Today was my first ever duathlon. It was held in Marshfield, which made it very convenient for me…although I did have to borrow my mom’s truck to transport my bike. I learned an awful lot today. Since I had never done a duathlon before, I just tried to watch some of the people who were (obviously) more experienced with this than I was.
I found a spot in the transition area for my bike and my gear. I was very glad that I got there early, so that I got a spot in the first couple rows. The people who got there later ended up having to work their way through a lot more of the bike staging area. There were more people there than I anticipated, especially because this was the inaugural year of the event.
There were a few people I knew who were doing the race, some individually and others as a relay team. Honestly, I was a little jealous of the relay teams…they got to rest!!
I wasn’t really nervous before the race…basically because I had absolutely NO IDEA what to expect. The course was a 2 mile run, a 15 mile bike and another 2 mile run. Since I typically average about a 10 minute mile when I’m running and about 15.5 mph on the bike, I was hoping to finish in about an hour and 45 minutes. I didn’t know how long the transitions would take…changing shoes, helmet, water, getting in and out of transition, etc.
As you can see, the course was a little short. Actually, the first run section was 2.1 miles, the bike section was about 2/3 of a mile short and the last run section was 1/2 a mile short. I tried to keep my pace a little slower for the first run section, but I averaged a 9:37 pace. That is pretty good for me!!
On the bike, I just wanted to stay steady. I was hoping for between a 15.5-16.0 average mph. I ended up with 15.3. I learned, by watching the other cyclists, that I don’t pedal fast. I pedal hard…I keep my bike in the higher gears, so my legs are working pretty hard, but my turnover isn’t very fast. That is something I need to work on if I want to get faster.
On the second run, my legs actually felt pretty good right out of the transition. I was keeping a pretty good pace and my only goal was to finish without having to walk. I didn’t quite make that goal. About 3/4 of a mile in, my legs starting feeling like I was dragging concrete. I tried to keep running, but I ended up taking a few 10-20 second walking breaks. I was glad that the course was short, because I was tired!! I was able to keep a 9:52 pace, even with the walking breaks.
Transitions were something I had never had to deal with before. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The course officials were very clear that everyone had to walk their bikes out of transition and you couldn’t get on until you had cleared the grassy area. When I came in from the first run, I got to my bike, sat down and changed my shoes, put my helmet on and downed some water. As I was leaving the transition, they handed out some more water. Then I was off. I wish there had been some more water on the bike course. I really need to get a water bottle holder on my bike. I was thirsty.
During the second transition, I hopped off my bike and walked it to the rack, changed shoes, tossed my helmet and grabbed some more water. I was very consistent in that each transition took me two and a half minutes.
For an inaugural event, they did a decent job. They need to remeasure the course to make sure the distances are accurate. That was probably the biggest problem. They also need to better monitor the transition area. When I came in off my bike, there were all sorts of people milling around and I had to weave through everyone to get to my spot to do my transition. Also, they need to let the people who live on the course know that water hoses and sprinklers are AWESOME!!! There was one person on the bike course who had set out a sprinkler, and another house had someone at the end of the driveway with a hose. I appreciated both of them very much…even though I had to finish my ride with water-spotted sunglasses. And, maybe next year’s race can start at 8:00 or 9:00 instead of 10:00. It was really warm out there.
Overall, I had a fantastic time. I will definitely do another duathlon. And I learned a lot that I can benefit from for future races.