Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blue Norther' Duathlon Race Report

This last weekend I had the pleasure of doing my first duathlon of the season. My wife always asks why I don’t race more duathlons as I have more of a background in running (not enough as you'll read below) than cycling and swimming, but to me there is something about doing all three events that peaks my interest more. With that said duathlons are challenging and push the legs to a new level! I was using the Blue Norther Du as my preseason tune up before I race TX3 Kemah. It’s always great to knock some of that early season multi-sport rust off before the real deal. The Blue Norther was a 5K run, 14.4 mile bike, and a 5K run.
The race was just 45 minutes down the road in Seguin and usually pretty competitive, drawing some local pros from Austin. Erin and I woke up at 5:30 am, loaded the bike (pictured), ate breakfast and got on the road. I love the atmosphere of smaller local races. You show up rack your bike and get to chatting with familiar faces. After setting up my gear and getting a good feel for the layout of the transition area, it was off for a quick ride on the bike and then a 1.5 mile warm-up jog. During the warm-up I replayed the game plan in my head. 16:45 first 5k, zone 4-5a on the bike, and everything I had left on the run.

Before I knew it we were toeing the line waiting for the start. Within the first quarter mile the lead pack had narrowed down to about 10 of us. At the half mile mark I did a pace check and we were running about a 4:55/mile clip and 10 was now 7. Knowing this was much faster than the 5:24 pace I had planned for the first 5K, I eased off the pace and let a gap form. The 5K was a two loop and after the first I was sitting in 7th place and thinking to myself dang I haven’t ran with this many fast guys in a long time. At the Austin Half Mararthon last month I finished 9th overall out of 10,500 and here I’m sitting 7th out of 150. Towards the end of the 2nd loop I caught Antonio De Silva a pro from Brazil and headed into T1 sitting in 6th.

After a smooth T1 I was off on my bike and chasing like crazy. Within the first 3-4 miles I had raced myself into 2nd place and setting my sites on 1st. It seemed like I was gaining ground on the hills and then loosing it on the descents. I rolled into transition in 2nd place. Racked my bike and decided to give it my best on foot. The last 5k was pretty uneventful. 1st place put another 40 seconds on me and I had enough of a gap on Antonio I didn’t have to kill the pace the last two miles. After the race I shook hands with the winner who turned out to be Matt Russel, pro triathlete and 2009 Elite USAT Duathlon champ. Matt’s a very talented triathlete/duathlete and hats off to him on an outstanding race. He recently moved to Austin and I am looking forward to more races in the future.

I’d like to thank the Seguin Sunrise Lions for hosting a great race and wanted to give a shout out to my Tri-Sition Area teammates; Chris Rulon 1st Masters, My wife Erin 3rd overall, Ron Mortenson 3rd 25-29, and Orlando Gonzales 1st 50-54. We ended up winning the friendly team competition between Austin Tricyclists, Tri Solers, Tri Amigos and us in a very close contest. I’m hoping that we continue these team competitions and expand on them in the future as it adds another great dimension to the sport. Way to go team!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winter Gains to Racing Gains

If you're like me winter can be a challenging trianing time with little daylight and low motivation. This year I mixed it up a little on the cycling end. I had the pleasure of getting my tail handed to me every Tuesday night in Chris Aarhus' "Winter Gains Class" held at Trisition Area's shop. I highly recommend taking a look at this class next year to keep those legs moving. The class takes the good things about a spin class (the people and instructor to motivate you and make it fun to be cycling indoors) and combines it with what triathletes need (workouts that create/reinforce sound technique, fitness, and actually build from one week to the next). So thank you Chris, Carlos, Erin, Michelle, Mick, Vish, Corwin, Dawn and the rest of the regulars for giving me a push each week; I'm looking forward to seeing good results. Those result leads me to the next half of this blog title, "Racing Gains".

I'm excited to start heading into the next chapter of my training plan where I start to race. This weekend I'm planning on racing The Blue Norther Du. This is my first time racing the Blue Norther but I've heard great things and am excited to kick off my multisports season in Seguin. My approach to this race is to practice and fine tune racing for my bigger events coming up in April. Nothing simulates racing better than racing! Once April hits I've got a full serving of races until August where I'll regroup a little and hopefully finish out the season on a high note in the Fall. That's really my goal this season is to continue to improve and climb the pro ranks, no where to go but up! Hope to see you all at Blue Norther this weekend and best of luck for a great race!