Winter BeGone Duathlon Report

>> Monday, April 27, 2009

Or, “I Thought the ‘Mud Run’ Was Last Weekend!”

Or, “Wow, Steph! If You Can Handle THIS As Your First Duathlon, You Can Handle ANYTHING!”

Pharmie and I got up at 4:30 yesterday morning, and we got ready for the Winter BeGone Duathlon in Oronoco, MN. We loaded our bikes, and tried to ignore the fact that it was 40-45 degrees outside. We hit the road and got to the race site PRETTY early. We were the 4th car in the lot:

Transition was pretty empty when we were ready to set up. And by “pretty empty,” I mean “completely desolate.”

When our bikes were shipped back from IM NOLA 70.3 a few days ago, Pharmie’s bike, Tony, came back with a flat back tire. So she changed it once we got set up in transition:

And then it started raining. It was cold, windy, and now it was raining. So we went back to the car to stay warm. Sarah enjoyed a packet of dry oatmeal. Gross.

I ran to the picnic shelter where the packet pick-up was held, and snapped this photo looking back towards transition:

Pharmie walked with an umbrella:

Then she stood shivering in the pouring rain:

Sitting back in the car to warm up, we started hearing “clinking” on the roof. Yep, it was hailing:

Transition was flooding:

(notice the sweet bike with the kick-stand)

Rain sheeting through transition

Matt, Steph, and Borsch showed up and got set up in transition. Then they all sat shivering and wet in the back of my car. Notice all the moisture on the windows and the camera lens:

Pharmie and I were going to do the long course duathlon: 5K run, 19.5 mile bike, 10K run. Matt, Steph, and Borsch were going to do the short course duathlon: 2.25 mile run, 13 mile bike, 2 mile run. It was going to be Steph’s FIRST MULTI-SPORT EVENT!! GO STEPH!!

To make a long story short, here’s a bullet-pointed list:

• There was lightning, so we all had to wait 30 minutes (USAT rules) to see if the race could even start.
• All 5 of us thought about NOT starting the race. Too cold, wet, windy, and stupid.
• The driving rain HURT even while jogging - the ride would be HELL.
• The rain briefly let up, and we were then told the race would start in 10 minutes. And they were shortening the race: EVERYONE would be doing the short course.
• All 5 of us were back in! Time to race!

We jogged to the starting line. I was chatting with blogger buddy and interval buddy Jeremy on the way to the start (the start was 3-4 blocks from transition). We had talked earlier, and I had told him I hoped for a top 10 finish. Now that we were all doing the short course, I told him “what the heck - I’m still shooting for top 10,” but now it was going to be harder with the bigger group.

We got lined up. The race director, Bill, did a good job of getting everyone to the start and then getting everyone started before we stood around for too long and got cold. Thanks Bill! We were ready!

Ready, set, GO!

2.25 mile run:

I found myself running in 9th place. Then I dropped back to 10th, then 11th. At the first mile marker, I got back to 10th, and my first mile split was 5:43. Good. When we hit the turn-around, I looked for my crew running out. I said hi to Pharmie and Matt (running pretty close), and to Borsch and Steph (running together).

Heading back towards transition, I caught another runner. Entering the park, I said “hi” to Mark, who was volunteering and who is the race director for next weekend’s duathlon. I smiled at Jeremy’s family who was there to cheer.

I hit T1 in 9th or 10th place.


Grabbed my bike, put on my helmet which had been sitting in a puddle, fumbled for WAY too long with the chinstrap because my fingers were numb, and was off on the ride. Oh, and I did a little “flying start” on the bike. Nice. Total time: 1:03.

13 mile bike:

One of my big goals was to push hard on the bike. So I did. The course had many turns, and on the way out, we seemed to be going MOSTLY into the wind. At least, with my pace, I had HOPED we were going into the wind! The wind SUCKED. And the hills were bigger than last year. Really. I swear. They grew.

Nearing the turn-around, the rain started again. Pelting, cold, large drops of rain. Yay. I was warm enough, but the rain just sucked. And hurt a little on my face. That’s what she said.

I hit the “turn-around cone” with a 17.7 mph average. I wanted to improve that by a lot on the ride back.

After about a mile (of pelting rain), I met Matt. Borsch was close behind. Then I saw Pharmie. Then Jeremy shouted to me, but I noticed he was smiling, waving, and STANDING behind a race vehicle. Jeremy’s chain busted during his ride!! That sucks!! They popped out a link and reattached it, but with the shortened chain, his derailleurs didn’t work. Damn it. About a mile after seeing Jeremy, I shouted words of encouragement to Steph. She was toughing out this crappy day in her first duathlon!

In the first half of the bike, I got passed by about 5 people. On the second half, I just got passed by a few. I was pushing pretty hard on the way back into town, and I was watching my average skyrocket. I blew through the 18s. I ended up hitting T2 with a 19.3 average overall. And I think I was in about 17th place overall.


