Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dousman Duathlon Race Recap

2 race recaps in a row?  Have I lost my mind? Probably, but after last week's duathlon, Mr. R&R and I were both itching to do another one before the season ended. Enter: The Dousman Duathlon.  I didn't do a whole lot in the training department in the days leading up to the race since I was still recovering from Lake Country, but we decided to show up and see what happened.

I managed to escape from the office at 5pm on Friday, rushed home, threw on my bike clothes, and Mr. R&R and I hightailed it to the New Berlin trail to get in a decent, but not killing it ride per the Brent's pre-race ritual - hey, it worked last weekend, so obviously this is the new procedure going forward.  I wasn't really in the mood to ride at all.  I had been so insane at work that I'd barely eaten all day, thus I was starving. I was exhausted from not sleeping well all week.  In short, I was on the edge of becoming a raging hosebeast.  I felt a little better after spinning my legs out for a bit, but when the chamois pad in my shorts began causing issues 6 miles out, we turned back - and not a moment to soon.  By the time we made it back to the car (after dodging a pair of deer that were running across the trail) it was almost completely dark out.   We hustled home, dragged all of our stuff into the house, and got down to the serious business of stuffing down dinner and gathering all the required stuff for the next day.

The alarm went off at 4:30am and we were out the door by 5:30 and on our way to Dousman.  We had a little trouble finding the parking area thanks to some ambiguous directions from a volunteer, but we quickly unloaded the bikes, pumped our tires, and walked the three or four blocks to transition.

We stopped to pick up our race numbers and timing chips and I discovered that while I was bib #73, they gave me chip #33.  Not cool.  I didn't want to be racing for someone else!  I asked the guy in charge of chips to look into it and he pretty much waved me off like I was a nuisance and said it was fine - that the chip was just mislabeled.  Ummm...not really encouraging.  I got all my stuff set up in transition and after thinking about it some more, I went back to the timing guy, because I was not confident that my efforts weren't going to be recorded for the wrong bib number.  After some serious persistence on my part, I was finally taken to the director of timing and sure enough - the chip was wrong!!!!  I knew it!  The timing director recoded my chip to match my bib and I was back in business.  Unfortunately the whole debacle had eaten up all the time I'd allotted for my pre-race shake out ride and transition was closing in 10 minutes.  Grrrr.  I tried to shake it off as I made one last check of my transition area and headed out for a quick jog to wake up my legs and hopefully clear my head.

Locked. Loaded. Ready to Race.
When I got back, I discovered Yada Yada chatting with Mr. R&R - he had come to 'pay it forward' for our support at his half ironman in July - and he was putting off his 13 mile run!  It was great having him there because 1) When you know someone might see you, you're less likely to slow down/walk/give up. and 2) He played the role of paparazzi for us since there were no official photographers at this race.

Photo Credit: YadaYada
Athletes were called to the start line in waves of 50.  The first five waves were release a minute apart and the remaining waves were released two minutes apart.  Mr. R&R and I were in Wave 2.  The airhorn blew and we were off.  Mr. R&R took off like a shot and after about 30 seconds, I lost sight of him.  The first bit was a cross country run across a park before turning onto a sidewalk.

 I definitely went out too fast (7:42/mile pace). I looked at my Garmin as I turned onto the sidewalk and pulled it waaaaay back.  Mile 1 clicked by in 8:56.  Mile 2 felt a little tougher as we wound through a neighborhood, up a curb, and out onto the Glacial Drumlin Trail.  I found it a little ironic that every time I ride this section, I end up thinking what a nice place it would be to run - and now that I was running on it, I wanted off of it!  The trail spit the runners out onto a road crossing, through a parking lot, and then it was another cross country run across the park to T1.  I was feeling okay, but got a little annoyed by the fact that the last 15-20 feet into T1 was through sand!

Run 1: 2 Miles (1.93 miles according to Garmin)
Official Time: 17:25 (9:02/mile)
Garmin Time: 17:24 (9:01/mile)

I was really fortunate that my bike rack was right by the Run In/Out, so I didn't have far to go.  Off came the sand covered running shoes, on went the helmet and bike shoes and I ran my bike out to the mount line.

Official Time: 1:29
Garmin Time: 1:32

Almost immediately, I dropped into aero and started cranking since the road was relatively smooth and flat.  I was feeling pretty decent after my somewhat lackluster first run.

