Winter Series 2011-12
CLUB DUATHLON WINTER SERIES, SESSION 3, 15 JAN 2012.
It was COLD. Really cold. Over the couple of days just before the duathlon session the warmer temperatures we'd been enjoying fell sharply, and by Friday evening the nights had decended into minus territory, though generally quite dry. Saturday night was a freezing night too, down to minus 3 or 4, and the crisp morning air at 08:00 indicated that a course inspection was required. The temperature had already risen to zero by 08:30, the road was clear and dry apart from the strip near the road edge, so that the session could go ahead safely with the proviso that roundabouts and corners were neutralised: in the 50m each side of a corner, riders had to go easy.
The usual duathlon team were there - Allan, Joe, Ian and Geoff who is getting the new individualised handicap system sorted out for us - but unsure if any athletes would show up. In the event, 11 athletes did emerge from the sharp morning mist with breath like smoking dragons. This was a smaller group than usual so that the gaps between starters were a bit wider than normal.
The new handicapping system is geared around a fictional athlete called Joe Bloggs with a course time of 1:30:00, and everyone is handicapped in relation to that time. The timekeepers start their watches when Joe 'starts' at 09:50, and athletes actually start running at their own specific time after that. Previously we've had 2 minute groups, then 1 minute groups. As your start approached you'd get a "10.... 5-4-3-2-1-GO" from the starter; but now runners will be departing at what appears to be quite random times so that the starter does a running count-up with the athlete departing at the appropriate second. It seemed to work well, even when a series wof runners went off at quite close-spaced intervals.
First off on Sunday was Becky Thompson [DTC] at 02:53 followed by Kerry Gowland [NE31] at 14:08. There was anothe long wait before the main 'group' of runners started: Lloyd Cross [DU Tri] at 22:41, Geoff Watson [DTC] at 23:40, Steve Lindsay [DTC] at 24:19, Hilary Ross [DTC] at 27:05, Stewy McConnell [DTC] and Tom Lawson [DU Tri] at 29:35, Martin Connolly [Detwentside CC] at 29:59 and George Harden [Sun City] at 30:16. Then there was another wait until the last man off, Elliot Gowland [Red Venom / Infinity] went at 38:00.
By this time of course, riders were already out on their bikes and the starting time gaps had begun to close. Becky exited T1 at 23:10, just 7 minutes ahead of Kerry Gowland. Behind them, Lloyd Cross had put in a good 14-minute run taking time from Geoff Watson who'd started a minute behind him but getting pushed by Steve Lindsay who brought the run time under 14 minutes with a fine 13:56. Hilary Ross and Srewy McConnell had 14 minute runs too, but then the quicker times began to flow - Tom Lawson of DU Tri returning with a terrific 11:37, just over a minute faster than his co-starter Martin Connolly [Derwentside CC]. George Harden, now of Sun City, went gingerly on the first run with a 13:05, while the last starter, Elliott Gowland of Red Venom/Infinity, giving a transition masterclass looked very comfortable as he swung into the saddle with an 11:50.
Things were much tighter at the second transition. Kerry Gowland was first back, her 39:11 for the bike leaving her still well ahead of the chasers, but they were all pulling back time....Steve Lindsay was now up to second with a great 38:35 for the bike, Tom Lawson [DU Tri] was quicker with 36:26, while Martin Connolly [Derwentside CC] was quicker still. His 35:38 would stay top of the bike leaderboard until Elliott Gowland got back with a steaming 32:16 on his first time round the course in less than optimal conditions. I think he'll be back!
At the finish Kerry held on comfortably, coming in at 1:25:08. Behind her though Steve Lindsay was overhauled by a flying Tom Lawson whose 11:33 - fastest of the day for the second run - let him finish a minute clear, Steve just held on to the third slot, as Martin Connolly put in a terrific run and closed to within 7 seconds at the end.
Although the numbers were smaller than our usual field, the quality was high. The new handicapping system seemed to work well with more clusters of close finishers - so thanks again to Geoff for his work on the spreadsheet. Thanks too to Rhiannon [DU Tri] and Femke for their help with marshalling and timekeeping.
The next duathlon session is Sunday Feb 19
January Results.pdf HERE
January Results.xls HERE
Winter Series, Session 2. Nov 20, 2011
Winter Series, Session 1. Oct 16, 2011