Monday, 22 October 2012


Here it is what you've all been waiting for, your very own ready reckoner for recording your #turbovember sessions

I've also created a document for us all to keep a tab on each other and so we can create a league table


Tuesday, 16 October 2012


It is one of the most hotly argued subjects in the triathlon community. The decision on whether you get an Ironman tat once you've completed an Ironman race.

It does appear sometimes that sorting out the differences of the Palestinian dispute would be easier. Both sides have strong cases for their argument, which include

  • It is a hell of an achievement that you want commemorate
  • It's your body you can do what you like
  • When you're old and wrinkly, it'll be something to tell the young uns
  • You look a bit of a cock
  • It's a corporate brand, just like putting Adidas or Coke on your body
  • It's just showing off
There does also appear to be some rules about getting the M Dot tat
  • You have to have completed the race within the cut off
  • It has to be an Ironman branded race
  • It can't be a half distance race
After completing Ironman wales in 2011, I seem to have achieved the necessary requirements to be able to have the M Dot ink.

I've often dabbled with the thought in the past of getting a tattoo, but have never followed it through. Being a proud Welshman I've thought about dragons, Celtic knots and other icons to celebrate my nationality. But I've always shied away from completing the deal. But now I have the motivational factor to get it done.

Here is the design I came up with, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with it.

The concept of the design is pretty simple, but with some imagary to tell the story. The Ironman logo is self explanitory, I believe the dragon is very Welsh in its essence and the spines down the dragon's back remind me of the chainring of a bike.
Whilst doing research on tattoos I found the following passage which I found very interesting, which was taken from here)

What a Dragon Tattoo Represents on a Man

A dragon tattoo design on a man typically signifies raw power. Like dragons, men are the guardians of that which is sacred, such as women and objects of great wealth. But this must be tempered with wisdom, lest the greed of dragons overpower the man's soul and turn him into a ravenous creature with an insatiable appetite. Men who get dragon tattoos view themselves as being revered for their wisdom but feared for their tremendous power.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's how I view myself!

I suppose the only thing left is getting the damn thing done.

After getting some advice from a few inked friends, I decided to go to Kyle at Tat2U Studio. I booked a day off work and got myself in there 

Now, it has to be said that I don't consider myself to have very much of a pain threshold, which obviously could have an impact on the 2.5 hours I'd be spending under the needle. But, what the hell I was in there now and I'd paid my deposit so there was no way I was backing out.

Obviously, I was anxious as the work was started. But I was pleasantly surprised in how little pain I was experiencing. In fact the 90 minutes (which is how long it took) was very pleasant. And, here is the result of that 90 minutes work

I'm very happy with the result, its just a shame my arms are so damn skinny.

All that leaves now, is deciding on what to have for my next one

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Gower Olympic Triathlon


After weeks of pontificating on whether I'd do this race I was persuaded by Jason C to sign up and race. I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to the cold and wet, so the thought of racing at the end of September didn't fill me with joy.

I checked the weather forecast all through the week building up to the race, and it looked like it was going to be a dry day, but quite fresh early on.

Having raced in the sprint distance race earlier this year, plus this being a home town race; I knew what we were up against. A short flat swim, a testing bike ride with 3 not inconsiderable climbs and a run that I thought would be tough.

As Friday was going to be quite a busy evening dealing with the boys as Ang was in work, I started setting up my kit on Thursday night. This was a good move as I discovered that my tyre was flat, due to the valve coming away from the tube and also my track pump was broken. Thankfully I now had plenty of time to remedy these.

There were a couple of people I was keeping a look out for at the race: the aforementioned Jason, Huw P who was making his triathlon debut and Hayley G who had beaten me at Glynneath last week and we'd had a bit of banter about me being 'chicked'.

Registration was on the Friday night (part of the reason that Friday was so busy for me), this went with a breeze. I was disappointed that the goody bag contained nothing but a crappy cotton t-shirt.

As is my want I set myself an arbitrary target, which was 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Race Day

I'd gone to bed reasonably early the night before and when my alarm went off at 5:45 I was up like a shot. Usual routine of porridge and car packing was conducted and I was out of the house by 6:30.

