Tag Archives: triathalon

Feb 12th – Kirkintilloch 12.5K (Iain)


The Kirkintilloch 12.5k is an “undulating” course – 12 hills in 12 KM. I prefer to call it a course with 12 downhills in 12 KM’s. That sounds less fearsome. Similarly, Mount Everest sounds better when described as a long walk down.

This should have been the first race of the year against Andrew.The winner of the event receives one point in the Todd Championship (TC)- the annual competition to find who’s the best Todd. I’ve won the last two editions. If you win the World Cup three times you get to keep it. If I beat Andrew three times do I get to keep him?

I’m not sure where I’d put him. He’s a bit too big to fit in a trophy cabinet. I’d have to stuff him and use him as a coat rack.

Unfortunately, the showdown was a non-event. Andrew pulled out due to a “life threatening” case of the tickle-y cough. A terrible disease that only Andrew gets, strangely its always at its tickliest on a race day….

Due to his forfeit I now have a 1-0 lead in this year’s TC. He asked for a medical exemption but that’s what a loser would ask for. The rules of the competition quite clearly state “If both name’s are on the starting list then its a TC event. Even if one Todd fails to start!”

The rules also say “Stop your excuses Andrew! Man up!”

I might have made up the last rule.

Last year I did the race in  1 hr 3 minutes. This year my aim was to finish in under an hour. I finished in 59:55. Job done…just!

Is that a wart on your foot or do you have six toes? (Iain)

My school had three rules for swimming:

  1. No dive bombing!
  2. No kit, no swim!
  3. No verrucas!

If you don’t know what a verruca is, then it’s a wart on your foot. It’s commonly caught off someone else who has one.

To prevent the spread of verrucas swimming pools had a small hole in the ground at the changing room exit. The hole would commonly be filed with a red chlorine like liquid.

On exiting I had to put both feet into the wee pool of red (normally freezing cold) liquid. The liquid supposedly contained disinfectant that protects feet from catching a verruca.

I got a verruca. Andrew got a verruca. In fact most of my school got a verruca.

It put me off going swimming. I didn’t like the wart! I didn’t like wee red pool of disease! I didn’t like the heavy smell of chlorine in the air! I didn’t like all the people in the pool swimming past or across me! I hated everything about swimming!

It put me off going to public pools. I didn’t swim for 15 years.

I didn’t discover a love of swimming until I joined the Arlington bath club. – the oldest surviving Victorian bathing complex in the world. It doesn’t have a small verruca puddle, it doesn’t stink of chlorine and most importantly it has lane etiquette.

Lane etiquette means once I start swimming in a lane its mine until I’m finished. No-one will jump in to the lane with me. No-one will swim across me and no-one will have a verruca…I hope!


Baldy Men Club (Iain)

Andrew and I used to go to the same gym. It was a corporate shed in a posh suburb of Glasgow. The people who went were so rich the car park looked like a Range Rover showroom.

The gym had every facility two ‘world class triathletes’ could possibly need – state of the art gym, state of the art weights and a state of the art pool. Everything was state of the art, except the art – that came from Ikea.

Unfortunately back then the only thing we were world class at was our ability to use a Jacuzzi.

Some people say there’s nothing better than jumping in a jacuzzi after a hard gym session. They’re wrong. It’s even better if you’ve not used the gym! Why work up a sweat and get tired when you could have spent that time floating in soapy bubbles?

We’d head in and spend ten minutes in the jacuzzi but then we’d get out and get in the other jacuzzi. Yes – this gym was so posh it had two jacuzzis. At least we got some  exercise walking between the two.

We didn’t just use the two jacuzzis. We’d often get out and head to the pool…and then past the pool to the sauna. The sauna in any Glasgow gym is predominately a male environment. I’ve often thought the main reason women pay so much for a spa is to avoid sauna-ing with men.

