Skibbereen Duathlon

My daughters are very good runners, the younger, Lizzie, 29, being number 3 triathlete in Ireland and the best middle distance runner in Co.Cork. Rosaleen took up running this year and at 35 is one of the best around as well. I was persuaded to ride the cycle leg of this Duathlon yesterday with Rosaleen doing the before and after running legs, while Lizzie and Rosaleen's husband Keith were each doing the whole thing.

It started at Skibbereen Rowing Club. Lizzie was first female into transition and off she went, Rosaleen was second and off I went on my retirement-present Ridley Orion Carbon Fibre steed. The route was 30 km and consisted of out-and-back to the outskirts of Ballydehob, a rolling route on a not great surface. The young people shot off initially at a pace I was nervous of as it was a bit downhill and I'm not experience on this bike. Anyway not long afterwards I settled into the unfamiliar sensation of breathing hard with pain in my legs, something I seldom encounter now as I don't cycle that hard any more, though I did a bit of racing when young (I was no good at it, don't have the genes). After about 5 km a young man passed me and we had a few words. I told him I was 60. This seemed to psyche him out as I passed him about 1 km later and that was that.

I then noticed that I was having a tussle with another cyclist who passed me, I passed him, he passed me and so on. This happened about 10 times in all. Just before the half-way mark I passed Lizzie coming back. She has been doing little cycle-training as she's concentrating on running at the moment. I continued my ding-dong tussle with the chap mentioned earlier and at about the three-quarter mark my back began to hurt like hell (from unaccustomed effort. This happens when you push it). Eventually I decided that my pain was more important than catching him so I eased up slightly and let him drift ahead. At the end he was about 150 yards ahead of me. He was running as well. He was 39 and slim and fit looking unlike myself who's still a bit overweight.

Anyway some time later the runners started coming back. Lizzie came second as a triathlete she'd normally beat but who's a better cyclist than her and who's very bike fit at the moment, won. Had there been a longer run (this consisted of two legs of 3 km,) Lizzie would have beaten her. An ambulance went down the road. Then Rosaleen came in, and then Keith to tell us that a chap was unconscious down the road. It was the chap I'd had the lick for smather (a phrase of my father's) with. It subsequently turned out that he recovered but appeared to have had a coronary and was taken to hospital. I was told this by the event doctor whom I vaguely know.( I'm a retired doctor myself).

All I can say about that is Crikey!

P.s. Lizzie is perturbed that her SIXTY year old father did a time within 14 sec of her, even though she's not really bike fit.
I don't like riding at that pace at all. I averaged just over 17.5mph on it.


Lizzie and Rosaleen.

13 comments on “Skibbereen Duathlon”

  1. Chris wrote:

    Crikey indeed. 17.5mph is impressive. The fastest lads who did the 103 in (considerably less than) 8.5 hours last week averaged that mph rate. I doubt that I could keep up that pace, even over 30km. I haven't tried, to be honest, but I did have my own scare and eased off on that last holiday whilst climbing Fleet Moss.

    As Dirty Harry put it: "A man's gotta know his limitations."

  2. Garry Lee wrote:

    The correct speed is spot-on 17mph (according to their measurement), but that includes a running start and running finish as you have to run about 100yds before they let you mount and dismount the bike (God bless health and safety!) My speedo said 17.5 as I got off the bike. Your time is started from when your runner comes in.
    When I was 38 I did a 100 mile TT at 20.75 mph. Total pain all the way. Someone who was following it told me that it was the first time he'd seen a corpse on a bike! But that was flat and had a pretty good surface, a 25m route out and back twice. But I'm just a (at the moment) very fit totally average cyclist. My daughters get their vastly superior athletic ability from their mother who was a good middle distance runner.
    The normal speed I do with my friends is 11-14 mph, depending on the time of year. When I'm touring I ignore the average, enjoy it, take photographs and talk to farmers!
    P.S.
    That's the last time I'm going to ride like that. It's not pleasant. I was talked into it by my lunatic family :) People of our age (i.e. over 40) should not be pushing themselves very hard, I feel.

  3. Patrick wrote:

    An interesting story. I don't really know how fast I am (at 62), except that at Easter my brother (58) is sometimes a bit faster and the next Easter it's me. This Easter he won, and my sons (in their twenties) were cruising up with my brother. Deborah, my brother's partner was the slowest – in her early forties, I think, and pretty fit. My brother says she'll keep up the same speed all day.

