Friday, 11 December 2009

Lynx Action

Following my rather dull and 'deep' posting earlier, I thought it best to liven up the mood with two brilliant ads for Lynx deodorant.

They're so on-brand and massively appeal to the Scorpio* in me.

And most importantly, a good laugh for a festive Friday!

(Click on images to enlarge. The picture that is, nothing else!)

(Hats off to BBH London)

*Very passionate in everything they do, often thought of as the sexual sign. (Ha ha ha)

Loyalty & Commitment

With the recent transfer of Bradley Wiggins to Team Sky from Garmin, it got me thinking about the kind of world we seem to live in these days. (It's not as 'deep' as this sounds so bear with me!)

Before I start, I want to state that I love the fact that Wiggo's going to ride for a British team, with British sponsors and British staff. It's going to do wonders for GB road cycling and will hopefully transfer some more of the amazing track cycling success to the road genre. (Wiggo and Cav are already doing a great job.) How far away is GB from a podium place in the Tour? It could even be next year.

So what follows is going to sound like a contradiction, but hear me out...

What has happened to good old fashioned loyalty and commitment? Sportsmen and woman are such strong role models but what kind of example do they set when they show off the lack of the two words already mentioned. I don't know the legal ins and outs of contracts, etc but what's the point of signing them anyway? You sign a contract, something better comes up, tear up said contract and move to the next highest bidder/better option.

It reminds me of being a kid, getting invited to a classmate's party. After accepting the invite, a few days later a more popular kid sent out invites for a party on the same day. Not a chance would my parents let me cancel the boring party for the popular party! And I'm so grateful this is how they brought me up. (This is just one example, there were many others.) Yes it's easy to say this not being a pro sportsperson and I understand that it's their salary and future earnings but if you make a commitment for a certain length of time, should you not stick to it?

Yes it's big money for football teams to sell players while they're still contracted so maybe this is where it all stems from, but what message does this give to the youth? I totally appreciate the decision to move isn't made over night and loads of factors come in to it, but as a neutral member of the public, all I see are people taking the better option.

So yes, Wiggo should ride for Team Sky but maybe not next year. Had he fulfilled his prior commitment to Garmin?

I'm not naive, this happens in the working world and if someone offered me more money to do my job elsewhere, who'd be the fool to not take it? It just seems different to that of the world of professional sport. One could argue that employers aren't loyal either so it's a dog eat dog environment? The same's probably true for pro sports teams?

Wouldn't it be great to every so often see a sportsperson come out and say, 'thanks for the amazing offer, but I'm going to stick to my commitment'?

Yes I'm reading into it all a bit much and maybe it's only important that these characteristics are drilled into us as children and when we get older it's about looking out for one's self (and own family in terms of income).

I try to live by the mantra of not to criticise someone until you've been in their shoes and have understood the full set of circumstances. It's too easy to comment as as outsider, so maybe I should just put this loyalty & commitment dilemma to rest and stop boring you.

Who knows, the way the world works changes every second so as long as I can go to bed every night and not have my conscious keep me awake, that's all I can ask for.

(Let's not even get started on Tiger, or should it not be Cheetah?)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Passion Pop

It's so great to come across people like the dude above. To have such a love and dedication for something as simple as soda is remarkable. It's a bit of a long vid at 12 minutes, but honestly worth every minute.

It just goes to show that you don't always have to be in bed with the giants of the trade be be successful.

I'm not a massive fan of soda, although at times a Coke has saved me from bonking on a ride or helped me recover from a hangover. That said, I'd love to spend some money buying a few of the different flavours his store has to offer. And I'd certainly make the effort to visit the store if I went to LA. What's impressive is that even the owner understands the need for moderation. Drink less and enjoy the little bits you like more seems to be his message among others on being green and recycling.

I heart his no bullsh*t approach to Coke and Pepsi. Imagine every store in the world operated like his. Christmas shopping would be an absolute joy!

More people like John Nese please.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Longest Operation in the World

Well, not in terms of time, but in terms of the name of the procedure. Try this for a mouthful (pun intended) - uvulopalatopharyngoplasty!

So, why did I decide to get my soft, fleshy, dangly bit cut off?

I've always been a very, VERY bad snorer. I still remember fellow dorm mates walking around my bed every morning to retrieve the shoes they'd thrown at me over the course of the evening in an effort to stop me chopping down tress. I was 13 years old at the time.

