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Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2018 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA ROMANIA 2018

Yes yes, as you can see, this is a race report, despite the fact that I officially retired from racing last September, that I have barely trained in the meantime, that…well there were countless good reasons to stop (tired body, better things to do etc), but surely there has to be a ‘come-back’ before calling it quits for real?

 

(Silvia says it’s the last one!)

 

Joking aside, this is NOT a come back. The motivation behind this race is mainly to qualify to Maui and have a good excuse for another escapade in Kauaï, after the World Champs. Silvia and I had the time of our life out there 4 years ago, and we want to relive the dream.

 

I am not so fit any more, not racing fit anyway, as I took most of the winter off, focusing on nights out and missed sleep instead. And the only training I’ve done on the bike this past year is…commuting in the city…

 

When I had this epiphany about returning to Hawaii a couple months ago, I looked at the calendar and the first weekend of August was the only one I found myself free from any gigs. Direction Romania then, a country I’d never been before and was quite curious to discover, if only for a few days. The race happened in the heart of Transylvania in Targu Mures, a biggish city some 500+ km north of Bucharest and nearly 2 hours drive from Cluj where we flew in.

 

The first surprise was…the rain! After the driest UK summer in history (barely a drop of rain since early June) we were welcomed in Cluj by a proper shower, the kind we’d forgotten about! The drive across the rolling Transylvania countryside was great, passing by medieval villages lined with plum trees everywhere, locals chilling by the road side, women selling their garden harvest and local craft; more women of all ages in traditional gypsy outfits, men on cart horses, saxon churches at every corner…nicely unfamiliar. Arriving in Targu Mures at night wasn’t that great though, but once we got settled in our airbnb flat in a building reminiscent of the communist era and found a nice local restaurant, we felt very much at ease. The food there is all about meat(s), goulash, polenta and some nice wine too. Not very triathlete friendly, but quite good anyway.

 

 

The next day I left Silvia to her studies at the (spectacular) local library, and went to check out the bike and run courses. Being an urban race this is not as wild as I’d imagined, but still they have a nice park on top of a hill overlooking the city, where you can find multiple trails, a tartan circuit (!), a zoo (!) and all kind of family activities. Nico Lebrun certainly did find some hills when he came here to design the courses earlier in the year. Not the most technical bike course, but challenging nonetheless with about 600m+ of elevation in total, and nicely muddy too. In fact Peter Klocz the race director told me it’d been raining non stop the past week and he was very close to cancel the race – the course was pretty much unridable on the Monday! I had brought only summer tyres with no spares, so perfect…

 

 

 

The swim would take place in an artificial lake in town some 3.5 km down from T2. No pre race swim allowed (Nico said I wouldn’t want to anyway) except in the massive leisure complex next to it, boasting several pools of all sizes, toboggans, local families on holiday eating fried stuff and drinking beer by 30ºC in the shade, some euro trash music blasting on the speakers…needless to say I didn’t last very long!

 

 

We also had time for an escapade to Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting ancient churches, a walled town center, thousands of years of history. Also the birth place of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula. Well worth a visit!

 

 

The evening before the race, we skipped the meat fest of the local restaurants and opted for a loved and trusted pasta meal cooked by Silvia. It’s been 10 months since my/our last pre race evening, which is long and short at the same time depending on how you look at it, and even though some nerves were present I felt surprisingly relaxed and eager to roll.

Finally, as we were about to wrap up for the night, out of nowhere came the dreaded and instantly recognisable sound of a slow puncture…pssssss…We both laughed as this was a déjà vu situation (see Xterra Greece), 10pm pre race and a little bit of unnecessary stress but it almost felt like a relief! I had no spare so just pumped the tyre and spun the wheel hoping the preventive liquid inside would do its job and seal the hole overnight…

 

Somehow n the morning the tyre was still pumped. Phew. We headed to T2, had a laugh in the playground (!) before I cycled down to T1 (which served me as a warm-up plus reverse course recon at same time). The forest was eerily beautiful at that time, seemingly unaware of the battlefield it would become less than an hour later.

