Thursday, 18 October 2012

Breakfast of champions

80% of potential weight loss is your diet

The rest is the production of muscle to increase your metabolic rate and burn whatever it is that you eat. Pretty simple I guess.

I read in an Outdoor Fitness article recently about a good breakfast. They couldn't find one off the shelf, but they did have a suggestion of making your own breakfasts. Here's the meal that they suggested.

It's light enough for before a workout, but flexible enough that you can add more for a post-workout meal.


  • Oats 56g
  • Whey protein 15g
  • Chia seeds 3g
  • Flax seeds 3g
  • Almonds 3g
  • Cocoa nibs 2g
  • Dried blueberries 8g
  • Honey 8g
  • Cinnamon 1g
The above equates to (for 100g):
  • 20g of protein
  • 50g of carbs
  • 11g of fat

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New training programme: achieving the awesome

The horse stance (not me)
My personal trainer and good friend in no uncertain words said that if I continue along my current training path I will achieve more, but I will never reach my potential.

Strong words, but readily understood and now accepted.

I've spent so much time abusing my body by not stretching that it's affected my posture and my ability to complete even the most basic of moves. For example, I always thought I was good at squats, but even a simple front squat is near impossible for me to complete in perfect form because my hip flexors are so tight. When I tried the same technique with the use of a swiss ball against a wall I felt like I was going to fall forward.

Clearly things need to change and that thing is me.

This does mean that my 5k goal might not happen or I may not complete my ultra marathon this year, but if I change now for the better it means next years goal will be easier to attain.

Here's some of the exercises I need to be performing over the next month:

  • Cable rotations
  • Planks
  • Side planks with rotations
  • Horse stacnce oppostive palm and knee raises

Hip flexors

  • Raised reverse lunge (front foot is high)
  • Stretch hip flexors, lots


  • Lat pull downs
  • Side shoulder raises

  • Take 15 minutes every day to stretch
There's still more exercises to come, but for once I'm not ready to attempt them. Feels odd.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Cannondale Trail SL 29ER 3 SS photos

I popped into my local bike shop expecting to only be ordering some new tyres, when lo and behold my new bike catches my eye. It wasn't meant to be in for another week, but there it was.

Boy I was excited! Most of the Thomson equipment had turned up too, except the new Thomson handlebars. They're arriving in the UK next week - there's not stock in the UK, so I might even get one of the first pairs (let's hope they did their quality control!).

So here's a few pics to share. I know when I go to buy a new bike and specifically a single speed, I want to know the exact specs and to check out wheel configurations etc. Whilst these pics aren't great, they do show the bike off in different angles from the usual PR shots.

Also a note on weight and balance. It's light, but not road bike light. I wasn't that impressed. But the balance of the weight across the bike was good. Little heavier at the back, but it did feel a lot more balanced than, well most, front suspension bikes. I liked that. Not sure what benefits it will bring to the ride, but I'll find that out soon.

And it does come with a pair of Cannondale branded flat pedals.

Looking down on the rear wheel. Clearly for those hoping it was a standard wheel so they could easily modify it will be disappointed. This is a single speed specific wheel. Horrible cable brakes, but they do work.Side view of the bike. Note that this is a medium. It looks tiny. The seat post will need to be raised quite a bit to get it just right. I also went for a 75mm stem and I'm wondering whether that might be a little too short for the medium. I'll find out soon enough. An initial ride for literally no more than a minute felt pretty good though.
Straight on the bike looks weird. I wasn't expecting such a gap at the top of the fork, but it does mean in muddy conditions you won't have to worry about clearance. It's a lovely fork too and the headtube looks great as well. My expectations of an 'ugly' and over-sized meeting of the frame and work was completely unfounded. I rather liked it.

Can't wait to use it in anger.

Continental Mountain King 2 29 Protection Black Chili tyres

I ordered a 2013 Cannondale Trail SL 29ER 3 SS the other day (say that quickly!) and even when I ordered it I took the chance to get some early upgrades in. Mainly Thomson parts. In fact, all Thomson parts.

But, before I've even got the bike I'm looking at other potential upgrades.

Continental Mountain King 2 29 Protection Black Chili

I'll admit up front that I'm a bit of a brand nut. I know what I like and I know what I trust. Continental tyres are used on all my bikes and whilst there may be better out there, they are great for what I do. But I don't skimp, cheap tyres are cheap for a reason.

