Monday, May 18, 2009

NETT multisporters Du the Du this weekend

A couple Mini Ponies headed out (in opposite directions) this weekend to represent in New England area duathlons with typically impressive results.

First up, Adrienne Cyrulik kicked complete butt at the Shamrock Duathlon (I doubt she wore the leprechaun costume!) in Glastonbury, Conn. Adrienne finished 84th overall and sixth in her age group in 1:46. Great job Adrienne.

Meanwhile, Frank KJ headed up North to New Hampshire to du the Black Bear Duathlon with great results. Here's Frank's report:

Several times in my 13 seasons of multisport racing I have been close to giving up on swimming and focusing entirely duathlon. Two reasons have repeatedly kept me from going that route; the joy and challenge of swimming open water and the shortage of duathlon races, particular long-distance races.

One of my dreams is to one day race at Powerman Zofingen – a classic duathlon in Switzerland with an 8K run, a 120K bike and 30K run some of which are on trails. This race used to bigger and more prestigious than IM Hawaii. While that race is still on my to-do list, I had the opportunity to do a long-distance duathlon today in Waterville Valley. Ironically it turns out the race was organized by Jan Buitenberg who used to organize and race the Powerman Zofingen back in its hey days. He even knew some of the Danish duathletes I used to train with.

Black Bear Duathlon is a two day event. Saturday was short course (5K/30K/5K) and Sunday was long-course (10K/60K/5K). I woke up 3:40am and drove through shower after shower to Waterville Valley where the clouds were hanging low and the temperature was in the low 50s. Despite that it was obvious to me from the drive up along Mad River that this would be a great venue and a fantastic course.

The showers continued on off until 8am so everybody was ready and eager to get started with the first run on time. The first run, a relative flat two loop course, went behind the lodge, past the golf course, and finished with 1/3 mile on a trail right next to a streaming creek. Probably one of the most beautiful run courses I have ever tried in tri/du race. I had a great run finishing the 10K in just over 38 minutes and in 3rd position.

The bike leg turned out to be even more challenging than I had expected. After just ½ mile the course turns right off Rt. 49 and we have to a 1.5M 5% climb up to the ski lift. With the run still in your legs it’s quite painful. The downhill on the other hand is exhilarating with speeds around 40 mph down a bumpy road – in the aerobars of course. Back on Rt. 49 the downhill continues at a more reasonable but with the wind coming down from the mountain I am still able to push 26-32 mph. At the turnaround point I am still in 3rd place about a minute back the two leaders. Question is: can they climb? Answer: one can, one not so much. The 7 mile climb is fairly gradual at around 2-3% but with the headwind it is tough to push beyond 17-18 mph so it still takes me the entire climb to finally catch number 2. The other guy proves too strong and he increases his lead over me to 2:30. Oh and I forgot to mention the bike leg is two loops as well – including the climb up to the ski lift. I have a good second loop – keeping the same pace as on the first leg - increasing my leg over my pursuer. The lead person is almost 5 minutes ahead of me as return to T2.

Although it hasn’t rained on the entire bike leg the cold temperatures and wet roads have done the damage. My feet are soaked and completely numb so the second run feels like running on stone. Ouch. Luckily, my 2nd place is secure so I don’t have to race but can run steadily to the finish line.

Afterwards, I learn that the guy who won is only 19 years old. That’s a pretty solid bike split for such a young guy, especially since his background is in lacrosse and soccer. More interesting (to me) is that the guy I beat in 3rd place is Luc Morin – a professional triathlete from Canada ( I can now add that to my multisport bio. End result 2nd overall and a great experience.

This was the inaugural race so only about 100 people raced the short course and only about 50 people the long course. With the great venue, fantastic run and bike course and a well-organized event, I hope this race will be back next year. And hopefully more Mini Ponies will join. Paul and Jerry can totally demolish any contenders on the bike leg."

Thanks Frank.

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