Monday, October 13, 2014

Riverport Duathlon 2014

Well the Duathlon season came to an end recently with ever magical Riverport Duathlon. As always Riverport offers 2 flat fast 4 km runs with an epic 28 km bike ride separating them. The ride is rollers with an epic (that's a lot of epicness Ian)  climb part way in, Grimm Road. Conquer the Grimm and you may win.

So a big storm was supposed to blow in during the race. As usual for Riverport, the weather can be anything, and it is usually not what you expect. On the drive to the race that morning there were patches of rain and wind, but nothing too crazy, yet.

Come race time we lined up for the start and the wind was beginning to howl, but again no real rain to be seen. I looked around and there were plenty of fast feet to be seen. This one was going to be rough.

Twas a dark and storm day and yet I wear my sunglasses

The pace started fast. I tucked in behind a few guys and instantly regretted wearing my lucky hat as the wind was really whipping around good.

I had to start passing people though, so as not too lose contact with the larger group. I knew I could in no way hang with the top guys that showed up, but I wanted to stay as close as I could.

At the turn around I was feeling good and decided not to burn up my legs too badly before the bike. With the final few hundred meters left of the first 4 km I decided I wanted to at least grab a good time for the run and beat Greg to at least one point. Run one was done in 14:04 for an average pace of 3:31 min/km. Not too bad.

Onto the bike as quick as possible (28 second turn around, nice) and I was off. It quickly became apparent that this was going to be a fun ride. Within a kilometer I was maxed out of gears and going about 45 km up hills. Uh oh. The wind was really picking up. I was now at a big disadvantage on my bike. Most of the faster riders have bigger gears and during this type of weather that can make a huge difference. Still I was really happy that I wasn't getting passed by many riders until much further into the race compared to previous years. Some more winter work and who knows how the bike will progress.

After Grimm, we hot the head wind. Ugh. There were gusts that were blowing me around. That top gear was no longer needed and we even had some rain start to fall. Fall is a nice word, it was more like big rain drops being thrown at us. Luckily, the rain was minor and the heavy stuff didn't start coming down during the race.

I finally found the end of the ride and the head wind after 47:57 for an average speed of 35 km/hr. That was 1 km/hr faster than last year, and while the tail wind helped this year, the head wind taketh away.

I was now behind a few riders. I had hoped to be able to keep up with Kevin a little better this year, and while it took him longer to pass me on the bike, he was no where to be seen as I got off my bike.

But a super quick (quickest of the day) 16 second transition to the run surly didn't hurt things as I headed out to hunt down anyone I could.

I found my running legs fast enough. I really wanted to keep my pace sub 4 min and was able to easily enough. And soon I found Kevin. The question was, did I have enough time chase him down with such a short run? I kept my pace steady as I was gaining on him and I didn't know if he was out of steam or just holding station. Eventually with 1 kilometer to go I caught up and passed him. I dared a look back with a few hundred meters to go just in case, but I was clear.

And I crossed the finish line with a second run of 15:24 for a 3:51 min/km pace and an overall time of 1:18:07. That was good enough for tenth place overall, and 3rd in my age group. That was hard fought and a great race. It put me 3rd on the qualification list for the World Duathlon championships as well.

And with that and my beating Kevin, I was able to hold onto the point championship lead and for the second year in a row was the overall point champion in the Duathlon series. And it was fun.

Big thanks as always for Jeff Zahavich for helping me with my run speed and overall aerobic fitness. And as usual my guys at Sportwheels for keeping my bike going strong and Aerobics First for keeping my feet well covered.

Next season will be fun!
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