Said “hi” to Mark again. Said “hi” to Mike who was volunteering (he helped set-up the half marathon in Rochester that I ran in Feb). I racked my bike, and started changing shoes. When I was pulling off my left shoe, I gave myself a HUGE Charlie Horse up my left calf. ZING! I wasn’t worried and knew it wouldn’t last. I was out of T2 in 0:46.

2 Mile Run:

In the shitty, cold, rainy, windy weather, I’m REALLY GLAD the race was shortened for the long course athletes, and we only had to run 2 miles instead of 6.2. That was NICE! The rain had pretty much stopped once I hit T2, and now it was just cold and windy.

I took off hard, and caught someone in the first few minutes. I caught someone else just before the turn-around. I had my sights set on someone running strong about a block ahead of me. I closed the gap. Entering the park (about 200-300 meters from the finish), I was right on his tail. But he never let me pass. He had a stronger kick. I had finished strong in 15th place overall.

2.25 Mile Run: 13:00 (5:47 average), tied for 9th fastest
T1: 1:03
13 Mile Bike: 41:11 (19.3 mph on my computer) 23rd fastest
T2: 0:46
2 Mile Run: 11:16 (5:38 average), 4th fastest

Total: 1:07:13

Place: 15th out of 115
Age Group: 4th out of 7

Notice I was only 1 second behind the guy I was trying to catch!

Well, 4th in your Age Group SUCKS because that’s the first “non-medal” spot. Dang. I looked at the results and 3rd in my AG was a minute in front of me, and that’s a lot of time to make up on such a short race, so I didn’t feel too bad. I would have felt worse if 3rd was the guy who just finished 1 second in front of me!

I went back to the car (which was 100 feet away - YAY for early arrival!), and grabbed my camera. Shortly after, Pharmie came riding in, all ready to start her final run:

Not far behind her was Steph, braving the elements in her FIRST duathlon!

No Steph, look FORWARD!
(You can see the finish line just past her.)

Getting ready to rack her bike next to Goldilocks

As Steph was in T2, Matt was heading towards the finishline, about 12 minutes after me:

(Matt’s hat is completely black in that photo above. The white halo is from drops of water clinging to the fabric. I noticed this while talking to him post-race. Stupid cold rain.)

Matt and I hung out near the finish, and we chatted a little with Mark, who’s the race director for next weekend’s duathlon that we’re all going to do. (We met Mark last year in Faribault.) About 5 minutes after Matt finished, Borsch was heading to the line. Here he is hitting the finish with a nice looking stride:

About 6 minutes after that, my lovely Pharmie was bringing er’ home!

And finally, about 7 minutes after Pharmie finished, her sister Steph came running by, finishing her FIRST MULTI-SPORT event!!

She just passed the woman in blue

Two hours before, NONE of us wanted to race in that crap! Now, we were all glad we did, as we all finished a tough but fun race! It wasn’t more than 2 minutes after Steph finished that is started raining big, cold drops again.

We literally just grabbed our piles of wet, heavy, stinky, muddy clothes from transition, and threw them in my trunk. We loaded up the bikes, and hit the road back to St. Paul. We did NOT want to be out in that cold any more than we had to!

Four final thoughts:

• I was able to out-bike both Matt and Borsch, which was GREAT! (and mostly unexpected.) I got Matt by 6 seconds! Next weekend, if the weather’s better, Matt will TOTALLY own me on the bike, so I must enjoy this minor victory while it lasts.
• It was really nice that all 3 portions were out-and-back. Pharmie and I both commented that we loved to be able to see everyone else in our group before or after the turn-arounds.
• Pharmie placed 4th in her AG too, so we both walked away in that annoying place. Had there still been both races (the long course and the short course), we would have placed higher because our AGs would have been smaller. Dang. Oh well. There’s always next year!
• Matt and I can’t wait for the race photos. We both think there should be some good ones of us all wet, cold, and pissed. I’ll share those when they come in!


Velma 12:04 PM, April 27, 2009  

Great report. It looks like a pretty competitive race - even if it was crappy. Way to gut it out.

Maria 12:40 PM, April 27, 2009  

congrats on sticking it're one tough athlete! if you did this well in crappy weather, imagine how well you'll do next year with nice weather!

duchossois 12:49 PM, April 27, 2009  

Congrats!!! I love that you all stayed, and you all finished. I respect your toughness. As usual, the photos make really add to the story.

xt4 12:51 PM, April 27, 2009  

Friggin' epic. Fantastic!

X-Country2 12:57 PM, April 27, 2009  

I had to turn on my space heater just reading all that. Very impressive!

Chic Runner 1:01 PM, April 27, 2009  

as always, great job steve and entourage. :) Good job on pushing through even in the rain. This cold hater would have never even started!

Marlene 1:05 PM, April 27, 2009  

Sounds like you guys made the most of some crappy weather. Kudos all around!

