleur cable splitting and is shown in the next photo below :

Someone had put a cable tie around the cables just below the handle bars to hold them together which had caused a rub point weakening the protective plastic wire shell around the central cable.

So my first job on arrival in Nurenberg was to get in a taxi and head to a bike shop I had preselected on google the night before. I didn't have any time left the day before I flew out so I started to remove the defective cable myself. I released the rear derailleur gear leaver at the end of the aerobars and this also proved to be worn completely needing immediate replacement. I have some spare gear leavers at home in NZ, but not with me so I had to buy a new set of these also. Fortunately they had a spare set from an old bike in the shop and used these to replace the worn/corroded one. Below is a copy of theh bill for the bike repair work that was done for me in Nurenberg on the Friday before the race:

The biggets part of the 200euro bill is the durace 9-1 set at the bottom of the invoice 84.95euros.

And if that isn't enough, when I got my bike back from the Nurenberg bike shop they had circled with a marker pen a hairline crack in the weld of the frames crank area. they said it would be ok for Roth, but that the frame was passed its use by date. I rubbed the marker pen out so it wasn't highlighted for the bike check in as it may have drawn attention to this developing defect in the frame.

 

But there was still one more race halting moment to come for me and this was related to the Xentis wheel set shown in the photo taken on raceday (a few photos above). An official come up to me about 100meters before the check in and told me the Xentis wheels were forbidden and that I could not race on them and that the official at the check in would say the same. He went on to say they had been forbidden (vorboten in German) since one year for use in Challenge Roth. He then asked me if I bought a spare set and I said no. He had the blue official t-shirt and the officials identification card around his neck. I was a bit concerned about this but am aware there are alot of volunteer officials so wasn't convinced this guy knew what he was on about. Fortunately he was wrong, but it was rather unpleasant having this guy approach me with with this miscontrued ruling information..

Well that is enough for now.

I am using new computers with new versions of dreamweaver and have managed to wipe out my old blog and a lot more below, but it is still on another computer so I will retrieve it and put it all back up in a few weeks when I arrive back in NZ. This same issue also caused me to loose some results and photos I had recently put up on the news/results page of this website, so will try and retrieve them later also.

 

 

 

 

Hello from Wanaka.

July 11th 2011

Just to prove I am still keeping fit I put this image in of some 'wind trainer' action out the front of my current residence. And still getting use out of my old bike which you may recognise from the photo a few entries ago racing on it 20 years ago.

Will have to get another photo now as the snow is all around now and it is pretty (cold). So it is off to Frankfurt for me in one week to photograph ironman Germany and then a trip around the UK. Well it will be great to escape 7 weeks of the NZ Winter.

So I had a break from putting entries in this blog and the main reason is that things have been pretty busy for me. The next 7 weeks will be a good break though or at least that is the plan. Will try and keep this blog updated with some photos of the trip as a diary.

Not really doing any specific training at present, but only feel really good after I have done some sort of exercise (which is not everyday).

S o the good things is what i prefer to talk about. In Wanaka they had a 5 day Winter festival with great talkers and plenty of adventure movies. A talk by Steve Gurney and his freind who climbed Mt Cook recently was really interesting. The main interest was that Steve's friend did it the old fashioned way with all the old mountaineering gear from 100 years ago. they also talked through with photos another recreated adventure from 100 years ago which went from the West coast to the East coast of NZ. It was real typical pioneering type adventure which is something I am proud of as it does seem to be a big part of kiwi heritage. Will write more soon....

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life threatening near miss on the bike an hour ago.

March 7th 2011

Going down a tree shaded hill coming into Wanaka from Glendu Bay (NZ). Straight road and car crosses over in front of me. I did have my head down for a split second, one arm on aero bars and one on a brake (i think?). Had time to slow a bit by braking hard and swerve to the otherside of the road. The car was completely side on in my lane as I swerved over to its original position (lucky nothing was coming behind it) . Just prior was thinking of the dangers, even thinking of some other triathletes who have been badly injured on the bike so was looking out a bit for people pulling out. Then wamo a car turns in front of me (to a lakeside pull in area). Once I had regathered myself and counting my blessings I turned round and went back to see them(the car). It was gone. I wasn't angry, just wanted to ask one question and that was if they hadn't seen me (am pretty sure that was the case as it was a sunny day so under the trees I would be hard to see) .
Got home and and my friend pointed out her black kit maybe hard to see. Looked at my own and it is a black/grey tri-suit. First time wearing that kit on a training ride. Will write more later. I am fine and will be even more vigilent.
Reason to write here is to warn others of the dangers out there. Have been discussing with others since this occurred about 'near misses' as there may still be some dangers I haven't considered.

By the way I was aware of the dangers of what this car did as it is my current favourite swim spot. There is a safer entrance about 100m before this one and I choose to use it when I drive in there always. sighhhhhhhh....... happy to be alive..... and I don't think it will be the first or last issue at this entrance off the main road.

