Chris Worfolk's Blog


Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico

May 19th, 2019 | Books, Food

Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico is a cookbook by Rick Stein that draws on recipes from the Southern United States (California area) and Mexico.

There are a lot of good recipes in here. That said, I never found the motivation to make a lot of the seafood dishes, instead opting for the easy taco options that I could make by marinating a meat of my choice and wrapping it up in tortillas.

I also made some salsa and guacamole, so we tended to do several days of tacos in a row so that I could make one big batch and enjoy it while it was still fresh.

Wahoo RPM speed and cadence sensors

May 18th, 2019 | Video

The Wahoo RPM speed and cadence sensors are easy-to-install bike sensors that provide data by both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity.

They are small and don’t use magnets, which is a massive improvement over the bike sensors that you have to fiddle around with to line up. They are easy to install, too: you take the sensor and insert it into its rubber housing then strap it around your wheel hub (in the case of the speed sensor) or cable tie it around your crank arm (in the case of the cadence sensor).

The battery lasts for ages. I’ve been using them for over six months now, and they still have plenty of battery left in them.

The speed sensor is a bit of a pain to install, though. You have to stretch out the rubber and spend ages trying to get your hands inside the spokes to hook it around the catches that keep it secure. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes, and you only need to take it off when you need to replace the battery.

The data seems mostly reliable, but I have seen some occasional spikes where an unrealistic speed is reported. I found the data slow on Zwift: anywhere from 3-10 seconds behind the power, I was putting down. Outside, it consistently responds within a few seconds on my Garmin head unit, so I think a large part of the problem is Zwift rather than the sensor.

In this video, I’ll show you both of the sensors, and I’ll also show you a close-up of me installing the speed sensor on my back wheel.

12 Rules for Life

May 17th, 2019 | Books

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is a book by Jordan B. Peterson.

He’s a controversial figure and I’ve written about this before. I can’t really work him out. He says some thought-provoking things and a lot of people who I respect have a lot of time for him. However, he also says a lot of silly things and digs himself into holes. Some would argue that people are misinterpreting him. But he makes a huge deal out of picking your words carefully, so saying he has been misinterpreted seems a feeble defence.

In any case, I read the book. He wrote a more academic book, Maps of Meaning and openly talks about the lessons he learnt from that, making this one a more popular and accessible read. That said, it’s not for those with a lack of concentration. There is a lot of philosophy in here and he doesn’t always do a good job of explaining what he means. Other parts are just a ramble.

He talks about hierarchies and how they are inescapable. Why? Because lobsters have them. And we’re only very distantly related to lobsters. Which is true. But then we also see a lot of rape and killing in the animal kingdom. Should we also accept these things are inevitable and just live with it? I see no such reason to be pessimistic. Society has been an incredibly powerful tool in overcoming these evils. Of course, we should strive to find a way that is compatible with human nature rather than fighting against it. But we often already do this.

Many of his rules I am on board with. Telling the truth, even when hard, is something I strive for. Sam Harris makes a similar argument in Lying. Pursuing what is meaningful in the long-term is another great rule. And assuming the person you are talking to knows something you don’t is good advice for anyone who doesn’t want to look really stupid at a later point in the conversation.

I think this is a book for fans. Peterson rose to prominence because he sticks by the evidence, even when the left tried to make that politically unsayable. And he continues to do that in this book. But he goes beyond that into ideology. And in a way so complicated that you have to like him to bother to keep reading.

Dietland

May 16th, 2019 | Books

Dietland is a novel by Sarai Walker. It follows the adventure of an overweight protagonist as she explores the weight loss industry and has since been made into a TV series.

I tried to give it a good go but ultimately I couldn’t get into it. As an observational piece on the way society treats overweight people, it is very astute. However, as a piece of storytelling, it’s not so good and seemed to walk the line between a real-world novel and fantasy reality in a way that really jarred with me. I couldn’t quite suspend my disbelief.

Garmin heart rate monitors: HRM-Tri vs HRM-Swim

May 15th, 2019 | Video

Garmin produces a range of heart rate monitors for triathletes. In this video, I’ll compare the HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim. I’ll also talk about Garmin’s new models, the HRM-Run and HRM-Dual.

Both the Tri and the Swim come in the Forerunner 935 triathlon bundle. The Tri is the go-to heart rate for everyday training. It has a stretchy strap that is comfortable so makes the perfect choice for running and cycling. It can also be used in the pool for short distances, such as pool-based sprint triathlons. Just make sure to give it a good rinse when done.

