Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bintan and Beyond

(Photos courtesy of and Joseph)

So, where to begin? OK let's do Bintan and then talk about the other stuff.

I dropped the boys off at school on Friday and then packed for Bintan triathlon. I left at 10:15am and soon realised that reaching Singapore, clearing customs then driving through Singapore, checking Black Beauty and myself onto the Bintan ferry and clearing customs for Indonesia wasn't going to happen for a 2pm departure.

So I called Monica (my very able and trusted secretary) and explained that she needed to get me and Black Beauty onto the 4pm ferry. I soon got a reply - not a chance but you're on wait list. Oh-oh! Foot down, let's go. To cut a long story short I cleared both Malaysia/Singapore and Singapore/Indonesia immigration & customs and travelled about 400k in a little under 3hrs. Yes it's very naughty, yes I will have more speeding tickets than you can shake a stick at but yes I am quite pleased with myself.

I arrived at the hotel and got showed to my room or should I say dormitory or should I say sh!thole. At USD80 per night it was disgusting and a disgrace. OK the hotel was full but you can get a 5 star hotel for this in KL. I know it's not KL but it should be cheaper it's Indonesia for goodness sake! USD40 would have been expensive but understandable as the hotel was full - USD80 was just blaggggh!

Having said that I met some cool people there - Paul, a Scottish guy teaching in Jakarta who'd spent the last 8 years in Egypt. Mike, an American guy who'd settled in Batam, the next island over, he was getting back into triathlons. Joseph, a French guy who'd just bought a bike and was doing the sprint to start his triathlon career.

Paul, Mike and I were sitting down to dinner when the famous Greg Lyons turned up with his wife June. Greg used to live in KL but now Singapore and is a professional saxophonist - a triathlete too of course.

After a fairly uneventful briefing Greg introduced me to the race doctor who he knew well and I sought some input for my dodgy right calf muscle that I was a tad worried about. It seemed a bit strained. The doc gave some super advice - "leave your ego at home, walk or shuffle up the steep bits on the run, at least on the first lap. It's probably not torn at the moment but you'll actually hear it if it goes in the race". I was convinced, or I thought I was.

I was settling down to the noisy neighbours, the dogs barking and the ants eating me in the dorm when Greg SMS'd telling me I could crash in his chalet as they had a spare single bed. I was half way through a reply thanking him but saying I couldn't possible impose on him and June when I heard the noisy neighbours talking about the Singapore and Malaysian tour group coming in on the last ferry - I deleted my message and rewrote it - "I'll be there in two minutes".

What a great night's sleep - thanks to Greg and June. The Olympic Distance race was at 1:50pm - strange time of day and I expected the temperature to get up to 40C (I only hit 33C luckily). So a lazy breakfast was taken and then Disco Dave and Lydia turned up. Always nice to see friendly faces from KL but Disco is an especially cool dude, you always get a bit of a boost from spending time with him.

I left to go and set my bike up, have a bit of a warm up and tune the gears with my race wheels. The Sprint race was first off in the morning and Mike and Joseph came back totally stoked with their races. It's really cool to see when someone in that much on a high after a race. I got sorted and then headed for transition.

The bike racking was not numbered so I got there early to get a spot near the exit for a quick getaway after the swim. Dave had forgotten his goggles, run belt and I was expecting him to say bike as well. Fortunately I had spare goggles and belt so he was a little less stressed once he'd got those and the mechanics had finished ripping his valves out of his tires - don't ask!

I swam the first loop (750m) of the course as a warm up and liked it and then headed for the start. It was a beach start but first you had to go through a pen so that the timing chips logged on. I was trapped behind 600 Lycra clad triathletes - mostly tall, muscular Westerners, totally unyielding and not prepared to let a little English fella squeeze to the front. Quick thinking was called for so I snuck out of the side of the pen and went to the front and squeezed into the second row. Seconds later we were off.

I talked to a couple of dozen people after the swim including Disco Dave and Scottish Paul and it seems that for most it was one of the most traumatic swims of their lives - the washing machine effect so to speak. I can honestly say it was probably the best Olympic Distance swim I've ever had. I was in clear water 99% of the time and stayed focused and strong from start to finish. I came out in just over 26 minutes and in 52nd place - very very good for me.

