Thought I was running late for the Blankets Creek Dirty Duathlon. I got there at a little after 7. Transition closed at 8, race meeting at 8:30 and race at 9. Well, as it turned out, I was like the 10th bike in transition. I could have slept later.
I was talking with a few guys. We could have had the meeting at 8:05 and started the race at 8:15. A little bit of “hurry up and wait.” Overall the race was well put on and most folk seemed to have a good time.
I was in the 3rd wave, 40 to 59 year old men. We took of with a bang and I was out front briefly, and then this guy pulled even. I was joking around with him talking about being old, and he told me he was 48 too. He pulled ahead and I tucked in behind him. A 100 meters later I said “pffffftt” just let him go. He vanished. I was hoping he was a runner and maybe not a good cyclist. Yeah, right.
At about ¾ of a mile a guy in blue tucked in behind me and we ran together for maybe a mile and a half. He finally came around and told me to yell if I wanted to pass. I just let him lead and then let him drift away. At about mile 3 I had two guys come from behind and one was saying to the other “I feel like a knife is sticking in my side. Go ahead!” Another guy in blue past me and me and knife guy ran together. I finally let him go while trying to back off a conserve a little energy. At the end of the run, two or three guys got by me. I finished the run in maybe 6th or 7th in my wave, at best 2nd in the 45-49 age group. I had no idea because we did not have ages marked on our shins like we do at almost all triathlons. I only knew one guy was definitely my age.
After a quick transition, I was off on the bike. I had ridden at Blanket’s before, but do not remember seeing some of these trails. A couple guys past me as we headed for and up Hurl Hill. Coming off that we were moving down a rough trail that took a sharp left. Knife guy on the run had warned me about that as we chatted. He did not mention I could have died. I was behind one guy and had 2 or 3 following. We hit the left hairpin turn. There were two EMT’s standing in the turn. The guy in front of me could not follow his line and wrecked. I locked up the wheels and screamed “wreck” to the guys behind me. I put one foot down, cut inside him and then ended up on the outside of the trail. That was where the huge drop-off was. And the trail was not dirt, but what looked like rock building up what used to be dirt. To hold me on the trail if I miss-judged the turn was some yellow, plastic ribbon. I was trying to get my foot clicked back into the pedal while simultaneously trying not to piss myself. (Later there was yet another section with a drop-off with rocks and roots obstructing a skinny trail). Very scary to this triathlete who usually rides smooth roads.
A few more guys got by me on the first section of trail, the Van Michael section. We hit the Dwelling Loop, which was a little less technical, and I could hold my speed. By this time the race had stretched out and I was pretty much on my own. A couple guys caught me, but I had no idea which wave they were from, or which age group. That was again an issue with not having ages marked on calves. You really had no idea of who was who. Relays, multiple waves and multiple age groups were all tossed together and you had no idea of what was going on. I had started cramping at the end of the Van Michael section and it was getting worse, so I figured I would just keep the pace as high as I could and hope to crack top 5 in my age group.
While this type of riding is not my strong suit- lots of accelerating- the new 29er was doing great. It was just rolling over everything. The Avid disc brakes were squealing a bit, but this is common for Avid Juicys. The front derailleur had some rub, and was a bit out of adjustment. However, I was happy as could be. I am glad I cut down the handlebars, as there were some narrow sections I barely made it through at speed.
I hit the final section, South Loop, and was moving along. There was lots of weaving, but not much climbing. When I exited from there onto the short fire trail, I heard 3 guys behind me, so I punched it when it flattened out. I flew by one guy and just gunned it. After about 30 seconds I looked back and nobody was there, which was good because then the cramps really hit! I rode them out and finished. Maybe I had a top 5 age group!
First thing I did was to start looking for the 48 year-old who ran away from me. I could not see him. I thought back but could not remember passing him. Where was he? I saw some other guys I raced with and was talking with them. Nobody could remember seeing this guy after he ran away from us. I packed up, loaded the bike onto the car and went back to the transition. Lisa, the race director, announced that preliminary results were posted. I went up to look. The guy who ran away from me could indeed bike. He put 4 minutes on me on the run, but 13 on the bike. Holy crap! I was second age group! Yeah! But the guy had just destroyed me. Then I saw he was circled as first overall. He destroyed a whole lot of people! Damn! I checked to see how close 2nd was to me. I had him by 9 minutes. Oops, I could have eased way up! After the fast guy was moved to 1st overall, I assumed 1st age group. I would have placed top ten in the 40-44 age group, so not too bad. However, a 50-59 age group guy beat me, so not too good. I did not get chicked!
The 48 year-old who took first was not at the award ceremony. He probably was at home showering. I think he was eating at the Waffle House by the time I finished. Awesome race by the guy! I picked up a free registration for the next Dirty Duathlon in Canton during the month of October. I can use that.
All in all a great, fun race. I was very pleased with my performance. I am not in good shape and have done very little running over the winter. This was a new bike I have only ridden for about 15 miles. I will take it and be happy!