Dorney Duathlon Race 3, April 2012

Sunday was my first race of 2012, in fact my first solo race since Fareham Triathlon 2010 very nearly two years ago, and the first chance to test my training which finally resumed in January.

Result: 16th/78 overall
(R1: 17th, T1: 54th, C: 19th, T2: 66th, R2: 14th)
Date: Sunday 1 April 2012
5km run, 20km bike, 5km run
Race website: USN Dorney Duathlon R3 April 2012
Full results:
Photos: taken offline after 3 months, boo hiss!

The day was bright but cold, with ice on the lake’s access roads and paths that would form the bike and run routes until not long before the start.

The event was pretty well organized with transition, start/finish, portaloos and car park all very close by. I’d brought coffee and banana, so didn’t take advantage of the catering facilities before hand, but the USN drinks and well-stuffed goody-bag afterwards were very welcome.

There was a lot of debate about whether long tights/sleeves and gloves were going to be necessary. In the end, Andy and I both made decision to remove tights about 3 minutes before the start, but kept long sleeves. My legs and fingers did get a bit chilled on the bike leg, but not too bad.

I wasn’t paying enough attention (and having my fifth toilet stop of the morning) so was right at the back for the race briefing, which turned into the start. The sprint, supersprint (half-distance) and relay teams all went off together, 200+ all told.

I spent the first out leg (1.25 km) of the 2 run laps working my way through the field to find some runners going my pace. The field had spread out a lot even by this point, and I counted <20 runners ahead of me at that first turn. I kept almost exactly the same pace for the rest of the 5 km, overtook a few more and finished in 20:04.

They’d got a chip system I hadn’t seen before, where you have a gizmo on your finger, that you have to “dib” into a gadget held by a marshall going into and out of transition and at the finish. They had two of the gadgets at each point and the marshalls grabbed your hand and “dibbed” the gizmo for you, which worked pretty well. With the size of field, I didn’t wait more than a couple of seconds at any of the five timing points. And it was quite cool that immediately you crossed the finish line, you got a print-out of your total and split times.

The bike was very fractionally less flat than the run, but only barely. There was a long transition section (400m) to join the lap course, which consisted of an almost straight 1.5 km out leg on the path just away from the lake, a 180 degree turn and then a slightly less straight 1.6 km return leg on the access road, into a very slight wind, followed by a couple more sharp turns to start the next lap. There was enough space for easy overtaking, and everyone was very well behaved about no drafting and so on as far as I saw. We did 6 of those laps. I kept expecting the faster cyclists to come zipping past, but in the end only the top 3 overall did, i.e. actually lapping me, on the fourth or fifth lap of six with their aero wheels going whop, whop, whop, whop. Nicely enough, I also overtook a lot, including a couple on TT bikes, despite my lack of biking this year. At this point I was wondering where Andy had got to, what with all his cycle training… and sure enough at the far turn on the sixth lap of six I caught sight of him. At the end it turned out he’d gained about a minute back on me. My average speed was a lowly 33.5 km/h or so, but I wasn’t too worried at this point given nobody’d got past me. However, judging from the HR data, I ought to have gone harder – I think my leg power is lagging my C/V fitness by a significant margin, so I need to work on that.

Coming out of transition back on to the final two run laps, I thought I’d overcooked it, but was pleasantly surprised when I made the first turn (1.25 km) in 5 minutes dead-on again. As far as I could tell, there were still less than 20 people ahead of me, and possibly for the first time ever in a du/tri, not even one lady! I latched onto the guy in front at this point, and grunted at him that we should keep the chasing pack at bay. In the end, I didn’t have enough to get past him, but I did mostly maintain my form, to finish the second 5 km in 20:28.

So, overall results (R1: 17th, C: 19th, R2: 14th, and 16th/78 overall) pretty respectable I think, and definitely a race series I’d do again.

Only embarassment is the other two results: T1: 54th and T2: 66th. I had by far the slowest transitions of anyone in the top 20, losing about a minute against the average. I need to work on my transitions before next time!

Nice pub lunch in Marlow Bottom in the sunshine rounded off a good morning. 🙂

And since I didn’t get around to purchasing any photos in time, here’s my HR trace just to brighten up the post.