Nice transition even with a speed suit to shed and then it was onto the bike - Black Beauty was purring, she'd had her oats for breakfast and she was off on a canter, ney (pun intended), a gallop. It was a non-drafting race but I doubt there were many that I passed that could have hung on regardless. The speed differential as Black Beauty and I went past people was considerable - a very nice feeling.

It was a little windy and a classic testing rolling course, one that would really break up your rhythm unless you are a very strong cyclist. I just loved it. As time went by I was seeing fewer and fewer targets in front of me to hunt down and pass. I was hoping for the holey grail of Olympic Distance rides of 40k in under an hour but this course was too hilly I guess. I ended up with 1 hour 2 minutes something and the fourth fastest ride of the day (happy with that with a dodgy calf).

Another quick transition and on to the run. They announced that I was in 5th place and 4 1/2 minutes off the leader (all that time lost on the swim). The start of the run was flat but I knew it was going to be hard work, my calf was seriously stressed and I knew from last weekend's run that it was unlikely to ease up and would only get worse. Never mind - DENIAL - let's see what happens - I might still win this race yet.

Then the short sharp hills hit. I wonder which ones the doc meant for me to walk up? Pop, crunch, slurp, grind, OUCH! I guess he meant that one! The calf had seriously distorted (I felt the muscles separating) and wasn't supposed to feel like that. There wasn't a nasty sound but the feeling of serious damage was there. Never mind - DENIAL - I carried on and the short but sharp rises came in regular intervals, I tried to protect the calf but the pain was getting excruciating, it then distorted again on another small but steep rise and I was trying to work out how quickly I could get through the next 7k when I realised that even if I tried to walk it then it was highly unlikely that I could finish even then.

I've dropped out of less races than I have fingers on one hand so this is an experience I'm not used to dealing with. One guy comes running past me and says something like "Come on buddy, you can do it" - not sure if he thought I was a beginner who'd just given up but I felt like I deserved more respect than that considering where I was in the race. On reflection, he was just being encouraging and I was just starting to feel sorry for myself (more of that later).

I walked down to the road and flagged down a motorbike for a lift back to the start. Poor bloke didn't bank on getting sweated on - he was soaking by the time we got there - Sorry! I found my way to the medical tent and got all iced up and proceeded to lie down and wait for the race to finish. I saw a few crash victims come in - ouch - one guy had half his knee missing but he seemed to understand when I asked him the important question - his answer was "Yes, his bike was OK" he said he wrapped himself around it to protect it as he went down. Good man, that's the attitude.

The winners came in looking stoked, judging by the times I would have been 4th overall which would have been nice but oh well ay - it wasn't to be. The guy that came in 5th came looking for me and came and gave me a big handshake as said something nice about my bike speed - that cheered me up a bit. This sport of ours really is awesome, you get fed by your own endorphins, then by everyone else's highs and on top of that everyone is just so friendly and supportive - how cool is that?

Disco Dave finished in a very commendable time, 30 seconds ahead of Greg. Lydia finished too having had a good race but a little disappointed with her time. Paul enjoyed his race and said that one of the highs of the weekend for him was having met everyone in the dorm - that put it in a different perspective (thanks Paul, you are totally right of course, if we'd been in our own rooms we'd have been watching TV and probably wouldn't have met everyone).

The prize giving dinner was pretty good - we all got totally wasted (especially and in particularly me). The high of the evening was Greg getting third place in the over 50's and the commentator asking them all for their IDs as they looked too young - he was right too. Put a 50 year old triathlete next to a 40 year old "Joe Average" and I think we all know who will look younger.

So a final positive note of the weekend (Besides another wonderful night's sleep with Greg and June! - No dirty comments please). On the ferry back I was happily listening to my ipod answering my emails on the Blackberry when the girl sitting next to me insisted on speaking to me. She was there with her boyfriend I hasten to add - she was just being friendly. Tch...Ipod cranked up, tapping away on the Blackberry, wasn't it clear I had my "Do Not Disturb" sign on? As it turned out she was without doubt one of the most engaging, interesting and thoroughly nice people I've ever met. If you've met Trudy Fawcett you'll know what I mean and if you haven't you should make a point of it, she's ace!

