Saturday, 1 October 2011

Knarly Bath trails...

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Friday, 30 September 2011

Something for the weekend

Matt Meola - $100,000 Innersection edit from ACL Digital Cinema on Vimeo.

Mulebar and Britford Farm Shop hit the Larmer Tree...



See Britford Farm Shop at the Woodfair! Great local shop... and guess what? They sell Mulebars..

The award winning shop opened in 2004 and aims to provide the very best in locally produced and locally sourced food and drink, in a traditional rural setting near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Promotion team has arrived!

Day 2 at the NEC

Day 2 starts, tasting dishes loaded, bring on the customers!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

In Bath on Saturday, anyone know any good MTB trails?

Come to the Cycle Show - Mike's having a laugh... .

Message on the hoof

Classic images September 2003, Pyrenees

Check out the getup!






Classic Jimmy in the Pyrenees, 2003














Volta de la Cerdanya

Men's Running Apple Strudel review

Excuse the off-camber appearance!


NEC Cycle Show

Starts today, come and see us opposite the Castelli cafe

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Dave Woodgate 8th @ Challenge Henley

Dave Woodgate from Team Endurance finished 8th in the Pro field at Challenge Henley










Army Iron Mules take on the Welsh Ironman....

Time your exit!


Ironman Wales – Sunday 11 September 2011

"With the exception of professionals and those aiming to qualify for the world championships, in Kona Hawaii, most Ironman athletes tend to lack some of the rivalry found in many other sporting or physical activities. The competition is the course and Ironman Wales had the potential to be amongst the toughest, but as any Ironman would tell you “to win is to finish”.

With just 2 days to go my teammate, Willie Wilson and I were in the La Vista caf√©, Tenby, scouring the internet for weather reports. The tail end of Hurricane Katia was threatening to kill off our challenge before it even began, with wind speeds of 60 mph, heavy rain and thunderstorms. Forums were alive with rumours of 10 foot waves, good news for the local surfers, but not so eagerly anticipated by triathletes waiting to “go long”. Thankfully, 24 hours later things had improved, but the high wind forecast remained; therefore, the swim venue would move from South Beach to North Beach. The new swim location offered more protection from the elements given the wind direction but would require athletes to run just over a km to reach the transition area.

At 6.40am on Sunday 11 September 2011, 1503 athletes crowded in a hastily erected starting pen. The zigzag walkway leading up to street level is lined with numbered white carrier bags containing the running shoes for our extended dash to transition. Following Welsh national anthem there was just time for Willie and I to shake hands, man hug and wish each other luck before a flare shot into the sky and exploded to signal the start of Ironman Wales.

The Swim (3.8km):

We were off, I checked my goggles then dived deep as the next wave rolled in from the relentless shore break then headed out on the first of two 1.9km loops. 1503 athletes all heading towards a single buoy resembles something akin to an aquatic version of mixed martial arts. The punches and kicks rain in from all directions and murky brown water reduced vision to a point where I was forced to adopt a high elbowed stroke that doubled as a guard and means of propulsion. The second loop was less frantic as the field spread out, allowing me to relax and focus on not expending too much energy, there was still a long day ahead. After 1hr 4min I stumbled through the shore break and headed for white bag number 597. Goggles, hat and Wetsuit off, force them into the plastic bag, trainers on, bag under my arm, start running. Swim……done”!

T1 and Bike (180km)

“The noise was immense, the crowd, five or six deep, all cheering and urging competitors on. I had clearly not thought through my plan to put all my swim kit in the flimsy white bag. Almost from my first steps it disintegrated and I spent the next km struggling to hold onto my wetsuit and various bits of swim apparel. Thankfully I arrived at transition and was able to relieve myself of my soggy parcel. Willie was already in the huge marque that doubled as a changing room donning cycling gear. It was good to know that we had both made it through the swim and were heading out on the bike within minutes of each other.

