This is my race report for the Cary Long Course Duathlon, or Cary Du Classic. The Cary Du Classic was the Mid-Atlantic Region stop on the USAT Duathlon Series. With that and the fact it was organized by FS Series Races, one of the largest race organizers in North Carolina, I was kind of expecting it to be a bit bigger than it actually was. There were around 300 participants, with over half of those being in short course race, so I was racing against roughly 130 people.
The Long Course race was planned to be a 5 Mile Run- 30 Mile Bike- 5 Mile Run. When I got to packet pick up on the 15th the organizers informed us that the county had decided to do road work on the bulk of the long course bike route, and therefore the long course had to do 2 loops of the short course route. That wasn’t a big deal for me and actually gave me a little hope because the course profile now had two climbs along a nice long false flat that I felt played to my strength on the bike. It also lengthened the bike leg by 5 miles! Another hope is that the course will be nice and smooth for next year!
Come race day, I arrived a little later than I wanted to the USA Baseball training complex in Cary, NC. I got my transition area set up and ran to the bathrooms. No Port-a-potties for this race! We used the stadium bathrooms 🙂 I completed a quick run warm up with a few sprints and got ready to start. This was my first race without my wife at the start because it was a little too early to be waking up our daughter (pro parent tip: never wake a sleeping baby!!).
Run 1- 5mi
The run course was a nice out-and-back through some neighborhoods and a greenway. Going out was almost exclusively downhill which made pacing a little hard because coming back was almost exclusively up hill! I still managed a nice 8:50 min/mi on the first run, knowing I was going to need to hold back with the extra distance on the bike and a total of 10mi running!
Transition was smooth. You know what they say, smooth is fast! It was about 45s which my wife told me was at least twice as fast as most others going in and out of transition. (My wife was here at this point). And I was on my way on the bike.
This is the part I feel bad for my fans and spectators on because it is such a long time to wait for more action. I can only imagine what it’s like watching an Ironman. The 35mi went by fast for me though! Like, 20.5mph fast. I did a lot of passing on the bike course. Especially passing people with nice fancy bikes and aero equipment who were either not comfortable, or were struggling to keep the speed consistent. One man in particular was standing out of the saddle on a flat section. I was reminded that it doesn’t matter how aero your stuff is if you cant hold an aero position for long periods of time or during hard efforts.
Run 2- 5mi
I got off the bike in a good position and reminded myself of the number one rule of packing the second run: “you are always starting too fast.” It was a struggle to keep my pace steady at the beginning, and about 1.5mi in I started to get some cramps. I brought a bottle on the 2nd run and had emptied it by the time I got to the turn around. I took a few walk breaks and the camps subsided. I was able to get across the line first in my age group and was quite pleased with the performance.
Post Race Thoughts
I keep working on my transition runs. Running off the bike has been a weakness for a while, and duathlons have really amplified that.
Overall it was a nice race and a nice course. I was a little disappointed with the lack of attention from race staff. My wife had some questions for a staff member to get a better spot for spectating, but was brushed off and ignored. Not like he was actually doing anything else while everyone was out on the course. I also was disappointed there was no official photographer. FS is a huge organization and this was part of the National Duathlon Series and they couldn’t hand one of their staff a camera and say “go take pictures”? They had enough people standing around doing nothing, that would have been pretty easy.
Other than those complaints, I was happy with the race and the Greek food the family had afterwards 🙂
EDIT: FS and USAT just announce that this will be the USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals race for 2016!