 

 

 

The start went a bit like this:

 

 

With Ben Allen on my right on the start line I knew who was going to lead out the swim…I managed to stay on the leaders’ feet for 3-4 minutes, but then gradually lost contact and found myself on my own in between 2 groups. I never got into a comfortable rhythm actually, which isn’t surprising after having done virtually no intensity in the pool in almost a year. The swim was short though ( I came out 7th in 16:10!) and I quickly found myself caught in T1 and starting the ride with female leader Brigitta Poor and Ciprian Balanescu of Romania. I put the hammer down as soon as we started the climb, put a gap instantly and felt great. However as we reached the first descent I got a bit carried away and crashed on a tight slippery corner.  I was also already quite in the red by that point. Balanescu came back from behind alongside mountain bike specialist Pierric Brochet. I kept these guys in sight for a while, but also understood that I needed to ride at my own pace. My head wanted to race and fight but my body reminded me I hadn’t been kind to it this past year! On the 3rd lap however I started to feel better and  I was surprised to arrive in T2 only a few seconds behind the Romanian rider. From that point on I just wanted to enjoy the run ahead, despite a tender Achilles and some killer steep climbs Nico Lebrun style.

 

DCIM100GOPROG0021535.JPG

 

 

 

As planned I didn’t push the run, breathing heavily on the climbs and suffering on the descents but enjoying the (rare) moments of relief in between (sic). I crossed the line a happy man in 8th, some 16 min behind the winner Arthur Serrieres!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick massage, BIG lunch, short nap and off we went, back on the road to Cluj where I was invited by the club/record shop/balearic DJ terrace Collectiva Gazette to DJ with them on that very same night! It was great to meet up and connect with the underground Romanian scene. Quite niche obviously (especially at a time when the city is literally invaded by hordes of kids for the EDM festival Untold…Armin Van Burren and co…ouch!) but they are pretty active and an oasis of culture. Much recommended if you’re in Cluj!

 

 

On the Sunday we managed to eat some more meat (!), hike around the (touristy!) Turda gorge, bath in a natural salty lake, enjoy more meat…all in all a very memorable first taste of Romania!

 

 

 

 

 

And on this note, expect to see me on the start line in Maui come late October!!!

Posted By: Cedric On: Dec 17th, 2017 In: Blog Music News Comments: 0

New Record Out – Beauty Bits Vol. 1

While we’re awaiting the 3rd release on BATB Records, we have started Beauty Bits, a sub label dedicated to re-edits/reworks. This will be strictly limited to those special edits that go further than just looping a few bars in the intro/outro, edits that not only reinvent the originals, but also which have been tried and tested on the dance-floor.

 

To kick off we have released a pair of edits of mine which have been sitting in my hard drive for almost a decade! Big up to Rune Lindbaek and Belle Bete for the early support on Harer Nama, and to Frankie Valentine to whom I gave a wav of What Have We Done? in 2007 or so, and who has since been giving me multiple nudges to put this on wax. Well, here it is, in all its glory, and full mastered by Matt Colton @ Alchemy Mastering!

 

You can read a cracking review of the records from the lovely chaps at Piccadilly Records here

 

The record is available on our bandcamp, but is not expected to last long! Limited to 300 copies, and no digital release!

Posted By: Cedric On: Nov 4th, 2017 In: Blog Music Comments: 2

Boiler Room Debut

Following on to a Live Resident Advisor appearance earlier this year (note that I wore the same T-shirt!), I was recently invited to appear in a Boiler Room session for the first time, for what was dubbed a ‘psychedelic special’ session where I would play after The Flamingods and before cult Colombian cumbia band The Meridian Brothers. 