I arrived at Port Eynon at 7 o'clock and started racking up. Laid out my kit and Jason kindly lent me his track pump, which meant I was good to go.


The 1,500m swim was two loops (with a small run) of the sprint course; I was convinced when I raced at the sprint earlier in the year, that this was short. Looking at the course it definitely looked short to me.

Looks short to me

After a quick paddle and splash to acclimatise ourselves, we were back on the sand and then sent on our way. The sea was surprisingly warm, and I seemed to be swimming at a reasonable pace. There was plenty of biff especially going around the buoys.

I checked by time at the end of the first loop at it was 12 something (swimming well or short course, you decide?)

The biff had certainly settled down on the second loop and I was able to settle into a relaxed stroke.

As I came out of the water I spotted Jason, we must have swam within 5 seconds of each other. I just about passed him to hit the timing mat first in a time of 27:04 (positioned 100th out of 193 starters)


It's important in transition to ensure that you're in a primed position for the bike, I was adamant that I wouldn't be cold on the bike so I put on a cycling top and mitts. Not easy when your soaking wet, which is why my transition time was 4:19 (177/193). I know it's embarrassing


The bike route was 37km, taking in Cefn Bryn (the highest point in Gower).

It was imperative that I made up some of the time lost in transition on the bike. After climbing well out of Port Eynon, I set off at a good cadence. I was thankful for the extra layer as it was quite fresh.

Keeping warm with a Viking salute

The ride around Gower is beautiful and I cycle various parts of this course quite often, which allowed me to gain valuable time in taking the racing line.

One thing that often confuses me when I'm racing is the fact that competitors don't make use of downhill segments and are satisfied in coasting down instead of collecting all that valuable free speed. Well it's good news for me, as I pass them.

My strategy for the bike was to go strong for the first 25km and then into TT mode for the final 12km. I pretty much stuck to this plan and managed to drop a few of the riders I had been nipping and tucking with in the first segment.

I got back to Port Eynon in a time of 1:22:19 (108/193) which was an average speed of 27kmh.


As I've got the cycling top and mitts on, I've now gotta waste time in getting them off. Hence my marginally better transition time of 1:40 (150/193)


The 10km run was 2 loops of across the sand and then up the hill through Bank Farm campsite. I've never run up this hill, but I've walked it; it is steep, very steep indeed.

I left transition at a reasonable lick, I checked my heart rate to make sure I wasn't over doing it and set of along the sand. As much as running on the hard sand wasn't to debilitating the run through the soft sand and dunes was energy sapping.

After getting through the dunes I was faced with the climb, and boy was it steep. There were plenty of people walking which meant I was making up plenty of places. Even if I wanted to I wouldn't have walked as I was of the mindset that this was only a 10km and walking wasn't allowed (Go Hard Or Go Home).

Once you reached the campsite you were confronted with plenty of undulation and a steady climb to the turnaround point. But at least this meant it was downhill all the way back to the beach. I finished the first lap in a time of 25 minutes which meant if I could keep at the same pace my target time was within reach.

So my plan for the second lap was to go steady along the sand, hurt up the hill, coast back down and cane it for the return along the sand and the dunes.

As I started the second lap I was feeling strong and was still picking off other racers (as well as those who did the sprint fancy dress race). In fact I'd say I felt stronger running up the hill on the second time.

Shouting at the cars

On reaching the turnaround point, I knew that the worst was behind me and that I could push on to the finish. On reaching the beach I really dug in and gave it everything I had. It was a satisfying feeling turning right into the finish chute.

My run time was 49:56, and I must say that I was very pleased to be running sub 5 minute kilometres on that course.

Go hard or go home

This gave me a finish time of 2:45:18, which if I round down that means I hit my target time. However, as expected Jason smashed me and showed me how to get through transition properly, I was chicked again by Hayley and well done to Huw for finishing his first (of many) triathlons.

I'd like to thank the marshalls on the course who did a great job, especially Rob G at the top of the hill at Bank Farm. I'd also like to thank Rob C for coming down to cheer us on (he said he was repaying the supporting debt of Ironman Wales).