June 21, 2007

Ironman France

Feeling very nervous today. Off tomorrow morning to Nice to subject my body to the most non-alcohol related abuse it's ever had - yes, I'm going to attempt to swim 3.8km, then jump on a bike and ride 180km, and finally put my running shoes on and run a marathon. Any one of these three could be a complete disaster on it's own, and yet nearly 1500 people have decided that that's what they want to do, and I'm one of them.

I've created a page with useful links to the race - Here it is.

The race is on Sunday, starting at 6.30am CET, and finishing no later than 10:30pm. Wish me luck!

(also see my other blog for more details)

Posted by se71 at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2007


[this post is probably only really of interest to me, it's just a diary entry so I remember what I'm up to these days. You have been warned!]

Some of you may know that I spend a lot of my time cycling. I have a folding Brompton bicycle which I ride to the station in the morning, then catch a train, then ride up from Waterloo in London to my office near Bank. With the return journey, I'm covering approximately 15km a day.

Here's a picture of my Brompton folded up on the train Image009

I also cycle at weekends, doing a long ride on a Sunday morning of between 60 and 80 km. And I try my best to fit in 30-60 minutes on a stationary bike midweek too.

Even so, I wasn't sure how I'd cope with a commuting the whole distance to work, cutting out the train completely. Long rides can be quite draining, and I was worried I'd

Yesterday the weather forecast was for a fine day, so I made my preparations and set off from Ascot at 6am in the predawn light. It was a little chilly, but nowhere near freezing. It was very pleasant really to watch the sun come up and the mist on the River Thames outside Chertsey. Traffic was fairly light and I made good time to Kingston and into Richmond Park by about 7.10am. Once out of the park though, and onto the Lower Richmond Road and Putney Bridge, the heavy traffic forced me into a stop-start pattern which endured right to Bank. I'm used to clipless pedals, where your feet are physically attached to your bike and you can get much more power into each stroke. I'm used to having to unclip my left foot at traffic lights to avoid the ignomy of losing balance and falling over into an untidy and painful heap. But I'm not used to doing it quite so much, or so suddenly. And getting my foot firmly clipped back into the pedal again when I'm trying to pull away in front of ferocious motorists is a little intimidating. I managed though, and only whacked my ankle on the pedal painfully once.

I'm very competitive when I get on two wheels, and hate being overtaken by other bikes. I had to remind myself that I shouldn't worry today, as the people passing me probably hadn't cycled 50km over the last two hours and had fresher legs - it didn't always work though, there was no way anyone on a mountain bike was allowed to beat me.

So I made it to the office safely completing almost exactly 60km in 2 hours 25 minutes. When I use the train the same journey takes 1 hour 40 minutes. Of course, then I had to make my way over to my gym for a shower and clothes change. My cold legs and feet went bright red as very welcome hot water splashed over them.

Things to remember for next time - bike lock. I left my bike in our underground carpark, unlocked. It's guarded, but even so I was worried all day. Also, rememeber train pass. I forgot my pass and so any option for going home by rail was out - I'm far too mean to buy a ticket twice.

I didn't actually feel very tired - maybe the stop-start nature of the riding in the last hour allowed me enough rest. I wasn't too worried therefore by the thought of doing the return trip by bike again. But even by leaving at 4:30pm I knew I wouldn't be home in time, and also would be cycling in the dark in the evening rush hour, and for various reasons it was convenient to be picked up by car at 6pm in Staines. It wasn't sunny any more, but still daylight, and off I set.

I am not much of a fan of turning right across traffic, and I also missed an easy left turn outside Richmond so I ended up taking a different route this time. The only time I actually got any speed up was a 2.5 mile stretch of the A308 into Staines. I went right along the Thames embankment, over Putney Bridge and along to Richmond. Through Hanworth and then Feltham and on to Staines. I *hate* traffic lights, and wish I was one of those cyclists who feel free to ignore them.

I completed 40Km in around 90 minutes, making a total of 100km for the day. Once the days are a bit longer, I think with a 5.30am start to get more traffic-free riding, and a bit of work on my routing, I can seriously challenge the train times, and get fit enough for the 180km leg of my Ironman race in June.

Posted by se71 at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2006

Nike RunLondon 2006

Originally uploaded by se71.

Another year, another Nike RunLondon 10K race. Last year, in their "I will run a year" campaign with red T-shirts, I did pretty well and blogged about it here.

This year it was the North vs South, and I choose North which entitled me to a green T-shirt, rather than the South's orange one.

Before you nod off, my time was 44.01, which is over a minute faster than last year. I'm pretty pleased - still heading towards my target of 40. I know, it's an ambitious target.

I was running with my new iPod Nano, and Nike Plus trainers containing a foot pod to tell me how I was doing. Unfortunately, as it was my first time using all these things, I messed up and choose the wrong setting. Instead of being told my time after every kilometer which is what I expected, it told me when it thought I had completed a kilometer. This was particularly useless, as there were signs telling me this anyway, and also, it got it wrong. By the end of the race, my Nano estimated that I had run only 9.6km. (I guess the other explanation is that Nike got it wrong, and hence my fast time. Let's not go there :)

More later on my split times, and for the next few months you can see me crossing the finish line at the RunLondon site.

PS - is it a good thing if the room spins when you stand up, and then your legs hurt so much you can harldy walk?

Posted by se71 at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2006

World Cup Losers

I'm talking about football mainly here, though it's going to be a fairly generic thing. I've suddenly worked out I think one of the reasons why I quite despise football, and a lot of sport in general. Also, I think I've worked out why I actually like watching some other sports.

Football supporters don't really care if their team wins. Looking around Britain right now, you might think I'm mistaken, what with red and white flags flying from every white van and heaving pubs and empty streets when a match is on. But I don't think I'm wrong. You see, football fans really do care about something, they really want the the other team to lose.

Sounds like fancy semantics I know. But if you are English, ask yourself this. When Germany play Sweden - who do you really want to lose. You don't give a damn who wins, you just want Germany to be defeated.

I think football, and all team sports that have fervent supporters, is full of negativity like this. During the winter league games, an Arsenal supporter will scan the results looking for their rivals to lose just as keenly as they look to see their own team's result. And I hate this.

People who know me think that because I don't watch or care about football, or rugby, or motor racing, that I must hate sport in general. This isn't true at all. I'm a keen runner and cyclist, and always have been. I like playing squash and tennis if I get the chance. I've quite recently added swimming to my bow and have competed in triathlons. I've spent quite some time watching all these sports both live and on TV.

What makes individual sports more compelling for me then? Some of it is the lack of jingoistic nationalism. I can watch a great Wimbledon tennis player and appreciate the skill that goes into each shot.I can marvel at how a champion marathon runnner maintains a pace for two hours that I can barely manage for two minutes. I can be inspired by Lance Armstrong powering through yet another Tour De France, and it makes me want to get out there myself and cycle in all weathers.

These sports are about personal achievement, about positive values, and about cheering on great athletes whatever their nationality. Football means pickng a side, and even if they play badly, or unprofessionally, wanting the the other team to lose anyway.

But football is "the beautiful game" isn't it? George Best was a genius, Pele, Bobby Charlton. Inspires kids to play with coats for goalposts. I've only had the misfortune of attending one football match, and it was a disgrace. Fans hurled racist abuse at the black players. They screamed swearwords at their own players for losing the ball. They actually spat at the referee when he walked back to the changing room at half time. Compare that with the Windsor Triathlon recently - 2500 competitors, and many thousands of fans. An atmosphere of togetherness, of wanting everyone to do well. Cheers instead of jeers. I wanted to do well of course, everyone did. But I didn't wish my opponents to crash their bikes, or get heat exhaustion, just to raise my placing a bit.

So if you ask me if I watched the match last night, and I answer with my usual "No, who was playing, and err, was it football, rugby or cricket", I'm thinking of asking a supplementary question - "Who lost?", because I know that's really all you're interested in.

Posted by se71 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2006

Windsor Triathlon 2006

One of my few crossover posts, to let the world at large know that I've competed in, and completed, a full olympic distance triathlon. It was a bright sunny day in Windsor, and warm even at 6:35am when I started. I finished 2 hours and 47 minutes and 55 seconds later.

I'll stick loads of links and stats here soon.

Posted by se71 at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005

Nike RunLondon 2005 Picture

Nike RunLondon 2005 Picture
Originally uploaded by se71.
I don't usually blog my sport related stuff on here, that's all on another site, as it's really very tedious usually.

However, this is quite interesting.

I competed on Sunday against a crowd of ~30,000 people, including Paula Radcliff, in the Nike 10K RunLondon race. The track in Hyde Park loops around a bit, and I actually saw Paula running towards me at that point (she would have been ~2Km ahead of me at that point)

The official result, which tallies with my own timing, was 45m 07s, which is nearly four minutes faster than last year, and which I'm really pleased with. I know I can go faster too, so I'm aiming to beat it again next year.

Placing 1850 in a race may not sound like much, but that means more than 28,000 people were slower than me, and that sounds much better :-)

Update: A 5K run on 25/11/05, time 22:04.

Update: Another 5K run on 29/01/06, time 21:45.

Posted by se71 at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2005


I learnt to juggle with three balls a few years back. It’s not too hard really and I can do a few tricks like throwing a ball over my shoulder and catching it behind my back. It did take hours of patient practice, and I watched TV whilst doing it. Actually, it was around the time that “Star Trek – The Next Generation” started on TV, and so juggling and that program are linked in my mind.

But though I spent many hours trying, three clubs or four balls was beyond me. Maybe it’s time to set a new goal for this!

Posted by se71 at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack