My London Duathlon experience was a good one but quite easily have turned into a disaster. First up I had the issue with my bike which in the end wasn’t an issue as I borrowed my work colleague Rob’s bike as he’s a keen cyclist who lives in London.
This made a lot of sense because I didn’t fancy transporting one across the city using the Tube and on the train. The worry was actually meeting Rob as neither of us were particularly well versed in the geography of the area but more of that later.
I was up at 06:30 to get myself all set for the day. I’d got all my kit ready the night before but there were a few other bits and pieces I wanted to pack like plasters for nipple erosion, vaseline for groinular chaffing and safety pins for my running number.
Surprisngly I was all ready well in advance of needing to leave which unnerved me slightly but triple checks indicated I was sorted. These have been known to fail so I was still wary of some vital necessity.
The travel plan was to get my wife to drop me at the train station where I’d have to get a bus to London. As it was we said let’s drive to Huntingdon and save the annoying bus journey.
The train was on time and got into Kings Cross at 10:13. I jumped straight on a Piccadilly Line tube and straight on a District Line train to East Putney from Earls Court. The latter amazed me as I always seem to have to wait an age at Earls Court whenever I pass that way.
So I was in Putney at 10:45 so my ETA of 11:45 to collect the bike from Rob was well on course. What I didn’t bank on was the map in Dualthlon info back not having a scale and in fact being three full miles from competitor village. Nevertheless I did arrive at the meeting point of Roehampton Gate by 11:45 only to find Rob was about three miles away near Kew Gardens!
Rob eventually got his bearings but not before he’d mistakenly joined the course for the race that had started earlier in the day! A shouty steward ensured a quick eviction.
Rob and I eventually met up at about 12:15 so I still had another 1hr15 before my start and I couldn’t rack my bike until 12:30 at the earliest so it was still all to plan.
We wandered to the competitor village and got my timing chip which I had to strap to my ankle before we checked out the saddle height on the bike which is just as well as i couldn’t reach the floor! Rob adjusted and all seemed fine.
A little while later we headed for the central enclosure which required me to hoik the bike over the bridge above the course which was still continuing below. As racking for bikes in transition was now happening it seemed sensible to get this over with. Curiously, as I wouldn’t be cycling for at least 90 minutes, it seemed strange to have to put my helmet on just to enter the transition area but rules are rules.
This is where it got a bit silly. I followed a line of people in and it merged with the racers who’d just finished and before I realised what was happening my security wristband was cut off.
First of all I thought it was just some procedure that you had to do on entering transition but the guy then said ‘Well done’ so I knew something wasn’t right. I went back and my old band was no where to be seen so we had an anxious 15 minutes while he sorted out another for me. This required going to Race HQ and then back over to the competitor village but again timing was OK and no real panic.
I was impressed with crew though I would certainly change the entry and exits to transition next year as others had near misses with their wristbands too.
So to the start 15 minutes before the race. I was in the first wave so would be starting within the first five minutes. There was a rather neat starting system where runners, 10 at a time, were fed into channels before being led to the line in 20 second intervals so that there was no barging and no problems with the timing chips picking up the signals needed to begin our personal race clocks.
Read part two tomorrow…