On a normal day this bike leg would be tough, 180km of undulating coastal roads with over 2500m of vertical assent, four climbs of 17%, two of which are in the final 10km. Add gale force winds and a wet slippery surface; this ride was destined to be epic. I aimed to hold back on the bike, fuel my muscles and save energy for the marathon; but it quickly became apparent that the incredibly strong headwinds would increase both effort levels and time. Two days earlier we had covered this same section of road while training with top Army triathlete, Mark Livsey, (who was racing as a professional), spinning easily at 35kmph. During the race my battle with the wind reduced forward momentum to barely 20kmph. Within minutes my heart rate monitor was flashing and a little bleep told me it was time to start eating. For me, nutrition in a race is the same as during daily life; the more natural a product the better it tends to be for you. Mulebar are made from 100% organic produce, so no false chemical taste, just natural energy and a great variety of flavours. My plan was one Mulebar every 40mins, apple strudel first, eight more to go. I then went through a mental checklist; heart rate 130bpm, “check”, sip of electrolyte drink, “check”, shoulders relaxed, “check”, timing chip…missing! My initial thought “Damn, all this training, time and effort for nothing, I am going to be disqualified”. Slightly irrational in hindsight, however, at the time I entered panic mode, it was time to consider the options. One: Return to transition and throw myself at the mercy of the race crew, a glance over my shoulder at the mob of cyclists behind me ruled that out. Two: Stop, that was never going to happen. Three: Crack on, worry about it later, Option three wins!

From Angel we headed back to Pembroke, this time wind assisted. The miles began to fly by until two mini explosions burst my bubble. Another rider had somehow dropped his multi-tool directly under my front wheel as I sped past in full aero tuck. The sharp metal edge popped both my tyres from their rims. I was now doing 45kmph with only deflated rubber and wafer thin alloy rims for traction, not the most confidence boosting or stable position in the world. Thankfully I maintained control and pulled over. Outside assistance is forbidden, so I had spent hours balancing the probability of equipment failure against the weight of spares to avoid humping half a ton of emergency parts around the course. 2 x inner tubes, 3 x CO2 inflators, 4 x puncture patches, a split link (to repair a broken chain) and a lightweight multi-tool (to tighten or adjust ‘things’). Now with 2 tubes and inflators used and not even a third of the route covered I was in for a nervous few hours. Mid way through changing my rear tube Willie sped past, we shouted encouragement at each other and minutes later I was back on the road, chasing him down for the second time. It took me a good few miles to catch up; as soon as I did we discussed my timing chip issue. He agreed with option 3 and told me to stop worrying, although his choice of words was a far less polite. I pushed on, but half an hour late heard Willie’s voice throwing good-humoured abuse as he closed the gap. Not that there was competition between the two of us, but life is a competition, and I was counting on a strong bike leg to create breathing space on the marathon; Willie being a much quicker runner. We had done 5700+km of bike training together, so I was not surprised to see him riding out of his skin.

After Pembroke the route got serious, roads narrowed and the climbing began in earnest. The main antagonists, Wisemans Gate and Saundersfoot reach gradients of 17% and would sap the life out of already tired legs. We had to climb them both, twice! I’ve been told that Ironman is 25% physical, 75% psychological, success requires physical strength, but more so, the mental robustness to beat the sheer scale of the challenge. I use various coping mechanisms and those climbs are a good example of my ‘goals and rewards’. Goal - keep heart rate below 150bpm. Reward - one of the four rhubarb and custard boiled sweets that I carried specifically for that challenge (one per climb), no success, no sweet. On the climbs I actually concentrated more on the reward than the strain my legs were under. The only thing that snapped me out of my rhubarb and custard dream was the volume of the crowd. Both climbs were mobbed with people in a scene reminiscent of Alp D’Huez during Le Tour De France, ok, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but close. On the second lap I saw Mark Livsey, his bike in pieces. For him Ironman Wales was over, yet he remained at the side of the road to cheer us on. I am sure he was distraught inside, however, it demonstrates the heart of an Ironman and made me even more determined to finish strong.

Considering the battle with the wind, I was pleasantly surprised with my ride time of almost bang on six hours. Unfortunately my own watch would be the only record of the ride, no timing chip, no time, a matter to be discussed with the race directors during T2.

T2 and Run (42km)

I rolled into transition and tackled the race director, part of me still believed my lost timing chip would result in disqualification. After a brief explanation that ended with “don’t even think about trying to stop me” I was pointed in the direction of a new chip and assured that it was fine.

