Redcar Draft Legal Sprint Qualifier by Paul Clucas

Redcar Draft Legal Sprint Qualifier

The recent introduction of draft legal racing for all World Triathlon events is something I wasn't too sure about at first, but having done a couple now I must say they are so much fun.

Just to explain for the non-cyclists, drafting is best described as getting as close as possible to the rear wheel of the person in front, giving you a significantly easier ride at the same speed. This in theory should make for faster speeds if all cyclists take an equal turn, working hard on the front before recovering on the rear wheel of one or more cyclists.  Easier than explaining the offside rule! This is only effective if the following happens:

  • You manage to get on the wheel of someone of equal ability
  • That person or people are all prepared to take a turn on the front to keep the whole pack moving at speed
  • People have the ability to ride close and not bring you down

The format for the race was a 750m sea (lovely North Sea) swim, 20km bike which consisted of 4 laps along the sea front with a few twists and turns and a 5km run with 3 dead turns on each of the 3 laps

beach running Fresh out of the water.

They started us on the beach behind a line drawn in the sand. This meant a race to the water which was very shallow for quite a bit making the decision of when to dive in important as a face plant onto the sea bed would not only be embarrassing but also result in other athletes coming over the top of you. I decided to start at the front giving me a free run into the sea and hopefully establish a good start and not get swam over!

cycling Pushing on - Paul Clucas Cycling

Out the water and immediately gaining places on the run up the beach, along the front and down into T1. In my keenness to catch those that got out the swim before me, as soon as I was out of my wetsuit I grabbed my bike without putting on my helmet, doh. Quickly correcting the sequence of getting dressed I was out and away on the bike. The slight mistake didn't lose me too much time when looking at the results as I was still the fastest in my category in T1. Small gains!

While others faffed around the mount line, (which never fails to amaze me) I pushed on and immediately started to gain on the faster swimmers who had got out on the bike before me. I asked a few athletes to work together as I chased them down but as soon as I took the front it was clear they were not going to be of use to me as they dropped off my wheel, No time for niceties, it wasn't a Sunday ride. As I mentioned earlier, for this type of racing to work effectively you need to find cyclists of the same ability, which is not always easy.

road running Paul Clucas - Second place finish.

Into T2 and swiftly out knowing my run isn't quite where it should be and not knowing how my ankle would hold out after twisting it a week earlier.  It was a twisty course with a few dead turns but I went out hard and held the pace well. I was aware of who was where due to 3 lap format which meant passing each other at certain points. I could feel myself tiring on the last lap and had to give myself a good talking to, this helped me pick the pace back up over the last km and keep the chasing hounds at bay.

I crossed the line in second place in my age category which meant I had earnt an automatic qualification place for the Worlds. Well my decision after such a fun race was made soon after, I am pleased to say that I will be racing the draft legal sprint at the World Championships in Rotterdam this September.

The demand on the body to get to this level of fitness and be consistent in training is thanks to the nutritional support provided MyEndurance.

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