DATE CHANGE: HETTON YOUTH & JUNIOR SPRINT TRIATHLON SCHEDULED FOR SAT 22ND JUNE WILL NOW TAKE PLACE ON
SUNDAY 23RD JUNE
City of Durham Duathlon, Sunday 28th April 2013
Saturday afternoon swimming – moaning and complaining to anyone who’ll listen that I don’t like racing, I’m tired, I’m out of form, I’ve only ran these 2 miles down to swimming in the last 10 days, I don’t like racing, I’m tired .....
Sunday morning, 7am Meadowfields, Co Durham. 7°C, wind at least 20mph (ie 10mph more than forecast), grey, cold, blowing drizzle cue more chanting to myself, “I don’t like racing ....”.
I get my act together though, get organised and get out on my bike for 30 mins sussing out the wind strength and wind direction, knowing that there’s no substitute for putting your nose in it to truly feel the conditions. And knowing that no-one else is going to be as obsessive (or as stupid!) to be doing this at this time of the day. The recce is worth it: the wind is actually ok-ish and the first drag up from the roundabout is still do-able on the big ring, same as it was when I won 2 years ago, so this is one positive thing.
I carry on with the signing on and warm up ritual, inbetween nearly reaching double figures and a personal record for my number of pre-race wees. I run around the run lap and suss out the wind there too and am pleasantly surprised to feel my legs actually feel ok running. I wouldn’t go so far as to say, "game on", but I’m mildly more positive than I was an hour ago.
Before I know it, it’s start time and I’m the lone Ryton Tri athlete on Coalfields Racing Team heavy front row of the start line.
The gun goes off and eventual winner Daniel Jenkin of Durham Uni pelts off at 5 ½ minute mile pace never to be seen again, while the rest of us stay fairly compact running around 6 minute mile. I come out of the run in about 6th place and within one mile of the bike and with the help of the first uphill drag I move into second place, ahead of Elliot and Gary from Coalfields. On the run in to Esh Winning, Elliot and I tussle a bit but his raw power on the flat allows him to open up about 50m on me by the foot of the climb, where I come by him again and open up a reasonable gap. But I know that he’ll ride the tailwind descent back to the finish more strongly than me and, sure enough, I’m spinning out top gear just try to keep him within 100m when he inevitably re-passes me on the run-in. Can’t tell how fast I’m going but it must be around 40mph. No computer on the aero bike as Haydn Maughan told me to take it off and, "use the force, Master Luke". One last drag up to Meadowfields allows me to close the gap to Elliot again and we come in to T2 very closely matched.
Elliot bounds out of T2 more quickly than I and it takes me half a lap to get back on terms. I’m still feeling good and take the lead, feeling strong enough to surge up the back-straight hill and into the headwind, trying to snap the elastic between us. I keep pushing on the second lap, then finally on the last half of the third and final run lap, I surge again and get away and open a little gap that keeps growing. Anything to avoid a sprint finish! So I do it: I don’t repeat my 2011 win, but I put in an excellent race to finish second. I congratulate Elliot at the finish and get myself dressed.
After the race I meet up with my teammate, Isaac Dunn. He’s a real rising star for Ryton, just 17 but an incredible runner and I’m sure he’ll improve further as a cyclist. As well as winning the Junior prize at Durham, Isaac was 10th overall , which complements his fine performances in the Stokesley and Morpeth duathlons this year. We make quite a team: a slightly dis-gruntled 40 something and a fresh-faced teenager, but between us we ain't done too bad this spring! Results courtesy of Durham Triathlon Club. Photos courtesy of Jason Conrad Photography & Design.
