Saturday, October 27

Spinning class: Halloween!

Yep, it's that time again - whether or not you think it's just an American excuse to feed children yet more sugar with all those treats, it's a perfect excuse to have a bit of fun and dig out some silly tunes, anything related to ghosts, devils, horror or that sounds remotely spooky. No particular profile to this class but I've put it together in this order to keep some variety.

Have a goulish time... mmmmwhahahaharrr!

Warm up - 2.5 mins
Flat road - 6 mins
Seated climb - 4 mins
Jumps - 4 mins
Switchbacks - 3.5 mins
Flat road - 3 mins
Seated climb - 6 mins
Jumps - 4 mins
Sprints on a hill - 4 mins
Flat road / Running - 4 mins
Seated to standing climb - 8.5 mins
Sprints on a hill - 5.5 mins
Cool down - 5 mins

The start is a scene setter, with some very sombre music before hitting the flat road to really warm up the legs and get HR up to around 70%. The seated climbs are fairly heavy, with breaks out of the saddle. Jumps are transitions between sitting and standing positions, done under control and as seamless as possible. Switchbacks are short, hard efforts, where extra resistance is added while trying to maintain cadence out of the saddle, which will increase HR to 80-85%. Sprints on a hill are where we keep the same heavy resistance but increase cadence for short periods, again increasing HR to around 85%. Finally, running is where cadence is fairly high (in the range of 80-110rpm, same as on a flat road) but done out of the saddle with a little resistance, to ensure control of the pedals.


High priests - Michael Flatley (from Feet of Flames)
Riders on the storm - The Doors and Snoop Dogg
Somebody's watching me - Rockwell
Killer - Adamski
Vater Unser - E Nomine (reminds me of The Omen!)
Hard Wax - Manchild (from Blade: Trinity)
Thriller - Michael Jackson (the ultimate horror video!)
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr
Breathe - Prodigy
Thirsty - ODB (from Blade: Trinity again)
Insomnia - Faithless (the darkest climb)
Keep hope alive - The Crystal Method (let's escape the horror!)
Moments of ambience - Odessi

Wednesday, October 17

Ironman World Championship

No, not something I've done (I wish!) but I watched it live from Hawaii on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Usually, it's not the best of spectator sports, as it takes the pros around 9 hours to complete, but this time I had a reason to stay tuned: Chrissie Wellington was racing in it and I know her from when she was working as a fellow paper-shuffler at Defra (civil service). She's gone from trying Olympic distance events to leaving her job to train full-time as a pro, winning her first Ironman event in Korea and qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.... in only a few years! Hats off to Chrissie and provides me with inspiration to train harder, with a view to entering a few events next year. This from the race report on the Ironman website (

You'�d be forgiven if you looked at the results from the� Ironman World Championship, saw the name of the women�'s champion, and asked �"Chrissie who?".�

Chrissie Wellington is hardly a household name in the world of Ironman racing. Her first year in the sport was last year, when she claimed an ITU World Age Group title. Just seven weeks ago she competed in the Ironman Korea race, her first Ironman. She easily won that race, finishing an astonishing seventh overall in the brutally tough conditions. Despite that impressive result, Wellington arrived in Kona as absolutely no one’s race favorite, even her own.

“I was hoping for a top ten,” she understated at the press conference.

Wellington’s journey to claiming the Ironman title here in Kona has been anything but normal. While she was an “active child,” growing up and a competitive swimmer as a teenager, she was hardly what she considers a competitive athlete. While she swam while in university, that was more an exercise in drinking, she joked in an interview after the press conference. After she finished university, Wellington spent a couple of years travelling. She returned to school to get her masters, then was off traveling again. She started running in 2002 because she wanted to lose some of the weight she’d gained while on the road. That led to her first marathon, a 3:08 effort at the London Marathon in 2002.

While riding her bike a couple of years later, Wellington was hit by a car. She suddenly found herself unable to run or bike, so to keep active she started swimming. Triathlon seemed like a logical next step. Sandwiched in between all of that was a work stint in Nepal, where Wellington found herself riding over some pretty major terrain to keep active.

“Nothing seems difficult compared to trying to ride over those mountains,” she joked.

After claiming the world title last year, Wellington’s coach suggested that she go and meet with Bret Sutton at his base in Switzerland.

“I wanted to know if I’d make it as a pro,” she said. “He said ‘Go for it, girl.’”

Go for it she did. She joined with Sutton’s elite group of athletes which includes the likes of Ironman champions Belinda Granger, Rebecca Preston, Lisbeth Kristensen and Ironman’s picture of consistency, Hillary Biscay.

“I wanted to do Olympic distance, but my swimming isn’t where it needs to be to be competitive,” Wellington says. “Five weeks before Korea he asked me about racing there. I asked him, ‘Am I ready, Boss?’ He said I was, so that’s what we did.

The rest has quickly become history. Wellington dominated in Korea and made her second Ironman even more impressive by beating the best in the world. She was so strong throughout the day that when she rode by the lead group to take the lead Granger said to anyone who would listen “There goes today’s winner.”

Granger was right. Wellington’s 2:59 marathon was the second fastest ever run here in Kona – she was never really challenged once she went to the front of the race.

While she arrived in Kona relatively unknown, Wellington will leave the Big Island as one of the biggest names in the sport. That’s after only two Ironman races under her belt … one can only imagine how many more huge wins we’re likely to see.

Saturday, October 13

The boys are back in town!

COME ON!!!!!!!! Yes, we're there once again - history does repeat itself, beating the French on the way to the final. Instead of Australia, this time it looks like South Africa will be waiting for us. After the drubbing we got in the group stages, England will be looking to avenge that humiliating defeat and be the only team to retain the Webb Ellis Trophy.

If Johnny Wilkinson gets his kicking back on track, we'll wipe the floor with them - we could've had an extra 11 points had he made all his kicks, although most of them were from extreme angles. The important thing is that he got the ones that mattered - the drop goal that got us into the lead, then the penalty that meant the French couldn't win with a sneaky drop goal in the final minute. Not to mention the mistakes that denied us a couple of tries.

Well, I'm shattered, I feel like I've just completed a double Spinning class and I'm losing my voice... must make sure I recover before next weekend!

Rugby Fever

I've just come back from a much-needed break in southern France (needed to stop me from going "US Postal" at work) and the big news - obviously, as the Rugby World Cup is the third largest sporting event int he world after the Olympics and the Football World Cup - was England's and France's successes against Australia and New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup. Unexpected by most, I was laughed at when I dared to suggest the impossible... Ha! I should have put a bet on the results - smugness isn't as rewarding as you'd think! All that was needed to top off a great week was for Scotland to beat Argentina (and for Fiji to do the unthinkable and get past the south Africans) but they failed to take numerous chances to win the match.

Tonight will see England take on France in a repeat of the last World Cup, when England went through 24-7. As much as I am a Francophile, this match will bring out the partisan in me - none of this "I don't mind who wins, as long as it's a good match" nonsense!

I remember watching the match in the BA lounge on my way to an international coral reef conference and I delayed boarding until the last minute, as the scores were still very close. Of all the days for a plane to take off on time... grrrrrr! Still, I managed to get the pilot to tell us the scores in mid-flight, with some passengers (like me!) erupting in celebration at the final score. Then a week's worth of work while waiting for the final the following weekend.

Let's hope that history repeats itself - COME ON ENGLAND!!!!