Posts Tagged ‘nottingham’

Coalville Triathlon

Monday, September 2nd, 2019 | Sport

My fingers were itching. I had not done a triathlon for nearly three weeks. I needed a hit. Only two races were taking place over the bank holiday: one on the south coast and one near Nottingham. Coalville Triathlon it was, then.

It is targetted at first-timers, so looking at last year’s results I thought I had a chance to do pretty well. The fastest bike split was 42 minutes, for example, and I knew I could go sub-40 over 20km. Was the bike course longer? Was it on narrow roads where I would be stuck behind other cyclists, or having to wait for cars at junctions? Surely it could not be that easy.

We arrived before the leisure centre had opened and found a queue at the door to get to the toilets. No queue at registration, thankfully, and I was able to rack up with no problems.

The swim

The swim was pool-based. I donned my Huub swim cap and entered the pool. I was in a middle wave and only had to overtake one person. Everyone else seemed to have given an accurate swim time, except one lass who was smashing it with tumble turns at the end of every length.

T1 went well. I remembered to open the velcro on my shoes before the race which saved a little bit of time.

The bike


Having driven for nearly two hours to nice flat Leicestershire, I got a rude awakening as to why everyone was taking 42 minutes on the bike. The first two kilometres were all uphill and the entire course was lumpy. There was only one section where I could get on the aero bars.

My bike computer was not picking up my power metre, so I tried to restart it. This was successful – but then I lost my heart rate. A few other things slowed me down. As I was coming down the hill, a lorry pulled out to avoid a car parked on their side of the road and I had to hit the brakes. On the final hill, I got stuck behind some cars who were themselves stuck behind slower cyclists.

I finished the bike section in 43 minutes. This was a minute behind the winner’s time last year, so I was pretty happy with that.

The run

T2 was okay. It was my first time using elastic laces and no socks. It was a bit difficult to get one of them on but I managed it eventually. I then tried to run out of T2 with my helmet on, though. I realised this five metres from my bike and had to run back.

The run was on a trail that was narrow at times. It was an out-and-back which made it difficult to pass people at times as the path was overgrown and I did not want to imped people coming the other way. I ran a 22:08, which is just off my 5km PB, but Garmin thinks I only ran 4.5km. One person passed me, who went on to run an 18-minute 5km and place 3rd overall.


The result

I finished in a time of:


And my splits were:

Stage 2019
Swim 10:16
T1 0:50
Bike 42:58
T2 1:00
Run 22:08

Check out those slick transition times. The days of 5-minute T1s are long gone, at least in short format racing. That was good enough for 14th overall out of a field of 106. I was the 11th male and 5th male veteran 30-39.

Robin Hood Conference

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 | Public Speaking, Travel

The Spring 2015 Toastmasters District 71 (UK & Ireland) conference took place in Nottingham.

Nottingham is quite a happening city. There was plenty of people out in the evenings and a good range of restaurants. We also did a walking tour lead by Robin Hood. He told us that the city was originally called “Snotingaham” which it turns out is true.


The workshops were a mixed back. You get a lot of professional speakers and motivational coaches running workshops, and they send to speak a lot of shit. Erick Rainey for example started his speech with a slow motion run down the aisle. I thought to myself “brilliant, this is going to be a sarcastic post-modern take on how stupid a lot of the motivational crap is”. But then he did it all seriously. He’s a great communicator, and has loads of good stuff to say, but then he mixes it with nonsense like NLP.

Rav Chambers presented a good workshop on video. It did not teach me anything I did not know already, but it was valuable to have a reminder of all the things I know I should be doing when shooting film.

Vinay Parmar’s workshop on personal branding was interesting. However, for someone who focuses on how you present yourself, he really needs to spell-check his slides as there were several errors in them.

International Speech Contest

The district final of the International Speech Contest took place on the Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the best venue for it as it was in a lecture theatre. The speeches were good, but I am looking forward to getting back to competing. Two years ago, in Torquay, I felt out-classed (to be clear, I wasn’t competing). Here, I sat there thinking there are a bunch of us in Area 15 that could compete at this level.

Opening ceremony

The Friday evening is a buffet and fancy dress party. Of course the theme was Robin Hood!

fancy-dress-robin-hood-1 maid-marian-elina

Gala dinner

The Saturday night was the Gala dinner. We had the Sheriff of Nottingham as a guest and for one of the raffle prizes, she let someone wear her robes and hat! Best of all, Gillian took the prize.


Debate at Nottingham Trent

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 | Religion & Politics

Recently, I attended a debate at Nottingham Trent University, as part of their Islamic Society’s Discover Islam Week.

The event itself was held in a lecture theatre in the Newton Building, which reminds me a lot of the building that holds the student union at University of Bradford – very new money, wide open spaces, etc.

There was a clear division between the sexes in the room – the front eight rows were reserved for males, and the back three reserved for females. They even had separate entrances too – to the point where we were about to go in the top entrance, but had to turn around at the door and go round the building lobby and down some stairs to go in the bottom entrance instead.

As ever with such events, people are going to be walking out of the room with the exact same views as they walked into the room, so decided a slightly different tact was necessary.

I was asked to speak first, which seemed very strange for a debate in which I was the opposition, but it fitted in quite well with what I had written, so I thought I would just roll with it. My speech focused less on rebutting the proposition, which was nothing more than the cosmological argument anyway, and more about offering an alternative explanation for religion.

Unfortunately, not being a philosopher, the rebuttals I did do against the argument were not overly eloquent – though I did get in the core points that it was a case of special pleading, identity of the first cause and attacking the idea that infinite doesn’t exist, though not being able to accurately put why Hilbert had been misquoted let my argument down.

Never the less, it was always going to be a tough task going into the lion’s den if you will, so I was only a little disappointed with my performance.

I also found it rather strange that they finished the event with a video from Siria. Not not a humanitarian appeal which I presumed it would be when they first announced they would be showing a video. Rather, it was footage from a mass rally in which a speaker was telling the gathered mass how Allah would crush their enemies as people chanted his name. I’m relucant to envoke Godwin’s Law and describe it to something that would not be out of place at a Goebbels rally, but then I would only be returning the favour ;).

In any case, I was an enjoyable event and I would like to thank Nottingham Trent University Islamic Society for their hospitality.

Nottingham Skeptics

Sunday, July 17th, 2011 | Humanism, Travel

Last Tuesday, I headed down to Nottingham to present a talk to Nottingham Skeptics in the Pub.

Nottingham seems to be a lot like Leeds – a reasonable sized city with a confusing one-way system running through the middle and a few gems hidden away inside it, such as our venue, Fellows Morton and Clayton, a traditional Victorian pub, with a traditional Victorian fruit machine by the door.

I got down there in plenty of time to grab some food beforehand (and because you never know with the M1) and found the place easily enough. The food was OK, the grilled chicken was excellent though the ribs were somewhat disappointing. However, given the last time I had ribs was at Cattle Grid, my standards are probably simply still tuned too high.

I also met Andy, who runs the group and is an absolutely lovely guy. He also works with computers so we managed to squeeze in a few minutes of geek talk before the event!

The talk itself went pretty well, at least from my perspective lol, and I hope the audience enjoyed it too. I think the questions and discussions afterwards lasted until nearly 10pm, which from a 7:30pm start is quite a lot of discussion.

In general, I think the talk was well received by the audience. They certainly weren’t as critical as when I spoke to Hull Humanists – not that I didn’t very much enjoy the tough questions I took there!

In general, a really enjoyable evening and a big thanks to Andy for inviting me down.