We all have our own opinions about BR, some praising the exposure it gives to DJs while others (myself included) moan about its objectivisation of the DJ art form where, because of the cameras, a set becomes more a performance than about the music itself. It is indeed hard to stay still and let the music play when there are 3 cameras permanently in your face. However I took this as an opportunity to reach a wider audience and show what a typical (albeit very condensed) Cedric Woo set would sound like.

 

I had made sure a lot of my friends would be in the audience and hence distract me from the cameras, and indeed they helped. The #1 recipe for a good party is to have your friends in front of you. Then you have the music, and the quality of the sound system. This meant I felt reasonably comfortable considering the circumstances, and was able to do my own thing. Just over one hour is of course very short, especially when you’re trying to play across genres as I always do, but all in all it was a good exercise (which I prepared more than usual) and it went down quite well. The full set is now available on YT below, and also on soundcloud:  if you’re tired of watching my face.

 

 

 

PLAYLIST:

 

Clemenceau Kancel, Edmonde Rusland – Cyclone Hugo Salot
Uele Kalabubu et sa Tribou – Matata
Eric Brouta – Machine A Lanmou
Prins Emanuel – Aquarius
Blackbush Orchestra – Sortez Les Filles (Kay Suzuki remix)
Kiwi – We Are Here
Tapes Meets The Drums Of Wareika Hill Sounds: Datura Mystic Dub
Gotan Project: El Capitalismo Foraneo (Kushite remix)
Wailing Souls – Shark Attack

Tony Allen – Yebre

Xanga – Mi Gusta Mi Cuica

Toquinho & Jorge Ben – Carolina, Carol Bela

Issa Bagayogo – Poye

Sammy Massamba – Azali

Mister Ho & Heap – Feeling Hopeful

Jean Claude Naimro – Avèou Doudou

Leonidas & Hobbes – Web Of Intrigue (Extended Mix)

Andras & Oscar – Music Is My Life

 

Posted By: Cedric On: Oct 15th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 5

IRONMAN BARCELONA – ONE LAST HURRAH

Exactly 2 weeks on post IM Barcelona and having done no exercise whatsoever since I crossed that finish line, I find myself watching the World Champs in Kona in a  rather emotional state. Of course I can totally feel the pre race nerves on these athletes, the anticipation of a great battle ahead, but mainly I can’t help seeing MYSELF there. Thinking, as they start exiting the water and I recognise some athletes I usually swim with, I would have been in that group, I would have done this and that…but I am NOT in Kona. I will never get to race that race. Not only that, but I will not be racing in the pro ranks anymore at all. This is a decision I took at the beginning of the season and it’s been a long time coming, but it seems like I had somehow buried this thought in the back of my brain up until this point. And now, as the athletes reach the turn around point at Hawi the realisation is finally hitting me and it’s a tough one… + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Sep 25th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized Comments: 1

70.3 Weymouth – Part II

Being on the start line of the Weymouth 70.3 race, 3 months and a bit after my last race and only a month after announcing my imminent retirement, was already a victory in itself. Not that I expected much, having had only a few pain free runs and a training regime somewhat chaotic what with a summer filled with festivals and gigs (and ensuing sleep deprived week-ends) every single week. In fact I hadn’t had a week-end off partying since Japan in early June! But, having teamed up at the last minute with my mate and 70.3 novice Evgeny, here I was back on the Jurassic coast nonetheless, planning to use this race as a good training day that would hit the reset button on and turn me into a triathlete again, albeit for a short amount of time. Because yes, Ironman Barcelona is only 2 weeks away, and as previously explained this will be my last race as a professional athlete. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 21st, 2017 In: Blog Music News Comments: 0

New Release (BATB 002) – BlackBush Orchestra – Famiglia EP

The (long awaited) 2nd release on our Beauty and the Beat label has finally landed, and it’s a family affair. The main producer is our man Atemi based in Nantes, long time partner in crime behind the decks and fellow record digger and music lover. About his first release, Atemi says that “at the heart of this project is to let the music come alive and evolve out of the meeting of musicians with different styles and backgrounds.” + more

