The highs and lows of Alpe d’Huez long distance triathlon 2018

Two days after completing the 2018 Alpe d’Huez long distance triathlon in August I started writing this blog post.  But my emotions were still too raw for me to make much progress.  Parts of me were also too raw, but the less said about that the better.

The Canadian pro triathlete Lionel Sanders talked about the wisdom of applying a 72-hour rule before getting too analytical about races, before going on to emotionally dissect his disappointing Kona 2018 performance after 48 (video here).  Now I’ve just made it past 72 *days* I think I’m finally ready to analyse how this race went.  Here goes…

Alpe d’Huez tri was my Kona.  The race I’d been targeting all year, and sacrificed time, money, lie-ins, etc. to be ready for.  Continue reading “The highs and lows of Alpe d’Huez long distance triathlon 2018”


Riding like a girl: The Fred and me

“What about the Fred Whitton?” Kate asked.  I’d been explaining my quest to find big hills to cycle up in preparation for the Alpe d’Huez long distance triathlon in August 2018.

“Fred who?” I replied.

As she told me about the UK’s toughest cycle event – 113 miles with 3900 m of ascent incorporating the steepest passes in the Lake District – my interest was piqued.  Yes, this was definitely what I needed.  I resolved to enter.  Nothing to do with the fact that the New Year’s bells were about to chime, or the effects of prosecco. Continue reading “Riding like a girl: The Fred and me”

Race Report: Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon 2013

In the week before the race I intended to write a short blog post about how I thought I could have prepared differently for the event, without the benefit of post-race hindsight.  Then I’d reassess after the race and see if I was correct, or was worrying about nothing or about the wrong things.  It would have been so neat, but I never got round to it (such an amateur blogger).

Continue reading “Race Report: Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon 2013”

Week Eleven: virtual 10K

This week I competed in a 10K race with 4349 other people, even though I was running alone, and could pick my own route and start time.  Most of my competitors weren’t even in the same country as me.  This was a new experience for me, and a good one.  Before explaining how it worked I need to introduce you to my favourite bit of running/cycling geekery: the mobile phone app Strava.  It’s not an exaggeration: this app has revolutionised my training, and has really motivated me.  The app uses the phone’s GPS to record speed and distance during my runs and cycles: while there are other apps that do this I’ve never found one that works as well as Strava.

So why is it so good?   Continue reading “Week Eleven: virtual 10K”

Training plan = more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules

I’m just past the halfway point in my 18 week training plan.  Does this mean I’ve done 9 weeks of solid work and ticked off everything on the training plan?  Not quite.  Not by a long shot.  All the unticked activities on the training plan mock me, and highlight the gaping chasm between me and the half ironman race.  What was I thinking? Continue reading “Training plan = more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules”

Week Five: Étape!

With only a week to go the Étape Caledonia race I’d not managed to get out on my new bike, Ricky.  So I headed out for a 55-miler with my friend Neill (and his newly-built bike Pinky).  It was a great ride but I discovered that Ricky’s beautiful, lean white saddle was a bit of a crippler.  Comfort had to take precedent over looks for the forthcoming 81-miler, so I swapped it for the black saddle from my old (dead) bike, Doreen.  I also needed Compeed blister plasters on my butt (nice), in addition to the usual nappy-like cycling shorts.  Oh well, good to find out these things before the event I guess. Continue reading “Week Five: Étape!”

Week Three: Schiehallion


This week was a complete turnaround: I got through everything on the training plan (third time lucky, but hey), found a beautiful new bike (a Bianchi Impulso), managed to focus at work, and conquered Schiehallion: my cycling nemesis for this year.  All-in-all this was the week that I sorely needed, and it felt great to be getting back into the swing of things. Continue reading “Week Three: Schiehallion”

Week Two: Getting back on the horse

Week two didn’t live up to the high ideals of the training plan. I now realise this was inevitable, but it took me a while to get my head round that. And to go a bit easier on myself about the implications of the setback.

Physically I had a lot of bruising on my legs, and my shoulders and neck had a permanent stiffness that wouldn’t go away. But I felt surprisingly OK when running and swimming, so thought I could keep these up as planned even if I didn’t have a bike to train on. My ankles felt a little tender – they must’ve got a jolt when my bike shoes were ripped out of the pedals during the crash – but they soon got back into stride. Continue reading “Week Two: Getting back on the horse”