Sunday, May 23, 2010

Black Bear Duathlon, Waterville Valley NH

SCOTT LANDERS - Short Course

So, Christina and I took our little vacation up to New Hampshire this weekend to take part in the 2nd annual Black Bear Duathlon. We made up there in record time (thanks to some expert driving) and found our hotel with no problems. Soon after that, though, things got interesting. The duathlon was being held in a ski resort, and for those of you who have never been to a winter ski resort in the's quite strange. There aren't many people, and the empty shops and hotels look just a bit too quaint and picturesque seeming too perfect. In our relaxed state of mind, we totally spun a screenplay of how we could be in the middle of a horror film...needless to say we had a good time.

Also, we met this guy at packet pick up who was...a bit too serious. He asked us if we were going to wear socks during the race and looked strangely perplexed when we told him we were. Anyhow, his car was parked next to ours and we managed to see that his license plate said "MOBSTA." I then made it my goal to put the beat down on a mobsta...ironic, no?

We got back to the hotel and had a craving for some ice cream. Of course in the ghost town there was nothing open, so we came back dejected, but the amazing hotel hosts happened to have some leftover desert, which we accepted with huge smiles. We got to eat it outside on the patio as we watched the sun set behind the mountains. It was finally bedtime.


I've never done a duathlon before, so I wasn't sure how to handle the first run. I went out with the lead pack of guys and just focused on running a smooth even race, trying not to push too hard and die on the bike. I clocked in at about 6:49 min/mi pace, which was a little faster than I thought I was running, but I felt strong at the end, which is what matters (I still have my goal of getting back down to 18:00 for a 5K).

T1 went fine and then I was off on the bike. After half a mile, we had to bike up this 2mi hill which wasn't easy in the least. It took me about 12min to climb it and then about 4 to get back down it. The rest of the ride was similar (just smaller hills) I got passed by a couple people, but managed to average 17mph for the whole 30km.

T2 was less efficient than T1, I almost ran out of the transition area with my helmet still on...lame, but I figured it out pretty quick, tossed the helmet and was off for the second 5K...this is where I really got to push myself. I immediately caught MOBSTA and managed to pick off two or three more over the next 4K. One guy even told me a run like a sprinter! (I'm still partial to my sprinting...=) Then came the last half mile and there was one guy about 50m ahead of me. I could see he wasn't going strong and I was exhausted, but I made the choice that I was going to catch him and launched into my final attack calling on my years of 400m/800m running (this is why). I started closing the gap and caught him going up a hill with 100m to go. I then proceeded to finish (with less of a sprint than my last race, but still strong) in 1:50:38 which is significantly faster than the 2hr I thought I was going to run.

All in all my splits were

5K run - 21:10....8/57

30K Bike - 1:04:56....28/ second slower than Christina!!!
5K run - 22:24...10/57

So, apparently I'd be top 10 with my running, but need to get my bike up to par!

This was good enough to get me 15/57 overall and 1/1 in my age group. I was the youngest male by almost 10 years! Those older guys are super fast (like Michael!).

All in all it was a great experience and I can't wait to go back again next year.



Scott gave an excellent description of the race, so I'll keep my report short and sweet and share with you some of the Christina-specific incidents:

Pre-race: The duathlon was the final workout of my 13-hour base training week. My pre-race activities included a Saturday long run, free wine and cheese provided by the hotel, and (for once!) a good night's sleep.

Run 1: [Thought] "Oh, I actually do like swimming. I wonder how long it will take me to run a 5k." (Answer for R1, about 25 minutes.)

T1: I was ecstatic to be done with the first run.... I was so anxious and excited to get on the bike where I have my confidence. [Thought] "I have the sexiest running mount ever. People must think I'm so cool!" (Like I said, confidence on the bike!)

Bike: Big hill to the ski slopes right off the bat. I dig into the hill and pace myself, passing a female competitor on the way ("Yes!"). The downhill was safe, thrilling, and still had beautiful scenery, whizzing by at upwards of 38 mph. Not long after I hit the rolling hills that comprised the rest of the bike course's out-and-back loop, both my calves started cramping in a pattern that was suspiciously Morse code-esque. I made an effort to throw back the liquid calories I had with me, but ended up dumping about 4/5th of the sticky, cherry-flavored liquid all over my chin, chest, and thighs. [Thought] "Oh well, at least I'll smell nice."

T2: My dismount was not quite as impressive, but rather uneventful (in a good way). I was in and out super fast thanks to my Chris Carper Co. elastic laces. I passed several guys I was duking it out with on the bike while they were still bent over in transition lacing up (they later passed me on the run).

Run 2: Pain. Train. I added 3 minutes to my 5k time (Doh! Pushing my total finishing time just 19 seconds over the 2 hr mark!) What was worse (and ironic) was that I had Britney Spears' lyrics "Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme more" stuck in my head. I was ready to be done.

All in all, I was 4th woman overall (top 3 women were between 15 and 30 years older than me-- damn) and by virtue of being the only early-twenties female present, I happened to win my age category. (Hey, I'll take it.)

The short course taught me to have huge respect for the long course athletes who suffered through those hills -- twice.


