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by Will Beresford, 3/04/2015

February is known for being cold, often seeing snow showers and heavy frosts, so whilst some cyclists either stay inside on a turbo, or venture to warmer climates to ride mountains I decided that I’d do a Duathlon in East London.

Capital Tri run a bi-weekley dutahlon at the Lee Valley Velopark (Olympic Stadium) on Tuesday, starting at 7:30pm. This is a “sprint” distance event, a 2 mile run, followed by a 10 mile bike, then a final 2 mile run on the Road Racing circuit, benefiting from no traffic, smooth tarmac, nice twisty corners and flood lighting.

I naturally arrived early so went inside the warmth of the Velodrome and watched the track riders go around for a bit, secretly quite jealous that these people could stay inside… It was then time to register and get changed. I was unsure of what or how many layers to wear, so opted for the brave choice of a skinsuit with a LS base layer, anything more would have been uncomfortable to run in, and also most likely meaning I get too hot on the run. So that was that, Skinsuit in February.

A small field of 12 hardy people had signed up, and within the 12 a couple of guys who looked rather quick, including one full tri spec Fuji bike and a Cervelo. Nice. After the briefing was given we lined up on the start line, had out photo taken pulling a snowman pose (what is that?) and off we went. As expect two guys sent off very quick down the hill, however by the bottom corner I had caught them and settled into what I thought was a good pace. Something which is often difficult when you have a bike and then another run to do. By the end of the first lap (run is two laps) I had built up a good 200-300 yard lead with a further 200-300 yards to third place. I completed the first lap in around 5:50mins and then onto the second, slowing down a little for the hills as to try and conserve some energy… Second lap now done, and I was still in the lead and into the transition area, where I discovered that putting on a helmet and shoes in the dark with cold hands was very difficult. I seemed to be in the transition forever, finally managed to fasten my helmet, and off onto the bike leg and the first of ten laps. The first two laps are always the hardest on the bike, as your body has to adapt and engage different muscles, I seemed to be going slow, breathing in litres of icy cold air didn’t help, however after three laps I had managed to find a rhythm on each section of the course and through the bends and was averaging a consistent 25mph, which given I had another run to do (did I mention the cold too?) I was fairly pleased with. Coming into the final two laps and my legs were burning, and on the last lap I slowed a little just to allow the legs to recover. Into the final transition, helmet thrown to the floor (clever) and running shoes on, I was off. Compared to 25mph av this run now felt like I was going backwards, my thighs burnt and yet again I found it difficult to get into a good rhythm, not helped by a stitch which had hit me from somewhere. Slightly too late, and now onto the final lap I did find my form, and settled down, taking the turns and hills slower than the first run but concentrating on my strides and breathing. Seemed to work and I crossed the line with a total time of 52:50.

Analysing the times after, my moving time was 50:09 compared to 50:17 from the last time I did this event in April, so that’s encouraging. The decrease in time has come from my running, with my bike time only 1 second slower than before. Having said that what let me down tonight was my transition, but then a time in February is never going to be as quick as April, cold hands and gloves do not make for a speedy transition.

Thanks to the Capital Tri team, a great event, very welcoming and encouraging everybody throughout the race. I would really recommend these events to people, I mean it’s only £13 and you get a whole evening of fun.

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