Veloviewer Leaderboard

My regular readers will know that I’m a fan of Veloviewer and all of it’s extra stats. Read about all of my Veloviewer posts here. A few years ago Veloviewer introduced leaderboards, but only the top 20, and I was amazed to find that for overall Eddington score (miles) I was in 19th place. Recently Veloviewer has introduced placing for everyone, although only the top 20 make it to the list. I’m now down to 87th for my Eddington score.

My good friend The Prof has made it up to 18th for the maximum cluster score, while I’m still languishing in 50th place, but I have made the top ten on one list.

Swimming distance so far in 2018.

swimThat’s me in 8th place, having swam 32km so far this year. I’ve entered a 10km swim later in the year, and in June I’m doing Isoman which is a triathlon with a 7 mile swim (read about my races for this year here). I have therefore increased my swimming, helped with the terrible weather, and this morning I managed my second 5km swim of the year. I couldn’t stop eating all morning.

Let’s be fair though, this leaderboard isn’t too impressive after just one month, and I have no doubt whatsoever that I will soon drop down the list, but it’s nice while it lasts.

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200 Strava Swims

Yesterday evening I notched up my 200th Strava swim. I’ve been on Strava for five and a half years, but it wasn’t until February 2014 that I got myself a Garmin swim-watch. Before then I would only manually upload swims if they were ‘epic’. The first swim that I uploaded was in January 2013 and it was 6km. My longest swim was 11.4km and was part of a continuous triple ironman (you can read about it here). Below are a couple of photos of that swim.

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This year my target has been to swim 100miles, and with three weeks to go I only need a couple more swims, which will be the furthest I’ve ever swam in one year.

My 200 Strava swims total 478km, making each swim on average 2389m. I also manage to collect on average over 20 kudos per swim. My Eddington scores (explanation here and here) are only 4 miles and 6km, although for time it is 53 minutes. It will be a long while before the distance markers increase, but I only need to swim at least 53 minutes two more occasions for my score to reach 54 minutes.

I don’t yet have any big targets for 2018, although my wife seems to think that I should have a go at the Frog Graham! Windermere one way could well be another challenge, but we’ll see what develops.

Not much more to say really, except that I love swimming and even after all these years of triathlons and open water swims, I still get incredibly nervous at the start of every open water swim.

Fireworks 500

Fancy an open water swim, in November, in an old quarry, at night, with a glow stick and hundreds of other lunatics. Definitely!

It sounds crazy, but it was the second time that me and my wife had done it. More people and more queues for the car park meant that the start was delayed, which also meant that many of the people in the first wave didn’t have working glow sticks, as they had already turned them on.

The water was cold, as expected, and it took until I had rounded the first buoy for my head to stop hurting. I lost my nose clip and glow stick, and could hardly see a thing, but it was great fun, especially get out at the end.

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As usual with Epic Events there are free photos to download, which is always a nice touch. The medal was also fantastic.

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To end the evening there was a big firework display, although we didn’t stay as our car was stuck in a muddy field and needed to be rescued by a farmer and his tractor.

We’ll definitely be back next year.

Salford Triathlon – The Swim

Yesterday I blogged about my first triathlon of the year. You can read about it here. A few weeks earlier I completed the swim as part of a work relay.

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I work at Wardell-Armstrong, who have been one of the sponsors of the Salford Triathlon since it’s inception. Because of the sponsorship, the firm is given four free places, and so that as many people as possible can take part all four places are used in the relay event. Knowing that there would be a lack of swimmers I put my name down, even though it is my slowest discipline. It was also only the second time this year that I’ve put on my wetsuit. They shrink in the winter.

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The swim was in Salford Quay, which is probably one of the cleanest places I’ve swam in. The last time I swam there was a 10km, which was definitely a bit long. This time the bouys had been put out in the right places, and with there wasn’t too much agro with the start, which was nice.

I was hoping for about 30 minutes, which was almost exactly what I did, although it was a long run into transition for the handover to my colleague on the bike.

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Once I’d handed over I got myself changed and walked around much of the bike course to cheer on my work colleagues. The problem was that I really wanted to be doing the whole thing, even though I’m a long way off full fitness, which was why later that weekend I entered the Sedbergh Triathlon, and I might even manage another race in September.

My team mates also did really well, as we came in fifth team overall, and fourth men’s team. Next year though, I will definitely do the whole race.

#Bemoredoug

This is a difficult blog entry to write. A few days ago Doug Waymark died while swimming the channel. Last year another swimmer, Nick Thomas, also died. Both men were part of the ultra-distance triathlon community, which isn’t very large, so you see many of the same faces at every race.

