The first race of the season is always a moment of reckoning in a season, it is the point where you discover is the training you have done so far in the year will yield the results you want.
For those who are not aware this race series is run by F3 Events and runs on a monthly basis from January through to May. There are 3 distances each time, a super sprint (2.5km/10km/2.5km), sprint (5km/20km/5km) and standard (10km/40km/5km). This is a well organised series and being held at Dorney Lake gives a self contained flat and fast course, so there are no worries about traffic (unless you are still on the bike course when early finishers are leaving).
For me, on arriving it is the usual routine of register, apply the numbers to bike, helmet etc, tack the bike and then prepare to start my warm up.
The weather at Dorney can play a factor in the racing, particularly as the bike course runs up the road between the two rowing lakes so is always prone to some wind, but this time the wind was fierce, but more of that later.
The first 5km run didn’t start in the most auspicious circumstances as after about 400m my Garmin started beeping at me, I had forgotten to turn off an alert, so I spent the net 100m or so going through menus to turn it off, a lesson learnt there check no alerts are on! It is always interesting to me to see just how fast some runners are, and how they don’t look like they are trying. A two lap run course, meant on each return leg you were running into a bit of a head wind just to make life a little harder, for me a 25:19 whilst not the best was about as good as I could have expected.
Into transition, and this is an area where I could possibly improve but it would only be for seconds as I was only there for a minute.
Exiting ono the bike course I was really looking forward to trying to trying to catch up some of the faster runners, and I soon found I was passing people on the first half of the lap. The return leg of the lap starts as you cross the bridge of the smaller lake and hit the road that does directly between the two lakes. Wind, as I said earlier can often be a factor on this course and today it was fierce, in fact Reckon is was almost gale force! To illustrate this I was riding at lest 2 gears lower and losing about 8km/h on this part of the course as well as having to lean the bike into the wind, which was coming in left to right. I was glad whilst I had aero wheels, they were not really deep section as the front one of those might have been really interesting. Despite the wind I passed a lot of people and ended up with a bike time of 35:29 for the 20km
Transition two, the post where you hope not to get cramp int he calf muscles as you try and get your running shoes back on!
Out for the final run and I have to admit my legs didn’t really seem to keen on running, this is not usual for me as normally I don’t have an issue running off the bike, but today they took a bit more time to get going and whilst I maintained a steady pace, I was not really going fast enough and ending with a 26:38 whilst roughly within a minute of the first run really isn’t going to set the world alight.
Overall i ended with a total time of 1:29:29, leaving me 36 overall and 5th in my category, I can’t be too disappointed with the result when I look back and think that in January I was struggling to run at any sort of pace.
I went into this race feeling good, I knew the last couple of weeks of training had gone well, and whilst this wasn’t going to be the fastest time ever it was going to set me a good benchmark for the next two races in the series.
Progression is the one thing I am looking for in these duathlons, and hopefully that is what I will get, we will see!