Chris Worfolk's Blog


Spatz Roadman overshoes review

September 15th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I will review the Spatz Roadman overshoes.

I dislike cycling in winter because my feet get wet. And when my feet get wet, I become miserable. There is a solution: overshoes. Waterproof covers that go over your cycling shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.

Unfortunately, most overshoes fail to do this. They have two problems. The first is that they are not made tough enough to survive going outside in them and thus get holes in the bottom. The second is that your socks and leggings get wet and the water soaks down to your feet.

Spatz tries to solve this by making them knee-high. This completely covers your socks. The Roadman has the additional benefit of 4.5mm neoprene to keep your feet warm and reflective strips so that cars can see you when commuting in the dark.

I do not commute every day but I do get some long rides in over the winter weekends. Results are mostly good. They keep my feet warmer than regular overshoes. Below 5 degrees Celcius my feet still get cold after two hours but it beats what I was getting before. They also keep me dry. After half a dozen rides, they have developed holes in the bottom of the toe box, though.

To put them on, you need to put them on before your shoes, then put your shoes on and pull the overshoes down. I demonstrate that in the video. Spatz says you can wear them over or under your leggings. I recommend putting them under your leggings as that stops the water soaking down.

Tacx ANT+ antenna review

September 14th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The Tacx ANT+ antenna is an ANT+ dongle that connects to your computer via USB. It is designed to allow you to connect your ANT+ sensors such as speed, cadence, heart rate, etc, to your PC or laptop so that you can run Zwift or any other computer-based bike training software.

The problem with most dongles is the drop-outs. This is a disaster for Zwift as it can ruin your intervals or worse when in a group ride, get dropped by the peloton, at which point you have no chance of getting back on again.

The Tacx unit tries to overcome this by providing a long cable so that you can plug it in and move it closer to your bike or smart trainer. It’s a heavy unit with a sturdy base so it will not get knocked around. The unit feels solid and high-quality.

That said, I was still getting drop-outs. If anything, they were worse than when I was connecting my gear with Bluetooth. The Garmin head unit on my bike receives the signal the whole time, so it only seems to be the computer connectivity that is the problem.

Mindfulness & Visualisation for Athletes

September 13th, 2019 | News

My new course, Mindfulness & Visualisation for Athletes, is now live. Here is the blurb:

Mindfulness and visualisation can help athletes train harder, perform better, stay motivated and even recover from injury faster. If you’re an athlete, a coach, or someone interested in sport psychology, this is the course for you.

It is a hands-on course in which we will do mindfulness practices and visualisation exercises together. We’ll also cover the theory behind how and why it works. We’ll learn in a variety of ways including exercises, videos, handouts and quizzes to reinforce the knowledge.

We’ll cover:

  • Focus
  • Confidence
  • Stress
  • Competition preparation
  • Motivation
  • Relaxation

And much more! Watch the video below to see the trailer or preview the course here.

Hoka Clifton 6 review

September 11th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

Hoka Clifton 6 review

In this video, I’ll review the Hoka One One Clifton 6 running shoe.

Hoka One One is known for the maximalist shoes that have a huge amount of cushioning but relatively little drop. The Clifton 6 is a road shoe with neutral stability.

They fit fairly narrow: as soon as I put it on I knew I had to go for the wide version, something I have not had to do in other brands of shoes.

The cushioning is noticeable. It does not feel mushy, but it does not have the same responsiveness as a race shoe, either. You really notice it after you have worn them for a few hours and then take them off. “Oh yeah, this is what the ground feels like!”

The toe box is almost as good as Nike and has enough space for my massive big toe. A lot has been made of the mid-foot rocker but I do not think it is a big deal. I do not notice it all that much and Brooks have a similar thing in their shoes.

when I first started wearing them the medial arch was digging a little. However, this disappeared after the first 20-30km. The drop is only 5mm, so coming from a 10mm drop, I could feel a tugging on my calf when I first put them on. This has not been a problem while running, though.

The cushioned sole means I would not want to make any quick cuts in these. They would be no use on the basketball court. But they are running trainers, and for running, they are fine.

One thing that does annoy me is that I regularly scrape the fall of my foot on the ground. You could argue I just need to pick my feet up further. However, this is not a problem I run into in other shoes.

