Monday, 7 October 2013

Kielder Duathlon 2013 (run, bike, run)

What a bloody tough day at the office.
Put the kettle on, crack open the chocolate hob-nobs and I'll tell you about my day at Kielder...

I had a score to settle at Kiedler. In 2011 I attempted to do the race as a soloist but 3 miles into the bike section it went all wrong and I had to call it a day, so it was payback time!. (read about 2011 here)
To be honest I didn't really think about doing it until my mate Simon, badgered me into doing it although to be fair it didn't take long for me to say yes.

The course covers the 26.2 marathon route and consists a run. bike and run (hence the name!!)
You can enter as a team of 3 or as a stoopid soloist!
As an added bonus Daley Thompson was taking part! His two sons doing the running legs and Daley on the bike. This was my chance to take on an Olympian!!

With our bikes gracing the roof of my car we set off at 8:30 getting to Kielder around 10:20 giving us plenty time to park up, get the bikes ready and book them into the bike drop off area. You're allocated a  crate which travels to the first transition area (T1) with your bike. Inside I had my helmet, bottle of lucozade, SiS carbo gel and glasses.

Following in the tradition of the worlds elite athletes and in particular Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, we tucked into sausage sandwiches and a cup of tea. Pre-race refuelling sorted :)
Our pre race conversations were random as ever but one interesting topic we discussed was the pros and cons of having a wee while running or cycling. I think it was unanimous that if it was lashing down we could safely pee while cycling but if it was dry then it was probably a no-go. With the weather remaining bone dry all day and the sun beating down we discounted wee-gate.

The race was due to start at 1pm so we made our way to the start area. Looking around there were some obvious 'expert' triathlon type people. I didn't want to embarrass them so my game plan was to let the speedy runners go off ahead. ;)
It was great to see so many Wallsend Harriers taking part today most of them doing the RBR and a couple starting 10 minutes later in the 10k race.

The start is on a slight incline which after 20 yards takes a right up the first of many hills and away from the main area.
My plan was to take the first run steady. My last run was the Great North Run back in mid September and training before that was non existent so i had to run slowly. To be honest even if I was at my optimum fitness i'd still be cursing at that hill. The route swoops down back into main area and over the finish line (if only!!!)
The 7 miles are a constant up and down hilly route with minimal flat stretches. In a normal 10k I'd stride out and pick up speed on the downhills but I held back and coasted down as punishing the quads so early would hamper my bike section and the bike bit was where I thought I could make up some time after a slow run.
I was expecting the run to be around 6.4 as my previous attempt but T1 had moved to 7.1 miles which wasn't nice.
7.1 miles of up, down, up, down, up, down...etc

Distance 7.1 mile -  Time 1:12:12

Helmet on, swig of Lucozade, energy gel, gulp of water, glasses on. Then it was bike time :)
Time in T1; 1:50

Immediately, and I mean immediately, there was a hill and a bloody steep one. Downhill would have been appreciated to get into the cycling but it wasn't to be.
Just like the first running leg, it was up and down all the way with some quad killing uphills but the down hills were excellent.
My first big downhill and I was going way too fast but I though what the hell! :) A woman on front was braking all the way down as I could hear her disc brakes squeaking and I shouted "ON YOUR LEFT" She must have thought what an idiot but I didn't fancy having a collision!
The only ailments I had was the feeling that my calf's were seconds away from cramp after 3-4 miles. On the downhills I kept trying to stretch them as best as I could. It must have worked as they constantly felt they were 'seconds from cramp disaster' but thankfully they remained intact.
Knowing I was coming to the conclusion of the bike section, I was standing up on the pedals as much as possible to try and stretch the back and legs as much as possible in preparation.

Loads of switchbacks and loose gravel made it very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. I stopped once to grab a bottle of water and fill up my bike bottle which must have taken less than 30 seconds.

Near the end of the course a fast downhill switched left and up an almost vertical climb, the corner was so tight that I started to go down the ditch on the far right side, another rider who made the same mistake but had to stop told me to "dig in, you can get round and up, don't stop"
Hill followed by hill followed by hill followed by hill...etc

I think 2 people passed me and I reckon i must have passed maybe 5?
The only flat part is 12 mile in as you ride along the dam. Unfortunately the cross wind spoilt what would normally have been a welcome flat section.
It was hard work but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the ride. but I knew what was waiting for me....the last run
Distance 15.55 mile - Time 1:27:39


Dismount bike (like an 85 year old), helmet in crate, glasses off, gulp of lucozade and I was off.
Time in T2; 1:40 (slick!)


Please forgive my language but the final 3.83 miles were a complete and utter twat.
If my hamstring could talk they would have said "you have to be fooking joking", my calf's would say "stop, stop...STOP"
I was passed by a group of 4 people, which I hated. I tried to hang onto the back of them but it was no use. There was no one behind me and it wasn't long before the passing 4 were away and out of sight (i'd like to think they were running as a part of 4 teams and were fresh)
The last run took me 47 minutes which is utter crap but I was shuffling.
The Kielder running weekends catch phrase is 'Britains most beautiful  If you were spectating it is indeed a beautiful part of the UK but to be fair I was only interested in the patch of gravel directly in front of me. I could have been running through the concrete city of Scunthorpe, it wouldn't have made a bit of difference.
Hey guess what...the last section was hilly! :)

With 100 yards to go I got a fantastic cheer from the Wallsend Harriers crew as I returned to the relative metropolis of the Leaplish Visitor Centre and more importantly the finish line!
My passing comment along with a wave was "i'm broken" but was accompanied by a smile. :)

Simon took a snap of me with 50 yards to go.
I've titled this photo, "The Death Shuffle"

The speed bump ahead of me on the photo was like a mini mountain. Even lifting my feet 3 inches off the ground was an effort!
As you can tell; my running form has collapsed and I'm just shuffling to the line.

Distance 3.83 mile - Time 47:12

Total distance 26.55 mile
Total time - 3:30:44

The commentator was name checking everyone as they approached the finish line. Hearing my name and the crowds clapping and cheering was a great end to a tough race.
Over the line, pick up goody bag and the best bit...they actually hang the medal around your neck. It's the only race that I've done where they do it and it really does make a huge difference.
I picked up my bag and met Simon who had just bought a cup of tea which was 'lush'.

So then, did I beat Daley Thompson, the Olympian?

The chicken didn't take part!

1 comment:

  1. very entertaining. keep up the good work.