And I still don't think I'll ever be invited on another overseas race trip with good mate Ken Collins.

Add my lovely girlfriend into the mix of haters and it's pretty clear as to why I went looking for professional help. I will add that I tried all the herbal, nose strip and pallet spay options available.

I popped down to my local NHS GP, who did what she normally does and sent me to a specialist. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. In all honesty, my main motivation to stop snoring was so that I didn't have to spend countless nights on the couch or wake up to a scissor kick in the back of the head at three in the morning.

However, after he poked and prodded around my mouth and nasal passages, he asked me an intriguing question. "When you wake up after a good amount of sleep (8-9hrs) do you feel properly rested?" It was like that moment on TV shows when the earth stops moving and a gospel choir sings, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH!

Queue another of my terrible character traits - I'm not a morning person. Never have been. And I'd love to be one. What the doc explained was that because my snoring was so loud (I will often wake myself up with the noise) I never get those essential hours of deep sleep. The noise wouldn't allow me to drop into it (so just imagine my girlfriend laid next to me at this point). What surprised the specialist was that I'm not a 'classic' snorer. Most people with my condition are fat smokers that enjoy a few bottles of wine every week. When I asked to delay the op until after the Ironman, he nearly fell over.

That appointment was in February, and today I finally had my uvula removed and soft tissue pallet tightened. Think of it like a sting on a guitar. The tighter the string, the harder it is to make it vibrate without real force. Less vibration = no noise/snoring.

(BTW, that's not my mouth in the photo.)

So here's hoping to peaceful nights; deep, restful, undisturbed sleep and early morning wake up calls!

(I must say, Kingston Hospital was brilliant, but it's SO not like Scrubs!)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


As a school boy in South Africa, sport meant everything. And not just pro sport. School boy derby games would attract crowds in their thousands. Long after we'd finished school for good, iconic games between rival schools would be discussed at length.

The above video (in my opinion) is possibly the best creative campaign I've seen this year. (If not the last few years!)

So even though I understand nothing about American football, this video reminds me of how great it was to go to a school with a history, heritage and rivalry to rival these two teams.

To watch the full length video, click here.

Congrats to TBWA\Chiat\Day for an absolutely WORLD CLASS campaign. Gatorade should be singing your praises from the tops of the stands!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Kona Inspiration

Although it's been quite a few months since I completed my first Ironman, the pain is still fresh in my mind. Along with the memory of suffering, the sense of achievement lives large.

And in all honesty, the stoke of finishing far outweighs the torture.

So, I've entered another one! The Outlaw Triathlon in Nottingham, August 2010. The above video is what it's all about. The dream of one day qualifying a spot at Kona, the World Champs of Ironman competition.

Even if I only get to compete in the M50-55 category in many years to come.

(Congrats to GB's Chrissie Wellington for breaking the long standing women's record at Kona and winning her 3rd world title in row.)

Friday, 21 August 2009

When I grow up I want to be Usain Bolt

I LOVE athletics. At both junior and high school, I couldn’t wait for athletics season. While most boys at my school dreamt of becoming a Springbok rugby player or Protea cricketer, I longed to represent SA on the track. I took quite a bit of flack for being mad about track and field. I was rewarded for my passion and dedication to athletics, by being named captain of the school athletics team in my final year as well as gaining ‘Colours’ (a yellow coloured fabric piping that’s stitched to the outer edge of the school blazer). Sadly I never went as far as I did in those childhood dreams.

Enter Usain Bolt.

I heart how he’s made the art of sprinting comparable to that of a rock star. I can imagine kids all over the world doing the Bolt pose whilst sprinting all over the place.

Thanks to The Bolt, athletics is now as cool as what I’ve always hoped it would have been.

(Back in the day, the 110m Hurdles and High Jump were my game!)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Pearl Jam Rock the House

My memory's not great but for as long as I've been a music fan, I've loved Pearl Jam. I will quite happily name them as one of the world's greatest bands. Try argue with me.

I've tried numerous times to get tickets to one of their gigs in London but always missed out. They don't tour the UK much so when tickets became available for the O2 Arena I dived at the chance. And scored.

Last night took me back to my childhood and reminded my why I love live must so much. From the first cord played, I was in seventh heaven. Memories flooded back to buying and listening to my first Pearl Jam CD all those years ago. They were on my list of 'Bands To Watch Before I Die'.

