Sardinia

Sardinia is part of Italy and is the second largest island in the Mediterranean (Sicily is the largest). It has an area of 9,000 square miles making it a little larger than Wales. However, the population of Sardinia is 1.5 million which is half that of Wales. Wales has plenty of open spaces – Sardinia is empty.

The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 kilometres long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, rias, and many inlets. There are various smaller islands off the coast.

The Sardinian coast

The Sardinian coast

Sardinia, unlike mainland Italy, is not earthquake prone which we were pleased about as Italy has suffered an unusual amount of seismic activity in 2016. Away from the sea the island is quite mountainous. The highest peak is Punta La Marmora at 1834m. Sardinia has few major rivers. There are 54 artificial lakes and dams which supply water and electricity and there is just one natural fresh water lake.

The island has a Mediterranean climate along the coastal plains and lower hills and a continental climate in the mountainous interior.

The island has a long and intriguing history, and is dotted with interesting archaeological sites. In the Bronze Age the island was populated by an enigmatic people who built nuraghi – stone towers – across the island, along with palaces, sacred wells and other structures. Many remain, as ruins, and the importance of these sites is recognised with a UNESCO World Heritage listing.

A nuraghe

A nuraghe

As Sardinia is on Mediterranean trading routes, various subsequent civilisations colonised or conquered the coastal areas, including the Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines. Later the island was for some time under Spanish domination. A version of Catalan is still spoken in Alghero. The mountains inland, difficult to conquer and offering little to invaders, have a reputation as untouched pockets of ancient culture and tradition.

Today, some 7,000 Nuraghes dot the Sardinian landscape.

Nuraghe number 6,978

Nuraghe number 6,978

Taken as a whole, Sardinia’s economic conditions are such that the island is in the best position among Italian regions located south of Rome. The Sardinian economy is, however, constrained due to the high costs of the transportation of goods and electricity, which is twice that of the continental Italian regions, and triple that of the EU average.

The economy is centred on service industries such as hotels, restaurants, transport and telecommunications. The traditional industries of farming and fishing now make a relatively small contribution to the economy.

There are still a few goats and sheep around

There are still a few goats and sheep around

Today all Sardinia’s major urban centres are located near the coasts, because of seaside tourism, while the island’s interior is very sparsely populated. The main centre of population is Cagliari in the south where 25% of Sardes live.

The island has many beaches and stretches of coast which are largely unspoiled and plenty of down-to-earth towns and resorts. Lagoon, island and mountain habitats all feature among the region’s nature reserves.

One of the many beaches. This one had some low key development.

One of the many beaches. This one had some low key development.

It seems that Sardinia is a very popular destination for mainland Italians but they all come in August. Compared to other Mediterranean Islands, outside of August Sardinia is quiet.

We do not like crowds or cities so Sardinia seemed like a good choice for us. We decided to travel in September and planned a mix of mountain walks, sea kayaking, and some sightseeing. We avoided the cities and the glitzy Costa Smeralda.

There are no motorways on Sardinia but dual carriageways connect the main cities and the roads are quiet. However, once away from the main roads we had some interesting road trips especially on the steep, narrow, twisting mountain roads.

Some of the roads in the mountains were quite interesting!

Some of the roads in the mountains were quite interesting!

From Oblia airport we headed straight for the mountains. We spent a couple of days walking in the Ulassai area characterised by massive limestone cliffs. There were no other tourists here and in the 3 days we were out in the mountains the only people we met were two German tourists on mountain bikes.img_1493

Massive limestone cliffs around Ulassai

Massive limestone cliffs around Ulassai

We stopped off for a walk up Perda Liana as we travelled North to the Gennargentu.

A lovely walk around Perda Liana.

A lovely walk around Perda Liana.

In the Gennargentu area we stayed at Fonni for a few days. We experienced some cool weather there and some spectacular thunderstorms. We also quickly found out that there were no other tourists, no one speaks English and it is impossible to buy a postcard. The only food we could find was pizza.

Fonni is the highest town in Sardinia at 1000m. Surprisingly Fonni is a winter sports centre with a ski lift to Monte Spada and Bruncu Spina. There are also some paved access roads to the rather limited skiing infrastructure which we were able use.

