The Outlaw Half


Booked last August as a back up to Ironman Staffs incase I didn’t get in, months of training for this (my B race) and eventually it had come around. I have finally made my debut at the middle distance and most importantly, completed it.

The Outlaw has a great reputation and won numerous awards for being a great event that is well organised. It didn’t disappoint. I arrived in Nottingham the day before around 1:00pm and picked up my registration bits and pieces and also attended the race briefing. This was certainly worth doing as there were a few questions I had beforehand that needed answering!

The weather on Saturday was biblical to say the least. Heavy showers all day, but the forecast for Sunday was dry and warmer by midday. In-fact, for once the weather forecasters had it spot on. All the rain had made the ground around the hosting venue (National Watersports Centre) quite boggy and as some of the run was along gravel paths, these were a little muddy in places. Once i had everything I made my way to my hotel and got my kit ready.

I stayed in a hotel in Nottingham City Centre (St James Hotel) although this time on my own. It was unfair dragging the Mrs and daughter to this one as the 3:00am wake up was a little too much. My wave started at 6:15, so overall a fairly early start to say the least. A early night with dinner in the hotel and a small treat…


When I arrived at the venue, it was chilly to begin with, but the sun was certainly rising.


At the previous day’s race briefing, they warned of the sun rising on the horizon into which we would be swimming and to use tinted glasses. This is my first rookie mistake – I hadn’t brought mine. It made the swim incredibly difficult to navigate although it meant me following and checking on other competitors as a guide. Not ideal, but it worked. Once I found some open water I was able to get into my stroke and swam really well. I was done and dusted for 1.2 miles within 35 mins, and when I hit transition it was pleasing to see so many bikes there. I knew I had a good swim. Some of you may remember in the last post that I had made predictions about each discipline of my race and my swim time was more or less bang on.

Out onto the bike and I felt good. My avg speed for the first 1/2 hour was 19mph and was hoping to keep between 17-18mph for the whole bike section. I believe I would have done this if I didn’t have to stop three times!!! All simply because my hydration system wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t allow me to suck fluid up. I worked out the the tube angle has to be in a correct position, albeit a little too late as this was near the end. It cost me a lot of time. The other small issue I faced was with my Di2 shifter coming loose on the tri-bars. The roads, in my opinion, were awful. Surface was pretty poor and the only downside of the race for me. So all the juddering and shaking made my shifter come loose. Luckily I noticed and fixed it whilst on the third stop.

There were a few more rookie mistakes here also. I should have worked out why the hydration system does this as it did happen on a training ride a week or so back. In hindsight, I would have set it up properly. Another mistake was not drinking enough, but again due to hydration system. I should have stopped and fixed sooner as I ploughed on for 10 miles with no drink before doing it for the third time. I also popped a salt tab here as well to get a lot into the system quite quickly,

There will be changes I make to my nutrition and hydration plan in future events. I didn’t open any food prior to the race and did this all on the bike. Wrong move! It takes too long doing it and you lose a lot of speed and time. Next time I will plan to possibly break it up and have it in small bitesize chunks ready to just pop into the mouth.

The Run

This part of the race was the bit I feared the most. Not because I can’t do it, but because of the injury issue going on with my knee. Anyway – it was there and stabbing me on an off for 15k! I’m not sure what happened after that as for the last 6km it didn’t give me much trouble at all. It was almost as if it had said, ‘Well sod you then if you are not going to stop.’ I felt good for the first 10km of the race although a little held back due to the injury. To be honest I just wanted to be able to run and get through it. The second half was a  slog, and warm too. A little sunburnt towards the end also. I did it though and I can now say I have a middle distance event under my belt.

I apologise for the lack of photos for this blog post. That’s usually the wife’s job, so as she wasn’t with me there aren’t many I’m afraid.

Anyway i hope you enjoy the read…a little rushed with the write as I’m so tired and now going to bed.

Finish time I hear you say?….6hr 10 mins. One thing I do know now…I think barring injury and bike issues, sub 6 hours is easily on the cards.






The season begins…


The Tri season isn’t a long one in Britain, so when it comes around us ‘tri-lot’ like to cram in a few races in a fairly short time. My season has finally started with the All Nations Triathlon at Dorney Lake which took part on Saturday. I had never raced here before so it was a first. It was only a sprint distance event (400m swim, 20k bike and 5k un) and a week out before the Outlaw 70.3. I wanted to do a small warm up to mainly check all the race gear including the new wheels on the bike, as well as blowing away a few race cobwebs.