So that was Bintan and now this is the "Beyond". I went to the doctors on Monday and spent the day having MRI's, blood taken, platelets extracted and then re injected into my calf. It looks highly unlikely that I'll make the ITU Long Course Championship on August 1st (I'd managed to get a spot on the British Team and was really stoked about it). I'm having ultrasound treatment and physio 3 times a week. I can't run at the moment and am scared to ride - I thought I'd throw myself into my swimming but haven't got wet other than the shower since Sunday.

I've been eating loads, had a drink every night this week and I know I'm depressed and on the slippery slope to doom and gloom.....


I thought I'd write this more as a shed water for myself than anything. I shan't apologise that it's so long because if it's boring you'll have stopped reading long ago or skipped to the end. Either way, I've exorcised my self pity. More good came out of the weekend than bad - there will be a lot of worried people there next year if they see me turn up without a limp, I met some fab people, have another story (stories actually) to tell an I am now going to learn how to repair a damaged calf to a point where I'm fitter, stronger and faster than before and the whole process will make me smarter - look out world I'm oozing positiveness.

Before I leave it there though I would like to touch on a topic that won't ever leave me, I may not talk about it much in the future but I will never forget about my buddy Ngae. There was a memorial run on Sunday morning which I was desperately sad to have missed, it was more about celebrating the positive affect that he had on so many people than mourning his loss (that's how I interpreted it anyway). I felt that I needed to be there, I certainly wanted to be there and I know I've missed an important chance to share a last goodbye with like minded and mutual friends.

I'm not sure what the point of this postscript is, perhaps closure on a very sad happening in my life, perhaps my last goodbye to him, perhaps a little guilt that I wasn't there for the run...the truth be told, I need the healing to start, not my body but my heart and my grief for his loss...I'm not entirely sure what advice Ngae would have given me but I know it would have been positive, it would have been with a smile, it would have made total sense and just thinking about him now makes me smile (and cry a little at the same time) it makes an imaginary sun come out...the world was a better place with him in it but I am a better person having shared a small amount of time with him. Rest in peace Ngae but rest assured you'll be in our hearts forever.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Women as explained by engineers

(Courtesy of Shilpa my wife, clearly trying to educate me)








Have you ever wondered how a woman's brain works?'s finally explained here in one, easy-to-understand illustration:

Every one of those little blue balls is a thought about something
That needs to be done, a decision or a problem that needs to be solved.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fresh Air Fund

The Fresh Air Fund is again in need of host families for this summer. If you live on the Eastern side of the USA please take a look at the website and do what you can to help the kids.

When Gator's attack

(Courtesy of

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

On Sunday morning, Doug McCard, a 35-year-old sales associate for A-1 Septic in Kissimmee, Florida was attacked by an alligator just as he was beginning a swim training session for a planned Half Ironman in June. He is now looking to compete in a duathlon, where no swimming is involved.

“It was a real hard hit and I felt the teeth,” McCard told a news conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center about the incident in Lake Mary Jane in Moss Park. “I started thinking to myself ‘…I can’t believe a gator is biting me.”

"I was shocked,” he said to the news conference. “[Before starting swimming] I always stand and take a look to see if the gators are there. There are gators in every lake, but I saw nothing [Sunday] so I swam like I always do.

“It hit me like a Mack truck."

As he recalled in the news conference, McCard stood up in the shallow brackish waters and started to swing with his elbows, not unlike an NBA tough guy trying to clear out a rebound. “I got in a pretty good elbow to the head and he released me,” he said of the gator he estimated to be between 8 and 10 feet in length. “I started yelling to try to scare him and backed off until I could run out of the water.”

Witnesses said they heard McCard screaming and yelling and running out of the water bleeding from the chest.

The gator landed five puncture wounds to McCard’s right shoulder, one to his hip, and a few more to his back. Doctors kept him overnight in case of infection.

McCard, described as an “alligator aware" Florida native who had been swimming in Florida lakes “thousands of times,” said thinks he startled the alligator and it reacted by chomping him.

“If it was after me, it would have probably taken me under and rolled because that is what Gators do,” he told the Orlando Sentinel.

McCard said he hopes to begin training again soon, but will likely avoid Lake Mary Jane.

