Monday, 24 January 2011


I am not exactly sure what 2011 will bring but I do know that the year has begun as 2010 ended with me and my family being very busy with some exciting projects. Me and blogging sort of parted company for most of 2010, I will try to get things back on track in 2011. Whilst I don't think I will achieve the regular weekly blogs of previous years I will make a little more effort to write about some of the going ons. Who knows it may also serve to get me into a bit more training....more of that shortly.

Back in September I started a Level 4 Sport and Remedial Massage course at Selby College. It is a year long course and I have to say I am loving it. I am loving the content, it's been something I have wanted to do for a number of years, but I am also loving getting back into a classroom and learning. I think there is something very satisfying about learning and although I have a decent grasp of the anatomy and physiology learning the theory and practice of sports massage is proving challenging, but exciting. I have just completed the first 20 page assignment, a process slightly different to my University days, because of the Internet. Should I be so bold to say students have it easy these days, well not easy but at your fingers tips is a whole world I didn't have access to in the early 90's, without an armful of books being extracted from the library.....I am looking to develop my massage skills and see where it will take me, who knows?

Sarah is equally busy developing the performing side of her business. She is currently building a new website and getting ready to launch herself beyond 'Caesar's Restaurant' at weddings, party's, other restaurants and really any gathering that would be enhanced with some live Saxophone, Flute or Clarinet tunes. She is loving playing her shiny new Tenor Saxophone, and even if I am slightly biased it does sound pretty sweet. She is currently recording some tunes to put together a CD, I will keep you all posted.

After what seems like many years of let's do it, no let's wait my Mum and Dad have finally taken the plunge and moved from our family home in Stewkley to Cumbria. They do say when it's supposed to happen it will, and around October 2010 they found their perfect home, sold their's and the week before Christmas moved. It is a bit of a new lease of life for them, they are within striking distance of he northern Lakes and Keswick, and are on the door step of the Solway Firth which looks like a beautiful place. Thrustonfield is a nice little village, everybody seems really friendly and things are looking good. So now a trip to see Mum and Dad can include a mountain walk or run or a cycle with my Dad in some pretty special scenery. They are also within striking distance of many of the 7 Stanes mountain bike routes! The only downside is the added bonus of a ride with Jevon when I visited them in Stewkley has now gone. I'm sure some Yorkshire mountain biking will appeal to him....

Ellie and Evie continue to bring so much joy to mine and Sarah's lives. Ellie is becoming a very accomplished little girl, with a huge thirst for knowledge and an even bigger thirst for writing stories and drawing pictures. She is dancing in her dance schools show in March and will take a Ballet exam shortly afterwards. She also did her first running race with me back in October which was really good fun. Evie is still driving us crazy with her eating and sleeping habits, but she is really developing a fabulous carefree attitude and enjoyment for eveything she is exposed to. She might be the little sister but she can certainly hold her own!! I think sometimes we forget she is only 3 1/2 years old, and becasue of her sister have too much of an expectation of her. Oh the joy of parenting, no text book or iPad App, it's all pretty much instinct. Anyway Evie is a bundle of energy a really energetic little girl and a great deal of fun. When the girls are playing nicely together (which is very often) they are amazing to listen to and watch :)
Did I mention iPad....I must have been a really good boy in 2010 because Sarah got me one for Christmas. After seeing friends Ipads I wasn't sure of their use, but now I am totally converted. They are a fabulous piece of kit, I have everything from amazing 3D muscle and trigger point apps for my massage course to photo colorsplash apps to table tennis. I have read a couple of books and done pretty much everything I would have done on my computer. I am sold, everybody in our family have found things to do on it both educational and fun. It is a pretty amazing and I am a lucky boy!!

We got a couple of chickens in September and just before Christmas they started laying. That's pretty cool, fresh eggs most days, good fun to look out in the garden and see a couple of hens walking around pecking everything that gets in the way.

