Clumber Park Duathlon (10k/40k/5k) – National Championships and World Championship Qualifier

Racing on a sat morning always makes me feel a bit twitchy and knowing this was my biggest race since Canada last year made me that bit more twitchy and moving house the week before didn’t help, I couldn’t seem to find anything!! On the flip side, I was very lucky to have the loan of a pair of Zipp 808s for the weekend courtesy of the lovely folk at Kudos Wheels and I couldn’t wait to give them a blast! Just a short spin the evening before was enough to know that these were faaaaast.

My goal was top 4 in AG (45-49) and a qualification place at the 2019 World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain. Now in case you didn’t already know, Pontevadra holds a pretty special place in my heart as in 2014 (at my first ever world championships) I stood on the top spot of the podium. Pretty much the stuff dreams are made of. 🙂 So it would mean a lot to go back there and race again.

On to my race…

In the first run I felt comfortable and happy that I could see the lead girls ahead… I knew one of them was in my AG but the main thing was I could see her, which meant I could catch her on the bike…. 😉 on lap 2 of the 5k run loop I started to feel the effects of the heat… I was soaked in salty sweat and counting down the KMs until I could get on to the bike and refuel.

Having raced it twice before, the bike course is probably one of my least favorite courses around. I don’t know why, I’ve just never felt good every time I’ve ridden it! I hoped today would be different…

With the new wheels my bike felt amazing and I focused on staying as aero as possible but I was hurting early on. My back felt like it was in some kind of spasms so I kept having to sit up. I didn’t feel comfortable at all. I also wasn’t coping particularly well in the heat. By half way I was one gel and half a bottle of carb drink down but still my lips felt dry and my body was not happy.  In the last 5 miles I was overtaken by 3 women and I couldn’t find anything in me to try and stay with them. I tried to stay positive. Top 4 was the goal and I was sure there was only one women in my AG ahead.

I took my final gel 20mins before going into T2 and braced myself for the pain of trying to stand upright off the bike… arrrggghhhh my back was not happy. I hobbled through transition hoping it would ease and it did only to transfer to my legs, arms and the rest of me.  Only 5k of running left but probably the most painful 5k I’ve ever run. At this stage I couldn’t care less who passed me, my only goal was to finish!

Considering how I felt I was delighted to cross the line in 2nd, job done – Runner up in the National Championships and a place at the 2019 World Championships secured.

Once I’d rehydrated and recovered in the evening I couldn’t help but look back on my previous sprint race times and unbelievably my bike split today was 3 minutes quicker over 20k so 6mins for 40k and my overall time almost 2mins quicker than my sprint time doubled. Ill take that thank you very much 🙂

It just goes to show ‘it never gets easier, you just go quicker!’

It’s still early days for me racing standard distance (I think that was my 4th race at the distance) but I’ve never felt more motivated to work on the areas that I need to and I’m sure there’s loads more to come.

Thanks as always to Dan, Liv Cycling, CEP Sports and Giant Leamington Spa for their amazing support.

Next up: Hinckley 4-up Time Trial