Sebastien Vicary, a member of your Students' Union's cycling and athletics club, has qualified for World Championships!
Read Sebastien's account below:
Many people don’t know what a Duathlon is, it is essentially a race which consists of lots of people who like to suffer for fun. You run for a few miles then hop on your bike and cycle as hard as you can for a few miles and then jump off your bike and run again until the finish. I, myself, am still relatively new to the sport having only done a handful of races, but I’ve found myself to be quite good at the suffering as I love the competition that the race brings.
Why did I enter Oulton Park duathlon? Last year I qualified for the European Sprint Distance Duathlon Championships (ESDDC), which takes place on the 20th of October 2018 in Ibiza. With this in mind I entered as a prep race as it was an ideal time 3 weeks before the ESDDC. Not so close to the Europeans that I would still be fatigued from the race, but close enough to gauge my fitness. I knew that this race was a World Championships qualifier, so I had that in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t the goal of the race. The goal of the race was just to go out there and learn some things about myself (fitness levels etc) ready for ESDDC.
The race prep; a week before the event, I decided that I was going to stay at my brother’s house the night before the race as he lives 25 minutes from the circuit. This meant that I didn’t have to get up at 5am and have a 3-hour car journey on the day of the race. Instead I got up at about 7ish, had breakfast and we were there for 8am – one and a half hours to go. I registered upon arrival and got my bike set up, attaching my race numbers, gels and checking my bike over. I put my bike in transition and went for a quick warm up doing about 10 minutes of easy running and a few stretches before the race briefing at 9:15. Rules, course, and everything else was explained but most of it went straight over my head as I focused on the start line and my race tactics.
The race; I stood on the start line feeling nervous as, at my last race, I had a small crash and sprained my wrist and got lots of knocks which held off training for a few weeks. Bang! The gun went off – all the nerves shot straight out of me. I had a good start, probably running within the top 40-50. As the run went on I started to move past a lot of people. There were packs starting to develop and I found myself in a bit of no man’s land. The front pack were going a bit too fast, as I was thinking in my head if I go with them I might struggle the rest of the race, so I held back just a little bit. However, I was running a bit too fast for the second pack, so I found myself on my own until I came into T1 (Transition 1). Bike helmet on, shoes off, cycling shoes on and then run to the mount line. I jump on my bike and get going as quickly as I can.
The bike course at Oulton park is five laps of the circuit which is about 13 miles. After the first two corners I spotted two people not very far in front of me, so I worked hard to catch up to them. We ended up working together, taking turns for about a lap until approximately 15 people caught us up. I took a few turns at the front of the group, but I mainly sat in. Sitting in means you do less work because you are sheltered from the wind. This was a big advantage for me as I am not as strong on my bike as I am running. 4 laps of sweeping bends, a few hills and a lot of jostling for positions found me finishing the bike leg with an average speed of 23.8 mph. I came into T2 at the back of the group and I jumped off my bike at the dismount line to run to where I had to rack my bike. I scrambled to put my shoes on, took my helmet off and I was away.
With a relatively quick transition I took a few places here, I looked ahead of me while running out of transition and there were about 10 people in front of me. However, the front pack were very fair ahead at this point. I quickly worked my way through the group of people, running past all of them within a few minutes, and then it was just down to me to go as hard as I could to the finish. My legs were screaming but I knew I had done okay. I drank some water, went straight to the results section and I was shocked to find I was 22nd overall and 1st in my age category. From this I knew I had done it, I had qualified for the world championships. A massive bonus for me was I ran the 12th fastest second run of the day, with only a few seconds between 3rd and me. I had made a massive improvement of 111 places compared to last year and I was a total of 8 minutes faster. The feeling of picking up those results and being completely shocked and elated is the reason I do this sport. The hours and hours of work, blood, sweat and tears is always worth that feeling. I am now hungry and excited to train to see how far I can really go within Duathlon/Triathlon.
We'd like to wish Sebastien the best of luck in the competition and look forward to hearing more about his progress!