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ITU Duathlon World Champtionships - Duathlon

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Ottawa, Ontario
70F / 21C
Total Time = 2h 10m 32s
Overall Rank = 132/496
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 19/39
Pre-race routine:

This was my living-the-childhood-dream race. Find an obscure sport, take a road trip to Alabama to qualify for the team, talk the family into a summer road trip to Canada, spend an arm and a leg or two on entry fees, team kit that I'll never wear again, plus travel. Representing your adopted country at an event that sounds much grander than it really is -- priceless. I had little idea of what to expect from this race. I've been running fairly consistently, getting up to 50 mpw lately, so was hopeful that I could run well. I haven't been biking nearly enough, and the course was a bit too flat to suit my biking strength. I had wanted to really prepare well for this one, but life had other plans for me. So the plan turned into simply "see what happens and enjoy yourself".
Event warmup:

Meh, not very much of that. The most important pre-race prep was learning how to efficiently put on and off the ridiculously snug fitting Team USA tri suit. Walked to the start area, met up with a couple of other USA guys, and got my transition area set up - pleased to have a little more space than usual. Ran around a little to get the legs moving, but I figured that I wasn't going to need too much for a 2 hour race. My wave was a combined start for M35-49. Cool to see everybody decked out in their national livery. Although there were officially 24 nations participating (including the Cook Islands!), the Canadians, Americans, and Brits seemed to account for the vast majority of the participants.

  • 39m 43s
  • 6.45 miles
  • 06m 09s  min/mile

Run #1 consisted of two 5k loops, mostly along a closed highway. I started out comfortably as lots of guys headed off into the distance. For much of the first mile I was running just behind James Cracknell, a double Olympic champion in rowing from the UK who has become notable for his extreme endurance feats. It felt good to be running and then getting ahead of sporting nobility - though once we got to the bike leg he blew right past me. Mile 1 passed in 6:01, with mostly a headwind. Wow, that wasn't supposed to feel that easy. Mile 2 was just 6:00, including a brief drink break. I felt just great, though my HR monitor said that I was working hard. Perhaps the cool/dry temps and last week's taper were actually having an effect. And there were simply loads of guys ahead of me, I was probably running towards the BOP at that point. I thought perhaps my splits were misleading, but based on the fact that I could hear the Garmins of everybody around me beep for a mile marker at almost exactly the same point, I figured it was accurate. Finishing the first loop I saw Andrea and Zoe out watching for me ("Go Daddy!"), and I didn't have to work to put on a smile. This was fun. I was merely a little worried that I was going to pay for this pace later on. On the second lap I deliberately tried to hold back a little more, but for the most part I was catching other guys, and I wasn't slowing by much at all. My 10k split was around 38:12, way faster than I would have expected, and although I knew I'd been running a high HR, so it certainly hadn't been a walk in the park, it felt surprisingly comfortable. (My Run #1 split was 39:43, but the course was long, and post-race reports suggested that everybody was getting very similar measurements, and on a wide open route where Garmins tend to be quite accurate.) I was 17th in my AG after Run #1.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This was better than I could have expected.
Transition 1
  • 01m 1s

Relatively quick in-and-out, at least by my poor standards, and I was heading off with my bike. Just over a minute. I was losing only 10-20s on the fast guys, which is good for me.

  • 1h 08m 25s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 21.88 mile/hr

I did not particularly enjoy the bike leg. I didn't have enough training in my legs. Although I had done some hard TT bike rides on the trainer, I hadn't ridden outside, and perhaps I needed more of that for a flatter TT. The tight new tri suit was feeling uncomfortable, creating some painful chafing in the crotch, and although the course was pretty easy, I wasn't enjoying the constant cracks in the road and needing to steer around potholes. Anyway, for whatever reasons, I did not have it on this bike leg, and lots of others did have it. It felt like I was being passed by lots of people, including guys from the next (younger) wave, who had started 10 minutes after us. I did manage to commit a little more on the second 20k loop, increasing my average speed a little, but I mostly just wanted this part to be over. My 40k split of 68:32 was 25th in the AG, and it lost me a number of places.

What would you do differently?:

Train more, get more comfortable with race efforts outside on the TT bike, commit more.

Transition 2
  • 01m 19s

Coming into T2 I realized that I wasn't exactly sure which row my bike was in -- I had practiced approaching it from the run-in end of the transition zone, but not from the other end. And the numbers were gone from the ends of the rows of bikes. I made a guess, and started looking. I was confused when I did find the area where my spot should have been, but did not find an open rack. Some sucker had gone and taken my spot. So I lost a little while moving his bike along and squeezing my bike in, before doing all the regular stuff and heading out for the run. I lost a little more time on this one, but it was no fault of my own.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It wasn't my fault that somebody else took my rack. I guess it was my fault that the racks were so darn full by the time that I got there.
  • 20m 7s
  • 3.28 miles
  • 06m 12s  min/mile

I find that my legs always feel worse at the start of the final leg of a duathlon than they do in a tri. The first run really does make a difference. I felt a bit heavy-legged at the start of the concluding 5k, but not as bad as I had feared. Perhaps because I didn't go hard enough on the bike. The pre-race instructions had suggested that there would be two short 2.5k loops, so I was looking out for a quick turn around. Which did not come. I eventually figured out that they had instead decided to send us on a single 5k loop again. I was passed by a couple of guys from the younger 18-34 wave, but otherwise I was gradually picking off people throughout the run. The loop was largely out and back, so I had ample opportunity to see the guys ahead of me who had gained so much time on the bike. I was gaining on most of them, but not enough to make a difference. I felt slow, so I was surprised at the 6:0x mile splits. My quads felt like they were threatening to cramp, but I've got used to that as a standard duathlon feeling, so I didn't pay much attention to it. In the last half mile I did not have a whole lot left in the tank, but I was able to pass another couple of guys and hold it together to the finish. My 5k time was around 19:06, exactly the same pace as I had on Run #1, and good enough for 7th in the AG (again, total distance was a bit over 5k - everybody was getting similar measurements). That could indicate perfect pacing, or that I just didn't try hard enough on the bike. Final position 19th in the AG, which put me in the upper 50% by the narrowest margin.

What would you do differently?:

I thought that I might have left a little more out there on the run, but I was genuinely pleased with the pace. Run #2 is my strongest part of a du, but I don't think I could have hoped for any faster than this one, given my current shape.
Post race
Warm down:

Oh, oops. I forgot about the warm-down. After standing around in a daze for a little while, then hung around chatting with some other competitors for a few, before heading off to enjoy the rest of the stay in Ottawa with the family. In the evening I met up with an old high school friend who I had not seen since the last day of high school 27 years ago, in the UK. Really great reunion, and quite fortuitous. And good beers, burger, and wings to boot. Then went with the family to see Mosaika, a really neat free light show that runs nightly during the summer: a history of Canada and its peoples, using the Canadian National Parliament building as a projection screen.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Bike training, bike commitment, bike comfort.

Overall, though, it was the running that I had been working on, and I was quite happy with how that went. I'm accustomed to being at or near the top of the pile for du runs, especially run #2, so the placings weren't what I'm used to. But the standard of competition here was quite unlike others that I've done. Unsurprisingly, I guess.

Event comments:

There were lots of things happening around the race, spread over 3 days, but I didn't participate in anything other than the race itself. It would have been fun to do the extra stuff if I had been traveling alone, but since I was with family, it was more fun to enjoy the city with them. Ottawa in August was a great venue for this event.

Last updated: 2013-08-13 12:00 AM
00:39:43 | 06.45 miles | 06m 09s  min/mile
Age Group: 17/39
Overall: 144/496
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Time: 01:01
Overall: Good
Run with bike?
Jump on bike?
Getting up to speed and into shoes:
01:08:25 | 24.85 miles | 21.88 mile/hr
Age Group: 25/39
Overall: 172/496
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:19
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:20:07 | 03.28 miles | 06m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 7/39
Overall: 54/496
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too easy
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-08-13 10:26 PM

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University Park, MD
Subject: ITU Duathlon World Champtionships

2013-08-14 8:11 AM
in reply to: #4828529

Northern IL
Subject: RE: ITU Duathlon World Champtionships
Very cool how you were able to do this, Colin! Definitely hard to stick it to the bike if you haven't been able to train as much on it.
2013-08-14 10:41 AM
in reply to: brigby1

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Subject: RE: ITU Duathlon World Champtionships
So cool Colin! What an experience!!! I loveeeee, "learning how to efficiently put on and off the ridiculously snug fitting Team USA tri suit" Yeah, that is right up there with a pre race beer, man. 
2013-08-14 6:38 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Bedford, MA
Subject: RE: ITU Duathlon World Champtionships

Great work - that sounds like a fun race and a manageable distance. I hope the family trip was fun as well. You'll have to rock that USA kit at your next local 5k!
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