Friday, October 29, 2010

What's Next 2010

So I am sitting in Porter's Lounge at the Toronto Island Airport drinking my 3rd cappuccino in less than 30 minutes (seriously they are pretty darn good) and I thought, might as well update the blog as I haven't written in a few weeks. Part of that is due to the travel I have done (San Fra, Colorado, now Toronto) since finishing my last event (Riverport Du). Part of it is due to me not actually knowing what my next step is on my list of sporting goals.

I know I promised to look back at my proposed goals of 2010 after my events were done and I will. But I don't know yet if the year is over. So that can wait. (Sneak preview, I think I achieved much of what I wanted to, despite my injury).

Well what is next. There is a cyclocross series put on in Halifax starting this weekend. I have really wanted to tackle this sport over the last few years but haven't had the time. This year i seem to have the time but I lack a couple of important things. One is a suitable bike. I bought a new bike and had hoped I could convert my old road bike to a wide tired cyclocross machine. But alas that just isn't a possibility. And my "Mountain" bike has long since been dumbed down to a commuter bike. Even it would require at a minimum new tires to compete. And that means cash.

The second issue is that my leg is still not 100%. Sure the pain while competing is gone, but there is a slight discomfort, which has not been helped by sitting on so many airplanes this past while. And I really fear that cyclocross' demands might just push me back into the realm of pain.

So it looks like another year goes by with cyclocross for me. I will survive though. In fact since taking a runner's strengthening course this fall I have been toying with the idea of finally running further than 10K in races. I think that next year it is time to tackle a half marathon. My reason for this is twofold. One, I want to get faster at short distance races and the extra endurance I will get from longer distance training will hopefully help that. And 2, I can't possibly win short distance races, so I need a new challenge. While winning a half marathon isn't going to happen either at least I can challenge myself to something new.

So that is where my mind is right now. I will continue riding and swimming as often as possible, and increasing my running (slowly this time to avoid injuries). And I will continue to drink cappuccinos while I wait patiently for my airplane to arrive. Two more and I will possibly rethink doing cyclocross, ha ha.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Riverport Duathlon - Race Recap - Final Du of 2010

Well the final (at least as far as I know) local Duathlon of 2010 has come and gone. The ever popular Riverport Duathlon occurred this past weekend and saw a record number of entrants. In the classic Du (4K run, 28K bike, 4K run) 92 racers took to the start line.

This was to be my "A" race of the year. The one I really wanted to accomplish big things in. Sure I love the other Du's as well, not to mention the running races and other events I did this year, but Riverport was my first step into Multisports over 2 years ago and thus hold s a little something special for me.

So I had a plan going into this race. And not just my standard go really fast plan. Well, okay, maybe that was my plan. But go really fast and pay attention to what I was doing. The past two years have seen me run the first section in an okay time, then bike really hard, then collapse in a pile of cramping pain on the second run, only to see 20-30 people pass me by. Not this year by golly, I needed to stay focused and run smartly.

So I lined up right at the front this year for Run1. No hiding in the back only to be stuck behind people while I found my legs. No way. The command to start went off and away I ran. I started with a good pace, seriously hoping I could run with a 4:00 minute/K pace. This was just 4K after all and I managed a 4:19 pace last weekend over 10.7K. Well things were looking good. I hit the 2K turn around at about 8:05. So not too far off and with the front runners (well within visual contact anyway). But I slowed a bit after that and came into T1 with a total time of 17:01 for a 4:16 pace. I was sad to see that I was actually 3 seconds slower than last year but way faster than my time 2 years ago of 18:47. Anyway, I donned my helmet, changed my shoes and grabbed my bike and onto the bike course I went.

I came into T1 in 13th place. For me that is a great result. My running, while better this year, still lacks. Now it was time to put the hammer down and gain some ground over those behind me.

