Mud and Mayhem Duathlon, March 17th 2013

This race was my first planned race of the 2013 season and although cross country Duathlons arn’t exactly my chosen event I needed something to try and focus the mind and kick start my training. Since the arrival of our baby daughter I’ve found consistent training pretty tricky and sustaining any sort of decent weekly volume impossible.  When I have managed a solid week or two it knackers me out so much I seem to immediately succumb to the latest ailment brought back from baby dippers, messy music or which ever toddler group the girls are attending! Still, I’m trying to be as adaptable as possible, and if she continues to sleep like a dream and my wife retains the patience of a saint I’ll hopefully slowly regain some fitness.

Anyway Mud and Mayhem is a popular and growing XC Duathlon held down in Thetford Forest. After the wet last few months it was certainly muddy, but probably better than I was anticipating. A slightly long 5km started out along the river bank before heading into the forest and including a fairly nasty climb just after halfway. With a fairly poor running base behind me, I tried to stay out of the red during the first leg, coming into T1 in 20.29 (bang on 6.30 min/mile pace) back in 6 th place and over 2 mins behind the leader. Out onto the bike course and I felt more at home, at least until it got all technical on me. Fortunately I’d picked up a few places on the forest tracks before the route dived into the thick forest for the second half of the lap, twisting and turning its way between the trees. It was great fun and an excellent course, but I could do with brushing up on my MTB skills as the 3 spills I had enroute showed. The second lap had the added hazard of tail enders to negotiate, but most were very helpful it letting you squeeze past. Unbeknown to me I’d gained time on the lad in front in 2nd place during the bike leg, but lost a little to Iain Robertson who seems to be adding Xterra events to his growing multisport CV. T2 was relatively smooth and I was surprised to feel OK on the second run. This was probably a result of being unable to pedal and navigate between the trees at the same time, but none the less left me fairly fresh legs. Not knowing where 4th place was in relation to me I pushed on and ended up posting an almost identical time for the second run split, holding on to a podium place and a good way to celebrate my birthday!

It was a promising start to the season and I have a little over 2months to work hard and try and improve in all areas before the Triathlon season begins in earnest. I’ve got TriHarder’s Simon working his magic on my new steed, so I’m fully expecting better bike splits already!