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BUCS Duathlon 22/23

Despite some initial uncertainty about the weather, we started our coach journey with some welcome sun! A brief stop at the UK’s fanciest service station proved challenging for those not wanting to eat too much before the race, however it made sure we arrived at the venue right on time! A very (un)useful briefing was carried out by our Triathlon Captain Albert, who unsuccessfully tried to imitate our (bus) neighbours from Cambridge before registering and attending the briefing. Surprise… some clouds were starting to show up…

On the first of three waves, we had 9 athletes ready to tackle the duathlon, consisting of a 5km run, the 21km bike (split into 7 laps) and final 3km run. From those 9 competitors, Louis, Dan M., Jamie Thiago and Yash were on their debut, never having done a duathlon before. Our social sec always ensuring we’re on brand, provided some red face paint for our athletes – applied in some rather questionable designs.

Louis in his white skinsuit was the first one to finish the run 4th in the wave, not a bad performance considering he only started running a month ago! He was followed by Jan and Dan, our VP, who went into transition almost together! But Jan, who pulled the fastest transition on our whole team, was 30 seconds faster than Dan – leaving Dan craving the marginal gains that would have put him far ahead of Albert in the final standings… maybe he should be coming to transition sessions?!? Aaron and Jamie, both aiming to secure a 5km PB but sadly met by a course that was 200m short. Oliver WJ, Dan M., Thiago and Yash all made it out onto the bike in due course.

On the first part bike, the rain was as strong as Dan’s performance, showing why he was the Cycling Captain for the past few years. He caught back those initially ahead moving into P1 (of the wave) despite not having aerobars. Shortly behind him, a Warwick Tifosi seemed to be also making a dent. If you told me that a Tifosi was going really fast on a track I would guess that was Leclerc driving his Ferrari, however, that was Jan with his new bike! He was going so fast that he had time to drift near the Warwick supporters, giving George some great opportunities for photos! Unfortunately this pace wasn’t given to all Warwick athletes, with Louis was not having the best day at the office, slowing down due to a painful pulled muscle – sadly resulted in a DNF. Dan M. made the move on Aaron while fighting against the wind and the rain, despite our social sec’s rapid pace! Jamie and Oliver, who were brave and went sleeveless, probably regretted it… Next we had Thiago featuring the Pres’ famous Carrera. Yash was fighting his way on Aaron’s old bike, and did 8 laps, or maybe 6… we’ll come back to that.

Dan went through transition 2 in the lead, and he held up until the final straight, where he let his chaser through for the “win” (haters will say that he lost the sprint). However, Dan the experienced athlete knew he had chip timing on his side, being one of the last to cross the start line. That meant that chip timing would still give him the win of the wave for the second year in a row with a time of 1:05:10. A minute and a half later Jan finished off his magnificent performance just missing the top 10. After him, Dan M. closed his race as the best fresher, impressive result (if we don’t say that he was the only one). Aaron finished off his race in as much style as his fancy socks (I will not comment about the running form to avoid a bucket ;) Oliver celebrating the finish line in a questionable Cristiano Ronaldo fashion. Thiago, against some of the odds managed to pull a great performance in an Athletics vest, that cost him a couple minutes! If only there was a tri suit he could grab before the summer…. Last over the line was Yash, who complained about being wet and about doing an extra lap (8). Well, we checked - and it turns out that he did a lap less (6) resulting in disqualification. Yash, as an Accounting & Finance student, we’re not sure if you would like to include this on your CV.

It was then the turn for our Elite Ladies, with the race seeing some yo-yoing between our two female competitors; Lucy and Sally-Anne were the women representing Warwick. Following up from the cross country last week, Lucy continued her impressive run form and jumped on the bike in front of Sally-Anne, wearing short sleeves and gloves, such a pro choice. Considering she just did a full Ironman (unlike Albert who only managed a half), supporters did expect to see aerobars, but she didn’t. Despite this distance being WAY shorter to what she’s used to, she re-overtook Lucy, putting a great shift. Some rumours say that Henry and George failed to see them for two laps, they will probably blame the rain. Once on the run again, we saw Lucy showing off her running training by going ahead for the final time, getting an impressive time of 1:22:50, followed closely by Sally-Anne, who finished only a minute behind her.

After a lot of excitement already, it was the turn of the Elite Men in the final wave of the day. Racing on home soil, Ollie was the first one to get to transition making a gap of over 90 seconds to Albert, who was giving thumbs up all time. Just behind him came Thomas and Matt, both putting a great effort on the first leg. On the bike, Ollie crushed the laps on his beautiful TT bike and aero position, while Albert was definitely not looking good on those tiny aerobars – nicknamed “stubbies” by the Pres. Thomas held a consistent pace, while Matt was pressuring not being far from him. In the transition area, we saw Ollie flying to the finish line, getting the 15th fastest time of the second run leg and getting the best result for Warwick on the day with a rapid 1:02:04. Supporters could tell Albert was not having his best bike segment, despite the Spanish encouragement, but once he put his running shoes back on, he went full out trying to prevent our VP Dan from beating him, which he successfully did by the skin of his teeth with a buffer of only 5 seconds according to chip time. Some may argue this time was actually 0.3 seconds - such a relief for him that Dan did not come his transition session. Thomas produced one of the best moments of the day, hitting out the second transition with his helmet still on. Instead of going back, he just decided to throw it over the fence. He gave it all up to the finish line, hoping we’d all forget about the helmet! Closing the Warwick athletes came Matt, who after a rough week, having a bike accident and not knowing if he was going to be able to race, still managed to dig deep and provide an absolute performance.

Special mention to our bus driver Jason for being so nice as usual. But the best of the mentions couldn’t go to any other than to our Treasurer Henry and our President George for coming to cheer around, handling all the on-the-day logistics of the event, taking some amazing photos and videos and posting them on the social media. The day wouldn’t have been the same without these legends on the side. A lot of voices say that George was so jealous that he is already training for our next competition, while Henry admitted that he was going to race next year!

The most important race of the day came during the journey home - beating Nottingham and Loughborough by two minutes to reach the nearest McDonalds. Shout-out to all who came for the event – the best group of people, and a lovely coach atmosphere (without Shrek).

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