Well that worked only so well, as a few racers actually passed me near the beginning of the ride. Still I was focused and began my 28K ride. This ride is coastal, so that means rollers or a series of rolling hills. I don't mind these as you can get some decent speed going. Plus the wind was low this year (and it wasn't a torrential down pour like last year) so I managed a good bit of speed. Then came the Grim Road.

So the Grimm Road is a series of short steepish climbs in succession over 7 or 8k. You can generally spin up the beginning and then hammer near the top of each without too much work. I was starting to tire of these I must say near the end, but made it through without having any other riders come past me (note to self, more hill climbing work next year). Then it was on to the final section of this triangular course. A mere 10K to go (there abouts) on the bike.

The road was rather rough and bumpy. In anticipation, I dropped the tire pressure on my bike down to about 100psi. This seemed to help make the ride less severe, though in the end I wonder if that helped or hindered my overall speed, especially during the climbs. The bumpiness of the road lead to much Gatorade being splashed from my aerodrink bottle onto me and my bike. Yum. But on I pushed, until with about 6K to go another cyclist finally caught and passed me. I let him get to the non drafting distance ahead of me and then paced off of him. Perhaps I had started to mentally drift on the ride? I don't know but I managed to pickup my pace to keep him in sight and not let me pull away too far.

So we entered T2 pretty much together, my new adversary and I. My offcial Bike and T1 combined tiem show as 48:51 for a 34.4 k/hr avg speed. This is down a touch from the 34.7 k/hr of last years event but I was attempting to save a little for the final run.

My T2 went fairly well. I racked the bike, took off my shoes, got my sneakers on, and took off my helmet. Then onto the final run. We were warned about the fact that we needed to cross the street to get to the proper side of the road and that cars could be an issue. Luckily for me it wasn't and I was right behind my new foe, who had a T2 which was a few seconds worse than mine.

And so it began. Remember, I wanted a good second run. The kind were when you look back on the results you can't say, dang if only. My 2 previous years read like that. Poor times, loads of people passing me. Yuck. But now I was on a mission. And I was right behind my nemesis of the day. And my calves started to cramp and scream and yell. Ah memories of the other years already.

In the past I kept running but slowed right down to work things out. I have also taken the time in the past to stretch. But this year I was thinking of one thing only. Jens Voigt and his little video I had seen online. To paraphrase him,"Shut up Body and do what I tell you" (in a nice German accent). I yelled at my legs (though I kept it all nice and inside so as not to give away my pain to my competitor) and they responded with a "we give up." I sped past #1476 and kept going. Speed would be my friend along with a long stride.

(okay so that doesn't really show a nice long stride does it)

I pushed through and it was actually a long time before I finally saw the leaders pass me going back to the finish. I was probably close to 2K in when this happened. And I even saw others in the distance (though not at all close enough to catch). I pushed some more and got to the 2K turn around, grabbed some water and headed back. This was the first time I got to see who was behind me, as I had not even dared look back during previous to this. I now had a sizable lead over the next runner, who was no longer #1476 but a new foe. So I pushed on. This new guy was obviously a fast runner who had come from way back on the bike and was pushing through the field. I couldn't let him pass me.

I ran a little faster and finally go to the 0.5K to go spot (or the turn around for the Do a Du peeps). I didn't look back. I pushed on a bit more and Shawn A. (who was cooling down from having just finished) encouraged me on and said he saw no one behind me. But I needed to have a good time (for series points) and therefore I couldn't slow down. Plus I always finish with a sprint. So I couldn't do less this time. I rounded the last corner and put the power down, blowing through the finish line 14th overall, 4/21 in my age group and with a time of 1:25:37, over 2 minutes faster than last year and 11 places higher. Oh yeah.

Riverport is a great race also as there is a big sit down meal of chili and apple crisp post race. Sure there are prize draws as well, but it is the food I wanted. And it didn't disappoint at all. 

So thanks to the Bridgewater Tri Club for a great event again. Thanks weather fro being nice for a change. And thanks to those that read this silly report for paying attention. I will be doing a season long results post soon, seeing how my expectations for the year actually help up.