Well, results from the rye-by-the-sea duathlon are already up, so I might as well get the story straight. The duathlon is two 5K runs and a 17 mile bike. The reports I had heard said it was quite flat, and the run was a big square circuit. The course maps bore out the previews.
There was a reasonable turnout - 179, and the weather was turning out for the better, considering what a shitty week it was. Everything was coming together smoothly. I felt decent, the bike was dialed in, the weather was great, ~ 70 and no wind at race time.
The gun went off, and I decided to stay with the leaders until the herd thinned out. They started both the duathletes and the 5K runners together, so you didn't know if the guys bolting off the front were your competition or not. I stayed with the top ten for about the first 1/2 mile, then dialed it back, and found a comfortable pace, Had I been running just the 5K, I would have stayed with the leaders, and I'm not bragging but I don't think I would have had much trouble. I knew though, that there were a lot of people running just the 5K so I decided to pace myself.
As we were running, I started to realize that the run wasn't what was on the map. We were on the paved road for some time, well beyond where I thought we should have turned left. Indeed, at the one mile point we turned into the woods.
OK, this is nothing like what I expected, and nothing like this course map. You'll see the map shows the run being a big rectangle, while we did something like a Dali interpretation.
I clicked off the first mile in 5:58, and now I was running downhill on an old farm path. Someone behind me quipped 'gee,ya think they would have mowed this'. It turned out to be one of the lesser obstacles, as this turned into a muddy rooty twisty walking trail (nice new england double track), that doubled back upon itself a few times with lots of tight turns before crossing two wooden walking bridges, then emptying into a field well past the two mile mark. In spots the mud was ankle-deep. I have the muddy shoes to prove it. Had I known that we were going to be off road for the majority of the run, I would have used my trail shoes. They would have helped a lot, I lost footing several times and slid out, but never lost my balance. Others were not so lucky. The course was technical enough that, even if it were dry, trail shoes would have been a big help.
In the muddy morass I managed a 2nd mile time of 6:50, passing a number of people along the way. In the remaining 1.1 miles, there was a short section of pavement followed by two equally distant trps back and forth across an adjacent field. I figured I was running in about 20th spot. At least the whole of the third mile was flat and dry. In the last few hundred yards there was a short steep run up, and the guy in front of me ended up on his hands and knees on the trail. I run off-road a lot, and actually prefer it to running on pavement, so when he hit the deck I took a couple of quick steps to the side and went around him. I was a little surprised that he lost his footing, but then, I run in muck all the time.
Here's where the race went south. The transition went well, and I ran out of the area, classic cyclocross re-mount, started pedaling...what the fuck...my saddle dropped. It was fine when I rode it on the trainer on thursday, it was fine on the ride from parking lot to the transition area, but now I hit the saddle and it drops.....I reset it after the race, it had dropped a good 30mm.
So now I have a 17 mile TT to ride with my seat 1 1/4 inches low. It wasn't so bad at first, since the first 4+ miles are predominantly downhill, but turning south along the coast for the flat section my hamstrings really started to tighten up. By the time I turned back inland, up the hill, I was just managing to keep 21 mph.
I passed 3 guys right away, then caught up to some guy on a full carbon Kuota. He had a knack on the downhills, but flailed horribly on every small rise. We traded spots all the way until the flat coast road where I gapped him for good, or so I thought. I passed one more guy on the coast road. Since I was tightening up badly, Mr. Kuota came back on me just before the uphill section, bringing three guys with him. I still ditched them on the climb, but two of them caught me just at the transition. One beat me out of the transition, and the another passed me in the first mile of the second run.
The bike times are a bit off, since they included _both_ transitions in the time. I don't have the fastest transitions, so it says my bike pace was 21.25 mph,while my computer said it was 22.2. Granted, nothing to brag about.
Once I started running, the effect of the bad position really made itself known. I couldn't stretch my legs out for the first 1/2 mile or so, my quads and glutes were extremely tight, way tighter than any other 2nd transition I can remember.
They ran us in the opposite direction for the second run, so I'm not sure of my splits (no mile markers). I kept the last guy to past me in sight all the way until we got back onto the road, about a mile from the finish, so he never got more the 15 seconds ahead, since the trail was never straight enough to see further ahead than that. Heading back up the farm road, a group of equestrians had decided to take a morning ride. There were four of them, and they had spread out across the entire trail, heading against the runners. They guy in front of me actually had to run off the trail to get around them.
What the fuck is it with you fucking equestrians? Where do you get the idea that all must yield to your spoiled pets? You keep ranting about how fucking smart your 1200 pounds of lethal weapon are, but you never manage to get them to let you know when they have to shit. I've encountered horses on the trail and road countless times, and more often than not the horse spooks at the sight of a bicycle. Hey, if I'm out walking my dog and it attacks someone on a bike, I'm held liable and my dog may even get put down. But, if your horse rears up because you can't fucking control it, it's somehow _my_ fault? Tell ya what you snooty-assed motherfuckers, Teach your horse to let you know when it has to shit, so you can pull it off the trail or road to drop a 25 pound turd rather than making everyone else walk/ride around it if thy're so fucking smart. And while you're at it teach not to be afraid of a bicycle.
end horse rant
I yelled at the horsie girls (they were all women, of course) "you might want to reconsider, there's 150 people behind me, I'm not kidding"
"we'll be ok" one said back.
Hey douchebag, it's not _you_ I'm worried about, it's the guy who has to get up and work tomorrow that your stupid fucking horse rears up and clocks the guy in the head because you're too fucking arrogant to realize you shouldn't be trying to ride a horse down a narrow walking path against the direction of 150 people running a race.
ok, end horse rant for real.
I got passed by one more guy just as we hit the pavement, and held that position to the end, though I had one more guy so close I could hear him breathing and outsprinted him at the end.
9th overall (out of 200), won my age group (and got a shiny gold medal!!), and managed to keep my streak of never finishing off the podium in a multi-sport event alive.
I have to say, even with the initial problem running at the beginning of the second run, I felt better than I've ever felt in a 2nd run,but I'm still dubious about the time trialing, even with the mechanical issue. I really though I was going to complete the ride in closer to 45 minutes, so I'm a bit disappointed in that.
And as of the time I posted this entry, my ass still hurts.