Appearance news and general catch up

October 28th, 2019 • Posted in News |

For those of you in or around Dublin, Tim will be in conversation from 6.30pm this Wednesday, at Hodges Figgis, details below.

Plus a free signed chapbook for the first 50, featuring Tim’s Story “Skin and Bone”

Meanwhile, over at The Ginger Nuts of Horror Tim talks about ghosts, and his experiences with them.

More news to follow, but Tim will have a story in this Anthology due in March 2020

Finally a review of “The Edge“, for those of you who have yet to try it, can be found here.

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Ironman Canada –– July 28th 2019 –– race report

August 11th, 2019 • Posted in News |

Ten months ago…

Me: ‘What do you think about going to Canada for my 50th birthday?’

Mrs L: ‘Sounds nice.’

Me: (… smiling …)

Mrs L: ‘Is there an Ironman there?’

Me: ‘There … might be.’*

*There was.

Two weeks ago…

And so we landed in Vancouver and drove to Whistler and I did Ironman Canada on my 50th birthday and we (me, my wife, our two kids) had the holiday of a lifetime. That’s the short version. The long version, as anyone who’s read my race reports before knows, is … longer. So settle down with a cuppa. There are bears, spiders, puking runners, potential penalties, whales, beers, eagles, and deer (though not all of them were involved in the race).

There’s a danger this will become a holiday report rather than a race report, but I’ll do my best. Suffice to say, it was very easy to decide to do this. The doing––from booking everything, to actually racing on a different continent––was not so easy. But I wouldn’t change a moment of it.

Realising last year that my 50th birthday fell on a Sunday, my first thought wasn’t what most people would think. ‘Oh great, a weekend, we can go somewhere and have a big slap-up meal and loads of fine ale and wines with family and friends’. My thought was, ‘Bloody hell, there’s bound to be an Ironman someone in the world on that day’.

Lucky me. It was Canada. We decided to build a holiday of a lifetime around the occasion. Pointless going all that way for a race, right? So it was Whistler for a week (landing on the Wednesday before Sunday’s race), then Vancouver Island to recuperate, then Vancouver for three days before flying home. It was epic.

But this is a race report!

This was my first race outside of the UK, my fifth ironman (though the 3rd IM branded race). And from the very beginning I sensed that this was a much more laid back event. The briefing concentrated on the positives, whereas my memory of the IM Wales briefing was a long list of reasons why you could be given a penalty or DQ’d. In Whistler, the announcer sounded almost apologetic when he mentioned penalties and offences. If you want to hold onto the kayaks for a bit in the swim, you can. If you litter it’s a 5 minute penalty (although actually I think this SHOULD be an instant DQ if it’s obviously intentional). Very laid back. I liked it!

In fact, the whole organisation was superb. It might have been one of the best organised races I’ve ever attended. It’s a split transition, but it was utterly painless both before and after the race, with shuttle buses taking me and my kit to and from T1, and everything being available in T2 after the race for me and my family to collect. The only slight hiccup was when the crew at special needs couldn’t find my bag. I could have really done with that PB&J bagel and Mars Bar right about then…

So, all the prep done, I hit the sack on the eve of my 50th birthday nervous, but mostly excited. I knew I could do the distance. I’d witnessed the breathtaking scenery I’d be racing in. And most importantly, I’d decided weeks before that this was going to be a ‘fun’ race. Training hadn’t gone brilliantly (with whole weeks here and there with no training due to work and time away), so for this one I was content to get my money’s worth. Besides, why smash myself to pieces for a time, when I’m racing in some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen?

So. It was going to be easy.

Right.

Swim…

Meeting at 4:30 in the morning in T1 for the shuttle buses to the swim and T2, getting body marked by volunteers (no tattoo transfers, this was old-style marker pens all the way … which had totally smeared off by the time I’d sun-creamed up and finished the swim), was a perfect opportunity to mention what the day was.

‘Age?’ asked the pen-wielding volunteer, ready to write my age group on my calf.

‘Fifty. TODAY!’

