Bradford 10k recap – 27th Sept 2015

In Which I Do A Home Town Run

Got picked up by Ironman Tony and Susan just after 8. Just after just after 8, we came back as I’d forgotten my arm pouch for my phone.

We parked up in Bradford town centre and walked the few minutes to Centenary Square, as the race was starting in front of the town hall. 

Running the 10k, along with about 800 others, were:

  • Me
  • Ironman Tony
  • Ironman Rob
  • Ironman Robs sister, Sarah
  • Ashley from work

Tony and Rob had their Lanzarote Tri club tops on and ended up getting interviewed for the Bradford  radio station, as you do…

Then it was go time. It was Ashley’s first ever 10k run so I started off with him for the first half mile or so, then I left him behind. (Meant in the nicest way.) 

The route took us by the new Westfield shopping centre, then up a bit of a hill through Little Germany (where I saw no Germans, of ANY size.)

We then got onto Canal Rd where the main stretch of the run was taking place, out and back. I wanted to keep 8min/mile pace as my PB was 50:21 and that pace would get me just under 50 minutes.

My hill practicing paid off at around 3km as there was a hill that wasn’t advertised, but I kept the same pace up it as on the flat. Running at 7:54 a mile! Wouldn’t be long before my body realised I was going too fast though.

Although it hadn’t by the time I reached the turn around, so was waiting for it. I took a jelly baby off a spectator (it was offered, didn’t just steal it) and then grabbed some water from the water station. Averaging 7:52 a mile…

As I’m from Bradford I could picture the last few miles in my head and so it seemed easier than other runs. Before long I was approaching the town centre, along Market street, sprint finish and done! I’d love to have more to say about the course but it’s pretty much just one long road out and back with not much to see. Oh! There were a couple of bands! Will that do you?

Official time, AND NEW PB…


VERY happy! Two minutes quicker than I hoped and almost 2.5 minutes off my last official PB


L-R: Sarahs friend (dunno her name), Sarah, Rob, Me, Tony

Afterwards we went into Lloyd’s bar to rehydrate:


And had a bit of food too. Then three more pints… Well earned!

Next race: York Marathon on 11th October… Eek!!

In Other News

A stray cat seems to have decided she now lives with us. Seems nice enough. 


In Which I Get Back On Track (Not A Running Track, But Back On Track Running)

It’s been a fair few weeks since I didn’t start at Ironman UK and it took me a week or so to get my head sorted out and to get over the disappointment. York marathon is on the horizon however, so I can’t be too lazy.

I’ve not touched my bike or a swimming pool (my wet suit is still to get wet) and instead have been concentrating on running. I didn’t do much for the rest of July, but am over 50 miles so far for August. Aiming to finish on around 70-75, then to hit 100 in September, then try get under 4 hours for York marathon. Hence, #ProjectSub4 !!

My times over the last few years are:

2013: 4:48

2014: 4:27

2015: ……3:59? 

Last week I had a steady 10 mile run planned after a 12 hour shift at work. I set off from work and ran towards Shipley with my Nike+ app on loud. When I got to 3 miles it said it’d run it in 24:59… Bit quicker than I normally go!

Then a little voice popped into my head saying ‘ooo, hurry it up a bit and you could get a new 10k PB..!’

Stupid voice, making me work hard.

But, I listened. And I ran quicker. And I hurt and sweat and wanted to stop, but I didn’t. And I did this: 

A brand new personal best and MY FIRST EVER SUB 50 10k!!!

My mile splits perfectly negative, each mile quicker than the last:

  1. 8:28
  2. 8:17
  3. 8:14
  4. 7:55
  5. 7:42
  6. 7:09

No idea where that last one came from! Need to get a decent long run in this week of around 10-12 miles or so and keep working towards a sub 4 hour marathon and get back into regular blogging.

Hope you’ve not missed me too much..!

Ironman UK 19th July 2015

In Which There’s No Happy Ending

Friday 17th July

Leaving it late as always, I chose two days before the Ironman triathlon to try on my wetsuit that Ironman Tony had given me. It was too small. At least I had plenty of time to find a new one, eh!

