Thursday, December 19, 2013 - a new website

This new website is a resource for all things to do with running in Guernsey.  Nikki Neal's article on the Wye on Way 50 mile ultra marathon is an interesting read.


There is also a Facebook page

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cross Country Season

Autumn comes around and my thoughts turn to being competitive in the local FNB Cross Country League.  Of course each year as I get older, being competitive starts to take an on a new meaning.  My expectation is also associated with a caveat according to how fit and healthy I have been.

This year's campaign started with a decent race at Delancey Park - I like racing three miles, but I felt fairly flat but still managed a reasonable performance in 5th place behind people I'd probably expect to get beaten by - some quick 1500mtrs runners. 

Sadly that was the onset of a bit of illness that caused me to sit out race 2 as I was still full of cold.  I don't really think I had recovered by the time race 3 came around and it was perhaps one of the most uncomfortable racing experiences I have had - slogging a long with no real energy.  Still 6th place at least means I have put some points on the board.

I've managed some better training since then and 5th place in race 4 was a pleasing outcome.  To move up in my league position will be difficult over the last two fixtures - Home Farm and Boxing Day, but at least there is something to aim for.

Monday, September 30, 2013

World Triathlon Champs 2013 - London

Non Stanford strides out to win, Anna Haug a long way back
Saturday morning - elite women and a British winner. Would one of the Brownlee's do the same the next day.

Race kit
All prep'd for the race.

Surprise !
Cold air temps lead to the swim being shortened.

Huge transition
Think this was the biggest transition I have been in yet.

Starting the long run through T1
Which meant a really long run from swim to bike - time to get warm.

Biking past Buckingham Palace

The bike leg was quick - two laps round Hyde Park and down the Embankment went in a flash. Hit good power numbers so pleased with the way I executed the bike leg. Picked up a good few places - only passed by a couple. Loving the Boardman.

 Run was strong, but not super - not surprising giving the run training that I had missed.  Gained more places.

 The finish - 12th place in Age Group - 3rd Brit = satisfied.

 The rain come down in the afternoon but still great crowds that saw a thrilling men's race won by Javier Gomez.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Riding around Lake Annecy

Second part of my Alpine summer holiday was based a Lake Annecy which is simply a beautiful location and this year was the venue for the final and decisive mountain stage in the Tour de France. So I took the opportunity to check out the last climb of the last real stage.

The Semnoz
On the west bank of Lake Annecy a disused railway line has been turned into a bike track and it is just brilliant to ride on as the main road is a bit busy for cycling.  From the campsite it was 9k up towards Annecy before turning onto the climb, so a nice spin out to get properly warmed up.  No sooner than I had left the camp site and a couple of fast guys sweep past so I jumped on.  Don't want to miss a good ride.

In the Tour the riders started out from Annecy and proceeded south before turning west and looping round the Semnoz going over some other climbs before approaching the Semnoz from the north.  I started the climb from the east and it joins up with the Tour route half way up.  From lakeside to summit is was over 17km.  It was definitely a climb of two halves - the first half being easier with a range of gradients and some shallow parts at 3-5% which made for some fast riding, but it was the relentless second half at 8's & 9%'s that picked. Climbing mostly on the northern slope there was a lot of shade which made it less grueling.  In the last couple of k's you come out of the tree line and then there are some really testing ramps before the Tour finish line opposite a hotel and car park.

The actual summit is another couple of hundred metres further on. The descent on the other side is great - starts out a bit sketchy with some sharp bends and dodgy road surface conditions, but there was a fair bit of freshly surfaced road. In all the ride took a couple of hours with about 1hr10 of climbing.

Cod de la Forclaz
On the east side of the lake and approached from the south this climb was much more brutal than I had expected, but so stunning in so many ways.  The profile gives a clue with that tricky middle section, but the recovery phase sets you up for a nice run in to the summit - though it did ramp up at the top.
The view from the cafe at the top though was simply stunning.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Riding round Bourg d'Oisans

Post tri it was time to take in another ride with fellow triathlete Richard Stapley, this time Col du Glandon / Croix du Fer.  From the Bourg d'Oisans side the approach to both is the same and it is only when you almost get to the top that you have the choice of cresting the mountain ridge at Col du Glandon, or carrying on for a couple more km's to go over the Croix du Fer.

