Date: Saturday, July 17
Location: Dubuque, Iowa
Overall: 7th (123 total); top 5.7%
Overall Male Age Group (40-49): 4th (13 total); top 31%
As I was driving around Dubuque this past Friday night, I kept thinking I must have turned north from the Twin Cities instead of traveling south as I swear I was in Duluth. Or even Stillwater. As everywhere one looked there were hills. Sort of like a Dr. Seuss book! There were long hills, short hills. Steep hills, easy hills. Rolling hills, grinder hills. Hills that took you up, up, up. and hills that took you down, down, down.
This was the very first Dubuque Duathlon and they did a great job in their inaugural year. The event was well run and organized. The location was easy to find and remote enough to not have to deal with traffic on the bike course. They had cold water, cookies, banana's, and bagels for the feed afterwards. And the medals were saucer size...sure wish I could have snagged one.
They also did a very nice thing. The Dubuque Park & Rec actually paid the one-day $10 USAT license fee for anyone that was not a USAT member. Very nice.
I would recommend this event to the following people:
- Cyclists who count the ability to climb as a distinct advantage
- Seasoned athletes who hate to climb but want to test or gauge their climbing ability
- Have never competed in a multi-sport event
- Have never rode the bikes course, or at the very least, driven it
Also, with a USAT event I feel it is important to have 5-year age group increments. Yeah, personal as it cost me a podium dealing with a 10-year age group. But I understand as with any first year event, they probably weren't sure what the turnout would be and wanted to save on cost.
I really wish I could share my Garmin stats with you in order to show the elevation changes on the bike. Sadly, the damn thing froze on me right after T1. It has frozen now and then but always as I prepare for a workout. Never during a race, until now. It was really frustrating.
The weather was wicked hot. After setting up transition I checked weather.com via my cell phone at 8:15 am (race start 9 am). At that time it was 82 F with a heat index of 85 F due to the high humidity. By race time I'm sure it was pushing 90 F. The air was heavy and I was sweating profusely after just setting up transition! And there was no wind to speak of....and I sure could have used a breeze just to cool off even a little bit.
The weather can't be controlled but it affected my outcome. To be frank, I was disappointed with my result. But I was having some heating issues and was even experiencing chills on the second run....not good. Plus, I missed my Friday workout due to the Real Job and travel time.
Just this week on the Tour de France one topic of conversation was around how the riders handled their rare off days. Some worked hard. Others had an easy workout. Still others did nothing. I'm one that likes to get in a 3 mile easy run and a 10-mile easy bike the day before a race. It helps keep the legs primed for racing. Whenever I miss my routine, I suffer. The legs just sort of show up dead and I can't seem to get them going on race day. Still, if you study the results my times aren't too damn bad for a guy one year away from 50-years old in comparison to the young pups in their twenties.
Let's get into the race segments.
Run One - 1.2 miles
Goal - 07:30 (6:15 per mile pace)
Actual Time - 7:25 (6:11 per mile pace)
Overall Rank - 10th (123 total)
AG (40-49) Rank - 4th (13 total)
The start was slightly delayed due to people in the port-a-pottie line. There were two waves. First wave was all males followed by the girls. This was a simple out-and-back. I was wondering if I could hold a sub-6 minute per mile pace and was running 5:55 pace but slowed on the way back. The race was not going to be won on the first run and I was already boiling hot.
I was surprised how quickly the turn around came. I was in 12th and was able to move up a couple spots before we hit transition.
Goal - 1:10
Actual Time - 0:54
I beat two people out of transition that I had come in behind on from the run. This made me happy. Gosh, I'm OK with T1 when I don't have to strip a wet suit! The happiness did not last.
Bike - 17 miles per results (actually 15 miles)
Goal - 45:19 (22.5 MPH)
Actual Time - 44:52 (22.7 MPH per results, actually 20.1 MPH)
Overall Rank - 9th (123 total)
AG (40-49) Rank - 4th (13 total)
Mr. Honest here again. I could simply let my time on the results stand...but that's not me. The course was not 17 miles, it was 15 miles. I'm surprised they left 17-miles on the results as the organizers even announced this fact at the starting line.
The times show just how difficult the bike course was. The top bike split was by Matt Jasper at 42:16 which does not equate to 24.1 MPH but rather 21.29 MPH. When is the last time that you saw the fastest bike average below 22 MPH!?!
The bike course was a two loop affair. Which meant we had the same monster climb twice....and the same screaming descent twice. But for the most part, the course was climb-climb-climb for a good 3/4's of the course with the big descent thrown in for mercy sake I suppose.
Lets take a look at some video I took the night before the race. Please be aware the video was taken via my cell phone but the quality is still pretty good. First the big climb.
I'm not a climber. So I am sure many of you are chuckling at me that I think this climb hard. All I say is....show up next year then! You can't get a true idea of the grade from the video.
Near the end of the bike course loop you are greeted by this sign:
And this descent goes on a long time. When I drove it twice the night before I thought I might even have a shot at 50 MPH on the bike. I wasn't sure how the Cervélo P3 would handle that speed. And sections of the entire road on the bike course were rough. You certainly did not want to take your eyes off the road for very long in case a sudden hole or rut would catch you unawares. Let's take a look at the video:
In the end, I didn't hit 50 MPH but I did hit 44 MPH. And the bike handled like a dream. Not even a shimmy or a shake. I would feel totally safe taking this bike over 50 MPH if the chance ever presented itself.
Goal - 1:00
Actual Time - 0:58
Under one minute twice in one event? I even took a swig from the bike water bottle as I would not have made the first water stop otherwise.
Run Two - 3 miles
Goal - 20:00 (6:40 per mile pace)
Time - 21:13 (7:05 per mile)
Overall Rank - 8th (123 total)
AG (40-49) Rank - 3rd (13 total)
Not quite the Bataan death march but damn close. The first 2 miles were down in a gully along a small lake which followed a snaking walk path.
And let me tell you, I was cooking like a pig over a open fire. There was no wind. It was so hot. I would have loved a cold towel or ice thrown my way. I think I actually had a mirage of a little old man wearing Bermuda shorts and black socks with a hose asking me, "Would you like to be sprayed?" Yes, yes. A thousand times yes.
I actually opened up quite well for the first mile and caught two people and I estimate (damn you Garmin!) I was running 6:40 pace easy. Then I got hit with chills and started to get a little wobbly. I didn't think that I was going down as in get this guy into a ice bath stat. But I know I slowed up greatly.
In talking to people after the race, people were split on which was worse: The big ass ascent or the hot second run. As you can see, no one broke 6 minute per mile pace on run two. And it was the first time this year that one of my runs exceed 7 minute per mile pace.
I think I'll return next year. With a support group to toss me an ice towel as I start run two. I have to get me one of those big ol' medals! Look out 50-59 age group!
Next Event: Tentative is the Columbus (Nebraska) Duathlon on Saturday (Aug 7). I say tentative as this one has been a USAT sanctioned event but due to construction have had to alter the bike course and is currently awaiting USAT approval. This will give me my third USAT duathlon in 2010 and also would be my sixth different state that I have raced in this season. I've already raced in Minnesota, Arizona, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Iowa. Why not another state!?!