Overall, I like these shoes. They will not be replacing my race shoes, but they will be forming part of my regular rotation for those easy-paced runs where speed is not an issue.

Ohmme Vajra II yoga top review

September 10th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I’ll review the Ohmme Vajra II vest.

I started off by doing yoga in a normal t-shirt. This works fine for getting into yoga but I quickly ran into a problem: whenever I did a downward-facing dog, my t-shirt would slide down, showing off my less-than-toned stomach and the neck would cover my mouth and get in the way of my breathing.

Enter the Vajra II yoga vest from Ohmme. It feels lovely to touch and is clingy, so you can happily hang upside down in down dog without it sliding down your midriff.

Being a vest, it gives me more spacing for breathing, too. It is not perfect, my bottom lip can still catch on the beck of the best in down dog, but it is a definite improvement on a regular t-shirt.

The Ohmme website suggests that the vest fits small and that you should order one size bigger than you usually would. I found this not to be the case. I typically buy a medium. I tried the medium and the large and the medium was plenty big enough.

Roka R1 goggles review

September 9th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

Roka R1 goggles

In this video, I’ll review the Roka R1 swimming goggles.

The Roka R1 goggles are Roka’s top-of-the-range offering designed for open water swimming. As with everything Roka to, the packaging is designed with care. But what about the product itself?

My initial thoughts were that the lenses were a little small and stuck into my eye sockets too much. Equally, the strap seemed rather small and tough. Having tested it, there is no discomfort when swimming, so neither of these concerns is a problem. That said, the strap is a little fiddly to keep together.

There are no frames around the lenses. In theory, this adds extra visibility as you can see out of the top or down the bottom. This seems to add some additional field of view when I am at home, but, to be honest, I did not notice a real difference while swimming.

The goggles come with a white cloth bag which is high-quality, but I am not sure if I should be getting it wet or not. It also looks a lot like tissue and I almost blew my nose on it several times!

This pair has the mirror coating. This is a little too dark for my taste when using in the pool. However, in the lake, they are perfect when the sun is out as you can swim towards the sun without being blinded.

So far they have been for free. However, I have only done three swims with them so far, and typically the anti-fog coating wears off after half a dozen swims, so we will have to wait and see how long this remains the case.

I like these goggles. I think they will be replacing my Zoggs Predator as my go-to goggles for triathlon races when the sun is shining. However, I’ll be using different goggles in the pool or may even the lake when it is overcast.

Zoggs Predator Flex goggles review

September 8th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

In this video, I’ll review the Zoggs Predator Flex swimming goggles.

If you have ever done a triathlon, you will probably have seen someone wearing the Zoggs Predator Flex goggles. In fact, you may well have seen a lot of people as the goggles are ubiquitous. In some races, I am sure half the athletes were wearing them!

There is a lot to like about them. The ridges on the strap hold it in place so there is no slippage. The strap is comfortable and the seal is excellent, so no leakage, even when kicking off from the side of the pool.

The orange tint works okay in the pool. It is most at home in overcast days in the lake, and maybe a little out of its depth when the sun in shining directly down.

Unfortunately, after many uses, the anti-fog coating is long gone and they fog up a lot.

They come with a mesh case to keep them safe.

Overall, these are my go-to goggles for open water swimming. I prefer my Speedo mirror goggles in the pool, although they leak more than the Predators, so that will probably change. Their reputation as a great triathlon goggle is well deserved.

Evolve Sprint Triathlon 2019

September 5th, 2019 | Sport

It feels like I have missed everything at the Blue Lagoon this year. Last year, I did my first open water triathlon at the Evolve sprint and was one of 30 athletes to do the quarter, too. This year, the May sprint and the August event had sold out, and the standard clashed with the Yorkshireman. Thankfully, there was a second sprint I was finally able to attend!

I went in not feeling fresh. I had picked up another cold, which would make this the 12th triathlon of the year for me, and 5th while having a cold. On top of that, race 11 was Sundowner Sprint, 24 hours beforehand. Still, I wasn’t looking to set a record time, I just wanted to have some fun.

The swim

The water was nice and warm but the swim was hard. I think I was tired going in. I took 21 minutes, compared to 18 minutes at Sundowner the day before, although it is possible the courses are different lengths. Other swimmers kept crossing in front of me with their can’t-sight-for-shit style.

