Film Friday: LEJOG Relay Attempt (Andrew)

Mark Beaumont is one of the world’s best endurance cyclists. He’s twice held the record for fastest time around the world, including his current record of cycling round the world in less than 80 days.

James Lowsley-Williams is a former cycling professional and current presenter of the YouTube channel, Global Cycling Network.

Together they attempted to break the record for fastest two person relay time for cycling Lands End to John O’Groats.

You can watch their attempt below and see how different each men become as they get deeper and deeper into the race. They each ride for one hour and swap over again and again as they attempt to keep an average speed of 19 mph from one end of the UK to another. However it’s quite clear that for one man (James) it’s a very different experience from the other (Mark)…

Well worth a watch!

Toddman 2021 Official Route Announcement (Andrew)

Every year a Dutchman predicts the route of the Tour de France. His predictions are so accurate that journalists bring a copy of his map to the official route announcement so that they know what the Tour will announce before they announce it.

How does he do it though? How does one man predict year after year the route of the most famous bike race in the world? The answer is easy. The route is not a secret. Well, not if you know who to ask…

A race as big as the Tour de France needs to sign contracts in advance with everyone involved in the route. From French local authorities granting permission to use their roads to hotels and BnB’s expected to house every rider, staff and journalist. All these people talk. Local councils boast to the local newspapers that the Tour is coming next year; the hotels are full and are turning away bookings; work has started on resurfacing roads and preparing the infrastructure to bring the Tour to any part of France.

And through hundreds if not thousands of phone calls, the canny forecaster works out exactly where the Tour will be before the Tour announces it officially.

You, on the other hand, don’t need to guess where this year’s second biggest race in the world will be held because I bring you a world exclusive – the official route of Toddman 2021.

And, just like last year, Toddman 2021 will see two of the finest athletes in the world (called Todd and from the Western Isles) resume their rivalry like Pokajar and Roglic as they fight for iconic black Peat & Diesel jersey.

For more on Toddman check out the race reports here and here.

So, here it is, a world wide exclusive – the new route!

Below you can see the bike route, which has changed from last year’s flat sprint stage to a hilly mountainous stage featuring two of Scotland’s finest climbs: the Todd Road nee the Crow Road and Todd Me Doon nee Tak Me Doon.

While the run will involve a trail run and climb of Meikle Bin before finishing at Todholes farm and the now iconic and controversial green gate (see race reports for why the green gate is controversial).

Who will win? Who knows? But we do know that it will be someone called Todd!

Film Friday – Every Single Street (Andrew)

Last week I recommended ‘Transamericana’, a film about ultra runner, Rickey Gates, running across America from coast to coast. A year later he set himself a new challenge, one which while still involving running thousands of miles would never actually see him running further than seven miles: he set out to run every street in San Fransisco, just seven square miles.

While I’ve been running every street near my home for the last year – see here and here among other articles – he takes it to the next level by sleeping on every street in a campervan and not stopping until he’d completed them all.

If you want to see how a simple idea can change someone then watch this video.

Film Friday – Transamericana (Andrew)

This is one of the longest films I’ve recommended on Film Friday. It’s long in running time at 85 minutes but also long on running time as it covers ultra runner, Rickey Gates, run across America from east coast to west coast.

It’s a fascinating film because it spends very little time on the mechanics of the run itself. We learn little about how many miles he ran each day, how many hours it would take or how he dealt with food and water (except when talking about crossing Death Valley). It’s mostly Ricky talking about what the run meant to him and the effect it had on his view of America.

Highly recommended. And, next week, a second video from Ricky Gates about what he did next.

Training For Celtman – Final (Andrew)

There are many reasons for not starting a race and I think I’ve experienced them all.

I’ve been injured. That’s a common one: a strained ankle, shin splints or a dodgy knee. They’re all common reasons for not starting. Less common is a broken rib caused by tying a bungee cord around my waist while playing five a side football aka Bungee Football.

Bungee Football is a stupid, stupid game that recreates table football by tying players together with bungee cords so that they have to work together to play. Of course, it doesn’t work like that because when you run right, the rest of your team runs left and you’re thrown to the ground faster than a losing scratchcard. And, unlike an actual bungee, where a lot of time and effort is spent making sure that you don’t hit the ground, in bungee football you hit the ground again and again and again until you break a rib.

I’ve never played it since.

But I did play it four days before I was meant to take part in the Caledonian Challenge, a 56 mile walk along the West Highland Way in 24 hours.

I tried to take part, I went up with my team the night before but, as I couldn’t sleep as I could’t lie on my chest and I couldn’t carry a rucksack with tweaking my broken rib every time the chest strap moved across it, I had to pull out.