This sauna never had any women but three bald men were always there. Sometimes just one of them, sometimes two but often all three. We called them the “Baldy Men Club”

A sauna is quite small so we could hear their conversation. They only had one topic – themselves. Namely, how well they had used the gym before getting to the sauna.

Week after week. We’d listen as each tried to out compete each other.

“I just did 10K on the running machine in 30 minutes” One would say. Another would reply “Did you bike 20K first? I always bike first and then run”. The third man would try to beat this and add: “Did I mention I bench pressed three time my body weight today and I didn’t even sweat once?”

We talked about the baldy men club and their strange ways until we realised when we’re not there they probably did the same to us – “Can you believe how much nonsense they talk? One of them claims he’s done Norseman but the only exercise I’ve seen him do is dry himself with a towel after the jacuzzi!”

For the last few years we’ve been members of different Gym’s but as of this week we’re both members of the same one. It has a sauna…so welcome back twin club!

PS – I once saw a bald man bring shampoo into a shower. I turned to Andrew and said “What does he need that for?” The man heard me and replied: “Bald men get dandruff too!” I learnt something new that day!

The one with jellyfish in it (Andrew)

Some people get survival tips from a TV adventurer Bear Grylls. A man who hides his luxury caravan hidden just out of shot. Other people get their tips from Ray Mears, a man who tries to avoid being bitten by snakes but whose very name is an anagram of “Ar! My Arse!”

Me, I get my survival tips from 90s sitcom Friends.

There’s not many 90s sitcoms that you can turn to for survival tips. Frasier could help you charm a maître-d. Only Fools & Horses would warn you about the dangerous lack of support in wine bars. But only Friends could help you in the wild, and by wild, I mean beach. And, by beach, I mean tourist beach, with lifeguards and flags to warn you before you go for a swim. Also ice cream. And cocktails. And a lounger and free towels. 

In Friends, six friends, hence the title of the programme, in case you’ve not seen it, go the beach. One of the friends is stung by a jellyfish and another of the friends suggests they, ahem, relieve themselves on the spot where it stings as, ahem, urine, ahem, is a cure for jelly fish stings…

Now, you have to ask yourself how this cure was first discovered. Who’s first thought was “I know, let’s piss on it!” and, having found success in combatting jellyfish, did they try and expand?

“I have a headache, does anyone have any aspirin?”

“No need, I know what to do – let’s stand on a chair and piss on your head!”

“I’ve broken my leg, can someone call an ambulance?”

“Save yourself a phone call – I’ve got a better idea – let’s piss on it!”

In Friends that’s exactly what they do. They piss on the friend with the jellyfish sting and, lo and behold, the friend is cured. Or at least I think that’s what happens. I’ve not seen this episode in years so I can’t absolutely say that there is an episode of Friends where five friends form a circle and piss on the sixth. I can imagine that happening in Seinfeld, but somehow it doesn’t seem right for Friends. Perhaps they all did it into a cup and then it was poured on delicately.

Anyways, whether circle pished or applied from a potty pot, that episode of Friends stuck in my mind and I’ve always known what to do when a jellyfish stings. Fortunately, I’ve never had to put this into practice as I’ve never been stung by a jellyfish. Until now…

I thought I would be during Norseman. I even grew a beard to protect my face. (I say beard, it was more bum fluff with ambition). A beard stops the jellyfish from stinging. But, the beard wasn’t necessary as there was something else that stopped the jellyfish from stinging: cold fresh water. It was too cold and not salty enough for jellyfish in the fjords.

Celtman is a different story. There are thousands of jellyfish in the swim section and all race reports talk about swimming through them.

Luckily, unfortunately, in my first sea swim since entering Celtman I had a chance to experience a jellyfish sting. I was swimming off South Beach in Miami (which, with its loungers, cocktails, warm water and dusky heat is ideal training for the cold sharp Scottish water of Celtman) when I felt small electric shocks along my arm. I knew I was stung but I wasn’t sure by what. I could feel an itchiness and knew I had to swim back to shore and speak to the lifeguard but all I could think was “Is he going to piss on it?”