Today was registration, race briefing and expo day. Myself, Sarah, Tony and Susan made our way to Bolton with Tony driving. We parked up at Reebok Stadium (Macron Stadium now) and found the registration tent. (Wasn’t hard, it was quite big.) 

I handed over my I.D. and received my race stuff in this:


Awesome rucksack!

They also put this on me to mark me as an entrant:

  I went to the Scope stand (the charity that I’m racing for) and had a bit of a chat with them. They gave us a load of supporters tshirts and banners and stuff which was nice of them.

Tony had told me I’d be able to get a bargain on a new wet suit at the expo so found someone selling them and tried one on. The only changing area they had was a tiny, tall tent, probably around a metre square, with nowhere to sit and nothing to hold on to. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried on a wetsuit, but that wasn’t ideal conditions to put one on… Even harder when I took it off and I almost went over, with the wetsuit around my ankles! Anyway, it fit and I handed over £82. (Checked later on the website and the same wetsuit was £189, so it was a bargain!)

Bought myself a race number belt and an official Ironman UK 2015 tshirt with my name amongst everyone else’s.

After the expo it was time for the race briefing where they went through the rules and regulations and had a few guests talking about stuff. It went on for like an hour. 

After that we went for food and I had a mixed grill. Quite nice too.

Saturday 18th July

I woke up with a stiff back. Must’ve slept funny. Hurt a bit getting down the stairs but wasn’t worried. Spent the morning getting all my kit bags ready. They give you four bags, one to carry your stuff there, one for between the swim and the bike, one for between the bike and the run and one ‘special needs’ bag which you fill with anything you might need when in the bike. As the bike was two loops, you went by the needs bag twice. I filled it with gels, cereal bars, cans of coke and ham and cheese croissants. 

One of the coolest things they give you is race tattoos for your arms. I put these on too.

Then Tony arrived and we loaded up and set off back to Bolton where you needed to go rack your bike and hand in your race bags.

Went to Pennington Flash first where the swim would take place and the cycling would begin. I got out the van and my back was worse. It was a bit painful to walk. Ah well, I was sure it’d pass.

Here was where I dropped off my blue bag which contained my cycling stuff (helmet, gloves, shoes, gels etc) and racked my bike next to my number. 

Got my timing chip and then we went to Reebok stadium to drop off my red (run) bag. I was still stiff and sore so after dropping off my bag I took advantage of one of the masseurs (not like that!) Told her where the pain was and she concentrated on that area. It chuffing hurt. I told myself I’d be back to normal in the morning, but I wasn’t convinced.

Home, then, and an early night (half 7!) as I was getting picked up by Tony at 3am!

Sunday 19th July – Race Day

All the months of training had led to this day. All the hours or swimming, cycling or running instead of being in the pub or asleep had led me here. To today.

I didn’t sleep well due to the pain in my back. It hurt getting out of bed and when I was getting dressed it hurt so much I let out a cry of pain. Decided to see how I was when we got to Bolton.

Tony arrived just after 3am and I told him how I felt. Sarah saw us off and we drove the hour to Bolton pretty much in silence. Parked up at the stadium where there was a bus taking people to the start. They were taking athletes first so I told Tony I’d get there and find a medical tent to get looked at. The bus was full of nervous energy and anxious faces. 

Arriving at the swim start I went and had a word with a paramedic who prodded me a bit in the back of an ambulance.

“If you were just running a marathon today with this pain, would you go through with it?” He asked.

“Umm, probably not…” I replied.

“So you think you’ll run a marathon after swimming and then cycling 112 miles do you?”

“I… I don’t really know.”

He looked at me. “No, you won’t. You’ll end up causing lasting damage. I know it’s crap, but there’s always other races. Don’t do this one.”

I said “thank you” quietly and got out of the ambulance. I text Tony to say I wasn’t racing. I was gutted.