Monte Spada 1595m

Monte Spada 1595m

We did not come across any other tourists while we were there and did not meet any other people walking in the mountains. Our B&B provided cake for breakfast and some local unleavened bread which we found inedible. They didn’t speak any English and our Italian is not up to much so we made no progress on what we would prefer to eat at breakfast. We resorted to fortifying ourselves with Birra Ichnusa, the popular Sardinian-made beer; at 70 cents a can we found no reason to limit our consumption. We had to get our calories from somewhere.

The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (Perdas Carpìas in Sardinian language) at 1834m was an obvious target. Unfortunately we had some mist when we were approaching the summit.

Mist on Punta La Marmora

Mist on Punta La Marmora

But it improved while we were up there…

The summit cross of Punta La Marmora

The summit cross of Punta La Marmora

…to give us far reaching views which clearly show the emptiness of inland Sardinia.

Thde view from Punta La Marmora

The view from Punta La Marmora

We left the mountains and drove to the North East of the Island close to Alghero and joined Sea Kayak Sardinia for a few days paddling.

Paddling with Sea Kayak Sardinia

Paddling with Sea Kayak Sardinia

The weather was very windy while we were there and we had joined a ‘no experience necessary’ group so although we were quite limited in where we could go we still enjoyed some excellent paddling on the spectacular coast.

Lunch break on the Sardinian coast

Lunch break on the Sardinian coast

After a few days near Alghero we travelled the length of the island and explored the South West Coast .

We visited the famous Cala Domestica – once a port built to export minerals from local mining. There is some spectacular cliff scenery here and some low key tourist infrastructure. In September there were very few tourists – and no other Brits.

Cala Domestica

Cala Domestica

We continued to the Island of San Antioco. We took the ferry to San Pietro and suffering from withdrawal symptoms we hired some bikes and took a spin around this remarkably unspoilt island.

Taking the hired bikes to San Pietro

Taking the hired bikes to San Pietro

San Antioco had other hidden joys including our very own cove. This beautiful rocky bay was a few minutes’ walk from our Hotel at which we enjoyed for a day.

'Our cove' on San Antioco

‘Our cove’ on San Antioco

Reluctant to leave this idyll and promising ourselves we will return we headed up the coast to Cala Gonone. Until recently this beautiful area was only accessible by boat. It has become quite a busy little resort and we were pleased to be staying up in the mountains.

Cala Gonone – not very busy by Mediterranean resort standards

Cala Gonone – not very busy by Mediterranean resort standards

Gola di Gorruppu, Sardinias most spectacular gorge, was close at hand so we decided to explore. We parked about 15km up the Rio Flumineddu from Dorgali. We then had a scenic two hour walk along a marked trail with interesting ever changing views. At the mouth of the gorge we were surprised to find an entrance booth and a rudimentary explanation about the gorge – in English. (We also had to pay 5 euro each). This was the biggest concentration of tourists we had seen in the three weeks we had been in Sardinia.

The gorge is flanked by limestone walls towering up to 400m in height. After 500m you reach the narrowest point, just 4m wide, and the formidable Hotel Supramonte, a tough 8b multipitch climb up a vertical 400m rock face.

This is me NOT on the Hotel Supramonte

This is me NOT on the Hotel Supramonte

The next day we were back at the airport, rather sad to leave after a very successful exploration of the Island. It is a wonderful place with so much to see and do. We loved the emptiness of it all and the lack of other tourists.

Sardinia...we will be back.

Sardinia…we will be back.

Up, up and away

My daughter Jenna gave Ian and I a hot air balloon ride voucher for Christmas. I was pretty horrified and put the voucher out of sight and the whole idea out of mind.

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I have rather an odd fear of heights. I am perfectly happy on natural structures like mountains and rocks. I am also good on ladders. However, I am irrationally fearful of man-made structures like piers and bridges. For example – walking across the Golden Gate Bridge defeated me once I got out above the water. Ian is no good on rocks or ladders but is fine on piers and bridges. So between us – this was going to be a challenge.

Towards the end of August and with a strong application of Rule 5 we went on the Aerosaurus website to book a flight.

Since a hot air balloon has no direct means of steerage or control the weather is an all important factor when deciding whether or not to fly. We were lucky on our 3rd attempt.

