Galpin wins his first duathlon in season opener

Sunday morning saw 45 hardy souls’ brave cold and windy conditions in the first of the Ana Leaf Winter Duathlon Series hosted by the Guernsey Triathlon Club at Portelet.

Junior Dan Galpin and Laura McCarthy were convincing winners despite competing for Guernsey in the Hampshire Cross Country Championships in Southampton less than 24 hours earlier.

The 2 mile run / 6 mile bike / 2 mile run format saw competitors heading out to the fish factory and returning to transition for both run legs. However, due to the adverse weather conditions leaving some parts of the West coast impassable, a last minute change was made to the bike route seeing competitors heading straight up Pleinmont Hill and down La Coudre via the Mallard.

Galpin set a lightning pace during the first run and by the time he returned to transition he had opened a gap of at least a minute on second placed Jon Osborn with McCarthy in third. 

The bike leg up Pleinmont Hill would have been a decent early season fitness test for most, let alone those that had been trawling through mud in the Hampshire Cross Country the previous day.  Those spectating from the transition area had a great view of the competitors exiting the bottom of La Coudre and it was Galpin who had held the lead despite Steve Smith reducing the deficit by around 30 seconds.  Osborn and Island Games star Sean Murphy were not far behind. 

McCarthy had also held onto her lead heading into the second run.

Galpin increased his lead during the final run and finished first overall in a time of 44 minutes and two seconds.  Smith had now been overtaken by Osborn who finished in 46.07 with Smith finishing third in a time of 46.48. 

McCarthy was first lady home in a time of 48.01 and finished ninth overall.  Novice Jenny James was second in 52.27 with Sabrina Amy, herself another novice competitor finished third in 55.01.

Jenny James said: “I really enjoyed my first duathlon and was delighted to come second to Laura. I knew my strength would be my running but I had no idea how I would do on the bike leg. I was pleased not to lose too many places on the bike, particularly on Pleinmont Hill, and was able to finish with a strong run. I’m looking forward to the next race.”

Junior Galpin, an excellent runner and promising young triathlete was pleased with his first duathlon win. “I wasn't sure whether to race after the Hampshire XC the day before, however I decided to go for it in the end because I wanted to try out my new bike that arrived on Friday.

I went off fast at the start of the run to see if anyone was going to try and stay with me. I settled down after the 1 mile turn when I could see the lead over the chasers. Good first transition. Half way up Pleinmont, the fatigue from the run began to hit me. All the way through the cycle, I was just waiting for the riders behind to catch me. I had to concentrate on my 2nd transition, but it went smoothly. Once I started the final run in the lead I was confident I could hold it,” said Galpin.

Osborn was equally happy. “I tried not to start too quickly and immediately decided there was no point trying to keep up with Dan! Before long I also decided not to try to keep up with Laura either. Coming back into the wind my superior weight allowed me to pass Laura, we came into transition together, about a year after Dan. The start of the bike didn’t feel too bad considering that was the first time I’d done a run-bike transition for almost a year, but that was probably because I wasn’t going fast enough and before long Steve Smith had passed me. I kept him in sight as I was thinking about the whole race and was confident I would re-pass him on the 2nd run,” said Osborn.

Veteran Smith had shown great early form and was pleased his early morning winter bike training had paid off.  “Going into the race, I was wondering if a couple of months hard winter training would pay off on a short race like this.  I held back a little on the first run and was in transition in around 7th place, a quick transition and I was out in 4th.  I was always going to give it everything on the bike and managed to gain a couple more places and came into T2 in 2nd, I knew I had no chance of catching Dan, so the question was could I stay in front of the quicker runners?  Around 1 minute into the second run I could hear Jon closing me down, so it was all about holding on for 3rd, at the turn I could see I had around 10 seconds on Sean, so picked the pace up for the last mile into the wind and managed to keep that gap to the line. A couple of month’s hard training did pay off,” said Smith.

McCarthy, who has really progressed in the sport said:   “Yesterday's race was a great start to the season with lots of new faces, some challenging conditions and a last minute bike course change all making things interesting.  The first run started with Dan setting a very strong pace that I had no chance of matching but I ran out as hard as I could, knowing the wind would be against us after the turn.  Jon passed me on the way back and I tried to tuck in behind him as we headed towards T1.

“With such a short race there was option but to go flat out so I hit the Imperial hill as hard as I could. The hills and the strong headwind on the coast section meant it was never going to be a particularly fast bike leg but with the short distance of the revised course it seemed to be over in no time.  I was pretty happy that I'd not been overtaken by as many boys as I had expected and that there had been no sign of Jenny or Sabrina (I already knew that they are both good runners but didn’t know how fast either of them might be on a bike). The second run was slightly slower but I felt pretty strong and it was a great bonus to finish just before the rain started!”

President Mark Naftel said: “Today’s conditions were tough for all however it was a great turn out with 45 people taking part with more than half of those still being novices.  Seeing so many people coming through is not only great for the sport but also the Club.”

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