Monday, April 27, 2009

What's This Button Do?

The above line was overheard at the Dirty DuEARTHlon at Maudsley State Park this past sunday. In actuality, the phrase went something like this " Does anyone know how to change these gears? Do you just push these little buttons?". The Person asking was a 40 something male that had shown up as part of a team, all of them very fit, and wearing matching black and white pearl izumi skin suits. When I first saw them I was concerned, they looked like serious triathletes (except for one....more on him later). After that I heard that line, (he was seriously asking how the shifters worked) I wasn't so worried, maybe they were just good runners. To make matters worse, of the 4 of them, the cheapest bike they had was a specialized stumpjumper FS . The dork in question had a Cannondale Scalpel . All the bikes looked new.

Yes, I decided to participate in the duathlon instead of the quabbin RR for a few reasons: 1) 15 minutes from my house (90 for the QRR); 2) 11:am start (9:am for QRR); 3) I love running trails; 4) I've never finished lower than 3rd in a duathlon; 5) I anticipated a small turnout for this inaugural event, and thought I would do well.

On saturday I prerode the course using the map provided by the promoters. Maudsley SP doesn't have much for technical trails. Most of them are wide 'fire roads'. The MTB section of the course used nothing _but_ the groomed walkways and fire roads. Very flat, with only one hill requiring significant effort. There were white arrows painted on the trail that _mostly_ matched the map, but there were differences, so I did both. I also rode the running leg. Some very steep but short climbs, and a long section of new england double track with significant detritus obscuring the trail for extended lengths.

It was a 2.5 mile run, 5 mile bike, 2.5 mile run. My running is coming along OK, and thought even if I lost two minutes on the first run, it would take a reasonably strong mountain biker to maintain that over me on that super fast MTB course.

Well, guess who decides to show up.

Lyne Bessette.

Yes, _THE_ Lyne Bessette. Click here for her palmares. A professional cyclist, national champion, cyclocross champion, decides to head over to some little podunk duathlon, instead of racing with women of her caliber at the quabbin. Of course, she had every right to be there, but I'm just thinking it's like me showing up at some podunk little unsanctioned event where...........ok, so I went there to beat up on the locals too, but I'm not a fucking professional.

So we line up for the start, and I get a tap on my shoulder. It was one of the triathlete crew, a young man, very fit, light skinned black, with an afro that was a good 18" across. Really, I'm not kidding. I was thinking 'man, that's gotta be hot today' (it was 90 degrees that day). He says to me, "Hey, you see that big bald guy back there?" He pointed to the guy that was asking about the shifters. "That guys says you're his competition, I'll give you ten bucks if you beat him". A bunch of people laughed. I replied with "I'll give every one who beats this woman ten bucks" while pointing at Lyne. She sheepishly tried to deflect by claiming, "oh no, I'm not a runner!"

So we start off, and I know I have to stay as close to the front as possible for the first 1/4 mile, since it ducks into the single track then. I'm in the front group, and two people are jack rabbitting right away. This little kid and a tall guy. Lyne is in front of me with two others. I look back just before we hit the single track, and we have a good 100 foot gap. Coming out of the first section of single track, the arrows on the road take us on the main path instead of the next section of single track. I'm following the herd at that point. During the run, I pass two, and get passed by 2 more. First leg time was 16:40. I'm not sure of the real distance since the course was changed.

I get into the transition in 6th. Lyne "I'm not a runner" Bessette was so far ahead that I didn't even see her entering the trail by where the run came out. The beginning of the bike leg is across a flat field, then onto a well worn flat trail, then into the rooty fire roads for the next 1/2 mile mostly downhill. Even if she was a minute ahead I would have seen her. I pass one guy right away. I catch #2 just at the bottom of the hill. From then I'm alone for a _very_ long time. The first problem I see is that the painted arrows don't match the map. I follow the arrows. I get to the only _real_ technical part of the course and see that someone has torn down the tape and uprooted the sign for the only section of double track. Oh well, you have to know the course, right? The paint for the left turn was still there, I motor on. At this point I'm thinking, 'hey what happened to that kid that took off at the start'. A mile later I see him. Shit, that kid was motoring! I finally pass him, and who do I see up the road, Lyne Bessette!! Now, Lyne had at least a minute on me at the transition, and I was catching her.

My local crew of hacks was there. Duane, CX racer, former MTB racer, and Dr. Bigelow. They had yelled at me, that I was getting beat by a ten-year old boy and a woman way earlier on the running leg. Now, 1/4 mile from the end of the bike leg I was just about in Lynes draft when the see me, they start yelling "YOU CAN'T LET A GIRL BEAT YOU!!". Um guys, that's not a girl. That's Lyne Fucking Bessette, and I FUCKING CAUGHT HER ON THE BIKE LEG!!! I passed her up the little climb into the transition area. My bike time was 24:30, distance 5.3 miles, avg ~13 mph. I was really thinking I would maintain 15 on that course.

There were easily a dozen bikes in the transition area. I'm thinking, OK, I was in 6th after the first run, I just passed 4, there should be 2 bikes in here. WTF!?!?!

Lyne and I leave at the same time. We pass the kid riding into the transition zone about 100 yards out. Lyne "I'm not a runner" slowly pulls away from me. I keep seeing her disappear around corners. We are passing people like they're walking. Where the hell did all these people come from? Then I hear these big feet with a long stride behind me. I'm thinking it's got to be some big dude.

It's the kid. He pulls past me at about the same pace that Lyne pulled away. He's about 5'2 and looks like he has size 15 feet, I pace off him a little bit until he finally catches up to lynn, then they pull away together, but not fast.

The next time I see him, it's about 1/4 mile from the finish, and he has about 100 yards on me. I look back, no one in sight. I give it a little gas, but it was too late, no catching the kid. As I approach the finish line, they have a tape up for me.

For me? I get to break a tape?!?!

My finish was 1:01:30. I was hoping for sub 1 hour, but still not bad. They tell me I finished 3rd over all. One minute behind Lyne and 30 seconds behind the kid. There aren't any results posted yet, so I don't know any splits other than mine. I'm thinking I have one of the fastest if not the fastest bike time, I mean, shit I caught Lyne Bessette.

This is the polar graph (click to view in detail)

The heart rate is fucking scary, average of 189, max of 198. That means I spent an hour with an average of two beats over my lactate threshold.

Well, I did this race for the ego boost, and I definitely got one. We find out after that everyone in front of me after the bike went off course. In fact, the two bikes that _should_ have been in the transition before me took the shortcut. They had a marshal out on the course that was taking numbers at a check point, so _officially_ I was in first place at the end of the bike leg since the kid, Lyne, and I were the first three numbers on her sheet. I talked to Lyne after wards, and she said the kid had dusted everyone in the first run and was not in sight when she entered the first transition. She was in 3rd at that point. She said he caught her at the end of the 2nd run, so she paced him and then dropped him on the last 1/2 mile. My ten dollar challenge held up.

At the end of the day, I got beat by a woman and a 14 year old boy - they're not going to let me live this down.


solobreak said...

You have to convince Bessette to go to Rye.

zencycle said...

Why me?

solobreak said...

You guys are podium buddies now.

zanne said...

no way! that is a GREAT story. We met Lynne when she was in town for the USGP in 2007. Yeah - I'd think catching her on the bike part would do the trick for the ego boost too. Totally fun.