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Hartside Duathlon For the First Time

Hartside Duathlon – 5th Woman Home – 5K Run, 32K Cycle, 5K Run

We all need a challenge in life. After all, along with the adventure and freedom, that's why we cycle isn't it - especially in the Lake District, where high fells and passes are around every corner. With this in mind, I decided that the Hartside Duathlon would be a challenge worth accepting.  

The day began with a beautiful but chilly, crisp morning in the heart of the Pennines to complete my nervously anticipated first ever competitive event. I was approaching registration observing the mass of sporting ambassadors of the Triathlete world and more to the point the already half-filled bike rack in the transition area...Cervelos, Treks, Cannondales, Condors, Pinarellos and of course my humble Wilier staring back at me; it was littered with sublime, technical apparatus.

This being my first event, I wanted to make sure that I was wearing the right credentials to give off a competitive and “this girl means business” kind of look! So, that being said, naturally… I wore Pink everything - mostly Castelli! With my numbers pinned on and my bike station set up, I began to warm up the muscles that I would be using in my legs (All of them!). Nerves are an amazing thing to get you thinking at an event such as this - especially for the first time.

I took the bike for a quick spin around the village of Langwathby, to ensure the gears were all calibrated correctly, and so that my legs could have a chance to warm up and prepare for the lengthy and gruelling event ahead of me! All of a sudden I experienced the inevitable when cycling over freshly dropped autumn debris...A PUNCTURE! Panic set in for a brief moment, but luckily I came prepared, fixed the puncture 10 minutes prior to the sound of the claxon for the first run - close call! 2 laps of undulating country roads lay ahead of me and as I nervously got into a rhythm, but plenty of encouraging support was all around me, which drove me forward throughout the entirety of the event. It was amazing to be a part of it!

Once the first run had finished, I was in a state of relief and happy to jump onto my bike for the challenging climb on one of Britain’s longest climbs, at over 4miles long and an altitude of 1903ft. Hartside climb is long - very long. No, I mean it! LONG, with switchbacks abounding everywhere, so that it really gives you a taster of what Alpine climbing has to offer...the bike stage was by far my strongest point throughout the race, and I would do it all again tomorrow in a flash - despite the picture below!

The day was my first of many competitive appearances, and I was amazed at the atmosphre and support bewteen everyone involved. There was real sense of cameraderie, and I would highly recommend getting yourself out there and training for your very own cycling challenge! Whether it be a Triathlon, Duathlon, a Criterium race (crit) or even just a Sportive it’s about completing a course and recognising your own personal achievements - all through amazing countryside, with some truly amazing people!

images courtesy of Zoe Wilson