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Get yourself out there and take part!

This last weekend was a bit of a struggle! After a long overdue night out with friends on Friday and an even longer overdue night out with old university friends on Saturday, I dragged myself out of a hotel bed in Cambridge to drive to Watford for the third race in the cross-country league.

Feeling determined, I was confident that the weather could not possibly be worse than the previous race. Hmmm...this confidence was somewhat misplaced as we had a drizzle followed by a complete soaking whilst chugging round the delights of Whippendell woods. Those familiar with the cross-country league will remember those lovely muddy hills.

Sometimes with training the challenge is just to get yourself out there and take part and last Sunday was definitely one of those days! I felt I had a awful run being overtaken by quite a few ladies and had the final humiliation of falling over up the final hill. The legs just weren't willing. However, although I finished a disappointing 9th, I still managed to knock some time off last years run, plus managed to stay a few steps ahead of Mark Coutts, something I haven't managed for quite a while! A big thank you to Mark, Nicki and Doug for flying the WT colours and it was a big shame we didn't have enough runners to make a team.

A little mention to say well done and congratulations to Jonathan Howe for a PB in Ironman Western Australia. I think the sharks made him swim faster.

Good luck everybody with the run up to Christmas and hope you manage to keep fit and well during these winter months.

New WaldenTRI website

I would like to say a huge well done and many thanks to Dan East and contributors who have worked really hard on getting our new WaldenTri website up and running.  The website has has a complete overhaul! Its received many updates, it's more streamlined, is up-to-date with all the activities that is currently going on in the club,its accessible from your mobile phone and what's more looks amazing. Thank you Dan!

Club social - Friday 23rd January
A pub night out,  most likely at the old English gentleman in Saffron Walden!  Our previous club captain and WaldenTri Aussie adventurer, Jonathan Howe will be back in the UK at this time and is hoping be able to join us. I am hugely jealous of the amazing pictures he keeps posting of his training sessions in the land down under and I want to catch up with all his news.  And on that note I know he is soon to compete in Ironman Western Australia so best of luck Jonathan!

Cross country
The next cross country race is this Sunday, 7 December at one of the best courses I have run which is Cassiobury Park, Watford.  Race information has been sent out and a map of the run is below. To race starts at 10:30 and runners if all ability...and cake bakers are very welcome! Please support our cross country league.

Fog, mud, water and lost shoes

I won't steal the Race Committee's thunder but mentioning the WD14 in too much detail but can I just say what an impressive race they put on last Sunday! I know the amount of time, effort and worry it takes to implement this kind of event and what a fantastic job they did!

I am also hugely impressed with the brave competitors who took part in including a large number from WaldenTri. I love marshalling but it made me feel rather guilty to observe others and to not be pitting myself against a tough bike course, fog, mud, water and lost shoes. I think I am becoming a bit soft!

I am going to try to amend this on Saturday as I am having a bash at a Survival of the Fittest race at Wembley. I am a bit worried about having my arse kicked by some up the 'fit' people in my Saturday morning circuits group. However, lack of training aside, I have purchased a new pair of Inov8 trainers so that in my book means race ready.

My next challenge is getting up on Sunday and pretending I can still move my arms and legs to take part in the XC at Grovelands on Sunday. A bit of a challenge!

Thank you to Mark for his brilliant piece about bike training and the race reports we have had in recently. I need all the motivation I can get this time of year!

I leave you with a picture of the finish at SOTF.... Gulp!

Holiday ... for resting or training?

Some of our more ambitious members of our tri club plan many of their "holidays" around training and competitions. This can be a fantastic way of visiting flung places all over the world such as New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Austria, Spain, France and Milton Keynes. Over half-term I was luckily enough to indulge in the culture-fest that is the Marriott Resort near Marbella.

The kids and I had an amazing week where we basically rested, slept, ate and played with brilliant weather thrown in. Although I was remarkably lazy for 90% of the time, there is no way a holiday would be complete for me without some training thrown in. I am always incredibly suspicious of uber fit athletes telling me they 'leave their trainers at home' when they are on hols. I don't believe it for one second!

So some of my 10% of activity took the form of a daily spin class where I learnt how to hyperventilate for 50mins whilst my legs felt like they might fall off. I'm not sure what this does to my level of fitness but it was certainly fun and the instructors were very motivational. When I was struggling, I learnt to sneak looks at others in the class, see they were in just such a hell hole and tell myself I was not going to be the one to quit first! My favourite class was the literal 'hell hole' when the studio was transformed for Halloween, complete with themed music throughout...."I'm on a Highway to Hell!" They weren't wrong.

But having read Mark Fraser's brilliant advice on riding time trials, I guess I was having plenty of experience of pushing my current pain threshold! And talking of pain, we welcome back the return of run and core on a Thursday night at a great new venue. It forms the basis of solid winter training building strength endurance and core so please take advantage of it.

Happy winter training!

Definitely not in Kansas anymore ...

In one of my less sane moments, I decided it would be a good idea to take part in the Wiggle New Forest sportive that took place last weekend. This involved driving down to Hampshire with an overnight stop with a lovely friend from college days, followed by a 5am start as I had agreed to help with the Wiggle ride registration.

Due to a fairly large black hole in my knowledge of the New Forest, I was under the (mistaken) impression that the course would be fairly flat and therefore, thought it was perfectly okay to beast my legs in the usual Saturday circuits class that makes me want to cry. As it turns out, the course was quite lumpy - over 4,500ft of climbing over 100 miles and the flat parts were into a teeth gritting headwind. I realised after ten miles the circuits class may have been a tad optimistic.

I was prepared for a few ponies here and there but not for the sheer scale of four-legged creatures running amok over the course. After zigzagging through a number of equines, pigs, piglets and miniature ponies, the final straw was the three donkeys who were laying sparko across the road, having a snooze whilst riders tried to edge there way round them. At about 80 miles in, I couldn't help but want to join them and having a lie down in the middle of the road felt like a serious option.

It was an interesting ride but there have been few times when I have been as glad to get off a bike. Next, was the 3.5 hour journey home. Pretending I felt fresh as a daisy come Monday morning when dealing with 30 seven year olds was no easy task. After getting in from work on Monday, my mum asked if I had enjoyed it. Of course not! If I had enjoyed it, it would have been easy and if it had been easy, there would be no challenge and if there was no challenge, I wouldn't want to do it in the first place! My mum ruefully shook her head and said, 'You're just like your father.'

Well...maybe. But good to know there are a number of WaldenTri folk who think that would be a perfectly sensible weekend!

I hope you had a good weekend and managed to get out there and take advantage of this lovely weather. I am bracing myself for a jaunt on the bike on Sunday which will involve less miles, less hills.... and hopefully less donkeys.