The Fat Minister (Iain)

The UK lock-down (which sounds more like a wrestling event than a disease prevention measure) means allot of people are spending time at home instead of at the office.

This free time is a great opportunity to learn to write, or you could learn to paint, or you could learn to play a musical instrument.

Which means once lock-down is over there will be allot of bad novels, terrible art and awful music around!

Here at twinbikerun we’re ahead of the curve. We’ve being making terrible novels, atrocious art and bad music for years! As a bonus we also produce weekly blogs for people to enjoy/endure.

But there’s an important lesson we learnt doing these things. Our first book was “The Fat Minister’s Question time”

The fat minister was a character we created for twitter (https://twitter.com/thefatminister) so we could write jokes abut the Scottish Independence referendum.

We collected his best jokes into a book. I reread it before writing this and I can honestly say, like the SNP white paper it was based on, it hasn’t aged well.

We had no aim for the book. It was just a fun project to do so that we could work out how to write a book, publish it and sell it.

We’d have been happy if it sold just one copy.

It actually sold quite well. Beyond our expectation – 2 copies! One for me and one for Andrew. It helped that it was priced at 99p. Reviews were mixed. Some people loved it

and other didn’t love it as much.

But because we had written the book we received a couple of interesting requests.

  1. We were asked to contribute to a BBC radio show about the independence referendum. Each week for six weeks we would go into the studio and give our comedic take on the weeks news. I still have the cheque from the BBC for my work. Considering how much I’ve paid them in licence fee payments, it was nice to get a bit back.
  2. We were asked to support Eddie Izzard in concert! Yes – the real Eddie Izzard! We would go on before him and tell jokes to 2000 people.

I’ll write about that next time….

The lesson I took from the book was don’t wait for anyone else to publish your book, or sell your painting or play your album. Just do everything yourself. You never know where it might lead.

Lockdown Diary (Andrew)

DAY ONE 
Up at 6am. Breakfast: homemade kale smoothie.
Shower. Shave. PE with Joe Wicks. He’s BRILLIANT. 
Isn’t this fun? No telly for me, I’m going to learn to play Metallica’s Enter Sandman on a 12 string Mandolin. Can’t wait for rest of the lock down!

DAY TWO
Up at 7am. Breakfast: Coffee (two cups).
PE with Joe Wicks. Eff off, Joe, it’s too early in the morning. 
Back to bed.
Watch every episode of Friends on Netflix except the London episodes. They’re awful. I still have standards. Skip!

DAY THREE
Wake up. Surf net. Find a punchbag of Joe Wicks and order on Amazon. Up at 8am.
Breakfast: All the purple ones from a Quality Street selection box.
Switch on Joe. Switch off, Joe. Joe must die. 
Is 10am too early for Jack Daniels?
Look out window. Why are people jogging on the street? Don’t they know the world is ending? You can’t outrun death – he’ll get us all in the end!
Watch London episodes of Friends. Twice. Why did Ross say “Rachel” at the wedding?! Why, Ross, why?!? Emily loved you!

DAY FOUR
Up at noon. 
Food runs out. Bed surrounded by empty Quality Street wrappers. Must go out but supermarkets are filled with infected checkouts. According to a post I saw on Facebook I can only survive if I gargle lukewarm PG Tips and rub my chest in marmite. It must be true. I saw it on Facebook. But I have no marmite. 😦

Never-mind, I can survive without food. I’ll need too to as I have no bog roll.

Joe Wick’s punchbag arrives. The masked courier complains my delivery was not “essential travel”. They’re wrong: Joe. Must. Get. TWATTED.

DAY FIVE
Later, as I sit on my balcony eating the dog, I reflect on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge country during the previous four days.

Celtman Training – Jan (Iain)

My Dad had a brain aneurysm in his 30s. In recent years, he has displayed symptoms of dementia and Parkinson’s but due to his aneurysm, his brain seems unwilling to commit to one affliction or the other. Some days he will have bad memory from dementia but the next it will be a shaky hand from Parkinson’s.

He took unwell and required hospitalization just before Christmas, which meant I spent the end of last year, and the start of this one, at home in the Western Isles, whilst he recovered in hospital.

Therefore, although January is the start of Celtman training it has taken second place to family issues.

It’s not all gloom though. There has been plenty of laughs. When he is in a confused state, he can be quite funny. Each day Mum asks him – does he know where he is? He comes up with some amazing replies.

One day Dad decided he was on a tram and he had to check all the tickets of the other passengers/patients. He told one poor bed ridden person that if he did not have a ticket by the time Dad came back he would throw him off the tram. The doctor came to visit Dad to see how he was. The doctor is quite a large fellow. Dad took one look at him and said, “Who let a fat man drive the tram?”