I have just about shrugged off tendonitis in both achilles. This has really affected my running, biking and all physical activity if I am really honest. A combination of an injury, football in footy boots on hard pitches, football in flat trainers in a hard sports hall, a summer in flip flops and bare feet and a desire to run for two weeks in Lanzarote whilst on holiday with the injury that really messed me up. Anyway treatment from Ove and recently some ultra sound seems to have just about got on top of it. I am running again and hope that the rehabilitation work and general adaptation from running and training will see it put to bed. I can then start to enjoy some running fitness and build some more activity into my week.
I am very lucky to be surrounded by and exposed to some very inspirational people. I think this is such a great thing to have in your life and I certainly feel enriched and often invigorated by friends and people I know. I am sure they will continue to have a big influence on me in 2011. Well thats a start, let's see what the week brings, take it easy out there and use the energy of others to help invigorate your week. See ya later....

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Happy Birthday Mum...

It's been a few weeks and as you can see Ellie has finally lost her wobbly tooth, that was refusing to fall out. Much to her amazement and joy her very own tooth fairy visited and left a shiny coin and a nice note....

18th May was my Mum's 60th Birthday. I hope I have inherited all her genes that keep her looking so young!!! My Dad had organised a surprise weekend for her, we just about managed to keep everything hidden and secret from her. We travelled to surprise her on Friday night, then Max and Rachael and Auntie Jan and Uncle Gary arrived on Saturday. Dad had worked so hard. We had a party tea (mainly for Ellie and Evie) and later in the evening he had arranged a meal and all the trimmings. On Sunday Sarah and Jan whisked my Mum off to Ikea. Sarah employed some great delay tactics, Ikea hotdogs, wrong turns, 36 point turns etc etc to keep Mum away until 2pm, mean while.....balloons and banners were organsied, tables appeared from hidden locations, drinks came out from the shed and Waitrose delivered the food. Dad had spread the word and Mum's work collegues and friends from the village started to arrive. Amazingly Mum didn't twig on to Sarah's strange behaviour and when she got home all was revealed.

It was a great afternoon, with particular highlights being Sarah playing jazz saxophone, and my cousin Nathan playing some chilled out tunes on his guitar. The guests were certainly impressed! Mum is off to a very nice hotel in the Cotswolds with her friend to enjoy a chilled out weekend of pampering, very well done Dad and Happy Birthday Mum xxx

This coming Saturday see's me race the Beaver Middle Distance Triathlon, first race of the season, really looking forward to it. If I am honest I think I was training harder 8 weeks ago and in better race shape, however I still think I am in a good place and am intrigued as to how well I will go. Not been swimming for a while but there's no change there. Belvoir Castle is the race venue, it looks like a great location for a race and should be very spectator friendly. We have got Ellie and Evie a pink pop up tent so that should keep them entertained as they wait for me to come through on the bike or on the run. There are plenty of guys from the club racing so it should be a good day.

Finally get a load of this. Tommorow is the start of the half term holidays, between now and 1st September I have 4 weeks of work and 9 weeks of holiday, something wrong there!!!!!

Finally, finally the new Head Teacher at our school is going to be a Head Mistress, she starts in January. Over the two days of interviews she seemed very nice and is currently Deputy Head at a very good school in Bury St Edmunds. I am quite excited, she will bring plenty of new things to our school, have very high standards and high expectations, and hopefully shake the place up a bit.

See you next week for a race report.

P.S Nearly forgot: Huge congratulations to Tom for another amazing Ironman performance at Lanzarote, 10:23:43 He might not have qualified for Kona but he gave it his absolute best during training and on race day, and one can not ask for anymore than that, great work Tom.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Quality not Quantity...

Another busy week has gone by and not much training in terms of volume has been achieved, if I was training for an Ironman I would be a little concerned, BUT I am not....The proof of fitness and performance is in the numbers and today the numbers look pretty damn good. I joined Tom for a session we did last year, multi laps round a very challenging 13.7 mile, 425m of climbing circuit taking in some big hills through Leathley, Pannel, Norwood and Farnley. In addition to the climbing it is usually pretty wind over the top, all in all a tough circuit. Last year I rode 5 laps, in about 48 to 51 mins per lap. I then ran off the bike covering 14 miles in an average of 8.39 min/mile. A perfect Ironman session.