After passing the lake where the Tri swim took place you begin to climb along the left hand side of a valley through the trees.  After emerging into a pretty village La Rivier D'Allemont there is a brief descent before the road kicks up on the right side of the valley before switching back to the left on on upwards until you get up to the lake.  Apparently Europe's biggest dam.

A little descent and then a final run up through the high mountain pasture to the turn off for the Glandon and straight onto the Croix du Fer.  It was a warm and sunny day which made for a perfect ride to enjoy some spectacular views.
Col du Glandon

Col de la Croix de Fer

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Alpe D'Huez Triathlon

This was one of my target races of the year and we had rendezvous'd with family friends who were also competing, for a week camping in Bourg D'Oisans at the foot of the iconic Alpe D'Huez climb.  The race is part of a festival of multi sport with duathlon, half iron distance triathlon and a near Olympic distance triathlon which is what I was doing.

The swim in Lac Du Verney is in the valley - it's water is chilly - which was some relief as temperatures were in the 30's.  I got mashed a bit in the swim start among the 1,000 or so starters.  I couldn't find a rhythm in the chaos and was some way down on my capabilities. 

I took it steady through transition to compose myself and then set about the bike course.  Through the valley the heat warmed me up and like many euro races, drafting was an issue.  Hitting the climb was tough, suddenly everyone is hardly moving and there's a steady but there's stream of riders to pick off.  I stopped briefly at La Garde to fill a water bottle as I was getting through a lot of water both to drink and to cool.

I think I paced it well, a few riders came past but overall I was moving forward.  Biggest shock was the V5 cat man who passed me - that's 60-65 age group. Chapeau!  I didn't catch him on the run. The first few hairpin bends count down quickly but nearer the top it stretches out and the final drag into the resort is tough as you think you should be there.  Still had something left at the top but saved that for the run.  One tough ride.

Steady transition and off on the run - couldn't say I could tell the effect of altitude or just having ridden up hill for an hour - it was just hard work!  I was picking people off but on a rocky off road trail I was getting hamstring cramping and as my leg cramped so I tripped on a rock and hit the deck. The gel I was a carrying exploded everywhere.  Picked myself up and got moving again and carried on but felt I was having to nurse my legs around.  I picked off a few more people and had got inside the top 100 before the finish.

Result : Second in my age category, 96th overall in 2hr, 23min 22 secs (150th in swim, 119th on bike - 116th up the Alp and 61st on the run)

Monday, June 3, 2013

London Calling ! 2nd in Age at Deva Tri

Qualified for the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in London this September by finishing 2nd in my Age Category at Deva Triathlon, Chester.  A little disappointed with 2nd as I thought I'd won it - but then when you are racing in multiple waves it is difficult to tell just where you are.

I was worried the river was going to be freezing - it was cold but two swim caps and a rash vest proved a good combination.  Starting with just athletes of my own wave was very civilised - not much bumping and barging on the front row.  I slotted in behind the lead swimmers and came out of a swim that seemed to go on for an eternity in third place. Pleased with that - nothing conceeded, but could I have gone faster ? Overtook one of the guys running up to transition and then out onto the bike course.

Kept my head up and watched the other guy - from Farnham, and passed him pretty soon.  So I'm in the lead - I worked steadily at it, and only after about 15k was I caught by one rider #828.  Lifted my tempo to keep him in sight and although he crept away a little in the last 10k he probably got no more than thirty seconds ahead. Dismount and run into T2 was interesting - feet like blocks of ice still - felt like running on stilts.

I'm fairly certain no one else came past on the bike - one guy I overtook from previous wave, re-took me and then I went back past him and I think he stayed fairly close behind.  So after heading out onto the run I came out of T2 with #828.  Measured my pace initially and then once going over the bridge I decided he wasn't going fast enough so I pressed on.  I think I'm in the lead - no one will catch me on the run.  But not running so great - did I leave too much out on the bike course?  Took my last gel after 3k and pressed on - nagging headwind on the gravel path was not the best sensation.

Gravel in my right shoe: migrating ball of foot, middle of foot, heel of foot and back again like a record on an endless loop.  Stopped on second lap to remove it before it shredded my foot.  Second lap felt a bit better - pushed on a bit more and finish line approached. A modest clenched fist salute - as I thought I'd won (I feel silly now).  Picked up my printed result ticket - What ! 2nd place?!?

