Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pier Duathlon- a day of firsts

Team Sports Bistro traveled down to Long Branch, NJ for the Pier Duathlon (a 2 mile run, 9.5 mile bike, then a 3 mile run).  Rob, Lindsay, Mike, and Ton spent the night nearby in NJ and woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5am to make it for the 7:30 start.  No trip to Jersey is complete without a WaWa's pit stop, but after that we were on our way.

The race was decent sized, about 350 competitors, but it felt very local and friendly, from packet pickup right before the race to an easy transition area (first come, first served!).  Rob saw his friendly competition from the office, and learned he came from a competitive track & field background.  Gulp.  We got our chips, racked our bikes, and barely had time for a 100m warmup before the start.  It was a mass start with no starting chip mat--hen the gun went off that was when your race began!

We lined up in the second row of competitors, about as close to the start as we felt comfortable.  Ton took a Hammer Gel, Rob popped a Gu, and Lindsay took her Gu Roctane (it's race time!).  As the gun went off, Mike took off, with Ton and Lindsay letting him go but keeping him in their sights. The out and back allowed everyone to see their position relative to everyone else. Mike's 12:33 set the new Team Sports Bistro pace record (6:16), albeit for only 2 miles.  Lindsay and Ton finished in a 6:40 pace and Rob ran into T2 at the 17 min mark.  The race was on!

Mike fumbled in T1 (transition from the run to the bike) as he chose to go without race laces and forgot to unpack his cycling shoes (oops!), but he was still the first team member on the bike.  Ton showed off his transition prowess by beating Lindsay out of T1 by more than a few seconds (even though they entered together) and it took her almost 2 miles to catch up on the bike.  It was Rob's first multisport race and he learned just how frantic transitions can be!

The bike course was 1 loop with a lot of 90 degree turns.  Clearly more practice is needed in cornering and powering through!  Mike started strong but around mile 3 felt a familiar stiffness in right hip and leg which made moving difficult.  Unfortunately these symptoms just started yesterday on his brutal 80 mile bike ride (no tapering here!) and had not abated.  It was clear injury was not too far away and he decided to do the smart thing and stop racing, soft pedal the rest of the course, and bow out of the race.  Unfortunate, as this was Mike's first DNF, but with bigger races coming up the risk was not worth any reward.  Even still, it took until miles 7-8 for Lindsay and Ton to catch up!  Mike is one to watch this season!

Lindsay caught and passed Ton around mile 2, but Ton kept her in his sights.  The roads weren't closed so there were occasional cars to deal with, but the course was flat and otherwise flat (except when facing the strong Jersey shore headwind!).  Lindsay passed 3 women on the bike and moved into 4th place.  The bike is her strongest leg and she was determined not to disappoint.  And props to Rob for completing his first ever bike race, after starting riding only a few weeks prior!  And for beating the co-worker on the bike! The nutrition for the Team was half-filled water bottles of Gu Brew, just enough to stay hydrated on the short race.

The second run was the same out and back as the first, just longer.  It was flat and fast, right along the beach on the pier.  People were much more spread out now.  1 guy had the victory locked up at this point and 2 women were battling it out for their first place (and $500!).  Lindsay was in 4th place for the women, but another woman was only about a minute behind her and gaining.  This was the last place guaranteed to take home prize money, so she wouldn't give up, running just under a 7 minute pace to pull out a 30 second victory over the 5th woman.  Ton was fast gaining on Lindsay too, but couldn't close the gap and finished about 40 seconds back.  Rob realized the difficulty of running off the bike, and the importance of brick workouts, and struggled to find his running legs.  A very familiar feeling to every multisporter.  Alas his co-worker passed him around mile 2 and ultimately claimed victory for the office, but Rob was happy to have taken the bike leg!

This was a race of firsts for Team Sports Bistro, The first duathlon for all, the first multisport/bike race for Rob, unfortunately the first DNF for Mike.  There were reason to celebrate too: Lindsay took 4th woman overall (and $100!) and Ton earned his first ever trip to the podium for 3rd in his age group and a nifty trophy.  Congrats Team Sports Bistro and all Pier Du competitors- we'll be back!

No comments:

Post a Comment