Sunday, 24 March 2013

Becoming a Marathon Racer

After some neglect I thought I would pipe up on this blog again. 

From cycling to triathlon and now to running the pursuit of something fast continues to burn even as the years keep clicking on.

Since the last post I gave the Marathon a whirl and pulled off a knock on the door performance with a 2.26. Lots of people gave me props for this but I was sure that despite the advancing years I could go a chunk quicker. London was actually a pretty bad race - I hadn't flowed properly at all and the average mileage in the six months leading up to the event was under 45.. hardly business time!

So to 2013 and the London Marathon approaches again and this year I feel like I am becoming a real runner. The legs have slimmed away from the cycling pistons and more into thinly honed pins. I have moved my running style away from the heel strike clatter toward a forefoot patter and as such the miles have ticked up. Still not up to the level they could be the odd 70 mile week and even an 80 but small steps are best to keep the body going.

From Kentish Town the pavements are pounded almost day in day out and often both morning and night. It can be a solitary toil but when the legs come on song and you're tempoing in light shoes around the park at under 5minutes a mile there is a great feeling of payback. 

So 4 weeks out from London things are looking good. There has been no performance which shows the shape I believe I am in but maybe that is no bad thing. The heart rate is as low as 32, 22 mile long runs with wind up seem doable and the body is bouncing back faster than ever.

So London aim is sub 2.20 which I think is genuinely in range and then a summer of fast track work and core strength before higher mileage and maybe a whirl at getting toward the Commonwealth qualification mark of 2.17  at The Frankfurt Marathon.

It feels like I am only just becoming a proper runner with a year and a half of training in the legs so who knows it could be possible?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

All Happening

It's all happening just not on this blog.. updates to follow:

- Trained on Lundy Island and Tinos Greece.
- Got 7th in XTERRA Sardinia with bike probs
- Raced IRONMAN 70.3 as a Pro in Antwerp and Zurich - Did respectably..
- Worked damn hard
- Ran a sneeky 30.27 10km
- Moved to London with Super Sooz.
- Raced the Big Dog and regained the title..
- Decided to chill and err.. go for Olympic B Standard qualifying time for the Marathon of 2.18.
- Felt happy about life
- Ate far too many cakes and chocolate bars.

Monday, 23 May 2011

2nd at the Gorrick 100

... strong look

2009 was a good year for me. I had entered an early season 24 in the US with fellow Cannondale Racing rider Ant White and it had forced my hand – I trained through the winter for the first time. The 24 had proved to be my best ever and the Gorrick 100 acted as positive fall-out. About perfect time after Old Pueblo for recovery I had lined up and lucked out with a warmish field. About five and a half hours later I had my niece and nephew in my arms and I returned to Brighton armed with the big silver tray and a quality night out on the agenda. Cue 2010 and the field was stronger but so was I. On Lap 3 I took the lead and felt I had it in hand .. but the weather changed and so did my brakes… they died. The evening however turned out to be a belter. Legend Rory Hitchins had ridden out the storm to take home the tray.. come 10pm it was being used as an impromptu Tequila platter from which we were toasting his class.

So to now. The Gorrick 100 2011. It has been a funny winter. Big decisions, great times and about 6 hours of biking a week. Mmm. The Gorrick would act as a good long ride to bank in the legs and Swinley’s singletrack would be dry, fun and Scalpel suited.

The week leading in showed me where I was at.  After patchy unstructured training I visited old coach Garry Palmer for a lab test: the result he was immediately re-hired! Fairly good FTP at over 5W per KG but shonky top end.. and 3KG over weight; he threw me straight into rough interval sets. Coupled with the physiological marker I took delivery of the new mountain bike for the season; A Scalpel 1…

After eight years on a hard tail and for the last rolling the big wheels – this was going to be different. I took it to Stanmer park for a hot lap and immediately scythed a minute off my fastest time. It’s lightweight and telepathic handling a revelation..

