1 maart 2010

Best of the rest at the Maresia Duathlon (8km run -20km mtb -4km run): 4th overall

Last Sunday I participated in one of the more adventurous races of my career so far. As a mountainbiker I (well, I hope I do) have pretty well developed heart-lung system. Still, I suck at running as my muscles are simply not able to perform the running-motion you need if you'd like to run FAST. The past few months I ran a bit and I hoped this would be enough to be at least competitive at this race.

You may wonder why I have started running in the first place? My explanation is simple as I still wanted to be able to do some training during my 1-week holiday in Sweden around New Year. There I realized that being able to run is a great asset if you'd like to ensure that you're always able to do some kind of training wherever you are. I decided to continue running as my running shoes (although they're size 48)will always fit in my backpack and my bike won't! Maybe if I didn't have a 29er and a smaller frame size..

Anyway, back to the race. Before the race I divided the race in 5 parts:

Part I: 8km of off road running

Part II: Transition 1, switching from running shoes to bike shoes and grab my bike + helmet

Part III: 4 x 5km laps of mountainbiking

Part IV: Transition 2, switching from bike shoes to running shoes and getting rid of my bike

Part V: 4km of off road running (or limping)

I figured that the only part I had a competitive advantage at would be part III, especially as the course was very muddy and had some fun single tracks. On the other hand, I knew that I would have some serious disadvantages during the remaining 4 (out of 5, autsch) parts as I pretty much suck at running and am not capable of changing from shoes fast(as in triathlon-style fast)! Unlike all spectators and probably most athletes, I was very pleased with the weather as the rain and wind had turned the forest into a challenging and harder to ride/run course.

The start was interesting as with very little time to go I noticed that I was either about to die or had a problem with my heart rate monitor as my heart rate monitor claimed my heart wasn’t beating anymore. It turned out to be the latter as my heart rate belt had slipped of my chest, I started pulling my belt from under my shirt but just then the race started. Somehow I quickly managed to pull my heart rate belt from under my shirt and put it in one of the back pockets of my Bikefreak Magazine jersey. After having solved my little heart rate monitor issue I found myself in the middle of the pack and I was ready to start the first running part of the race. The first part of the race didn't go perfect as I suffered from some nasty pains in my stomach and I wasn't going really fast during the first 8km of (painfully attempting) running. After about 31 minutes I finally found myself in the so-called 'Parc Ferme' where I had pretty slow transition from running to cycling gear. Also, I heard that I was the 12th athlete in the race.

Finally on my bike, my 69er singlespeed bike with a 34 x 16 gear, I found out I didn't suck that much at biking as I do at running; unlike some other athletes that I saw either crashing or having troubles on the slippery muddy soil. Too bad the mountainbike part only lasted for 4 laps as I found out I was in 4th position during the second transition which went a little bit less slower as the previous one by the way..

During the last 4km of running I managed to keep place 4 and therefore I completed my first offroad duathlon with a 4th place.. a place also referred to as 'the best of the rest' or 'the first loser'.

An overview of my lap times:

8km running: 31.01 (10TH in the single race)

20km mountainbiking: 59.14 (3rd time in the single race, but I believe this time includes the time I spent (=lost) during both transitions as well; so I probably had the second-fastest or maybe even the fastest bike time)

4 km running: 17.31 (9th time)

According to the race website this gives me an overall time of 1.47.31 which ranks me as 4th overall.

This first duathlon was fun and I also like to thank for the support I received from my father and Maurice and Esther during the race(who also were so kind to borrow a super-light 26inch rear wheel to me, I really hope it's still in good shape)! Keep an eye on the site (and this blog) as I will add some photos later this week.