Posts Tagged ‘leeds’

Festive Fifty 2019

Tuesday, 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…

Abbey Dash 2019

Thursday, 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.

2019 UCI Road World Championships road race

Saturday, October 5th, 2019 | Photos, Sport

The final race of the World Championships was the men’s elite road race. Road races are not always the most exciting because the peloton rides together, so you get one big bunch and it is all over in under a minute. However, as it started from Leeds city centre, walking up to The Headrow at 9am did not seem too big an ask.

Parkrun Day: The Film

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 | Sport, Video

Last week, when Hyde Park Harriers took on Leeds parkruns, I took my GoPro along to document the trip. Here is the film I made.

Parkrun Day

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 | Sport

Every year, Hyde Park Harriers try to take on all of the parkuns in Leeds in a single day. This has become more and more of a challenge as new parkruns start. By this year, 2019, there are now nine of them. With two more starting soon, I have no idea what we will do next year. Possibly a multi-day event.

Having so many parkruns means the distance this year was up to 45km. Anything longer than 42.2km is technically an ultramarathon. 45km is pretty much the easiest ultramarathon you can possibly do, especially as you get a break when driving between them. Or so I thought. It turns out that having a break just gives your legs a chance to seize up.

Roundhay

We started bright and early at 7:30am. Ed Sheran had taken over most of the park so we had to forgo the regular parkrun route and do two laps of the lake instead. Nobody was sad to miss the long drag of the hill up to the mansion in favour of a beautiful view of the lake. It was sunny on the near side and rained on the far side.

Potternewton

By Potternewton, I was already feeling it. Bad times only 5km in! I wanted to pace myself so I walked up some of the hills. Meanwhile, Marcos Angel Valero Palacios came sprinting past me to take a course record of 15:59.

Temple Newsam

I had not packed a lot of food as I only decided to come for it at the last minute and had not had a chance to stock up, so by Temple Newsam I was hungry. I grabbed a coke, a sausage roll and a caramel shortbread from the cafe. The sun was out in full force by Temple Newsam, and Amy and Paul made a guest appearance.

Rothwell

The sun continued to beat down at Rothwell so I took a quick break to suncream up. The tarmac was starting to pound my legs by this point, so I was pleased to have grass to run on for most of it. How easy was everyone else taking it? Toby and Rich lapped me at this one.

Middleton Woods

Ah, the sweet shade of the woods. I felt good at Middleton, at least for the first three kilometres. I was still walking up some fo the hills but was running everything else. After the run, we had lunch on the bike cafe. A cheeseburger and chips went down well, accompanied by two bottles of orange juice and another can of coke.

Cross Flatts

It has cooled down a little by Cross Flatts and we dispatched the course without too much trouble. I felt no ill effects from having stuffed my face.

Bramley

By Bramley, I was tired but feeling good. I had finished both my bidons by this point, so we went to the shop to reload. The ground was a bit soggy when I moved off the tarmac and onto the grass.

Armley

This one was always going to be a challenge because it was so deep in but not quite at the end. We took it really steady so it didn’t hurt too much.

Woodhouse Moor

Ah, the end! I was excited to arrive here and we were joined by a few other Harriers. I went hard to try and put in a good time, but the fatigue meant that a “good time” was still 31 minutes. After crossing the finish line, I would say I felt amazing, but I mostly felt sick. That’s pretty standard with anything over three hours, though.

Conclusion

I can’t believe I made it. Eight others also claimed all of the runs, and while Greg missed Roundhay, he did the most work out of all of us as he cycled between each one. Thank you to Toby for organising it and Ellie for keeping me company at the back.

I’ll see you all next year… for one of the parkuns ;).

World Triathlon Leeds 2019

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 | Sport

The 2018 World Triathlon Leeds was the first standard distance triathlon I signed up for (although I actually completed Wetherby two weeks earlier) and was my target race for the year. I lost my timing chip in the lake and so technically registered a DNF. The swim was cut in half due to fog, so the 2:43:00 I registered on my Garmin would have been 3:03:00 with a full swim.

This year, I was hoping to improve, mostly by setting an official time.

The preparation could have gone better. Two days before, Venla handed me her cold. I could feel a little tickle, which by Saturday had turned into a full cold. It took me 28 minutes to complete parkrun and it rained all day, which made for a wet affair at registration. Thankfully, it dried up on Sunday for the race itself.

I was in the Yorkshire Championship. We didn’t start until 8:35, which made for a lice line-in compared to the 7:10 start I had last year. It also meant that almost everyone else in Hyde Park Harriers was in the same wave as me. They were all in their beautiful club tri suits. Alas, mine did not turn up in time.

The swim

The swim went well. I was just under 40 minutes, which is my useful benchmark. I had my family chasing me around the lake cheering me on which provided some extra speed boost. We were the second-to-last standard distance wave, so not many people swimming over the top of me.

Getting out, I remembered just how long transition is at this event. It goes on forever. There is probably a kilometre of running between the swim exit, finding my bike, and taking it to the mount line and then doing it all again in T2.

