On the 5th September 2021 I took part in the London Duathlon. This is actually my first official Duathlon, despite doing one previously at Ironman Hamburg because the swim was cancelled. In the build up to Ironman California I wanted to make sure I was ready. The Running is my strength, so I wanted to ensure I took part in some other disciplines. The first was last month with the London Triathlon (take a look at my blog HERE). Today I took part in the Ultra edition of the London Duathlon, as it is part of my Ironman Training. Then in a couple of weeks I will be taking part in Ironman Weymouth 70.3. So all of this is great Training, let’s just hope USA let us in soon.
As always I got my kit ready the day before. Its even more important when it’s something you aren’t familiar with, and for a Duathlon there are two disciplines to cater for. I took plenty of cliff blocs because the Ultra is a 20k run, followed by 77k bike and then finishes with a 10k run. One thing I didn’t prepare was a sports drink for transition or a drink for when I finished. I must remember this for the future. I really need a sugar hit when I finish multi-discipline sports.
The London Duathlon is in Richmond Park. The quickest and easiest way for me to get there is to cycle. Although I’m not confident with directions. It is a 9 mile ride, and I started the day with an early morning ride, leaving at 07:00. The organisers say to get there at least 60 minutes early. In reality this is not necessary, but it is a good way of making sure that everyone is there in a timely manner, taking away stresses in the morning. I arrived in plenty of time to go and rack my bike, go to the toilet with no queues and have a look around the race village. There was a lovely setup for spectators, and the most delicious smells coming from a breakfast bar, but I didn’t think a sausage and bacon roll before starting would help me.
The start was in waves of 20 people. We started with the Ultra at 9 and I believe all the other events followed on. It was nice starting in smaller groups and meant that most of the course was not crowded. I was on the first wave and I took the lead for a couple of miles at the beginning. Obviously it didn’t last for long as some faster athletes must have started behind and soon caught up. It was an enjoyable run, although it seemed like a long 20k, and the weather began to get warm.
For the first 20k I ran in around 1:32 which was an average of 7:14 min mile. I felt comfortable and strong, but very sweaty. I came in to transition and changed to my bike fairly quickly. The bike course is 7 laps for the Ultra, which is 77k. Its relatively flat but it doesn’t feel like it, with one big hill, which you have to do 7 times.
I had hoped to average 20 miles per hour, but I slowed as the event went on. I managed to reach a max speed of 36 miles an hour, and I’m really happy with my performance. But there is a long way to go for me with improvements that I want to make. I stopped on my 4th lap to top up my water, it was so hot and I had to pull over to fill up. After I I going I just plodded a bit more instead of pushing. So I finished the ride in around 2:55, which was about 25 minutes away from my target.
On to my final run, and I finally had the chance for a deer Selfie. I saw a big herd on the bike, and a few larger deer together, but on the run I had to take the opportunity. Richmond Park is so beautiful and it was a glorious day, so although it was hot and getting harder, it couldn’t have been in a more beautiful setting. The highlight for me was seeing my family as I came into transition for the first time, they weren’t supposed to be coming, so it was a lovely surprise. Then at the finish line they were screaming for me, and a high five before finishing is always great.
I went a bit more gently on the final run, partly because I was tired and partly because I just wanted to finish and had nothing to prove. So a 50 minute 10k to finish left me with a finish of around 5:24. I had hoped for sub 5, so have something to aim for next time.
Unfortunately the medals did not arrive in time for the event, so these will be coming in the post. But we had our finisher tee, and a banana. So my medal shot is a banana shot.
I had a fantastic race, great training run and ride, and have nothing bad to say about the event. It ran like clockwork, and was so enjoyable. Have you taken part in the London Duathlon before, or know of any other good ones?
Also, this was a life saver when I finished… a great sugar boost before having to get back on my bike and cycle home for another 9 miles.