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Race Result

Racer: Steve Smith
Race: Pound, Pedal & Pant-Spring
Date: Saturday, April 26, 2003
Location: Stafford, VA
Race Type: Duathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:09:43
Overall Place: 1
Comment: My first multisport win

Race Report:

How is it that I cannot write a race report for a sprint (or two) shorter than most IM race reports? Oh well, consider yourself warned.

The astute reader may remember a post from a few months ago about an interesting potential "double" ... that is, two races back-to-back. The double is an interesting thing, and comes in many flavors.

This particular double was a duathlon double, one Saturday and one Sunday. Both events were sprints at 3mi-15mi-3mi, run-bike-run. The first race was the inaugural Pound, Pedal, and Pant duathlon down in Stafford, Va, not far from the Colonial Beach triathlon and organized by some of the same folks. Once I heard the name, I wanted to do the race. As it was hosted by friend, coach (of others, not me), and all-around swell person Debi Bernardes, I wanted to support it the best way I knew how: race it. The second race was the Point Lookout Duathlon, across the river from Stafford, and a bit further south, hosted by the gang at Triathlantic. This race covers the same ground as the former To The Point Half IM race (downgraded this year to an Olympic event).

Why the double? Because it's there. Also, I thought of the weekend as some interesting research for the Triple-T Team triathlon stage race coming up at the end of May. The Triple-T is a four-race event held over three days, the total distance of which equal an Ironman. Lastly, the races were only a two-hour drive from one another, and it seemed rude to do one and not the other. I guess it's similar to that situation when you travel and find yourself in the hometown of two good friends; it's just natural to gather everyone for one big event, be it pizza and beer or severe lactic acid accumulation.

Pound Pedal Pant
This is a great little course, only an hour or so from Reston. The run is almost pancake flat except for a small rise near the turn-around. The bike is two out-and-backs (think "Y" with a very short stem). The first, more lengthy, out-and-back is a long, low-grade hill. For the Restonians, it's a tad steeper than the 28/Partlow's Store dragstrip--er, stretch of the W&OD, but not much. The second out-and-back is more rollers. There are a few short hills, but nothing unseemly. Driving the course before the race I was looking forward to the bike.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this race. At 60-70 people, it was small, and I thought I had a strong chance to podium. As for winning, you can never count on that, even in the small races; you just never know who's gonna show up or who's been training like a fiend for the last 10 months. I mean hell, Greg Watson showed up at some local du in Maryland last month. But winning did cross my mind, and I was going to give it my best. The only person on the start list that raised my eyebrow was Doug Morocco, a Marine that bested me at Colonial Beach last year (and did well at the Utah, Duke & Hawaii Ironman races as well).

Doug was there with some very Marine looking friends, and we all toe the line and go. After sitting in with a group of 5 for the first 1/2-mile to see what was what, I decided the pace was a bit slow (about 8 beats off my 10k HR) and decided to push things a tad. Two guys dropped back immediately. Once we hit a hill at 1-mile I decided to push things to my full 10K pace and found myself alone. I never got very far ahead of the second Marine, Chad, who is a popular guy in Stafford. (I could hear people cheering him on as I ran, so he wasn't far back).

Chad & I had a quick chat before ending the run. I wished him luck on the bike as we hit transition. I wasn't sure why, but I was pretty sure that Chad & I wouldn't see much of one another on the bike. I figured either I had my biking legs, or I didn't. Chad had a 30" lead or so out of transition. Turns out I had legs, so I chased him down and passed him on the long-slow hill after about 5 minutes. There was a slight mist all morning, so while the roads were wet, there was not much rain during the race. My feet (with socks! unlike a tri) were soaking wet, but I was plenty warm in shorts & a t-shirt. I ran with arm-warmers and had gloves in T1, just in case, but I used neither. (I ditched the socks and the arm warmers at the end of the bike).

Overall, the bike was okay; I couldn't really match my bike HR of last summer, which is no surprise as I've had almost no hard bike miles since October. But the course worked to my strengths: I'm a decent climber, and I'm more aerodynamic (read: flexible) than most folks, so I'm a decent descender if the descent is fairly straight like this one. This was a good thing as I started to fade in the last third of the bike.

Given the double turn-around nature of the course, I had a good sense of where I was in the race. Since the first turn-around I had not gained any more on Chad, but I hadn't lost any ground either. I was about 1:30 ahead. My sense was that Chad had to work more than I did in the first run, so if it came down to a foot race, I was okay with that.

But it never did. My calves were seriously surprised to be running (not many bricks since October, and no RP bricks), but they came around after a 1/2-mile. I did the middle 2 miles in about the same time as the first run and then eased up in the last 1/2-mile when I knew that race positions weren't going to change.

Chad came in about a minute back and Doug a another minute. Fellow RAT Steve Giorgis, playing hookie from his son's Boy Scout camp up the road, came in sixth place overall, easily taking the Masters award. Turns out the Marines may have helped me out a bit; they'd done a 54-minute, 9-mile "training" run the previous night.

All in all, this is a great little race. They'll host another one in August, either the 17th or the 31st. I put my vote in for the 31st as the 17th will likely be the RATMan/Reston Century date.