Saturday, 1 August 2009

Pong... with sheep? Amazing.

"I don't need tribars I need Mulebars"

Jim Ferrara at the London Tri
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device


Stand's looking awesome, flags are up and it's buzzing here. Jenson Button is on the stand shortly: John at RG trains him in Monaco.

Enviado desde mi dispositivo inalámbrico BlackBerry®

Friday, 31 July 2009

CHIP ON THE ALPE - Triathlon Alpe d'Huez

Chip, a great Mule, who also likes Ryvita, tells us how it really was on last wednesday's gruelling Triathlon Alpe d'Huez.
Congrats Chip, we love you too.

Swim was lovely in an alpine lake, azure blue and not too cold. The start itself was funny due to the French techno tune signifying the race to begin (imagine drum and bass with someone shouting ‘La Bombe!! La Bombe!!”) being drowned out by the helicopter flying at 50ft with a camera man hanging out the door. I swam front crawl for approx 25m before I gave up & breast stoked the whole way… was practicality before style or shame.

The group of friendly French ramblers from my Gite came down to the start to cheer me on, one in particular, George, was intent on “pushing me off” on my bike a la Directeur Sportif at the TdeF….shame I was virtually second to last at this point !

There was 25km of flat / down hill before the start of the Col de Grand Serre (14km climb), caught loads of people on the climb and got into a small group of similar paced riders.

Col D’Ornon was really gentle (relatively) about 10km climb with no severe gradients. The route went right past my gite & I stopped and had 5 mins staring longingly at my bedroom window……but was enticed to continue by the 20km descent which was great, apart from nearly wiping out a couple of times (due to eating a mule bar, no hands on bars at 65km/hr… strudel, delicious).

The Alpe was…..well, it was the Alpe – steep, hot, unforgiving, inspiring, and I rode it all the way, which was a massive personal goal – having been defeated on two previous occasions.

The run was hilarious. It was 3 laps of a 7.2km loop at 5000ft altitude. There were competitors with 3 or 2 or 1 lap remaining all alongside each other……virtually everyone was walking, no kidding. My first lap I found my feet, my second lap I descended into a trance, lap three I sort of recovered & ran most of it. Really don’t know how I got round. Classic quote from Louise, an Eton Tri club member I met, “I’ve just done a PW time for the run….as in Personal Worst!”. This is not a course to set any records.

Overall, fuelled by 6 Mule bars, the result……swim 57 mins, bike 6hrs 49mins, run 2hr 39mins, + transitions = 10hrs 37mins. So it wasn’t a podium finish, but my Mum still loves me.

Thursday, 30 July 2009


This is my great friend Art's water company - NEXT GENERATION WATERS -
Art started Next Generation and is building it up into a great responsible company which you will all be seeing over here in the UK and in Europe soon.
Click through and take a look.
Nice one Art.

The Fastest Human Powered Cycle - want to go fast...82.something mph?

Our South African Surfski Mule Dawid latest races...

My last 3 race saga - Deep, Shallow, Perfect:

Too Deep..
The Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic was an inaugural race on the idyllic
island of Mauritius. The place is certainly worth multiple visits and is a
natural haven begging to be explored. And if you're a waterman then this
really is paradise.

The race was along the southern coast of Mauritius between Souilac and Le
Morne. This is the section of coast most exposed to wind and swell, which,
for the entire week that we were, never subsided. For the race organisers
the dilemma wasn't whether there would be wind and swell; it was whether it
would be too big to hold the event! This race has the unique element of
having to navigate your way in and out of reef passes at the start and
finish. The reef pass at the finish has breaking waves all over so it's
very important that you get it right. Needless to say, "excitement" is not
lacking in this race.

Race day arrived and presented perfect conditions to hold the race.
Staying true to racing from the front I got to the lead as early as I could
and put the hammer down. Because of the way the coast goes your line into
the finish is critical. I relinquished my lead with about 4kms to go by
being a bit too deep and ended up coming third behind Hank McGregor and
Clint Pretorius. While not too happy about loosing the lead, I was so
stoked with my line through the reef pass. I caught two classic waves which
almost had me back in contention. It was a great race, perfectly organised
and I will definitely be back there next year.

Too Shallow.
The Dunlop Durban World Cup has become one of the world's biggest races. It
always delivers top downwind conditions and always has a quality competitive
field. This year was no actually, there was a major exception.
I can say unequivocally that it was the best organised race I've ever
attended in my life. To the guys organising the event - you know who you
are - Well done!

