Monday, March 18, 2013

First race of 2013 tri season

I wasn't going to bother with racing this year and instead focus on the distance training I need to just complete the Ironman, never mind do it with any finesse. I'm just not good at letting racing lie. I don't pretend to be fast or competitive, (if I was I would train harder), but you stick a number on my back and put me next to another competitor and I am the most competitive person there is and I thrive on it. A season without racing for Trep would be a bumpy miserable one and like Margaret Thatcher without a handbag or the queen without a hat.
So a number of tester events have been organised including the inaugural Derwent Duathlon, both on my home turf and with an off-road twist which appealed.

The problem with the DD, (it could have been a bonus really) was it was on my usual summer training ground. No accommodation or travel to book weeks in advance, just get out of bed and roll to the course. I didn't even clean my bike and only thought about my crumbly nipple and the fact I hadn't pumped the tyres up when I got to transition. There were lots of Sheffield Triathlon team mates out so we had quite the huddle going on with Matt, Bob, Glyn, Sylvia, Sal, Dave and Rob.

With two laps of the bike course there were lots of opportunities to cheer each other on, which we did with gusto. Varying from "go on Trep" to "go on Sheffield" to "bleureughagagaghhh" or " ble ble ble" (pronounced with a higher-pitched voice), all shouts were appreciated.

The first battle I had was with a grey-haired lady who insisted on passing me on the run... just. She would lurk, just ahead of me, taunting me to pass her back... which I did. I'm not sure if she relaxed after passing me or if I upped my game every time she passed but after the third embarrassing time, I decided to take the opportunity to pace myself (conscious decision and yet, being honest - I knew I didn't have the energy to go after her again). Still, I knew I would get her back on the bike.

TSK was waiting for me at the bottom of the last hill so I said, "let's get this party started and gimme a bike."

I had to steady my spinning head in transition, especially as Sal and Sylvia appeared just behind me but I managed to change my shoes without wobbling too much. I could hear Nancy cheering on Trep but was so much in the zone (not sure which one) I was only able to recognise her, not really acknowledge her. Sorry Nance, it was good to see you.

Cyclo-cross riders always recce their starts and this was no exception. The chance to leap on the bike in the perfect gear and get going, even on a hill... especially on a hill. Yes please. The opportunity to do a 180 turn on a single track road without dabbing was a very particular skill worth showing off on this course. Thanks John Staniforth for the encouragement.

We haven't got the split times so I don't know how many I passed on the bike but I reckon around 20 based on my 30th position on the road run and my final placing minus 3 who took me back on the fell run. No one passed me except one girl who underestimated the value of slipstream and quickly succumbed again.

The ride was two laps of a course I usually only do once. I had to remind myself of that but I quickly forgot and did too much, leaving me little to put into the fell run. That is a skill I'll need to perfect for Forestman.

Although I bounced out of transition, I soon found myself in company. Far from turning it into a death battle, I sated myself with chatting to the bloke behind, saving myself for my next session and enjoying the view. I let him go on the downhill realising there was nothing left in my legs.

I wasn't massively impressed with any of my times but I was very satisfied with my placing. I beat people I didn't expect to and was 2 percentage points out of the top 50% when I usually aim for 66%.

Comparing it to previous Derwent Duathlon training with the club, it's no surprise the ride was the slowest with twice the distance and poor, early season road and weather conditions. The road run was, however the fastest with me getting my heart rate under control after 12:30, by which point I am usually done with running at our club sessions.

Whilst the legs suffered from the speed and were still lagged with fatigue on the start line, I really enjoyed myself and bounced back enough for a recovery run today.

Very glad I entered a race. Perhaps it and its friends will make up for the resounding lack of enthusiasm for independent speed training in my sessions. Perhaps I will just have a really good season, in spite of or as well as a really good Forestman race.

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