Sunday, 29 April 2012

National Duathlon Championships, Ashbourne, April 28th 2012

Run 12k 50:46 T1 01:10 Bike 40k 1:14:10 T2 00:49 Run 4k 15:53 Total Time 02:22:50

3rd 45-49 Age Group, 18th Overall

Defying all the rules of specificity, yesterday I kicked off my long distance triathlon season with standard distance duathlon. My training has been very consistent week in week out but I felt I needed to inject some race intensity into the plan so two clicks and I was entered. My training load in the week leading up to the race was normal albeit riding back to back 180k rides isn’t that normal for me. Throw in a few swims and a couple of runs and I was properly tired for the Saturday, as planned!

Having nearly bailed out of my second long, wet, cold ride Wednesday I wasn’t relishing the prospect of a wet, cold race on the Saturday and I had my excuses prepared. I awoke tired but with only a little soreness in my quads so excuse one was out the window. We arrived at the race venue and whilst it was cold and windy there was no rain – nothing for it now, I was on for the race. It’s been years since I have done a duathlon so I really had no idea how to pace the opening run but I stuck to a half marathon type pace which was hard but manageable. The loop around the reservoir started into the wind and flattish but 6k in you hit the hills which are enough to rob you of pace and rhythm. By this time the field had kind of settled into an order and whilst I did pass one or two more, the race moved to the bike section. A pedestrian T1 saw me onto the bike and after only a few minutes the hills started to come, steadily getting steeper with each mile passing. There was little opportunity to win time back on the down hills as the road surfaces were poor and the turns sharp and blind. I concentrated on pushing hard on the up hills as to an extent, this was the point of racing a short hilly course, that top end intensity that it is not always possible to hit in training. I managed to pass a few riders over the 40k and by the time I hit T2 there were only two bikes in my age group racked. No sign of them so it was clear that there was no realistic opportunity on the last 4k run to make up any places. I ran hard but within myself to complete the race.

A great course and a useful injection of intensity into my programme. As a bonus it transpired the race had been nominated by English Triathlon as their inaugural duathlon championships, so, I had a bronze medal!

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