Chilly Duathlon (Wendy Drake)

This sprint duathlon was held at Castle Combe race track in Wiltshire. It consisted of a 2 mile run around the perimeter of the track, mostly on pathways, but with a couple of grass and gravel sections, followed by a 10mile bike on the race track, with a final run around the 2 mile perimeter again. As long as you could correctly count 5 laps on the bike course, it was very straightforward. 

We travelled down the day before, and were slightly apprehensive, as storm “Angus” was passing over the South West of England during the weekend. Fortunately for once, the forecasters got it right, and despite heavy wind and rain during the night, the storm had passed by morning. Although it was cold and gloomy, conditions were fine for racing. 

I arrived on race morning about two hours before my start time, giving myself plenty of time to familiarize myself with the venue, the course and the in’s and out’s of transition. The only tricky thing seemed to be, at the end of the bike leg, a very sharp 180° turn off the track into a narrow lane into T2.

After a brief chat with an official about the best way to rack my bike (I was right!), it was time to warm up and get ready for the start.

I was in the second wave of the day, setting off at 12.10pm. Once we were underway, it was a case of concentrating on my own pace, and trusting that although I may lose some places on the first run, I can make then up once I get on my bike, and then finish strong on the second run. This is pretty much how the race played out. The flat wide race track was suited to my cycling strengths, so I passed many riders during the bike leg. I pushed hard for all five laps, to gain as much advantage as possible.

I negotiated the tricky bike entry in T2, had another good transition, and then set out on the second run feeling pretty good. Although I was passed by just one female runner on the second run, because we had been started in two mixed waves, 30 minutes apart, it was impossible to know just where I had finished.  I thought I’d done ok, but on crossing the line I was delighted to discover that I had finished 2nd lady vet in a time of 1hr 00 minutes and 23 seconds. It was very close, with just 3 seconds separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the category, so literally every second counted on the day!

In summary, although it was a bit of a long way to travel to Wiltshire, the 9bar Chilly Duathlon was a really good event, well organized with a good facilities for athletes and spectators, definitely one I would consider travelling to again.

9Bar Chilly Duathlon

 

Wendy on her progression..

I first approached Racepace after I had signed myself up to do Ironman Switzerland in July 2013, and felt that I needed some help to give the race my best shot. I had done a handful of triathlons before that, but I knew I had taken on a big challenge. Rodge became my coach about 6 months before the event, and we worked closely together to guide me to successfully completing that event.

During that initial period, I quickly realized how much I enjoyed working closely with a coach, and how quickly I was learning new skills. After the Ironman I decided that I wanted to continue to set new challenges and goals for myself, and to improve as an athlete. 

Over the subsequent three years we have looked at and re-visited many aspects of the sport. Getting pacing right is fundamental when doing multi-sport events, and we are always looking at improving this, either in training, or reviewing post-race. My transitions have improved dramatically, and I also now have a good understanding of how to prepare for a race.

Personally I have been able to identify where my strengths and weaknesses are. As my bike handling skills have improved under Rodge’s guidance, I have come to realise that this is my strongest discipline, and I now particularly enjoy duathlons.

I have had an amazing journey, competing in numerous events all over the world. My highlight to date was representing GB at the World Age Group Duathlon Championships in Adelaide last year. 

The best thing about working with Rodge as my coach, is that he is always challenging me, mentally as well as physically. And whilst I have become much more confident in my abilities, we are always looking for ways to improve, and always looking to learn. It is also a great deal of fun!