Sunday, 7 November 2010

STC Off-Road Duathlon 2010

I'd agreed to take part in the off-road duathlon on a whim a few weeks ago. The tiny powerhouse Nicky Yevko and I had decided we would enter a relay team with her completing the run legs and me on the mountain bike.

"17km on the bike... easy Sunday morning" I was thinking to myself. Oh how wrong I was. I woke up this morning and peered apprehensively out the window to discover it had been a wet night. I knew it was going to be a slippery, muddy course. I loaded up my belly with a suitably large breakfast for a cold, soggy November morning.. then ate a bit more.. then I was ready to go.

Fortunately the sky cleared and we had lovely sunshine to race under, it was still bloomin' cold though and I was hopping about like a mad thing to stay warm whilst I waited for my team mate to finish the first run. I didn't have to wait long, the Yevko is a running demon and she put us in a good position.

Sadly when it comes to mountain biking I am not a speed demon. I'm barely even an able-to-stay-on-the-bike demon. After no more than five minutes I'd managed to stack it, skidding out at the first sign of deep mud. As far as things to fall into go, thick mud and leaves are definitely up there with the best of 'em and as soon as I'd managed to uncleat my feet and peel myself out of the filth trap, I was away - amused and unfazed. I remained amused and unfazed the second time, and the third time too. The fourth time I managed to throw myself off in quite a spectacular fashion and as luck would have it, fellow Tri-Club member Sean Dukes was right behind me so I even had the chance to cheer him on from the ground as he whizzed past (after checking I was alright, obviously). At this point it was almost impossible to get back on the bike so I ran her up the hill and jumped on again when it flattened out.

As soon as this first bit of particularly slippery trail was over I regained my balance and pedalled my heart out along the drove (which is nice and solid and flat), cruising through endless puddles and loving the feeling of mud in my eyes, ears, mouth.. and possibly nostrils. 

The route then veered off into the woods and there were a few members of the public out for their Sunday lunchtime walks to avoid. If you time it just right you can coat them with a fine layer of foresty sediment - very enjoyable.

There was a classic moment on the woodland trail where I was headed straight for a puddle (as is customary on a mountain bike) and it wasn't until it was too late that I realised it was deeper than I expected with a high ridge on the far side. I sped up and hoped the motion would carry me straight up the lip rather than over the handlebars. Luckily, it did. I did however, hit the ledge with such a force that an enormous stream of snot shot out of my nostrils. Once I'd finished chuckling to myself I managed to wipe it all from my chin so as not to horrify the next marshall.

Bring it on Jon!
Out of the woods and down a superb bit of trail cut into the side of a hill, superb that is, until you hit the switchback and it quickly shoots uphill again. Once this bit was over though it was back onto the drove and before you know it, you're sailing down the last bit of singletrack and out into the village. Once I was back on the wonderful hard road I powered up the legs and flew as fast as I could back to the transition area. Nicky was waiting eagerly and was gone like a shot before you could say "high-five".

Thankfully there are no pictures of
what I looked like from the front
I cleaned myself up - which mainly involved washing dirt out of my facial orifices - and felt the heat rushing back into my legs. Armed with a flask of coffee and slightly disappointed that I couldn't scoff down the fun-size mars bar from my goody bag, I headed outside to cheer people over the finishing line. Nicky came sprinting in like a true pro and was barely out of breath. I was thankful we were on the same team..

All in all a great local event and definitely one to do next year. I think I might have to get myself some winter tyres that provide a bit of grip, or I could just learn to ride a bike properly (mountain bike skills course coming up in a couple of weeks, clear your diaries so you can visit me in the hospital).


  1. NOOOO!! Not another replay please!

  2. Brilliant re run on that Egg, would have loved to been behind you - you would have been good entertainment!! and rather behind you whilst snotting ! that made me laugh but, well done you and glad you stonked on to the end and enjoyed it - bring on spa after our MTB skills day :)