Our 3rd booking meant travelling from Dorset to Launceston, but we were so pleased that this happened as it meant that our pilot was Arthur Street who is an absolute legend in the ballooning world. Arthur counts his balloon flights in tens of thousands after 25 years of piloting.

We met at Homeleigh Garden Centre near Launceston at 06:30 along with 12 other passengers. The ground crew, Matt and Marianne (Little and Large) dealt with everything in a very professional manner, but also somehow very relaxed and reassuring. It was all very workaday and routine for them. There was obviously no reason for any anxiety.

We travelled in the Aerosaurus vehicles to the launch site near North Petherwin with the basket and envelope on a trailer.

Arriving at the launch site with the balloon (known as the envelope) and basket on the trailer

Arriving at the launch site with the balloon (known as the envelope) and basket on the trailer

The ‘envelope’ is huge – much larger than we expected. The passengers all help to get it inflated on the ground.

Inflating the envelope with cold air to begin with

Inflating the envelope with cold air to begin with

The fans blow cold air in. The scale of the envelope is clear if you can spot Marianne walking around inside!

The fans blow cold air in. The scale of the envelope is clear if you can spot Marianne walking around inside!

Two strong men were hanging onto a rope to stop the envelope rolling around

Two strong men were hanging onto a rope to stop the envelope rolling around

Eventually the envelope comes upright and the basket with it

Eventually the envelope comes upright and the basket with it

The air in the balloon must be heated now to allow it to be airborne. It is tethered to the landrover

The air in the balloon must be heated now to allow it to be airborne. It is tethered to the landrover

At this point I asked myself whether I would be disappointed if I was going to be a spectator rather than a passenger. The answer was yes. It was very exciting!

Arthur gave a comprehensive briefing – and informed us that the most difficult thing we would face would be climbing into the basket. (There is an option of being in the basket while it is on its side and being gently scooped up if physical disability prevents a passenger from clambering in). So that was alright then.

Clambering into the basket

Clambering into the basket while Arthur continues to heat the air in the envelope

The basket is actually a steel cage with rollbars and a solid floor. The wicker work is really just for aesthetics.

Once in the basket Arthur continued to heat up the air in the envelope using the burners powered by propane gas. We smiled bravely for the ‘on the ground’ photo opportunity!

Once in the basket Arthur continued to heat up the air in the envelope using the burners powered by propane gas. We smiled bravely for the ‘on the ground’ photo opportunity!

Once inflated and heated up (quite noisy) the tether from the land rover was released and we were off – up, up and away. We gained height extermely quickly.

We gained height very quickly. The land rover got very small very quickly

We gained height very quickly. The land rover got very small very quickly

There were a few moments of ‘wow this is quite high’ – but that was all. We just really enjoyed being up there. Arthur was fantastic and gave us 360 degree panoramic views and information about what we could see. We had total confidence in him.

Arthur opening the champagne

Arthur opening the champagne

Early on in the flight the champagne was opened which Jenna had thoughtfully included in our voucher. I’m sure this helped to contribute to the relaxed convivial atmosphere on board.

Cheers!

Cheers!

We went up to 3,200 feet and could see the North Cornwall Coast

We went up to 3,200 feet and could see the North Cornwall Coast

Arthur controlled the height of the envelope by heating up the air with the burners

Arthur controlled the height of the envelope by heating up the air with the burners

The main landmark was Roadford Lake

The main landmark was Roadford Lake

As we descended preparing to land we could see the ground crew who had been following our progress.

As we descended preparing to land we could see the ground crew who had been following our progress.

The A30

The A30

Arthur negotiated the obstacles of the A30 and Roadford Lake with great skill – but it did mean we had a few extra minutes up in the air. The landing was gentle with just a slight bump.

Marianne and Matt had tracked us from the ground and were there to help with packing up. The farmer was very cooperative and helped us all out of the slightly boggy field we had landed in.

The huge envelope gradually deflated as the air cooled down and we helped to guide it so that it could be folded up again.

Patrick – the youngest passenger tried to get the air out of the envelope

Patrick – the youngest passenger tried to get the air out of the envelope

But he needed help

But he needed help

It was amazing just how quickly that huge envelope was packed back into the bag and stowed back on the trailer with the basket.

The envelope was tucked back into its bag ready for the next flight.

The envelope was tucked back into its bag ready for the next flight.

