-Quick to put on/take off due to ear flap hinges. A must for quick transitions.
-Very comfortable and great fit
-It scored highly in my high tech aero testing facility
I have had ongoing hip issues for the past few months which have prevented me from running altogether. However, throughout the last 4 weeks I have been slowly reintroducing running into my training and 'touch wood' all seems well. Yet, as running is so demanding on joints and muscles, the rehabilitation process is almost as long as time lost from the injury itself. This, for me, is an extremely frustrating period as all I want to do is run as fast I can for as long as I can but one must take the long term view in these situations of loose a little time here, gain ten fold from it in the future.
Winter is a great period not only for training but for trialing new things, including new kit. #marginalgains and all that. One of the areas that I believed required some improvements were my aerodynamics on the bike. For a small guy (with lower power) it is incredibly important that I have an optimized aero position to ensure no power is going to waste i.e maximum efficiency. Therefore I have recently been on a quest to find a new TT helmet as my current helmet is as slow as they come. After much research I narrowed it down to 3: Scott Split, Lazer wasp air and giro air attack. Each had their benefits for example the giro is a very versatile helmet that can be used for both road and TT alike whilst the Scott has been proven fast by Sebastian Kienle winning Kona in 2014. I ordered all three to be able to test, compare and scrutinize, then subsequently after much deliberation I decided to keep the Lazer wasp air:
-Quick to put on/take off due to ear flap hinges. A must for quick transitions.
-Very comfortable and great fit
-It scored highly in my high tech aero testing facility
There we go, That will hopefully save me a few seconds. But I shall continue on my marginal gains journey in the pursuit of speed, armed with a laptop and a very limited budget. #betterneverstops
Firstly before I captivate you in this post, I must began with a rather belated happy new year and merry Christmas, better late than never!
Throughout November and very early December I had been flying in training and feeling great, making me very optimistic for the year ahead. However, the key to success in training is consistency consistency consistency. This has not been the case for me recently, having first incurred a non-exercise related hospital visit due to a deep gash on my wrist from a falling blind (don't ask) Anyway the result was 3 stitches and no swimming till healed which happened to be just under 2 weeks, it was frustrating having this lost swimming period because of such a random event but in retrospect it happened at the best possible time.
The other niggle I have developed prevents me from doing any running till fixed. It's essentially an overuse injury which is affecting the point at which many different muscles attach to the Pelvis, the Illiac crest to be more precise. This type of injury is again irritating for a different reason, you don't know when it is better so it's easy to run again to early and consequently relapse. It is all about the balance between letting it recover completely and getting back to training ASAP.
In these situations there are only a few ways to cope:
1. Pick your head up.
- Despite this time off running and swimming I am still in good fitness.
2. Be positive about your situation.
- Because I cant run, I have an increased cycling training volume (I like cycling, so this is a good thing)
3. Look to the future.
-Training camp and my first races of the season are just around the corner which I am very excited about.
Hopefully after a few more visits to the physio I will be full steam ahead to smash 2016. I wonder what this year holds....
After the World Champs in Chicago (which you can read about in my last post) I had about 2 weeks off, taking a break from the exhausting and painful training that comes with triathlon. For most people this would be an enjoyable time to relax and recuperate. However I found it to be extremely difficult in terms of self discipline to not allow myself to train, All I wanted to do in those 2 weeks was to hit a tough track session or to pace it round a 60 mile bike ride, neither of which I was allowed to do. No matter how much I wanted to train, I can now appreciate that in the long run that period of rest will pay dividends as it allowed my body to recover from the beating it had received over the last year.
Anyway rest over, Training has begun. Unfortunately winter has too, so turbo and treadmill time is here. This means trading the beautiful chiltern landscape with birds chirping and sun shining for a boring living room wall with Bon Jovi blaring whilst being drowned in a pool of my own sweat. Lovely thought.