At least he recognised the Doctor was the man in charge.

If I didn’t laugh I’d cry.

Looking at my stats for the month, I am pleased to see that I did a bit more than in December.

My main aim has been quantity over quality. I’ve managed to do all the long runs and rides I had planned.

All my runs are on trail and usually hilly. All my rides are indoors on Zwift. I’m going full in on indoor training this year rather than outdoors. It’ll be interesting to see whether it works!

Training for Celtman: January 2020 (Andrew)

January Goals

  • Update and start training plan
  • Look into stats to help with training

How did I do?

For the second month in a row – see Nov and Dec – I set myself the goal of looking at stats to try and be more scientific with training. And, this month, I managed to look at FTP, which is not a brown brogue allegiance for anyone who knows their Scottish football acronyms. Instead it stands for functional threshold power or, too put it simply, the average amount of power you can exert in an hour.

As I’ve being using Zwift for 18 months I already knew I could ride at over 200 watts for an hour but the test – ride for an hour in Zwift with your power recorded over a 20 minute segment – managed to confirm that I was wrong. I could ride at 191 watts. Which is good to know but as I don’t know what’s watt and what’s a watt, it doesn’t mean anything to me yet. Apparently I should now try and increase it and test myself again in six weeks. If the watts have increased then my training will be going in the right direction.

The only other stat I tried this month was to run at least 13 miles in one training run, just to prove to myself that I could run a half marathon six months before Celtman.

I went out with Iain mid-month and, as he’s training for an ultra race in March, I ended up running 15 miles, the longest I’ve run in 10 years (the marathons in Ironman UK and Challenge Roth don’t count as I walk/ran them). It was great to think I could run that far and still feel I could do more. Unfortunately, and stupidly, I ran in new trainers and ripped my heel to shreds so running was restricted to short runs for the rest of the month while it healed.

On swimming, I’ve moved up to a faster lane in my weekly swims. I complain about it here

February Goals

More cycling. I’ve been restricted to indoor cycling and I’d like to get at least one 50 mile ride outdoors, weather depending.

Twinbikerun – the book

The 1st draft of twinbikerun the book is complete.

We’ve previously written a book about Scottish politics

and Scottish football.

but this time we have picked a subject even more prone to disagreements and petty squabbles – ourselves!

More details will be announced later.

PS – The book is not called twinbikerun the book. It has a much better title (we think!)

University – part 1 (Iain)

The view of the Uni in the prospectus

I studied Computing at the University of Edinburgh. I remember my first day at the University. I was informed I’d have to do a Maths course as part of my degree.

I asked “Why? I’m here to study Computing.”

The tutor replied that it was a requirement of the British Computer Society.

I said “Why? I’d rather learn something useful!”

He looked at me and said “Stop arguing. Just sign up to the Algebra course!”

At the end of the year I did the Algebra exam. I answered every single question and included my working out.  I got a score of 0/30 and the tutor wrote “This shows no knowledge of Algebra what so ever!”

I finished the course with a third class honours degree. Mainly due to laziness. I hate learning a subject if it’s something I feel is irrelevant. Allot of the course was irrelevant. I was good at the things useful for a career in Computing and hopeless at the bits that wouldn’t help me get a job.

Since then, I’ve had a successful IT career and not once has anyone ever asked what I got in Uni, whether I passed algebra or whether they could they see my British Computer Society membership.

The lesson I learnt is that you don’t need to go to Uni to be successful. You just need to work hard. People will judge you on what you achieve in life, and not by what bit of paper you hold.

The actual uni building I studied in. I was in the basement!

2020 (Andrew)

I saw a ghost in a motel in Pennsylvania. I woke up. There was a man in a checked shirt in the room with me. He walked towards my bed, I put an arm out to stop him and he walked straight through it.

Unexpected cleaners in your bedroom at midnight don’t do walk through arms. Ghosts do.

But I don’t believe in ghosts. Instead I rationalised it by telling myself that I was jet lagged after arriving in the States earlier that day and, after driving four hours, I was tired and when I woke up I was still dreaming. It was nothing but a trick of my mind.

I also don’t believe in New Year resolutions. Unlike ghosts these are dreams that can come true – but I find them pointless. Why make a resolution on the first day of January when you are almost certainly still on holiday for, if you’re Scottish, two more days. You can’t commit to a resolution when you’re on holiday. It’s pointless. I won’t eat chocolate! But, what’s that? There’s a gigantic box of Quality Street in the cupboard and 48 hours to sit in the house and watch telly. You might as well ask a lemming to not leap off a cliff. It’s against nature not to finish a box of chocolates as soon as it’s open.