I met up with Tony, along with Sarah, Susan and Hannah and said I needed to go get my bag and bike. We walked back to the bus area as the announcer was shouting that Ironman UK 2015 had begun and everyone was entering the lake. It was a long walk back.

Busses weren’t transporting people back to the stadium until 9:30am so we asked at a hotel for them to call us a taxi. Not long later a minibus arrived with a taxi driving telling us to hurry up as, due to the road closures, he’d told the marshals that he had to pick up a pregnant woman so they’d let him through. On the way back he lied to every marshal to make sure we could get back through the road closures (bless him!) and he chatted friendly all the way. 

I approached the entrance to where I’d dropped my red bag the day before and it was pouring rain. I could see someone inside the expo tent so approached to ask about getting my bag back. A woman came out. This is actually the conversation:

Me: I’ve had to pull out of the race and am wanting to get my red bag back?

Her: What?

Me: (repeated the above)

Her: You’ll have to find a race organiser.

Me: Where is there one?

Her: At the swim start.

Me: Is there anyone here I can talk to?


Me: What?

Her: (actually ushering me out with her arms stretched out) PLEASE LEAVE THIS AREA.

Nice woman. (Is not the phrase Tony used to describe her.) We went round to the far side of the baggage tent to see if anyone was inside. There was, as it happens, a very friendly Welsh lad. I explained it to him and he said he’d ask his supervisor. I asked if it was the woman in the expo tent and he said ‘ah, you’ve met her then?’ I looked back at the expo tent and could see her looking over at us. 

He told us that she’s told him we have to wait until about 12 o clock for my bag. 5 1/2 hours away. While we were chatting her voice came over the radio.

Her: ARE THEY STILL THERE? (She could see us.)

Him: Yeah they are.


Him: (confused) No?


I thanked the Welsh guy and we went back towards the van. As we got around the other side, I saw a woman enter the tent area. She asked if we were ok and I explained. No problem, she said, I’ll get your bag. Before handing it over she checked it against my wristband and that was that. 25 minutes trying before she arrived, took about 2 1/2 minutes for her to sort it out. Cow from earlier watched us the whole time. Wish I’d stuck my middle finger up.

Drove home and updated my Facebook. Got lots of nice messages of support. Soon as it was an okayish time I started on the beer.

I was expecting to end the day as an Ironman, not recording a DNS (Did Not Start) but it wasn’t to be this time. So what now? Well, York marathon is just under 12 weeks away and I have no triathlons on the horizon. I want to start running again but my back is still killing me so can’t do that. Having a lazy few days. 

Thank you to everyone for your support throughout this journey, all the comments and likes I get seriously motivate me, but obviously now it’s not ended yet.

It won’t be ending until I’m an Ironman.


(Cue Rocky-esq training montage)

White Rose Classic Cycle

In Which I Ride And Ride And Fall And Ride

The White Rose Classic is a cycle sportive organised by the Ilkley Cycling Club, and therefore starts (and finishes) in Ilkley. There were three options of route: Short (50 miles), medium (84 miles) or long (114 miles).

I chose the medium route, and it turns out so did John (Sarah’s uncle) and Peter (Sarah’s uncle, not the same uncle as John, obviously) whereas Ironman Tony opted for the long route. (He changed for the medium route on race day to ride with me and his brothers.)

Tony picked me up Sunday morning and after we’d loaded up my bike we drove over to Ilkley (Ilkley rugby club to be precise). There are two feed stations on the medium route, but just incase I’d put two extra bottle cages on my bike behind the seat to make sure I had enough energy drinks.

(Race number 333: Number of a half Beast)

We could get going anywhere between 7:30-9:30 and we were on our way just after 8am. 

