the eTape Caledonia 2015


What a day – the forecast was grim but the weather was grimmer. Registered the day before Saturday and it was pretty niceetape 2015 -2 Went to friends 40min away to stay the night, had a nice meal a glass or two of red and then bed by 10:30am. Alarm at 4:40am shower quick bite then drive back to Pitlochry and the start. etape 2015 -5 a train of cars arriving with bikes to park and this was at 5:45am – the last starts were at 8am. On the bike £2 in my hand to buy a quick coffee. Bumped into 2 friends as my wave was called – they were also starting but are so quick I knew i wouldn’t see them again – and I didn’t until after the finish. Boom off went – the weather was grim and I think that after 10 miles my hands and feet were frozen – and least I wouldn’t feel their complaints of ache although it made trying to drink water or eat quite difficult. Screenshot 2015-05-11 10.14.33 I worked in with a large group and it all went well – the KOM climb split the group and I found myself at the top of the mountain cycling into a 20knot head wind and rain by myself unable to catch the faster group in front.

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a photo of some grimness

Eventually 6 of us got together and worked until we caught back up at the bottom of the climb. (the sticky out bit bottom left on map) then the turn home. 2 abreast down single track roads and everyone cautious in the wet and rain. I had to stow the glasses as I couldn’t see through them which meant that my face was showered by rain spray and grit from the road. Road widen and group relaxes and Bammm the crunch of carbon as 5 or 6 riders fall. I get hemmed in behind – everyone alright apart form bruised egos … but the group is gone and again there are 8 of us playing catch up although the others are bust so just 3 of us taking turns to drag. Get to the last wee hill and kick and look at my time 3h45min – I could break 4 hours I reckon. So pedal harder and realise my right shifter has actually worked loose but my hands have been so cold I hadn’t realised it … this last section has a lot of wee rises so working the gears more with loose shifter …. last corner and finish line in sight. Over the line celebrate ease forward and realise my gps still running 4H01 but did I take it. Get back to car and official eTap text arrives congrats 2015-05-11 10.30.32 Hooray only 1min 40sec slower than last year and that was in good weather. etape 2015 -7the Bike as ever was flawless

A pile of bling
A pile of bling

eTape Caledonia 2014


very rare medal - only 5000 riders have this
very rare medal – only 5000 riders have this

So Chris Boardman was along at the event but I didn’t even know or wouldn’t have probably seen him as I was carrying my bike above my head trying to get into my starting heat past the 5000 so riders who had completely clogged up the road. I started in a heat 1 or 2 behind where I should have. I tore off and it was 40min before I decided that riding with a heart rate above 160bpm would probably ensure that i blew up at some point. I then started working with 3 other riders and making sure I was loading in the carbs ……

map of route
map of route

It was my longest ride ever but i loved it. there was a small sprint section thrown in for fun but i had no hope there as I just pulled off the front of the train as I saw the section start and my legs needed their 1 min recovery time at the back of the train. I also blew a small timed KOM section when my chain dropped off – amateur error DOH

stats from Strava
stats from Strava

I was chuffed at the end having averaged a smudge under 33km/h for the 4 hours it took me and best off all – I beat most of my friends (the doctor did 3h50 incl the time it took the rescue Mavic car to come replace his wives bike after she broke her seat post …) So I have left him off the chart below for being too fit and included Sir Chris Boardman instead who thrashed everyone …..

friends and a certain famous person
friends and a certain famous person

Doing the eTape Pennines one later in the summer which is supposed to be harder … so I better train for that one.

 

Angus half marathon – pants for me


Pants – for once I am first back at the finish line in a half marathon …. Problem is it was to hand my number back in after pulling out after 3 and a bit km’s.
Sitting in the car now waiting for my cousin-in-law to finish I know it was the right decision – another 19km would have probably done damage (I nursed that last km at 4:50 pace) and now as I sit drinking coffee the rain is just pissing down.

It got me thinking a bit about knowing when to quit …. Last weeks duathlon – my calf felt tight but I was nursing it a bit and think the ride between the runs must have helped. Will have to get home tonight and go on the turbo trainer and try get some exercise in today. Our friends we stayed with last night – Tom was heading out for a 70km ride – in retrospect I should have joined him …… Never mind.