With winter comes the cross country season, something which I thoroughly enjoy as there are few better feelings than finishing a cold and muddy cross country race absolutely spent. This was the case on the 7th November at a Chiltern league race in Milton Keynes. I had a decent race and came 1st in the U17's chiltern league, a good indicator of my current winter running form! This race was also combined with the national cross country series in which I would have been placed 5th in U17 if I were entered in the series.
The update is over, time for my future plans. Recently I sat down with my coach, Perry Agass, and we have planned out next season's goals and races. Although still provisional my target for the next season will be a gold at the European AG Sprint Triathlon Championships in Lisbon. This is therefore my key race but as it is early on in the season, 27th May, there will still be plenty of time for racing. As a result we have decided that I will race a few junior elite races and also a Standard distance tri. Doing so will add experience under my race belt and hopefully help me decide the ultimate direction I want to go with triathlon. For a more detailed 2016 race calendar and plan check out my website page conveniently named 'Race Calendar'.
Whilst you wait another couple of weeks for my next riviting read of a blog have a look at this slide show of cross country pictures:
It is exactly one week and one day after the biggest race of my life and finally things are beginning to feel normal again, including my timezones, enabling me to sit down and put my thoughts down on paper or at least the modern equivalent.
Although we didn't have much time to explore Chicago; it seemed to be a very cool city with 'Lake' Michigan looking more like the Mediterranean. Just 20 minutes cycle South from the central business district you are met with views like this:D
It is a shame that we didn't get the opportunity to experience more of the city as it appeared to be a very unique place with beautiful sunsets, amazing skyscrapers and a lovely atmosphere.
So, After 2 full days of preparation on the ground in Chicago my race was looming; all that stood in my way was a good night sleep. Ah..this could have been a problem as my Dad and I seemingly managed to find the worst apartment in Chicago, I was sleeping in a makeshift bunk bed 8 feet off the floor with no protective rail and a ceiling fan so close that if turned on would have resulted in almost certain decapitation. Flaws aside, I managed a solid 9 hours of sleep, my Dad on the other hand had very intermittent sleep due to the fact that 5 pillows had fallen off my bed during the night so he was a nervous wreck fearing that In my slumber I was next to take the 8 foot leap of faith.
My race was at 10am and I woke up at 5:30am feeling quite lethargic and to my surprise not at all nervous however this was quickly solved by blaring out a couple of motivational speeches and videos over a big breakfast in anticipation of the day ahead. We left our hovel at 7am and made it to the event by 7:30am where the true scale of the event became apparent through the endless sea of bikes:
I took my time setting up my transition area meticulously ensuring everything was correct to the smallest detail, as going into this race my coach Perry Agass had explained to me how competitive my age group is with just seconds separating the top five; marginal gains really did matter. It was during this conversation when we discussed my race plan which ultimately can be simplified to: Go hard on swim to attempt to stay in contact with the field/ Then treat the 20km bike like a 20km time trial AKA as hard as possible/ then finally just run with whatever I have left to cross the finish line completely empty. Perry had previously stated on multiple occasions that if I had a personal best performance I would have a good chance of a top 5 finish. I however didn't truly believe this but if there is one piece of advice I can give now it is to trust your Coach!
We were going to be cycling and running on typically flat supersized American roads (closed of course) with 3 or 4 lanes running in each direction. In theory all 3 disciplines looked as if they were to be seriously fast, but theory isn't always reality....
After faffing around for a while we eventually made it to the swim start where I did a quick warm up and began to put on my wetsuit. I had my wetsuit up to my waist when It was clear that my mind was elsewhere as Kiera inquired: 'Seb, aren't your shorts still on?' Yup, I had managed to put my wetsuit on top of my shorts, rookie errors, even at the world champs....oops! Excluding this minor wardrobe malfunction I was ready to race, but, to my surprise, I felt confident and not at all nervous, which I later realised was what being prepared felt like. Knowing that you have done everything in your power to be ready for this one race, from the tough training sessions to the course recces. I WAS READY.