We even got a certificate to prove we had done it!

We even got a certificate to prove we had done it!

Highly recommended. It is not at all scary and just a wonderful experience.

 

Sea Swimming

Most people in the UK will have been in the sea at some time in their lives. Many will have kept their feet firmly on the ground and exercised great caution – instinctively knowing that they are putting their lives in danger by getting in any further. Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death for children in the UK. More than 400 people accidentally drown in the UK every year.

In 2013 fatalities at the sea, on the beach or shoreline accounted for nearly a third (115) of all UK deaths by drowning. A further 22 deaths happened at harbours, docks, marinas and inland or coastal ports.

It’s a very big sea. A dangerous environment that you cannot control

It’s a very big sea. A dangerous environment that you cannot control

‘There’s little to compare with the thrill of a stormy sea swim, diving and forging through teetering waves before bouncing in the swell behind the break.’ (Kate Rew – Wild Swim)

I have been swimming in the sea most of my life. I gained life guarding qualifications as a young adult. In the mid 1970’s – when we had those really amazing heat waves– I worked my summers as a beach lifeguard.
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Another New Bike

Rule #12
The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

This new bike was necessary to be able to ride with my husband in his new activity of Mountain Biking. Careful observation of Rule 12 justifies another new bike in the interests of marital harmony.

I had sold my first road bike, a Specialized Roubaix Elite SL2 2011 road bike as it was superseded by my Specialized Roubaix Comp Disc SL4 2016 – the black bike. To keep the numbers up, a new bike was necessary.

The new bike – Giant Anthem 27.5 1

The new bike – Giant Anthem 27.5 1

Ian bought himself a Marin Mount Vision C-XM8. This is a full carbon, full suspension mountain bike. Admittedly – a high spec for a beginner – but he needs all the help he can get. It’s blue.

Building the Marin

Building the Marin

My new bike is also blue but it is made out of aluminium but also has full suspension. It is a Giant Anthem 27.5 1. So not quite such a high spec but I also need plenty of help in acquiring new off road riding skills.

Our pristine new bikes looking very clean and shiny

Our pristine new bikes looking very clean and shiny

We have been riding together 3 or 4 times a week (when we are at home) and having a lot of fun. We are lucky to live in West Dorset with such beautiful scenery all around us.

Great views from local trails

Great views from local trails

Chesil Beach shingle is a challenge

Chesil Beach shingle is a challenge

We have been to Haldon Forest Park three times to build up our skills in a more controlled environment. We are getting better on the blue trails – but red is still a challenge.

Haldon Farest Park Skills Area

Haldon Forest Park Skills Area

Haldon Forest Park

Haldon Forest Park

Bridport Cycles have a MTB ride every Wednesday and we have been joining in with that to get to know our local trails better and pick up top tips from the experts.

Riding our new bikes with Bridport Cycling Club

Riding our new bikes with Bridport Cycling Club

I am really enjoying this new way of riding. I am still getting out on my road bike just as much. But – something has to go – I am running much less.

Swimming around Brownsea Island

GPS track of our swim

GPS track of our swim

Brownsea Island is spectacularly located in Poole Harbour. It is the largest of Poole Harbour’s islands and has been owned by the National Trust since 1963.

There is evidence of settlement, pottery production, agriculture and trade in the area since the 5th century BC. It has been a hideout for pirates and a gentleman’s estate. In 1907 the first Scouts came to camp on Brownsea and in 1963 a permanent 50 acre camp was opened by Olave Baden-Powell.

With regards to swimming around the island there is a large event organised by Poole RLSS which takes place in September. Entries for this event are booked up very quickly when they open in February.

A group of us swim regularly in the Bridport area and we decided to organise our own swim around Brownsea Island. We did a bit of tidal guesswork and Ian came along in his sea kayak to keep us safe and to carry the food and drink which would help us keep going for an estimated 3 hours in the water.

Ready to swim at the Castle slipway

Ready to swim at the Castle slipway

We met at Sandbanks and caught the yellow Brownsea Island Ferry.

On the ferry to the island

Waiting for the ferry to the island

Ian met us at the Island close to the Castle. We changed into wetsuits and loaded all our gear into the hatches in the kayak.

At the start

At the start – nutrition on the kayak deck

The essential jelly babies and isotonic drinks were kept on deck for easy access during the swim.

