Well Sunday saw me compete in the 2008 Monaco 70.3 event. We arrived in Monte Carlo on the Friday and I immediately noticed the heat. Saturday was hot too. I was sweating in the shade thinking “wow, this will be a hot race”.


Saturday saw all the bags and bikes getting put into transition. We also completed brief swim, bike and run efforts to get the body moving correctly.

I woke up at 4h45 on Sunday morning and noticed that it had been raining. We ate and then got down to the start area. Got the wetsuit on and handed in the street wear bag.


I placed myself midway forward and on the left. The signal to start went and I headed into the water. I started well and ran out of space so ended up being squeeze further to the left in the water. Unfortunately this meant navigating around the pier / water break along with many other athletes. In the mass start I ended up not being able to swim and got my toe dragged on a rock ending up with a cut toe. After the race I noticed rip in my wetsuit that looks like it came from an encounter with the rocks too. Doh! I’m not sure how easy it will be to get repaired but I am going to contact Sailfish Wetsuits to see what they can do for me. I am really not lucky with my wetsuit in the swim starts!

During the swim I ended up feeling like I was far out to sea with other swimmers drifting towards the beach. I’m convinced I was swimming relatively straight towards the next buoys with everyone else doing an odd route… could everyone else really not have been going straight? I got to the second turn buoy and headed in to the beach. The swim back to shore felt good. I got into more of a racing rhythm than my slower catchup like stroke. I felt fast. I got out the water in 41 minutes.


Slow and leisurely is th way to describe T1. I put on loads of sunscreen and generally dawdled. Out the tent I started the long run through the bike park. By the time I got to my bike I noticed one of my socks didn’t feel right so I adjusted it – more time lost!


The bike had three major climbs to cover. I felt good on the bike and felt reasonable strong on the climbs. I was keeping my eye on the distance covered and eased off slightly just before the climbs to ensure my legs were not “maxed out” starting the climbs. Of course, the 34/50 and 12-25 gearing on my bike probably helped, but my legs had to keep the pedals going.

I descent after the first climb was a little hair-raising. Lots of switch backs and blind turns with some rough bits of road. My hands got a good workout with all the breaking involved. The roads were meant to be closed but there was traffic to contend with on a few short sections of the race, including part of the descent back to Monte Carlo.

I kept to my plan of a bottle of RIDE and three gels each hour – much like for the Austria 70.3 race. I must admit that I had a couple of sips of coke on the bike ride too which was a welcome change.

All in all, the bike was not as tough as I originally expected. In hindsight I could perhaps have pushed a bit harder on the bike. A time of 3h41:54 on the bike.


The long run through the bike racking area seemed to take ages to complete. Into the tent and off with the bike shoes and socks and on with the cycling footwear.


As soon as I set out on the run I knew it was going to be a long run. My tummy felt full and bloated – similar to the Austria 70.3 race. Perhaps I am consuming too many calories on the bike resulting in my sore stomach? This is something I need to try and get right.

The run consisted of 4.5 laps. The run course is fairly flat apart from the long climb up to the Monte Carlo casino and then the descent back down to the beachfront road. I managed to run up the climb on the first lap but not the second, third or fourth. I did not feel comfortable for the first 3.5 laps. After picking up my fourth wrist band my tummy started feeling better and I managed to run virtually the whole of the last lap back to the finish. I felt relatively good on the last lap and I hope to get some timing figures for the 4.5 laps. I think the splits will be quite interesting.

I ran up the hill to the casino and over the finishing line completing the 21.1km in a time of 2h20:01. Not a great half marathon time at all. Roughly 10 minutes slower than my Austria 70.3 run time – although the Austria 70.3 run is much flatter.