Before the run I had to loose my skin suit used during the ride. Its protective pad did a great job of safeguarding obvious areas whilst on the bike, wearing it during a marathon would be akin to running in a wet nappy. By the time I had changed and replaced the timing chip Willie was racking his bike. Over seven hours and there was barely five-minutes between us, a quick “see you on the run mate” and I was off. My legs wanted to continue the circles performed on the bike rather than stride out and accept the impact of running. Four laps of a course that totalled 42km stood between me and my Ironman dream but I was feeling the pressure. I spotted my girlfriend and my youngest daughter in the crowd, a hug from each lifted my spirits, I had time in the bank and would crawl if I had to.

After Tenby came 3km of gradual but continual climbing, oh the joy. My plan had been to break the run down and focus on the four laps individually; however, quickly I realised that smaller goals were required. Every 2km there was a feed station, these became my target, “just concentrate on the making it to the next set of drink filled tables”. Phase two of my nutrition strategy called for Mule Kicks (carbohydrate gels) and water, again well tried and tested in training and ensured I remained free from the GI distress that many endurance athletes suffer. In the latter stages I backed this up with flat coke (provided at each feed station). There was still a long way to go and I needed all the energy and salts I could get.

The Army Triathlon Association (ATA) had volunteered to run one of the feed stations on the way back down towards Tenby. For the Army athletes in particular this was fantastic and always laced with banter. The up-hill section lacked the supporters found in the town centre, it was lonely, self-doubting place, but I now had support teams both in the town and on the hill. The second half of each loop was equally brutal weaving around the streets and old battlements of Tenby. Numerous times I cursed those who decided to build the town on a hill. The reward for each lap was a bright coloured band placed around my arm. A new mind game, how many bands did those around me have.

Willie had closed the gap, we ran together for a couple of minutes before he pressed on. Two athletes stumble in front of me and then collapse on the grass verge, exhausted; you had to suffer to conquer this course. By the end of lap two I was in suffersville, my pace slowed, every step hurt and even the 2km between feed stations was too far. Mark was still there, supporting, he told me I was “looking strong”, clearly not speaking the whole truth. Glen, another top Army triathlete was more realistic “just keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t stop”! A third coloured band increased my confidence, the end was almost in sight, 10km, 6 miles, once more up that hill, I could do this. As my spirits raised, so did my pace and when I reached the ATA feed station for the final time Mark’s earlier sentiments were closer to the truth, I was feeling strong(ish).

Anyone who tells you that they did not feel emotional as they completed their first Ironman is either a liar or dead inside. As I collected my final brightly coloured band and hit the red carpet that marked the final meters to the archway containing the large digital clock and the finish line I was fighting back the tears. 11 hours, 34 minutes and 53 seconds after watching that flare shoot into the sky I heard the announcers voice boom over the loud speakers, “Antony Ireland……you are an Ironman”. Willie was there, after over 400 hours of training, 11 ½ hours of racing and there was just 5 minutes between us, deservedly he had crossed the line before me, but as the saying goes, “To Win Is To Finish”, we were both hurting, both had tears, but were both winners!"

Fantastic pictures and awesome write up, It brought tears to my eyers just reading it...

Misty morning ride

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Commutesville

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Chocolate & Raspberries - a Mule review


Ffion Hughes has extended her review of our range... please read here for the whole article.  

Mule Mike rides the Bear Pit and gets a 6th!



"rode the National XC on Saturday at Newnham. There was a new descent called 'The Bear Pit' which was one of the most technical descents I've ever ridden. At race pace there were people littered all over the floor!"

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Cavendish video

Talk about tight!

Fantastic result Mark.


MOST WANTED: MuleBar Summer Pudding MegaBites

Read out latest web-review, from Cycling Time in all it's glory here  



Outdoor Show, Stoneleigh

Come and see us at OTS, we are here for the next three days

Some Pinarellos from the ToB


Sunday, 25 September 2011

The beginning of Winter? Gary drifts in...

Message on the hoof

Luffy the best coffee in Wales

Message on the hoof

Andy tumbled down practice

Message on the hoof

..Wrath of..

Message on the hoof

Makin' mud pies

Message on the hoof

Barcelona and Berga

There are hundrededs of triathletes on the MuleBar sponsored Sailfish half triatló 2011, which is kicking off in Berga, up towards the Pyrenees in an awesome setting...Photos to come in the next few days.







Next up, Vix is setting off on the Travessia of the Port of Barcelona - Good luck, don't swallow the water!