Lots of training; Easter weekend, FrEd-style; and the most ridiculously awesome Easter egg ever
Part 1: the obligatory but hopefully at least mildly amusing training-related bit
It’s now almost three months since I was released back into the wild from the care of my medical team after this happened. At that point I was swimming with little or no restriction, cycling about half my normal duration and with only limited hard work, and not running at all. So it’s been three months of working on the bits of the jigsaw that I am able to at any given time, and trying not to worry about the rest. There are still some missing pieces, but it’s starting to look vaguely like a picture again…
I kicked off my year with a five-week block of training in Lanzarote, which is a great place to focus on swimming and increasing bike volume. Thanks are due to…
Swim For Tri for a great swim camp, into which I squeezed some shorter bike and run sessions as well as many times my normal weekly volume of swimming;
the lovely Daz and Debs at Trisports Lanzarote for providing perfect accommodation, food (seriously, it’s worth the trip for the food alone) and support for a great couple of weeks including sea swims, building up some running and lots of bike miles, learning how to use a power meter; and
Russ and David for finishing me off with two weeks of bike, bike and bike (and I seem to recall a bit of splashing and mincing in there as well). Russ has posted a blog for every day of this last camp, with the one I feature most in unfortunately being a bit of a mishap!
Once I’d come home, remembered what Ed looked like and spent a few days lying on the sofa going “wurble”, it was time to embark on the next block of training, in which the running volume has finally started to increase slowly, slowly… and much more excitingly to plan some races! First up I’m headed back to play at Monster Racing‘s Mojo race in May after a fantastic day out last year – this was the last race I did before injury and will be my first race back, a gap of a year almost to the day. This time I’m not so much concerned with “defending my title” as “getting round in one piece and pain-free”! Can’t wait to race, though it’s still another month away, so I’m going to have to be patient (my favourite word strikes again).
Part 2: Easter Weekend, triathlete-style
I can’t actually remember what “normal” people do at Easter, but I suspect it does not involve the following.
Wake up. Turbo. Run – an easy run, with some hill sprints thrown in the middle. The “easy run” part is more successful than the “hill sprints” part. This may or may not be related to the six hours spent training yesterday. Home. Strength exercises. Fooooooood. Drag Ed to outdoor pool to help me test 2 potential new wetsuits. Feel like total idiot running (well, and swimming) around in trisuit +/- wetsuit while Ed tries to work out why I seem to be incapable of swimming in a straight line with a wetsuit on. Decide that wetsuits do not fit. Sigh. Do some actual swimming.
Drag self out to dinner with friends of Ed’s who I’ve not met before. Become aware on journey to dinner that am too hypo to meet new people and likely to be totally incapable of saying anything other than “nnggghh” until I have eaten either the table or a large plateful of carbohydrate-based produce. Slightly suboptimal. Order calzone. Better. Regain powers of conversation and have really nice evening. Sleep…
Rest day! Drive 2.5 hours to Bristol (well, let’s be honest – drive the first hour, then Ed takes over and I lounge in the passenger seat with a travel pillow trying to get some bonus rest) for a bike sizing at Bike Science. (There is a Bike Science almost infinitely closer to us in Putney, and indeed one in Tunbridge Wells, which may or may not be a better location for a daytrip than Bristol but does have the dubious virtue of being home to most of my immediate family, but we know and trust Andy who runs the Bristol store, so we go to Bristol.) Spend approximately three minutes on bike rig and approximately 57 minutes drinking coffee, looking at shiny bike kit and buying bike-related paraphernalia.
Drive 2.5 hours back to London. Have very painful yet very effective sports massage. And I have a feeling we did something when we got home, maybe watched some TV or something, but I was at that stage of tiredness where you simply don’t remember anything afterwards unless prompted, and possibly not even then.