Simon says: - Sounds a bit like the Miri Triathlon to me...Oo ere!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ngae - Goodbye dear friend

On Saturday 15th May 2010 Ngae Koh Hieng left us for hopefully a better place. He will be so dearly missed by just about everyone that ever met him. Always (and I mean ALWAYS) smiling, always optimistic, always positive and always supportive, sometimes cheeky and more often than not loud. He was the type of guy that was usually the centre of attention but only because people were drawn to him and his magnetic personality. You always felt better for an evening, a few words or just a passing greeting on a run with Ngae.

I was shattered when I heard the news and still am. I felt like one of my closest friends had been torn away from me. Then I got to thinking that Ngae was such a warm and welcoming person that probably most people who were acquainted with him had similar feelings of loss. He's not a person that people will simply feel sad about losing and forget easily. His passing will leave a huge gaping hole in the running and triathlon community of Malaysia, he will be deeply missed by hundreds and hundreds of people.

My Mum once said to me that people never really die and leave us so long as someone still remembers them - Ngae is going to live on in our hearts and minds for a long long time.

I hear there will be an impromptu memorial run this Sunday morning at Lake Gardens. Everyone will do their usual run i.e. double hill, Sri Hartamas but there will be a minutes silence at 6:29am and then everyone will do their run in honour of Ngae. I will be doing the Bintan Triathlon (assuming I'm well enough, if not I'll be at Lake Gardens for sure).

I'll be doing the race in honour of Ngae. Disco Dave will be there too - we will have our own minutes silence. I will swim, bike and run with him in my mind & heart but I will not mourn his loss but rather celebrate his life, I will do my best to wear his trademark smile from start to finish. He was an inspiration, an icon, a role model - they don't come any better than Ngae. We love you buddy, you will be missed but not forgotten.

My all time favourite multi-sport photo - they say a picture speaks a thousand words.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More Rape & Pillage - WTC or WTF?

(Courtesy of

Simon says: - Nice to see some of the replies, especially Belinda Granger after she was bad mouthed by Paula Newby-Fraser, interesting to note that it took Chrissie Wellington 4 months to get paid after Hawaii - what's that all about? Not to mention that Belinda Granger STILL HASN'T BEEN PAID FOR WINNING MALAYSIA - shame on you WTC & IMMY.

My favourite comment has to be by Andrea Fisher: - "Sometimes you wonder if WTC should really be WTF..." She got that right.

The 8% hornets nest
A war of words erupted on social networking site facebook on the weekend after a controversial article was posted on sports site The article, seeking to shed some light on the much talked about 8% rule, stirred up a hornets nest when the author asked Ironman legend (and WTC employee) the question as to what she thought of the new 8% ruling and the comments being made about it. (For those still getting up to speed the WTC have instigated a ruling that outlines that those professionals who don't finish within 8% of the second-placed pro finisher’s time are not eligible for prize money. Extra money not won is then redistributed amongst the 8% finishers.)

In response to the 8% question Paula Newby Fraser was quoted as saying.

"If Catriona (Morrison) is so offended that the men are making less money or that some of the girls didn’t make money, she is free to turn around to third and fourth place and say ‘you know I am so appalled by the system, I am going to give you your money.' But I don’t see anyone doing that. Belinda Granger can talk a big story about how she would have slowed down in Malaysia after she sprinted to the finish line," added an annoyed Newby-Fraser. "But then I didn’t see her cut a check to Hillary for third place. If they think it is so awful, then why are they not supporting their fellow pros?" (

This comment unleashed a wave of replies through the Belinda Granger's facebook page. In response Belinda wrote her own view on her facebook page;

"Belinda Granger has never been so pissed off after reading the latest article on Slowtwitch- WTF?- anyone that knows me knows I do not have a 'sprint finish' to save myself. To say I 'sprinted to the finish line' when they were not even there if totally inappropriate. And to finish- pretty hard to 'cut a check' when you have not even been paid yourself!!"

