The Nationals Duathlon course was a 10km run, 70km bike and a final 10km run, all pancake flat on the Eastern Shore but with an almost guaranteed wind. Having ridden the course the previous two weekends, I knew which way the winds would be coming from and planned the race strategy accordingly. Looking at the field in the weeks leading up to the race, it looked like a who's who of Duathlon but to be honest being 4th in the 30-34 age group last year down at Powerman Alabama had me thinking that the podium was within reach in the 35-39 AG this year.
|Heading to T1 Photo Courtesy: Sarah Banks|
I entered T1 in 8th after a 35:25mins (5:43min/miles) 10km run.
Duathlon transitions are nice and easy without the hassle of a wetsuit and it was out quickly onto the 70km (43.3 mile bike) on the Parvilla Cycle & Multisport supplied Guru CR9.01. Again the course was an out and back for 2 laps, with the back having the headwind. This meant that we were all flying out of T1 with the wind at our backs. The plan was to stick to my Peaks Coaching Group approved power strategy, averaging 256 watts throughout, an Intensity Factor of 0.85 and minimizing the Variation Index. Flat courses make this task much easier and I hit the first 17.75km turnaround averaging 261 watts. In that time I had kept a few guys within view as "rabbits" and had passed a couple of riders while also being passed by a couple. The return leg into the headwind was much the same....averaging 257 watts but at a slower speed. The Intensity Factor was right there at 0.85 (based upon my FTP of 300 watts) and the Variation Index was hovering at 1.02 (within 2% of the average power at all times). This power output was giving me a 24MPH average and turned around for the 2nd lap feeling good despite the wind having kicked in as it always does on the Shore.
Due to the nature of the course the 2nd lap was pretty much a replica of the first - average power at 256watts. Nutritionally I was spot on with Hammer Nutrition Electrolytes, Fizz (made into a 450 calorie bottle with CarboPro) and a Hammer Gel just 20mins from finishing the bike. The last few miles I had a fellow 35-39 AG'er gradually catch and pass me and I kept him close as we came into T2. I knew that I was sitting 2nd in AG as the leader of the race overall although being my age was a Professional so wouldn't be included in the National results.
|Coming into T2 Photo Courtesy: Bobbi Whisman|
|Rounding the last corner Photo Courtesy: Sarah Banks|
2nd Run Time 38:54mins (6:17min/miles) 10km run
|Crossing the line as National Champion for Age Group 35-39 Photo Courtesy: Bobbi Whisman|
So, 2012 National Age Group Champion for the Long Course Duathlon......it's pretty cool to be able to say that but honestly it is even better to be back racing at a high level after a 2011 season that was disappointing. And above all, it gives me some confidence heading into Eagleman 70.3 this coming weekend.