BUCS Duathlon Race Report

Post date: Jan 31, 2018 4:58:34 PM

This weekend saw the first national fixture of the year for the Triathlon Club, who travelled to Castle Comb race track to face the UKs best at the annual BUCS duathlon. With an intensive six week training block in the bank, the team were looking in good shape and hoping for a strong start to the racing year. A short race – two 3km runs either side of a 16km bike – would test speed and endurance alike, against a field including the women’s European U23 champion amongst numerous international athletes.

Despite the bus breaking down and Marcus only bringing one set of thermals, the elite male team arrived in time for the first wave of the day. The pace was horrendous from the gun, with former bike captain Marcus Widdess finding space in the field and settling into a group. In front of him, fresher Chris Davis was showing his talent, while Nicolas Fatras, James Kershaw and George Roberts were further back. Some truly heroic transition work from Widdess moved him up the field, securing a comfortable position for the bike leg, while behind Robert Chandler and Max Bloomfield were moving steadily through the field. Having had a good run, swim captain Ewan Macauley lost time tumble-turning in transition, and struggled to see through his goggles in the rapidly fading afternoon light. Breathing every 7 pedal strokes for the final bike lap didn’t help either, and he left himself plenty of work to do on the final run. Widdess entered T2 with a large bike pack, and finished the race in just over 45 minutes, securing 46th position. Just behind, Davies and Fatras were separated by just 18 seconds, strong performances from both revealing their potential for the coming year. Kershaw and Roberts finished just 0.7 seconds apart, while Will Sherwood couldn’t quite catch Macauley, who had regained his composure and produced an excellent final run. Sherwood can take courage from a strong performance, considering he turned up to one training session leading up to this race, and is more usual found playing Aussie Rules – chapeau.

Next up were the elite women, and with some truly exceptional company on the start line, it was going to be a tough race for Cambridge’s athletes. Impressing from the gun was second year geologist Abbie Currington, who took the run out at a gneiss pace and settled into a rhythm(ite) early on. As a swimmer and rower turned triathlete this year, Currington showed a mature head to control her effort and ran strongly, finishing the 3.2km in just over 13 minutes. Behind her, Eleanor Salter was also impressing in her first multisport event, and with her dad’s bike waiting in transition, was flying round the course, just behind fellow newcomer Harry Rhodes. Rhodes would excel on the bike leg, propelling herself through the field and showing huge potential for later in the year, while cycling captain Cloudy Carnegie took to the tri bars for the first time in her preferred discipline. There’s nothing like no preparation, so they say, and Carnegie proved no exception to that rule, her newly aerodynamic position slicing through the field and making up considerable time. Gemma Shaw also showed strongly, having run in with Carnegie, and she too can take a great deal of confidence from her performance on the bike. Onto the final run, and Currington held on to finish as the first Cambridge lady; she will be one to watch at Varsity duathlon next term. Meanwhile, Rhodes and Salter were fighting it out, with the former taking the honour of second Cambridge female just over 30 seconds back from Currington. Salter finished well, perhaps spurred on at this point by the thought of mushroom soup and her yearning desire to discuss political liberalism in excruciating detail on the journey home. Next in was Cloudy Carnegie, who endured the final run to finish in a highly respectable time. Finishing so strongly we almost missed her (sorry!), Gemma Shaw rounded off a successful competition for Cambridge’s elite women: with so many first timers, it was great to see them holding their own against the country’s best and producing such strong performances.

Finally, the remaining 9 Cambridge athletes took to the start line for the third wave of the day. Fresher Josh Harris had significantly downplayed his running ability, and took the race out from the front; his first run time would have placed him very close to front of the elite male wave alongside Widdess and Davies. CUAC’s Joe Gilbert was also a prominent figure close to the front, followed around a minute back by Brad Fowler. Club treasurer Jamie Dougherty balanced his effort to perfection, leaving enough in the bank for a strong bike leg, though Tim Kasoar and Simon Iremonger were hot on his heels after the 10 miles on two wheels. Also racing in this wave were first timers Charlotte Wright and Shoomena (Shoomie) Anil. Both were doing well, until Anil took it upon herself to add an extra bike lap to her race – “no-one Shoomie where to go!” – and complete 3km more than the rest of the field. A courageous effort saw her finish the final 3km in a great time, though her application to succeed Dougherty as next year’s treasurer has been vetoed. Ahead of her, Harris had finished in just over 48 minutes, and will surely be looking to improve his multisport performance simply by putting his shoes on a bit quicker. Also impressing was newcomer Henry Fryzer, who put in a strong bike leg and finished well up the field.

A successful day out for the club, and one that gives us a lot of confidence going into Varsity next term.


King of Transition: Joshua Harris

Queen of Transition: Harry Rhodes

Biggest wimp: James Kershaw (wearing thermals for the race)

Worst counting: Shoomena Anil

Least scintillating van conversation: Eleanor Salter