This report will be quite rubbish because all the hills and stuff kinda blur into each other. There was a decent hill around mile 10-12 where I had to have a breather halfway up before getting on with it and getting to the top. I think it was not long after this that there was a beautiful downhill section looking down on a reservoir and woodland area, which then led us towards Grassington and the first feed station. (This isn’t my pic of the reservoir, but it is A pic of the reservoir…)

The feed station was a welcome break as my right knee had been complaining quite a bit, but it wasn’t gonna stop me. They fed us up on pork pies and pasties, along with sweets and crisps and the chance to top up drinks bottles. Before long we were off again.

A steady section followed, and we followed the valley floor. Went by some massive rocky hills with people hanging off them (or climbing up them) and then we turned left into the rain and uphill, deep in the Yorkshire Dales. 

Thing about Yorkshire Dales is there’s plenty of cattle, so plenty of cattle grids. For the inexperienced rider, this might mean you’re out of the saddle on an uphill climb, and might mean your back wheel spins on a chuffing cattle grid. You’d then unclip, lose your leg down the cattle grid and go over with your ankle at a funny angle and wait for a snapping sound. 

This all happened, of course, to me. (Luckily all apart from the snap. But it was close!) John came to help me but slipped down the cattle grid too. Eventually we both got up with help from Tony and Peter, but I had to walk to the top of the hill from there to test my ankle. Seemed ok. The pain in my ankle took my mind of the pain in my knee at least!

Before long we arrived at the next feed station and the sun had come out. Filled up on more pork pies and pasties and had a coffee, then went and did the last third of the ride which I found tough. Plenty of big hills where I had to get off and push, but I kept going forward. Eventually Tony told me we were at the top of the last hill, and the last few miles were downhill or flat. Then before I knew it, we were done.

84 tough miles done. (Well, 80 tough miles and 4 easy). At the end we got a food voucher each so I had cottage pie. It was proper nice.

Massive elevation though! No way I’d’ve gotten through the ride without the support of Tony, John and Peter, or without the support of the pork pies. Also the support of Norman and Peters wife (Sarah) and daughters (Rachel n Mellissa) who cheered us on from a few different places. Oh wait! We got given a snood too at the end!

That’s pretty much all I can do with it…

Still looking for sponsors!! 12 days til Ironman UK!!! Argh!!!

Only time for one more blog update before the big day… Oh dear!

Bad Luck Comes In Threes (Or, Like, Nines Or Something)

In Which There’s So Much Bad Luck Going Round, If I Played Tetris My Next Shape Would Be A Circle

Our yearly trip to Lanzarote to support the Ironman Triathlon had come around for the fourth time. Along with Ironmen Tony and Rob, we were there to support Jim from the Gym who was making his Ironman debut.

(There’s not much of the Ironman event in this post, as the day is similar each year for spectators so I’ve blogged about it a few times already. Just so you don’t think I’ve missed out the most interesting bit!)

We flew out on a Tuesday with the airline Ryanair instead of Jet2 who we normally use as Ryanair were less than  half the price for the flights. Turns out they can offer cheaper flights because they give their crew zero personality or friendliness training. 

Sarah asked for a menu card or magazine when they came by so we could have a look and we were told they didn’t have any with them. This was followed by one of the staff pretty much running up the aisle saying ‘Any hot food?’ and not giving anyone a chance to buy anything. I can honestly say I didn’t see any of the staff break a smile. 


So tempted so save everyone from the moody crew

Ah well, we were off on holiday!

We arrived, and it was cloudy. Rob and Karen were on our flight so we shared a taxi into Puerto Del Carmen. We couldn’t get into the same place as everyone else so we booked a little down the road. Very nice apartments (Relaxia LanzaPlaya if you want to nosey on TripAdvisor.)

Mordor, just in the distance

A couple of pigeons were flapping about so we fed them some bread.

The next morning I woke up early to go for a run, but then fell back asleep. I woke up a bit later on to go for a run, and went for a run. It’s lovely and flat along the shore line and checked my watch thinking I was around 8:30-9:00 minutes a mile but it was saying 7:40..! I was aiming for 5km so turned back when it said 1.5 miles and tried keeping the same pace. God it hurt. It was hot and I’d almost done a full bottle of water. Got to 5km the fastest I’ve ever done it though!

