Sunday, July 15, 2012

Maryland 2xrip Duathlon: Burning Rubber

At long last, a race where I could test my new found bike legs.  The race, 2 mile run, 26 mile bike, 4 mile run through the rolling hills of Howard County.  This particular duathlon, one of the few competitive ones out there, welcomed a field of ~450 entrants, and an elite/open field of ~16 men.  The field promised to be fast, though I was excited to see how everything would fall.  Three other guys that I ride with, Adam, Pat, and Lance as part of AFC were all out there as well.  Adam was the defending champ, and a favorite to win.  Pat and Lance are significantly better riders than me, so it would take some seriously strong running to finish ahead of them.

The gun went off at 7AM, and we were off.  Graham, a very strong runner took the first run out hard as we started on a big downhill.  I separated myself a little bit from everyone else and ran through transition in 2nd, 10:49 overall.  Honestly, it was probably way too fast, but I knew I needed a cushion.

Unlike last year, there was no fumbling in transition and I got out quick (despite this being the first time using an aero helmet in a race), though would never quite catch Graham.  It turns out he is not only a better runner than me, but is also better on the bike.  Within a mile of riding, I started feeling awful.  Both my hips tightened up, and my right knee started bothering me.  I never really experienced anything like that in training rides leading up to this race.  I also couldn't get into much of a rhythm on the uphills and felt like I was fighting with my bike rather than cruising.

By around mile 8, things finally started getting better.  I never really slowed down, or sped up very much, but the perceived effort finally became more what I expected.  I made sure to keep drinking water, as it was quite humid and just kept pedaling away.

During the first 13 mile loop, I was passed by 6 people.  I would get passed by one more on the second loop to fall to 9th overall.  However, one of those guys, Adam F., (on his TT bike) never quite pulled away, so I made sure to keep him in sight, hoping to get him on the run.  It would be tough, because he isn't a push over on foot.

As we continued on the second lap, I had to contend with people still on their first.  For the most part I was ok, only having to straddle the double yellow line twice and yell "on your left" three or four times.  Thanks to an event motorcycle (not a referee), I did have one close call.  On one of the faster decents, with a sweeping left turn, I basically got blocked by the motorcycle.  People on their first lap were two wide as people were passing each other.  The motorcycle passed me, and then came up on the passing cyclists, but didn't go ahead and just stayed to their left.  I began approaching 40mph and closed in a hurry on that motorcycle.

After realizing it wasn't going to move, I had to let up and coast, coming just up on his wheel, and slowing to 35mph.  Whether it was my ratchet on my free wheel mechanism screaming (Mavic wheels are loud), or my "COME ON" shout, the guys on the bike looked behind and saw me right there.  I took a hand off my aero bars to further illustrate my disgust.  They sort of moved, but it was too late by then.  Kind of ridiculous that they didn't think I would be trying to fly past all those people, but oh well.  It also didn't help I was hopped up on adrenaline and had a really short fuse.

As we approached transition, I finally just passed Adam F, as every time we hit an uphill in the last few miles, I had to avoid his 3-bike length zone.  A quick hard left back into the starting park, and a drama free dismount made me realize something body was fried.  Despite being fried, my bike computer got me at 1:12:10, approximately 3:30 faster than my bike leg last year, and a full ~1mph faster, at 22mph avg. 

Adam actually passed me in transition.  My transition was quick, but he was just moving faster on his feet.  As soon as I started running, things were not good.  My legs just would not move.  Adam by comparison, pulled away.  I noticed I had worked a lot harder on the uphills and actually pedaled on the downhills, all in an effort to stay near him.  I guess it was time to pay for that...

I don't have a time on the second run, but by math, it seems to be right around 27:00; the most painful 6:45 average I've done in a while.  I even got passed within a quarter mile of the finish line, and had nothing, no way to respond.  First time I got passed on the second run of a duathlon...

When it was finally over, I crossed the line in 1:52:58, about 2:30 faster than last year, despite my painfully awful second run.  I ended up 10th overall with no age groupers beating me, so racing elite was the right call.

Overall, I'm really, really happy with the result, though it clearly could have been so much better.  I was up big on last year's time coming off the bike, and had a chance at 9th and possibly 8th.  Of course, I've done a total of 2 runs off the bike this entire year, neither of which being a hilly 4 miles.  I also didn't eat anything on the bike, which was probably a mistake.

Regardless, I gave that bike leg everything I had and did much, much better.  So I'll take it!

Monday will be a well earned day off.  I'll run Tuesday, but will only do a workout if I feel up to it.  It's almost time to start up that marathon training!

One picture of the race, afterwards.  From left to right, Adam D (winner for two years in a row), Lance, myself, and Pat.  Courtesy of Lance's wife.  Note: we were all absolutely disgusting in that pic thanks to the humidity.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds intense! Good work. I'm sure as your bike fitness increases, the second run will become easier-or just feel less weird.