I was in two minds over swimming on Monday – but I resolved the dilemma by deciding not to. If only all problems could be solved so easily.
I had some chores to do by way of checking the bike and changing the pedals. This followed some good advice from the unironedman that I shouldn’t use the normal clip-in pedals and cycle shoes with cleats, as they would mean two changes of footwear and a certain amount of awkward running in them out of, and back into, transition.
That’s all the more sensible as my cycle shoes have a ratchet fastening so I couldn’t really leave them clipped into the pedals like the pros do with pure velcro-fastening shoes. It’s a short ride so I’m guessing the benefits will outweigh any minor loss of pedal power compared to what I would have got using the cleats. Simplification is good.
The first pedals I fitted rubbed the crank arm. I fashioned a spacer and then found that the shape of the pedals did not fit comfortably with my running shoes. The second pedals worked well enough so I decided on a small ‘brick’ session to test them out and to see how my legs reacted to a run straight off the bike. I had a 27km (17miles) ride @29kph (18mph) and then a 1km run.
This got dangerously close to proper triathlon training but my legs made it very clear that they did not like the experience one little bit.
I ran with my wife on a hot Tuesday morning 6.7km (4.2miles) and we then went for lunch with some friends who have just returned to the UK after some years out in Singapore. They have a house on the Cotswold Water Park which is built around some old gravel pits … including the one which has been developed as the lake where I do my open water swimming. I can’t get away from it.
We went straight from there to the presentation, by the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, of the Queen’s Award for Volunteering to the cycle group. My wife and I (and our younger son, in absentia) were presented with badges in recognition for our efforts. Quite an achievement for a group that started as a few middle-aged Saturday cyclists.
Bournemouth on Wednesday to mow and fit various bathroom accessories, and hooks to the back of doors. We’ve only owned the place for 17 years – everything gets done in its own good time.
Thursday was the last open water swimming session before the triathlon. We both did the 1km that we set ourselves – last time was with 2 laps of the shorter course, this time it was one lap of the (significantly) more intimidating long course. I had thoughts of trying to go a little faster than before, but I have to accept that my swimming is not good enough to have much more than one speed.
I don’t know if this makes sense but it feels like my poor technique means I can’t swim faster just by putting in more effort – to go faster, I think I’d have to become a better swimmer. I have now come to terms with the fact that I swim just about as well as fish ride bicycles.
Friday was the usual gym session, followed by the cycle shop. I planned a gentle run with my wife on Saturday morning but wimped out as my knee felt a bit cranky.
I can now start to fret about the kit needed for the triathlon on Sunday. I have a check list of over 20 items (including the confirmation of the required clear lateral flow covid test performed on Friday).
I have already done the most important piece of preparation in fitting elastic laces (that a friend kindly gave me) to my running shoes. With only one pair of quick-fit shoes I can already feel my transition times come down to under an hour.
The bike and run courses are not flat, and cumulative tiredness and the transitions are unknowns, so getting round safely and enjoying it are the orders of the day – no time targets. I am told that the swim-to-ride transition involves a sharp uphill run of about 0.4km – oh joy.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: He who refuses to obey cannot command
2. BBC News website: Brazil v Argentina game stopped after 10 mins
The Brazil v Argentina football world cup qualifier was stopped on Sunday as health officials and police came onto the pitch and, according to commentator, detained the 4 UK based Argentina players for not quarantining on their arrival in Brazil.
The Brazilian authorities said “[The four players] were directed to remain isolated while awaiting deportation, but they did not comply.”
The Argentinian manager said that “At no time were we notified that they couldn’t play the match.”
Hmmm … hard to see how they can both be right
3. I always use my games of snooker to help with exam revision.
When I use the chalk, I ask myself a maths problem. When I play the blue, I ask myself a question on science. Pink is biology, black is geography … and the rest is history.
4. BBC News website: Climate change: Animals shapeshifting to stay cool
Scientists say warm-blooded species are evolving to have larger beaks, legs and ears to regulate body temperature as the planet warms up.
Wood mice are evolving to have longer tails, masked shrews are getting longer tails and legs, and bats in warm climates have bigger wings.
Several species of Australian parrot have shown a 4-10% increase in bill size since 1871, which correlates with the rising summer temperatures over the years, the study says.
The parrots have got off lightly – since Brexit, it feels like many of our bills have gone up more, and much faster