Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Evans Fix It course

Monday, January 14th, 2019 | Sport

Last month, I attended the Evans Fix It course on bike maintenance.

It was supposed to be an hour’s course and cost £15. As it was, we ended up getting an hour and a half of tuition for our money. It covers the basics: parts of the bike, the M-check, changing a tyre, cleaning and a little bit on adjusting gears.

There were only two of us on the course, so it extra friendly, and we were able to look at specific setups for our bikes. We call ran disc brakes, for example, so could skip over the rim brakes content pretty quickly.

Plus, we got to see the secret downstairs area, and you come away with a goodie bag containing cleaning products, a multitool, tyre levers and a patch kit. All in all, therefore it was great value: 90 minutes of learning, plus a load of useful stuff that I needed anyway.

The only drawback was that it was a demonstration, rather than a hands-on exercise. I was a guinea pig for a course at Woodrup the week before, and in that we got hands-on, changing the inner tube on a tyre. There is no replacement for actually doing it.

I would still recommend the Evans course, though, because it is still a bargain. Ideally, do both. I’m not naturally mechanical, so I’m looking for all of the learning opportunities I can get.

Lifeline TT 02 turbo trainer review

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 | Reviews, Sport

In this video, I’ll review the Lifeline TT-02 fluid turbo trainer. It’s an indoor bike trainer sold by Wiggle. It’s an entry-level model that is perfect if you want to try out indoor cycling without spending a huge amount of money.

Setup is simple, and I’ll show you in the video. Pop the legs out, lock the bike in place and pop the riser block under the front wheel. You’ll need to replace your quick release skewer with the one supplied. If you have a thru-axle bike, see my review of the Kinetic Traxle.

With it being a fluid trainer, there are no controls to fiddle around with. The resistance gets exponentially harder as you pedal faster.

As it’s not a smart trainer, it’s not compatible with Zwift or TrainerRoad out-of-the-box: you’ll need a power meter or speed sensor on your bike to make it work.

You can listen to the noise levels on the video as I ride at 100, 200, 400 and 700 Watts.

2018: A good year for fitness

Monday, December 31st, 2018 | Life, Sport

It’s been a great year for my personal fitness. I’ve always considered myself reasonably fit anyway, but this year I made an extra effort to take it to the next level. I had three goals at the start of the year:

  • Run a sub-2-hour half marathon
  • Complete a standard distance triathlon
  • Run a marathon

I could have knocked one of the goals off within the first week of January as I was registered for the Sir Titus Trot half marathon. Unfortunately, I picked up a nagging injury in November that didn’t disappear, so I had to do the sensible thing and sit it out.

No worries, as in March I ran a 1:52:24 at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Canter. I also accidentally ran a much faster 1:45:25 in training in October.

Next on the list was a triathlon. I knocked my first race off in April with Skipton, but that was only a sprint. My first standard distance was Wetherby, closely followed by World Series Leeds.

Finally, the marathon. I completed my first marathon-length run in September, and still can’t really work out whether that counts or not. But, in any case, I completed the Yorkshire Marathon three weeks later. Sub-4 hours you say? Why yes, yes I did.

So, all three goals knocked off. But wait, there’s more…

I originally told myself I would stick to those and look at longer events, like a middle distance triathlon and ultra-marathon in 2019. But, having the flexibly to train while I completed my MSc proved too alluring.

In September, I completed my first middle distance (half Ironman) triathlon when I raced Sundowner, finishing comfortably within seven hours, and well before the eight-hour cut-off.

And, two weeks after the Yorkshire Marathon, I completed the Hubble Bubble ultramarathon. Mostly because the idea of going through another marathon training programme did not seem too appealing when I could piggyback of the training I was already doing for the Yorkshire Marathon.

What will 2019 bring?

Probably some more middle distance triathlon. But I’m waiting for the club calendar to come out before I decide. I’ve already signed up for Leeds and Skipton. And my 10km PB is currently the run segment at Wetherby Triathlon so it would be nice to move the chains on that. But, at the moment, I’m enjoying some time off.

Festive Fifty 2018

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Sport

My first ever sportive was the Festive Fifty on New Year’s Eve last year. So, it was fitting to close out 2018 by taking part in the Festive Fifty this year to raise money for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund at the Leeds General Infirmary.

It was great to be riding with Bogdan again, as we haven’t had a spin since August. It felt easier than last year. Last year there was a hill. This year, I wouldn’t even call it a hill. It was over before I realised it. The long road back home was once again a massive headwind but didn’t feel quite as long, either.

Doing the 50-mile route was certainly an option this year, but I haven’t dialled in my position on the Bianchi just yet, and with Venla being rather unwell at the moment, I wanted to get back to her as soon as possible. So, I settled for the 50km route, which was nice as it meant my toes stayed warm the whole way around.

Temple Newsam’s 300th Parkrun

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Sport

Yesterday, Temple Newsam held their 300th Parkrun. With it being a big round number, I decided to head across to test my legs.

It’s been a year since I’ve run Temple Newsam. The last one I did, which was my course PB, was part of the New Year’s Day double at the start of 2018 before I had started my triathlon training in earnest. So, the 27:12 I set there was inevitably going to fall.

In the end, I ran:

23:17

Really happy with that. I’ve only gone sub-23 twice at Woodhouse Moor, so once you factor in the hills of Temple Newsam, that feels like an excellent result. I knew I wasn’t running quite as fast as when I was marathon training, but I’m not far off.

It wasn’t much bigger than usual: 199 runners in total. They did have a photographer there, though, so at the start, I sprinted up the front to be in the photo. And, as you can see below, I made it! (Light blue Go Tri t-shirt on the far left, in case you can’t spot me). Thanks to ‎Phil Bland‎ for taking the photos!

