Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Northern Crossing Done!

For the 2nd year in a row I competed in the northern crossing duathalon. Last year was a huge disappointment, I wasn't nearly ready enough and suffered the whole way across. So this time it was all about getting some redemption.

The plan: Really simple, keep things nice and slow at the start, this is going to be a long day. And race my own race, I’m competing against my time from last year, not the other athletes.
Run 1: 8km, through a farm around the coast, onto the road, over a nasty hill then along to beach to transition. My friend Kris (doing the solo dualthlon for the first time) and I had the same plan of an easy pace to start the race, including walking up the hill, to save our legs for the bike. After 5 minutes we were only in front of 1 or 2 people. We stuck to our plan tho and after the hill ran down several who had gone out to hard and faded before the finish and best of all felt nice and fresh for the bike. Finished in 1:01:29, which was slower than the 55 minutes I had wanted, but not hugely so.

Kris and I at the top of the hill
Athletes running down the beach
T1: Slow. Not much positive to say about this. I was very casual, and probably lost a few minutes here.
Bike: 81km through country roads, 3 decent hills to start with before a long (30km) uphill slog across the country. (described as rolling country roads... yeah right!)
This was the big leg for me, I have been focusing on my riding over the last few months, especially climbing hills (for obvious reasons) I’m my no means fast, but am getting to the stage where I can at least be comfortable. The bike didn’t go perfectly, my chain locking up at the start of the 2nd hill, almost resulting in a fall. And I had trouble losing the chain off the crankset 4 or 5 times latter in the course. These cost me some time. On the positive, I was more organised this year than last and had Mel meet me 30 and 60km into the ride to top up my hydration and give me some real food (Bananas!!) On the whole I’m really happy with how the bike went. I passed 2 riders, and was passed by 2 others. Despite the assistance I still didn’t get enough fuel into me, I was fine on the bike but hurting soon after starting the final run. According to my bike computer, I finished in 3:58:xx, which I am thrilled about, one of my goals for the event was a 4 hour bike split.

Start of the Bike
T2: Better than T1. I had more urgency about what I was doing and was out on the run quite fast
Run 2: 8km through grassland, and on trails, following a river bank to the kerikeri stone basin. To call this leg a run is being a bit generous. It felt more like a shuffle to be honest. This is where I think my lack of fuel intake hurt me, after about 5-6 minutes of running I started to feel incredibly hungry. Throughout the whole run I felt like I had no energy left to give. BUT, I did manage (how, im not sure) to overtake 3 duathlon competitors on the last run. So I wasn’t the only one feeling the pain. I finished the run in 54:59.
Approaching the finish
Over all I finished in 6:02:26, which was 1 hour 15 minutes better than last years’ time. I’m hugely satisfied with my efforts and it feels so good to see my training paying off. 

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