RAC E INSIDER
Regular duathlon podium finisher and coach Rhian Roxburgh provides essential tips and sessions to complete this tough off-roader…
Like any duathlon race, the start is fast! The first 3km of the 9km run is uphill (around 200m elevation gain) into the heart of Snowdonia National Park. People are strung out pretty quickly. During this early part of the race, it’s key to stick to your game plan and not get caught up in racing to the front, this holds true in any duathlon but especially here!
During the run you will encounter technical sections, beautiful trails, along with some fell-running sections. Experienced fell runners will have no problems and will find lots of time can be made up on those downhill sections.
The bike route is predominantly on wide sweeping stone tracks, with some uphill and then onto rolling terrain thereafter. Out of transition you go hard uphill, then drop onto some rolling terrain and half way round you hit a sharp right turn into the woods (Tarw Du). This single track is lumpy, rocky and technical! The single track goes through the woods, over a drop which can easily be jumped and is a lot of fun at speed. This is definitely the trickiest section of a really fun route.
Essentially, the bike (28km) takes the same amount of time as an Olympic-distance bike leg but is more intense due to the steep climbs, different terrain and the heavy mountain bike so it will exhaust you if you’re not ready for it. Make sure you fuel with gels or carbohydrates on the first lap of the bike, to ensure that you’re strong for the second. Going onto the second run is hard work if you’re not fully prepared for it. The final run is short (5.3km) with some lovely spiky trails and nothing too technical. This is where you should feel the benefit of holding back in the first run.
The run leads you into the finish, by the Coed Y Brenin visitor centre, where cheers from friends and family welcome you home.
Next month: Kielder Off Road Duathlon on 6 January