A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Brian Stover at Accelerate 3 told me come race with him in Tucson. At the time, I didn’t know that when he said race with me, it would really be that. I wasn’t too fond of the idea of racing a short distance either. Short means painful. Duathlon means really painful. Since I am kind of a jerk at times, I told nearly local John P. to sign up for the race too, so we can share the pain a bit. After all, I’m his coach, so he’d better listen!
Anyhow, here I am at the start line of a 5km-35km-5km duathlon in the Oro Valley, with about 400m of flat for the whole course. The moderate hills were likely going to be an issue for my right achilles tendon, which decided to flare up a few days before the race. Therefore, I make the decision to run the hills easy (which meant the whole course pretty much) to avoid aggravating it. And off we go. Aside from one guy who breaks away right at the gun, things stay relatively compact for the bigger part of the first run. I can still see Brian in his Trisports gear, about 30secs up, when I enter T1 in a very pedestrian 19.10 5km. The first transition is a total disaster, since I lose one of my bike shoes. Stop. Pick it up. Wow, can I be more rusty than that at short distance races?
The bike goes well. I pace the two laps very evenly, in the aero position 99% of the time with my big dorky helmet. I pass a whole bunch of people, Brian included, avoid a few slower riders with, let’s say, not exactly great bike skills in a couple of corners, and get back in transition with a relatively decent 50.10 bike split, which turns out to be a 51.55 since I lose a shoe again while entering T2. To add insult to injury, I run by my shoes in T2! Turn back, run to my rack and see Brian who seems amused by my so awesome transition skills. We head out for run 2 together. I get a small gap, but start getting really annoyed by the ‘Go Brian! Hang in there Brian! Looking good Brian!’ Hey come on now! I’m racing too here. I know I’m short, but I’m not invisible [Matt Q, insert joke here]. Brian ends up getting a little gap on the final climb where my achilles is not happy one bit.
Crossing the finish line, just under 1h33, with a decent ride, 2 slow runs, but good enough for a 6th spot, in a very competitive AG, where the winner comes from (obliterating the rest of the field). All in all, not bad at all for some short stuff, which happens to be quite fun actually! It was fun to see John race also (congrats on a good race mate). And I’m now 0-1 against Brian.
Note to self: avoid walking in transition saying ‘wow, I hope they let me race, I forgot my compression socks.’ That should do the trick to not get nasty looks.