Now I'm not much of a music crit so if you'd like to read a review of the performance, it's here.

All I can say is, watch the video above (excuse my awful singing along, it was extremely hard not to get over excited). It will never convey the atmosphere and pure brilliance that is Pearl Jam, but hopefully you'll get a small taste. Did I mention they played for 3 hours?!

Ever since I watched the Foo Fighters live I was worried that no other band's live performance would measure up. Pearl Jam equaled Dave Grohl and co.

They don't make bands like Pearl Jam these days.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Ironman UK Race Report

So, ‘apparently’ the whole idea of writing a blog is to keep it updated regularly. I have to be honest, I thought it would be easier than it’s been. In the beginning it’s all fun but as with most things in life, soon the novelty wears off and it becomes a bit of a chore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a chore to blog but when life becomes busy (who’s isn’t?) it’s one of the first things to be neglected. I have new found respect for people who blog regularly.

Why’ve I been so busy you ask? Well, I’ve had the small task of training for an Ironman and work has been incredibly busy. On the work front, I’ve been involved in a few exciting projects that I’ll be able to share with you fairly soon. I have to admit, being busy in these times is great. I know of a few agencies really struggling so I can’t complain about being busy.

And now for the fun bit, the UK Ironman!

I won’t bore you with the moans about rubbish organisation, race venue, etc as I don’t want to put a damper on an absolutely amazing race experience. As I mentioned, training for the IM took a LOT of my time. And not just my time. Make no mistake, training for this race involves sacrifices. Bucketfuls! I can’t thank my girlfriend enough for the undying support and encouragement she gave me throughout the training period. It’s tough living with an IM in training; all those early morning training sessions, lack of social events and early to bed on weekend evenings.

Here goes…

I stood (that should probably read ‘treaded water’) on the start line feeling great. My training was disciplined, structured and plentiful. Yes I was nervous but I knew I’d done more than enough training and backed myself to finish this gruelling event.

Swim (3.8km) – 01h03m56s
I always refer to my swim leg as ‘Hero2zero’. I love swimming and fortunately I find it quite easy. So, generally this means I come out of the water way up the field and spend the bike leg being pasted by Lance Armstrong wannabes on full carbon steeds. Being a confident swimmer I positioned myself just behind the pro athletes on the start line. After a bit of an irritating wait, the horn sounded and the water bubbled to life.

For me, the key to getting the swim right is to constantly talk to yourself and focus on all the individual areas that make up the swim stroke. Reach, pull, tilt head, take a breath in, push out hand next to your hip, breathe out slowly underwater and repeat the same thing many, many times. Obviously at times I’ll include, lift head, sight the buoy, etc. As well as remind myself to keep the legs kicking lightly. The swim is incredibly boring so by repeating this over and over, it kills time and makes the task fly by.

It was a two lap course so I checked my watch after the first lap and all seemed fine. Coming up to the water exit, I had to hold myself back. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and I’ve learnt from experience that pushing hard before the exit is dangerous. I’ll tell that story another time. Out and running over the timing matt I looked at my watch and was quite surprised that I hadn’t been quicker. (Rumour has it, the swim was slightly longer than the standard 3.8km it’s suppose to be.) I took my time on the 400m uphill section into T1. The tunnel of spectators cheering as I crested the hill was simply unbelievable. I just couldn’t stop smiling.

Bike (180km) – 06h13m36s
Grabbing Felty and hopping out of T1 to avoid the mud I was pleasantly surprised at the number of bikes still racked in transition. Maybe my swim wasn’t as slow as I thought. (I found out after the race that I came out the water in 56th place! Long live my Hero2zero swims.) With the swim out the way, I was ready to unleash Felty. I had to put this thought on ice though as the only major climb of the route comes after 4km. Suddenly the road went skywards. With cow bells jingling (it’s an Austrian/Swiss thing I think) and people cheering, Sheep Hill Lane didn’t prove too difficult the first time up.

The remainder of the lapped course was undulating with some white-knuckle descents and long fast flat sections. The wind was up so that slowed things down some but on the whole I felt like I was smashing up lap 1. The saying ‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ was made for Ironman events I reckon. Nearing the end of lap 1, I hit a slight pothole and suddenly saw my seat mounted bottle cages overtake me. My first instinct was to just keep going, until I remembered that my two CO2 canisters (used to inflate a new tube within seconds) were screwed onto it. I couldn’t risk not having them so I pulled over, unscrewed the canisters, popped them in my pocket and handed the broken bottle cage to a friendly blonde spectator. This now left me with only one aero bottle of juice on the front. Luckily there are many feed stations on the course so I knew I’d just have to keep decanting drinks I picked up into the aero bottle. Drama over, I came around to complete lap 1 in a respectable time, well within my target of 30km/h.

