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Monday Morning Motivation: Julián Molina Shreds Harder Than You

24 Jul

After a collision with one of the local buses when he was younger, Julian Molina was left with a completely destroyed foot, which later became infected with gangrene, traumatically resulting in the amputation of his entire leg. Most would quit here, but not Julian.

Despite his situation, the man has only looked forward and up, and two wheels has been his vehicle in that journey. Today he’s stomping tricks he couldn’t land with two legs, and riding with a bigger heart and smile than most. This is Julian Molina’s story.

To learn more about Julian, read Meet the BMXer who lets nothing stand in his way. You can also visit his Facebook page.

First and last long ride before RideLondon

16 Jul bike close up

I deferred my place in RideLondon last year and had hoped that I would be able to train and take part this year, but things have not gone as smoothly as I had hoped.

I am unable to defer my place again, so I can either take part in the event or keep my fingers crossed that I am lucky enough to get a place again in future. I was erring towards the latter until I read about the launch of the London Classics: “The unique challenge requires participants to run the Virgin Money London Marathon, cycle 100 miles in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and swim two miles at Swim Serpentine, the open water swimming festival.” I hope that one day I’ll get a place in London Marathon and am now tempted to add Swim Serpentine to my itinerary for 2018.

Today, I planned a training ride. I agreed that I would cycle out into the New Forest and do a loop via Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard before meeting my husband and in-laws at the Drift Inn.

The ride out of the city is always slow. There are lots of traffic lights and although there is a new section of cycle path, the road is abysmal in places. Finally, I made it to Eling, which is where the enjoyable part of my ride begins. However, just five minutes later, my enjoyment waned…

I cycled across a busy road and was immediately hit by a pungent smell. The road was covered in manure and I assumed that a muck spreader must have recently passed that way.

I cycled on a little further and was surprised to find the traffic at a virtual standstill. As we were not yet into the New Forest, I was not sure of the cause (roaming animals, such as horses, cows and donkeys, often cause the traffic to stop in the Forest). Cars started to turn off and I was able to see the reason for the hold up: 5 pairs of horses and gigs. The gypsies obviously did not want to get split up, so whenever the road widened or there was the possibility for some cars to pass, one of the gigs would pull out and overtake another, which was very frustrating for the queue of traffic. I really didn’t enjoy this part of my ride – the road was covered in excrement and I was stuck behind a car that was belching out hot fumes. I was surprised to see quite a few police 4x4s, so I assumed that they were aware that gig racing might be about to take place.

Finally, at Ipley Cross the gigs turned off and I was able to continue on my ride. I cycled past Beaulieu and headed towards East Boldre before cycling towards Buckler’s Hard and then back towards the Drift Inn.

As I neared the pub, I was able to see that there was an enormous gathering. There were crowds of people in the road, police wearing high-viz jackets, cars parked everywhere and on the scrubland opposite the pub were lots of horses and gigs.

I took my bike into the pub garden where my family were meeting. We had agreed that Baby M would spend some time with her grandparents whilst Stuart joined me for a couple of hours. I had a quick drink and then we were off again.

Stuart had planned a nice route that involved heading back to Beaulieu before heading out towards Exbury Gardens and Lepe beach. I’ve not cycled this way for a long time – I think it was probably back in April last year when I went for a ride with Teri. That time, the road by the beach was covered in sand – fortunately it was clear this time. I’m not particularly familiar with this route, but a lot of it is the same as Solent Half marathon, which I’ve run a couple of times, so it brough back some happy memories.

By the time Stu and I got back to the Drift Inn, the crowds had dispersed and it was as the gypsy flash mob had never been there. We’d noticed a wedding party at the pub when we were there earlier; this time we saw the happy couple having photos taken amongst the trees.

I stopped for a little while to chat with my in-laws and feed M. I also had a quick snack, before leaving to cycle home alone. As I got to Ipley Cross, I noticed some raindrops 😦 This was all the incentive I needed to pick up my pace a bit. Luckily, the rain eased off, but I tried to maintain my pace. I had hoped that I would be able to do my ride without too many hold ups, but the traffic jam earlier meant that I didn’t really have a clear idea of my average pace.

As I got towards home, I hit 110km, just before the timer hit 5 hours. I’ll need to be able to ride another 50km in a fortnight, but am hoping that determination (and a bit of drafting) will get me through.

Have you done RideLondon before? What are your tips?

