British Elite Duathlon Champion

Yesterday I raced – and won – the British Elite Duathlon Championships in Loughborough. What an unexpected dream start to my season! Diesel engine Goss – win – a sprint, drafting event? Surely not….!

I entered this as a bit of fun, mainly because training partners Esther (Rodriguez) and George (Schwiening) were doing it and I didn’t want to miss out.

So it was meant to be a very low key, hard training session before flying out to Majorca for a training holiday. And that was the plan – until the ever optimistic tri247 picked me out as one of the pre-race favourites. Which I guess watered the ever so slightly dormant competitive seed in my brain….

The big names weren’t racing, I knew I was running well, I hoped little George and I may be able to work together on the bike – who knew what might happen. So overnight, a low key race I hadn’t thought about at all suddenly became something I did care about and something I wanted to race well. To the extent that I went and practiced transitions on not just one but two days before, knowing that seconds really can count in such short races.

Esther and I had a bit more of a warm up than we planned, having to sprint back off the startline to the car and back to get our second race numbers in the 4 minutes before the start (lesson to self – always read the race briefing!). But other than that, in a nutshell, the race couldn’t really have panned out much better for me. Rachel Bamford and I had a 30 second lead at the end of the first run, and though I was a bit concerned that having done most of the work on the bike I would get out-run on the second run it turned out the reasonably quick pace I’d set on the bike had sapped Rachel’s legs more than mine. So I managed to win with a fairly comfortable margin and a smile. Rachel is young and has only been on the scene for a year or so – definitely one to watch over the next few years. Little George came 3rd overall (and first junior) and Esther finished 8th. Overall a pretty good day for our lunchtime running club – those reps down the gene path outside the hospital pay off!

Funnily enough the few hours after the race were distinctly more stressful than the race itself…. Challenge Anneka turned into Challenge Goss and Esther! Our flight to Majorca was departing exactly 6 hours after crossing the finish line. Tight at the best of times. Even more tight with road closures, a bike falling off the bike rack on the A1M (seriously it was dangling by a bit of string!) and packing bikes into boxes in the street.

But we made it and now have a week or so of swim, bike, run in the sun to look forward to.

Comment from my flat mate the day on Saturday: “But I just don’t understand why you’d choose to race the day you go on holiday?” Answer – “Why waste a day travelling when you can get a race done in the morning before you leave”. Thank God I have some friends who think the same as me! Life is good!

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