There were 90 people on the start list for my race, 88 of which were older than me so I was anticipating a hectic swim start. We were all in the water lined up eager to begin with everyone edging a tiny bit further forward in an attempt to gain a slight advantage. The horn sounded. It was go time. I was caught off guard as instead of moving forward I felt I was in reverse, someone had pulled my leg from behind to try to catapult themselves ahead of the field. From that moment on I realised how unforgiving everyone was going to be, if you're in someone's way they will swim on top of you, if you are swimming in front of someone they will grab your ankles, if you are swimming behind someone they will kick you in the face, if you are swimming alongside someone they punch you in the face. I just had to remain relaxed and swim my own race, trying to focus on a good turnover and my own effort. By the end of the swim I was pretty beaten up and was in 50th place after an 11:10 swim so I had some work to do.
The run to T1 was a long uphill drag which on heavy lactic filled swimming legs felt like a marathon. At this point I didn't feel great, only made worse by the fact I struggled to get my wetsuit off so I had to sit down and just rip the thing off with a Herculean effort. By the time I actually got on my bike I was 2 minutes down on 1st, I was unaware of this at the time and was purely fueled by adrenaline (and the oats I had for breakfast) Consequently I whacked my bike In a tough gear and started spinning. There was a headwind in one direction and you guessed it a tailwind in the other. Therefore in one direction I was going 32 mph and the other 22mph despite this, the multiple pinch points, the hairpins and the awful road conditions, I managed to post a solid bike leg of 27:23 (one of the fastest of the day) for the 20km during which I made up 33 places to enter T2 in 13th. For a non-drafting race however there sure was a lot of drafting not to name any names *cough*Mexicans*cough* as is clear from the background of this picture of them doing something that looks similar to a team time trial:
I came off the bike and had a quick transition where I made up a few more places before I started the 5km run. This is the point in every triathlon where 'it' hits you like a tonne of bricks. the 'it' being serious pain and exhaustion due to the tough physical effort and contrasting position from bike to run often causing many problems. As I started running I didn't feel great, the normal 'jelly legs' had been replaced by no legs as no matter how much effort I put in, my body just didn't want to cooperate and go any faster. Your training really becomes evident on the run, it is where weaknesses are found and strengths come through. On the first 2.5km lap I was holding my position but not advancing, I was really struggling and every stride felt like a laboured effort moving far slower than I had hoped. Moving on to the second lap, I was beginning to adapt to the running and suddenly my body began to work with me not against me. I was catching people one by one, using my strength to exploit others weaknesses, really pushing on to try to make up for the slow first half. I went round the last dead turn of the race entering the last 1k of the run, there were some people 100metres in front in my sights. I upped another gear, I was counting down the traffic cones to try to distract me from the fire burning up my legs and lungs, my targets were nearing but not fast enough, I kicked again almost at a flat out sprint when I finally flew past the struggling athletes. 300 to go, A mexican was ten strides in front of me when he heard my heavy breathing and footsteps chasing him down, he checked over his shoulder and saw me right behind him, he began to sprint as we ran round Buckingham fountain into the finish chute, I followed in a world of pain trying to eek out every ounce of energy I had left. I crossed the line in 5th. 1 second behind the Mexican and 28 seconds behind 1st place.
WHAT A RACE.
Firstly I must say a huge THANK YOU to PERRY AGASS who is the person responsible for this success. We have been using the TriSutto coaching methods for just a very short time together but the proof is here that they really do work. As an added bonus Perry even perfectly predicted my race result. Hopefully together we can have many more successes. Thank you.
Next, I must acknowledge the amazing generosity of PEDAL POTENTIAL who support young athletes to achieve their dreams. I really do appreciate all the help you have given me thus far, you allow me to do what I love and love what I do. Thank you.
Thanks also to High Wycombe CC who are the best cycling club in the country. Fact... #probably! HWCC have assisted me to dramatically improve my cycling and have helped me to race in these overseas events. So without your support I would not have had the result I did. Thank you.
Last but far from least I must thank my parents for their continued encouragement, advice and of course financial help in everything I do. I physically wouldn't be here without you guys ;)
If someone told me 1 year ago that I was going to be competing in the WORLD TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS I would have replied with some vulgar slang for go away. Now in exactly 20 days I will be standing (or swimming) on the start line of the biggest international AG event in the ITU calendar. Racing the best of the best for that top step, going deeper and harder than ever before, pushing our minds and bodies to absolute exhaustion for that medal, that moment, that memory.
To get to this point I have put in a solid training block of 10 weeks and having not raced for over 2 months; I am in the best form I have been in my whole life. This has included 2 mini training camps with Kiera tippett and my coach Perry Agass whom In using the Trisutto methods has helped my swimming improve significantly, increase my strength on the bike and you will have to wait till race day to see my running speed. But here's a few pictures in the meantime:
So, 90% of the hard work has been done. 'The more you sweat in practice the less you bleed in battle' - I have sweated one hell of a lot in training so fingers crossed that bodes well for Chicago. The big day is on the 17th September, wish me luck!!
I would not be able to do what I do without the many people who have helped and supported me along the way so a huge thank you is necessary for Pedal Potential, High wycombe cycling club and of course Perry Agass, my coach.
'Rejection can be healthy' After sending copious quantities of emails to companies, small and large, in a frantic quest for help with funding, I was seriously doubting that quote. However when you finally are accepted it feels that much more special.
Pedal Potential are an extremely generous company and I am grateful to be able to announce that they will be supporting me for this year and hopefully many to come. Their help makes it easier for me to attend the grand overseas races such as World Champs in chicago in September, by allowing me to train longer and work less hopefully resulting in better results. As a result, I am forever thankful.
Whilst this is an exceptional start, I shall continue to search for other sponsors to aid me on this journey as there are many other costs involved. If you would like to help and are not a company whom I could promote please see below.
Wow. Its taken me a while to come to terms with what happened last weekend and I am finally here putting my thoughts down.
This race was in St Neots and not only was it the British Triathlon Championships; it was also the 2015 Worlds qualifier and 2016 European qualifier. We arrived the day before to register where we discovered that there were about 1000 people racing and as a result the transition was so vast it would have been easier to find your way out of a maze! Anyway we went back to our own athletes village (A little travelodge off the A14) to rest for the big day ahead....
RACE DAY T-3:00 hours
I woke up bright and early at 5:00am, engulfed my specialist race nutrition (rice krispies & oats) washed down by a slightly electrolyte tea from the limescale ridden kettle and off we went to the venue.
TRANSITION PREP T-1:30hours
We arrived at 6:30am and this is when I encountered problem#1 I had no jumper and it was 9 degrees....So I did the only rational thing and put 4 t-shirts on and Kiera's cycling top. We then went straight into transition to prepare our shoes, helmet, bike e.t.c This is when I encountered problem#2.. I had my running shoes which I had to leave in transition along with my cycling shoes and all I had left were my flip flops in 9 degree weather, great. By the way did anyone else hear socks and flip flops are back in fashion? We faffed a bit more and then went for the obligatory pre-race weight loss technique, to the portaloos. This is problem#3, What the organisers forgot was that every triathlete has this same tactic and so 10 portaloos is insufficient to support what can only be described as a sea of people. one 30 minute queue and a 10 minute warm up later I was listening to the race brief, suited and booted in my wetsuit race ready.
SWIM 750m T-0:00
My wave was U29's and consisted of 200 people all of which were older than me. Despite my best efforts of positioning myself out of the white water of a swim start, after the horn went I still found myself amongst it. Brutal, savage and violent. Who knew wrestling had been added to a triathlon? after being kicked, dunked, scratched and punched I finally found some clear water despite having to take a slightly longer swim route and it paid off coming out the water in 10:44 12th best swim time on the day. My first transition was atrocious, loosing up to 1 minute on my rivals so I HAD to have a good bike and run.
