Thursday, 29 November 2012

Run Forrest!

Aside from cycling in lycra it is now that time of year when I can justify being able to run in lycra, although I tend to keep the full lycra skinsuit for race days only to avoid scaring people when I go running at the local forest. There's a time and place for everything!

Since September I have been slowly getting back into duathlon, both offroad and on the road, including a couple of road running races in the mix as well. This has all culminated in taking up membership with the British Triathlon Federation with my aim of competing at the British Age Group Championships at Oulton Park next year. Finishing well enough to obtain a place at the Age Group European Championships would be a bonus, but one thing at a time. My entry is in for that so I am some part of the way there. There is also news of an offroad championships next September as well. Anyway back to my round up of events and going ons.

First duathlon for me this season was a road one at Crowborough not too far away. The race format was 2.5km run/20km road bike/5km run. If you have never been to Crowborough it basically sits at one of the high points in East Sussex, so basically you will be going uphill at some point. The run was a simple 2 laps around the local houses, albeit totally uphill for the first half of the lap. I went into the lead from the off and got passed halfway round the lap by another competitor and decided to sit in behind him. By transition we had pulled a gap on the rest of the field, until I made the schoolboy error of not being able to locate my bike, costing time and giving an advantage to the chap just ahead of me. I managed to keep a steady gap to the leader until we got over the first hill and then the difference of my road bike and compact chainset versus his TT bike kicked in and he was gone, and that was the last I saw of him until the finish despite trying to go as hard as I could over the last run. I finished 2nd and 2mins down so I can't grumble, although the podium was only for 1st place.

Next up was something completely new for me and that was taking part in a local 10km running race around a local village on a very hilly course. I did some research on the previous year to see who won and in what time. That winner was on the start line this year, so in the pouring rain we set off and I decided to follow him and stay with him. About 1km in to the race and thinking he must have a train to catch I decided to settle into my own pace with another runner for company. On the second main hill I managed to pull away from him, and with the leader now out of sight ahead of me that was the last I saw of any other runners until the finish. I managed 2nd place, 5 minutes down on 1st place (he broke the course record in the process). Free cake afterwards was well received, along with the bottle of wine as my prize. That went straight to my wife as I don't drink, so she was happy

Back to the world of endurance mtbing and it was a team meet up at Dusk till Dawn in Thetford. Not a great race for me with the effects of a heavy cold, a new job and not much training for this event all adding up to me calling it a day, or night, about 6 hours in to the race whilst sitting in the top 20 in the solo category. Great to see Team Cycleaid pick up a podium in the mixed team event though!

Bitten by the running bug I entered another local 5 mile race in a village where I lived a few years ago and where my Dad lives also. It was a small field for the race and once again it was chucking down with rain. A group of four of us went away from the rest of the field after the 1st mile an it was then I decided to put the presssure on, this being a home race for me! I started to go dizzy so stopped, started again, went dizzy again and then turned around to start walking back. Faced with the prospet of being passed by all the runners coming by me and putting the dizziness down to an ear infection I decided to try again and this time felt ok. The other three runners had by now gone up the road so I had to get a move on. I knew there was a long steep hill coming up and knew if I could be close to them at the bottom I should catch them going up. The plan part worked and I had caught and passed two runners by halfaway up the hill. Up ahead but in sight was a young lady from Tonbridge Athletics club. I managed to catch her on the 4 mile mark but if I thought I had the race in the bag she had other ideas. Coming into the last 400m I could hear her footsteps behind me so I launched into what I would like to think was a sprint finish but by then my legs were like jelly and the last uphill drag was painful, but I managed to hold her off by 8 seconds I later found out that she is a pretty good cross country runner so I was pleased with my result. Another bottle of drink as my prize, this time champagne....and more free cake, and all over in just over 30 minutes. Great to have my family watching at the finish and my Dad and also a great effort by my sister in finishing her first ever race. I even made it in the village newsletter.

Reports on my recent offroad duathlon races at Black Park and Whinlatter to follow very soon.....Yes I know I have been slacking!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

This Dusk 'til Dawn 2012 Race Report is brought to you by the word Podium!!!!!

This is going to be the shortest race report I will probably ever write. Managed to wrangle together a team of chums to slap on the shiny new CycleAid kit and get it very dirty in Thetford Forest. They didn't turn up, so I got another team together ;) We started, first two riders back hated the conditions, Kim loved it, then it was my turn. I loved it and devoured the pan flat 10 miles course as quick as my little legs would carry me. Best race feeling I have ever had. Finished, transitioned, rested, and refuelled. My next lap wasn't for a few hours, so I made the most of it. 2nd lap was pretty much like the 1st, except I was passed by one person - but I think by then they were rocket-fuelled elite XC racers lapping us, so it was to be expected.

The third lap was accompanied all the way round by sheer cramp. I tried pedalling it out on the first few miles of fireroad, but that didn't seem to do the trick. So I just pushed through it and managed to find that I could ride at a similar speed to the previous laps, assuming I could shut off the pain. By this point it was getting pretty cold and foggy. By this point, some of the team mates were beginning to suffer, so myself and Lewis took turns on each lap. I managed to drink away the cramp before my final lap, and pushed hard. When I got to transition, I saw my team mate waiting next to the chap on the 2nd place team! Thinking that I had passed their rider out on the course and we were now up into 2nd place, I was somewhat excited and suggested my team mate should get riding "very" quick. At least I am pretty sure that was the word I shouted at him in front of a large crowd of people ;) Within 10/20 minutes, it dawned on us that the chap was waiting for his rider who was a lap up on us. Darn! However, he didn't know that, and was waiting in the transition area looking ready to go like a coiled spring.

Anyway, we had done enough to secure 3rd place, and onto the podium we went. A fantastic race and a fantastic team effort. Quite possibly the hardest I had ever pushed and in similar conditions to XC, which really isn't my usual stomping ground. The next day at work, a new contractor had started - as I got out of my seat to shake his hand, I was overcome by leg pain and looked like I was having a seizer  My boss said "Oh, don't worry about Ian, he likes to hurt himself."

Since then, I haven't really ridden much, due to reccurant asthma problems. More on that next time...

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