Off Road Duathlon

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Night sweats:Low
Sleep:5 hours

Although I went to bed with more to do for the morning, I knew I needed the sleep. I was relaxed and comfortable (despite the political climate, not because of it). I was tired. I could not get to sleep because I was so itchy! No where in particular, just a general annoyance. Sheets were fine, hadn't been washed in anything different. No explanation, just one of those things. It was well after midnight before it subsided enough for me to relax.

I slept well though, and woke in only a light film of perspiration, and the comforting pressure of Lucy the wonder-cat alongside me. I waited for 20 minutes until she awoke (Hey, it's her 20th birthday in 11 days), and then jumped up feeling really good. Eyes were OK, head was OK. As I stepped out to get the paper, I was thrilled to see a star studded sky with a few wispy clouds, and I swear there was a cow jumping over the Hey Diddle Moon to the east as well.

I managed to organise most things, and submit my choice for the Tour de France dream team. I found that some thorlo's with a mini-crew permitted me to wear not very attractive, but practical shimano MTB ankle boots. I had replaced the laces with black elastic, and putting them on was quite easy with a single velcro strap. These boots kept my toes from freezing, had good traction on their sole and very recessed cleats that clicked in and out of the pedals easily.

At the race site for registration, the weather looked great, and there was quite a collection of expensive hardware. Within the hour before the event started, a chill wind was blowing and the skies greyed. I pulled on more clothes to keep warm. Soon enough, were off, for a lap of the Botanic Gardens, starting with a short climb. I found my right foot was bothered a bit by the compression bandage underneath my sock, and the elastic laces I had put in my shoes last night, and then loosened to be large enough to fit my wrapped in, did not hold my foot in the shoe properly. I stayed with four other runners, a pair of women and a pair of men at the back of the pack. I finished the first run in around 15:00 minutes.

Transition went surprisingly smoothly. I had put full fingered gloves and a lycra skull cap in the rear zippered pocket of my wind-stopper fleece top. Coming in to the bike racks, I put my gloves on, and changed my shoes in a fairly measured way. It was going to take me a long time on this course, so hastening slowly was the best bet. Helmet fixed and bike mounted, I was away, churning my legs over at a high cadence and keeping my weight over the rear tyre. It wasn't long before the four runners slightly behind me, whisked past on their bikes. Up until then, I harboured a secret thought that maybe I wasn't going to be last, but knew that I neither had the skills nor the bike set-up to compete.

It was great fun though! I lost my sole bidon on a bump within the first two kilometres, and used my brakes very cautiously on the course. I had had many stacks on this patch of dirt, being adjacent to my home, and was uncertain about the rain drenched surface and my high pressure full slick tyres. An irregular problem with my gears jumping came to the surface on a few occasions, once on a sharp incline resulting in me hitting the trail and discovering that when added to rain water, the taste and texture was quite rich and complex. Note to self: remember to remove feet from cleats.

Despite being slow, I would catch sight of a rider in front of me wheeling his bike up a hill, whilst I would remain in the saddle and pedal. This was especially satisfying on the hill nearest home where I was 'in touch' with not one, but two blokes. They got away. My wind-stopper was good, it has a over length zip and I regulated the temperature constantly on the hot climbs by opening it wide and pulling up the sleeves.

Cycling into final transition, I saw the two blokes running, well in front of me. My cycle split was about 1:08:00. I took of my fleece off now, and was surprised that my legs were turning slowly. I didn't have jelly legs, they were just slow! A sharp rocky incline didn't help, although the rolling track that followed enabled me to open up and run more freely. The right foot was a bit sore, but I could ignore it. Along this trail I saw one guy walking up a rise and I said something inane about going beyond our comfort zone as I passed. Just at the base of 'Breakfast Hill' I came to a second man, and once again had thoughts of not coming last and perhaps reeling in others on the run leg. The hill was a craggy, rock strewn goat track, necessitating walking for much of it to navigate and climb over fallen trees. I realised that if was in touch with anyone in front I would see them here, and looking ahead I was very much alone. The grade of this climb was 20%.

The track came out on a familiar trail around Black Mountain, near the summit. It then descended to the finish on a fire trail which skirt the Botanic Gardens. No one in sight, but I was now confident of not coming last! This last run was yet another spectacular tour of Canberra, providing great surfaces, a challenging course and exceptional views. Winter might last too long, but the running here is fantastic. Australia's best kept secret.

A final split of 46:45, meant a final time of about 2:45:00. Although very muddy, I had wanted to go to the Bilby's sign on, and had 30 minutes before they packed up. Very dirty, smelly and keen to get into a hot bath, I was delighted to see Just Tri It writing receipts and quite a few other familiar faces. JTI is looking stunning. Fit, trim and tanned ~ she will be a stunning bride in three weeks time. I picked up my membership card, and a cheap set of swimmers for Bob and myself, and a sleeveless cycling top. It was beginning to sleet as I left.

At home, there is mud and junk everywhere, even before I have brought anything inside. I know that I need to clean my mud encrusted bike and shoes soon, it is too easy to put off. I have now bathed, done a load of washing, and feel like crashing in front of the TV. Run with Aki tomorrow.

4 Responses to “Off Road Duathlon”

  1. Blogger Sarah 

    Wow, I didn't realise how long and seemingly tough the course was!! Off-road duathlons are very tough, good on you for doing it in this weather too. I still haven't managed a winter race AT ALL yet :-)

    As for looking fit and tanned.... I haven't exercised in ages (probably nothing decent since April) and the tan is fake and kind of more orange then "tan". I feel kind of like a soft orange. Heh :)

  2. Blogger CJ 

    I was tired just reading your description of the course today - very challenging and you did well to a) do it, and b) complete it. Well done! Wimps like me did yoga instead, then went to the movies and ate too many maltesers!

  3. Blogger Aki 

    Go Flashduck! C'mno, I know you too well, you just wish their were more trees to climb over on the trails. :)

  4. Blogger Wobbly man 

    Big effort FD. Like cj, I am feeling exhausted after reading that post!

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  • Distance Swum
    February 17,400m
    October 3,800m
    November 4,150m
    December .
    Distance Cycled
    November 120km
    December 297 km