Easter Sunday! Three hours on the turbo with some big gear hill repeats, straight into a 50 minute steady run. Ed went above and beyond the call of duty yet again by making some adjustments to my bike mid-turbo, putting up with my ranting about having to stop for said adjustments to be made, and then providing water, gel and slow-mo video footage of my run from the relative safety of a mountain bike.
Now, usually on Sunday evenings I swim in Putney with the Swim For Tri fitness group. BUT they had very kindly given us the week off in view of the fact it was Easter Sunday. Time to spend with loved ones, catch a film or quietly doze off after an Easter Sunday roast and some egg-shaped chocolate, perhaps.
Guess what I did?
(No. There are no prizes.)
Part 3: With Apologies To DC Rainmaker*
*…who, for those not familiar with his work, writes a significantly funnier, more informative and more frequently updated blog than I do, which can be found here
Hotel Chocolat Ostrich Egg In-Depth Review
The 2015 edition of the Hotel Chocolat Ostrich Egg. Which appeared as if by magic in the house a couple of weeks ago, and which I will most certainly not be shipping back to Kansas after I’ve finished reviewing it and buying my own via regular retail channels.
The second layer, with the user manual clearly positioned on top
Reverse of the user manual, including all the information required for installation, and some more protective packaging
Below the black cushioning layer is the tray of filled chocolates.
After removing the tray, you’ll find the egg itself, protected by black tissue paper
And below the egg, six foil-wrapped mini eggs or “egglets”, hidden among the tissue paper
Thus, with all the pieces taken out of the box, here’s what you’ve got. The egg, a tray of filled chocolates, six egglets, a user manual / installation guide, and a phenomenal mess due to all the tissue paper.
Weight / Size Comparisons
Possibly as a result of their smaller size and resulting increased snackability, all other Easter eggs in the house were no longer available for comparison at the time of review. I therefore turned to other essential triathlete nutrition as a comparison guide.
The Hotel Chocolat stated weight for the Ostrich Egg is 1.1kg. At 1,387g, the measured weight is significantly heavier. Even allowing for the additional weight in the foil coating left on in this picture, the egg is very significantly larger than its stated weight. Happily, as this is an item of confectionery rather than a Garmin device, this turns out to have a positive impact on the product’s usability.
The below comparison table takes a look at the value of the Ostrich Egg compared to a selection of other Hotel Chocolat products by calculating the cost of each product per gram of chocolate. Thus, and to my surprise, the Oyster Egg actually works out as surprisingly good value for money relative to other Hotel Chocolat products. This is especially true when the actual rather than stated weight of the egg is taken into account, although, of course, I haven’t been able to check the other products’ weights on the scale.
|Weight, g||RRP, £||£/g|
|Ostrich egg||1380||Actual weight||75||0.054|
|Ostrich egg||1100||HC stated weight||75||0.068|
|Sleekster Everything Selection||350||HC stated weight||22||0.063|
|Large Classic Signature Collection||485||HC stated weight||50||0.103|
|H-Box Nutty Selection||180||HC stated weight||12||0.067|
Given that at the current rate of consumption the egg appears likely to last until Easter 2016, it’s possible that we may be able to avoid inefficiency in future Team FrEd chocolate gifting by simply purchasing a single Oyster Egg each year at Easter and deploying it gradually throughout the following 12 months.
The Hotel Chocolat Ostrich Egg is clearly ridiculous. And cool. And ridiculously cool. And while it also initially appears ridiculously expensive, a quick analysis reveals that it is actually less so than other Hotel Chocolat products.
Enough chocolate to last you really a very long time
Very, very cool
Provides efficiency in chocolate purchasing
An unadvertised extra 280g of chocolate. That’s pretty much a whole nother “normal” sized Easter egg.
Enough chocolate to last you really a very long time, and consequently requiring of gradual metering out of willpower over months. Think of it as like pacing yourself in an Ironman: if you go too hard too soon, it’s just going to get messy
Requires relatively high initial capital outlay
You can only buy them at Easter…