Sheep Hill Lane round 2 was OK, although the chalked slogan on the road ‘Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever!’ was now slightly more faded since I rode over it the first time. I guess I was in a similar condition. In my head I always knew the second lap would be the worst, mentally. The thought of 180km is too much to think of at once when I’m on the bike so I just kept thinking three laps of 60km. Doesn’t that just sound so much easier? Lap 2 seemed to last forever. Partly because my back was in absolute agony (think bamboo under your fingernails type pain) and trying to stretch it regularly slowed me down a little.

Then the defining moment of the whole race happened. A guardian Angel rode up next to me. We chatted for a bit and then he inquired ‘Are you feeling hungry?’. One of the biggest challenges of the IM is getting nutrition right. I clearly hadn’t and was beginning to feel like the bonk was around the next bend. So when asked if I was hungry, the response can’t actually be repeated here in the fear that my mother might actually read this. The Angel then asked ‘How would you fancy a ham and cheese sandwich?’. I think my face gave him the answer he was looking for, for suddenly I had a white bread, ham and cheese sandwich in the palm of my hand. I literally inhaled it. I swear I will never eat another ham and cheese sandwich that will ever taste as good. Full stop.

I owe my race to you Angel and the only regret (maybe another should be not taking my own food in the first place) of the entire race is not getting your race number to thank you later. You embody the Ironman spirit. I salute you Sir.

With the sandwich in the tank, it gave me the confidence to push on. Sheep Hill Lane round 3 is best not remembered. Finally I was at the 150km mark, knowing now that I only had another hour left on the bike. To be honest, I did think at times on the bike that I might not finish the race. When your back’s cramping and you’re feeling blown, the thought of having a marathon to welcome you after T2 is enough to make a grown man cry. The idea of curling up into the foetal position under a hedge on the side of the road certainly entered my mind. This is when I remembered all the family and friends that were willing me on to finish. I couldn’t let any of you down, could I?!

With 2km to go I felt a pinch from behind and knew without looking that it would be my best mate and training partner, Beloki. It was a major mental boost to have stayed ahead of him for so much of the bike leg (he normally catches and passes me on the bike) but at the same time I wondered if maybe I’d gone out too quick on the bike. Oh well, the run would answer that question.

Run (42.2km) – 03h59m43 (Sub 4, that’s sweet!)
Running out of T2 with Beloki was great. It was awesome to be off the bike and my back was loving it. Beloki has the tendency to get over excited at the start of runs so I knew he’d be pushing the pace from the moment we left T2. I happily dropped off the pace and continued to race my own race. Organisers of Ironman events sure know how to test the mental strength of athletes. Most IM run courses involve laps, and this was no different. Long, undulating laps, without mile markers! That’s enough to break James Bond’s mind. The crowds were superb and I made a point of thanking spectators for the support. This didn’t last long. Not because I didn’t want to, but I needed to use every ounce of concentration just to keep one foot in front of another. Digging deep has a new meaning. I’ve read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and Haruki Murakami explains brilliantly how on a run your mind enters a void where you think about everything and nothing at the same time but once you’re finished the run you can hardly remember thinking about anything. This sums up my run perfectly. All I know is that most of my thoughts were horrible, dark and unpleasant. It’s probably best I can’t remember. I do remember thinking once, ‘SH*T this is tough!’.

Somewhere along the line I caught back up to Beloki and it was quickly decided that we’d cross the finish line together. Mates’ oath. I remember telling Beloki that he could go on without me if he was feeling strong but he declined and we continued to shuffle along, side by side. Running into the park for the final loop, we saw a mate Jaaps, who told me that my girlfriend, Barbs, was waiting at the finish. Just the lift I needed. Leaving the park we heard shouts of ‘Half a mile to go…’, ‘You’re looking strong fellas…’, etc, etc. Another huge lift and relief.

Rounding the final corner, I heard a kind lady say it was the final corner of the race. And then I felt nothing. I’m talking pain. It simply evaporated out of my withered body. It was as if I was floating. No lies. At that point in time, running was effortless. In my head I was running quicker than Usain Bolt. At the Olympics.

