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I Think I Can Beat Jenson Button

15 notes

The end

So, that was that. 

All done.

I thought I could beat Jenson Button, then sort of didn’t. But sort of came close enough for a cigar. At least that’s the conclusion an amazingly supportive group of friends have given me.

Massive thanks to them then, and everyone who has put up with this indulgent me-fest over the past 11 months. Your patients was exemplary. I’d have told me to give it a rest back in January when I was moaning about the cold. 

Next then is moving on I suppose. As I expected though, I’m finding it a bit hard to do so. A lot still on my mind. A lot I’d still like to write. 

Not exactly sure in what order it’ll come out. Or even why I feel I want to write it. But topics like training mistakes I think I made (not enough rest), what I’d do differently if I could do it all over (joining a tri club), what I’d have avoided (cars), as well as what I enjoyed and what I hated. A mixed bag generally then, which maybe just needs a good shake. We’ll see. 

For now, here are some more pics. While I’m finding words hard, pictures seem to flow quite easily. 

Specifically this one then, which I took during my 10K run, seeing as I was holding my camera in my left hand as part of my stitch prevention strategy (case in point one of things I’ve still to tie up and conclude):

Then there are the shots of Luke and Billy that I just about managed to get while watching their wave:

And also my best pieces of stalking yet in the form of my blurry Jenson paparazzi picture set! 

Favourites though are the general miscellaneous swimming ones. Seeing the penguins jump in, the splashing start, and the odd individual thinking, as I did myself, ‘what on earth am I doing?’:

Finally and super-inspirationally, seeing Cassie Patten exit the swim minutes before everyone else. She’s 23 and kicked the arses of 506 thirty-something men. New hero? Perhaps. I Think I Could Beat Cassie Patten? Could I fuck! 

8 notes

Jenson Button 02:14:14 - Mathew Wilson 02:14:22
Technically then, didn’t quite make, but personally, I’m feeling 8 seconds is close enough. Plus… if you look at the splits:
Jenson Button Cycle 01:02:42 - Mathew Wilson Cycle 01.00.25
I beat Jenson Button, on wheels. 

Jenson Button 02:14:14 - Mathew Wilson 02:14:22

Technically then, didn’t quite make, but personally, I’m feeling 8 seconds is close enough. Plus… if you look at the splits:

Jenson Button Cycle 01:02:42 - Mathew Wilson Cycle 01.00.25

I beat Jenson Button, on wheels. 

2 notes

Venue recce

Popped down to Excel to check thew new route and get a general thing to do with my nervous pre-rest day energy.

Took a few pics (more on Flickr) and all looked nice. 

Part of the reason I went to check things out is that I’ve heard the course is quite a bit different this year, and so slightly worryingly, not a comparable course to last years, thus putting a bit of a question on a Formula 3 win.

We’ll see though. Right now I feel better than I did before Hyde Park and the swim to bike transition is shorter at London than there, though the bike is longer, though also straighter… 

OK, I’m leaving it. Stopping wondering. Waiting and seeing. 

I will predict though, that Jenson gets sub-2 hours. 

There, I said it. He just doesn’t strike me as the sort to rest on his laurels and he’s mentioned he’d like to achieve it, so I’m betting he’s been training hard and has some frustrations that he’ll be looking to vent.

Waiting and seeing. Waiting and seeing. 

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The tri kit conundrum

Two weeks back I was wondering what to wear as part of last ditch efforts to cut time.

Streamline kit was the theory. Surely there are seconds to save if I’m more aerodynamic and don’t have lose clothes flapping about?

Well, while I still think there’s something in the theory, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend £60+ on tri specific kit. Tight arsed? perhaps. But as the previous post reprises, the point of all this was partly about the budget.

With budget plan and make do and mend in mind, I hatched a plan and picked up the final part of my race kit yesterday from the tailors.

Here then in comparison to a regular versions, is my MacMillan tri top!

It cost £10 to have the t-shirt taken in so it fits snugly around my torso, bringing the end cost of my ‘tru suit’ to £10 (the shorts I’ll wear are the cycling pair that housemates Andy and Lara gave me for birthday last year).

In a further twist of budgeting fate, the trainers I’ll be wearing on Sunday are the £18 pair of Goal’s that I bought at Sports World last weekend, after my relationship with a £100 pair of EVO’s simply never took off. 

So there we go, £28 for my complete, aero, tight arse, and torso, competition running kit. Comfy. 

