My new chapter……

So its all been quiet for a long time now. I have been very busy working on new and exciting parts of my life including re-training and setting up a business now I am a qualified personal trainer.

Because my business is not taking up a large part of my time, I am using the blog on my business site for keeping people up to date.

Please like my Facebook page on;

https://www.facebook.com/redalertpersonaltraining/?ref=hl

Please let me know what you think of my updates.

Allie

 

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The ‘Beaver’ Middle distance race

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The Beaver (Belvoir) middle distance race

The beaver is a middle distance race I’ve heard a lot about over the last couple of years and it’s always gets a good report so I decided to enter this year as an early season warm up race. Friday afternoon we drove to Belvoir castle to check in to the hotel we had booked. We went over the race site and I was instantly taken by how relaxed the whole event seemed.  I took a look at the lake, which is rumored to be the muddiest swim you will ever do in a race but it looked beautiful.  I didn’t have a plan in mind for this race other than to get around it comfortably and hope my knee wouldn’t play up on me being as this would be the longest run I had done since I started rehab for a knee issue 3 months ago.

Race morning was soon here and I had my usual race breakfast of ambrosia cream rice, a very strong coffee and a bottle of RaceRx, we headed over to rack my bike and get ready to race.  Again, the atmosphere at this race was so relaxed and friendly, it was a really nice vibe.  At the race briefing the guy said if anyone gets into trouble in the swim, we normally recommend turning on to your back and raising one arm, however, in this lake we recommend you stand up and walk to the edge, haha, it really is a shallow lake then!

For the swim I was in the second wave and I positioned myself right at the front as usual, I somehow managed to get off on the gun much better than the previous week when I seemed to be overtaken in milli-seconds by loads of athletes.  The swim was fairly uneventful, a 2 lap course, was pretty slow and steady, I went hard for the first 500m or so to stay near the front then relaxed into a comfortable stroke for the rest of the 1.9km.

Out of the swim I was really happy, and started on the long run up the hill to transition – it’s half a km up the hill so the swim times reflect this as the timing mat is part way up the hill (Swim 34:56).  Into T1 (1:42) and I grabbed my helmet and ran of with my bike to do a speedy mount over the mount line, unfortunately I couldn’t get my freezing feet into the shoes on the bike and no matter how many times I tride they would go in so I had to stop, get of my bike, take the shoes of the pedals and out them them on then ride off – I felt a right idiot but needs must!

The bike course is lovely, mostly flat with a long steady climb about half way around, would have been a fast course if it wasn’t for the 20mph winds with 30mph gusts.  First lap I barely used the aero position as was trying to get a sense of how far over the road I would getting blown about, turned out not to be so bad as the wind was more head on, so whilst it made for a hard bike, it felt safer than side on gusts blowing you over so for the 2nd and 3rd laps I maintained a proper aero position for most of the course.   It has to be said I was pleased to get off the bike (2:45), T 2 was smoother and I was out on the run course (2:03).

The run course is 4 laps and I knew what to expect as mark had run it the day before as training so he told me it was basically one long hill up then a turnaround and one long hill down X 4 laps!

First lap I went really slow and steady and drank a bottle of ATF whilst letting my HR come right down, 2lap I turned up the pace a little and kept it pretty constant for the 3rd lap although my mind was playing games with me and I was having so of those dark thoughts you get on the long run legs of races, lap 4 came around and I thought ok, one more lap, let’s smash this.  My knee was feeling good, I had some energy left and I thought lets just go for it, I managed to pass a lot of people on this lap and was really pushing the whole way around. Just coming into the finish arena I sensed another woman behind me so went for a sprint over the finish – which hurt – a lot, but as it happens she looked about my age so I please I pushed that final 100m stretch. (1:50.)

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My initial reaction to the race was that my times were poor. Although I didn’t know what the course was really like or what was classed as a good or bad time, I hade guessed that because of the much shorter bike course than Majorca I would have been on for a 5:00- 5:05 race. I went to the timing tent to see what my splits are as was pretty disappointed looking at my bike and run, but then I saw a number 2 – I asked the guy, ‘what’s that then?’ and he said, ‘you got second place in your AG’! I didn’t believe him and muttered something about thinking I’d been crap, to which he replied, ‘oh well if you were crap, everyone else was more crap’, that really made me smile and made me realize you can’t judge or try and guess your race time, it is what it is on the day and there are so many factors that change even the same course one year to the next.   So whilst I still don’t think it was a great performance, overall I’m happy with my day – 2 early season races now under my belt and a nice trophy to show for it!

