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The Kielder 'Nordic' Duathlon

by Editor
Friday 14th December 2012

Race report: Kielder Duathlon - Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Pine Forests, sub zero temperatures, snow packed icy trails and freezing bogs" what better conditions could you ask for a winter off road duathlon? Once again Kielder proved to be a true winter event With temperatures of -7c at the start line and a fresh covering of snow on the hard packed frozen surface.

Kielder Duathlon - Sunday, December 2, 2012

Based from Kielder Castle in the heart of Northumberland National Park, the area seems to have it's own winter micro climate more reminiscent of Scandinavia than the Uk. Overnight temperatures had dropped to as low as -12c and competitors certainly needed to be prepared for whatever conditions would be encountered. Riding the course on the Saturday afternoon prior to the event Louise Cardwell (Edinburgh) was hampered by frozen gears throughout but ensured that there was now a line in the snow for riders to follow the next day. These conditions did not deter the 200 plus hardy competitors who ventured out and With blue skies all round a great day of racing was in prospect.

The initial 7k run heads out onto the notorious Deadwater Fell and setting a furious pace up the forested climb was former royal marine Spencer Grant clearly thriving in the tough conditions. At the top of the climb 2011 world cross tri champion Harry Coates (Wallsend Harriers) gained the lead and plunged down the technical singletrack descent over the moorland terrain. Perhaps this should be called 'coldwater fell' as it was impossible to avoid the numerous bogs hidden amongst the heather on this section.

First back to T1 was Harry in 29:41 followed by Tim Calder 29:58 competing as a relay pair, then Spencer in 30:25. In the women's race Sarah Smith (Teesdale Tri) had built up a narrow lead and returned to T1 in 40:01 followed by Lucy Siddle (One Life Racing) 41:25 and Helen Wilkinson (City of York) 41:41.

Kielder Duathlon - Sunday, December 2, 2012

The 20k mountain bike section follows the blue graded trail and although not a technical route the 227m of ascent combined with the snow and ice ensured it was a tough course and good bike handling skills would be needed. 2011 winner Mike Pluckrose (Carlisle Tri) now on his strongest discipline, powered through the bike course recording 1:06:20, the fastest bike split of the day and moved into second place overall. However, this still placed him two minutes adrift of Harry who returned to T2 in 1:37:06 recording a 1:06:29 bike split. Less than a minute behind Mike was Roger Wilkins (Race Pace), closely followed by Matt Heywood and Mark Ryan (Carlisle Tri).

Sarah continued to increase her lead returning to T2 in 2:09:37 recording 1:28:27, the fastest bike split among the women. Now moving into second place after an impressive bike section was Rachel McDougal (Jst Roll Media) in 2:21:46, followed by Helen in 2:23:53.

Perhaps Kielder is the only event with a cafe adjacent to transition, adding a further test of competitors resolve in these tough conditions. Returning into T2 through the castle gates (with feet feeling like blocks of ice) competitors were greeted by the welcoming sight of the Dukes Pantry cafe or the prospect of squeezing frozen feet into their running shoes in a snow covered transition area.

The second 5k run initially heads out across the old Kielder Viaduct with the spectacular Bakethin Nature Reserve as a backdrop. This is followed by a climb up to the ominously named 'Devil's Lapful' before a singletrack section winds it's way through more snow covered bogs.

Recording 24:44 and the fastest second run split of the day, Harry continued to increase his lead and crossed the line in first place in 2:02:55 followed by Mike in 2:07:49. Matt was third in 2:09:26 narrowly ahead of Mark in 2:09:44. In a similar fashion, Sarah recorded 34:12 for run 2 to win in 2:44:58 followed by Rachel in 2:58:45 and Helen in 3:04:27.

Kielder Duathlon - Sunday, December 2, 2012

With first three to count in the team competition, Mike led Carlisle Tri to victory.

Relay Pair Tim and Bill Calder won the relay category in 2:08:52. Jesse Cosway and Karen Smith 2:32:19 Sally Pattinson and Ruth Asbery Team Breakpad 2:47:37.

The spectacular conditions really added to the uniqueness of this event and was clearly enjoyed by competitors. Perhaps all that is needed is to add a nordic ski disipline to next year's event!

"A fabulous event and absolutely adored the run down from Deadwater. Love that mud! A bit more slippy on the bike than yesterday...as that massive field of competitors ahead of me packed it down nice and hard! Loved it all the same...2nd run route was pretty and interesting to run while wondering if my feet were still at the end of my legs. A great event with great people" Louise Cardwell

"I had a great time at Kielder on Sunday!! Does that sound really strange coming from someone who was out for nearly 4 hours and now has very sore legs?? The course was great, though it was guaranteed that I would fall off the bike somewhere, everyone was friendly and it was really well organised. Thank you for a great day!! I’m just wondering what me next challenge will be..." Audrey Fallon (Harmeny AC)

"I just wanted to say thanks for putting on such a great event at the weekend. The Kielder Duathlon was alot harder than I expected, but it was a great day out. It'll be on my list for next year". Neil Turner

"I just wanted to thank and congratulate you for putting on an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable event today. I am first and foremost (very much) a road runner who likes to do a bit of mountain biking and other challenges for fun. Your event was certainly challenging and fun with the added bonus of being very well run and set up in a fantastic location. There were four of us taking part from Wallsend Harriers today and we all had a great time with varying degrees of fatigue but we all certainly managed to 'challenge our mental and physical resolve' as you state on your website". Mick Skeldon

"Another brilliant Duathlon. The routes were great and the snow and ice added a little extra spice to the challenge. See you all at Grizedale" Tom Matthew

"First ever off road event and what fun, looking forward to the next one" David Dicks

"Absolutely loved the day, I have the bug again. Will be back next year. Thank you so much HTE team for a brilliant day. Special thanks to the marshal in the red hat. Didn't get his name much to my shame, but wanted to thank him for his encouragement a true star" Damian Smith

[We didn't have any marshals wearing red hats, it must have been Santa!]


Men's results

1 Harry Coates Wallsend Harriers 2:02:55
2 Mike Pluckrose (1st MV40) Carlisle Tri 2:07:49
3 Matt Heywood   2:09:26


Women's results

1 Sarah Smith Teesdale Tri 2:44:58
2 Rachel McDougal Jst Roll Media 2:58:45
3 Helen Wilkinson City of York 3:04:27


Relay Pairs

Male Tim Calder/Bill Calder Team Timbill 2:08:52
Mixed Jesse Cosway/Karen Smith 2:32:19
Female Sally Pattinson/Ruth Asbery Team Breakpad 2:47:37


Team: Carlisle Tri - Mike Pluckrose, Mark Ryan, David Milligan

Click here for full results


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