THE first of the Bowhill Winter Duathlon Series proved popular, with 170 entries from across the UK flocking to the Selkirk estate on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon to take part.
Duathlon is closely related to the better-known sport of triathlon, and consists of a run followed by a bike ride. In this case, both elements were off-road on the massive track, path and trail network within the estate.
Athletes began at Bowhill with a stiff uphill run on forest tracks around Pernassie Hill.
The cold, icy conditions provided another test, especially in terms of gaining traction – several people reached the transition area with signs of having slipped and fallen.
The course also involved a section through a trackless area of woodland, complete with ditch and log jumps.
The cold, but bright weather conditions meant that the trails were otherwise in reasonable condition – as much of the mud was frozen.
First males back to transition area in the courtyard to pick up their bikes were Tom Owens (Billy Bilsland Cycles), followed by Andrew Fallas (a member of a two-man relay team), then Rory Downie (The Tri Centre) – all around the 15-minute mark for the 3.6km course.
The women were led into transition by Shona Robertson (Shettleston), closely pursued by Joanne Thom (Edinburgh RC).
The mountain bike course was a mix of forest roads and twisty singletrack, with an occasional lung-busting climb thrown in for good measure.
Ice was again the dominant feature – slowing riders down on the short tarmac links, but also making the off-road sections faster rolling.
Fastest bike split (20.12) was posted by Rory Downie – the current European Under-23 Off-Road Triathlon champion – in order to come through the field and take the win. Gordon Dickson and Graeme Warren completed the overall male solo podium.
Jo Thom also had a storming ride to take the lead from Shona Robertson by the finish line and to come home in ninth place overall. Peebles athlete Caroline Wallace completed the podium positions.
First relay team was Stuart Gilfillan and Andrew Fallas.
Paul McGreal of the organisers, Durty Events, said: “We had a great day of racing in a fabulous location with blue skies and frosty ground. There were plenty of exhausted smiles on the faces of the athletes and their supporters – that’s what it’s all about. The venue was fantastic – great facilities, and extremely supportive of the event”.
Durty Events would like to thank the marshalls, and the owners and staff of Bowhill Estate for their assistance and enthusiasm.
There will be a total of three races in the Bowhill Duathlon Series – the next are on January 27 and February 24. Entries are still open via www.durtyevents.com and spectators are very welcome.