Monday, May 21, 2007

Shamrock Duathlon

These race reports are going to start coming out of order, I guess.

I have to admit to not being especially committed to the race. Oh, I wanted to do it all right. I qualified to compete at worlds last year at this race, and while it was not a qualifier again this year, I wanted to go back and race. By the same token, I'm training for a half-ironman and didn't hold back on my Saturday workout. There was also the feeling that perhaps the best thing for the family as a whole was not me chasing up to Glastonbury on what seemed destined to be a rainy day.

So I didn't put on the race wheels, replace the missing bottle cage, test ride the bike after having the front chain-rings replaced. I did prep the coffee maker, mix my gatorade, and get up at 5 am and drive up to the race, however. I got there all too early. While I got a great parking spot, registration didn't even open for another 15 minutes. They were very, very strict about opening registration at 6:30 am, and strangely, the race started 15 minutes late.

I don't like to spend a lot of time on my bike before a race. I did pump the back tire up a bit, which is also something I hate to do, but I just made sure it was in the right gear and racked it, then went for a 5 minute run. Wearing arm warmers and a cycling jersey, I was too hot. To the south, thunderstorms seemed to threaten, to the north the sun was out. It stayed this way as I listened to Evanescence (it was hard not to stay with the ipod when the DJ was playing a baseball park organ version of the Addams Family Theme Song).

Just before the race I switched to my EH jersey. I stood next to a guy, who, I kid you not, stood with one foot almost completely over the starting line. Baffled yes, but sure I could out run him, I said nothing.

The race started. As usual, I felt as though I was off to a bad start as six or seven guys ran ahead of me and another 4 or 5 surrounded me. Greenwich (my next post) all over again. But Mike Guylay was just 3-4 seconds ahead of me so if anything, I figured I was running too hard. As it's a two loop run the first loop is a feel me out affair, but it quaickly became obvious that I was going to finish the top run at the rear end of the top 5. A friend, Sue Lathan, randomly drove by in her red VW bug, confusing me on the way to her soccer game.

I realised on the second loop that I had a chance to do well in the race. I hung on, passed my wat into fourth, and hit transition in good shape (although the eventual race winner was about two seconds behind me).

I was second out of transition behind Mike, but he had to climb a grassy hill in his bike shoes and then mount going uphill. I ran by him, got on the round, started pedalling without my feet in the cages, and looked up. There was a police car. Why was there a police car ? Oh sh!t, I realised, I was in the lead. That lasted for 3 miles, then the race winner and Mike zoomed by me, 10 seconds apart.

I rode the next 14 miles alone, in fourth, on roads that seemed beaten down and damaged by recent rains, up hills, down hills, struggling, breaking on the endless 90 degree turns because I was in third and wanted to finish. And then, with a mile left, I got passed, but by someone I knew I could drop on the run. I stayed loose, came in, racked my bike, and by the time Mike got his shoes on, I was able to watch his back the whole second run. The first woman zoomed in as I headed out and I thought 'Better ask coach for some bike time'.

For 3.1 miles, I chased Mike and the race leader, and while I put time into both of them, i still finished third. I needed to ride faster and run even harder.

I think I could have won Sunday, but I came third, and that's a pretty good result for a guy like me.

Just don't ask me about the drive home.

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