Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 IronMan Vichy 70.3

Full report coming soon.
YouTube Time Lapse video : Coming Soon

Download the bike course gpx file from my race on MayMyRide.com




Friday, October 30, 2015

Herm Yoga retreat with PowerYoga Guernsey

Had a great weekend in Herm helping out with a Yoga retreat run by my good friend Caroline Wickham.  My job was to help out with some outdoor activities between yoga classes and scrummy food. First up was a morning run round most of the Island.

There's a variety of terrain in such a small island with the mostly flat north featuring common, sand dunes and the vast expanse of Shell Beach.  The there is the cliff path which is undulating and with a few sections of steps and then finally the inland paths.  And none of it on tarmac. I was nursing a recovering calf tear so a nice gentle run with a couple of ladies was a good rehab for me.

I shot a bit of video - hope you like it.


Next up was a exploration of the island via Geocaches.  If you've not heard of Geocaching then it is basically a treasure hunt by GPS.  There's a stack of them on the island so we had a good walk around looking for them.  We found all bar one which we were looking for.




Herm is very photogenic - even on a less than perfect day I October - I took a few snaps and posted them to my flickr - take a look here.

With morning and evening yoga sessions from Friday night through to Sunday lunchtime, some great food and company it proved to be a very enjoyable weekend.  Caroline's retreats get fully booked so expect next year's to be popular too.  Check out her website - the next Herm ones will be th elast 2 weekends in October 2016.

Link: PowerYoga Guernsey

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My 5 2015 triathlon related resolutions

Here's the five things I want to do in 2015 to help me towards my season goal of racing the best I can for Team Guernsey at The Island Games in Jersey.

  1. Eat peanut butter sandwiches with every "at my desk breakfast" after morning swimming sessions.  And add a protein recovery drink.
  2. Run sub 17:00 on the 5k in the Park course in Guernsey's Saumarez Park http://www.leemerrienrunning.com/park5km to make sure I have got my run to where it should be.
  3. Practice transitions again as I was loosing "free" time on them in 2014
  4. Diligently foam roller my lower limbs at least three times a week, and don't shy off doing some extra calf raises. Know your weaknesses.
  5. And finally - one to please my yoga teacher, persevere with handstand practice - just because it is a challenge. Power Yoga Guernsey.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Riding west of Bordeaux

This holiday had been a 2 centre holiday where we spent the first part of the holiday near the Atlantic coast west of Bordeaux.  This part of France is characterised by one very large beach that runs down to the Pyrenees and consists mostly of sand dunes and pine forests.  A bit of a simplification but nevertheless fairly accurate.  

The inland lakes at Lacanau and Hourtin offer the contrast of flat water and strong tides of the wild Atlantic coast.  So for a triathlete on holiday it is just about a perfect spot for some open water swimming.  In July the lake was at least 20 degrees so non wetsuit swimming was fine.  In fact idyllic, the campsite we were staying on meant I was 75 metres from bed to lake!  Perfect for an early morning swim before the heat of the day builds.

There is a network of bike paths through the forests which is a good thing as the road network offers fairly limited choices - a big contrast to the Vendee ride.  In particular the stretch between Hourtin and Carcans was very busy with traffic driving up to the ferry to cross the Gironde to Royan.  It was however very flat so you could get your head down and minimise the time on the road.

This ride was about 90km and fairly hot.  Going north was fairly undulating and I managed to get on a dedicated cycle path between Carcans plage and Hourtin L'Ocean which was an old departmental road closed to traffic rather than one of the narrower purpose built cycle routes.

A nice ride, but you have to plan your coffee stop(s) carefully as there aren't many villages to pass through.  You'll get to see a lot of pine trees and sandy dunes and tracks, hear plenty of crickets and in summer you feel the warmth.  Go well prepared with drinks. 

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/514227232

The vast Atlantic beach - HourtinL'Ocean


Hourtin Plage (the lake)

The marina at Houtin Plage

Carcans Plage

Not many roads to pick from
Ticking a few more boxes for making a great holiday location, this campsite also enables me to rekindle my love of windsurfing with the added benefit of rigging up the sails at the beginning of the  holiday and leaving them rigged until it was time to go.
Time to windsurf on the lake.
Great Bordeaux wines to enjoy too!




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Riding in the Vendee


One of the great things I really like about holiday's when I can take my bike with me is the freedom to explore roads that I've not ridden before, enjoy some great weather and seeing new landscapes.

This ride was a 94k loop around the Vendee - west France, starting near Olonne sur Mer heading inland through the Marais - the salt marshes / salt harvesting flats and into the interior before heading north and west to come back to the coast.

It was an early morning ride just after sun rise so the temperatures were pleasant before the heat of the day set in. Here's a few pictures I took as I went along.  Next I'll post up details of a ride I did near the Atlantic coast west of Bordeaux.



The marais

A ruined windmill

It wouldn't be France in July without sunflowers



Hill top chateau


St Giles de Croix

The route at Map My Ride

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Swim Smooth CSS based swim training

As part of the build up for the 2015 Island Games the Tri team took part in a technique analysis and coaching session with Steve Bailey, a Swim Smooth Coach.  This was made possible thanks to a bursary from Generali Worldwide, the Guernsey Island Games Association sponsor.

A write up of the weekend appears on Guernsey Tri website

For me the feedback on technique was invaluable and has given me a number of things to work on which I am trying to put into practice in each session.   Added to it is a 10 week swim programme which is based around Critical Swim Speed paced sessions and use if the Finis Tempo Trainer.  Each week our target pace per 25mtrs increases fractionally and the challenge is to stay ahead of the beeps.  Two weeks in and on the challenge session I'm winning 2-0, but I can see that the little yellow tempo trainer is going to be doing it's best to torment me each week. 

Having a clearly defined programme and a bunch of team mates who are highly motivated to improve is certainly working wonders, but it is only the second week of the programme.  The mark of the athlete will be those who can stick with it as the going get tough. 

This little yellow device is set to torment me over the 10 week programme.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

End of season open water swimming


It's been a real joy to get out of the pool and into the open water regularly in the last month.  The weather has been pretty good and the swims really social with team mates from Guernsey Triathlon.  This week I took my GoPro out and took a few shots.  See them on my Flickr page here.