Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I did it once before with a hangover and said "There you have it, I've done it once and that'll be that, no need to do it again" - I seem to remember it was miserable, excruciatingly painful and the last 4k being 100% standing and taking well over an hour - but that might be my imagination and poor memory - it might not be quite that bad, but then again it might be worse!
I'm preparing in the only way I know how - DENIAL - although simply writing this is screwing up that approach a little - never mind, a few beers tonight might put me back on the path to ABNEGATION.
Wish us luck.
Monday, September 29, 2008
10th September 2008 - BBC - "It's good news for cycling. We would be delighted to welcome him with open arms at Astana." - Alberto Contador
23rd September 2008 - IHT - Alberto Contador is ready to leave the Astana cycling team if Lance Armstrong joins the Kazakh squad in 2009.
"I think I've earned the right to be the leader of a team without having to fight for my place," the Spanish rider said Tuesday in AS newspaper. "And with Armstrong some difficult situations could arise in which the team would put him first and that would hurt me."
Simon says: - "Alberto me old mate, which is it to be? It looks like Sir Lance has rattled a few cages (and nerves)".
Berlin: Haile Gebrselassie broke his own world record as he won the Berlin Marathon for the third time in a row.
The 35-year-old Ethiopian became the first man to run under two hours, four minutes as he clocked 2:03:59.
His time was nearly half a minute quicker than his previous record, set over the same course last year.
"I am so, so happy, everything was perfect, the weather was perfect, the spectators were perfect, everything - I am so happy," said Gebrselassie.
Kuala Lumpur: Shilpa Cross broke her own "world" record and completed her first run in excess of 30k on Saturday.
The 35-year-old Indian MBA student smashed her previous long run of 25k to record 31k in 3:11:12 (which includes a drink stop of 10:48).
"I was really worried before I started but when I got into it the k's just passed by and I felt stronger and stronger. The last 2k were tough but I'm just so happy," said Cross.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Destination: Time: 5:30am
Location: Country Heights - PD - Admiral Marina - Coffee shop near Costa Rica Hotel - Country Heights
Distance: Approx. 180k
Intensity & Mode: Moderate & Aero
Time: Approx 1:00pm (straight after ride)
Location: Country Heights
Sunday 28th September 2008
Time: 5:30am (To Be Confirmed)
Location: Bukit Aman Car park - Sri Hartamas + Double Hill
Action packed weekend planned (as always): -
1. Long cycle (5:30am start)
1.a followed by a run
1.b followed by a swim
2. Buy a new stereo for the living room and a boom box for the kitchen
3. Buy some more running gear
4. Pick out some picture frames.
5. Buy a new set of wheels for the bike (maybe)
6. Take the boys to their golf lesson
1. Long Run (5:30 start TBC)
1.a followed by a swim
2. A bit more reading (Ironman research) for training plan for Langkawi
3. DIY - cover waterfall reservoirs with perspex to keep the leaves out
4. Take photos of bike bits for sale and post them on the Internet
5. Work out how to complete the Rubik cube again - I'm almost there from memory but may need a bit of Internet research to get the final bits in place (very important task - got to have cred when it comes to impressing the boys)
6. Watch the Grand Prix and have a beer (or three)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Lance Armstrong will make his much-anticipated return to professional cycling with Kazakhstan's Astana team.
The Swiss-based team is run by Armstrong's friend and former sporting director Johan Bruyneel, who helped the American win all of his seven Tours.
The 37-year-old Armstrong will race in Australia in January but was cautious about aiming for an eighth Tour win.
"I will try to be as prepared as possible. I don't know that that equals victory," he said in New York.
"I have a fair bit of confidence, but not that kind of confidence. I don't know, honestly. I've been off the bike three years. I'll be nearly 38 years old, so I honestly don't know."
Armstrong also suggested he might be tempted to race in the 2010 season as well.
"I don't want to box myself in here," he said. "It's open-ended. I see one season but I wouldn't want to rule out a second season. I will take it season by season."
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Anyway, I digress, the electronics started pinging out no end of worrying alerts and fault alarms. I rapidly took it into the local dealer and they said "No problem, we'll reinstall the software and it'll be right as rain in a couple of days."
"Right as Rain", now that's a strange expression! As it happened it didn't rain but it poured - within 48 hours of having the car back not only did I have the same warnings flashing on again but worse "COMPLETE SYSTEMS FAILURE" was the message - straight back to the dealers.
The next day they called me up and said they had some good news, some not quite so good news and some downright unpleasant news. First of all they'd located the problem (good news), it was caused by short circuiting in the main computer control box located directly under the GPS DVD (not quite so good news), the short circuiting was caused by coins having been inserted into the GPS DVD player and it was going to cost me RM4,000 (US$1200) (downright unpleasant news) - "By the way Mr. Cross, do you have small children?"
How dare they accuse my Seb and Sid! I explained that they couldn't possibly have done it as they're not allowed in the car. I didn't do it, Shilpa didn't do it, the maids didn't do it so I've no idea how it could have happened. This went around for a couple of days and in the end, after having to be quite insistent on my part, while at the same time defending Sid and Seb's honour, I spoke to the After Sales Service Manager and he very kindly agreed to put in a claim under goodwill to BMW Malaysia. To their great credit they came back with the green light and they're delivering the car back to me today without charge. Well done BMW - you continue to impress me.
As for Sid and Seb, Seb is insistent that he didn't do it and Sid is equally passionate the Seb didn't do it.!!!! Mmmmmm!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
For once the bureaucrats got it right - as for Roland (and his supporters) get a life!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I'll be riding from home (Kajang), leaving at about 5:00am and linking up with the group at 6:30 at Sam' place. Anyone that cares to join me is welcome - I guess my ride will be between 140 and 180k followed by a run of between 17 and 22k around Country Heights.
Run on Sunday is going to be long but no idea where yet - I'm playing golf at the Mines Resort (by invitation no less!) in the morning so Shilpa and I will run long in the evening.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Freak atmospheric conditions rarely seen outside the polar regions have been credited with causing the formation of an "upside down rainbow".
Normal rainbows are made when light penetrates raindrops and re-emerges out the other side in the same direction but the inverted types, known as circumzenithal arcs, are caused when sunlight bounces off ice crystals high in the atmosphere, sending the light rays back up.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Just to finish off the holiday update...it seems so long ago now...after a fab time with Chris and Chantal, we headed to my Mum and Dad's place in Brownhills, which is just north of Birmingham. They have a big old house with an enormous garden containing fruit trees, vegetable plots, polly-tunnels, huge sheds, chickens, geese and all other such strange and adventurous things for Sid and Seb to get amazed and excited about.
The thing they got most excited about though was Mum and Dad's caravan - had they had the chance they would have spent the whole holiday in there and if truth were told they'd be there to this day!!
When we got there we made our running plans official and promptly headed off towards Chasewater (the lake where I learnt to sail in my younger years) - Shilpa and Dad did a 5k loop of the lake and I ran from home, around the reservoir and back again - 10k.
We did loads of running around Chasewater and also a national forestry reserve called Cannock Chase which was gorgeous. I even extended a Chasewater run to a 20k jaunt around my old stomping grounds - very nostalgic!
We managed to fit an amazing amount into our trip to the "ancestors", not least were two magnificent pub lunches (one by a canal with locks and longboats - see photos), and a fabulous fine-dining Indian Dinner (although the boys reaped havoc in all of these venues - I'm not sure the conservative English are used to kids being at smart restaurants and throwing wobblies - not sure Mum and Dad were either but they were very nice about it). We also managed a Chinese takeaway one day and a few pints of Bank's Mild (my favourite) one evening before dinner.
On top of that Mum had bought what seemed to be the entire contents of Tesco's to make sure that Shilpa and I and more particularly Seb and Sid had whatever was their hearts desire to eat - I think Mum and Dad are going to be eating veggie food for a long time to come.
I even got in two games of golf on a local pitch and putt course with Dad (Dave Clenton, a very dear family friend joined us for one of the games - thanks for the awful jokes Dave - they'll keep me going for a while). Ice-cream afterwards too - just like when I was a lad. On another day we went to Drayton Manor Park (containing Thomasland of course) where we met Michael (see photo), Aneke and their kids (Michael and I grew up together and our families have been friends long before either of us were born). An obligatory day shopping was also had at the Bull Ring Shopping Centre in Birmingham.
All too soon the holiday came to an end and Dad drove us down to Heathrow Airport, I'd decided to take my windsurfer back with me too, so he kindly waited around until we'd successfully checked that in (if they hadn't allowed it then it would have had to go back to Brownhills) - [I'm waiting for a suitably windy day now to go and blow out the cobwebs]. Dad then had to drive all the way back by himself as there was no room for Mum to come too - Thanks for that Dad.
In fact this was a theme of our holiday family and friends really going the full 9 yards to look after us and make our holiday truly fantastic.
Mum and Dad it was just so lovely to have spent that time with you and we can't thank you enough for all the things that you had done in advance, and did while we were there, to make our stay so perfect - THANKS, THANKS, THANKS.