I worked hard towards the end and came into T1 a little lightheaded again. I had to sit down to take my wetsuit off but still managed to get in and out in just over two minutes. I managed a scoot mount, too, but then couldn’t clip in for ages.

The bike

Allerthorpe has spoilt me: the pan flat roads and sweeping corners. Womersley is different. It is still mostly flat with only one real hill. However, there are sharp corners you have to slow down for and sprint back up to speed on the other side. And the wind was stronger. Sometimes constantly battering you, sometimes waiting for a gap in the trees to give you a surprise shove.

I managed to stay on the aero bars for most of the bike. I am coming around to the idea of wind. It slows anyone down who is not in the aero position. And those they have them are often too nervous to use them or will artificially limit their speed to whatever they feel comfortable with. These are all great chances for me to make some gains on the competition.

I averaged 30.8 kph. This is 3 kph slower than I managed the day before at Allerthorpe. My average power was similar: 214 Watts vs 216 Watts, so I assume the elevation accounts for the slower speed.

The run

I was not looking to set anything on fire on the run. So, I set off at a steady pace. By this point, the sun had come out and I was regretting locking my suncream in the car. Although, in my defence, it was lightly raining when I made that decision.

Naomi had finished by this point and Graeme was half a lap ahead of me on the cross so we kept crossing paths. They both gave me a high-5 on the way around, which was much welcome. But I also want to state, for the record, that they initiated these (just in case they pick up my cold!). I took a bath at the drink station on the final lap.

It would have been nice to get under 90 minutes, but as I came through the trail towards the finish line I could see I wouldn’t be managing that. In the end, I was 46 seconds over.

The result

I finished in:

1:30:46

That is just under 5 seconds quicker than when I did Evolve sprint last year. Given the 2018 event was only a 500-metre swim and the run was slightly shorter too, that seems like a respectable effort.

I finished a fair way beyond Naomi. But, in my defence, so did everyone else in the race. Here she is collecting her prize:

My spits were:

Section Time
Swim 20:49
T1 1:17
Bike 43:38
T2 0:47
Run 24:18

The times are all rounded to the nearest second in this post, so will not add up exactly to the total time. That was good enough for 36th out of 86 finishers. I got the 13th fastest bike split, tying for the position with Naomi who had the exact same time. My run was split was 29th, which seems okay for not going too deep. 11 people finished behind me on the swim.

Sundowner Sprint Triathlon

September 3rd, 2019 | Sport

Last year, I completed Sundowner to do my first middle distance race. This year, I was coming to do the sprint that takes place beforehand. The club was well represented: I was joined by Ruth, Dave, Julie, Mat and Claudia, with TeeJay cheering us on, too.

I started with a warm-up run around the lake. Unfortunately, at some point, my car keys fell out of my pocket and I had a stressful 20-minute search for them. It was my own stupid fault for putting them in my hoodie pocket, although difficult to do anything else when you tri suit has no pockets. Luckily, they were found and I was able to get back into my car in time to buy a bacon sandwich before the start.

The swim

I start near the front of the swim pack now. It means people swim over me but also means that I do not have an extra 20 metres to swim. The pinch point at the start made it difficult, though, and I was stuck behind people for a while.

Once the pack thinned out I was able to get into a rhyme. I mixed up breaststroke with some speedy front crawl. My heart rate picked at 185 at one point! Ideally, it would have been better if I could be consistent. But that’s something to work on for later.

Transition 1

T1 went well. I have not quite mastered getting my wetsuit off like the pros yet. In the end, I had a quick sit down as I was feeling a little lightheaded and dizzy from the swim. Everything was set up well: shoes ready go to and my bike computer had synced with both my power metre and heart rate monitor.

Due to the number of athletes, there was a queue to get out of transition. This was a little frustrating but I still got in and out in under two minutes. I managed a scoot mount but it took me a few attempts to get my cleats in before I could.

The bike

The bike was just the right amount of windy. There was enough that it slowed anyone done who was not in the aero position but not quite enough that I was too nervous to get down on the bars. The bike course was as busy as T1 and I spent the whole time going passed people.

It was the same course as Allerthorpe Sprint in July, so we can directly compare numbers. The weather was a little cooler today but with more wind.

