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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Assos is here !

It's taken 4 long yrs but we are finally Assos dealers. Perfect timing given this cold snap we are experiencing - today's ride was not pretty !

We are very pleased to offer free postage for all items over £150
For London customers it gets even better: we are working with a cycle courier company that will deliver to your office or home that same day as long as you order before 2pm
No more delivery vans, or hoping the item gets posted on time, or left someone safe if you are out or is not lost in the post (not uncommon at this time of year)
Instead a cyclist will drop your parcel round to you, their fellow cyclist
Good for the environment, good for us all !

Clearwater Triathlon World Champs Race report

From the legendary Bret Hedges, Bespoke's resident globe trotter

Short Version – What an amazing experience, amazing athletes, totally inspiring week in Clearwater, race result – bit disappointed….

Well what an experience – the 70.3 world champs, no small deal.

I arrived the Wednesday afternoon before the event to get into the groove and lap up the atmosphere. Throughout the days leading up to the race everywhere I went there were world class athletes running, biking and going through their final preparation. It was certainly inspiring being among them, having the locals ask you if you are an ironman J makes you feel like a minor celebrity in town, it really was a great feeling.

Race day, Saturday – Weather forecast great, light wind and a high of 82F about midday, hot but great. I felt strangely calm come race morning, got myself to T1 and met up with Amy and Rob which was great,(and probably ruined Amy’s prep with my blabbermouth – thanks Andy) I expected to be more nervous, but wasn’t feeling that way at all, strange…

Swim 0:34 pah, I will go sub 0:30 one day - The 35-39 age group is split into 2 waves, and is a beach start which I prefer as it totally avoids the whole washing machine effect of the first section that a deep water start inevitably has. I had ambitions to stay with the lead group, or at least keep them in sight, as we all know, the swim is not my strength. It was soon clear I was not going to be able to do this, mainly as I have never successfully drafted in a swim L and the lead group were fast.

The swim is a long sided rectangle, 900m out, 100 across, 900 back. At about 700m out the water got pretty choppy which made sighting difficult, but made for a fun swim. I didn’t really get into my stride until the turnaround (Rob told me later this may be due to cardio engine not running, should have warmed up like Amy did, oh to have a live in coach J) and actually started moving through the pack on the way back to the beach, I was pretty happy about this, as this is not normal for me, couldn’t see where I was going on the way in mind you, a dawn start, then a turn into the rising sun makes goggle selection difficult to say the least.

My feet hit the sand at 32 minutes which is a good swim for me, but there was 100m or so to the beach and timing mat, which took forever to run in waist deep water, hence the 0:34 split.

T1 uneventful except for the wetsuit pullers “help”ing get the suit off, you sit on the floor, they pull it off, simple and effective.

Bike – 2:16, 6 minutes slower than I would have liked – I managed to get out of T2 ok and started over the causeway bridge out of town, (the same one we would run later on) my heart rate was high, I didn’t seem to be able to get it under control, it is usually high initially then I find a rhythm and it calms back down in to race pace. Hmm, not today though, it stayed high, too high and being someone who hates being passed on the bike I couldn’t help pushing along despite myself, this was a concern.

I soon saw Amy, sooner than expected, but I didn’t know she had had a problem at this point. Not long after I saw a pack of riders that I had heard about. Clearwater is famous for them, some people are drafting illegally, but also large numbers of people of similar ability are all racing at the same time, and no one wants to drop back when passed but I knew I would not take a draft of any kind.

Just after I had caught the pack I felt something bumping my leg. My saddle pack that holds spare tub, pit stop, bike tool etc. had come loose! Damn it, just as I was settling into a rhythm I have an issue. I slowed up and tried to feel for the straps and put it back. I managed to get it to hold, but had lost some time. It stayed in place for another mile, then it came loose again, I tried to fix it on the move, that is the rule in tri after all, do everything on the move, right ? Conscious that I am losing ground again I had to make a decision, ride 50 miles with it loose or pull over and fix it, I decided on the latter, losing contact with the pack that contained 15 or so from my age group.

