Ten things I learned from doing the 2016 National Duathlon Championships around Mondello Racetrack last weekend.
You need to be so much more aware of who’s coming behind you and who’s wheel you can stay with
2. Bike power is key
Your ability to surge for 5-15 sec to catch a wheel can be the difference between being towed along in a group or rowing your boat alone. Against the tide.
3. Duathlon wasn’t invented in Ireland
The man or woman who invented run/bike/run wasn’t born in Ireland. He definitely conjured up a sport to be raced in balmy summer days, not freezing wet mud paths.
4. Read the race T&Cs
The Punchestown Triathlon last month was right when they asked you at online registration to tick a box: “I agree to the adverse weather conditions.” Now I know what they mean.
5. Duathlon is not like TopGear
Racing around a race track on a reasonably priced bike feels a lot slower than watching the Stig do it on TopGear.
6. We raced in a triathlon, not a duathlon
I mean one run was on smooth tarmac of the track, but the other 2 laps were on muddy trails you wouldn’t see in a December cross-country meet on a farm.
Pedalling up the finish straight past the grandstand and pit lane means you have to make your own “vvvrrrroooommm” engine noises. It’s eerily quiet.
8. There are 2 pit stops
You must make 2 pit stops, but there’s no pit crew – although the marshal did try help when I couldn’t get my helmet unclipped due to frozen fingers.
9. There is a winner’s podium
The winners did get presented their prizes on the chequered podium – but there was no champagne sprayed around (or cheering masses – one man and his camera really).
10. Counting laps of the track is hard
Ticking off 12 laps over 77 minutes – it’s easy for the mind to wander. I suppose being lapped twice by the leader gave me some indication – he’d finished his run by the time I got off the bike.
P.S. Why can’t TI find a race with the full standard distance of 10/40/5km run/bike/run? The last 2 years it’s been short, which unbalances the scales between runners and cyclists.
Thanks to everyone who organised the race. In the end, I’m glad I raced. We got a unique opportunity to race around a track and competed shoulder to shoulder with the top athletes in the country. The volunteers and marshals were great. Triathlon Ireland were brave to take a decision to try something different – keep it up.