Comfortably Painful Biathlon

2009-05-30-AM-07-55-139I lined up at the start, wondering what my legs had in store for me.  I really had no clue as to what kind of pace I could hold for the run.  I went out at a decent pace, but held back from the leaders.  I knew they would be in the 5:00 minute range and didn’t want to get sucked into that.  I found some familiar faces to hang with. I started out on Carl Benton’s heals over the bridge and had to go forward.  I took each person ahead of me one by one, looking for the right pace.  I went through mile one in 6:15. The pace was fast for me, but it was comfortably painful.

Eventually I found myself in no-man’s-land with my new nemesis Dan Dungan, on my heals.  I needed some help to the transition.  I slowed just enough to pair up with Dan.  He kept a good pace and may have actually accelerated.  I entered the T1 in 19:39.   Dan’s time was 19:35.  The 4 seconds had to be a start line timing chip difference.  It will get you every time.  It almost cost me a place last year.

We both exited the transition in under 30 second.  Once on the road I fell behind Dan for the first mile or so.  He is pretty strong on the bike, so I knew he would post a good time.  He was also riding a New P4 that I had never seen him on.  (I would find out later that this was his first time on his new bike.)

I wasn’t sure if Dan was holding back for something, but I had more speed in me, so I went ahead and pass with some acceleration.  One thing that I have learned in racing is to never gently pass anyone.  If you are going to do that you might as well pace off of them.

Before I knew it I was up the road and trying to keep my average speed as high and maintainable as possible.  My legs felt really good.  Taking Thursday and Friday off must have really helped.  I closed in on the turn around and noticed how close I was to the leaders.  Wow! I couldn’t believe I made up this much time.

2009-05-30-AM-08-33-455I could see Eric Sommer in the distance and focused on closing the gap.  Last week I had made some crucial adjustment to my positioning with my bars and seat.  I felt like one with the bike and knew I could catch him.  Eric approached a right had turn, and a police officer had a van stopped talking to him. Eric was forced to take the inside gravel.  I swooped around the outside of the van on the pavement.

I briefly made contact with Eric.  He offered some words of encouragement.  This was a big ego boost for me and helped me continue at a good pace.  I now knew there was only 3 people left in front of me.  There was a 1 minute gap between the first 4 places.  That could not be closed in the distance I had left.

I entered the final stretch of road, pushing myself as hard as I could.  I was going 30 mph coming into the finish as they had me slow down.

4th place overall and an age group win.  I am actually happy with my results for once.  I did a 6:20 pace on the run, this was more than I could have hoped for.  I had the 2nd fasted bike split of 24.3 mph.  Those New City Time Trials must be paying off.  I broke the 1 hour mark by almost 3 minutes, which was a first for me.

I was on a high all day with that 4th place finish.  It is hard to believe that 4th place could make you feel that good.