Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Things are heating up!

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
I have learnt a lot in the last few weeks.
It all started with the national 50 mile TT champs.  I went into this race a little fatigued but still hoping to put in a solid performance.  The race went OK I guess, having never done a 50 mile TT before I was not entirely sure how to pace it.  I have come to realise that you need to be really fired up for time trailing and on this occasion I don’t think I put in enough of an effort.  Don’t get me wrong, I was trying hard, just not hard enough.  As I headed off on a 1hr run after the race my legs still felt relatively fresh, which should NOT be the case after a 50 mile TT.
I clocked a 1:55:08 for the course and came in a slightly disappointing 35th.  After chatting to a few guys who finished in the top 20 and a full 7 minutes ahead of me, I discovered that I was putting out a good 20-30 more watts than them (my average was 343Watts).  These guys were roughly my size so I must have been loosing those watts somewhere.  My bike and wheels are top notch, so the only thing left is me.  Guess I am not as aero on the bike as I thought.
Three days later I was lined up for a local 25mile TT.  This time I was fired up and feeling fresh.  I was not going to leave anything out on the course today.  I went through the first 20mins averaging 408 Watts.  OK possibly a bit to hard!  Still I managed to hang on in there and finished with an average of 390 Watts in a time of 53:40.  Happy with that!  I still need to address the aerodynamics issue to work out where I am loosing those watts but I am racing IM Switzerland in two weeks so I am not prepared to start messing with things so close to such a big race.  That will have to wait till after.
Following the mid week TT I was entered in the Cotswold 113 on the Sunday.  The plan before the race was a little strange.  Instead of doing the two lap / 56 mile bike course I planned to do 4 laps / 112 miles and try out Ironman pace and nutrition.  The reasoning behind this was quite simple.  Before the race I guessed my Ironman pace to be around 300 Watts, but wanted to try this out before Switzerland with the exact nutrition plan I intend to use for the Ironman in two weeks time.  If I blow my doors, no worries and I will know not to go that hard in two weeks.
The swim was interesting.  A group on the right hand side started a good 20m ahead of the rest of the field and hit the lead.  To my surprise I caught this group with relative ease and as in the previous race sat in nicely behind the lead swimmer until the start of the second lap.  At this point the lead swimmer started on a short cut instead of following the marked route.  I let he go and headed on the correct course.  I ended up swimming solo for the second lap but happy to come out of the water in 27mins, fresh and in second place behind the swimmer who had taken a ‘short cut’.
Out on the bike my garmin was not working.  In days gone by this would have really pissed me off, but not today.  I have established a pretty good feel for power on the bike and just got in the grove and rode on feel alone.  I hit the end of the first lap after 1hr 05mins and took the lead.  Based on this pace I was on for a 4hr 20min bike split!  Not expecting to hold this pace I cracked on.  End of second lap was bang on 2hr 10mins, still on track for 4hr 20min!!!  Oh, I was leading by a good 5mins but happy to leave that for another day, I headed out for the third lap.  To my surprise the garmin started working at this point and I could see that I was riding in and around the low 300’s 🙂  I ignored the watch and just carried on riding on feel.  End of the third lap and my lap time had slowed very slightly to 1hr 07mins.  At this point I checked the garmin and my average power was 307!  Not bad at all.  On the final lap I managed to hit a 1hr 05mins lap time.  Average power was up to 311 and I was feeling great.  Legs felt fresh and I was pretty confident my legs would be good for the run.  My final bike split was 4hr 22mins!! But the real test would be when I hit the run.  I could not believe that after a bike split like that, I would be able to run well.
For the second time today I surpassed my expectations.  Something that does not happen a lot (I always set the bar very high).  I was running at 4:20-30mins/km and it felt like I was holding back.  Exactly how you want to be on the start on an Ironman.  I did one lap and called it a day.  I knew I had got the pacing bang on and did not want to over cook it out on the run course.
I was totally blown away by how today went.  I don’t want to think about things to much. I know better than anyone that racing an Ironman is a long day and anything can happen!  BUT…Ironman Switzerland is in two weeks.  Watch this space…….

