Bowhill duathlon – short
My last race of the year! Off-road duathlon returned to Bowhill estate in style. This was the first of three popular events over the winter. It was the ‘short’ – to be followed later by the ‘medium’ and ‘long’. Whereas the next two are bike / run, this one was run / bike. It was also the one I missed last year, so it was an all new experience.
No snow or ice were in attendance yet, but we had had a big storm a few days before. This meant the course had a few extra tree trunk obstacles to jump over and bike around. The run went up through the woods, before turning and working its way back down again. I knew I had to start strongly and either minimise my losses or maximise my gains, depending on who in the competition I was comparing myself to! I also tried to get it in my head that this was *short*, so no long, steady pace allowed …
The up all went well. I ran the whole way and, after the initial rush, held my position. Then we had to go down, and it felt like people were pouring past me. I was nervous about my ankles (as always), but especially so as my left one was still a bit stiff from going over on it at the previous week’s Open 5. Jo Thom from my club, a very strong runner, was up front. A relay girl had come past. As we came back to transition, Caroline (teammate at Innerleithen Open 5) overtook me. I was a bit surprised, as I’d seen her at the start line telling me her back was too sore to race! Glen, a clubmate and driver for the day, also caught me up here and I reckon he was feeling pretty pleased with himself 😀 .
Out onto the mountain bike and I was on Caroline’s heels. She’s very proficient technically and I was following her along the twisty trail through the woods. I could tell she wasn’t fully herself though, as I took the opportunity of a straight wide bit to overtake. In fact, I was overtaking quite a few people (including Glen – ha ha!), which was me getting my own back after the downhill running losses. This was quite a skill, as you generally had to leave the obvious riding line and plough through rough, bumpy, twiggy bits instead. It required some commitment and power, but was quite fun!
I didn’t let up all the way round. I remembered what it had felt like at the Hallocross (a night-time Halloween cyclocross race), riding hard and fast for a short time. I tried to be a bit aggressive and make my legs burn. The hills in the middle third felt nippy but I was reviving again at the end. All the while, I was conscious that anyone could be charging up behind me, so I sprinted up the road to the finish where my mum was waiting. She was visiting for the weekend and is my ultimate support crew. She was asking me a lot of questions though, and I could hardly breathe, let alone answer them!
In the end, I held onto second. Jo kept the lead from the start. My friend Elizabeth was third. It was her I battled with at Hallocross (where she beat me), and her time for the bike leg was 1 second faster than me – I was glad I had kept the pressure up all the way! Caroline held onto 4th despite her bad back. Full results here.
It was a fun way finish the year. Next time I race my MTB it will have been converted to tubeless with different tyres (hopefully no more puncture / tyre fitting traumas) at its ‘birthplace’, Moonglu in Ripon. I’m looking forward to getting out some more 🙂