On the 5th October, I competed in the Oulton Park Standard Duathlon organised by Xtra Mile Events. This event was the second qualifying race for the 2015 European Standard Duathlon Championships.
It was quite a long journey from Great Chesterford to Oulton Park, more than 3 hours. So I am glad I chosen to compete in the standard distance event taking place in the afternoon; the sprint one was in the morning. For once, I didn’t have to wake up at silly hours.
It is a fantastic venue, this duathlon includes the thrill of racing around the smooth, fast tarmac of Oulton Park motor racing track with the transition area in the Pit lane. But it is not flat, it is quite undulating. Each lap of the Oulton Park Race track is 2.692 miles (4.3072 km). The Standard event consisted in Run 2 laps (8.62k) / Cycle 9 laps (38.8k) / Run 1 lap (4.31k).
After the race briefing at 12.45pm, I positioned myself at the front on the starting grid of the track. As usual, the race started very fast, slightly downhill. After one mile, it was just a long stretch of runners in a long snaky line. My tactic is always to follow a runner whose pace I can match (but not too easily). The pace of this runner started to fade after a couple of miles so I decided to catch the next runner and we did stay together almost until T1 as his pace started to fade a bit. I completed the first run in 31:43 (pace under 6mins mile) but I was glad it was shorter than 10k. I had a quick transition, jumped on my bike and slid my feet in my bike shoes without any problems. I was feeling good on the bike and in a mood to push hard with so many cyclists around the track.
Counting so many laps on the bike leg was a new experience for me. After 6 or 7 laps, I was not quite sure anymore about the remaining number of laps to complete. Thanks to my counting strategy, I wrote the exact distance (of the first run leg plus the bike leg) on a piece of tape stuck to the bike. I knew exactly when to go back into the Pit lane. I completed the bike leg in 1:04:28. I has lost a bit of ground but wanted to put in a good final run. I was able to claw back 5 or 6 places by completing the second run in 16:00. My finishing time of 1:53:43 placed me 24th overall and 8th in the 40-44 age group, the most of competitive age group.
I was satisfied with my result as my finishing time secured my spot in the team GB for the 2015 European Standard Duathlon Championships.