Hillingdon Duathlon & London Heathside 10k

The triathlon season is in full flow, so you would think that the duathletes would be easing off in favour of Tri? Not so with TORQ – our Nick Shasha has been finding lots of events to keep his legs working…

Hillingdon Duathlon: The summer months are a quiet period (race-wise) for duathletes, with this time of year taken up largely by open water triathlons. Most of our time is spent piling on the bike miles so that come September we can start the duathlon season in fighting form. This works well especially with the World championships usually coming at about this time (note to Ed: this year they will held in Nancy, France and yours truly is going).

Despite the popularity of Tri, it is still possible to find the odd duathlon on the circuit and of course road running happens all year round. I’ve been doing the Hillingdon duathlon for many years now and the combination of a long 6k multi-terrain run and 25k undulating bike make for exciting racing.

Unfortunately the weather in early June left a lot to be desired and the race was held in torrential rain – only one of several such occasions in the 80 or so times this event has been run. This affected my race strategy entirely due to lack of confidence on the bike in poor weather conditions and meant that I decided to put every bit of effort into the run (which is largely risk-free) and just treat the bike as a moderate-paced session. Pre-season and with the World championships up in less than 3 months, I really wasn’t in the mood to take unnecessary risks.

I managed to come away with the fastest run split of the day and although my bike time was slower than usual (I was coasting on all the speedy technical sections), I was only around a minute slower than my usual time in perfect dry conditions, which is encouraging and is something to look forward to when I come back to this course in 3 weeks time.

I came second overall, but more importantly made it back in one piece! Am I going to see the sun this year?.

London Heathside 10k: To keep my race speed, I’ve resumed my usual diet of 5k and 10k road races and found the London Heathside 10k. The event takes place on the streets around Hampstead Heath. This part of the world is notoriously hilly (nearby Parliament Hill known as the most sadistic cross-country course around), so I figured this would be as challenging a 10k as I could find.

Challenging it may have been, but the race itself went very smoothly and there was almost no changing of positions once the gun went off. I quickly found myself isolated in 2nd place and within 2k, couldn’t hear footfall behind me so assumed it was just me and eventual winner Ryan McKinlay in it. As last year’s winner of this race, Ryan’s pacing was perfect and try as I might to bridge the gap over this lumpy course, I couldn’t quite manage and ended up coming in just 24 seconds after him at the end.

Needless to say the rest of the field weren’t invited to our duel and came in a number of minutes later, perhaps falling victim to the hilly nature of this 3 lap course.  Another race, another podium!

With thanks to our sponsors:

www.wilier.it – Triathlon Frames
www.ffwdwheels.com – Aero Wheels
www.ritcheylogic.com – Aerobars, Saddles and Finishing Kit
www.cycleops.com – Power Meters
www.racezone3.com – Wetsuits
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk – Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.scott-sports.com – Running Footwear
www.shimano.com – Groupsets
www.triathlonspecific.com/Sable/Sable.html – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic)
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.amphibia-sport.com – Transition Bags
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools and Bottle Cages
www.champ-sys.com – Custom Trisuits and Cycle Wear

All pro snaps courtesy of Jolekha Shasha