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Thanks as always goes out to our squad sponsors; Triathlon Zone of St Albans, MPG, Bowller and HKR Architects.

And special thanks to my personal sponsors RaceRX for providing me the best ever race fuel to get me through all this training and my races (http://www.goracerx.com/)

Race Force Bike shipping service for IM Majorca 70.3

2 weekends ago was my first race of the 2014 season and also for my first race as part of team Raceforce.

The weekend before the race, my bike and bike kit was collected by Kate and Grant.   I had arranged for collection to be from my friend Claire’s house as we had booked the service together and agreed to have one collection point. The bikes are mounted into a rack system in the van by the front forks meaning the only thing that needs doing to the bike is removal of the front wheel.   As I had experienced some issues with the brakes and wheels compatibility which I wasn’t entirely certain had been resolved by my local bike shop, I was also taking a spare pair of wheels with me, which Kate kindly allowed as extra luggage without charging me.  At the collection point I had a chat with Grant (the mechanic) and he agreed to look over the brakes / wheels as I was not happy with the setup since it has come back from its ‘service’ at the shop the day before. The gears also needed re-indexing as again my local bike shop didn’t seem to have done this properly even though it was one of the things I had booked it in for (I won’t be using them again it has to be said!).  

So a full week before the race I had handed my bike and bike kit over and it was one less thing to worry about in the days before flying out to Majorca.  This was a huge weight of my mind after the stress I had breaking down the rather complex front end of my TT bike for a flight to Lanza a couple months previously.   

On the Tuesday before my race I got a text message from Grant telling me my bike was all sorted and the gears had been re-indexed and it was at their Villa in Alcudia ready and waiting. This put my mind at rest and meant I could concentrate on race prep, packing and the final weeks training.

I was very lucky to have two close friends racing this with me. Claire (also a member of Team Race force) and Anna are two of a group of close friends I have made from my local Triathlon club. We decided to make this race a bit of a girls holiday too as we were setting of on Thursday with return flights on the Monday.  Unfortunately due to Claire’s son having an accident shortly before the holiday, she didn’t fly out with us as originally planed and had to join us on the Friday instead. Luckily though her little boy is well on the mend and she was still able to join us, her family had agreed she couldn’t miss out on this race so convinced her it was the right thing to come out and meet us, just a day later than originally planned.  

When myself and Anna landed in Majorca, we were met by Louise and Kate’s dad, who were collecting Anna’s bike as part of the airport collect Raceforce service. They kindly gave us both a lift to the hotel before taking Anna’s bike back to base to be built.  Once myself and Anna had unpacked and had a quick reccie of the area we went to register for the race and then made our way over to the Raceforce stand on the expo. 

My bike was already for collection and Anna’s bike was just being finished off.  We took all the bikes (including Claire’s) back to the hotel and then went back to meet Kate for a gentle little ride to test our bikes and have a little explore. 

Needless to say, the lead up to race day went past in a blur…… race day itself was amazing and I have a separate blog on that.  After the race, I went home to shower and eat then had a walk (more of a hobble) over the the expo with my bike and luggage to drop off with Kate and the Race force team.   Thats was it – no more worries about bikes – we were free to party and celebrate, and party we did!! 

Myself and Kate heading out for a short ride

Myself and Kate heading out for a short ride

The day after our flight home, the bikes were delivered back to us.  The whole shipping concept to me is so much easier than worrying about the time / effort / and technical worries of dismantling, packing and re-building a bike when you only have a few days total in the country your racing in.  

I am using the ams service again for IM Austria next month and cant wait to get back out there racing (and socialising) with Team Raceforce!! 

Thanks to Kate and Grant and the rest of the Raceforce team.

A, B, C………

So now we are about to start the new race season I would like to thank Carvalho custom for agreeing to sponsor me for custom race kit for the 2014.

Carvalho Custom is based in Portugal and is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of custom cycling and triathlon clothing and other team sports kit.  Having raced in Carvalho kit last year I am very happy that are they are supporting me in the 2014 race season as I am already comfortable with the quality and performance of their kit and I’m very excited to have been working with them on the design of my new kit in the last few months.

I would like to thank Sport Pursuit for supporting me with most of my kit requirements last year and having helped me out with trainers, wetsuits, bike equipment and kit etc for the coming year… however, as Sports pursuit are taking a different direction with sponsorship for the new season I was grateful of the offer from Carvalho to work with them for the 2014 season.

