Saturday, March 24, 2012

Houston, we have a problem! A really big problem!

Nightmare, Gladys is sick.

When I was putting Gladys back together after the flight I noticed that the derailleur was loose. On closer inspection I realised that the bolts attaching it to the frame were loose. Uh oh, no they weren't, they'd been torn out. I tried tightening them up but only one bit, the other was threaded.

I could ride but only very carefully and got myself down to the mechanics at the expo. They said not to worry, it wasn't the frame that had threaded but the derailleur hanger and this could be replaced, phew I thought. Even better there was a massive Trek stand inside the expo.

The guys at Trek were amazing, I'm biased I know but you decide based on this...

They stripped the derailleur down and then set about finding a new hanger...this is where it all went pair shaped. I came back after registering for the race and saw a bunch of Trek guys looking very grave. They showed me the rear drop out where the derailleur hanger attaches, they had a high powered light shining on it and you could clearly see that the dropout was cracked right through to the bolt hole. (Gladys was so brave, she hardly said a word).

Stan, the main Trek guy that was dealing with it said he felt strongly that if they put it back together "It was likely to break during the race...but it might not". Being an optimist I said "I think it WILL last the race...but it might not"

There was much debate and then they blew my mind. They said they had a brand new medium size Speed Concept that they could lend me but unfortunately they were already lending it to another competitor, so they'd loan me a brand new Madone road bike and set it up as close to my bike as possible. I was so appreciative but I knew the bike fit was critical, I was here to compete not just complete, I thanked them profusely but asked them to just patch Gladys up and I'd risk it.

A while later they came back and said, the guy they were lending the Medium Speed Concept to is a little taller than me so they'd switch him to a Large and I could have the Medium. WOW!!!! We then started discussing the logistics, basically Gladys would need to be stripped down and things like the SRM transferred and because the stem was a different size the the whole issue of cabling came in especially as I had the Di2 and the loan bike had SRAM. They were prepared to do the switch but time just didn't allow the stem and bars to be changed. This brought the fit back into play. In the end I stuck with Gladys and asked them to patch her up and replace the damaged hanger, I'd trust Gladys to hold cracked dropout together.

Stan was brilliant, he patched her up, and took another hanger from a new bike, retuned the gears and he seemed quite optimistic that the job he'd done would hold provided I didn't hammer the gears during the race. How much did this cost me? And here's the sting...they all laughed when I asked. "Nothing buddy...just keep riding Trek!". NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL CUSTOMER SERVICE!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ironman Melbourne - Asia Pacific Championships

Just a quick note, I've been training pretty hard for this race that takes place this Sunday (25 march 2012). After my little brush with skin cancer at the end of last year and being a bit burnt out I'd let the weight pile on. I've now lost about 10kg (22lbs) since Jan 1 and training has been consistent without any illness. I've had a dodgy hamstring for the last few weeks but nothing I can do about it now, so just hope it holds out on the run.

Steve Lumley has been coaching me since the beginning of the year which has certainly helped with motivation and the science behind what I've been doing is a great help, not just in understanding what I'm doing but it massively contributes to the motivation as I know that what I'm doing is proven, tried and tested.

Sunday is looking like a cool day compared to KL temperatures, with the forecast showing 20C with 14kph winds. This is Melbourne though so it's all subject to change at the last minute (several times).

Yes I am hoping to qualify for Kona and I'm quietly optimistic. However, the quality of the field is going to be phenomenal I have no doubt, I think the only harder place to go and fight for a hallowed Kona spot would be Germany. Either way, I've tried and failed at so called "easier" races so I shall just go and do my best but won't hold my breath come the results. No excuses though, I'm going there with intent!

Targets? Certainly I will be very disappointed if I don't get sub 10 hours. This is an Ironman though and anything can happen (usually to ones detriment). So goal "A" will be 9hr45 (anything below that will be a nice bonus but unlikely). Goal "B" will be sub 10hrs and goal "C" will be to improve my PB which will be sub 10hrs15.