Third time Lucky

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

Things have been going well in training over the last few weeks and after the disappointment of my ‘detour’ in the last race I was looking forward to the next two races: Tri Grans Prix UK(1.9km-90km-21km) and Boskman (2.6km-120km-22km).

In the week building up to the Tri Gran Prix I decided to do a local 10 mile TT on the Tuesday night.  Despite not intending to push hard I ended up holding 398W over the 10 mile course.  Doohooo!  The following day I did a very high tempo run on the tarmac and then a hard swim on the Thursday night.  These three consecutive days of high end training left me feeling fatigued.  Nothing to major but just knocked out my top end and I was a little worried going into the Tri Gran Prix middle.

 

Despite putting these thoughts to the back of my mind, once the race started it was clear it was going to be a VERY long hard day. Everything just felt so much harder than it should.  I came out on the swim third, but it just felt HARD work.  Not a good start.  Out on the bike I was putting in all I had, but was a good 20watts down on what I had been putting out in the Marshman a few weeks earlier.  This made it mentally really tough going.  The run was not much better and I just felt a shadow of what I
would normally expect.  I finished 7th overall.  Not a bad performance all things considered and I was just pleased that I pushed on through despite being very far from on form.

Two weeks later I was lined up at the start of the Boskman long distance tri.  I had learnt from my mistakes a few weeks back and was feeling fresh and ready to rock.  Right from the off, it felt so very different from the last race.  I latched on to the lead swimmers feet and just sat there.  I came out of the 2.6km swim in 33mins in second place and it felt like I had hardly
put in any effort.  Happy days!

 

On the bike things were back to normal.  I felt relaxed and power was back in my legs.

I absolutely loved every second out on the bike.  A truly stunning course which had a bit of everything. I took the lead almost straight away and never looked back. Averaging 320W for the 3hrs 18mins I was on the bike I entered T2 still feeling as fresh as I had at the start.   Something that I would not have expected.  Makes me wounder what my Ironman pacing strategy should be???

The run was just mostly off road, very hilly, with some absolutely stunning views to go with it.  I love these kind of courses.  I spend nearly all my time running on hilly trails and hate running on the concrete with a passion.  I started the run at what I guessed to be Ironman pace / effort and just wanted to see how that felt.  Second place was a good 12-13minutes behind me and to be honest it felt more like a training run than a race out there.  Coming back toward this finish I felt fresh and confident that I would be able to hold this pace / effort for the full marathon distance.
I crossed the line for my first triathlon win of the season.  Third time lucky 🙂  To my surprise, second place was a massive 14 minutes behind me!
Having come down to the race on my own it was really nice to be greeted by so many friendly faces.  This race had a brilliant vibe to it.  Relaxed and friendly with some truly legendary views out on the course.  I can not believe I have not done a race down here before, but rest assured I will be coming back again.  Thanks to the organisers, Joanne, Richard and Paul for a great day. 

Where’s Wally?

Posted: May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

After my last blog post about racing to train,  this last race could have not been more in fitting with this concept.

The swim went pretty well.  One guy shot out in front early doors and I missed the chance to get on his feet as I got smacked in the face and lost my goggles.  As a result I lead the second group around the course coming out of the water second in 26mins 30 seconds and feeling relatively fresh.

Happy with that I hit the bike hard as planned.  I think the lead swimmer had about 1-2 mins lead on me, but I caught him after 10mins and shot off the front.

I felt strong and was plowing along at around 30mph.  Things were looking good, very good.  I was holding mid to high 300 watts and the pace felt comfortable.  Happy days.  Then it all went very wrong.

After about 45mins I missed a right hand turn.  Not really sure how I managed that.  A mixture of excitement and lack of a marshal to direct me did not prove to be a great combination.

15 minutes later I was back near the start of the bike! I had been absolutely flying up to that point.  My average speed had been 28.5 mph and I was set to break 2 hours for the 90km on the bike.  Not any more though 😦

Instead of calling it a day I decided I would just turn around and head back out on the bike course.  I was so so pissed off at this point I think I needed to let off a bit of steam anyway.  2 hours later I came into T2 after having clocked 125km instead of the 90km I was supposed to have done.  Doohooo!