Swim: 0h41:01

T1: 0h08:28

Bike: 3h41:54

T2: 0h05:48

Run: 2h20:01

Total: 6h57:12

Well a tough race, particularly the run. The bike is not that tough but is certainly slow going. The swim start is tricky due to the narrow exit from the swim area out to the sea. I think that I would start on the right of the start area if I was to start this race again. The toughest part of the race for me was the run. All in all a enjoyable and pretty well organised race.

Now to plan for the next one…

Well last night I sat down and took a closer look at the Monaco 70.3 bike profile. Not terribly pretty reading. The aid stations are at distances:

  • 18km (distance to station 18km)
  • 46km (distance to station 28km)
  • 67km (distance to station 21km)
  • 76km (distance to station 9km)

Looking at the small profile graphic my analysis indicates roughly the following:

  • 0-18km (18km): 18km climbing
  • 14-46km (28km): 5km climbing, 5km decsent, 12km flat and 6km climbing
  • 46-67km (21km): 3km decsent, 17km flat
  • 67-76km (9km): 9km climbing
  • 76-90km (14km): 1km climbing, 13km descent

Based on this my plan is:

  • Start the bike with 1.5 bottles of fluid (1.5 RIDE).
  • At aid station 1 I will pickup two bottles (1 RIDE and 1 water) and possibly dump any remaining water at the start of the climb.
  • At station 2 I will pickup two bottles (2 RIDE or 1 RIDE and 1 water if the race mixed RIDE is not to taste)
  • At station 3 I will pickup one bottle (1 RIDE)
  • At station 4 I will pickup two bottles (1 RIDE and 1 water) and drink about half the ride and switch to water

If the day is warm or hot and I am enjoying the RIDE drink I may pickup an additional RIDE rather than water. Since I typically eat gels on the bike too, I don’t want too many calories in my tummy on the climbs and hence consume some water – but in the heat I may opt for liquid calories rather than gels.

As for time estimates (13km/h climb and 30km/h flat/descent):

  • 0-18km (18km): 18km climbing (1h23)
  • 14-46km (28km): 5km climbing, 5km decsent, 12km flat and 6km climbing (0h23 + 0h10 + 0h24 + 0h28=1h25)
  • 46-67km (21km): 3km decsent, 17km flat (0h40)
  • 67-76km (9km): 9km climbing (0h42)
  • 76-90km (14km): 1km climbing, 13km descent (0h05 + 0h26 = 0h31)

So total predicted time of 281min = 4h41. Hmm, not great at all….

edit: 5km MORE climbing after the first aid station that I had not included first time round.

Well I was away last week for four days in Spain for some intense hill training. Covered about 220km in the four days along with some swimming and running thrown in. Much of the cycling was up and down hills with around 6% gradient at a less-than-race-pace pace. From the training I figure I’ll aim for a HR of around 170 on the climbs at Monaco 70.3 and then try to belt along the flats at around 160-165.

I practised some swim starts and got into the swing of things after actually trying to get going rather than simply dawdling. My plan at the moment for the Monaco start is to start at the left of the field and then head diagonally to the first buoy. Hopefully I won’t get swum over by the “seriously fast” swimmers who will go for the shorter and tighter line starting on the right. Of course, all this will probably change on race morning.

This weekend will see me getting some long cycling training in along with some running. Additionally, I will make a final kit check and ensure that I have everything (and that it’s working!!) that I will need to take with me.

A quick note to summarise some info from my threshold run which I completed on 2008/06/20. I did a 10 minute warm-up before and a 10 minute warm-down after the actual 40 minute run.

I completed 8.86km in the 40 minutes. Average pace of 4:30/km or 13.3km/hr. Average heart rate of 196 with a max of 201. 

At this pace I would have a 10km time of 45 minutes or a 5km time of 22:30. Interesting since at the club relays I ran 5.05km in 22:35 is which marginally faster (4:28/km as opposed to 4:30/km). However at the club relays the average HR was 188 with a max of 199.

Not sure what the lower HR (compared with threshold run) was a result of – fitter? cooler weather? better hydrated?

