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Triathlon Training & Races - Matt's Blog
Sharing my experiences in training, racing and learning the 'science' of progressing in Triathlon - from total novice to top-ten finisher (and hopefully beyond!). Stop by to listen to what I have to say, but don't forget, the whole point of web 2.0 is interaction, so don't be afraid or too shy to leave your own thoughts!

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Race Report: Chilly Duathlon, Castle Combe

prhimby prhimNov 22nd 2010
The Chilly Duathlon holds a special significance for me. Not because it's an especially iconic race or anything like that (although I think it is a great end-of-season blow-out race for people of all abilities), but because it's the first multi-sport race I entered when I made the decision in 2009 to give Triathlon a go.

A year later and I wanted to go back and revisit the (roughly) 2 mile / 10 mile / 2 mile race to give me a benchmark on how much progress I've made since this same time last year (I also raced the February version as well).

Although Sunday dawned reasonably bright, if cold, the rain on the motorway as we were heading to the race didn't bode well. Racking up the bike in a downpour is never the most cheerful of experiences, as you set up bike, shoes and helmet in the full knowledge that they are going to be totally sodden as you enter T1 in an hour so (yuk).

Thankfully, the rain eased off shortly before the start of the Seniors' Wave at 1.15pm. So while the ground was soaking wet, at least there was none of the wet stuff falling from the sky.

With a couple of good 5km park runs behind me lately, I was hoping for a good initial 2 mile time, so positioned myself near the front for the start of the race. The number of entrants seemed a little down on last year, so there wasn't too much of a scramble off the line and people settled into a good pace pretty quickly.

I was a little disappointed just how quickly the leaders seemed to steam away, but tried to focus on my own race, coming into T1 on 12 minutes dead, just outside the top ten. T1 went well although the Giro aero helmet really isn't the most user friendly with cold fingers! I made up a couple of places on the exit to T1 (it seems practising bike mounts really can make a difference...) and then we were out onto the motor racing circuit for five laps. A couple more places were made up over the course of the five laps (thanks in part to top athlete Alex Fisher racing on a mountain bike with aero bars!).

As is always the way at Castle Combe, the wind was fantastic when it was behind you (I recorded a top speed of 47kmh) but a b*tch when against you (parts of the lap were down to 25kmh, maybe less). The track was soaking but thankfully I didn't see anyone take a tumble, even with the hairpin back into T2.

T2 again went well but my legs were dead and I was breathing hard as I started the second run. One guy blew past me within a couple of hundred metres of T2 exit, but I could also see I was reeling in a guy who took me on the last lap of the bike. Other than that, the field was pretty spread out and I could still see a lot of guys out on the bike circuit, which could only be a good sign!

After about a mile or so of Run #2 I could feel my legs coming back to me a little and I was getting into my stride (such as it is). With the finish line in sight, I gave it all I had and crossed the line looking a bit of a mess! Not surprisingly my second run was significantly slower than the first, coming in at 13:04.

Combined with a bike split of 24 minutes dead, plus transitions, that gave me an overall time of 50:44. Only good enough for 8th in Age Group on the day, but more importantly a ten minute improvement on my November 2009 time (1:00:33) and a five minute improvement on February 2010 (55:07). Admittedly my equipment has changed a lot from that first race, but so too has my fitness and race craft.

With clear improvements in all three stages of the race, it's difficult to pinpoint any particular areas of weakness - more winter base training and starting some speed work in the new year should hopefully facilitate further improvements. Bike position too could perhaps benefit from some tinkering as I have 'wide knees' at times currently. Perhaps Run #2 could have been improved with some BRICK training (haven't done a single BRICK session since before the Hever Triathlon in September), but I am not overly worried about that at this time of the year.

Thanks as always to the DBMax organisers and TBAS sponsors - great guys and a great event. I'll be back next year; by my calculations, another five minute improvement should see me win overall! ;-)
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