Tag: Duathlon (page 1 of 2)

Cary Du Classic- USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championships 2017- Race Report

My first “A” race of the season is now complete! There is nothing quite like the feeling you get after a solid block of training, a perfect taper, and stepping up to the start line with great form. I’m pleased to say I was able to do that this year at the Cary Du Classic!

This race has been on my schedule for the last 3 years in a row. The last 2 years it has been the host of the USAT Long Course Du National Champs. Each year the race itself has gotten better, and each year I have improved on my previous year’s performance.

However, this year’s course was significantly altered from the previous years, Continue reading

A Good Race Always Starts with a Good Plan- Part 2

It’s race week here at Triathlonpal HQ, so I am in full taper and race mode! I’m getting ready to race again at the Cary Du Classic which agian is the host for USAT’s Long Course Duathlon Nationals.

I’ve written before about the Art of a Taper for the week(s) leading up to your race, and I’ve even written about the advantage of detailed planning for the bike leg with Best Bike Split. But this week I’m honing in on my total race plan. Yesterday I sat down and write out every detail I could think of for the week leading up to race day, and then race day itself.

Why?

Because I’m a total “Type A” triathlete and OCD about most things.

Why should I?

The less you have to think about on race week and especially race day, the better. Also, the longer the race ad the further you travel for it, the more this gets magnified!

Continue reading

Race Stories from the Northeast Park Duathlon 2017

This past weekend I got my first race of the season under my belt. It was good to get out there and compete again and get that fire back in my belly for race season. After having a baby and changing jobs and cities, training has been tough to squeeze in. This race helped get that little extra motivation needed to get “up ‘n at ‘em” each day.

Since this was a fairly laid back race, I’m going to take a bit of a laid back approach to the race report. So here are some of the best stories out of the 54 minutes of racing. Continue reading

Reverse vs. Traditional Periodization: My Take

It’s that time of year… yes… Christmas, but also planning time for next season. You’re picking races and starting to plan your training. I’ve noticed a bit of hustle and bustle around the interwebs about one topic surrounding annual training plans… reverse periodization vs. traditional periodization. I wanted to give you my take on the subject.

Continue reading

Time to Refocus… Off Season

The 2016 season definitely ended on a better note than 2015. I love racing, so getting in a few good races to cap off the season is great. Even if they are more for the fun of it than for competition. But isn’t that why we do this anyway? Fun is what it’s all about. And like I learned playing High School baseball, winning is more fun that losing! Finishing with two podiums qualifies 🙂

relaxing-before-the-obx-tri

A little off season R&R

But now it’s the off season. I’ve been relaxing and raiding the ice cream freezer at the office. It’s great! But the off season is more than just loosening the belt a little. It’s time to refocus. Here’s what I’m focusing on this off season. Continue reading

Race Story- USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championship

This past weekend was the Cary Du Classic which served as the USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championship (For info on what a duathlon actually is, check out my recent post answering just that question). I raced this last year, and from the moment I found out it was the national champs this year I had made it my main goal this season.

USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals Logo

Packet Pick-Up

Getting to the race, I went to packet pick up on Friday afternoon once we arrived in town and I got my family settled in. The pick-up process was very smooth as I have experienced in the past. FS Series is very well organized and I think that all goes back to this one lady with a British accent who is always there directing things. At the pick-up I got to meet a fellow Trisports sponsored athlete which was neat to be able to meet some others on the team (I’ve got 20% off codes for anyone that wants them… hit me up on twitter!). The one thing that stuck out most to me was number of people there getting things done to their bikes. A few were not competing the next day, but many of them were, and some of those were getting things like new aerobars or pedals put on… the day before a race! So much for nothing new on race day!

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon Men's Wave

Long Course Men lined up for the start

Pre-Race

The next morning I knew what I was getting into from last year, so I was more relaxed. I arrived at the USA Baseball National Training Complex just before 6am to get everything set up. This year, however, was quite crowded. Since it was a national championship race, the number of competitors almost doubled! The parking lot was packed, but I was able to find a spot and head on to the transition area.

