Thursday, 14 February 2013

John Flitch Memorial Duathlon

If you like being beside the seaside in North East Kent, in your cycling/running kit as the icy wind blows in of the sea at the beginning of January then this is the duathlon for you. It's a fast, flat course consisting of 2.5 mile run/9 mile mtb/4.5 mile xc run. ''Flat'' I hear you say...sounds easy does it, well the first run is straightforward out along the seafront normally into a raging headwind, then back, hop onto the bikes for 2 laps of what can either be frosty, slightly muddy ground, or if its been raining a lot recently mud, mud, oh and a bit more mud before back along the promenade before doing one lap of the bike course as the xc run. The added bonus on the xc run is that you get to jump/wade/fall in about four dykes towards the end of the run, before four mounds to run up and down before the finish.Heaven!

I have done this event several times now and the earliest was in 2005. I have never been able to crack the top three, having had a few fourth places just to frustrate me even more. With family in tow we arrived a good twenty minutes before the start ( not bad for me! ). Suitably psyched up on several renditions of the ''wind the bobbin up'' song from my two boys en route to the race I was feeling fairly confident . I say fairly, as  I was ill at Christmas and then again during the week before this race, and it was 50/50 if I would race on the Saturday. Still, I had paid my entry all ready so here I was.

The 1st run leg kicked off and I set off, resplendant in my new Team Cycleaid Skinsuit, with several comments of ''that's not going to be white by the time you've finished''. Back towards the bike section and four of us were evenly spread at the front. A quick change onto the bike and we were off for the mud, and there was plenty of it. I had opted for cyclocross tyres for my On One Race 29er. I don't know if it helped or not, definitely not when the back wheel slid on a rut and I went head first into some brambles. Two laps of mud hell later and it was back along the seafront into the headwind into the transition for the last xc run. I was fourth and I knew I could make up the places on the last run, but I was feeling the cold. I caught the third place solo male and was feeling confident. Then my lace came undone so I had to stop to fix that and then the cold really hit me and the legs didn't want to co-operate, so my run turned to a shuffle. I lost third just before the dyke crossings and then fourth just after them. I kept shuflling as best I could even having to walk a few times as I was feeling that rough.

With just about enough energy I crossed the 5th place for a change. Oh well, try again next year I guess. Looking back at my times, my last run leg was 9 minutes slower than last year, so that sums up how my body was feeling towards the end. Onwards and upwards!

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