In 2014 I successfully completed a double ironman, after a DNF in 2013. I finished 12th. Doug was 13th, although all we both wanted was to finish relatively unscathed. He was 4 years younger than me, which is no age to die. His family and friends set up the hashtag #bemoredoug, hence the title of my blog entry, to make it easier for people to discover what a great bloke he was and to share stories.

In 2016 I completed a triple ironman. Over the three days of racing there were various other races and distances, including what was called a 3-2-1 swim. This involved a triple ironman swim on the Friday, a double on the Saturday and a single on the Sunday. A total of 14.4 miles of swimming. One competitor in this event, seen in the photo below without a wetsuit, was Nick.

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Nick was training for a cross channel swim later in the year, and when not doing the 3-2-1 swim he helped out with the other races over the weekend. When I crossed the finish line he handed me my medal and I could see the pleasure on his face that I’d completed what for me was a huge challenge.

“He died doing what he loved” was one of the tributes to Nick last year. I don’t want to die doing what I love, I want to live doing what I love. I want to die in my own bed when I’m in my 100’s, having lead a full life.

I’ll soon be 50, and there is so much out there that I want to do. The untimely deaths of these great and wonderful men has hit me hard. I need to make things happen before it’s too late. I don’t have a bucket list, it’s too cliched, but here are a few of the adventures I am going to start planning.

  • Big adventure – spend a couple of years cycling round the world.
  • Medium adventure – complete 50 and then 100 parkruns across the whole of the UK.
  • Small adventure – drink quality rum from Guyana, snuggling on the sofa with my beautiful wife while watching Game of Thrones series 7.

Rest in Piece Doug and Nick, you’ll both be missed by so many people.

A complete lack of swimming etiquette

If you swim more often than once or twice a year, you’ll soon realise that there is a certain amount of swimming etiquette, generally in the lanes. The obvious ones being don’t get in the fast lane if you’re going to swim really really slowly. Another one that annoys my wife is when people stand around chatting at the end of the lane and don’t move out of the way when she’s trying to turn. I suggested that when it happens she should practice her tumble turns.

I generally don’t get bothered by it because I tend to go swimming either first thing in the morning or late at night. When I started my new job in Leigh I went swimming in the local pool each Monday, but it was far too warm and the ‘fast’ lane was decidedly slow. I found a different pool in Howe Bridge, only a couple of miles from work. The temperature is cooler and it’s far less busy. The pool could do with a bit of a re-vamp, but I like the place.

They have two lanes set up in the morning, but they very rarely have the directional boards, like the one in the photo.

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This shouldn’t be a problem, but today I came across something new. There was someone already in the lane as I got in. I waited to see which side she came back on before I set off. As I turned around at the end of the pool she was coming towards me.

“Are we going round and round” she asked me.

“Always” I replied, a bit surprised. I must have sounded a bit gruff by the look she gave me, so I asked her what would we do if a third person got in the lane. She was obviously a bit put out as she moved into the main pool and I had the lane to myself. I’ve probably swam in dozens of different pools all over the country, and I’ve never come across people wanting to swim up and down a lane, one on each side. To me it makes perfect sense to swim clockwise or anti-clockwise. Maybe it’s just me getting old and becoming a grumpy old man.

In other news, I’ve entered my first triathlon of the year. The Howgills sprint triathlon in Sedbergh next weekend. I’ll see you there.

 

Good to be back

It’s good to be back, back in Lancaster after 15 months of working in Scunthorpe, and it’s good to be back posting random stuff on my blog. First post back is a short one, bit I will try to post at least once a week (yeah right).

I’ve entered a triple ironman in June, so I needed to have a good long swim. The plan was for an 8km swim in the local Uni pool, but to take it 1k at a time, stopping for a drink after each 40 lengths. I also had an Etixx energy bar 30 minutes before I started and one of their frankly horrible tasting red berry caffeine gels ten minutes before getting in the pool. I had also asked my girlfriend to tie up my beard so that it wouldn’t get in the way.

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As I climbed into the pool I tried not to visualize 320 lengths, as this would feel like an insurmountable challenge, instead, as I said earlier, only looking at the next 40 lengths. In the end I didn’t find it too hard and could easily have gone further than the 8150m that I completed. This was my longest ever pool swim, and although it wasn’t fast, 3 seconds under 3 hours, it was a very good confidence building swim. Hopefully I’ll complete a 10km pool swim sometime in May.

https://www.strava.com/activities/543049491