In my last race report on this blog I wrote that the BerlinMan was the last race of the year. Well, that was the plan. However I got the opportunity to go to the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Duathlon with the Triathlon and X-Country Club of Swansea Uni. Sounds awesome, right? That’s what I thought and went along to do my first duathlon. The competition was held on the Castle Combe race track as part of the DB:MAX “The Chilly” Duathlon.
We met early in the morning to load a van with our bikes and drove off to Castle Combe, about 150km west of Swansea. The race literally earned its name as it was a chilly and wet morning. Fortunately the sun was about to break the clouds ☺
As we arrived we put our gear back together and picked up our welcome packs with race numbers and so on. The race was held in two waves. The first one with all the fast guys. I, as a novice with almost no training on the bike for the past months, was registered for the second wave. So there was a lot of time left to the start which I used to have a look around and watch the first wave start.
From a platform next to the transition area we got a nice overview of the race course. The duathlon would be a 2mi run around the track, five laps on the track (10mi) cycling and finishing it with a second run around the track. Since the track is very exposed, I was fearing that the winds will seriously hurt my performance. At least there are no significant climbs involved.
In the meantime our fast group took their last preparations and put on their numbers.
After a short briefing by the race officials the race was on. Participants from university sport clubs all around the UK sent their best people. And as you can see they took it serious and sprinted off.
I watched the race till I saw the first green/white athletes getting through transition and finishing their first lap on the bike (pictures in no particular order!) and carried on to get ready for the start myself.
As the first waves already finished my bike was racked in transition and I was at the start line. At the beginning of the first run I felt great. The hard run sessions during the past weeks prepared me well so I pushed the pace to see if it paid out. Well, it kind of did and I managed to sustain a decent pace.
The bike ride wasn’t too bad either. Obviously I wasn’t at my best condition to go really fast, but I certainly gave it a hard effort and mostly hung into position. By what you see in the photos you might get an idea how much drag I must have had with all the loose clothing. And no, these are no tight hot pants, these are my running shorts. Other than usual in the bike leg, people managed to get past me :-\ My excuses: old racebike, no clipless padels, no training. Satisfied? Okay, so than let’s move on.
As I headed into the second run I immediately felt that these are going to be very hard two miles. My calves were cramping right away. I think this was mostly because I couldn’t place my feet properly on the pedals, so they were in an awkward and uncomfortable position all the time. If you look closely you can see how the muscles are just cramped. And that was how it stayed for the first half of the run. Towards the second half my abs cramped as well making it hard to breathe. All the other problems resulting from that are clear. But I still managed to keep an average pace of around 4:40min/km, which is all right in this condition. Eventually I made it to the finish after 55 minutes, which is exactly what I was aiming for.
All in all it was a great race and great fun! Being part of a team felt awesome even though it is an individual sport. After a quick group photo we headed back to Swansea.
In the evening we came back together for a nice meal and a drink afterwards to lick our wounds and share the experiences of the day. Thank you Swansea Uni Tri Club! It was awesome!!
Statistics and stuff