If you're getting Continental tyres and there's at least some chance you'll be riding in the rain with roots or rocks in your path, then pay the extra and get not only the Black Chili compound, but if you're not worried about weight, get the Protection versions too.

Of course the folding versions will still do a good job, but if you have the cash, tyres are a very important part to how a bike feels on the trail so spend what you can.

But I digress. For my new bike I'm going for the Continental Mountain King 2 29 Protection Black Chili model (in 2.2). I'm asking whether they will get them in stock any time soon, but otherwise a quick Google product search reveals there are other retailers around. But again, I stick with what I know and trust.

And as per my guidance below, I'll also be replacing the tyres and rim tape with continental items, replacing the grips with some ODI's and picking up a set of frankly brilliant Shimano XT SPD pedals. I bet I hate riding a 29er!

What do you need to change on a new bike?

I used to work in a bike shop for a good few years. I grew up loving them and having the opportunity to spend my whole day selling, fixing and talking about them was a boys dream. It taught me a lot about bikes, how to ride and what tricks of the trade are employed to get bikes to a certain price point. It's the same with cars really - do you think they are after market Pirelli's on your new car?

Here's a few things I always like to change on a bike

  • Tyres, tubes and rim tape - they will be the worst tyres you ever buy. I like matching tyres, tubes and tapes (so geeky)
  • Grips - I have my favs (ODI Rogue for rough stuff, ODI Ruffian for XC)
  • Saddle - I have made mine like a sofa, it's coming with me
  • Bottom bracket - they're always crap. Get a good one in there
  • Headset - Again, like the bottom bracket, whatever you can't see is generally not worth seeing
  • Pedals - Get a pair of XT SPDs and you're done (or your own fav brands equivalent)

When you buy a new bike, or at least when I buy a new bike

I have to make a new bike personalised to me as soon as I take delivery, even above and beyond the parts above. Before I even ride it the bike parts are coming off and new shiny bits are being bolted on.

I did this when I bought my Giant Anthem X3 a few years back. Within weeks the only parts that were left the same was the rear wheel and the brakes. And when I talk about replacing everything, I mean everything. When did anyone replace the rim tapes on a brand new £2k machine before really riding it? Barmy!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

2013 Cannondale Trail SL 29ER 3 SS

I've been lucky enough to order a new bike under my company's benefit scheme. I had £1,000 to spend and this is the beauty I've gone for.

Now I haven't even swung my leg over her yet and it's not even being dispatched until the 15th of this month, but she's a beauty.

I've always loved single speeds, it's the simplicity and the beautiful lines. I also rather like the colour and I've been a big fan of Cannondale bikes for years.

But of course it wouldn't be a Seanie bike if it wasn't upgraded. The bike was a mere £599.99, which gave me £400.01 to spend on upgrades.

In my non-bike life I take ages to decide on something. I'm not rich and I'm known to have pre, during and post shopping dissonance. I simply can't make up my mind if the stakes are high.

However, I breezily spent £361.95 on Thomson components in probably less than 30 seconds. I know my bikes and I love my Thomson gear.

Thomson gear

  • Stem (1.5" diameter x 75mm length)
  • Handlebar (730mm x 12mm rise x 31.8mm diameter)
  • Stem cap (1.5" diameter)
  • Masterpiece seat post (31.6mm diameter x 330mm length)
  • Seat collar (34.9mm diameter)

Thomson really know their stuff. I'm not going to lie that I'm a little disappointed that the carbon handlebar I've ordered is made in Taiwan rather than the rest of their US manufactured aluminium components, but if the colour matches, yes I'm that fickle, then I'm happy.

Once I've got everything I'll give it a full review.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

I'm a half Ironman

It’s been a while since I last posted. A little remiss of me really. In the time I’ve been gone, I’ve done a load of other half marathons, lots of swim training and completed a half Ironman in the US.

I was also lucky enough to be able to buy a new bike, a friend bought me an awesome new watch and he was even awesome enough to a) let me borrow most of his gear and b) act as a race team support crew for when I completed the Ironman.

It’s been a good time. But I still have goals for the rest of the year and I’m still not happy with how I feel and my performance in running, cycling or swimming.

I have two goals for the rest of the year, which glancing down I realise is a reduced number from three as below and the goals are easier too.

If I can do both of those, then I'll be happy.
  • Reliably run 5km in under 20 minutes on or off road
  • Run a 50km ultra marathon
I also fully intend to build on my great swim training I've had over the past 6 months and continue working on my bike form and fitness.