Heat, hangover, and too much food is the way to a PB, it seems

After my run and shower there was a cat near our apartment so I made chh-chh sounds and it climbed up to our second floor apartment and I gave it some ham.

Later on myself and Sarah bought a padlock and added it to the ones fastened onto the chains on the seafront.

Bad Luck 1

Relaxing on our balcony, drinking beer and reading a book, a couple of the pigeons turned up so I chucked breadcrumbs at them. One was hopping around under the chairs when the other squawked and flew off. I looked over and the cat was there. I jumped up to scare it away from the other pigeon but the little bastard dove forward and STRAIGHT UP MURDERED THE PIGEON ON OUR BALCONY!!! It then ran off with the bird in its mouth. Me and Sarah were horrified, but I’m chuffing glad it took it with it, no idea what I’d do with a dead pigeon on holiday…

Bad Luck 2

The next day – Thursday – Tony, Rob and Jim went out for a bit of a practice ride before the big day on Saturday. On the ride Jim hit a pothole in the road and came off, puncturing both tyres and injuring himself so much (think he cracked a bone) that the physio he went to see told him he can’t exercise for six weeks, and won’t be able to do the Ironman Triathlon. 

Ironman Day

We all made our way down to the beach at 6:45am and the swim was starting at 7:00. 


Always awkward when someones wearing the same as you

They were off, we were cheering, and we paddled in the sea til we figured it was about time to watch them coming out from their first lap of two 1.2mile loops. We seem to do quite well at spotting them to say that everyone looks the same! This year though, we only saw Tony and missed Rob. Half hour or so went by and we moved further up the beach towards Transition where we could get a better view of them finishing the swim.

Bad Luck 3

Whilst we were looking out for Tony and Rob, Rob turned up behind us on the beach which was odd as he should be swimming. It turns out that around 3/4 of the way round the swim his leg had cramped down the full length of his muscle and so went to one of the speedboat guys and said he can’t carry on.

Bad Luck 4

After Tony had set off on his bike and we’d had breakfast, I decided to go force swim in the pool. 


Fist pump

I did my furthest ever swim, which was the distance of the Ironman swim:

The bad luck here is that my whole back got sunburnt, and it was quite chuffing sore for the rest of the holiday!

After he came back of his bike ride and had set off for the Marathon section, we went into a place called Mojitos and had some lovely pizza. We ran across the road and back each time Tony ran by us.

Tony showboating for the crowd

We made our way to the finish line for when he was about an hour away from finishing and cheered on everyone that came by. Before too long Tony arrived and finished Lanzarote Ironman for the fourth time (5th IM in total) and got a new Lanzarote PB of 14:25:42.

The time went by, as it does, and soon we were checking out, back stat he airport, flying home and unpacked. I still had a few days booked off work so on the Friday I met up with my friend Jemma (who’s training for her first ever 10km in Leeds in July) and we went for a 10km run. (With hills.) Furthest she’s ever run on the road, and we got round in a very respectable 1hr 4mins.

The next day was put aside for a long training ride with Katie (from my last post) as we’re both entered into Ironman UK. I mapped out a 60ish mile route and arranged to meet in Dewsbury at 11am on the Saturday.

Bad Luck 5

I rode the 15 miles to the meeting place and was a bit early. My phone rang, it said ‘Katie’ on the screen. I answered and a woman said ‘Hi, you don’t know me but your friend Katie has had an accident.’ I asked how she was and was told ‘I’m not sure, but there’s an ambulance here.’ I told her to pass on my good thoughts and hoped she was ok, then we both hung up. (As it turns out, Katie had been knocked off her bike, was unconscious for 20 minutes and as a result has a dislocated shoulder which has forced her out of Ironman UK. Truly gutted for her and feel guilty about it for organising the ride. I didn’t find this out til later though, so at the time decided to ride on solo.)

Bad Luck 6

Three miles down the road I got a puncture. No problem, I have a spare inner tube. The inner tube I’d brought was for my mountain bike, so useless. 

