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Tue 16th Aug 2022
Ali Moult: BallBuster Champion
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Tuesday 10th November 2015

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Ali Moult - from broken elbow to BallBuster Duathlon Champion

We reported on the 26th year of the CEP Winter BallBuster Duathlon held at Box Hill yesterday, the headline grabbing story from which was the breaking of the 14 year old course record by men's winner Andy Greenleaf, in what was a stunning performance in far from ideal conditions.

There was also an interesting story from ladies winner Ali Moult. Ali was the fastest overall Age-Group athlete at the ETU European Duathlon Championships in Alcobendas, Spain earlier this year, as well as winning the British Championships at Clumber Park. A class athlete in her own right then, but a late season bike crash in France had left her with "my left elbow broken into several pieces, damaging some nerves and ligaments along the way", followed by "becoming well trained in withdrawing from races" as the 2015 season look to be drifting away. Fortunately the late calendar date of the BallBuster gave her just enough time to get some health and fitness back, enough as it turned out, to win. Here is her report from the day.

I'd entered the BallBuster quite early in the year after hearing some great reviews of it and knew I that it was one that I was going to have to tick off the list.

I had quite an early start to my season, so had a bit of down time in the middle of the year to give the plantar fasciitis I'd been battling some well needed recovery.

Typically, just as I was kicking back into my training I managed to get knocked off my bike on my first day of cycling in Annecy, and made a pretty good job of breaking my left elbow into several pieces, damaging some nerves and ligaments along the way. An immediate fight home, surgery, a load of metalwork, a few days in hospital followed by some pretty extensive physio when I was finally allowed out of my cast, meant the only thing I was becoming well trained in was withdrawing from races.

Although it was looking highly unlikely that I was going to be able to do the race, I kept the BallBuster in with the aim of getting to the start line as being the achievement. I'd lost a lot of confidence on the bike, so it was only after a weekend of riding a load of hills in the rain in Wales with my new coach Hywel that we decided that my arm, and me in general, was going to be strong enough to give it a go.

On the morning of the race arriving in the pitch black, and after setting up in a transition that looked like it was going to be blown down the hill, I knew we were going to be in for a fun few hours!

The race was started with groups of 5 to 10 setting off every 10 seconds which I was bit nervous about, but it worked well. I'd decided not to use a watch to run with or computer on my bike as I wasn't sure how I was going to go…. and if there was one thing people had told me about this race it was to not blow before the last run! I got myself in a good group and pushed the pace but kept it steady. I had an idea of where the climbs were, but also was aware very quickly of the corners, descents and amount of leaves and the surfaces of the roads in the delightful British weather! Knowing me I would have done myself more damage, so racing sensibly was key!

I came into T1 feeling ok after 51 minutes (as ok as you can feel after running up box hill in the wind and rain). I'd decided before that I would put my cycling shoes on in transition, however regretted this very quickly as it had turned into a bit of a mud bath and there was no way in the world could I get my foot clipped in! I tried for about a mile jumping up and down on my pedals looking like I was attempting some sort of ballet routine, and had so much support from other competitors on the course that was brilliant, but it just wasn't happening. I knew I had a few minutes lead so I decided to very ungracefully jump off my bike and sit on the side of the road trying to clean my cleats!

Bit of a waste of time as it didn't make any difference. Fabulous.

Ruth Purbrook (L) and Ali MoultI rode down to the first main corner and one of the great marshals had a go and helping me force my shoe on (I don't think she quite knew what was going on!), but of course, that was an epic fail too. So I knocked the gears down and decided that I was just going to have to ride it as smoothly as possible meaning I'd lose some power on the climbs. I was very relieved to make it into T2 in one piece (!) with a bike split of 1.19. It's a great course for a bike; technical enough to keep it interesting but with enough places to get some decent speed.

On the final run I found myself running with a couple of guys, which combined with the brilliant support on the course in the horrendous weather, almost made those final eight miles bearable! I took advantage of the descents to push the pace where I could as I knew the final climb was going to be tough and my aim now was just to hold my position. I had a good second run of 56 minutes to finish in a total time of just over 3:07. It was brilliant to see Ruth hold her spot for second place; we've raced together before and I knew she was going to be up there.

Really pleased to be able to get the win, a great boost as to where I am going into the winter. As crazy as it sounds I really enjoyed the race, something a bit different that suited me. Whatever your aims are for it, I'd definitely recommend it as one to add to the race schedule.

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