25/3/12 British Elite Duathlon Championships, Prestwold Airfield Loughborough – 2nd Female
Surprise Surprise! Following very limited training I was delighted to walk away from the Duathlon Champs with a sexy silver medal and a pretty tasty prize purse of £750. The weekend before I was unsure whether I would even make it to the start line as my knee didn’t seem to be improving, however following a Tuesday track session with no pain the race was on and I tapered early to ensure the knee didn’t become inflamed again. My parents travelled down to Loughborough on Saturday and we stayed in a Premier Inn near to the airfield, ready for my 10.30 start on Sunday.
The race format was 5k-20k-2.5k (run/bike/run) on a relatively flat course taking 2.5k laps round the airfield. Pre-race nerves were jangling and I warmed up watching the male/female youths tackle their shorter course races. I started a couple of rows back at the start line in what looked to be a pretty small field of junior and senior women. An early sprint and I found myself on the front setting the pace with the eventual winner (and Ironman 70.3 Ireland winner) Lucy Gossage. After half a lap a glance behind told me we had a gap, which grew to around 40seconds coming into T1. Lucy’s transition was much slicker than mine and I sprinted out for a few hundred metres before settling on her wheel. The bike felt awful, and I’m really not sure why… probably a mix of poor bike setup (I put the saddle up too high in an attempt to cater for my small tri chamois), lack of fitness, no brick training, and an aggressive pace set by TT specialist Lucy. Anyway my input into our 33.03 bike clocking was minimal, my legs had gone and my turns on the front were short-lived. It was only my wheel sucking abilities that kept me going, as Lucy attempted on a few occasions to shed my shadow.
A smooth dismount into T2 was for nothing as I fumbled with my trainers and lost 7 seconds to Lucy, a big margin that grew after I realised that I was unable to catch her. I wasn’t strong enough and my lack of fitness was showing so, resigned to second, I pootled round the track to cross the line some 52seconds behind deserving winner Lucy but still in second place. Junior George Schwiening completed the podium in 3rd over a minute behind me and with 30 seconds over 4th place. My splits of 17.33 (1st), 33.03 (1st) and 10.10 (8th)… show a serious decline in form on the last run! Hopefully some fitness and brick sessions will remedy this in time for my next duathlon in Ashbourne at the end of April (English AG Championships).