The HRM-Swim is specifically for swimming a pool. It has a non-stretchy grippy strap that is less comfortable but means that it won’t slip down when you dive into a pool or kick off from the side. It is also more resilient to corrosion from pool chemicals.

Both can record heart rate data underwater, although you will only be able to download it when you get out of the water. They both transmit over ANT+, so if you’re looking for something that does Bluetooth you need to look at the HRM-Dual instead. Or the Polar H10, which I have also reviewed.

Stages Power L review

May 14th, 2019 | Video

The Stages Power L Shimano 105 is a single-sided power meter that replaces the offside crank arm on your bike. You pull off your existing crank arm and fit the Stages Power drop-in replacement to get some power measuring data.

Stages produce a full range of different versions for each groupset, so you need to match the correct one. In this case, my bike has a Shimano 105 groupset, so I needed that version. As it is the offside crank arm, chainrings are not important, but if you want the dual-sided one, you will need to match your chainring as well.

The beauty of them is that they plug in and go. You don’t need to change your pedals, and if you are comfortable taking it on and off, you could even swap it between bikes (if you had another with the same groupset).

The unit transmits on both Bluetooth and ANT+. In the past, there have been issues with drop-outs between Garmin and Stages. I haven’t experienced any of this; it has worked perfectly with my Edge 1030 and with TrainerRoad on my iPhone. I have had some drop-outs on Zwift, though, but I’ve had a lot of problems with Zwift regardless of setup.

Battery life is reasonable. It takes a 2032 watch battery which has lasted me about six months. The battery is easily accessible so looks simple to change.

Without calibrating it against another power meter, it is difficult to say how accurate it is. But, on the turbo trainer, it has worked like a dream. Outside has mostly been fine, too, although I have occasionally got spikes of power way higher than I would expect.

I’ve also had a bit of squeaking. Whether it is because the crank arm has come loose or because there is an issue with the bottom bracket on my bike is not clear.

Hyde Park Harriers Triathlon AGM

May 13th, 2019 | Life

Last week, I attended the Hyde Park Harriers Triathlon club AGM. It was super dull, even for an AGM. But at least we got this nice group picture.

Tour de Yorkshire meal plan

May 12th, 2019 | Food

During the Tour de Yorkshire last week, including the day as a whole, I burnt 5,133 kcals. That is a lot of kcals. Helpfully, my friends James put together a meal plan to work out how much McDonald’s I could eat to recover the energy.

Breakfast items

  • Double sausage and egg McMuffin
  • Hash brown
  • Pancakes and syrup

Main menu items

  • Double cheeseburger
  • Quarter pounder
  • Big Mac
  • 2 x medium fries

Desserts

  • Chocolate doughnut
  • Aero McFlurry
  • Chocolate muffin

Drinks

  • Small Fanta organge
  • Large chocolate milkshake
  • Flat white
  • Latte

Will get all of that queued up for my next big sportive!

Tadcaster Triathlon

May 11th, 2019 | Sport

For many, May bank holiday was a time to relax. Maybe recover from having cycled the Tour de Yorkshire long route the day before. For me, my alarm went off at 7am, letting me know that it was time to get up and head to Tadcaster for the sprint triathlon.

It’s a slightly unusual setup. It starts with a 400-metre swim in the community pool. There is then a 400 metre run up the hill to the brewery car park where the transition is located. You exit transition onto a 14km cycle route around local roads before heading back into transition and then out onto a 7km run course that finishes back down the hill at the pool.

The pool at Skipton Triathlon was as warm as bath water. Tadcaster’s pool was rather cooler. I couldn’t keep my heart rate down during the swim and kept having to keep my head out of the water for stretches to get my breath. Everyone else in my lane had terrible swim time estimates and lapped my several times.

Once exiting the pool we pulled out trainers on and ran up the hill. You get a swim+ time to account for the extra run.

The bike course was reasonably flat. I tried to keep my power under 200 Watts in the spirit of taking it easy and concentrating on technique. There was one tiny hill. It wasn’t much, but after an entire day in the saddle yesterday, I could really feel it.

The run starts off on the road before turning to the riverbank for some trail. Mostly this was fine although there was one section which involved crossing a narrow bridge with no fence on one side before scrambling over a rocky path. Despite being tired, I managed to run a 5:09 per km without going too deep, so I’m pleased with that.

