I won a duathlon on Saturday. It was fun. It was a nice course out of Square Lake park in Stillwater. The top 4 men from the prior weekend at Falls Duathlon were all back. This race was an out and back 5k, a two lap 20 mile bike, and the same run again. Given the length of the bike I figured it would be down to Joe Johnson and I. My Gear West Bike teammate Brian Sames (pronounced the same as the word same, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) would get a good lead right away and Joe and I would need to ride him down before the half way point in order to get a big enough gap before the second run. Curt Wood, a very strong cyclist but not super fast runner, pointed out an obvious equation I still use for duathlons – if both runs are equal length and you’re trying to beat runners on the bike you need to take the lead before half way on the bike. Otherwise it will probably be too late to build a sufficient gap.
This was my best duathlon race ever. Last year I won Falls Du in the style I win most of my races, just hammering away on the bike and holding it together on the second run. This race was different because I thought out a specific plan to win and executed on it.
Having been thoroughly surprised by Joe Johnson at Falls Duathlon I was on high alert this time. With relatively similar runs and bikes it would take some strategy to win. On the first run Brian was way out front and Bennett was chasing next. Joe took a bit of a lead. I was confident in my transitions and used T1 to close down the gap to Joe very early on the bike. The bike starts with the hardest hill and I noticed I was climbing easier. I decided to shadow Joe the first lap and attack the second lap. I figured if I could take a small lead, then build on it a bit in T2, I’d have enough to stay clear on the second run or I’d be in better condition for a fast finish if he caught up. Simple. I started to worry when we caught Brian right at the end of the first lap. The previous week I’d caught Brian before mile three of the bike but now he’d held us off till mile ten. According to the Curt Wood equation I was cutting it close! I went by both Brian and Joe on the hill starting the second lap. I attacked pretty hard to put alot of time on Brian and a little time on Joe. It ended up being just enough separation. With an out and back second run it would be clear how things were looking after the turnaround. I timed Joe at maybe 45-50 seconds back and Brian at over two minutes. Whew. With only a mile and a half into the finish I was solid as long as I didn’t blow up. Joe, Brian, Bennett and I all did a couple mile cooldown after. It was great to see those guys two weeks in a row.
The prize purse was pretty exciting! I won a sombrero, chips, guacamole fixins, a lime and margarita mix. This is infinitely more than the 9th place man at Ironman 70.3 St George won. FYI ninth there was Olympic silver medalist Bevan Docherty who went a 3:49 half ironman at altitude on a tough course. Zero dollars prize money. It would be good if the pay went deeper for these awesome fields. Twenty five guys broke four hours on that course and only the first eight got paid. Unrelated I think the bike and possibly run at St George are not quite the full distance. Splits, especially on the bike, were just too fast for a course with substantial climbing.
Anyways, Teddy was also pretty thrilled especially about the hat. Check back Friday for this week’s Teddy’s Training Tips presented by the Gold Guys. Also I may have a new sponsor coming on board! Look for an announcement in the near future. Spoiler alert: It is a Minneapolis based company whose products I use every day.
One last thing to note is my coach Steve’s reaction to the news. “Coach Steve” as he calls himself was over the moon. He would be upset if I didn’t thank him for his role in my monstrous success and mention his name, Steve, at least a couple times. So I am doing that now. Here is an excerpt of our text conversation after the race (Steve’s texts on the left, mine in blue on the right):
FINAL AMENDMENT FOR THIS POST: Ruth Brennan Morrey, pride of Rochester and noted pro triathlete, screamed at me via twitter for not mentioning her 9th place at St George 70.3. Well now I did. Stop being so salty and enjoy your well earned winnings, Ruth.