Metric Sundowner Sprint Allerthorpe Sprint
Average speed 33.9 kph 31.5 kph
Average moving speed 34.1 kph 31.5 kph
Average power 216 Watts 217 Watts
Normalised power 224 Watts 224 Watts
Average heart rate 183 186

Power output was almost identical and yet I went a lot faster thanks to the aero bars. My heart rate was a little higher in July, which I am guessing was due to the heat.

Unlike Allerthorpe Classic, I managed to get on my aero bars. But I was already overtaking someone by the time I reached the photo point 50 metres down the road.

Transition 2

No problems here. Helmet off, shoes off, trainers on.

The run

I decided to take it easy on the run. I was ill (Venla had infected me again) so I was not looking to push myself too hard. I paced it nicely and it did not hurt too much. Two people overtook me. I have got used to this since I improved my performance on the bike.

The result

I finished with a time of:

1:18:23

That was good enough for 74th out of 263 and made me the first Harrier home. My splits were as follows:

Section Position Time July Difference
Swim 200 18:08 18:21 -0:13
T1 37 1:49 1:52 -0:03
Bike 31 33:01 35:55 -2:54
T2 80 1:33 1:43 -0:10
Run 81 23:50 22:17 +1:33
Total 74 1:18:23 1:20:10 -1:47

Even though I took it easy on the run, I am consistently placing better in the bike than the run now. This feels super weird given that I am from a running background. But I am not complaining. Other than at the speed everyone else is running.

They took the finish line photo just as I was raising my arms in victory.

Overall, a fun day racing with lovely people.

Coalville Triathlon

September 2nd, 2019 | Sport

My fingers were itching. I had not done a triathlon for nearly three weeks. I needed a hit. Only two races were taking place over the bank holiday: one on the south coast and one near Nottingham. Coalville Triathlon it was, then.

It is targetted at first-timers, so looking at last year’s results I thought I had a chance to do pretty well. The fastest bike split was 42 minutes, for example, and I knew I could go sub-40 over 20km. Was the bike course longer? Was it on narrow roads where I would be stuck behind other cyclists, or having to wait for cars at junctions? Surely it could not be that easy.

We arrived before the leisure centre had opened and found a queue at the door to get to the toilets. No queue at registration, thankfully, and I was able to rack up with no problems.

The swim

The swim was pool-based. I donned my Huub swim cap and entered the pool. I was in a middle wave and only had to overtake one person. Everyone else seemed to have given an accurate swim time, except one lass who was smashing it with tumble turns at the end of every length.

T1 went well. I remembered to open the velcro on my shoes before the race which saved a little bit of time.

The bike

Bike

Having driven for nearly two hours to nice flat Leicestershire, I got a rude awakening as to why everyone was taking 42 minutes on the bike. The first two kilometres were all uphill and the entire course was lumpy. There was only one section where I could get on the aero bars.

My bike computer was not picking up my power metre, so I tried to restart it. This was successful – but then I lost my heart rate. A few other things slowed me down. As I was coming down the hill, a lorry pulled out to avoid a car parked on their side of the road and I had to hit the brakes. On the final hill, I got stuck behind some cars who were themselves stuck behind slower cyclists.

I finished the bike section in 43 minutes. This was a minute behind the winner’s time last year, so I was pretty happy with that.

The run

T2 was okay. It was my first time using elastic laces and no socks. It was a bit difficult to get one of them on but I managed it eventually. I then tried to run out of T2 with my helmet on, though. I realised this five metres from my bike and had to run back.

The run was on a trail that was narrow at times. It was an out-and-back which made it difficult to pass people at times as the path was overgrown and I did not want to imped people coming the other way. I ran a 22:08, which is just off my 5km PB, but Garmin thinks I only ran 4.5km. One person passed me, who went on to run an 18-minute 5km and place 3rd overall.

Run

The result

I finished in a time of:

1:17:13

And my splits were:

Stage 2019
Swim 10:16
T1 0:50
Bike 42:58
T2 1:00
Run 22:08

Check out those slick transition times. The days of 5-minute T1s are long gone, at least in short format racing. That was good enough for 14th overall out of a field of 106. I was the 11th male and 5th male veteran 30-39.