I’d seen Friends, I knew what happened next.

I climbed the lifeguards’ tower, showed him my arm, now turning blotchy red, and said “I think I’ve been stung.”

He said “It’s a jellyfish, let me get something for that.”

And he grabbed a bottle.

While part of me thought how good it was that he prepared for this emergency by bottling himself in advance, another part of me thought “Please let it be something else, please let it be anything else”.

“It’s vinegar,” he said, spraying the liquid on my outstretched arm.

I sniffed.

I smelt chips.

I realized I was the chips.

It was vinegar.

Vinegar is a cure for jellyfish.

Thank you, Jesus!

Now I can tell Iain he doesn’t need a special water bottle to help at transition or that the only place he can go to the toilet is my left arm. Instead, along with the gels, energy bards and high energy drinks, he just needs a bottle of Saxo vinegar – filled with pish.

Dumgoyne run (Iain)


What dick would park his car and block a remembrance parade?

The brass band couldn’t get past it. The people watching and remembering couldn’t stand next to the graves.

Seriously, who would do that?

It definitely wasn’t me!

<I look round, wait till everyone leaves, get in car then drive off>

In my defence – the ‘no parking’ sign was only put up after I’d parked. I’d left my car while I ran up a local hill. When I came back, not only was my car in the way, but I was also the only one covered in mud while wearing a bright yellow fluorescent running jacket. I assume everyone guessed the car was mine…

It was a good run but I tweaked my hamstring on the way down. I’ve taken it easy this week and stuck to yoga, walking and not blocking solemn ceremonies.




A short history of my bikes – part 7 (Iain)

Bike 7 is a summer bike which in Scotland means it’s used once a year!

It’s a Planet X Nanolight with super light carbon wheels. Its the fastest and most expensive bike I’ve ever owned which means it spends most of its time in doors as i’m too afraid to get it dirty.

I currently have it set up on a turbo trainer. Its my cuddle closet! See https://norseman2016.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/welcome-to-my-pain-cave-andrew/


Last winter, I did my turbo sessions following a strict schedule…a TV schedule.

My training regime was

Hard Session – Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location.

Medium Session – Grand Designs.

Easy Session – George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces

I didn’t get any better at biking but I can now design my own home.

This year I’m taking training seriously. My aim is to beat Andrew at the Caledonian Etape. A feat I’ve never managed.

So I’m going to investigate Zwift (https://zwift.com/)and Trainerroad (https://www.trainerroad.com/) the two leading turbo training software companies to see which is the best home trainer. I’ll report back next time unless I get distracted working on the blueprints of my dream home!

A short history of my bikes – part 2 (Iain)

Identical twins — perhaps as many as one in five according to the unreliable internet article I read — claim to share a special psychic connection.

Do Andrew and I share a psychic bond? No – the only time I’ve felt pain the same time as Andrew, is when we’ve accidentally crashed into each other.

The first time I noticed this lack of a special bond was in Secondary School. We both had an after school job as Paper Boys. I used Bike 2 for my round. It was a mountain bike.

We’d hang the bag of newspapers from the handlebars of our bikes. The more papers we had to deliver the harder it was to balance the bags on the bar. Monday was the worst day as we had all the large Sunday papers to deliver as well as Monday’s.

From my paper boy perspective – there should be  a special place in hell reserved for anyone who asked me to deliver The Sunday Times. It was massive and caused me problems every week!

One of my deliveries was to my primary school P.E. teacher. She was a horrible woman. In a 30 minute classes she would let the girls play for 20 minutes whilst making the boys wait against a wall. She would then let the boys on for a few minutes before stopping the class. We got virtually no exercise.

She hated the Daily Record so I made sure that whenever her first choice of paper wasn’t there that’s what she would get instead.

