This weekend was my first race of the season, the Hagan-Stone Park Duathlon hosted by Trivium Racing. This race was a part of the Triad Duathlon Series as well as the USAT Mid Atlantic Region Duathlon Series. Trivium always does a great job with their events, so I was excited to be able to notch this one off with them.

Pre-Race

I got to the race early so that I could pick up my packet and get all settled in. I was also a little concerned about parking from looking at the maps, but that turned out to be no problem whatsoever. There was a nice little grassy area right by transition and another paved parking lot by the playgrounds about 250yds down the road. I opted for the playground lots since I know my wife and daughter would be spending some time there while daddy was out on the course.

Getting everything set up in transition was easy. Duathlons generally have simple transition areas since it is simply two entrance/exits with the elimination of the swim leg. I try to grab one close to the Bike in/out so there is less running with the bike. I’ll even go further in from the aisle to grab a rack near the bike in/out.

I got set up and did a bit of exploring/ course preview since this was a new race for me. It was a 5K trail run that started in a different area from transition so I was curious as to how that worked out. It turns out that the start/ finish line was just around the corner behind a little grove of trees, so it was easily accessible and not really that far from transition. I also discovered that the trail was almost entirely woodchips. We were told there were a few muddy spots the day before so park maintenance went ahead and laid wood chips the entire 3.1 miles. Kudos on them for the extra effort to make this a great race, although I would have prefered a more hard packed surface and simply wood chips over the soft spots (you’ll see why later).

I rode back to the car and got the trainer out and did a short bike warm up. This was my first time bringing the trainer along and I think that was a great plus. It added a bit more structure to my warm up since I didn’t have to find a place to ride on the course and then IMG-20160312-WA0015have to ride back, not to mention the issue of doing high intensity intervals in traffic. As I finished, my cheering section drove up and started the day at the race 🙂 I’m always happy to have my family at the races with me.

When I got back to transition someone had racked their bike over top of my shoes and bag, so I had to move over a slot. Not a big deal, but kind of annoying. I saw the port-o-potty line was gone so I emptied the tank and then went out and ran along the first .5mi or so on the course and got loose, and then we had the obligatory pre-race meeting. The group of 75 racers plus spectators made the short walk to the start line. After a short delay, we were on our way!

First Run
FB_IMG_1457914882092Pacing on the first run is always an issue for me so I knew I needed to watch it from the start. I also knew from my warm up that GPS reception was spotty on the trail, so every time I looked at my watch I had to judge whether that was accurate or not based on how I felt. I didn’t get too caught up in the beginning sprint this time, so that

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You can see me in the background with the guys I was pacing with.

was a plus, but I stayed with the front group fairly well. The pack thinned out by mile 1 and we were forming various pace groups. I was holding pace pretty well with two guys in front of me.
They were only slightly pulling ahead of me so by the end of the run they were about 15-20 seconds ahead. I ended up running a bit faster than I wanted. I set a conservative goal of 26:00 but ran 24:38.8.

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Coming into T1

T1

T1 went great as usual. The transition area was set up so that my wife and daughter could see me the whole way. That was cool to have them right on the other side of the fence cheering me on. I was in and out in :20 flat! One of my best transitions I think! I passed the other guys ahead of me and headed out on the course

Bike

As I was exiting the park I had a bit of trouble getting my shoes on. A guy sped on up behind me and yelled at me for swerving a bit… but at that point I had finished getting my shoes on and really started pedaling again. He ever passed me and I never saw him again.

Hagan-Stone Du BikeOnce I got out of the park it was immediately uphill. I went a bit hard up the hill (over 500w), and on the whole first lap really, but I felt great. The main point of discussion on this two lap course was the lack of discipline by other riders. I saw one lady racer with a male companion riding with her. I wasn’t a racing, but as I passed them he was riding the

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Spectator riding side by side with a racer

course with her side by side. It was a bit irritating to pass since they were two wide and it is an open course so there were cars passing too. I saw him at the start and finish lines with his bike so he was just a spectator who went for a ride with the racers on the course.

The other irritant for me was since it was rolling hills, almost every uphill came right after a down hill. There was another racer who would speed past me with his momentum from pounding the down hill, but couldn’t maintain his momentum up the rest of the hill, so he would slow down a ton, leaving me with the option of either braking to get out of his draft, or increasing my power to get past him. I opted for the latter.

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Again, our little group. I’m just around the corner off the back.

This is why my NP for the bike leg for 215w… giving me a IF of
1.02 for the race. Not a big deal since it was a short 16mi ride. In a longer race it would have been worse, but I was able to power through and I don’t think it affected me much in the end. I finished with 47:58.3 on the bike, so about 50s faster than BestBikeSplit predicted. I give that up to my higher than planned Normalized Power.

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Not much to say here. The two guy I had been hanging with on the bike made it into transition a bit before me, but all that time was made up in transition. I was feeling a bit of cramping at the end of the bike so I grabbed my extra bottle and was out running step for step with the other guys.

Second Run

Second run was paced a bit better than the first. I help it right around 8:30 most of the run. The first mile or so was quite the struggle getting my legs moving again. I also was fighting back some cramps in the calfs but they went away during that first mile. Our little group of three broke up pretty quick with one guy pulling ahead of me and the other taking a break to adjust his shoe about 500yds into the run. We held those positions the rest of the run and I was thankful I was able to keep my pace steady the rest of the way in. I got a bit of a hamstring cramp right near the finish line but I pushed through and finished in 26:27 giving me an 8:34 pace.FB_IMG_1457913850268

Final Thoughts

To wrap it up I feel like I had a great day on the course. I finished 20th overall and 4th in my age group. Since I aged up this year to the 25-29AG I am happy with that result. My final time of 1:39:51.7 was just 15.7s off the podium! Being that close always makes you wonder “what if?” But I know I left it all out there physically and since this was really just a dust off race I couldn’t have expected more.

I was really pleased with how well Trivium Racing did with this event and I will most definitely be back next year. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season too! I’m on track with my training I think… Next stop… Nationals!