The annual BUCS meet at Castle Combe is always one of the most eagerly anticipated races in the Exeter University Triathlon Club calendar. Being in November, for our seasoned athletes, it is a useful way to see out race season before Winter base training, and, conversely, for our large, and talented Fresher contingent, it is a great way to cut one’s teeth in competition before the Sprint and Standard distance BUCS Triathlons in May and June. Unsurprisingly then, Exeter fielded a large and deep squad on Sunday November 22nd, and we were extremely proud of our collective performance. It was great to see some of our new blood in Exeter colours for the first time, and to top it all off, a stellar performance by Clare Parkin in the Womens’ Wave meant we took home some valuable BUCS points to the University Athletic Union. Therein, whilst Clare was our standout athlete, it was an impressive display across the board, which bodes extremely well for our next inter-University competitions in the New Year.
The BUCS Duathlon is a Run-Cycle-Run race, with two 2 mile sections on foot, and one 10 mile Bike. With a relatively flat running circuit and an impeccably maintained asphalt speedway, Castle Combe has a reputation for speed, and this was exemplified in the amount of Exeter athletes who smashed their predicted finishing times. This year, due to a record number of entrants (around 700), the race was split into three waves, Mens’ Elite, Womens’ and Mens’.
Exeter fielded three athletes in the first wave: Club Captain Ollie Teenan, AU President Jack Bristow and EUTriC newcomer and GB age-grouper Harry Preston. In a competitive field Jack reflected, “I performed exactly how I expected to. The first run was tough at first, I had to sit back and run within myself but I warmed into it and started to move back up the field before T1. I had a very strong bike split, moving up the field and held on in the second run.” Finishing first out of our male athletes, Jack was soon followed by Harry, who posted an extremely encouraging time considering this was his first appearance in BUCS. Ollie meanwhile had to pull out due to a flat tyre on the bike and said, “I came into the race not knowing how it would go and that my training has lacked recently. This was obvious in the first run, I ran at the pace I wanted but it was far from comfortable. Unfortunately I wasn’t optimistic for the bike as I knew I had a flat rear tyre we weren’t able to fix before the race, and after being passed by numerous others and then being lapped by the faster guys I decided this wasn’t to be my race and rode in to transition without completing the bike course.” Nevertheless, we’re expecting him to compete strongly in the new year.
2014-15 Club Captain Clare Parkin, Incumbent Womens’ Captain Beth Joslin, Social Secretary Alice Carr, Events Secretary Kathryn Gardner and fresher Eliza Gilchrist raced next in the group womens’ wave. Again there were promising performances across the board, with Beth saying “it [the Duathlon] was a great atmosphere and the whole event ran smoothly … it was great to get some benchmark times to improve on throughout this upcoming season.” As aforementioned, Clare was competing near pole position for the entirety of the meet, and whilst she “had a bit of a nightmare in transition, including a dropped bike chain,” she was able to recover time on a strong cycle. Therefore, whilst she thought, “it was frustrating because if it wasn’t for my poor transition I could have finished nearer the podium spots and perhaps with a BUCS medal” she wasn’t too disappointed with her finish, especially considering her long layoff with injury last year,
In the final wave, EUTriC fielded Mens’ Captain Ollie Thorogood, Treasurer David Watson, Publicity Secretary Matt Hacke, Jamie Pocock, Alex Foyn, Ashley Jones and Quang Tran, with the last three all being newcomers to the club. In a stacked field there were some strong times, with many finishing within minutes of the 50 minute mark, which was point of cut-off for placement in the Elite wave. Jamie overall was pleased with his race, despite the fact he had to endure cramp throughout. In summation he said he was now looking forward to the BUCs sprint next year. Equally, Ashley, racing for his first time with EUTriC was pleased with his debut performance; ‘I was really nervous about competing for the first time, but there was no need. The race was a great experience, though the last 2 miles were very hard going!’ Finally, Quang, racing on a mountain bike, thoroughly enjoyed his race experience, and his words do this better justice than mine; “On a rickety, old, cheap, crap bike which occasionally changes gear when I want it to I knew going into my first BUCS that I had all odds against me. Nevertheless this didn’t stop me and Cindy (my beloved bike) from wanting to take part in the joys of duathlon. It was a tough competition and a good race (despite being the only person in my wave foolish enough to take a mountain bike to BUCS) and I managed to outdo all my expectations with a very impressive 23rd FROM LAST (!). All in all it was good fun and would recommend it to anyone no matter what bike you have. Bring on next year where I aim to hopefully get 24 from last or better.” With many in this wave being formidable swimmers, we’re expecting them to go on to even better things when racing in 2016.
Therein, the BUCs Duathlon was a highly successful day for EUTriC and a series of strong times, coupled with great support and encouragement between members of the team meant it was again a highly enjoyable date on our yearly calendar. As our Club Captain, Ollie, concluded, he was “immensely proud of everyone who raced that day and all the support, it reminds you what our club is all about!”
Having been back in training and training hard this week, we’re how looking forward to spending the winter months doing integral base work, before gearing up for competition in the new year.
74: Jack Bristow – 46:25:1
98: Harry Preston – 47:38:7
184: Oliver Thorogood – 51:01:8
186: Alex Foyn – 51:03:1
194 (7 Womens’): Clare Parkin – 51:24:0
237: Jamie Pocock – 52:39:5
281: Matt Hacke – 53:44:9
372 (52 Womens’): Beth Joslin – 56:23:9
376: David Watson – 56:28:6
507 (122 Womens’): Eliza Gilchrist – 1:01:40:8
555: Ashley Jones – 1:05:35:6
569 (165 Womens’): Kathryn Gardner – 1:06:54:7
583: Quang Tran – 1:08:59:8
Oliver Teenan (DNF)
Alice Carr (Without Timer)