2 notes

Challenge cost breakdown

A number of times during darker moments of this challenge I’ve exclaimed ‘why am I doing this’. When thinking clearly though, it’s easy to remember. Easy also because it was the subject of the first post I wrote on 24th September 2009:

"The idea is that I plan to beat Formula 1 driver Janson Button, with no team behind me, no specialists, no trainers or advisees, no sponsorship in fact no funding at all other than that I can deliver myself through my reasonable salary."

Now, 10 months or so later, I have clearly contradicted the part about specialists and trainers, but feel I haven’t broken away from the core idea, about doing it all within the confines of a reasonable salary.

And that, if I’m honest, was my biggest drive and why Jenson so perfectly represented everything I disagree with in amateur sport and pushed me to make my point. 

To clarify - I do not disagree with Jenson or hold anything against him! I tried for a while as I thought it would help to hold a hatred for my competition, but over 10 months I’ve met a surprisingly large number of people who have met him and all explain how he is a genuinely lovely a chap. Damn!

I’ve also read that this is the case, and seen interviews where it clearly is. He’s a nice guy. Also talented, skilled, extremely good looking and very very well off… What was my point again?

Oh yes. My point is that I’ve always been frustrated by the way people use an inability to afford the best equipment as an excuse not to participate in sport. Money should not be a barrier to sport. Money should not be a barrier to anything. On some level, everything is possible on a budget. And if anything, the less the budget, the more fun it can be.

On this scale, I’m still incredibly lucky with what I can afford. I could easily have bought a £1,000 bike a few months back instead of a £700 one, or a £200 wetsuit rather than a £100 one, but relativily, triathlon can be an expensive sport, so desipte the final total at the end of the following breakdown being well into 4 figures, I’m pretty pleased with how my budgeting has gone.

The sum of the parts:

Swimming kit
Goggles x 4 – £62.16
Nose clip x 4 – £11.60
Hummus container x 3 – Recycled
Old swimming shorts – Already owned
1,500m badge – Gift
Speedo shorts – £18.00
Fins – £13.49
Paddles – £9.49
Towel – Already owned
Wetsuit – £103.98
SFT course – £130.00
Lido membership so far – £369.60
Stubbers trips – £55.00
Speedo shammy towel – £10
Combination lock – £4
Baby oil – £2
Wash bag – Free
Swim caps – Free
Endless pool with filming with SFT £58.50  

Swim total – £847.82

Bike kit
Boardman – £699.99
Old shorts – Already owned
Cycling shorts – Gift
Cleat pedals – £76.49
Cleat shoes £48.63
No float cleats – £14.99
Hell of Ashdown – £20.00
Easter Classic – £13.20
Hog Hill Rapha Race – £20.00
Herne Hill Velodrome visits – £24.00
London Phoenix subs – £30.00
Revell pedals – £37.00
Vitsœ winter top – Gift
Topeak Alien II tool – £26.99
8mm X-Tools Allen Key – £2.99
15mm spanner – Already owned
Bike locks – Already owned
Insulation tape – Already owned
BMX helmet – £30.00
Water bottles – Already owned
Water bottle cages – Gift
Knog bike lights – Gift
Topeak saddle bag – £16.99
Topeak pump – £13.00
Tyers and tubes – £100.00
Mavic Jacket – £89.99
Mud guards – £26.00
Aero bars – Loan

Bike total – £1,290.26

Running kit
Five Ten Freerunner – £63.98
Mizuno trainers – Won then gave away
EVO trainers – £100.00
Gola trainers – £18

Run total – £181.98

Shared
Pants – Already owned
Sock – Already owned
Shorts – Already owned
T-shirts – Already owned
MacMillan t-shirt – Free
MacMillan t-shirt tailoring - £10
Number belt – £8.00
Hilly sock – £4.00
iPhone – Already owned
Headphones – Already owned

Shared total – £22.00

Tri’s
X Terrain Festival – £55.00
Belnheim – £68.00
Hyde Park – £77.50
London 2010 – £79.00

Tri total – £279.50

Approximate total cost of challenge - £2,563.06

Notes:

• All bike costs were costs I would have spent anyway as I use the bike to commute to work and around London. 

• Gifts, borrowed and free things were given by people I knew before I started.

Again then, in many ways £2,621.56 is still a gross amount of money, but relatively within triathlon, comprising of 3 entirely separate sports, with 3 totally different sets of kit and training needs, I think my budget approach as been a success. 

