Grandover Duathlon (3-22-14) – Race Recap
Itching to test my fitness, I saw the Grandover Duathlon (4 mile run--20 mile bike-- 4 mile run) just outside Greensboro and signed up late. I’ve never tried a duathlon before but thought it would be fun. My brother and I hopped in the truck early Saturday for the drive. With a race start time at 10am, I actually got to sleep in considering my alternative would have been a 5:15am Masters swim…a perfect excuse to miss. Upon arrival, we noticed we were one of the first to show which gave me plenty of time to prepare, roll out, do some mobility stretches, etc. I spotted Dave and Sharon Koontz while I was running circles in the parking lot to warm up. Always nice to see people you know especially when traveling out of town.
As the race neared, I lined up near the front. I couldn’t help but notice the Duke University multisport team to my left. Mind you, this was the day after the upset by Mercer in the NCAA tourney so poor guys were catching grief from everyone. The horn sounded and I took off quickly to get out of the main crowd and started slowing into what I thought was a good pace. Shortly thereafter, I found myself towards the back of a pack of 10 or so runners. One guy broke away from everyone rather quickly and put some distance on the pack. As we continued, some guys dropped off the pack as we ran up and down the very hilly course.
We were running at a faster pace than I probably would have run by myself, but it is a race. As we hit the turnaround at mile 2 , there were five guys ahead of me. Over the last two miles, a couple runners pushed to bridge the gap on the leader before transition. As I came into T2, I was in fifth place and about 20 seconds down to the leader.
I hopped on the bike and got some speed before slipping into my shoes. I knew I wanted to stay above a wattage threshold but figured I’d race this mainly by effort and check in with power occasionally. I went around some guys ahead of me on the bike but knew someone else was up ahead because the race director mentioned a van would be in front of the lead biker. I kept pedaling away and saw a figure in the distance. It took me a while to bridge the gap but I eventually made the pass around mile 9, just before the start of the second 10 mile bike loop. At mile 10, I spotted my brother, Matt, and he gave me a big smile in between camera shots as I rode by. Matt has seen the good, bad and ugly over a number of races. Fortunately, this was the good, so far anyway. I aimed to keep the effort up on the second loop as well since I knew these guys had all run faster than me on the initial run. Meanwhile, I was kind of spoiled because the van in front was navigating me through the bike which made the loop go by rather quickly. As I rode towards transition, I slipped off my shoes and pedaled the remaining distance up the hill.
T2 went as planned and I headed back down the hill to start the run. The race director jumped on his bike and edged over to ride alongside. This too was a new experience and one that was pretty neat. I saw the next biker coming in and figured he was at least a minute back. I aimed to maintain the same pace as the first 4 mile run. I figured if I could do this, then I should be in good shape. I continued to traverse the hilly course and focused on my pace, cadence, form and breathing. At the turnaround, I looked at my watch to get a measure for the time back to the next competitor. Once I passed him going the other way, I saw I had about 1:30. I continued to focus on form despite a fairly bad cramp on the last mile. As I came towards the finish line the Race Director peeled off and I crossed the line in first. As the next runner crossed, I grabbed us both a water and shook hands.
This race was a good indicator of my fitness at the start of the season. Thanks to Trivium Racing for putting on a very well organized and fun race. Also, a big thanks to Southeastern Endurance Academy, LGM Performance Coaching, and Inside Out Sports for getting me in shape and with the right gear. I look forward to another great season