So finally to the Gorrick. A little warm up on the first climb and with interval hang-over the legs felt like they would be pushing squares from the outset. Next up a quick perusal of the starting line-up. Elite young gun Phil Lenney – that’ll be a good battle.. and Ben Thomas .. one of the UK’s hottest XC and Marathon riders… a shoeing was going to be the outcome.

Off the line and it was a group of five which shook out after ten minutes to Ben, Phil and me. The singletrack was great, the pace manageable and there was a bit of chit chat. Maybe I am just antisocial but I like a race to be just that and not a ride and come lap two my legs had freed up a little and I fancied a dig. The Scalpel got me carried away and I moved clear. Bad move! Last year I had week after week of 15 hours in the legs.. this year not so. The triathlon aims are a way off and as such a heart rate I can usually sustain for a long period was unrealistic. Ben caught and passed me and then systematically put in lap after class lap to show me who was boss. I came home 2nd – medium silver tray this year for me.

I could have been demoralised but I was against real class in a long race; something I am not training for this year. With dedication in the next few months I really think I can get to where I want to be; doing that Scalpel justice.

The old tradition of the Gorrick night out continued however… cocktails and beers and me vowing to cut back as this year I really want a big win.

3rd at the Exposure Night Marathon

Exposure MAXX Night Marathon and CRC marathon Round 1.

With the rather clement Spring that was served up I took a trip down to Wales to catch up with friends and also to race two marathons. Two weeks previously I would not have dreamt of racing as I felt I was way off target. But in a crash week before my return to work I got to smash it with UK24 Champion Matt Page and also Josh Ibbett; it transpired that I had a modicum of good form.

The Exposure Night Marathon saw around 300 riders in perfect conditions leave Builth Wells and after a 30 minute or so neutralized lead out the usual thing happened: all hell broke loose! The script was as expected; Nicky Craig multiple- time National Marathon champ, Olympian and all round top bloke kicked it off with local hero Jonny Pugh hot on his heels. I seemed to have good power and hung onto them for a few minutes before ceding around half a minute over the moors. An hour in and I had hauled them back and was absolutely loving the trails, the speed and the competition. I rolled in 3rd just under a minute down on Nick, absolutely rinsed but very happy to be well clear of those I would have struggled to hold a few years back.

A quick massage, a nights sleep and then 10am another 4 hours lay ahead. This time out about 1,000 riders with a number of fresh Elites in the mix. After a strong start being in the lead group of four my lack of endurance started to rear its head. I went backwards and rolled over the line in 9th place.

A natty video was made and I am in it..

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Season Kick Off: 1.08.30 at the Brighton Half Marathon

With a move toward IRONMAN 70.3 I decided to have a run out at the Brighton Half Marathon. I have been getting stronger through long runs and quicker through training under Malcolm Kemp's group at Phoenix AC. Despite a couple of bad miles I managed to hold it together and come 2nd out of a big 8,000 runner field. To get a 1.08 early season is great - that sub 1.07 I have my eye on looks to be in range! I really enjoyed putting it in the hurt locker and the great support I got from family and friends. Now mucho bike work before work begins.

In the Hurt Locker, Running for Home:

 7,998 out of sight but unfortunately one runner ahead.
Finish.. me looking like crap!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

All Change for 2011

After directional changes akin to a headless chicken I finally got my mind and my life sorted for 2011. After dabbling with full time riding ideas and working in the outdoor sector something rather surprising happened. I started interviewing for jobs in my old sector and I realised just how much I had missed using my head. The result, I got a number of job offers and am due to head back into London to work for the best company I could hope for: EMC.

I needed security again and after an ok winter I think 2011 will still be great from a sporting perspective. The plan is this: balance triathlon, running and bike racing this year and then next year an entirely different and more manageable aim - The London Marathon.

So what are the big aims for 2011 now?!

