We got a sunny day for the second year in a row. It was crisp and breezy but overall a fine day to race. Packing up for the race the day before I remembered that while I hate duathlons overall (two runs and no swims, stupid) they are so much easier to prepare for than triathlons. So much less junk to bring along. Much less mess.
Anyways, the race was pretty good. I’ve been racing since 2006 but I’m always a little uncertain going into the first race of the year. Gotta get one under my belt to know where I’m starting the season. Even though I didn’t have a fabulous race and I made a serious strategic mistake I’m more confident coming out of the race than going in.
Brian Sames was back and I figured he’d be the main threat. I ran pretty well but not great for the opening two miles. Brian had 45 seconds on me leaving T1. I passed one guy in T1 and had two more, including Brian, to ride down. Doable. I passed Bennett Isabella around two miles and managed to catch Brian just before mile three. From there I figured I had enough of the bike to put in a good gap. Much to my surprise I saw a shadow beside me and then a guy came around just before the turnaround! What?! I didn’t recognize him so I was quite startled. Joe Johnson was a dark horse, plain black uniform and none of us even recognized him, but he was there to race! Instead of going with him I just spaced out the rest of the bike and ended up losing some time. Out of T2 Joe (though again I did not know who he was at that time!) was in sight just ahead and stayed about the same distance ahead the whole way. After the half way turnaround I saw the gap to Brian behind was more than enough. Joe took the win 15 seconds ahead.
It was a fine start to the year in that I felt good all day but it was a reality check to get beaten on the bike. Can’t coast even at a local duathlon, gotta race aggressively to win! Hats off to Joe for a really solid race.
Brian and Bennett joined in for a cooldown run and it was nice to chat with them while cheering for everyone finishing up on the course. I’m interested to see how Brian does with his Ironman debut at Wisconsin this fall.
Mark Bongers, who runs Final Stretch, gets primo hot dogs for the Falls Du and I enjoyed two of them. I sponsored two people with Gear West Bike swim caps and one with a Gear West Bike water bottle. Remember there will be sponsorship opportunities for you all season. I should note before the race Sean Pease, an elite bike mechanic and amateur athlete, helped me make sure my brakes were tightened right for race wheels. Sean is very modest but when you go into Gear West Bike please specifically request Sean, the elite mechanic. Especially if you have alot of gatorade on your aerobars. Make sure to use the term elite mechanic.
It is supposed to be rainy all week here in Minnesota. So try to stay dry and don’t get too depressed. Maybe it will be a little sunny this weekend.