Chris Worfolk's Blog


Sportive Breaks ad

December 19th, 2017 | Business & Marketing

If you are interested in great advertising, take a look at this. The best hit potential customers with a specific pain point and promise to fix it. Which is exactly what this advert from Sportive Breaks does. It was freezing this morning and I would much rather be cycling on Mallorca.

Braham Pie-athlon

December 18th, 2017 | Sport

It’s Christmas. Which means mince pies are everywhere. In the kitchen. In the office. And, apparently, on the triathlon course. Why? Because last Sunday was the Braham pie-athlon.

Organised by Tadcaster Triathlon Team, it was identical to their first Go Tri event that I raced last month with one important difference: in each transition area, you had to scoff a mince pie.

I was hoping for good things. At the last one, I was ill. That said, I still completed it in a time of 33:21, and this time I had to add a few mince pies as well.

Despite a frosty and wet morning, the day warmed up a little. By the start of the race, it was a balmy 6 degrees Celsius. Everyone laughed at me for lining up on the start line in just a t-shirt, but it was clearly the correct decision as I was good temperature throughout the race.

And we’re off

The first 2km was relatively easy. I’m running on a damaged ankle at the moment, which gave me a bit of grief but didn’t slow me down.

However, things got tough as we arrived in transition one. I had done extensive training before the race. However, I had done it all using deep-filled mince pies. We were handed a thin and crispy one. This has a totally different filling to pastry ratio making it much more difficult to eat.

It also put me at a disadvantage against the people changing their shoes, as they could eat and shoe-change. Thus, it didn’t really slow them down. Whereas I was otherwise ready to pick my bike up.

The bike leg

I exited transition alongside one other guide and got ahead of him. For a good five metres. That was mainly due to me being able to hop on my bike quickly whereas it took him a few seconds to clip into his £2,000 Felt B-series TT bike. Once he had clipped in, he caught up pretty quickly.

We headed down the old A1 and I quickly overtook someone. I was then on my own for the next 3km before spotting someone in my metaphorical mirrors. I kept ahead of him for another 3km, but with 1km to go, he finally overtook me. The effort had worn him out though, and I took the place back as we reached the dismount line and ran into transition two.

The final sprint

We were handed our second mince pies as we left T2, meaning we could eat them on the run. This is hard to do. It’s impossible to eat and breathe in sufficient oxygen for running at the same time. But by the 500m mark I had I had finished munching and the stomach pains disappeared.

The results

I came 9th out of a field of 22. Last time I was 22 out of 32, which suggests that I am improving or that the good athletes were scared off by their lack of scoffing skills.

My final time was:

34:25

That means it was 1:04 slower than last time. Not a great result as even if you say it took me all of that time to scoff the mince pies, it means I haven’t really improved much.

However, it seems everyone found it harder.

The guy who won both races, Harry Robson, was 2:56 slower with this race. The guy who came second in this race was also 2:26 slower than the previous event. So, perhaps it was an improvement after all.

The splits

It’s impossible to report exact splits without a fancy triathlon watch (so, I will be needing one of those) but I can estimate it from the pace fluctuations.

I’ve put in last time as a comparison.

Section Pie-athlon Previous race
Run 9:52 9:48
T1 2:05 (11:57) 0:35 (10:23)
Bike 16:57 (28:52) 17:32 (27:55)
T2 0:35 (29:27) 0:50 (28:45)
Run 4:58 (34:25) 4:36 (33:21)
Total 34:25 33:21
Gap to winner 5:10 7:02

Looking at the data, I think it’s probably nonsense: you just cannot accurately gauge which section is which without a clear marker that a sports watch would provide.

Conclusion

It was a lot of fun. I would definitely do another pie-athlon. Tadcaster Triathlon Team did a great job of organising it. I finished the day with a long bath. For my bike. Then I had a quick shower with the remaining hot water.

The Real Greek

December 17th, 2017 | Books, Food

With a name like The Real Greek, you would expect Tonia Buxton’s cookbook to offer authentic recipes. Does it?

Well, that depends on how accurate greek stereotypes are. Everything had feta cheese in it. So, if that is genuinely all Greek people eat, then yes.

