Tuesday, August 01, 2006

World Duathlon, July 29

I truly had the race of my life at World’s. Corner Brook put on an amazing event and the town turned out to cheer us on. The weather leading up to the race was hot and humid. Race day came and we were met with rain and lots of it.

I accepted the conditions immediately and began to think about how I needed to alter my race plan on the bike. There was one area on the bike where the turns would be a challenge given the wet conditions and newly paved and painted intersection.

Leading up to race day I ran and rode the course and made my pace plan. Both the run and bike were hilly which would be a benefit to me. I decided to run the first 10km conservatively and put more effort into the bike. In past duathlons, I have always ran the 10km hard and got on the bike with my legs full of lactic acid. For this race I decided to ease back to allow me to ride harder and also be more alert and focused on the bike given the conditions. My strategy paid off.

The run course had two climbs and as it was a loop course, two downhills. I led the first lap of the 4 lap run course and then eased back on the second lap. I planned on running the downhills hard and the work the uphills but not hammer them; which is a hard thing for me to do as I am a strong uphill runner. At the turn around on the first lap, I was leading a pack of four women who were about 20 seconds back. When I relaxed they came up on me and passed me. I did not react. On the third lap, the 4 women were truly racing each other and throwing in surges which I felt was the wrong thing to be doing on this course. By the fourth lap, without altering my race plan, I caught back up to the pack. We essentially entered transition together.

The bike was 4 laps and a challenging course. It consisted of two pylon turns, one long uphill, one short uphill and one area where there were two sharp quick turns right after each other. As the course was a loop course the terrain would be the opposite as described at the turnarounds. The rain did not let up and with every lap the rain got harder. However, it was humid and warm so temperature was not an issue. I had a great first lap. The second lap, with the amount of water on the road, I had some difficulty managing the two sharp turns. Scared me quite a bit and I eased back on that section considerably on the third lap. I lost two positions by doing this. On the fourth lap, I hammered and almost lost control of the bike as my front wheel began to skid, but I focused on weight distribution (thanks Rob!) and stayed calm and made the corner. Crossed my heart right after! Made the climb up into transition and had a great second transition.

The run would be two laps and I held back nothing. I ran as hard as I could. I ended up passing people that caught me on the bike. I knew I had second spot. The result was a silver medal.

This was my best placing at World’s and my best performance. When I competed at Canadian Nationals back in 2001 in my first duathlon, where my running was substantially stronger, my performance was a minute slower. I am so happy as the Corner Brook course was tough. Final time: 2:16:51.

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