I wanted to be sure that I got a multi-sport event in this year, and since it has been more than 2 years since I’ve done any swimming, a duathlon seemed like the smart choice. Also, not wanting to have to travel to race, just about the only option was the Solana Beach sprint duathlon with distances of a 1 mile run, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. Since I’ve primarily been trail half marathon training, I didn’t think I’d be going all that fast during the run legs and my biking has consisted of about a 10 mile ride once, maybe twice a week, so that didn’t look like a winning recipe either. However, I was determined to do the race and have fun. Getting through it wouldn’t be difficult; the hard part would be not racing competitively. Then I made the mistake of looking at the previous year results 2 days before the race and figured I could probably place in my new age group (40-44) if I really tried hard. Really, I was hoping there would be no chance at all, so I could comfortably just go easy. The morning of the event, I biked one mile from my car to the start and got winded, so I was definitely feeling out of bike shape (in hind sight, the backpack with chest strap was probably too tight) and going easy was starting to seem like the only possible reality. After setting up in transition, I mentally went over the race a couple times, noting where the run/bike ins and outs were, then jogged a little to warm up on legs that felt like lead.
Once the race started, I must have had an adrenaline rush or something because I was feeling good at about a 6:30 pace. Transition was in and out in just under a minute (didn’t know it at the time), then I was off on the bike. The bike leg also went faster than I thought it would and if it had been a straight 9 mile ride or a simple loop, my time (and everyone else’s) would have been a lot faster, but there were six U-turns over the 2-loop course that slowed everything down. There was a small hill near the end of each loop and on the second pass, it really drained me. The second transition went fine, but the legs were feeling pretty tired and the second run leg started out pretty slow, though faster than it felt. Steadily, I was able to gradually pick up the pace and finished a hair under 57 minutes, which I was very happy with. Based on my pre-race goals (which I didn’t set to be easy), this was a B+/A- performance, the 2nd run being the worst “grade”. Turns out that turning 40 four days earlier really worked to my advantage. Not only did I win my new age group, but I did so handily; the next closest guy was 6 minutes behind!
Place: 15/84 overall, 13/44 Men, 1/5 men 40-44
Total: 56:59, run 6:26, T1 0:59, bike 26:56, T2 1:09, run 21:29