Winchester Duathlon was my first multisport event last year, so I was excited about returning to the event. My primary goal as to get a PB, with a second goal of finishing in under 2 hours.
We got up early and had plenty of time to set up in transition, although some people had arrived far earlier than us. Fortunately, this gave me plenty of time to chat with people. It was also good that I felt quite excited about the event, rather than nervous.
I have a track pump at home, but apart from that, I’ve always cycled with Stuart or other people in a group. There’s a track pump available at work, so I don’t have my own bike pump. I phoned Katherine who agreed to bring a pump for me. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit into my tiny bike bag, so it helped to make my clothing choice. If I wore my new Castelli jersey then there would be a pocket to put it in!
After I’d racked up, Katherine and I sat down in the athletics building. There wasn’t a lot to do (apart from taking selfies!)
Chris Rees, one of the directors from Try Tri came in and was chatting to us about how slow some people were last year. I had to remind him that I was one of those people and that it had taken even longer than he remembered (2:16:45).
Stuart then came and joined us for a chat. He was completely relaxed, even though it was his first ever duathlon.
The weather was significantly better than last year (torrential rain and hail), but it was still quite cold. I wasn’t sure about what to wear. In the end, I thought that just a tri suit would be fine as I get so hot when I’m running.
We went outside where Chris gave a short race briefing and then we lined up for the start. There were two events taking place: the sprint distance and a novice race. The novice race was starting 15 minutes after our event. I knew that I would need to keep a steady pace if I wanted to avoid being passed by lots of people and not arrive in transition when it was really busy.
We lined up, and then we were off! I decided to put my headband around my neck to save time in transition, as I didn’t want to cycle without it.
I managed to keep pace with Katherine for the first lap. Then she realised that she was slacking off, so she sped up. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to catch up with her, but I kept pushing and my run time wasn’t too bad.
As I got towards transition, I put my headband on and twisted my race number around. I wasn’t brave enough to try mounting my bike with the shoes already clipped on. In addition, I had to put on my helmet, gloves and shoes, as well as my jacket. I then ran towards the dismount line (holding onto my bike’s saddle in the hope that it would make it easier for me to run!) The photos of me running are pretty unflattering, but there weren’t any of me on my bike 🙁
I set off fairly quickly on my bike and was pleased to start passing people. The main hill on the route is near the start. This year I was determined to cycle all of the way up it. It was longer than I remembered. I managed to remain seated for the entire hill and also passed a few people on the way up. They were probably novices, but it still felt pretty good.
I had hoped to use my Garmin to keep an eye on my speed. Unfortunately, I must have stopped it when I put on my jacket. This made me unsure about what to do. In the end, I just ignored it and decided to push as hard as I could.
I kept trading places with a couple of men I overtaking them on the way up hills, only for them to pass me on the way down. Eventually, we got to a longer and steeper hill. They were clearly tiring as both of them were out of their saddles almost immediately. I felt very smug passing them whilst seated. I even took a tip from Chrissie Wellington and made my breathing as effortless as possible, in the hope of psyching out my opponents. It probably had no effect, but I kept on pedalling and didn’t dare to look back for quite a while. It was quite a relief to realise that I had left my opponents behind.
As I neared the athletics stadium, I decided that I should try a flying dismount. I undid the velcro straps on my shoes and rested my feet on top so that I was still able to pedal. I was a little nervous that I would mess up, but it went surprisingly well and I felt really pleased with myself.
In transition, I changed my shoes, removed my jacket, helmet and glasses and headed back out for my second run. In hindsight, I should have had a drink, but that’s a lesson I’ve learnt.
The second run was much harder than the first as I was feeling fatigued and it had started to get quite hot. There were also fewer people for me to chase, which is something that I find motivational. I saw Stuart the first time around, but was disappointed that I didn’t see him on my second lap – I didn’t realise that he was on a massage table and could still see me.
I was grateful that there were some shady areas, and I made the most of them wherever possible.
I was also grateful that I had worn a matching crop top under my tri suit as I needed to unzip it a little. It felt unbearably warm. I was running very slowly. By the time I was heading for the finish, many of the other triathletes had collected their bikes from transition and were leaving.
I was so glad when I finished the run…
…and even more delighted when I found out that not only had I smashed last year’s time but that I had also finished comfortably under 2 hours 🙂
I looked up my results from last year and can see where I’ve improved and what I need to work on.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my results. Although I think my first run was quite good this year, I am amazed at how well I ran last year. My first transition was also slower than last year. This can be attributed to the fact that I had to change my shoes and put on cycling glasses this year. My bike was the discipline where I have made the most improvement. I’m a little disappointed that there is no photographic evidence of how much effort I was putting in. I knocked over 21 minutes off last year’s time. Part of this can be attributed to riding a more appropriate bike. I am also a more confident cyclist now.
My second transition was better than last year. This was possibly because of my dismount and the fact that I didn’t have problems removing my bike helmet this year! My second run was slower than last year. I really wanted to pick up the pace, but was feeling absolutely shattered by this time.
After the race, I had a chance to explore the goody bag, which includes a free open water swimming pass that is good for a month. I prefer swimming outside to being in a pool, although I don’t love the cold.
The medal is quite attractive.
So, my final result was a massive PB of over 20 minutes. Although I’m struggling with running right now, this makes me feel really happy.
Today’s IDEAfit photo a day image was meant to be ‘rest’, but I don’t know what that is. As an alternative, I’ve included this great motivational statement from Team SOAS team-mate Linda: