Monday, May 13, 2013

Race Result: 2013 Central Lakes Cycle Duathlon

Event: Central Lakes Cycle Duathlon
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Location: Fergus Falls MN
Hotel: AmericInn
Weather: 35F, strong NNW winds sustained at 20 MPH gusting to 30 MPH
Official Results: Overall Results
Previous Results: First time at this event
Note: All racer photos from the race can be viewed here

Personal Results

Goal: Top 5 overall
Actual: 3rd
Overall: 3rd (77 total); 1st in 50-59 AG (15 total)


Garmin Summary Link

Hit the lap button twice coming out of T2. Frozen fingers.

Good amount of climbing was to be had.

As you can see, never really pushed my limits. Just tried to keep warm!

Speed going out with tailwind was nice, dipping with the climbs. Headwind,  not so much.


Given its unusual format (bike-run-bike), when I spied this race on the Minnesota Tri News calendar in 2012, I wanted to give it a go. But, the tibial stress fracture prevented that. So it had to wait a year. The race had an extra bonus this year. I'm trying to work myself back into shape and the event would give me not one,  but TWO hard bike workouts.

Being a former NoDak, I'm familiar with all the small towns in western Minnesota as growing up we spent many a summer fishing the lakes around Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids, etc. So I enjoy going back.

The Fergus Falls Weasel
The weather played havoc with the event. That's not something a race director can control. Just have to muster a stiff upper lip and muster through. And a stiff upper lip, due to freezing conditions, was not hard to come by on race day.

Race Director Clark Grotberg made us all feel welcome and was full of good cheer as everyone arrived on race day. Good cheer would be needed as this would be a day that one just tosses away those time goals and sets their mind to survival mode.

In reality by the time the event kicked off slightly after 8 AM the winds were already sustained at 20+ MPH and by the time we finished the gusts were in excess of 30 MPH.

Bike One (20 miles)
Goal: 21+ MPH Avg
Time: 60:24 (19.9 MPH Avg)

The start is time-trial, two at a time. People lined up and we flowed across the timing mat in 30-second increments. I got as close to the front as possible as I figured the later I started, the worse the wind would be.

Lining up, 2x2, for the first bike leg
The first bike course takes you on a round-trip loop to the community of Dalton and back. The outward loop is on the rolling road, the return is on a very nice paved bike path. Normally, I would not have been happy about the bike path component. However, since the wind was at our backs with crosswind going out it actually worked to our favor. On the return we had the monster headwind to contend with and by being on the trail, we were given the slight luxury of having some shelter from the still leafless trees lining the path.

And the Old Man is off.
The tailwind was nice, while it lasted. At points the crosswind blew me around substantially. I use a ZIPP disc wheel on the rear. I've ridden in strong winds before with it. But nothing like this. At times I had to give up the aero position and just hold on to keep the bike stable. At times I was riding at a 30-degree angle to the pavement.

If the event is to grow, as is the hope, Clark will need to make a decision on using the path as it might become too crowded for passing. Today, I had no issues with this and do not know of anyone who did.

When we reached Dalton I had made up the stagger on those in front of me and was 'leading' the event. So, I had to pay attention to the course markers to make sure I wasn't going to stray of path. As I approached various check points, those volunteers came out of their warm cars to make sure I was on course.

I've been telling you I'm fat. Thought I was lying!?!?

Coming off the bike path on the return from Dalton

Near the end of this first stage, you are met with a 1/4 mile long climb that saps any energy you might have left and leaves the legs feeling rubbery on the upcoming four mile run.

Central Lakes Cycle Duathlon Bike Leg One Out from Brian Maas on Vimeo.

Central Lakes Cycle Duathlon Bike Leg One Return from Brian Maas on Vimeo.

Transition One
Goal: 1:10
Time: 1:46

Longer than wanted. Despite wearing two socks, I had lost feeling in the feet. Such is the reward for being old and your circulatory system isn't a spring chicken any longer. I also changed into thinner gloves as my hands were actually too warm from the double thin gloves I had worn on the bike.

Run (4 miles)
Goal: sub 6:45 per mile pace
Time: 28:31 (7:08 per mile pace)

For the run, I again had an early tailwind and then faced the headwind coming in. The run course is a big loop. The legs were just cold to begin with. I should have easily been running sub 6:30 pace but the cold and wind was just not making that happen.

Out on the run course

A little after mile two, the headwind kicked in. I was then facing a long straight path back to transition and that wind was howling. Normally I would look for someone big to tuck behind as a wind block but there was no one to be had. To add insult to injury, we had to climb the culvert out. A nice steep run up the embankment. Pretty much toast by that point.

Transition Two

Goal: 1:10
Time: 1:59

By the time I reached the bike, my stuff was strewn across the transition area like a bomb had hit. It took me a few ticks of the clock to locate my helmet and shoes. So extra time was spent in T2 because of that.

Bike Two (7 miles)
Goal: 20.5+ MPH avg
Time: 22:12 (18.9 MPH Avg)

The second bike course went in the opposite direction than the first. The first portion I had a nasty crosswind and I ended up just holding onto the handlebars in non-aero position just to keep the bike stable. I then had a short portion where the wind was at my back. The last 3 miles were contending with a howler wind. AT one point, I was blow from the right side of the road to the left margin and almost into the ditch. I feel fortunate that I did go down in either the first or second bike portions.

Central Lakes Cycle Duathlon Bike Leg Two from Brian Maas on Vimeo.


The course was very well marked. The volunteers were fantastic and to have withstood those freezing conditions, they deserve all the credit they deserve.

Clark had roasted two 250-lb pigs and the post race food bonanza was very good. Fergus is a friendly town and I recommend you give this event full consideration in 2014. Especially if like me, you are trying to regain your bike form. Why not double the fun and head to Fergus next year and enjoy some small town hospitality.

Overall winner Dave Jensen had double duty. One of the second leg bikers for a relay team did not show, so after completing the individual event, Dave was able to bike the second leg....a second time! And the following day, Dave was scheduled to depart for California where he begins a cross country bike trip to Georgia, hoping to complete the 2500 mile journey in 15-20 days time.

Overall race victor, Dave Jensen

Received nice medals for the overall 3rd place and AG victory. The T-shirt was bright with a nice design and of very good quality.

My mom has her eyes closed in every photo I've ever seen. It is in the genes, I guess
Rhoda Christenson, overall female winner
Next Race

May 18 - The Great Prairie Sports Pentathlon in River Falls, WI. Podium Boy's first Modern Pentathlon event. Should prove interesting. Then in July he is off to Colorado Springs to train with the USA Olympic Youth development team and compete in the US Modern Pentathlon Youth National event. Stop by River Falls next Saturday and watch the regions' best pentathletes in action!

Podium Boy on right

May 19 - Gear West Duathlon in Orono, MN. Will it be a mudfest again? Looks like rain is in the forecast.

On Deck

May 25 - Apple Duathlon (world duathlon regional qualifier). I'll have to finish in the top six in my age group in order to qualify for World Duathlon champion in August. In reviewing the participant list, this will be a long-shot at best.

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