Buggy Mums, parkrun, JPCC and a sundae

2 Jul Turbo session

Wednesday was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop me from going along to Buggy Mums. I knew that Christine would have planned a session that would keep us moving and I wasn’t wrong.

Unsurprisingly, we were a small group of just 7 people today, but that didn’t make it any less fun. One brave lady came along for the first time despite the weather.

We kept moving around the Common, stopping in various locations to do exercises, including squats, tricep dips and walking lunges. We also managed to run 4km.

Buggy Mums June 28

© Christine Saunders

Today’s Buggy Mums session was at a new venue: Riverside Park. I’ve run in Riverside Park lots of times, but it was nice to use a new venue for Buggy Mums as there were new options for training.

Buggy Mums Riverside 1

©Christine Saunders

Buggy Mums Riverside 2

©Christine Saunders

Buggy Mums Riverside 3

©Christine Saunders

On Friday, I went out shopping with M. I’ve been struggling with finding enough baby-free time to ride, so I thought I’d better do an hour on the turbo trainer. I have no idea whether I’ll be fit enough to tackle #ridelondon in a month, but I’m not going down without a fight!

Turbo session

Southampton parkrun was cancelled again this week (Pretty Muddy), so it was another chance for me to do some parkrun tourism. Stu and I chose to go to Whiteley parkrun and we gave our friend Rob a lift. It was Stu’s turn to run with the buggy, so I was free to go as fast or slow as I liked. Yesterday, my Garmin told me I was ‘detraining’ after a week of berating me for being ‘unproductive’, so I thought I’d better run hard! 24:22 is 42s away from my PB, but not a bad run considering my lack of training and the humidity.

detraining Whiteley parkrun

Hopefully, having put in a decent run will improve my Garmin’s comments about my training!

training data after Whiteley

On Sunday, I went on a lovely sunny ride with Julian Porter Cycling Club. We cycling from Eling tide mill out to Beaulieu before stopping for drinks – I was a bit surprised as that’s only about 7 miles.

Mettricks Beaulieu

We then headed off towards Buckler’s Hard, but didn’t do the loop that I’m used to. Instead we did a very short loop that was being used as part of a triathlon. I cheered a few people on and was able to say hello to club-mates who were manning an aid station.

We then turned towards The Drift Inn where we were to regroup with the faster riders. It was quite warm, so I appreciated a glass of coke, but was aware that really I needed to be doing more pedalling and less drinking!

When we left, Angela, a speedier rider joined us, so Lou and I picked up the pace towards Ipley Cross. At that point, Angela left us and we turned back towards Southampton.

Just a few miles from where we started, we turned a corner and Lou shouted that her chain had come off. On closer inspection, we realised that she had broken her rear mech hanger 😦 I agreed that I would cycle back to the car park, collect my car and retrieve Lou and her bike. What a disappointing end to a lovely ride for Lou.

I enjoyed this social cycle, but think I probably should have gone out on my own for a training ride as although I was out for 4.5 hours, I rode less than 30 miles :’-(

To top off a busy week, Stu and I walked to Sprinkles for an ice-cream sundae.

Stu and Sundae

What did you do this week?

Back on it – a weekly round-up

16 Jun

Hello again! I feel like I’m finally getting back on top of things, so here’s a round-up of my week…

Saturday – Volunteering at parkrun

For the second week in a row, I was a volunteer at parkrun – this time as a Run Director.

Southampton parkrun 10 June 17

Because of building works, we’re currently on an alternative route at Southampton parkrun that starts near to The Cowherds pub. I quite like Run Directing with this start as there’s a bench for me to stand on. There was also some excitement as our long-awaited PA system has now arrived, so I now longer need to rely on my teacher’s voice projection!

RDing at parkrun

That’s what 767 runners looks like © John Grant

 

Sunday – Southampton Tri Club event

On Saturday afternoon, Stu and I finished sorting out our bike trailer, so that M is able to go out cycling with us. I recently traded in my beautiful Fiat 500 for a Citroen Berlingo that we affectionately refer to as ‘the mum bus’. It’s not a beautiful car, but it’s comfortable and there’s plenty of room for bikes and more. Stu reconfigured the car to fit all of our kit in, but we learnt the hard way on saturday night that Baby M is allergic to peanuts. This meant that we didn’t manage to join Tri Club friends for a social bike ride on Sunday morning. We could have joined in with the run, but were shattered after a long night.

STC BBQ

©Darryl Marcus-Hanks

Stu took part in a sea swim, whilst I sun-bathed and played with M on the beach. We then had a lovely barbeque. Southampton Tri Club is such a friendly club and this was a great opportunity to meet some of the new members. After a few burgers, I went off for a walk by the beach huts.

Calshot beach huts

 

Monday – swimming

The Quays

I finally got myself back to the pool on Monday night. I think swimming will always be the hardest part of a triathlon for me. I prefer open water swimming, but it’s hard to get to the lake and reasonably expensive, so I need to make sure that I attend tri club sessions at the pool.

It was the first time I’ve swum since I got me new watch, so it was interesting to see what data it would show me. We did quite a few 100m sets, including some with fins. Coach Steve called me over and explained that he had identified the problem with my front crawl – apparently my stroke looks like a bear crawling along and it’s basically my strength that gets me through as my technique is awful. Steve had a new torture device swim aid that he got me to try – a Finis Forearm Fulcrum Positioner that “holds the hand, wrist and elbow to position the forearm optimally”. It definitely felt different, but I still don’t think that I can visualise what correct technique should be – it doesn’t come naturally to me!

I positioned myself at the back of the lane for the swim as I’ve not been swimming for a while, which meant that I didn’t feel too much pressure. We covered just over a mile in the session, which was enough for me!

 

Tuesday – Run with Sarah

At lunchtime I went for a run with my work colleague and friend, Sarah. It was quite warm, but we were out for nearly an hour. I had M in her buggy and that combined with the humidity and my asthma/hay fever made for a challenging run. Sarah and I kept the pace slow so that we were able to have a much-needed chat. I love running for keeping me fit, but I also love it because it really helps to keep me sane. Some people might swear by a glass of wine at the end of a hard week, for me nothing beats a chatty run with a friend 🙂

 

Wednesday – Buggy Mums and Mile of Miles

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums, which is one of the highlights of my week. It was a hot and sunny day, so we did a mix of intervals and exercises in the shade. It was lovely to see some mums that I know from elsewhere (Sing and Sign and my running club). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to participate as much as I had hoped to as M wasn’t in her happiest mood and my hay fever was playing up.

On Wednesday evening, Stu, M and I walked down to the Sports centre to take part in Mile of Miles, which is a 10 x 1 mile track relay. Southampton Tri Club had two teams: a fast team and a fun team. Stu was originally on the fast team, but he’s been under the weather, so switched to the slower team. I was on leg 8 and Stu was leg 9. I did a brief warm up, but my hay fever and asthma were making breathing difficult, so I knew that I would find it hard. I also struggle to pace myself on the track and the relay format meant that I wasn’t running alongside others, which usually helps to push me.

My final time was 7:29 which is quite a lot slower than my recent PB of 7:10. I had thought about doing the Lordshill Magic Mile on Tuesday evening, but decided against it as I wanted to save my legs… however on Tuesday I was feeling well and on Wednesday I was shattered. Hopefully, I’ll feel better by the next mile event as I would love to achieve 6:59. My splits were all over the place: 1:41; 1:59; 1:55; 1:54!

Tamsyn at the track

© Di Mattingly

Tamsyn at the track

© Di Mattingly

Tamsyn at the track

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at MoM

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn on the track

© Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running on the track

©Paul A. Hammond

STC at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn at Mile of Miles

©Paul A. Hammond

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

Tamsyn running at Mile of Miles

©Lois Elliott

A rare pic of me with my baby © Paul A. Hammond

STC at Mile of Miles

Thursday – run at Weston Shore

I drove to Weston Shore early on Thursday as I was keen to be there ready for Buggy Mums. I had a bit of time to answer some emails when I arrived, before going over and chatting to friends. After a short while, one of them looked on Facebook and saw a message saying that the class had been cancelled 😦 All was not lost as one of the others agreed to go running with me. We did an out and back – one direction was easy, but the other was into a headwind. I did just over 4.5km, but couldn’t motivate myself to make up the extra distance with the wind!

Sadly, I’ve heard that there won’t be any more sessions at Weston Shore… however, they will be replaced with sessions at Riverside Park, which is a bit closer to home.

 

So that’s my round-up of this week. Southampton parkrun is cancelled tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to going to Lee on Solent parkrun. My friend, Sarah, lives nearest to that parkrun, so hopefully I’ll get to run with her. Also, I’m going to meet up with a few Hampshire-based running and tri bloggers, which should be fun. Then I’ve got some really exciting events planned for next week, including an aquathlon in a stunning setting.