Finally, finally, I had hoped to finish my 300k target before I left the UK and I ran twice most days but with an amazing and action packed trip I ended up 29k short of my target. Not to worry I still had Saturday evening once we'd landed and Sunday morning to complete the three week target. Shilpa and I ran when we got home which was really refreshing and then I slogged around a 25k the next morning – oo-aaggh-ouch - MADE IT - 302k/3wks.
Not only that but Shilpa had also completed in excess of 100k during the 3 weeks which is a great achievement for her too (and she continues pushing the limits still futher - watch this space).
Ian Hibell, a long-distance cyclist, died on August 23rd, aged 74
IN A man’s life there comes a time when he must get out of Brixham. He must leave the boats bobbing in the harbour, the Devon cream teas, the holiday camp and the steam railway; he must bid farewell to the nine-to-five job at Standard Telephones and Cables, up the A379 in Paignton, and hit the more open road.
Some might get no farther than Bristol. But Ian Hibell went so far in one direction that his eyebrows crusted with frost and his hands froze; and so far in another that he lay down in the hot sand to die of dehydration (as he expected) under a thorn tree; and so far in another that the safest place to be, out of range of the mosquitoes, was to burrow like an alligator into black, viscous mud.
In the course of his 40-year travelling life he went the equivalent of ten times round the equator, covering 6,000 miles or so a year. He became the first man to cycle the Darien Gap in Panama, and the first to cycle from the top to the bottom of the American continent. He went from Norway to the Cape of Good Hope and from Bangkok to Vladivostok, wheeling or walking every inch of the way. Every so often he would come back, showing up at STC (from which he had taken, in the beginning, only a two-year leave of absence) with vague murmurings of an apology. But pretty soon the panniers would be packed, the brakes checked, the tyres pumped, and he would be off again.
His cycle, loaded with 60-80lb of clothes, tent, stove, biscuits, sardines and water, was sometimes a complication. In the Sahara it sank to its hubs in fine, talc-like sand. In the Amazonian jungle he could not squeeze it between the trees. Crossing the great Atrato swamp, where the track became a causeway over slimy logs and then a mat of floating grass, the bike would sometimes sink into nothingness. He became expert at feeling for it in the morass with his feet. Every tricky traverse in mountain, stream or forest needed doing twice over: once to find a way for himself, then to collect the steed, often carrying it shoulder-high through sharp palmetto, or water, or rocks.
Yet Mr Hibell’s love for his bikes was unconditional. He took them, muddy as they were, into hotels with him, and clung fiercely on to them whenever tribesmen robbed him of the rest of his things. His favourite had a Freddie Grubb frame of Reynolds 531 tubing on a 42-inch wheelbase, reinforced to take the extra weight of goatskins holding water; Campagnolo Nuevo Record gears front and rear; Robregal double-butted 14-16-gauge spokes; and Christophe pedal-straps. It was so lightweight, as touring bikes go, that a group of boys in Newfoundland mocked that it would soon break on their roads. Instead, it did 100,000 miles.
Bikes rarely let him down. Escaping once from spear-throwing Turkana in northern Kenya, he felt the chain come off, but managed to coast downhill to safety. He crossed China from north to south—in 2006, at 72—with just three brake-block changes, one jammed rear-brake cable and a change of tape on the handlebars. In his book, “Into the Remote Places” (1984), he described his bike as a companion, a crutch and a friend. Setting off in the morning light with “the quiet hum of the wheels, the creak of strap against load, the clink of something in the pannier”, was “delicious”. And more than that. Mr Hibell was a short, sinewy man, not particularly swift on his feet. But on a good smooth downhill run, the wind in his face, the landscape pelting past, he felt “oneness with everything”, like “a god almost”.
A teapot in the desert
Human company was less uplifting. His travelling companions usually proved selfish, violent and unreliable, unappreciative of Mr Hibell’s rather proper and methodical approach to putting up a tent or planning a route, leaving (sometimes with essential kit) to strike off by themselves. But there were exceptions. One was the beautiful Laura with whom, after years of shyness towards women, he found love as they skidded down rocky tracks in Peru. Others were the strangers whose kindness he encountered everywhere. Peasants in China shared their dumplings with him; Indians in Amazonia guided him through the jungle; and in a wilderness of sand a pair of Tuareg boys produced from their robes a bag of dates and a small blue teapot, which restored him.
In a career of hazards, from soldier ants to real soldiers to sleet that cut his face like steel, only motorists did him real damage. The drivers came too close, and passengers sometimes pelted him with bottles (in Nigeria), or with shovelfuls of gravel (in Brazil). In China in 2006 a van drove over his arm and hand. He recovered, but wondered whether his luck would last. It ran out on the road between Salonika and Athens this August, where he was knocked out of the way by a car that appeared to be chasing another.