This morning I rode 4 laps in 45.30, 45.37, 46.56 and 47.05. I rode hard, steady on the climbs (as much as is possible when it hits 16%) and then worked hard to ride a high cadence, but with power in the pedal strokes on the descents and drags. After 54 tough miles I spun back to the parked cars and got ready to run. The plan for the run was to go easy for a mile then hit it hard with 10 miles being my target distance. 8.07 for mile 1, followed by 7.39, 7.50, 7.31, 7.48, 7.57, 7.54, 7.45, 7.38. I stopped and took on water and some nutrition at the end of each mile, done at a very leisurely pace taking between 15 and 30 seconds. I went through 8.5 miles at 7.57 average but that was probably more like 7.35 I ran a lap with Tom at 7.25 and a lap with his mate Ben at 7.10. By far the fastest I have run in a brick session. I was working hard but no cramps occurred and after such a hard bike I felt great.

So is there a morale to today's post. A morale no, but I guess two things strike me. Number one; training for Ironman during 2007, 08 and 09 doing lots of long steady riding and running has built a big base of aerobic fitness. Number two; This year doing more quality sessions, faster running and time trial efforts during most rides has got me in a good place with regard to performing hard over 2 to 4 hours. So quality over quantity seems to be working just fine.

Beaver Middle Distance Triathlon is my first race of the season on 29th May, I am excited about it now having landed a great session today. A few more quality sessions, a bit more swimming and get a grip of my diet and I'll be flying round Belvoir Castle.

Sarah has played another Saturday night session on her Saxophone at Caesars Restaurant, once again it went down really well. I think they would have her play every weekend if they could, well done gorgeous, you are a super star.

My legs feel pretty smashed now so I think it's stretch time and bed. Have a great week, enjoy your training and have fun...

P.S Didn't have a photo from this week so here's me in Spain 6 weeks ago having finished a tasty climb...

Monday, 3 May 2010

Spring Explosion...

Well Spring is definitely here, everything is exploding into life yet I seem to be going in the opposite direction. I remember a spell like this in 2008 during April. I'd trained really well through the Winter and was super excited that Spring, and the warmer weather was on the way, then when it arrived I went into virtual hibernation. Currently I am pretty low on motivation, to train and if I am honest to do much really. I don't know why, but I really must snap out of it!!

My last 3 weeks of training have been rubbish, 6 1/2, 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 hrs what is that all about. However in amongst that I have ridden a great 3 x 8 mile TT session and had 2 of the best runs I have had for ages. A 10 mile off road run as 4 x 2.5 miles (out and back) increasing the pace, where my final 2.5 miles was run at 6.53min/mile. Yesterday I did a 12 mile (out and back) where I the first 6 were at 7.25min/mile and into the wind I returned at 7 min/mile, nor was I busting myself. So although I am not in a great place regarding my motivation and desire to train and do things, I seem to be performing pretty strongly.

Sarah has written her first post on her blog all about her music. We went to have a meal at Caesars Restaurant the other Sunday, and were entertained by a wonderful Jazz Saxophonist!!! I hear Sarah play all the time whilst she teaches, but seeing her on the stage, properly performing was a first. She is super talented, everybody loved her music. She is playing on Saturday, and it looks like a pretty full restaurant....

Evie is doing every bodies head in with her moods and constant answer to anything and everything "I want to", I guess she is only 2....

In 3 weeks time it is Ironman Lanzarote. This time last year I was gearing up to race it, I cannot believe a year has passed (I still have the tan lines on my back where I burnt) . I am enjoying not having to put in the really long training hours this year, but as Lanzarote and the European Ironman race season begins there is a big part of me that wishes I was doing one, hmmm next year????

Right that's enough from me, it's bath time for the girls and then I am going to take the Ceepo for a quick hour to clear my head and prove to myself that I can get out and train in the evening.

Enjoy the Spring time flowers, it really is a beautiful time of the year.....

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Circuit of the Dales

Another Easter break draws to a close, I do love my job, well at least the holidays that come with it. It's been an very enjoyable but hectic second week. On the training front I have followed up my 20 hour Malaga week with a nice 12 hours and have included some good honest sessions. I ran a 10 miler on Wednesday in 1.14.15 averaging 7.23min/mile pace. My running feels like it is in a good place, I just need to try to stick in at least a 10 miler each week now leading up to the middle distance triathlons I have planned for the end of May onwards.