Loading supplies into the hatches

Loading supplies into the hatches

As we swam away from the Castle at Brownsea Island we had a strong push from the flooding tide and for a few hundred metres we flew along.

Swimming with the tide behind us was very fast

Swimming with the tide behind us was very fast

This was to be short lived unfortunately and for the next 2 kilometres up to Pottery pier it was quite a hard swim which became harder as we got closer to the top of the island. The wind increased and it got choppy and then there was more boat traffic so we got wash.

Approaching Pottery pier

Approaching Pottery pier

Once round the other side of the Island things calmed down quite a lot and we had wind and waves behind us. We still didn’t get much tidal assistance but it was a lot more fun. There was the added bonus that this side of the island is shallow with little boat traffic so we could stop and stand up to get our food and drinks from the kayak.

Our land support team member, Jane, swam out to meet us.

Jane swam out to join us

Jane swam out to join us

Navigation was easy with land on the left all the way and after just under 3 hours we found ourselves back at our starting point.

Another great adventure.

What is Ironman?

ironman_70_3_uk

An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), a subsidiary of the Chinese Wanda Group, consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.16 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one day sporting events in the world.

Wanda bought Ironman Races for $650 million dollars in August 2015 and estimates it will bring in $185 a year. Ironman hosts 200 events in 27 countries and has approximately 250,000 registered athletes.

Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race. Any participant who manages to complete the triathlon within these timings becomes an Ironman.

Athletes range from 18 to over 80 and from all different walks of life and athletic backgrounds. The mind is a powerful element of triathlon and mental strength is vital. An Ironman triathlon is arguably the most difficult one-day sporting event in the world, but if you have an open mind and the drive, you can do it. Anything is possible!

The name “Ironman Triathlon” is also associated with the original Ironman triathlon which is now the Ironman World Championship. Held in Kailua-Kona, the world championship has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978 (with an additional race in 1982) and is preceded by a series of qualifying Ironman events. The Ironman World Championships have become known for their gruelling length and harsh race conditions,

Other races exist that are of the same distance as an Ironman triathlon but are not produced, owned, or licensed by the World Triathlon Corporation. Such races include The Challenge Family series, Challenge Roth and many other long course events that are now established as part of the racing calendar such as Race New Forest, Brutal Triathlons, Castle Triathlon, The Outlaw and Xtreme. The main rival to Ironman has been the Challenge Family. They organise 44 full and half distance triathlons worldwide. They are a smaller family company based in Roth, Germany.

So Ironman is a worldwide profit making company. It is an international brand. Your entry fee – (typically £240 for a 70.3 event and £450 for a full Ironman) is set at a commercial rate to make money for this company. Ironman also attracts sponsors. This year Sketchers are their shoe sponsor and Arena are their swim sponsor.

Nutrition is provided by PowerBar.

Powerbar are the nutrition sponsor

PowerBar are the nutrition sponsor

I think Fyffes must also be involved judging by the number of bananas that are given out.

So why is Ironman so successful? What does this brand do at their events that have athletes desperate to part with their hard earned cash to participate? Some popular events, which tend to be the easier flatter courses, sell out within 24 hours.

I have done quite a few triathlons mostly non Ironman events. The full distance event I did last September – i.e. Ironman distance in Weymouth was organised by Challenge. Compared to the experiences I have had as a competitor and spectator at Ironman events the Challenge Weymouth event was quite inferior in many ways. Ironman have now taken over the Weymouth full distance event so on September 11th 2016 it is Ironman Weymouth and Ironman 70.3 Weymouth. ( It will cost you £415 for the full Ironman and £249 for the 70.3. ) and I expect that the many problems with the 2015 event will be rectified.

So what do you get for your money? In short – a grand day out.

Ironman organisation is flawless. They are very experienced in putting on the events and have a depth of experienced personnel. Most employees are Ironmen! Many events have been going for several years so rolling it out every year is easier. Exmoor 70.3 in 2016 was it’s 11th year. All teething problems are long gone. There is attention to every detail to ensure that the athletes experience is as good as it can be. They aim to give every athlete a great day regardless of their time. At an Ironman event athletes can be fairly confident that basics like the courses being the correct distance are taken care of.

