After the race in Gap I had to focus on the work in the clinic and another set of exams which left me no option but to prioritize. When I was just about to get back into it and sat on my bike, I got less than a mile and had a collision with another cyclist and broke my zygomatic arch (cheek bone) in 4 places. I recovered real good and was able to start with training again immediately.
So I started the first Duathlon for some time which is quite a local venue held in the beautiful premises of Chilham Castle next to Canterbury. My expectations for this race were relatively low as I was sick for quite a few days and only managed to get on my bike the day before and did a 68km recce ride. This did not go very good initially but the further I went the better the legs felt so the confidence was back.
The rain started just on time, about 40 minutes before the start which is always nice if the run is cross country. Putting my bike into the transition area was a special feeling but the routine came back immediately. There were about 70 people at the start waiting for the signal. Apart from my brilliant team mates from the Harriers I didn't know anyone and wasn't sure what to expect, as there are very good time trialists in Kent. I thought we would see soon enough who is left after the first run.
The first kilometer or so went steadily uphill in the forest on a muddy and slippery trail. I was immediately on my own which suited me very well and set a pace I was comfortable with and would not be to exhausted after 10km. It turned out I increased my lead on the first run to more than six minutes on the second guy.
This allowed me to start the bike in my own pace which went gradually uphill. After almost half an hour I reached the highest point but was just 15 km into the course. On the way back down I was just pedaling whatever I could to not lose to much terrain on my fellow competitors. Reaching the 25km mark and with it the bottom of the hill my legs felt pretty empty. I had to reduce the speed a little to make sure I wouldn't blow. The last 15 kilometers of the course went out & back in on the same road. As it went relatively well out, I had to realize on the way back that I had head wind which made it even harder. I clocked my watch at the roundabout to see how far the next competitor was back. It took nearly two minutes and funny enough he (Tom Vandenbussche from Belgium) did the exact same thing and was clearly determined to catch me if possible.
I just wanted to survive the last bit of the bike which had a brisk and steep uphill into the premises of the castle. When I reached the dreadful running path it was transformed into a tough mudder. I fought my way up but once I reached the top, the ground was again normal grass and I was able to get back into a normal stride. I crossed the finish nearly 4 minutes under the old course record and was happy everything went as smooth as I could wish for.
Analyzing the split times I gave everybody a beating on the run with 6 and more minutes on 10km and almost 4 minutes on the last 5km. On the bike I had the 2nd split including the teams but then again Tom caught up 4:30 minutes on 40 kilometers. Great performance mate!
Mens podium and post-race treat :)
Here are the results
And my splits on strava (1st run, bike, 2nd run)
Now its time to look forward to the Beachy Head Marathon next weekend. I am now confident that my running form is good enough to race relatively hard. I just don't know if my legs will carry me the full Marathon as I haven't run further than 30 kilometers for a very long time. Well its time to find out :)
This is my goal for this late part of the season and it is important to me to bring it to a good end. Until then have a good time!