Usually I have a whole host of other goals to make the day a success

whatever else goes wrong. This one I haven't, I don't feel I need them. This is purely a race rather than an "experience", I've done the hard work, if I've done enough then I'll achieve one of the three goals, if I haven't then it's not so much "back to the drawing board" but rather take this fitness and build on it for Challenge Roth in early July.

Wish me luck and see you on the other side! You can see how I'm getting on via my bib number is 990.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sid and Seb climbing - Amazing stuff

I think my boys are growing up!!!! I'm so proud of them. School reports this week too, I couldn't believe the glowing reports they got - must be Shilpa's genes.

We arrived, I sat down, I turned around and Seb was halfway up the wall

He is a natural, no fear, totaly awesome

It was all over in seconds

He needed a bigger challenge

Sid I thought might be a bit more tentative, I was wrong

Not quite as smooth as Seb but still pretty amazing

Also to the roof in no time

I pointed out to Sid someone's technique climbing an advanced wall, I was shocked to realize it was Seb!!!!

He reached the roof now coming down like a pro

Of course Sid had to climb the advanced wall too

Sid got within an arms length of the roof, wicked

Coming down the fast way haha

KONY 2012

If you have not seen this video you will. Maybe not today, maybe not here but you will watch it.

If you have not heard of Joseph Kony, you will. Again, this post may not stimulate your interest enough to find out today but soon enough you will know a great deal about this man. The sooner you know about him the sooner you can do something to stop him!

Joseph Kony is about to become the most famous man in the world.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Alice Smith Aquathlon - Podium Stars

Pre-race nerves (us not them)
Seb and Sid took part in the Alice Smith Aquathlon on Saturday morning. They'd both been training pretty darn hard for such little fellas. In the last two weeks alone mummy and daddy must have made them do at least 40 transitions. Countless laps of the pool and goodness only knows how many 100metre and 300 metre repeats.

Come race morning they were pretty nervous but nowhere near as much as Shilpa and I, seriously, I've said it before but it's so true, I have NEVER been as nervous for one of my races as I am for Seb and Sid.

They've only just turned 6 so they were allowed to go into the under 6s race as all the kids are in the same year. It was a 25m swim followed for a 400m run.

The gun went off and wham they were away. Rohan (their great friend but arch rival) swam 25m probably faster than I could and was almost twice as fast as everyone else. Seb was 3rd out of the water and Sid 6th.

I sprinted to the field and the first turn of the run to see Seb leading the race (all those transition practises had obviously paid off). Rohan was biting at his heels with Sid already into 4th place (Sid probably had the fastest transition of the day).

I felt it was likely that the sprint for the line would be Rohan and Sid. I screamed to Seb, "Come on buddy, you're in 1st place, focus, focus, you can do this". I was so proud I wanted to cry.

Sid was storming along and in training is faster than Seb but Seb was running like a man possessed and Sid wasn't making much ground on him. At that point I noticed a tiny little fella called Ben running with the smallest stride you've ever scene but he was closing in on Sid.

A man totally focused on his goal.
I sprinted over to the finishing straight and was amazed and totally blown away to see Seb just a few strides behind Rohan but running super strong. Sid had got himself into 3rd place but realised he wasn't going to catch Seb. The wailing and the tears started (sibling rivalry...oh dear).

Worse still Ben was going to catch Sid before the finish so Shilpa started screaming like a Banshee to speed up. This only made him wail more but at the last second she screamed "Look behind, look behind". He didn't stop wailing but he did pick it up just enough to finish equal 3rd with Ben.

Happy boys and happy Mummy and Daddy
WOW, I'm exhausted just remembering in reliving this race. It was so awesome, wonderful, nerve-racking and emotional. We had two boys on the podium, how cool is that?

Sid then won some elastic laces in the lucky draw and Shilpa and I thought what a great result, Seb got second but at least Sid got something he didn't...sadly that was the end of Seb's day because he didn't get any laces and Sid's day was still ruined because Seb beat him. Haha, what do you do with 6 year olds?