- Get on European Champ Franky Batelier's wheel at a European XTERRA race!
- Podium at the XTERRA European Championship 
- Podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Antwerp
- Qualify for and podium at the World Duathlon Championship
- Run a 1.06 Half Marathon
- Run a sub 30 minute 10KM
*All races as a pro


- Top 20 at London Marathon - sub 2.20

So far things look good - despite quite light training I have clocked a 1.08.30 over Half Marathon distance in Brighton to finish 2nd out of 8,000 - schwing! and my swim is getting quicker.

In addition some sponsorship changes: It is goodbye to Indy Fab after 5 years. Those that supported me have moved on and the company seems to be in a state of flux and race programme defunct. As such I am signed to race for Cannondale Racing. I will be competing and training on the following bikes:

- Cannondale FLASH Hi-Mod 29er
- Cannondale SLICE Time Trial Bike
- Cannondale CAAD 10 Road bike


Saturday, 27 November 2010

3rd at Barns Green Half Marathon 1.10

Jetlagged off the plane from Hawaii I lined up for The Barns Green Half Marathon. I have only run the distance once before and was not ready at all! When Kenyan Edwin Kipyego showed up on the start line to lead out the 1,750 runners I knew we were in trouble. He went through mile 1 on world record pace and then slacked it off over the tough course to win by a stretch. I got carried away at the start going through mile 1 in second in 4.43 - woops! I soon tempered it and tucked in behind three-time winner James Baker. On mile 6 I went clear into second before having major quad issues that forced me to make a little stop on mile 9! - moral: do not run in ultralightweight shoes over that distance! I then got involved in a battle for 2nd with Neil Boniface who duely run the finish out of me to pip me. 3rd at Barns Green - 1.10 on a very tough course. I am now training over longer distances with as I am targeting the podium on the Ford IRONMAN 70.3 circuit in 2011. Phoenix AC reckon I can get a sub 1.06 on the right course which would be the run more than dialled.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

XTERRA World Championship: 19th Pro

Maui, Hawaii, the home of Jaw’s, the world’s largest and most dangerous surf break. But Maui is also home one of the toughest races in triathlon; The World XTERRA Championship. For me this was the culmination of my season and a true chance to go in against a racked field of the world’s best triathletes. After a season well ahead of expectation I was previewed in the race programme as a contender and I was looking to really take it up a notch and have a standout performance.

Sam Gardner, the most experienced and classiest triathlete in the UK had used his armory of contacts to equip us with a diverse training camp utilizing the whole of Hawaii’s Big Island and then Maui. It kicked off with a homestay at Tonda’s, a 67 year old ex-peace-corp worker and then it moved across the Big Island to swim coach supremos Bill and Jean Sakovic in Hilo.

Training with someone of a similar standard was fantastic; it was disciplined yet fun, fast but measured and all the while had a real sense of purpose. Our arms smashed through ocean waves, muscles turned circles against Caldera backdrops and our legs pounded the beaches. Yet despite this serious edge it would transpire that Sam “broadsword” Gardner was about as much of a hoon as myself. Teenage antics and pranks took centre stage as we blagged our way around the island hitching lifts and calling favours.

After a week of happy toil our stay culminated with a visit to the Ironman World Championship, to get fired up for the future. What an event – 2,000 athletes putting themselves through the absolute ringer in the name of pleasure – it struck a chord. The race also saw our rendezvous with legendary Australian swimmer, Shane Meadows and a few well earnt beers with Patty; Tonda’s incredibly hospitable neighbour.  

So to Maui and we were locked into what appeared to be a tropical paradise directed and managed by a group of religious fruitcakes straight out of a beat novel. Packed in liked Sardines it was a very intimate setting in which to hone ourselves and finally prep.
Physically the run in had been perfect and with a week to go all looked great – my swim times had tumbled, a small duathlon win showed I had killer bike and run speed and I really felt that this would be as planned: a breakthrough.

Yet as the race got closer a few gremlins began to rear their head. Bad sleep, a terrible spider bite and a concern about a lack of leg zip. Allied to this was a feeling of being surrounded, my usual preparation is to be alone and not in company. The field itself was also on my mind, a white hot who's who of pro triathletes and olympians.

