Here we go! Duathlons are now out of the way and after a nice race at the Vale of Glamorgan I have a place notched up for next year’s ETU European Duathlon Championships with the GBR Age Group team. So bring on the triathlon season. You know it just doesn’t seem the same jumping on a bike in transition without having had a swim first.
Mallorca 70.3 was ticked off my must-do list earlier this month. This was my first M-dot event, so I am still enjoying the memories. Normally when the start list is released a quick glance down the list locates the information required. But this event has a start list stretching to 127 pages.
With 3,800 competitors there were more competitors in my age group alone, than in many races I have completed previously. The row of bike racking in transition was incredible. Apparently transition was the largest of any triathlon…. Over half a kilometre long!
The plan was to complete my training for the 70.3, enjoy that event – is that really possible with any triathlon where you have set a target time? – and then move toward Ironman training sessions for The Outlaw in July. However, as always I had to complicate things, this time by entering a pool-based sprint triathlon in Nottinghamshire as an early season rehearsal.
Despite giving my coach Nick Dunn the headache of planning my training for an Ironman in the summer, a 70.3 imminently and a sprint before that, it worked out pretty well.
Yes, I had forgotten just how much faffing about and fussing I manage to go through in setting up transition. At least this was swimming pool based so no wetsuit to wrestle with this time. In the end, Southwell Triathlon turned out to be a good event for me….. a new PB on that course and an age-group win to boot.
The prize of a case of Erdinger Alkoholfrei wheat beer was a real treat. Which brings me back round to nutrition, which as I mentioned in the last blog is a serious consideration for my Iron distance event. As I discussed previously, race day nutrition is a major headache and currently I am incorporating eating while riding my TT bike, into my training sessions.
Peeling a banana is not as simple as you may expect when perched on a carbon fibre frame that weighs about the same as a crisp packet. Even the task of consuming those sachets of gel turns into a syrup-fest, shortly after you have torn it open with your teeth and ended up swallowing half of the foil wrapper. And we haven’t even discussed where the rubbish can go.
I have to confess, I cannot abide litter. It is a reflection of laziness that some people choose to ruin our environment with discarded packaging. But sticky waste wrappers including banana skins are awkward…. Maybe someone could design a convenient disposable waste bag which can be released from the bike at triathlon feed stations. A bit like those mail sacks that used to be released from express trains in old films.
In addition to race day considerations, there is nutrition on a day-to-day basis to be thought about. My bottles of Erdinger Alkoholfrei espouse the benefits of B12 and folate and suggest a daily consumption. Sounds a lot more fun than the concoctions I see some athletes managing to consume.
Speaking of which, I tried one of those ultra-concentrated beetroot drinks before my last duathlon. Suggested by my nephew Matt Grantham (Vale of Glamorgan Duathlon junior winner), it is said to improve endurance. A small shot is all you have to consume. Tastes like a mixture of beetroot/bovril and diesel. I don’t know if it works but I had a good race so I guess it will become another of those things I have to do in the pre-race paranoia moments that seem to sneak up on me!
Along with the Alkoholfrei beer, my other nutrition favourite at the moment is fresh beetroot. It tastes much nicer than the concentrate and is said to have good properties which aid recovery after training hard. On the more unfashionable side of nutrition, good old black pudding seems to have plenty going for it. A massive source of iron is guaranteed and it is a convenient snack straight from the fridge as it is tasty hot or cold. Not for everyone I know, but it is bound to help keep the haemoglobin levels high.
My training track of the month this time is “Achilles Last Stand” by the mighty Led Zeppelin. When I need a track to make me run long and hard this is my favourite. Over 10 minutes long, it batters its way forward in a relentless manner.
This juggernaut of a rock band were being dismissed as “has-beens” when they started to perform this live. When I saw them perform it at Knebworth in 1979 they were back on top form. That is the spirit I need for my next challenge!