At bad moments on his trips he had sometimes distracted himself by thinking of Devonian scenes: green fields, thatched cottages and daffodils. He would return to a nice house, a bit of garden, the job. But that thought could never hold him long. Although his body might long for the end of cycling—a flat seat, a straight back, unclenched hands—his mind was terrified of stopping. And in his mind, he never did.
[Ian Hibell was killed on the 23rd August 2008 after he was struck by a car in a hit and run incident on the Athens-Salonika highway about 17km from Athens, Greece. There were unconfirmed reports that the car that hit Ian was racing with another car at the time. The registration number of the car involved was taken by witnesses and the driver was arrested two hours later. Ian died at the scene.]
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Lance Armstrong plans to come out of retirement and try to win an eight Tour de France, according to reports.
French cycling magazine VeloNews claims the American will race in five events in 2009 culminating in Le Tour.
The US anti-doping agency has confirmed Armstrong has reinstated himself in its out-of-competition testing pool.
The Texan, who turns 37 on September 18, beat testicular cancer before winning seven straight Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005.
Since his retirement in 2005, Armstrong has run twice in the New York City Marathon and also the Boston Marathon.
In August he finished second in the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile (160km) mountain bike race in Colorado.
Armstrong's return to road racing is to be the centerpiece of a story in the upcoming issue US magazine Vanity Fair, according to VeloNews.
It claims he will compete in the Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France for no salary or bonuses.
However, VeloNews did not identify the team for which Armstrong will race.
Astana team director Johan Bruyneel, who was with Armstrong for all seven of his Tour wins, said he was unaware of any comeback by the rider.
"I don't know where the rumours come from," he told told cyclingnews.com.
USA Cycling said Armstrong has not applied for a new international cycling licence.
But chief operating officer Sean Petty said Armstrong typically did not request such a licence until January or February.
Destination: Morib loop via Banting and Sepang. Distance: 200k.
Shortcut option to Salak: 120k. [My preferred choice]
Meeting Point: MidValley Mega Mall.
Difficulty: Flat with gentle rolling hills.
RUN 14th Sept
Start: 5.30am for double hill and back to carpark to refuel.
Then out to Sri Hartamas and back.
21k option: Start Bukit Aman Carpark 6.30am [My preferred choice]
Monday, September 08, 2008
"Hey. Just packing up tent. Had enough of this muddy field. Bit sore! Couldnt sleep much as body so painful. Well chuffed with finishing and time. Everyone struggled on bike inc pros. Hilly, cold and windy. Not the happiest 8 hrs of my life! Run was great tho and loved it."
Chantal however ignored the ominous signs (not to mention extreme and dangerous weather warnings) and even proceeded with Chris, Indie and Kofi to camp at the race site - BIZARRE!!!
I spent yesterday on tenterhooks getting updates from Chris and although it looks like she had a tough day on the bike (not surprising considering the wind and the rain) but she finished in 14 Hours, 4 minutes and 36 Seconds. Very impressive stuff!
Her split times were: -
3.8k Swim 1:15:36
180k Bike 7:59:23
42.2k Run 4:35:24
Ironman Total 14:04:36
I'm looking forward to receiving some photos and Chantal's version of events.
WELL DONE - Absolutely AWESOME result.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Kristof winning at the City Duathlon Singapore 2008
My good friend Kristof has joined the blogging community and has launched his own blog www.triglobe.blogspot.com.
Kristof is a down to earth elite triathlete currently living in Vietnam (he used to be in Malaysia). His profile below was extracted from his site - enjoy: -
Drop me in the middle of the jungle and I'll have a field day, drop me in the middle of a crowded city and I'll be miserable. I love adventure, have lived in many different places and cherish life as you only have one."
Thursday, September 04, 2008
We were staying with Chris and Chantal Wayman (and India and Kofi, not to mention Purna the gorgeous dog and two fat cats [cats don't get names in my book]) in a little village near to Deal, which in turn is near to Dover. We got there in good time but between getting out of the car and into the house I'd managed to unwittingly upset Chantal 3 times - oh dear - sorry Chantal.
As we arrived we also met Paul, Chantal's "training buddy", I felt that I already knew him as Chantal did talk quite a lot about him when we were at the Bussleton Ironman.
Before long Rocky arrived, another college/sailing buddy. Shilpa, Chris, Purna and I went for a run across the corn fields with Rocky accompanying us on a mountain bike. After a few K's we dropped Shilpa and Rocky off at the house and then went on for an extended run. Very different from the Black Forest but no less enjoyable.
