Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Duathlon #3 for 2014 - Win #1: Navy Trident Duathlon

Well from the title of this blog post you can see that I won this last duathlon. So I guess we can end the post there. Well, lets continue on a bit anyway and live through the glorious moments of my win (lol).

The navy Trident Duathlon is held at the same time and place as the Navy Trident Triathlon, at Shearwater in Halifax, a navy airfield. The race is a Sprint distance of 5km/20km/3km (ish). The runs take place on a mostly flat trail which is 90% crusher dust and the bike ride is held on the runway of the airport.

23 competitors lined up for this event and I had been toying with the front end of this field for a long time. Last year I came in second, in what was a break through year for me. This year I was attempting the win.

With a few new faces, we started with our regular race brief (don't draft, go there not there etc...). Andrew did his usual bang up job.

The weather was also quite nice for a change. Sun, sun, sun. A novelty for an early morning race in Shearwater. A cool breeze also meant that the heat was kept at bay. Wow, it couldn't get much better.

Other than a few faces, I wasn't too sure about a few of my competitors. But this was a Sprint race, so that meant go hard, then pick up the pace. Anything less than your fastest wasn't going to win. I also knew that I had to get a good lead to start this thing as running has become my strong suit in these races, and though my bike isn't bad, it is an area I can do a little more work in.

We lined up, and pretty quickly, we were off. I tore off a a pretty quick pace, knowing that I would have to slow down to something a little more sustainable for the rest of the 5km. But I also knew I needed a lead and I could hear some heavy breathing right behind me.

I guess from this photo it was Gregory who was on my tail nice a close. I held my quick pace for as long as I could comfortably breath and slowly things around me fell silent. I crossed the first kilometer in 3:26. So yeah, pretty quick for me. Eventually I settled into a nice 3:42 min/km pace. The course, while seemingly flat, is actually a gradual hill all the way out and a nice decline back. That is quite nice as you get a speed boost coming into T1. I finished the run in 19:32 for the fastest time, though the course was long at 5.26km. So I would have clocked an 18:30 5km with a decent bit of energy left. Nice. At this point I had a good 1 minute lead over Alan in second place.

Then quickly out of my shoes, into my helmet and grab the bike. Off to the mount line and onto the bike course!

A 1 minute lead wouldn't last long with fast cyclists behind me. The first bit of the course is the hill (a steep one) followed by a twisty section to get to the runway. I got through all of that and went to town. Head down, legs pushing I was staying at around 35 km/hr in this section. By the end of the first lap I could see that Gregory had over taken Alan on the bike and was really pushing hard. I still had a nice lead though and knew that i just had to stay ahead for as long as possible.

Finally by the end of lap 2 Gregory had caught up to me. Luckily I managed to still maintain a decent gap to him and didn't fall off as much as I had thought I would. I think he had made extra time up on my on the twisty section, more so than the runway, as when we left to head back to transition, he pulled a much larger gap out.

As I approached the downhill section, I pet off a little anyway to rest my legs. I pulled out of my shoes earlier than normal, pedaled softly as I hit 60km/hr  and glided toward the dismount line. I slowed down a bit, then popped off the bike and ran it to the rack. My time and speed (including T1) was 37:19 for 32.2 km/hr avg.

At this point Gregory had already started the run and was off. That 2 minute gap it turns out I had to him had disappeared. He did a great job on the bike. But on went my running shoes and I was off.

With only 3 km to go, there was no time for a rest. Instead I pushed through the tired and caught up with the leader and with less than half a kilometer retook the lead. No time to rest yet either though as you never know what kind of finishing kick people have. I needed a decent gap to feel safe. So I pushed.

By now I realized how uncomfortable my shoes were without socks as I had never worn them without before. Ouch. Later I would see the blisters and tears in my feet.

I rounded the turn around sign and headed for home. I had a good lead now and just tried to keep my breathing as calm as possible. While not as fast as the first run pace wise, the second run felt good and fast nonetheless. As I approached the final few hundred meters I looked back and saw I was free. I cross the finish line in 1:11:14 for the win. My final run done in 14:25 which included T2 This run was about 0.53 km long and I ran a pace of 3:55 for a run time of 13:49 without T2. That was a solid pace and would have given me the sub 12 min 3 km that I wanted.

So a win for me, hooray! I am back in the thick of things again. Next up will be the Greenwood Duathlon in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again to Jeff Z at Kinesic Sport Lab  for giving me the engine to make these lungs and legs work so well, and the the gang at Sportwheels for keeping my bike working smoothly.

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