Potternewton Parkrun

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 | Sport

Last Saturday, I headed down to Potternewton Park to try the new Parkrun there. Parkrun like to soft launch their events to work out any bugs, so many of us had avoided event #1. But, now that that was out of the way, 199 of us headed down to give it a go.

Leeds now has a total of nine Parkruns: Woodhouse Moor, Cross Flatts, Middleton Woods, Temple Newsam, Roundhay, Bramley, Armley and Rothwell being the others.

Potternewton Park is hilly. It doesn’t have the endless drag of Temple Newsam, or maybe even Roundhay, but it goes up and down quite a bit. It’s three laps, mostly on tarmac with a bit on some matting. You could get a buggy around the course if you fancied hills but dogs are currently not allowed.

My time was okay. I ran:

23:46

Ten seconds slower than I did at Middleton Woods last week, and a minute and a half off my PB, but you can’t compare the flats of Woodhouse Moor to a hilly course and I ran most of the last lap with Graeme, and it’s very difficult to chat and get enough air in at the same time (worth the trade, though).

Abbey Dash 2018

Monday, November 12th, 2018 | Family & Parenting, Sport

Earlier this month, myself, my dad and my sister ran the 33rd annual Abbey Dash.

It’s a 10km road race from Leeds to Kirkstall Abbey and back to raise money for Age UK. I first ran the Abbey Dash in 2014. However, I first attended the Abbey Dash in around 1987 when I watched my dad run one of the first few dashes from the comfort of my buggy.

We decided to run as a group. After all, there are plenty of 10ks, but rarely a chance to run together. And as it was only a week after the Hubble Hubble ultramaraton and my foot was still pretty beat-up.

In the end, we made it home in:

59:24

Comfortably within the hour, so happy days. Well done one and all! After the race, I headed to Headrow House for some drinks with Hyde Park Harriers before moving on to The Midnight Bell for Sunday lunch. Despite some very dubious Yorkshire puddings, the food was good.

Battle of the buggies

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 | Sport

Last weekend, Venla and I headed over to Cross Flatts park to do Parkrun. It’s pretty empty at 8:30am, when it’s six degrees, surprisingly, so Venla had the swing park all to herself. After that, we headed off to the start line in the buggy.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run given I was still recovering from Hubble Bubble, but I felt good once I started. Until I pulled a muscle in my neck, at least.

Buggies go fast downhill and slow uphill. But I can’t have been too far off form because in the end I managed a 26:26, finishing a couple of minutes ahead of the next buggy. I don’t think I could do that at Woodhouse Moor where the super-runners smash out Olympic buggy times, but it felt good to steam home to victory.

Hubble Bubble ultramarathon

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 | Sport

Last Sunday I completed the Hubble Hubble ultramarathon. I came 5th overall with a time of 5:18:11. It turns out that if you want to place in the top ten, the easiest way is to enter an event with only 11 participants.

52.6 km (32.7 miles) in 5:18:11

Two weeks ago I ran the Yorkshire Marathon. Why run an ultra two weeks later? Sheer laziness. Training for a marathon is a big undertaking: even coming off the triathlon season I had to spend a few months building up the distance. It seemed like a lot of effort to do that twice. On the other hand, if I stacked them two weeks apart, one big training block beforehand would allow me to call myself both a marathon and an ultramarathon runner without ever having to run again.

Besides which, it was my stomping ground. The run starts in Kirkstall and is exclusively based on the towpath. You run down into the city centre, out to Saltire, back to the city centre and finally back to Kirkstall. A total of 52.5 kilometres, which makes it a mere ten kilometres longer than a marathon. Easy, right?

The first 30 kilometres passed without incident. I felt good all the way to Saltaire. But, as I headed back, I began to feel the strain. By 35 kilometres in I could keep running no more and began to allow myself short walks between running segments which carried on for the rest of the race. Luckily, it didn’t affect my pace too much and I continued to do around 6:15 per kilometre. I was very relieved to pass back through Kirkstall at the 43-kilometre point where I was able to pick up my second bidon, complete with a set of caffeine gels.

The weather was reasonably kind. It was cold, a little under ten degrees, but that is a good temperature for running, and we only experienced a little bit of rain. Nothing compared to the Yorkshire Marathon.

The winner, Robert Eagles, was 40 minutes ahead of me at 4:37:32. I was eight minutes behind the guy in fourth place and 40 minutes ahead of the guy that finished behind me. All participants finished in under seven hours.

One of the highlights of It’s Grim Up North Running events is the amazing selection of homemade cakes. Unfortunately, by the time I finished the runners doing the shorter distances had almost cleaned them out. But I did come away with a Halloween-themed cupcake.

Recovery was a mixed bag. I didn’t have the muscle fatigue I had after the marathon where it hurt to get up and down. I was a little stiff after not moving for a while but otherwise fine. However, the bottom of my foot really hurt and gave me quite a limp. Not sure which one was worse but neither have been terrible.

And now I look forward to never having to run again. Well, after the Dash next week…

Super fast half marathon

Friday, October 26th, 2018 | Sport

I did my full-length training run for the Yorkshire Marathon three weeks before the race and shortly after came down with a cold, meaning I had to cut short my final long training run.

A week out from the race and I was still feeling rough. However, I decided I needed to get at least 30km in my legs, so having done Parkrun I set out to do 20km on the Sunday.

Despite feeling crap, it didn’t hold back my pace. In fact, I was faster. My current PB is 1:52:24, which I set at the Canal Canter in March. I topped the distance up to a half marathon and ran a 1:45:25 – almost seven minutes faster than my PB and representing a pace of 4:58 per kilometre.

How? I don’t know. Chris hypothesised that my body’s natural pain management from the cold was still in effect. There may be something in that as it didn’t hurt that much. It certainly will be interesting to see what I can do in a race.