BOWHILL ESTATE was the venue for the first of the new Duathlon Winter Series races last Sunday.
The event attracted 170 entries from across the UK and consisted of a run followed by a bike ride – in this case, both elements were off-road on the massive track, path and trail network within the estate.
Selkirk’s Paul McGreal of the organisers, Durty Events told The Wee Paper: “We had a great day of racing in a fabulous location with blue skies and frosty ground. There were plenty of exhausted smiles on the faces of the athletes and their supporters – that’s what it’s all about. The venue was fantastic – great facilities, and everyone was extremely supportive of the event.”
Athletes began at Bowhill with a stiff uphill run on forest tracks around Pernassie Hill. The cold icy conditions provided another test, especially in terms of gaining traction – several people reached the transition area with signs of having slipped and fallen. The course also involved a section through a trackless area of woodland, complete with ditch and log jumps. The cold conditions meant that the trails were otherwise in reasonable condition – as much of the mud was frozen.
The mountain bike course was a mix of forest roads and twisty singletrack, with an occasional lung-busting climb thrown in for good measure. Ice was again the dominant feature – slowing riders down on the short tarmac links, but also making the off-road sections faster rolling.
A solid run and a top-notch cycle saw Rory Downie – the current European Under-23 Off-Road Triathlon champion – sail through the field to take the win.
Gordon Dickson and Graeme Warren completed the overall solo male podium.
Jo Thom (Edinburgh RC) also had a storming ride to take the lead in the ladies’ event from Shona Robertson, and to come home in ninth place overall. Peebles athlete Caroline Wallace completed the podium positions.
First relay team was Stuart Gilfillan and Andrew Fallas.
Organisers Durty Events thanked the marshalls, and the owners and staff of Bowhill Estate for their assistance and enthusiasm.
There will be a total of three races in the Bowhill Series – the next are on January 27 and February 24.
Entries are still open via www.durtyevents.com and spectators are very welcome.