Black Line London Does Frankfurt, Szczecin & Swashbuckler

James Peet

Sometimes, life at BLL feels like a Benetton advert and last weekend we had troops at 3 events in 3 countries. Here are our micro reports.

Carel du Plessis – Ironman Frankfurt – Swim 3.8k, Bike 180k, Run 42.2k: 01:10/5:26/ 4:48, 229 in age group M30-34, 1254th overall.

Swim went as expected, spot on my target of 1h10m. Took  advice from fellow Blackliners on the bike – 1st lap should be easy, it was. Second lap went well until 130km in when my left tri bar snapped going over a pothole – no shelter from the wind for the last 50k but delighted to come in under 5h30m. Run stared well, legs felt strong until abdominal cramps started creeping in around 12km. A frustrating run walk up to 38km and then decided to rather walk the last 4km than to risk not finishing at all. Bitter sweet finish with loads of unused energy, I will have my revenge. 1st Ironman in the bag.

James Peet – Szczecin Half Ironman, Poland – Overall time: 5:01 18th overall, 7th in AG

Decent swim and onto bike in 11th. Rode strong over cobbles, tram lines and potholes up to 2nd place then puncture demons struck again. Used all my co2 and hand pump got me back to T2 a long way back in the field. Scorchio on the run but moved well back up to 18th. Very disappointing day out but a really enjoyable stay in Poland.

Paul Burton – Swashbuckler, Hampshire – Swim 1.9k (+T1), Bike 80k, Run 22.5k (+T2) 26.56/2.03/1.44 = 4.14, 1st Overall

Racing in the New Forest is one of life’s pleasures. What a location and my fourth time racing the Swashbuckler. A reduced field from moving the race from May to July meant I fancied placing highly. I managed to get away out front in the swim, extended the gap on the bike (loving the new aero Fusion Speed Suit) and hung on during the run to take the win. Ironman Sweden in five weeks – lots of encouraging signs and time to address some weaknesses.

Paul Deen – Swashbuckler, Hampshire – Swim 1.9k (+T1), Bike 80k, Run 22.5k (+T2) 00:28/2:11/1:39/ 4:19, 5th Overall

4th time at The Swashbuckler in 5 years must mean I quite like the race. I am not however liking the 4am alarms that triathlons seem to always need. Swam well for once & within 10 mins of the bike I was in 3rd. Came off bike in 2nd several minutes behind PB & cockily thought I could hold on….this delusion lasted for all 15 minutes when I suddenly found myself in 4th….bugger. Never mind I can definitely hold 4th I thought as Vicky Gill ran past me like I was stood still! 5th it was then & fairly happy all things considered but lots of work to do before Zell am Zee 70.3 & Kona.

 Paul Smernicki – Swashbuckler, Hampshire – Swim 1.9k (+T1), Bike 80k, Run 22.5k (+T2) 32:14/2:08/DNF

Epitomising Black Line London, this was ace. Friends, family, great banter, top event, amazing location. Planned as a hard training day I swam respectably, biked like a fucking train and almost pooped myself on the run. Sorry Farmer Giles about that thing in the field. Didn’t finish the run, but 2nd fasted bike of the day behind Paul Burton so I’m happy with that.

Make The Tour de France Even More Awesome.


Following the Tour De France on Eurosport and cycling websites is pretty good, but here are three things that can help you elevate your enjoyment to a whole new level.

And here’s a bonus – all of these are year round things that will add a whole new dimension to your training and racing enjoyment.

Subscribe to The Velocast

Hands down the best year round cycling podcast there is, but particularly around the grand tours and classicas and double particularly during TdF. Excellent insight, comment and analysis delivered with passion, humour and intelligence by twa canny Scots, in a way everyone can understand (ie: there is no bike snobbery involved!)

The Velocast is a paid for monthly subscription but delivers over 200 hours of quality content every year including daily shows from all the big events.

This podcast has made my long runs infinitely more bearable and if I had to chose, I’d probably listen to the podcast covering a stage over watching it live on TV.

Download the Pro Cycling Stats App is an unbelievable detailed resource where you can find pretty much any stat on any rider and any race. Complete geeksville and perfect for the race obsessive. It’s by far the quickest and easiest way to find team line ups and start lists but you can go waaaay deeper than that if you wish. Be careful – it’s a vortex of data that will suck you in.

