Friday, May 25, 2012

Victoria's Duathlon - Race Report 2012

Race Details:

4K Run
30K Bike
4K Run

This being the first race of the multisport season, the weather for the race is often unpredictable.   I’ve seen hail, wind and cold temps to sun and high humidity.   The weather on this day was pretty darn good.   Some would say it was actually pretty hot, but other than the last 4K run, it was a non issue.   Even the wind didn’t play much of a factor on the bike (although it was definitely there!).

I arrived at the race site at Creekside Church, just outside Waterloo at approximately 8:40 or so with Darryl Huras, who was doing the running side of a relay team with Brian Scott from Waterloo.    After arriving, I quickly pumped up the tires and dropped my bike and bag off in transition and went through the standard race registration process.   I elected to bump myself up to the first wave to compete with the elites and faster age group athletes.

It should be noted that I just got my new Argon E118 only a few days prior, after spending nearly 7 hours at the Braun’s Cambridge store having it built up and fitted for me.   I did a short 45 minute ride on the Saturday before the race, and a simple 15 minute ride on the bike on race morning.   That’s all the time I’d spent on it before the race.   Things seemed pretty good on those rides, so I was hoping for good things during the 30K bike portion of the race.

At about 9:50am, we started to assemble at the starting line for the first wave that was to go off at 10am.   I situated myself near the front beside Scott Dickie and a bunch of other Running Free athletes.   The race started right on time, with the horn going off right on schedule.   As usual, a whole winter of built of energy releases, and people fire off the start like crazy.   It’s only about 100m to the first left hand turn, where things were pretty tight.   I just tried to make sure not to get caught up in anyone’s feet and make it to the first downhill in a safe position.  

The first K of the race you get a fast downhill, followed by a short little uphill.   By 1K, there were likely 20 or so guys in front of me and I went through it in 3:35, so a pretty quick pace.   It is a very gradual decent followed by a flat stretch to the 2K turn-around point at the end of the Laurel Creek Reservoir.  

By this point, everyone seemed to settle into their pace and I actually began to pull some runners in and pass them, as we retraced our steps back to transition.   When we finally made it back to the transition zone, I was likely somewhere around 12-15th overall in the first wave.   I finished the first 4K run in 14:34, a 3:39/km pace, good for 19th overall in the race and 3rd in my AG.

I quickly took off my shoes, put my helmet on and grabbed my bike and was off.   T1 only took 35 seconds, which was pretty good.   I haven’t mastered the running flying leap onto my seat as of yet, so once past the mount line, I carefully got on my bike and started the charge down the road.   Once out on the road, I quickly got up to speed and then got my feet secured into my shoes and strapped in.

The bike course once again has changed in this race.   Previously, we had to do a rectangular loop to Bamburg and then turn right to a turn-around and come straight back to transition.   Last year’s GPS of the race had it about 1K short, given we couldn’t go much past the turn-around due to a gravel road.   This year, instead of turning left into Bamburg, we continued straight, all the way to Hutchison Rd.   The distance turned out to be 30K right on, so that’s good.

Similar to all other years, we had to head out on Erbsville Rd. before turning right onto Kressler and hit a couple of pretty steep hills right off the bat.   I didn’t find these too bad, especially the second one, which I almost didn’t feel since I really pushed the downhill hard.   Once past the second hill, we turned left on Hessen Strasse road and would take this all the way to the turn-around.

By this point, I had passed a few more people and was sitting around 10th or 12th in the race.   I worked with another rider for a few K until that fell apart.   I can’t remember whether I passed him, or if he pulled away from me.  

It was about that time that I looked back and saw Scott Dickie, working his way through the bike course.   He has been riding very well lately, so once he eventually passed me, I was hoping to be able to stick with him.   I did for a short period of time, but eventually he pulled away and I couldn’t keep up.   Now I found myself on my own, and just focused on my own race.  

For the first 5-10K of the ride, my power was up over 300 watts on average.   I usually start some of my rides on the high side, but not 300+ high.   I decided to back off a bit, rather than keep pushing a pace I knew I likely couldn’t hold much longer.

The course this year I’d say is generally tougher than last year too, as there isn’t much flat ground at all.   We were either climbing or descending.   The hills weren’t huge or anything, but there were lots of them.