What are you looking forward to next week?

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How to deal with stinky cycling shoes

24 Mar

Spring is finally here with longer daylight and sunny days – hurray! For me, I’m hoping this means that there will be more opportunities for cycling (certainly by the end of April when my baby will be old enough to go in a bike trailer). However, I’ve just got out my neglected cycling shoes and in comparison to my shiny new bike they’re not looking great. (They’re not smelly, but they don’t look clean!) I turned to the internet for inspiration on how to make them beautiful again and was surprised by some of the answers that I got…

Low risk suggestions

  • Replace the insoles
  • Use Odor eaters
  • Use Stuffitts Shoe Savers
  • Put sneaker balls in the shoes
  • Store the shoes with detergent pods inside (be very careful if you have young children or pets!)
  • Use ODOBAN

Medium risk solutions

  • Put the shoes in the freezer overnight
  • Put your shoes out in UV light/sunlight
  • Put newspaper and baking soda in your shoes after each use
  • Spray white vinegar in your shoes
  • Put baking soda and tea tree oil in the shoes and place them in the sun
  • Spray your shoes with Lysol
  • Use sports equipment spray on your shoes
  • Put a spray top on a bottle of surgical spirit (aka rubbing alcohol) and spray inside your shoes
  • Put some drops of essential oils (like lavender or peppermint) in your shoes
  • Use dog urine odour remover
  • Put Gold Bond Foot Powder in them (not readily available in the UK)

High risk solutions (washing)

  • Scrub them and leave them to dry with some newspaper stuffed inside
  • Wash them dawn in the shower, then put newspaper and dryer sheets in them. Put them on the rack in dryer, kept running the dryer all day and changing the paper and dryer sheets.
  • Put them in a sink full of warm water and a box of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) before allowing them to air dry
  • Wash them in a utility sink with baking soda and sport laundry detergent
  • Throw some hydrogen peroxide in them to kill the bacteria
  • Wash the insoles in the washing machine and let them air dry
  • Put them in a bucket of water and napisan or oxy-clean to soak, then press the fabric area and hang them to dry in the sun

Extremely high risk solutions

  • “I put mine in socks then put them in the washer with a load of towels.” and “Throw them in the washing machine and let them air dry, with insoles out and they do great!” (Does the washing machine?!)
  • Put them on the top rack of the dishwasher (for two cycles if they’re really stinky). – This was the suggestion that surprised me the most, but which also seems to be the most popular suggestion!

Photo credit: thenoodleator via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

What is your preferred method to keep your cycling shoes box fresh?

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Monday Morning Motivation – How good are your bike handling skills?

27 Feb

One of the reasons why I’ve decided to take part in cyclo cross is that I really want to improve my bike handling skills. I know that I’m nervous at times, and I don’t always react to hazards as well as I could, so I admire anyone who is a really confident cyclist. However, there is one man whose cycling skills I admire above many others: Danny MacAskill. If you’ve not watched his latest video, Wee Day Out, then be prepared to be amazed and inspired:

Anyone want to go for a ride?

What Valentine’s Day means to triathletes…

7 Feb

swim bike run Valentine

There are several challenges for non-triathletes who are dating triathletes…

The first challenge is buying the right gift. Typical Valentines gifts include:

  • underwear
  • shoes

Then of course, there are the activities. You’re thinking you might need some lube to get your pulse racing, whereas we want a HRM (or some body glide)!

Anyway, there’s no reason why you can’t fall back on these Valentines favourites for the triathlete in your life. There’s plenty of sports specific underwear available – if your partner is female then there are lots of gorgeous crop tops and sports bras available and either gender could appreciate some Runderwear.

When it comes to shoes, there are so many options:

  • swim bootees (especially useful if you live somewhere where the water is cold!)
  • cycling shoes
  • trainers

Remember that your triathlete partner may be on a strict training schedule, so a late night out or a boozy meal may not appeal to them… but some healthy treats and a massage would probably be appreciated.

What I’ve been reading this week:

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Last parkrun of 2016?

16 Oct

It’s been yet another busy week, where I’ve mostly had to be at home, so I’ve tried to make the most of the dry days and have spent some time in my garden. I raked up all of the leaves and filled my compost bin as well as a garden waste wheelie bin. I love living in an area with trees, but they do make a lot of mess in autumn! Fortunately, there are still lots of beautiful flowers in my garden to distract from the falling leaves!

