What A Great Time!

Updated: Feb 15

Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Duathlon Champs 2022

Eton Dorney Lake --myWindsock Report-- dry, bit cold, bit windy, mainly in one direction, very dark blue and a deer was spotted--END--

Who needs sleep when you’ve got a field full of Tabs plus the general public to beat?

The 05:45 could have been anti-constructive especially destructive for the insomniacs of the club, but there we all were, huddled together at the break of dawn with our shiny clean bikes and alien helmets about to clean-sweep-shoe like never before. Some even brought blankets to wrap their babies up good in the back of the vans. Others were faffing trying to find a safe spot to lock up their fancy commuter bike. Shout out to our two big white van drivers Tina and Ellie and the team coach, ‘Drive’, for getting us safely to Eton.

Our Oxford Team had ~30 athletes entered for this year’s Varsity, and even with a few unfortunate dropouts we always feel like the bigger team. Special credit to those last minute sign-ups and to those who debut-came-to-shoe in what was a magnificent first duathlon event to get DOMS in. With an extended second run leg for a 5km / 20km / 5km race distance format any (ex?) runners of the club were lapping it up.

The faff before multi-sports event is unbelievably real, meaning your 45 min (or 60-min @ Joe Morrow) warm-up always seems to distill to a frantic 10 mins, or 5 mins if there’s a start-time change, or 0 mins if you’re keeping things Oxford-efficient like Jenny, bagging extra adrenaline through that late arrival. Did you know that we ALWAYS somehow make time for last minute aero gains? Here’s how: Emily and Alice get fly-looking aero plaits 2 mins before the start (courtesy of Ellie) this is exactly what we wanted to see; the bold but cold decided against wearing or just simply shedding (or forgetting) their base-layers, the animals, (or exhibitionists depending how you look at it), or my personal fave: pouring out half your bike bottle’s contents on the floor like you’re worshiping Pachamama (Mother Earth): “spill a small amount of chicha on the floor, for the goddess, and then drink the rest”…now I’m curious to know if anyone full-out ditched their whole water bottle? If so, how do you manage? I took about 16 sips, minimum 4 per lap - aero gains lost and swapped for excessive hydration gains.

While some were getting lost in the pain cave and losing count of the bike laps, one or two (deffo not Tessa & Alice) simply had NO CLUE what the total number would be (see exhibit A). Mystery Type 2-I’m-confused-but-I-came-to-shoe-fun. What does that even mean?! (No-one knows what it means, but it's provocative.)

There was also excellent vocal spectating by Tina and Carys, who gave each and every one of us about 10 cheers every lap, plus the repeated smiles and woos and high fives from teammates during the race meant our mission was continuously on fire. Everyone said this was the best bit of the day 😍. On the other hand, the Tabs seemed to have no fans...sad. Actually maybe the Cambridge Women’s team didn’t actually exist? There was this other public wave racing that gave the impression that Cambridge were there but were they really there? The Oxford women took the 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 through Flo, Jenny, Emily, Alice.E, Debz, Ruby and Alice.S AND four of our girls were debutants. Enough said. Let’s now enjoy some photography:

In the men’s race, 13 of Oxford’s finest represented the team in their match against Cambridge. With many racing in their first ever duathlon this was a good chance to get used to shoeing the tabs; which the team did with pleasure. Oxford won the First and Second team matches, and the mob match to finish off the day.

During the first run, Joe Morrow showed his cross country prowess by leaving the rest of the field in the dust running solo for most of the run. M Bater came in at the lead of the second’s Varsity match, looking to put his brand new TT rig to good use in chasing up the field despite the ice-rink out on the roads. After a gusty bike leg, Tomothy was first onto the second run, with Joe Morrow in second place and the Tabs nowhere to be seen. Big shout out to Kieran Agg for the fastest transition of the day at 23 seconds, asked for comment he replied: “I’m thrilled to have achieved such a feat, and hope it’s a message to all the other unexperienced, unequipped novices out there that anyone can be a dark horse when it comes to triathlon’s fourth, most important, discipline.” Truly inspiring words.

In the words of Tomothy at his first race, who’d be a big enough idiot to leave their helmet on running out of transition (To then proceed to do so 30 minutes later). Turned out to be an easy thing to do with both Jasper and Ollie learning the hard way that you’re not supposed to do that. When the dust had settled, Oxford’s first team consisted of Tom, Joe and dark horse Callum. In the second team ex-Pres and captain Jonny showed us how it’s done together with Justin (“I came, I saw, I got tenth”) and Ollie. Clearly we have two out of three sports down, which ain’t bad, but time to start working on the swim to get ready for round two at Varsity Triathlon.

The whole squad had a good time, with Jasper taking inspiration from the race to learn to swim, in pretty much kinda his words: “I can’t wait to get working on my swimming so I can also do Varsity Triathlon I had so much fun, truly the best day of my life, wait maybe that was when I got married, nah it was definitely today #TriForever #TriIsLoveTriIsLifeand in particular Coby making the most of the day out at Dorney to kickstart his tri career.