On Saturday hubs and I participated in our very first duathlon in Bracebridge, Ontario. It’s about a 90 minute drive for us, so that meant an earrrly morning.
|nervous + tired 4:00AM face|
We arrived in plenty of time, as planned, to drive both the bike and run courses. Some of the hills and lots of windy turns on the out-and-back bike course made me a little nervous, but I felt better knowing what I was going into. The run was also out-and-back and pretty straight forward with a couple of hills… most notably the steep grass hill for the first 250m out of transition! Yikes.
It was still pretty quiet at the race site when we arrived, so we wandered around a bit to scope things out.
Around 7am things were picking up and we were able to pick up our race kits, get body marked and set up our transition areas.
|Hubs wasn’t a fan of being “aged” to the big 3-0 2 months early|
|my first T-zone!|
We puttered around a while longer, made the obligatory several potty stops and listened to announcements before heading out for a short warm-up run. It was heating up quick and I was happy that we would be spending most of the morning enjoying a breeze on the bike.
We lined up in the finish chute with the other duathletes ready to start. Just minutes before they blew the horn, my good friend L showed up out of nowhere and totally surprised me! She was on her way farther north for a bike ride, saw the sign for Bracebridge and decided to come find me – how awesome is that? It was great to see a familiar face and know that she would be there cheering.
The grassy start was bumpy and slippery – I couldn’t wait to get out on the road! Once there, we had to stay on the sidewalk for the first stretch. It was crowded and virtually impossible to pass so I just settled in and waited for the first turn. After that it opened up slightly as we made our way on to the road where a narrow strip was sectioned off with pylons.
I settled into a “hard but manageable” pace and spent about a kilometre passing people. I was feeling good and trying not to think too far ahead and just focus on the task at hand: running.
We were running alongside the river where the sprint triathletes were swimming, so I was able to catch a few glimpses. It looked like a great swim course.
I saw hubs on his way back as I made my way to the turn-around. The majority of the way back was slightly uphill and I was ready to be done with this part of the race. It was hot and I was looking forward to hopping on the bike to cool off.
I ran back down the grassy hill, waved to L who was cheering like crazy and made my way into transition.
5K run – 23:22
I hit stop on my Garmin as I crossed the mat into transition, and switched over to bike mode as I ran to my bike. All I had to do once I got there was drop the small handheld I had carried, strap on my helmet and unrack my bike. I pushed it out of there and made my way to the mount line.
Transition 1: 0:31
I got there just seconds after L and all I heard was, “Holy crap, that was fast!” I hopped on my bike and pedaled away, relieved that the bike felt great right away since I really had no idea what to expect after a relatively hard 5K run. I slipped my feet into my cages as I made my way out of the park and onto the road.
I felt strong right off the bat and pushed pretty hard, trying not to look at my Garmin much, but surprised at the numbers I was seeing. I passed quite a few people right off the bat (never thought I would get to say “On your left!”) and then settled in.
There were a couple big hills, and I was actually passing people on each of them. I couldn’t believe it, and I’m sure people loved seeing me roll by them on my hybrid. 😉 [We did spot a couple of hybrids and mountain bikes in transition, but all I saw out on the course were roadies and tri bikes.]
I had a gel taped to my bike and took it early on – not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I pedaled strong and smooth. I pushed up the hills, I coasted down the hills (no braking!), I rounded the bends easily. I felt so good and I was loving it.
I saw hubs just shortly before the turnaround and gave him a wave. He was surprised to see me already. 🙂 I made the turn-around and then it was on the way back. The second half was a bit more demanding, but I was handling it well and the miles were just flying by.
I saw the 15K sign and knew I had to hold on for just 5 more K. I was definitely tiring, but able to sustain speed and focused on cyclists ahead of me – either closing or at least maintaining the gaps.
Suddenly the signs were ahead directing us back into the park. I knew it was a no passing zone in there and managed to pass one more person just before making the turn. I flew along the path toward the dismount line and hopped off the bike onto very wobbly legs!
20K bike – 39:37
30.3 kph (18.8 mph)
I found my spot in transition easily and backed my bike into the rack. Dropped my helmet, grabbed my small handheld and headed to the “Run Out”, switching my Garmin back to run mode on the way.
Transition 2: 0:30
My legs felt completely and utterly dead. I almost walked up the grass hill but I could hear L cheering and knew it wasn’t an option. 2.5K may be short, but it seemed soooo far in that moment. I had visions of killing it at a blistering pace, but it quickly became clear that would not be the case today.
Luckily my legs woke up a bit once I hit the road and the turn-around wasn’t far. I saw hubs shortly before and knew I wasn’t too far behind. My pace was slower than I would have liked, but not terrible. It was definitely one of those cases where I felt like I was moving much slower than I actually was. I tried picking people off and managed to pass a few as I slogged my way back to the park.
Running back down the grass toward the finish I was ecstatic to be done and really pleased with how well the day had gone. What a fun experience!
2.5K run – 12:43