On the 15th November some of the Performance squad, along with drivers, headed down to the BUCS duathlon. Paul turned up with his bike bag, and must have been disappointed to find out that we weren’t heading somewhere more exotic than Bath. After a long journey down, with only one detour to take in the sights of Blackburn, we arrived in Swindon. After taking in the tourist attractions of Swindon, we got an early night.
Race day came and everyone’s enthusiasm was apparent as we packed the van again, none more so than Conor who was telling everyone who would listen how confident he was… We arrived at Castle Combe racing circuit and it was clear that a lot of athletes followed Sam’s philosophy of buying performance! The race consisted of a 2 mile run around the perimeter of the racing circuit, a 10 mile cycle on the circuit and then the same run again. Fortunately it was a dry start to the day, however despite being 400 miles south, the promised warm weather didn’t materialise and it was freezing! The first men’s race started at 1:30, with Sam, Paul and Andy in this one. Paul and Sam had very strong first runs, me, not so much! The cycle was around a racecourse, so I had a great time pretending to be a racing car although I’m sure Paul and Sam were more focused on racing given their times! After a good cycle and a very slick transition, Sam was the first of the Edinburgh boys onto the run. Unfortunately, London boy Sam was not dressed for the occasion and was visibly suffering from the cold conditions. Despite this, he held his second run together to finish a good 30th in a very strong field. Meanwhile Paul, from Orkney, was enjoying the positively tropical conditions (compared to what he’s used to!) and had an excellent second run to finish 26th! I jogged home in 59th managing to keep my dignity intact by keeping the St Andrews boys behind me.
Then was the women’s race, with another tough field, including the current U23 World Champion! Sophie had a superb first run putting her in a good position. Sarah and Yvonne also ran well before putting their newly learned transition skills to good use! After a good ride Sophie had a brilliant second run, running through a lot of the field to finish 23rd. Sarah also had a strong second run to come 91st and Yvonne posted a great bike time and came 130th.
James and Conor were in the 2nd men’s race. James had a great race finishing in 3rd after leading the race for most of the bike (106th overall). Despite his bleak outlook on the race Connor put together a solid performance, with a strong second run to finish 152nd overall.
Our men’s team came 11th overall, and the women’s team was 23rd. At 4pm, once all the bikes and Paul’s bike bag were loaded up, we hit the road for the long journey up. It was here that my navigational skills came undone. Several wrong turns and a few litres of coke later we were back on track. In a high of hyperactivity the journey flew by, especially with James in charge of the tunes. We arrived back to Edinburgh at 1am after a good weekends racing. Now to recover before the next one!