Run Rider Duathlon - we run, we rode, we hurled.

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BY: Jay horton

Published: 18th October, 2011

When you turn up at an event and the first people you bump into are the marvellous Matt Carr, Shaggy and Party Boy, you know you're in safe hands. All talk was of the Torq - Rapha showdown, Party Boy allegedly overtaking Peaty on a downhill section, and first rides of the new Ashton Court track. 

All we could think about was the dawning horror of the event we were about to undertake - the inaugural RunRider. If you say it quickly enough; 10km, 30km, 5km doesn't sound like much. Then you do the maths, look down at your single bottle cage and the unseasonably warm weather and you know you'll be peeing creosote for the next 24 hours. The thing about duathlons is that they are REALLY, REALLY HARD.  There's always some bloody whippet runner that pulls everyone along at redline speed before falling off on the first corner of the bike leg. There are also a growing number of folk that are pretty nifty at both disciplines. Torq's Matt Hart is not among them - although he should be.  He did the short, early learning version at the RunRider and still died on his arse. Probably his finest moment was on the final run, when he was rooted to the spot, cramp having finally locked out his last remaining muscle, when a runner overtook him and asked "Aren't you the bloke who writes the training column in Singletrack?"  Yep, that's him. As Matt said - in my mind I can still run. 

So the 10km run was two laps of the park. Off road and very hilly. Tripped over more dogs than I care to remember, nearly got run over by a galloping horse and got stung by a bee. To add insult to injury, the bee clung on for a free ride for a few hundred metres. Like a brave soldier I didn't complain, didn't squeal like a girl and definitely didn't consider using it as perfect excuse to stop and sit down. 

Let's get it out of the way - Bristol Bike Fest always manage to build the shonkiest transition area anywhere in the sporting calendar! It used to be the most dangerous and now is the smallest. Around 40,000 worth of mountain bikes were piled on top of each other like bicycle Buckaroo. All part of the fun, at least that's what the bloke who is repairing my frame tells me!  

And onto the bike. On the pre-ride the new track proved to be a 10 km pump track. Not great for a mass start event (how they got 2000 riders on there the day before is beyond me) but for the RunRider it was ideal. At least for the first lap it was ideal. Then the pain in my neck, arms and shoulders from pumping started growing, heading south to meet the pains from my legs, arse and back in the middle. But by then I had caught all the speedy runners, was lying in 3rd place-ish and nothing is that painful when a podium beckons. The race lead had changed hands christ knows how many times and by the end of the bike leg 3 of us were within seconds of each other, with Ian Payne leading into the final run. By then Matt Hart was having I.V. Torq energy but still managed a supportive plaintive wail as I went past. 
5km to go. Ian Payne got stitch. It would appear that stitch and cramp are this season's bang-on-trend. "Aha" I thought "I've got him". I managed a supportive pat on the back as I passed him with 2 km to go, chuckling quietly to myself. Little did I know that Forrest Gump-alike had survived the bike leg, with reflectors, lights and mud guards, and was in hot pursuit? I have a policy in races, never to look back. I figure that I should be going as hard as I can anyway with my focus on the chap in front so anyone behind is irrelevant. Crossing the finish line, I turned and realised that Forrest had closed the gap down to about 20 metres. Behind him there was a long trail of athletes in various states of disrepair. I tried to be as nonchalant as possible, exuding Zen calmness while trying not to be sick on the organisers. One recovery drink, a Luffy burger and a complete change of blood and I was good to go. 

Great event. Going to be a grower.  

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Jay horton

Event organiser - Fully Sussed

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