As we all lined up for the start of the race, there were two guys beside me who started talking about how nice the weather was. It was a cool 58 degrees at the start, but the funny part was one of them said it was probably snowing back home (Syracuse, NY) and the other said that the day’s high (82) was the low back home (someplace in Florida)!

Run 1- 5 Miles- 37:34

The countdown started and we all got up on the line. Once the horn blew the group of men took off (the ladies would follow 4 minutes later). I always seem to get caught up in the opening sprint, so I made sure I was off the front a bit and made a conscious effort not to get carried away by the guys off the front. I watched about ⅔ of the group run away from me as we exited the parking lot, and when I looked at my watch I say I was running 7:00/mile pace… there was no way I could keep that up! I settled down a bit and got my pace down to 7:30/mi which is still way faster than I wanted to be going at that point. It’s a long race and I didn’t want to blow up!

As I expected, many of the others started to slow as we got past the first mile. The course is an out and back with a turn around at the 2.5 mile point. What makes this unique is that it is almost entirely downhill going out… which mean it is almost entirely uphill going back! That totally messed up my strategy since I forgot to take that into account when I planned out the race. I still managed a quick first run… about 7 minutes faster than I had planned!

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon Transition

T1- Before I realized my shoes were stuck

T1- 00:44

I got into transition and made quick work of getting on the bike. I ended up almost doubling my usual time for T1 though because my bike shoe velcro got caught on my transition bag and when I grabbed my bike I ended up dragging my bag along with it!

Bike- 30 Miles- 01:23:56

Once I got out on the bike course I immediately realized it would be an interesting bike leg. Since the short course wave started 15 minutes behind the long course, many of the athletes were getting out onto the course at the same time. I quickly caught up to a large group of people and started to pass them. The issue was that others were passing within the group and it was difficult to make a pass without drafting (the rules stated that each cyclist had to keep at least 3 bike lengths behind the persons in front of them unless passing and they have 15 second to pass). As a made my way though the groups there were points where it was impossible to pass and some times there were even people riding three wide and blocking the whole rode! At one point I saw a car get stuck between two groups of cyclists and was forced to drive at their pace.

Thankfully, the race official came around a few miles into the bike leg on a motorcycle and began enforcing the no drafting rule. The moto would ride at the back of a pack and write race numbers down. I hung back behind the moto for a while and the groups cleared out pretty quickly once everyone realized the race moto was there. Then the moto would move on to the next group and I could make my pass. On one hand it was nice to be right behind the enforcer since it made the groups easier to pass. On the other hand, there were points where I could have passed the moto but it wasn’t safe and even at one point I had to break going up a hill which made me lose all my momentum from the previous downhill. I found out afterwards that in all they race official handed out a total of 14 2-minute penalties to long course athletes and 6 of them to short course athletes! That’s a lot of penalties for a race of 234 finishers!

Once we got about halfway through that lap of the course things had spread out and I was able to get into a rhythm. Once I got there I was able to cruise right on through the rest of the bike course. Overall that was my fastest race split on the bike with an average of 21.3mph!

T2- 00:40

T2 was another simple affair. I again took about twice as long as usual because I racked my bike on the wrong side of my shoes so I had to run around my bike to get them. It was my first race that I racked up against the fence so I think that’s what caused the issues there. I’ll know better next time I guess.

Run 2- 5 Miles- 42:05

Getting back out on the run course was painful. I was moving really slow and I started to cramp up. I had grabbed a bottle filled with Skratch Labs Hydration so I was downing that for the first mile or so. Once I got that into me I started to loosen up a bit. I probably didn’t

Trisports Baby

My cheering buddy… pre-race obviously

drink enough on the bike. The rest of the course was fairly uneventful. Everyone was in pain and you could feel the camaraderie in our pain out there on the final 2-3 miles.


The best part of the day was coming back into the parking lot to make the last loop towards the finish line. My family was there and my daughter (almost 2 years old) had her cow bell and was saying hi to me and “Go, Daddy, Go!” When I waved to her she squealed with delight. It was hilarious! That got me around the last 400 yards of the course and on to the finish line. It was great!