With that out Granger then went on to say;

"I have no problem with articles being written but make sure if you are going to write something- make it the truth. I have no idea where Paula got that from. But the biggest thing that nobody as yet realises is that when I was 'supposedly' sprinting for that finish line, redistribution what not the rule. We were told that we would be making the ... See Moresame money, ie-$8,500USD. So I was basically sprinting for the same money and making sure Hillary didn't make any- now why in God's name would I do that??????? It was not until a few days after the race that I was informed by the WTC that redistribution would be happening. Makes PNF argument completely hollow and untrue. For someone like me who has been in the sport for so long and has looked up to PNF for ever, this is really disappointing"

"We tried to work out the time gaps (in Malaysia). Why would I sprint for the finish? I had no incentive whatsoever to sprint. Remember back then redistribution did not exist. Her argument is simply bogus."

The wave of comments came in from pros and age groupers from all over the world. Some in support some not. We have taken some of the comments from the list. These comments have not been edited:

Luke Mckenzie
"backin ya mina ... she lost the plot on that one. How your name got bought up in that article is beyond me?"

Brian Rhodes
"It union time Pro's were getting screwed!!! This is complete B.S!!!"

Robyn Stanley
"When you do finally get paid BG, it was hard earned (& redistribution wasn't in at the time). I remember the look on the faces of those pros who missed out on prizemoney and slots .... not what we AGers want to see. You guys are our inspiration & earn every cent. We want to see more of you all, not less (especially in Hawaii). Hope you can all unite and make it happen."

Miles Stewart
"1. I would feel a bit flattered (first time someone has said you have a sprint). 2. You don't make the rules just race by them. 3. Being a professional is not supposed to be fair or easy, if you can't make the 8% there is an avenue for you called age group. If i finished 8% behind i woudn't be asking for a check, maybe a job."

Greg Bennett
"Miles... I couldn't agree more! If you're more than 8% back you are NOT a professional athlete and you should get a job and race age group!!! That is exactly what I'll be doing when my time comes."

Bryan Rhodes
"Greg & Miles
There were really no % rules in Olympic distance race and it's really not realevant in Draft legal races as everyone would finish within 8%!! Where all the talk is coming from is that W.T.C up and made this rule up of 8% of the Winners time and then to redistribute the money into the same gender at first it was going to not go back into the prize pool!!"

Brian Rhodes
"Mate you know new young pro's are trying to make a start in long course and these are new rules and can be very unfair.There was never any discussion about it or asking the Pro Athletes that race!!!
Think you guy are missing the point to the Post!!"

Andrea Fisher
"I stepped away from racing for just over 1.5 yr due to surgery and am now coming back in. The changes that have occurred during this time period w' relation to this topic is pretty shocking. I have always supported the 8% from second place as it does work well without adversly effecting the overall outcome of long distance races. The new rule(s) ... See Moreare now causing issues for the winners and as WTC views "the losers". Going from 2nd place on the 8% and then putting any unpaid prize money back into the ENTIRE pro field does exactly what it's suppose to do (reward top performances and discourage really sub-par performances). Now all we are doing is setting up a scenerio for top finishers to be chastized for not giving back their money to others, discouraging good (quality AND depth) fields at the events, creating more costs for pros who can barely afford to do what they are trying to do, and in this case making an Ironman Winner look bad for her great performance. It's not right! Really, was the whole system really that "broke" that it needed to be "fixed"? Sometimes you wonder if WTC should really be WTF... I do hope that revisions are made to this ruling, but looks like that won't happen until later in the year. Good on you Belinda for your win, and nothing should take any part of it away from your day"

Chrissie Wellington
"The issue is also payment of prize money. we wait months and months to be paid. 4 months in the case of Kona. so not only do they squeeze the purse there are no procedures regarding timeframe and method of payment. and dont get me starting on the anti doping.......will someone please come and test me??! after all thats what i am paying the $750 for! Equal days pay for equal days work. unwon money should be redistributed evenly between the prize money winning men and women."

This debate was quite heated and no doubt has started the road to the inevitable unionisation of triathlon professionals. The debate as to pros redistributing their own winnings is absurd when, as Belinda stated, she has not ben paid for her win in Malaysia. The notion though that the professionals are organised enough to form a union or association to look after their own interests is debatable too because of the fractured nature of the professional field. Unlike other sports (eg cycling) they are rarely together and as an individual sport representation is unlikely to be fair or equitable. Does the average professional have the time to get organised for this type of thing? They may need to in order to protect their interests.

