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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Race Report: Mind over Matter (off-road duathlon)

First off - I finished 6th overall, 3rd in my age group.  Cooler still - I was fastest in the first run, so I entered transition as the duathlon race leader!  That's never happened before, it was an awesome feeling.

1:56:39 (6/25, 3/9 M30-30)

OK, so there were only 25 people in the duathlon... still counts!

Trail Run (3k)

13:23 (4:11/km - 1/25!)

The opening run... I knew from a dry run I did a couple weeks ago that I could hit this one hard and still be OK for the bike, so that's what I did.

About 1k in, I was in a pack of 4, a few seconds behind the lead pack of 4.  Then we hit the downhill... this is something I've practiced a lot, and I always seem to pass a whack of people downhill.  They hit the brakes, I keep my legs going and fly by... so I found myself up with the lead group at the turn-around.

At this point I just wanted to try take the lead and see if anyone would respond.  I did, they didn't, so I decided I might as well finish 1st at something... rest of the race be damned!  The adrenaline of leading made the job seem easy, and I entered transition in 1st place.



I thought it went OK, but I left transition a few spots down from where I'd entered it, so I guess it didn't... I don't really practice this much, and I spent some time monkeying around with my watch that I really shouldn't have.

The Mountain Bike

1:03:08 (9/25)

The problem with being near the front of the race is the pressure to stay there... I'm used to having a slow swim, then spending the bike passing dozens of people.  Instead I was the one getting passed, mostly by the top competitors in the triathlon who fed in with us after their swim.

My heart rate was through the roof early on in the bike, so I dialed it back a bit.  

The course was far more technical than I'd expected - not that it was all that technical, but based on descriptions I'd read and pictures from other years, I thought it would be dead simple.  It wasn't!  There were a few logs to jump over, a few rocky sections to navigate, roots, all of which made more difficult in race conditions because you're pushing for time.

I made a really dumb mistake because of this - I'd locked out my fork not expecting much to bump over, and forgot I'd done that for the entire first lap.  I felt like I was getting bumped around a lot but with so much else on my mind (dealing with traffic, heart rate, etc) it didn't click.  I also had never ridden the course, or even in Kelso, so the first lap was tentative as I figured it all out.  

Near the end we got to the ski hill... woah.  It was steep, granny gear steep, and worst of all it featured a false top!  I thought I was cresting the top, but it was only about 2/3rd with some of the steepest climbing to the top of the chairlift still to go.  All I could think of on the way up was "oh man, I have to do this again!?".

Second lap I felt much better - I was no longer being passed and was well into my groove.  Also my fork was unlocked (duh!) so my bike was handling much better through the bumpy stuff.  The hill didn't phase me, I knew what to expect this time... finished it off strong on the descent.

Transition 2


Racked bike, changed shoes, started to go... then my buddy and a volunteer watching both yelled at me "your helmet!".  Oops!  Took off my helmet, probably didn't help my transition time any but made me laugh which is its own reward, right?

Trail Run (8.5k)

39:03 (4:44/km, 4/25)

The goal on this run was to keep my heart rate in check and not blow up!  I started out a bit pokey, as you have to re-climb the hill we climbed previously on the opening run.  Then it dodges into what I'd call "real" trail - windy twisty trails around trees, elevation changes, rocks and root.  Very pretty in there!  

I caught up to another duathlete who was stretching out his calf muscle, and as I passed him he immediately got going again... I could hear him right behind me, stalking me, so figured it was time to lay down some hurt!  I brought the pace up just a little, and within a minute or so the sound went away.  With all the little switchbacks I could peak over to see if anyone was gaining on me, nobody was, so I just concentrated on holding my pace.

The final few kilometers go around the lake, which is flat as a pancake (but windy) and you can see exactly where everyone ahead and behind you are.  I was close to one other person (who ended up being the women's triathlon winner) but other than that there was nobody.  Gave it a final finishing kick and felt very satisfied with a job well done!

Post-race Navel-Gazing

Super-fun race!  Can't wait to try another off-road duathlon (or tri) next year, it was far more entertaining than regular triathlons.

A bit surprised that my runs went so much better than my bikes (1st and 4th on runs, 9th on the bike)... but that might speak more to the crowd than my personal abilities.  There were some hard-core mountain bike folks there, who probably weren't such great runners, and some of them really nailed that bike.  Regular triathlons seem to be more about runners who got bored and started biking!

I was first on the 1st run!  I win the prize for "went out too hardest".  Although honestly, I didn't feel like it cost me anything on the bike or the last run.  This strategy seemed to work out really well for me, and it felt good to be leading a race.

Next up: Logs Rocks and Steel Adventure Race!

1 comment:

Jennifer P said...

I considered this race - so glad that you had a great race.