Post Race

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon Finish Line

Coming own the finishing chute decked out in USAT logos!

I finished with a time of exactly 2 hours and 45 minutes. There were volunteers at the finish that swarmed everyone that crossed the line to get the timing chip and hand them… not a finisher’s medal, but a bottle opener. That’s right… not finisher’s medal for the national championship race… just a cork screw. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Last year we got socks though. Those were cool. I actually raced in them this year.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a great race and it’s always well organized. The one place that FS Series struggles in its races are in the post race activities and all around athlete experience. This year they again did not have a race photographer, which is totally unacceptable in my opinion in this day. The all around contact and experience before and after the race doesn’t get much thought from them and that is a huge let down after such a well organized race.

As far as Nationals goes, I placed 11th in my age group which is good enough to qualify for the 2017 World Championship in Switzerland. I’d love to go, but logistics need to be worked out before then. Of course, I have 16 months to do that!

USAT Long Course Duathlon Collage

Hagan-Stone Park Du

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

FB_IMG_1457914865041

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.

IMG-20160312-WA0001

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

10339719_1158819457474998_2740649078103915064_n

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.

10464211_1158818967475047_425627154772832537_n

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.

IMG-20160312-WA0014T2

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!

Course Recon Ride

A change of plans this past week meant that instead of having my first race of the season at the Northeast Park Duathlon, I was off with my wife for her to watch “The Lion King” at the DPAC and I got the hang out with our little one for the evening. I wasn’t too bummed though beucase I always love a little Daddy-Daughter time, and it also meant I got to use the next day to do a bike course recon for this year’s USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championships in Cary, NC.

Felt S32

My Faithful Steed

This is clearly the “A” race on my calendar this year since 1) it’s Nats, and 2) it’s practically a hometown race. So Saturday I got to head out to the 32 mile loop that makes the long course bike leg. Last year, the LC bike leg got changed last minute due to some DOT work along the route. That means I’ve not ridden on this particular course even though I did the race last year and the short course shares about ⅓ of the same roads near the beginning and ending.

So off I went from the USA Baseball training complex in Cary (which… by the way… I would have loved to play there in High School). I waited until around 10am to get started so the temps we at least above freezing. It was quite windy though, so I don’t think it mattered that much. I really enjoyed the loop, even though I got a bit turned around at two different points. This extended my ride by about 4 miles… not that it mattered too much.

The highlight of the ride was a turn up Lystra Rd. to see a multitude of “road closed ahead” signs…

Cary Long Course Recon Ride- Road Closed

So what did I do? Kept going naturally. I found out just a few 100 ft later in when I saw a huge sinkhole across the entire road.

Cary Long Course Recon Ride- Sink Hole

I got off the bike and (after taking a few pictures) walked a nice big loop around hole in case there were the possibility of more ground collapsing.

Other than that it was quite the uneventful ride. I’m really looking forward to the race in May. I just hope the DOT gets the course cleaned up before then. Otherwise we might just be doing two laps of the short course again!

Sponsors!

TriSports_official_oval_sbrs

One of the exciting things about looking forward to this triathlon season is the fact that this is my first season with a sponsor! No, I am not a professional, and no, I do not have people giving thousands of dollars in free stuff, but this year, I get to be part of the Trisports.com Champions team!

I have been using Trisports.com for the last few seasons for my equiptment needs. They have really made it so that I only go to my Local Bike Shop for maintenance and labor, but all the parts I get from Trisports. I even have sent my wife there for Birthday Gifts! They are a great company to do business with, and I am excited to be a part of the Trisports team this year!

One thing I love about their website is that they have divided their products by sport, so even if you are a one sport athlete, it is easy to find items related to your one sport without having to wade through all of the triathlon specific equipment. So even if you are just a runner, cyclist, or swimmer, then you can still find what you need at Trisports.  