Ahead on the right I saw a huge South African flag and knew it was Barbs. It still gives me shivers thinking about it now. Her smile was beaming and I could see she had wet eyes. I stopped next to her, hugged her as hard as my feeble arms possibly could and planted a massive kiss on her lips. With an ‘AHHH!’ from the surrounding crowd I took the flag and continued my way towards the red carpet finish chute. The rest is a blur.

Beloki and I crossed the line tie in 11 hours, 30 minutes and 49 seconds. 165th place out of 1,500 odd that registered the day before.

Ironman, tick.

To Barbs, Beloki, my family, friends and colleagues that supported me throughout the entire training period and race, I can’t thank you enough. Only once you’ve endured an Ironman will you understand just how much it means. It’s truly an amazing experience.

Will I do another?

I can’t wait!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

King of the Downs

More like the Ups! Today is officially the longest I've ever spent on a bike. 8 hours and 35 minutes to be exact. Why? I'm asking myself the same question right now. It's also the most wet I've ever been on two wheels. I've been less wet in a swimming pool. At 60km, riding up Box Hill, the heavens opened. I had a rain jacket but it was like fighting a forest fire with a glass of water. Pretty pointless. At times we were riding through rivers that had formed on the road.

Today's ride is one of Evans' Ride It! events. A super sportive. This morning (and afternoon) involved 180km with 10 climbs along the way. Namely - Leith Hill (451ft climbing in 2.1 miles), Pitch Hill (559ft climbing in 2.1 miles), Combe Bottom (422ft climbing in 2 miles), Ranmore Common West (271ft climbing in 1.5 miles), Box Hill (567ft climbing 2.6 miles), Tulleys Farm (252ft climbing in 1.8 miles), Weir Wood Reservoir (342ft climbing in 1.3 miles), The Wall (406ft climbing in 0.9 miles), Yorks Hill (394ft climbing in 1.1 miles) and Titsey Hill (386ft climbing in 0.8 miles).

Sorry to get so technical but I think it's the closest an amateur in the UK will ever get to experiencing what's it's like to ride a stage of a Pro Tour event. (Bar going to the L'E'Tape in France.)

Because 180km just isn't long enough, I decided to get lost and do and extra 10km. So, today I rode 190km. Nice. (My bum is not friends with me.)

Cleverly (NOT!) the steepest hill (mountain) of the day is saved for last. Words can't describe the world of pain I was in creeping up Titsey Hill. Looking down I even saw a slug overtake me. It was only pride and ego that stopped me from walking it.

Come August 2nd (Ironman UK), I know my legs will thank me for today's punishment.

Bring it!

(King of the Downs profile - western and eastern loops.)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Running a PB!

I most certainly heart running a PB. Last weekend I competed in the Richmond Half Marathon. It's a great course, not a hill in sight, quiet roads and great scenery. It's also a running club organised half marathon, so there's much fewer runners than the big money-making half marathons. It also means most runners are semi-serious (committed) runners that run regularly and belong to a running club. It's great standing at the start seeing all the different clubs being represented. A nice social occasion. Until the horn sounded.

The plan was to run my own race and not run alongside my training partner Beloki as he has the tendency to go out too quickly for my liking. I prefer to start out on race plan pace and remain consistent through the race. After 3 miles I was feeling amazingly good. Not breathing hard, managing to stay under 7 minutes per mile and still enjoying the sights. It was an awesome morning along the Thames. Sunny and the perfect temperature for a race.

Miles 8 and 9 were tough. Partly because we were running on the long straight tow path between Hampton Court and Kingston but also because the loose surface of the tow path felt awkward to push the pace on.

Finally I got to the last mile were I was able to really keep the pace going which felt great. It's so cool to finish a race strongly. I put in a cheeky sprint over the last 100m just to get in front of my training partner, mainly for psychological reasons : )

The other significant point is that this PB came after a few weeks of really hard training sessions with the UK Ironman in mind. The Richmond race was all part of the preparation so to be getting faster means all the extra swimming and riding I'm doing is helping my running hugely.