I've never been able to win this event, with my best result being a second
place 5 years ago. Last year I came close by taking a deep line from Durban
to Westbrook, 30kms up the North Coast. However I was apparently too deep
then, so this year I decided to take a shallow line right behind the
breakers. This is a great line on a true south westerly wind and swell
direction but not so good with little swell and a more southerly wind
direction. Sound confusing? Well that's because it is! I really think
that the "home ground advantage" factor is at play on this coast when it's
downwind. But I can't use that as an excuse because I've raced there often
enough over the last 15 years so it's my home ground too. Anyway, to put it
plainly, I got "schooled" properly by the Durban lads. I had a fantastic
first 20kms
but lost 5 places and ended up 5th. Clint "Watch your Back"
Pretorius (because he always comes from behind) won the race, Matt Bouman
second and (can you believe it) Oscar Chalupsky third. It's not easy with
that old bloke (Oscar); another 2 or 3 kms and he probably would've won! I
got passed just before the finish by Brett "The underdog" Bartho who's not
afraid of a dice and raced me all the way. The title sponsors, DUNLOP,
seemed happy with the event so all indications are that it should be more of
the same next year. Until then I'll go and work on some of my own "home
ground advantage".

The Discovery MensHealth Scottburgh to Brighton is the oldest marathon
surfski race in the world. For me, this race has always held a certain
enigma to it. The reason is two-fold: firstly the waves on the coast south
of Durban show little mercy even when it's flat; secondly, this race is
tough and should only be done by those with grit and determination. You
will hardly ever have an easy paddle in this race because the chances are it
will be flat going into a headwind, and you'll generally have to paddle in
and out of sizeable surf. Finishing is an achievement, and because of this,
I wear my S2B T-shirts with pride.

This year was a fantastic race with me and "kleinboet" Jasper coming in
first and second. There was a big group for the first 30kms. Then Japs and
I turned on the pace going into Amanzamtoti, a compulsory checkpoint on the
beach (at 30kms). We caught a wave together and broke away from the pack
along with Clint Pretorius (who won the Durban World Cup the week before).
Sensing that Clint was a bit tired; as he had pulled most of the way for the
first 30kms to Toti ( rookie error), Japs and I bullied him off with some
pace and then worked together to the finish. Right near the end Japs got a
bit fatigued and came in 30secs behind me for a second spot. A perfect

The next 2 races coming up are the USA Surfski Nationals and the Chicago
Shoreline Marathon.

Mule, Ben, ripping it at the Mega

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Al Andalus Ultra Trail 2009

The Al Andalus Ultra Trail 2009 finished on the 17th July.

The very tough 5 day, 5 stage race of around 250km wound it's way from Loja, Andalucia, via local villages. Over 90% is off-road, mountain and desert tracks.

Photos courtesy of

Ali Shahmal at the BEF grading show

One of our Endurance Riders, Rachael:

I thought you'd like to hear that I successfully got my mum's novice horse around the 40km course at Ludlow on 19th July as part of the Celtic team challenge. Unfortunately due to dreadful weather conditions the Cornish team didn't do as well as we'd hoped but hopefully we'll do better at the inter-regionals on 8/9th August at Barbury Castle. Mum will ride Zar herself in the 32km class and I'll be riding Charlie in the 64km class. Mel is now out in the field with Zar after a months box rest due to a deep flexor tendon injury he will resume work later on this summer but won't be competing which is a shame but I'd prefer not to rush him and get him 110% and I'm sure 2010 will be his year!

(I am hoping to put the epona shoes back on Mel, Sally so I'll let you know how I get on when Mike shoes him next week.)

I have also been showing off my mum's young stock. Ali Shahmal is a yearling colt and he got a grade one at the first (ever) endurance BEF grading at the Grange last week. He got 2 x 8.5 scores and 4 x 8.75 and was so good. We were thrilled and have entered him in at a local show at the Royal Cornwall Showground this coming weekend. We've also entered Zar in the older in-hand class, so I really hope the weather bucks up because I don't fancy trotting up two horses in a muddy field and trying to remain clean and dignified!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Monday, 27 July 2009

From coffee to clothes

Mark Cavendish storming the line

Amazing finish yesterday on the Champs Elysée, he powered his way over like an express train...