To say I was a tad nervous about my first duathlon is an understatement! This would also be my first cycling event, but I was assured that the traffic free bike course would be suitable for a novice like me. So, I got up early on race day (far too early for a Sunday morning!) to make sure I had time for porridge and to get Clive, my bike, into my little Fiat 500. Putting the seats down and removing the front wheel no problem!
Arriving at the cyclopark soon after 7:30am (still far too early!). I was pleased and relieved to see lots of the ATC team already in situ, in fact Sally followed me into the car park. After registering Sally took Dee, Karen and me to do a warm up lap of the bike course. Seeing the sharp bends and noticing the speed of some of the other riders the nerves were kicking in!
So, back to transition to rack the bikes and faff before the race brief. We were told that the bike course had been altered, so we were to do 10 laps instead of 8. Great! Counting & cycling are not one of my strong points!
Off we set onto the first run. Running with Dee we kept a steady, easy pace. I did want some fuel in my legs for the bike, after all!. The run started with an incline and went out over the motorway through the countryside before coming back over the motorway to a nice downhill.
Completing the run it was straight into transition and up to the bike course with Clive. Everyone else was already on the course, but it wasn’t as scary as I first thought, so after a few laps I managed to settle down and actually enjoy it. I even managed to use the brakes less on each a lap (perhaps because I was going slower?). There was so much encouragement and support from all of the ATC team on the bikes, not to mention from Mandy and Julie who were supporting from the side lines. Thank you ladies – that was brilliant. It was also helpful that the marshals were counting the laps, so that also took the pressure off.
By the time they told me I had finished there were only a few cyclists left on the course (they were doing the longer distance, obviously), so off I went in transition. After a bit of faffing I thanked Clive, remembered to take off my helmet and set out on the second run, where I saw several ATC team members coming back in from their runs. The second run course was the same as the first and as each km passed I enjoyed the run more, until it was back down the slope to the finish line. All over too soon!
Pleased to see the rest of the team at the finish line we waited for the last runners to come in before the prize giving. ATC almost swept the board …… although a recount was needed for the ladies over 40’s!
That was such an enjoyable morning. Huge thanks to everyone at ATC for your support and encouragement, without which I definitely wouldn’t have done this. You are all very inspirational and I’m looking forward to my next event now!