The Do Over

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By their nature all sports are physical. Few sports though are quite so physical as the Ironman. Sustaining the body’s power output over a 3.8km swim, 180km bike race and 42.2km marathon is nothing if not brutally physical. But the Ironman is also a sport that, if not exactly cerebral, is at least equally mentally demanding. The decisions you make before the race play a […]

P.S. Again

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Palm Springs, you may have noticed, has started to make a regular appearance on these pages, with something approaching an annual visit. Whether it’s the guaranteed winter sun in the gloomy depths of December or proper desert heat in the scorching summer months – Palm Springs always offers a welcome change of climate. PS is known as a Mecca of mid-Century modern design, tucked away […]

Race Across the Sky

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Pacing. Muleing. Crewing.  These three simple words are the difference between European and American ultra racing. In Europe, mountain ultra marathons are a solitary affair. You carry what you need. You run alone. You get lost. You struggle. In America, ultra racing is akin to a team sport. Whole teams of friends and family come out to support their runner; supplying them with food and […]

SPEEDBIRD ONE

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What do you regret?  What did you do that you wish you hadn’t?  Or didn’t do that you wish you had? Are you a cautious person who sits things out then wishes they’d been braver? Or the gun ho type who acts rashly and regrets at leisure? On balance I’m not one for regrets. I like to say yes and hate being timid. Better to […]

Crippled in the Caucasus

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‘Oh for a Landcruiser and a pair of snow chains’ I thought as I desperately dug snow out from under the wheels of my rental car. Ironically it was only when I decided to turn back that I got stuck. Anyone who skies will know that it’s a fairly simple proposition that mountains get covered in snow over winter. I spend a lot of time […]

Baku Bound

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The British Midland flight to Tbilisi does something rather odd. It flies right over Tbilisi, as if the pilot has forgotten to disengage the autopilot. It carries on for another hour or so across the Caucasus before landing in Baku. After landing in Azerbaijan, the crew twiddle their thumbs for 40 minutes whilst refuelling and offloading passengers – overfed oil executives mostly. The aircraft then […]

P.S. I Love You

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Ok, dear reader, let’s not get carried away.  That P.S. isn’t a romantic little postscript.  No – the P.S. – that’s Palm Springs. I’d booked flights to LA some time ago – at least in part to try Air New Zealand’s new Club seat  – but then totally forgot to plan anything else for the long weekend. Time was short but you can pack a […]

Powerless at LAX

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“Please return to your seats, fasten your seat belts, put your seat into the upright position and stow your tray tables for landing” You know the drill: the familiar sound of the flaps descending; the whoosh of air as the undercarriage deployes.  The end markers of the runway come into sight, then – hopefully – the gentle thud of the gear making contact with the […]

To Fly. To Serve. To Can’t Be Arsed

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To fly. To Serve. This is British Airways’ new advertising slogan. Sadly they weren’t doing much of either last Sunday when I was due to fly back from Brussels. Fog had yet again crippled Heathrow, whose resilience to bad weather is comically poor. My first flight was cancelled. And the second delayed by nearly five hours.  Hungry and mildly irritated, I breathed a sigh of […]