After a forced extended leave of absence and only 5 weeks of training since then, I was running out of time in my preparations for the national duathlon championships this September. Although not even remotely feeling sharp and despite fighting my way through rather sluggish workouts over the last 10 days I had little options but to start racing again.
And so I picked the Belwood duathlon as the site of my comeback mostly because of the timing but also because I’ve raced on the course several times before.
Since I wasn’t really treating it as a race per se, I didn’t really bother prepping things until the last minute (ie at 11pm Saturday night as opposed to the usual 10pm :-p). And of course, being the wise man I am, I decided to tinker with my TT bike setup (kids, I’m a trained professional. Don’t try this at home unless you have someone else to do it while you get some sleep). In my defense, I recently acquired the bike and it was the first time I was using the TT water bottle on it. Unfortunately the bottom was touching the front wheel and I tried to rectify the problem by raising the headset. That of course meant I had to change the seat height and position. And since all the cables were already pretty tight, I had to loosen the brake cables. Unfortunately the changes also affected the shifting, and rather than tinker with the derailleurs (and considering it was past midnight) I decided to revert to the original position and stuck pieces of plastic between the water bottle and TT bars. Problem solved!!
The alarm rang at 5:25am and after a light breakfast of deep fried lard, polish sausages, 5 eggs and half a dozen toasts, all washed down with a gallon of milk (just kidding. The lard wasn’t deep-fried) and I was out the door by 6:15am.
I didn’t think there ever was a time when you could say the traffic was light on the 401, but apparently the only other people foolish enough to venture out on a Sunday at 6:30am had bikes in or on their car.
I arrived in Belwood around 7:30am and quickly went to rack my bike in transition. Unfortunately the best spots had already been taken and I had to settle for a spot a bit further away from the exit.
I did a short warm up on the bike to make sure the it was still holding up after all the tinkering of the previous night and followed it up with a run over the first leg of the race.
I had a quick shot of espresso (espresso flavored Gu gel that is) and off we were.
I found myself in the lead right off the gun, and after about 400m had cleared away from the field. By the 1km turnaround I had a good 10sec on the next group, and gradually increased that lead heading into transition.
I felt little urgency there and took my time changing but still was the first man out on the bike. What can I say: This is only my 2nd duathlon this season so I’m still entitled to be a rookie :-p. I’ll definitely need to practice this part before nationals.
The bike leg went pretty well. I was maintaining a heart rate of 165-170, which is a good hard tempo effort but within my comfort zone. No need to go ballistic on my first race back. I was testing out my newly acquired Pearl Izumi Tri R3 shoes for the first time. Overall I was pretty happy with them.
I came into transition in second place, a few seconds behind, but quickly took the lead again within the first hundred meters of the second run.
I was surprisingly feeling light footed, albeit a bit tired. I just haven’t been doing much running since my time off. I kept the heart rate around 165-170 and crossed the line comfortably somewhere ahead of second place.
All in all I was pretty happy with how the race went and how easy it felt. My only adversary now is time heading into nationals.