Using things that I already owned or can use in every day life has been key. Yes, it’s cost me small jokes and comments; my baggy shorts were commneted on every week at the Finsbury Park track; and cycling in baggy shorts and lose fitting cotton t-shirts has singled me out at every event I’ve ever been to, but to be honest, that’s exactly what I’m looking for! To be laughed at and yet still contend.

To cross the line with someone who’s wearing less clothes than I sleep in and wearing shoes that are lighter than my socks.

Or to reach the top of a hill next to someone in a skin tight 2010 team outfit on a bike with wheels that cost more than a decent second-hand car. 

If the kit is your thing then that’s still cool. If you enjoy that aspect of sport then good on you and I’ll join you in saying piss-off to any who exclaims “all the gear and no idea”. As long as you’re enjoying it. And as long as you let others enjoy their way. 

To quote, somewhat ironically, ‘just do it’. 

And if £2,621.56 still seems like a lot of money to spend in a year on kit and training for sport, then here’s some contrast.

Jensons 2010 competition bike:

Specialized S-Works Transition 
RRP - £5,999.99

For now, on the budget leg of the 2010 London Triathlon, I declare I win!

1 note

Blood rush!

Just got the notes from Ray from my SFT endless pool session. So good.

Great summary. Going for one last technique swim tonight, and will do so with all his advice swimming in my head. 

Feeling a little pumped after reading it to be honest! Ray writes well. Especially the extra London Tri Tips that he included for me. Specifically point 8…

BANG! RACE BEGINS. Dont let the blood rush to your head, remember the flotsam at the 200 -300m mark! Begin by swimming catch-up to reign yourself in and protect your head.”

Shaking now. In a good way.

Hope I calm down a bit before I get to the lido. Don’t want to be one of the angry macho splashers.

BANG!

1 note

The 2010 London Triathlon
Event information 
A new facet of nervousness had been brewing in me this week, as friends and family have been asking what time they ‘need to be there'…
Firstly then, please, anyone who’s kind enough to be thinking of coming to watch, do not feel you have to come. 
Year-long self indulgent me me me blog aside, I’m not all that good at being the centre or attention, so if you’ve got other plans or places to be, or if getting up early on a Sunday is looking like a slog, then please stay in bed and enjoy yourself. 
Secondly, if indeed you do want to go and watch the worlds largest triathlon in full flow then here are some details on how to do so:
• The London Triathlon starts and finishes at the Excel Centre  
• The best way to get there is on public transport, specifically the DLR line, getting off at Custom House for ExCeL‎ (or on bike).
Use Journey Planner to plan your route and check times. Note: I don’t think bikes are allowed on the DLR when the event is on.
• If you plan to get there for a certian time, give yourself at least 30 minuets to make your way from the station into Excel. It’s massive and will have thousands of lost looking and nervous people wondering around. 
• Note also that watching a triathlon has long bits of waiting around. Bring a book maybe or spend the spare time finding a good spot for the run which is the most easily watchable bit (though not as fun as watching people exit the swim and struggle with their suits).
• It’s on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August.
• Sunday times of note:
• 7am - Luke and Billy set off in their wave and will be coming in around 9.30am…
• 8am - Christian (Luke’s brother) sets off, expected in at 10.29 or earlier… :)   
• 7.30am - Jenson and Vernon Kay(!) set off in their wave and can be expected in any time between 10am and 11am (I have no idea how serious Vernon has taken his training).
• 9.10am - I’ll be setting off in my wave and fingers crossed, coming in very closely around the 11.10am mark!
• View the full course maps on the London Tri website or read their spectator tips
• Whatever happens, I’m likely to be a bit tired at the end so please don’t think I’m rude. Any glazed or no smiling expressions will not be intentional. 
• Most importantly if you do decide to come along at any point… think about giving it a try… go on… dare you. 

The 2010 London Triathlon

Event information 

A new facet of nervousness had been brewing in me this week, as friends and family have been asking what time they ‘need to be there'…

Firstly then, please, anyone who’s kind enough to be thinking of coming to watch, do not feel you have to come. 

Year-long self indulgent me me me blog aside, I’m not all that good at being the centre or attention, so if you’ve got other plans or places to be, or if getting up early on a Sunday is looking like a slog, then please stay in bed and enjoy yourself. 

Secondly, if indeed you do want to go and watch the worlds largest triathlon in full flow then here are some details on how to do so:

• The London Triathlon starts and finishes at the Excel Centre  

• The best way to get there is on public transport, specifically the DLR line, getting off at Custom House for ExCeL‎ (or on bike).

