What an awesome race! If you like your run bike run events you should definitely get involved in Powerman. It’s a middle distance format involving a 10k run, 60k bike then another 10k run. They take place all over the world and usually have a sprint race later in the day.
10k-60k-10k is not to be taken lightly so I have been training really hard through the winter for this race. I got a taste for it at Powerman Germany last May at St Wendel. That brute of a race made me all too aware of the challenge that this distance poses. I was therefore hugely motivated and committed to my training through the winter, bashing out some serious miles on the turbo and including some hefty bricks. However, you never know what to expect in your opening race of the season, even if you are happy with the training numbers!
Lining up on the start line under the Powerman gantry on the waterfront in Can Picafort was a nerve wracking experience, but I knew I couldn’t have done much more this winter so I told myself to relax and enjoy the experience whilst giving it everything! I was standing alongside some serious names in the Powerman world including Seppe Odeyn, Soren Bystrup, Kasper Hartlev, Jarmo Rissanen and Miguel Figaldo among others – all experienced racers and top finishers at European and World duathlon championships. However, my running has been going well so I was up for trying to match these guys from the gun.
The horn sounded and as ever – despite the 2.5 hours of racing ahead – the pace was high from the off. A group of 5 of us soon formed at the front with Kasper and Figaldo pulling ahead and maintaining a 20m gap ahead as we went through the 5k turn at 5.14 minute miling pace, sub 32 minute 10k pace – hard, but definitely not too tough. I was feeling good and enjoying the pan flat run course along the Can Picafort waterfront snatching glimpses of the bluey-green Mediterranean waters looking welcoming alongside us! I settled in with Seppe and his countryman and pacer Wout Daniels and T1 was soon upon us. The opening 10k was a little short so we went through in 30.33 and after a quick scrabble in T1, I headed out on my beloved Kinetic One TT bike for the rolling 60k bike.
As we left T1 I was in 4th with Seppe soon pulling away from me up the hill out of town. The bike leg involved 2x30k laps. It was a brilliant course will wide open long stretches and some great little rollers, dips and bends, all on smooth Majorcan tarmac. There were no potholes to worry about so tucking into aero and only seeing a few metres up the road was fine, unlike in the UK! Overall there was 600m of climbing so it had a bit for every rider. I decided pre-race to go hard on the bike and forget about the final run. If you don’t go hard throughout, then you don’t get anywhere near the front in these races and any slight let up lets athletes come streaming past. The weather was warm and sunny with light winds but there wasn’t much time to enjoy the view! I reeled in Kasper, but a few others came past me so at the end of first lap I was in 6th.
I was very satisfied with this position given the strength of some of the riders behind me. Had all those winter miles on the turbo in the suffershed paid off?! I stole a couple of glances back on the long stretches and there was no one very close which gave me a massive lift and I managed to maintain my power from lap 1, staying in touch with Joan Nadal who came past me on the previous lap. After a little over 90mins we found ourselves zooming back down the hill into Can Picafort and T2.
A fairly untidy transition ensued but no great time lost and I was out onto the waterfront for a repeat of the first run leg, only this time with 10k of running and 60k biking in very heavy and jelly-like legs! I forced myself to tap out a decent pace – mind over matter and all that – and passed Joan…. 5th! Awesome! Now just hold it together and don’t seize up/cramp/bonk! I managed to hold steady 5.29 minute miling which was enough to bring Soren Bystrup into view ahead of me. Was I really going to run down this legend? Cold or no cold, he is still a big name in this sport and would be a great scalp… I pushed on a little and took him.
Into 4th! Now make sure you don’t mess this one up! Relax the shoulders, lift the heels, remember to breathe! The KMs ticked down and the turns showed I was in 4th with no-one challenging me. I had time to soak it up – the sun on my face, the cheering onlookers, the view of the sea to my left, the endorphins, adrenaline, the now pleasurable pain in the quads of a job well down. Rounding the final corner and running under the finish gantry was an incredible moment. All that hard work had paid off and a feeling of elation washed over me! I know 4th isn’t the podium, but given the quality of the field, that was a top result for me. I was dead happy.
It was also amazing to see my pal Jonny come in in 43rd, broken but elated with what was a truly incredible result for someone who has trained so little and then Steve Linton, my other pal on the trip placing 3rd in his age group. Suffice to say we had an amazing afternoon soaking up the warm sun – a brief respite from what has been a long UK winter – and revelled in the ‘high’ of a job well done. Now it’s time to get back to the hard training graft so I can match that feeling at Powerman Denmark in May – the European Champs. Sign up everyone, Powerman is amazing!!
You can follow Ben’s duathlon journey through his colourful and engaging posts on Instagram @benpriceduath