06 May 2012

Rainier Duathlon (long course)

My first 'real' (read: TT bike, etc.) duathlon, how cool!

I had the Rainier Duathlon on my calendar for a couple of weeks and was excited for several reasons.

  • It was going to be my first time on my TT bike this year! It seems like everyone else on my team has already raced a stage race and/or a TT (or even a TT stage race!) but not me…
  • All the running was on pavement. Although not my preference it is fast and it is dry and it is a good gauge when comparing yourself to other people.
  • The bike leg was essentially around the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race road race course which went up Mud Mountain Rd and then down Hwy 410. It had a little bit of everything, some climbing, a good descent and some flats. It was fast. I like to go fast.

Because of the ridiculous early start I had to wake up at the crack of [insert your favorite epithet here] to be able to metabolize some food. After getting that done I packed up, almost forgot my running shoes(!) and showed up nice and early.

ASIDE - remembering running shoes was tough. For a duathlon ALL your gear is cycling-specific except for one pair of shoes… I obviously still have a lot to learn.

I pulled into the event parking, checked in, got my number, prepped my bike, hung my crap in the transition area and went back to the van to get dressed. I was worried that running with my new, complete with extra thick chamois shorts was going to chafe something fierce but luckily that never happened. In fact, in retrospect I can honestly say that my jersey was more uncomfortable than my shorts. The sleeves felt a little tight and cut off blood flow to my hands some when I ran. How strange. At the race I saw two familiar faces, Lola Jacobsen and Eric Sach; that was nice to at least be able to say hi to someone.

Warm up? Whatever…


Shit, I forgot to get my watch ready and had to fumble with the bezel while running; how stupid of me. Once I got that sorted I looked up. Oh man do these multi-sport people run fast.

We took a lap around some barns and by the time we got to the road and hit the first intersection the leaders we almost out of sight! They must have been doing sub 6-minute miles easy. I on the other hand was not. Just after the start I looked down, saw something like 6:30 and said to myself, "Martin, you are DUMB." So I slowed down. Then I slowed down again. The third time I slowed down I realized I felt like dirt and was getting pretty discouraged. For sure I am not a 'runner' but when I'm feeling good I can put in a few miles at sub 7-minute pace but that was not happening today; not by a long shot. Of course the mind is a terrible thing at times and you always compare yourself to your best but once I performed a reality check (meaning I had not been training my running and I had gone hard yesterday) I felt much better. Until I hit the hill.

Ouch. And it was a completely ridiculous (as in easy) hill! I was hating life.

Here is the first running leg.

I finally made it to the transition in maybe 30th place and I'll wager I took more time than anyone else once I got there. First of all I needed to eat so sat down and had a gel. If you are gung ho this is something you can (should?) do on the bike. Secondly I don't have tri cycling shoes so after pulling off my running shoes I had to fasten two Velcro straps on each foot and a buckle on each foot. I also wanted to see how the 'sport mode' on my watch worked so I took the time to switch it from running to cycling and then had to press start again. THEN I had to pee so after leaving the transition area I stopped at the porta-potties. Nice. By this time there must have been about 40 people on the road in front of me, maybe (read: probably) more. I got on my bike - that I had literally not ridden since 2011 - and finally rolled out.

And just like that things changed.

I felt great! I was hauling ass! Right away I'm in the aero position and then I look down and see I'm in the 55x14 and I'm feeling fine. Boom.

I start hauling back people immediately. Within about three miles I have passed back maybe 10. On the first climb I pass another five. On the flats before the descent I pass another handful. On the descent I pass another three. Like a hot knife through butter baby.

The first time around the road loop I got out of the aero bars for some corners but not the second time. :) I was super glad that I had put on a larger cassette! Last night I looked at my disk wheel and noticed it was sporting a 12-23. Not so hot for Mud Mountain… The 12-27 was perfect as I used the 42x27 twice each time up the climb.

The second time up the climb I caught what felt like some leaders. It felt that way because once I caught them they would not let me pass. :) No problem, I just kept the pace steady on the climb and then once we hit the flats at the top I pulled away.

ASIDE - I noticed some really interesting things while riding. Lots of these people with fancy aero bikes hardly use the aero position! Loads of people were riding around blissfully with hands on forearm pads or whatever. Totally nuts. I also heard lots of squeaking chains, doesn't anyone maintain their bike? If I were an elitist roadie and hazard to stereotype I might say that triathletes are clueless when it comes to bikes. But I'm not so I won't.

On the descent I extended the gap to the group I had passed at the top of the hill. I was contemplating whether or not to save something for the last run and decided to just go all in. I figured I was not going to raise my running game significantly by resting on the ride and I WAS going to put time into people by riding hard so I rode hard. I pedaled almost all the way down the second descent.

Here is the cycling leg.

My second transition was much faster. I hung the bike, tossed my helmet, swapped shoes (speed laces would have helped here…), stripped off my arm warmers and took off. I managed to switch my watch from cycling back to running while running through the transition.

I must have had at least two minutes when I entered the transition. When I left I had maybe 30 seconds? Add transitions to the list of multi-sport skillz Martin needs to acquire.

Remember those barns we ran around before hitting the pavement? All three of the guys behind me passed me before I got to the asphalt. All I could do was mumble, "Good job…" as they each ran past and disappeared up the road.

Now it was time to try and not explode. I felt much slower than during the first run but my GPS file shows that I was just a little slower. For sure I was not breathing as hard. There was a water station about half way into the second run leg and I actually stopped here to get a drink. My legs felt that wasted and my mouth was dry. It helped. After that I looked back a couple of times and there was one more person trying to close me down but I managed too hold him off. Whew. I even sped up a bit the last few hundred meters. For the camera. :)

Here is the second running leg.

And then I was done! Man, that was a long TT for sure. three hours after I finished my stomach was still feeling a little unsettled from the effort.

Turns out two guys in my age group were 3rd and 4th overall. Nice. What's also nice is I managed to post the 3rd fastest bike leg overall and was only three minutes behind the top two.

I'm very pleased with how I did. My bike split was excellent and although my running stank up the place it was not laughably slow. I guess that's to be expected with the training I have been doing (read: no tempo running or speed work). Plus, before you think I'm getting all serious about this, I really just wanted to have a good time and give the multi-sport thing a try.

Thanks to BuDu Racing for putting on a great event!

Sleep 5
Waking HR  
Body Weight  
Body Fat  
Breakfast 4:45 AM - 2 bananas, apple sauce, 1 scoop protein powder, walnuts, tea
drive to race - some sips from a large bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 3 scoops HEED
Workout Food 1st run - nothing
1st transition - 1 gel
ride - bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 2 scoops HEED, flask of gel
2nd run - water
Injuries my right hamstring felt fine during the first run and the ride but then flared up some during the second run
Time of Day 8:00 AM
Workout Type race
Weather low to mid 50s, sunny, dry, pretty calm
Course 1st run - flat with one stair step hill and one gradual descent
ride - climb up Mud Mountain, descend on Hwy 410, flat connector
2nd run - flat
Results 4th - Men 45-49
18th - Overall
3rd - bike leg overall
official results
Equipment run - Brooks Launch
ride - Time Trial Bike
Zipp disk, Tri-Spoke
42/55, 12-27 (the gearing was perfect)
Clothing bib shorts, Craft short sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers

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