Today I raced the bike leg of the Westchester Medical Center Biathlon*
as part of a relay team. This was my first race event of any kind - I started getting serious about cycling just this year. My runner partner has run many many races, including the NYC marathon last year. But his training for this event was the first time he's really concentrated on speed.
The structure was 2mi run/~14mi bike/2mi run. The weather this morning was absolutely gorgeous, probably about 60 degrees at the start, and both my teammate and I were feeling fresh and 110% stoked to race. Coming into the race, I was concerned about warming up, as I wasn't sure if the organizers would let me bring my trainer into the transition area, but as it turned out they couldn't care less.
So, 8AM comes along and my teammate is off running. I was relieving myself in the porto-potty, but I think I caught a glimpse of him out of the small window. I jog back into the transition area (luckily the entire transition area was on grass, so moving fast in my bike shoes wasn't an issue), clamp my bike onto the trainer, and start warming up - I had intended to start my warmup a few minutes before the race started, but oh well. I give myself until the first runners start coming back in, then hop off and re-rack the bike to prepare for the transition.
At around 13:40, my teammate comes soaring in, tags me, and i'm off. No trouble getting out of transition, or clipping in, and I settle into a good pace. The bike is two loops of a somewhat rolling course, with one nice descent and one "nice" climb. Total elevation gain for the course is about 1,000 feet. I've done more climbing than that (hard not to around here), but doing at a reasonable race pace had me concerned, as I'm not a small guy and I guess not really made for climbing.
Anyway, I trucked along, feeling great, and I felt pretty happy with how I was doing right from the beginning, just based on the people around me. The only stat I really kept an eye on was my cadence, trying to keep it at around 90. As I finished the first lap, I still felt good, but I was concerned about pushing too hard and not being able to keep it up - I think this was my only mistake. I started worrying about my heart rate and not being able to make the final climb. So, I held back just slightly...damn. I did well on the final climb (it hurt, but I was passing people), and settled into a bit of a downhill/flat before the finish line, and I had (I think) too much energy left. I did what I could with it, passing a dozen or so people before I had to dismount. I'm also happy to say that, RIGHT at the dismount, I passed the only dude that had passed me on a mountain bike (with knobby tires!!) He was doing awesome, I can't imagine how much time he would have gained on a road bike, or at least with slicks.
I ran through the transition area, and saw my teammate was looking for me in the wrong place so I yelled out to him. Got to our rack, and someone else had racked their bike where mine had been, and there was no other room on the rack. In addition, there was another relay runner standing in the way, oblivious - I asked him loudly but nicely to move, but it still took three times. Next time I suppose I shouldn't be nice about it. Anyway, I hooked my brifter levers over the side of the rack in any way I could, tagged my teammate, he ran off, and I collapsed.
Unofficial bike time: 45:16. Average pace: 18.8MPH - about 1.5-2MPH faster than I'd expected!!!
My teammate's two runs came in at just under 28 minutes, and our total time was around 1:13:40 (unofficial). All in all it was a totally fantastic race, we both exceeded our expectations, and had a hell of a lot of fun. I'm still wondering if I could have pushed myself more and done it faster, but, that's what next year is for I suppose.
Official times other than the podium times weren't available yet, but I'm hoping for top-ten in the male teams (out of maybe 20?). Based on the results of last year's race it's possible, but we'll see.
Also, thanks to the people here at BF for your advice and support (even though I'm mostly a lurker, you've still helped a ton). Next stop, my first triathlon, hopefully in the spring!
oh, for any stat junkies, here's the motion based report
* - yes, I'm aware the common terminology is duathlon. but the organizers call it a biathlon, so i'm calling it a biathlon