 So to race day and the Makena beach resort Maui; a stunning beach and 550 athletes all charged up having qualified for the big one.

The race course is legendary. Unchanged for 15 years it takes in two laps of a beautiful blue sea where you have to contend not just with the arms and legs of other athletes but also turtles from beneath.

After a hotel-side transition it is onto the bike. Climbing all the way up the side of the Haleakula Volcano I was relishing the climb-fest. Yet once the climb was done the infamous “plunge” would begin. This is a one-mile boulder strewn crash fest that take you to yet more rocky rollers before the run.
The run was a cracker, taking in two fabulous beaches between which lay “spooky woods.” By far the most difficult thing about the course was that you could not pre-ride the bike section as it was on private land; having never raced the Worlds this was not ideal.

With helicopters swooping overhead and camera laden frogmen laying in wait you knew that this one would be a major affair.

I got out of the traps well and swam on the far right of the bunch. I had clear water and then moved into the mêlée to try and get on some fast legs. The thing with swimming is that you feel you could go faster but as soon as you move out of the slipstream you have to work disproportionately hard for the gains you make; as such I tucked in. The swim was two laps with a small beach run. I made a few places on the beach and heard my friend Will shout at me “1.30 back,” this was exactly where I had hoped to be. A second beautiful lap and on some quick legs I came into T1 ready to unleash the bike speed after my best ever swim.

I had the 37 plate, the same as my best race of the year in the Czech republic and I was hoping the big wheels would roll as well half way across the world.

As a rider you know when it is game on or game off and this felt distinctly like a bad day. All that taper, all that training and now on the slopes of the Volcano a leg no show. I could see riders ahead who I had been torching past all year but I just could not make the ground. Had I swum too fast? Was my head not right? Was I overtrained? Was I a big game choker? These are questions that have been running through my head ever since.

Half way around the lap it was clear my legs would not return. When I made it to T2 my friends were certain I had experienced a mechanical. I had in fact biked ten minutes slower than all those I have been outbiking since I broke through in mid-summer. The run was a contemplative affair. I knew I hadn’t got anywhere near what I wanted so kind of ran at a fast sustainable pace – if I had been in the mix a lot more speed would have been found.

So that was that, 19th pro. On paper a good first effort but I could see the potential for much higher. Jim Thys from Belgium in 10th summed it up for me; “where the hell were you? I was waiting for you to come smoking by on the bike!”

In the immediate aftermath I was measured in my reflection. So it was a bad day, the year had been great in so many ways; I was National Champion, I had won the XTERRA World Tour in Japan, I had podiumed in Europe; success beyond expectation. Yet time and reflection has made me realise that I could be more committed, more intelligent and better prepared.  As such I will go forward and give it everything in 2011 as I return to XTERRA and also to Ironman 70.3. But for the new season I am going all out to be truly the best I can be.

Monday, 27 September 2010

That's a Record! Maxx Exposure: 1st Place and Course Record

The MAXX Exposure is a classic. Running from Beachy Head at dusk it runs for 80 miles overnight along the South Down's Way to QE Park in Petersfield by dawn. It has always clashed with other things but this year I decided after a hard week training to do it as a big long ride. In fact it was the longest ride for me in months as all my riding has either been short intensity or racing.

There was an additional incentive to do it. Firstly Exposure Lights and Quest Adventure who support the event brilliantly also support me brilliantly so it was a payback. Secondly Rob Dean who has been laying down some strong rides of late was in the mix and I fancied laying down a marker!

Setting out from Eastbourne we rode into a chill wind. On my left magnificent vistas of the downs, to my  right an incredible view off Beachy Head and right in front of me big Rob Dean unleashing the fury. Rob's a big guy so I knew the climbs would be a little tough so I edged up the pace a little up the first rise and found myself clear. Mmmm.. this might be a long lonely ride. Yet to me this didn't matter .. before my big trip to Hawaii this was the perfect way to say to see one of my favourite places in a beautiful season.. a goodbye for now if you will.

