Let the Season Begin! - Paul Clucas

Soria!

Not a name that springs to mind when you think of places to go in Spain. 1000m above sea level and three hours north of Madrid by bus, this became a bit of a road trip for the first international of the year.

Duathlon is not my main focus but does act as a good focus and warm up for the main events which for me are triathlon later in the year. It also acts as a good bit of mental training with not one but two runs with a bike sandwiched in between. It also continues to fill me with pride every time I pull on the GB tri suit.

Winter training had gone to plan up to this point, with a Mallorca biking week and Durham duathlon a few weeks prior as part of the buildup.

This is predominately a runner’s race and with the biggest age group field of 40, I was unsure how I might fare? My personal target was a top 10 finish but with some quality athletes in the field including former British time trial champion Kev Dawson in my field, it wasn't going to be easy!

Race day came, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up! same for everyone I suppose. We started in groups of about 120 of mixed age groups on what was a tight and twisty course, so elbows out as we set off on the first run. The run went up and down the park which meant a gradual up followed by a gradual down trying to pace it up and open the legs on the way down. The run was tough and it finished with an uphill run into transition for my favourite bit, the bike!

 

In and out of T1 with no dramas, I hit the bike hard. It was pretty much either up or down on the bike, reaching speeds of 80kph with a cross wind that made it a little twitchy at times. Two laps and into T2, again the plan as always was to take advantage of free speed and those who faff too much.

I came out of T2 alongside a fellow Brit in my age group, I quickly made a decision to put in a spurt that would take me away from him and hopefully break him mentally! My running is still not where it should be but I pushed as hard as I dare, knowing if it was hurting me then there was a great chance it was also hurting him! I was also conscious that my fellow teammate Martin Oliver (30-34) was hot on my heels, as I had passed him on the bike coming into transition, so whilst I had gained 3 mins on him already, my competitive nature didn't want him to pass me so I dug deep and was holding them both at about 30m throughout.  With about 250m to go I went flat out to ensure they couldn't chase me down and pip me on the line, the plan was executed to perfection and I held them both off as I came over the line in 1hr 9 mins and 35 secs to an overall 8th place and 5th Brit.

Very pleased with the result that exceeded my expectations for this stage of the season. A big well done to my team mates who all performed excellent with 3 of them racing for GB for the first time, great effort guys, especially Becs who's efforts earnt her a Bronze medal, well done.

Now to recover for the following week that sees me travel over to Mallorca for an Olympic distance triathlon.

Thanks again to MyEndurance & Monster Supplements for their continued support.

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