Gear West Duathlon Race Report

>> Monday, May 18, 2009

Yesterday morning, Pharmie, her brother Matt, and I headed out to Orono MN for the Gear West Duathlon. Matt and I were teaming up as “Team Happy Pants” again. Last year, we took second at this race (out of 16), and this year, we were hoping to better that!

We got set up in the “teams” area of transition. We were the first team there:

It was a chilly 40-45 degree morning, so I had been wearing my Under Armour shorts under my “bowl full of sunshine” short yellow shorts. But there was no wind, so I thought I’d be warm enough in just the bowl full of sunshine. So I went into a porta-potty and changed out of the Under Armour. Pharmie was horrified when I came walking towards her with Under Armour in hand (because she knew I’d be running with a LOT of exposed leg!):

I spotted swimming buddy Julia in transition. We chatted for a moment:

Side note: remember Julia? We’ve done a few swim workouts together. Remember this workout from February where Julia pushed me so hard that I died?

Well, it was time to head to the start. Matt, Pharmie, and I walked up the street to the start. Just before the start, I ran into blogger Benson. He was volunteering out on the bike course (so I wouldn’t get to see him during my 2 runs). Pharmie snapped one last photo of Matt and I before I stripped down:

I started in the second wave. The first wave was the “competitive” wave. Pharmie got a photo of Cathy Y as she headed out:

(Don’t forget Cathy: I’ll show her finishing in a moment, and it’s EPIC!)


A few minutes after the competitive wave went out, wave 2 was ready to start. I ran out near the front:

(Note the guy with the shaved head behind me and the guy in the red tank-top beside me. Both of them were RUNNERS.)

Leading out wave 2

The Gear West run course is NASTY! It was in a little better shape than it was last year because we got a little rain the night before the race last year. The course starts out on a road for the first 1K, but then the last 4K are all off-road. Here’s the loopy, nasty course map:

I settled into 2nd in our wave, and after the first 1K, I was back in 3rd. (I was behind those 2 guys that I pointed out in the starting photo.) “Damn. There are some runners here! I hope Matt can catch their bikers!” I ran a few seconds behind them, but they kept pulling away. I was hoping that I wasn’t going TOO fast - I know the 2 guys in front of me were pushing me, and I didn’t know if I was going too hard. I wanted to make sure I had gas in the tank for the second run.

I hit transition about 40 seconds behind 1st place, and just 10 seconds behind 2nd.


I ran through transition and up to Matt. I grabbed his bike (I actually nearly collapsed on it) as he bent down to transfer the chip to his ankle:

The first and second runners are the 2 in the background

Matt had the chip, and he was off:

28K Bike (17.4 miles):

Matt was off and riding. I was SPENT:

Pharmie grabbed a shot of my sweaty boobs, proving that it’s still easy to work up a good sweat in under 20 minutes when it’s only 40-45 degrees:

I briefly talked with the other runners:

I found out that one of them has ran a few sub-3 hour marathons, and that was with having to stop and walk 6 times in one of them. “Jeez, he’s a runner...” And Matt learned that one of their bikers was a Cat-1 or Cat-2 racer. That’s a hell-a-va team.

I walked out of transition were I spotted Kate Weaver. I did that awkward thing that all of us bloggers have done before: “Uhh, Katie? Hi, it’s Steve in a Speedo.” I didn’t know if it was her. But it was, and she threw her arms out and gave me a big “hello” hug! Pharmie came over, and we all talked while Matt was out there working on the bike.

I quickly hit the porta-potty, and got ready for Matt to come back in. One of the teams came in about 2 minutes before Matt. “Dang. I don’t think we can win if I need to chase down THAT runner.” I spotted Matt a few minutes later, and ran back to the “team transition area" and quickly stripped my pants.


Here comes Matt:

He dismounted and came running into transition:

Am I pulling my shorts UP?! Did I think I needed
to show MORE leg?! What the hell?!

I transferred the chip to my ankle, and I was off to see if I could catch their speedy-pants runner:


The second run was shorter because we got to skip the “easy” run on the road. Now it was just the off-road 4K. My legs were BURNING!! I nearly lost my footing once or twice and nearly biffed it.

