Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

Rob Cassidy

I have competed in lots of races this year but to finish off with an AG World Qualifying event seemed the perfect way to cap off a great season. I wanted to qualify so I could book my place to Spain in April of next year and represent GB.

This was a draft legal race so in the weeks leading up to the race I had been spending lots of time with my coach, honing my skills on the bike and the technique of drafting. I felt very confident as I walked up to the start line, all the prep had gone well, and it was now time to execute.

The standard of the field at such an event is always very good and as the gun went I could not believe the pace at which some of the runners went off the front, it was a 4.3km loop, not a 400m dash. Anyway, I stuck to my game plan and felt that I executed the first run to plan and at the pace me and Rodger has discussed beforehand.  We had taken the decision that I would stay in trainers on the bike which would hopefully lead to quicker transition times and account for 30-40 seconds come the end of the race. 

On entering T1 I had my eye on several athletes who were all in there at the same time as me, I made sure they did not get out before me. I wanted to be first out, so I could manage my initial speed and then assess theirs as they caught up with a view to joining the pack. The key to the success of this bike leg was to get in a pack where we share the work load and work it as a group. This played out pretty much to plan but it was a big pack of between 15-20 riders. I was trying to assert some pressure when on the front, but nobody seemed to want to come with me, so I took the decision to stay with the pack. A smaller group and I could have had a faster split, but I made the right decision.

On the last lap I put myself right on the front and pushed the pace as I still had some good energy levels, the main reason for doing this was to split the pack a little for the run and make sure I had a clean path into T2.

In and out of T2 and on with the run, another 4.3km loop to finish. I needed to ‘suffer’ here and put everything in, leave nothing behind, this was the last race of 2018 and I did not want to be driving home pondering what might have been. My legs felt good off the bike and I was quickly into a good rhythm, as I went around the track I just focused on the course and adjusting to the terrain accordingly – it is a little bit lumpy and not flat. From going to the front on the bike pack and out of T2 I was mindful of people coming passed me, but not many did as I approached the final stretch I increased my pace to finish as strong and fast as possible. Over the line and that signalled the end of 2018 and my race season.

Another good performance and now I am just awaiting confirmation on qualification but from looking at the results it looks like it was mission accomplished. Top 6 in my age group and a spot at next years AG Sprint Duathlon World Champ.