Two firsts for me this past weekend! And both good! It was the first time I’ve entered a duathlon, and the first time I’ve won a medal for a place! I was second Female Super Vet (super veteran) in the No Fuss Winter Duathlon in Glen Nevis and came 51 out of a field of 70!
This was a wee taster duathlon (the first in a series of three): 3.5km run, 12.5km cycle, 3.5km run. Both running and cycling sections were half on-road, half off-road and were wet and muddy.
The run set off along the single-track road heading up Glen Nevis for about 400m. We then turned off the road on a path signed for ‘Paddy’s Bridge’. This narrow, muddy path followed the south bank of the Water of Nevis for about 1.5km. This section had numerous deep drains crossing the path and each time I seemed to hit the stone edges of the drain half a stride too short and had to do a wee jig to leap across.
Once we reached Paddy’s Bridge we crossed back onto the road and returned to the starting place at Achriabhach.
A quick transition to my bike and I was soon hurtling down Glen Nevis. I got very wet – mainly from the spray from the bike in front as I kept hard on the heels (back tire) of the young woman in front. I managed to keep up with her-but couldn’t pass-until the last 10 minutes of the cycle section. The road section was undulating and seemed much further to reach the turn off point than what I thought it would be. The route then turned off at the Braveheart Carpark and followed the forest road heading south. For about one kilometre this road is the route of the West Highland Way, but the Way soon split off along another forest track that headed up to Dun Deardail. Like the road, this track had several uphill and downhill sections before ending with a lovely long swoosh down to Achriabhach.
Another quick change from my bike and I was soon repeating my run from earlier. My legs really felt like jelly following the cycling, but more of a problem was my aching back. I often get a dull ache in my lower back when tackling uphill cycle routes and had experienced this. I really wanted to stop running just long enough to stretch – but I resisted the temptation. I was pleased to see that I’d managed the second run only 2 minutes slower than first time round.
I had been so nervous before attempting this first duathlon and was worried I’d come last! I’m pleased I didn’t. In fact I managed to pass 10 people on the cycling section and move up 9 places on the overall placings (one guy passed me on the final run!)
After the success of this I’m already looking forward to the next (longer) event.