Monthly Archives: September 2014

MS 150 City to Shore: Day 2

After a wonderful evening in Ocean City, New Jersey, spent eating pizza and hanging out on the boardwalk. Thanks, OC. Then a very restful night and it was back on the bike this morning.

82 miles back to the start line and we did it in record time. We started slightly late and finished faster than we normally do. This was helped by the fact that we had no weak links in the team this year and were able to power through most of the day at around 19 mph. The average for the ride was 18 mph which included nursing one of the team in for the last two legs.

All good fun.

My iPhone 6 worked out really well and the battery lasted amazingly for the ride. I use Mapmyrun connected to my bluetooth sensor on the bike, plus GPS for location and the phone was only at 70% by the end of the ride 5.5 hours later. Excellent. The pictures it takes are also really good.

IMG_3849.JPGThis was taken in pre-dawn light and with a lot of movement.


MS 150 City to Shore Bike Ride: Day 1

I know this is a running blog and I will get back to running right after my annual migration across New Jersey in the MS 150 City to Shore bike ride. Please forgive me this brief sojourn into another sport.

Today started at 3:30 AM for breakfast and a quick drive to the start line in the Woodcrest PATCO station in New Jersey. I arrived by 4:45 and was told that I couldn’t collect my ride packet until 5:30 as they had to train the volunteers. Boo. Oh well, I seized the opportunity to use the porta-potties while there were no lines. Result!

After a quick bike setup and pinning numbers on Jerseys, and a team photo, it was off to the corral for the 6:30 start. I managed to wheedle my way to the front and got out pretty quickly. I was in the 17+ mph group and fought my way through the ranks to get within sight of the front few. I’m not too familiar with the route so I didn’t want to be right at the front.

Then it was on with the game plan.

I managed to jump on a line that was doing 22 mph for a few miles but they turned off at the first rest stop. Fools. I carried on and soon managed to jump a line that was travelling around 26 mph. That’s more like it! I did a brief pull but I haven’t been doing bike training this year so I had to bail off quite quickly.

I pulled in at rest stop #2 for a pee break and got straight back on my bike. My avg speed was 19.5 by this time.

I then managed to jump another fast and consistent line that took me past rest stop #3 and onto the ‘century’ loop. This is an extra 22 miles that is optional to make your ride up to 100 miles.

The line I was on didn’t pull in but I did. They were too fast to ride with for the longer distance that I had in mind. At the rest stop on the century loop my avg speed was up to 21.9 mph. I then headed out on my own.

I skipped the repeat of rest stop #3 which the century loop feeds back into and then… Jumped on the century loop again. Stupid, I know, but I was feeling strong.

By the rest stop on the century loop (visit 2) I was at 20.9 avg speed having had to do some sections solo. It was at this point that I met up with some team mates who were there for the first time. I worked out my timing and realized I could not quite make another century before they close the loop, so I decided to ride the rest of the way with them. This was a relief as it was a more sedate pace.

IMG_3851.JPGMe and my Fellow Team Force Majeure riders.

We continued past rest stop #3 (again again) and then took the route towards the finish. We stopped at rest stop #4 and a quick stop at #5 too as it got really hot. 92F to be precise. Phew! I had started to feel it in my calves and thighs by this point.

The entry into Ocean City is over two large bridges that I like to race over. I cramped badly on the first one and was more careful on the second. I didn’t let my speed drop below 13 mph over them though.

Then it was plain sailing through the twisty streets of OCNJ to the finish line.

123.97 miles according to my bike. Average speed by the end had dropped to 18.8 but that’s okay for the distance. Totally knackered and legs shot. Now I have to prepare to do 75 back again tomorrow. Yeah.

For now I am nursing some mild sunburn and trying to recover. Peace and quiet.

Who is the Caped Crusader?

That is not a line I thought I’d ever find myself typing but sure enough, I just did.

And why you might ask? Well, I was out doing a last ride before my long weekend charity event, head down, fighting the wind and a hill, when out of the corner of my eye I spied the most bizarre sight on two wheels.

Some freakily dressed person was taking the “make sure you’re seen” theme a bit too far and was riding a bright yellow bike, with an all-over red superhero outfit (complete with muscle inserts), a long trailing yellow cape, what looked like antlers, and a bright flashing headlight!

Wow, that makes my disco show seem like nothing!

Twenty one hilly miles completed. And a new land speed record for me of 44.5 mph. Now, car drivers, when I’m going that fast in a 35mph zone I do not expect to be overtaken. Give a man a break. Sheesh.

Time to pretty myself up as my wife and I are taking my parents out to dinner tonight.


iPhone 6 and the End of the Nike+ Shoe Dongle

For years the iPhone and Nike+ have been in bed together with the Nike+ application being built right into the operating system of the iPhone iOS. When the screen locked while using the app, it would give you your stats and read out your current performance info. It was a close and symbiotic relationship that drove both products to be well used by many runners that were iPhone owners.

The shoe dongle was a device that could be placed into the sole of Nike shoes or could be placed in a small pouch attached to your laces. It was easy to transfer to each pair of shoes.

This combination allowed you to track your run without having to rely on GPS information or using any data connection. Once you had calibrated the device your phone would sync to it and measure the running distance purely by tracking your foot falls. This was great as a backup for the (sometimes unreliable) GPS in the iPhones; when they sometimes said that you’d done 20 miles you could rely on the Nike+ sensor to say, “No, don’t be silly! Congratulations on the 2 miles you completed. Great real.”

And now with the release of the iPhone 6 Biggie Phones that relationship has come to an end. The new iPhone has motion coprocessor (M8) that can collect, among other things, your foot steps, so they have removed the ability to connect the iPhone to the Nike+ shoe dongle. I had not seen any announcements about this change but had assumed it to be the case when I could find no reference to the system in the notes on the Apple site.

