Barking Dog 2011

The Barking Dog Duathlon is usually one of my favorite races of the year, partially because of the location and also because I tend to do well at it. This year the weather was great! In the past it has been one of the colder races with lots of wind and or rain, but today it was sunny and beautiful. With a little bit of embrocation on the legs, knee warmers weren’t needed, so that sped up the transitions as well.
Unlike last week, I was actually organized for this race.  I  got there early enough to have a lazy setup, get my race packet, warm up well, hit the porta-potties a couple times, change my gear as it was hotter than expected, stretch out some, check my tire pressure, and do a final warmup before hitting the start line.

picture near the start of the race

Near the start of the race, running a bit stiff legged

picture of passing another racer

"Who's this fat guy passing me?"

I deliberately lined up at the back of the pack so I wouldn’t be tempted to go out too hard yet again.  I was hoping to run at around a 8min/mi pace for the 5k’s in this race, but my body wasn’t fully recovered from last week. As I started out at a ~9:30min/mi pace, my heart rate was spiked to full zone 5 and staying there; a sure sign that I wasn’t recovered (and probably didn’t sleep enough the past week either). So I backed off to what felt like a sustainable effort and then kicked it up just a notch and stuck it there. At mile 1 of the 5k, I got the feeling in my belly like I get when I’m pushing up against the wall between a first and second wind. At first I welcomed it as I knew once I got through it, that a lot of the “pain” would go away and I could up the pace – the issue was it never went away. The feeling stuck for the rest of the run, so I was very much looking forward to getting onto my bike.

My first transition was a little long, but more towards my “normal” at a minute and sixteen seconds. My bike was acting much much better and didn’t give me any issues at the start, just a smooth CX mount and off I went to see how many people I could pass. I was passed by three people in the race, all of which were wearing USA nation team singlets, so I’m okay with that. I have no idea how many I passed, at times it was literally a dozen or more in a 200yrd stretch, and I think that I passed a couple people twice (it was a two lap course). The prizes however, were the super expensive tt bikes with disc wheels, aero helmets, etc – those are fun to blow by and several were going a good 8-10mph slower than I was. While my run felt a bit lacking, my bike felt on the money. I even used some of the new cornering skills I had learned a couple weeks ago in a Blue Sky Velo bike handling clinic with Allison Powers.  The only issues I had on the bike was in two corners: I had someone that was going much slower and with much less bike handling confidence, come right across the road in front of me. When one is screaming their bike around a corner on the bleeding edge of traction, that is not the most welcome thing to have happen. Luckily, I’m not quite daring enough to go that hard, so I was able to maneuver and miss the person, though both times I wasn’t sure it was going to happen without one of us getting hurt.  Over the course of the ride, I knew I had passed at least 3 fellow clydesdales, and on the first run I knew I had passed at least 2.  Doing the math from the start list, I knew I should be around mid pack and knew I was going to have to fight in the last run to try to finish around mid group (the clydesdale division in the mile hi duathlon series usually has some pretty good competition).  As I was finishing my ride heading back to the transition area, already out of my shoes riding with my feet in socks on top of my shoes, I hit several bumps in the road that actually bumped me off  of my shoes.  The timing was even “better” as I was cornering, making the ride a little hairy as my shoes spun under my cranks and hit the ground, popping my entire bike up as they hit and did so twice more before I could get back on top of them.


The rest of the transition went much better as I was able to find my spot quickly (thanks to the guy with a florescent yellow bike and transition mat in my row). I was able to actually feel my feet and they didn’t hurt, and was able to get out of my riding gear and into my running gear and out the other side in just under a minute.   The second run started out much like the first, heart rate spiked right from the beginning and stiff legs; however I was seriously thinking about leaving it there to try and see if I could podium in the race.   As I hit the mile 1 marker, one of the guys I had blown by on the bike caught me and I knew he was a clydesdale so I tried my best to hang with him and ended up almost blowing up.  I backed off just a bit to recover and then got back up to my pace only to see that he was already 200+ yards ahead of me.  No chance what so ever of catching him unless he blew up later on in the run.  From there on I just focused on being as efficient as possible and taking advantage of the terrain when I could.  At a turn before mile 2, I could see another clydesdale starting to catch me so I did my best to up my tempo and speed just a bit.  On each corner from there on I would check on him and at every one he was a bit closer.  As we got to the final half mile, he was only about 10yrds back and at the quarter mile point he was on my shoulder.  I figured that I would let him come by and then stick to him until the last 50yrds or so and give it a full out sprint, but that was exactly what he had in mind I think, as he never came around.  At about 300yrds to go, I started to accelerate and he matched me and then started to accelerate himself, I went just a bit faster, and this continued over and over again for the next 200yrd until we got to the final corner about 50yrds out from the line where I gave it about all I had and finally dropped him.

Dueling out at the final stretch

Dueling out at the final stretch

picture of final sprint

Final Sprint

At this point, for all I knew, we had just dueled it out for 8th place.  As my tunnel vision subsided, I was able to find Hillary and the girls who had been cheering and playing quite hard the entire time (its awesome having your own cheering squad!).  I then headed over to the food area and got some grub as I was getting quite hungry; it turned out that my stomach wasn’t a fan of solid food, so the girls got to eat the majority of my food.

After returning to a somewhat human state, I wandered over to congratulate a couple of the racers that I recognized from the course that had put up a good fight and learned from them that I had come in second in my division!  Another nice surprise.  It turns out the guy I dueled it out with was in my division so it was a very good thing I stuck the sprint.  The guy that had taken me early in the second run was the age group above me however with the winner of my division finishing 9 minutes ahead of me – ouch, that is a huge difference.

My results were:

Ranking: Division place – 2, Mens place – 76, overall –  102nd
Run 1: pace – 8:39min/mi, time – 0:26:48,  rank – 206
T1 – 0:01:16
Bike: pace – 20.3mph, time -0:55:03 ,rank – 50
T2 – 0:00:57
Run 2: pace – 8:41min/mi, time -0:26:53,  rank – 166
Overall time – 1:50:05

All photo credit goes to Hillary, I snagged them before any post processing so the colors may be a little off.

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