“A Duathlon on my birthday??? Go on then” was the response I gave when asked if I fancied doing it.
We arrived at Whitecross Sports College in Hereford in good time and in perfect weather conditions to showcase the picturesque course. We registered upon arrival and were made really welcome by the Hereford Triathlon Club who were very organised with route information, race numbers, pins, Velcro ankle chip devises and directions to the portaloos.
Kelly “I ran marathon last week” Massie, Robert Williams and Myself (birthday boy), all in our blue club hoodies, set our bikes up next to some very impressive beasts in transition which all looked really professional. “Fiestas next to Rolls-Royces” was the phrase used I think.
The race started on the Colleges grass running track, which consisted of one lap, then through the transition area and out of the Colleges entrance onto the streets. The first half of the run course was on tarmac paths and roads which were marshalled and well sign posted. The second half was onto farm fields which were slightly uneven obviously, which takes the wind out of your sails a little whilst trying to get the best of the terrain. You head back towards the transition area (which was a basketball/tennis court) and then started the second lap. Athletes competing in the shorter sprint race then entered transition to collect their bikes. Whilst running the second lap, I did question why I didn’t enter the sprint instead because by this time the sun was really warming me up and I knew I’d started off too quickly as I usually do in a race.
My first transition went well and clipped in safely within the correct zone, but after 5 minutes of cycling trying to catch RW up, I soon realised why you run after cycling in a triathlon. My quads and calves were burning like hell so I just maintained a steady pace using my Tri-Bars.
After about 9-10 miles my legs were fine and back to normal and keeping a decent pace up was a lot easier even up the hills. There was a ‘foot down’ point on the course where it was mandatory to stop and touch the ground with one of your feet. This is to ensure you make the turn safely onto a busy road which you have to join which feeds you back into Hereford. I did this, however, when I went to cycle I started to get cramp in my left calf, so I just took it easy again for the next mile or so just as a precaution. The cramp went thankfully.
The 17 miles went quite quickly and I was soon back into transition putting my trainers on. This run was half the distance of the first, and as I was running, and with the fear of cramp returning, I got the usual doubt in my mind that I was running really slowly. Once again it was only in my head. Because of the fast pace you cycle at, your mind needs time to adjust as well as your body. I was running just over a 7 min/mile. I was soon at the inflatable finish line and greeted with the usual banana and bottle of water but to my surprise, a great medal too.
Over all it was a brilliant event and I’d recommend this one to others, even if it’s your birthday too. – Martyn Rogers
My first event of 2017 was Hereford duathlon, I was joined by fellow Redditch triathlon athletes Kelly “I’ve done a marathon“ Massie and Martyn Rogers Selfie King (MRSK) anyone who follows him on Facebook will understand and hence why he was put in charge of the camera. Kelly did mention for the 100th time that week she had done a marathon the Sunday before and wasn’t feeling great (get your excuses in early).
The only problem with this duathlon is the one and a half hour drive to get there, I left in plenty of time and due to the Satnav taking me to the wrong place I was a little late getting there but it wouldn’t be right for me to be early (or on time). I went to registration and collected my number and then met with Kelly and MRSK. As we went to transition there was a woman having trouble with her bike. She needed to cover the ends of the bars so I offered to help (interesting: I didn’t know this was a rule) I got some tape from my bag and she was back in business I later passed her on the bike section it was her first event and she was very grateful for my help. One thing I like about triathlons is that everyone is happy to help you out.
The run was on road and some field paths which were a bit lumpy, the first run is two laps and a mass start on a playing field the faster runners went off into the distance along with MRSK. I did think he had gone off a bit quick but I didn’t worry too much I thought I would catch him on the bike, I didn’t have to wait that long as we were neck and neck in transition.
Onto the bike course and it was described as undulating with a hill in the middle I would say it was a gentle climb (felt pretty flat) until the downhill section where I bagged a 3rd overall on Strava and nearly forgot the race briefing that stated you had to put your foot down at the junction for the busy road. I passed a lot of people on the bike section including some nice timetrial bikes, however on the way back there was quiet a head wind and the more aero timetrial bikes came into their own with several passing me ( I need to get more aero or stop eating so many Aeros, something like that anyway). Back into transition and onto the final run lap, one advantage of doing the same route is you know what to expect and how far from the finish you are, so you can pace yourself. I crossed the line in a respectable 1:39:02 and 36th out of 122 very happy with that time.
MRSK was next to cross the line looking strong but lacking a sprint finish in my opinion. Then Kelly came around the corner I did think she wasn’t looking as comfortable with her run as usual. Can anyone guess why? That’s right she’d done a marathon the week before. (I think there’s a review if you’ve managed not to hear about it).
A great performance by the three of us and some room for improvement, a great event well organised and lovely course in the Herefordshire country side, I would definitely recommend. – Rob “Need to eat less Aeros” Williams
Results in a field of 127 competitors were as follows:
Robert Williams – 36th position with 1 hr 39 mins 2 seconds
Martyn Rogers –49th position with 1 hr 43 mins 38 seconds
Kelly Massie – 61th position with 1 hr 46 mins 21 seconds