If you want to read more about the company you can see their about page HERE

As a member of the Trisports team, I get to hand out coupons to refer people to site. These coupons are for 20% you order! Just comment or send me a message and I’ll send you a one-time use code! Do keep in mind that these codes cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, on items designated as non-discountable, and do not apply to taxes or shipping. If you are getting something on sale and cannot use a discount code, please click through to the sight from this link HERE or on my sponsors page. While I DO NOT get a kick back from the items you purchase, I do earn rewards for referrals, so I would deeply appreciate your support this way!

Print

Another partnership I have this year is with The Feed. The Feed is a company built to make it as easy as possible for athletes to get the nutrition products they use. They operate mainly on a subscription basis, so you can set it and forget it and your bars and hydration mixes will show up on your doorstep at whatever interval you choose. They also accept on-off orders so you can give them a try and test out new products as your leasure. One great thing they have is pre-built boxes so you can pick your sport or favorite team/athlete and get a box of products delivered to your door to try out!

You can check out the feed here, and for full disclosure, I get a 10% kick back through their affiliate program, so I would appreciate your support of this blog and my athletic endeavors! Also, Get $10 Worth Of Food For Free With Your First Order of $25 or More! Coupon Code: freebonuskit 

Guru Bike Fit

One of the great things to do in the off season is get a bike fit. That’s what I was able to do back in November when Podium Multisport- North Carolina ran a special on their Guru Bike Fits.

I contacted Mike there at Podium to set up an appointment in the middle of the day. The whole process was very easy and they were very flexible with my schedule since I had a bit of a drive to get to them. Once I got there they grabbed the measurements from my IMG_20151119_140822536current bike set-up and then they input them into the guru fit system. For those not familiar with the system, there is a computer and ipad system that connects to a special fit bike. This fit bike has motors that the fitter can control to change the various aspects of your position while you are on the bike pedaling. The bike also is equipped with a power meter that measures power and cadence so that you and your fitter can see how different positions affect your power output.

Mike started by taking a look at my cleat position on my shoes. This was huge for me because that is the only ear I had really been having problems. He checked my flexibility and knee alignment and did some others things I’m not really sure about in measuring my feet. Then he adjusted my cleats and got them on like they should.

Once they set the fit bike to my current position, I got on a did a little warm up. At this point Mike started to find my limits on each position. He raised the saddle to the highest point possible so that I could barely reach the pedals. Once we found that point, he brought it back about halfway back down. Next, he did the same with the aerobars, moving them as far out as I could stand. Both of these points felt very weird, but it would good to have a reference to start with.

Once we brought both back to a happy medium, he started with the saddle again adjusting up and down to find the most comfortable position, and then the same with moving it back and forth. When we settled on a nice position with the saddle, he did the same with the aerobars, up and down, back and forth. We settled on a position and saved that into the computer. We did this three more times to get a few different positions to compare with differences between drop from saddle to bars etc.

With four positions to choose from, we went through them one by one to compare them back to back. It was obvious from those comparisons that the first one was NOT the best for me, and in comparing them we settled on the last two positions as the best ones. The only difference between them was 1mm drop in bar height. After feeling the differences a few times while pedaling, we decided on the higher bar positions because it would take some time to get use to anyway, and we could easily take a spacer out down the road if I decided I wanted a lower front end.

With that, Mike saved my positions and the computer spit out measurements for him to use to adjust my bike to this position. The computer also spit out various options for new bikes, sizes, and adjustments needed to make them fit me. I didn’t need this, but it was nice to see I can fit quite a wide range of bikes without too many adjustments.

The guys took my bike and got it all set up for me while I cooled down and changed clothes. Overall I’m very happy with the process. I can feel the difference in the bike and am getting settled into the new position. As part of that, there are a bit of “growing pains” with that new position. I’ve emailed with Mike about some things and I’ll probably go in for them to take another look at my position. Right now I think I started to sit a little different on a new ISM saddle I had them put on and that is affecting my position just slightly enough to feel it in the knees. I’ll update this when we get it figured out.

I can now say that I think everyone needs a bike fit! I had gone 3 seasons without once and messed with my cleat about once every couple months trying to get it right. One trip to a fit and everything is wonderful! Even just that one change would be worth it in my opinion. So a big thanks to Mike and the guys a Podium!

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