My bike split, excluding the 10 minutes stop back at the start trying to work out where I had gone wrong, was 2hrs 56mins.

The original plan was to take it easy on the run at around 4min/km pace.  I stuck to this pace for the first 30mins and my legs felt surprisingly good.

Out on the bike I had got really quite dehydrated as I had been out on the course for an hour longer than planned.  I had tried to take back on the fluids in the early part of the run.  This turned out to have not been such a great idea as I got the mother of all stitches.

The race plan for the day had always been to hit the bike hard and take it easy on the run, using this race more like a training day than anything else.  I felt pretty happy with the bike, even if it did include a 35km detour, and especially pleased to find my legs were still fresh when I hit the run.  So with all this in mind I decided to pull back and slowly jog the rest of the course saving my legs as much as possible.  Any possibility of a top position had gone out of the window a long time ago and at this stage I just soaked up the view and started to chat to all the other runners out on the course.

I love the way people encourage each other on at the back of the race.  There is a real sense of being in this race together and that is something you really miss out on at the front.  As I crossed the line I was having a great chat to this guy doing his first half as he was met by his wife and child.  What an awesome end to his first half distance race!  Yes, I was gutted to have missed out on a potential win, however I was happy to have had a good days training and enjoyed the day out on the course with everyone else.  Like I have said before, there is always next time.

I am lucky enough to be out in Spain at the moment trainging in the sun.  It is truely awesome out here. Heading inland from the coast the biking is unbelievable.  The roads are in near perfect condition, without a car on them.  The scenery is breath taking and something about being up in the mountains on your own with nothing but the view for company is a very special, almost emotional experience.  I try and remember every moment up there, but I simply don’t have enough space in my tiny brain!

While I was on one of my long rides on the mountains I started to think about why I really do all this training.  The honest answer is because I absolutely LOVE IT.

In the last three days I have clocked 17 hours training.  The ironic thing is because I want to race to the best of my ability this year, I held back, trying to be sensible.  If I had not been getting ready for a number of races later on this summer, I think I would have probably spent more time out on the road.  However, because I want to race to the best of my ability this year, I was turning around and heading for home on rides where I just wanted to keep on going and explore new areas of the vast mountain range in front of me.  This is something I found very hard to do, but it kept me fresh and keen to head out every day and explore some more.

It is strange to think that because I want to reach my potential in Ironman racing, I actually train less, and don’t push myself as hard as I would do if I wasn’t racing.  Go figure?!

I guess my point is this.  All the crazy hours I spend training, I do because it makes me feel alive and not because I want to win races.  Sure, once I am at the start my competitve nature kicks in and I give it everything both my body and mind has to offer.   But that is the same for every body on that start line.

With the first triathlon in an action packed race season coming up in a few weeks, I guess by writing this, it is my way of reminding myself that in all honesty, race results don’t really matter that much.  At the end of the day, for me, it is just about seeing how far I can push my limits and the pump of adrenaline you get at the start of the race is the perfect fuel for this.  If I had to say which I would enjoy more, an epic 8 hour ride through the Spainish mountains, a run up and down the mountains in Zermatt or a top result in a race, I think I would be hard pushed to make the call.  To be honest I think the ride or run through the mountains would probably win.  Having said that, I don’t really consider myself to have had a top race result yet.  Fingers crossed, I might be able to make the comparision later on this year.

I am having a rest day today but itching to get back on the bike and out into the mountains.  Bring it on! 🙂

2011 – Pre season racing

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

2010 ended up being quite a year and I finished on a real high qualifying for the Ironman World Championships.  Nonetheless, 2011 is lining up to be a good one, fingers crossed!!!!!

