Monday, May 24, 2010

Gear West Duathlon

(Thanks Christine for the photo-Love your style behind the lense)

Despite my best intentions to wean myself off the constant racing this season, I couldn’t resist any longer and registered for the Gear West Duathlon. I’ve been enjoying the steady stream of race updates from friends, and I wanted IN on the action. I guess I love this sport even more than I thought!

After feeling pretty good after a group 112 mile ride in River Falls last Saturday and a 4 mile run race the next day, I figured what the heck…A least it will be a good speed workout for me. Thankfully, as a result of winning the MidwestMultipost race series, you earn free entry into all ten series races for the following year… This makes the decision to race an easy one, especially when you need a good butt kicking.

I knew the competition would be fierce, and as much as dislike duathlons in comparison to triathlons, I had my strategy in place, and was ready to go. This was also the first race on my new Felt DA. Thanks to Gear West and Felt, I sold my 2006 Cervelo P3 and I’m now riding a missile. It was fun to get it dressed up with race wheels for the first time-That certainly contributed to the excitement factor.
Race morning was pretty typical except for one small detail- the WEATHER. It was already getting close to 80 degrees with close to 85% humidity. Certainly makes you wonder what July will bring…

My race plan was to start out very controlled on the first run, and not get too caught up in the intense energy. For the first time, the Elite Men and Women started in different waves, which certainly helped keep the pace in check. I was actually very pleasantly surprised at the relatively controlled start. Jenny Wilcox quickly realized that we were moving much too slowly for her, so she went off the front, but there was a pack of about 4 or 5 of us that stayed pretty close together throughout most of the first run.

I came into T1 just behind Marlo, but out transitioned her and was able to get on my bike in second place. With Jenny still in sight, I was able to put the hammer down early and take the lead within the first mile. My bike felt great, and I just loved the feel of my new ride. I only saw a few other guys on the course, and I had no way to tell what was happening with the women behind me. I tried to push as hard as possible; knowing full well, several bikers behind could easily outrun me. I’d rather hurt on the bike than suffer through a shoulder to shoulder type run, so I just kept peddling as hard as possible.

I came into T2 to see Kerry running his bike up the street- he started in the wave in front of me, but was forced to run about .25 miles in his socks up the street after his chain dropped and was stuck between the small cog and fame (total drag as he just missed an AG podium by 30sec). (Stole this photo from Terry Lee...That's me coming up on the bike behind KY)

I figured he had a flat, but regardless I was looking forward to running the 2nd run together. As I was leaving T2, I’d yet to hear the announcer make any mention of who was behind me, so I was pretty excited to get going, and felt good about my position. This run is XC style (up/down, twist /turn, grass, mud, gravel) and there’s plenty of opportunity to see what happening behind. Once around the softball field I could see the string of ladies in pursuit. I tried my best to pick it up, but I certainly wasn’t feeling overly zippy. Regardless, with less than a mile to go, I could see that I had a decent lead, and was able to cruise my way home. Thank goodness, as I was not prepared for another dual down the line like last year !!

It was fun to stand near the finish, and watch everyone finish…As I watched the Top 10 women come across the line, it was obvious that on any given day, it could be any one of us taking the win. I’m so thankful and fortunate to have such a great group of local athletes to train and race with. We even enjoyed a post race 35 mile group ride/ Picnic at Baker Park afterwards. I was in my happy place.

SO, what’s next??? Well, now that the TCMC Century ride is moved to Sunday, I’m considering doing the Apple Duathlon on Saturday morning. I still get my mega ride (ie LEADVILLE prep) on Sunday, but Saturday can be the speed session of the week…I think racing myself into shape is the best way to go!