Today is indeed another TUEsday*

This piece has been brewing in my head a while.

I hoped it would go away during the Olympics. I watched only one race (can’t remember which one) on the interweb the next day.

Why bother you ask?

I just don’t see sport as sport anymore. It is entertainment. In the same class as watching the Kardashians or whatever is on trend at the moment. I have no problem with that. I even like it. But it holds little interest beyond. I used to follow it more intensely. I even tried to emulate the actors in the sport.

So what has happened? I am disillusioned.

Disillusioned by the top sprinters, yes that one who wins every time, the guys and girls running the 10 000m, the TDF. I just can’t bring myself to believe that they are clean, that this is sport. More importantly that this has anything in common with my runs or cycles with my mates on any given weekend.

So what is the solution?

Treat the shows we watch on TV as shows. Exactly as that: choreographed, scripted, well executed but no less entertaining or intriguing than when we believed. The only difference is that I can no longer see it as real.

I don’t believe that all pro’s are dirty. Far from it. I pity the clean ones for I believe the rules have changed and they were asleep at the time. The clean guys have had the rug pulled out from underneath them. I fear there is no turning back. For the tide is far too great.

There can be no doubt about that. It is no longer an approach of who wins by being clean. It is who wins by not getting caught. Whether it is pushing up to the line as Sky would like to call it. Or cutting a corner on a switchback and thinking it is ok. Or worse thinking you won’t get caught. And maybe that is the tragedy.

  • Thanks to the Secret Pro for this piece.

Ironman: what I have learnt:

70,3 2013: note mtb shoes and std road helmet

70,3 2013: note std road helmet and mtb shoes

This is my favorite time of year for training. Work stress disappears for a few weeks and you can put in a solid block. Perfect if you are preparing for IMSA on the 6th April 2014

I loved my prep a year ago and thought I would share some insights from my journey. NOW is the time to start planning in earnest!

In no particular order:

* It is ok to give your bike a name. We all do it. And yes “machine” is as good a name as any.

* Get a pro bike set up for your tt bike/bars. It is perfectly good to ride on a road bike with tt bars. A correct set up will be hugely different from a road bike set up. Spend the money on this and do it early so that you can get used to the position and discomfort. I used Ian Waddel of Personal Best

* Discomfort can not be avoided but needs to be managed.

* I have mtb shoes and cleats on my road bike. This means I only need one pair of biking shoes for road and mtb. I get out of the water and put my shoes on and run to my bike in transition. And I don’t look like a complete dork standing around in my cycling shoes 😉

* Work out your nutrition and work out a plan. Then train that plan. On race day be flexible. My plan did not work out as I ate too much concentrated sugar too early on. Even a few gels too early on the bike mess things up. I learnt a hard lesson on the run.

* Going to swim squad once a week is a huge help. I did at least one other session of technique drills and one long swim, preferably open water. (I could not swim three year’s ago. I did a course with Georgie Thomas of Total Immersion. read about that here. I still stand by what I wrote. This is the best way for a non-swimmer to learn. HOWEVER you just don’t get fast continually doing drills and ultimately IM is a race). Viv Williams continues to be a super star.

* Think transitions through and how you are going to manage each of them. Work out what is going to work for you and not what everybody else does. Pack the least amount of stuff into your transition bag! I chose to ride in cycling bibs and changed into running shorts. The added comfort was well worth the few minutes extra changing.

* Ride your bike alone. It is an individual race and should be trained accordingly. I see far too many pelotons of tt bikes out. Really! What is the point?

* Ride with the nutrition that you will have on race day. Ride with your water bottles full – even for shorter rides. You want to know what the bike is really going to feel like with an extra 1,5 kg on board.

* Ride the downhills. Don’t just freewheel. This is where you get free speed. Use it.

* Most important enjoy the training. If you don’t then you won’t do the necessary yards.

I am not doing Ironman in 2014. I want to build my biking base. This is going to be even more important with the route changes in mind. Good luck to all who are getting ready for next year!

Full Disclosure: I continue to use and pay for Ian and Viv’s services. I did not receive any benefit for writing this post.