ETU Duathlon Championships: 26 April 2015
Hilly run and bike courses, wet roads, with rain at times and temperature 8-11°C.
Peter Clarke and William McAvock were placed 14th and 18th respectively in the male 45-49 age group.
Race report by Peter Clarke:
While all the focus was on the London Marathon and on the Ful-on Duathlon / Serpie club championships on Sunday, some Serpies also took part in the ETU European Age Group Duathlon Championships in Alcobendas, just north of Madrid.
Five Serpies were scheduled to race but unfortunately Harry McDermott and Michael Buglass were late injury withdrawals. Lan O'Connor took an excellent bronze for Ireland in the FV 50-54 Sprint event, while Peter Clarke and William McAvock finished 14th and 18th respectively in the MV 45-49 Standard Distance event, a respectable performance in a field of 30, dominated by athletes from Spain and GB.
The big story of the day was the weather. A hilly run course was followed by a very hilly and technical bike course made very difficult by wet conditions and strong winds. The conditions prompted the GB Team Manager to say in an interview to the ETU: "It was like no other event before. The conditions were nothing like I’ve ever experienced at a championships. The course would have been fantastic on a dry day, which sadly we didn’t have."
Two of Lan and Peter's Irish teammates were hospitalised after bike crashes, one requiring surgery on a broken hip, the other being knocked unconscious but later discharged, her arm in a sling. The sprint races in particular witnessed many crashes and, remarkably for Spain in late April, some athletes were treated for hypothermia! The relay events were cancelled.
The bike route was slow up hill, very fast down hill, followed by a sharp turn at a roundabout. In total there were 88 roundabouts and several dead turns to negotiate on very slippery roads. On both the run and bike routes there was barely a flat stretch to be seen. Peter, in particular, was glad to have a cross country running season behind him and was grateful for the Serpie spin classes to prepare him for the bike climbs. Thanks to Kristin and Victoria!
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