Ashridge duathlon (ITU Qualifier) race report from Emily

The danger of all the virtual duathlons and triathlons over the past year is that I’ve rather enjoyed the lack of transitions and the ability to do the run one day and the cycle the next! Allie brought me back into the real world with a brilliant session on transition skills in which I managed to knock 10 secs (maybe 10 minutes 😉) off my transitions. Probably for the best or I’d still be in transition now…

I’m glad my first event back was an Active Training World one, so friendly and so slick. After a quick chat with Jonathan and Chris (from my triclub) and a reminder of how horrific pre race portaloos are I took my place in the queue to start.

The start was very smooth and I was off on a route I know like the back of my hand having done the Ashridge duathlon many times and worked at Ashridge Business School pre kids. This event is normally run in winter/early spring and after a few laps the trail becomes quite churned up. Yesterday was perfect conditions given the recent warm weather. I overtook more than I was overtaken and was running to the pace I’d set myself with each lap taking ~10mins.

I’d organised myself in transition and it went smoothly apart from a struggle getting gloves on. I knew I’d need them on the bike and yet didn’t have the dexterity to get them on after a cold run. Maybe I should have worn them for the run too? Anyway, bring on summer races when that’s not an issue.

I was looking forward to the bike course. The revised route was my preferred route. Unfortunately on the lovely descent down the Ashridge drive I joined the bunch of frustrated cyclists trying to get past a tractor. It meant I had to go slower than I otherwise would but thankfully the tractor turned off at the end of the drive. I’d forgotten about it until it brought me to a sharp halt later on whilst delivering hay bales and blocking the whole of the road. Those that overtook me at this point I managed to overtake on the Nettleden hill. On the third and final lap we met the tractor again. This time it worked to my advantage and slowed the lady in front allowing me to gain ground. Her race number was one number from mine so I was determined to overtake her before transition. I couldn’t catch her on the downhill but got her on the uphill to Ashridge house spurred on by the fact that Chris and the kids were watching!

Onto the final run. Again 10 min laps. I managed to maintain my lead and as I approached the end of the final lap I saw a group of four women ahead of me. I was determined to catch them and did so one by one. Thinking I was on the home straight I dug deep, only to find another woman decided to challenge me to a sprint finish. I like a good sprint finish but she was half my age and twice my pace so I gave as good as I got but she pipped me to the post.

I’d paid my £10 to be in with a chance of qualifying for Oz for a bit of a laugh. It was a great motivator and looks like I might have achieved it 😊 Somehow I think the logistics of that one might be a bit ambitious, but I’m waiting for them to release the date and it’s a nice story to tell the kids none the less!

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