Saturday, March 18, 2017

Clumber Duathlon 2017

A new race for me this one.  It usually clashes with the offroad duathlons in the Lake District, now faded into obscurity.  Possibly this is a good thing as (much to my annoyance) I tend to do quite well at the cleaner stuff.

I haven't done much training for this.  My running base was good and then I went skiing and everything fell apart.  Quite often skiing makes cycling better but I've spent so little time on the bike since skiing (except for short road rides to work) I am not really in good bike shape either... or so I thought.

I managed a run-bike-run two weeks ago and enjoyed myself immensely but then screwed my shoulder up sneezing in the cold last week and have been off running (except once) ever since.  That one outing resulted in a stiff back, knee and hip all down my right side where I over-compensated for the pain in my left shoulder.

So I had no idea how today was going to go except I expected to get dropped out of the back of the women's field in a shot and that I would suffer on the bike.  I didn't so much get spat out the back as dangled about in the mid-field being passed by the next wave of men.  I drafted on the return trips - both laps, same woman (clearly she wasn't learning!).  The first lap, I put some effort in to stick with her to the end of the run then realised we had another lap to do.  I let her go whilst we had a tail wind then caught her up again at the turnaround point and drafted her all the way back a second time.  Damn that second lap seemed long.

I consumed some bar and an energy gel.

Next, the bike.  I forged through a group of around 5 people fannying about getting on their bikes and hopped on and away.  Spent the entire ride passing the same people.  I was flying on the flat and downhill stretches and still struggling on the up hills.  Add to that, every time I attempted to put any effort in, one, the other or both legs would go into cramp that threatened to knock me off my bike from time to time.

I always managed to keep them at bay by easing off the pedalling or freewheeling a stretch but those same people kept drifting back past me.  There was some serious banter going on by the fifth time I passed the same people... something about me being on a downhill bike.

I forced down as much fluid as I could and bolstered it with another gel and eventually took on some more energy bar.  After around 35 minutes and into the second lap I actually started to feel normal.  Also something to do with a change in philosophy around where I put my effort in and where I coasted.

I can't remember whether those people I was playing cat and mouse with were behind me or in front but I did start making up some new places on the final stretch into the park and back into the headwind.  Through the last avenues of the park, all strewn with pine needles and bits of grass and speed bumps, marshalls were shouting at me to slow down but what they didn't realise was any cessation of pedalling would cause my legs to cramp upon which, I was much more a danger to others and myself than the speeding, competent rolling me - even if I was on a twitchy tt bike on gravel.

Finally, the dismount line, more people yelling at me whereupon I competently rolled to hop off the bike with a stride across the line and ran into transition against the cramp.  The change of shoes was a very welcome opportunity to bend over and stretch my hamstrings.  And, check me out!  First race of the season I actually remembered to take my helmet off!

Hobbled into the second run but soon found my pace again.  Shocked by how much easier it was to run than ride.  I passed one or two other women but that was it.  After that, I just managed to hold my place - or that's what it felt like.  There were still plenty of guys passing by but they didn't matter as I'd already had a 2 minute head start on them so they were all going to be travelling faster than me.

It was so nice to only be doing one lap but the 5km turn around point was so much further ahead than the 2.5km turnaround for the sprint race.  I was glad I had my watch to pace my distance.  The run back was net down hill so I enjoyed it immensely.  Final straight and one of the guys sprinted to pass me, duh, mate, you're at least 2 minutes ahead of me but anyway, well done, you think you beat a girl.  Congrats.

Got my Erdinger.

Job done.

Run 1 - 52:15min 7th fastest run
Bike - 1:17:14h
Run 2 - 26:18min. 11th fastest run

T1 - 1:47(55th - need to run with my gloves on!).  T2 - 1:13 (35th)

Absolutely bugger all idea of the results compared to everyone else due to computer meltdown.  Hey ho. Tomorrow is another day.

Results in: Overall - 2:38:46 335/459, 51/95, 11/21
Run 1 - 379, 61, 14
Bike - 327, 43, 8
Run 2 - 319, 53, 12

Winner's time in AG 2:28:23 which puts me in with a fleeting chance of a trip to Spain this summer to represent the country again!

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