This will be Ironman's biggest testing ground, the battle of the 8%. It will see whether the athletes on the pro start line can get organised or even if they want that level of industrial action to take place. It should be said that not all the pros are against this ruling but it seems the more press that is aimed towards this issue the great the groundswell against it.

The other side to this is that the fields in WTC races may be compromised due to this. Those athletes who may not be at the top of the field will look to races that are not attended by the stars of the sport. This will in turn keep fields across the world to only a handful of professionals. For the sports elite it makes no difference as they will generally finish where they need to be in order to get paid. But for the WTC brand it may have an impact if they cannot secure a raft of big names. In saying that the 70.3 races this season have been well attended. The spin off benefit is that independent races like the Challenge Series and other events such as Wildflower will see plenty show up because they are not aligned so the 8% rule is out the window.

This issue is a long way from dead and the social networking sites are only the beginning of how professionals will now start to vent their frustration. If this is to be the likely scenario and the professionals must now be truly professional are we then going to see the face of the big races like Kona change to professionals only? What other changes are in store for the sport. Let us know your thoughts on this.

Irony at its best

(Courtesy of Sian)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Satisfaction - sort of

A busy old day today.

At about 3:30pm yesterday I got a call from my lawyers "reminding" me that they'd written to me back in October that I had a court date at 9am in the morning. Such court dates in the past had resulted in posponments and each time they said not to worry they'd call me a few days in advance just to give me fair warning! Guess they forgot that then!

It was for the case where a van driver rammed into the back of me when I was riding my bike perfectly nicely down a long straight road in perfect conditions with the sun shining high in the sky.

My bike disintegrated on impact and as I travelled on the way through his windscreen I was impaled by the window wiper fitting and then catapulted down the road in front of the van - the slide must have been pretty impressive as my bike was about 50m behind me as I slid down the tarmac lubricated by skin and blood.

How he managed to miss running me over is still a mystery to me and I never got a chance to ask him as he didn't even bring his van to a halt, he just legged it and left me for dead.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that he hasn't been seen or heard of for 3 years and although had a ruling against him we were left to take action against his company. They tried to worm their way out of it by claiming that they'd sold the van to the driver before the accident even though the paperwork didn't agree with that.

So almost 4 years later I had my day in court but with no preparation - my lawyer turned up 5 minutes before the case was due to be heard - you can imagine I was not a happy bunny.

The horse trading then began. The buggers offered me a quarter of what we were claiming, I said no way but I'll talk with them about an acceptable offer, they came back and said the offer was reduced by 30% - typical Chinaman negotiating tactics.

I told my lawyer to tell them a categorical NO and tell them I'm also insulted and now even more angry.

As the proceedings moved along, they came back and offered me the original settlement they'd started with. Once again typical Chinaman horsetrading games. They must have thought I had Alzheimer's or something; a short memory at least. It seemed to work on my lawyer though as he really thought it would be a good idea to accept.

What part of NO were they struggling to understand? I then got the usual old baloney from my lawyer about the danger of it going to trial, the years it'd be dragged out over, the judgement would be one thing but the enforceability an entirely different matter - the company could just dissolve for example blah blah.

In the end I took an offer of about a third what we'd been claiming. The house insurance had bought me a beautiful new bike, the medical insurance had paid for my hospital bills so this was all about some payback for the discomfort of sliding down the bare tarmac, having to wear a body brace for three month, missing Ironman Florida and simply wanting a little justice. So that's that and the owner of the company came to me at the end and shook my hand (didn't apologise) but was very pleasant and said that he's pleased that everything was settled amicably.

I could have some bitter and twisted feeling about this but in fact he seemed very pleasant and genuine and didn't have to say anything to me. He wasn't the driver but it had cost him money and he was still descent enough to acknowledge me at least. On top of that I don't bear grudges, I do celebrate the fact that I'm still alive (trust me I have no right to be after that accident it was pure luck that I'm still here) so what's there to be bitter about?

