Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Buzzard Duathlon Race Report

The Buzzard Duathlon is traditionally the opener for the multi-sport season. Last year it was postponed due to bad weather. When the race was finally run it was a prefect day. This year the weather cooperated and provided a beautiful day to race. Aimee and I drove to the race and arrived about one hour prior to the start. We put together our transition areas with plenty of time to talk with friends.

Being the first race of the season there are plenty of people to reconnect with before and after the race. I still didn’t get time to say hello to everyone I wanted to. My goal for this race was to have as many Snakebite teammates racing. I was happy to see Alan Wong, Angie Ridgel, Nicole Miranda, Ian Hoffman, Mike Nies and Matt Tuskan. Nicole, Mike and Matt are cyclists at heart but decided to mix it up with some running. Nicole was the cyclist for a biathlon team.

There were a lot of good athletes in attendance. The Second Sole/Spin team had everyone there. There were also some people representing the Cleveland Tri Club. I was feeling good, rested and anxious to race. Last year I was 7th overall and 1st in the age group. I was excited to see how this year would go. It was two weeks since the half marathon in Columbus so I wasn’t worried about the legs. They had recovered nicely from the top notch effort.

My race plan was to go out even for the first 3 mile run, stay steady and consistent for the entire bike and push the final two of three miles of the second run. With the sound of the starting siren we were off. This race starts immediately going uphill. It’s very easy to blow yourself up if you’re not careful. I settled in to a nice pace. It felt hard but manageable. I could see some of the front runners down the road but wasn’t concerned with them. I hit my watch at the first mile split. I didn’t look at my watch but it was a 6:20 mile. I’m glad I didn’t know my pace because it would have not settled well in my mind. Again I was holding a hard effort for the first run but that is what I was there for. Over the next two miles I managed to pick off people who had started off too fast. I didn’t see a two mile marker so I couldn’t hit the split. Heading into transition my watch registered just under 19 minutes. I ran 12:40 for two miles. I’m not sure how evenly paced that was but overall a 6:20 pace is very nice for me.

My transition to the bike was fast as usual. The congestion out of transition was terrible. I estimate 5-10 people were trying to leave at the same time. I hate waiting for people to stop and clip into their pedals. I ran past all of them, even the ones already on their bikes, and jumped onto my bike. I love doing that. It was finally time to see how the CervĂ©lo P2C would handle in race conditions. I started up the first hill right behind one of my age group adversaries. I was surprised to be so close to him because the prior year I was out of transition before him. I know he is a strong cyclist and I wouldn’t be able to stay within striking distance without blowing myself up on the bike. After one lap he was out of my reach.

The bike course is the same as the run. Several fast downhill’s with opposite uphill’s. The rest is rolling which makes it difficult to get into a steady rhythm. We had to complete five laps of this loop for 15 miles. I was feeling good on the bike, it was handling excellent and my effort was hard. I made sure to save some for the final run and not blow-up too soon. On my third lap I slammed down a PowerGel to prepare for the run.

The best part about this multi-loop course is the amount of spectators on the course. Teammates Rick and Gary were taking pictures each lap. There were also many other people cheering for you each time you went buy the transition area. It was great being able to fly by with them cheering your name.

Heading into transition I quickly got my feet out of my shoes so I could hop off the bike and run into transition. Another quick turn around in transition and I grabbed water as I started my run. There is nothing quite like the feeling in your legs after riding 15 hilly miles at race effort. Throw in an immediate uphill and your legs won’t like you for the rest of the week. I tried to use the first mile to find my legs. They were responding quite well to the effort. I wanted to be ready for the remaining two miles where I would put the hammer down.

I could see two other runners ahead of me and wasn’t sure what I could do to catch them. After I ran the uphill near mile marker 1 I regained my breathing and tried to steady my heart rate. I looked down the road and didn’t see the other runners. I wouldn’t see them for the rest of the run because there were several turns and hills in the last two miles. I also think they pulled away from me as they put on the speed. Out of sight + out of mind = no incentive. I completely forgot about putting in any more effort. I was strong and steady at this point but not pushing to leave it all on the course. I ran to the finish at a hard effort and crossed the line. It still took me a while to catch my breath. My overall time was 1:20:18. Good for second place in the age group and a top ten finish.

Reviewing my watch I have no significant splits. I didn’t hit the lap button coming out of transition to start the second run. I really wanted to know what my second run split was. I don’t have a computer on the bike yet so I can’t even back into the splits. Oh well.

I’ve had some time to think about this race. I’m happy with the overall physical performance, but disappointed with my mental performance. The first run I was in tune with how I was running and was happy with the steady pace that allowed me to pass people on the uphill’s and final mile. On the bike I let the strength of another cyclist defeat me mentally. I think I let my effort slip to much and I didn’t put enough into the bike. Then on the final run I let my race plan slip away. I had been telling myself all week to go all out for the last two miles. Once I hit that point I was mentally zoned out and didn’t put forth the effort I wanted to.

Physically I am where I want to be. Mentally I need more work than I thought for the season. At least I was able to learn something from the race. Once all of my other Snakebite teammates were across the line, we had all placed in our age groups with one placing second overall in the biathlon.

This is one race where I have to recognize the sponsors of Snakebite Racing. Bike Authority has set me up with an awesome bike. The Cervelo P2C is fast. I was climbing up the hills with ease and bombing down like a rocket. I can’t wait to get the Flashpoint 60’s on the bike. Sherman and Mike have really come through for team. Coach Angela, Angela Forster Training, is giving me great workouts to get me where I am right now. We talk a lot about how I am feeling and responding to training. The results are showing with two races under the belt so far. My new Oakley Radar Path sunglasses were comfortable and I essentially forgot about them, just how eye protection should be. Of course Citi Smith Barney and CDW Berbee are great sponsors for the team and their logos look good on our uniforms.

Enjoy the little video I put together from the race. These are the pics Rick and Gary took.


Rick said...

great race report and cool movie!
Nice job to all of the Multisports!

Angie said...

Very nice video.... I think SBR cleaned up!!!

triguyjt said...

great job on both races... man, you average 6:36 for the half??tremendous.. you said you felt that was a great effort on your part...yessiree. i can understand how that wind plays havoc with race plans.. good to hear you worked through the tightness in hammy and one side...and avoided the crampiing by being religious with your stride..
the du-was nicely done..looks like your bike is killer.
good job on putting the video together...

triguyjt said...

ohh...went back and looked at your report of the mountaineer half....

great job there...5:12 with the freaking devils hill twice...I admit that totally caught me ..i will be much better prepared physically and mentally for that...I guarantee it...


Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

Nice job. Hey no speedo?

Eric said...

I thought about it but it was a family event.

ds said...

Hey Eric. Your description of you running past everyone in the transition area and clipping in on the fly makes me think you have a future in cyclocross??

-dave s.