Finally some sunshine to race in! And though it was -3 °C this morning, it had warmed up a fraction by the time we started, and there wasn’t a howling gale to contend with either!
Result: 13th/132 overall
(R1: 10th, T1: 23rd, C: 33rd, T2: 35th, R2: 13th)
Date: Sunday 7 April 2013
Format: 5km run, 20km bike, 5km run (flat and traffic free)
Race website: http://www.votwo.co.uk/ Gatorade Dorney Duathlon R3 April 2013
Full results: provisional results via http://www.votwo.co.uk/results.htm
Photos: available from Charles Whitton Photography for the next three months
After reverting to last year’s course for the March edition, today’s race followed the February bike and run arrangements. The runs are on an accurate 5km course of two out-and-back laps (map). The bike is a bit short, not quite 19km, four times round a lap of the “return lake” (map). Transition is on tarmac, with enough room between the racks, which were first-come-first-served.
I’ve had awful pre-race jitters the last 24 hours. I need to think about how to turn it into excitement rather than tension! Em drove to Dorney, and even though we arrived before registration had opened, we were by no means the earliest. Andy had just arrived too, with his new Planet X Pro Carbon 50/82 Wheelset and Profile T2+ Aerobars looking fast just standing still. As we were so early, Andy and I fitted in a quick spin round the bike lap before racking our bikes. And then there was plenty of time for considerable faffing, multiple toilet trips, and a last-minute heart rate strap drama (pre-race jitters, hah!) as the race briefing got underway.
The start was prompt at 09:30. I set off positively and found myself in about 8th at the first turn and got back to the 2.5km turn in 8:41. Too fast. I slowed quite a lot, but still posted a 5km PB of 18:06, so can’t complain! That’s 40 seconds quicker than in the wind in February, and a whole 2 minutes quicker than this time last year. Having Em cheering and taking photos spurred me on. 🙂
I had a much better T1 than last time. I ran straight to my bike, got helmet and bike shoes on quickly and headed for the exit at a run. Unfortunately, I balked at the “dib here” timing point, skidded on my cleat and fell hard, on top of my bike. I got up quickly, dibbed and ran towards the mount line… and discovered neither of my wheels would turn smoothly. Argh! According to my Polar log, it took me another full minute to adjust wheels and brake blocks before I could get going, which rather spoiled the 35 second transition I’d set myself up for.
As a result, it took me a chunk of the bike leg to get my head in order. My first lap was just slow; the second was better but still slower than my third and fourth laps. Although I only got overtaken by a few riders, 34.2 km/h isn’t quick enough; it’s still obvious that it’s my biking that needs most improvement to be competitive. Andy recorded a bike split 90 seconds quicker than me, even if we discount the time for my pratfall.
T2 wasn’t too bad and I overtook a couple of people heading onto the second run. The outward section of the first lap was a struggle like always, and looking back on it, I don’t think I was thinking about my form enough. I was just hurting! However, I kept it together into the second lap. Andy offered some encouragement every time we passed each other – and I just about managed to grunt back at him! With the out-and-back course, you can easily judge how far in front/behind the runners around you are. Although I didn’t seem to be gaining, no-one looked likely to catch me either. My 19:02 (3:48 /km) is a PB at the end of a du/triathlon, and getting closer to the target I set myself on 1 January.
That’s the last duathlon of the spring and I’ve now got to kick-start my swimming, with two aquathlons on the horizon. But I’m still looking for gains on the bike so it’s going to be hard to fit it all in. After the race today, I had a 5km spin on Andy’s new wheels. Something to think about – but I’d do better just to make it through transitions without falling down!
Next week I’m in Bristol for a few days, and I’m taking my bike in case I have a chance to recce the Bristol Triathlon course. But first, time to sit down and watch the highlights of the opening round of the ITU World Triathlon Series on TV. 🙂