Cue cheers and whoops and a few ‘you must be fucking mad’ comments. And yes, I might just have told quite a few people throughout the day that it was my fiftieth.

Have I mentioned that yet?

Waiting for the swim, daylight dawned, and it was … beautiful. Just stunning. Water temp was announced at around 19 degrees, and on the distant mountains I could see snow and glaciers. Sun poured across the mountain ranges, a gentle orange and yellow glow welcoming in the long day to come. I had the first of several emotional moments that hit me throughout the day, thinking, ‘Just look where I’m racing!’ A singer sang the Canadian anthem, and there were plenty of tears all around me.

Then I stepped in bear shit. ‘Hmm, squishy!’ said the guy next to me, and it made a great moment perfect. The cannon fired to commence the rolling start, and I was standing in bear shit at the beginning of Ironman Canada. Some moments you know you’ll never forget.

The water was beautiful––clear, perfect temperature––and each time I turned to breathe I saw the wooded, snow covered mountains. I settle into a rhythm and completed the first lap quite comfortably. It was a two lap swim, no exit, and on the second lap I started to suffer. It’s been happening for a while on longer swims––numb arms and hands, and this time it got so bad that I just had to use my hands as flippers or oars. Maybe it’s bad technique, maybe it’s just wear and tear. I am old now, you know.

Swim completed in 1:26, a pretty bad time when I’d hoped for anywhere between 1:10 and 1:15. Voices of my NEWT clubmates echoed in my head in T1 (‘Don’t be shit!’). But nuts to it, I was settling in for a long, fun day. And I had the usual ‘what do I wear on the bike?’ quandary. Plenty of people were heading out just in tri suit, plenty more slipping on a jersey. I wore my bike jersey, and perhaps that was a mistake. It was going to get HOT out there.

The bike course was two long laps. The roads were excellent, the route glorious, and the first lap went pretty well. My strategy had been to aim for an average of 16mph for the whole bike. With 8,500 feet of climbing it’s known as one of the toughest on the North American circuit, but … I didn’t find lap 1 that tough. The hills were a pleasant surprise––there were lots of them, but they were all steady and long rather that short and sharp, such as in IM Wales for instance. It was pretty much all up and down with very little flat, but definitely a TT course. I’d elected to hire a road bike, not wanting to face the faff of bringing my Canyon TT, and I reckon I was one of only 10% of riders not on a TT, or at least a roadie with bars.

No excuses, though. The tough lap 2 was more down to being undertrained than the type of bike I was riding. I still enjoyed it. Sort of. But around mile 90 I had to batter down the creeping voice in my head. ‘There’s no way you’ll finish this. You’re knackered. You’re undertrained. Do you really think you can run a marathon after this?’

I smiled, and looked at the view, and lapped up the areas of support, having received a real boost from seeing my wife and kids on the roadside outside Whistler. I had to finish this. I had to prove that an old bastard like me could still do an Ironman. So I dug in and––

Oh no. A motorcycle was riding beside me, keeping pace, and I immediately tried to think of what I might have done wrong. I was being ultra careful, but even so everyone here but me rode on the wrong side of the road, and maybe I’d let myself slip once or twice?

Then I turned and saw the camera aimed at me.

‘I’M FIFTY YEARS OLD TODAY!’ I shouted, and that clip made its way into the official IM race recap vid!

By mile 100 my right foot was hurting like hell, but I ignored it. It’s only pain, right? Pain’s temporary, and this is an Ironman! Even so, by the time I handed my bike to a volunteer in T2, the first thing I did was to take off my shoes and breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe wearing the same bike shoes for 5 years isn’t the best idea. Maybe I should buy a new pair. Yeah, don’t be shit, Tim.

I finished the ride in a moving time of 7:16, but with a couple of stops that averaged out about 15mph. A tough ride, and even though none of the hills had been intimidating, I think the cumulative effect of constant climbing and descending––especially the long 7 mile drag up to the old Olympic Park, averaging maybe 5%––drained me more than I realised.

