Race Review: Dorney Lake Winter Duathlon Series

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pretty location near Windsor
19 April 2014

Race 4 of the Windsor and Eaton Winter Duathlon
£37.50-£50 depending on distance (super sprint, sprint, or Olympic)
Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd male and female, 1st Junior male and female, 1st Vet male and female.

The day started off early and chilly for me, but it was nice to get out of London and explore a new city.  Dame Kelly Holmes took part in the race, as well as national level triathletes. The day also offered cycling sportives (90km or 180km) on open roads in the morning and 5k, 10k, and half marathon races in the afternoon (all organized by F3 Events).  Sky Sports was there covering the event too as Holmes works towards becoming a duathlon world champion.

Registration area with lots of knowledgeable staff.
Registration process & fees: All online with F3 events. I was lucky enough to have free entry thanks to F3 and Write this Run. The registration area was well set up and never too crowded. Packet pick up was on event day for all participants. The event was staffed with plenty of volunteers to help keep things moving throughout the day. Inside the registration tent was a small cafe with coffee, tea, pastries and sweeties. There was also a sport shop booth with energy bars/gels, spare inner tubes, and a few cycling jerseys.

My transition area
Location: The Olympic site near Windsor called Dorney Lake. Easy to get to if you have a car. I took an early morning train which required me to cycle a bit in Central London. Not so bad at 6am but a bit nutty on the way home. It was about a 15-20 min cycle from Windsor and Eaton Riverside train station to the start line over e pedestrian footbridge and down some side streets to uphold one way traffic laws. There were also some cow fields. 

Course & bogs: The course is flat with a small transition area. Bike is a loop on the south side of the lake. Run is an out and back on the north side.  One water station at the start line which you pass on each loop of the run.  There isn’t much to look at aside from trees and rowers on the lake.  It was windy and cold at the start of the race, which seemed normal for an early April date. The wind made a bit of the cycle tough but kept me cool throughout the event.  Six porta-loos were available on site but I am not sure if there was enough loo roll for the entire day’s events.

Atmosphere: As the location was a bit remote, there weren't many spectators. Personally, I like having random people screaming my name (makes me feel like a rock star). So the race was a bit challenging for me mentally was it was only me cheering ...err... me on. However, if you have a support squad join you at the course, it is a small enough area for them to walk around and see you on the run and bike portion.

My huge bling
Bling/goody bags:  A substantial metal was given to each finisher. It is so big, I thought the girl at the finish was handing me her mobile phone along with a water bottle. There was also a free copy of Triathlete Europe magazine and a voucher for Ashmei merino wool products who were on site that day too.

Tips if you decide to take part next time: Be sure your GPS is working if you decide to ride there from the train station. Consider the trains might be full of bikes so leave a bit early to ensure you can get there on time.  Bring some friends to cheer you on. I think this can easily be a course to get a PB on if the wind plays to your favour.  I didn’t do so well as I treated this as a training session.  I will definitely sign-up for it again next year.

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