It’s a book of simple recipes. If you want to know how to make a beautiful Greek salad or marinate some spicy kebabs, it is full of that stuff. And often, you do just want to make something simple and delicious, so it works well.

The number of actionable recipes was mixed. I’ve made a bunch of skewers and stuffed some burgers with feta cheese. But, despite a range of other dishes, not much else took my fancy. At first, it felt there was very little, although, on going back through them, I have enjoyed several other recipes, too. It doesn’t match up to the likes of Hugh or Mary Berry, but I have added a handful of recipes to my repertoire.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

December 12th, 2017 | Books

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started with Bitcoin is a book by Christopher Nygaard.

I read the audiobook edition. It’s okay: you get a grounding in Bitcoin in under two and a half hours. There is some details on how to use it and very little technical details. Most of the book looks at the history, how it has evolved and where it is going.

The narration is odd. It’s by Skyler Morgan and he sounds like a robot. He has a website and offers royalty-split book details. I’m not sure whether he actually is a computer-generated voice, or whether he just has a voice that sounds a lot like a robot.

What Every Parent Needs to Know

December 9th, 2017 | Books

What Every Parent Needs to Know: The incredible effects of love, nurture and play on your child’s development is a book by Margot Sunderland.

I like it. It’s backed up by science. Most books never reference. Some books make provocative claims about what you should do as a parent in order to provoke a reaction. And still don’t back their claims up.

This book sets a good balance. There is some stuff you “don’t want to hear” in here. But pretty much everything is referenced. With real references. So, at worse, you can say Sutherland is misinterpreting or twisting the research. But she doesn’t seem to be just making it up or being unjustifiably offensive like others (*ahem* Penelope Leach *ahem*).

Most of it is straightforward: give your child lots of love and understanding. Be empathetic. Give them time, attention and cuddles. Don’t leave them to cry because you think it will do them some good and toughen them up. Nothing groundbreaking there.

She won be over by laying into baby DVDs. They’re nonsense. Don’t let your young children watch TV, regardless of what it is or how it markets itself as being good for them.

While it’s all good stuff, it remains to be seen how actionable it is, though. I would love to have initiate patience and give my daughter an endless stream of love. But, on the occasions when I do ignore her whining or become moody, it’s because I’m at the end of the very short string of calmness god gave me.

There are some very actionable things, though. Like long goodbyes, for example. A quick getaway is easier, but a long goodbye is better for your child because you don’t stress them out. I can afford to spend a few minutes getting Venla playing at daycare before dashing out of the door.

All in all, a good read for anyone on their way to becoming a parent, or anyone who as recently become one.

Mastering Bitcoin

December 8th, 2017 | Books

Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies is a book by Andreas M. Antonopoulos.

It’s published by O’Reilly and the cover features leafcutter ants. They farm. I learnt that from the book. I also learnt some stuff about bitcoin.

It’s a book for programmers and techies. It says the first few chapters are suitable for everyone, and they are, but why you would buy an entire book for two quick chapters I am not sure. Everything is technical and there are code samples everywhere. If that’s your bag, this book might be perfect for you.

I took me an afternoon to read it. It’s not particularly short, but I glossed over a lot of the technical details and code samples. Partly because I am not looking for that level of detail yet, though also because it’s very difficult to understand, even for a programmer.

It is written in an engaging way with plenty of examples to illustrate how everything works. However, it is a technical book and you won’t find any information on how to use Bitcoin in the real world. But, if you want an understanding of bitcoin and the blockchain, this a good place to get it.

Triathlon For Beginners

December 7th, 2017 | Books, Sport

Triathlon For Beginners: Everything you need to know about training, nutrition, kit, motivation, racing, and much more is a book by Dan Golding.

I was keen to read it to see how my current knowledge matched up. As it turns out, it matches up reasonably well. If you’ve been around the triathlon world for any amount of time, or done a few, you will probably know a lot of what is in the book.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Golding goes deeper into the science of each aspect so unless you really know your stuff, there is something to learn.