Ryton Tri 2-Up TT
Congratulations to Harry Armstrong and Christopher Isats of Berwick Wheelers who were the overall male winners of the 2-up TT in a time of 38:34 (ave pace 28 m/hr) and to Bev Blakeman and Dawn Sherrin of Infinty Cycles RT who were the overall female winners in a time of 45:38 (ave pace 23.7 m/hr). We also had a strong junior contingent racing and the overall junior winners were Jack Willis and Jordon Hull of Border City Wheelers in a tine of 43.52 (ave pace 24.6 m/hr). First mixed team was won by Kerry Gowland and Michael Proud in a time of 44:55 (ave pace 24.0 m/hr). Full results can found here and by category here. And here's a picture of Ryton's newest mascot and marshal:
Allendale Challenge Race report by Mark Sowerby Allendale Challenge in the bag. Loads of fun but very hard despite the good weather on the day.
The run had been shortened to 23.3 miles, (according to my GPS watch), to avoid the deep snow which had fallen earlier in the week.
I bumped into Madders before the race who is recovering from illness and said it was his first long run for some time.
I was running with one of my mates from Greenside who has done the Challenge before. We kept a good pace and were probably placed in the top 35-40 runners by main checkpoint at the road before the ascent to Killhope Law, (see pic). Once we turned off road again to head up towards Killhope the track was packed with walkers, (who set-off 2 hrs before us), and it was hard to make any progress past them.
On the long decent Ian caught us for the first time, which was a surprise as I had assumed he was ahead from the start. We pushed on a little after a while and Ian fell behind a couple of hundred metres.
The organisers took out the Long Drag this year to avoid some lambing fields which had been hit hard by the recent weather and bad winter. The alternative route was shorter but a lot steeper and all the competitors walked up a hill reminiscent of the Struggle.
At about mile 19 my mate bonked big time. We had to walk until mile 22 by which time Madders had already passed us again along with a few other runners. With an injection of Energy Gel, Kendal Mint Cake and Gummy Bears my pal managed to pull himself back to the living and we ran the last mile and a half down into Allendale and we finished 4hr 50min. 61st & 62nd out of 110 finishers and 4 mins behind Madders.
Morpeth Duathlon, Monday 1st April: Report by Philip Addyman Crazy little thing called ... Power! Finally, after spending Spring 2013 in Duathlon Mediocre-land, I managed to answer a question that has been baffling my local vet to a considerable degree these last few weeks – yes, there is indeed some life in the old dog. Whilst my form may have taken a bit of an upturn, that’s not to say the weather did: it was slightly warmer than Stokesley last week, but still only around 6°C. There was a more moderate wind from the East that would aid the outward bike leg. This event was extremely well organised by Tri Northumberland – they’re clearly not just very good at organising open water swims for the benefit of all NE triathletes. The town centre of Morpeth was all closed off to traffic and this makes a great difference to your feeling of safety and security when you race. The rest of the bike was on quiet lanes to Netherwitton and, apart from a couple of potholes, there were no hazards here either.
With this being a qualifying event for yet another of Boxing’s – whoops, sorry, Triathlon’s - highly prestigious “World Championships”, I expected a lot of top class athletes from outside the region and so I anticipated a slide even further outside the top ten that I scraped at Stokesley the week before. And so it seemed as the run set off up Morpeth’s high street for three swift laps, with me quickly down in 20th or something and the field disappearing in the distance. With three fast laps of just over a mile completed I moved up a little bit, but setting the world on fire I clearly wasn’t and I think I still had at least 15 guys ahead of me.
For the second week running though I did a very sleeky T1 and got myself out sharp on the bike and down and aero for the first drag out of Morpeth towards the Fair Moor turn. And just then I thought I felt it: speed, power, motion, but I wasn’t too sure. I was very glad I had recced the course on Friday and so knew that there was just over 300 cumulative metres of climbing on the circuit but all the climbs were big ring drags that you could power up without blowing up – if you had power. And all of a sudden I did! Five riders passed on the drag to Pigdon and all of a sudden I’m not so Mr-Legs-Can-Barely-Move-Dodgy-Runner, but I’m doing the old Zoom Zoom Speed of Light routine on the bike, passing them fast and hard like I used to. Welcome back Leonard Cohen; bye-bye Howard Jones.
