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Fiona = 1, Ballbuster Duathlon = 2

Yesterday I found myself on the start line of the Spring Ballbuster Duathlon in Box Hill, near Dorking Surrey. I'm not sure whether I was feeling a sense of shock about the lack of usual rain, sleet or (predicted) snow/ ice conditions renowned on this course, or the reality sinking in that I would be, to all intents and purposes, racing as a 'vet' this season. Hmmm.... How did that sneak up on me?

So after registration, racking and pre-race briefing at the summit of Box Hill (265ft) we were off to tackle the 40 mile course involving approximately 1300ft of climbing. Experience tells anyone who has done this race not to cane the first run, especially the downhill sections as you pay for this exponentially on the final run.

It is, after all recognised as being one of the toughest duathlons in the UK due to the course taking in 5 scenic laps of an 8 mile loop around Box Hill. 1 lap of 8 miles of undulating running, 24 miles of the same course 3 times on your bike, followed by another 8 mile lap run to finish you off. Literally! Of course, my racing style is not to hold back on the first run so I set off at my customary 6 minute mile pace with the lead group, knowing full well it wouldn't feel this 'cruisey' after getting off the bike. 

The first time up Box Hill my legs felt pretty strong, and I was looking forward to getting on the bike and testing the super light responsiveness offered by the high modulus Xentis wheels on the course.

Many of my training rides take me around the South Downs and I knew I would appreciate not having a fully laden bike with training wheels underneath me on race day! Sure enough, the bike flew on each lap, especially once up to speed on flat or undulating roads they really drive themselves forward. I did miss not having any female competitors within sight or vicinity to race.

The last run was a matter of just keeping the legs shuffling, at an aerobic pace. Not pleasant just ticking over in a slow gear, but I had the lead in the women's race by enough of a margin to relax and enjoy finishing with the win.

7 March 2010

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