Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Kinetic-One Standard Duathlon – Castle Combe, 7 April 2013

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Of all the multi-sports formats, I have to admit the standard distance duathlon (10km run, 40km bike, 5km run) is probably my least favourite. But then, as I’m sure some saying or another goes – you should do more of what you enjoy least.

And so today, my 2013 preparation continued with the small Kinetic-One standard distance duathlon at the Castle Combe motor racing circuit, organized by DB Max.

Going over on my ankle just over two weeks ago was hardly ideal preparation (nor was 13 hours training before I even got to the race!), but I’d managed to get a good week’s training in around the recovering injury, there was no excuse for not taking my place on the start line among other team-mates from The Triathlon Shop Race Team.

With several other major races happening around the country today, the field was small (just 77 or so) but with Lee Rankin and Michael Millstead among others, the quality was definitely there.  The race started with the 10km run over three-and-a-bit laps of the motor racing track.  As I too often do, I went off a little hard and did the first kilometer in about 3:35 – too fast for me right now.  And so unsurprisingly, I couldn’t keep the pace up and tried to settle into a pace that would bring me in just sub-40. I reckoned I would still be able to attack hard off the bike at that pace.

In the end, I had to work harder than I expected to come into T1 on 40 minutes dead – certainly no PB for me today, but not too surprising or disappointing given I’ve had a big training week and no taper.

T2 was a minor disaster.  I was using my new Kask Bambino TT helmet (review soon!) for the first time and I made a right hash of getting it on – more practice required (the in-built visor minimizes the space to fit your head – not easy to shove it on in a hurry!).

I grabbed my bike, had a somewhat gingerly mount after the line (again, more practice required!) and was away – as usual electing to get up to speed on the bike before tightening up my S-Works Trivent bike shoes.  I felt like I got up to speed pretty quickly and it was gratifying to start picking off some of the faster runners.  There was a definite easterly wind, which meant half the lap was wind-assisted (I hit 47km/h a few times) while in places the headwind was fierce and I was struggling to even hit 30km/h.

Like the Bambino, the bike fit is also new.  Since the slightly disastrous bike leg at the Chilly Duathlon (also held at Castle Combe) in February, I’ve been working with Chris Newman at Newfit to find a slightly faster position.  In short, we raised the saddle a touch and dropped the front.  On today’s evidence, there’s no doubt it is indeed faster – I was only about 30 seconds slower over the 39km bike ride than Chris himself (and 8th overall).

However, towards the end of the bike I was suffering some mild discomfort (cramping) in my glutes and adductors, which does suggest I still have some adaption to do to get used to the new position.  That, or we might have to raise the front a little before Mallorca.

So into T2 and I knew my legs were in trouble, so the second run was going to be fun, not!  I think it’s fair to say it’s the worst I’ve ever felt going into the second run of a duathlon, but I just concentrated on getting my legs turning over and trying to not worry about pace for the first 500m or so.

I got passed pretty quickly by one guy who quickly disappeared into the distance (a quick check of the results shows he had done a stonking 34-minute first 10km but then I’d overhauled him on the bike – so clearly he was a good runner!).  I concentrated on just pushing my own pace, and trying to get to the finish!

In the end, run two really wasn’t anything to write home about.  I maintained my position and managed to steadily increase my pace through the run as my legs came back to me.

Across the line and I knew I’d worked hard, both on the runs and the bike.  Results showed I was 10th overall and 2nd in Age Group (veterans!?).

There were definitely some lessons learned today:

1.    Run #1 pacing – went off too hard! Need to be mindful to go at my own pace and not be lulled into going off with the front group

2.    Bike – position needs a bit more adaption or a slight rise on the front

3.    Run #2 – really paid for the aggressive bike position on second run

As a pre-season tester, today was a success for sure.  Given my recent training, the lack of run speed today is not a major concern and I was pleased to see that I can still bike a respectable time. Plenty of lessons that can be applied to Mallorca in five weeks, also.  Bring it on!

Congrats to Chris Newman, Jules Richards and Rich Shirley, my team-mates who also completed today’s race.  Commiserations to mates Jon Burrage and Katie Jemima Synge, who were both going well until being forced out due to injury.  They’ll be back and fighting hard in no time!

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Matt Fisher runs - so it's all his fault! He pretends to be a triathlete, but really he is a husband, father and company VP. But he has raced for the GB Age Group squad a few times and is a two-times qualifier for the IM70.3 world champs