Thursday saw another encounter with the A168, alas this time I was alone (missed you Tom) I had planned quite an ambitious session involving a 4 lap (60mile) ride followed by an 8 mile run, but.....With the 10mile run still in my legs and the Circuit of the Dales 50 mile time trial on Sunday I listened to my legs and in the end rode 3 laps, without a run. the A168 is a great road for doing quality work on. Riding between Walshford and the top roundabout you get a 15 mile loop of fairly undulating (although nothing you need to get out of the big ring for) road. The first 10 miles of every loop is the V212 10 mile time trial course where I have a 23.36 PB, this is added motivation at the start of every loop. Anyway, I rode consistent laps and finished with 45 miles at an average of 22.2mph for 156bpm heart rate average, a solid session. I intend to return soon for some more sessions.

Friday morning was so beautiful that I went out for a really easy run along the canal stopping after 15minutes for a stretch and to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. I really enjoy the places I ride and run, and always try to take in the surroundings, but sometimes it's good just to stop and watch.

That brings me to the Circuit of the Dales time trial. It is a 50 mile time trial starting in Ingleton, heading down and around to Sedburgh, on to Hawes and back on the B6255 past the Ribble Viaduct to finish at White Scar Caves. There is 3300ft of climbing and Gethin Butler (super fast time trialist from 90's) holds the course record in 1:57:51 set in 1998. This is a very tough course. I rode it last year and unlike most other time trials you are constantly between the big and small chain ring, and finding any sort of rhythm is practically impossible. On the fast sections you are conscious to get up to speed, and on the hills whilst staying in control you are trying to limit your losses. Today I had the added advantage, or disadvantage (I am not sure which way it went) that Tom was off number 10 and I was chasing him at number 11!!! What I do know is I nailed the first hour trying to catch him, I didn't succeed and think I might have gone a bit too hard early on. However given that I felt good through to the finish (really meaning I was able to maintain some sort of power and concentration to the end, never really felt good, it's a lung busting leg smashing outing on the bike!!!) an alternative thought is chasing Tom hard laid down the foundation for a good time?? Anyway I did 2.25.35, last year I did 2.26.59 over the shortened course (1.75 mile shorter at the start) I held onto 170bpm heart rate average which is really pleasing. I died a bit towards the end but over 50 miles (especially 50 hilly miles) if you have ridden it properly I don't think you should feel strong as you cross the line. The Ceepo Venom felt quick, I topped out at 45mph max speed, I am looking forward to plenty more races on it.

Tom kicked my butt, riding scared not wanting to get caught (I didn't get close!!) He did 2.21.03 which was a great PB for him and a real confidence boost prior to Lanzarote Ironman. He has now done 10 weeks of 16 hours biking a week!! He has been really focused and to maintain this riding is amazing testament to his determination and drive. With 160 hours in his legs it's probably no surprise, but he totally deserves to be going well. The 35-39 age group better watch out on 22nd May, he is going to have a great race.

Ove also raced, he rode 2.35.15 a great time in his first Circuit of the Dales, he is also in a great place with his fitness and should have a strong season.

Right that is enough about me, time for some words about my special wife. Sarah played her Saxophone again last night at Caesars restaurant. She has really immersed herself in her new project, writing chilled out jazz tunes and getting her set lists together. She played a lunchtime session a few weeks ago and then an evening session on Easter Monday, but last night was the first time any real marketing had been done prior to the evening. It was a packed restaurant all night and she went down a storm!!! She has had some amazing feedback from diners and the manager is over the moon at the effect she has had on his business. The local paper did a photo shoot on Saturday and she is lining up the last Sunday in every month for a Jazz Club afternoon. Sarah is super talented when it comes to music and she is loving this new chapter in her ever expanding portfolio. I will be taking Ellie and Evie in a few weeks for pizza and to watch and listen to Mummy play, I can't wait. I am really proud of her, and love the fact that she not only earning a living from her musical talents, but also that she is now playing for her own satisfaction and enjoyment. I think she might be in demand this summer as a number of customers have asked for her business cards for parties and events!!

Ellie and Evie are spending a week with Sarah's Mam and Dad in Newcastle (Ellie's not back to school this week) which will be great for everybody. Elieen and Bernie get to have a nice week with the girls and Sarah and I get a little break, we will make the most of it.

That is all from me, have a great week. It's back to work tomorrow, I might wear shorts! Just have to pack my school bag, cricket bat, tennis racket and athletics spikes that sounds about right.....