Next marathon is a mtb one so time to refocus…. And retrain …..

MTB riding in Orkney


Despite having my road bike and my MTB up in Orkney i knew that roadie stuff would probably be better … Orkney is not known for it’s mtb trails with no dedicated trails like you find further south like Wolftraxx, dalbeatie, kirroughtree, 7 Staines and Selkirk … still Colin my cousin in law was keen for me to bing the mtb up and go for a ride …. here is the ride on ridewithgps

neither steep or speedy

So on Wednesday we headed west into the dark mass of pissing rain that threatened to ruin the ride … luckily the rain stopped after 20 mins. I put the GoPro HD onto a bar mount to test it out for bigger days as well as wearing the chest harness to see how it would look with mtb’ing. have some video footage I will try put together at some point …. bar i think worked better as I am too over the bars with the chest mount meaning most of the time it looks downwards – not great when with other bikes …. The best position is probably going to be around the seat post so you bike gives you a static reference point for scenery and for rider movement on the bike (as well as a bit protected from mud ….)

at the rocks with a nice view

The ride was fine – lots of fields and climbing over walls to get to the top point ….

Colin got two punctures on the ride – a rare dealing for me having run UST tyres since 2001 at least …. rode to the cairn then back across the mixed shale, slate, crazy paving, cairns, peat and bogs. Only 11km and yet took an hour and a half – but think Colin may have died if it was a very quick ride and i was told not to kill him ….

chambered cairn now disappearing into the sea - site of 2nd puncture

Nice to be on the Carver Ti96er again it really is a fantastic bike – it felt so squishy and soft after all the miles i have been doing on the road bike ….

Colin triumphant

Alloa Half Marathon – race report


Woke up at 7am and looked out the window to the most glorious weather … Bright sunshine and hardly any wind. Temp slightly fresh at 4 degrees but bound to warm up.
Had my staple breakfast of raw porridge and banana and picked up Findlay at 8am for the drive to Alloa. We arrived early and had too much time on our hands for parking, registration and in findlays case, plenty of time to regret the curry he had the night before.
Temp was still hovering around 5 degrees but I learnt my lesson running the Jedburgh half marathon when my legs were sweating for most of the run, so shorts were donned but realised I only had a vest which might be a bit chilly. Borrowed findlays spare t shirt. Which was two sizes too big but had my vest on top to keep it snug.

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Course map – showing long straight where the wind was in our face.

This time I remembered to take plasters to tape over my nipples – one of the problems of being born with nipples which seem to come out under the side of my chest … Maybe I was born to breast feed small animals anchored under my armpit hair.
I have only done one run, 7 miles in the sweaty heat of Baghdad where the seam of the vest chafed away at me and I finished that run in agony. LESSON LEARNED.

Back to the run. Organisation at this event was flawless. Good start zone, electronic chips for the shoes, plenty of changing facilities and loos both on the leisure centre and portaloos near the start.

Start was massive – so many people that it took me about a minute to cross the start line. The first 2 km were spent weaving through slower traffic and over eager athletes that had pushed to front of start line. From 3km there was plenty of space to pass for those overtaking and for those being overtaken. The police did a great job of marshalling and the cars were either kept back or their speed was curtailed by the often passing police motor cycle.

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My legs post injury are still not up to speed so I kept my pace quite regular around the 4:30/km. I knew I wasn’t going to get my 1h31 PB in this this race but by the end was very chuffed to get a 1h36m as I was only hoping for sub 1h45

Alloa is a great race and I think I will do it again next year.

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Only one slight problem with the race was my polar HR belt had a slight wobble. I don’t use gel on the belt but think that maybe the wicking nature of the shirt meant I dried up on my chest. Suddenly my HR said it was 97 – if only – I only noticed this after 3 km of bad reading – I was only glancing down at monitor every time the watch auto lapped the km to make sure I was doing alright and not flagging too quickly. I can only think the belt was dry as soon as I shifted it it read accurately again.
Still love the RCX5 though …..