After my major calf cramp in the NE Season Opener Tri, my training has not gone that smoothly. I aggravated an old upper quad issue during a track workout before my calf had fully healed. I got a good long run and ride in last weekend but no fast training for the last 2 weeks. I was hoping this would be a perfect tune up for my HIM in mid-June. My mom and Sarah came up to cheer me on. We made it up in time to pick up numbers and drive the 5k run loop. I was off to ride one loop of the bike course (30k). Legs felt good with no quad issues that were bugging me all week.

Race morning:
Super small race with ~50 in the short coarse and ~27 starters (23 finishers) on the long coarse. Well organized race and transition area. The weather was nice and cool at 8am but no clouds and temps rising quickly. It was going to be hot. I get ~2mi warm up run. I wish Christina and Scott good luck on their race and get my transition area set and my final strides in. Quad is still feeling good.

Race: 10k run, 60k bike, 7.5k run

Run 1: (Goal ~6:00min/mi pace) A 5k loop with a couple short steep hills but mostly flat with ~1k on trails.
From the results last year, I figured I would be in the mix at least during the first run. I started leading the charge from the gun. I was quickly joined my 2 other runners with a couple a few steps behind. Mile 1 was at 5:50. A little fast but felt comfortable. The other two runners slowed a little so I back off too. We all seemed to know that it was going to be long day. Mile 2, 3 at 6:10, 6:13. I took the lead after trying to follow on the dirt trail. I forgot how hard it is to run at 6:00min/mi pace on trails without being able to see your footing. At the end of the 5k, I felt the pace was slowing so I took the lead again. I wanted to keep the pace honest in case we had some fast bikers hanging on. We dropped one runner so just the two of us. The second 5k was at ~6:10 pace. I take the lead going into the trail and into T1. The 2nd place guy is right on my heels.

10k - 38:00 (6:07 min/mi) 1/23

T1: Pretty quick. My new Giro is super tight to get on. I get out of T1 ahead of 2nd place guy and I am off.

Bike: (Goal - go hard and still have enough to run afterwards. My HIM goal is ~23mph but this coarse was hillier so ~21-22mph). One hill up to base of the ski area and then a long downhill off the base area and then down river. Turn around and back up the river. Almost no flats beside the start loop around the village.

The first 2-3k are flat/down hill. I try to get my legs back to normal and get some fluids in before the first hill. I hit the first hill pretty hard to separate myself from the chasers. On the downhill, I catch the lead car!!! I have to wave to get them ahead. I do not think they were expecting some one to go from 14mph uphill to 45mph downhill in about 1/4mile. I relax and go easy on the long downhill. I focus on keeping as aero as possible. Trying to drink all of my HEED before the bottom of the hill so I can exchange bottles. My stomach is not liking all the sugar. As I was not pushing too hard on the downhill, I was waiting for people to pass me but nobody came. Hit the bottom of the hill, grab a bottle of water and start pushing again. ~28mph on the downhill (down river) and ~17-18mph on the uphill (up river). Still feeling good. At the end of loop one, a little confusion on which way to go but luckily I pick the right way. (A kid at the intersection just waving his flag but in no direction!!!). I hit the hill to ski area hill hard again knowing that this is my last chance to put a lot of time on the others. I start feeling a little tired on the way down to the turn around. I am just in cruise mode and waiting to get passed. At the turnaround a see someone right behind me! Not sure where he came from. He motors away from me and try to keep close for the next mile but have nothing left. I am now starting to bonk! Crap. I have 10k more to bike (mostly up hill) and then 7.5k to run. Not good. I shift into an easy gear on start spinning. Another Gu and water to get the body going again. The next few miles hurt. No shade/temp rising and I kept thinking about how hard the run was going to be. Limp into T2 with no one passing me.

60k - 1:45:11 (21.3mph) 2/23

T2: Grab my water bottle. Shoes on and I am off.

Run2: (Goal - ~6:15 pace) Two laps of shortened 5k
I hit the run and my legs are actually moving but I know there is not that much left. I hit M1 6:42 and see the leader coming the other way. Only a min or 2 ahead! He yells across that he is in the relay and I am still in the lead. Sweet! M2 6:31 and baking in the sun and energy leaving me quickly. I see I have a good gap on 2nd/3rd place guys so try and hold steady pace. The wheels start to come off and I shuffle to M3 7:11. I only have under 2miles to go and a solid gap so hopefully my shuffle is fast enough. If they come then there is nothing I can do anyway! M4 7:05 and the last mile was just putting one foot in front of the other. It actually felt like my last 10k of my marathon where I went from 2:45 marathon pace to finishing in 3:01. I hit the finishing shoot with nobody behind me and break the tape for the win. They actually had a tape across the finish line. Pretty cool! I was completely dead.

7.5k - 31:58 (6:52) 3/23

Overall - 2:56:47 1/23 (win by a little over 2.5min)

Post race: Great to have Sarah and Mom cheering me on. Congrats to Christina and Scott on great results on the short coarse and thanks for cheering for me on the coarse and at the finish. No warm down at the race because I was so out of it but I did drag myself on the trainer at home for very very easy 45min.

Lesson learned:
Winning is great!
I need to either pace better on the bike or eat more food for my HIM


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