Sporting Provenance

I was sent a goody bag of sporting delights to try out a few weeks ago by a guy who is in the process of setting up a UK distribution for items with a valid sporting provenance. I have to say that I was impressed by quite a few of the items.

Hoo Haa Ride Glide”, a skin cream designed for lady’s delicate bits and pieces by those that know about such things.

Every time I step near the Brompton and its vicious but highly desirable Brooks saddle I stagger away longing for chaffing relief and even the Triumph Bonneville leaves it’s mark in the Hoo Haa region after a long ride. I’ve tested the product out on a few occasions now and each time it’s left an odd, relieved, then panicked expression on my face. Quite unusually they decided to pack a creme designed for the nether regions with something like menthol or peppermint. This cools at first but quickly tips over into a burning sensation as you begin to wonder if you accidentally applied deep heat to your gentle parts. It eases off again though, leaving you with a tingling sensation and an altogether more satisfied expression.

I think I like it but I’m not sure if it’s quite decent.

It stays put for your ride, it’s got a great name and I find myself looking forward to an excuse to use it – try it.

Reflect Sports was set up by a couple of women who were frustrated by the lack of women specific sports products and so decided to plug a gap in the market. They also have some great swim ranges – REFLECT H2OTM Swimming Conditioner, REFLECT H2OTM Sulfate Free Swim Shampoo and REFLECT H2OTM Pre-Swim and Sun Protecting Gel. I’ve been lucky enough to try out all these products and they do a good job of reviving your hair after a session in a chlorine pool.

Also in the goody bag were a pair of novelty pink feet, otherwise known as StuffIts.

They may look a little comical but they are stuffed with cedar and perform wonders with damp, ever so slightly pongy shoes.

There was a vast selection of Lip Balm flavours by Joshua Tree, and I made sure I nabbed the lavendar tube before the kids dived in.

I’ve also been asked to try out a fuel injection system from zerogoo. Having had bad experiences with nasty, sticky gel packs I’m quite taken with the notion of a self contained system that will release my energy source of choice into my hydration system. I haven’t got round to trying it out as I’m not quite up to gel standards yet. I’ll update you over the summer.

All the products were sourced from small businesses who have been founded by sportsmen and women who went on to develop a solution to the problems they encountered while doing what they loved.
Dave from Joshua Tree is a climber, Mike from StuffIts was sick of having damp, smelly cycling shoes and trainers, Laurie and Jena from Reflect Sports are triathletes. Trent from Zerogoo is an avid mountain biker.

BPTT Update for 19th May

Not much to report on the running front this week, it’s all been quite a struggle. Deege explains the runners eternal battle with the mind body dichotomy better than I ever could. I’m afraid to say that while Deege managed to win her battle, I just bailed. Out on my long run my body started grumbling and managed to convince me that it was only 2 km away from self-destruction. Strangely, that happened to be the exact distance between my disintegrating body and my front door, so thats where I took it. Long run turned into the shortest run this year – pants!

I went to Bushy Park yesterday but I didn’t even manage a run there. It was my turn for volunteering. Great job that, I can imagine it catching on, and I got an event t-shirt for my new page. It’s quite good fun watching sweaty, staggering blokes struggling to remember their names as they come to register their finishing positions.

Front of pack

It’s also quite impressive to watch the start from the front, I thought I was going to get gathered up in the stampede and carried to a new pb along with my laptop. I might try plonking myself at the front next time I run and see how far I get before I actually have to start running.

Photo by Rodiogirl

So a frail running week but I have been building back up with the cycling, managed 100 k this weekend. After BPTT my intention was to conduct a reccy of the Thames Turbo Triathlon bike route. I must have taken the wrong exit out of the park as it took me 6 k to find the start at Hampton Outdoor pool. I never manage to find that place I think they shift it each time I visit, which wouldn’t be too much trouble at all.

Great route, jolly scenic and all that, just need to remember to turn left as you pass the Southwark and Vauxhall waterworks. I think thats what its called – crazy name considering its in Sunbury.


I cut the route a bit short as I was caught short and I was miles from home. I think I’ll try and get the full route sorted next weekend, if I can find the pool a bit sooner.

Here’s the official route map, nicked from the Thames Turbo race pack. Still two more left this season I think.


Stratford Sprint Tri – Results

The official results are up now, so my gadget catastrophe didn’t matter too much in the end.

I’m not familiar with the way triathlon results are recorded but I’m assuming they include the transition time immediately after each event. It’s quite an achievement to capture everyones stage results without the use of the timing chips, but then the organisation for the whole event was exemplary. Certainly one to recommend!


