During the summer I decided I wanted to build my own bike in the off season. I thought it'd be something special to ride a machine I'd built myself and the personal element really appealed to me. I spoke to some of the guys in the workshop where I work and they agreed to help and guide me. No sooner than I'd bought the frame from VeloBuild, I was offered a machine I couldn't refuse. The 2013 Cannondale Slice RS Ultegra. I couldn't turn it down and as a result I am selling my VeloBuild TT Frame that comes with aerobars, handlebars and seat-post. The bike cost me $869/ €800 and cost me €110 to ship and a further €200 on customs. In all this frame cost me €1100 to buy, I am selling for €900. This is a real steal as I have done all the hard work dealing with customs and deliveries so the frame is there for someone to buy. Drop me a mail if interested and we can work something out. The VeloBuild range is great and I know many who have bought from them and ride the VeloBuild TT Frame with no problems. It is matt black and super lightweight with integrated headset. Chat soon. €900 ONO.
"These bikes are like something from a Batman movie". This was a friends observation as I ventured into one of my very first triathlon races, and he wasn't wrong. One of the stand-out features of a triathlon event is the gear, I have never been so overwhelmed as I was on those first few outings, You see, I came from a swimming background, togs, goggles and a hat was all I needed.
The world of triathlon can be intimidating but don't let it be. All those competitors started at the beginning just like you and I. The fact you have decided to give triathlon a go is kudos enough without having to deal with the 'gear complex'. It takes years to amass the gear you want and in some cases a very deep wallet.
But enough about that, lets have a look at the triathlon gear you must have and some optional extras. These extras are dependant on what distance you are looking to do and how long you plan to remain in the sport.
I have been asked time and again to write a review on this product so here goes. Hornet Juice is one of those cool new products on the market that gets people talking, but does it work? Most people in sport are looking for some sort of an edge. Triathlon is no different if not more so of an example. Anything that lays claim to help us go harder for longer will be tested, that's for sure. I heard Brett from Zen Triathlon discuss Hornet Juice on one of has podcasts from a January 2015 epidode. He didn't go into any real detail, rather he touched off the fact it allowed triathletes to train harder for longer due to an amino extract derived from Hornets.
The mere mention of Amino's had me sold (almost) but I was still going to do my research. Back when I played rugby, I took Amino Acids as a pre workout and the pump I got from them was awesome. I felt I could lift weight and last longer every time I took a few scoops. For that reason alone I was sure I'd give Hornet Juice a try. I did my research and although I found nothing overly scientific to back its theories I ordered a sample batch. I'm not going to go into great detail about what they say it does and how it does it, you can read all that stuff here. Instead I want to simply talk about how I performed on the four occasions I took it. Before I do that, let me say that there are lots of permutations to consider and lots of data to compare so lets get into it.
The first sachet I took was on a Sunday in February. I ran 10km and did it in 43 minutes. I felt ok but nothing too spectacular. (Data) Last April I ran the Samsung night run in 43 minutes and that was a race. My fastest 10km is 42 minutes and on this random Sunday having done a 70km spin the day before, I ran it in 43 minutes. Consider the elements, the same time as my fastest recorded race, the day after a long spin and alone. Now it is important to remember I have been training since last April. In that time I have raced a 70.3 and a marathon, so my pacing and endurance has no doubt improved since last April but even still, not a bad result I think, maybe this stuff does work.
The second sachet I took was before my first 100km+ cycle. The report on this is self explanatory. The furthest I had ever cycled before this was 85km in prep for my 70.3 Ironman. On this day I spent over four hours on the saddle and there were no issues at all. Again, did this come down to my own improvements as an endurance athlete or was the juice helping out? (Data)
The third sachet I took was this weekend just gone and it, along with the fourth and final sachet, may really lend weight to this product working. I did a brick session on Saturday that incorporated a 1hr turbo followed by an immediate 5km run. I pushed hard on the Turbo outdoors and in the sun and averaged 33kmh. When I dismounted the bike I felt pretty wobbly but managed a 3:53 first kilometre off the bike and then a 21 minute 5km run. Not so long ago I was running 20/21 minute kilometres in the Marlay Park Run and here I was running a 21 minute 5km right off the bike. I was pretty happy with this and again, this may well have been down to Hornet Juice. (Data)
The last sachet I took was before Sunday's LSR. I am running the London City Marathon in April and really need to increase my long slow runs. This was my first long run since before Dublin City Marathon and I felt great. Remember, I had done a brick session the day before so I had no business running this LSR at any sort of pace. My battery died but I clocked (on my polar) an 18.3km run in 1:24:18. (Data) I was running sub 5 minute kilometres and in some cases sub 4 minutes. What I am most happy about is that I covered the entire 18km without a drop of water, a single gel or showing any real need for fuel. This is extremely rare for me and I honestly put it down to Hornet Juice.
To conclude, the data speaks for itself and when compared to older times and distances it is clear there are improvements. However, one should expect improvement over time as a rule so how much of this comes down to the product and how much is down to me simply improving? The drink tastes fine, I know as I have had some pretty terrible proteins and creatines etc. over the year. It goes down easy and I noticed no ropey side effects like an upset stomach or anything. I guess like many things when it comes to training, different things work for me than will work for you and vice versa. You can order a sample pack here and I recommend you do. Will I buy Hornet Juice again? Yes I probably will, if anything, placebo has got me through an awful lot on the rugby pitch over the years. In this case there seems to be some evidence, allied with placebo, this product gets my thumbs up. Phil
Back when I looked after the website Total Rugby, I used to get inundated with requests from people asking me what games were going to be on at the weekend. I used to put together a list of 'weekend fixtures' from around the globe. It didn't matter how big or small the fixture was I added it to that list. Like most new triathletes, I crave reading about and where possible, watching events take place. I want to watch, learn and soak up as many triathlon events as possible. Therefore, I decided to create a document that would list every ITU, Ironman and Challenge race around the world in 2015. Its going to be one heck of a list and where possible, I will add in if an upcoming race is going to televised. Enjoy.
Ironman 2015 Full & Half Distance Events
Challenge 2015 Full & Half Distance Events
ITU World Series
If, like me, you are just mad to ingest as much triathlon information as possible, podcasts are a great source of fuel. It took me a while to get into podcasts as I never really warmed to the non-live concept of their production. But the following list of best triathlon podcasts have without doubt turned me to the other side. I downloaded the app 'Pocketcast' on Google Play for €2 and have never looked back. The podcasts I listen to offer me insight into a sport that I am still getting to grips with, keep me company during those long hours on the turbo trainer and make the morning commute that little bit more tolerable. Let's get into it.
I know there are a bunch more triathlon podcasts out there but I thought my top 5 would be enough to get started. If there are any glaring contenders I have missed do drop me a mail here on Fitness With Phil or catch up with me on Twitter.