I have the pleasure of writing for www.tri247.com and www.duathlon247.com from time to time and the moment you can read my race report from Sunday's Asics Finale, the Trailman.
Here's a preview of it but do skip over to tri247.com for all the latest reports, interviews and news but if you are not yet converted go have a peek.
The Trailman, the 5th and final round of this winter’s Asics Off-road series was widely acclaimed by many as being the hardest even though on paper, with its rolling undulations and grassy slopes that was unexpected. The course and venue were entirely new and as is so often the case in the off-road scene we got to race over trails that we would never be allowed on at any other time in the year. The wide open expanses of Eridge Deer park in Kent provided a stern test made infinitely harder by the deep mud sections which littered both the run and bike courses. This is a ‘Humanrace’ event after all and throughout the whole series they pride themselves on creating those ‘are we seriously going through/over/under/up/down that!?’ moments for the unsuspecting competitors who round the corner of some deep dark wood only to be presented with the aforementioned ‘treats’. For the Trailman it was deep clay lined mud pits which sucked off trainers and made carrying the bike through it the quickest way. It goes without saying that race times were the slowest for the whole series taking the distances into account but that didn't make the racing any less intense.
|On the first run with fellow Maxifuel athlete Sam Gardner and Oli Mahoney|
|Nearing the end of the Trailman Bike leg|
Back with the men, Richard Stannard used his strength on the bike (also riding a ‘29er’ by the way) to put the race beyond doubt before finishing with around a minute in hand over a hard chasing and effervescently evergreen Colin Dixon. Paul Davies completed another strong off-road winter series by taking 3rd and I did everything I could to catch Oli Mahony as we approached the finish but couldn’t quite get there. The racing has definitely been a lot tougher in the series this year. Last year, I started the series by winning the opening round by over 3 minutes and this year, coupled with the fact that I have been going like a bag of spanners on the bike the competition has been much tougher. The series’ success not only demonstrated Humanrace’s commitment to Duathlon and their ability to unlock special venues but also the growing number of multi-sporters in the UK who only race off road. With a number of winter series now and the Scott national X-Tri series spanning the traditional tri season, the UK race scene seems to be harnessing the potential for traffic free adventure and a sense of having ‘got through it’ above just ‘completing it’.