So with a new PB of 1h31m35s I'm hoping it's not long until I can try go under 1h30m. Small steps.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

G'day mate

I’m back! To be honest, I don’t even know where to start. Australia absolutely blew me away. The people, the places, the space, the surf, the sun, the positivity, the friendliness and Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

I can’t say enough good things about that country down under. What did I enjoy most? Well, Sydney is right up there, as well as Byron Bay. Byron Bay just had such an awesome laid back and as cheesy as it sounds, ‘spiritual’ vibe. I could imagine it’s a place people go on holiday and never return. With by-laws that don’t allow fast food drive through chains, the town has retained its origins and roots.

Sydney is crazy. Good crazy. It’s a big city but it feels less busy than what I had imagined. With all the space and water around it, you don’t feel contained or part of the masses. I never once felt like I was being herded as you are in London.

Yes it’s easy to love a city while you’re there on holiday, but spending time with good friends that do the daily grind (if you can even call it that), I became jealous of the lifestyle they lead. It reminded me so much of what life is like living in South Africa, without the stress/fear that’s associated with living in SA.

The three weeks we spent there were amazing. We did loads, but still took the time to chill out and actually have a holiday. Seeing family and friends is always special and I’m certainly pining to go back. I reckon they’re lucky it’s so far away from everything. Otherwise everyone would want to live there.

Now to start filling out those visa applications forms…

Friday, 27 March 2009


The time has finally come. Tomorrow, I'm leaving, on a jet plane (sing along)... Where am I going? You guessed it, Australia baby!

It's a 3 week holiday that includes Brisbane, The Whitsunday Islands, Byron Bay, The Gold Coast, Sydney and hopefully a few other lesser known spots. I can hardly contain my excitement.

So, for the 2 of you who actually read this blog, there probably won't be anything new on here until I'm back at the end of April. I'm sure I'll have loads of things I heart, to report back on, on my return.

Enjoy the days off over Easter.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sorry Lance

I think I jinxed LA. Only a few hours before his crash I received the above so I could declare my support for the Astana Cycling Team and in particular, Mellow Johnny. What a lot of good that did hey?

Broken collarbone and possibly out of the Giro. Pants!

I promise to not buy anything supporter related in the week before the Tour.

Get well soon fella.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Rat Horror

The girlfriend and I went to watch the amazing Slumdog Millionaire on Saturday night. I'm going to sound like quite a sad-o, but one of my favourite parts of going to the cinema is watching the ads before the movie starts. So the ads started, there were a few crappy ones, a couple funny ones and then a new NHS ad screened. It's been a while since I've seen such a graphic and hard-hitting ad. And the response from the audience was noticeable. People just felt down right sick and uncomfortable. I don't think anyone tucked into their popcorn or sweets for a while after.

Watch it here. Just make sure you're not having your lunch.

It certainly got the point across to me.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Box Hill Hurt

Well, it's 20 weeks until the big one. Just looking at the training schedule scares me. Since doing the Cambridge Marathon a couple weeks ago, I decided it was time to up the mileage on Big Rig (my bike), in preparation of the of 180km (112.5 miles) bike leg of the UK Ironman. Luckily the Surrey Hills are nearby so it makes for ideal training.

Having not been on the bike for a while, we (my training partner, Beloki, and I) decided to take it easy and not really worry about maintaining an average speed. Plus we were both running the Fleet Half Marathon the next day. The weather was lovely (how sad calling 14'C lovely?) so the ride was great. Until we reached Box Hill. I've climbed it many times and I seriously love the switchbacks and the cup of coffee that awaits at the top. On this particular day, my legs were having none of it. I struggled up. Bonked they call it in the riding community. Beloki has the best description of what it feels like to climb a tough hill. He reckons you can feel your muscles and ligaments pulling away from the bone. I don't think he's far off.

Box Hill hurts, but it's that kind of hurt I enjoy. I know the hurt now will make me stronger later. And I'm sure going to need it later. On the 2 August to be more specific.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Okay, so I've been very quiet on the blog front lately. I would love to say that it's because I haven't seen anything I heart lately but to be totally honest, it's because I've been fitting a new kitchen at home. It's been super stressful (DON'T EVER USE IKEA), time consuming and massively tiring. I can't knock the quality of IKEA's products but their delivery and project management skills are appalling (AKA non-existent).

Well, it's all done now and hopefully soon it'll all feel like it was worth it.

So as a treat, I'm going to a motivational talk tonight by Karen Darke. I'm super excited for it and I know it's going to put life into perspective. I heart talks like that.

It's good to be back.

