10 weeks away from your next race can feel like forever, so after racing a Sprint in Richmond in mid-June, I toyed with the idea of one more test race in the lead up to USAT Nationals. Finding something local that fit my schedule was key and decided to wait until the week of and see how my training was going before signing up for the Maryland Duathlon Olympic Distance (specific course 2R/26B/4R).
Since my last sprint tri canceled the swim, I was now doing back to back duathlon races. I feel more confident than ever in my run, and with the addition of a new bike that I was planning on getting last year before 70.3 Worlds but just didn’t get around to it, I know I was going to have a good training race. The primary reasons for adding the race so late in the game was get the bike fit dialed in and really working my bike to run for Nationals in the heat. I also realized that there was price money at this race and went to sign up for what I thought was the open division to be in the running for it. As I found out the hard way, open men is not synonymous to open division or elite. But now to the race recap.
Another enjoyable 4:30am wake-up call to drive out 40min to Columbia where the Maryland Duathlon was taking place. It was an unconventional Olympic Distance 2mile run, 26mile bike, 4mile run and it was pretty hilly. The last few months I have been training all around the Maryland and Virginia and getting some great practice on the hills so this course nothing new to me. Definitely the best thing about the duathlon is you can setup your transition area in 3mins and you’re ready to race.
Once all setup, I did a warmup with Tori in the neighboring streets the race site; almost a full 20min and planned it right this time to make the start on time. The Elite wave, which I should have been in, went off at 7am, open men’s 3 minutes later at 7:03. I took the lead immediately from the first 1/4mile. First mile downhill was a speedy 5:13, next mile up was a 6:40, the 2mile course ended being about long 0.1miles (11:56 for 2.1mile). Entering transition I caught some elite men and women and was out quickly to attack the 2x 13mile loops rolling hills bike course.
A few days before the race, I did some threshold efforts to help me dial in my bike fit. I was very happy during the race with my seat and aerobar reach adjustments. I will most likely make additional changes as I get closer to Nationals in 3 weeks. My pedal stroke was smooth on the climbs and efforts felt controlled. I enjoyed pushing the rolling hills breathing in the smelly fresh country air. I came through the first loop in 35min and then bairly negative split the 26.5miles in 1:07:48. At the end of the bike leg, I passed a number of elite wave racers and came into transition ready to tackle the hilly 4mile double loop.
It was pretty warm on Sunday, in the 90’s and a ton of humidity by the time the race got under way. I had planned to aim for 6min/miles but at mile 2 a quad cramp slowed me down. I took in some fluids and some GU Roctane and carbs mix I was running with and went back at it on the second loop. I passed a few more people and finished the .22mile long course in 26:35 (6:18mile/pace). Total time was 1:48:16, about 7min ahead of the next Open Men’s finisher. I stood in the finish line shoot and congratulated all the runner as they came in. I then went for a quick cool down.
This was a training race for me but there a slight disappointment that I had not signed up in the correct division and gotten to battle for the prize money. In the end 1st Overall in the open men’s and 4th overall including elite wave is a great result. Focus from here on out is pushing the bike to run. I always try to have fun and be thankful I am able to keep striving for greater goal. That means a lot more hours and a whole ton calories and electrolytes…had to go buy the Family Cheez-It Box yesterday, just eat so many these days!!