The driver I guess! But hey, he's on the run and however much of a twazzock he was that day I'm sure he didn't wake up and say "Mmm, I'm going to screw up the rest of my life by running over the first cyclist I see". Yes he is devoid of any morality for leaving me (he MUST have assumed I was dead) and fleeing the scene but hey at least it cost him a new windscreen, window wiper, bumper, and wing mirror and I know the insurance didn't pay for that because he didn't have any!!! What a silly sausage!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dick Slang

I guess you've got to be black, slim and an ego the size of a house to pull this off - and a complete tosser knob cheese to even want to. Or maybe I'm just jealous!

(It all starts "happening at about 29secs if you want to fast forward the annoying loud yobbo stuff)

Powerman 2010 - Registered & Paid

OK I'm in. Registered and paid so there's no going back. Thankfully the Miri tris have be re-scheduled to avoid clashing with this race so that's great news and and I can do all three races.

Powerman has to be one of the most painful races out there but boy if you can conquer this then you know you're in good shape. This as usual will be one of my "A" races and part of my build up for next year's BIG push for an Ironman Qualification.

Mmmm? Have I got things on my mind already? You bet ya!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WTC - Rape & Pillage

(Article courtesy of - my less diplomatic comments at the bottom)

The updated 8% prize money rule at WTC events has impacted quite a few athletes this year, but nowhere more than at the recent Ironman 70.3 St. Croix where 9 men, but only 2 women, got paid. These two female pros walked with much larger paychecks than their male counterparts.

Until this year if a pro racing Ironman or 70.3 WTC events did not finish within 8% of the second-placed pro finisher’s time, that pro wasn’t eligible for prize money. For this Ironman season the rule was changed, requiring the pros to finish with 8% of the winner’s time in order to get paid. Initially when the rule was announced, the unpaid winnings were supposed to just disappear from the pool, but the rule was quickly amended by the WTC for the "extra prize money" to be re-distributed among those pros who finished within the 8% time. Otherwise the prize money at certain events would not have been equal among the male and female fields.

"This rule has been around forever, and I do mean forever," said 8-time Ironman World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser who currently works for World Triathlon Corp. (Newby-Fraser says she doesn’t have a specific title and describes her role at WTC as a "floater.") "This rule is not new, it was off of second place and all that's been done is that it has been upgraded to first place."

But why was the rule upgraded if it has been around forever and worked just fine?

"There were 12 people from every corner of the planet sitting at that table," added Newby-Fraser. "The fact that it is where it is now is based on a vote. Whether I voted for it or if Heather (Fuhr) voted for it is not important… the majority voted for it. I work for WTC, so if that is the policy, I support it unconditionally. Because that is what I have to do."

The number of Ironman and 70.3 races is growing, however, making it tougher to attract quality pro fields to these events. Plus, there are non-WTC events that offer excellent venues and great prize money and compete with the WTC races for Pro athletes. Just this past weekend Ironman St. George and 70.3 St. Croix went head to head with the Wildflower Triathlon and Escape from Alcatraz. This makes the new rule more likely to trigger non-payment of prize money to top finishers.

Are the pros on the receiving end of this largesse happy? Not entirely. Three-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington, who could add quite a bit of money to her purse by stomping on the competition at certain events, voiced some concerns about this rule.

"Athletes must be prepared to invest time and money in personal development—and accept that they may not make money, initially or at all. But these rule changes may see fewer athletes testing the waters as a professional," said Wellington. "In addition, slower pros might avoid WTC races where fast athletes are racing for fear that they won’t get paid, stifling competition not enhancing it. Some WTC ironman events only have 5 or 6 professional women racing. Don't we want to increase this number rather than limit it by restricting who can win prize money? Yes, it may mean that sometimes slower athletes get paid, but these slower athletes may invest this money in their own development and go on to be World Champions of the future."

Current 70.3 World Champion Julie Dibens has similar sentiment. "I totally disagree with the 8% rule on prize money. This sport is hard enough to make a living from as a professional, especially for the athletes that finish below the top 3 in races. A high percentage of pro triathletes are scraping by from race to race. Even some of more successful athletes have been in this position at some point, so they know exactly how hard it can be. As professional athletes we ALL work hard to get to where we are at. The ones winning aren't always the ones that work the hardest! Why penalize those who are finishing further down the order by taking away what little prize money is left on offer. One minute it is there... next minute is gone...literally," said Dibens. "As with most sports, it is often not just the podium places that make the sport, and help create exciting races. Imagine if just Chrissie and Rinny stood on the start line, because no one else thought it was worthwhile showing up due to this 8% rule. How exciting would that be both for the athletes and the spectators?"