On reflection though they both loved the race and can't wait for the next one in a few weeks time.

 The TriTwins dynasty rolls on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Brooks Half Marathon

The original plan was to knock out the first half of this race at a steady pace and then nail the second half with whatever I had left. That was before I over strained my right hamstring on a Tuesday night run. Wednesday and Thursday were about working out how to walk again so there was a big question mark over whether the race was going to happen.

Coach Steve in the first instance said no (Ironman Melbourne in two weeks) but warmed to the idea that I was going to be sensible and pull out the second things got iffy. So the new plan was to turn up, tootle round and do nothing more than that. If there was any sign of further injury pull out.

I'm not sure how I was going to pull out if I was miles away from the car at 6am in the morning but hey-ho that didn't turn out to be an issue.

I woke up at 4am and it didn't feel good. I was just about to get back into bed but thought, "No, that might just be an excuse to bail on an early start" so I thought I'd go to the stadium and start at least and pull out in the first 100m if things weren't looking good.

I was nicely early as Bukit Jalil stadium is quite close to my house but I didn't bank on the idiots collecting RM2 per entry for parking. Why not do it on exit like last year - NUMPTIES! It took me about 45minutes to get in and parked. Naturally I wasn't the only one and they had to start the race late by a few minutes.

I went to the back and as soon as the race started got into a tootling pace (no much option with so may people in front of me). After a couple of K I was delighted to see Arif running along side (Arif is also doing Ironman Melbourne). We chatted along, jogged at a comfortable pace, had a pee stop together, water stations...we were brothers in arms! I couldn't have asked for a better partner to take my mind off the very uncomfortable hamstring issue.

Fortunately it was just discomfort and although unpleasant I didn't feel like any more damage was being done. At about half way we started hitting some seriously steep hills but even then all was just about OK with the leg. In fact at this point I think we picked the pace up a little. With 3k to go my leg was feeling none the worse for wear (or maybe it was just numb haha) so I started pushing the pace a bit up the hills.

At 22.9k (funny half marathon distance that) it was all over. Our hero Tey got some great snaps of us. I was even smiling and some have said I didn't try hard enough (you're right I didn't, I'm saving myself and my poorly leg until March the 25th).

On that note I'm reliably informed that my bib number for Ironman Melbourne is "990" so you can find me come race day on with that number or surname "Cross" if you're interested.

Back to the Half marathon, final comments - very well organised, great goody bag, brilliant to start and finish in the Commonwealth Games Stadium, huge amounts of watermelon, food drinks etc at the end, excellent stuff. Only gripes were the parking fiasco and the poorly measured course. There's just no excuse for this or inaccurately placed distance markers but organisers seem to get this wrong in most races.

I don't want to end on a negative though, it's a great race, the early start meant that it didn't get too hot so no worries about that. I'll be back next year no doubt.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Race to become part of global Ironman Series

Published Monday, March 12, 2012

Ironman will add Ironman Cairns to its 2012 lineup. Now part of the global Ironman Series, which features nearly 30 events and reaches more than 70,000 athletes each year, Ironman Cairns will serve as a qualifier for the toughest event in endurance sport, the Ironman World Championship.

“We are excited to add Ironman Cairns to our global list of events,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman.  “This is the perfect opportunity to bring the Ironman experience to a part of Queensland that is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Ironman Cairns will take place on June 3, 2012.  A qualifier for the 2012 Ironman World Championship, it will be a P-2000 level race and will offer a 100,000 EUR professional prize purse.  Additionally, 40 Ironman World Championship qualifying slots will be available for age group athletes.

Simon says: - Blimey the evil empire is taking over the world haha. So in just a few years Ironman have gone from one race in Australia to four. Great stuff. I guess this is all part of the buy out of USM in Australia by WTC. It bodes well for Asia as they are earmarked to be the WTC wing that works on relaunching all of the Asian races. Let's hope so.