Garden in October

Yesterday, Stu and I went to parkrun. I wasn’t able to run with my friend, Kim, as she was Run Directing, but at the start I met my friend Teri, so we agreed to have a social run to catch up on all of the latest gossip. I was really pleased to finish in under 31 minutes – especially given that it was my due date and I chatted all of the way around.

southampton-parkrun-15th-october

I was 16/36 in my Age Group, which surprised me, but I didn’t quite manage to finish in the top half of all women, coming in 143/275.

After the run, my friend Kate took a photo of me with her son Toby who had just been awarded parkrunner of the month – well done, Toby!

Posing with Toby after parkrun © Kate Budd

Posing with Toby after parkrun © Kate Budd

After parkrun, Stu and I headed to Tadley to pick up my new cyclocross bike from Pedal On. We’ve not been to the shop before and were surprised by the wide range of bikes available.

I took the bike out for a spin today with Stuart. It felt very different from my road bikes, but it was lovely to be back on a faster bike than my hybrid.

img_7906 img_7907

I even let Stu have a go on my bike!

img_7910

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get fit enough to be able to take part in a cyclo cross event before the end of the season.

Are you challenging yourself to do anything new next year?


Don’t forget that there’s still time to enter my giveaway to win a copy of Fast Fuel.

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Choosing a bike, parkrunning and some exciting post

8 Oct

Following the theft of our bikes in August, we’ve been busy improving our home’s security (along with 1001 other home improvements). We’ve had a burglar alarm installed, locks changed, additional locks installed, secure lock points fitted and various other improvements, so we’re moving in the direction of being able to get new bikes, which means it’s shopping time.

I was really happy with the bikes I had, but it’s not possible to replace like with like, so I’ve had a think about what would best suit my needs. I previously had an aluminium road bike that I used for touring and wet weather riding and a carbon road bike that I used for most of my cycling and triathlons. Some people have recommended getting a tribike, but I don’t have the bike handling skills, like riding in a group and am quite likely to do a reasonably hilly Ironman, so I’d rather have a good aero road bike.

As for my second bike, my Giant Defy was perfect for touring Japan, but with a baby on the way, I’m unlikely to do any multi-day cycling events in the near future, so I don’t have a need for a touring bike. However, I will still want to cycle in winter and I am determined to improve my bike handling skills. I was inspired by watching people do cyclocross training at Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre whilst I was at the running track and would really like to give it a go. The events are not very long (under an hour), so it should be possible to fit in some over the winter months. This means that I have decided to purchase a cyclocross bike as my second bike.

A limitation for my second bike is that I would like to purchase it through the Cycle to Work scheme, which means that it needs to cost under £1000. I looked at various options online and narrowed it down to four bikes:

  • Ridley X-Bow 20 disc
  • Giant TCX SLR 1
  • Colnago World Cup Disc
  • Focus 2016 Mares AX Disc 105
Giant TCX SLR 1 2016

Giant TCX SLR 1 2016

Stuart has also been researching bikes and has produced a shortlist, so we decided to take our shortlists to Vankru, our fantastic local Retul bike fitters. Although they can make (almost) any bike more comfortable, it definitely better to see Garth and Mark before buying something, so that they can advise which bike’s geometry would suit your build and flexibility best.

After having a good look at my data and the specs of the bikes that I was interested in, Mark advised against the Colnago as it’s quite an aggressive bike, however, the small in the Ridley or Giant or the XS in the Focus would be fine for me. I was also told to bear in mind that the Focus is slightly more aggressive. I asked whether Mark had any further recommendations based on my data (and price range), and so he suggested that I might want to look at a Cannondale CAADX. It was really good to get this feedback, and meant that I was able to rule out the Colnago.

This morning, I was able to fit in Southampton parkrun. I met up with Kim at the start and our friend Kate said that she’d join us for a social run as she’s racing the Royal Parks half marathon tomorrow. (Good luck, Kate!) We had a lovely social run, that I really enjoyed.

Finishing parkrun with Kate (and Kim)

Finishing parkrun with Kate (and Kim)

Considering we were chatting (and I’m 39 weeks pregnant), our finish times weren’t too bad either:

southampton-parkrun-8th-october-2016

Next Saturday is my due date, but maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in another parkrun before the big event!

After parkrun, Stu and I joined Tobie and Charlotte for some more bike chat. Charlotte ran a PB at parkrun, which was great and Tobie was saving his legs ahead of a cyclocross race tomorrow… which is precisely why Stu and I wanted to chat to him. Not only does Tobie know bikes inside and out as he runs Bike Guy (bicycle servicing), but he also rides and races a lot. So, we’d spoken to the experts about which bikes would fit us and had moved onto another expert who could advise on which bikes have fewer maintenance issues.

Of the four bikes that were left on my shortlist, Tobie advised against the Ridley as it had the lowest spec out of all of the bikes. Apparently, the Giant wheels may buckle under stress, but this is prefer to the Cannondale wheels, which are more likely to end up with broken spokes, which create further problems. Again, Tobie advised that the Focus is a purer cyclocross bike. So, my shortlist was down to the Focus and the Giant.

I’ve seen both of the bikes before, but thought it might help me to make my mind up if I viewed them again. unfortunately, neither bike is in stock in any local bike store. The guys at the Southampton Giant Store (formerly Wessex Cycle World) have always been really helpful, so I went there in the hope that they might be able to order in the Giant for me, but they said they haven’t been able to get any since about June.

I’ve thought about which of the bikes I prefer and the Giant is the one that appeals to me slightly more. Frustratingly, I’ve had a few battles with the online Cyclescheme vouchers, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to order it online next week.

After our visit to the bike shop, Stuart and I went into town to have a look at bike shoes in Decathlon. I currently own two pairs (a lovely pair of Pearl Izumi Tri Flys that I wear for triathlons and a very cheap pair of Specialized shoes that I wear in winter)… but they both work with Speedplay pedals, which aren’t suitable for cyclocross. Aside from my failed visit to the velodrome, I’ve never used any other pedals, so asked Tobie and Charlotte for their advice. They recommended Shimano M520 pedals and Tobie said they were cheaper in Decathlon than anywhere else, so a pair somehow fell into my basket… I also ended up with a new pair of shoes:

btwin-mountain-bike-shoes

I spent quite a while choosing between these and a black pair of Shimano shoes. The Shimano shoes were slightly lighter, but I found the toe box quite wide (and I’m quite partial to turquoise!) So, I’ve got the shoes, now I just need the bike!

When I got home, I found that some exciting post had arrived – an Energy Snacks box of Sports Nutrition products.

Energy snacks img_7883

You can choose whether to sign up for a subscription to this service or just to order a one-off box. If you sign up for the mailing list, you’ll receive 10% off your first box.

For £21.99 the October box includes:

Energy

  • 32Gi – Sport Chews – Orange
  • 32Gi – Sport Gel – Raspberry
  • GU – Energy Gel – Chocolate Outrage
  • GU – Stroopwafel – Caramel Coffee
  • High5 – IsoGel X’treme – Tropical
  • Mule Bar – Energy Bar – Apple Strudel
  • PowerBar – PowerGel Shots – Cola
  • Sweet Peaks – Energy Sweets – Citrus
  • Tribe – Energy Bar – Cacao & Almond

Hydration

  • OTE – Hydro Tabs – Blackcurrant
  • Virtue – Energy Water – Lemon & Lime

Recovery

  • PowerBar – Recovery 2.0 – Raspberry Cooler

I’ve tried some of the products before (PowerBar cola PowerGel shots used to be my ‘go to’ for marathon training), but there are other products that I’ve never heard of or seen in the shops.

The items arrived in a lovely package, so it was really exciting to open it up, and it would make a great gift for a friend who has just signed up to train for a longer distance race, such as a half or full marathon. The only slight disappointment for me was that the Stroopwafel is Caramel Coffee flavoured – I love similar products, but cannot stand coffee, so I’ll have to get Stu to be the product tester for that item!

How’s your weekend been so far? Are you watching the Ironman World Championship?

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Volunteering at parkrun and The Cycle Show 2016

2 Oct

Last weekend, was another busy one. On Saturday, Stuart and I were Run Directors at Southampton parkrun. It was a special event as we had encouraged members of staff from University of Southampton to take on the majority of volunteer roles. In some ways, I would have loved to get a run in, but as I work at the Uni, I felt that I shouldn’t shirk my duty.