Bad Luck 7

As I was taking the tyre off to get to the inner tube, one of the two levers that you use to pull the tyre from the rim pinged off, over the wheel, through a fence and into a bunch of nettles ten feet down.

Landed somewhere near that plastic bag

No way I was going down there! I eventually managed to find the puncture and repair it with my kit, then set off again.

Bad Luck 8

Puncture repair thing blew off, back to flat. Checked my phone and the nearest place for a new tube was 3 miles in either direction. Checked for buses, none. Sod it, I walked. At least it wasn’t raining…

Bad Lu… Only joking, didn’t rain.

Got into Brighouse, bought two new inner tubes (to be safe) and changed the flat. The section of the ride which should’ve taken around 25 minutes had taken over two hours. I headed for home, deflated (but tyres inflated.)

Bad Luck 9

Saw my neighbour in her garden, her husbands been ill for a while and she told me he’s died.

Bad Luck 10

Decided to make some food, pulled a cupboard door off.

Bad Luck 11

Dropped my food on the floor. 

So there you have it, ten days of crappy luck for everyone. (Apart from Tony, maybe he’s jinxed us all to get his PB?) Little under 7 weeks til Ironman UK now and I’m proper nervous. If you’d like to sponsor me (any amount is a bonus!) then this week would be the time to do it, as I got this email:

I’m on £230 at the moment so need to get it to £480 by Sunday. Thanks!

Sponsor me please!

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Leeds 1/2 Marathon Recap 10th May 2015

In Which I Get Hot And Run Upwards More Than I Was Expecting

With the hours I work, it’s hard to find a running club to join. The earliest I finish work is 6pm, and so the earliest I can get home is around 6:30. Most running clubs are already out by this time so I joined a group on Facebook for motivation instead. 

The group is called “Did You Run Today?” (DYRT for short) and is full of a load of nice people who run. (Or walk, or jog, or probably skip every now and then.) I mentioned on the group that I was doing Leeds 1/2, and a few people replied saying they were too so I said I’d look out for them. 

Couple days before the run, my hoodie and tech tshirt that I’d ordered from the group arrived.

(Hoodie is the grey one, which leaves the tshirt as the red one, Sherlock)

I’d heard Leeds 1/2 was quite a fast, flat-ish course, slightly uphill for the first half then downhill for the second. 

Whoever told me that lied, the wazzock.

Ironman Tony was doing the run too, so along with Susan (Sarah’s mum and Mrs Ironman Tony) we got the train into Leeds. (Sarah had finished work at 3am so stayed asleep.) Made our way from the station up to the race start, then split off as we were in different start areas. Katie from the DYRT group mentioned she was in the same start as me, but with 12’000+ people entered I doubted I’d run into her. 

After I tripped over a dog I walked to the massive queue for the toilets and recognised Katie! We did the whole ‘glancing-at-each-other-then-looking-away-a-few-times-because-is-it-you-or-not’ thing, then said hello.

We chatted easily as we queued because it turns out shes also entered into the UK Ironman in July. Her strength (my weakness) is swimming and she’s aiming to be one of the first women out of the water at IMUK! (Which will be about the same time I’m halfway round my swim.) 

She had a friend to meet (or was that an excuse to get away?!) so we wished each other luck and I made my way to the start line. The first few colour groups had set off, then before long we were off too, then the clouds were off too so it started getting warm…

First mile or so went by quick enough, ran by a guy dressed as a bunch of carrots, then around mile 2-3 someone shouted my name, and it was Katie from the group again. It was getting hot so we were happy to see a car wash place spraying all the runners with a hose. We chatted for a few minutes on an incline, and then I carried on. 

Then I saw a big chuffing hill.

Nevermind, I thought, I run up a big chuffing hill quite often, I’ll give it a go. And you know what? It was bigger than I thought. I almost got to the top running all the way but walked a bit towards the top of it. Still a long way to go and didn’t want to do myself in just yet! Plenty of support at the sidelines!

