Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Glentress Duathalon

Right then, now for something a little different – A Duathalon.  That’s running and cycling.

Beardy Belgian Brother Ben
Yes I said running!!  Me?  For those who’ve met me, you’ll know that I don’t exactly cut the slender figure of a runner – “nor cyclist” I hear you cry – so when Beardy Belgian Brother Ben suggested entering the Glentress Duathalon I was a little sceptical, nay worried. 

Before I go any further though, please bear in mind that we only entered the short version of the Glentress Duathalon Series, and only had to complete a 5km run and 6km bike.  So we aren’t talking massive distances here, but still a little daunting for inexperienced runner me.

That said, once entered, I was not going to be beaten by it, and endeavoured to get up to 5km with the use of a training programme found on the internet.  It worked, and after a few weeks jogging about I could quite comfortably run my local flat and tarmaced streets.

Whizz forward to race day and what greeted us on the beautiful cold crisp morning in Glentress was a run nothing short of a fell race.  The flat tarmac based training runs of the previous weeks were now looking scant preparation for what I was about to put my generally unfit and cuddly body through.  From the gun we went up!!  There was nearly 300m of climbing, before turning and hammering down a tuffeted grassy mountain side to transition.  It got me blowing a bit, but I think I coped pretty well overall.  To my surprise people were walking within the first kilometre, so even with my steady progress I picked a few off.

Orange Clockwork
I entered transition somewhere near the back of the field and about 3.5mins behind Brother Ben – Now to unleash Hell…  Although not a strong runner, I am fairly confident, to a certain extent, with my cycling ability and, once straddling old faithful – my Orange Clockwork - I am a fairly formidable proposition.  The cycle part was excellent fun and utilised the lower sections of both the Blue and Red Glentress runs, so was wonderfully swoopy, bermy, table toppy and single tracky, and I soon started to catch people.

P7 displaying a broken seat post
Suddenly, on one of the fairly short but steep fire road climbs, the unmistakable Red, White and Black HCtB livery came into my tunnelled view – it was Ben.  I mustered what little breath I had remaining in my lungs and hollered a barrage of abuse in his direction - as any respectable big brother would/should do.  I should have perhaps saved this breath to aid my toil against gravity, but opted instead to maintain the vocal abuse until I did finally manage to haul myself level.  Only now I notice the reason for his slow progress – a snapped seat post!  The post had broken just after transition, and poor old Ben had had to do what was now nearly all the cycle standing up!!  Whinging and moaning through tears of pain about “aching calves”, or some such nonsense, soon drifted into the distance as I sped on.

I gained six places on the now quite strung out tail enders, and finished in what I consider a fairly reasonable position for a first timer.

It was an excellent event and I really enjoyed myself.  I am going to try and keep the running up and I think attempt other such events in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Cool stuff John - nice to see you mixing it up. I did a similar one in Wales many moons ago, all good fun :-)