Monday, November 23, 2009

Cape Henry Duathlon

Last weekend I participated in my second duathlon, the Cape Henry Duathlon in the Virgina Beach area. For those unfamiliar with this event, this is a run-bike-run event. In this particular case it was a 5k run followed by a 20 mile bike ride (32k actually) followed by a second 5k run. I thought that this would be a fun event that would allow me to train for my upcoming half marathon but also continue riding.

DH went with me and we drove up to Virginia Beach on Friday. Packet pickup was on Friday due to the fact that the event was held on Fort Story which is an army base. After we picked up my race packet, we walked around the boardwalk for a bit and the decided to look for a place for dinner. We decided on pizza or Italian and ended up a YNot Pizza which was really good. I would definitely go back there. I had stromboli which was very good and we got some Italian cookies to go. We got some coffee and had cookies and coffee in the hotel that evening.
On Saturday morning we made our way over to Fort Story and I set up my transition area. I was glad DH got to see the transition area because I wasn't sure that my description was doing it justice. I set up a my transition towel with my bike shoes, bike helmet, shades and made sure that I had my water bottle on the bike, etc. I pointed out the mount/dismount line to DH as well. Earlier I made sure that my bike was in a good starting gear.

The first run went well. I was faster than I expected but I don't think that I overdid it. The route was interesting and I enjoyed running by the two lighthouses on base. I saw DH as I was heading to the transition area. T1 went well and I got on the bike and headed out for my three laps on the bike course.

The course was mostly flat but quite windy. Each of our laps went by the lighthouses which was neat. I saw DH on the course and he got a few pictures too! I was pleased with how the bike section went and headed into T2.

The race organizers also had a lot of people on the run and bike routes to cheer for us. That really gave the event a festive atmosphere.

T2 went pretty well but felt a lot slower than T1. This is weird because it was actually faster than T1. I guess that it's faster to get off the bike and put on running shoes that vice versa. Plus I must have been getting tired. By now everyone was really strung out so I was more or less alone on the second run. The second 5k route was the same as the first one. I was pleased with my time. I was not as fast as during the first 5k but was quite respectable. I passed a few people on the run but I was also passed by a few. I knew that I just needed to going at my own pace.

I was so excited. I can do this!

DH met me at the finish line. I got some water and checked the results. My results were not posted yet so we walked down to the after-race party. They had BBQ and a few other things (DH had my beer) and then I walked back to check the results. DH asked if I was ready to go yet and I looked at the results and said, "No! We have to go the the awards." I got second place in my age group!

We went back to the BBQ area and I got a very nice award -- a custom welded lighthouse sculpture that is quite tasteful!

The army personnel were terrific hosts. There were a lot of people to process us through the check point and direct traffic. The area of the base where the race was held was essentially closed to traffic which was great!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spooktacular Halloween ride

On Saturday I participated in the Habitat for Humanity Halloween bike ride.

To prepare for the ride I wanted to replace the cleats on my cycling shoes and get some cleat covers. They had gotten worn during Cycle North Carolina and I really probably should have replaced them sooner. I went to my local bike shop and they went to replace the cleats. Uh oh! Trouble! The hole in the shoe where the new cleats needed to be attached -- stripped! Doing the Halloween ride with one shoe did not seem like an option. I ended up leaving the shop as the proud owner of new bike shoes and new cleats. The cleat covers were out of stock.

My friends and I registered for the 100 mile route. Unfortunately, we got up to misty, drizzly, rainy weather. The radar showed no precipitation and the forecast had been for clearing overnight and some clouds and sun -- not misty, drizzle conditions.

I unloaded my bike and went to test my new shoes and could. not. clip. in. Oh no! OK, I did a test ride around the parking area and the shoes were attaching but not like normal. I found my riding friends -- even Chris who had been sick -- and we were off but only after waiting 5-10 minutes in the rain while some stragglers who were doing the same day registration were getting ready. I had a hard time clipping in at the start but I was able to stay with the group. We thought Chris was with us but we lost him somewhere. Then we saw him briefly at the mile 25 rest stop and lost him again. He said that he ended up doing the 62 mile route.

Overall the ride was pretty good. The people that I was with were in a good mood about the weather and we ended up taking it at an off season long ride kind of pace that felt appropriate to the conditions. We were a small group of four -- Doug and Tom who I planned to ride with and one other rider that joined us along the way. At one point I moaned that I really wanted the sun to come out, I was sick of being wet and my back was getting cold. That became a case of be careful what you wish for, the sun came out and the wind picked up. We ended up doing the 25 or so mile into the wind!

Many thanks to Doug and Tom for riding with me!