First race of the year was an ‘Endurance Life’ 28 mile coastal run down in Devon.  I did this race last year with a few friends and took it relatively easy.  This time round I thought I would put a bit more effort in and end up 53 minutes faster.  OK, I was putting in a little more effort but I was still taking it steady and enjoying the view, so was very surprised to be almost a whole hour quicker!!  Because of the staggered start I had no idea of my position.   In hindsight maybe I should have pushed the pace just a little harder as I ended up 10 seconds of a podium place and only 1 minute off second place.  To be honest this type of race is just about getting out there and not really about position.  Kind of what I love about them.

Moving on a few weekends and I was dragging myself out of bed early on a Sunday morning for my first Time Trial of the year.  It was tipping down with rain and the only thing that got me out of the door was the thought that it might not be raining where the Time Trial was taking place.  No such luck 😦

I took to warming up for this on my rollers inside the village hall, chatting to some really friendly guys organising the race.  The relaxed atmosphere and good conversation meant I almost missed my start time.  Doohoo.  Anyway, I made the start on time and got stuck in.  To be honest I found the speed I was going at a little un-nervy and held back a bit, simply because I did NOT WANT to go any faster.  I was feeling a bit of a wimp!  Anyway, 47 minutes and a few wheel slides later I had finished the first TT of the year.  I was happy with the average power output of 366W over the 21 mile hilly course and felt I could have comfortably maintained that for a good while longer.  It turned out I won the thing and was very surprised to be receiving 1st place prize money!  Something I was most definitely not expecting.

The following Saturday I had entered into the Brill 31 mile hilly TT.  After my win in the TT last weekend my legs were still feeling a little heavy.  This course involved 2500ft of climbing over the 31 miles and since climbing on the bike is most definitely not my strength; I was not expecting too much from this race.

It was a stunning beautiful day with not a drop of wind, perfect to rip it up around the Oxfordshire countryside.  As always when it comes to racing, I am stupidly optimistic about my limits and went out from the start HARD.  After 20mins my average power was 400 watts and I was feeling strong.  At the 45 minute mark this had dropped off to an average of 390 watts and I was starting to hurt.  The last 30 minutes of the course was relatively flat.  Funnily enough, this was the part of the course I found the toughest.  It felt doable to hold 400 watts on the hills, but on the flat it seemed infinitely harder.  The race finished with a tough climb up to Brill and I gave it everything crossing the line in 1hr 14mins and an average power of 381 watts.  Happy with that, I rolled back down the hill to where I had parked, quickly got changed into my running kit and headed off for an hour run.  I had expected my legs to be totally shot, but to my amazement, they actually felt great.  I was coasting along at 4mins/km pace without a care in the world.

It turns out I won the TT by over a minute.  Two wins in two weekends!!  I even got a mention on the national cycling time trial website 🙂

http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/Home/tabid/36/itemid/2378/Default.aspx

After my 4th place in the early season coastal run and these two time trails wins, things were looking good.  This is where you should take five, rest and recover.  That is precisely what I did, well for 3 days any way.  Four days after the TT I did a MAX Test (increasing 20 watts every minute until failure), intrigued to see what numbers I would get back from it.  I hit 500 watts!

To follow the max test I was up at 4am on Saturday, heading to the white cliffs on the south coast for another endurance life coastal marathon.  Another beautiful day and a stunning course around the UK countryside.  Just one problem.  After about 20 minutes of running my legs felt like they were at the end of a marathon, but I still had about 38ish km left.  I struggled around the 27 mile course and 4700ft of climbing, but to be honest found it really tough going.  Some might argue that I should not really have done this race, given how tired my legs felt at the start.  However, running a marathon with tired legs is what doing an Ironman is all about, so in a weird kind of way, this race was perfect training for later on in the year.

I crossed line in 10thplace, totally shattered but glad to have stuck to it out on the course.  The atmosphere at these events is always good and it was nice to enjoy some good banter while I soaked my legs off in the sea.  Man it was cold in there and I just hope it warms up a bit before May and my first triathlon of the year.

 

2010: A year to remember

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

This has been a year to remember!!  It started with my Bro’s wedding, then the arrival of his daughter Lucie.   I finally managed to convince my girlfriend (Carli) to leave the big smoke that is London and move in with me in February.  Life was sweet.