Come the first downhill and catastrophe was the order of the day. I had broken my front gear mech .. again! I stopped for a few minutes and adjusted it/bent it so I had the middle ring only - with my smallest gear of 34/32 some of those downland climbs were going to be 29er tough!

I pushed on and caught Rob coming into Alfriston and then on the big climb out wound up the speed - the gearing I had on offer left me no choice.

Last year the Maxx had been an ultra competitive affair with two of the best marathon riders in the UK, Matt Page and Ant White going head to head in perfect conditions. This was going to be a solo effort and into a nasty headwind.. I decided to get my race head on!

After a quick hello to Jon at the Woodingdean turn I passed checkpoint 1 in the same time as Ant had in 2009... got me thinking! I then found my rhythm and that old favourite position was in the offing once again - spinning a gear and forward on the saddle driving forward. Around me an amazing Harvest Moon (The Neil Young song spinning in my head) and back in the distance little lights all across the downs of fellow riders.

By now the lights were on and what lights! Rory had loaned me the killer combo of killer combos.. The Exposure SIX Pack and Diablo. Sometimes when a new product arrives you see a mild improvement .. an evolution if you will. Not so the SIX Pack! Cue the Revolution! The brightness was simply amazing.

The little red lights of Truleigh Hill signalled the arrival of Checkpoint Two and the boys from Quest. I came in quick and left quick - but with a nice BBQ and sound set up on any other night I would have stayed... By now I was almost 30 minutes up on Rob and inside record time. It was just me, my bike, owls, bats and badgers.

At 11.30 I came down to Cocking and the last checkpoint. Rory was there and I thanked him for a great trail, a great event and some great lights. The last hour was an enjoyable push with some stinging climbs! Come 12.23 and I was home. 6 hours and 8 minutes a new record despite the headwind and by 13 minutes. A beer and two burgers followed. I had 54 minutes from Rob D in second.

What a great ride. Doing what I love most; riding my bike over long distance quickly. Now for the intensity as I lead into the biggest race of my life.

Thanks to Quest, USE/Exposure and Clif for the fantastic energy boosters!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Course Record at The Hove Prom 10KM - 1st Place 31.29

Despite what I can only describe as "nigh on a gale" I managed to break the course record at the Sussex Grand Prix Event in my backyard. The Hove Prom 10km is flat and I hoped to get very close perhaps even under 30 minutes. The wind scuppered that, but I came in 35 seconds quicker than the old record and about 2 minutes clear. Signs are good!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

4th Pro at XTERRA European Final Switzerland - Fastest Bike and Run Split ahead of ex - World Triathlon Champion Olivier Marceau

XTERRA Switzerland - Course way too flat for me and I lost almost 5 minutes on the swim. I then posted the fastest Bike and run splits ahead of ex-ITU World Champion Olivier Marceau to go from 41st out of the water to 4th. With an average of 2.5KM swimming a week for the last 40 weeks it's pretty obvious what I need to be doing... 10 times that for a start. Bring on Maui.

Report from XTERRA website: 

The race for third was as tight as one could ask.  Ian Leitch came out of the water about 3 minutes back from the leaders (NO 5!!!!!) in 38th place.  He rode like a demon posting the fastest bike and came into T2 in 7th.  This Brit can run.  At the end of the first 5K lap he had pulled himself up to 3rd place about 1 meter in front of Ronny Dietz.  Ronny has had bad luck this season and it was great to see this German Champion having a trouble free race.  At the start of the 2nd run lap Ronny passed back in front of Leitch but the Englishman would not give up or give in.  They stayed together the entire lap, but Ian’s efforts on the bike and the first run lap finally caught up to him and he had to settle in 30 seconds behind Ronny for a fabulous 4th overall but with the fastest bike and run times.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Big In Japan: World Tour Victory

Show your pants!
On my right cars rush by, on my left an endless stream of vending machines stretch into the distance against a neon surround. Meanwhile a bullet train flys overhead and all around me there is a bing bang bong from technology that has been seemingly integrated into the thousands of passing citizens.


