Chris Worfolk's Blog


Festive Fifty 2019

December 31st, 2019 | Sport

The Festive Fifty has a special place in our hearts because it was the first sportive that Bogdan and I did. It needs that special place because otherwise who else would be mad enough to do a sportive in winter?

Plus, this year we had a super-domestique on the form of Jon. He warned us that he was going to be taking it easy and on his slower winter bike, but we still struggled to hold his wheel. This was also the first year we stepped up to the 80km route (50 miles).

The ride itself was a mixed bag. I’ve switched to an ISM saddle and it is pretty good for being down on the aero bars but terrible for being sat upright. I had to ride a lot of the course on my drops to get my body tilted forward enough to relieve some of the pain. The 40-50km stretch was tough; after that, it started to ease up. The first 50km was almost pan flat. Then we got a few hills, although I use hills in a very loose term.

The photographer came out of nowhere, hence looking at my computer at the time.

My clothing worked well. Under Armour winter base layers with a gabba and rain cape over the top. Pretty quickly I had to take the rain cape off. My toes stayed toasty, too. Unfortunately, my new Sealskinz gloves broke almost immediately.

Our average speed was 26.3 kph: quite a lot faster than we tottered around at 23 kph last year. It was not as busy as last year, which is a shame, especially for the children who now won’t be able to afford heart surgery (the event was a fundraiser for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund).

Nice company, and a nice way to round out the year. Now to wash my bike…

Christmas 2019

December 30th, 2019 | Life

It’s been a busy Christmas this year. We’re old now so time moves really fast. Plus, between Elina’s new job and me being busy at work, we’re not taking much time off. So, it has all been compacted into a small space.

Venla helped with the tree decorating this year. She did a great job, even if most of the baubles are at a Venla-eyeline height.

Elina wouldn’t let me by the biggest Christmas ham this year, nor would it have fitted into the oven, so we had to settle for a 9kg one.

Christmas jumper

December 29th, 2019 | Life, Photos

I’ve never really had a Christmas jumper. I have a Finnish jumper, with raindeer on, that I trot out each Christmas to join in the festivities. But ideally, Christmas jumpers should be horribly loud garish.

When I saw this one, I couldn’t resist:

It reads:

All I want for Christmas is the means of production

For those who do not recognise the quote, that is a reference to Karl Marx.

Of course, there is a huge amount of irony in someone taking the work of Marx, commoditising it into a jumper that they have then sold me using a global marketplace like Facebook. But surely Marx himself saw this coming?

The 49ers are hot again

December 28th, 2019 | Distractions, Sport

Back in the day (like ten years ago) the 49ers were good. We had Jim Harbaugh at the helm and he was ace. He took us to the championship game consistently, and almost won the 2013 Super Bowl.

Then we went 8-8 and the 49ers fired him. And we entered the dark ages. 5-11 under Jim Tomsula, 2-13 under Chip Kelly, and 6-10 and 4-12 under Kyle Shanahan. Luckily, by the third coach in three years (we’re the only NFL team to ever do that), they decided it might be best to pick one coach and give him a chance.

Third season in and Kyle Shanahan’s team is on fire. We went 8-0, with the only unbeaten team being the Patriots, and even our losses have been close: a missed field goal in overtime allowed the Seahawks to finally deliver us a loss. And the Ravens and Falcons only managed to take the lead at the last minute.

So, it’s great to be a 49ers fan again.

With one distinct downside. I pay a lot of money for NFL GamePass, which allows me to stream all of the games. However, Sky Sports show two on Sunday evenings and these are blacked out on GamePass. When we were crap, nobody wanted to show our games. But now we’re got again, Sky Sports are once again showing the 49ers games. You can’t have it all, I guess.

Hyde Park Harriers cycling gear

December 27th, 2019 | Sport

As Hyde Park Harriers Triathlon continues to grow, we’ve been expanding our club kit.

I was a little worried about ordering because when I ordered my tri suit, it took months to turn up and I missed a lot of races. However, I did get a full apology, and ultimately the club decided to stay with our current provider. It’s a monopoly, so it was either take the chance or not be able to wear the club kit.

This time things have been better: it turned up just before Christmas meaning I had it in time for the Festive 50. And it looks pretty snazzy. Yeah, I’m old, “snazzy” was a word when I was a kid.

I haven’t worn the jersey on a ride yet as I also picked up a Gabba in the Black Friday sales (and Elina has now bought me a long-sleeved jersey for Christmas, too), but I have been wearing the arm warmers which seem to do a good job.

Roll on summer when the club rides start again.

