Dunoon Ride and Run

posted 8 Apr 2016, 12:16 by Enquiries campbeltownrunningclub

By Dom Sharkey

After spending a few weeks injured off running, and a week in bed with the flu in the lead-up to this event, I was contemplating cutting my losses and giving it a miss. Eventually decided since I’d paid my money I’d still go, have an easy day and enjoy it.  As a result of this, I didn’t do my usual obsessive analysis of the route before the race, and when I turned up on the morning, didn’t really have much idea what was going on, but just resigned myself to going with the flow and following the crowds.  The weather was holding up really well, with a bit of sun, hardly any wind and no rain, so was looking like a really nice day for a ride and run.   

The race format was something I’d never seen before: a 50k bike ride and 15k run, however only 4 timed segments on the ride counted for time, and the same for the run.  Overall the timed sections counting towards total time were: Bike – 10k flat, 2.5k hill climb, 9k undulating, 5k flat, and Run – 4k flat with 500m trail climb to finish, 1.3k hill climb, 800m on track, 3.5k undulating with a mix of road and trail.  

As the bike section started we all headed out to the start of the first timed segment together, but once the dibbers got scanned it turned into every man for himself.  Despite saying I was going to take it easy I couldn’t help myself and ended up pushing harder than I wanted just to catch and pass whoever was in front. Eventually found myself with a bloke from Elgin on a Time Trial bike, going about the same speed as me, so we started working together and moved away from everyone else.  The rest of the bike route I spent with Elgin-Dave, taking it easy and chatting on the transition sections, and working well together on the timed segments. 

Rolling out on the bike

We got back in about an hour and a half, and after a quick change, a few gels and a bit of stretching I realised I might actually have a chance of a high placing here, so determined to try to run well. 

The first run segment was 4k – 3.5 along the water front before turning off-road and heading up a 500m muddy climb.  As I started I realised I would need to be really careful with measuring my effort, to save enough for the last long segment, and before long I had that dreaded squirming cramp creeping into the thighs, so felt like I was teetering on the edge of complete muscle seizure at any point.  After this segment, and a bit more stretching, there was a short transition to the bottom of a 1.3k hill climb. Luckily this was short and shallow enough for me to get up without too much bother, with enough time for some more stretching before the rest of the following group caught up.  Next up was a longer transition which we spent jogging along chatting as a group – these sections were what made this event so enjoyable, much more relaxed and more social than any other type of race.  Into Dunoon stadium for 2x 400m laps on the gravel track – there didn’t seem to be too much point in blasting this section for the sake of being 20 seconds quicker if it meant dieing on the final 3.5k segment, so I took it relatively easily to save for the final push – this turned out to be absolutely necessary!  The start of the final segment was at a small loch above the town – around the loch, down a muddy descent, back onto the road to the water front, with a final 1.5k stretch along the water which seemed to go on forever before finishing on the newly renovated Victorian Pier. On my way to the start I almost collapsed when my right leg went into full-blown cramp, and had a panic I wouldn’t even be able to run it.  Luckily I was able to hobble round and finish with a total time for the 8 segments of 1:25:25. Being one of the first finishers, had a few hours wait to find out my final position – as someone finishing well after me could still have done the segments quicker depending on how much time they took between bike and run, and resting between segments etc.  

Finally the presentations were made and to my utter surprise I ended up finishing 1st Overall.  Pretty sure this was my first time ever on the top step of a podium, and was really not prepared for when the announcer starting interviewing me for the cameras and newspaper! 

Absolutely fantastic event all-round, there were also loads of team entrants, as well as people just competing in the bike or run sections only, so lots of different options for different people, would definitely go back again. 


With Claire and David from mid Argyll Tri Club