Sunday, 29 May 2011

Cleethorpe AC Open and Woodhall Spa Tri in one weekend!

This is Jack Booth and I lining up for the photographer after his first ever 100m wheelchair race, which he won in a time of 25.2. A fantastic achievement since Jack is only 12 and has only been training about a month. A well deserved win.
It was a very windy race at Woodhall Spa today, but at least the rain held off. The 400m pool swim was interesting, very busy with over 573 competitors going off in 2 minute intervals. Had a charming man swim over the top of me, then slow down, doing breast stroke. I kept my cool and drafted him to save energy. There was no distinct line along the bottom of the pool which made some swimmers weave all over the place-very amusing as I got squished against the ropes. Over all too quickly, just as I was getting into it...
The bike I knew would be a hard 24km, steadily climbing 300ft but buffeted by gale force winds the whole way. I was more aerodynamic than most and enjoyed a whizz downhill at 35kmh then into a gruelling headwind for the last 4km.
Transition was not ideal, being grass, so slow exit for the race chair. I was expected to turn 90 degrees onto the pavement, uphill, so I just stuck to the road. Amazing how large the turning circle is on a race chair...Awful head wind again, kept my head down and just pushed, before trees and hedges, then houses gave some shelter. Ironman Martin of Spalding Tri passed me and I just looked at his tattoo on his calf as he disappeared. Out onto the main road and a better, although pot holed, main road, meant I soon passed him, even though he had the shorter route on the pavement. Kept up a quick pace from the halfway mark, and fortunately a marshall stopped a couple of cars for me to turn into the finish. I did have visions of ending up on someone's bonnet! Grass finish-ugh! but everyone clapping and people I know coming up to congratulate me was awesome.
I didn't get to see any of my daughter Rebecca's race :-( but her brother George did. We hadn't been able to fix a bottle rack to her bike so she'd done the whole race with nothing and was pretty wiped out at the end. I'm very proud of her achievement though, especially as she was on a mountain bike! Times tbc.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

New bike cushion!

Rob at Bromakin put me in touch with Covertec Solutions:
a company that makes beautiful made-to measure upholstery for cars but also bespoke cushions for wheelchairs.
I went down there a few weeks ago to discuss my requirements as the old cushion that came with my second hand bike was making me sit awkwardly and aggravating my shoulder injury. Paul made a paper pattern and I hoped it would arrive in time for the Nationals.
I ended up sending them my own tracing paper pattern after taking Rob's advice about changing my seating position when I visited to collect my race chair. The cushion was made in a couple of weeks and came the day before the Nationals. I eagerly ripped off the old velcro, had a quick sit and realised my seating was too different to try out in my first race! I have now had a chance to try out the new cushion and bed it in and can't wait to do a time trial. But maybe not today-it's windy and rainy outside! Best stick to the turbo :-)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Every eight hours...

Today is spinal cord injury awareness day. Incredibly, someone is spinal cord injured every eight hours and their lives are changed forever-in an instant. Sadly, there is no treatment or cure for paralysis, but there are charities that support people to move on with their lives and rediscover themselves.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Paratriathlon Nationals-Silver medal!!

Well, what a day! The lovely warm weather deserted us, we were blown sideways and rained on, but all of us came out smiling at the end.
I was surprisingly calm all day, even though I had a very new transition 'team' consisting of one (although I am allowed two helpers officially) and had to talk Lucy through what I needed before the race. Fortunately Penny showed me exactly how the water handling was going to happen, as nobody had demonstrated this before.
I was so laid back that I only just got my gloves onto the race chair, put my swim cap on and slid into the water when the hooter went off.
Bit of a mad washing machine effect at the start-there seemed so many people- but by the first buoy things had spread out. Managed backstroke turns round both buoys and drafted Tom Perkins for a while but his strong kick made it hard to breathe. I really noticed the difference as I drew away though, so need to stick by the side of someone next time.
Felt horribly dizzy when I was lifted out of the water and thought I might faint, but ok once recumbent on the bike. I wasn't the only one to suffer this, and think it was the cold weather and water reducing blood pressure.
Bike was a steady 90 cadence and a good average speed to produce a PB for the 20km! The race chair was my nightmare ride, even though I beat Karen out of T2. I didn't know my way out, two marshalls carried on talking and ignored me and then the path was so narrow, I crashed into the drinks tent :-(
A 90 degree turn onto the service road uphill was rubbish, then on a small uphill section I slid backwards, frantically braking. I couldn't get enough weight onto the front of the chair and doing wheelies uphill with a head wind wasn't a good idea. Unfortunately, I had to do the circuit twice. I coped better the second time, but ended up opening my gloves and pushing one side at a time, not letting go of the wheels...Luckily it was not within sight of anyone, as I felt pathetic.
I could hear Tracy, Denise and Scott shouting me on, and the small crowd was great, clapping and cheering every time we went past. Brilliant! Can't wait for the next one-I'm hooked!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Paratri National Champs tomorrow

