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Tue 22nd Jan 2019
Doug Hall goes Peaky Freaky...!
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 26th March 2014

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We are used to seeing 'Little' Doug Hall racing off-road on the XTERRA and MTB-Duathlon circuit. While Sunday's originally titled Peaky Freaky Duathlon from Freak Events was road bike based, its bike-run-bike-run-bike-run (!) format - including plenty of 'peaks' - was a "mad event" which clearly appealed to his adventurous side.

He reports from the Loxton-based event which he describes as...

“A weird love child between an adventure race and a duathlon with the volume turned to 11!”

Peaky Freaky Duathlon - Sunday 23rd March 2014

A mad event that I can only compare with the Ballbuster, a non-standard distance event, that's really hard, with no apparent reason for it other than 'because we might as well'.

Race HQ was situated in the Webbington Hotel in Loxton, and as if a deliberate act by nature in the shadow of Crooks Peak – the final ascent of the day. The resulting chilly temperatures a reminder that it was going to be a rather tough day out.

Competitors would set off in small groups of four, in sportive style and make their way across the now dry Somerset levels for a bike/run/bike/run/bike run tour of three of the biggest peaks in the county. With no outside assistance 40miles of cycling and 10miles of running split up required careful kit choices and creative carrying methods in order to get around in the quickest possible time.

It was my first race for a long time following some injury issues and representing new sponsors BW cycling I really attacked the first 20mile section pulling out a near two minute lead over team mate Graham Wadsworth with Lee Pester sandwiched between us.

Things were equally as close in the ladies race with a great dual forming between Joanna Carritt and Lisa Picton just a minute apart. Up next was a 2.5mile run (read as – crawl/fall) up and down the extremely steep sides of Brent Knoll. With quads banging like a taught set of bongo drums the gaps stayed fairly similar on the 7.5mile ride through the 'interesting' holiday village Brean Sands to the headland and the four mile jaunt up, around and back down Brean Down and its famous Roman Fort.

With the subtle nod of appreciation from an old Navy boy marshaling the far turn, I learnt that I had stretched out my lead over the lads behind and that Graham had overtaken Lee with some rubber dingy rapid running off the second bike. Jo Carritt was slowly pulling away from Lisa Picton, one painful second at a time but with nearly 60mins worth of racing to go it was by no means over.

With the direction of the wind slightly more favorable, the final 10mile bike section offered a little respite prior to ascending the big one. Unfortunately this part of the course was quite twisty with a couple of hills thrown in for good measure, so the promise of a fast return back to the HQ was very much a hollow affair. Bike racked, shoes on, deep breath. I started running along the road to the bottom of Crooks Peak, the first time running on tarmac the whole race induced a little cramp into the quads. Not ideal when you've got some 200m of vertical to deal with over the next mile or so. I began the death march keeping the cramp at bay with a fairly sizeable lead over the rest of the field. Phew. I found myself talking out loud whilst taking in the view. From the top of the hill I could see the Exmoor Hills, the Quantocks, Glastonbury Tor, The Black mountains in Wales and beyond. A truly epic view that would struggle to be beaten at any race.

“Definitely worth the effort” – Time to go back down.

Making efforts to not fall over on my now tired legs I passed Graham and Lee now settled into a hands on knees shuffle both quite comfortably settled in their second and third placing. I passed Jo Carritt who had finally shaken off Lisa Picton, both their faces showing the effort of this ascending fest. A great battle for third place in the ladies race was developing a little way back with Michelle Blackmore, Emma Betteridge and Cathy Parkinson all eventually finishing within three minutes of each other with Michelle ending up on the podium.

Doug Hall - Freaky Peaky Duathlon ©

A fantastic day of racing if a little sadistic! Some fantastic prizes and an all around brilliant day organized by I'll be back next year although not for the whispered double doing the rumour round!

Results can be found HERE.

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