Archive for May, 2019

Driffield Triathlon

Friday, May 24th, 2019 | Sport

Driffield is a town in East Yorkshire and home to one of the first Freebird events of the year: Driffield Triathlon. It is on the same weekend as Evolve Sprint, Harrogate Triathlon and the Leeds Half Marathon. Busy weekend! In the end, a sizable contingent from Hyde Park Harriers decided we would make the trip.

It was a lovely day. A little cold at first but the sun was shining and it got warmer as the day went on. In the end, I came home having caught the sun on my forehead.

I still had a cold so I wasn’t sure how I was going to perform. The swim went well. I couldn’t get into rhyme at Tadcaster but things went much better here. I was placed with competitors of a more similar level, which helped.

The bike was fine, too, the hills were gentle and I took it fairly easy. The course was only around 17 km so it looks like a fast time. My run was just slightly slower than Skipton, which I think is a good result given I was feeling under the weather.

I was the first Harrier home, though some would argue this was because I set off an hour before everyone else. Meanwhile, Naomi won her age group.

My finishing time:

1:15:56

Here are my splits:

Stage Time
Swim 10:35
T1 02:39
Bike 36:36
T2 01:37
Run 24:28
Total 1:15:56

After the race, the club convened at Water Lane Boathouse for a social.

Velo Games Spring Classics

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 | Distractions

This year’s Velo Games fantasy cycling allowed unlimited team changes between the Spring Classics races. This made for quite a commitment: optimising our teams between each race.

Luckily, John and I have a simple tactic: take Sagan and then work out what to do with the handle of points left over. This proved to be a good tactic even though Sagan had a disappointing start to the season. Coming fourth is still worth a lot of points.

Alaphilippe was the dominant ride of the spring. This was often bad news for Bogdan who took up to three Deceuninck–Quick-Step riders and someone didn’t pick the DQS winner. It was not a tactic without merit, though: Štybar and Gilbert both took a victory.

As we entered the final race, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, it was neck-and-neck between Team Chris and We Didn’t Inhale. Luckily for me, we both had a pretty terrible race with only one serious point-scorer between the two squads: Fuglsang for me.

Back in the lake

Monday, May 20th, 2019 | Sport

The open water season has arrived!

Getting back into a wetsuit reminded me just how uncomfortable swimming in a wetsuit can be lol. Last year, the water was down to 11 degrees at one point so I was expecting the 16 degrees to feel balmy. It did not. But soon warmed up once I started swimming.

I put a small hole in my wet suit and, frustratingly, when I went to glue it back together I found that my glue had tried up over the winter. So, lesson learnt, order a new tube of neoprene glue in the spring.

Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico

Sunday, 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

Saturday, 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

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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.