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New year’s Duathlon 1-7-12

Short and Sweet.  Small no license needed Duathlon (so I am not sure this counts for you guys.)

Folsom Lake 2 mile run, 7 mile bike, 2 mile run.

Team members: Patricia Benson, Stacy and Bas Sopora and Jason Sage.

Bas had a foot issue so he volunteered on the course.

I have not run since May of 2010 but wanted a small challenge.  I finished in 1:21:33.  My bike portion was awesome!!!  Felt great and I am happy with the time, 7 miles in 24:44.  My “run” needs lots of work.

I will Let Jason and Stacy post their times as I do not have exact times.  We all had fun.



2011 Vineman 70.3

I raced the Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman last Sunday. The race starts with an upstream-downstream swim in the Russian River in Guerneville, the bike course then leads east along the river, north over the Canyon Road climb to Geyserville and back south over the Chalk Hill climb to Windsor. Finally the run course is a lollypop from the Windsor Highschool to LaCrema winery and back. This was my third time racing up there, so I roughly knew what was coming.

Despite a couple gaps in my training caused by visiting family in June, I knew I was hitting form fairly well after setting new PRs at the Sprint and Olympic distance at Rancho Seco the weekend before.
I was set to start in the first age-grouper wave, just behind the Pro, at an ungodly start time of 6:38am. At least I could hope to be done before it got too hot and because I got to the swim start early, I skipped the line for the Port-A-Johns… Setting up my swim to bike transition, I engaged in the typical low-balling with my transition neighbors. It was overcast so I put my heat-gear back in the bag and got into my wetsuit.

Watched the pros go off and only did a couple short bursts for my swim warm-up. As the gun goes off for me, the first 100 meters are the typical washing machine of limbs flying. I was swimming head-up again, water polo skills come in handy after all. I was able to find my rhythm fairly fast and settled into finding my own line. My sighting kept me a bit to the left of the pack, and I only bumped into two other swimmers, mainly having open water in front of me, but still pacing of the pack (as I mostly breath to the right anyways). The river near the turn did get a bit shallow, but not as bad as in years past. Right at the turn buoy there was a slight traffic jam and 4-5 guys stood up and waded around. They didn’t seem in a hurry, so I slipped past them, dove back in and quickly had two length on them.

On the way back downstream I got passed by two speedy women from the wave that started 8 minutes behind me. I reached the beach in 37 minutes, not too fast, but just as expected and planned. I actually did manage to avoid the usual slight calf-twitch, taking of my wetsuit while running up to my bike. I lost a few seconds readjusting my helmet, the sizing mechanism must have taken a knock in the morning. Grabbed the bike and out of T1, pushed the bike up the little 100ft. beach hill and clipped in at the top. I guess course knowledge does come in handy as well, Stacy told me later that she saw 3 people crashing right there because of clipping in at the bottom or the middle of the hill, tumbling over or being in the way…

Riding out of town I was feeling good, passed a couple people in my age-group in the first section. I found my legs and soon reached the Sunset Road turn off, a tricky off camber, 130-degree turn into a downhill. After a first big ring climb on the other side, I started into the worst part of the bike leg. The next 10-15 miles have rather questionable road conditions with lots of bumps, potholes and concrete plates. I was jo-joing back and forth with 3 guys in my age-group and two fast women, trading places as the terrain alternated between climbs, descents and power sections. Until my water bottle with my concentrated Iso ejected the first time. Then my flat kit rattled loose. Then my water bottle ejected again. As I approached Healdsburg, I had enough of it. I knew the first aid station was coming up just after the next turn, so I splashed half of my concentrate in my aero drink and hoped that the reduced weight would stop the bottle ejecting. I also stuffed my flat kit in to my jersey pocket.  Slightly aggravated I started off again, figured the backtracking and re-arranging must have cost me 2 or 3 minutes. Thankfully I didn’t get too caught up with that issue and managed to find my rhythm again quickly. Despite this section being a false flat, I was getting some nice speed, kept on top of my nutrition and hit the climb on Canyon road strong, passing and dropping several people.  Right after passing the timing matt, we passed under HWY101 and turned back south towards Chalk Hill. From experience I knew that this is a good section to eat and avoid the bonk, so I forced down my Odwalla bar. It actually started drizzling, giving me a little boost – I like racing in light rain, keeps me cool.