A few K from the turn-around point, I noticed someone had got on my wheel and was sticking pretty close to me.   Before I even had a chance to say anything, another rider passed both of us and called this guy out behind me for cheating.   I think after that, he dropped back a bit, because after the turn-around, he was no longer with me.

I think I averaged just under 38 kph to the turn-around point, which was ok, because I knew it would be slightly better coming back.   The wind was mostly out of the south, but I think there was a little bit of westerly in it, so I think it helped more coming back, then it did going out.

Things really were spread out by this point, and I believe I counted 12 riders in front of me at the turn-around point.   For the most part, I was working totally alone, which is never good, but eventually, at about the 20K point, I caught up and passed one other rider.    I eventually made it back to Kressler and tackled the two rollers before turning back onto Erbsville for the final push back to transition.  

A friend from Waterloo was at the top of one of the hills and snapped a few cool pictures which you can see below.

I made it back to T2 in 47:20 with an average speed of 38kph and 288 watts for the 30K bike ride.   This was good for the 10th fastest time in the race and first in my AG.  T2 took 38 seconds which is ok, but I could definitely look to shave a few seconds off here.   I quickly racked my bike, put my shoes back on, grabbed my visor and was off.

When I started the run, I saw my son Holden, who said I was the 13th person to come in off the bike.   As it would turn out, there was a relay athlete ahead of me, so I was really in 12th I think.  

I quickly made my way down the hill and was feeling generally pretty good at this point.   There were a few runners just up ahead, including Dickie, who I could see around the corner.   I was likely 250 or 300 meters behind him at this point.   I went through the first K in 3:59 and hit the aid station for some water.   The first cup I drank, the second went on my head and down my shirt, as it was getting warm.  

I started to approach and then pass a few other athletes as we approached the turn-around at 2K which I went through in 3:50.   At this point, I believe I was in 10th place, with another athlete about 20 meters ahead.   Eventually I caught him, but at the same time, someone was right on my heels.   As it turns out, the guy I was about the pass was the guy who yelled at the guy that was drafting me on the bike, and the guy right on my heels, was the guy that was drafting me on the bike!   When we passed him, he yelled out to the guy behind me, “still drafting eh?”.   I heard the guy behind me say something like “I’ll talk to you later about it”, which I’m sure he never did. 

Once we got past this guy, I was technically in 9th, but running almost stride for stride with him.   It was actually good (for a while) to have him beside me as we ran back up the hill to the corner to make the final push for the finish line.  

Unfortunately, as we started running down the hill, he snuck in behind me and was actually running so close to me, he kicked my feet.   Not once, but twice.   The second time really pissed me off, so I had to yell out at him.  To top it off, about half way up the finishing hill, he decided to pull out from the draft behind me and start his finishing kick around me.   I tried to respond, but didn’t have the energy in the legs to keep up

The last 200 meters of the race is over some bumpy grass, which makes it a bit hard to sprint really hard.   Despite that, I pushed on, and actually ran past my son Holden, who decided he wanted to run with me through the finish line which you can see in one of the shot below.  

In the end, I did the final 4K run in 15:27 for a 3:52 pace and 14th overall in the race and 1st again in my AG.   Overall, I finished in 1:18:31, a new PB for this race, but given that the bike course was different again (both in the course and actual length), you can’t compare to other years, but generally, I’d say I have improved, since the bike course was tougher and longer.

After checking results, I saw that I did crack the top 10 overall, finishing in 10th place out of 406 participants and 1st in my AG out of 40, so a successful start to the 2012 multisport season and hopefully a sign of things to come.

GPS Data for the various segements:
Victoria's Duathlon 4K Run #1
Victoria's Duathlon 30K Bike
Victoria's Duathlon 4K Run #2

Next up for me is the Woodstock triathlon on May 27th.  It’s just a semi sprint with a 750m swim, another 30K bike and a 7.5K run.   It seems like a long time since I’ve done a Multisport race.   In fact, I haven’t done one since 2010 (Lakeside I think).   I’m looking forward to it, especially now that one of the primary sponsors is Recharge with Chocolate Milk…in fact, that’s the name of the series now.   It should be a blast!

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