Monday, 5 April 2010

Idle Breaks Training Camp; Spain

A group of girls from my Triathlon Club (Leeds and Bradford) had booked up a week at Idle Breaks near Malaga in Spain. They were taking Frank and Alan, two coaches from our club along, but had a spare place. I spoke to Frank and although I was considerably more experienced and stronger than most of the girls he felt swimming and running would work fine and providing I was flexible the group cycling could be managed, so I was in. I had heard a lot of good reports about Andy's place, I can now confirm it totally lived up to it's reputation. Everything about the place is set up so you can live and behave like a professional athlete. Great food, van support on some of the best riding in Europe, sports massage, ice bath, 3 lane 25m pool, gym and core/stretching area, chill out area's and all beneath the Spanish sunshine surrounded by hills and olive groves. To say I was looking forward to a week away was an understatement!!

Sunday 28th March: The day started on not much sleep, courtesy of the clocks changing and a 4.30am taxi pick up. We soon arrived at Malaga and after a 40 minute drive we arrived at Andy's place. We assembled the bikes and then swam. Although the swimming pool is heated the weather was only just starting to change for the better and so on Andy's advice wetsuits were the order of the day (just) This was actually really good as it provided a great opportunity to practice swimming in a wetsuit, and the extra buoyancy a wetsuit provides allowed for a week of swimming really focusing on technique. We did a 45 minute session with the coaches observing and giving us plenty to work on.

Monday 29th March: My 35th Birthday!! A great way to spend my Birthday, doing all the things I like doing. Sarah and Ellie had organised a party lunch on Saturday with Pass the Parcel and cake so I guess this was Birthday number 2!! The day started with a 2hr steady ride with a special birthday climb just for me. The important thing when you plan to do an extended block of training is not to get carried away and nuke yourself in the first two days. I could have easily ridden a Birthday Century, but I wanted to feel good throughout the week, so settled for a steady start. We did a 15 minute run straight off the bikes. I ran with a girl called Jen. Jen finished 3rd in her age group 20 -24yrs at the World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Australia last year so I was hanging on as she cranked out a 6.30min/mile off the bike. We cruised the remaining mile back to the house. After lunch Frank had a running drills session and some 1k reps to find pace planned. We did 3 x 1k and I ran on 7min/mile pace. We ran back to the house set about on a 45 minute swim set focusing on technique. Total training Day one: 3 1/2hrs.

A really sensible start to the week and a great Birthday. The day finished off with an awesome Birthday cake and an Idle Breaks cycling jersey as a present from the group.

Tuesday 30th March: A longer ride was planned for today, including the Puerto del Sol 7km climb, which I intended to time trial up. A steady ride out to the bottom of the climb and away I went. A stiff headwind made for a tough ascent, but didn't stop me smacking it. I crossed the summit in 26:52 averaging 171bpm heart rate. I wasn't going to the top of the climb all time leader board but I felt strong, pleasing in the tough conditions. We rode home for a 3 3/4hr ride time. A swim session was planned for the afternoon, again focusing on technique. Frank wanted me to work on keeping a high elbow in the water allowing for a more efficient catch, and also a greater body roll. I finished the day with 4 1/4hrs training.

Wednesday 31st March: Frank and Alan had planned a steady day for the girls focusing on transitions. I decided to give this a miss and instead headed out on the bike with David and Anne. David is a triathlon coach who is working with Andy helping him lead rides and run Idle Breaks, he is also a strong cyclist and decent triathlete recently completing Clear Water 70.3 World Championships. I sort of know David through my best Buddy Ben. Anne is a Professional Ironman Athlete trained by David and now living in Spain also working with Andy. David had planned a 50 mile ultra hilly ride, the route didn't disappoint. I rode really strongly, riding tempo on the climbs and leaving David and Anne, one of those days when you feel great! The climbing was long and steady, the descents long, sweeping and fast and very little flat stuff between. We rode for 3 1/2hrs covered 50 miles and did 6400ft of climbing, a tough but great day in the saddle. After a very quick lunch, we headed down to the local lake for an open water swim. A couple of buoys were swam out and the we worked on our technique, drafting and sighting for 30 minutes. Another cracking day came to an end with a brilliant meal and a chat about training, a couple of beers and an early night.

