Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Vitruvian

After going on about it enough, last Saturday I had to actually do the thing.

I've never really trained for anything properly in my life so this was always going to be something special. To be honest it was barely in the spirit of Rubbish...I had done a solid year of intensive training, had all the gear, at least some idea, and hadn't got drunk the night before.

Babs and I drove up to Rutland water on the Friday evening to register and rack our bikes. I had that classic feeling like the first day of school where everyone seems to know what they are doing, knows where to go and has all the right stuff, apart from you. It was all a bit overwhelming and I started to wonder if I was perhaps a little out of my depth...
Luckily Babs is a seasoned pro with all that stuff and sorted me out by telling me at regular intervals to stop being such a pussy.

Whilst racking our bikes, I noticed that mine was about the only one without tri bars. In fact it looked like a shopping bike next to most of the other filthy time trial machines. I started obsessing about that fact and decided that this was going to be my excuse for dismal failure.

Having sorted our stuff and got race numbers and info packs we headed off to our B and B. This was just down the road in a lovely village called Oakham. Kevin was our host. He was a maths teacher and whilst looking like a paedophile, was actually a really charming man. We ate Pizzas and then got our heads down by about 10pm.

Babs drifted off instantly into the sleep of the just. I had I fitful night of staring into the abyss.

Alarm went off at 4 :15. I put on my circus strong man costume. Breakfast of coffee, porridge,toast and peanut butter, and last look at the race maps, bottles filled up with energy stuff, into the car and back to site.

I had time for a last minute panicky faff, getting into my wetsuit, loading up tube bag with gels, putting on hat and goggles then it was time for the race briefing at 6am.
It was still dark and there was an electric atmosphere as hundreds of people in wetsuits and silly hats listened to them telling us not to die and not to cheat.

I was in the first wave of men 18 - 34. Before I knew it I was wandering into a cold lake with 200 other blokes. Bit of gallows humour amongst the condemned men, last pep talk from race marshall, hooter goes off and the bun fight starts.

Everyone had told me to take it super easy on the swim. I really tried not to go off too hard, and to stay calm. Failed dismally. By the first buoy I was completely hyperventilating and having a panic attack. Every time I tried to catch my breath, someone would swim over the top of me. I was freaking out. Kept trying to calm down and swim a bit, but I'd manage a few strokes and then have to tread water again.

I was dreading one of the safety canoeists spotting me and pulling me out, so as a last resort I decided to give myself 30 seconds to completely stop moving and pull myself together. Thankfully it worked, and I started swimming again, taking it steady and controlling my breathing, I managed to catch up with the main pack, which calmed me down and then just got my head down.
I kept telling myself to enjoy it, and as the sun came up over the far bank, and I was cranking along quite happily I realised I was actually having fun.

The run out up to Transition one was hilarious, with a big crowd shouting encouragement, and the joy of knowing that the swim was nailed and I could get on my bike.
Wetsuit off. Helmet on. Sunglasses. Race belt. Shoes on. Grab bike, run out of transition, jump on bike. Huge grin plastered all over my face.

The ride was two 42k laps around the lake. Bit hilly, but after Ventoux, British hills are lame.
Seemed to spend the whole ride eating energy bars and watching someone else ride my bike really fast. I kept waiting for the inevitable crash as I was flying along. Way faster than any training rides. I kept a regular systems check and decided that as long as I kept stuffing my face, I would just keep pushing hard, as it was always going to be my best discipline.

At one point I was having so much fun, I let out a huge WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO thinking there was no one around for miles and I was pushing the boundaries of human achievement for a hobbit on a shopping bike. It was exactly at this point that some aero helmeted super athlete flew past me so fast I felt like I was going backwards.

Amazingly the crash never came, and having expected to take 3 hrs 30mins, I came into transition two in 2hrs 45.
Bike racked. Hat off, shoes off, trainers on, gels stuffed into circus strong man suit. Run out of transition area, past the cheering crowds and along the path round the lake.

To be honest I'd only ever run 21k a couple of times and I'd only practised going straight out for a run, after cycling twice.It was at this point that I wished I hadn't been such a dick.

