Any glimpse of the photos from the Sri Chinmoy Off-Road Duathlons would suggest a glorious, sunny day. While that was true enough, the sunshine and blue skies shared space with Canberra's notorious winter chill. As the course was set up, the temperature was minus four. Though it became somewhat warmer, the weather was still a fascinating mix of seasons. A typical July day in Canberra.
Happily, this was ideal weather for the intrepid runners, cyclists and duathletes who had arrived for the event. The most exciting way to see the city's famous Black Mountain, including the National Botanic Gardens (though most of the cyclists didn't spend too long admiring the scenery), the race is followed by a pancake breakfast, which has become a mainstay of Sri Chinmoy races over the years. Considering the location of the start line (on the edge of the bushland, away from major roads), and the number of young families who came to participate in teams, or to support each other as spectators, it was like a family picnic day, with the barbecue working overtime to cook dozens of pancake brunches.
The Long Course athletes were the first away, and after their first run â a 3.3 km hilly circuit around the perimeter road of the National Botanic Gardens â it was ACT Triathlete representative Michael Gosman leading the way from former pro triathlete Jason Chalker. It was not long into the ride, however, that Jason asserted his superior mountain biking skills, clocking a new bike course record for the 23 km double-loop course around Black Mountain Reserve and Aranda Bushland, of 56:41. Jason powered through the very tough 7.5 km mountain run â including the infamous Breakfast Hill up the flank of Black Mountain â to finish in 1:42:41, only 27 seconds adrift of his own course record set 2 years previously. After Michael Gosman (1:46:15), David Denny and Peter Young also came in under the magical 2 hour mark. Peter Macartney took the Men's Over 50 division in 2:15:26.
In the women's Long Course race, Ana Duncan was solidly ahead in each of the 3 legs, claiming victory in 2:17:11; while the team "Daysies" (Tanya and Liz Day) took the All-Female team award with their combined time of 2:32:14.
Meanwhile the combination of Elizabeth Humphries (running) and David Osmond (mountain biking) proved irresistible in the Mixed Team division. With Elizabeth setting new course records for a female-in-a-team for both runs, and David likewise breaking the bike record for a male-in-a-team, the combined time for their "Humpty Dumpty" duo was inevitably a new course best for this division of 1:47:42.
Emma Viotto showed allround excellence in her clear win in the Short Course women's event, including setting a new record for the bike leg en route to her winning 41:56 (the second fastest time overall). Helen King looked fantastic in winning the Women Over 50s in 58:27, which also featured a new course best time for the mountain bike leg.
Geoffrey Ives was the only solo male athlete ahead of Emma, taking out the men's event with 39:39; while Gordon Waddington led home the Men's Over 50 division with his 51:45.
The only teams entered in the Short Course race were Mixed Teams. The competition was set up early with close friends Isobel Magrath and Katherine Caley coming into the first transition neck-and-neck. Their dads kept up the pace, riding within 10 seconds of each other for the 7 km mountain bike, leaving it to Isobel's brother Benjamin to bring "Brunch Bunch" home in a new Mixed Team course record time of 37:27, not far ahead of Isobel who backed up for her second run on behalf of "Beats Homework".
Full results are published, along with a photo album from the morning.