Take nutrition, for example. I knew we had around 90 minutes of glycogen. But, after that is gone, exactly how many kcals do I need to put in my body to keep going, and at what rate? Everyone is different, of course, but Golding provides a guide.

He also expounds on an important concept that books are picking up on more and more (including mine): you have to remind the reader that reading this book isn’t enough; they need to put it into practice, too.

How much this helps, I’m not sure. But the anecdotes about what happens probably do help. Between Golding’s recollection of being unable to get his wetsuit off, and my own experience of running out of T2 still wearing my cycling helmet, I think I’ll think I’ll be able to convince myself that transition practice is time well spent.

If you’re thinking about taking up triathlon, or you’re still in your first season, this book is worth reading.

Hairy Bikers Ride Again

December 6th, 2017 | Books, Food

The Hairy Bikers Ride Again is a cookbook by Dave Myers and Si King. They spend their time riding around the world on motorbikes, finding new recipes and cooking. And then distilling this into books and TV shows.

In this instalment, they go through India, Argentina and Morocco and Belgium.

Chorizo crumb fish

Spicy mash

It’s an okay cookbook. It’s not your usual type: it’s split between them talking about their travels and then there is a bunch of recipes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will come down to your personal preferences.

The recipes worked well. They felt a little safe but produced predictably nice food. Nothing has made it onto my “recipes to come back to” list, but both the vegetable and paneer curries are definitely close.

Baby carrier match

December 5th, 2017 | Photos

That awkward moment when you release your new baby carrier perfectly matches your t-shirt.

30 Days of Action: Day 30

November 30th, 2017 | Life

How fast time flies. We’re at the end of the 30 days. Although, of course, many people have banged out a novel in this time.

First, things I’ve done today: I finished closing down the Mountain Wallet website. I’ve upgraded all of my WordPress installs to the latest version. Hopefully, this will fix the image upload bug.

For my own sake, I’m also going to review what I have achieved in the past 30 days.

What I’ve done this month

I finished writing, editing and producing my new book, Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. It’s now available in paperback, Kindle and iBooks edition.

In fact, this is only one of two books I published in November, as I also released the book edition of the IT Contracting Master Class. Unlike the Skeptic’s Guide, nobody has bought a copy yet. But, at £75 a copy, who can blame them.

I’ve released a new course, Mindfulness for Social Anxiety. I’ve also given my existing courses some love by fixing the audio on Get More Restaurant Customers and adding captions to all of the lectures. I’ve also taken Running For Anxiety out of private beta and launched it to the public.

I’ve got a lot of content writing done for WAM. At least six new blog posts. I’ve also released five new videos and reached out to a number of guest posting opportunities, of which one was accepted. There has also been some behind-the-scenes work too, fixing Search Console errors and adding the new image search to the CMS.

I launched the personalised reports on WAM, too. These have already shown themselves to be a good potential avenue for bringing in new leads.

I’ve attended my first business networking event in the form of WapenTalkie.

I’ve also taken some of the hard decisions such as cancelling my 5000bc and Audioblocks memberships. I’m normally pretty bad at taking action here, but it had to be done.

What are the outcomes?

Much of what I have done will have benefits further down the line than can be seen immediately after. However, there are some promising indicators already:

I’ve had my best ever month selling courses. In fact, a few more sales today and I will have generated more revenue this month than the last six months combined.

Book sales are looking up a little, too. People are already buying Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy and a lot of people have bought How to Exit VIM, too.

Traffic on WAM is up approximately 20% between October and November and I’ve generated around a dozen potential new leads in the first week or so of the personalised reports going live.

Review of outcomes

There has definitely been some success this month, and avenues to explore further.

But, overall, it’s nowhere near good enough.

Productivity this month has been good. But it hasn’t felt that way: it feels like I’ve spent far too much time being ill, or looking after Venla. Fatherhood is rubbish because none of this is quality time, it is dealing with problems.

Secondly, the outcomes have, so far, been pretty poor, too. Sure, it’s better than I was doing. But it’s not paying the bills. Unless I can 100x the effectiveness of what is happening, it’s not going to be funding my Lamborghini anytime soon.