A week after Parbold Duathlon and I was back racing another, only this time with a slightly different format. The Firefighters 2Up duathlon is raced as a team of two with both people completing both runs and the bike leg but you are allowed to work as a team, using each other to draft off.
The week between the two events had been a tough one for me as I came down with a pretty bad cold that my husband had the week previous to Parbold, I did everything I could do leading up to Parbold to avoid it but I think once this race was over my body had little defence left.
Myself and my partner for the 2Up race, Victoria Kollard, entered the race as defending champions, knowing we were always going to have a bit of a target on our backs and seeing that a couple of strong sisters (Jennifer and Natalie Batey) from the North East had entered this year we knew it was was going to be a tough one.
After 5 days of suffering and partially recovering from my cold I decided that I was in a position where I felt I could personally race and be able to give it my best shot knowing that Victoria would also give it her all.
With the race starting in three waves, we knew we had to treat it as more of a time trial as we wouldn’t be 100% sure of our overall position until the results were given. The run course is a trail run in and around Rivington, with a couple of good climbs and descents. It was at the start of this run that I knew today was going to be a tough day in the ‘office’. Within the first kilometre I was experiencing pain in my right calf that I’ve never had before and with Victoria had to make the decision whether we could carry on and still give it our best shot. We decided to carry on but knowing I may not be able to ride or run the second leg as hard as we had wanted to.
Coming into T1 we both executed a good swift transition, and mounted the bikes cleanly. Once on the bike, my calf was still giving me issues but I felt I was more able to ride through this but Victoria knowing I wasn’t at my best did the lion share of the effort on the front. Having ridden with Victoria on many occasions and having done this race with her last year I felt we rode the bike exceptionally well. Good clean through and offs and great communication throughout.
Coming into T2 I knew it would be now that my calf could have a massive affect on our race. As soon as my right foot touched the floor the pain was instant and again we had to make the decision whether it was the right to carry on. Ultimately the decision was mine but I knew whatever I decided Victoria would support me. This second run tested me mentally, I had to weigh up the pros and cons of carrying on or stopping the race prematurely, and deciding to carry on I felt I wouldn’t jeopardise any future events I have planned.
Crossing the finish line I knew that on that day I had raced as well as I could and myself and Victoria had worked as an excellent team, eventually finishing second. (Sarah Jepson)
A great effort from both Sarah & Victoria to claim 2nd female team in such a tough race, unfortunately they came up against a stronger pair in Natalie & Jenny Batey – so well done to those girls.
I myself partnered my good friend & talented, local triathlete Alex Foster (VeloClubUK) for the day. We knew we would be quite a strong team but as always – there would plenty of other fast teams there too.
We were set off in the last of 3 waves, this made our 1st run rather interesting as we had to negotiate our way around 150 teams to head out onto the bike course in around 5th place but 1st on actual time. The bike was tough, mainly for me as I didn’t quite have the power in my legs that I managed to race with the previous week at Parbold. Fortunately Alex was smooth & strong throughout the 67min bike leg so we still managed a decent time. I think we still worked well as a team but my turns on the front were shorter and not as hard as I know I’m capable.
We came into T2 in 2nd place to be told we were around 3mins down on Brian Fogarty & Jack Hindle of team FITT. Alex & I set off with real intention to make up the deficit. My ‘running legs’ didn’t feel quite as bad as my ‘cycling legs’ so we still had a slight chance as we couldn’t possibly know how fast the team in front would run. We gave it everything we had – all the way to the line, we managed to claw a minute back in the end but it wasn’t enough.
We couldn’t have given it more, but in the event we fell short as Brian & Jack ran, biked & ran exceptionally well to a claim well deserved win.
Alex and I did have a post race laugh at my expense though.
Quote from Alex when asked how he’d got on – “Er – it was a good training race”! (Rodge)