That’s why I believe in New Year + 2 days (possibly more with weekends) resolutions. This year my resolution didn’t start until Wednesday 8 January as it was new year, then the office was shut on Friday, then it was the weekend, then I was still on holiday and then I finally finished the Quality Street box and the resolutions could begin.

This year my resolution was a simple one – and an obvious one for our regular readers (hello, mum!): Complete Celtman. There’s no B-plan. No backup race. My aim is Celtman and everything else is lined to that. So, that’s meant this year’s races all help with either running, swimming or cycling training and feature no triathlons. Race will be training events for Celtman.

This year I’ve entered:

February

Running – Kirkintilloch 12.5K ( https://www.entrycentral.com/kirkintilloch125k )

Hill running practice – Glentress Trail Race ( https://www.highterrainevents.co.uk/glentress-trail-race )

March

Cold water swim practice – Red Bull Neptune Steps: (https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/events/red-bull-neptune-steps-uk)

May

Applecross peninsula practice – Bealach Beag ( http://www.handsonevents.co.uk/bealach-beag/ )

Bike practice – Etape Caledonia ( https://www.etapecaledonia.co.uk/ )

June

RACE – Celtman ( https://cxtri.com/ )

October

For fun! Dramathon ( https://www.thedramathon.com/ )

Best TV shows 2019 (Iain)

I’m only scared of two things in life.

One of those things is a quite rational fear of flying. If God wanted humans to fly he’d have given us wings and installed a parachute in our ass.

The other is an irrational fear. I’m scared of Neflix!

The fear begins as soon as I launch the app. What will I watch? Is there a new “MUST WATCH!” film or a series that everyone is describing as “YOUR NEW BINGE OBSESSION”

I start to sweat as I scroll through the menu. I haven’t seen Peaky Blinders. Maybe I should watch it but then I notice there is five series of bad hair and flat caps. How will I find the time to watch it? I can maybe commit to a couple of episodes a week but five series will take me months!

Maybe I should watch Line of Duty instead. Everyone at work is talking about it. Oh no! That has multiple series too Which show should I choose? What if I choose wrong?

I’m already stressed and I haven’t even looked at the film options.

The pressure of making a decision is too much for me. I switch off Netflix.

Therefore my best TV shows of the year are all on terrestrial TV.

Best Channel 4 Series – Who Dares Wins

A team of ex SAS soldiers test members of the public to see if any of them can pass the SAS selection process. In previous series they had only tested men but this year they tested women for the first time.

Best BBC show – Sink Or Skim

A one off show about the competitive world of stone skimming. It seems like the plot of a Will Ferrell sports movie. An aging champion who smokes and drinks has to face a young upstart who has trained all year for his one chance to take the crown.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004jr

Best ITV show – Ant and Dec DNA Journey

This sounds like a rip off of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? but as it was being made Ant crashed his car and gave up TV for a year. The end result is a fun romp through their history whilst trying to reconnect to see if they can carry on as they were before the incident.

Its a surprisingly genuine show. The warmth and love they have for each other really shines through.

Films of the Year 2019 (Iain)

This year one cinema trend dominated the box office. It started with Avengers: Endgame and other films swiftly copied it.

2019 was the year of the colon mark

  • Terminator: Dark Fate
  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The colon proved useful became it indicated a film was utter tosh!

Terminator: Dark Fate was so bad Arnie grew a beard to disguise the fact he was in it.

He doesn’t look like a killing machine. He looks like a science teacher who’s counting down the days until retirement because the kids are bullying him about his inability to use a computer.

Hobbs and Shaw is should have been called the Fast and Furious presents: Top Bantz and Mega LOLs. Two hours of the Rock and the Stathe shouting “YOUR’RE GAY”! “YOU’RE GAYER” at each other in the misguided belief accusing a man of being gay is the funniest thing in the world. I kept hoping they would both just kiss and admit they had feelings for each other. Brokeback Mountain with explosions would have been an infinitely better film.

Alita: Battle Angel is what happens when you let a video game cut scene last two hours rather than two minutes. I kept hoping an option would appear allowing me to skip the scene and get straight to the game.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse gave me a headache. It is beautifully shot to look like a comic book. The action look like its taking place on comic book paper but if I wanted to read a comic I’d have stayed at home and read a comic! Its a movie so shoot the action like its a movie.

Martin Scorsese recently criticised Marvel, calling the studio’s movies “theme parks” rather than cinema. If films are theme parks then all those films would be Disneyland in comparison to one absolute monstrosity of a film – 6 Underground!

