First race of 2011 is in the books
Yesterday (2/20/2011) was my first race of the season. The TriSports.com Desert Classic Duathlon was the venue and doubled as the USA Triathlon southwest regional Duathlon championships. This years course was changed from the previous years. The runs were a bit longer and the consensus was they were definately harder than past years. The bike course remained the same, just started at a differant point on the course. The weekend started on Saturday with the drive up from Tucson. The drive was made a little more challenging by a show put on by mother nature. She blew up winds of 50+ mph and near brown out (blowing dust) conditions followed by pouring rain. Several accidents on the highway made for slow and not moving at all traffic for a 3-4 mile stretch (people drive in stupid mode even when weather dictates otherwise). After arriving in the Phoenix area and picking up my race packet I headed to my Phoenix area race headquarters/home stay at my good friend Victors home. Victor graciously opens his door to me whenever I race in the area…big thanks for the hospitality!
Race morning I awoke to cool and cloudy conditions. After last years cold and rain I had packed my gear with all conditions in mind. I arrived at the McDowell Mountain Park early since I like to take my time getting ready. I set up my gear and then scoped out the conditions to make my clothing choices. I decided on my regular TriSports.com/Accelerate3 team kit along with arm warmers and light gloves. After a short warm up run with coach Brian it was time to get to the start line. The Pro wave got on it’s way followed by all those “young” guys in the 39 and under wave. 5 minutes later it was our turn. The horn went off and we were on our way. The first run was 3.2 miles. It started off with 3/4 mile on pavement and then turned onto the trail. The trail conditions were soft, wet and some mud. I started off at a comfortable pace knowing the hard parts of the trail came later in the run. There was a small group of “fast” runners and then I led up the chase. I eased into the pace that I planned on keeping and maintained my position on the run. Mid way through I started to pick off people from the under 39 wave. My nice light race flats had tripled in weight thanks to the build up of mud. I entered T1 feeling good and ready to rock on the bike. T1 went smooth and in a matter of seconds was on the long run-out to the bike mount line. The wet, rough ground did not feel good on bare feet! After mounting my bike I was off on the 21 mile bike. The roads were still wet from the previous nights rains. The course basically consists of an out and back with large rollers followed by a second out and back with false flats and rough pavement. On the bike I felt strong and quickly settled into my rhythm. I was passed by a few of the ultra fast bike guys and began to pick off a few off the fast run guys. The wind stayed away this year. The last couple miles on the bike are slightly downhill. This allowed me to ease up a bit but still maintain my speed. Coming up to the dismount line I had my feet out of my bike shoes, quickly dismounted and began the run into T2. The rough pavement hurt even more with my feet being partially frozen. I dawned my running shoes, ditched my helmet and arm warmers, grabbed my visor and glasses and was off on run 2. The 2nd run was 3 miles and contained numerous short and steep hills throughout and not much in the way of flat ground. The first 10 minutes my legs were dead and my feet still frozen. After that I put the pedal down and pretty much red lined it to the finish. With less than a mile to go I looked over my shoulder and saw no one. Half a mile later I heard the sound of feet hitting the trail behind me. Shortly after I was passed by 2 competitors. I quickly glanced at their calves and was relieved to see they were in the younger age groups and not mine. I hit the finish line in 1:45:45…good enough for 14th overall age grouper and 2nd in the 45-49 age group.
Next up is the Duathlon National Championships!