    I don't use a computer any more but around here I probably average 10-12 mph depending on the route. All my routes are hilly as my cycling consists mostly of daily workouts of 90 minutes to two hours. The lie of the land makes more difference to average speed than people tend to imagine. That's the reason I don't bother with a computer. Time spent cycling is more meaningful than distance travelled.

    There are occasions when I've pushed to my limit trying to stay with someone faster and I end up feeling I shouldn't have done it, with my whole chest pounding, but then I tell myself it's doing me good. I don't know if it is. I'm not carrying any weight except for the slight pot belly that nothing seems to prevent beyond a certain age (any suggestions?).

    Cycling whippets whizz past me regularly. Old men sometimes. It's good to see. But they are always on faster bikes. I'd say a typical lightweight road bike is 15-20% faster than a tourer.

    I agree that Garry's 17.5 mph is impressive, and so is Chris's 100 miles plus! And I reckon I might be hard put to keep up with Mary... or Mick. Really, compared to the average population we're all pretty fit.

  4. Garry Lee wrote:

    I agree with all your comments. I've done a LOT of touring and my daily cycling average (excluding stops) has been as low as 8mph, in places like the Dolomites in heat and I don't know how slow in the Yorkshire Dales except we (Mary and I) were very fit and we averaged just 38 miles a day. I normally pay no attention to averages as they drive you nuts.
    I'm never putting an effort like that in again. I did 2 other such events in the last 4 years, but that's that.
    What I like most on a bike is a scenic hilly 30 mile crawl with lots of photographs.

  5. Patrick wrote:

    When you get older you start playing the long game if you've any sense. There's no point achieving a level of fitness you can't maintain year-in year-out. I call it 'background fitness' and it includes avoiding of the type of injury that can stop you cycling: dodgy knees, back pain, damaged feet, bad neck, etc. Of course it's easier when you're retired, but even then it does require a certain discipline to keep going no matter what. Most of the time it's up and away but there are winter days when it's tempting to think of an excuse.

  6. Mary wrote:

    Totally agree with the difference between a tourer and a road bike now I have been able to compare the two.

    I do hope Garry that the chap who became ill is ok.

    I am very impressed with your average cycling time too, especially seeing the type of landscape you have to cycle in over there. And I shall add too, what a beautiful family you have. Your girls are fabulous!

    I was speaking today to an ex Iron Man. In his Heyday, used to train hard for these events and qualified for World Champion status. He had to swim 3.5km cycle 112 miles and run a Marathon. The event of course being the tip of the iceberg compared to the training hours done. Now, poor chap has all sorts of pre-aging problems, back pain and leg pain mostly. The cost can indeed be high can it not. (He is not 50 yet) Like Patrick says, slow endurance... thats the way.

    The hare and the tortoise had a point.....

  7. Garry Lee wrote:

    Mary, I think that the Ironman is nuts. Not only that, but marathon running as well. Lizzie has turned out to be a superb runner and her coach, a former international runner feels that the marathon would be her forte, but the girl from Del Monte she say NO!. She ran a marathon about 2 or 3 years ago and was crocked for ages after it. She swore never again, so she runs anything from 3k to 10 miles at the moment. She's running the Munster Championships at 5km on Monday and hoping that a really good girl from Tipperary shows up. Quote: "She's as good as me, and as tough as me, and one way or another, there'll be blood on the track!" I'll let you all know! 😉

  8. Patrick wrote:

    My Dad ruined his knees running up and down the Munros and he's barely been able to walk for the past fifteen years. He says it was worth it. Still being able to cycle saved him, I think.

  9. Garry wrote:

    The girl from Tipperary was registered but did not show up. No contest as Lizzie won by a minute, but was disappointed as she really had no opportunity to see how good her form was.

  10. Patrick wrote:

    Was it run on a track?

  11. Garry wrote:

    Yes. 5km.

  12. Patrick wrote:

    Could she not tell her form by the time she ran, or does it not work like that? I suppose you need the competition to push you along. When I cycle with someone else, like my sons, my brother, or the bloke across the road, the pace tends to be quicker even if we're not officially competing.

  13. Garry wrote:

    You absolutely must have the competition in running, apparently. Very few runners can run from the front as well as they can in a competitive race (that's what I'm told at any rate. I've no experience of it. That's why when they're going for world records and so on they usually get a pacemaker to help them. Lizzie's time today was about 30 sec slower than her PB over this distance, that having been set in an intensely competitive race. Running is peculiar it seems as regards racing. Often, the winning time in a race may be quite slow, depending on the tactics. She actually won the race by 200m and lapped the third girl. Whether she'd have beaten her missing opponent God knows.

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