Oulton Park Spring Duathlon 2018

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

My never ending habit of entering races last minute came about again recently. Less than two weeks prior to Oulton Park Duathlon I put in an entry. I was getting restless not competing, so I just thought I’d wing it as per normal. People train months for these things…I just chuck myself in at the deep end ha!

The closer the Duathlon got the more I wondered what the hell I was doing. I massively upped my training and managed to get a lot of running in. I felt guilty not getting out on my bike much, so I knew I’d rely on my ability to dig deep on my bike.

Feeling rather lethargic throughout the week I was praying that I wasn’t coming down with an illness. Luckily I felt a lot better come race day, but those nerves were still there questioning if I’d even complete it.

Arriving at Oulton Park, I (we including Ryan) were actually on time for once. I have a habit of making race mornings stressful because I’m running late.

I got my numbers all sorted and jumped on the turbo trainer. Most people were running up and down the paddock to warm up, but I was in the mood for sitting on the turbo spinning my legs with my headphones on. And when some of my favourite Stereophonics songs came on I switched off from what everyone else was doing and focussed on beating my last time at Oulton Park of one hour 28 minutes. Out of all the years I’ve spent racing, from downhill to road cycling races, this was the first time I managed to not let my nerves get the better of me. This came as quite a shock to me to be honest.

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

Following race briefing we were soon lining up on the pit straight waiting for the whistle. ┬áNow last time at Oulton Park I ended up getting a PB for 1 mile in the first mile of the race, so I was trying to pace myself…nope I ended up running a 7:22 which is by far quicker than what I run in training! I thought, one lap is just over two miles and I’m use to running longer than that now, so I just got on with it. Not going to lie though, Oulton Park does lure you in with a fairly easy start, but chucks hills in at the end.

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018Oulton Park Duathlon 2018Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

I come back in from the first run feeling fairly ok. I thought I’d be struggling with my non existent training plan prior, but I hopped on my bike avoiding slipping in my road cycling shoes running through transition. Thankfully the marshals reminded me to move my number round to the back!

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

I exited the pits where transition was and onto the race track, again surprised by how much power I had in my legs. I settled into the bike leg rather quick. I’m not sure whether I just find it easier to get into a rhythm on the bike. I loved being back on my Liv, as I’ve not ridden it since Mallorca. That also reminds me…the 70 mile ride from Mallorca possibly became more useful than I first thought as I was use to my legs hurting a lot more after Sa Calobra!

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018img_0796Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

Unsure on what lap I was on, I was lucky I didn’t do one too many laps! Making sure I got off my bike before the dismount line I swapped back over to my running trainers. My legs feeling like jelly going straight from bike to run. I was looking down at my watch trying to figure out what time I had left to beat 1:28.

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

I wanted to up the pace, but knew the short climbs were still to come. So I stuck to my pace until I got the hills out of the way. Then it was a sprint finish to make sure I beat that time. If I hadn’t of sprinted and been a few seconds over 1:28, I would have been gutted.


I completely forgot to grab my time at the end. I must have looked a right mess because the girl handing out the medals asked if I was ok…ha! I’d dug deep…

Going back to the gazebo to get my time I somehow managed to get confused by the system to get it. The Duathlon really messed with my head ha! Either way, I printed my little slip out revealing I’d done 1:23…thank god! I could be in a good mood for the rest of the day…ha! I came 20th overall in the women and second (out of three…) in my age group.

Whatever way I look at it, I can somehow still push myself despite not having the winter I wanted. I just want to find another event to enter now!

Oulton Park Duathlon 2018

Oulton Park Duathlon

When your first mile is a PB you start to wonder how the race is going to pan out. With a 7.31 for the first mile of the run I took the wise move of slowing my pace a little, and by the time I’d completed the 1 lap run I was glad I did. Approaching the transition area I was unsure of whether I’d be able to get on my bike at all. My lungs were running at max effort!

Lock Laces were a solid investment! No more uncomfortable running shoes.

With a stress-free transition it was time to do 5 laps on the bike. Despite Time-Trials being his discipline, Ryan had said it was common to put tape on your top tube to help keep track of how many laps you’ve done, so I opted to go for that tactic rather than trying to keep track myself.

I’ve not actually done much cycling straight after a run so the first lap was to ease my legs into it, although the cycling gave me a much needed recovery period as that’s what my body is more use to doing. I could also refill my body with the fluids to try and get rid of cramp near my ribs (it worked for me anyway!).

I may have put my leggings on inside-out….apart from the tag you couldn’t really tell though…

Oulton Park is a lot more hilly than I was expecting. With a gradual decline to Shell Oils Corner there were a fair few climbs to get back to the Start/Finish, whilst trying to make sure it didn’t look like I was ‘drafting’ at all…it took out a lot more of me than I thought it would. However, to later find out I was averaging 18mph I’m not really surprised….

The closer I got to finishing my 5 laps the quieter the bike side of the track got so I found I could go a little bit faster. With competitors already on the last run I made my way into transition to put my running shoes back on…and my legs felt numb! It was a very odd feeling and I just needed to ease myself to the finish. However, looking at my watch and deciding I could potentially get a sub-hour and a half time I soon had other ideas. With the plan of action being to get the biggest climb out of the way and then up my pace to the finish I had work to do.

Crossing the line I was unsure if I’d managed it or not but I think I was just glad to make it to the finish. Handing back in my timing chip, grabbing a finish bag and any food I could find I just needed somewhere to sit and re-hydrate. Probably not making much sense whilst trying to talk to Ryan, I was so glad he was there. Partly because I’d probably still be wandering round Oulton Park after heading in the completely wrong direction to get my bike from transition….

Thanks to my Dad & Ryan for the photos and for Ryan letting me borrow his go-faster wheels! Xtra Mile Events held a great and well-organised event…I can’t wait for the next one.