That now completes my sponsorship for 2014, Azione for a great race bike and cycling support, Advanced Tri Fuel for my nutritional requirements. Back on track physio continues to support me by providing regular sports massage and lots of useful physio and injury prevention advice and now to complete that package I have my kit coming from Carvalho.

So excited for the coming season……..

carvalho logo

http://www.carvalhocustom.com/

Triathlon Bloggers open day @Total Fitness Nottingham

Triathlon Bloggers open day @Total Fitness Nottingham

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Martin at TFN inviting me to an open day at the shop and to have a complimentary bike fit from SpeedHub.  Having had a Retul bike fit transform my riding on my training bike last year, I jumped at the chance to accept this offer as I’ve recently had some changes made to my race bike including a new Adamo attack saddle and wanted to ensure I was going to be racing in a fully aero but sustainable position.

My new race bike - not seen the light of day yet with such a bad winter!

My new race bike – not seen the light of day yet with such a bad winter!

I got to the shop just before noon on saturday and had a nice chat with Martin and he introduced me to the owner of the shop Mark Redwood.  Mark told me a little about the history of TFN, which as a relative newbie to triathlon still I found it very interesting.

TFN opened its doors for the first time in April of 1996, started by 4 like minded friends who had struggled to find anywhere to buy their triathlon kit all in one place. The original premises in Nottingham were small but as the years went on TFN steadily grew and what had started as more of a hobby became a serious business. In 1999 TFN were one of the first shops to get a dedicated e-commerce website. In 2001 they moved to the current Beeston location.

The TFN race team has been influential in local and national races for years, TFN have previously supported up and coming triathletes and over the years such huge names as Jodie Swallow, Andy Tarry and Tom & David Bishop have started their careers with TFN. They have won numerous national titles over the years and intend to keep us this standard.

The whole team and TFN were very friendly and helpful during the day and mid way through the afternoon it was my turn for a full Retul bike fit with Tim from Speedhub.  The retul bike fits takes many measurements using little LED style tags on your body and a camera type gadget to pick up the signals, this paired with Tims experienced eye and knowledge of both road / TT and triathlon riding can give you the best fit for both aerodynamics but also, and more importantly for me, something that is sustainable for the ironman distances I will be covering.

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I about to set off to La Santa for a training week on my race bike, and Tim has kindly offered for me to have a follow up fit after I’ve put some serious miles in to get a feel for the new more aggressive position will be in on my race bike.

Tim setting me up - this was before my position was brought forward

Tim setting me up – this was before my position was brought forward

If you have haven’t already checked out the website for TFN i can highly recommend you do so, and if you live locally, its well worth a visit, they have a huge amount of stock in store to browse and its much as ordering on online is convenient, when it comes to things like wetsuits you cant beat going into a store and trying a load on.  Check out the website for brands and models….

http://www.tfn.uk.com/

http://www.speedhub.co.uk

Thanks to Mark and his team for a great day!

17hours of Darkness and Mud

So this weekend was my second 24hr MTB event. The first one of these I did several years ago was based in the midlands during the peak of summer – very different to what I experienced this weekend!

The event history from their website 

The Strathpuffer started in 2005 – it was meant to be a one off local event but somehow nine years later we have a national event with a legendary status.

Over the years we have had every possible type of weather conditions – gales that blew away our marquee, iced roads, 2ft of snow the week before the event, temperatures down to minus 10 degrees, rain, hail and even sunshine . . . . you get the picture but then if we insist on staging a 24 hour event in the Highlands of Scotland in the middle of winter what do we expect?

We now attract competitors from all over the world – probably because we were included in the US Bike magazines top 10 toughest Mountain Bike events on the planet – and we are widely recognised as the event every decent mountain biker needs on his palmares.

The Race 

My brother lives only a few miles from the race venue so he knows the forest and the trails really well, I’ve ridden part of the puffer trail a couple of times over the last few years but I’ve ran it more often than I’ve ridden it.  My brother and his friends went to pitch the tent and park the transit van (my personal changing room!) on Friday afternoon and then we all went along at 8am on Saturday morning to set up and get ready to race. We had a tent with a stove and a gazebo with bike maintenance stand etc for repairs and brake pad changes etc.

Base camp!

Base camp!

Burt was to take the first lap, then myself, Leigh then finally my brother and the plan was to keep this order for the 24hr period.  The weather was great – for the highlands, first couple of laps were still quite icy but the trails thawed during the day, but the rain started so it got very muddy.  The format of the race means there is 17hrs of darkness – and i haven’t done much night riding at all so I knew my dark laps would be a lot slower.

