Cyclist attack at Taupo

Hearing things like this make me mad. A cyclist was out on a training ride in preparation for the same Ironman I’ve entered in. While out on the bike he suffered injuries after a road rage incident with a motorist, and is now unable to complete in this year’s Ironman NZ. From the article there appears to have been a kerfuffle between the parties.

I would like to discuss about the repercussions of this unfortunate incident.

Firstly the cyclist, who was training for his eight Ironman triathlon is in hospital with broken bones. Whether it is your first or you’ve done several before, an Ironman triathlon requires a lot of training and preparation. For newbies like me, I’ve been training for most of a year. This has been a huge commitment: it has taken up a lot of my spare time, made me somewhat (/more?) anti-social, and has cost a fair bit of dosh. I can only imagine how infuriating it would be to be made incapable of competing in an Ironman by a deranged motorist.

Now the motorist. Yes the cyclist made an inappropriate gesture. It is alleged that this was a result of the motorist coming uncomfortably close to the cyclist while overtaking another vehicle. Now I’m both a cyclist and a motorist. I know how vulnerable you are on a bike. I also know how annoying it is to be driving behind slow motorists. But after being caught and convicted of the heinous act, the driver is likely have an entry on his criminal record. I’m guessing this stupid mistake will have repercussions for travelling abroad and future job prospects.

The key point, in my opinion, is whether the agro is necessary. Yes you might think you are in the right. But is it really any skin off your nose to let it go? And if something bad almost happens, why not take note and let the authorities handle it?

Confidence riding in the aero position

I’m in my last week of training before the big race. Time for a reflection. So far my training has involved a lot of swimming, biking, and you guessed it, running. I’ve mostly done long distance work outs appropriate for an Ironman. I probably ought to have done more brick work outs and high intensity tempo trainings, but no one is perfect.

One gaping hole in my Ironman preparation is riding in the aero position. I’ve got a road bike which I have modified to be like a tri bike: I’ve attached aerobars. Truth is I have not spent any longer than 10 minutes staying in the aero position at a time! I did try but felt a bit uneasy and unused to the steering being so twitchy. I decided to reduce the risk of injury and crashing my bike and defaulted to riding on the drop downs instead.

But then I read up on how to better set up a road bike with aerobars. I’ve now moved the seat as far forward as possible and lowered the handle bars. This coupled with the approaching Ironman race date and miraculously I’ve now got the confidence to ride in the aero position! I guess setting things up properly and a bit of pressure to get my A into G is all that it took.

Perhaps this morning’s ride had a tail wind both ways, but riding faster in the aero position seems easier!

Conquering Lake Pupuke

Back in mid November last year I joined in with a swim group that went there and back across Lake Pupuke. In that effort, I chickened out of doing the full 2 km swim. But now, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that I have conquered Lake Pupuke all on my own!

After a few solid months of swimming I knew I would be able to swim the lake this time round. I just had to prove it to myself. I also used to opportunity to see how straight I was swimming in open water. Here’s the data from my GPS watch overlaid on a map. It looks like the way there was reasonably straight. Don’t know why I was all over the show on the return leg.

Mind you, I shouldn’t concern myself with this too much. After all, there will be buoys on the course spaced much more frequent than 1 km and plenty of other swimmers to follow.

Neck pain be gone!

Since yesterday I’ve been taking some anti-inflammation pills, along with draping my neck and shoulder with a heated wheat bag for most of the day. Had a follow up this morning and got another neck massage and some acupuncture. To my relief, my neck pain has mostly gone away. It is still tender but at least I can now turn my head right with almost full motion.

The plan now is to take it easy the next few days and not to do any exercise that might aggravate it. I’ll do a quick spin on an exercycle today but have orders not to do any running or swimming for the next day or so. I am that this neck pain is gone and is almost back to normal. One could only imagine what sort of chaos this sort of thing could cause, should it spring up during the Ironman!

Tapering down and acute wryneck

For the past week I have been tapering down for the big event: The 2013 Taupo Ironman! I’m feeling fit as a fiddle and there is nothing that is going to stop me from being an Ironman finisher on 2 March 2013. Well, something almost did.

This morning was feeling like any other morning. Was sitting at work and flexed my neck. And then… all of a sudden… wham! An excruciating painful pain shot up my neck. I soldiered on for a couple of more hours at work. We have a big deliverable that I play a vital role in so I felt inclined to harden up and get on with it. Locking my head to one side helped but a few hours later and the pain persisted and I felt nauseous.

I left work to see a physio. She asked me to rotate my neck. To the left is all good. But the right… err. I can manage about 15 degrees before things get uncomfortable. She also notices that my head is slanted right and my right neck muscles are very tight. The diagnosis is that I have is an acute wryneck. These are quite common and can be unlocked immediately with a massage but may have residual effects for a couple of weeks. I would have got this from a poor posture at work, in particular soldering components to circuit boards with my neck in an awkward position for most of yesterday.

I explained the situation and also mentioned that I was competing in an Ironman in less than two weeks. She gave my neck a good massage and given the proximity of the Ironman, sussed out some prescription anti-inflammation pills (Diclofenac) for me. Let’s hope this wretched neck pain goes away pronto!

Waitangi Day antics

Waitangi Day, for you internationals, is a public holiday in New Zealand. It celebrates the day at which The Treaty of Waitangi was signed way back on the 6th February 1840. The treaty recognised Maori ownership of land and properties, while giving the British sovereignty and rights to govern the country. Several events up and down the country are held on Waitangi Day. Most people, I suspect, just do what they would do on a day off: go off to the beach, household work, spend time with friends and family etc.

What did I do this Waitangi Day? I did a longish bike-run brick session. I did the usual Helensville loop with the exception of bypassing Silverdale, making it a shorter 86 km ride. I normally do the longer ride but I found out on a previous ride that a 2 km portion or so of Wainui Road has road works. Don’t want to wreck my bike’s paintwork and not keen on riding on large loose grit on skinny tires inflated to 120 psi!

After I came back from the ride, I had something quick to eat and drink, slapped on some sun block, changed into running clothes and headed out. I ended up running 20 km, some 5 km shorter than what I had planned on. Had to cut the run short as I forgot to take some food with me and it turned out to be quite a hot day! With the exception of lack of fuel, there were no problems and I’m happy with today’s workout.

Off it comes!

I’ve been putting this off for a long time. But I have decided it is somewhat part of being a triathlete and will do it for the last month of my Ironman training. Today I shaved my legs! Although this isn’t a big deal for chicks or cyclists who routinely shave. But it took me a few days of deciding whether or not the leg hair comes off.

Originally my thoughts were to go out and buy a pair of hair clippers before cleaning up with a razor. But then I figured I would seldom use the clippers and just opted to go just with the razor. It required a couple of razors and then that was it! Once the leg hair was gone, my legs were oddly non-tanned. Perhaps shaving took off a layer of skin? It feels weird walking about without leg hairs, but I feel somewhat more belonging to the tri crowd.