Thursday, 4 December 2014

Outlaw BMX Bandit

The idea was born during last years Outlaw. It was very hot, the Morphsuit was annoying the hell out of me and I was about 70 miles in on the 112 mile bike section. Many thoughts pass through my limited brain capacity and one was how to ramp this up from the Morphsuit to help raise sponsorship again by doing the Outlaw Iron distance triathlon.
I certainly didn't want to do it in a Morphsuit again (at this point I was boiling in a bag!) but its hard to ask for sponsorship if I am making it too easy ie. doing it in standard kit. So with the 112 mile bike section being the longest part of the day in miles and time (for me) I decided it would be a fair challenge to do it on a BMX!

Now, I have been backwards and forwards on the specifics. The initial idea was a 24" Cruiser BMX with drop handlebars, stick some gears on, thin race wheels and tyres......effectively turn a BMX into a road bike with a BMX frame. Unfortunately whilst this would make my life much easier it detracts greatly from the challenge. It's a challenge because, as a 16 hour 45 min two time Outlaw on a road bike, to finish within the 17 hr cut off on a standard, fixed gear BMX will be very very difficult. Some have said that it is not possible. Also I couldn't blag a free 24" BMX.

Instead I was given this by good friends Max and Scott Johnston. A standard 20" BMX.
This will be my race bike. I have made a few tweaks to it. I have put my road bike clip in pedals on and Chris Hancock has extended the seat post. Griff Woolley has trimmed 23.5cm off the handlebars so they comply with BTF rules for next year and Jason Clarke very kindly sent me a 32t front cog and chain to replace the 29t that was on the bike. Daz Brady fitted it for me.

I will keep the rest of it as standard. If a challenge is worth doing its worth doing properly isn't it? Of course it is. So I have had the bike approved by the BTF and Outlaw thanks to Stefan Pearce and the OutlawBMX challenge is on!
This side of Christmas I am just keeping my eye in on the bike. Rides so far are mainly during my lunch hour up to 10 miles and I have sneaked over 16 mph ave. My longest ride so far was with GB representative at next years World Championships Marvin O'Brien which was 15 miles at 14.9 mph ave. I will need to hit at least 13.16 mph ave at Outlaw over 112 miles to have a chance of making the cut off. I am going to aim for 15 mph ave to allow some breathing space should things go pear shaped at any stage!

Some people have questioned if this is possible. Many have said that it isn't! Its all about context I guess. The smiliest cyclist I have seen at Outlaw is Lucy Gossage and she is rapid! For her, or any other top triathlete, they could do it on a BMX no problem. For me it is a test. I have needed the full 17 hrs to complete Outlaw on my two previous attempts. The first time was an 8.5hr bike (13.17mph ave) bringing me in at 4.28pm and just two minutes before cut off. The second time, in the Morphsuit, was 7hrs 38mins I think. My aim is to cycle Outlaw on a BMX better and faster than I managed on the two previous occasions on my 18 geared road bike!

Of course its not just about the bike. My swim needs to improve from 1hr 35mins to 1hr 20mins and Big Dave Ackers and Neil O'Brien have both offered to help coach me with my swim. If I can achieve this improvement and spend 10 minutes in T1 rather than 22 minutes it will give me a great platform to hit the bike from!

My running is alright at the moment but it has died at previous Outlaws. Team Bear (@TeamBearHQ on twitter) have already stepped in and funded my trainers. My previous ones had become slicks and if I need to get anything right for the run its the trainers. This is a great boost to my run training and a great kick start to get to a point where I can run and run well off of 112 miles on the BMX. I would recommend you look up Team Bear. We're new, slightly different, inclusive and down to earth! Our motto is Suffer but NEVER Surrender! I envisage a great deal of suffering along the way!

Many have questioned why? It's purely to raise money for Birmingham Children's Hospital and their research and treatment of child brain tumours. My niece Poppy was diagnosed at 14 months old. The fact she started secondary school this year is testament to the work and skill of the staff at BCH. Read her story here

I don't want your money yet. I just want your support, encouragement, abuse and ridicule along the way. I want to get as many people involved and aware as possible. This is a massive team effort, effectively I just brave the whirlpool, spin the pedals and trot out a few miles. Its the team around me that will make the difference. Best place to follow my progress is here

In other news many of you have been donating your exercise miles to the Poppyfields Equator Challenge this year. The aim was to exercise everyday and between us do enough miles to go around the world. We blitzed that in a couple of months so we set off to reach the moon. 217,000 miles! We are very very close now and we will finish it off with a 15 mile run/walk/cycle from Birmingham Children's Hospital to Tamworth canal jaunt on either 21st or 28th December. If you want to join us let me know.

Finally, plans are in motion for next years Poppyfields Exercise challenge. Details will be announced on here in the next couple of weeks.

Thank you for all your help. Always.



  1. Wow!! Great challenge and great ambition! If anyone can do it, Sid, you can!

  2. Good luck Sid, you can do it. You are very determined and focused.