I am here for the Japanese round of the XTERRA World Tour and I have come early in order to immerse myself in Tokyo culture, eat Sushi and take in a country that has fascinated me for years.

It was touch and go whether I would go to Japan but after a fantastic week it was unquestionably the right decision – I loved the visual feast that was served up and also loved the fact that I won the XTERRA World Tour race! – now that is truly worthy of a “Get In!”

I left the humidity and rush of Ueno station by Toyota Crown; an inordinate amount of baggage in tow and armed with only one method of communication; sign language. My destination a traditional Ryokan stay near Suidobashi. The plan; mix three days of light training and jet lag loss with some of my trademark city mincing – most prominently around the more obscure and better Sushi joints…

So with my shoes firmly off, my head bowed and prior to my naked butt being firmly shown (in the Japanese communal baths) I built up the Indy and set about planning a Tokyo Raid!

I packed a small rucksack and headed out into a navigational nightmare. From the quiet ordered backstreets of Homeikan it was south amongst the Nissan community and into Shinjuku where the neon came on in waves. Japan immediately met my expectation and to be in the midst of it and on my bike was perfect time. I took in the crazed super consumption of Ginza, the world's busiest pedestrian crossing in Shibuya, I late lunched in fashionable Daikanyama then took in desert in a temple strewn park before a final sweaty roll back home for green tea. 
The rest of my time involved great backstreet food, city wandering and flat out running intervals amongst the water lillies and temples of the local park. But come Thursday it was time to head to Maranouma for the XTERRA.

I had been told to meet at the Shin Maranouchi building by Tokyo Station. It turned out that this was home to Mitsubishi Securities, one of my favourite clients in my past life - but this time there were neither biscuits nor negotiation with Hywel Richards and John Doze! As I waited there for the bus to arrive I realised that I had very little contact information for anyone involved in the event! Visions ensued of being stranded - but lets face it there are worse places to be.

In typically efficient Japanese fashion the bus did show and amongst its occupants were Ben and Seb, two very funny American's from Guam and Leuiwe Boonstra the 2009 XTERRA South Africa Champion.. cripes. Once the bus got going it became clear just what a Megaopolis Tokyo was as it was a good hour before real green was sited. When it did arrive that green was better than expected. The hills themselves  were much larger hills than I had envisioned. Another hour and the bus begun to climb through beautiful woodland and then... it climbed some more.

Maranuma was the beautiful race site, buried deep in the heart if the Gunma prefecture. For starters I hadn't counted on it being at altitude! Upon arrival I was shown to a beautiful Ryokan room overlooking the race start and also found the communal baths to be of a level up from those in my budget Tokyo set up. I was rooming with Singapore based Scot, Fraser who in the true tradition of bike type people was keen to talk about two wheels - it was fun. After brief discussions it was time to take on the food.

The Japanese welcome was second to none and the food - well extremely interesting. I didn't know what half of it was and also needed about twice as much!
So to the race or should I say first up, the course. Japan has a reputation for being the most technical XTERRA on the circuit and I could see why. After a still lake swim it was onto the fantastically difficult if a little staccato bike. A Canadian settled in Japan, Paul had designed the route and his North Shore roots were there for all to see. Perilous switchbacks, narrow bridges and rock steps were all evident within the first few kilometers of trail! After a lake section with a sheer drop of about 20 feet to the left the trail hit some unrideable sections before skirting through a small village and up a long climb. From there back to the start; a bamboo lined singletrack descent and then a sheer mudface which only the world's best riders would take on .. I scrambled. The run was technical also with a long off camber rock section around the lake and then a rope climb up a slippery bank. It all represented a big challenge but if I am honest did not play to my strengths.. the bike was a little too technical for me (I prefer technical flow) and it was also very difficult to unleash my true run speed.

So to the race. 