Training leading up to my events has been going fairly well with around 85/90% of sessions being completed. I am still not at full capacity with the running due to injury setback in the year, but it isn’t something I’m worried about. I know my running is fine and the endurance is there to complete my events. It’s just speed wise I’m a little down on.

Eton Dorney is a simple venue to hold a triathlon. It isn’t the most inspiring although everything is there to complete a small one. I was accompanied by my wife and daughter which is always nice as I’ll be on my own next week at the Outlaw.

The Race…


Let me start with the swim as that is what usually happens first. The water was cold…bloody cold! I was glad they gave us some time to acclimatise, but wasn’t too pleased when I saw loads of athletes just head straight for the front line ready for the off. This included many first timers who probably got a little shock as it was pretty brutal for the first 200m with elbows and legs flying everywhere. Welcome to the world of triathlon swimming!

After the rough and tumble, I found a little clear water and by the last 100m really found my stroke. By then, it was swim over as it was only a 400m swim. 6 mins 50. Pleased with that and my fastest ever 400m. As I headed into transition I switched the watch over and then accidentally touched the transition button twice as I took off my wetsuit. Bugger! It was only when I got onto the bike did I realise when the watch started beeping ‘triathlon complete’…I wish! Anyway, I gave up on the watch so do not have my own personal record for it. I must do something with the wetsuit and watch issue as this isn’t the first time it has happened.

Transition was only 100m or so away and as it was a relatively small triathlon, I was in and out onto the bike in just over a minute.



The weather wasn’t the best at Dorney as you can probably see from the pictures. It was very windy on the bike course, but it certainly answered one question – How will I handle my bike in crosswinds with the deep section wheels on? Answer – absolutely fine. In fact, I felt really comfortable and I think it is because most of your weight is over the front wheel.

The bike was fairly uneventful with four laps of the lake on some smooth tarmac. Averaged just under 18mph and for a windy day I’ll take that. 42mins I came in on. Certainly more in the tank there and I’ll take that next week at the Outlaw.


The Run


Ok, so this is where things get interesting. Out of transition and I feel great. In fact really strong and running along at around 4:10 per km pace. 1/2 a KM in and ouch my left knee.

Here’s the background to this…

I went running last Monday and the came home in no pain whatsoever. Took my socks off and felt my knee twinge. To cut a long story short it was my ITB band – ON MY LEFT KNEE!!! Never does this knee give me any trouble. All week spent nursing it and hoping it’d be alright. I knew it was the ITB as it was exactly the same issue I’ve had with the right leg.

There was some light at the end of the tunnel though. I managed to carry on and run. Whenever this goes on the right knee, it’s always race over and I’m reduced to a walk. So I managed to keep going and took it a little easier bringing the run home in just over 24 mins. A total finish time of 1hr 16mins.

How will I approach the Outlaw 70.3 next week?

Well…the first goal is to complete it. I’m fairly confident I can do this, unless something drastic happens on the day, or my leg will not play ball. But even if that does happen, I can always walk. It is pretty frustrating when you really want to test your fitness, so the next question is: ‘What sort of time will I do?’ Ok, well let’s ignore the leg problem for a while and pretend it doesn’t exist. I’m good at that! I have a rough idea but you just never know exactly. I think I am going to be cautious with this one and try to complete within 6-7 hours. I have to keep this realistic. I know I can probably do a sub 40 min swim but I have never ridden the new bike for this distance. I know the course is fairly flat but I do not know it and am sure I will be careful with so many other riders around me. Also, what will I be like running a half marathon with fatigue in my legs? Ideally it would go like this:

Swim = 35 mins  Bike = 3.5 hours   Run = 2 hours       so just over 6 hours.

Can I go faster?  Yes certainly, but who knows what I will do on the day! There will be a slightly conservative approach until I know what the heck I’m doing and how my body behaves at this distance. Also it’ll take a lot longer if the knee doesn’t allow me to run.

So there you have it…my predictions, although slightly cautious! It’ll certainly be interesting when I report my race. Until next week…now for a glass of wine!