First Race of the Season

It’s still early in the season but I always start it off with duathlons as I can wait until the triathlon season starts! My choice of torture was the Firefighters 2up, not a firefighter specific race but one in which we do turn out in good numbers from across the country including Northern Island and Scotland. This takes place over a brutal course in Bolton.

The run is all off road and involves a lot of climbing and an unforgiving decent, (especially with ankles like mine) the bike is very lumpy and the second run is a repeat of the first! Not for the faint hearted!

The 2up bit is where the event takes on a twist. You have to do it with a partner and you have to stay within 20m of each other at all times! My partner for the event was my partner for real, Nat, who is a talented athlete and very strong on the run and getting stronger by the day on the bike so this wasn’t going to be easy for me.

It had been raining for 3 days prior to the event and when we drove the bike route the evening before, it felt like we might have to swim it with the amount of water coming off the hills, covering the whole road in places!

The morning of the race was no better, again the rain came down, oh well it’s the same for everyone! Fluid on board the bike thanks to MyEndurance Intra and transition sorted we discussed tactics before lining up on the start line getting cold. Within 100m of the start we were straight onto a 1 in 4 hill, but we had both done some hill work in training so just needed to control the early adrenaline rush and avoid the fly and die scenario that catches so many peole out.

We attacked the tough conditions well and were leading the field from a mixed team until the lumpy, ankle breaking steep decent were I struggled to stay upright, I am no fell runner! But quickly pulled it back as I hit firmer ground. We had a great transition and were out and on the bike as the first mixed team.

Biking is my strength and I had to not go too hard and more importantly ensure Nat was on my wheel so we could move as fast as possible as a team. With no mudguards this meant Nat was getting sprayed with all the water on the road off my rear wheel!

Then came disaster! Amongst the early exchanges on the bike with people findings positions, as I rounded a bend I saw a pot hole last minute and couldn’t avoid it. I took an almighty whack, like Mike Tyson had landed a right hook and was worried my wheel was damaged, 100m further down the road and I noticed my front tyre going down. As I started to slow a sharp right turn was ahead, fighting to keep a straight line I managed to stay on and just stopped short of the ditch ahead.

I never carry any equipment with me for repair when racing based on the principle that I would lose too much time and therefore be more frustrated. However on this occasion I carried some PitStop, an aerosol with gunge in it. Theory being that the gunge (non-technical term) would seal the hole and the compressed air would inflate the tyre. This had no effect whatsoever apart from making a right mess! Getting more frustrated by the minute a marshal kindly offered my an inner tube, after having to get the tool box off a nearby fire appliance to get the tyre off it became apparent that the valve was too short!! This just wasn’t meant to be so we decided to walk back to the start and live to fight another day! A MyEndurance recovery drink was taken on board as we consolidated and already started looking forward to the next race.

It was a great shame as we were in a great position and I am sure would have challenged for the win, but that’s racing for you, sometimes stuff happens, it’s how you deal with it that counts.

Fuelled by MyEndurance I will take the positives of a great run into next week where I am competing in the Durham Duathlon which already has a very strong field but is all part of the master plan as I move into the season.



About the Author

Paul Clucas is a Firefighter and Triathlete based in East Yorkshire.
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