Chris Worfolk's Blog


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 orange
  • 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.

Shimano PD-M530 bike pedal review

May 9th, 2019 | Video

The Shimano PD-M530 is a dual-sided SPD bike pedal. SPD is Shimano’s two-point mountain bike cleat but is also a favourite for commuting or those who are new to clipless pedals because it is easier to clip in and out of than the road version, SPD-SL.

The M530 has SPD cleats on both sides. This means that you do not need the pedal to the be the correct way up; you can push your foot down, and it doesn’t matter what side it is on.

The pedal comes with the standard dial to make it easier or more difficult to clip in and out of. Being dual-sided, though, means that you have two dials on each pedal which means you have to set the tension to how you like it four times in total.

They are mostly black, which should match standard crank arms. They have a larger surface area than other styles of SPD pedals, such as egg beaters, which makes it easier to find with your foot. You won’t be able to use them as flats, though, as your foot always makes contact with the cleat. And, having a larger surface area, they are heavier than other types.

If you like the look of these pedals, you may also want to consider the Shimano PD-EH500, which is similar but has a flat side as well as an SPD side, allowing you to choose between clipless and flats. In the video, I’m actually demoing the EH500, but only on the SPD side, which is identical to the M530.

Music credits: The Kyoto Connection – Fly

Chris tries to change a bike stem

May 8th, 2019 | Video

In this video, I’ll attempt to change the stem on my bike. The stem is the piece that holds your handlebars to your steerer tube. You may want to use a bigger or smaller stem to dial in the perfect amount of reach (the distance your handlebars are to your saddle).

I’m not calling it a tutorial because I have never done it before, so who knows how it will turn out!

I’m using my Voodoo Limba cyclocross bike. I made the rookie mistake of buying a frame that was too big for me and so I needed to reduce the reach. I moved the saddle forward to put it into a racier position, using my race bike to match the geometry. But I also needed to swap out the 90mm FSA stem for a 70mm stem. Luckily, FSA does such a step, so it should just be an easy swap-out swap-in job.

The first step was to take off the reflector which was blocking access to the bolts holding the stem’s front plate in place. I then loosened these a little at a time to avoid putting too much stress on any bolt. Once the faceplate was off, I let the handlebars dangle down. I had my bike on the turbo, rather than in a stand, so there was no chance the forks would drop out.

Next, I removed the dust cap from the top of the stem and then loosened the bolts holding it onto the top of the fork. Once this was done, it slid off and allowed me to put the new stem on. Then it was merely a case of reversing the procedure.

Getting the new stem in the correct position is a tricky one. The handlebars need to be both in the centre and at the correct angle, and it took me a while to get them just right. After that, I could tighten up all of the bolds, including making sure that the stem lined up with the forks and front wheel.

Garmin Forerunner 945: Should you upgrade?

May 4th, 2019 | Sport, Tech

Garmin has announced a new range of watches, including a new flagship Forerunner model, the 945. At over £500, it’s a lot of money to ask for if you are upgrading from the 935. So, should you? Here is my breakdown of the new features.

Music

You can now store up to 1,000 songs from Spotify on your watch. Thus allowing you to go out running and listen to music without your phone. This isn’t a selling point for me. I don’t go without my phone, nor do I listen to music while running. I do sometimes listen to audiobooks. But as the watch only supports Spotify and one other platform, that isn’t an option. It also means having Bluetooth headphones and I don’t want yet another device to charge.

Full maps

And in colour, no less. The breadcrumbs are gone and now you have full maps with routing capability like a sat nav. Some of my friends who do trail runs have said this would be useful to them. However, as I road run, and have never used the maps on my watch, this isn’t a selling point for me. Might be useful in a triathlon run, I guess, but the breadcrumbs would probably be fine. And I’ve never used them so far.

