Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Greenwich Duathlon

Since this blog is actually supposed to be about racing and training, I probably should write a short post about Sunday's race. Obviously, I didn't do that on Sunday.

That's the nice thing about a blog- you can go wherever you want- or not. Why ? Hmmm ...

1) For the second straight race, I lost second place in the last mile of the run.
2) I was not happy.
3) Get over it.

Greenwich is an interesting race. Tod's Point is a great location for this race- it has the three things every duathlon ought to have- good parking, good bathrooms, and good transition- like Brian's, you park literally yards from the transition area. Also like Brian's, it's a very flat run. Unlike Brian's, the 10 mile bike is not flat (and it's not 10 miles).

I had been on the fence about the race until the Wednesday before when I sent my check in, and I drove through the pouring rain on 95 at Long Wharf I was questioning my sanity in not just running for two hours.

But when I got to Greenwich, the mostly drizzle that had met me on the ride down had stopped. I grabbed my number, slung on my headphone and started getting ready. I soon realised that switching back wheels- back to the Zipp that the chain had been installed for- at 10:30 at night was not the right move. I made some adjustments and hoped for the best. I racked the bike and started warming up and pretty soon, it was race time. I was nervous. I hadn't raced in a month (familiar theme this year). I also was racing a duathlon with bike shoes for the first time, well, that I could remember.

The race started with my wave and as we heard 'start' and there was a press of bodies, however, I felt less overwhelmed by how far back I was and by the time we hit the opening turn, things had settled down and I was only six or so places back. I worked my way up into fourth after a mile and decided that I needed to split the field up. I started pushing the leader, or at least I thought I was pushing him, and pretty soon we were alone, with two guys from Bethel cycle closest behind.

I felt like I was coasting, although this might not be true. I knew to pass the guy I was following, I would have to go all out, and that was a bad idea. My best option was to sit back, wait, and hope this guy was not as good on the bike.

We came into transition 1-2 and went out 1-2 and within the first minute, I realised that I wasn't likely to be challenging this guy on the bike. I could see him as we went through Old Greenwich, but he was getting farther away. i could do the math. Meanwhile, Greg Pelican was on my almost immediately and we began some back and forth. That lasted all the way to the biggest hill on the course. I backed off a little on that hill, remembering other years where I charged up the hill and then was flat at the end of the bike, where I frequently got caught, usually by groups of two-three riders.

Greg can eat my lunch on the bike, but I decided I had to keep him close and surprised myself. He never really got out of site, and although I was close to giving up third on the bike, that's where I came in.

By the time I started transition I was in fourth. That was a little dispiriting. As a toe-clip guy I'm usually the one leaping up the ranks in transition.

I headed out and quickly split the two guys in site in front of me. I was about 4 seconds behind Greg and I passed him in the back, but I was working hard and never really found that last gear where I could pull away. As we made the turn back onto the 'main' road, he started to pull away and I found myself losing second place again, just like Brian's.

Greg had a really solid second run, and I never did pull back up to him, although I felt like I gave a better chase effort than last race- he was just too good for me.

I was pretty unhappy. I'd finished third again, thought I was a good two minutes slower than last year...

It's a great race. I wish it were sanctioned, but you can't have everything. I always have friends down there and it's a good early-season chance to catch up with people and find out how they are doing. It's also a good chance to remind yourself how challenging these races are.

And hey, I actually did have a good race after all. But that's not what it's really all about...

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