Where The Iron Crosses Grow.

The title is a reference from a not very good war film. A cowardly German officer is jealous of his sergeant’s Iron Cross. At the end of the film the sergeant runs into the fight saying to the officer “Come with me and I’ll show you where the Iron Crosses grow.” Or words to that effect. 

It’s a phrase I use for my training. I finish work and I’m tired and hungry and want to sit down, eat and sleep. But I’ve set myself a massive challenge. I grit my teeth and do an hour on the bike or a run.

The bike is set up in the shed on the turbo trainer. I shut the door to keep gnats out (and in an attempt to heat condition myself) and go like stink. I couldn’t believe how hot I got so I bought a cheap wall thermometer to quantify. An hour of pure graft, sweat pouring off me, and I raise the shed temperature by 6°C! And the humidity goes stupid, I’ve had water running down the steamed up windows. It’s awful.

But, that is where the Iron Crosses grow.

I set myself this sub 10 challenge, then looked into where it would place me. In 3 out of the 4 Barcelona Ironmans that would have given me a podium finish for my age group. Which is an impressive ambition, but then I took the reasoning a step further. That would place me in the top 1% or 2% for my age group.

When you think of it like that… get sweating fatlad!

I’m thinking of how I can make it happen.

I want to lose another stone, not through dieting as such, just keep on exercising.


I’ve missed out on 3 weeks of swimming. We had a bank holiday so it was shut, then I was on holiday, then yesterday my feet were still bad so I thought I’d best wait. Next week I start my swim training in earnest. That is my biggest challenge. I can build leg muscles for the ride, I can get faster for the run, but swimming is technique. And upper body strength. Of which I have neither.

I was thinking that it’s all going to succeed or fail on the ability of this swim coach. Then I changed my attitude. If he can’t help me I’ll find someone who can. I’ve got nearly 3 years.


My running took a bit of a hit after my stupid attempt to run without socks. It turns out I was thinking of the bike section, that can be done comfortably bare foot. I could barely walk, never mind train. After 10 days I did a test 6 mile jog while we were on holiday. It hurt but it was manageable and it didn’t exacerbate the problem.

I tried to catch up with my sub 3 training when we got back. I was 2 weeks behind so I had to go from 2½ miles at 6.45 m/m, then two weeks off injured, straight to 3½ miles. I gave it my best shot but was about 20 seconds too slow overall. Then I tried to do a 10 mile run at 7 m/m. That was a massive fail. I wrecked my chest muscles trying but averaged at 7.19.  I’ve got the Warrington half marathon on Sunday so I can’t do too much more this week. I’ll try and do my fast run again tomorrow. But if I’m to stay on track I’ll need to add another week, so 4 miles at 6.45.


Of course, the big news on the training front is my Canyon (triathlon specific) bike. I was trying to make do. A cheap ‘it’ll do’ aero bike, some cheap swap over bits from China. Not ideal or what I really wanted, but probably sufficient.

Wendy, bless her, said “Stop trying to do it on the cheap. You won’t be satisfied and it never works out. Buy the proper bike.”  When I checked Canyon’s website they were having an end of season sale! It was meant to be!


My lovely bike is arriving tomorrow.  Another reason I force myself into the shed. If I go out on that bike I’ve got to be so fast nobody can catch me. The shame of having that bike and being burnt off by a granny on her 3 speed shopping bike would be too much to bear.


While I was looking for the picture of the bike on my ‘phone, I noticed the holiday pictures. Oops. Forgot all about it. While we were away Wendy had to tell me off and say “you can do all that when we get back, we’re on holiday” or some such. Well deserved. I am obsessing.

So here’s some snaps.

Hole. Why?


Tolerable views.



Just a bunch of seals.


Wilderness Wendy.



Cornish traffic jam.


You should have seen the size of the one that got away.



Bah. Holidays.