Happy days  🙂

Training was going well and coming into Ironman Lanzarote I felt things were lining up for a good race.  Coming off my bike at 30+ mph and landing on my head quickly brought things down with a bang.  I don’t really remember much of that initial period after the crash, but when my memory does start to kick in I can clearly remember my conviction that I was absolutely fine!  Clearly not the case.  Looking back on it now, I was short with people and generally rude.  Basically a pain in the arse. IM Cozumel Bike

In the months after the crash, I was kind of stuck in race mode, unable to let go of what happened.  I seemed to only be able to think of one thing and one thing only.  That was racing again.  Not just racing again, but racing better than I had ever done before.  To me it was like I had something to prove to myself.  I am not really sure why.  I guess the crash was like someone pushing me around and this was my way of pushing back.

In the months that followed, I raced the Olympic distance National Championships coming 3rd in my age group, then headed off to do a multi stage (6 day) trail race over the US Rockies.  During that I got hit by food poisoning but still refused to stop racing even to the detriment of my team mate (sorry Wookie).  That event truly broke me and ironically for the first time after the crash I was able to switch out of race mode and enjoy the moments out on the mountain.  Following on from that, I completed Challenge Barcelona in 9hr 26mins and finished 3rd in my age group.

You would have thought that I would have called it a day and hang my race shoes up for this year.  That would have been the sensible thing to do but I am not that sensible.  Ten days after the crash in Lanzarote I was sat at my computer generally pissed off with all the races I had to pull out of.   So I did what seemed like the obvious thing to do at the time.  That was to enter Ironman Mexico in November.  It was an end of year goal for me or if you like proverbial carrot on the end of a very long stick!

After Challenge Barcelona I got my head back down and put in a final blast of training for the race out in Mexico.  I was flying and really thought that this Ironman was going to be the one I would nail.

As I flew out to Cozumel, part of me could not really believe I was going all the way to Mexico just for a race!!  It felt stupidly extravagant.

When I finally got there the first thing that hit me was the heat and humidity.  It was nothing like I had ever raced in before and I was a little apprehensive as to how I would cope come race day.  Only time would tell.  The build up to the race was smooth and it was nice to get to know a large group of other people racing.  By the time race day came I felt part of this community of crazy people who had all travelled massive distances just to do this race.

THE RACE

From the moment the gun went I was having a great time out there.  The sea swim was without a doubt the most enjoyable swim I have ever had.  I saw a 4m sting ray and no end of awesome fish.  It took some concentration to stay focussed on the job at hand.  I came out of the water in 54mins and given the time there was a surprising number of people in front of me.  Still I was feeling fresh and happy with the time.

The bike was a three lap course and my main focus was to not go to hard early doors, something I find very hard to achieve.  Today, however, I was able to hold back more than I had ever done before.  My main method to achieve this was to sing an old rugby song I learnt from Uni ‘there once was a lassie..’.  This was not something I had planned.  The song just popped in my head and away I went.  The words are not really ones you would repeat and I got some very strange looks as I passed people, and this was something I seemed to be doing quite regularly 🙂 At the end of the first lap I was averaging 39km/hr and 270 watts, feeling on top of everything.  The second lap was very much the same as the first, although my average pace did drop to 38.5km/hr and 265 watts.  At this point I had caught the front runners of the age groupers (the pro’s had started 20mins ahead so were in a different race really).  I made the call not to push on, but to stay with this group.  I had been riding solo to this point and sitting 7m behind the rider in front makes a huge difference to the effort levels you need to achieve the same speed.  Myself and Ken Glah were rotating the lead for nearly all of the final lap on the bike, and while my average watts had dropped to 255 my final bike split was still 4hr 49mins.  I was feeling good and ready to hit the run.  Coming into T2 I was first place in my age group and had a 13min lead on second!

Chris Goodfellow IM Cozumel Bike

Out on the run you immediately noticed the heat and humidity.  It hit you like a four tonne truck and was like nothing I have ever experienced.  Thankfully the aid stations were every km and where handing out ice!!!! Amazing.  I jammed bangs of ice down my tri top with the elastic fuel belt I was wearing supporting the ice around my mid-rift.  The effect was unbelievable and I was feeling better than I have ever felt out on an ironman run.  I did the first 10km in 46mins and it felt comfortable.  I started to truly believe I was going to nail it and do the 3hr 10min marathon I know I can run.