No beating around the bush: there was no way I could catch the first place team. Just like last year, Matt and I easily had 2nd place, with no shot at first place. The coolest part of that second run was that I got to watch the battle for the first place female unfold. Cathy Y started the run about 20 seconds ahead of Marlo (both are local rockstars). And the 2 of them were only about 30 seconds ahead of me. I was slowly gaining on them. I saw Marlo closing the gap on Cathy. Once we went into and back out of the trees, I saw that Marlo had passed Cathy. And I was rooting for Cathy just because I know her better, so I was bummed. With about 1K left, I was right on Cathy’s tail. We were looping through the trees, and I didn’t want to pass her and accidentally cut her off. So I held back and waited for an opening to pass her. We rounded a corner wide, and she motioned to have me pass. I muttered “Go Cathy - go get Marlo!” as I passed her. A few seconds later I passed Marlo. “Nice job Marlo!”

I hit the final bastard of a hill, and sprinted it to the finish.

It wouldn’t be a race report if there weren’t a one-legged pirate photo of me:

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum Gatorade.

Team Happy Pants: Steve Stenzel, Matt Linder
2 out of 8 teams overall
2 out of 5 M/M teams

5K Run: 18:42 (3rd fastest)
T1: 0:39 (3rd fastest)
28K Bike: 45:45, 22.3 mph (3rd fastest)
T2: 0:32 (tied for 3rd fastest)
4K Run: 17:05 (3rd fastest)

Total: 1:22:41

We did ALL that we could. Both of my runs were faster than last year, our transitions were a LITTLE faster overall, and Matt’s bike was MUCH faster than last year. We did over 3 minutes better than last year, which would have been a team course record, but that one speedy team beat us. We were both happy with our performance, and we were fine coming in second to that team.

So, as I mentioned during that last 4K run, I had just passed Marlo and Cathy, the lead females. Just a few seconds after I finished, there was a SUPER DRAMATIC finish between those 2!! Cathy came from behind and eeked out a win by literally 1/100th of a second!! If she had hit the finish line with her non-chip ankle first, she wouldn’t have won. Check out these photos from Cathy’s blog:

LOOK AT THOSE STRIDES! AND THE MUSCLES IN THOSE LEGS!! Holy crap! (I was just left of the frame just out of the finisher chute, and that’s Matt’s and Pharmie’s back standing at the line.)

After finishing, we spotted Totters (who was volunteering at the finish), and we all chatted for a bit. Her hubby Steve was racing too, and we got to see him finish. It was great to meet you 2 guys!! Matt and I worked our way back through transition, and headed for the grills. They were making Ballpark hot dogs!

Then we ran into Ms. R who had just done the race (and was working on a hotdog), and we chatted for a bit. We also stopped to say hi to Mr. Fury (her hubby). It was great meeting you guys, too!! We also talked a lot with Carlos, who we had met at 2 end-of-season duathlons last year. (It was so great that we got to meet and talk with SO many people!)

We stuck around for the awards. Here’s 4 out of 5 of the top females, and Cathy is talking about the race with Marlo:

I heard Julia’s name read out as one of the AG placers, so I went over to congratulate her. She handed her camera to a friend, and she snapped a photo of us:

Then we went home to make HOMEMADE PASTA!! Here are some homemade sauces in the works:

Here’s Pharmie with some pasta dough that had been rolled out a few times, needing a few more passes:

Then Steph (my sister-in-law) and I ran the pasta dough through the blades in the pasta roller to make noodles.

What a great post-race meal!!

I’ll be back with official photos as soon as they come in. Now, time to hit the bike a few times this week to get ready for the Apple Duathlon this weekend! Have a good week everyone!


Charisa 3:43 PM, May 18, 2009  

I wish I lived in MN so I could come eat with you guys!! NICE race and CY rocks :)

Maria 4:19 PM, May 18, 2009  

awesome race! maybe you'll catch the speed racer team next year!

Marit C-L 4:32 PM, May 18, 2009  

GREAT WORK!!! Nice job out there - wow, that course looks tough. Way to really push that run :) Your team did super! And...that pool looks familiar... :) Next time I'm up there I'll have to join you and Julia for a swim! Enjoy the recovery!

Unknown 5:16 PM, May 18, 2009  

Great race report! It sure looked like a beautiful day...

...but those shorts

...ugh, dude!

Beth 5:17 PM, May 18, 2009  

Great race report! Congrats to you and Matt. My son was on the bike course, directing traffic at 6 and Willow. I was watching softball all day, so sorry I wasn't there to give you guys some cowbell. Congrats on your great finish and time improvement!

kerrie 5:52 PM, May 18, 2009  

wow, those are little yellow shorts!!!! they must help you go fast. nice race!

duchossois 5:56 PM, May 18, 2009  

Wow, congrats on quite a race, and the excellent photos of the dramatic finish with Cathy and Marlo

Cy 7:47 PM, May 18, 2009  

Great report, and super race. You make running look easy, even in those shorts ;-)

Thanks for showcasing my big finish, and for all your support out on the course. I'm glad it was captured on film (or should I say bits), because I've never seen my run stride like that!

Best of luck at Apple this weekend. I think I'm going to pass on that one this year.

Thanks again :-)

Run For Life 8:06 PM, May 18, 2009  

Congrats on a great race, over a 3 min. improvement is awesome!

Homemade pasta is always so yummy. :)

Chloe 8:25 PM, May 18, 2009  

Next time you guys make pasta - I'm coming over! Congrats on the great race - and the STELLER SHORTS! Sweet.

jen 8:58 PM, May 18, 2009  

Congrats on the race! You guys make an awesome team.

That photo sequence of the women's finish is the shit.

teacherwoman 9:28 PM, May 18, 2009  

Great race report! Cathy's finish was AWESOME!

kymberli q. 1:13 AM, May 19, 2009  

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Good luck in the Duathlon!

Anonymous,  6:21 AM, May 19, 2009  

Nice race report! Fun pictures too. Way to break out the yellow shorts. The pasta looks wonderful.

scott blackwell 7:22 AM, May 19, 2009  

That post race meal looks fantastic! Def gonna have to make some homemade pasta tonight.

Carolina John 7:50 AM, May 19, 2009  

Another great sucess from team happy pants. good job steve!

Rachel 8:13 AM, May 19, 2009  

Great race report! Sounds you did well with some tough competition!

Marlene 8:17 AM, May 19, 2009  

You guys ran/biked a seriously awesome race. Definitely worthy of first place. :) You should have tripped those other guys...


E-Speed 9:05 AM, May 19, 2009  

Nicely done! And that pasta looks great!

audgepodge 9:11 AM, May 19, 2009  

Yay Team Happy Pants! What a great race... and great commentary on the female finish :)

Kelly 10:20 AM, May 19, 2009  

You and Ray with your homemade pastas. I want to make homemade pasta!

Great job on the race. 2nd place is fabulous too.

X-Country2 10:21 AM, May 19, 2009  

Great race report (as usual). Although, with all your racing accomplishments, your food skillz blow it out of the water. :o)

MissAllycat 11:35 AM, May 19, 2009  

YAY for homemade pasta!!

P.O.M. 11:47 AM, May 19, 2009  

Wow, cathy's finish was awesome.

Please post a prom pic! That would be super duper.

Irish Cream 12:13 PM, May 19, 2009  

Yum, I LOVE homemade pasta! That looks delicious!

Congrats to both you and Matt on an AWESOME race! You guys seriously rocked it!

Amy 1:55 PM, May 19, 2009  

I don't know what I'm more jealous of....your fricken legs or that homemade pasta. Nice work out there!

Brian 3:23 PM, May 19, 2009  

nice job. i think you could have gotten a first place finish if you only had some hot orange outfit

The Boring Runner 3:58 PM, May 19, 2009  

lol - man, those shorts are great. I need you to teach me how your wife lets you go out in those!!

I'm with meatloaf - 2/3 ain't bad. Hopefully next year that other team won't enter and you'll have your win!

RoadBunner 5:40 PM, May 19, 2009  

Awesome job! Congratulations. Too bad about the pseudo pro team in your division!

TriGirl Kate O 8:04 PM, May 19, 2009  

Love the pics of you and my Tucson tri camp roomie Julia! I need to come visit...when it's warm out, of course. Good job on the race.

GoBigGreen 9:57 PM, May 19, 2009  

great race and thanks to Pharmiefor the pics and cheers!
yummy meal- I am proud of you! No junk!

Greenking17 "TRI-harder" 3:18 PM, May 21, 2009  

Awesome report!! Sounds like a fun-filled day of craziness in the multi-sports world. Always an adventure...Good job!

Good luck at the Apple DU! Look forward to the race report...

walchka 2:37 PM, May 22, 2009  

It was great to meet you and Pharmie at the Du. Sorry for being Mr. anti-conversation. Too many early mornings between coaching and the race that weekend. Zombies function better then I did that morning.

sRod 3:07 PM, May 24, 2009  

Awesome work!! Gives you somethign to work toward for next year!

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