Their newly launched app is all of that, on your phone. I’d recommend upgrading to the pro version for £2.99 a year.

Follow the Training Peaks Blog

Because Training Peaks is so awesome, it’s used by many of the pro tour teams and rider to analyse race (and training) data. The TRaining PEaks blog is given access to many of these which means you can have a really deep delve into the pain cave with the riders and get some great explanation and comment from the TRaining PEaks team. Ideal for power freaks.



New Spotify Playlist

Whether it’s to keep you going on those long runs, get you through the turbo sessions or just to fulfill your musical urges, we can help.

Our newly launched Spotify playlist will bring you cool and fresh tunes, new discoveries, some familiar sounds and a few curve balls. Guitars, choruses and a smattering of bleeps is the vibe and it will be updated regualrly.

So, hit subscribe, sit back and let the good tunes roll.


Black Line London Does Windsor Triathlon

Swans of Windsor.

Back once again with the renegade master……the latest micro race reports are a departure from the torture of long distance racing and focus on a different sort of torture from the Windsor Triathlon 2014.

James Peet (22.18/62.03/41.47 = 2.09.22, 4th in AG and 12th Overall)

Fun morning out and a result indicative of my current fitness given lack of proper training over prev months. Decent swim (for me), ran out of steam on the bike & my legs haven’t felt so wobbly out of T2 in a long time. Loosened up & ran well in last 3km but def need more bike/run sessions if I’m going to do better at this short course stuff.

Jane Hansom (13.56/48.23/23.12 = 1.29.04  1st in AG and Overall)

entered sprint distance in prep for european champs in kitzbuhel this coming sat after 70.3 training. swim was ace. had a great start with a decent gap after 100m. swum through the wave in front. traffic jam at the buoys. drafted a fast moving swan on return (pro tip) swum too far around the power bar buoy )not a pro tip) bike solid. went hard. run could  have been faster. was overtaken by no one. fun event despite 6.12 gun. cheered on other BLL’s. went for coffee. definitely prefer longer distance. then i would have earned a bit of cake too.

Paul Burton (19.11/59.44/39.28 = 2.01.19 – 2nd in AG and Overall)

Goal: swim fast, bike under 60 mins, run solid off a massive one day taper. Result: swam very fast (must have been short), fastest bike whilst maintaining some semblance of control, ran solid. Second overall and age group in 2.01. Job done. Next stop Swashbuckler en route to Ironman Sweden.

Guy Laister (27.21/76.02/49.35 = 2.39.19 – 160th in AG and 671st Overall)

Proper comeback after nearly 5 years with injury, chuffed with a 2:39 finish. Tough swim, quality bike, run – enjoyed the feeling of hurting again.

Paul Deen (23.59/62.10/40.47 = 2.09.43 – 2nd in AG and 15th Overall)

4am alarm = OUCH! Strong current made for tough swim but happy with effort. Fastest T1 of day, but no prizes for that.  Felt good on bike & blew past all but a few in previous waves. Solid T2 but if I had known there was a prize for fastest I would have ran quicker! Run = hello pain cave, blimey short course hurts. Dig in & suck it up. Sub 2:10 goal achieved = happy face. Dominated by Pablo yet again, but I’m used to that and he isn’t a #KonaLegend like me.

Black Line London Does Ironman Mallorca 70.3

BLL Flag.

Our recent IM south Africa micro reports were so well received, we’ve committed to boring you in fewer words from now on.

The sunshine island of Mallorca recently shat itself when 7 BBL’rs took part in Ironman Mallorca 70.3 there.

Here’s how we got on…..

Mark Shipton (30.04/2.59/1.56) 212st in M40-44
After a panic Friday trying to find a replacement seat-post clamp I felt relieved to be on the start line. First serious race in a while, pre-race nerves never change. Had a confident swim, love the fight. Bike course was beautiful and kept telling myself to enjoy. The climb was honest. Motorway section was a dream. Run was war. The heat assisted the torture. The screams from BLL family where a saviour. Im back next year to sort out that run. 30.04/2.59/1.56 M40-44

Michael Collins (27.00/02:38/1:28 =4:41) 37th in M35-39)

Mallorca, my favourite destination! The plan: treat it as a big brick session, ride 90kms day before, race on tired legs, good plan!? Swim: can’t get any easier. Bike: contain myself and ride the climb controlled.  Run time: fun time, first km sub 4 min, hold back, wobble at 18 kms, recover, red carpet, high five Paul Kaye to his words of, “Black Line London kit is the best looking kit in triathlon” AGREED!

