The official 2012 USAT rankings have finally been tallied. For all you young speedsters out there, moving up the age groups does not mean things get any easier. The 45-49 age group is one tough cookie. In 2012 I placed no lower than 7th OVERALL in any triathlon I completed. What does that net you in the 45-49 rankings? 260th place and an “Honorable Mention” designation.
Fortunately I showed a little stronger in Duathlon, ranking 6th and “All American” status.
One more season (’13) then I get to play in the 50-55 ranks!
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!
Awoke to the alarm clock early today. It was race time once again. The race…USAT Duathlon National Championships. The venue…Oro Valley, Arizona. Being able to sleep in my own bed before a big race is nice…unfortunately, although an outskirt of Tucson, it is about as far away in Tucson as it could be. Me on the furthest southwest side…race on the furthest north westside.
So, after making the hour drive to the race site, I unloaded my gear, walked the 1/4 mile to the transition area and set up my gear. Having plenty of time I was able to relax, talk to friends and competitors, visit with the coach (who was also racing), make one last visit to the porta potties and get in a short warm up run.
I was in the 3rd wave which included all males in the 40-49 agegroup. So after watching the first waves I made my way into the starting shoot. I lined up near the front. The wait always seems to be twice as long when waiting for the starters horn…1 minute till start was announced and 5 minutes later the 30 second warning was given. With the sounding of the horn we began the opening 5k run. The course starts off uphill, then a short downhill to a turnaround, back up the short hill then downhill to another turnaround and then finishes with another uphill…no flat sections on the course. I went out at a comfortable pace and floated around the back of the main group. My legs were feeling good so after the first turn around I picked the pace up a little. In doing so I began to pass a few people. On the downhill I upped my pace a little more, but kept it comfortable knowing there was still a nice little uphill to tackle before the transition. I hit the 2nd turnaround and counted about 10 people from my wave in front of me. I then started the uphill section. I kept a strong, steady pace. At the top of the hill I took the turn and entered the 1st transition feeling good. Run time 18:58. First transition 0:48…in and out fast.
The bike consisted of two loops, rolling hills and again no flat areas. The distance was 35k. After mounting my bike I settled into a comfortable pace so that I could finish the ride strong. This worked well for me…nearly everyone that passed me early ended up coming back to me and dropping behind. The wind began to kick up by the second lap and the course became a bit more congested. From what I saw, everyone appeared to be riding clean (no drafting). Only real problem was people not staying to the right when not passing or drifting left when I was passing. On the second loop I was feeling good. Coming down the last downhill section I was hitting 35mph and getting pushed around a little by the crosswinds. I made the final turn and began preparing for transition 2. Feet out of the shoes and lifted my helmet visor. As I approached the dismount line I threw one leg over the bike and was quickly off and running into transition. Bike time…55:20 (23.5mph average). Transition went smooth and fast. Another 0:48 and I was off to repeat the run course.
My running legs came around pretty quickly and I settled into a good strong pace. The second run always hurts so you just deal with it. Again I picked up the pace at the first turnaround and began to push the pace. Hit the second turnaround and saw the elite (pro) men coming on fast. They were on their first run as they started in the last wave. I started the final uphill as the elites began to pass. I used them as motivation and began to see how long I could hang with them as they went by. Didn’t stick with them long but each time it allowed me to pick up my pace and hurt just a bit more. I knew I was close to the finish and the pain would be short. I hit the top of the hill, took the final turn and pushed all the way through the finishing shoot. Final run…20:32. My finish time was 1:36:24, 6th place in the 45-49 agegroup and 48th place overall amateur. Very happy with my performance against a very strong field. Qualified for the Duathlon World Championships in Spain but will be passing on the spot.
Overall the event was very well organized and ran smoothly. The weather was great, the volunteers were fantastic and the traffic control outstanding. Next year the event will again be held at the same venue and I will be back to move up a few places!