Chuckles Like Muttley

Stratford 220 Sprint Triathlon
400 metre Swim – 23 kilometre Cycle – 5 kilometre run

Did I give the impression I was apprehensive about this tri-affa-lon thingy?

‘Twas a piece of cake and an absolute buzz to boot! My legs are killing me but I have had such a great day and I didn’t have to strip off in public once! I’ve been beaming all day.

I really didn’t think I was going to make it. My mum was suggesting I ought to throw a sickie and I was seriously tempted! Then I hired a Streetcar which hadn’t been filled with petrol and found myself coasting down the M40 in dire need of a petrol station – the car literally conked out as I pulled up at the pump. I had a bit of moral support though as Shakti decided to come along with me and that really does make all the difference, along with all the positive messages sent my way via the blogosphere – thanks so much folks!

In the end I arrived safely in Stratford but I was still near shaking with fear as I allowed someone to scrawl some number on assorted parts of my body. I think this number will have to become part of my life now, it is practically tattooed into my flesh! Still, I’m prepared to live with it, I felt such a pro walking out of that hall with my arm suitably tagged.

I didn’t actually get round to drawing up a transition list but I did stay awake til 3.30am “visualising” and the result of this was pure exhaustion when my alarm went off at 5.30 but a hassle free transition – you takes your choices.

I snook off to the start of the swim in my tracky bottoms and t-shirt and it was here that life started getting a bit more comfortable for me. Everyone in the 59 min estimate zone was terrified. There were even tales of people vomiting. Nothing like a bit of terror to make people chatty and nothing like other peoples fear and paralysis to make me feel cool, calm and collected!


The swim went like a dream, never mind 59 mins – when I popped out of the other end my declared time was 7 mins and something. Woohoo! Great start and now on to the bit I was looking forward to.

It was raining, but as an all weather commuter I think this acts in my favour. I’m also a seriously competitive biker! I had a blast but in the end I had a bit of a too and fro with a woman who finally got the better of me. You can’t draft in triathlon so you either have to overtake or drop right back, a shame as I think we were well matched for a bit of mutual support. I finished in just under 50 mins, I think. The approximate times are due to my complete incompetence with todays gadget of choice, the polar RS800SD. I’m hoping that the 220 guys are going to release official times soon so that I can actually see how I did against the pack.


The run was slow and seriously slippy but at least it was flat and so didn’t cause my knee any bother. I found it difficult to get in my stride, my hamstrings were really tense after the bike slog. I’m used to running after riding but maybe the intensity and distance made all the difference, it all felt quite peculiar. There was a great atmosphere on the run, the double loop meant you passed the same people at least twice and there was plenty of positive banter flowing. The marshalls were great too.

My time for the run was around 35 mins so now I just need to find out the overall time to get an idea of how efficient the transitions were.

I finished before the worst of the weather hit but those starting after me had a terrible time of it. Rodeogirl set sail through an absolute torrent that didn’t let up til it was all over. Didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit though and it made those hot showers at the end so much more delightful.

Just need to book myself into the next one now!

Yorkshire Puddin

Missed yet another BPTT today as I was away on “family business”. Didn’t stop me running though. Dad dropped me off at Bridlington beach and my task was to get myself back home before my mum had vacated the bathroom.

Its odd running oop north. Absolutely everyone I passed said hello to me. I have a tendency to stop breathing when I approach another human so they don’t hear my wheezing and assume me to be from the ultra unfit club. Jolly hard to squeeze out pleasantries when you’re half asphyxiated.

I’ve had a pretty naff week as far as running is concerned so I was glad to get out and test myself. The last km was was a relieving downhill stretch that enabled me to clock a delightful 6 min/km pace. I love that pace, it really feels like running. Just need to keep it up for a whole 10k’s and I’ll be overjoyed.


I managed to inflame my patellar tendon again though and ended the run limping. I’m struggling to climb steps and deal with hills so hopefully tomorrows tri is pancake flat.

Oh grief, tomorrow is so close now. My flat is strewn with little sporty piles, I don’t know where to put it all now. I wonder if it is a bit naff to turn up at transition with a wheelie suitcase.

Cold Cold Feet

I’m having a fairly serious anxiety moment. I always get cold feet during the build up to a race event but this weekends triathlon is a whole new kettle of panic and paranoia.

A typical running event will see me pitching up in full running attire and in a state of planned dehydration so I’m not tempted to use the stinking portaloos. All I need to do then is concentrate on avoiding the forced team bonding/stretching exercises for half an hour, until the whistle/gun/man lets rip and all I have to do is plod forward til its all over and I can go home.