That wasn’t the strangest reason I’ve ever had to pull out of a race. Iain TwinBikeRun and I were going to take part in the Tour of the Borders – a cycle Sportive starting in Peebles. The forecast was poor, it was meant to rain all day but we still went ahead as we knew we had waterproofs to manage the bad weather. It turned out though, that what we didn’t have was a front window wiper for Iain TwinBikeRun’s car. As we drove down, and as black clouds gathered and the forecast predicted the start of a 36 hour downpour, the windscreen wiper fell off Iain TwinBikeRun’s car. Blimey!

We stopped at Abingdon Service Station to see if they had a replacement but they didn’t have anything we could use. We were left with no choice: we could carry on, but with no wiper to clear the rain from the windows – and no certainty that if we could get to Peebles before the rain started that we’d find a wiper there the next day so that we could drive home safely. Or, we could abandon the race and head home and order a wiper knowing we didn’t have to drive again until it arrived. We decided to head home.

Most times though when I’ve abandoned a race it’s because of the weather – I used to regularly take part in a half marathon in Fort William in November until I realised that of the five times I’d entered it, I’d only taken part twice. Fort William in November is a good month for submarines, goldfish and putting out fires. Every race day I’d open the curtains of my bed and breakfast, look out at the torrential rain and make a mental note to start gathering animals two by two.

When I think of Celtman 2021 now, I think of it in terms of the races I’ve not entered and how it compares. And I think it stands on it’s own as I can’t think of another race where I’m injury free, the weather was good and I’d trained as much I could yet that training wasn’t enough. There wasn’t any more I could do as I couldn’t swim before the pools were open in Glasgow and I could practice outdoors until the lochs had started to warm up too.

Knowing this, I don’t regret not taking part because there was never a chance of taking part. Just like Bungee Football, there was a limit to how much I could do safely – and that limit was set by the pandemic. There was nothing I could have done to change it.

So, after 32 months of training, effectively the lead up to Challenge Roth in 2019, the postponed Celtman 2020 and this Celtman 2021, I suspect I will now hang up my Celtman training. I doubt I’ll apply next year as 44 months of training is at least 32 months too long and it would be good to be able to swim, run and bike without thinking that I need to hit a target for training.

Unless I change my mind when entries open in October… 🙂

Celtman 2021 (Iain)

Andrew and I both entered this year’s Celtman, He has detailed his training on this blog. I prefer to not write about training. That way when I drop out of an event, I don’t have to tell anyone!

I abandoned my place a few months ago but unlike Andrew it was not due to Swimming. I live in a different council area than Andrew. I have been able to swim throughout the pandemic as there is a loch near me.

I abandoned as I’ve struggled for time to train properly. I was training well until March but since then I’ve lost 7 week due to injury and another 4 weekends due to a family bereavement. I only had limited free time so I abandoned bike training and stuck to running as it was easy to fit into my week

I knew I could do the swim and run but I would have hated every second of the bike leg. Every awful second of It would have been mentally draining so I dropped out to save my sanity.

We prebooked accommodation for the Celtman weekender. I didn’t want that to go to waste so Mrs Twinbikerun and I drove up north and enjoyed a race free weekend in Torridon. I had my swim, bike and run gear with me just in case I had a last minute change of heart BUT thankfully the injury fairy visited me the night before we left and gifted me an injured elbow!

I couldn’t bend my arm properly or put weight on it for the whole weekend. Which is very annoying when trying to fall asleep as I struggled to find any position that did not make my elbow sore.

I’ve no idea how the injury happened, My wife suspects it was a new extendable dog lead she purchased. That week I’d walked my dogs with it for the first time. Thankfully I’d made the decision to drop out before getting the injury. Imagine having to drop out because of a dog walk! I’d be gutted.

I’ll enter next year and see what happens. If I do get in, hopefully i have more luck and don’t get injured so often! I’ve had more injuries this year than the last 20 years.

Film Friday – A September To Remember (Andrew)

A September To Remember? Let’s see if that’s right…

In the BBC Scotland home show “Scotland’s Home of the Year” the judges mark every home they visit out of 10. Except they don’t – they only ever mark them out of four as homes either get a 7, 8, 9 or 10. No one has ever scored six or lower.

The judges could be reviewing a home with one wall, no roof, a raging fire burning down the living room and, worst of all, a “Live, Laugh, Love” sign in the kitchen, and they would still give it a 7.

It’s a nice show. And it’s nice touch that no matter how crap the home they always try and find good things to say about it.

“The out of control fire really keeps the home toasty and warm while providing a degree of spontaneity that shows the home owner’s fun loving side!”

So, all I’ll say to this week’s Film Friday is that a film about a man who challenged himself to sleep in a different London park every day in September deserves a seven.

And any film that talks about sleeping in the parks without once mentioning homelessness is, in my books, morally suspect as I couldn’t help shake off my feeling of unease watching someone say “it’s better than sleeping in my own bed!” without acknowledging that for many people this is not a fun social media challenge. But, looking at the positives:

“The lack of mention of serious social issues really show’s the filmmaker’s fun loving side!”