The 2012 USAT Duathlon National Championships took place in Oro Valley, Az. yesterday. Duathlon consists of a run, bike, run format. In this case it was a 35k bike sandwiched between a pair of 5k runs. The course is hilly, big rolling hills with very little flat…you are either going up or down. The run courses have one particularly cruel hill that leads you to the transition/finish.
Packet pick-up was held the day before at the El Conquistador resort and bikes were checked into transition as well.
My morning started of when I was awoke from a good nights sleep by the tunes of my alarm clock. I had a quick breakfast, got dressed and jumped into my car with my pre-packed TYR transition pack. 50 minutes later I arrived at the race venue. I like to arrive early to make sure I have plenty of time to relax and get my gear set up. I started by picking up my timing chip and then wondered into the transition area. I keep things simple…bike shoes on pedals, helmet on my bars, one pair of running shoes on feet for run1 and a second pair along with hat and sunglasses on a towel next to my bike for run2…done. Next on the agenda was a visit to the porta-potty for a quick pit stop. A bit of socializing and then they began to heard everyone out of transition and towards the start area. I was to start in the 3rd wave so I still had a bit of time for a warm up. Warm up consisted of a short solo preview of the final hill and then a little more running with coach Brian Stover.
It was then time to toe the line. The start shoot was pretty narrow as was the first section of the run so I worked my way up to the front row on the line. We got a 30 second warning, 15 second warning and then the horn blew…we were off!
The initial pace was fast and I was leading the main group with 3-4 guys off the front. I settled into a good pace. I was through the mile marker in 5:25 (I think it was placed a bit early, my Garmin beeped about 15 seconds later) and hanging onto the back of the main group. The course turns downhill shortly after this point and my fast leg turnover allowed me to start reeling people in. At the 2 mile mark my watch said 11:11. We hit the turn around and then started the grind up the hill. Ouch! As we topped out the hill we made the turn into transition.
Run 1 time 19:01
T1 was smooth and fast. Helmet on, run shoes off, bike off rack, run to mount line. A flying mount and I was off.
T1 time 45 seconds
The bike is 2 laps. Big rolling hills…all big chain ring. My run legs quickly became bike legs. The first leg out to the turn around was a little congested with everyone jockeying for position. I put in a big surge and passed the group and then things started to open up a little. I settled in and then flew down the downhill sections back to the half way turn around. The second loop was smooth with minimal traffic. Towards the end just had to pay attention as I was picking off people from the earlier waves which started 10 and 25 minutes before my wave. As I approached transition I slipped my feet out of my shoes. As I hit the dismount line I hit the ground running.
Bike time 54:49
T2 was again fast and smooth. Rack bike, helmet off, run shoes on, grab hat and sunglasses…run.
T2 time 50 seconds
I was pleasantly surprised…my legs felt good. My turnover was fast and smooth. I focused on holding everything together knowing that the final hill was going to be filled with a lot of pain and it didn’t disappoint. I had picked off quite a few people in the first two miles and now needed to hold them off on the hill. As I clawed my way up the hill I was passed by 2 people. A quick glance at their calves revealed that one of them was in my age group. I could not respond…I was redlined and had nothing left to give. As I entered the finish shoot I was glad to be at the line…nothing left in the tank.
Run 2 time…20:40
Overall time 1:36:02 a course PR!
7th place in the 45-49 agegroup, 48th place overall and a qualifying slot for the World Championship team. The slot will be passed though [ unless I win the lottery or a rich sponsor wants to fund a trip to France 🙂 ].
Afterwards I enjoyed the ice-cold wet towel, the yogurt parfae and sitting under the TriSports.com shade canopy and chairs.
Today the calves were a bit tight and sore!
Off for some more training until the next race!