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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 Rye by the Sea Duathlon

This past weekend I decided to step outside my comfort zone and try the Rye by the Sea Duathlon in Rye NH (run-bike-run event). I'm guessing it's been 20+ years since the last time I did one. Back in the mid to late 80's they were fairly popular and I recall doing quite a few, mostly in Vermont. But that was before Al Gore invented the internet so I have no physical proof of this (other than my sharp as a tack memory). In case you were wondering, I haven't been doing any stealth training gearing up for this either. First, I decided last week to do it and second, I have a grand total of less than 150 miles accrued on my road bike over the last 3 years. Oh yeah, I was ready!

Shiny Red bike on the end is mine!
I headed over to Rye fairly early (8am start time). The registration and parking was about 1/3 mile from the actual race site so logistically it required just a bit more time plus I wanted extra time to check out the transition area. Andy Schachat (Announcers on the Run) was setting up and gave me an overview of the transition area. It was a first come first served transition area, meaning you could rack your bike anywhere. Being early has it's advantages. After setting up my bike and gear I met up with fellow GCS runner Joe Rogers and headed out on the 5k course for a warm up. I heard the run course had been poorly marked in the past and we both wanted to make sure we knew what to expect. I guess they've also had multiple variations of the run course and this year would be no different, with a slightly different course from last year. Other than the first turn into the woods, the course was well marked and easy to follow. Roughly 2 miles were on trails and 1 mile on the road. We would run this loop twice during the race, but in different directions each time.

The weather was absolutely PERFECT and you couldn't have asked for a better day (well, maybe a little less wind). A scan of the bikes in the transition area (and the athletes at the starting line) indicated there was a good mix of serious athletes, weekend warriors and average Joes. I tucked into the second row and waited for the gun. At 8am sharp we were off. The first 5k run started with a mile on the road which gave everyone plenty of time to settle into position before hitting the tighter trails of the woods. I was running comfortably hard and hit the first mile in 5:50 (no idea if the markers were accurate), probably in the top 20 or so. I picked off a few more runners and eventually came into the transition area with a time of 18:23 (12th fastest split).

I had practiced my transitions from running shoes to bike shoes (and back) at home so I was generally pleased with my transitions. It took 1:04 to run to my bike, swap shoes, put on my helmet and push my bike to the exit and clip in to the pedals. Once on the bike we headed just about due north for about 6-7 miles before looping back south along the ocean on beautiful Route 1A for another 7 miles, then heading northwest the final 3 miles to the transition area. Generally, head/cross winds for the first 6-7 and the last 3 miles and tail winds for the 7 miles along the ocean. I thought I was riding well until rider after rider flew by, getting passed by 15+ bikes while passing zero. Ugh. Although I averaged just under 20mph, my bike split ranked 49th overall and put me in a huge hole.

I cranked my second transition, racking my bike, changing my shoes and exiting the transition area in 30 seconds. I began reeling in runners immediately on the 2nd 5k run. My legs were obviously tired but I was determined to catch the 'pack' of runners who passed me on the bike. Drafting is illegal in duathlons but I was passed by a peloton of 6 riders about 5 miles from the finish of the bike. Cheaters. It took a few miles but I caught every one of them and then some (12-14 total I think). My second 5k split was 28 seconds faster than my first in 17:55 and was the 7th fastest split of the day.

My 1:29:07 was good enough for 21st overall (183 total) and 4th in my age group (results). Overall I had a great time. This was a lot of fun! Yes, my bike split needs work but I was very pleased with my runs, especially my 2nd 5k. I will definitely try this again.