Had to wait for full results and it seems the winner - Pete Egglestone of Tri Force swam a minute slower than me, biked 2 mins faster, and ran a bit slower than me too - to beat me by about 30 seconds.  Still don't know where he came past, which by rights should have been half way round the bike course.

Not such good luck for Jon Greenfield who punctured 30k into the bike course and that effectively ended his hopes of getting 2014 Commonwealth Games qualifying points.  Ian Le Pelley though had a solid race finishing 16th overall and 5th in his age.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Boardman Air TT off to it's first tri at Deva

Blue skies and clam seas - van loaded with bike for trip to Deva Triathlon in Chester - with Jon Greenfield and meeting Ian Le Pelley there.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bronzed !

The sun shone at the Hampshire Track & Field Championships and with a combination of weak field and a steady pacing strategy I was able to plod my way through to bronze medal in the 5,000mtrs in 16:03.52  A pleasing time ahead of Deva Triathlon next weekend.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Early season road races

Now I am dropped down to Div2 I am a bit more competitive - in my first race of the year - 6 laps of Reservoir I was able to get off the front of the group a few times, bridge across to a break, but it was only the last lap attack with Paul Brehaut that stuck.  We worked together well until my legs blew and then I drfited back and he hung on for the win, whilst I just about sprinted to stay clear of the bunch - see first picture.

Second road race of the year was Liberation Day and 6 laps of L'Eree with the big boys.  After a 'neutralised' first lap things took off and the Div 1 riders and Nathan Gosling disappeared up the road.  The Div2 bunch broke up a few times and again only the last climb of the Imperial caused the last selection.  This time despite great work from Dave Crosland we could not dislodge Chris Le Page who duly went on to win the sprint from our bunch and the Div2 prize - I was third.

Fab photos from Serena Tremlett.  Top - working with Dave Crosland on the Imperial Climb - Liberation Day, bottom sprinting for 2nd on the Reservoir

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rennes Triathlon 5th May - 11th place

First tri of the year - Olympic Distance, drafting race in Rennes.  We had a really warm day, the lake which I was worried was going to be cold was in fact quite warm and pleasant.  Shame I failed to make the correct turn on the second lap of the swim after dropping off the back of a group - cost me some time but I felt I swam well.

There's a long transition to pick up the bike and ten a rapid 6 lap drafting bike course. Legs felt great was was consciously trying to hold back but the trouble was as I started lapping people so they would jump on but not be able to contribute much.  One chap I caught who was on the same lap as me was doing his turns but not good enough so I had to ditch him and jump away rather than give him a nice ride to the finish.

Out on the run my legs were really feeling spenty and it felt like a death march, but it was 6th fastest run and I only dropped one place so it wasn't that bad.  11th place overall and 2nd vet, first V2.

The rest of the Guernsey guys did well - Gail King won the overall women' s race, James Gower was 20th and Sean Murphy in his first away race was mid field.  Jersey laid down an ominous marker with their guys coming out of the swim first with Tom Perchard going on to place 4th, Doc Snook 7th. The following day was warm and sunny again and we enjoyed a cafe ride out to Combourg and back. 
(Pictures by Ian Scholes)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Virgin Money London Marathon

Katie's last race of the winter season was running for the South East England team at the Virgin Money London Mini Marathon.  Racing for the last time as an u15 girl over the last 3 miles of the marathon course she had a great run to finish 5th and first of the South East girls - leading them to 2nd placed team.

London was resplendent - a gorgeous day barely a breath of wind and cool temperatures - although it did get warmer later.  I felt a twinge that said I should have been doing the marathon. Hmmm maybe!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2013 English Schools Cross Country

16th March 2013 - A great result for my daughter Katie - 4th place in the Inter Girls race, she ran a very smart race and came through the field as the race progressed, cementing her 4th place in the final half mile.  Winner Annabel Mason is a GB Mountain running international and Harriet Knowles-Jones, winner of the u15 Inter Counties XC was second.

Katie now gets to run for England in the Home Countries  International match being held in Llandelio, Wales  on 23rd March.