Am thinking to get a mountain bike and do my training off road, mindyou am picking there will still be a few obstacles where the mountain bike goes.

G.

 

 

 

 

 

Christchurch earthquake.

Christchurch, New Zealand - February 22nd, 2011

Condolences to all those affected. I am in the South of the New Zealand, an area where pretty much everyone has some contacts in the Christchurch region. There is a strong triathlon community based in Christchurch which will pull through for sure.

 

 

 

 

Challenge Wanaka and swimming in rough water.

February 1st 2011

 

Its not that bad. Cntact me if you need a swimmer for your team next year.

Challange Wanaka 2011 was more challenging than usual due to strong gusty winds all day long. I managed to get a few photos of the day which can be seen by clicking here or on the photo above.

I was running a tent at the 3 day Challenge Wanaka event expo with a cousin who does a sports magazine in NZ called VO2max and it went well. Well it kept us both pretty busy and it was good selling some of the triathlon clothes that had been sitting around a while. But the whole thing kept me pretty busy and getting good photos was tricky for me. Have been too busy recently and to give an idea of that, I left work after 2am and drove for 3hrs to get to Wanaka the day before the expo started. Went to bed but didn't sleep(as it was cold) and got up at 8.30am. Enough about me anyway as things are improving.

Back to triathlon, and specifically swimming in rough conditions. I did a half iron-distance race at Lake Hayes a few years back in similar conditions and it went well. Anyway really good swimmers who are fit won't be slowed down much by tough conditions. One guy(Ross) in a team did the 3.8km in 48mins this year I am told(will have to check that). Quite possible anyway as know he is a champion swimmer and the top 3 individual full day competitors went 52mins. My first tips are to breath away from the waves and tuck in behind groups where possible to save energy.

I am lucky enough to be spending quite a bit of time in Wanaka recently and was swimming in similiar conditions today. There was some quite strong current due to the wind and some were pushing me along and others were holding me back. When you are swimming into a current you need to swim as well as you can(and as strong as you can) otherwise you won't make much ground and could even stay stationary. Swimming with waves behind you is a skill also and you can even let the waves pull you along if you know what you are doing (like the Australian ' kellogs ironman' athletes who do those fast swim, sea ski/kayak run events). I also change my stroke a little bit(shortening it a little bit sometimes) and if the cuurent is sideway you may want to compensate by swimming into it a little bit so you end up swimming in a straight line. Someone else will know more about it than me, but otherwise practise in those conditions yourself and take note. Basically you are best to train on the course to know it well and even train at the time the race starts so you are ready for the sun to be in your eyes for example. I aim for a marker which is the highest point on the horizon and that works well for navigation in rough conditions. That is one reason to swim around the course a few times, that is so you know all the horizon markers. Go hard and enjoy.

Oh yeah contact me if you are after a team swimmer next year. I will trying a few contacts to do that as part of a team in 2012 for sure..

 

 

 

 

Bringing the New Year in with a great local sprint triathlon.

Dunstan sprint triathlon, Cromwell, N.Z - January 2nd 2011

 

There are always a few brave(crazy?) souls who do the roughly 400m swim without a wetsuit. I went to get mine the night before and realised it was at my parents home which is 30mins drive away, so a no wetsuit swim it would be. The water was slightly warmer than previous years and it was still not more than 16degrees celcius. I enjoyed the swim having done quite a few swims in previous weeks but was back further than usual after it.

 

 

Note the runners heading out while some of us were just coming in from the ride.

The 22km bike seemed to be better than the swim considering the limited number of cycle training recently. Well had to do it as have been living in the same town(Cromwell) as it is held for the past 9months. Note to self is to get some orange tinted shades(sun glasses) again for those overcast days.

 

 

 

And here is part of the 5km run course. The whole race is pretty flat but there is usually a headwind for the first half of the bike course. there was also a duathlon and kayak multisport race run at the same time.

In keeping with with the local triathlon scene a junior olympic champion won this years event(junior Aaron Barclay in 55mins 54sec). There is always a young local guy or women winning the local races who has placed or won an ITU event or such like in the previous year. Results link here :

http://www.cromwell.org.nz/raceresults.asp

Aaron Barclay(above photo) is doing the swim as part of a team at this years Challenge Wanaka with last years winner Richard Ussher doing the bike. The Challenge organisers offered a a free run position as part of the team for the person who posted the best story why they deserve it on the challenge facebook website.

I went swimming just yesterday in Wanaka and it was cooler than usual due to alot of rain the night before. Well there were a few warm patches but the only issue I had was all the boaties(which will drop off after next weekend when everyone is back to work). Well the boaties could be avoided if one swims very early in the day.

Well I lost a few posts above due to computer error but most of my blog is still here in the links below.

This is a link to my blog from 2010

This is a link to the rest of my blog from 2007

 

Mens and Womans tri-suits are available for purchase on this site at the clothing link on this page or by clicking on the images below.

 

-mens

 

Womans-

 

 

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