Special report written by Nick…
Danny and I flew the flag for the Rutland at the annual Duo Normand trip on the 18th of September. Pete Goodfellow also rode with honourary Rutlander Brian Tear, and Brian’s wife Martine rode with triathlete friend Catherine O’Caroll.
Pete and Brian were off first, early on the Sunday morning due to their insistence on entering the ‘Unlicensed’ category in an attempt to get some Podium glory. The weather was foul, constant heavy rain and and a strong wind that made the open sections of the 54km course particularly hard. Word has it that Pete didn’t like it at all, and the duo were a little disappointed with their time of 1:23:55, and 11th place in the Unlicensed category, a good couple of minutes slower than last year (although most if not all of that can be attributed to the weather). Martine and Catherine were off in the early afternoon, and despite Martine almost being blown away after Brian insisted that an 808 front wheel would be fine, posted a very good time of 1:11:28 for the 43km womens course. By now Danny and I had been woken up by Johan Vansummeren and Thomas Dekker riding on their turbos in the hotel corridor for at least 2 hours and so, feeling fresh after a long sleep made possible by their second category status, set off to the course to have a warm up. Unfortunately, in the absence of turbo trainers and in the presence of continued torrential rain, a warm up was not on the cards and instead layers of Deep Heat and Danny’s fake tan (see photos) were rubbed in. The Rutlers had a good ride, although I enjoyed the sight of Danny’s fankles infront of me to such an extent that I was reluctant to take many turns on the front, especially during the windy bits. Luckily, Danny’s storming form was continuing and he wasn’t in need of much help. We finished in 1:18:34 (a Rutland record), for 3rd place in the 2nd category, and 41st out of 320 teams.
The Duo weekend is now a regular occurrence on the Rutland social/racing calendar, and it is a brilliant event that’s definitely worth the trip. All pairs get a following car, the roads are pretty much closed, there’s a little grandstand at the finish, a starting ramp, and a great hilly course. Hundreds of teams compete during the day, culminating with the elite riders who start in the late afternoon. This year there were 32 elite teams with Vansummeren and Dekker from Garmin Cervelo taking the win. It was nice to see those two celebrating their win over a hearty meal at the local Buffalo Grill in the evening!