Another fact is that yesterday’s London Triathlon 10km run (which I didn’t really put the hammer down for – avg HR of 171 and max of 191) was only 18 seconds slower than my fastest official 10km run time (Bupa Great Capital run 2007). Maybe I need to run a 10km race on a flat course and without too many competitors getting in the way…

Well the London Triathlon has come and gone. My wave was the Male Open heat which got started at 07h00 without any rain! A couple of days ago, rain was forecast but this changed yesterday – phew! Upon arrival I was a little startled by the scale of the transition area. In a word: HUGE. I was expecting it to be big but seeing it in person was a sight! 

The swim went reasonably smoothly. I would like to request that swimmers atleast have an attempt at seeding themselves correctly. Why-oh-why did breast stroke swimmers think that front row starting positions were appropriate? After less than a minute I was having to navigate around them- LESS THAN A MINUTE! Anyway, after that there was a bit of bashin’ and bumpin’ on the first half of the swim while we all fought for some space in the water and tried to get the pacing right. After the turn around the swimmers were spread out better and hence there was less bashing!

The start of T1 was bad – I couldn’t get my feet out the wetsuit. It’s not happened to me before but maybe I didn’t put enough body-glide on my ankles. With the wetsuit off and in the bag and the cycling shoes put on the bike leg started.

The bike went well. No major drama apart from a slight shortage of drinks on the bike. This was in part due to a fair amount of drink sloshing out of my aero-bottle – damn those bumpy London roads. I did see a fair few riders with punctures though.  Touch wood, I escaped that fate! I was cautious on the bends and corners and avoided painted lines and metal covers as there was still some moisture on the road. I was desperately trying to avoid skidding off unnecessarily in the wet. (I later saw someone who must have come off. He was covered in big plasters, 5×3 inches, down his back, on his right arm and left leg).

T2 was fairly smooth. I slipped off the cycle shoes and socks and slipped (OK, tugged and pulled) the running socks and then shoes on.

The run consisted of two laps out and back around the dock. It was fairly flat apart from the entrance and exit climbs to the ExCeL first floor. There were some cobbles on the run leg which were a little annoying.

All in all I was a happy camper! The race director’s offical distances were 1500m/38km/9.8km. My chip times for the swim, bike and run were: 29:40 / 1h15:54 / 49:43. Overall time, including transitions, was 2h44:07. I am very happy with my sub-30minute swim and ecstatic to be well below my 3 hour target.

I did some analysis of my times in each discipline. I calculated my position in the Men’s Open Olympic category for each of my times.

  • 289th for swim time of 29:40
  • 845th for T1 time of 5:25
  • 391st for bike time of 1h15:54
  • 902nd for T2 time of 3:27
  • 644th for run time of 49:43
  • Overall 465 out of 1083 for time of 2h44:07

I am surprised that I am now relatively strong in the swim. I thought my bike would have been slightly better positioned. To maintain 289th on the bike I would have had to knock off 1:24 or go 2% faster (less caution in the wet?). I’m not surprised by my run time as I was not pushing my hardest in an effort to protect my knees. I did run a negative split however (25:58 vs 23:45). So, based on this, I need to maintain my swim and work my bike training smarter and hopefully a bit harder. I need to strengthen my knees and associated muscles for the run in order to have confidence that my knees won’t let me down.

Transitions times were too slow. To maintain 289th after swim my T1 would need to be 3:42 (I did have problems with my wetsuit and did have to put a cycle sock on twice as it was not comfortable) which is saving almost 2 minutes. T2 289th time is 2:11 – again I was 1:20 slower. Thinking about it, maybe my slowness is due to wanting to get things perfect (no wrinkly socks, dry feet, HRM in place, etc) rather than suffer with socks that rub or missing glasses.

Getting away from the analysis (HR data to follow soon), I must re-iterate that I am chuffed with my time and performance. There is always next year to improve 🙂 I must remember to keep focused on the “fun” and “enjoyment” factor and not get bogged down on how to improve!

