After a good base of winter training, which had been interspersed with a bit of a knee injury that stopped me running for a couple of months, the first race of the 2015 season was fast upon me.
I had decided to open my season with a local event run by Epic Events, the Parbold Duathlon, and for those that don’t know the event it can by described with one word, undulating.
The run course is two laps of a 1.6 mile course whilst the bike course is three laps of a 5.6 mile loop including the ‘monster’ known as Parbold Hill. Being local I have ridden Parbold Hill many times but not in these exact circumstances.
My plan for the race was simple, run my own race but never give up on the idea that the win was possible. Knowing my run speed had been affected by my earlier injury I settled into a good pace early on knowing that all my work was to be done on the bike using my power to weight ratio and bike handling skills to my advantage on the climbs and descents. During the run I was able to keep a check on the number of women who passed me so had a good idea who was in front and who was around me going into T1. A good slick transition allowed me to pass a couple of women and get out on the bike.
The conditions out on the course were wet to say the least but I was soon able to get into a good rhythm on the bike, working hard on the climbs but keeping focused on the descents, not taking any unnecessary risks. Even though it’s a tough course I really enjoyed my time on my bike, I felt strong and in control. My bike is fairly new so I’m still getting used to racing on it and if this race is anything to go by I’m going to be loving it very soon. With three laps done I was quickly into T2 and with the wet and cold having taken hold of my fingers during the bike leg I was able to remove my helmet without undoing the buckle.
The second run was a repeat of the first with two laps and again I was thankfully able to get into my running quickly. As I started the run course I was informed I was the lead lady so knew I had to keep pushing not knowing where second place was. With a sneaky look behind me coming into the finish I knew that I had been able to hold the lead and crossed the line in first place.
During the race I was able to confirm a couple of things; I have to run my own race, I have to enjoy the pain but mainly I have the best friends and family who are willing to stand out in awful conditions just to give their support.
Special thanks also have to go out to the race organisers, Epic Events, their marshalling team who always had words of encouragement and also Sports Sunday Photography who again are out in all conditions taking excellent photos that really capture the moments in the race. (Sarah Jepson)