Alex not only won the North West Duathlon Championship last weekend, he set a new course record….

nw_champs_2015_alex_podium

When my weekend driving time/mileage outweighs the training time/mileage by about 6:1, then that’s typically a bad weekend. However, the upside was that it meant I got chance to catch up with everyone at the annual TORQ get together, pick up a stash of new kit (that most pros. would be envious of), and get the 2015 Season off to a great start at the North West Duathlon Championships in Carlisle.

My Winter’s training has been as good as can be expected. Unlike the last couple of years, I have thankfully been free from injury and so have gained plenty of consistency and time to spend focusing on some weaknesses. Like many age groupers (squeezing in training around work and life), the weekends are the only opportunity for putting in the longer training days. This year, on these back to back training days, I have found the TORQ Recovery shakes to be particularly important. The Recovery drinks have really helped to provide me with a weekend of quality training and have also ensured that I do not enter the office on the Monday morning feeling and looking like a zombie.

After a catch up with the team at TORQ’s HQ, which included a great buffet (thanks to Sasha I believe) and some much needed guidance from Fenwick’s on their bike cleaning gear, I headed North to Carlise. The typical race eve task of clicking away through the courses and google maps was completed, but after my lunch with TORQ (which consisted of possibly one plate of lunch too many), I decided to experiment with a pre-race chicken salad, and also banked on a good breakfast to get me through too.

Previously, the North West Championships have been based in Lancaster, so the start list didn’t include many familiar names. I was therefore unsure of the main competition, or of how the race would pan out. However, the race began (as most Duathlons do), with a couple sprinting off the front before being reeled back in by those who take a little longer to get going, myself included. But by 2-3k in, I’d moved into the lead and entered T1 with a 10-20 second lead over second place, which was thankfully built upon as we went through the bike leg.

 

On the bike, it’s usually good to have someone to work off and use as a pacemaker, yet by 6k, I wasn’t too annoyed about being joined by someone else. The pace seemed fine and they didn’t disappear into the distance. Then as we moved through the second lap, the gap extended and I began to lose a bit of ground. With the British AG Duathlon Champs being next weekend, I’d trained as normal throughout the week, but still hoped I’d be able to pull off a win here. As the gap grew, it was a case of keeping at bay any negative thoughts, such as “I’m not fresh enough” or “I haven’t tapered properly.” Those of you who are aware of the brilliant @TriExcuse twitter feed will know what I mean.

Much like last year’s National Duathlon Champs, I realised I had a bit of work to do, and so I set off trying to do a “Jorgenson” and managed to make up what must have been a 30-40s deficit over a measly 4k (and being 30-40s back looks like quite a long way). However……..40s became 30, then very quickly 30 became 10 by about 3k I’d moved into 1st position and pulled further ahead to take the win.

As much as I loved the simplicity and monotony of long Winter training days/weeks/months, it was great to be back racing again and to remind the body as to just how hard it can work in little over an hour.

A big thank you to all the friendly people and marshals at The Carlise Tri Club for hosting a great event (even though it meant my spending a little more time behind the wheel of my car).