Very aware that I had lost a good bit of time and a decent number of people from my age group whilst fixing the saddle bag I set about trying to make up some time. Pushing on again, 2 miles later the HR monitor starts beeping at me, I look down but something isn’t right, the HR monitor is showing 189 HR (That is above anything seen in any RAMP test, my max is 185) then it went up again to 193. I didn’t feel too bad, but the numbers were crazy I was worried so I slowed up AGAIN. It starts dawning on me that today may not be my day, I can’t believe this. After a brief mental image flash of me expiring beside the road side, I got myself together and eased up, HR started to fall, but not by much, not by enough. I pedalled easy for another couple of minutes, decided to sit up a bit, ease back again and try adjusting the chest strap, the HR starts to fall, 161. Hurrah, that is something I can live with. Damn Garmins.

The third push of the bike already and I’m not even at the first feed, but there is still some distance ahead to make back some of the lost time. Suddenly the feed arrives, I drink what I can and throw away my still half full single bottle. I call for “energy” and a boy scout offered the ironman branded drink, I went to take it, slowed down, arm out, no drink in hand but a loud thwack, and the bottle goes spinning into the air covering a number of boy scouts, damn, oops. The result of 20+ mph and him not letting go early enough. This is a tricky day out. I took another bottle but as I took it the top flew off, argh. I drank half of it, wow it was sweet, that won’t be good, stowed the open bottle in the down tube holder and rode on. I knew now the day was not a great one; I was behind and under hydrated…

In bike terms, the rest of the course is uneventful, I was told Clearwater is about the swim and the run, I agree, the bike is flat and honestly, not an interesting course, it’s very fast, but not interesting, although I love the sound of my Zipps once up to full speed J After everything it was not surprising that coming in to feed 3 at 48 miles I felt dehydrated, I wondered if asking a marshalling police man for water counted as outside assistance. I took in what I could at this point with the run in mind I’m It’s always a relief to finish the bike without a mechanical, puncture or accident. The rest of the race is just me, my Newton’s and the road. I have come to enjoy the run.

T2 - uneventful.

Run – I had done the calculations on the splits and speed required for a 1:22 run. I thought I may be capable on a good day. Rob cheered me on during the approach to the bridge for the first time which was cool. Once over the bridge I was checking the Garmin for my splits or pace. I could see the numbers on the display, but for some reason they didn’t make very much sense, the numbers were perfectly clear, just couldn’t calculate if what I was seeing was good or not. Then I realised the heat and my poor hydration on the bike were having an effect. I wasn’t confused as such, just couldn’t remember if I was on track for the run split I wanted. I decided to run on HR and feel, and try and find the max I thought I could maintain.

By the second half of the run, the sun was blazing and the heat off the road was way warmer than 82F that was forecast. I tried to focus on hydration and kept trying to calculate where I should try and up the pace into the finish. I tried at the ¾ mark but couldn’t tolerate anything much faster, so dropped back. I was still trying to figure when to accelerate but then I was at the bridge for the last time, so accelerated from there and did a faster last mile and a half, and posted a 1:27, I was disappointed but considering the heat and the race I had had up until that point, I guess it was reasonable. Waited at the finish for Amy (secretly glad she hadn’t caught me on the run J) she really was amazing…

Was elated to have finished, it was an amazing race, in a beautiful area, the standard of athletes was inspiring and everyone looked like they deserved their place..

I learnt so much as a result of this experience, there was too much unnecessary drama in my race, and I learnt a huge amount about how I react to the heat that I can take to Lanza. I would love to have another go at this in Vegas next year.

I was 43rd out of 222 in my age group, if I had raced the race I wanted and felt capable of, I would have been fighting around top 20, but who knows eh. I was pleased with the position progress however 127/89/43, result said 45th previously, but seems to have been adjusted to 43, I’ll take it

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Nick's new Z5

Sorry for the lack of posts - there is a reason for this I promise !
Back with a bang though - here is Nic's new Parlee Z5 in the 2011 colour scheme (with 'Bespoke blue' highlights)
Looks a cracker with Di2, team saddle and carbone wheels.....