Falls Duathlon 2009

>> Monday, May 04, 2009

Saturday was the Falls Duathlon in Cannon Falls, MN. The race format was a 2 mile run, a 14 mile bike, and a 3 mile run.

Seven of us were headed down there: Jen, Matt, Steph, Pharmie and I were going to compete (it was going to be Steph’s second du and Jen’s FIRST!), Borsch was coming to snap photos (95% of these photos are from him - THANKS Borsch!), and Melissa was going to meet us down there. Here’s Matt and I at about 6:30 getting the cars loaded:

We got down there and got set up:

Here was my transition area with my old, ratty, “Steve” towel:

Someone asked to borrow our pump. Just after that, her tube blew in a LOUD POP. It was her first duathlon, she didn’t have a spare tube and didn’t know how to change it, so Pharmie jumped in to help:

I helped get the tire back on a few minutes later. Remember this woman that we helped - she’s coming back later in the story...

There was a quick pre-race meeting. Mark covered all the essentials nice and efficiently. Borsch grabbed a shot of the 5 of us racing before we left transition:

Matt, me, Pharmie, Steph, and first timer Aunt Jen

We walked out to the start. Here’s the 5 of us (under the inconspicuous red arrows) getting ready to start:

Steph and Jen in the back, Pharmie and
Matt near the middle, and me up front.



I took off in about 6th place. I jumped around a bit, always between 8th and 5th. I was running strong but comfortably. We got to see a gorgeous waterfall around half way through.

Back in transition, Melissa needed a drink, so she jumped into an empty transition to steal any bike she wanted take a sip of Matt’s water:

I few minutes later, I came running towards transition, just behind 4th place (I think):

I had finished those first 2 miles in 11:31 (unofficial). Time to ride.


I put on my helmet while making a stupid face:

But hey! Look at that photo again! I’m multi-tasking! I’m fastening my chin-strap WHILE I’m slipping out of my running shoes! Nice!! Shortly, I was gone, heading out of T1 in 5th or 6th place:

Siblings Pharmie and Matt came running into T1 together:

Matt got a head-start on the bike:

Then Steph came in...

...and out:

And then Jen came in to experience her first T1 ever!

Her and her “Made in the USA” Trek (inside joke) headed off for a ride:


I wanted to push hard on the bike. It was a little windy, there were some rollers, but I was going to hammer out a good ride.

Or so I thought.

I started out, and I was going 17 mph. “Huh, I feel like I’m pushing harder than that...” Well, I had a brief photo-gig the night before, and I spent a lot of the time awkwardly squatting down to get the right shot, so I thought maybe that was being felt on the ride. I didn’t know what was going on.

I was being passed like I was standing still. But I was working HARD! I thought the wind was at my back, so I didn’t know what was going on. I was counting the people passing me. “Now I’m in 10th... now I’m in 20th... now 30th...” I just kept counting.

At mile 5, Matt blew by me. I figured he’d catch me, but not so soon. (After the race, he said he thought he’d catch me around mile 10, not around mile 5.) I checked my average. 16.8. “Suck-teen point eight? That can’t be.”

My brakes.

Oh damn it - my brakes.

I reached over my aero bars to my front brakes, and I released them. Instantly, my speed jumped nearly 2.5 mph. “Sh*t!...” I had rode the first 6 miles with my front brakes rubbing the whole way!! I didn’t do a test ride before the race, and I should have.

Well, I was pissed at myself for about 5 minutes, but then I got over it and figured all I can do is catch some of the people that never should have passed me to begin with. At the turn-around on the bike, I was somewhere back in 40th-45th place overall. Only now I was passing people! Stupid brakes.

I lost track of my place. I just worked on making up that poor first half of the ride. On the way back into town, going INTO the wind, I was maintaining 19 mph. I’m such a dolt.

At the turn-around, my average was 16.8 mph. Nearing T2, I had got it up to 18.2, even though that was mostly into the wind.

So Matt beat me back to T2. Here he is riding around the last curve:

Then I came in, all pissy about my rookie mistake, but ready to catch a bunch of people on the final run:

Then came Pharmie:

Then Steph came rolling across the gravel:


Nothing fancy. Leave the stupid thoughts of the stupid bike in the stupid past, and get ready to hammer out a fast run.


Matt and I were out on the run. Pharmie came running out of T2:

Steph seemed overly excited to be starting her run. She’s not usually like this:

I went out hard, and I caught a bunch of people in the first mile (including Matt, who I spanked as I ran by). It was a nice out-and-back course, so I could see where I was overall. I saw Mario running back towards the finish in 4th overall (only I think the first 3 were in his age group, so the poor guy came in 4th overall and had nothing to show for it!).

I hit the first mile in 6:10. That was OK. I hit the turn-around and thanked the 2 kids pouring water and Heed. I caught a few more people.

