Sunday was the annual Cayman Islands Duathlon, a 2M run, 12M cycle finished off with another 2M run. In keeping with my plan to not run for a while after the Cross Island Relay back in February, I volunteered to cycle the middle leg for one of my mates, Brad, who said he would do the running.
This was to be the final ride on the bike for a while, after the previous few weeks of training on it and with an incident with some other cyclists I was looking forward to getting it done and putting the bike away for good so I could get out running again.
My preparation wasn’t exactly the best, I picked up Max’s ear/nose/throat infection and lost my voice completely in the few days before hand. I still wasn’t 100% come the day, but I could talk and that was enough to get me to the start line.
This event brings together the running and cycling communities as teams, so it is interesting to see who is paired with who. A lot of people were also quite surprised I was the one cycling for my team!
We didn’t really have any expectations, Brad is more of a long distance runner having competed in the recent Off The Beaten Track 50K Ultra here, so 2M wasn’t exactly his preferred distance. I am also not the worlds most accomplished cyclist, and have a borrowed bike that is too small, no aero-bars and the rear wheel bearing is so loose so it feels like you have a puncture all the time! Those are our excuses and we are sticking to them!
Anway, the runners set off on their 2M first leg and I set about getting my helmet, gloves, shoes etc. all sorted so I going to be ready when needed. Brad did a good job and brought us in in the top 15. Now it was my turn!
Three of us set off together as we headed out of transition and onto the bypass. I was expecting a stiff headwind for the first 4M or so, but this weekend the weather has decided to shift so the wind had dropped and it was easier than I had planned for. This meant I could easily keep above the 20mph average I had set myself as a goal.
Whilst the 3 of us weren’t exactly working as a team, we all took turns over taking each other and pulling the others along until we made it to the end of the first section and turned back the way we came. It was here that I started to go backwards. Not that I was going any slower, I was averaging 21mph roughly, but quite a few people overtook me as we went back down the bypass. This is where what little wind there was was coming from behind. I don’t know if all the people on their fancy bikes got more of a push or what it was, but 4-5 people went past me in the next 4M.
The course took us past the start and then up towards the rugby club, it was here another group of people went past me as we approached the final turn. I was getting annoyed that I was going backwards, despite still having even splits, so I absolutely buried myself for the last 2 miles back into the wind that seemed to have increased by this point. My times weren’t that fast, but my hear-rate was up in the 180’s by the finish which is close to breaking for me!
I took the 4 places back I had lost and pretty much collapsed over the line into transition for Brad to set off for the final run.
We finished 19th overall and were the 8th team home.
I managed my 12M in 34:26 with an average speed of nearly 21mph which was over what I had set myself as a goal. Looking at my heart-rate and splits for the whole course I was consistent and on the limit of what I can do. My time was nothing compared to the “big boys” of cycling that were putting up average speeds of about 25mph.
My excuse is cycling is all in the quads, and running is all in the hamstrings and glutes. I didn’t have the muscles for the job, my cardio system wasn’t too bad, despite the relative lack of training recently.
At the end of the day, with a borrowed, ill-fitting bike and still half full of cold I did better than I expected, so I have to be happy with that. The bike is now back in the shed, and I am dusting off the running shoes for the week ahead, and I cannot wait to get back out on the road doing what I love.