I wanted to do something different than the Shamrock Duathlon. It's been a good race for me, but I really wanted to go back to Rochester and race. I like the challenge of racing against different people that I sort of know- from other races up there, from Lake Placid.
The people in Rochester are fast. Scary fast when you think about how much better our weather is than theirs. Yes, that's right. The winter we just had ? They'd have spent January and February wondering if winter was ever coming.
I like the format of the race as well. It's a run-bike-run-bike-run- 2-10-1-10-2. Definitely a biker's race- 5 miles of running to 20 miles of rolling hills on the bike. And the people that run the race- Fleet Feet of Rochester- put on a good race. the runs are completely in the park, and the bike is basically a square.
We got to the race a little late but not bad, and I took a position near the run exit, which will unpopular with the early rack adopters, I thought would give me a nice tactical advantage.
I kept my warm-up to strides in the opening section of the run course and before you knew it, we were off.
Panic quickly set in. We were running downhill, pretty hard, and there I was, in 7th-8th place, lot of guys around me. I'd started right next to the guy that was going to win the race, and he was gone. I think if it's possible to win a race that's 85 minutes long in 30 seconds, he probably did. I forced the panic back. This is the reality of the way I race duathlons. I do not put a lot in the first run.
The run was two miles, almost all of it on grass or in the woods. I found my place, established myself in about 7th place and settled. The panic was replaced a feeling that I was running well, at about 95%, not spending myself until we hit a switchback hill that doesn't look like much but is just a killer. I felt like I was crawling up it, and at the top there's a quad-fraking downhill, another uphill, and then you cruise into transition.
I was up to fourth or fifth because I had a quick transition. I attacked and passed one athlete I should have marked but didn't, and then went after the guys in front of me. I was too far back, and I knew I had to ride a little aggressively to get back where I wanted to be. I couldn't make much up until we'd turned out of the park and finished the first downhill. As soon as we started a real climb I worked my way back into the place I wanted to be, second. I screamed down the biggest hill on the course, happy to see the hard right was not so hard, and attacked through into another uphill. As in my last duathlon. I was chasing the leader, and that was where I wanted to be.
Then I was passed by a school bus right before one right turn and the volunteers at the corner didn't stop the bus. I found myself fighting through the turn, bike versus school bus. I decided discretion was the better part of not getting my ass kicked by a school bus.
Not much else exciting happened. But the guy I should have marked was tailing me the whole way and came into and out of transition with me. As we ran out, he asked me how I was doing, very conversationally.
This is not a good idea. I am from the late 1970s, early 1980s. I come from a ball-sport back ground. I was taught to knock people down and walk away from them. Yes, this makes me an anti-social caveman. I'm OK with that. I can be nice before, or better yet, after the race, During the race ? If you aren't hurt, you are not on that radar.
So he asked a second time. Somewhat, incredulous, I said I was fine and added, half-aloud, 'I just don't want to talk.' I had trouble staying with the guy on the second run, and he put a little time on me, but I took it back in transition and got out first on the bike. Several of the guys behind me came close to striking distance on that run as well.
He passed me pretty quickly. I road hard, and I had a good second loop, but I couldn't close the gap he built up in the first two miles or so. My descending on the Razor still needs work.
I came into the final transition stuck in third. I ran as hard as I could and I could see the second place guy on and off the whole time, and I closed, but not enough, and in the end, I crossed the finish line 23 seconds behind him, well-spent, and in the state I too often am, disappointed at what was overall a pretty good effort.
The race winner, Marcus Gage, hung out in transition and had nice things that I at least didn't deserve to say to us. I don't know him, but he seems like a class guy, and even though he put a major beat down on me, I can't complain. Jim Cornell had a great race as well, and I look forward to going up against him next year- he outraced and I think outsmarted me, and I like a good challenge. Maybe we'll even make it back for the fall race.
It was a lot of fun, and I encourage all of you to try your hand at this formula one format if you haven't already.
And yes, a part of me misses the place I lived 8 years...