Sarah Jepson’s race-report. (Picture courtesy of SportSunday photography)
Sunday 1.12.13 and the Kielder Duathlon, the 1st multi-discipline race of the year. I awoke with a few nerves, not as many as usual, but nervous all the same. The weather conditions could not have been better and there were a lot of people there looking forward to either watching or competing in the day’s race. For the start of the race I got myself positioned at the front ready for the gun. As expected, on the gun there was a mad dash as if it was a straight 3km run. Always working on pace, I let these people go knowing that at some point in the race I would see quite a few of them again.
The first run is a 7km loop which takes you up the nearest hill, back down and into transition. The descent through the bog was made even more difficult by the low sun blinding us all. Into T1 and a quick shoe change, I was out onto the mountain bike.
Many years ago I used to compete on MTB’s but having only got back onto one in recent weeks, I was interested to see how this leg would pan out. I was hoping the MTB leg was where I could make up quite a few places with some good technical skills. During a ‘normal’ duathlon/triathlon I would try to pace the bike leg evenly throughout but I felt due to the dynamics of the event, some areas of the course needed more effort than others. This was made apparent on some of the more technical descents, ensuring I was in front of other riders before the descents started meant those calculated efforts had to be put in at the right times.
Having completed what I thought was a very solid bike leg, it was back into transition and back on with the trail shoes and out onto the final 6km run. My legs felt relatively good and with just one steady climb on the final run course I was into the finish sooner than I thought.
This being my first off road duathlon it went better than I could have hoped for as I was only 5mins off the overall female winner, Julie Fewster. I feel that this is simply down to solid prep for the race and the conditioning I’ve built up over the previous seasons. I am looking forward to the whole of next season – building on what I’ve learnt over the past couple of year’s.. (Sarah Jepson)