British Standard Distance Age-group Championships and Althorp Duathlon 2014
It's time for one more race report to bring my 2014 race season to an official close... although, this report is going to cover two races - both standard (10k/40k/5k) distance duathlons - completed in the space of seven days in October.
On the advice of a training pal, I made the effort to recon the course a week or two earlier and I'm very glad I did - as on race morning it was foggy (not to mention very chilly). Knowing that the undulating, twisty and now, at points, invisible bike course was in fact fairly harmless was a great help.
Transition to bike was solid and I was off into the misty countryside. The course features four main rises per lap: the first three come in the early miles then the last before the long fast downhill run-in. It's challenging only really because it is difficult to settle into a rhythm, not unlike our local Abbotsley TT loop. That said, I made hard work of my two laps and came in a minute or two outside my target time.
This would be the last qualifying race of the year for the 2015 European Championship age group teams and as a result had attracted another strong field. It would be the same distance but very different conditions - windy and warm (like sleeveless tri-suit warm) but wet and very muddy!
The bike course was similar in profile to the British Champs race - rolling hills and lots of bendy road.
The strong winds were also a significant factor as was the early mile or two sector of Roubaix like mud pavement. On my first pass of this treacherous road I lost my much needed energy drink, only to be taunted twice later in the ride as I passed through the quaint but ironically named village of Nobottle.
You couldn't make this up. Anyway, again I didn't exactly set the bike leg on fire but instead just managed to hold it all together.
So, where do we stand at the end of the season? I have respectable National Championship places on two continents to my name and the 2015 qualification spot I'd targeted at the beginning of the year. Add to that the various PBs and placings collected earlier on in 2014 and the experience of racing the World Championship long course event.