Monday, April 29, 2013

Flower City Duathlon 2013 RRR

Welcome to the first official multisport Race Report and Results (RRR) for the 2013 season. Just like several years in a row, I started my non-running racing with a duathlon.

Once upon a time, they (whoever they are) invented this ridiculous sport called running and made it infuriatingly painful. Later on, they tried to solve this problem by inventing a bicycle. Finally, someone came to their senses and took to the water. Hence the sport swimming. When combined, swimming, biking and running become the holy trinity of all sporting events know and the "triathlon".

The problem is that there's a segment of the population (read: majority) who don't have crazy good swimming skills. They still want multisport but can't swim a lick. Somehow, they convinced a race director to forgo the aforementioned swim and replace it with another run. (Aside: They also convinced him to host a 13.1 mile running race on the following day. They are gluttons for punishment. I, like an idiot, signed up for both. End aside.) Basically, they want a triathlon without the tri. For those not in the know, or for those who happened to forget, duathlons are the bastardized little brother of triathlon.

One of those RD's just happens to be in charge of Fleet Feet, Rochester edition. They put on a pretty good show.  Much to their credit, late April is not normally a good time for open water swimming. Since I'm not a fan of open water swimming in a pool, I'm pretty pleased they decided to keep the race outdoors. As a consequence of that sage decision, race time starting temperature was roughly 42º. Brr.

Run 1
I really want to make a fair comparison. I really want to tell you that I ran faster or slower. Alas, I cannot. Sadly, they changed up the course this year. We used to play on the paths and trails near the Genessee. Apparently, the people doing the paddle tri wanted to run with the big dogs. We hug the riverside. 

They started me in the last wave. They heard a rumor that I was going to crush the field. I'm not sure what idiot thought that was funny as they were clearly wrong. I'm sure at some level, there is a valid reason for the chosen starting order. It's rarely popular amongst the masses. I set out at what I thought was a comfortably hard pace. Somewhere near the 1.5 mile marker, I overheard a lady (who started in an earlier wave) how she "wished the boys started earlier so she wouldn't have to be passed by so many people. This is demoralizing."

Of course, she looked directly at me. I don't blame her. Anytime I out run someone in a race, regardless of gender, religion, disability, or pre-existing mental condition, it has to be a slam on their athletic ability. Poor lady.

A year ago, I did this run in 21 minute and 29 seconds. This year, I came into transition after 20.42. Again, I have no idea if this is better or worse than last year but I was pretty happy with the performance as I had clearly broken the 7 min barrier. That pace was good enough for 42nd place.

Transition 1
It was still rather chilly. Temperatures were rumored to climb later into the mid-60ºs. You wouldn't have known it by the crispness of the air. If this weren't a race, I'd have put the bike on the trainer and biked indoors. I'm selectively pansy like that.

This year, I wanted to be a little more competitive. I decided not to put on a jacket. I kept my shoes clipped in to my pedals. I did need to put on ear coverings, helmet, glasses, and gloves. My fingers had a bit of an issue clasping the helmet closed, which is required by USAT rules. Of course, I removed my bike from the rack and got a pedal stuck on one of the cross bars of the racks. I suppose this is the reason you do these early season races, to work out the kinks.

I pranced out of transition after 1.19. Last year, my T1 time as 2.09. This is a fair comparison as the transition area was exactly the same. Not great but not bad, comparatively speaking. Oddly enough, I was again the 42nd fastest T1er.

The bike course is/ was spectacular. The roads were well groomed. Traffic was sparsely populated. What little traffic there present was nicely controlled by the happy volunteers and dutiful police officers. Thank you sincerely to both groups for a job well done!

This year, due to the late afternoon heat wave, the wind was steady out of the south. The bike ride, already chilly, kept you cool in the first half of the ride but pushed you back home.

I failed to check the hill profile ahead of time. I errantly told one of my co-conspirators that the course was pretty flat. I supposed that is a matter of perspective. The Garmin reports nearly 400 feet of climbing over the 20 mile course.

The bike course did not change so I can make a fair comparison to the 2012 race. Last year, I revolved the ride in 57.37. This year, I bettered my pace and finished the bike in 55.24, or about 21.8 mph. I'm pretty happy with that time and pace. My bike ride was good enough for 13th place overall.

Transition 2
I have a pretty good skill on dismounting my bike and running into transition. I am pleased to report that my skill had not diminished much over the winter. I hit the dismount line running. I found my shoes rather quickly and racked my bike. This was a bit of a challenge as the dude on the opposite side of the rack had beaten me into transition and crowded my rack space. I solved the problem by moving my bike 2 feet south of my expected location, which I hope did not cause any issues for anyone else.

My running shoes were exactly were I left them nearly an hour ago. I slipped them onto my feet and headed my way towards the exit. Before I got to the half way point in transition, I promptly stopped. mind you, stopping mid-race is not that effective of a race strategy. Neither is attempting a 5k with a sizable stone in your sole. I paused, removed a pebble, which I believe was limestone based, reapplied my shoe and continued out of the corral in exactly 1:00. Even with the stoppage, I was the 17th fastest second transitioner.

Run 2
Having passed a large chuck of the racers on the bike, the second lap around the course was a little bit more lonely. I passed one bloke almost immediately. He would be the last person I passed on the run.

Run 2 is nearly a carbon negative of run 1.

As we ran a good chunk of the run immediately adjacent to the river, we were able to see some of the tri-paddlers in their kayaks as they navigated the relatively calm waters. For them, the current was at their back on the way down and in their bows on the way back. For us, we had a mostly flat run. The Garmin posted an elevation gain of a whopping 17 feet, most of which came from the bridges over the river.

I admit that run 2 was borderline evil. First, it was the last work of the day on pre-fatigued legs. Second, it was a little bit further that the advertised 5k by about a quarter of a mile. Third, it involved yet more running.

I was passed by 3 people during the run. The first 2 passed my around the 1 mile mark and they were pretty much together. The last guy came by about the 2.5 mile mark. I'm pretty sure they were all in my age group.

I finished the 5+k run on a 7:15 pace and a time of 23.46. This time was good enough for a surprising 20th place over that stretch.

My overall time was 1:42.13. This put me in the top 20 (I.E. exactly 20th place). In my age group, I was 8th.

Just to compare, had I been in a different age group, say the M30-34 group, I would have been in 2nd place. Or, perhaps the M40-44, I would have been in 4th. Tough age group. I raced hard and am not at all upset with my results.

Good show by the guys and gals at Fleet Feet and Yellow Jacket racing. They posted results online before I was able to limb back to transition to change my shirt. Some dude with a Guiness and an iPad confirmed that I was not in the awards banquet. I went home to collapse from my effort and begin to ready myself for the second half of this race weekend. Stay tuned.

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