Monday, 23 February 2009

London By Night

I regularly go onto The Boston Globe's Big Picture site as the quality of the images on it are simply breathtaking.

These by Jason Hawkes caught my eye tonight. For a Londoner, they're special, but I guess even if you're not, you might still appreciate them.

Bookmark the Big Picture, you'll want to go back!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Into the Wild

I saw a DVD doing the rounds at work recently. I picked it up, read the back and seeing that it was a true story, decided to watch it (plus I love the wild/outdoors so I was pretty much sold on the title).

OH MY WORD! What a phenomenal story. Please watch this movie. It's gone straight into my top 3. I can't express how much I loved it.

I have to admit there are many days when I feel like doing what young Christopher did. Giving up a life of money, possessions, and the lack of freedom.

I salute you Christopher McCandless for living life by your own rules.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


The Tour of California started yesterday with the Prologue (won by the awesome Fabian Cancellara of the Saxo Bank team). It's Stage 1 today. But can you believe it, the Astana team truck was broken into last night and Lance's Livestrong TT bike (pictured above) was stolen?

The stupid thing is, that it is the only bike of its kind in the world. Good luck trying to flog the most high profile custom TT bike ever! Sadly, 3 other bikes were also stolen. Bikes that Lance's team mates where suppose to use in the stage today (I'm sure they've got replacements).

I hope you get your bike back soon Mellow Johnny.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Track Me Down

When I arrived in London (around 5 years ago), one of my first purchases was a cool (well I thought so at least) olive green casual jacket. It's kind of army styled with a hood and super warm. It went with me everywhere. I honestly think I paid £10 for it on a sale at Foxhole (they went under many moons ago). The only negative is that it isn't waterproof.

I then earned my first pay cheque and bought a smarter work coat. Boring and black but warm and professional looking. Not for weekend wear!

Then I was introduced to howies and fell in love with their clothing. For a while now I've been eyeing out a few potential jackets on their website. Sadly, they've always been just out my price range. That was until their recent sale. Low and behold, I got my new Tracker jacket in the post this morning and all I can say is that it is f**king awesome! It doesn't look waterproof (generally most jackets that are, make you look like a wannabe snowboarder cruising the streets of London), but with it being made from Epic cotton, water runs off it like a duck's back. And trust me, it got tested! If you were in London today you would understand why.

Yes it cost quite a bit more than my £10 jacket but it looks, feels and preforms a hundred times better. And now I can stay dry in style.

It won't be too hard to track me down, I don't think I'm ever going to take it off.

Buy your own howies Tracker jacket
Read all about Epic cotton (Thanks Rapha for the explanation and I hope you don't mind me using your stunning image?)

Friday, 6 February 2009


This is going to sound weird but I've always felt that the sea gives me strength. And the longer I'm away from it, the weaker I feel. Having grown up on the coast and pretty much spending every single holiday or weekend on the beach, I hope you can understand where I'm coming from.

I enjoy living in London, but deep down I know it's not somewhere I could live for the rest of my life. There's simply no sea.

Anyway, I saw the above photo the other day and it reminded me just how much I miss the ocean. If you've ever been for a body surf in the shorebreak you'll know what I'm talking about. Particularly if you've been for a session along the Durban North coast line in South Africa. It always offers a massive shorebreak and ensures you leave with sand everywhere. Two days afterwards you can still dig bits of sand out your ears!

I heart the ocean and long for it everyday I'm here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


I've just seen this on Lance Armstrong's twitter feed. A really astounding installation. I especially love the train. I think all train operators could do something similar to liven up normally boring looking carriages.

I also heart the duel purpose in that the canvases are waterproof so provide shelter and not just a pretty picture. With the likes of Google Earth emerging, I could see this art application taken to giant scales.

To see the full installation of the eyes of Kenya's women, click here.
Learn more about the French artist JR here.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Please Vote!

Ok, this is a shameless plug (plea). The marketing agency I work for, Haygarth, has entered the UK Creative Challenge. We've entered some cracking creative that's currently cruising the streets of London on the side of its iconic red buses.

If we win the first round, we're entered into the Grand Prix after which the winner will be decided. Strangely, in the first round our creative is against our second entry. I'm massively biased as I work on the Majestic Wine account (seriously, they're an awesome client. An agencies dream - I'm not paid to say this!) but it's up to you to decide which you prefer.

We had great fun coming up with the final Majestic route (excuse the pun).