I met a friend in the pool today who I haven't seen for months, as our usual thrice weekly lunchtime swims no longer coincide.
We chatted about our teenagers who always fail to notice when things run out, and I complained about a lack of cereal and loo roll in my house, which nobody seemed to have noticed.
So, she came round this afternoon to deliver this lovely parcel of emergency supplies, plus a little note of encouragement, which exhorts me to make Eric and Robbie suffer tomorrow (bike and race chair) and carb load for energy.
I've packed what I think is required for transition plus spares and tools, my lovely neighbour Anna helped me put the bike in the car in between showers, and I foolishly watched the weather forecast which isn't brilliant. I think it was easier sorting my dive kit for a major expedition abroad than preparing for my first least I knew exactly what I was doing with all those tanks and regs and equipment, as I'd had years of proper training. Just got to remember it's fun when the rain is pouring down...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Brigg Charity Ride was persuaded ages ago to enter this fun event by Alan Rayment, a member of Lincsquad and Paralympic Affiliate squad member. It's all in aid of Lindsey Lodge Hospice. Needless to say, Alan and I didn't do the 100 miles or the 100km...but a good 10km ride into a headwind, with a glorious 10km ride home in 22 minutes, with a great tailwind! I got a PB of 58:59, but Alan had to wait for me several times on the outward course. It was definitely not flat! Jack, a visually impaired lad, rode a tandem and is coming to compete in the Nationals next Saturday. I think he will surprise a few people...
After a strong coffee and flapjack, we were off with a group of disabled youngsters from Hull Panthers who were all on the road for the first time. Alan and I used our race chairs and there were hand cycles and trikes set up for the others. We did a 5km course and everyone enjoyed themselves. I had a go on one of the bikes after, a Hase, which I had thought about trying to buy a few years back. Just as well I didn't, as it would not be race legal and they cost about £4,000.
I was about to head off home when I spotted a lovely lady doing massage in the awning for a charitable donation, so I had a quick neck, arms and shoulders done. Bliss!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Swim Smooth Day!

Apart from getting up at 5:30am to drive to Loughborough, today has been amazing!! I attended a SwimSmooth swim analysis day and although it seemed pricey, it was well worth it.
It's brilliant being able to watch yourself swim, above and below water and Paul did a great deconstruction of everyone's stroke. There were twelve 'punters' matched by twelve 'coach punters' all looking to improve their swimming or coaching.
We had three sessions in the pool, with some theory about efficient strokes, breathing, catch, etc. in between in the classroom, plus detailed discussion of each person's stroke. Apart from being filmed in the first session, we critiqued each other, which was an interesting exercise. Most comments were brutally honest and I felt sure that I breathed out sufficiently-apparently not!! I'm a 'swinger' who classically holds their breath and has naturally higher cadence. The good thing is that this is an efficient stroke type for open water. I was really surprised that my legs don't drag at all and my body position is good due to my natural buoyancy...(hum).
I got to try my wetsuit and increased my cadence to 72 bpm with a wetranome and came out smiling after a 24 second 25m which was hardly any effort. I know need to see what I can increase my stroke rate to before it all starts to fall apart.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Open Water swimming!

My new purple tri suit got an outing today as Layla and I joined Spalding Tri Club at the Coronation Channel for some river swimming.
I was slightly nervous, but with their swim coach sticking close, a canoe and about 15 enthusiastic swimmers in the water with me, I soon got into my rhythm. There were even some barmy chaps practising in just trunks for a team channel swim. Brrh!!
Initially I thought I would turn before the half mile mark, but then decided to go for it and swim the mile. Apart from a freaky bit of weed brushing my face, a duck taking off, and a slight chop caused by wind on the return leg, I was very pleased with my second open water swim.
Layla 'chicked' everyone, storming up the river in her new 2XU wetsuit, and staying in the water until I got out. I couldn't persuade her to go for a run after though...