RACE REPORT – Reading Gotri Duathlon

What better way to start a sports blog than with a race report?

Over the winter I have found myself training with more focus than I can ever remember having, particularly since the start of 2017. My weekly training hours are up to around 7-10 hours a week with a mix of all 3 sports. This may not sound like much to many triathletes but I have been trying to build the intensity level up in preparation for the main build phase towards summer racing. Unfortunately, this has also meant I have found myself with various lower limb injuries that I have meant I am still not training at a level I would like to be.

At this point in the year it’s easy to feel  like  the race season is a long way away, and recently I have been itching to get back into racing and doing more speed work in training . A training partner suggested entering the local Gotri Duathlon and I decided to give it a go as a way of injecting some short distance race-pace work whilst testing my weaker 2 disciplines (whilst telling myself I would back off if my injuries started to give me any grief… yeah right!).

A surprisingly mild February day made the early start a bit more bearable, though having never raced a duathlon I was a bit unsure what to wear. I ended up going for a trisuit over a cycling jersey and arm warmers (I don’t own tri shorts, can’t run in bike shorts, and didn’t want to freeze/scare the locals by getting out my deathly pale shoulders in the depths of winter). This combination worked surprisingly well and turned out comfortable throughout the run and bike.

I went out at what felt like a reasonably hard pace given that my recent runs have been mostly  long slow distance with some run specific strength/circuits thrown in. It turned out to be approximately my 5k PB pace so not too shabby for this time of year. I settled in behind the leader and tried to stick with him into T1 thinking I could attack out of transition to try and create a gap. This worked very well and I quickly managed to find some space at the front. Having had this strategy used against me at Brighton draft legal sprint tri last year, I know exactly how hard it is to see someone immediately ride up the road away from you, and it can really make the person getting dropped feel like they can’t chase/catch up so they don’t try to.

I settled into a high cadence spin to avoid putting too much power through my aching legs – a hilly 17k run on Friday, and spending saturday walking round the London Tri show (with a “mizuno running solution” gait analysis thrown in) had really put some fatigue in my legs and they weren’t feeling great. In hindsight I probably slowed down a bit too much through the 2nd of 3 laps and found I was caught by someone on a TT bike on the third lap.

I came into T2 about 10 seconds behind TT guy and managed to make up that difference through transition. I again attacked hard for the first 500m to create a gap before slowing down more than I would have liked to the finish of the run, crossing the finish line 1st with a final time of 29:26. A decent performance for this time of year whilst feeling pretty fatigued.

I was pleased to average just under 22mph on the bike given that I am currently only doing 1-2 hours a week bike training. More work needed going forward as this is clearly still my weakest discipline. Transitions went well, with some reasonable run splits. This was also my first time running barefoot in my On Cloud’s and found them extremely comfortable and light on the run.

The only real negative of the day was when I looked down at the finish to see blood coming out of the side of my shoes and realised I had taken some skin off my little toe in T2. More care needed on the dismount in future, as over a 5-10k that may have started to bother me on the run.

(results: https://www.gotrigreenparkreading.org/home/4588959242 )


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