The BallBuster Duathlon takes place during November in the Box Hill National Trust site, and the course takes you on five lap course of Box Hill and the undulating hills of the North Downs.
In November 2015 Andy Greenleaf shattered the CEP BallBuster record, completing the 40-mile duathlon challenge at Box Hill in 02:31: 54. His red hot form has continued in 2016, recently picking up the title at Ironman 70.3 Exmoor, before he competes at the World Championships in Kona on 8th October.
Andy to get his tips for anybody attempting this year’s BallBuster challenge in November.
Have you got any advice for first-timers?
Don’t underestimate the length of the race, and in particular the run. 16 miles as a stand alone running race is long enough, let alone around Box Hill and with a 24 mile bike sandwiched in the middle. Try to keep the speed of the first and second runs as close to each other as possible; I consider the race similar in effort to a marathon and it is essential to be very conservative in the early miles, even when you’re feeling fresh.
What changes (if any) do you make to your bike before attempting the BallBuster?
I’ve raced the Ballbuster on both a time-trial bike and a standard road bike, and I would always choose a road bike on that course; however that is my personal opinion. Given my choice of bike, I will add aerobars and deep section wheels. Otherwise just make sure your bike is mechanically sound and setup so it is comfortable and efficient for you to ride.
Last year the weather was atrocious on the day, and competitors often have to compete with the elements at BallBuster, what tips do you have with coping with the wind and rain?
I’ve never raced the winter Ballbuster when it’s been even remotely warm, so prepare yourself for cold weather, as well as for the wind and rain. Bring plenty of clothes to keep warm and dry at the start, and have a full change of clothes so you have something dry to put on at the end. You may find yourself getting hot on the run, and then have to face the wind chill on the bike, so make sure you have windproof layers in transition that you can slip over your run kit. Arm warmers, gilet, headband, gloves and toe-covers are extra items of race clothing I will bring on the day in case it’s cold.
You posted an incredible time in 2015, beating every time set in the event’s 26-year history. Were there any areas of your performance you felt you could improve on, or was it the perfect race?
The run could not have gone any better – I consciously started steady to ensure both first and second runs were as close in speed as each other. Given the conditions in 2015, there are still gains to be made on the bike simply from racing on a dry course. However, improvements on handling the technical parts of the course and learning exactly which parts of the course to push hard on could cut some further time.
You’re an experienced athlete, competing in a variety of challenges, how does the BallBuster compare to other races you have taken part in?
It’s a fantastic event, and one that gives the opportunity to test yourself on a hilly and challenging course. No other duathlon race I’ve competed in has as quite as much running or ascent, so it suits strong runners and hill climbers well. There is also a degree of uncertainty going into the day due to the weather and road conditions, so it keeps you focused in the buildup and throughout the race itself.
The CEP BallBuster returns on Saturday 12th November. Limited places remain for anybody feeling brave enough to take part. Visit http://humanrace.co.uk/event/cep-winter-ballbuster/ for full details.