Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Battle Of Bosworth

I wake up having had a slightly disturbed sleep. I'm been having nightmares, not about today's duathlon but about yesterday's weave entry and whether I could have done it differently. Perhaps I'm taking these things too seriously. Today, I shall just enjoy the event...

The first thing I notice this morning is that its bloody cold and the second thing is that it's also bloody windy. We drive over to Market Bosworth where I’m doing the 1485 Duathlon. 1485 is the date of the Battle Of Bosworth, which probably means I'm in for a battle today. Seemingly the opposition is going to be more from the elements than the opposition. The wind may have been strong in Nottingham but it's bordering on hurricane force here.

Getting the kit right is going to be crucial. All the competitors are eyeing each other up trying to decide how far to go with the layers. No one wants to look a wimp by wearing too much but some foolhardy souls go too far and opt for the shorts option. Others seem to be ready to compete in fleeces or coats. I think I get the right mix. L’s lyrca leggings again, two lightweight tops and gloves. Gloves are very necessary today.

Let battle commence. First off a run around the lake, how scenic, not. The wind howls across the lake, what fun. This is followed by a pleasant jog up to the next village, this is a bit more sheltered and isn't so bad.

Most of the field seem to be taking it very easy but I've realised recently that the first run is my strong point, so I’m playing the joker on this bit. I move up the field and even consider trying to win this bit but I would probably regret that later. In the end I come in 6th out of 45, not bad eh?

I actually overtake someone in transition putting me briefly 5th but I expect them to soon come past me, the bike is where I’m prepared to lose places. There was also a chap just behind me coming into transition but oddly neither of them roar past me. In fact not one competitor passes me in the first 5k on the bike. I start thinking I’ve missed a turn and gone the wrong way. They have only one marshal on a scooter and he’s doing both bike and run. This is duathlon on the cheap but no complaints about that. As the chap who organised it keeps saying 'all this for a tenner'. Then I see an arrow and sigh with relief. Not long later someone does pass me, then a few more do, but mostly I manage to stay in touch with them.

The wind is horrible. Making the hills even harder and the downhills of no benefit as the wind just tries to blow you back up them. At times I'm struggling to hold the front wheel down on the ground in the strong wind. We do this for fun you know. It's a good job I did that training in the wind on Friday. I knew it was a cunning idea.

Luckily as the route is circular eventually the wind is behind me and propels me back to transition. By the end six people have passed me, ten was my limit, at which point I would have stopped at the roadside and cried. So I'm well pleased with just six.

I start the second run, which is a repeat of the first run, in 11th place and only just behind 10th. I have his card marked and keep him in my sights. I resolve to take him after the turnaround point. Unfortunately the old legs have not read the battle plan and are not cooperating. He also seems fresher than me, how dare he be. In the end I give up on him and concentrate on holding onto what I've got. Had he been female then there might have been more of an incentive to 'have him/her' but it wasn't to be.

So I cross the line in 11th with a time of 01:33:05 and feeling totally knackered. The grass is too wet to collapse onto so I get L to hold me up instead. Doggo is very pleased to see me, his vocal support was very welcome, kind of. The winner, who's older than me, beat me by fourteen minutes. Wow. Some girl came in 4th, seven minutes ahead of me, that's so out of my league. Also some of the competitors cycled there and cycled home, wind and all. Either they're also out of my league or just plain mad. I hope I beat them.

So, as L puts it, I got 11th today and the dog got 12th yesterday. So not a bad weekend, although obviously he should have done better but he doesn't look too bothered about it.

My father has been supporting me again and we take him for a couple of Cumberland's. Then home for a hot bath and a warm down with L.

In the evening we have a blow out on a takeaway curry and down a bottle of wine between us.

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