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 Inspirational Races in Beautiful Places 
Helwith Bridge 2012
Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:57 am la marquise
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I love the Helwith Bridge Duathlon Ė must be because it doesnít involve swimming Wink

Iíve been doing it for years, either as a solo or part of a relay team. Last year I had to defer my entry as I was trying to get over a serious cough. So I stood outside in the rainstorm all afternoon recording finishing times.

This year was to be the back to basics effort. No help from a team-mate or the Race Director. I was gonna haul my arse round the course without assistance.

I was fit as a fiddle except for my gammy right shoulder, left hip and knee, a sore throat and the 10kg I should not be carrying around my middle.

We had our usual break in the journey to Yorkshire at Grantham pool, to refresh our legs and backs and justify our lunch.

Although itís a 30 minute drive from Hawes to Helwith Bridge, the attraction of good food and a sound nightís sleep makes it worth staying at Brandymires.

On Sunday morning the weather was picture postcard perfect. A bright watery sunlight gave way to a warm clarity, outlining each rock of the skyline. And no wind.

At Helwith Bridge we met up with the usual suspects Ė a somewhat hung over DividedAlien, trevkingdon, Vince, and my old college pal, Jim Fisher.

After setting up my transition and making my final preparations, I was ready to go. Vince was in the middle of the race briefing. Given my past performance at this event, and that I know the route well, I was given permission to start 10 minutes early, thus slightly saving the marshals from waiting for me to finish before they could change into their pjís and drink cocoa.

So I missed the instruction about the temporary traffic lights.

Anyway, while Vince explained how the descent into Ingleton is very steep, Trev checked his watch and I shambled off. I managed to hold off the leaders till I reached Stainforth. I was quite pleased about that. I was still the last person to finish Run 1.

But I really didnít care. Whatever pain was happening from my neck downwards, in my head I was in heaven. I was trotting through the most beautiful countryside looking at sheep and hills and dry stone walls and autumn colours under bright blue sky and sunshine. It was a truly glorious day.

Setting off on my bike I knew I would enjoy myself. I saw a couple of mechanicals return back to transition Ė one guyís headset had parted company from the rest of his bike. I pushed on, and (fairly) soon reached the stunning Ribble Head Viaduct. The day seemed to be in HD technicolour.

Over the cattle grids I pressed along the beautiful rolling road to White Scar Caves. Then I found the traffic lights. Obligingly, they soon turned green for me and I rolled on.

I took the descent into Ingleton with due caution, convinced I was last on the road, but still happy as Larry.

There is a bastard hill towards Clapham. Itís there every year. So I told myself
ďThis is OK, itís hard every year, so just grind on upĒ.
I had a little rest and a drink at the top.

Iím glad I have a triple with some very teeny tiny gears. Those lowest ones are my best friends.

Then thereís a good descent through the village and down to the main road. Just after Austwick I was surprised when Dizo came past me. He was one of the returning mechanicals Ė had mended his puncture and restarted the bike leg. I reassured him that he was nowhere near last as I had been given a head start.

Blimey I hadnít been last on the road.

But, of course, I was last now.

Coming out of Austwick is bastard hill number 2. Iím so nearly home, but this wiggly road going upwards is hitting back at me. Surprisingly, this hill is there every year too.

After a little rest I regrouped and pushed myself to finish the bike. Smiling all the while.

DividedAlien was very naughty asking me to take his club photo while I was in T2 Ė most competitors had completed the race. I gave DA an appropriate response (strongly negative) and pulled on my running shoes whilst trying to stave off cramp in my calves.

Everyone gave me encouraging cheers as I set off on Run 2. Spike trotted behind me as far as the first corner, telling me he was 5th solo (a relay team won, but that doesnít count). I was still grinning from ear to ear.

Oh damn. Is he still taking photos?

I did run some of Run 2 - mainly the downward bits. I was amazed when, approaching Stainforth, Mr MinusHeadset came passed me. He had carried his bike 2 miles back to base, fixed the bike and set off again.

OK, now I really, really was last on the road.

When back up on the main road, all the finishers on their way home waved and tooted me. I was so happy I could explode. Nothing would stop me completing this course (especially as there were no time cut offs).

Spike appeared on his bike on the final downhill, and followed me to the finish.

Transition had already been packed away, and my bike and kit were already in our car. It must have been the transition fairies.

Funny how I always arrive back just in time for the prize givingÖ
Spike got his age group, M45, narrowly avoiding being chicked.
I won my age group, F50.

With cleanish, dry clothes on, we had a drink and lunch at the pub and plenty chat with Vince and the crew.

We returned to Hawes. I could feel my legs and hips seizing up, far more than a warm bubbly bath might relax them.

Thanks, Vince, for looking after me all race. Thanks, Spike, for looking after me all weekend.
How loud?

Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:27 pm Toyota_Crown
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well that was a b@stardley funny report from a b@stardley funny laydee Cool Worship
Wow, werent you lucky with the weather, especially cf last year. How fab was that! G0d loves you.
Trust Spike to milk some of your acclaim and finish twice Disbelief
I didnt even know there was a decent pool in Grantham. Good thinking.
Congrats on being F50+ Champ Party
La M for Presidente Exclamation
EnduroManChamp:Euro2010-12,Deca12, Quin11,D10
HH1x2 HM30 1&3 SRock1 BelC2 GP2 VLM2h58 FellsM
Ard2 D2 FMan-11 TT2 Out16 10.15 CDS5 Ang3 IMUK-11 Jx1 Ult6 BW3 Stap1 Hel23 IMW11 Hx6 BxD1 Wx9 RR8

Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:25 pm divided_alien
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It wasn't just a hangover, there was some genuine lurgy in there too... Blow Nose

A hangover wouldn't stop me having my post race pint!! Beer Beer Beer
The ultimate triathlon: Swim the North Sea, cycle all the way to Tibet from Norway and finally by flying teapot to the Planet Gong!

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