The only theme park comparable to 6 Underground would be Blobbyland

Look! A walking cock with some kids and Mr Blobby. How did this get made???

I watched 6 Underground so you don’t have to. The story was barely coherent. When asked about one important plot point a charter replied “you don’t need to know that” because even the screenwriters couldn’t bother working it out!

It looked like it had been edited together by someone with no concept of plot, story or pacing. It was casually offensive to woman, foreigners and my intelligence. The film might not have had a colon in it but that just means they have room for a sequel. Please God no.

So that was the worst of the year. How about the best.

Wild Rose is a sweet film about a Glaswegian woman with an attitude problem, is there any other kind of Glaswegian woman? Its about her struggle to break into Country and Western singing. Its full of great performance and good music.

Joker has a superb performance from Jaquain Phoenix and unlike the Marvel films it tries to do something interesting with a comic book character.

Hustlers is the true story of New York strippers robbing men. It stars J Lo and it is not the exploitative film the tag line would lead you to believe. It is beautifully shot and directed by a first time female director. A man would have made it very differently.

Once upon a time in Hollywood. If a colon is a sign a film is terrible then Leonardo DiCaprio is a sign a film is worth watching. He never gives a bad performance and this is one of his best.

But the best film I saw this year disproves everything I’ve said about colons. My film of the year is O.J: Made in America

It came out in 2015 but I only saw it this year. Its is a biography of disgraced athlete O.J Simpson. It covers the issue of race in american society, the role of sport, the rise of celebratory culture and the failure of the US legal system. Its full of fascinating interviews and history. The highest compliment I can give it is that even with a 7hr 42 minute run time it felt too short.

Celtman Training Plan (Iain)

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

Michelangelo (not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle but the painter)

My aim for Celtman is to get a blue T shirt. To do this I have eleven hours to reach the start of the climb to Beinn Eighe. To get there I have to swim 3.4K, ride 202K and then run 15K.

A finsihers t-shirt from 2016

If I take longer than eleven hours to reach Beinn Eighe then I will be sent on the low course and I will receive a white T-shirt. Although the low course does not go over Ben Eighee it is still a hard technical off-road route.

So what does it take to get a blue T-shirt?

Swim

Last year the average blue t-shirt finisher swam 01:06:50. The slowest swam 01:39:42.

Bike

Last year the average blue t-shirt finisher biked 07:07:59. The slowest ride was 07:57:16. This equates to an average speed of between 15 to 17 mph. I suspect the slowest cyclist was a very quick runner.

Run

The run course has changed slightly this year so I can’t compare it to previous years but based on the average swim and run times I’ll need to run to Beinn Eighe in about 2 hours 30 minutes.

My plan is to get fit in two stages.

Stage 1: Get fit (Dec 1st until 12 weeks before Celtman) 

My swim fitness is good. I have spent allot of time in the last year improving my swimming. I regularly swim once or twice a week doing 2K metres a session. I cope well with cold water as I swim regularly outdoors. Therefore I won’t change anything I currently do as I’m happy at my current performance level.

My bike fitness is good for short rides. I commute to work by bike a couple of times a week (16 miles per day) and I occasionally ride a 30/40 miles route at the weekend. I’d struggle with anything longer than that so I need to increase my stamina and speed over the winter so that I can cope with long training rides in the spring.

For Norseman I did allot of work on the Turbo over winter. I will repeat that for Celtman. I will aim to do 120 miles a week by the time spring comes along.

My base run fitness is good for up to half marathon distance. I try to do one long run and one 10K a week. The majority of my training is off road on hills/trails which should stand me in good stead when it comes to the race. I’m doing an Ultramarathon in March. Training for that will hopefully bode well for Celtman.

Part 2: Get Celtman fit

Part 1 will hopefully got me fit enough tthe longer rides/runs necessary to get in triathlon shape.

I’m going to reuse my Norseman training plan. It worked well for me in terms of fitting training around having a normal life. It involves doing one key session a week in each discipline.

WeekRunBikeSwim
12hr run5 hour2k swim
22.5hr run5 hour2k swim
3half marathon 2k swim
410K + half marathon5 hour2k swim
510k5 hour2k swim
62.5hr run5 hour2k swim
7Easy week  
8HALF IRON MAN  
9Recovery week  
102.5hr run5 hour2k swim
112.5hr run5 hour2k swim
121 hr3 hour2k swim
13RACE  

I can’t find a half ironman to enter in week 8 so I’m going to do my own instead.

I will come up with a more detailed plan for each month but this will be starting point.