This is where it all began for me last year. With a fresh new bike I set out, having no idea what to expect. This race hooked me to strive to become something that resembles a multi-sport athlete. So, needless to say, I needed to come back this year for a visit.
I had kept my eye on the registration list over the past couple of weeks, gauging the competition, trying to predict how I might finish. I didn't recognize too strong a field and felt as though I had a decent chance to win. Then on the way to the race this morning, my wife checked the list again, and notified me that Cameron Townsend was racing as well. Cameron is head and shoulders above the rest of the competitors that typically enter duathlons, myself included. With sub-6 minute/mile running paces and 25mph+ bike speeds, he is a formidable opponent. Last year, at this event, he soundly beat me by over 15 minutes. This had become a race for 2nd place.
The first leg, a two mile run (sprint), quickly got underway and sure enough Cameron and a few other got away. I kept my cadence high and worked it as much as I dared, trying to not blow it all right away. I entered transition in 6th place, 12:07/6:04 pace.
Yesterday, I worked on improving my transition time, by leaving my bike shoes on the pedals the whole time. Feeling comfortable enough, I decided to try it in this race. I typically have a transition time around :45, so I was pleased with :37. This helped me exit transition in 3rd place, only about :10 behind second place. 1st place (Cameron) was out of transition just as I entered.
The bike...I love it!! I can go fast, usually faster than most of the competition. I credit this to good gear, a better set up and my weekly time trial racing. I caught the 2nd place racer within the 1st mile and now I was just racing to put as much of a gap between myself and the racers behind me to help for the final run. 22 miles later, I had the 2nd fastest bike time, 53:56/24.5 mph. I also established a 3 minute lead on the 3rd place rider.
Another good transition, :37, that new strategy took about :20 of my total transition time from my last race.
2nd run...always my nemesis. My times typically fall off here and today wasn't any different. Most races that I do, only have a 3 mile run at the end, this one was 4. I pushed as hard as I could and finished the 4 miles in 27:39/6:55 pace. I only gave back about :19 to the 3rd place runner. Overall I had the 7th best final run.
Overall, I finished 2nd out of 43, 1 out of 5 in my age group. 5:30 behind the leader. I'll take these results, as I have made a big stride closer to what I consider the best in the area and I am demonstrating some strong bike work. I'm still lacking in the run, especially the 2nd, though in this race, even the best 2nd run time would't have snagged the victory for me.
Next week, Tri in the Buff Duathlon. 5K run, 40K bike, 5K run. Both Cameron and the athlete that I came 2nd to in Keuka will be there, along with all of the other usual suspects. Should be a tough one!