Kielder Duathlon race report

Hot on the heels of our very first video race report (see Polar Ice-cap Marathon article), we now have our first French race report, courtesy of Arnaud Albertini.


Kielder Duathlon: Sunday, 7th December 2014


Le voici le voilà, the first French race report :-)

For a better feeling, I advise you to read it with my little accent, Hor hee hor hee hor

After a good Christmas party, trust me the alarm rang a long time before I realised it was time to go. 6.45am – John Tollitt was there to take to me to our second off road Duathlon in Kielder this year, the Kielder Duathlon organized by High Terrain Events, 7Km Run – 20km Cycle – 6Km Run, totally off road. On-site at 8.30, with 3°C and a little rain, we were ‘lucky’ to have proper North East conditions.Two hours to be prepared, we recognized the transitions area, wear our respective outfits regarding the conditions.

After a quick briefing to understand the different signs installed, we were ready on the second line to start the fight. Because yes it’s was a long fight for us today, first of all even with some tablets the Christmas headache was still present on the line, the temperature was dropping slowly, it was raining …

‘Pan’ no more excuses, party hard and race harder. Like all the races I have done this year, everybody started with a fast pace, I prefer to stay with my experienced partner in crime. After 1 km on forest past, first test with a steep uphill through the woods, i managed to pass some early fast runners and came the first downhill and the flying John passed me so easily, crazy ! I managed to stay not too far but in the first muddy holes I lost my left shoe … In my head I was « non non non it will be OK stay focused », the good thing at this point was the SUN was out finally !  The next step was to climb along the Black route, a big long hill, around 2,5 Km on a big forest path. At the beginning of the craziest downhill I ever ran, I lost again my shoe “f… off ! Put…” Unlucky! The following of the race consisted of a free ride through the vegetation, no path :-) Just follow the flags, it was a very interesting part, I managed to pass some people, but I couldn’t see John any more … Arrived at the transition, no sign of him he should be two minutes in front of me at least. As the last time, I lost too much on the transition (I really need to practice !)

On the bike, the start was very difficult I needed time to warm up others parts of my body and get focused on my lines. After a couple kilometers I was in time Trial mode, I was chasing Mr Tollit. The bike path were proper MTB routes with some large Forest roads, the first 7 kilometers weren’t enough technical to make a big difference with the others, the little was made by giving everything I had on pushing on my pedals. After a porterage in the forest, we entered in the proper MTB paths, I was flying ;-) Big corners, jumps, steep up hills, steep down hills!

After some efforts, I managed to  catch John in one steep uphill section, just before a lovely downhill through the woods. I stayed behind him, waiting to have an opportunity to pass. 20 seconds later I took the inside line of a corner and right foot out, good balance, on control :-D The rest of the cycle was amazing, through the forest with the streams and the bridges, outside the forest with the snow on the Scottish mountains, my eyes were wide opened. And in addition of that, the course was very funny and fast, some people struggled to stay on their bike, I had some good laughs ;-) I finished the cycle with a slight lead, I lost again some time on my transition but still no sign of John.

100 meters after the line, I saw him on the way to the transition. But, even with this advantage, it would be difficult, I felt I was knackered … I stayed with the first lady and 3 runners passed me at the start, I was really struggling to keep the pace on the flat beginning. I was better on the only last long up hills, I watched the others before the the beginning of the last downhill, still no sign of John. But, 2 minutes later he passed me, again in a downhill … No more fuel in the tank :-( I managed to finish the downhill in the forest, with the trees down, the roots, the mud, again a very technical path.

I think John finishes in 2:35:.., may be second Veteran +50, I finished in 2:37:.., at this time the results haven’t published yet.

To conclude, it was a very good race, the best I ever done :) I struggled with the downhills and John with the MTB, we know what we have to do for the next one ;)

Bisous à tous,



Results to follow.

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    • kevin cheetham on 8th December 2014 at 09:39
    • Reply

    excellent report Arnie[adam Woods english lessons really paying off]

  1. Love the report, Arnaud! Well done to both you and John – especially after the night before!

  2. Cheers lads !

    • Le Blaireau on 8th December 2014 at 13:35
    • Reply

    I mentioned this event to Arnie after the Kielder duathlon in the summer, he said “I’ll be back” (see what I did there). Great report Arnaud, captured the feel of the event. The mountain bike section was tougher than I expected, the ascents and descents felt quite technical and the flatter sections felt like cycling through porridge with all the mud on the tracks. Was impressed with your overtaking manoeuvre, if you’d have got that wrong you could have seriously come a cropper (don’t know how that translates into French!). Thanks for not mentioning that I had to go back home as I’d forgotten my helmet or that I started the 2nd run wearing said item, doh!!

    • john g on 8th December 2014 at 21:58
    • Reply

    Brilliant report arnie well done lads hor hee hor :)

    • Simon Pryde on 11th December 2014 at 23:14
    • Reply

    Enjoyed that, Arnaud, bien ecrit! I’ve cycled on some easy paths around Kielder and the y terrified me, so good effort! And no-one goes downhill like the Badger!

    • Annette on 12th December 2014 at 20:46
    • Reply

    Excellent report Arnaud! Sounds tough, especially doing it with the after effects of the Christmas party. Glad you enjoyed it, well done.

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