After missing out on a couple of chances early in the summer, my Duathlon racing got kicked into high gear on Saturday morning in Union, SC.
If you are not familiar with the town, Union SC is about an hour and half south of Charlotte.
I packed up everything Friday night except my Garmin which I was recharging. Then, I promptly walked out the door Saturday morning without it.
This was probably as it should be because all I really wanted to do was go hard and have a good time. Leaving my watch at home only reinforced that notion.
About 6:40 I rolled into the YMCA parking lot and headed for the registration area. The line was already the door. People were picking up their packets and then getting their body markings. Normally, this activity goes pretty fast but they only had one person doing each task so it does take a few extra minutes for everyone to move through the line.
Just a short time later, it was back to car and time to get ready.
Aired up my tires and pulled together my transition stuff. The transition area was starting to fill up with bikes. My first order of business was locating my bike rack which was near the front of the bike exit. It took only a few minutes preparing my stuff in the transition area and then it was back to car. This time it was time to switch over to my racing shoes.
Low key races can be a lot fun, but don't expect the course to be exact.
The advertised distance was 1 mile run, 14.5 mile ride, and 5k run. When we ask about the distances, the guy organizing our start said the distance all depends on which car was used for the measuring.
Well as long as, we all have to do the same distance so does it really matter.
The race director came out and gave us a few last minute instructions. Then the Tri-guys headed toward the pool and du-guys headed toward our starting line.
Looking around at the start most of the guys in the Duathlon were my age or older except for one guy. Because everyone has the age on the back of their legs, I knew he was 19.
And, I fully expected him to take off at the start. I mean he is 19. At 19, you can do those things.
Boom the gun went off and he jumped out for about 100 yards and then, he just slowed down. By the time, we hit the turn around; I was maybe 30 yards ahead.
Heading back to the transition area, the tri-guys were already headed out on the bike course. First one, then 2 more guys.
A few more were entering the transition area when I entered it.
Having not practiced any transition stuff in months, it felt like I was taking a long time.
Out on the bike course, things were tough. There was a cross wind so I was wondering all over the road. I caught two of the tri-guys about 3 miles into the ride. I saw the leader when I passed the 6 mile point and he was coming back at the 8 mile point.
I would never see him again.
The bike turnaround was the first time that I got a chance to see how close everyone else was too me.
Best guess, there was about ½ mile gap between myself and 3rd and 4th.
There was a little left hand turn coming back into town which gave me a chance to check over my shoulder. The surprise of someone passing you just before the transition area is just plain bad – for me that is. Surprisingly no one was even close.
I was in and out of the transition area decently this time. Only one of other bike was there which as a strange feeling compared to my other duathlons.
Then for the next mile, my legs were turning over but were pretty numb to everything.
I am not sure who laid out the 5k course, but the last half is really tough. There were short steep downhills followed by long gradual up hills. Definitely no one would describe this as a speedy course.
Up to this point, we had a nice cloud cover, but just as I headed out for the 5k run, the sun started to push through the clouds.
The temperature rose fast. Sweat was running off like someone had dumped a bucket of water over my head.
They didn't have a clock at the finish so I had to wait until the results were posted. "On the Mark" timing did the scoring for the event. They were reasonably fast with the result being posted within a few minutes of the finishes.
My splits were 6:12 for the first mile, 40 seconds for the first transition, 40:15 for the bike leg, 34 seconds for the 2nd transition, and 19:05 for the run. My total time was 1:06:48.
My bike was the 2nd fastest of the day with an average just under 22 mph. My 5k run time was the fastest of the day by nearly 2 minutes.
I was happy with my bike time, but I wish my run time as better.
Picking up the Duathlon win was very nice even though I am not sure that really earned it.
The awards were gift cards so I will be heading out to "Inside Out Sports" to spend my card later this week. I guess there is some irony in getting a gift card to a competing store.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner