Sunday 3rd April dawned sporting light winds and sunny spells, meaning that the notoriously windy Goodwood circuit would at worst be breezy, rather than the knock-you-off-your-bike gales that had been endured in recent years. This was particularly pleasing as I'd forgotten just how tough a duathlon is and had optimistically chosen the long course to complete. (I thought: it's only a couple of quid more, so why not??). Also, having previously completed an event at Brands Hatch, where the smooth, wide tarmac was a pleasure to ride on, I fancied racing on another closed circuit. There were a large handful of MSTC members who had also chosen Goodwood as their seasons opening race, split between the two race options of 4,20,4 and 4,40,8 (Kms).
It's hard to avoid them when you turn up at Goodwood: It really was glorious in the spring sunshine. As you emerge trackside from the narrow entry tunnel, the area was as clean as a whistle and the art deco buildings made you feel like you had stepped back in time. Parking is a stone's throw from transition, there is plenty of spectator viewing space and a small pop up cafe, selling those treats to be avoided as you try get down to race weight. The relaxed gun time of 10 am and Goodwood's proximity makes it a very good venue for family and friends support.
This chap turned up in true Goodwood fashion, having painted his three-wheeler in MSTC colours. It reminded me of a visit to Jerry Cottles circus, I imagined seeing 'Clumsy the cycling clown' wobbling around registration on a unicycle whilst juggling a pump, a water bottle and a banana!
Simplicity itself: Mass start on the track, run a lap, T1 (in the pit lane), ride 5 laps (20km) or 10 (40 km), T2, run another lap (or 2).
Reality bit on lap 1 as a group of 9 set off like greyhounds after a stuffed bunny, disappearing into the distance: duathlon is an aquaphobic's sport. I took in the views, looking up to Goodwood race course and across the flatlands towards the Witterings, as the first circuit was completed.
The bike was fast, with only a short section of the lap into a stiff breeze: It was very enjoyable to race flat out, unconcerned about potholes, road furniture and sleepy eyed Sunday drivers on their way to brunch. Even still I was lapped by a few of the greyhounds I'd last seen on the run and Colin C gave me a cheery "C'mon Phil!" as he also whizzed by.
The second run was a different story. On dismounting and attempting to jog through transition, my glutes were in knots and I realised I'd overcooked it. Hobbling back out on to the track, I looked like a man who was "in a hurry after a curry"… Thankfully this eased off and I pressed on, ever conscious that my legs were pretty shot, but I could see I wasn't the only one suffering: the first race of the season is always a loud wakeup call! The end of the two laps came along relatively quickly, 8km seeming much shorter than the 10 covered in a STD distance Tri. I was relieved it was over and happy that I'd completed my first race of the season, ticking off several goals: another event on a closed circuit, a distance PB for an hour's ride and a sub 1.55 finish. Time to head to the cafe and treat myself to a post-race feed!
Full results here: http://www.portsmouthtriathletes.co.uk/results/2016/163-goodwood-2016.html