Photo Credit: YadaYada
This bike leg was 20 miles long (3 miles longer than last weekend), and I was surprised at how fast the first few miles went by.  Then the hills started.  I would slowly chug my way up and then fly down, only to repeat the process again.  I tried to take my mind off of it by looking at the scenery since we were deep in bumble%*@! nowhere farm country.  There were a couple of Turtle Crossing signs painted on the road and a farm advertising 'Show Quality and Companion Llamas For Sale'!  I couldn't help but wonder what leads someone to want to keep a llama as a pet - and how much space one would require.  As an upside, all the roads on the course were actually paved and in really good shape - unlike last weekend's soul sucking chip seal/crush 'n run.

Somewhere around Mile 12, the giant hills became rolling hills and my speed picked back up.  I was in the midst of climbing one of these hills when a draft marshal came by and told me I was 'getting a little close' so I needed to speed up.  Uhhh....what?  There was no one in front of me, which meant I wasn't drafting off of anyone.  The same cannot be said for the chick who was practically on my back wheel!  Whatever.  I tucked myself deeper into aero and sped up some more to drop the chick.  I wasn't about to end up with a bullshit drafting penalty when I wasn't the one drafting!

After that, life was a series of rolling hills until around Mile 14, when the top of the box where my flat kit lives popped open!  WTF!?!?! I thought I'd solved this problem on the long ride with YadaYada and Texas a few weeks ago.  I wasn't about to have my stuff scattered all over the road, so I pulled over to fix it - losing about 60 seconds in the process - and then it was right back on the bike, into aero, and powering on.  I was pretty damn happy when Mile 20 clicked off on my Garmin, but there was still a bit to go since the bike course was apparently 20.59 miles long.  There was a pretty strong head wind and I was starting to chafe really badly despite a very liberal application of Chamois Butt'r, but I stayed in aero and cruised to the dismount line.

Photo Credit: YadaYada

Bike: 20 Miles (20.59 miles according to Garmin)
Official Time: 1:13:08 (16.9mph)
Garmin Time: 1:14:29 (16.8mph)*

I felt pretty good off the bike this week and actually managed to sort of jog back to my rack.  After nearly knocking some relay runners, who were standing right by my rack, out of the way, I racked my bike dropped my helmet, and switched back to running shoes and headed for Run Out.

Official Time: 1:17
Garmin Time: 25.3 seconds*

The second run was almost a mirror image of the first.  Through the sand, across the field, out onto the sidewalk.  I was absolutely exhausted by the time I made it to the sidewalk portion - and my pace showed it.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't work up anything that resembled speed.  I. Was. Toast.  I did my best to keep plodding along, took a quick drink at the water station half way through, and was more than happy to make the last cross country run to the finish.  This week there was no sprinting, just a slight pick up in pace to the finish.

Photo Credit: YadaYada
Run 2: 2 Miles (1.91 miles according to Garmin)
Official Time: 19:11 (9:57/mile)
Garmin Time:  18:51 (9:53/mile)*

As soon as I finished, Mr. R&R (who killed it again this weekend) and YadaYada were directing me to the bottled water (which was in a trash can) and excitedly telling me that there were pancakes in the food area. I collected my water and a couple of rather spongy pancakes and met up with them.  We hung out, pretty much had a postmortem on the race, and waited for results to be posted.

Apparently all the fast people showed up this week.  I ended up 7th out of 12 in my age group.  I have no idea how I placed overall because the online results aren't broken down that way, but here's what I do know:

Official Finish Time: 1:52:30
Garmin Time: 1:51:08*

We hung around to watch the awards ceremony, said goodbye to YadaYada, collected our stuff from transition and headed for home.  Once home, there was a quick wardrobe change and a walk up the street for brunch and a beer/consolation prize.

Timing chip issue, sand on the run course, and annoying relay people aside, this was a really good race. The course was well marked. There were a ton of very helpful and encouraging volunteers. I think I could have done better had I not been still recovering from the previous week's race, and yet I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat. The run course, while kind of blah in the scenery department, was incredibly flat.  And the bike course was challenging in some spots, merciful in others, and absolutely beautiful in terms of both road quality and scenery.  I'd definitely consider adding this race to my 2016 calendar.

*Full Disclosure: When I went to upload my Garmin data, the file was corrupted, so I'm not entirely sure how reliable it is.  For example, I only have data for 17 miles of the bike and at least 4 of those are completely hosed. I've reset the device and downloaded some updates, so hopefully this doesn't happen again.  If it does, I may have to as Santa Claus for an upgrade!

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