National Duathlon Champs

A duathlon consists of a run, bike, run. Whilst this sounds easy on paper it isn’t; after the first run, your legs struggle to cycle hard and then kind of bend and fold under you when you try to run again for the final leg. In short, it’s utter punishment to your legs. Lucky for TORQ, within the Triathlon Team we have a few athletes that relish this kind of abuse to the body.

Ok, so the picture might be a little dramatic, but it does introduce to you the 3 Duathletes of the day, from left to right, TORQ’s Louise Bardsley, Ian Roberts and Nick Shasha (photo care of Louise achieved a tremendous 3rd place, improving on her 5th place from the previous year. Unfortunately, TORQ supremo and Word Duathlon champion Danielle Stewart wasn’t able to make it to the event due to illness. Here’s what louise had to say about the event:

“This was my first ‘A’ race of the 2012 season and my training had gone well this winter, so I was hoping to improve on my 5th place overall in the Nationals last year. It was to be another exciting race, with less than a minute separating the top three women; but would I be among them…

On the night before the race, I would have said ‘no chance’, as despite my best laid plans for preparation, some things lay inevitably outside my control! After a tough week in work, late evenings doing emergency DIY, and feeling like I was coming down with the illness currently circulating the office, I was feeling run down and apprehensive to say the least. Normally I can never sleep on race night, but I was so tired that I had my first descent night’s sleep all week; I must have been ‘really’ tired! Thankfully this meant I woke up on race morning feeling much more human. In fact, by the time I’d warmed up – with some motivational tunes on the headphones – I was feeling quite up for the race, and actually got off to a flying start with a PB in the 10k; 36:50 (mins:secs). I entered T1 in second place, and the fastest T1 of the day saw me exit as first lady on the bike – a position I have never been in before!

On one hand this was great, but on the other I realised I had no idea how to ride when there was no-one ahead of me to chase down! I held the lead for around 30k of the 43k bike course, then the week’s tiredness began to take effect; this coincided with getting caught in some bad traffic. Half a dozen cars were causing 20-odd bikes to bunch up, and tensions were fraying as cars and bikes tried to overtake each other on some fast downhill corners. I’ve had too many crashes to take any more risks in these situations, and frustrating though it was, I made the choice that I’d rather concede 30 seconds braking at the back of the pack, than risk a collision (plus I’ve got a whole season of exciting races to do!). Unfortunately this meant the couple of girls who had closed down on me, overtook and got away. I didn’t have the speed to close the gap once the traffic had gone; definitely something to work on for the next race. I entered T2 in 3rd place and managed to hold this for the final 5k run to take 3rd place overall and my best result to date at the National Duathlon Championship; 3rd overall and 3rd in age group!

TORQ’s Ian Roberts and Nick Shasha also took to the stage and although Nick (who was tipped for the podium) didn’t perform to his usual high standard, Ian came away with a very creditable 7th place in a very high quality field. A fantastic debut performance. Here’s what Ian had to say:

“Having started the season on form with a couple of successful local races, the National Championships certainly lived up to expectations with a field which was loaded with talent and high quality athletes.

The race started as a sprint with the leaders clocking 4:55 for the first mile, I was in a pack about 50 yards back observing, and trying to not get too excited and aiming to settle into a comfortable pace in order to conserve energy for the bike leg. I entered T1 in solid 34:23.

I had a swift 35 second transition and gained a couple of places in the process. With not having the running mileage in my legs, yet, I was relying on the bike to gain some time and settled into a strong rhythm, I soon found myself passing some of the faster runners who had left me behind earlier on. The bike course was challenging and undulating, but being light has its advantages as I completed the 43k bike leg in a quick time, moving me up the field considerable.

T2 was a little laboured as I struggled with the hamstrings twinging, but soon got my run legs moving again to bring it home. I finished the course amongst good company and 7th in my age group. I was genuinely happy with the result but can’t wait to see my performance increasing with my training. In the meantime, there is certainly more racing to be done for TORQ this season. Onwards and upwards.”

With thanks to our sponsors: – Triathlon Frames – Aero Wheels – Aerobars, Saddles and Finishing Kit – Power Meters – Wetsuits – Helmets & Glasses – Cycling Footwear – Cables & Housing – Running Footwear – Groupsets – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic) – Team PR – Transition Bags – Tyres – Pumps, Tools and Bottle Cages – Custom Trisuits and Cycle Wear