BIKE 24k T+00:13
The bike was pretty uneventful itself, a bit of wind, a few hills and hundreds of cyclists sums it up. I averaged just under 24mph after struggling to get going but doing some good speeds during the latter parts of the discipline. 66th best bike on the day so there is room for improvement here but still a solid split. So it was down to the final run, my favourite. I came into T2 pretty fast nearly tripping up but I had a very clean transition running 150m and changing from cycling to running (change shoes&take off helmet) in just 34 secs.
RUN 5k T+00:51
I came out of transition with Chris Green, an older GB athlete, and at the speed he went striding off at, you could tell. I thought if I stayed with him it would kill me but also I might gain a few positions, so like any rational person (again) I matched stride for stride, struggling stride by stride with pain enveloping my entire body. My form dropped, my breathing was erratic but I was fixated, consumed by the moment. Untouchable. The beautiful crisp British Triathlon blue finishing straight came into view and with a dash to line I realized I was wrong. I was not dead; but I was damn close! The run done in 15:16 7th best on the day. Overall time 1:06:38 and 2nd in U20's age group.
A big Thank you to Perry Agass and http://www.kieratippett.com/
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
I just arrived back from the 2016 European duathlon championship qualification race in Grafham water and what a day it was.
It was a 5k run followed by a 20k bike and another 5k run. To qualify I had to finish in the top 4 of my age group which is under 20's.
So the day started at 5am in order to get to St Neots for 7:30 which we achieved and feeling quite relaxed I had a wonder around the transition area, had a chat to Kiera and was generally being quite leisurely until I only had half an hour to warm-up and set up my transition. So with a bit of a rush I got ready just in time and the air horn sounded. Game on.
The run was quite hilly but still fast and I came back with the first 5k done in 17:07, Transition was smooth despite forgetting where my bike was and I was feeling good..ish. 1 minute into the bike I was stopped at a junction by queue of cars, meaning I had to unclip and wait and every second in a race feels like an hour so this felt like a lifetime! But anyway I carried on and felt I had a good rhythm going but just before entering transition I was caught by a 15+ groupetto which meant it was all down to the final run. I started hard overtaking all of the people I was with on the bike, Then I had some clean air and just put in as much distance as I could, whilst pushing all the way. Finishing with a massive grimace I had done all I could do. With the second run in 17:52.
I came in 1st in my age group and 5th overall. I did this course 8 weeks ago before being coached by Perry and I knocked 4 minutes off my overall time coming in at 01:08:10. Kiera similarly knocked about 8 minutes off, So the training camp clearly made a difference, well done.
This time next year we will be jetting off to somewhere in Europe to compete for GB in the duathlon championships, an extremely exciting thought but still a long way away.
4 weeks after joining squad dezire, I was heading out to Denia, Spain for my first triathlon training camp joined by Kiera Tippet coached by
Perry Agass. With weather forecast for 25-30°c for the whole week it was looking to be a good week.
I won't bore you with details but we had some good swim sessions, the most memerable being 2x 10x100 off 1:35 and 3x400 best effort. which were tough but that's triathlon ey :)
In total we cycled 270 miles in the week and were on the bike for about 18 hours. Some decent volume in my opinion (although I am sure Chris Froome might say otherwise!) Anyway the cycling consisted of a mixture of TT efforts, mountain climb efforts, easy recovery rides, long steady rides. we basically did it all whilst fighting dehydration in the scorching heat which at times proved difficult. you never know you are dehydrated until it is too late!
At the end of the day of swimming and running we also did a few good high intensity running sessions. 6x2 mins @ 5:00m/mi or 12x 1 min @ 4:40m/mi.
Reflecting on the week I have no idea how I survived: in a flat on my own in a foreign country cooking for myself and doing washing for myself, who needs parents? although I did find myself in the police station.. twice, but that's another story.
So overall a great week of training and I loved every minute. Thanks again Perry, Trish and Kiera for an enjoyable time and let's hope we can do it again next year!
'I will start it tomorrow' the ye olde saying we all use. Be it in the context of diet, exercise, work or in my case this Blog. For many months I have been postponing this moment, But the time has finally come as I NEED to start building my network as an athlete. So this is it.