Garmin Pay

Now we’re talking. The idea that I could go out without my credit card because I could just pay on my watch is appealing. That said, I would still take my phone, so I could pay with that. And what isn’t widely mentioned is that Garmin Pay currently supports almost no UK banks. In fact, none of the banks I have a credit or debit cards with are currently supported. So, this might be something for the future, but right now is pretty useless.

Battery life

The 945 still provides two weeks in normal mode, but the GPS mode now boasts an impressive 36 hours, up from 24 hours on the 935. How does it achieve this? By using a new lower-power GPS chip. This sacrifices some accuracy, however. It also supports the new Galileo satellite system, but turning that on will use more power. So, this isn’t necessarily an upgrade, depending on what you value the most.

Improved stats

The stats look pretty similar to the old ones. And they’re not super-useful. It provides you with a training load, for example. But it only includes activities you record on your watch. It can sync from the Edge 1030, but it can’t sync from any other Garmin product or other workouts. I do my structured training on TrainerRoad, so the Garmin stats are meaningless.

Summary

Honestly, I’m relieved. When I heard there was a new top-of-the-range Forerunner out, I thought that sounded like an expense I did not need. But having reviewed the features, I don’t. Right now, it doesn’t offer anything substantially better than my 935.

How to be incredibly productive, even when you have anxiety

April 30th, 2019 | Public Speaking

Last week, I presented a talk as part of Leeds Anxiety Clinic’s series of events on helping people manage their anxiety. It was entitled How to be incredibly productive, even when you have anxiety.

I thought it went well. Everyone turned up for a start. We weren’t expecting that. When Anxiety Leeds ran a trial, we invited 30 people and 4 turned up on the day. Everyone who had bought a ticket (it sold out a week in advance) turned up, so we were scrambling around for extra chairs just before the start.

LBT Brownlee duathlon April 2019

April 30th, 2019 | Sport

On Saturday. I completed my second duathlon at the Brownlee circuit. Hosted by Leeds & Bradford Triathlon Club, it takes place on a regular basis and I completed my first one in March.

I had my new bike wheels fitted the day before, so I was keen to see how they would perform. The answer is badly :(. I was 15 seconds behind last month but a lot of that was lost on the bike.

Section March April
Run 1 20:27 19:46
T1 1:13 1:11
Bike 19:32 20:34
T2 1:00 1:02
Run 2 5:19 5:12
Total 47:30 47:45

That said, I’m not totally heartbroken. It was miserable weather. It rained pretty much the whole bike section and so I wasn’t as confident going through the corners at speed. I also backed it off down the hill due to the strong crosswinds.

I also went hard at parkrun in the morning to check my form. I only managed 23:45 there, despite my best effort. But that’s no excuse because my power numbers were only negligibly less.

Ultimately, I need more data and to test them in the dry.

Thanks to LBT for hosting another good event.

Public Speaking Without Fear course

April 28th, 2019 | News, Public Speaking

Final course launch for April: overcoming the fear of public speaking. Here is the blurb:

Do you want to conquer your fear of public speaking, improve your confidence and build your communication skills?  Maybe you want to be an amazing speaker, or maybe you just want to feel less terrified every time you have to give a presentation at work or “say a few words”.

If so, this is the course for you.

We’ll start by learning 12 different strategies for managing public speaking anxiety. We’ll then move on to how to prepare, write and deliver amazing speeches. We’ll learn how to practise our skills in a safe space, with exercises workbooks and expert tips.

And here is the trailer:

Check it out on Udemy here.

Introduction to Social Psychology course

April 27th, 2019 | News

I’ve launched a new course on social psychology. Here is the blurb:

Do you want to better understand the people around you? Why they think and act as they do? Maybe you have noticed people don’t always act rationally and are wondering why.

These are the questions that social psychology answers. It looks at how other people, groups, and wider society shape the way we think and behave.

It is an academic overview, but presented in a fun way with real-world examples, like what we can learn from climate change, elections, and even online dating.

And here is the trailer:

You can check it out on Udemy here.