Ely Duathlon 11th March 2018 – Race Report
We were up bright and early for the Monster Duathlon in Ely, leaving Norwich at 5am. This was a good test and an early-season benchmark. To be honest, I hadn’t been able to do any specific training in preparation. As I’d been gearing up for Seville and Marriott’s Way marathons in February, I had only done one hour of cycling in the past five weeks, and no speed work on the track! After Seville a fortnight prior to Ely, I took a week off and then did a few short runs and a bike session.
Conditions were favourable on the day and the wind was low. This meant one thing: fast bike splits! There were some good local racers taking part such as Tony Heather & Jake Pye (Team Skipper), James Hayward (Ipswich Tri), George Macfarlane (UEA Tri) and Alfie Bentley (also of Beacon Tri).
The race kicked off at 8am. On the run we settled into a comfortable pace, though the group fragmented slightly at halfway because of the slippery mud on the airfield. Jake Pye (Team Skipper) and James Hayward (Ipswich Tri) led into T1 in 17.22 with an advantage of about 15 seconds on the rest of the group, which included Alfie Bentley (Beacon Tri), Tony Heather (Team Skipper), George MacFarlane (UEA Tri), Gordon Irvine (Newmarket Tri) and myself (17.34). Uber-cyclist Tom Huband (unaffiliated), was about a minute in arrears.
After a smooth T1, Heather made a strong start, flying past as he set off in hot pursuit of team-mate, Pye. I settled into a comfortable rhythm after a few kilometres and felt strong. About halfway into the bike, I saw Heather and Hayward only a few hundred metres ahead, they had lost time because of a wrong turn. I dug deep for a few kilometres, and eventually caught them. At this point, I was yoyo-ing off the back of the group of Heather, Hayward and MacFarlane. In the last 5 kilometres I was on the limit trying to bridge back a large gap on the main road. I was just making the catch with about 500m to go, when I hit the deck hard going around a sharp left turn. Admittedly, I’d carried too much speed into the corner, especially given the wet conditions. I ended up with 39.33 for the 25km bike leg, averaging 23.6mph. Luckily, I came off worse than the bike!
Battered and bruised, I got back on and came out of T2 having lost about 30 seconds. Onto the second run, I just couldn’t seem to get going. I’d felt great all day but the legs just didn’t want to hit their stride. (Maybe it was the crash, or just lack of preparation!) I could see the others in the distance, gradually pulling away. With a run time of 19.05, I took fourth place overall in 1.17.38, with Alfie Bentley of Beacon Tri taking 6th, as well as the quickest second run split of 17.42.
It was a great event, and nice way to start the season. Despite the crash, I’m happy with the result and the 4-minute improvement on last year!