I saw Tracey and the kids again before the T2 tent, then I headed out onto the run. It was hot now, upwards of 25 degrees or more, and I’d been really careful on the bike to keep myself hydrated. I felt … surprisingly good. A bit of banter in T2, then I was out onto the run, and enjoying the more consistent shouts of supports through Whistler. I’d planned to start out and continue at a 10 min mile, and for a while this worked. But not for long. I was weakening, and the sun beat down, and I was sweating and sore and now I couldn’t get enough fluids into me. I felt queasy at the end of the bike and that continued a little onto the run––something I’d never experienced before––and I saw two runners stop and throw up beside the path. I didn’t want to get that bad, so I eased back a little, and started walking through the regular aid stations.

The run was also two laps. A couple of miles around Whistler, then out alongside a couple of beautiful lakes (Lost Lake, and Green Lake), where people were swimming (no thanks, had enough of that for one day) and barbecuing (bastards!), and on Green Lake seaplanes were taking off and landing. The long run out alongside Green Lake was particularly tough, and hitting Whistler at the end of lap 1, with a half marathon to go, and hearing people finishing was torture.

But I was smiling, saw my family, enjoying the support, and the surroundings were beautiful, and I reminded myself again and again how bloody lucky I was to be doing this somewhere so beautiful. Chatting to fellow runners helped (including a shouted ‘Hi!’ to the guy from Cardiff Tri!), and the marshals were uniformly excellent. Aren’t they always? But in Canada … well, they were Canadians, and something we learned on our holiday is that Canadians might just be the nicest people on the planet.

For the second lap I ran for a mile and walked for a 100 seconds, and that tactic seemed to work. And then I ran into Whistler for the finish, hearing the cheering from a mile or two away, trying to run all the way in, and when I hit the long road leading to the finish chute … the route jigged left and doglegged for another couple of hundred metres. That was the hardest and the best part of the run for me, and even though my time was entirely forgettable, my whole day had been remarkable. It had been painful, and a struggle, and I had to shove down moments of self-doubt … but wonderful.

Tracey and Dan were waiting at the finishing chute. I almost ran past them, then spotted them and went in for a kiss. Ellie was waiting for me at the finishing arch to take pics, and I ran in with the announcer saying ‘Happy birthday Tim Lebbon, you are and Ironman, Tim!’ Epic.

Something else that was refreshingly different at the finish was the attention given to the athletes. The moment I crossed the line a volunteer zeroed in on me, gave me my medal, a foil blanket, a bottle of water, my tee shirt and cap, and she said ‘Lean on me if you need to.’ I might have felt a little bit emotional. She insisted that she saw me out of the finishing compound and into the care of my family.

I met my lovely family and hobbled across to where they were giving out the pizza. Pepperoni. Pretty standard. But perhaps the best pizza on Planet Earth at that precise moment.

‘I’m fifty today,’ I told the woman handing out pizza.

‘You must be mad,’ she said, and she gave me another slice.

14:30. Not a great time. But I had a great time. And that’s what I always intended. Canada is an incredible place, and finishing that race was just the start of a wonderful holiday I had with my lovely family. We went white-water rafting and kayaking and cycling and hiking, saw a bear and an eagle and a whale and ospreys and deer and seals, ate some wonderful food and drank some splendid local brews, and made loads of great memories.

I’ll always remember where I was and what I did on my 50th birthday.

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Happy 50th Birthday Tim

July 28th, 2019 • Posted in News |

Today is Tim’s 50th Birthday so join me in wishing him many happy returns for the day. As can be expected if you have been around here long enough, rather than celebrating with beers and cake (though I’m certain they will follow), Tim has gone off to compete in Ironman Canada.

In case you were wondering that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon to finish.

So all the best Tim in the race and for making it to half a century, as is tradition around here, I’ve left a cake for you…

Happy 50th

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The Silence – UK Limited Edition

July 27th, 2019 • Posted in News |

SST Publications are producing a limited edition of The Silence, due for release in early 2020, but available to pre-order now.

Limited to 400 signed and numbered hardcover copies, it will feature interior illustrations by Francois Vaillancourt, and three brand new 500-word short stories set in the same world written exclusively for this edition.

For more details and to pre-order a copy click the image below.

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Book Launched, Edge-lit next

July 11th, 2019 • Posted in News |

Last night saw the launch of Ten-word Tragedies in London. Frank Turner played an acoustic set and hung around afterwards to sign and chat. Tim and Christopher were also there, working hard, along with Stephen Volk.

If you missed out last night, you can catch up with Tim, Christopher and Stephen at Edge-lit in Derby on Saturday. Details can be found at the link here.

Finally I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from last night…

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Ten-Word Tragedies interview

June 27th, 2019 • Posted in News |

There is an interview over on the PS Publishing site where Tim and Christopher talk about how they first heard about Frank Turner, and how the Anthology came about. You can read the interview here.

If you would like to go to the launch party in London on July 10th then there are still a handful of tickets left here.

Or if you would just like to buy a copy of the Anthology then click on the cover below.

Finally don’t forget that The Edge came out in the UK earlier this week, so if you haven’t ordered one yet then click for details.

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The Edge is out today

June 25th, 2019 • Posted in News |
Out now

The Edge, the final book in the Relics trilogy is out today in the UK, and will follow in the US on July 30th. Click the image for details.

A new interview with Tim about the book can be found over at the Ginger Nuts of Horror site.

The book launch for ten-word tragedies is in a couple of weeks, and if you are free and still don’t have a ticket, then grab one of the last 7 from here.

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New book on the horizon

June 15th, 2019 • Posted in News |

The Edge – the final book in the Relics trilogy is due out on June 25th.

Forty years ago the town of Longford was the site of a deadly disease outbreak that wiped out the entire population. The infection was contained, the town isolated, and the valley in which it sits flooded and turned into a reservoir. The truth—that the outbreak was intentional, and not every resident of Longford died—disappeared beneath the waves.

Now the town is revealed again. The Kin have an interest in the ruins, and soon the fairy Grace and the Nephilim leader Mallian are also drawn to them. The infection has risen from beneath silent waters, and this forgotten town becomes the focus of the looming battle between humankind and the Kin.

For ordering details click on the cover image

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Ten-word Tragedies launch party

June 4th, 2019 • Posted in News |

The launch party for Ten-word Tragedies will take place at the Lexington in London (near Angel), on July 10th.  Tim and Christopher Golden will be there, and Frank Turner will be playing a short acoustic set.

A limited number of tickets are still available, along with further details of the evening, from the link here.

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Music, Horror, and the sound of Silence

May 28th, 2019 • Posted in News |

Wandering lonely through the snow streets of New York
I stumbled on a thrift store that sold postcards by the yard
I bought a mile and shipped them home so I could read
Ten thousand ten-word tragedies, the lives these strangers lead
To remind myself the things I need

Ten-word Tragedies is a new Anthology edited by Tim and Christopher Golden coming soon from PS Publishing

Inspired by Frank Turner and his songs—especially that evocative verse from Mittens—the editors were delighted to learn that he really did find that box of postcards in a New York thrift store.  Frank was kind enough to send us the box, and from it we chose a series of postcards and forwarded them to the writers in this book.  Gaining inspiration from the postcards and their ‘ten word tragedies’, the contributors wrote an amazingly eclectic selection of tales—moving, funny, horrific, bizarre, and delightful, these are the lives these strangers lead. 

Click on the cover for ordering details and a table of contents. Available as an unsigned hardcover, or a 100 copy edition signed by the contributors.

A launch party, including an appearance by Frank Turner, is scheduled for July 10th in London. Watch the PS site for ticket details, and I’ll get them on here as soon as I can.

Also from PS Publishing is Best New Horror #29, featuring Tim’s story “In Stone”. Click on the cover to order the paperback, a signed slipcased edition is also available here.

Finally if you enjoyed the soundtrack for The Silence, then it is available now on Amazon and other streaming services. It’s by tomandandy.

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