First lap done - the smiles say it all!

First lap done – the smiles say it all!

My first lap was a 47min, followed by 50mins, 56mins (first one with lights), 57mins, 59mins and a 63mins for my final lap at 4:30am by which point i think i was seeing double and imagining all sorts in the dark….during my 6th lap it was obvious that time wise we would have time for 3 of the members to do a 7th lap – as the only female member, i kindly offered my 7th lap to my brother as he would missed a final lap if i had gone out for my 7th – i pretended i was doing this as i knew he would never hear the end of it if he was the only lad not to do a 7th but in truth i was worried i would have a bad crash if i did another one as i was having all kinds of silly mistakes on my last lap, and my self preservation kicked in!

Returning from second lap on the long fast last descent

Returning from second lap on the long fast last descent

Our teams fastest lap was a 40mins put in my brother, a very respectable lap time.

Me and my brother - thanks  for asking me to join your team Michael.

Me and my brother – thanks for asking me to join your team Michael.

Overall we placed 40th mixed quad team out of 85 – not bad for a mixed ability team doing it for fun.

Congratulations due to my sister in law who took part in an all female team, they placed 2nd out of 4 female teams so came home with some goodies too! Well done Kate and team.

Lady and the Saddle Tramps - placed 40th!

Lady and the Saddle Tramps – placed 40th!

The whole weekend was amazing and i can highly recommend these 24h events – great fun if you can survive 24hrs of no sleep whilst doing a fairly technical MTB 7miler at regular intervals – certainly redefined ‘interval’ training for me!

Been there, done that!

Been there, done that!

Race Force – new partners

I am pleased to announce I will be partnered with Race Force for the coming race season.

“We are active triathletes with a passion for bikes providing a tried & tested bike transport service, race wheels rental & race beds at event locations for all budgets. We’re here to make getting to the start line easier”

http://www.raceforce.co.uk/

 

Raceforce - Logo

Come see me at the cycle show this weekend :o)

Come see me at the cycle show this weekend :o)

Azione Carbon Cycles will be at the cycle show all weekend at Birmingham NEC.

Myself, fellow Azione rider Patrick Cutmore and Azione ‘main man’ Dave Anderson will be around on the stand to chat to you about anything bike or triathlon related.  Come along and have a chat – bearers of caffeine will be particularly welcomed :o)

Stand F33.

http://www.cycleshow.co.uk/page.cfm/Action=Exhib/ExhibID=6/loadSearch=115800_7443

Look forward to seeing you there,

Allie 

11 DAYS REMAINING….

BACK DATED FROM 23RD JULY;

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Well what a week – the last full training week before taper kicked off with my longest ever ride a week ago on Sunday – a 125 mile sportive. I loved it, it was a beautiful day and the ride was in a lovely area with some amazing views. I used this as a race practice to practice my nutrition again, although I did sneak some extra cake when in the later food stations too! ;o)

The lovely mobile marshal on his bike (above) was chatting to me at around mile 90 and even offered to go ahead to refill my bottles and bring them back to me, bless him! I didn’t take him up on the offer though as I wanted an excuse to have a stop-off! Everyone there (including the two guys I traveled with from my Tri club) looked at me like I was mad when I stuck my trainers on and had a run just after the 125 miles…

My feet were killing me from after around 60 miles, so I’ve bought some new cycle shoes a size larger. I think the extra warm weather and swollen feet were responsible for the pain I experienced, still the pain in my feet took away from the pain in my legs, so I felt ok when I finished the ride and put my lovely comfy running shoes on!

The rest of the week was quite low impact and low on hours really, but then I had my final big day this Sunday, which was a race rehearsal. After a 4am wake up call, my friend dropped me off at Datchet water for a 1 hour swim and then on to T1 at the car and off on a 54 mile around the lovely lanes of Bucks/Herts, ending up at home for T2 and brick session – a painful one at that – 40min run with 30sec pick ups!

Tapering this week means 2 full days of rest, so I’m now twiddling my thumbs and wasting time on the laptop searching for my new race bike for next season – I’m actually tempted to buy my race wheels now so I can get use of them on my current bike at Bolton; everyone keeps telling me the wheels are what makes the most difference, so it couldn’t hurt to put them on the bike I have and then have them ready to go when I buy the new bike in the coming months….

I wonder if SportPursuit have any Tri bikes coming up…

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