Friday, July 20, 2018

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When the organiser of the Royal Wootton Bassett triathlon, a new local sprint triathlon for 2014, first approached me to race I was a little wary.  Coming only a week after the Ironman 70.3 in Mallorca, I wasn’t sure I’d be in a fit state to race to my best. But as ever, I found it hard to say no, especially since I feel obligated to do my best to support races in my local area.

And so on Sunday morning I made the 20-minute journey to the race hub at a leisure centre in Royal Wootton Basset (near Swindon in Wiltshire).  I’d been allocated the very last number in the entire event – 160.  I wasn’t sure if I was meant to read anything into that, but I knew I’d be off in the final wave.

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As always, it's a struggle to know where to start this race report. Too far back and I risk boring you to tears with unnecessary back story. Too close and the race won't be seen in context.

So let's just try and be quick with the lead up. Having raced Mallorca last year as my first official 70.3 event, I was keen to have another go in 2014 - both to see whether I could improve on my 2013 debut as well as to give me a benchmark for progress over winter.

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Right, let’s get the excuses out of the way right now.  From the moment I entered, I was clear that the Newbury Duathlon was nothing more than a TRAINING race, a chance for me to stretch my legs and see how I fared on the less-preferred short-course Duathlon format.  So, the race was done on the back of a fairly normal training week and a 10-mile TT in windy conditions the day before.

Good, that’s that sorted.  Today was the third time I’ve raced the Newbury Duathlon (’11, ’12, missed ’13).  With both hilly runs (2x 5km on the same loop) and a hilly bike (25km, 222m climbing) on less-than-ideal roads, it’s not my favourite course.  But it is a good chance to blow the cobwebs away and with two previous attempts to compare against, a good benchmark.

 

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Having set both run and swim PBs in the last month or so, it was inevitably time to get back on the bike and see how my winter base training had fared.  And so last weekend I bit the bullet and signed-on for a local TT run by my now first-claim cycling club, Newbury Road Club.

The course in question was an unfamiliar 10-mile TT circuit, code name HCC204 (is it me or does anything else think it’s kind of funny how the old ‘secret’ names for TT courses persist?).  As 10-mile routes go, it’s a fairly challenging one, with 750ft (220m) of climbing, together with a few sharp turns and road junctions to navigate.  That said, of course it’s the same for everyone.

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And so skip forward a week and I find myself on the start line for the Bath Half Marathon. I was freezing and hadn’t had any kind of warm up. My own stupid fault. I hadn’t anticipated just how busy it would be at the start of the race and that there would be no space to warm up!

 

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