The Epic 2019 Holcombe Mountain Trial Duathlon
‘In all my years running on these hills, I have never seen conditions like that’ was the comment from one of our many marshals who braved epic conditions that faced the competitors for this year’s edition of the Holcombe Mountain Trial Duathlon.
Typical scenes on the race route.
Not only was Holcombe Moor under water but we had several sections of flooding on cycle course to deal with.
The road leaving Edgworth before and after the marshals performed their magic.
Nevertheless, we had a record turn out including some who decided that it looked that a good day for a run and a ride and entered on the day! Despite the conditions we had no less than three new course records. Tony Nichols (MV60) took over eight minutes off Tony Hesketh’s 2015 time, Karl Gray, last year’s winner, reduced Andrew Robinson’s MV50 2018 time by almost three minutes and current World Quadrathlon Champion, Mary White, used her kayaking prowess to set a new FV60 record.
The overall winner was returning champion Joe Mercer who finished only a matter of minutes outside the current record, an unbelievable achievement in the conditions. His quick first run gave him a commanding advantage over David Mirfield into T1 with Karl Gray, proudly wearing Number 1 and hoping to retain his title, hot on his heals. David’s cyclocross skills clearly came in useful on the wet roads giving him a slender advantage into T2 meaning Joe had to dig deep on the closing sections of the final run to take the win. First timer Matthew Fretwell managed to unseat Karl from the podium with the second fastest bike time to take third overall. Steven Gregory took fifth position and first MV40.
In the women’s race, Claire Burns of Bolton Triathlon Club led from the start and despite Natalie Murphy closing up a few minutes on the final run, she was never going to catch Claire who took the title by over eight minutes as well as the trophy for the fastest bike leg. Natalie took second spot on the podium and the first FV50 prize and third place went to Diedre McCarthy of Manchester Tri Club. Nicola Caldwallader took fifith overall and the first FV40 prize.
The Relay title was taken by former solo champion Donna Edmondson Booker and Mario Barbosa.
People take part in events like this for many reasons and few outside of our sport will ever understand why we put ourselves through the discomfort and suffering that last Sunday dished out by the bucket load. One of our competitors has a pretty tough year and it was great to see her back and embracing the more enjoyable type of challenges life throws at you.
Well done to all who raced, hope to see you all next year in somewhat drier conditions!