Desert Classic Duathlon Race Report

So the second race of the year is in the books and I have mixed emotions about it...more on this later. It's been a crazy week. I spent most of it in Vegas for a work conference, which made it difficult to get any type of training in. Even though I like the Swimmers Guide which tells you where and what type of pools are located throughout the world -they sometimes can be inaccurate. I stayed at the Hilton and it indicated that they have a 25 yard lap pool. Come to find out, they have a pool---but it was sectioned off and I wasn't able to swim. Then, to just get in the gym it cost $25 bucks. It's funny, just a year ago -when I'd travel, I would check out The Beer Mapping Project to see where the beer was---now I'm looking for pools....Anyway,  I ended up only working out one day and then had 2 days off - which might have been a good thing, since I still had that nagging calf pain.

Friday I flew back in town, picked up the kids and headed out for Phoenix. The kids did surprisingly well except for the last 30 mins where they both screamed. For those of you parents - it's hard to think straight when it is that loud and you want to comfort them and you're trying to follow directions and obey speed laws. The last one didn't happen and I see lights go on behind us. Great. We were 2 miles from our 300 mile destination. The cop rolls up to our Honda Element with screaming kids and he looks at me and asks how fast I was going. I look up - not even knowing what I did at this point - I give him my license/registration and a few minutes later (with the kids louder now) he comes back and says, "I clocked you at 69 in a 50 mph zone, slow down." And he left....Man he must of had kids - cause from what I hear, the cops are pretty strict and don't like us Californians. Lucky. Maybe the rest of the week will go this way...

The next day Eric and I went for an easy run and then later we headed out to the course to check it out with Irving. The wind was kicking up so hard, you couldn't see the mountains and the forecast had rain coming. We went over the course for about 30 mins on our bikes - and I was amazed at how light and responsive The Mistress was with it's new (loaned) wheels. It felt like a completely different bike and I realize now how much of a difference lighter wheels can have on a bike. We didn't go over the whole course because the rain really started to come down, so we grabbed a few beers and called it a day.

Race morning: Woke up around 5:30, put on my bib number ate four eggs, a banana, a cup of coffee and then start sipping on some water. We arrived, set up our transition area, hit the bathroom and it was time to warm-up and get going. It all seemed to happen really fast and before I knew it the gun went off for the first 3.5 mile run.

3.5 mile Trail Run: As always, one guy sprinted to the front, I kinda just let him go -figuring he'd eventually just come back. I settled into 2nd place and we moved away from the pack pretty quickly. Then about 3/4 mile in, we went down a muddy hill and I felt my calf tweak again (insert swear word). I hadn't run on it in about a week, hoping it would heal in time for the race. Sharp pain occurred every time my right foot struck.
This happened for the next mile and I was seriously considering dropping out. Then I tried to just focus on cadence and just make it to the bike and see what happens. So I just started limping my way through the trails and after about the 1st mile marker we hit some serious traffic. Slow age groupers everywhere from the last few wave starts. The trail was all single track so it made it real difficult to get through these slow packs. I literally must have past 40-60 runners, bumping many of them, yelling at them that I was behind them -with no response. This made it pretty frustrating. The officials must have figured the mountain bike race would be full of slow runners...Dunno.
Result: 21:43 (6:10 pace), 2nd place overall

15 mile Mountain Bike: I arrived to transition with my calf on fire. I was in and out pretty fast and maintained my 2nd position. I knew the bike was going to be a bit of a struggle especially since it was just 15 miles of rolling single track, which is definitely my weakness. I'm more of a long climbing, technical course kind of guy. After about 5 miles, the first guy passed me and he was moving - I tried to keep up with him, but he was just on another level than I was. Then three other guys passed me over the course of the next 10 miles. I had some serious cramping issues occurring at around mile 9. Every time I tried to climb, both calves started cramping up so I had to dismount and walk my bike up the hills because every time I ran, they would cramp up. I have no idea why - I was good on my nutrition - I had 3 shot bloks and a bottle full of Nunn and Carbo Pro. Maybe that wasn't enough? The same thing happened to me at the TRI Rock last year - calf cramps. Maybe it's my pedals? Cleats? Anybody want to share some insight? I finally made it to transition and as soon as I dismounted, I couldn't even run to my area -my calves were a disaster. My wife and kids cheered me in, only for me to scream in pain when I attempted to put my running shoes on. I had to stretch a bit and gather myself. Love the hurt! Finally, I headed out for my next run.
Result: 59:40 (9 mph), 5th place overall

3 mile Trail Run: At this point we merged with the road bike race again back onto the trail. At this point I didn't mind the traffic. I needed the distractions. My calves were cramping, my right calf still burned and even my quad started acting up. Already I was thinking to myself how out of shape I was and how much work I needed to do to get ready for the Xterra West Championships in April. I continued to pass about 25 more people and at about mile 2 I got a huge rock in my shoe. Of course I did....I stopped, took it out and tried to catch back up with a pack. With about 1/2 mile to go I saw a guy I recognized from my race, so in attempt to discourage him from wanting to put up a fight, I picked up the pace and went by him fast--trying not to limp or look as weak as I felt. It worked and I ended up finishing 4th overall and 1st in my age group.
Result: 20:48 (6:58 pace) 4th overall

Finishing up a rough day...

My biggest fans!

All three of us were top 3 in our age group, so we stuck around in rain for the awards and raffle. It was pretty cool, I got a $25 Gift Certificate to TRI Sports and a coffee mug. Afterwards we headed to Four Peaks Brewery for some much needed food and beers. I highly recommend it if you are in the Tempe area. The food, beer and service was excellent. Not to mention the company. I think my favorite thing is to race hard and then go get beers with friends and family afterwards. It helps enhance a great performance and makes a bad race not seem so bad after all. Even though my placing says otherwise, I felt like I had a bad race and have a lot of work to do. My pre-race planning/training was bad, my nutrition was definitely off and my single track skills are lacking. Learning experience!

After we got back to the house, we iced our legs in Eric's pool and hung out. Time to rest a little for this weekends mountain bike race at Kenda's Sage brush. I know I have work to do on the MTB and back to back weekends of hard mountain bike racing is just what I need before gearing up for my first triathlon of the year at In the Dirt next month.

Thanks for reading-


jameson said...

awesome race... even with the calf issues. can't wait to check out Four Peaks next time i am in town!

Rachela said...

love the post and pictures brother :) this post makes MY calfs hurt :)

James Adams said...

Thanks dude, Raj IPA is a must!

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