Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Washington Duathlon

on 9 April 2018

A few years ago, despite being just about able to float in water and having been on a bike twice in the previous 10 years, I signed up for a Go-TRI event in Prudhoe just to see what it was all about. I came away with two lasting impressions: various exercise segments being comfortably within your grasp does not mean they will remain so when you’ve shoved them all together, and I do not like swimming.

My main aim for 2018 was to try new things and have fun with exercise, so when I saw a novice DUathlon in the local area, I was down to give it a go – and why not drag someone else along for the ride?! I really like the ‘intro’ level events that some clubs hold to get people into sport – they are much less daunting than signing up for a ‘full’ event when you have no idea if you’ll be able to do it all and are still shaky on what’s involved with ‘Transition’ and really don’t want to be shouted at by a marshall for making the biggest faux pas in the world ever in complete ignorance.

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There were two events on today – a Novice event, and double the distance for the Sprint.  Being undeniably new to this, B and I had signed up for the Novice event; a run of 2.7km (2 laps), cycle of 10km (2 laps), and a final run of 1.35km (1 lap).

When you turn up at an event like this, the first thing they do when you register is cover you in numbers. Everywhere. You know when you go to a theme park and there’s small children with bracelets or writing on them with their responsible adult’s details on incase they get lost? It’s like there’s an assumption to do one of these events there must be something special about you, and thus they make it obvious you are undertaking such an event. This way, if some kindly soul takes pity on you cycling in circles round and round Sainsbury’s carpark, they will at least know which way to point you to return you to your kind. We had pen numbers on our arms and calves (I still haven’t got them off two washing attempts later), stickers for our helmets and our bikes, a number bib for pinning to our belts incase the smaller ones just weren’t obvious enough and a house-arrest convict style ankle bracelet which is allegedly for timing but may or may not contain a GPS tracker… It is claimed these are to stop people stealing your bike – it must match your numbers, your bib – it must match your body art, and your helmet – which must also match all of the other things. We know the truth 😛

We succeeding in levitating our bikes ready in transition (there was a fence too close so they didn’t touch the floor!) and were about as ready as we were ever going to be to set off.

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It is a well-known strategy for particularly longer races that you find a nice bum and follow it. We hadn’t been running for long when we were passed by several of the people doing the Sprint (and well, compared to us – sprinting), one of them with a very…distinctive bottom?! We dubbed him Window Bum Man as for some reason he had a circle of netting in the back of his tri-suit…

This started a theme for us for the rest of the race: we watched for him passing us again on the bike (as we knew he would being much quicker than us) – and were even more perplexed when we shared our new spotting hobby with another lady cyclist in the event and she asked ‘wasn’t he wearing any underwear?!’. No. No, he was not. We had not clocked the significance of this when presented with the first vision. Eventually we worked out a few tri-related phenomena we had not considered before. Ever.

The window was probably to allow water to drain out after swimming. No underpants (and when you’re confronted with well-worn and stretched lycra you can sometimes see others also aren’t wearing any…once you start looking :O ) because these are Tri-People – they usually swim first, and who wants soggy underpants on under their gear while you’re trying to run or squelching on your bike seat? Eeeewwww, no thank you. Still not something that would have occurred to me and another +1 for not doing TRIathlons again – I would be one of the soggy knicker brigade!

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Even with these rather distracting thoughts, and some very bad singing from both of us, we found the cycle route a bit tough in places. I had thought B was having trouble with her gears – especially when trying to go uphill, and she was even having to pedal while I was coasting. The reason for this became very clear when we lifted her bike onto the car rack again at the finish and I tried to turn her pedal by hand to get it into a different position: The brakes were stuck on the disk on the back wheel – she’d done the whole thing with the brakes on and had also managed to sustain a flat tyre. I think she enjoyed it more retrospectively than she necessarily did at the time knowing it wasn’t actually her!

Once we’d chucked the bikes back into transition again we only had to do one more lap of the park, which wasn’t too daunting. I felt like I’d brought my saddle with me when we first set off, but that lasted as long as the first downhill where, as is my wont, I threw my arms over my head and flew down with reckless abandon – and an inability to stop – yelling ‘WHEEEEEEEEEEE’ as B chortled along behind me. We crossed the finish line having finished our first duathlon by 9 in the morning – not bad for a Sunday 😉

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I had a REALLY great time doing this – the Novice distance was perfect for just kicking back and enjoying it without feeling daunted and I just generally found it really fun. I’m already seriously considering signing up for next year – but do we go for a repeat fun session with the Novice or do we try and crank it up a bit and go for the Sprint?! 20th April 2019 if anyone’s interested in joining me 😉 Might be the first one on the back page of the calendar to go on next year’s!

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You can download GPX files of all courses from my Dropbox page by clicking on the links below:

Run 1     Bike     Run 2

Run Map 1

Bike Map

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One response to “Washington Duathlon

  1. […] not going out just to do half a mile for that 😉 Mixed up in that mileage is a duathlon (Washington Novice Duathlon) and two races – 1 road (North Tyneside 10k) and 1 trail (Washington Trail 10k). I’ve […]

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