Unfortunately during one of Andrew’s rounds his bag caught in his wheel throwing him off the bike. He ended up lying on the street, blood everywhere.

At the moment I did feel something. It was a pang…of hunger. It was late and I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime. Andrew went to hospital and I went home for my dinner.



A short history of my bikes – part 1 (Iain)

Some people give names to their bikes. Why? If I was going to name an inanimate object then I’d rather name something that talks to me, like my telly.

  • What are you doing tonight?
  • I’ll chill with Bill.
  • Who’s Bill?
  • Bill the telly. He’s cool. He’s got Sky Sports.

If you’re giving your bike a woman’s name just so you can say “Tonight, I’ll be riding Jill hard” then you are a nob!

If that’s the case you might as well name your oven after a woman so you can say when cooking chicken “Tonight. I’ll be putting my cock in Stephanie!”

So, I don’t name my bikes. I refer to them boringly as Bike 1, Bike 2, Bike 3 etc

Once upon a bike in a far away land there was…

Bike 1 – my first love. It was a racer (which is what I called a road bike when I was at school). We were inseparable until we quite literally separated.  It snapped in two! Which was annoying as I was riding it at the time.

That sounds very dramatic but I was biking uphill and travelling so slowly that I was able to stop and get off.

I sold the bike to a school friend. His dad owned a garage so was able to weld it back together.

My friend lived at the top of a big hill. He took the bike out and rode down the hill. The bike snapped and he hit a car. He ended up in hospital with a broken leg. In my defence, he did know what he was buying…

And then there was Bike 2….

To be continued.

Triathlons are really boring to watch (Iain)

This weekend is Ironman Kona – the triathlon equivalent of the world Cup final. The winner can call themselves the Ironman World Champion. At the event are the best athletes in the sport – but no UK TV channel will show it.

Why? Simple – triathlons are really boring to watch!

What’s more boring than swimming for an hour? Watching someone else swim for an hour!

What’s more boring than biking on a motorway for five hours? Watching someone else bike on a motorway for five hours!

What’s more boring than running for three hours? You get the idea…

In fact I  can’t think of anything worse than watching a Triathlon.

[Checks TV guide. I spot Sky Sports are showing Scotland versus Lithuania]

Actually…does anyone know where I can watch Kona? 🙂

Breaking my radial head bone is as easy as falling off a bike! (Iain)

“You dropped your spoon.” A girl hands me a spoon.

I’m lying on the ground. My mountain bike is on top of me. 10 seconds previously I’d been upright.

“Thanks,” I reach my hand out. AAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHH! I get a shooting pain in my arm. I’m not a doctor but I’ve watched Casualty. I diagnose my arm isn’t supposed to be this sore.

She leaves. She doesn’t ask how I am or why I’m lying on the floor with a bike on top of me.

The day had started badly. It’s raining. It’s too miserable a day to bike to work but… I check the forecast, the weather is  due to clear up later in the day so I decide to bike. I go to get my bike but it has a puncture. Should I take the car? No! Nothing will stop me biking in.

The commute was wet but enjoyable. I listened to a podcast about the Aberdeen v Rangers game. I tell myself what a great decision it was to bike in. I wouldn’t be happy in the car, although I would have been drier. Oh no! As I get to the end of my trip there’s some wooden walls near the entrance to my work. Instead of a wide open path to the front door I’m funnelled through the walls. I think – shall I get off and walk the last bit? It means I won’t get in anyone’s way. NO! I’m going to bike all the way! Nothing will stop me!!!

I’ve been stopped.

The front wheel of my bike slips on a smooth paving stone and I fall off. I put my right hand out to break the fall. It breaks the fall and it breaks my radial bone! A spoon, which was in a pocket of my bag, falls onto the ground.

I should have taken the car!

My right arm is now in a sling. Which is annoying as I’m right handed. Have you ever tried using a spoon with your wrong hand? Its f**king impossible!!

Oh well, I have 3-6 weeks to learn how.