Simon says: - "Interesting what Chrissie Wellington and Julie Dibens say but there are a small number of Pros that support the ruling (mainly the ones benefiting from the bigger pay cheques I note. Nice to see Chrissie and Julie talking a more supportive view). I have to say that I am scathing about this rule and not to mention the other rule whereby a Pro has to be within 5% of the winner to get his Hawaii spot - it seems that not only is WTC aiming for world domination while reaping untold financial returns for their company (have no doubt, they are a money making corporation and nothing more) but they seem intent on pi$$ing off [at best] and damaging [at worst] the very athletes that are fueling their money making empire.

Don't get me wrong, I love to hear that event management companies make money, in fact I love to hear their success stories and the wealth that the people behind them create for themselves. I love to hear this for three reasons 1) I'm an entrepreneur and I love to hear fellow entrepreneurs getting on with something and succeeding, 2) I have done event management in the past (sailing regattas) and will likely do so again at some point in the future - my mission statement has always been "The best event, with the best prizes and one that makes money for the organisers", and 3) The more successful race organisers there are, the more races there will be for us weekend warriors.

I believe my philosophies are based on a win win scenario for the organisers and the athletes but when the balance tips towards greedy organisers or just bloody minded power mad corporations that think their way is the only way, then something must be done.

And do you know what will be done? That is simple, market forces will come to play coupled with the average Joe's belief in fair play and athletes will abandon WTC for other races like the Challenge Series, the Tristar races & don't forget about the Abu Dhabi Long Course race (USD230,000 for the Pros & USD20,000 for the AGs) ... Yes, Kona has it's mystique but it's not a sanctioned World Triathlon Championships however much WTC pretends it is and who wants to go to Clearwater as a destination for goodness sake.

WTC needs to start listening to its Pros and it's rank and file athletes otherwise WTC will eat itself! There I have spoken!"

See the full article HERE

Monday, May 10, 2010

Official Photo

Here I am with Shilpa, my lovely wife, at the launch of the new BMW 5 Series. As we entered they had a full on photos studio type of set up and 5 series BMW's from times gone past. Very cool. Naturally we didn't spend too much time there and headed to the bar where the free low champagne started flowing. Moving on to a gourmet dinner accompanied by different wine with each course. This was all polished off with cognac and a selection a wonderful Cuban cigars.

Apparently there was a few new 5 Series unveiled too but I was a bit worse for wear by then. Actually the new 5 is awesome but it just doesn't look that different from the one I already have to get me coveting it just yet.

The evening ended with Shilpa driving her car home and somehow me getting my car home - my tri training was screwed for several days of course (in fact I think I still have a hangover) but we had a good night and that's what counts. It was particularly good as Shilpa had also finished 3 more papers of her MBA so she was carefree and having fun too without worrying about needing to study.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

That's where the bodies are buried!

(Curtesy of Mike McAndrew)

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.


A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa,
Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.


At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Some days...

(Courtesy of Nick)

Some days do you feel like everyone is treading on you?

Amazing card trick

(Courtesy of Ian)

Check this out - not only does this guy make a card appear in a fish tank that someone chose out of a pack AND WROTE ON IT. But he then retrieves it by putting his arm through the glass! Very cool.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Child discipline - where to draw the line?

(Courtesy of Nick Flynn)

A touchy subject at the best of times Child discipline, I mean just how tough should you get? I feel like a monster when I make Sid and Seb stand facing the corner of the room when they've been fighting. But having looked at this photo, clearly the envelope can be pushed a little further.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ironman - Given it his all

Now this guy gave it everything in Ironman Saint George, Utah yesterday - he is close to death but still telling us he had fun and still drinking a post race beer in between throwing up. The man in question is Bryan Payne aka @brybrarobry (twitter) - he's one hell of a competitor, huge fun and an all round good bloke - check out his blog at - always a good read especially when torturing his son Reid (who incidentally,is currently in the process of extracting US$1000 from Bryan in a bet they had).