This is cool. I power on. Elliot tussles with me a bit but I know the route’s principal climb up The Trench from Netherwitton is coming up really quickly and I’m psyched and ready to hit it in the big ring. From here I turn back heading East and, in theory, I’m into a headwind but my form’s so good I can’t really feel it. Almost un giorno di grazia as they say in Italian. Apart from the dodgy running, that is. I approach Morpeth, power up Dogger Bank on the now obligatory big ring and enjoy racing towards a large crowd in the centre of Morpeth on closed roads. Cool. I hit T2 and can’t believe it when they say I’m third. I knew I took about 10 places on the bike but I still thought I was just scraping the top ten, so atrocious was my first run.
I head out on the second run feeling good and hearing the shouts of Laura and her sister’s family. I manage my run speed pretty well but get caught by Paul Brown from Godley’s Cycles team. I think I’m still in with a chance of holding him as he doesn’t go straight by, but then he pulls away from me at the start of the second and last lap and, despite making a good surge to get back on terms I realise he’s gone. I dig in and race hard, hoping to hold 4th, but, just pulling into the final, long finishing straight up the high street I feel someone on my shoulder. I resort to the only tactic I can and bluff a really long 300m sprint and for a couple of seconds I think it’s working, but then Daryl from the NE Fire Service pulls level and then pulls past, leaving me with 5th.
But, I’m really happy and relieved to finally be riding the bike well and to have been competitive at a decent level. The race was fantastic and definitely the safest and best-organised duathlon I’ve ever taken part in. I was 5th overall, 1st V40 and 3rd fastest bike split.
Stokesley Duathlon Wrap up warm before you read Philip's report on this race!!
On Sunday I got up just after 6 o' clock in the morning and headed down to Stokesley in North Yorkshire, the car temperature not rising above 2 degrees C all the way down the A19. The conditions were no warmer in Stokesley and the East wind was blowing at 20mph, but thankfully the roads were dry and there were even some patches of blue in the sky and a little bit of brightness. Over 300 competitors were present for this traditional NE season opener. In the long race, 5km run, 30km bike, 5km run the competition was high and I was not able to repeat my 3rd overall and 2nd V40 result from 2 years ago. There were some many V40s doing the event that we had a separate start and then our times were mixed with the Senior men at the end to give up an overall race position. I came out the first run and T1 very strongly, but my tactics for the bike backfired a bit as I don't have the form or confidence to go "full gas" at the moment and so tried to pace myself over the wind-assisted part of each of the two bike laps so that I'd have something left for the very hard headwind return part of each of lap. As it turned out this tactic was not particularly effective and I got passed by a two or three other cyclists on the second lap, however I came into T2 still reasonably placed. I started running and immediately felt good, despte not having ran for a week and never doing "brick runs" off the bike. I got a tiny bit of stitch on the outward part of the run, but once this cleared I really powered it on the last half of the 5km run and took back 3 places - the same guys who had passed me on the bike, so I was happy with this, especially as it brought me into the top 10 overall. In the end I was 3rd V40 and 10th overall. Resultshere.
Big-E declares himself too old to keep up with son Alan Blakie after Alan's 1 hr 20 min half marathon time at Alloa last weekend!
Grizedale MTB Duathlon 10th March Congratulations to Philip Addyman for surviving the extreme cold to finish a respectable 10th place! Read his race reporthere.
National Cross Country races Another good result for the juniors: Philippa came 16th out of 208 in the national cross country under 15 girls and Calum came 11th out of 142 junior men. An excellent start to the year for them!
To start the year off with news of Ryton Tri-ers - Calum Johnson represented GB in a 5K cross country event in Spain recently and came 2nd. The prize was pasta and biscuits! Which is kind of similar to the Newcastle Brown Ale and stotty that you get when you complete the Blaydon race.