Race Report: 2010 OC Duathlon

This past weekend, I participated in the OC Duathlon, the Southwest Regional Duathlon Championship. After racing triathlons for five years I had yet to participate in a duathlon, at least not any official ones (I’ve been in several races where the organizers were forced to cancel the swim and replace it with a short run) and I felt like a duathlon this week would be a good addition to my triathlon training.

If you aren’t familiar with the duathlon, it is a sport that includes run portion, a cycling portion, followed by another running portion. “Biathlon” probably would be a more appropriate name but those damned arm-bearing cross-country skiers coined the term long before the duathlon came to be.

The OC Duathlon race begins in Mission Viejo, CA, completes a 5k run, transitions to a 38k bike on the historic course that was used in the 1984 Olympic cycling race, and finishes off with a second 5k run.

In spite of having an annoying cold/cough all week, I decided to do this race anyways. I was still coughing and my lungs probably weren’t in the best shape for this race but besides that, I was feeling good as the 7:00 a.m. start time drew near. The race had one mass start so I positioned myself just behind the front row of cross-country specialists and lightning fast tri/du guys. Among that group was former U.S. Olympian triathlete and Nova Masters swim coach, Julie Swail Ertel.

The start gun blasted and I started off at a manageable pace, avoiding the temptation to stay up front with faster runners and risk using up all my legs too early. The run was an out and back which gradually descended to the turn around which made for fast times on the way down but a somewhat tiring gradual climb on the way back. I completed the first run in 21:24 (about a 6:50/mile pace), moved quickly through transition, and was then on the bike, headed up the first climb.

About three miles into the race I learned something valuable that I couldn’t have learned in a triathlon. I got out of the saddle on a climb to pass someone and felt some fatigue in my hamstrings. In my opinion, this abnormal fatigue was a direct result of a hard run right before I got on the bike.  Typically I spend more time out of the saddle on climbs than I probably should and this was obvious and scientific proof that my running legs are directly affected by this activity. In the future, especially in triathlon, I will stay seated more often while on the bike so I can have more strength left in my legs for the run. Apparently diverse experience can teach you a thing or two about triathlon.

I didn’t feel perfect on the bike but at about mile 10, I hit my rhythm and began to feel pretty strong. I came in off the bike, had another fast transition back into my runners, and hit the road.

I felt good on run number two but was nervous that it was an illusion because the first 1.5 miles were downhill; I’d know how fatigued I really was when I made the turn around. I made the turn around and still felt pretty good. I crossed the finish line with a total time of 1:50:14 and the 6th place spot in my age group.

Overall it was a very fun day. Nobody got hurt, I was satisfied with my performance, and my wife Elise also had a good race, finishing 5th in her age group with a time of 02:06:55.

Upcoming races in the next month include the Over The Hump mountain bike race series (6/1, 6/8) and Ironman Boise 70.3 (6/12). Stay tuned for upcoming race reports.

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One Response to Race Report: 2010 OC Duathlon

  1. Mike G says:

    amazing job. congrats on the race.

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