Now I look back the omens weren’t positive for my attempt at the Ramsbottom Mountain Trail Duathlon.  A cold a couple of days before had laid me low and, whilst it wasn’t too bad, it meant that I had to cut out most of the training I had planned.  My next warning came as I tried to put on my cycling shoes to ride to the start (at least the start line was only 1 mile from my house) and the ratchet clamp came away in my hand.  I should have called it a day there and then.

The Ramsbottom Duathlon is a great event organised by the local running club Holcombe Harriers. It comprises of a steep 8.3km run on rough tracks and footpaths taking a scenic route over Peel Tower. The cycle route is the 27km original ‘Mountain Trial Holcombe Circuit’, a challenging but scenic course taking in the summit of the Grane Road and Lumb Carr Road Hill Climb. The final run repeats the first run route but in reverse direction.  Tough but certainly doable for me as my running had been going well.

I started OK, my usual mid-table position and ground my way up the initial drawn-out climb and I felt pretty good.  Once the ground levelled I even started to pick up a few places and set a couple of Strava PRs on routes that I had run plenty of times.  The problems started though once the terrain started to head back down.  My left calf tightened really quickly and made running downhill almost impossible.  I’ve no history of calf problems so I hoped that the 1 mile walk to transition would see it ease off – but no such luck.

Into transition I knew that the final run was out of the question, but a quick chat with my mate John Kirkham, a local physio, suggested that the ride wouldn’t do me any more harm as long as I kept the effort down.  Spinning up the first climb proved the point and the ride went without incident.


Back into transition I called it a day.  Gutted really as I knew I would have done OK and concerned about the damage done 7 days prior to the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Cyclocross race the following Sunday.  Fingers crossed it heals enough to get me up Simon Fell at the start.

A huge thanks to all those that put the event on and marshaled. It was a really friendly well run event and I would recommend it to any fell runners that ride.  You can also enter as a team.

Lesson learned: warm-up properly for early morning runs up steep hills in chilly weather.

Photo: by Steve Bateson