Thursday 1st April: Today was scheduled to be the long ride. I led a group of 5 as we rode through some stunning scenery of Olive Groves and snaking roads, making our way over the hills to the top of the descent leading into Malaga. A real Alpine descent for 20 minutes brought us into Malaga, a quick energy gel, ditch some layers and turn around for a 10 mile climb back to the cafe at the top. I rode tempo for 56 minutes averaging 157bpm. What an amazing feeling to be climbing for that length of time. the gradients were comfortable but with 3 good days in my legs and no respite the back end of the climb was challenging. I was comfortable with a 39 x 26 gear set up, but if you wanted to relax more on the climbing, or were looking for longer days in the saddle a compact chainset would definatley be useful. At the top I turned round, span down until I reached some of our group coming up then turned and did another 3 miles of climbing, well it's not every day you get to play on an Alpine type Climb!!! The wind seemed to be plotting against us all week, and so it was on the return ride home. I finished with 72 miles in 5hrs. Food, ice bath, jacuzzi and chill was followed by a strong coffee and a 5 mile run up through the Olive groves. Total training for day four was 5 3/4 hrs.

Frank and Alan had planned a race situation for the final day. A beautiful morning down by the lake, we soon had an 800m open water swim race set up. There were some good swimmers amongst the girls. I worked hard to draft on some feet and came out just behind the lead swimmers, feeling good. A leisurely transition, in fact as the girls set off on the bike I went for a coffee with David and Andy, nice. I then had a steady 6km climb up from the lake and a further 16km of rolling roads to reach the vans and the run transition area. I absolutely nailed the bike, just to test the legs and see what was left in them. I rode 47 minutes. Predictably for the end of a long week I couldn't get my heart rate up to Time Trial levels but still rode as hard as I could. A steady transition and it was out onto the mile out and back run route. After an 8.47min/mile my running legs returned and I knocked out a further 5 miles in 7.39, 7.16, 7.14, 7.57 and 7.02. It was a joy to be running in my Asics DS Racers (like running in slippers) and just a pair of shorts, beneath the Spanish sun. My totals for the day were 1 3/4hrs. Most pleasing was after 4 solid training days I was able to stick in a high intensity session and run really well off a time trial type bike effort, happy days!!

The rest of day was spent in the ice bath, drinking a cheeky beer or two in the jacuzzi and then sleeping and bike packing.

The training camp wasn't Epic proportions in terms of training volume, (it didn't really need to be not training for an Ironman race this year). Instead the week contained plenty of intense climbing in between steady riding, 5 good swims focusing on technique and 4 good runs including some intensity. My totals for the 5 days; 5 rides, 15hrs, 215 miles, 4 runs, 2 1/2hrs and 4 swims 2 1/2hrs, plenty of stretching and a bit of core work for a total of 20hrs.
I had really great training week. The company was great, cheers Frank, Alan, Khara, Vicky, Lyndsey, Emma, Sarah, Jen, Sarah, Dena and Rachel, you guys put togther a great week of training. Andy Idle, his wife Tracy, David and Anne have a great set up at Idle Breaks, it is a perfect training location and the facilities are exactly what you need. I will definitely be returning for more of the same, and when the girls are a little older also for a family holiday, with a little riding and training! Finally sorry Ellie for not being here on my Birthday (she couldn't understand why I went away for it) and thank you Sarah for looking after the girls and letting me get away for a week to do what I like to do, love you darling.

Monday, 8 March 2010


The above photo is of Evie on the trampoline having generated some serious static following a bouncing session. The bright sunshine allowed for some fun in the garden and the static electricity that we got from bouncing made for some giggly girls and a fun afternoon.

What a difference a bit of sunshine makes. Although it is still bitterly cold in the morning to see the sun makes such a difference. It really does feel like spring is just around the corner. I'm giving my daffodils two more weeks before they burst into life. Sarah is not a big fan of the simple daf ,but for me the bright yellow heads at the end of my garden are a beautiful sight.

My training diary has got a big smile on its face also. I have had four really good weeks. Consistently making my long bike rides, swimming every week, weights and core work and although not as much as I'd like, running seems to be in a good place. In the last four weeks I have had just 2 days where I haven't done some exercise. Whilst most days I have 'trained', some days the term 'exercise' is probably more appropriate, with a steady ride to work or a short weights session being done, it all counts though.