By this time tomorrow I should be finished my first London Triathlon race. I’ve been watching the weather forecast over the past few days and have been seeing rain predicted for Sunday. This morning shows a different picture for tomorrow – “Sunny Intervals”. Let’s hope the rain stays away tomorrow as the London roads are bumpy and tricky enough without the added difficulty of wet, slippery surfaces!

The down side at the moment is that my knees have been making themselves felt again. Over the last week or so I’ve noticed some of the old aches and pains resurfacing. As such, tomorrow the plan is to take the run easy – so long as I don’t take longer than 3 hours! So I guess I can really attack the bike course which is flat and relatively fast, assuming the roads are dry. I do not mind having a poor run split for this race as it’s a “B” race for this season – it got demoted when I entered the Monaco 70.3 🙂

Better sign off and get my bag packed for tomorrow and give the bike a once over and check those pesky gears are cooperating.


Well Saturday saw the National Club Relays take place up at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham. I woke up to find that there was raining pouring down and the sky was very grey. I did not like the thought of competing, especially cycling, in the rain. Had it not been a team event I would have gone back to bed and laughed the event off. However, it was a team event so off I set. When I arrived the rain had pretty much stopped so things were looking somewhat better although still very wet.

The event consists of teams of 4 people doing the three legs of an almost super-sprint distance (actually 500m swim, 15km cycle and 5km run) race consecutively. The first person sets off on the swim, completes the swim and hands the baton (rubber band) to the second person who sets off and completes the swim and hands the baton to the third person. This continues for the bike and run legs too. Watching it looks like organised chaos with the competitors all fighting for the space to hand over the baton.

My swim went OK. The time was about 10 minutes (forgot to start my stopwatch) based on the clock time. I think I could have pushed slightly more but I was trying to pace myself for the Olympic and half-Ironman races I have coming up. The bike went well – round the rowing lake 3 times which meant a flat course. The down leg was with the wind so some impressive speeds were possible but the return leg was tougher as we were going into the wind. The run was only slightly more undulating than the bike course but for the most part flat. I pushed quite hard on the run and am convinced I couldn’t have pushed much harder. In hind sight I figure I should perhaps have eased off slightly as this is realistically only a C race for me this season.

So the swim was 500m and took roughly 10 minutes. The bike was 15km but I measured it at 14.2km. I took 26:29 for the bike giving an average speed of 32.1km/h. Average cadence was 92 with average HR of 184. The run was 5km and I took 22:25 with a average HR of 188 (94% of Max HR!!).

All in all a fabulous day with the sun coming out at around 10h30 or so. The afternoon was spent watching the second wave of races and chilling in the sun.

On Sunday a group of us then went on to cycle the Vitruvian bike course as some of the group are racing in the Vitruvian (a 70.3 distance race) in a few weeks. We knocked out the 82km in a touch under 3 hours giving an average speed of 27.4km/h. I had average HR of 150 with average cadence of 87.5. We did a 20 minute run off the bike to get those legs turning over. It was a good day out too with the sun out for much of it.

All said it was a good weekend of training 🙂

Well it has been a while since my last post. I guess maybe I’ve been reeling from the monumental task ahead of me… or maybe I’ve just not had much to write about.

Eitherway, I have the club relays and the London Triathlon to look forward to. The other news is that I’ve entered another half-Ironman event which is taking place in 45 days time. Yikes. I must admit that I am concerned about the hill climbing on the cycle portion of the course. Lots of ups and then downs without many chances to use the aero bars.

I’ve been for a couple of swim coaching sessions and the feedback was reasonably positive. The area I need to focus on is the catch portion of the stroke which is what I have been trying to do during my last couple of pool sessions.

Anyway, a busy two months ahead and then a brief “taking it easier” period after which the big push for IM Austria will begin.