The Beast Dodger Laughton Duathlon

Spiky dark hair, a mean temperament, short stumpy legs and a hunched back…. nooooo not Rob Wood. Despite the similarities it also describes the beast of Laughton thats been spotted recently!

The 21 duathletes needed to be fast on their feet and quick on their bikes if they were to avoid becoming its next victim. Last years winner Duncan Wright was looking to repeat his success but trying to stop him were the Lincsquad Wolfpack of Rob Wood, Chris Spavin and Phil Robinson. Hoping their recent Cyclocross outings would pay dividends were Andrew Lawson, Ville Titola and Chris Ware. Adding to the strong male line up were Team White Van Man. Andy R, Andrew B and Chris W. The Crafty Foxes with no known form were Jason Fieldsend, Dave Burton, Mark Clements and Andrew C…would their MTB skills make up for a lack of running?

In the ladies race the claws were out in a six way cat fight! Recent Lincsquad Female of the year winner Nicky Robinson would be battling with Becky Bowen, Amanda Clements, and Summer Duathlon winner Emma Phillips. Jane Taylor and Claire Blewitt completed the line up and both were looking forward more to the run legs than the bike section.

At 10am (ish) the race training session got underway. Steve Lormor acting as travelling marshall led the group around the opening lap. Having seen enough wildlife documentaries showing how easily animals get picked off from the herd no one wanted to be at the back. At the end of the first run section Duncan led the runners into T1 in 10min 41s beating his time from last year of 11min 04s. Hanging onto his tail as best he could was Rob with a 11.02. Tony Philbin 11.24 and Andrew L 11.33. Would their off road skills be a match for Duncs legendary road bike legs. All who competed in last years race training session on the same route beat their opening run times.

Last years Results

In the girls race training session Emma grabbed hold of the opening run leg like a Mother Grizzly Bear defending her cubs posting an opening run time 1min faster than Jane T (13min 53s vs 14min 56s). Little separated the other girls as everyone made it to their bikes without incident.

At the halfway point of the bike leg Dobber Sports Photography, Jo Walker and myself watched for the first rider to come through. Before the leaders appeared scooting up the main track was Rob with the rear duraileur hanging off the bike. On the night ride a week earlier Rob hit a fallen tree branch and despite this time having the luxury of daylight and a clear track in front of him he’d done it again.

My mate was out of the race..(oh forget it…). He’d taken the lead early on from Dunc and had been pulling away. His bike was wrecked and I was sat right there with mine ready to go. There was only one thing to do…..

Laugh mock and generally take the p……

Luckily for Rob I was feeling generous and a quick swap of bikes later he set off back the way he came and rejoined the course where he broke.

Meanwhile the 1st riders appeared out of the woods and into view. It was too far to tell exactly who it was but it definitely wasn’t Dunc. As the rider dressed in all black drew closer initial guesses were either Chris Spavin or Chris Ware.

It was neither.

Tony Philbin had turned a 43s deficit into a 15s lead as he crossed the main track. Dunc knew he had to keep close and use his good running if he was going to beat Tony. Andrew L was the next to appear as I made my way back to the start.

It wasn’t too long after I’d got back Tony was also making his way into transition. He’d not only stayed ahead of Dunc but had increased the gap to nearly a minute. Too much for even Dunc to make up in only a 1.5km loop.

Tony Philbin begins his run as Dunc enters T2

Once again the South side of the forest section was claiming victims with the “Bus Stop” sand section claiming Jason, Becky and Jane who all missed a right turn junction. Luckily the edge of the wood isn’t that far and all three got back on course to finish. As well as Robs mechanical issues Andy Calpin suffered a snapped chain but repaired it by the side of the track.Andrew B seemed to be having gear selection issues on his carbon Y framed special and his bike time suffered. Phil Robinson demonstrated how slippery fallen branches are when you ride over them by laying down on the ground next to one.

By the time myself and Steve had swept the course for stragglers, signs and barrier tape everyone had made it back to the finish for cake.

Despite a few (errrr a lot!) of bloodied and scratched shins from brambles everyone was happy but that may have been the sugar rush from the cake.

Big thanks to team Dobbers for timekeeping and photo duties. Liz and Rob for help setting up and especially Jo and Steve for the help on the day. Also Thanks to all who chipped in the loose change which as it was Remberance Sunday will be given to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Post cake fest a few of us went and did the Drop of Death but after surviving the Beast in Laughton it doesn’t seem nearly as scary now. More pics to follow after I’ve dropped my film off at the chemist