I have been working hard on the bike trying to make riding more like swimming. What do I mean. Well in the pool most people plan a their session, warm-up, drills, main set with a specific focus. Out on the bike it is easy to just get out and ride. Worthwhile as this maybe, ride after ride after ride becomes just that, a ride. Usually steady state, bit of work on a few hills, or into the wind with the last part of the ride reflecting how good your nutrition and fluid has been as to whether you finished feeling ok or smoked. Riding the bike at steady state is perfect for Ironman Triathlon training, it's all about the miles, but this year with the focus on middle distance it is time to shake the bottle a bit and mix the flavours. Riding in the morning I have done a couple of 1 min hard, 1 min easy repeat sessions until I have travelled the 30 minutes to work. On my long Thurdsday afternoon rides I have warmed up and scheduled in some 5 min intervals at and around 160bpm (probably just below middle distance pace) This week I rode for 3 hours and in each hour I put in a 15 minute effort where I went hard but controlled. I am feeling strong on the bike and cannot wait for the warmer weather to arrive and for the time trial season to really get going.

I did race two Sunday's ago. A cold 10 mile tt on the A64 near Tadcaster. I had said to Sarah that a 24 min something time would be pleasing for this time of year. Prior to the race the same conversation with Tom he said a 23 something, I responded saying "if I ride a 23 I will do a few miles naked" I worked my socks off during the race, a 23 would have yielded a huge smile and a great photo for the blog....But 24:35 it was. First race of the season, bike felt good, legs felt strong, heart rate was a bit low but to be expected at this time of the year. I was happy and know if I get a few things sorted with my position and my training I will be on for some fast times this year. Tom surprised everybody (especially himself) with a 23:45 (I think that's right) After taking it easy on him in the Dales, holding back in our rides he showed his speed is still there. No more letting him sit in! the next show down is on 21st March, will he take a 2 - 0 lead? of course not, I will get him. It was great to meet Philip Graves, who rode a 20:10. What other sport can you line up and race the same race with a pro athlete, and then afterwards share a coffee as we share experiences and discuss race plans. He is racing Abu Dhabi Long course Triathlon on Sunday, everyone will be watching to see what he does over 200k on the bike!!!

Summarising my week I have put together 14 hours. One good swim. A couple of runs culminating in a strong hour yesterday where I ran out for 30 mins keeping my heart rate at 150 or less for approximately 8 min/ mile pace and then on the return working to the low 160's (or less) for approximately 7 min/ mile pace. I rode on 6 days and clocked up 10 hours of riding, including a couple of intervals sessions. One weights/ core session. Seven days of training for 14 hours. My last four weeks have been 10 hours, 16 hours, 10 hours and 14 hours.

I am trying to be good with my eating at the moment. I have pretty much cut out carbohydrates from the form of pasta, rice and bread from my lunch, having protein (chicken, tuna, fish, cheese, quiche) and then a nice large helping of salad, followed by fruit. The exception being school bread and butter pudding and rice pudding, be rude not to!!! (it's usually every couple of weeks) Sarah and I are now trying hard to eat before she starts work or if it's after her music teaching then it will be a smaller meal like chicken fajitas, roasted veg and Chicken Kiev. I am just trying not to reach for the bread and the toaster, (but I do love it) late in the evening.... I have been reading the literature on supplementing with fish oils and green tea extract to aid fat metabolism, (fish oils also to aid joint health, so am keen to see if my post run knee pain is helped). I must admit that although it's been less that two weeks I do feel and look leaner, so I will keep that going. Supplementing with fish oils was a method that Bradley Wiggins used during his change to his body composition in the 18 months leading up to the tour.

I am really proud of Sarah at the moment. Apart from her usual music teaching, she is planning on a come back to her own performing. She is planning to get a set of jazz and chilled out tunes played on her saxophone together for some lunch time and then hopefully evening sessions at our local Italian Restaurant who are keen to provide diners with some atmospheric live music. She has a meeting this week with the manager to run some ideas his way, exciting stuff.

Sarah and I are firmly into Season 4 of 24. We really enjoy the concept and although similar to previous seasons the plot is exciting and we like Keifer Sutherland.

Dad has blogged again so he is firmly in the blogasphere., check out the Ramblings of my Dad if you have a moment.

I have a busy week ahead with a couple of Rugby 7's tournaments culminating at the weekend with a weekend in Fylde with the 1st team.

Enjoy the sun, and enjoy your training....