Volunteers from University of Southampton volunteers © Ruth Bartlett

Volunteers from University of Southampton © Ruth Bartlett

volunteering-at-parkrun-24-sept-2016

On Sunday, Stu and I had another early start as we had decided to go to the Cycle Show. We thought it would be a good opportunity to check out a wide range of bikes, which might help us to decide what we want to get to replace our stolen bikes. (I think we’d both love to have identical replacements, but they’re not available any more, so that’s not an option).

I won’t give a full commentary, but here are some of the bikes we looked at…

Pinarello at The Cycle Show 2016

Another Pinarello at The Cycle Show 2016

Isla bikes

There was a test ‘track’ for small children at the show. I was amused by how tiny some of the Islabikes were.

I have been looking at the Ridley website quite frequently, as I’m a bit tempted to get a Ridley and I like the customisation options.

Ridley Jane

Ridley Jane

Ridley Noah

Ridley Noah

Ridley Liz

Ridley Liz

I prefer the Ridley Jane to the Ridley Liz as it’s more aero. The men’s aero bike is the Ridley Noah. Aparently, it has exactly the same dimensions as the Jane, but annoyingly it has far greater options for custom paintwork. Why aren’t women given the same deal?! I could order teh men’s frame and customise it, but I’d then ahve to spend more on changing the saddle and adding narrower handlebars 😦

Stu and I spent quite a lot of time at the Boardman stand. Some of the bikes looked really gorgeous (like the £3k Boardman Air below). There are also lots of customisation options available. Chris Boardman sold the brand to Halfords in 2014. It has struggled with a poor reputation (rather like Skoda), but seems to be turning that around as the top end bikes are really rather nice. Unfortunately, I still wouldn’t trust most bike mechanics at Halfords to correctly assemble a bike, so if I were to buy one, I’d want someone reputable to check it over.

Boardman Air

 

Jonny Brownlee's Boardman from the Rio Olympics

Jonny Brownlee’s Boardman from the Rio Olympics

Jonny Brownlee's Boardman from the London Olympics

Jonny Brownlee’s Boardman from the London Olympics

Chris Boardman's Lotus from the Barcelona Olympics

Chris Boardman’s Lotus from the Barcelona Olympics

Boardman SLR Titanium 9.2

Boardman SLR Titanium 9.2

I also spent a bit of time at the Cycle Show looking at cyclocross bikes as I’d love to take part in some cyclocross races this winter. Sadly, a lot of the bikes look really dull. I loved the look of the Cannondale Super X 105 disc… but it’s well out of my price range!

Cannondale Super X 105 disc

Cannondale Super X 105 disc

I’ve seen some Cannondale ‘Lefty’ bikes online before, but this was the first time I’ve seen these strange bikes ‘in the flesh’.

Cannondale Lefty Carbon

Cannondale Lefty

Cannondale Slice

I’m not looking for a tri bike, but really like the design of this Cannondale Slice

Rydale Heritage Bikes

I still don’t understand the appeal of bikes like this!

Ribble Eliminator

I’m not looking for a track bike, but I liked the metallic paintwork on this Ribble

Cinelli

Tifosi SS26 Aero

This Tifosi SS26 Aero was perhaps my favourite bike at the show. I really like the striking paintwork and it seemed like a reasonable spec for the price. (£2199 for Ultegra.)

Tifosi gold chain

I liked the attention to detail, such as the gold chain!

 

Tifosi Auriga

Stuart liked the Tifosi Auriga (Ultegra £2199.99)

Storck Visioner

I’m sure Storck bikes are great (they cost enough), but they usually look very dull. At least this one had a few details!

orange folding bike

I think the info on this stand was about how you could add a motor to your bike, but I was intrigued by the design of this folding bike.

Unusual Paris Galibier retro bike by Condor

Unusual Paris Galibier retro bike by Condor

The mountain bike test track

The mountain bike test track

Another view of the mountain bike test track

Another view of the mountain bike test track

Viner bike (Planet X)

red Canyon

green Canyon

Stuart loved this green Canyon

I’ve still got a lot of thinking to do before I get a new bike, but this show really inspired me.

There haven’t been any updates on our bikes that were stolen, but I have identified where the photo of my beloved Kuota Kharma that was on Gumtree was taken:

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It was outside the Bright Water Inn (Wetherspoons Pub) in Shirley, Southampton.

Wetherspoons Shirley

If you happen to see this bike (or any of our other bikes), please do get in touch.

Have any new 2017 bikes caught your eye? Which ones? Why?

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