For future runs I will have to rely solely (ha!) on the accuracy of the iPhone GPS and it’s atmospheric foibles, or on measuring distances with google maps.

Farewell my lovely. It was a nice run...

So there we have it; the end of an era. I guess I could still use it in conjunction with an old iPod but in reality I doubt I will be able to use this again.

The iPhone6 however it *fabulous*. I have to try to find a strap for it so that I can have it on my forearm while running

Cycling Vs Running

While I really enjoy the running, cycling truly makes me smile like a seven year old and I find myself smiling and giddy with excitement as I scream down a gravel trail on my road bike flirting with the edge of adhesion and a gravelly slide into oblivion.

One advantage of cycling is that you can cover significantly more distance on wheels and I could join lots of my favourite running routes together to make a good long ride.

Today I slept in and only had time for a quick forty two miler up the Perkiomen trail to Green Lane State Park which is where I stopped to have my lunch, with this wonderful vista:


Alone With The Universe

Unfortunately the #Run2WorkPHL day isn’t going to work for me this year as it is the day before my vacation and I have to take a boatload of stuff home with me; my runner/rider wardrobe, my towel, my laptop, etc.

So I decided instead to go for an equivalent run before heading to the office.

It was truly beautiful out there. The temp was a perfect 50F with no humidity. As I stepped out the door there were two deer hanging out on the front lawn. They were startled and looked at me like I was in the wrong place. It felt like the scene in highlander where he tries to feel the heartbeat of the deer… As I started to run, so did they. Off into the woods.

Then I ran out along the lovely lonely roads towards Skippack. It was early and there were few cars so I took the chance to turn off my light every so often and run ‘au natural’ under the stars. I could see clearly by the quarter moon and could even make out the Milky Way. Stunning.

IMG_3768.JPGMe and the Moon.

I had one close call nearly steeping on a dead deer that had been laid on the edge of the road. Fortunately it was on a lighter piece if road so I saw it just in time. As I turned to head back there were two more deer on the road that I startled, one of which ran with me for a while.

The it was off home. A perfect run with a reasonable pace of 7:27 over 6.7 miles.

I hope everyone enjoys #Run2WorkPHL day; run commuting is fun.

Squished Foot and #Run2WorkPHL day

I’m thinking I should add a tab to the blog about things you should try to avoid when training for either running or cycling.

My latest addition to the list would be: don’t drop a ‘love seat’ on your foot. I’ve bruised the top of my foot over the arch near my littlest three toes.


That’s what I get for trying to move it on my own. Rookie mistake.

I’m glad that I am mainly cycling at the moment although tomorrow is the official #Run2WorkPHL event and I’m tempted to partake, even though I need to take my laptop home… I’ll have to think about it. I’ve not run the commute route since they changed the road layout on me but I have to admit I really do miss running. That’s an odd thing to find yourself saying.

Cross-Training A-go-go

With only two weeks to go before the MS bike ride I’ve been ramping up my bike mileage and missing a few runs.

This week I’ve managed to put in 12.5 running miles on track and on the road, but I’ve mainly been focused on bike riding and have done around 134 miles with work commutes and today’s ride.

I’ve reached the point where I don’t feel the saddle any more (which is good) and now I just have to get a bit more power in my thighs. I sense some squats in my future. Oh, joy!

Today’s ride was 46F when I set out at six am. Brrr. I wasn’t ready for that and had to ride no-handed for the first five miles with my hands in my armpits to keep them warm! That can be a bit hairy (the riding not the armpits) given some of the hills but fortunately there is no one around at that time in this area.

Five hours on the road and lots of headwind to fight so it was a good workout.

Looking forward to switching back to running… 🙂

Sleeping In; Jetting Off

I turned off the 5:15 alarm today. I didn’t run despite the wonderful Harvest moon that is gracing our skies and lighting the roads. After four days of exhaustive running and cycling I took a morning off.

However, here’s a link to the latest running fad. Yes, a jetpack for runners!

Xmas present? Screw getting an apple watch, I want this. Whoosh!

Biking To and From Track Workout

Okay, I’ll admit it. I think I crossed a line today into the realms of madness.

I cycled to work (8.5 miles) then met a friend at lunch (2 miles on bike). Then it was off to Wednesday night interval training (running) at the local high school… Which is particularly high as it is at the top of some big hills! Four miles of biking hills in the opposite direction to get there. Time to recover a little, then warm up for running.

The FastTracks track workout was four sets of:
800m @ 10K race pace, 200 jogging recovery,
400m @ 5K race pace, 200m jogging recovery,
200m @ 1 mile race pace, 200m jogging recovery… Then straight back into repeats. Yikes. This was a hard workout and we left nothing in the tank. I was running with group 1 and we were hitting our targets bang on throughout the run. Tonight I decided to try using a classic stopwatch (Casio calculator watch) for time rather than my fancy iPhone apps and I have to say it was much better. Once you know approximately the paces/times you need to hit it is a far better way of tracking.

Then it was time to scoff a quick snack and jump on the bike and head home. As I started out the High-school band struck up a rendition of Queen’s Bicycle Race; how perfect is that?

The first two and a half miles are downhill and were really fun. However, it was pitch black by 8pm and I was only halfway home. I had my lights with me but the front one was starting erratic flashing for low battery warnings. 12.5 miles of biking home and I was done for the day.

I am knackered (as us Brits would say). All of the above plus a full and busy day in the office. At least there was a project completion breakfast this morning so I was able to scarf down three donuts (jelly donut, and two iced ring donuts) plus a bagel over the course of the day. Yum.

Now sitting at home with a bowl of special-k before showering and hitting the hay.

M-m-m-m-m-mad-madness. (Muse).