Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pedal for the Planet Duathlon Race Report

The inaugural running of this event was a student project associated with Mercyhurst College, a small school with a kick ass division I womens hockey team.  They staged the race at the same place, with the same course layout, that the the Presque Isle Duathlon runs in July.  Not having run that race last summer due to the Achilles drama, I was almost looking forward to this one.  The sun started to peek out a little before the start and with it, the temperatures started to rise a little as well.  All of which was a good thing, since it was a little too cool to just wear the tri club kit.  So out came the long sleeve shirt and the hope that it wouldn't get too hot.

No, no pictures, I forgot my stupid camera, something I really need to just pack with my helmet and shoes.

5K RUN #1:  The start, Presque Isle Beach 11, is an out and back around the Perry Monument, and encompasses the running up the highest altitude of the peninsula.  Which is, oh, roughly 10-12 feet, give or take another foot or two.  My first mistake, not starting up closer to the front of the field.  This was a small event for the most part, roughly 84, including teams, and I was in the rear of the field talking to my dad and one of my co-workers at the start. So as I started to pick up speed, and picking off people one by one, I was happy for two things:  1)  I am starting to pick up some speed, slowly, but it's getting there, and 2.)  I didn't have an ache or pain one.

I started to look for other ETC members, of which there were only a few, of which to use as my targets of opportunity.  I was about 1/4 mile behind Jeff and I managed to catch him with a half mile left in the segment.  We ran together for the last portion and the pace was good, but not enough for me to be breathless or fell tight.

TIME:  25:14

 20K BIKE:  I didn't dwaddle in the transition, just long enough to change out shoes, drop the hat, slap on my helmet and get out.  Maybe 2 minutes at best.  But where was Jeff?  I got out, got the legs to realize that this was a race and as I settled in at 20 MPH, I noticed on the first straightaway that Jeff was a good half mile ahead and moving away real quick.  I only had one person pass me on the bike, a relay team, and realized real quick that I was moving solo.  They stressed the whole no-draft policy, but that was not an issue with me in the slightest.  In the first 4 miles, I passed about a dozen or so people, and as I got to the turnaround, I passed one guy riding a mountain bike who was on a relay team.  I mentioned to the guy that there was not a soul within a two mile radius of us and asked if he wanted to draft, but he just smiled and told me he'd take a pass.
I didn't battle headwinds, wet roads, or even rain, just me pushing a nice cadence at 20 MPH sort of wondering if I how much better it would've been if I had a little competition to push me faster.  I did look across the devided road and noticed that there were some people behind me, just not closing the distance on me like I wasn't closing on anyone else.
The rest of the ride was spent wondering how much better I might have been if I had been able to get out the house more this spring to get some riding days in.  I wasn't unhappy by any means, the ride was quiet with the sound of my tires on pavement being the only sound I heard.  Something so soothing about a quiet race machine.

TIME: 40:18

5K RUN #2:  The transition went smoothly enough, not too far from the dismount to my spot, and I jogged most of it, which is becoming a norm for me, go figure.  Swapped shoes again, put on hat again, and off to the last part.  This run is another out and back to another location, Beach 9, and is flat, flat, flat.  Race Tip #1:  Always run the first half mile no matter what.  You can stop and walk after that, but always the first half mile needs to be run.  It's a muscle adjustment thing that has been proven for almost 100 triathlons, or how ever many that I have done in my life, and when I haven't run that first half mile:  Bad runs and times.  Even at Louisville, I ran the first half mile, so that's how much I go with that.
Anyway,  I am still by myself just motoring along, feeling pretty good, but getting warm.  The long sleeve tech shirt worked great on the first run and the bike, but was a bit warm for the last segment.  Not too bad, but warm.  I passed the winner, and he had a great lead too, and then the groups of people started to become visible.  And I was in a void that was utterly amazing.  I used that to sort of find a little speed and motivation to hopefully catch someone.  But, I have confirmed Eric's Law of Racing:  No matter the number of competitors, be it the Akron Marathon, the Louisville Ironman, whatever, I will always be an island unto myself.  It was like that in high school cross country, and has followed ever since.  It's almost like I'm not at elite status, and I'm not at scrub status.  I'm just there.
I did get passed by a relay guy, who was on the Mercyhurst cross country team, and thanked me for the pacing, and a relay girl who I didn't mind running behind because she was all legs and had great "form."

TIME:  24:22.  Yes, a faster split than the first one, that was a bonus.

The final numbers:  26 of 84 Overall and 4 of 9 in the AG. The race was done well and if they hold it again, I'll do it.  Other than some cosmetic changes the student race directors did a good job.

Next Race:  Edinboro Triathlon.

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