How Do I Du?... Anchor Duathlon Race Report
I hadn't planned on racing Sunday. I had waffled a couple times on if I should race or not. In the end, my decision came down to a couple of things. One, it was a team race and the last race of the Race Day Events Podium Grand Prix Series and two, I had gotten notification that registration was low. I decided, last minute, that I would jump in. I figured it would be a fun time. I had never done a Duathlon before and with a small field, there wouldn't be many people around for me to embarrass myself in front of if I fell flat. So, I signed up Saturday.
Seeing as how I didn't plan on racing I continued with my hard workout Saturday. I did 2 hours on the mountain bike with a heavy emphasis on climbing followed by a steady 30 minute brick run on the trails. After that, went home to change and then the Wife and I were right back out the door to the UT/GA game. Of course, we all know how that went (for those that don't, it was a miserable time. Look it up.) so we left at half time and settled in for a relaxing evening. After dinner, off to bed.
I really dislike afternoon races. I never know how to eat properly for them. I woke up at my normal 6:30ish time and had a decent breakfast of oatmeal and a two egg omelet with some cheese. I was hoping this would tide me over and then I would just eat a Clif Bar or something before the race. In the interim I would be sipping on my Infinit Pre Load mix. By 11 I was hungry again and the timing was right so I went back to what has worked all year... 2 Cherry Pop Tarts.
The wife was out riding her mountain bike so I loaded up my gear and headed to the race site without her and she would join later when she was done with her ride. As I pulled in, it was obvious this was a small race. There were two rows of racks there and, at the time, only about 6 bikes. I racked my bike and then got a personal delivery of my chip and race number by Melinda Spiva. Now that's what I call service! As I was setting up my transition, it became ever more evident that I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to set anything up, I didn't know what to do with my race belt, I was just all out of sorts... a fish out of water, so to speak. I decided to wear my race belt the whole race. I also decided to wear socks (which I never do in a tri). I also decided to wear my headband and just put my hat on over the top of it to keep the sun off my head.
Time passed slowly but eventually it was time to get ready to line up. By this point, Amanda had arrived with our puppy in tow so I gave each of them a kiss and moved up to the front of the pack. My plan was to go out hard on the 1 mile first run and try to stay with the leaders. On the gun we took off. A group of four of us immediately broke away from the field. It was Ronnie Mannis from team Zen Evo, a guy in a Fleet Feet kit and a younger kid (obviously a cross country racer). After about 200m Fleet Feet and the kid were starting to gap Ronnie and me. At that point I decided to just stick with Ronnie. We paced each other for the rest of the first run. As I turned back up toward transition, a gust of wind blew my hat off. Oh well.
Ronnie and I hit transition together but I was on the bike before him. Fleet Feet was on his bike a little before me but I caught him quickly. He was on a regular road bike so I knew I had an aero advantage. The bike course was net down the way out and net climb the way back. There was also a pretty good breeze blowing that I could tell would be hitting me in the face all the way back. I was out front all by myself so I just had to watch my power and keep the hammer down. I tried to stay around 250w so I would have plenty left in the tank for the second run. I was right about the wind. It was straight in my face the whole way back. I just kept telling myself that it was everyone else's face too and just kept pushing.
Before long I was turning back into pool lot and up toward transition. I set up for a flying dismount but with the socks on it didn't feel right so I just stopped at dismount and got off the bike normally. No reason to chance falling down and looking like an idiot. I racked the bike, put my running shoes back on and headed out for run number 2. On the way out I see Amanda waving my hat at me and run that way. I grabbed my hat on the fly and was off. Legs were feeling good and pace was looking good around 7 min/mile. As the run carried on, my pace slowed a bit but was still holding in the mid 7's. At the turn I could see I had a pretty substantial lead but I didn't back down. I have been passed on the run at the last minute out of nowhere before. I rounded the corner back into the pool lot for the last time and surged up the hill toward the finish. I was first across the line again but this time we all started together so I knew I had won.
My first Duathlon was indeed a fun experience. The Race Day Events crew did a great job with everything and there was a great vibe around the race even though it was a small event. I must, as always, thank my family, my team, my coach and all my sponsors for supporting me. Next up: 5 Points 25 Mountain Bike Race in Chattanooga, then it's on to XTERRA World Championship in Maui.