Thursday, 22 March 2012

No Fuss Wee Tri 2

Last weekend I headed north the Fort William to take part in my second ever triathlon. My first being somewhat 'in at the deep end' the Half Big Ben Triathlon last September. So I thought that the No Fuss Wee Triathlon aimed at novices was more of a sensible event to enter.

With the entry list for the Saturday race bursting at the seams, No Fuss put on an additional race on the Sunday to accommodate the demand.
I headed up on Saturday morning to cheer on some friends who were competing that day and also to scope out the course for the Sunday.
The race format was slightly different to other triathlons (so I'm told!) where the competitors go straight from the water and onto their bikes. The No Fuss Wee Tri way is much better! The swim leg was done in heats to get everyone time gaps to start their bike leg on. This meant there was plenty of time to get a shower and changed into dry bike clothes. Nice.

We were then allocated our race numbers in order of our swim placings and then rode in convoy round to Glen Nevis for the start of the bike section.
The bike course was a short sprint on the road then onto the fire road along to the end of Glen Nevis, then back in along the road. Riding my cyclocross bike really paid off here as I was able to make up about 5 places. But I was soon cursing my non-mtb gear ratios as we were diverted off of the road and up the steep loose climb at the back of Cow Hill. My beefy 53-39 chainset was maxed out as I grunted my way to the top!

href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CARD-spouR8/T2tiRVPAsOI/AAAAAAAAAG0/sQxfzjUmD9A/s1600/photo%2B3.JPG">(Photo: Frazer, No Fuss)

The trail stayed high above the town, before dropping us down at the leisure centre and our trainers for the start of the dreaded run lap.
As it happens, I actually felt pretty good going into the run and I headed out feeling strong. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm still more Eamonn Holmes than Kelly Holmes, but its all relative!


(Photo: Frazer, No Fuss)

The run leg wasn't too hilly and was a mixture of road and off-road. I managed to make up another place on the run and I was told that I was first lady. Trying not to hyperventilate with the pressure of such an unusual occurrence for me, I plodded on and managed to cross the line before the super-fast Julie Wilson caught me.


(Photo: Frazer, No Fuss)

Thanks for another fantastic event by No Fuss. Just the right mix of challenging, great fun and sociable.

Well done to Highland girls Marie Meldrum, Fiona Beattie, Emma Holgate and Jo Cardwell who were all on the podium on Saturday's race. And congratulations to Ewan Thorburn who's winning time on Saturday was the fastest all weekend.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

FBROTY, Lyndsey Wins and my FTriOTY





Sky by Marty



I have relaxed my deathgrip on the clipboard and slammed shut the netbook after an amazing Scottish CX season, looking on from the timing sidelines.

Time to ride bikes!

Muick by Marty

One of the few things I'm planning on doing this year is the TransProvence [why] as such I decided I needed a training plan:

1: Read "Travels with a Donkey in the CĂ©vennes" by RLS. [The one where our Robbie simultaneously invents bivvying and the literary sub-genre of quirky travelogue].
2: Go do some big rides in the hills.
3: Do something else. [It is a long time until September and I needed some more immediate goals]

One big ride I have had in mind for a while is a high level loop around the Lochnagar area - just so happened that Marty had the same idea for the weekend just passed so an early start saw us at Glen Clova basking in almost-warm sunshine. We ticked off 4 Munros, intruded slightly on a plane wreck, were mesmerised by rocks that looked like massive jobbies, and [I] failed yet again in the 'pack correct sized tube for bike wheel' test.

First Big Ride of The Year!




Carn t-Sagairt Mor by Marty

Something else? I decided to try this triathlon thing, not for the competitive-ness, nor the wetsuits but because I am crap at running and swimming - so they are effectively new things to learn. The "Craggy Island" tri later in the year sounds fun, it is all off road [swim included] to or on the Isle of Kerrera near Oban.

The No Fuss Wee Triathlon presented itself as a good introduction and would give me some decent feedback on stuff I need to learn or get mo'better at.

The first learning point was that the place to get a takeaway pizza between Glen Clova and Fort William is Victoria's in Pitlochry. Now you know.

Second learning point was that I am not as slow at swimming as I thought. It is unfortunate that almost everyone else is faster.

Third learning point is that 5" travel trail bikes are not the ideal when the course is a 50/50 split of gently undulating fire road or tarmac.

Seems like Lyndsey had the right idea with her cross bike allowing her to crush all her female competitors and all bar four boys. Well done that woman!


Victorious Carson photo pinched from Frazer

And yes, I need to finish that book...

Friday, 9 March 2012

Time to pull my finger out


(Not from anywhere it shouldn't have been I hasten to add.)
I've been riding and racing bikes for a fair few years.  I've always done ok.  Particularly considering how much effort I've traditionally put in the results have had a tendency to be surprisingly above average.  A naturally beneficial strength to weight ratio and having a fondness of riding hard meant that I've historically been able to punch above my weight, getting the better of guys that clearly take things a lot more seriously than I do and drink less than I do.

That may well be about to change.  I had a really encouraging cross season, definitely upped the ante on myself and pulled off some good, consistent results.  I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the sharp(ish) end of the races.  I've also increased the miles I do.  Since changing jobs I'm able to rack up a healthy amount of time on the bike with the additional commuting.  Those two factors got me thinking about making a concerted effort to get faster - if I used my time on the bike more effectively and efficiently I should become quicker shouldn't I?

So that's the plan this year; race more and try harder.  The wheels are in motion.  I had a fitness test (which also came out with some encouraging results) to establish my starting point & I've called in a few favours to come up with a training plan that suits the time I have.  I even snuck off to the Algarve for a spot of warm weather training.  Although to be fair the training:beers ratio slipped a touch out of kilter.  My first XC race is only two weekends away now & to make things even more challenging I'll be jumping in at the deep end by racing masters; the most unnecessarily competitive category going.  I'm certainly not expecting to get anywhere near the podium, but the goal is to enjoy being in the mix of things, feeling competitive at the heart of the racing.  Let's see how it goes.  First things first, I'd better buy an XC bike to race on.