The second race of the Guernsey Triathlon Club’s Ana Leaf winter duathlon series took place on Sunday 2 February 2014, with the annual Les Ammareurs super-duathlon, seeing James Travers take the spoils once again.
The event’s start coincided with the 8.10am high spring tide and some challenging squally showers made interesting conditions for even the hardiest of winter competitors. A number of new competitors made this their first ever duathlon, enduring a proper ‘baptism of fire’ into the sport and are now looking to build towards the clubs longer events, including the novice and summer triathlons.
The event format of 1 mile run, 6 mile bike, 1 mile run, 6 mile run, 1 mile run means that transition time between the disciplines and choice of footwear and helmet make a huge difference. The first and second runs were both out from Ammareurs to Chouet and back, the final run out towards Sandy Hook and back, all on the coastal paths.
Each bike ride took in the west coast between Ammareurs and Grandes Rocques, fortunately for all this was the only section of west coast road largely unaffected by the major coastal flooding which led to Cobo, Vazon, Perelle and Rocquaine coast being closed to traffic for safety reasons on the day.
Starting in dry but windy conditions a fast group of runners consisting of Travers, Tim Andrews, Jon Osborne and Alvis Kergalvis got a gap on the chase pack within the first mile. With some runners choosing to also cycle in running shoes positions quickly changed during and after transition one. Riders took to the west coast towards Grande Rocques into a biting head wind and were also slowed by a small section of shallow flooded road at the Passee junction. Travers maintained his lead but was never far from the improving Andrews, with Richard Stapely and Dave Dyke also chasing hard.
Juniors over 14/under 16 competed on the same distance course with a three leg run/bike/run format. Josh Thornton, never looking seriously challenged by the other juniors, took the win from Joanna Stapely who showed great strength on the bike leg, leaving Remi Naftel content with third place.
Near horizontal, stingingly cold rain and increasing sea spray was the order of the second run section with the roads much wetter as the triathletes headed out for the second bike lap.
Andrews said: ‘It was brilliant to see so many new members at the start of the race, as the waves crashed over the Chouet headland. In a re-run of the weather and results from Granite Man, Jim [Travers] was always in a class of his own, but I kept him in my sights.
‘We flew back to transition thanks to the strong tail wind, although on the second lap my legs were on fire. After a few minutes of jelly legs on the last lap, I felt strong and closed up on Jim slightly by the end. I've changed my training to shorter higher intensity work and reduced the sugar in my diet and am delighted to see some results coming through.’
Taking part in her second Guernsey Triathlon Club event, determined para-triathlete Sarah Whitchurch competed on an adapted course of 1 mile run (racing wheelchair) on a road circuit of similar distance to the other triathletes, the same bike course to Grande Rocques and back with a second 1 mile run, to finish in a time of 2 hours and 34 minutes.
The only other female duathlete to compete was Mandy Mortimer, taking the win by default as others were sidelined by injury, illness or the weather conditions.
On a fast drying course Travers showed his continued strength and consistency on the last run to take the event win by 20 seconds from Andrews, with Jon Osborne claiming a well-deserved third place 2 minutes further back.
‘Yesterday’s duathlon was interesting – competing against strong winds, rain, hail and flooded roads. It was good to see such a good turnout though, considering the weather,’ said Travers.
‘I pushed hard on all three runs, which gave me a good cushion onto the two bike legs. Tim, however had two very strong bike legs and closed the gap to nothing on both. Tim showed very good bike skills, holding his nerve on tough road conditions. I felt comfortable going into the final run and was finally able to see off Tim.’
Club President Mark Naftel praised his hardworking committee, timekeepers, volunteers and spectators.
‘It is very pleasing to see a small number of juniors, a para-triathlete and so many new faces competing alongside our regular members. Let’s hope the weather is kinder to us later in the year.’
The next race in the Ana Leaf winter duathlon series takes place on Sunday 23 February at Pembroke, with a 3 mile run, 20 mile bike, 3 mile run format. A shortened course will again be available for juniors and para-triathletes.
Online entries are now being accepted for the club’s Novice Triathlon in May with a basic training plan on the website.