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Race Result

Racer: Steve Smith
Race: Brandywine Duathlon
Date: Saturday, April 16, 2005
Location: Delaware City, DE
Race Type: Duathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 1:23:21
Overall Place: 3
Comment: Bike legs finally fell off ...

Race Report:

It was a windy day out there on this mostly flat course. I drove up the morning of the race and this worked out well with the 8:30 a.m. start. Spencer Smith was there, but many of the studs from last year were missing. Greg Watson, last year's winner, was marrying that day (to, I believe, the 2nd place female from last year). I'll say this: Spencer's legs are cut like a body builder's legs. That guy has more definition in his legs than I've ever seen in the flesh. Maybe he was flexing all morning to scare off the competition, but I doubt it.

I went out okay in the 5K, running 17:22 (course was longer this year due to a change in the transition area ... oh, and the first mile marker was short, making the second long) to be fourth in and third out of transition ... and second on the road in the first mile of the bike (behind Spencer) ... only to be passed in the third mile, on the ONLY hill during the bike, by some guy with quads big enough to be my chest. I don't like getting passed, and I certainly don't like getting passed on hills, and I DEFINITELY don't like getting passed on a hill by a Big Dude, but there it was in black and white: I was getting pummeled on the bike and it was because my bike fitness sucked and his didn't.

I managed to stay about 300m behind Mr. Big Quads until the turnaround, when our magnificent tailwind became the horrible headwind. And then I melted like a witch in water. BQ disappeared and I huffed & puffed all the way home, unable to blow down any houses, whatever that means.

I was third into transition, and I wondered if BQ was in the series (that is, registered for three races and therefore elligible for $300) ... just curious though, because unless he melted completely I wasn't going to catch him. I regained 40s of the two minutes he took out of me on the bike, but there was no hope. I was surprised by my second run split of 18:54 as I felt I was running faster. Turns out he was in the series, and took home the well-deserved cash.


I've neglected my bike for the last few years, excepting a phenomenal stretch of biking from May thru July last year. After an amazing year of cycling in 2002, I focused on swimming during the winter of 2002-2003 to the exclusion of everything else. It worked for my swimming and I was surprised that my bike fitness didn't fade. My splits were almost identical for several key races (Reston, NYC) ... but I could feel myself slowing a bit on the hills; also, in 2002 I could ride 50 miles the day before a race and feel great during the race, but in 2003 50 miles the day before the race would make itself felt during the race.

Winter 2003-2004 found me with a more balanced schedule, still leaning toward a solid swim and still neglecting the 2-3 solid 3-hr trainer rides during the week (usually one, occassionally two). From May thru July last year I nailed some solid training to bouy my bike fitness; unfortunately, I didn't have the time to back that up with any running. I decided to sit on my bike fitness at IM-USA, my frist Ironman, and take what came on the run. (What came? you ask. Pain, lots of pain.) After that my bike fitness was stable for the rest of the year, but I always felt it was about to dissolve.

Winter 2004-2005 brought an interesting choice. I knew my bike fitness was unraveling, but I also knew that I would change my work schedule to 20hrs/week in April. I chose to focus soley on running through the winter and then kick up the bike fitness starting in April, when I would have a lot more time.

My fear of losing bike fitness (you can see it in my IM Florida race predictions) finally came to fruition at Brandywine, and it scared the hell out of me. I hit some thresholds in a few of my "regular" timed rides that I was not comfortable with just two weeks before Brandywine. These timed rides range from a 5" hard, downhill TT to an easy 30-mile recovery ride.

In the end, Brandywine is a good wake-up call for me. Primarily because it verified that my instincts (and my regularly timed training courses) are fairly well tuned to my actual race fitness. I needed a swift kick in the pants so that I no longer sat on my bike strength. The interesting thing is that Wednesday & Thursday before Brandywine my timed rides started trending back toward normal ... so I think I have things under control now. Only working 20hrs a week makes it a lot easier to balance all three sports properly. :)