Monday, August 27, 2012

Spirit, Mind & Body Duathlon/Hammerfest

Just like last year I had logged two solid weeks of training in an attempt to convert myself from a mountain climbing ultra marathoner into a duathlete. There was, of course, no real conversion. My late spring and summer training over the last several years has merely allowed me to show up at events as diverse as mountain ultras and duathlons knowing that I would perform as well as my limited training would allow. That knowledge, based purely on my Polar heart rate files, has kept my pacing in check.

Interestingly enough, I had more fully recovered from the Bighorn 100 than I thought possible. This led to faster workouts and hopes of going faster in the hilly 2K/15Mi/5K YMCA duathlon than I had last year. So, naturally, I expected to race faster. Enter the unexpected.

After chasing friends Mike and Greg through the first roller coaster 2K run (6:57), I entered transition comfortable and relaxed. Then I missed my pedal while mounting. When I did mount I saw Greg about 100 meters up the road. It took me about a mile to catch up and pass him.

Soon after that I became aware of the whooshing sound coming from my back wheel. The brake was rubbing - hard. Dang. I stopped pedaling and reached back to open it up. Greg passed me while I was fiddling with the brake.

Long story short - that happened three times. I would pass Greg, then try to move the brake, and then be passed again by Greg. We were never more than 100 meters apart during the bike leg. It was frustrating for me and, I am sure, quite annoying to Greg. I apologized during and after the race. Greg, one of the nicest people I've ever met, seemed unfazed. We averaged just under 24 mph on that rolling 15 mile bike leg.

I entered T2 with the temperature rising and with a couple seconds lead, but Greg exited first. I really believe that he just stuffs his running shoes into his cycling shoes. He is that fast in transition!

Leaving T2 several seconds behind Greg I told myself to run hard enough to win. I kept saying that. Even when my heart rate climbed well above 90% on the big hill I kept repeating that mantra. Everything hurt. Sharp pains pierced my stomach with every stride. Honestly, I haven't enjoyed that type of intense effort in quite some time. It was almost like a drug. The more I hurt the more I pushed my pace.

In the end, I was about a half a minute faster than last year. It was because I ran that last run about forty seconds faster (18:16). And that was the difference in the race. Greg is a formidable duathlete. He wins most of the races he enters within several hours drive. Furthermore, he is improving all the time. On that day he forced me to an output, into a level of pain, that I have not experienced since the 2009 du worlds. I look forward to racing him again soon.

Two days after the YMCA duathlon I raced in the August Hammerfest which I had entered months earlier. Knowing full well that my limited training volume does not support such a quick turn-around, I started cautiously with a light breeze at my back. This was not the insanely hard all or nothing Ricky Bobby style of racing that I normally employ.

I maintained a fairly consistent average of 26.4 mph until the closing three miles when supply and demand reached the critical point.

I demanded that the legs provide the power, but they had simply run out of energy supplies. While several riders said that they had their highest speeds on that last downwind leg, Faith and I ground our way across the line with an average of only 25.75 mph. Hopefully, the power facilities will be back to full output when the September Hammerfest takes place in a few weeks.

For those of you who visit this blog often, there is a big change coming. Google has informed me that I cannot post any more pictures unless I start paying rent. So, I have been considering my options while delaying the posting of this race report. If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact me.


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