Hof Toppers Duathlon
10th August 2015

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Categories: Triathlon

Wanting to try a different type of event and one that may help strengthen my legs, I found myself at the start line of Hof Toppers 10 Duathlon. Held in the town of Hof, the idea is you mountain bike around the course stopping at 9 set points to run to the top of one of the mountains (or big hills) surrounding the town. In total you cover 104km: 78km (with 1600m of elevation gain) of which are on the bike and 26km (with 1400m of elevation gain) on foot.
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I approached this race thinking ‘it will be good training’ and that I would hold back a bit so I’m not going full out. Well as it happened me holding back a bit was only just enough to pace myself to the finish and the weather being so hot actually made this an extremely hard day out…

The plan of ‘not racing’ soon fell apart as I found myself in the lead on the first big uphill on the bike. As we came to the following downhill 6 competitors came whizzing past… well I wasn’t having that. We were soon at the first running section so I made sure to run past them before we made it to the top to turn and come back down the same path. 

The next biking section produced the same circumstances but this time just with one other rider. It seems my downhill skills on a mountain bike are non existent, so I would have to make up plenty of time everywhere else. After the following running section I had the lead again and wasn’t going to loose it. 

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Halfway and I was still having a blast, we then had two back to back big climbs on the bike with some longer harder runs inbetween. By now the sun was up in full force and I started to feel it slowly cooking me. As this was meant to be training I wasn’t going to eat any sugary stuff but I had brought some CLIF shot bloks in case and thought it best I dig into them. 

From here the experience turned into one of me doggedly trying to get to the finish. Luckily I had built up a buffer of 7 minutes or so over second place but as it turned out I would need a lot of this before the end in order to win: With the final top done I started hammering home for the finish when my chain hopped off into the gap between the cog and forks, it wrapped around twice halting the wheel bringing me to a skidding stop. It didn’t take too long for me to yank the thing around getting it unstuck but found that two spokes had snapped.  Lucky the damage wasn’t worse and the bike was still rideable, I managed to limp the last 5km in, crossing the line some 6hours 7mins after starting. I then proceeded to sit at the finish and eat something like 10 sandwiches in a row washed down with a lot of water.

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I was congratulated heavily for winning but even more so when people started inspecting the bike I was on. Borrowed from my father in law it was something of a dinosaur compared to everyone else’s, in fact other competitors then came over to lift it up testing its weight and walk away shaking there head in disbelief.

For my next race I now have a big decision to make, I can either go to the Glen Coe Skyrace in Scotland or the Matterhorn Ultraks in Switzerland…either way I can’t wait for the experience and will let you know how I get on!



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