My son Alex as not so fortunate as he was spiked early on and half lost his shoe and sustained a cut to his heel - fortunately only superficial. He finished 151st.  Danyy Ray was solid with 93rd in the Inter Boys and Ed Mason had a great run for 61st in the Junior Boys.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Blizzard

A red weather warning was issued on Sunday for the impending blizzard on Monday, so I packed plenty of options for my Monday commute and left for swimming on the MTB at just before 7:00.  Snow had started falling but the sleet and rain that had preceded it meant that it wasn't yet sticking. 

The wind was up though and it was a slog into the wind on the MTB.  As the morning progressed so it got windier and the snow started to stick, then trees came down, the buses stopped running and finally the schools closed.   The children came to my work first and then headed off to walk home in the blizzard.

By the time I left for home there was anywhere between 4 and 6" of snow on the ground and massive snow drifts piling up from the wind around the island, blocking roads and stranding cars.  My ride home was quite uneventful, I stopped and took some photos', didn't fall off and went off roading down the muddy lane - now the snowy lane.

A little more snow on Tuesday and the island was in lock down so I walked into work.  A van was stuck in the lane opposite our house penned in by roof high snow drifts front and back.  The children had great fun playing in the snow.  I tried out my YakTrax shoe snow chains and found they worked really well as the pavement snow became compacted.  Worked out in a quiet gym at lunchtime and enjoyed the walk home as the wind was easing and behind me.  Spent a rare evening in front of the telly watching a film.

The airport remained shut till Wednesday afternoon and displaced people are finally getting back to the Island.  Certainly it was a blizzard to remember - 5 days later and roads are still blocked by drifts, 66 trees are reported to have come down - it seems to be mainly conifers or evergreens whose foliage caught the snow and the wind did the rest.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

2013 Inter Counties - March 9th Cofton Park, Birmingham

It was a pretty good showing by the Guernsey athletes but as always there are some ups and downs. Louise Perrio had probably her finest cross country race to place 20th, just 90 seconds down on international marathoner Louise Damon, and just 60 secs down on Steph Twell (5th). Good packing, including Sarah Mercier's 41st place gave Hampshire the team win. To be disappointed with 10th place in the u15girls race show's my daughter's high expectations - she put herself in the right place in the first 1/3rd of the race but could not follow through. Consolation prize is being called up for the South East England team for the Virgin London Mini Marathon. My son Alex produced the best performance of the season with 20th place in the u13boys race - first Hampshire finisher. The race is so competitive that just 10 seconds faster would have put him the in top 10. The upcoming Danny Ray who I am coaching finished 27th in the u15boys - a great performance for his first year.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013 Inter Insular Cross Country

Sunday 24th Feb - Footes Lane, Guernsey.
On a freezing cold day with flurries of snow, the Guernsey team set about the continuance of the dominance of Guernsey endurance running over our Channel Islands counterparts - the Crapauds.  In true Guernsey donkey style the men's team stubornly kept a firm grip on the 'Boots' trophy with a 1-2-3 setting up a comprehensive 20th consecutive win.

Steve Dawes did the honours in leading the team home, Mike Wilesmith was just 20 seconds clear of me in second and I took third.  I was the only member of the Guernsey winning team from 1994 running which I can be quite proud of.  I felt great on the day and wish I had perhaps tried to hang onto Mike a little longer on the early laps as not much changed after half way.

Not to be out done the women also did a 1-2-3 with Louise Perrio leading Sarah Mercier and Nat Whitty to the clean sweep.

My children Katie & Alex won their respective races and we had a good showing of junior team results.
Next up for my athletes and children - Inter Counties XC in Birmingham on 9th March 2013.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Southern Counties Cross Country

Parliament Hill, London, Sat 16th Feb 2013
The team performed really well in some really muddy and heavy going conditions. The highlight was my daughter Katie's 2nd place in the u15 Girls race.  Louise Perrio found the mud heavy going and not suiting her style but it was still a great performance to finish 12th in the senior ladies. 

The rest of our junior teams faired well at this high level competition.  Danny Ray - for whom this is his first year of 'proper' athletics was 11th in the u15 boys and my son Alex was 14th in the u13Boys with Hugo Bisson not far behind in 27th.

The rest of the juniors enjoyed their races and gained valuable experience at this level of competition.  It is great to have a number of athletes of the right calibre to take to an event like this.