Use Journey Planner to plan your route and check times. Note: I don’t think bikes are allowed on the DLR when the event is on.

• If you plan to get there for a certian time, give yourself at least 30 minuets to make your way from the station into Excel. It’s massive and will have thousands of lost looking and nervous people wondering around. 

Note also that watching a triathlon has long bits of waiting around. Bring a book maybe or spend the spare time finding a good spot for the run which is the most easily watchable bit (though not as fun as watching people exit the swim and struggle with their suits).

• It’s on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August.

• Sunday times of note:

• 7am - Luke and Billy set off in their wave and will be coming in around 9.30am…

8am - Christian (Luke’s brother) sets off, expected in at 10.29 or earlier… :)   

• 7.30am - Jenson and Vernon Kay(!) set off in their wave and can be expected in any time between 10am and 11am (I have no idea how serious Vernon has taken his training).

• 9.10am - I’ll be setting off in my wave and fingers crossed, coming in very closely around the 11.10am mark!

• View the full course maps on the London Tri website or read their spectator tips

• Whatever happens, I’m likely to be a bit tired at the end so please don’t think I’m rude. Any glazed or no smiling expressions will not be intentional. 

• Most importantly if you do decide to come along at any point… think about giving it a try… go on… dare you. 

0 notes

And here’s another good video from YouTube, showing the exact space at Canary Wharf that Swim For Tri have their endless pool. Endless fun. 

Dan here is also the guy in the other video, who’s stroke seems obvious when you watch it, but believe me, the man is a machine and his stroke is impossibly good. Don’t do as I did, and expect to see anything like this stroke when you! 

0 notes

Finally had a go at this yesterday. Ace. Totally ace. So revealing it’s unbelievable. I cannot recommend this enough. Anyone in London looking to improve their stroke, go see Swim For Tri now. Go. Book. Now. 

1 note

5 days to The 2010 London Triathlon and the end of all this. Tapering time. No time left to improve fitness. Technique however, perhaps. 

Firstly then, transitions. There’s technique-a-plenty to learn here, and seconds, if not minutes to save. This week then, I will mostly be getting in and out of wetsuits and shoes. 

0 notes

Onwards by James Jarvis via Marathoning Linda. More ruining inspiration. A nice zone that this guys gets into.

Also inspiration is the news that Illustrator James Jarvis is such an accomplished runner, with a 10K personal best of 32:20 and a marathon personal best of 02:35:34!

Golly. 

1 note

Woah woah woah, 3 years ago?

Hang on a minute. I think someone’s been cheating…

OK, so perhaps not cheating - it’s more that I’ve been rubbish at research.

Basically I read this morning that Jenson:

"began competing in triathlon three years ago to lift him out of a low period in F1 when he was struggling at the back of the field with an uncompetitive Honda."

Blows my whole assumption that he’d only been doing it for 2 years. Also adds a tidy little extra bullet point to a potential excuses arsenal (I’ve been doing triathlon training for just 13 months).

Anyway, also in the BBC article I found some more spying fodder in the form of video evidence of Jenson’s form.

Firstly, his suit looks nice and thin and snug and tight (mine’s getting a little stretched around the neck):

His swimming form looks very good. Spotting well and a very long stroke with good entry for open water (seen better in the video):

On the bike, I’d say he looks a little uncomfortable. Positioned well, but rocking and pumping slightly showing signs of an uneven cadence:

Running however he looks super happy. Smooth pace, good movement, straight back and even posture. Very wide elbows though which is interesting. Wonder what that’s about? Wonder if that will prevent stitches?:

Watch the full video on BBC

And good luck this weekend Jenson in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Only 14 points behind Lewis and 25 up for grabs over the 8 remaining races of the season.

F1 facts, again, from the BBC

0 notes

AAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!
Stitches. Stitches. They will not stop. They’re getting worse.
This is an official cry for help.
If anyone reading this has any ideas or theories, no matter how crazy, about preventing stitches then please get in touch, through Twitter or simply email me. 
Thank you.
Also for those that don’t know, the blue dude is called Stitch. See what I did there. Pain and puns. I’m here for two more weeks. Goodnight. 

AAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!

Stitches. Stitches. They will not stop. They’re getting worse.

This is an official cry for help.

If anyone reading this has any ideas or theories, no matter how crazy, about preventing stitches then please get in touch, through Twitter or simply email me

Thank you.

Also for those that don’t know, the blue dude is called Stitch. See what I did there. Pain and puns. I’m here for two more weeks. Goodnight.