With this triathlon thingy, the worries just don’t seem to stop. First thing I’ve got to concern myself about is how to get there. When the whole Stratford triathlon joy was first mooted I felt as if I was signing up for a little jaunt across to East London. Not a 100 mile expedition towards the Stratford of Shakespeare fame. I suppose I can cope with this though, at least it gives me an excuse to pull out the nicely spoken GPS lady.


When I get there I have to register and pin my number to both front and back of my running shirt but I’m gonna be pushing my bike and carrying about 30 different outfits and bottles and pumps and puncture repair kits and rucksacs and towells and as yet undetermined stuff cos I can’t park my bike up until 30 mins before the start of the swim. Its going to be a a complete baggage disaster zone.

Next is the worst bit. I get to my racking area and allow all the rucksacs and trammel to spew out onto the floor around me. After frantically trying to organise all the junk into some kind of prescribed T1/T2 efficiency combo I have to get prepared for the swim. So I’ve travelled down in my costume so it can’t be so bad but do I really have to strip off and parade around in my swim wear for 30 mins????? I can manage 30 secs I think, but no way can I manage this sort of exposure for 30 mins.

I made a bit of a mess of my entry as well. You had to put in your estimated swim time for 400m. Not knowing whether I could swim a length or how long a length was, I didn’t have a flippin clue. I tried entering my time as SLOW hoping that it would mean something to the organisers but it wasn’t accepted. I then opted for the largest number it would accept, this was 59:99 mins. I have since discovered that 12 mins is slow but 59 mins would take a monumental effort. This number was also the decider in your race starting position, with all the slowies going out first.

naked biker

So it’s fair to say that I am not looking forward to Sunday.

I am going to have to stand half naked in public for 30 mins before jumping into an empty pool as all the other swimmers will be jumping in at least 47 minutes after me. Either that or I’ll be behind a bunch of swimmers who will actually take 59 mins to do 12 laps and I’ll be dead of hypothermia before I get to the good bit.

Can I go home yet?

Run, bike, swim

Sundays now seem to be the day for upside down triathlons. This morning I nipped out for a short run around Chswick and Barnes Bridge to check out the aftermath of the boat race.

Boat Race 3

Gorgeous morning, the river seemed to be teeming with kayaks for a change.

After a longish transition involving the production of potato and gherkin salad and relaxation in a luxurious bath I headed out with the Stumpjumper only to return to the house a few minutes later to collect the forgotten helmet. I see a disqualification heading my way if I don’t sort out this mental block before Stratford. Bounced around Richmond Park for a bit before arriving at Hampton pool.

I am beginning to think that swimming is never going to be my thing. I haven’t really read any more of the total immersion book so I quickly flicked to chapter 8 (the drills section) while I was in the bath this morning, that just scared me so then I started flicking through in search of breathing tips. I saw a few references to yogic breathing which I know about but have never really tried under water. Book closed – non the wiser.

Started off in the pool “pushing the buoy”, then remembered to breath. Started the next length focusing on breathing. Breathing every third 3rd arm flap seems manageable but while I’m in this routine I seem to forget about pushing the chest down. Revert to pushing chest down then immediately stop breathing again. Bob up to the top gasping for oxygen after about 12 arm flaps. Finaly fall back into the ever so slow, vertical, head shaking, bilateral breathing technique that I started with before I wasted cash on umpteen books and special vacuum sealing goggles.

Got out of pool, devoured delicious potato salad and started smiling again.

I Float

I took advantage of my extra light hour this evening and cycled down to Pools in the Park for a little paddle.

Seems I can still remember how to float but forward progress is slow and quite painful actually. The front of my ankle hurts after a few lengths so I had to give up on the leg kick and just tickle my way forward with the arms. My lower back hurts as well but that’ll be because I’m bent in the middle trying to keep my head in the breathing zone.

I did 20 leisurely lengths in about 20 mins so that suggests my predicted time of 40 mins for 400m was a little pessimistic. If I can suss out how to handle the head in the water breathing I should improve matters a little.

I’ve been thinking about triathlon logistics recently, particulalry the transition stage. I reckon I could lose an hour at T1 and T2 if todays attempt to leave the house was anything to go by. I had to nip in and out twice to collect missing items from rucksac, like money and bra. I was half way down the road when I realised I’d forgotten my helmet. At the pool I was in my costume before I discovered I needed to purchase a token to retrieve the key from the locker so I had to get dressed again and go back out to the reception.  Dizzy ***!

Impulsive Nutter

Oh good grief, not sure what has possessed me but I’ve just pressed submit on an entry form for the Stratford Sprint Triathlon.

I think I am going to be asking myself why for quite some time to come.

I can’t remember how to swim so I’m going to immerse myself in Hampton outdoor pool after the Bushy Park TT this Saturday. I wonder if I’ve got a swimming costume?