Du the Ashevile Du, First Duathlon in the Books!

This past Saturday KB and I decided to throw caution to the wind, and enter an event which had something other than just cycling (or presidential challenges, or burpees, or drinking) on the menu. With a small base of running miles from the cold and wet winter this year, we both signed up for the inaugural Du the Asheville Du Duathlon (say that five times fast) located on the lovely Biltmore estate grounds and featuring a 5K paved run, and 10.75 mile gravel road bike ride, and a final 5K gravel/trail run.

Leading up to the event, the weather was looking horrendous, a potential for a wintery mix and an almost certain guarantee of some sort of precipitation during the entire event.  with a 9am race start time and a recommended time to be on the grounds due to traffic by the even organizers of 7:30am, I awoke pre-dawn at 6:30 in the morning to make my self a small breakfast and try to actually be awake by the start of the race. I'm sure I've mentioned how much I am NOT a morning person.  To add insult to injury, a glance outside showed a constant light rain.  Great.  Unamused I slowly got dressed hoping for a call from KB saying she wasn't doing this in such adverse conditions, but alas, she arrived at the house promptly at 7:15am and we loaded up all of our requisite gear and headed out to Biltmore.

Brrrrrrrr.  I realize there are a lot of places much colder than here, but I am NOT a cold weather person either.  Pair that with being 8am, and you can imagine how grumpy a Joshie this can make.  The weather gods were nice enough to grant us one small reprieve, the rain had stopped.  I need to send them a thank you card and on a side note, also remind them that it's Spring, that means the weather is supposed to be getting WARMER, not colder... Jerks. Anyway, we signed in, got our timing chips and then immediately headed back to the car to sit in our last moments of warmth before we headed out on our first ever duathlon.  With minutes to go before the start, we emerged from the car to our long line of growing spectators (Jess, Spankye, and Dacia) signed a few autographs, went for a brief but brisk walk to spool up the legs, and then lined up for the start.

With the sound of the horn, KB and I immediately jumped to the front to set the pace of the race.  Sike! I caught a brief glance of the leading runner from our mid field position, you'd of thought he was being chased by a pack of wild dogs...  It was a race so I wanted to put out a good effort, but I also wanted to conserve what I could for the final run as I had never done an event like this before.  I believe KB had a similar game plan.  So we put in a solid first run, meandering our way with the pack of competitors and  besting both of our previous 5K best efforts in the process too!.  Finishing up the run I realized that I had zero experience in the "transition" area, it took me over 2 minutes to make the switch to bike mode, compared to the top of the field making the switch in approximate 45 seconds... pffft, get a job you hippies!

The bike portion of the race are where KB and I definitely excelled, I can't recall ever getting passed. This consisted if two laps, an "outer lap" of approximately 7 miles and then an "inner lap" of about 4. We mashed the pedals up a gradual gravel climb away from the river followed by a fun drop back down for the first lap on a portion of Biltmore that is typically closed to guests.  Absolutely beautiful farmland, no wonder they want to keep it to themselves.   Back around for the second lap, there apparently was some confusion as to the turn for the inner lap for some of the top competitors (read your race packet and course outline!), but by the time that we had made it around for our second laps, everything had been worked out.  this much abbreviated lap meant that the distance to reach the top of the climb was also much shorter and steeper.  This is where I had my first notion that maybe, just maybe, my legs were getting tired, but with the fun down hill again, I took a conservative descent in preparations for the final run and didn't think about it again.

Ugh, transition again, and again, slow as molasses ( Hey, I'm southern deal with it).  Running shoes back on the feet and out of the gate, I noticed a slight issue.  My legs no longer wanted to follow the motion of one in front of the other, meaning they were toast.  This was highly compounded by the fact that the first portion of the run was an uphill.  I did my best to maintain proper Hoff composure through the crowd at the transition area, "Hi!  great race!  Have a good one, thanks for being here (I'm going to puke on you and then pass out.)!!"  Once out of the masses, I had no choice, I had to walk for a bit. After a stern talking to, my legs understood that there was no turning back now and fired up once again.  It was definitely slow going and we (my legs and I) had agreed that on any significant uphill, we could have a brief walk for a break.  On the last major hill of the trail, walking, my HR was touching 168... Walking.  I finally made it to the top and then I knew the end was near.  after glancing at my watch, I also realized that maybe, jut maybe I could finish right at one hour, 45 minutes, if I just kept up a consistent pace.  "Coasting" as best as I could on the long downhill back to the finish, I saw our huge pack of spectators (Jess, Spankye, and Dacia), so with a renewed grin on my face, I gave it my all to be done with it. KB had a much better experience with the second run despite a brief moment of her calf wanting to cramp up right off the bike.  No walking for her, that's awesome!

I finished up at 1:48:16, just off my hoped for 1:45, but I'll take it!  KB wasn't far behind, just off the 2 hour mark at  2:03:18.  That a Girl!  So while I immediately swore off anything like this again post race, after a few day of recovery, ok, I might could be persuaded to do this again.  many thanks to all our fans that came out (Jess, Spankye, and Dacia) and to the crew who put on the race. I'll probably be out there again next year!


Johnny McSquishy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Nice job, mates. Now enough of that running stuff and let's get down to some serious bike training. J$