I ran mile 2 in 6:09. Nice - consistent. Time to pick it up more and catch a few more people. I was running hard, and my abs were killing me! I think I used them a lot to hammer on the bike, and now they were screaming!

I caught one last guy with about 300-400 meters to go, and that moved me in to 12th overall. I came out of the trees running hard:

I ran that last mile in 5:52, for an average of 6:04/mile over those final 3 miles.

Seven minutes later, Matt hit the finish:

Then came Pharmie:

And then came Steph, finishing her SECOND ever duathlon:

She then sat to hang out with Borsch. It was cute for a while, but then it got ugly:

Play nice you 2!

Shortly after I finished the race, Jen came in off the bike. I had told her that I’d do the final run with her, and that’s what I did. Pharmie came running out after a few minutes and joined us as well. We were going to get her to the finish line of her first duathlon!!

We ran, we walked, we chatted, and finished the run!! Here’s the 3 of us emerging from the trees:

Pharmie and I dropped back to let Jen finish. Here she goes:


Pharmie and I walked the rest of the way, and we look a little like that couple who starts to look like each other:

The 5 finishers:

Post race, there were BURGERS!!!

I had 3. No joke. They were SOOO good! We all grabbed a seat for awards:

Guess who the first place female was?!? GUESS!! No, not Pharmie. It was the girl who’s tube blew in transition that Pharmie and I helped fix! She finished just 4 spots behind me in 16th overall!! It was her FIRST duathlon, and she took first place!

I finished 12th overall, and 5th in my age group (20-29). When they announced females 20-29, guess what they said?!? My lovely Pharmie was third in her AG!!

We got loaded up and hit the road. Our party was splitting up, and my car had to take Borsch, Jen, 4 bikes, and myself. So there were 2 bikes on the back of my car, 2 in the backseat, and me in the backseat:

My wheel was digging into my kidney, and the back of my seat was a little up my ass. Yay.

When I got home, I sat down for a minute. Kermit, my cat, came over and licked the sweat off of me. When Kermit was done, I looked like this:

Back with official results and official race photos as soon as they come in! Have a great week everyone!


Bill 6:14 AM, May 04, 2009  

There was a bit of that in the water this weekend.

We raced our local Duathlon too. Goddess was dying during the run leg, much more than normal. But we figured it was just the day.

I'm unloading the bikes off the car back at the house and can't wheel her bike up into the garage without effort. I look down and see the black stripe on the right side of her front rim. So I asked her if it seemed a bit hard to ride today and she said "yeah".

Damn brakes.

331 Miles 6:23 AM, May 04, 2009  

I love the brake drag part of the story. Glad you didn't let it ruin the event for you. Some guy that is aiming to win his 8th TDF has been twittering / advertising like crazy for a product called Chain Condom (www.chaincondom.com). If you're gonna carry you're bike in the back seat like that, you might need one. Me...I have a truck!

duchossois 6:32 AM, May 04, 2009  

Aside from the brake incident, sounds like everyone had a great day. Congrats to all, and special congrats to Jen for her first duathlon. As always, great photos. Don't let the cat lick the sweat off you. :-)

IronWaddler 6:51 AM, May 04, 2009  

Great report and photos. I felt like I was really there.

A big, big congrats. to Jen on finishing her first Du. It takes alot of perserverance to hang in there that long. (I know). I know it meant alot to her for you and Pharmie to go run.

Great day.

Missy 7:17 AM, May 04, 2009  

Rookie...no test ride?!?! I kid! At least you found it, you'd be pisssed if you didn't figure it out til the end.

Great pix (as always) and picking up Jen for her last run! Yay for multisport virgins. So fun.

Maria 8:02 AM, May 04, 2009  

congrats to everyone on the awesome race, especially aunt jen! way to recruit new multi-sport athletes!

Carolina John 8:13 AM, May 04, 2009  

Great race steve! Glad jen finished and was happy. seems like everyone had a good time.

Marlene 8:13 AM, May 04, 2009  

Congrats to all, especially Aunt Jen for her dirt du and Pharmie for placing!

Also, huge kudos for making up so much time on the run. What a bummer about eh brakes - something you'll only do once, I suppose.

Calyx Meredith 8:34 AM, May 04, 2009  

Congrats to Jen - and everyone! That sucks about your brakes but it sounds like you did a great job getting past it mentally. The pictures are great (yay Borsch!)

Audrey 8:40 AM, May 04, 2009  

Yeah for jenn!

boo for breaks. that's something you will totally never do again :) nice work still putting forth great effort on the rest of the course. and yeah for totally helping that chic w/ her tire. i'm sure she'll remember that.

tfh 9:16 AM, May 04, 2009  

Great job to all of you! I loved the comment about you and Pharmie becoming the couple who starts to look alike. :)

Ryan 10:18 AM, May 04, 2009  

I'm still trying to decide which is more disturbing...the cat licking you or the amount of leg hair you have in the helmet kicking shoe off picture. Nice job and well done to pharmie for being a good samaritan.

Brian 11:18 AM, May 04, 2009  

Oh man, that stinks. you would have kicked some butt. lesson learned for next time

X-Country2 11:32 AM, May 04, 2009  

Looks like a beautiful day to race! Bummer about the brakes.

And yes, you and Pharmie are adorable in your matching outfits.

The Boring Runner 12:25 PM, May 04, 2009  

The brakes thing is really frustrating. I really would have been mad at myself for leaving them on.

Either way it looks like you had a pretty good race. Fast finish on the last 5K too. Nice work!

Kim 3:49 PM, May 04, 2009  

ugh that is super irritating about your brakes rubbing your tire and slowing you down. regardless, you busted ass out there. congrats to you, pharmie and the rest of the crew!

CoachLiz 4:03 PM, May 04, 2009  

Ugh! I had the brakes rub my front wheel for about 40 miles of a 70.3 race in Cancun after I hit a mound of dried cement and it knocked the wheel out of true.

I did not know that the wheel was rubbing because it was raining and the rain kept a little bit of lubrication to keep the wheels rolling. Damn that was a hard ride and very demoralizing.

I always check my brake pads before every ride now.

Congratulations to Jen on finishing her first multi-sport event and to Pharmie on her podium finish.

teacherwoman 7:06 PM, May 04, 2009  

Great race report! Congrats to Pharmie and her AG placement! Looks like a great day for a DU.

Kevin 7:36 PM, May 04, 2009  

Congrats to Pharmie! Way to go Aunt Jen on your first Du. Welcome to the darkside

Brian 11:15 PM, May 04, 2009  

Just laugh it off Steve. What until you are my age and the dementia is creeping in. I now carry a Tri To-Do List with me for my race-days so I don't forget to check this and that. Same for the night before when packing up. Congrats on at least figuring it out and finishing strong!

Ordinarylife 4:07 AM, May 05, 2009  

I did my first duathlon this weekend and came.... LAST! And I did not even have my brakes on.

As a small consolation I also came first in my age group and 3rd girl over all. Yip, it was a small field.

Well done to all of you!!

Ordinarylife 4:07 AM, May 05, 2009  

I did my first duathlon this weekend and came.... LAST! And I did not even have my brakes on.

As a small consolation I also came first in my age group and 3rd girl over all. Yip, it was a small field.

Well done to all of you!!

Chloe 5:37 AM, May 05, 2009  

Holy smokes! That was one heck of a run! Congrats!

And a cute picture of you and Pharmie :)

Do you think that was just a jeddi mind trick the girl who blew the tire was playing on you guys? :)

richvans 9:19 AM, May 05, 2009  

Why do we always have to learn the hardway. I didn't do a test ride before a 1/2 IM and my right aerobar was loose - it was more like a joystick. Won't make that mistake again. Way to stay in the moment and not let one mistake ruin your whole day. Burgers . . . if they had beer I would definitely add it to my calendar for next year.

Lindsay 12:32 PM, May 05, 2009  

very cool about the newbie girl. good thing you guys helped her out! your last few posts made me wanna look into a dualthon but either i don't know how to google well enough or there just plain aren't any nearby me. :(

Dori 3:35 PM, May 05, 2009  

Great report, Steve. You kicked butt! Congratulations to Pharmie for her AG placement. If I ever do a bike race, I'll remember to do a test ride. Thanks for the tip. ;-)

Anonymous,  6:45 PM, May 05, 2009  

Duathlons are such a good time-- looks like you guys had a blast! Of course any race with burgers would be awesome!

Irish Cream 6:55 PM, May 05, 2009  

Great report, Steve! It's so nice to have your own personal race photographer--I might have to start conning friends into doing that for my races! Congrats to Pharmie on the AG award!

Beth 7:41 PM, May 05, 2009  

Sorry about the brakes, but I bet everyone who read this, including me, will remember to check them before their next ride. Congrats to your whole group- everyone had a great day!

Michelle 7:42 PM, May 05, 2009  

Hey what is up with your chest there? WHY ALL RED?

Because of cat licking??

Or because you took a licking???


Anonymous,  10:00 PM, May 05, 2009  

Dude, you are definitely a runner. But Aunt Jen's the real hero of the story. Tell her we're looking forward to seein her in her next event.

1010 Chris

Nat 9:07 PM, May 06, 2009  

Can you let Jen know that looking at her I'm thinking that I can maybe perhaps do a duathlon... slow as I am... :)

sRod 12:40 PM, May 08, 2009  

Totally sucks about the brakes--but still amazed that you recovered so much ground in that short distance. Congrats again!!

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