The bike

I took it steady on the bike. I always imagine that everyone will come flying past me on the descent down Stonegate Road but almost nobody did. On the second lap, I caught up with Dan from the club. The course was getting fairly quiet towards the end and Farhad was cheering us all on, and taking photos, at the turnaround point.

The run

As I exited T2 I took stock of my overall time. It was unlikely that I would be able to go under three hours, a goal that I missed by 15 seconds at Allerthorpe Classic last year. I would have to run a 49-minute 10km and that seemed to big an ask.

But I decided to run hard anyway. I suspected that the course was slightly shorter than 10km, at least as Garmin would measure it, and it was mostly downhill. So, I thought if I put myself in the position to be around that time, I would see what happened.

Once I made it to The Headrow there was lots of support: members of the club, my family and many people who were already turning out to watch the elite races. As I came down The Headrow at the 8km mark I realised I was at 2:50:00, giving me ten minutes to complete the final two kilometres. This was by no means in the bag because I had to run up The Headrow, and the distance on my watch could be inaccurate, but it was looking good.

It was only as I rounded the final corner that I knew I was going to go sub-3.

The result

My official time was:

2:58:00

Putting me 48th in the 57 that entered the Yorkshire Championship. Not quite a qualifying time yet! But there were four Harriers behind me, so not the lanterne rouge, either. That breaks down to:

Section Time
Swim 39:25
T1 8:32
Bike 1:19:04
T2 4:02
Run 46:59
Total 2:58:00

An eight-minute transition sounds awful. But even Naomi, who qualified for the European age-group championships last year, took five minutes due to the amount of running.

46:59 on the run is a superb time for me. My personal best 10km is 47:39, that I set at Wetherby triathlon last year. This could represent a new fastest time, then. That said, my Garmin measured it as 9.86km, which, if accurate, means a proper 10km would have taken me another minute. And it was mostly downhill.

As ever, my running outshines the other disciplines: I set the 26th fastest time on the run, which puts me on the top half.

I’m really pleased to have gone under three hours at the standard distance for the first time.

Well done to all of the other Hyde Park Harriers who raced, too. I know so many of you achieved huge PBs. And overall wins, too: Amy and Cat took first and second prize in the women’s Yorkshire Championship.

Mark Knopfler at Leeds Arena

Sunday, May 26th, 2019 | Music

Last year, Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits fame) announced he was playing a gig in Leeds. It seemed like an excellent birthday present for my dad. Thus began an agonising five-month wait where we all had to keep quiet about it, not easy when my mum’s friends were talking about how they were going. Well worth it in the end, though!

Leeds Arena has tight security on the night. Everyone had to go through airport-style scanners and put their valuables in a little tray. We were on level 2, which didn’t seem that high up until we took our seats. It also meant that I really struggled to see the stage clearly. But the audio was fine.

I saw Knopfler play in Sheffield a few years ago. Quite a lot has changed. First, he has gained in popularity. Sheffield had maybe 3-4 thousand people there, Leeds was closer to 10.

Second, this was more of a rock show. His Sheffield gig was a bit folkier and he was changing guitar mid-song to do little fiddly bits. This time he only changed his guitar at the end of each song (which is still a lot of guitars), played his more popular solo stuff as well as a few Straits classics and it was more upbeat.

Finally, he is definitely a bit older. He shuffles around the stage a little more and plays with more of a stoop. That is perhaps understandable when you are still busting our two-hour shows at the age of 69, though (not that it’s stopping Pete Townsend!).

LBT Brownlee duathlon April 2019

Tuesday, 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.

LBT Brownlee duathlon video

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Sport, Video

Yesterday I wrote about the duathlon I took part in at the Brownlee Centre. I recorded the bike section on my action camera and I have overlayed my speed, power and heart rate onto the video. It’s predictably dull, but I have added some commentary over the top to make it less dull lol. In my defence, this isn’t why I bought an action camera.

The hyper smooth video does a good job, although I find it a bit weird. The background stays fixed in position as everything else dances around. It looks a bit unnatural but does produce something that is easy to watch.

LBT Brownlee duathlon

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 | Sport

The triathlon season is almost upon us! Skipton is but three weeks away and the World Series has already kicked off in warmer climates. In preparation, Leeds Bradford Triathlon Club hosted a duathlon event at the Brownlee Centre that was upon to other clubs.

Myself, Jack, Graeme and Naomi took part from Hyde Park Harriers. Everyone else has a club tri suit but I did at least manage to full on my HPH hoodie before we took the group photo.

The course was roughly a 4.5km run, 10km bike and final 1.5km run. I clocked in with a time of:

47:30

I was pretty happy with that. It represents a pace of under five minutes per kilometre in the run and an average speed of just under 30 kph on the bike. It would have been nice to be faster on the bike, but the course has its technical bits (for a rider of my skills, lol) and I wasn’t pushing everything I had, so I’ll take it.