Monday, 28 April 2014

Race Report: Lee Valley Velopark Duathlon

There is nothing better than an evening race in spring and summer, tonight was no different, as it was off through East London to Stratford, and the home of the Olympics for the Capital Tri Duathlon Series at the new Lee Valley Velopark road race circuit. A 1 mile course with twists, turns, a hill, and a bridge. 

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The Duathlon tonight was a "sprint" I'm not 100% what that actually means because I certainly wasn't sprinting, but the distances were:
2 mile run
10 mile bike
2 mile run

Lucinda was also racing tonight and we arrived with plenty of time, which was probably as good thing, as it's not the easiest place to find, and when you do find the Velodrome, actually finding the entrance wasn't a doddle, never the less we got set up and lined our bikes on the track in the transition area. There seemed to be a big field of around 50 riders/runners? There also seemed to be alot of people who looked like they knew what they were doing...

So it was off on the first run, down a slight hill and under the bridge, instantly a group of around 10 runners went off the front and the pace was just too hot, no way could I match that! I was around 12th runner in at this point and after a few hundred yards seemed to find my rhythm and stick to it, no idea what pace that was mind as I don't have a watch (later found out I did a 6:08 minute mile average for the first run - fastest ever for me) after the first lap legs were not feeling great, but the pace seemed consistent, and I also appeared to be running with another chap who was matching my pace well, which I guess helped a little as there was no way I was letting him pass me now. As we climbed the hill I put in a little more effort to try and dislodge my fellow runner, this seemed to work, although legs didn't really thank me for it. Into the transition area and it was a speedy change of shoes, helmet on, and off on the bike.

WELL my legs felt awful! How was I going to keep the pace high. Couple this with having not ridden the course before, the first few laps were a bit slow (annoyingly) However after these laps I seemed to find my rhythm and was working at a constant 25-27mph. I was passing everybody, TT bikes, tri suits, commuters... I felt good now, and more importantly by the 5th lap had passed all but 1 of the guys who was in front on the run. I was closing down on him though, and each lap I was reeling him in. I dug deep and on the final lap, just as we entered the transition area, and he got to his bike I passed him, and jumped off my bike. He wasn't expecting that! 

I left the transition area in 1st position, with this chap around 30 yards behind me. Now unfortunately the bike is my strong point, and not the run, so I knew full well that there was NO WAY I could keep 1st position, and true enough, by a third of the way around the first lap he passed me. I tried to match his pace, but that was both stupid and impossible, this guy was quick. I resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to catch him and found a comfortable pace. At this point I was confident that 2nd was bagged, yet still pushed on at a good pace, all be it slightly slower than the first run. Final lap of the run was good and after the strange sensation of feeling like you're not moving as you've just been flying around on the bike the pace was good.

I crossed the line in a time of 49:35 (official time will be a minute or so higher due to transition area) but most importantly I crossed the line 2nd. Pleased (and surprised) with that.

The circuit looks great and for crit racing will be great fun, certainly looking forward to that. There will also be a Tuesday evening TT series which I'll try and get to when Palace isn't on because of the rain.

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