Way, way , WAY back in the day when I was running well and rarely invested any real time in cycling, I remember being very frustrated at not being being able to make my running mileage count at Duathlons. The most extreme example of this manifested itself at the qualifying race for the World Duathlon champs (Spain), held at Goodwood motor racing circuit in 1997. Going into the race, I had an outside chance of qualifying for an age group place in the competitive 25-29 age group. Equipped with a spangly new Cougar time trial bike handbuilt in Liverpool, I was up for the challenge.
The race distances were 10km run, 40km bike, 5km run. I went for it from the off, challenging for a top spot and pushing all the way. Entering transition in 4th place in a time of 32.40 (the 10km distance was out by around 300m) and alongside the other 3 athletes, I cast aside any thoughts of an age-group place and decided to push for one of the 3 available all expenses paid elite places. Hopping onto the bike, a small gap appeared. I was drifting off the pace. 30 seconds later the soft 'whump, whump,whump' of a disc wheel went past. 4th had now become 5th. Then another 'whump, whump, whump'. Then another. And another, and another. The shoulders started to drop. 'Whump, bloody, whump, bloody, whump'. By the end of a thoroughly disheartening cycle leg, I was in 62nd place and had dropped 58 places. My second run was nearly as good as my first (16.30 approx) and I recovered around 30 of those places, but any chance of selection for the world's had disappeared faster than a plain looking wannabe on 'I'm a celebrity x factor ice dancer'. The point being, specificity reaps rewards and there's no short cut to at least a little concession to the other disciplines. These days I'm less deafened by the 'whump, whump, whump' and more hassled by the 'pad, pad, pad' of pacey runners (this time proving that cycling effort is no short cut to running fitness).
However, courtesy of one of my racing and training buddies at Cardiff JIF - Cyclo cross racer Donald Grey - I think we have found the answer to those cycling prayers. The footage below will show you how to avoid training on the turbo trainer, dodge Maindy on a Wednesday night or lie in on a Sunday morning. It will also appeal to steampunk fans (like Matt T) and scrapheap challenge addicts. Those with health and safety concerns, please look away now.
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