Carel Du Plessis (0:30/ 2:39/1:48) 104th in M30-34.

First ever 70.3. Awesome venue, and great to have BLL as company and support. Swim: Solid. Bike: Above all expectations. Run: Disaster, feet issues. Target: Sub 6hrs – result 5:06, chuffed to bits!

Paul Smernicki (0:29:27/02:40:45/01:39:18=04:57:37) 49th in M40-44

Surrounded by friends and family, in a happy place. PB Swim, solid bike, decent run. Did I leave it all out there? I’m ashamed to say not. PB, so happy. Party was great, drinks were drunk and escaped a hangover. A winning week all round then! Is this the best 70. in the world? Very possibly. See you in 2015 Mallorca.

Ashley Howes (0:30, 2:45, 1:35 = 4:57) 48th in 40-44

Palma airport: late night family pick up. Mosquito drama. Not much sleep. Gun, no clear water. Fantastic bike course. Under hydrated. No run legs. Struggle. Passed by Matt Molloy. 5k to go, find run legs. Catch Matt and Paul. Photo finish. Double up in September. Back next year.

Alastair Maher (0:30/2:34/1:32 = 4:44) 42nd in M35-39

Swam, biked and ran hard. Happy with race execution. New PB. Should buy a TT bike. The @blacklinelondon supporter cheers topped off a great day! @blueseventy @cervelo @asicseurope @oakley @powerbar #whitemilk 

Jane Hansom (26:14/2:49:24/1:34:44=4:56:07) 1st in W45-49

Amazing swim. Massive PB. Must have been mermaids down there helping me.  Bike was solid except chain came off . Kept focus and unusually had better second half. Stayed on during a very fast descent, lost my BLL water bottle – Gutted. Run was a total shocker – hot and horrible from the off. Stopping was not an option so hung on in and tried not to slow down too much. Won my age by 18 mins. Happy days.


BLL’s Best of 2013 Playlist

Music is a big part of life here at Black Line London, and we know that what the internet needs right now is another one of these, so here is our Best of 2013 playlist, compiled by BLL’rs world wide.

But we need your help to make it up to an OCD friendly 15 tracks, so leave us your 4 suggestions in the comment box and the best submission will be rewarded with some yet to be decided piece of BLL merch.


Pies. A Christmas Tale.

The festive period is often a key time for athletes, and I recently put this important question to Twitter.

Before we proceed, let’s be clear about defining the actual pie. We are talking exclusively about the Mince Pie, described on Wikipedia thus: “a small British fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season.”

For the benefit of American’s and Dundonians, we are not talking about mince as in minced beef, or indeed the mince peh (sometime confused with the ‘mince roond’).

Now that we are clear, lets move on.

The first reply came from Team Sky rider (and Black Line London playlist contributor) Luke Rowe:

This was a good start – advice from a pro is always worth listening to and it seemed to be an endorsement of a high pie volume.

But then a reminder that pies can easily escalate from James:

Thanks James – but I need answers. Then Tom suggested there may be a some sort of  golden ratio:

This was edging closer to what I wanted – unambiguous numbers.

Then Guy blew the doors open and flipped my thinking on it’s head – maybe it’s not how many, but how few:

And expanding on that theory, Troy pops up with an equation:

Just as it felt like things were moving forward – Captain Buzzkill chips in:

But that was just a diversion. Back on track as Paul Burton suggests a single pie might require 10 TSS points to offset. I might have thought it would be more, but an interesting theory:

And the most recent contribution defines not only an actual number of pies, but an acceptable window of pie opportunity. Very interesting….

So I feel OK about the pies now – it seems that by almost any measure, I’m well within safe territory. I may even be able to increase my pie intake slightly.

Please feel free to add to the discussion below……

UPDATE: Whilst I loved the idea of an equivalent TSS per pie (as suggested by Paul Burton), I was uncomfortable with the 10 point allocation. So, i consulted the experts at Training Peaks, with the help of a shark.



My Favourite Albums of 2013

Albums of 2013

I like music. A lot. So please indulge me while I tell you about some of my favourite albums of 2013.

(Click the title to open in Spotify).

In no particular order….