Obviously, if you don't think it deserves a vote, then don't vote. I want votes for great creative, not persuasion.

Thanks for your time. I'll keep you updated on the results.

Vote here - UK Creative Challenge

Eyebrow Disco

This is the 3rd in the series of weird, wacky and quite honestly, wonderful Cadbury ads. Ok, Trucks wasn't great but anything that followed the award winning Cadbury Gorilla was never going to be as good or liked.

I love this new one. Especially the girl. She makes it in my opinion. I love the naughty innocence.

My favourite part is when the little girl 'scratches' with the balloon. Genius!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Durex Balloon Animals

I thought this would be a really good Monday laugh. Good way to start the week. I would love to some day work on a brand such as Durex where you can really push the boundaries. As this ad does.

I heart it a lot. The squeaks, expressions, etc. It all works brilliantly.

Stay safe.

(If you work for a bank, Government Department, etc, you may want to to wait until you get home to watch this. There's no nudity and it's really tastefully done but in this crazy world, you never know what can get you sacked for.)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

After a VERY long training run this morning, we decided to join some friends in going to view the above mentioned photoraphy exhibition at the lovely Natural History Museum. To view the exhibition costs £7.50, but believe me, it's worth every single penny.

The images, all displayed in amazing lightboxes, are mind blowing. The dedication and passion shown in taking each of the photos is phenomenal.

All the images are viewable online but seriously, if you've got a spare chance to go and see them in the flesh, you certainly won't regret it. I could kick myself for not going last year.

Here are a few of my favourites - 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Do Lectures Video

The Do Lectures 2008 from The DO Lectures on Vimeo.

I've already talked about my Do Lectures experience here. A summary video of the lectures has just been made. Watch it. Please watch it. And hopefully after watching it, it'll inspire you to watch a couple of the actual lectures.

Thinking back to the five wonderful days always makes me smile : )

Monday, 12 January 2009

Come Back of the Year

In six days time, at the Tour Down Under, Lance starts his come back to international racing. I'm sure he's hoping it'll end on the last weekend of July with an eighth Tour title. Time will only tell. Who knows if he'll even get to the start line?

I've been following his twitter feed and it's really cool to be able to get a close insight into what he's up to. Today he posted photos of his new Trek for the Tour Down Under. It's an absolute beauty.

Just like his final Tour TT bike, his new one has codes and numbers that relate to his passion, motivation and the like.

According to the visible numbers on his bike, the 1274 is the number of days since his last pro race and the 27.5 is roughly the 27.5 million people globally that have passed away from cancer in that time. Moving stuff. I maybe be wrong with the story behind each number so drop me a line if you find out anything different.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Richmond Park

It's my sanctuary, training ground and special place. If I've got loads on my mind, should life be getting me down or I just feel like getting away from the hustle and bustle of London life, Richmond Park is where I escape to.

And even if I don't need to get away, Richmond Park has provided me with hours, actually days of joy and pain I guess. With its 12km (8 mile) outer and 10km (6 mile) inner loops, it's THE perfect place to bank miles in the legs. Whether it's on foot or the bike. Best of all, it's great to just go for long meaningless walks where you don't come across another soul for hours.

I can honestly say that without Richmond Park, I don't think I would have lasted in London as long as I have. Yes that sounds dramatic but a week rarely passes that I don't visit the park at least once. It's like recharging a battery.

If you have kids or own dogs, it's a must. There's also the amazing Isabella Plantation (garden), well worth the visit and it's free!

I heart RP.

Richmond Park website.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Ironman UK Here We Come

It has always been a goal of mine to become an Ironman. To me, it's the ultimate test of individual endurance (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike & a 26.2 mile run). Yesterday I got one step closer to achieving this dream. I filled out my doctor's details, clicked enter and signed up to compete in the UK Ironman event on 2 August in Bolton.

My stomach sunk a little when I received the confirmation email. So now starts the long haul to be race fit on the 2 August. It does feel daunting but that's why I've given myself 7 months to make sure I cross that finish line to hear those famous words - 'YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!'

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Goodbye '08, Hello 2009

Happy New Year!

I came across some amazing photos that sum up the year that 2008 was. It's scary what can happen over 365 days. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions but I do have a few things I need to tick off my list for 2009.

Here's hoping you tick off everything on your list.

Photos of the year - Part 1
Photos of the year - Part 2
Photos of the year - Part 3