I took on a gel after running for 40 minutes, and sipped on the free water that they were giving out, then came to a lovely downhill stretch. I got to 10km in pretty much bang on an hour. 

Another long uphill stretch followed by plenty of clapping crowds giving out sweets and oranges. Another hosepipe was a welcome site and the sun stayed sunning up until around 10 miles when I was near Kirkstall Abbey. I’ve done a couple of runs in Leeds that goto the abbey and back so it felt I was almost finished. 

Again, brilliant support all the way back into Leeds. The heat seemed to get to a few runners as I went by at least half a dozen at the side of the road being attended to by paramedics and hopefully every made a full recovery and got to the end.

I saw the finish line so I sped up but it turned out to be a fake finish line saying ‘almost there’ then I saw Tony and Susan on the corner so I waved, then I carried on uphill (stop putting finishing lines uphill people!!) carried on speeding up and I was done. Collected my bling then went to meet up.

I finished in a time of 2hrs 5mins and Tony did 1hr 55mins. The course which I was told was flat-ish, looked like this:

That’ll teach me not to check the course route before hand I guess..!


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Tour De Yorkshire (Sportive Bit)

In Which I Do My First Ever Sportive

If you read my last couple of posts, you might remember that I’d forgotten I’d entered this. Also in my last blog entry I put that it was 30 mile cycle, as I thought it was 50km. Turns out the distance was 55km (said so on the entry bit and on the emails) which made it around 34 miles. Ah well.

The Morning Of The Ride

I was woken up by the sound of rain. Which is quite tough, as I sleep through anything normally. Peeked round the curtains and saw it was proper throwing down. Rivers running down the street kinda rain. I switched on my phone and a text came through.

I thought seriously about not doing it for a few seconds then sent this reply:

My original plan was to have a slow, sunny cycle into Leeds (12 mile-ish) and then do the Sportive and get the train home afterwards. No way I was cycling in this so I rung for a taxi. My usual taxi firm said that there weren’t any minibus taxis available til after ten (needed a big ‘un to get my bike there) so I said I’d try another firm. Other taxi company said they had one and that he’d been shuttling bikes there all morning. After I hung up my regular taxi people rang back saying that she was trying to get someone to start early for me! I, guiltily, said I’d got it sorted but thanked her muchly. Good service! So if you’re ever in Bradford needed a taxi, phone Idleways. I should approach them for a sponsorship deal! 

Anyway, other taxi arrived and obviously I wasn’t ready, so I started running round gathering up everything I might need. With a good luck wish ‘n’ kiss from Sarah, I was off.

The Journey And Arrival

It never fails to fill me with confidence when a taxi driver asks you for directions. If you get paid to do a job you shouldn’t really asked the pay-er to do half your job for you, surely? I work as a security guard and if a customer asked me how to get somewhere, I wouldn’t say “which way do YOU think you should go?” No. If I didn’t know, I’d ask a colleague, not the person themselves! 

Anyway, as it happens I did know the way because I’d been studying the route there thinking I’d bike it. I told him the way and he said “Nah, I know a different way.” 


Nevermind. Got to Roundhay Park in Leeds (where it was starting and finishing) and after being robbed of £28 for the trip, I wandered down to where all the cyclists were. 

(I was gonna take a picture but it was still pouring down so didn’t. Imagine, if you will, a load of wet cyclists. There ya go.)

The rear brake on my bike seemed a bit loose so I took advantage of the mechanical tent. A French mechanic had a look and told me I was greasy. (A Frenchman calling someone else gre… No, I’m not doing that joke. Don’t wanna offend!) I said ‘what?’ which he understood as ‘wut?’ and explained there was grease on the brake pad. 

“Ah,” I said, “probably from when I used my shusher bit on the hose pipe to clean it.”

He looked at me, frenchly I might add, and said “wut?”

Which is how I found myself, at 9:30 on a Sunday morning in a park miles from home, soaking wet, miming a hose pipe action whilst going ‘shhhhhhhh’ to a Frenchman I’d never met.