Posted By: Cedric On: May 23rd, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Lanzarote 2017

Having declared in my race recap post Lanza 2015 how glad I was to have finished because that meant I wouldn’t have to do it again…well here I was toeing the start line one more time 2 years later. DNF in 2013, 9th in 2015, what would 2017 bring? A hard race that is a certainty, but what else, and why the change of mind? + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Mar 15th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 3

IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND – A FIASCO

I missed a turn…

 

 

One thing I get asked repeatedly by a lot of people (namely my mum and my girlfriend) is to explain the motivations behind this triathlon malarkey – when will I stop ? It’s a tough one to answer really as any endurance athlete can find new goals and challenges pretty much ad vitam aeternam. I think though the main reason I am still sweating buckets going nowhere in my living room in order to compete at pro level having now just turned 40 and despite having arguably a better career to focus on (phew, breathe here!), is because I know I still haven’t reached my full potential. And I want to (reach it). As per customary with elite sport, I went through as many highs as lows over the years, but somehow I tend to dwell on those missed opportunities a lot more than on the successes. As a runner I always seemed to get injured while at the peak of my form, and hence never got the times/results I knew I could have had. When I tore my Achilles in the final of the U23 french national championship, 300m for the finish line, that was one injury too many and I stopped my running career right there. I was in the shape of my life that day and fighting for glory and a definite PB when injury stroke again. This was a pivotal time in my life as I then took a 180º turn away from competitive sport, but the feeling of unfinished business never left me.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Jan 15th, 2017 In: Blog Music Comments: 4

2016 – A Year In Music

2016 will forever be remembered as a year to…forget ! Much has been said about the passing of David Mancuso and as far as I’m concerned it felt like losing a family member. I had come to the point where I thought David was immortal (as some people should be, really) and that he would always be around to guide us…well I guess he will, though not physically any more. With David’s passing, I for one have learned about my own mortality all too suddenly, and this came as a shock. I wasn’t prepared – no one was. However, if anything this has reinforced even further our essential need of dancing with friends, as often as can possibly be. Love is the message and music is our way of life, let’s never forget.

 

As if that wasn’t enough we lost other luminaries like Prince (whose music I will forever be playing and carrying around with me – starting with CREAM at the gong of midnight this past NYE), David Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, and too many more…and that gave us a really shitty year…which became officially one the worst year of my generation as we witnessed the Brexit, Trump and the rise of populism and xenophobia across the world. These times we are living they ain’t easy. Sometimes I wish I could just be transported to that first Loft party on Valentine’s day 1970 on Broadway, NYC, and just stay on that magic carpet ride to eternity…

 

However we still have a life to live, and we might as well bounce off and fight back…and party more ! In terms of musical output at least, 2016 was a vintage as good as any, be it for new music or quality reissues of timeless music. A lot less edits these days it seems, as people prefer to put out straight reissues, which can only be a good thing. As always I will try to compile my own personal favourites of these last 12 months. There are still many reasons to stay positive and look forward to better days. I’ll start with the best of the best releases, the ones that really were unmissable this year, before listing most of my personal highlights.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Nov 27th, 2016 In: Blog Music Comments: 4

David Mancuso – Music Is My Way Of Life

For my inner circle of music friends, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t been said about David already, especially since his passing on Monday the 14th of November, but for my ‘triathlon friends’ I thought this little tribute would be much welcome as I believe most wouldn’t even have heard of him.

 

I won’t do a full biography/music history here, as others are much more qualified and have even done so eloquently already, starting with this exceptional interview of David done by my friend Tim Lawrence, author of the dance music bible Loves Saves the Day (whose title itself comes from an invitation at David’s Loft party in 1970). Rather I will keep these reflections quite personal and link all the relevant tributes along the way.


love-saves-the-day-by-tim-lawrence + more