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse: Full of wit, yearning, heartache and joy this is one of those albums that even after hundreds of listens, still takes me by surprise. I think Frightened Rabbit are probably my favourite band of the last 20 years and this is their pinnacle do date.

Daniel Avery – Drone Logic: This is my kind of repetitive beats…the right amount of bleepiness mixed with just the right level of bangingness. I’m sure this is the sort of record that would’ve brought Thatchers government to it’s knees. Great for running to.

Foals – Holy Fire: I think this album is even in Classic FM’s  ‘best of 2013’ list. Know why? Because it’s EXCELLENT! The track ‘Providence‘ might even be my top song of the year. All albums on this list should be played loud, but turn this one up to 11.

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks: If you’d asked me at the start of the year if I liked NIN the response would have been an overwhelming “Meh!”. This was not an album I was waiting for, and I had zero expectation of it. But I guess old Trent still has a few aces up his sleeve because this is one of my most listened to of the year. Maybe he’s less angry now? Whatever…this is a great record.

Pissed Jeans – Honeys: There are times when only a slightly shambolic, shouty, heavy, Sub-Poppy and really fucking loud blitz of punk will do. In such times, this is the record to listen to. You might very well hate this.

CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe: There was a time when such a thing as credible British pop music really existed. Really…that happened. This shimmering thing of beauty from Chvurches (yes…it’s pronounced Churches) is definitely one of the gems of 2014. Incredibly catchy songs with real depth and that undefinable Glasgow feel makes for a pop gem.

Daughn Gibson – Me Moan: I don’t even really know how to describe this album. A bit country, slightly spooky and in a genre of it’s on is probably my best shot.

Honourable mentions also go to three reissues:  The Waterboys for the biblically proportioned 6 CD exploration of their classic Fisherman’s Blues album: The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Box  and Soundgarden for the re-issue of the EP’s that ushered in an epoch of loud guitars and a whole new genre: Soundgarden – Screaming Life/Fopp.

I’m also banking of the fact that I have forgotten at least  a couple of things, so reserve the right to add to this list.

Christmas Gifts for Triathletes


Here is a list of suggested Christmas gifts for triathletes. By which I mean “things you can suggest friends and family get you for Christmas. By which I mean “cool stuff you could get yourself and kiddie on Santa brought them”.

Lezyne Mini Pump. £18 -£35

I learned the hard way recently that a good mini pump is  something you should have in your back pocket. Not having one might save 0.04 of a second up Box Hill, having one might save you a long walk to the train.

It’s hard to see past the engineering beauty of Lezyne who have a broad range to suit various pocket depths.

Vulpine Merino Socks £17

Vulpine Socks

Full disclosure: We have a massive bias towards all things Vulpine, but that’s because they are great products from great people at a great young British start up. Their socks are definitely in the gift giving price bracket, but if its’ someone you really love their merino T shirts are great and if it’s someone you really really love, so are their Harrington jackets.

Training Peaks Subscription Free – US$119for 12 months

Christmas Gifts for TRiathletes Training PEaks

Hands down the best tool to plan, record and analyse training with a range of option from a free basic account  (cheapskate!) or 1, 3,6 6 and 12 month premium subscription. Or, you could use the code Paul13 to get 2 weeks free premium for yourself you loved one.

MuckyNutz Fender Bender £8.99

If you are like some of us, you’ve been hitting the trails on the mountain bike recently and this little guy will help reduce incidents of horse shit flinging onto your facial region. Which is definitely a win. At less that £10 (time of writing, on sale for £4.50!!) and weighing about the same as a Unicorn’s eyelash, it’s a not brainer and a perfect “I feel a bit obligated, but don’t really like you more than a fiver” sort of gift.

De Feet Merino Gloves £15

The quest for warm fingers has been a long and arduous one, but these guys are by far the best gloves I’ve ever had. I even made a quick video on the topic and they are great for running as well as the bike. Turns out these merino cats have got a good thing going on.

Fusion PRF–Pro T-Shirt £34

Fusion PRF-Pro Shirt

I’ve recently been turned on to Fusion kit after our two Kona hero’s Paul and Nico sported it on the big island and raved about it. It’s not the cheapest, but competitive and wins hands down on quality over the best of the rest. A wide range to choose from, I nominated this piece to go on the list because it’s perfect for the gym whether you are hitting the weights or the treadmill, and you are there a lot this winter, right……