Double Oak Duathlon

There was great weather for the 2012 Powerman Alabama Multisport weekend.  On Saturday, the USAT Elite Duathlon Nationals were contested.  We got to race Sunday morning.  I decided to do the short course, the Double Oak Duathlon.  It consisted of a 5k run, 20k bike, and 2.5k run.  The race is nice and short so I could get back home for family QT and not derail my training recovering from the long course (10k run/60k bike/10k run).

My wave start was at 8:30am so I drove down in the morning.  Oak Mountain State Park is the venue for many of Birmingham’s triathlons, both on-road and off-road.  It is hilly which is either a trait you love or hate.  I’m starting not to hate climbing.  That’s the best I can say.  At least there are some screaming downhills.  My race, the Double Oak, gets it’s name from the lake that borders part of the bike course.  Too nice not to snap a pic today…

It’s also the lake one swims in for all those races.  But no swimming today.  That water would be chilly.

I  got to the race about an hour before start and got set up in transition.  The race this year was not as packed as in previous years which was nice.  Team Magic organizes this race and as usual do a great job.

There were a few younger competitors also; like this young lady who had a full-on trisuit with sponsors and even an aero-helmet.  Had to take a pic of that.  Wish I had a profile.  She was focused!

Yes, I was semi-focused myself.  My wave got called and I ponied up to the start pack.  The start line was a little tight, so it took a little patience for the runners to spread out.  We ran up and up hill initially, then down to the turn-around.  We ran back towards transition taking a path through the woods.  It was a challenging single tract with lots of switchbacks.  I immediately realized that my run split predictions were going to be off.  I think the run splits were a tad short as well.  My Garmin was sketchy in the woods.  I probably ran about 7min/miles, may a little faster.  I didn’t feel like I pushed too hard as I pulled back into transition.  The timing mats had me running 20:14 for the 5k…that’s nice but I think it was off. I was right behind another guy in my age-group, so I thought, it’s on like donkey kong.  No, I actually didn’t think that. Ha.  Come on people, we’re serious out here.  I actually was thinking, “How good are you going to be on the bike?”

Anyway, I had a quick 39 sec transition and popped onto my bike.  I exited at the same time as the other guy. My goal was to push the power close to threshold.  I attacked on the way out, trying to climb smartly and keep the power up over the crest of the hills.  My left hamstring was a little tight for about 5 mins then relaxed.  I passed alot of riders it seemed.  I followed the other guy for a short time then he was gone…very strong cyclist.  He beat me on the bike by @1:40 which was most of his winning margin (He took first Masters..dang it).

I got to the turnaround in about 18 mins and came back in 17:46.   I was fairly pleased with that split.  Certainly the fastest I’ve done on that course.  I held a decent avg power and had a normalized power pretty close to threshold.  In fact, not bad considering all the downhills.

I got through T2 without any major stumbles and headed out on the last run.  It was run in reverse so we had to run on the trail first then finish down the road.  Again, the Garmin numbers were not accurate.  The results showed me returning in 10:14 for the 2.5k.  A little short again I think.  I have to respect all those trail runners out there.  How they can run fast and not fall on these rocky/rooty trails, I don’t know.  It took a lot more concentration to watch your foot falls.  Don’t think I’m up for an Xterra any time soon.  Besides the fact that I’m a poor mtn biker.  Short race, only 1:07:24 for me.  I ended up in 9th place overall.  First in my age-group.  Missing out on Masters due to a better cyclist. But as usual, I had an awesome time.  Any time racing is fun time.  I can’t wait for the next one.  It’s slightly longer.  A half-ironman distance down in West Georgia…can you say hot and humid?

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