Sunday, February 21, 2010

Race Report - Heartbreak Duathlon 2010

Production Company - Steelsports
Date - 2/20/2010
Location - Tyler State Park, TX
Length - 2-3 hours

This is the second year I've done this race, and it's great. Pretty short, but because of that the racers go pretty hard and the competition is pretty strong. The race consists of 3 legs - a 2.5 mile trail run, a 10 mile mountain bike (mtb), and then another 2.5 trail run (same loop, different direction). All of the trails are single track mtb trails, about 2 feet wide, mostly pretty packed dirt with a tremendous amount of tree roots that run perpendicular to the trails, a few rock gardens and muddy spots, and lots of short steep hills. There are few monster hills that are fairly steep but use switchbacks to extend the hurt for as long as possible (and mitigate erosion).

The weather this year was absolutely gorgeous - such an improvement over last year. I started out near the very front of the pack to minimize the amount of passing I would have to do on the narrow trails. Totally rocked the first run, kept a 7:50 minute pace and put myself in 5th or sixth place. The run ended back at the starting line where everyone's bikes were lined up on racks. I had a very fast transition and tore back to the trails knowing that I had not been on more than 2 serious rides all winter - and that I was about to get showed up by a mob of 45-55 year old hardcore riders with $2000 dollar bikes. I gave it my all and bombed down the downhills like a madman (love my 29er!), flew through the level sections, and struggled up the ridiculous hills. Kept the pace between 5 and 10 mph but got it up to 18 on one badass downhill. By the end of the mtb leg, my legs were beyond hurting but the rest of me was great. Would have been nice to have more than 6 days off after the Austin marathon!

A blistering 17 second transition and I was back on the trails for the final running leg. I peeled and ate a banana over the course of the first quarter mile (not easy to do at full race pace, but an almost miraculous cure/preventative for leg cramps) and dug in. My pace here slowed, but not as much as everyone else's. I maintained at 8 1/2 minute miles, which was the 2nd best pace for that leg - we were all hurting! I managed to pass the last two riders that had passed me on the mtb, but the others were so far ahead that even though I was gaining on them, I never even saw them. It's much easier to catch and pass someone when you can see them! The last 1/4 mile was a steady uphill, not terribly steep, but just non-stop switchbacks. A strongsprint to the finish and I was done. Final time was 1:47:30 (chiptimed) which was a full minute faster than my time last year (same course). The race was larger this year, maybe 80 racers total, and I placed 8th overall. Last year I placed 9th. If I was stronger on the bike coming out of winter I could make top 5, but I just don't get a lot of winter riding in.

Great event! Great location, great competition, and a nice short but gruelling course.


KB said...

Nice work, Nathan! That sounds like a lot of fun.

Bobbie said...

Is this blog on? It's not like you have a thesis to write anymore :)

Miss the updates.

Chrissy (The New Me) said...

It's been almost a year since you updated this. Marathon in five days! Maybe that will be worth a post. ;)

Love you!