2013 GraniteMan champion James Travers took the spoils last Sunday at Portelet, in the first of the Guernsey Triathlon Club’s Winter Duathlon Series sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation.
62 competitors, a record number of entrants for the club’s winter series, turned out in cold and windy conditions to tackle the 2 mile run, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run format. As well as some newcomers from the Velo and Athletics Clubs, the Triathlon Club warmly welcomed Sarah Whitchurch, the club’s first para-duathlete, who was taking part in her first competitive race.
The first run from transition out to the fish factory and back was a frantic affair which, much to the relief of the timekeepers, saw the runners start to string out. Jason James headed into T1 in a time of 10.54, closely followed by Mat Dorrian in second place with Travers third.
The bike leg took competitors along the west coast, up L’Eree hill, via the Mallard and down Pleinmont Hill to transition. Travers was first into T2 having gained an advantage of around 30 seconds on Dorrian. Third into T2 was Nathan Gosling with Rob Smart in fourth and Tim Andrews in fifth with (Jason) James, a run specialist, losing out considerable time on the bike section of the race.
The final run leg was uneventful with placings unchanged. Whilst Dorrian was closing the gap on Travers, there was simply not enough distance left on the road to catch him. Travers took the honours in a time of 44.49, also claiming the quickest bike split of the day. Second was Dorrian in 44.50 and third was Gosling in a time of 46.02. Smart took fourth and Andrews fifth, leaving Jason James, with sixth place and the prospect of further bike training to become a competitive duathlete.
‘The run was flat and fast with Mat Dorrian and Jason James setting the early pace,’ said Travers.
‘I have had a good pre-season on the bike and decided to wait and attack off the bike. This turned out to be the right decision, as I managed to overhaul Mat and Jason by the top of L’Eree Hill. I managed to build a big enough lead to hold off another strong run from Mat and take the win.’
Second-placed Dorrian said: ‘I was pleased with today’s race given the fact that I have concentrated on my swim recently. It was nice to see that my run form had held up. The reality is that people are all at different stages of preparation, but one thing is for sure: Travers’ bike was very impressive. I think it is going to get really competitive for Island Games places in the summer.
‘I enjoyed the first run today, I found the bike a real slog and the second run was interesting. I felt there was probably no chance of catching James but I got stronger on the backward leg and ended up close. I am sure he would have had a kick in him had I drawn level though.’
In the women’s race, a depleted field saw Colette Andrews come home in first place with Colleen McHugh second and Sonia Dean in third.
Andrews said: ‘I enjoyed the race, the first run was a real sprint, but slowed down at half way giving me the chance to pass a few. The bike was a real challenge up L’Eree hill with a strong headwind, but I felt good. Unfortunately, I lost a few places with a terrible transition when I couldn’t find my trainers, but the final run was solid enough. I’m pleased with the result, particularly as it’s so early in my training”.
In the junior race – on a shorter course of 1 mile run, 8 mile bike, 1 mile run – Josh Thornton took first place, Sophie Dorey second and Remi Naftel third.
Sarah Whitchurch, who tackled the same route in her first competitive duathlon, said: ‘On the first run leg, I thought I was doing ok until I crashed and Karina Bowie had to lift my chair out the gutter! I found steering really difficult. On the bike leg I started off fine, thinking ‘this is easy’, but then I started going up L’Eree hill. About halfway up I was told no-one would think badly of me if I quit, so I carried on. It was worth it, the downhill bit was really fun!’
‘The second run leg went surprisingly quickly. Caitlin Bowie and Paul Jackson cycled (and walked) the course with me and Karina Bowie helped with my second transition, so many thanks to them, I couldn’t have done it without them,’ she said.
Sarah finished the course in a time of 3 hours and 42 minutes.
Club President Mark Naftel was impressed with the turn out on the day.
‘It was pleasing to see such a fantastic turnout; all the outdoor endurance sports are seeing a real increase in numbers. It shows that a great sport can flourish even in the winter weather. What really marked this occasion was the high number of first time racers and having our first ever para-duathlete taking part!’
Full results can be found below. The next race in the Ana Leaf Winter Duathlon series takes place on 2 February at Les Ammareurs. Full details can be found at www.guernseytriathlon.com.