He mimed to me the action for if I needed to pump my tyres (at least I HOPE that’s what he was miming!!) and I said the French word for ‘no.’


He shrugged, I went away.

The Start

Ironman Tony, along with his brother John and Ironman Martin were doing the big boy course, 142km. Luckily that one and the medium course (109km) had sold out when I entered so I was doing 55km. This meant they set off at like 7:30 or something whereas my start time was 10:30. Due to the rain, the organisers said you could start as soon as you were ready so I found myself lined up just before ten am.

A safety brief and a mention of which signs to follow (blue) and we were off. In an uphill direction. 

I never know if it’s a good idea to check out the route before an event so didn’t bother. Let what hills there are come at you and worry about them when you’re at the bottom looking up. 

God I wish I’d know how many hills there’d be…

I was out of the saddle as much as in it I think, and I told myself to look at my tomtom watch as little as possible. Do it all by feel without worrying about how far there’s still to go. Plenty of superfit people flying up and down the hills on bikes worth more than a year of my mortgage, but also plenty of average people like me, some even on mountain bikes, and one who I’m sure had one of those bikes that has a little motor for going uphill. 

I found myself being overtaken on the flat, but I was overtaking a few on the hills and FLYING by most on the downhills. I think because I’ve never come off my back, I’ve no fear yet OF coming off my bike. I went like this: WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!

A good bit of time had gone by (I thought) and was chuffed to see 10km already done. Ignore the 45 still to go. After an hour I was averaging 14mph but wasn’t confident of that lasting. 

I planned on having an energy gel after an hour but forgot and had it after an hour and 20 mins. Before long is reached the food station at halfway in Otley, and everyone had stopped to get some refreshments. I had enough with me, but took two energy bars and two energy gels to use next week at Leeds 1/2 marathon (says the security guard.) They’re like £1.50 each those things! 

Out of Otley was a loooooonnnnngggg slow drag, followed by a massive, fast, downhill segment. I thought we must be nearly done, but no. Still like 10 miles left. 

Then I saw this.

A BIG chuffing hill. The photo doesn’t do it justice as it carried on and carried on, getting steeper and steeper. Would I let it beat me? Would I let this hill make me get off and push, after battling up all the others?? WOULD I GIVE IN AND WALK?!?!

Yeah, of course I would. It was massive! I only saw one person cycle up it! Everyone else got off and pushed. No dishonour there. (If you look at the elevation chart below, it’s the one that starts at 25 mile.)

The Finish

After that, the rest was steady all the way to the end. They had signs up for 10km to the end, where I saw the guy who I think had a motor pushing his bike (must’ve run out of juice) and then the signs counted down from 5k, 4k, 3k, 2k, 1k, last bit, finish lined with crowds cheering, shouting, banging the boards at the side and then done. I figured with the weather I’d do about 3 hours. I finished in 2:56. 

I took some coconut water (dunno why, don’t like it) and a bottle of normal water, then a girl was trying to put a medal on me. I told her not to worry as I have a big head and she said ‘yeah you do’ but she managed.

(The medal is a bike wheel, and it SPINS!)

The Journey Home

Roundhay Park to Leeds was about 3 mile, mostly downhill, so decided to cycle down to the train station. When I got to the station I said ‘sod it’ and got on the canal path and headed for home. Took it steady, apart from when there was a couple of morons on mini motorbikes who weren’t giving a shit about people out walking with kids and dogs (they both looked to be in their 20s) and so I went hell for leather as I overtook them (at 30mph.) Would’ve loved to have seen their faces!

Turned off the canal, main road to side street to main road to side street to cul de sac which is where my house lives. Total miles for the day: 50. (81km.)

Showered, then went to the supermarket and spent £27 on beer and junk food. It was great!

Today, I noticed a post on Facebook so I ended up doing this:

We’ll see!

Next Event

Leeds 1/2 marathon, Sunday 10th May

Please feel free to look and sponsor!!

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