Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Cyclesmith Duathlon

So the day had come. The big Cyclesmith Duathlon. Sure I had done 2 other Dus this year, but they were short and fast (and fun) events. This was a much longer event (and fun as well - aren't they all?). This one always pushes me to my max to see what I can accomplish. A 5K run that starts out going stright up a huge hill, followed by a hill, then a bike ride of 34K that is full of hills (rollers yes, but some are quite steep), and then an off road 6K run to finish it off (no hills!!). Oh and I like hills, but that is a lot of hills.
Well the event (being in Nova Scotia and being held in Lawrencetown) is always weather unpredictable. Rain, fog, wind are all expected. And with the Spring we have been having lately, very expected. But it was sunny. And turns out quite hot as well (the reddish hue to my skin attests to the lovely high UV we experienced). Glad I thought to put a little sunscreen on first. And glad that my wife insists we have SPF 60 or some such silly level thing (didn't Robocop offer SPF 1000).

The field was large. It usually is for Cyclesmith's Du, but I hear there was 100 people entered in the race (There was also a Youth Du and as always the Team Competition). And of those entered, there was some serious fast people. My goal was to try and better last years time and effort. As these fields get bigger and better, a better placing isn't always possible, but I really hoped for a top 20 finish and top half of my Age Group.

In the above photo, taken right after the start horn, you can see a line of really fast guys and me. Well I managed to stay with them for about the first half km up the big first hill. Then I found my rhythm and stuck to that  It meant a few more people passed me, but not too many. After the hilly section heading away from the beach, we head back on a pretty flat trail system to T1. I had my Timex stopwatch going but I guess I forgot to hit the lap feature. Luckily the nice chips on our ankles recorded everything.

As I said I wanted to go faster than last year. And I did. Oddly running a PB 5K time of 19:40 with a pace of 3:56. My old PB 5K time was set on a flat stand alone event in Bedford 2 years ago at 19:56. Needless to say, I was happy with that. It was the 18th fastest time for that leg out of 85 people in the event.

Into T1, off with the running shoes and hat, on with the cycling shoes and helmet (always important), and away I went.


The ride was moderately wind free which was nice. But it always seems so extra long. Where is that 17K turn around point? Oh where is it?  I was passed by this point by a few riders and then on the way back by 1 or 2 more. But I managed to pass a few as well, so I was basically staying put in the standings. By the time I returned to the TZ I was still 18th place. I had a time (which included  T1) of 1:02 and a pace of 32.6km/hr. I think my bike computer shows a pace on the bike closer to 2km/hr faster, but it didn't care about me changing my shoes. I was hoping to be a little faster on the bike portion this year, but that first run probably sapped a little juice from my legs and my lower back started to hurt a little. Also I had to let up a bit and make sure I fell out of the draft zone of the guys who were a bit faster than me. I wasn't chancing penalties at this point.

T2 was upon me. A quick shoe change, head gear swap, swig of magic juice and I was off. My legs were spent, but to my amazement, not cramping. Yea! I was passed by one runner who stayed about 7 seconds ahead of me, just out of reach. then one more runner who blazed by me. Turns out he ended up with the fastest second run of the day. No matching that for me.

But I managed to hold off all other runners. Usually by this point someone speedy comes blazing by while I am halfway into the second run. This makes me sad. But this day I kept a decent pace. I even managed to track down one runner (she was part of a team, whom I beat on the first run, and was passed by on the bike portion). I ended up with a 6K run time of 28:29 including T2 for a 4:45 pace. A couple of years back I would have been happy with that pace in a stand alone event.

Final time for me was 1:50:32. I was rather close to the 2 runners ahead of me, but had no oompf in the tank to get an extra kick. I bettered last years time by 3 minutes (last years second run was a bit more difficult with a small hill but not 3 minutes more difficult), was 6th out of 20 in my Age Group (1 away from a prize), and still managed a top 20 finish in a really tough field.

Another great event and what turned out to be a rare sunny beautiful day in Lawrencetown.

Next up is Greenwood. But first a rest is in order. Perhaps my new taper system called the Hammock (if the rain lets up).

Oh and to all the animal lovers out there. I managed to avoid a slithering snake that zipped into my path on the bike. Phew. To the snake haters out there, don't read that part.
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