Back in issue 231, online retailers Wiggle and our goodselves ran a competition looking for a Wordsworth-Chrissie Wellington-type figure to regale triathletes everywhere with what it takes to be an Ironman.
Well, the winner was one Martyn Brunt. A quick factfile in case you didn’t read issue 234, where we announced the winner… Martyn works for National Express in Birmingham; he’s married; he’s completed a multitude of long-distance events; and his ambitions for 2009 are Ironmans Austria and Florida, and to swim in a relay across the English Channel.
We’ll be following Martyn throughout 2009, starting right now with Martyn’s opening blog…
The arrival of two new bikes at my house has, surprisingly, not been greeted with universal joy. Fresh from cleaning congealed leg hair from the bathroom plughole, my long-suffering other half, Nicky, eyed the two giant boxes that arrived on my front door from Wiggle with something less than enthusiasm, quickly getting down to business by declaring, “Where the bloody hell are those going?”
I, however, was in no mood to have my excitement dampened and spent a very pleasant next couple of hours reliving Christmases of old by sending cardboard flying in all directions to get at the shiny carbon within. In truth, my desire to get at my new toys was only partly driven by my desire to play with my ill-gotten Focus TT bike and Focus Cayo road bike. The boxes had actually been delivered to my 79-year-old dad’s house and I was concerned he might have had one out and gone off to the pub on it. As unlikely as this sounds, he has “form” for this sort of thing: I once had a box of 12 bottles of wine delivered to his house for me, and when I opened it at home it only contained 11, which my dad claimed was an alarming rate of evaporation that showed global warming is a dangerous reality.
Anyway my new bikes are lovely. In fact, they are more than lovely – crucially they are better than anything my mates have got. This is important because the psychological boost from being on something newer and lighter than anything my friends have is worth at least an extra 2mph on hills. This might account for some of the mean-spirited comments I received when I took my new Focus Cayo on the club run. What other emotion except envy could generate a comment like, “There’s no excuse for being crap now – unless you are actually crap, of course.”
Nicky did have a point when she asked where the bloody hell my new bikes were going, given that our garage now sports seven bikes in varying degrees of assembly. This bike bonanza is also something not lost on my friends, many of whom have been circling shark-like and dropping subtle hints like asking which bikes I am going to ride, and whether I intend to use certain wheels etc. For the avoidance of any doubt, I shall be riding my new Focus bikes all year and my philosophy on anyone using my other bikes can be summed up in the phrase, “Sod off.”
The big boxes that arrived at my door contained more than just bikes though. A big bag of dhb cycling kit was also forthcoming with shirts, shorts, tights and arm warmers spilling out onto the kitchen table, prompting a slightly more strained “Where the bloody hell are those going” from Nicky. Working on a principle of one-in-one-out I’ve been clearing out some of my old kit to make way, and again the plague of locusts that constitute my friends have come into their own – I’d never have thought an old US Postal jersey and a Max Huerzeler top given to me by a female Hungarian power-lifter could be so popular. However, with my new kit I shan’t miss my old tops, although having tried it on I wonder whether some upper body work might be in order in a bid to make me look less of a pigeon-chested to*ser.
The Focus TT bike is being unleashed on an unwary public at an open “10” this weekend where I’ll no doubt be feted at every turn by 220 readers who recognise me as “that bloke who won the competition and had a dig at Nuneaton”, the latter of which has led to me receiving a life ban from that fair town – which I don’t perceive as a major issue unless I run dangerously short of pork scratchings or white socks.
Tune in for next time’s enthralling episode to find out how I got on in my forthcoming 100-mile TT, what Nicky’s reaction is to the rest of the kit that is coming that she doesn’t yet know about, and my dad’s verdict on the Focus TT bike as pub transportation.