A Campervan for Cycling and Wild Swimming

The series of articles I've written for Jerba Campervans continues.

They're about using the van for different adventure sports.  The latest two articles cover Cycling and our latest pastime, Wild Swimming.

Eventually I'll post them all here, once they've sat on the Jerba site for a while.

Just to be clear, I've not been paid for writing these.  I've simply found the family-owned business great to deal with over the years and this is my way of saying "thank you."

A Campervan For Sea Kayaking

Over the years I've written quite a lot on this blog about our campervan called Nellie.

It's a 2008 model and for the first few years it was our main vehicle when we went sea kayaking.

It has taken us all over Scotland, from Aran to Shetland.

It was our base when shooting the Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown series of films.

And I wrote much of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail sitting at her table.

Just published is the second of my series of articles for our van converters Jerba Campervans.  I tell a few of the sea kayaking stories and look ahead to the next few articles which feature cycling, triathlon and wild swimming.

Using A Campervan for Adventure Sport

I've written a short series of articles for Jerba Campervans.

They tell a few stories about using our campervan for different adventure sports.

The first article is here and just introduces our van, Nellie.

In coming days we'll go sea kayaking, cycling, tackle triathlon and wild swimming.

I'll copy the articles here once they're published and have run their course, but as I wrote them (free!) for Jerba, it seems only fair to ask you to visit their site to read.  I hope that's OK.

How To Dry Winter Open Water Swim Kit

One of the delights of swimming is how little equipment is needed - goggles and swimsuit.

All that changes with winter open water swimming.  If, that is, you don't swim 'skins'.

Those of us who wear wetsuits to wild swim year round usually add neoprene socks, gloves and caps to our equipment.

Once home, all the kit needs to be dunked to remove the salt water.  While the wetsuits and vests slip over normal hangers, the other bits and pieces can be fiddly to dry.

Liz found this gadget from Lakeland Plastics, available online for £9.99.  It's a called a 'soft grip smalls dryer', so it's not intended for heavy items.  Mind you, the supporting rubber cables will pull through their holes if overloaded - we have to fix them regularly.  Even so, this one has proved better than a blue/white one we found in the PoundStore and a grey one we found somewhere else.

It's a great way to dry the items outside or in a warm room so you're ready to go again.

10 Things Learnt With A Triathlon Coach

For the last two years coach Joe Beer has guided my triathlon training.  

Our time together has ended, and Joe suggested I write a piece about what I'd learnt.

So here goes:

1. Coaching was cheaper than I expected
I paid under £400 for six months of coaching.  Some charge a lot more.  

I wanted someone who earns a living from coaching, not someone still racing who was just supplementing their income.  

In our weekly phone calls, Joe was focused on me and my needs.  He successfully got me through my first Ironman.  

How To End The Triathlon Season

Almost by accident I found a great way to bring the season to a close, take a holiday, and kick-start the off-season work on improving my swim, a limiter for most triathletes.

We went on holiday to Croatia with a company called SwimTrek.  

As the name implies, it's like a trekking company, except the days are filled with swimming rather than walking.

In the past at swim camps, our coach Dan Bullock has emphasised the improvement to be made by regularly swimming, saying  "If you can swim for seven days in a row, you will improve".

What better way to do this than on a swimming holiday?  Warm water; a main support boat with an experienced skipper; plus two inflatables manned by excellent swim guides who could keep the swimmers together in their different speed groups, provide drinks when needed (the Aegean is very salty), and look after safety.

Ironman 70.3 Pula. Not Great.

I'd like to say it was me, not them, but actually it was a mixture of both.

If you're thinking of doing this race, first read a few race reports from 2015-2017.

Perhaps there are some fundamental issues with this course, time of year and location?

Certainly I was disappointed to bring my Ironman racing time to an end at this event.

Firstly, the superb.  Can there be a better finish area than this?  The ancient Roman Colosseum in the centre of the Istrian city of Pula.  Wow.  The expo and registration is set up just outside the monument but you finish inside a spectacular piece of history.