I’ve had my eyes set on training for the NZ Duathlon champs for the past month. This race is a 4.2km run/20km drafting cycle/2.5km run.
Leading up to it my coach, Simon, had me doing brick training sessions every week consisting of going from a ride, straight into a run multiple times. These sessions were gruelling and tested my endurance and top speed.
Race day. Before the race I had in mind that I wanted to be in the front running group. As the whistle blew, off everyone went like mad men in a one-mile race! I went out behind them and within only a few 100 meters we had pulled a sizable gap on the guys behind.
Around 500m into the run I realised this pace was far too hot for me and I would blow up trying to stick with the lead pack. I dropped off the back and fell in with the second group of runners. I ran with them for the rest of the 4.2km at a solid pace! (3:15-3:30’s).
#1 King Tips: There were some strong cross wind sections of which I made a point of tucking in tight within the group of about six, trying not to expose myself to the wind. By doing this I saved energy as this section was only 1/3rd of our race! It felt great running within a pack too!
#2 King Tips: Coming into transition I really tried to make sure I was near the front for a clean and fast transition. Getting out on the bike in front of my competitors instead of chasing from behind was going to be a bonus.
I came into transition second behind my good friend Josh Hemara and soon after, we left together in front of the others too. I strapped my feet into my shoes and got ready to expect the others to catch up for the 20km draft legal ride about to go down.
Sure enough the group caught us, but before I knew it a gap had already opened up. Straight away I should have reacted to that and jumped on the back of the two which were fast riding away. Instead I hesitated and waiting for someone else to close the gap which didn’t happen! The gap got bigger and bigger as I knew I was in a bad position and had potential to get dropped from the bunch. Andrew Lloyd, a strong competitor, was riding behind me and with a flick of my elbow he quickly went around me catching up to the group. I just couldn’t hold his wheel and I knew then and there I had been officially DROPPED! (This is what nightmares are made of!).
Although super gutted about missing the bunch, I couldn’t dwell on that now and soon formed a decent little three man group with Craig Kirkwood and Jack Finlay. We worked well together attempting to chase down the group which gained a massive 2 minutes on us!
Seven laps zooming around the Pukekohe race car track was awesome. I especially loved the fast tight cornering, although I was somewhat weary of taking the corners too fast. I didn’t want to crash like I did the week beforehand testing the limits around a corner in training! Woops!
Then onto the run. I left just behind Jack which gave me someone to chase. I soon caught up to him after a couple minutes. Feeling good on my feet and catching up to Jack gave me confidence that I could run with him even though I knew he ran faster than me in the first run. We ended up sticking together, pushing each other over the entire run and with about 200 meters to go I made a decision to sprint for the finish line early. As I picked up the pace he stuck by my side and almost ran around me but thankfully I had another surge in me to secure myself 7th position just in front of him.
From what I hear poor Jack spewed when he crossed the line! Sorry about that mate!
Relieved to finish, it’s always awesome debriefing with the competitors after racing.
The race was taken out by Hayden Wilde who smashed the whole race solo, followed by Trent Thorpe and Andrew Lloyd just pipping Josh Hemara at the line.
The biggest lesson learnt from this race would be missing that all important cycle group. Not being in there I lost a full 2 minutes. I will definitely be looking into some more cycle racing over the next few months leading into my race season.
As for positives I’m really happy with how my run speed and fitness are tracking.
I hope you can take something away from what I’ve written down here to prepare you for your next race. Train hard, Race easy!