Last weekend saw Pontevedra, Spain host the third ITU Multi-Sport World Championships. Robert Cassidy was there to represent the GB AG team in the 40-44 Draft Legal event. The Sprint Distance event is contested over a 5km run, 20km bike and a 2.5km run. Over recent years the draft legal races have become very popular with multi-sport athletes, to the point where start lists have overtaken standard non-drafting events. Athlete feedback is clear - draft legal events feel like you're in a race. The intensity is higher and a deeper tactical side makes things much more interesting than standard non-drafting events. This type of racing requires a much broader skill set, time-trial formats are tough in their own right but they’re also more predictable. To become a smart rounded athlete ‘understanding’ needs to be improved on a continuing basis - decision making is key.
Robert Cassidy has had a great couple of years of learning and improving his fitness, skills and tactical abilities. As an inspiring event, his first AG World Duathlon Championships would not disappoint. After a solid first 5km Rob set off on the 20km ‘out and back’ bike leg in good position. The bike leg was approx 10km up hill and 10km down hill! Just before the turn point Rob found himself in a strong group and stayed with them all the way into T2.
After a smooth T2 Rob set off on the run. This is the point of the race where you really have to fully concentrate and deliver your absolute best. 2.5km is by most endurance running standards very short - so it's easy right? Well in reality it should be up there with the hardest runs of your life - that's if you do the distance justice. It's a difficult skill to operate somewhat in the red for a full 8-12 mins - you really have to focus, dig deep, visualise, commit and force yourself to completely empty the tank. Otherwise the run can simply pass you by.
All in all Rob performed well on the day - he certainly learnt a lot and at this stage of his journey, that's what it's all about. Being there myself helps to understand how things played out, studying some video footage also adds to a productive evaluation of his race.
As his coach it's my job to convey to him where I think we could improve, and that sometimes involves highlighting things we could have and even should have done better. In hindsight we've agreed he could have entered T2 nearer the front of the pack to help gain valuable seconds and also fully committed to the second run - lesson learned. #MakeItHappen
Rob has a busy season of races ahead and switches back to triathlon next week at the Pendle Triathlon. Next year's qualification for the AG World Duathlon Championships has already been confirmed so that's exciting.