The first kilometre was like a joke. I was running like a heavy toddler with a head injury. My brain couldn't process the idea that I was going to have to keep that up for 20 more kilometers.
Things settled down after the first 5k though and I just got on with it. Second 5k were positively enjoyable as I necked energy gels and rushed on sugar and endorphins. I was annoyingly smiley and chirpy with my fellow runners and felt invincible.

The wheels came off at 10k. The thought of having to run another 11 was really hard to get my head round. It was at this point that I understood why everyone doesn't do this, and that it really is quite hard. I stopped messing about, put my head down and tried to ignore all pain reports.

The last kilometre was awesome. As I came round the last bend, I could hear the tannoy shouting people home and the crowds cheering. It was the most amazing feeling to realise I was going to finish soon, and I could stop bloody running.

I got some sort of crazed god complex in the last 500 metres and wound it right up to a preposterous full tilt sprint, past the cheering (probably laughing) crowds with the chariots of fire music soaring in my head...

Over the line, and punched the air like a twat, only to realise that the line was actually 100 metres further on, and the crowd were shouting and pointing at it. After crossing that one too, I did the proper wobbly knees marathon finisher, collected my medal and wandered off to find out my time.

I had been trying to add up the 38 mins which I knew the swim had taken with what my watch said for the bike and run. A pretty easy sum, but every time I did it I seemed to get a very un-Rubbish number, I put it down to the fact that I'm crap at maths and must be a bit confused.

I was pretty sure that I had beaten 6 hours 30 though , which would make me well pleased and Babs a tenner as she had backed her own horse.

Checked my time in the tent and found I'd done it in 5hrs 21mins!


Saturday, 29 August 2009

Good Morning Peaslake

Alex and i doing a loop round Surrey... Perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Rubbish Fell-Running Chapter Established

I'm number 234.

On 15th August I went to Tywyn in mid-Wales to attempt something called "race the train", a 14 mile fell run against a steam train down a muddy valley and back again.
After a rough night camping it all seemed like a tall order, so i planned to start slowly- from the back infact- and just take in the amazing scenery. It began on a bridge over the railway with the train underneath full of screaming kids, then the whistle blew, everyone cheered and we set off.
The first half was hilly cross country through farms and fields, occasionally intercepting the train route where you could hear the train's peep and chuff echoing through the trees along with the hysterical cheer from the kids onboard. Then at 7 miles we turned around and headed up one side of the valley onto some boggy, slippy, single track and woodland. By now i realised i was going to make it round so started to speed up, and found myself wearing a stupid grin as i bounded through the mud, overtaking people. It was such GOOD FUN. Coming back into the village for the finish i was running flat out and still couldn't stop smiling, thinking what a brilliantly absurd event this was, and how we should all do it next year,- in TEAM RUBBISH RUNNING VESTS.
The day was rounded off perfectly sat drinking by the camp fire, overlooking the beach as the sun set into the sea.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Rubbish Conquer Mont Ventoux (Again!)

So Alex and I managed to haul ourselves in a very respectable way to the summit of the legendary Mont Ventoux.

Only one word can quite openly be overused to describe this mountain : AMAZING. Amazingly hard but amazingly rewarding, amazing view both from the top and on the way up thanks to all the tour graffiti on the tarmac, amazing we did it considering the man-sized faffing we did in Bedion before setting off up it, amazing we did it under two-hours etc.

I (Neil) managed it in 1:58:11, Alex made it up at least 30 seconds faster and was waiting for me with his face illuminated with the same joy and weird incomprehension that I must have been wearing on realising we had managed a sub-two hour ascent.

We had perfect conditions on the climb, leaving at a whisker after 8am from Bedoin so the heat wasn't a problem and super luckily for us there was no wind at all during the whole climb. Having read what a problem windy conditions can be we're both mighty thankful of that.

I managed to keep Alex within sight the whole climb which seemed to work psychologically for both of us. He can only lead and having me constantly visible behind him in my little yellow hat kept him pushing on, refusing to let me get within 60m whilst I had the goal of not losing his bright yellow shirt into the distance to keep me pushing the pedals.