Michelle 1:08 PM, April 27, 2009  

Awesome race report as always!!!

You ran 2 miles in the time it takes me to run 1 mile!!!! :O)

Jenna 1:18 PM, April 27, 2009  

Way to go to ALL of you :) It would have been miserable to be wet and cold. Ewwy! 1:40 PM, April 27, 2009  

I like that you parked right in front of the porta potties...


Good job!

Gotta Run..... 1:40 PM, April 27, 2009  

You would have had to pull me kicking and screaming out of the nice warm car. INSANE.... and you all ROCKED IT!!!!

Unknown 2:14 PM, April 27, 2009  

I could have handled the running in those conditions just fine, but cycling? Not a chance. Good job toughing the conditions out.

I Run for Fun 2:27 PM, April 27, 2009  

Great report...and nice pics! You guys did a stupendous job in that nasty weather. Congratulations!

Anonymous,  2:30 PM, April 27, 2009  

Nice job to you all. The weather was awful for a race, but you guys really sucked it up and did great. Will it ever warm up for you guys?

Brian 2:30 PM, April 27, 2009  

Congrats to all of you. I still think we should have all bagged it but look at the story we can now tell! Maybe next year the race will give away rubber boots instead of t-shirts. Man, the only thing I could think about after finishing was 'dry socks'!

CoachLiz 3:44 PM, April 27, 2009  

The conditions sounded down right miserable. I think that I would have bailed on that race. Congratulations to Steph on her first Multi-sport experience. After this race, anything else will look like a walk in the park.

Audrey 3:45 PM, April 27, 2009

that is ridiculous. hopefully those will be the worst conditions you ever race in and it's behind you!!

and i'm the 4th place spot a bunch in smaller races...or if awards go one deep in AG i'll be 2nd. it's a gift :)

congratulations on toughing out an insane race day.

GoBigGreen 4:38 PM, April 27, 2009  

Good job:) I am so glad nobody hit the pavement in the rain so even if you werent as fast as you had hoped on the bike you stayed upright. not easy to ride in that stuff.
Hope you had a good greasy meal when you got home:)
Tell Steph congrats. I saw her at Wade's last week but didnt put 2 + 2 together till she left!

Runner Susan 6:10 PM, April 27, 2009  

that is so f*cking awesome!

All but the dry oatmeal part.

Well done to you both!

teacherwoman 7:36 PM, April 27, 2009  

That is crazy hardcore! Glad to hear you guys stuck around and went forward with it! :)

ShirleyPerly 7:45 PM, April 27, 2009  

I'm surprised there were even that many people at that race under those conditions. You Minnesotans are CRAZY! (in a good way ;-)

The Boring Runner 8:36 PM, April 27, 2009  

Wow, that race looked pretty sucktastic. Nice work everyone finishing it out!

Chloe 8:52 PM, April 27, 2009  

whohoo! Have to love the MN weather! Great race report!

chia 9:59 PM, April 27, 2009  

Kirkland's Organic Oatmeal really isn't that bad dry. I used to use it in my energy bars that I would concoct on occasion last year.

Great job guys! Special congrats to Steph, that's brilliant!

Musing Runner 10:22 PM, April 27, 2009  

Hey, my bike has a sweet kickstand, too. Don't laugh, it came in handy during my last duathlon when someone took my spot on the rack while I was biking. (guess I should bike faster, huh)

Also, tell Pharmie I also enjoy dry oatmeal, especially if it has cinnamon and sugar.


Diana 11:53 PM, April 27, 2009  

Nice job considering the elements-way to stick it out and great finish for all!

Run For Life 12:29 AM, April 28, 2009  

Congratulations to all of you! Those are definitely some miserable conditions you all had to deal with.

Anniversary Moments 10:45 AM, April 28, 2009  

as always great photos and GREAT job!!! I am sooo impressed with you folks!! But, I can't help but wonder, with all that rain, why didn't sara just go outside and open her mouth while eating that oatmeal....eating it dry -- icks!

RBR 1:02 PM, April 28, 2009  

You guys are seriously hardcore. What a great team effort and you didn't even kill Matt! Nice work!

I am with Pharmie, dry oatmeal is kind of yummy and super easy to make. ;o)

Kaeti 2:11 PM, April 28, 2009  

You guys (and gals) are hardcore!

Dori 4:58 PM, April 28, 2009  

Congratulations on your crazy race. I think I would have bailed. Way to go, Steph!

Ordinarylife 5:44 AM, April 29, 2009  

You people are NUTS!!!!

That would be our worst winter day ever and we would not be heading outdoors, never mind racing in it!

Well done. But boy does it make me glad that I live in sunny South Africa!!

JP Severin 10:14 AM, April 29, 2009  

pimpin ain't easy. nice race

sRod 12:09 PM, April 29, 2009  

Way to stick it out! Cold and wet are not a formula for success, but you did a damn good job anyway!

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