Monday kicked off my 3 race week with my first ever duathlon (excluding the 69.1 shortened Steelhead 70.3). The Honey Creek Inn Duathlon was a great event and I recommend it to anyone looking to get their feet wet in multisport. Inexpensive, low key, and well run, it was perfect for everyone. The course, however, was no walk in the park and is actually one of the more difficult courses I have ever done considering the short distance.
Setting up for a duathlon is a breeze! Never has transition setup been so simple.
Bike shoes and helmet are all that remained at the start of the race.
After getting setup, I ran into my buddy Dan who I ran XC with in high school. He was doing his first ever duathlon as well.
After a quick pre-race meeting, we lined up and waiting for the starter to give us a countdown and yell, “Go!”
I shot out to the front of the group and for a very (emphasis on very) brief moment I was running in front of Jimi Minnema (local pro and eventual winner).
I really was briefly in the lead. Trust me.
Pacing myself was pretty difficult and I wasn’t sure if I was going out too hard or not. I decided that since it was a short race, I would just continue to push it hard.
I was holding a pretty good pace, but at the end of the run, I heard the quiet footfalls of someone behind me and next thing I know, this little guy is passing me.
In my defense, A) he (and his entire family) are amazing athletes, B) I was holding a 6:00 pace, and C) he was only running the first leg while his dad did the bike and brother did the 2nd run.
I rolled into transition with a 9:13 for 1.5 miles (6:19 pace).
T1 & T2
Bailey was very concerned for me out on the course.
I figure I’ll just cover both transitions at once. They were awful. The Hokas really let me down. First time for everything I guess. They are great for running but horrible at slipping on and off in a hurry. Oh well, lesson learned.
Holy crap was this a challenging bike course. There was not a flat section to be found. It was constant up and down the entire way starting with a big climb right out of transition.
The bike was only 14 miles so I decided to hammer it as much as possible. I caught a few people that passed me in transition within the first 3 miles. After that I rode pretty much alone the entire time. I was semi-familiar with the roads so knew to expect the hills. Even so, my legs tired out quickly and it was a struggle to keep the pace up.
I only got passed by one guy on the bike in the last mile. I actually ride with him with one of my groups and he is an excellent cyclist, so it didn’t bother me too much. Besides, I knew that I’d catch him on the run.
I finished the 14.1mi bike in 37:57 (22.3mph). Even though it hurt, I’m pleased with the result.
The second run leg was kind of screwed up. For some reason we ran the course in reverse. However, I didn’t figure it out until after the race. All of a sudden it made sense why all of the arrows were pointed in the wrong direction. Haha. There was really only one corner where I got “lost” and had to look around. Thankfully there was another run down the road so I just followed him. In the end, I am glad the course was in reverse. This way we had a nice downhill all the way to the finish instead of an uphill at the start.
I caught up to the one guy who passed me on the bike and then settled into a comfortable pace. Just like the bike, it was a constant up and down. There was also a mix of pavement and dirt roads to mix it up bit which was nice.
I was eventually able to see one guy in front of me and did my best to gain some ground on him, but he was a bit too far ahead. The 2nd half of the course was in the hot sun with absolutely no shade and I just hung on for dear life. “It is only a 5k” I kept telling myself. Well, it wasn’t just a 5k. It ended up being closer to 3.6 miles. Where is that Wahmbulance when you need it?
I ended up finishing the 2nd run 25:22 (7:09 pace) for a final time of 1:14:10 earning me 5th place overall!
My 2nd place AG bling – a moose shaped medal!
Oh, and remember that kid who smoked me on the run? Yeah, here he is with his dad and brother rolling in for a 2nd place overall finish and 1st place team finish.
The fact that these kids have a natural perfect stride just is not fair.
And finally a picture with my fabulous support crew and the moose mascot.
Thanks for reading! Races #2 and #3 this weekend!