12.10 Kick off and it was into the swim of around 1400M. Even before my least favourite discipline had begun I was in tricky waters. The Japanese had invoked the unusual rule that pros could not wear wetsuits - BIG disadvantage! By way of a consolation Fraser was kind enough to lend me a speed suit. When the gun went I was in big trouble. Swimming at altitude is an experience which I shall not look forward to again.. within about a minute I was swimming the doggy paddle rasping for air. Ahead I could see Lieuwe a sensational swimmer burn off into the distance and I was stuck just off the key group and in no mans land. Yet as is increasingly the way with the swim I was no where near as far back as I thought and I came out about two and half minutes behind Lieuwe but ahead of the Japanese pros. 

On reaching my bike I had what can only be described as the worst transition in history - my front tire was flat. For some reason I used my mini pump to frantically try and raise the pressure - hoping it was a valve issue and that Stan's would seal. After over nigh on three minutes and being passed by the Japanese pros I finally was on my way - Angry! Needless to say I hammered out of transition like a lunatic.. but the language issues meant I simply could not get by on the singletrack.. luckily the course opened out and I caught Yu Yumoto and then after ten minutes was on Tokura Ogasawara's wheel, the Japanese Mountain Bike Champion. What then ensued was a technical lesson from Oga. I was clearly stronger but his skillset and knowledge of the course had him pull away or pull me back on the drops. After dropping him on the long climb he reappeared on that unrideable downhill with a breathtaking sense of control.

The last five minutes of the bike saw me get away from Oga and then there ahead was Lieuwe - excellent I had pulled back around five minutes. I got to his wheel and it was into transition. Lieuwe was super sharp and had 30 seconds on me but I was sure I could take it on the run. Yet on the rocks he was super quick and I was merely holding him. Come the climbs though and I was onto him. I attacked quickly and after holding him at 20 seconds I moved away to a minute or so to take the Win. Just as I did so the heaven's opened meaning an empty finishing chute! If someone had told me that I would win in 2010 I would have laughed. I now know the previous results are not lucky and I head toward Hawaii thinking seriously about how to get right up there.

Lessons were learnt though - there was unacceptable carelessness that led to delay - this cannot happen in Switzerland, The US or Maui where every second will count.

After a long Japanese bath it was time for the evening festivities and what festivities they were - live drumming and dancing, massive barbeque, being sung Happy Birthday by hundreds of Japanese and then making a tool of myself on the stage by having my jeans too low slung and hence showing off my pants at the prize giving (in front of the Japanese politician). Good prizes too with a four figure payout, great trophy and a top of the range Suunto training system. Best of all Ben, Seb, Fraser and Lieuwe were excellent company enjoying a drink and a lot of laughter.

I had a day back in Tokyo to savour the whole experience. I walked, shopped a bit , ate more Sushi and looked up and around me at the visual feast whilst all the time I had a great birthday soundtrack made up for me by my friend Susie. 

Music – recommendations – Well that birthday mix included The Leisure Society, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Julian Casblancas, The Shins and The Album Leaf - so all nice and mainstream then!

Thank you – Sam Gardner for the 2XU V1 in the right size, Fraser for the speedsuit.. the Brighton guys for constant help.. Quest  and Mr Palmer and most of all to Taro for putting on a great event and treating me so well.

Roll on Switzerland.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

XTERRA World Tour Japan: Birthday Victory: 1st Pro

Proper update later - but I won the XTERRA World Tour race in Japan. I thought I could but it was not a good course for me and I punctured.. so to win.. well that sure is a nice way to turn 35!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tokyo Takes.

3 days in Tokyo before Xterra Japan somewhere in the mountains...

I rode around town on day 1 and took a few photos:

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Hove Park 5KM Record: 15.07

After an 8.38 at the Brighton and Hove 3,000M track Meet I hit up the Park Run in Hove. Plan was to go for the year old record post XTERRA Japan. However in terrible conditions I got it two weeks early with a nice 15.07. 4th September will see me give it a proper attack and go for 14.50 as a lead in to Switzerland and then Utah!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Brighton Big Dog: Solo Champion and Fastest Lap.

Brighton Big Dog: I Won! I Won Big!