Headed off to Richmond Park this morning to do the London Duathlon. Started out at about 9.30am, negotiated the tube with the bike and footed it up to Sheen Gate, picking up a stray on the way. Left Sue in Mortlake/Sheen to catch up later due to pervasive presence of second-hand bookshops and charity shops. Rode from Sheen Gate to Roehampton Gate, fell off bike due to having increased the tension in the SPDs (clip-in pedals) to maximum and didn't get feet out in time. Felt like an idiot. Had to ask bloke at bike equipment stall if I could borrow an Allen key. Not a good omen.
Richmond Park is beautiful. No really, it is. Large swathe of mostly grassland with old-fashioned forest covering bits of it, deer roaming around, a few hills, dirt paths around the edge and across the middle, cars limited to 20mph, car parks provided. And a few thousand nutters, today.
First run was OK. There's a hill up to the White Lodge (Royal Ballet School) but not too bad, and then it's downhill and along a bit. Still it was sweltering by the time we got started (1350) so it was pretty knackering. Then changed onto the bike, which came as a great relief for the first half-mile or so: not least because most of my drinks were on the bike (see photo). However the hill on the south side of the park was pretty harsh: I didn't have to get off and push (some did) but I was inching up it in granny gear... so ought to revisit here and get some training in. After that the biking went well: averaging 15.5mph over the whole thing; so not as well as I'd hoped but a bit better than a normal commute into work.
The real killer, though, was the second run. Run-to-bike was fine, almost relaxing. Bike-to-run was ... harsh. It took me ages to get to anything approaching a relaxed pace, and my legs just were not cooperating. Perhaps some of the running muscles had stiffened up while I was on the bike? Managed to drag myself around, although had to resort to walking intervals going up that hill again. Managed to sprint a bit once off the road at the end and the "triumphal arch" was in site. Someone had given the announcer a list of all the entrants by number so I heard "Good finish, Steve Haslam" over the PA while madly gulping in air at the end, which was pretty cool :)
Finally got home after stops to take photos of deer herds on the way back. Got an SMS with my results just as I was getting home:
|London Duathlon 2006|
|219th of 286|