In this week's race report blog, Stuart Kilmartin only just survives a duathlon....
Sunday April 17th would see four hundred athletes descend on Ludlow Shropshire for the second Storm the Castle Duathlon billed as ‘the toughest duathlon in the UK’- big statement made by the organisers?
The registration was conducted on Saturday at the Ludlow Brewery which had a menu of fine ales and hand crafted pies on offer- to a northern lad this was a bit like the kid in the sweetshop scenario but I resisted all temptation put in front of me, registered, race number collected and met the awesome Dermott Hayes- organiser and evil architect behind the race!
Now a nice sunny afternoon in Ludlow was a surprise to both racers and locals alike as a fair amount of snow had fallen early Saturday and a cold morning was expected Sunday- great!
That’s now enough wittering about the pre-race!
Sunday morning saw a lovely sunny morning albeit a little nippy but dry and no ice on the roads so bike out of the car, changed to race and off to transition.
Anyway, as usual I am digressing… (Ed: Yeah... crack on, it's a blog, not a novel).
We were off out of the start along the undulating road, around the mandatory event cone and arrived at the lactic ladder; a torturous set of uneven steps that reduced everybody’s pace and if you showed a lack of respect would empty the energy tank early doors. Once at the top it again was undulating until a muddy climb back to the path then down back to the river, over the bridge and start of the hideous climb up the hill, around the castle and start of lap two for a repeat of the above… (Ed: Refer to my previous comment about this not being a novel...)
Duathlon run one ticked, into transition, bike collected and out onto the bike course- a cheeky thirty three kilometres of undulation, hills and steep climbs. Bike section over back into transition then out for the final run- yep only a one lap repeat of the previous run leg.
Now here’s a strange comment for those multi-sport athletes who will sympathise with the jelly leg post bike situation- I didn’t feel the wobbly legs but decided caution rather than blow the gasket towards the finish. (Ed: If you didn't feel the jelly legs, perhaps you should have tried harder on the bike?)
Out on the final run I came to the lactic ladder for the final time, picked my way to the top, up the muddy bank and back over the river bridge. It was then up the castle hill, once round the castle and into the finish- a marvellous setting inside the castle to a superb atmosphere and event village.
Medal and finishers t-shirt given, free cakes and beer (warm but free- but not near as good as Liam’s either!)
Finally was it the toughest duathlon in the UK? Perhaps it is? It is a challenge, both the run and bike routes need respect but for most people it is well within their capabilities and the scenery, organisation and atmosphere is one event to make the bucket list.
If I’m honest Fairy Glen, Hunters Hill and Lees Lane are just as much fun…
If you have done any races recently, we'd like to publish your report! Please send your race reports to firstname.lastname@example.org It's fair to say we'll have anyone as you can deduce from this post.