The next day Chris and Chantal had arranged a BBQ in our honour; we were very chuffed to meet Gary and Nicky again who'd raced at South Africa Ironman with us, also Bryan and Nanette who'd raced at Busselton Ironman last December. Paul was there too of course!
First though, we went for a 22k off-road run (Chris, Chantal, Paul, me, Purna and Paul's dog). We ran to and then along the famous white cliffs of Dover - lovely but tough and certainly worked up a good appetite (and thirst) for the BBQ.
Before I go any further I have to confess that there was a bit of intrigue and scandal on the run. In the UK there are things called "Kissing Gates", these gates are swing gates that keep livestock in (or out) that only allow one person through at a time - tradition has it that if a man and a woman go through one after another the following individual has to kiss the first over the gate to be allowed through. Chantal pointed this out and so we had our requisite peck on the cheek. We then caught up with Chris (the husband) and Paul (boyfriend) and she told them we'd just snogged - I couldn't believe it, I felt lucky that I got out of there without a good roughing up - goodness knows what might have happened had Shilpa been there too!
On Monday we decided to go to Deal Castle with the boys - huge fun, they were running around as excited as anything, climbing the ramparts, playing on the cannons, with the cannon balls, and running around the castle like lunatics - Chris and Rocky I'm talking about, Sid and Seb were far better behaved.
I managed an hour windy run with Chris (and Purna) in the morning along the sea front in Deal, we also sneaked in a pub lunch prededed by a walk along the Deal Pier - lovely! Not only that but Andy Brown an old college and sailing buddy who I'd travelled around the world with in 1989 made a long drive over to spend the afternoon with us - it was great to catch up with him, he'd not changed a bit.
The following day it was off to Dungeness on The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (RHDR)a 15" gauge railway (small and very cute trains) run by volunteers. It just blew Sid and Seb away although at times they weren't too sure about it all. At Dungeness there is a pebble beach, windswept holiday homes and a nuclear power station (where Chris' dad used to work)!! - there was also a pub where we managed to sneak in another pub lunch - contrary to what Shilpa wrote about my desire for English beer it was her lust for pub lunches that drove us to visit so many pubs rather than my desire to drink beer - [IT WAS MUTUAL ACTUALLY]
On the way back we stopped off at one of the railway stations and went to a little pikey fun fair. Once again Sid and Seb were in their element and the bumper cars probably was the highlight of their holiday - Shilpa, Chris and I also seemed to enjoy that rather a lot too.
The rocket ride was a bit of a hit too although once again it looks like it was Daddy having the most fun. (No running today - how lazy!)
On Wednesday morning Chantal, Purna and I went for a run through the villages and fields for about an hour which once again was a wonderful experience. As soon as we got back it was a quick change and then a race to the train station to get the rattler to London for the day.
Run, Train ride, London Eye, Ice-creams, Trafalgar Square, Pizza Express, Red Double Decker Bus Ride, Nike Town, Nappy Change, Underground ride (The Tube), train ride back - all accomplished and two very tired boys by the end of it. Great Day!
The next day we were off to my parents house in Brownhills (just north of Birmingham) for part 3 of our holiday but first another run of course. Shilpa and I ran together for a couple of laps on the road, she headed back as I did one final lap to get the mileage in - I'd managed 167km to that point and was on target to reach my goal of 300k in three weeks.
However, before we left Chantal managed another highpoint of the holiday, a big boys breakfast (vegetarian sausages too) on Deal Sea Front, there was a big grassy area where Sid, Seb and Kofi could play (or rather cry about whose turn it was on the bike - in the end Sid tried to steal one from a little girl - that's my boy). The sun was out, company good, food smashing, the tea was hot - lovely jubbly.
Once again we really packed a lot into the few days that we were with the Waymans and they really went out of their way to make our visit really special with runs, sightseeing, pub lunches, day trips, BBQ's, supermarket visits for more nappies, and outstanding food from start to finish. Kofi gave up his room for Sid and Seb, he took Indie's bed while she slept in a tent (in her room) - I believe that she fought very hard to make that her permanent bedding arrangement after we left - cool!
Chris, Chantal, Indie, Kofi and Purna, a HUGE THANKS to you all, we'll hold many precious memories from our visit for a long time to come.
[Disclaimer: - All references to Paul and the word boyfriend are totally fictional and make-believe and by no means reflect any aspect of reality, they are purely used to add a bit of spice to this post, put a cheeky smile on Chris and my faces and possibly to get a reaction from Chantal]