On Sunday the 20th November, Team Newcastle Triathlon (TNT) took part in their first BUCS event of the year; the BUCS Duathlon.
A Duathlon is like a Triathlon but only 2/3 the fun. It consists of a run, a bike, and a further run. The BUCS Duathlon was based down in Chippenham, near Bath, and brought forty University teams from all over the country.
TNT sent twenty-six of their finest athletes. For some it was their first ever race, but a lot of veterans attended too.
Meeting early Saturday morning at the Students’ Union, we loaded our bikes up and a fleet of minibuses headed down the A1 to Chippenham.
“Most of our athletes were in the ‘pain cave’ for the entire race and there was much grimacing as they came past”
We woke up bright on early on Sunday to head down to the Castle Combe Race course. Usually a motor circuit, once a year this track hosts the 9Bar DBMax Chilly Duathlon & 10K. Multiple events were occuring throughout the day and made the site very hectic.
Firstly there was a 10Km road race followed by a Duathlon; both open to the public. At midday the BUCS races began.
The Elite Men were up first, then the Elite Women, and finally a mixed race. They were all the same distance: 2 Mile Run, 10 Mile Ride, 2 Mile Run, with a transition between each one (named T1 & T2). The run was one lap around the perimeter of the track, whilst the bike was five laps of the circuit itself.
A race this short meant that it would be over very quickly, less than 45 minutes for the top contenders. Usually Triathlons are very tactical; food and isotonic drinks have to be consumed every 20-30 minutes and you have to monitor your heart rate as well as your pace. However this race was so short that none of this was needed.
From the second the trigger was pulled it was about pushing yourself to your limit. Most of our athletes were in the ‘pain cave’ for the entire race and there was much grimacing as they came past.
Despite this, everyone had a fantastic time and felt that the long journey was well worth it for the race! Unfortunately our Bike Captain, Tom Jackson-Taylor, was knocked off his Bike by another competitor which brought a stellar performance to an early end, but he’s determined to come back next year and smash it!
“We were extremely proud of Sam Steele, who came 19th overall, and Louise McLeman, who came 43rd in the Women’s Race”
Unlike a lot of BUCS sports, it is exceedingly difficult to obtain BUCS points at Triathlon events. We only have three BUCS events a year; the Duathlon in November, a Sprint Distance Triathlon in April and an Olympic Distance race in May.
A lot of the contenders are semi professional, with the winner of last year’s BUCS Sprint being Gordon Benson, who went to Rio to compete with the Brownlee Brothers a the Olympics. Hopefully, this will provide some context to our results.
With over six hundred athletes in the race, we were extremely proud of Sam Steele who came 19th overall and Louise McLeman who came forty-third in the Women’s race.
Overall it was another fantastic trip for TNT. Whether we’re racing in a BUCS event, training in the Yorkshire Dales or eating in between, everyone always has a great time!