Deva Divas – Heidi Hill
Deva Divas is a special race: Beautiful location; downstream swim; flat bike and run; great organisation; friendly; oh, and ladies only. Over half of the entrants every year are first timers and the event is very welcoming.
Tom had raced in the Lake District the previous day en route to Chester, in what was a poorly organised and rather miserable affair. I appeared to be the only spectator who was not mute and able to clap my hands. Deva Divas was not like that at all.
Transition set-up in the rain was noisy, in fact, constant chatter characterised the whole race. In comparison to the testosterone-fuelled serious humidity of Tom’s transition set-up in Ambleside the day before, this was chaos of a different fashion. The announcer was desperately trying to count down to transition closing whilst numerous women ambled up with their bikes, oblivious, deep in conversation.
Some athletes may have found the race brief patronising, but it was light-heartedly aimed at beginners, and there were still some women trying to work out which way around their wetsuits went on. I honestly heard one athlete, who was obviously confused by the drafting rules, ask her friend how she was supposed to manage to stay ten meters away from everybody else in the swim.
Everyone walked to the swim start together and three waves set off, after lots of Mexican waving in the water. The swim went well, the river current wasn’t as strong as last year but I was happy with my time, and turns out I was 3/37 for my age which was great.
The bike is never my strongest discipline, but I was confused to be overtaken early on by a couple of heavy mountain bikes despite my power meter reading 220 watts plus (which is pretty much MAP for me!) I rapidly came to the conclusion that my ongoing disagreement with power readings had finally come to an end, and flipped my Garmin to a different screen. The bike route is 26km, fairly flat and a good road. Despite the rain, the many groups of drafting, chattering women, and a hold-up at some roadworks traffic lights it passed relatively uneventfully. It was a welcome change that I didn’t need to find the only remaining empty space on the bike rack in T2.
My previous race was half iron distance, and consequently all my training had been thus focused, so a sprint race was a bit crazy by comparison. My transitions were dismally slow, and heading out onto to the run course I felt that I was just getting going. The two-lap run was on a track by the river, and the first kilometer felt pretty horrid. I plugged on and settled in, and as my run has been held up by injuries for a few years I was delighted to finally be able to get stuck in. I increased the pace each kilometer for a 5km PB (I had only one timed Park Run previously so that wasn’t difficult!).
On crossing the finish line I immediately received a results text which was very efficient, and by the time I eventually got to my phone discovered that I was 9th in my age group. I was 10th last year, so I’m content with that.
The race takes place at Chester Meadows, and because of the logistics of the run course cars are not permitted to leave until the last competitor has finished. This makes for an encouraging atmosphere and support at the finish for every single athlete.
Deva Divas is a great race, highly recommended. Looking forward to moving up to 8th next year, maybe…
posted by Heidi Hill on