My official time was:

1:17:38

That breaks down as follows:

Stage Time
Swim 10:33
Swim+ 12:21
T1 02:36
Bike 28:41
T2 01:31
Run 32:32
Total 1:17:38

We timed it just right: it began to rain just as we were packing up our equipment in transition. By the time I arrived back in Leeds, hailstones were coming down.

Tour de Yorkshire 2019

May 10th, 2019 | Sport

Last year I completed the medium route of the Tour de Yorkshire, making it the longest ride I had ever done by some 10km and the highest I’d climbed at 1,200 metres. This year I was planning to do a similar thing: the long route features 123 km and 2,400 metres of climbing.

It was decisively colder than last year when I came away with sunburn. I wasn’t planning on too many layers but in the end went for a full Under Armour base layer top and bottom with my rain cape in my jersey pocket. Thank god I did. 20km in I had to pull over and put the rain cape on, and it stayed on for the rest of the day. I should have taken my winter gloves, too.

I met Bogdan at city square at 7am and we cycled up to the start, getting through the queue and onto the load about 7:45. The first section of the ride was easy, although I did find myself needing a rather urgent bathroom break as we approached the first feed stop.

Things were reasonably flat (Yorkshire flat) until we reached Summerbridge, at which point we encountered our first real challenge of the day. The road went straight out of the back. And straight up. Arguably, this was the hardest climb. it started at about 11% and just kept on getting steeper. Even at the top you simply found yourself on a false flat of 5%.

The road continued to go up and up in stages as we headed around Brimham Rocks. Finally, it dropped down into Pateley Bridge where the second feed stop was located. I stuffed my face, which was a bold choice given what was to come next: the legendary Greenhow climb.

I did Nidderdale triathlon in September and drove home via Greenhow. I remember thinking at the time “fuck me, wouldn’t want to do this on a bicycle.” Well, here I was doing it. It was hard. But, thankfully, the toughest gradients come in four distinct segments, and you get a chance to get your breath back in between.

One woman was going up on a mountain bike. I told her I was jealous of the gearing. She laughed and told me that pretty much everyone else that had gone past her had said the exact same thing.

The top of Greenhow was a cold, lonely place. We turned and headed towards Fewston Reservoir where we would join up with the medium route. By this time, everyone on the medium route had finished, though. As we struggled up Snowdon Bank, the clock continued to tick and the race looked over: almost everyone else left in the course was pushing their bike up the hills with a defeated look on their face.

The descent into Otley was a fast one. They close the pro finish line at 3:35 to get ready for the peloton coming through. And I was determined that I wouldn’t miss it because of comfort breaking. I certainly didn’t set any records, but the 56.8 kph I managed really pushed my comfort zone.

Then it was out of the back of Otley and onto East Chevin Road. The long 11% grind. It felt easier this year than it did last year, even on tired legs. It hurt but it was manageable. There was no fear that I would have to give up, only that I would have to enjoy a lot of pain.

By the time we reached the top, we had less than an hour to get to the line in time. We both gritted our teeth and put the power down and steamed down into Leeds, cursing every traffic light that made us stop. Then we hit Tinshill and found ourselves with yet another climb. This was too much and we had to take a short break. Within 10km of the line, we had almost made it. One last effort would see us through.

Again we climbed into the bikes and powered up to the hill before turning to descend onto Spen Lane and Burley Road. Burley Road itself goes up and down. The groupetto that has formed around us quickly worked out I was lying when I said this was “definitely the last little hill” but chose to believe anyway so that they could convince their bodies to make the cut-off.

As we entered the barriered section on The Headrow, the large crowds that had already gathered cheered and banged on the barriers as we crossed the line with just 10 minutes to spare. By the time we had collected our medals and chatted to Elin and John, who were on hand with some much-needed chocolate and beer, they were already clearing the tents away. But it did not matter: we had made it!

I had set a new longest ride ever, beating my previous best by 13 km. I had set a new climbing record, more than doubling my previous attempt, which was in fact last year’s Tour de Yorkshire medium route. And my lower back hurt so much that I could no longer bend down. But who needs a working back when you’ve just smashed the Tour de Yorkshire long route?

My official time was 7:40:26. We had two feed stops, and I spent some time catching my breath at the top of the climbs. But the total elapsed time since cycling out of my front gate was closer to 8:30. A tough day in the saddle but a very rewarding one.