Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Greenwood Duathlon 2013 - FTW Part Deux

Another weekend another race. Races are fun, but they certainly do tire one out. This week I headed to the Valley and in particular, Greenwood, Nova Scotia. This was another event with multiple race choices, though only the one duathlon. The vast majority of people traveling this distance seemed to enter the sprint triathlon or the Try a Tri event. And for the first time we saw a separate category for para-triathlon. So that was really cool. Needless to say I entered the duathlon.

While the field was small, the competition never is. After not racing him last weekend, Alan M was back to toe the start line with, and I knew he would be my main competition. I say that as I have raced this event for 4 year (?) now and he has beaten me every time. Last year I was sort of close but still no where near fast enough to keep up.

This would be a reverse sort of deal with the short run first and the long run last for a 3km/20km/5km event. Much like the Navy duathlon this one is also held on a military base, and is almost dead flat. That means fast. And that meant I had to push those runs as best as I could to give myself any sort of advantage.

From the start horn I took off into the lead, just like the week before at Cyclesmith's Duathlon. I had only 3km to build a lead to stay in front of Alan on the bike. As he is usually much faster on the bike than I am I knew it would be a situation much like the week before where my lead disappeared and needed to be brought back on the final run. Also at this point I was feeling pretty good, but during the week I had tweaked my hip a little and was unsure how it might hold out on that second run.

I ran as fast as I could comfortably, at one point looking down to see a 3:10 min/km pace on my Garmin. Okay, that was a little ambitious. I eventually settled into a more manageable but fast pace and finished the first 3km run in 10:22 for an average pace of 3:28 min/km. That was significantly faster than my previous PB 5km pace and I would like to see how that might be able to hold up either later this year or early next season.

So after the first leg I was up on Alan by 32 seconds. Not quite the lead I had the week before, but enough to have a solid / clean bike mount and head off. And I did.

The roadway we use is quite flat save for a sloping downhill section / uphill return. We do 3 loops and there is almost always a cross breeze. The road has a few bumps and pot holes, but nothing to worry too much about. I put my head down and rode. From the Navy race I knew that I could ride at a similar speed to Alan  on this type of course, so I figured if I could hold onto my 30ish second lead for at least 2 laps, then I should be able to stay right with him leading into the run. But he never did get the chance to pass me.


In the end I managed to have the fastest bike split of the day with a time of 33:32 over 20km for an avg speed of 35.8 km/hr. Alan was just slightly behind me at 35.7 km/hr, though I will concede that he was held up by a racer doing the sprint triathlon. As much as I liked the result, it does suck when anyone gets held up, especially when that person was not riding "correctly" shall we say.

Anyway, I came into T2 and executed a beautiful (if I do say so myself) flying dismount. No lost shoe, no stubbed toe, no stumbling, just a smooth fluid motion. To the rack, a shoe change and I was gone, still in the lead.


Now I know that right now I have been running a bit faster than Alan, but I was wondering still about my hip. So far so good, so I decided to not waste any time. This year was great as I experienced absolutely no cramping as I had always had before, due to my "over running" myself. That felt so nice. By about 1.5 kms in I saw Alan back in the distance a bit, but now I felt a twinge in the hip. I slowed slightly but soldiered on. The hip came back to me and all was okay again, but the heat was really starting to come down now. Luckily the water stop came at the right point for a quick cup of icy cold water on the head. That felt so nice.

This run course is so lonely. You run and wonder if the world has left you behind. It seems no one exists. Anyway, you finally reemerge back into civilization and breathe a sigh of relief that you didn't in fact take a crazy turn somewhere. One little dip in the road, then the home stretch. Usually by this point I am pushing with all I have left, trying to eek out any extra time to close the gap to the leader, but for now I was still the leader. And for the few hundred meters I could see behind me, I was alone. I kept a solid pace but didn't go gung ho and crossed the finish line first. For the second time in 2 weeks I won a duathlon. Hooray! It was certainly hard. I ran the final 5k m in 19:34, and frankly I think I had more in me to give.


All that early season heart rate zone training with Jeff Zahavich has really paid off. And the bike felt so good finally after having Sheldon at Sportwheels help me redesign how the front end went together. It is like all that potential is finally be given the opportunity to come out.

No more duathlons until the Fall now, but one more race before I take a break. This weekend coming up is my first triathlon of the season in Ingonish. Always a fun race, even with that swimming stuff added, ha ha.

Oh and a big thanks to Chris for putting on the race and for the awesome 1st place prize of locally distilled Apple Vodka from IronWorks in Lunenburg. Mmmmm.




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