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Race Result

Racer: Steve Smith
Race: Pound, Pedal & Pant-Spring
Date: Sunday, April 25, 2004
Location: Stafford, VA
Race Type: Duathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:16:27
Overall Place: 1
Comment: New course, same result :)

Race Report:


So far, luck has been with me for the Pound Pedal & Pant Duathlons. The luck of scheduling came thru as I spied the date of April 25 for the third instance of this race, for I was heading down I-95 that very day toward South Carolina for a training vacation. What better way to start a vacation than with a race?

The PPP series will always be a sentimental favorite of mine as it was the home of my first multisport win in April of 2003. It was also the home of my first defense later that year, in August. So it was for third time I would toe the line in Stafford county, but on a new race course this year. The previous two races were held at Aquia Landing and featured a scenic course that rolled through some hills on the bike and offered a flat waterside run. The PPP3 moved up-county a bit onto more rolly-polly hills and a slightly less flat run. Not quite as scenic as the Aquia course, there were definite advantages: the school offered real toilets, a sheltered area for post-race activities, more parking, and a hillier bike course. While I the old course was more scenic, I think I prefer the new course for its more challenging bike and cleaner course design.

A few other thoughts about the race in general. It's a small but challenging field. The Marines from Quantico come out and make for a tough race. As many times as I've won this race, US Marine Chad Walton has come in second (and, I believe, Karen Fralen has won the women's race). Doug Marocco and a few other Marines join in the fun as well. I understand the Doug & Chad and a few other were at Boston the previous Sunday, which would at least negate, if note trump the 60 miles of running already in my legs for the week. The food is generous, including, of course, pizza ... as well as doughnuts, cookies, fruit, and tons of other stuff. This year schwag included a rubberized "back-pack" of sorts and a $5 coupon of the August race. Which brings me to one of the best things about this race: I love having two instances of the same race in the same year to benchmark performance. Lastly, while I don't remember a lack of volunteers at the fist two races, the abundant of generous, smiling volunteers were particularly notable at this race. The course was well marshalled at every turn and the volunteers seemed chipper despite the cloudly, cool conditions.

As David Glover & I were heading south for a training vacation, race-morning activities were a little more hectic than those presented by your average sprint duathlon. When we'd finaly crammed all our gear into the car it was about 5:35. We'd gotten about 5-minutes down the road when I realized that I didn't have the directions to the race. So back we went to get the directions. To complicate matters worse, the directions were WRONG (note: they still read wrong on the website, take exit 133B (not A). As Dave & I wandered in the bowels of Stafford County, we finally figured out the situation and managed to get to the race by 7:15 for the 7:30 race start. Barely enough time to register (Hey, I get Bib #1 :) take a potty break and rack the bike. As we had stuffed the car full of training gear, we left the race wheels at home. I went for a very short, 10-min jog with Debi & Rob Cook and then we lined up for the start.

3-Mile Run
I've come to the conclusion this year that the 3-mile run on the old PPP course was a tad short. This one seems more realistic. Having heard about the Marine's adventures at Boston the previous weekend, and knowing the mileage in my legs, I took the run out a little differently this year. Instead of sitting in for 800m and then deciding on a pace, I got a quick start and the set a pace that was a few notches below race pace. I was curious to see if anyone would push things. After about 200m I could only hear one set of footsteps behind me. I wasn't sure who it was ... In the past Chad & I have run neck-and-neck in the first run; after the race, Glover said it was him. Anyway, I heard one set of footsteps. I held my pace for a few hundred meters and then tried to drop those footsteps. I hit the first mile around 5:15, maybe a little faster as I'd started my watch early. By then I was alone. The next half-mile curved in and out for a bit and the turnaround came at the end of the road. I grabbed some water and saw that, while I was out of earshot of the chasing runners.

I tried to push the pace a little bit more as I returned to transition area. I didn't catch the following two mile splits, but I raced into transition at XXXX, followed quickly by three or four runners. A decent transition and I was out on the road.

17.5-Mile Bike
I hammered out of transition as hard as possible. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I could hold off Glover on the bike. In the past, I've been able to hang with Chad on the run and then put a minute or two on him in the bike. Perhaps the fear of Glover chasing me down kept me inspired, but I smoked the bike course. Given my run week I'd cut back entirely on my swimming & biking for the week. Maybe that helped. I had a race vehicle leading the way on the race course (common practice to make sure the leader doesn't take the lemmings off into the wilds). The mini-van was about 7-9 bike lengths ahead of me at all times, which is legal, but I'm sure I got a few seconds off that anyway.

3-mile Run
A repeat of the same out-and-back run ... the first two miles, alone, weren't too bad, but when I hit the turn around I was surprised to see how close Dave & the next guy were ... It seemed like everyone was a long ways off during the bike, but I guess the curves & hills on the roads distort things. The last mile I really had to focus to keep the pace up ... but by that time I was pretty sure I was out of reach.

Post race goodies were GREAT!!! Pizza, doughnuts, tons of food. Sadly Dave & I had a dinner appointment in South Carolina, so we had to leave the awards ceremony :( Generally I hate doing that, but there was no way around it. I let Debi know we were going to leave her first & third place podiums empty and then Dave & I scooted off to grab some coffee & big one hell of a training week.