He might tell you different but I think the hardest bit of the climb for him was the beginning. Alex was riding Chris' bike for the first time and hadn't even bothered to swap the pedals so he could wear his own shoes. For the first half hour or so he cursed and screamed and verbalised his disgust and immenet retirement as he realised Chris' bike wasn't geared much lower than his own (the reason he wasn't riding his own - his gears didn't go that low). I did the gentelmanly thing and zig-zagged up the road as slow as possbile to keep with him while he got himself together and grabbed a passing back wheel to pull himself up to me and back into the climb. Soon after he opened up a lead on me and we didn't meet again till the summit.

We both agree this was the perfect way, for us at least to climb the mountain. Climbing Ventoux, someone said, is really like climbing yourself, there's very little room to chat a companion and it was too distracting for either of us, the gap which distanced us but where we remained visible to each other served as the perfect way to ride.

Coming out of the tree line onto the final summit summit section was at first my most euphoric moment as I laughed in sheer joy at the prospect of having almost completed the ride. But my darkest times were to follow - I had made the mistake of thinking we were on the home straight and the climb was pretty much in the bag. Only 6km left seemed like a breeze but it soon became clear these would be the longest 6km of my life. The bald rocky summit must be around 11% all the way to the top and was on this last stretch that I cam closest to thinking I might just stop, I might not make it. It is up here in the brilliant white moonscape that I faced my biggest mental challenges, which was tough as I thought I had had the worst of them on the slopes in the forest behind me.

Anyway we made it! The feeling was like nothing else I've ever experienced, I've never pushed myself physically as hard in my life. We'd also been building up to this for such a long time, long before arriving in France a week earlier. During the the week the mountain had loomed at us during our rides in the local area, making its presence felt, reminding us we still had to face it. To be standing finally on top of the legendary Mont Ventoux was incredible, we were wired on endorphins, the view was spectacular - it was downhill all the way from here!

Ventoux has become a mecca for cyclists for good reason, despite being the toughest thing I've ever done on a bike it was by far and away the most rewarding and yes enjoyable. The mental battle you must have with yourself as your body begs you to stop left me feeling inches taller for having beaten my demons and stayed on the bike all the way to the top. I could feel the smuggest expression I had had ever worn in my entire life plastered on my face as we made our descent, I had done it, we had done it FOR RUBBISH!!!


Alex on the summit

Neil on the summit

Neil honestly laughing as I deliriously grind toward the summit

Alex at the summit, cool again.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Monday, 27 July 2009

Our First interview

NOW is the time to spread the word of RUBBISH. From here we can push on to become Rafa models.
Once they see us in the new Jerseys they will not only sign us up but also base their next seasons' collection on the Rubbish strip and pay us a royalty.
Also here is an actual link to the site that wants to interview Alex/us:

We all also need to buy one of these. Or at least one of us does, so it can become the official Rubbish support vehicle/broom wagon:

Team Rubbish goes Global


I have been approached by someone who wants to do an interview with me on Team Rubbish and the Shoreditch Surf Club.

Its for lsnglobal.com ... If we do nothing else this year, lets try and get a photo of all of us in our jumpers, being rubbish on some ridiculous global lifestyle site.

Live Rubbish
i just attempted to comment on my own post which was essentially a rant about how impossible all this shit is to a ludite like me , and of course it dissapeared into the fucking ether, after asking me a load of nonsense questions using made up computer words that don't actually exist.

is this 'blogging'

god this is annoying and makes me feel like a grandad that can't operate the toaster.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Welcome fool

Hello rubbishers. Here is the new team blog. Hopefully when you read this you’ll already be allowed to add your own entries etc. If not I’ll just add stuff I want and ignore your pleas to be included.

Meet Ron

Here is Ron, my new fixie. His body is a Roncelli racing frame, Italian natch daaaahhhrrling.

Chrome rear triangle 16 tooth rear gear, flop and chop bars, idiot on the saddle. You get the picture.