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Mallory Duathlon (World Championship Qualifier)

Well, my mind wasn’t in race mode. I travelled to Leicester to race on my own for the first time. Our son, Chris, was in hospital and Andrew (the better half) felt one of us should stay close by. As this was an event I particularly wanted to do, we agreed that I shouldn’t miss it. I am currently training for the European Middle-distance Triathlon, with 2 months to go, and I wanted to test if everything was on track. Although a Sprint Duathlon is completely different to a Middle Distance triathlon, I knew it was going to be a competitive race, with some of the best multisport athletes in attendance, all of whom would be hoping to qualify for the Worlds in Pontevedra next year.

On race morning, having stayed at my daughter’s house the night before, I was woken with a lovely cup of tea. It went down hill from there! As I went to leave, I couldn’t find the van keys. Elizabeth & Dylan had already left, and so I started to panic. The van was locked, so they must be in the house somewhere! Eventually, I found them under a cushion. Phew! Then I couldn’t get the front door to lock! Eventually, I was on my way to Mallory Park.

Mallory Park racetrack is an excellent facility, mostly used for motorsports. However, due to noise restrictions, Mallory Park is well and truly embracing Multisport in partnership with ATW. The smooth tarmac, twists and turns of the course design, and the ever-present headwinds make it an exciting, and challenging, location.

My wave was the first to start at 9am, which I was glad about. I hate the hanging around as my nerves get the better of me, and I wanted to get back to see Chris. I quickly assessed the competition. I was surrounded by GBR kit and clubs with Harriers and Road Runners in their names. I made the schoolboy error of running someone else’s race and started too hard. My heart rate shot up. I needed to slow down and maintain a steady heart rate, which meant run/walking the 4 lap, 5K distance.  Still, I was not last as I entered transition.

Just as I left transition and had mounted my bike, my chain came off and jammed. I was not happy, and worried, because the Technical Official walked over. Oh no, was I going to get penalised or DQ’d for something? No, he came to help. What a star. Eventually, he fixed my bike although as I went round the 20K bike course (8 laps) I could feel something rubbing but couldn’t work out what the problem was. This was another error because I had not spent the time checking my bike before racking. 

It was the first time I had used my TT bike in earnest, and although it is a decent bike in its own right, I might as well been on a shopping bike. I was seriously outclassed by all those who sailed past me. Still, I was there, determined not to give up as you never know how the race will finish until you cross that line.

Finally, I was back in transition. Just a 2 lap, 2.5K run to do. I knew I was last in my category but I kept pushing. Pleasingly, I received lots of encouragement from my fellow competitors. They were a really friendly bunch. The support as I crossed the finish line, with a disappointing time of 1 hour 44 minutes, was uplifting.

Looking back, although I hadn’t entered the event with the intention of qualifying, I was disappointed that I hadn’t performed better against the competition. However, I ran the fastest 5K that I have achieved for many years and I felt comfortable on the bike in the TT position, including drinking via a straw. I also felt my transition worked well. I learnt a couple of valuable lessons, and so feel confident that my training is heading in the right direction for Coimbra. So, all in all, I was pleased I completed the event. The next test will be in 3 weeks for St Neots Sprint Triathlon. I best get in that water!


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