However, as is the nature of ironman racing the heat and humidity was slowly starting to get to me.  I could feel my body starting to overheat and as it did the pace dropped like a tonne of bricks. With 1km to go I was still winning my age group, but then three people passed me.  At this point I had nothing left to give and had to let them pass un-challenged.

As I crossed the line the time read 9hr 23mins.  Again not what I had been hoping for but I had given everything and left it all out on the course.  My final run time of 3hrs 32mins had been 15-20mins off what I was aiming for, but given the extreme heat and humidity out there I could not really complain.  I was a happy man despite not hitting my goal times.

After phoning home for the full results it transpired I had finished 4th in my age group and got a slot for Kona (Ironman World Championships).  My initial response was, yeah that is cool but I will give the slot a miss.  It is a long way and a very expensive trip.  I stuck to this tune for a full 24 hours.

The next day I remained persistent that I was not going to take my Kona slot and as the day wore on this decision weighed on my mind.  To not go would belittle all the training I had done and everything I had gone through this year.

The slots were being allocated at 4pm in town and if you did not take it then and there you passed it over to the next finishing athlete in your age group.  I got a ride into town at 3.30pm still not sure whether I was going to take the slot.  By the time I had got into town I was decided.  I was going to take my slot to Kona!  All I needed was $650 in cash.  No worries right??  I headed to the first cash point.   No luck!  I stayed calm and headed to the next one and the next one and the next one.  I started to panic and my calm walk quickly turned into a sprint.  I had about 5mins to find a cash point which would work or my slot was gone!!!  I must have sprinted all over Cozumel and tried at least 15 cash points.  The most I could get was $400 dollars.   My card had been blocked and it was already 4.30pm.  Truly gutted I wondered back to the conference centre, safe in the knowledge I had just lost the slot.  You never really know how much you wanted something till you have lost it, and right now I felt truly deflated.  Gutted does not even come close.

As I got closer I realized they were going through every age group before rolling down for slots not taken.  I still had time!  Time, yes, but no way of getting cash, so it didn’t really change the situation.

Right then Tom Diethe, a guy I only met once, came up to me and must have read the look on my face.  He asked what was up, and I told him the cash point saga. I was short of $250. Tom simply turned around and said he would try his card at the nearest cash machine! If he could get the money out, it was mine. I had tried the machine 4 times and thought it would not work but said OK.  The next thing I know I am sprinting back to slot allocation with the full $650 in my hand.  I made it in time. I was registering for Kona!  One more major problem, I had no ID!  This would have been a serious if it was not for the fact Steve Trew, who I had got to know in the build up to the race, could vouch I was who I said I was!  That was the last hurdle and I was done.  KONA 2011 here I come.

Mr Tom Diethe, you are a true legend.  What you did summarises all that is good in this crazy Ironman sport.  We all slog our guts out for anything from 8-16 hours.  But when you cross that finish line you feel a comraderey unlike any other individual sport.Chris Goodfellow IM Cozumel Finisher

I still cannot believe I am going the Ironman World Championships in Kona next year, after everything that has happened this year it feels like a dream.  Please don’t wake me up.

Summer camps for adults

Posted: July 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Most people would do the sensible thing and have the rest of the season off after the crash I just had.  I guess I am not most people…

I am not planning on racing just yet though.  I think I need to put in some hard hours training.  The plan is to race Challenge Barcelona in early October and finish off the year racing Ironman Mexico at the end of November.  I realise this is laying down the gauntlet but the aim is sub 9 hours in both races!

Plans for August are to do the Trans Rockies Run.  It is a 6 day race across the Rockies with a team mate.  I am heading out there with Scott Coey.  I am not really viewing it as a race but as a great way to put in the training hours and have an amazing time in the process.  The result for this is not on the agenda, just having fun and pushing hard.