Your arse is the weakest link…………..Goodbye

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions before, I enjoy my cycling.  The speed, the tempo, pushing hard up climbs and the sense of freedom that I feel whilst out on the bike are just a few of the things I like about cycling.  There is however one major part of cycling that I do not enjoy


After about an hour in the saddle, my bum starts to hurt.  Now I am sure that I’m not alone in this, and that a certain amount of discomfort is to be expected, especially as road bikes have no suspension, run tyres with very high tyre pressure and the roads that I ride on are often far from smooth.  My main problem is that this affects my cycling.  The pain stops me from being able to concentrate on the cycling, and causes me to concentrate on how my enjoyable bike ride has turned into a pain in the bum (quite literally).

I have consulted quite a few people on what I can do to solve this problem, and have received various answers, such as:

  • Get some padded shorts (I already have these)
  • Eventually you will get used to it (I doubt this somehow)
  • Buy a new more comfortable saddle (I have just ordered one from Wiggle)
  • Man up! (can’t really argue with that one)
Fingers crossed that my new saddle will make a difference.  Otherwise I will just have to make sure that I complete any cycling distance in around an hour.  Very unlikely on a 40k ride (though not totally impossible).  Extremely unlikely on the 112mile Ironman bike distance!  I guess it could be time to “Man up”


Portsmouth Duathlon – my first multi sport event

On Sunday I competed in first event of the Portsmouth Duathlon series.  This duathlon consists of a 5k run, a 15k bike ride and then a final 5k run.  On paper extremely doable (not sure if doable is a word but I am sticking with it) and with my fellow Grazing Saddles team-mate Mr Andy Bawden taking part with me I was excited for the race.

Now as I have blogged before, these races all seem to require you to get up very early in the morning.  Luckily for me, my baby has decided that getting up between 5:30am and 6:00am seems to be the way forward.  Combining this with the brand new puppy that we have just gotten whimpering downstairs as soon as he hears the baby cry meant that I found myself awake at a very civilised 6:30am.

Now organisaton is not my strong point, so upon waking I charged (well sauntered really) around the house looking for things such as shoes and socks.  Andy arrived bang on time at 7:15am (no great surprise) and after I messed about for another 15 minutes we rode our bikes down to the race.

Following racking the bikes (this is a technical duathlon/ triathlon term, meaning to hang it by the saddle from a piece of suspended scaffolding pole made into a “rack”)  we then stood around discussing how cool the race was, and how there seemed to be quite a lot of nice bikes around.  Now I have never coveted another man’s bike before; however I must admit that with Andy’s beautiful new Trek Domane, and many other lovely looking bits of carbon fibre and aluminium suspended from their racks, I did find myself thinking how perhaps investing in a new bike would be a worthwhile use of a couple of grand.  Memo to self: Discuss this with my wife.

Following a race briefing, and spotting Dame Kelly Holmes about 4 metres away on the start line we were off.  Now my shins were already hurting from our 50 metre warmup (pathetic I know) and Andy graciously ran with me for a couple of kilometres before putting his foot down and pulling away.  When I crossed the 3k mark I was in agony in my left shin and genuinely thought I would be better off just stopping.  I was hugely upset that I had rested solidly for the week before to try and help me heal a bit but this had clearly not worked, and the excitement I felt at the start of the race was all but gone.  As more and more people overtook me I reminded myself that I only had 2k to go before I could get on the bike, and this spurred me on to running the first 5k in 28min 16sec (which actually isn’t bad for me at all).

Into transition and onto the bike.  I like bike riding, have always been naturally good on a bike and quickly settled into a steady 18mph, which into a stiff sea breeze was not a bad effort.  Carrying on at this pace we wound our way east and I overtook people.  In fact I overtook a lot of people.  When I eventually got downwind I cruized up to about 24mph and knowing that Andy would be at least 2 or 3 minutes ahead of me, and was determined to catch him.     Eventually I caught sight of him on my second loop of the common, said a quick hello and then pushed on, knowing that I would be close to useless in the second 5k run so I must make time up on the bike.

Finishing the ride in 32mins 39 seconds, I jumped off the bike and was into the second 5k.  Once again this was agony and each time my feet hit the floor it felt like lightening shooting up my shins.  It felt like all of the people I had overtaken on the bike breezed past me as I staggered my way along.  I barely managed an almost run for the final 100 metres to finish the second 5k in 31mins 38 seconds, giving me a total race time of 1hr 32mins and 35 seconds,  3 minutes behind Andy (who was one of the many people that overtook me on the second 5k.

It was great to see his smiling face, and I was very proud of myself for finishing when I was so close to giving up at the start.  Also Andy told me he ran a PB on his first 5k, which is an outstanding achievement and something that really made me smile after a very painful final 5k beforehand.  I have learned many things from this race.  Firstly I must improve my running, secondly I MUST sort out these blasted shin splints, and finally that the buzz you get from these events is simply superb.

As I sit on my sofa typing this I literally cannot wait to get back to training tomorrow.  Perhaps a swim or a ride though rather than a run!

How does getting up early on a Sunday ever help anybody?

Our first event, the Portsmouth Duathlon is Sunday.  Having received a very nice email from the organisers I was dismayed to read that I was required to register, collect my timing chip and rack my bike at 07:15am.

Now I don’t mind getting up early, and in fact during the week I get up at around 05:30am for work every day, but I fail to see what advantage there is to starting this event so early in the day.  Upon closer inspection of other events it appears that almost every triathlon race starts at the crack of dawn.

Perhaps this is so the lycra clad warriors do not scare the general public (who are sensibly still asleep at this time).  Perhaps it is because triathletes are essentially masochists, and getting up early is just another way to punish yourself.  Perhaps it is because a lot of events do not take place on closed roads, so starting early is a good way to avoid traffic issues.

Whatever it is it is too damn early.  

Rant over.  I am off to search out some triathlons that start in the afternoon.

Ich bin ein Berliner…………..

So, its been a while since my last blog post, and the training is going well.

Am still really suffering with shin splints when I run, but despite this I have managed a record 5k, covered off a 10 mile run (all be it at a far from rapid pace) and pushed through the pain barrier on a 10k that I ran last week with Bushy.

Swimming is also going well, with a couple of 2k swims under my belt.  I am also loving the cycling, and seeing my average speed on the 40k plus rides slowly increase.

With only a week to go until my first event of the year, the Portsmouth Duathlon (5k run, 15k bike, 5k run) I have been sent over to Berlin for work.  I simply adore Berlin.  The city is amazing, the food (essentially consisting of bread, sausage and very very nice beer) suits my palate immensely and the weather here is superb.  All this is not going to have a very positive effect on my training though.

Still who cares?  The whole idea of this crazy Ironman adventure is to complete an Ironman race, not panic about missing training sessions and obsess over the fact that I am drinking too much high quality German lager, eating too many pretzels and doing absolutely no training what so ever.  Not to mention the shisha pipe (don’t tell my Mum).

So that’s that then.  No real training this week (am tapering for my event) and am making sure to load plenty of carbohydrates nice and early ahead of the Duathlon at the weekend.  All this is straight out of the Triathletes training manual and so fits in with my training plan perfectly as far as I can see.

Anyway gotta go now.  Have an afternoon of work to do, then may well venture out to sample a few steins of Berliner.