Saturday morning was the annual Beloit Du, a race I've done every year since 2007. The weather was perfect - sunny and warm with light winds.
Quick race report - I came into T1 in third. I took over the lead on the bike pretty early, but got passed about the halfway mark. I repassed for the lead with a few miles to go but couldn't pull a gap and came into T2 just in front of second. I lost the lead coming out of T2 and that was it. 2nd place this year.
Sunday - Delafield Duathlon (3.1m, 17m, 3.1m)
Another beautiful morning - warm, sunny skies and light winds. This was the inaugural race and they did a great job. The race took place at the St. John's Military Academy, which was a great venue for a race like this.
With this being my second duathlon of the weekend, and this race being nearly twice as long, my goal was pacing. I wanted to test out my goals (mainly the run) for my next olympic distance tri a bit, so I went into the race aiming to run about a 6:30 pace for both runs and bike about 90%.
Run 1 (20:11 - 6:30 pace)
I was in the last wave and headed out slow and built into a 6:30 pace, which I held the entire time. It felt surprisingly comfortable. I just stuck to that pace and chased down as many people from earlier waves as I could. The run course was awesome. We ran on some roads, sidewalks, then on boardwalk and then on a golf course. I was loving it. Very fun.
|A rare pic of me smiling in a race (heading into T1).|
I had a smooth transition and headed out on the bike with the goal of starting out easy and building my effort throughout the ride. After a few easy minutes, I cranked it up a bit and could instantly feel yesterday's duathlon and the first run in my legs so I dialed it back a bit and held it there the rest of the ride. Honestly, the bike was pretty easy. I finished with an IF of about .85 and was very surprised to later find out I set the fastest bike split of the day. That is the result of the work I've done improving my position. I can't quantify the difference, but I'm definitely going faster on less power this year. Working on my aerodynamics is paying off.
|Heading out of T1 - slipping into my shoes.|
Run 2 (19:19 - 6:20 pace - run was a tad short)
I started out the run just under a 6:30 pace with the hope of stepping up the pace a bit, but first I wanted to settle in and see how my legs responded. I was in second with the leader in sight, but I had passed someone from my wave late in the ride so I knew he put a fair amount of time on me on the first run so he was a runner and would be chasing me down. I was slowly gaining on the leader so I gradually increased my pace and chipped away at his lead. I passed him about 3/4 of a mile into the run, right before we turned onto the golf course, so then I just put my head down and started pushing. My legs were really heavy at this point and I was ready to be done. I was running along the fairway on a long, gradual uphill and had to fight hard to keep my pace. I was hurtin'.
About the two mile mark, the guy I passed late in the bike caught up to me. The words of running coach Jack Daniels came to me, which worked for me late in the race at IMWI, "When struggling....speed up." Just as he tried to pass, I surged and took the lead back. He hung with me but I remained in the lead for the next mile. There was a small hill that brought us out of the golf course and onto the roads that lead to the finish line. I attacked it hard trying to put a few seconds on him and that put a serious hurting on me. As we neared the finish line, he put in a surge and took over the lead. I did my best to respond, and we sprinted to the finish, but he got me by 5 seconds. Even though I lost the race at the very end, I was really happy with my results. I paced the race really well, negative split the runs, ran a 6:11 pace on the third mile of the second run (this proves I have more running speed in the tank and possibly need to learn how to suffer more on the run), set the second fastest second run split, and had a lot of fun. He was flat out a better runner than I am, and duathlon wins often go to the runners, but I gave him a run for his money and made him earn it so I'm happy about that. And my running is improving.
The Delafield Duathlon was a great race and assuming I can fit it into my schedule next year, I'll be back. It was well-run, and I loved the course. Double duathlons was a fun and tough challenge.
After the race, I headed out for a 50 mile ride to New Glarus. I was riding easy and enjoying the weather when, about 20 miles from home, I looked back and saw a nasty thunderstorm closing in on me. Oh crap....nothing like being an hour from home with very tired legs and a storm brewing. I pushed hard and did my best, but couldn't out-run the storm. It was one of the worst storms I've biked in. Hail, heavy rain and very strong winds. Fortunately, I had a tailwind. It was so strong, I was passing traffic in Verona doing 38 mph on flat ground. Things got a little sketchy, but I made it home safely....completely soaked.
Riding hard at the end of that ride was the straw that broke my legs...as if double duathlons wasn't enough. I've spent the majority of the week trying to recover from the weekend. But it was a fun weekend so it was worth having heavy legs for a few days.
Next up: The Cooney Duathlon tomorrow - 2m, 21m, 2m. The Delafield Du was all about the run for me so I think I'm going to make the Cooney Du all about the bike and test myself there a bit.
Note to Mother Nature - Seriously? This was the second time in May that I had to bike through hail. Enough already. Cut us a little slack....please.