Swim, swim, swim

December 26th, 2019 | Sport

I have been pretty quiet over the past few months because I have been busy with a lot of stuff. I’ll blog about most of that, but one thing I have been putting a lot of time into is my swim.

I have problems breathing through my nose, and so for many years, I thought it was going to be literally impossible for me to do a good front crawl. I was going to focus on it last year, but then I signed up for The Yorkshireman and prioritised improving my cycling.

This off-season finally gave me the opportunity to nail it down. This included private lessons at The Hilton and their silly 14-metre pool, working with my previous coach, Lucia, and workshops with Jack Maitland as well as one booked in for next year with Morgan Williams.

But mostly it has involved a commitment of getting in the pool three times a week for the final three months of the year. That’s a lot of swimming, as well as a lot of walking to and from the pool, washing my hair and trying out my kit ready for the next swim.

The effort has paid off, though. From feeling exhausted after 100 metres, I found I could confidently swim 400 metres, and then 1,500 metres. These are important milestones because these are the two distances that come up most often: pool-based sprints and standard distance open water events.

Most of all, though, it is a testament to anything being possible if you have enough perseverance. By and large, if you do a thing enough times, you will get there.

Abbey Dash 2019

December 26th, 2019 | Sport

I love the Abbey Dash as it is a great chance to get together with the running club over a few beers. It’s almost a shame there has to be a run before it.

My 10km run PB was in a strange place. Officially, it was 49:47, set at the 2017 dash. But in 2018 I ran 47:36 at Wetherby Triathlon and 47:12 at World Triathlon Leeds this year. Where they short? Too down hill? Or just my best runs?

I wanted to put that question to rest and so resolved to go out at 47-minute pace. The 22:30 ai ran at parkrun the week before suggested I should be able to run a 47:04 but I was worried that a year of Ironman had eroded my top-end speed.

The weather is always cold so this year I came prepared. The day before I popped down to a charity shop and bought a hoodie to wear before the race. There was a little rain before the race, but otherwise cold and sunny: PN conditions.

This year, the start moved from Wellington Street to The Headrow. Julie says this is the way it used to be. This meant cutting out the congestion point around Cardigan Fields. No speed bumps to jump this year.

My target pace was 4:42 per kilometre. My first km was downhill and came in at 4:32 but I then slowed down to 4:49 for the second. I tried to pick the pace up but couldn’t and slipped a few more seconds behind all of the way to the abbey.

I went around the turn at 23:40, ten seconds behind target pace. I was hurting and wanted to give up, but convinced myself that it might get easier, and even if it didn’t, I wanted to get as close to those triathlon times as possible: 47:10 would still be a PB after all.

The return journey starts with a downhill and I put in a 4:30 kilometre. After that, I didn’t slow down. Harriers kept screaming my name. I was head down racing, it thank you to everyone who did: I did hear you!

By kilometre seven and eight ai had realised that I was slightly ahead and just needed to keep it going. That was a scary prospect given there was a slight climb to The Headrow but I hoped I could rely on the adrenaline of being so close to keep me going.

I kept checking my watch to try and hit the perfect pace. I did not want to go too hard and blow up. I turned on the Galileo tracking (Europe’s GPS satellites) and my watch was pretty spot on with the distances.

As I crossed the line, I stopped my watch and looked down. It read 46:12. I couldn’t believe it. I have no idea where I found that minute. My official time came through via text 30 minutes later.

46:11

I am happy with that. It represents the fastest 10km I could run right now. I paced myself the whole way, pushed hard and kept a consistent heart rate of around 190 bpm.

Thank you to everyone on the route that was cheering us along.

Since the event, it has turned out that the course was 23 metres short. Even with an additional 23 metres, it would still be a PB, so I’m counting it.

Yogaversary

December 10th, 2019 | Life

Not sure whether the correct term is “yogaversary” or “yogiversary”. But, in any case, I’ve now been doing yoga every week for a full year.

Do I feel more flexible? No. But I don’t feel any less flexible, even after the year I have done. Plus, I’ve gained two kilograms of muscle in my core. Not sure if that is all down to yoga, or from other training, but my guess is it plays a large part.

Slim PHP 3.12.3

December 6th, 2019 | Programming

If you’re using the Slim framework in PHP, there is a breaking change between 3.12.2 and 3.12.3. You’ll need to change where you are inheriting your class from.

- use Interop\Container\ContainerInterface;
+ use Psr\Container\ContainerInterface;

Licensed to coach

November 30th, 2019 | Life

The paperwork has finally come through for my triathlon coaching qualification. Happy days ahead.