From the moment of registration Ironman takes care of everything. Once they have your money – they look after you and in my experience there are few problems. Information is accurate and available readily. They send you messages which have some individuality (computer generated I’m sure) but make you feel valued. Leading up to the event more information is sent and email from the race director is aimed to make the athlete feel involved. Car parking is taken care of (advance charge of £10 at Exmoor) and information is given to help your logistical planning on how to get to the venue and accommodation etc. Information on the bike and run routes and advice on the likely weather and road conditions together with the equipment you will need are given.

There is an online Athletes Guide, which contains many pages of information about the event. Everything you could possibly need to know is in there. There is also an extensive list of rules and the penalties that are incurred if the rules are broken. The rules are there to enhance safety and to make the race fair for everyone. Triathlon is an individual race and must be completed without any outside assistance.

In the sporting world the Ironman logo is immediately recognisable. At an Ironman event you enter a corporate world of red and black.

It's all about the brand.

It’s all about the brand.

The organisation is meticulous. Every minuscule detail has been thought about in advance and is sorted. The event schedule tells you clearly what you need to do on the day and when it has to be done. By 4pm on the day before Exmoor 70.3 every athlete had to have their bike racked in transition and their red run bag and blue bike bag on the numbered racks in the transition tent. You are encouraged to attend a race briefing. There is a separate more detailed briefing for 70.3 Ironman virgins.

To keep the party rolling, Ironman for the first time this year at Exmoor, organised IronKids races. There are races which range in length from 2km for Year 9 to 500m for the under 5’s. This takes place on Saturday afternoon and with all the music and razzmatazz that goes with Ironman. The IronKids event was fabulous and I’m sure it will continue and grow. The children had the experience of racing in front of a crowd and ran down the red carpet to finish just like the grown- ups. Cost £12 per child – rewards – t shirt, medal and a great experience.

As in all organised events the bottom line is everyone must be kept safe – athletes and spectators.Security is also very important.  Each athlete will bring with them thousands of pounds worth of kit. My bike is down towards the lower end of the range and is worth £2k. So security is vital.  Ironman have very strict security. Athletes can feel confident that their stuff is safe.

Transition – you won’t get past this guy without your wrist band!

Transition – you won’t get past this guy without your wrist band!

Many of the strict rules that athletes have to follow enhance  safety. Ironman are strict about their rules and disqualification is a real threat if rules are infringed. At Exmoor 70.3 in 2016, 7 athletes were disqualified – all for dangerous bike riding.

There is some tangible stuff that each athlete receives for their entry fee. All items strongly reinforce the Ironman brand. On registration each athlete gets a rucksack and their swim cap.

Race goodies

Race goodies

On completion each athlete gets a medal

Finisher's medal

Finisher’s medal

and a rather good finisher t shirt which is sponsored by Craft.

Finisher's t-shirt

Finisher’s t-shirt

Food and drink is copious at the aid stations on the bike and run and there is also lots of food after the finish – unlimited. For those who win their category there is a trophy –  25cm of plastic – re-emphasising the Ironman Brand.

Category winner's trophy

Category winner’s trophy

Overall my experience of Ironman is that although it is expensive – if I going to spend months training for an event, I would rather pay more money and participate in an event which is a safe as it can be with flawless organisation and lots of fun .

For non-athletes I can see why there is some incredulity that people pay £400 to suffer for a day.

Ironman 70.3 UK Exmoor

My result. Click or tap the picture for more detail (Bib number 385)

My result. Click or tap the picture for more detail (Bib number 385)

I entered the Ironman 70.3 UK Exmoor event not long after I had completed the Challenge Weymouth ironman last September. The last 9 months of my life have been focused on training for this event. I did the London Marathon, some Audax rides and other events in between but the 26th June 2016 is the date I have been training for. Most weeks my training log shows about 17 hours. This is just the training time – I spend a lot of time faffing about doing at stuff to do with training. I enjoy the training mostly. I have a training plan which I invent based mostly on my own experience but sometimes I do what I fancy whether it is on the plan or not. Usually I end up doing more than the plan suggests. I’m not very good at rest days. My bottom line is that it has to be fun. If it is not fun it is not sustainable. I am very fortunate that by training sensibly and listening to my body when bits inevitably start niggling, that I have not developed any injuries that have stopped me from training during this 9 month period.
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