I tried to control myself and stretch, my Canyon is quite comfortable – not even a hint of backpain or tensing two hours in. I must have gone a little bit too hard on the five miles of rollers between mile 40 and 45, followed by a push up the only real climb at mile 45. From there it is a nice fast downhill section and the last 6 miles of the bike twist through the town of Windsor, giving me a chance to pick up a couple more people that burnt too much on the hill. Approaching Windsor HS and the second transition, I saw the leaders of the men’s pro race on the last half mile of their run. Finishing in under 3h50m, wow…

I managed a quick second transition, mentally grateful for the still overcast skies, but still put on my running hat – never know how quick those clouds burn off.  The first three miles were pretty exciting, but painful. I got to see the Pro men (starting at fourth) and women finishing up, trying to recognize them and figure out the ranking in my head. I saw locals Kyle Leto (Walnut Creek) holding on to 5th, obviously having a great race, even in front of Chriss Lieto (Danville) in 7th. At the same time my quads and hamstrings were cramping a bit. All four muscles at the same time. I actually stopped to stretch once about two miles in, and after the little roller I have nicknamed “skunkroad” due to an incident last year, I found my legs and was able to up the cadence. At this point I really started enjoying the run, recognizing course markers, looking forward to the friendly participating neighborhood at mile 4 (a quarter mile of cheering, aid station and gardening hoses). There I also saw local pro Kelly Dunleavy coming the other way. She was rather dark red in the face with purple lips. I guess she took a couple stumbles only a few turns later, but still managed to finish. I made it along the bigger rollers by the Airport, picking of lots of people in their pain cave. I had two guys in my age group in my sights, in really ugly black and green kits making them the perfect (but not pretty) carrots. Coming into LaCrema winery for a one mile loop, my legs acted up again. I checked my watch, saw that I was on a good pace well within the set goal of going sub 2h for the run, so I took a one minute walk break and stretched again. I hoped in behind another tall, but older guy and let him drag me back to the airport. At the aid station I made sure to grab a banana for some calories and potassium against the cramps. Back in the neighborhood, now at mile 8, I switched to taking a cup of coke for some finishing energy. I settled into a good pace again, focusing on my run split instead of trying to do math about the overall. Then I made it over skunkroad again, and let my legs roll on – no more hills now.

Back on Windsor road, with half a mile to go, I caught up to another guy in my age-group. He was obviously aware of me being competition, so we shadowed each other for a quarter mile. As we turned into the highschool campus with a quarter mile to go, I opened up. Careful not to burn out too fast and keeping him in the corner of my eye. I managed to open up a 10ft gap on him, speeding up and trying to inflict some pain. Then with about 200 yards to go, one turn left and the finishing arch in sight, he attacked. I knew I couldn’t let him pass because there was no room left for a counter, so I started speeding up as well. Before you know it, we are both sprinting down the finishing chute. I barely managed to stay ahead of him, going all out and keeping him two feet behind me. They actually listed us with the same exact time, 5h37m40s, but I got the glory of placing in front of him – both of us in the middle of the pack for the M25-29 AG.

As I was panting quite heavily, I didn’t know my time right away. Looking at my splits I was quite happy though, all three went as planned, nothing overly strong, but no weak spot or blow up either. Another personal best, this time by 11 minutes compared to Oceanside in April and quite a bit more compared to my prior Vinemans.

Here are links to the GPS files from my bike and run, although my heart rate monitor was obviously having some accuracy issues: