Mosquito Man Duathlon Race Report

>> Monday, September 06, 2010

Or “The ‘Throw-Down’ with the Soccer Mom.”

Or “I Don’t Care Who Wins... At Least I Have Better Legs. Oh... Wait...”

Note: if you don’t know what this “throw-down” is all about, click here (or scroll 4 posts down) to see where I challenged speedy duathlete Jenny Wilcox to a race at the Mosquito Man Duathlon. It was to be all in fun. And Jenny and I had a blast! Here’s the race report...

Saturday was the chilliest morning in over 100 days (or so said the news). It was 48 degrees when I got up, and just barely over 50 once we hit the race site. Pharmie was wearing 2 pairs of pants and 3 shirts AND a quilt!

Thanks for all the upcoming photos, Pharmie!!

I hit the porta-potties for my traditional pre-race business...

... and business was good. ;)

We chatted with Jenny, the Hulls, Tracie and Louis, Marta, Kris, everyone from Gear West, plenty of people I’m currently forgetting, and we all just had a good time. The best thing about the pre-race festivities was when Kevin from Gear West actually ran through transition during the pre-race meeting, grabbed a random bike, and went through the motions to show us how to work our way in and out of transition:

I leaned over to Jenny and Julie and said something like “as a teacher, I can appreciate the different learning styles he’s appealing to by acting this out...” Good times.

This duathlon was different. I wasn’t RUN, BIKE, RUN like we’re used to. This race was RUN, BIKE, RUN, BIKE, RUN. Heck yeah. It was THREE 1.5 mile runs, and TWO 8.23 mile bikes.

Well, Jenny and I were in different waves (Jenny started 6 minutes before me), so we couldn’t actually go “head-to-head.” Dang. BUT, I had my lovely Pharmie there, so she was going to take pictures AND let me know how far ahead Jenny was. Jenny started in wave 3 next to Mario:

And I started in the last wave (wave 5). Here I am standing awkwardly in my “bowl full of tutti-frutti” shorts pre-race:

“...5 ...4 ...3 ...2 ...1 ...GO!”

(Note the guy with the monster stride right next to me - he won the race)


I went out pretty hard. Coach had told me to run the runs HARD (because I’m working my way towards my “A” race of sub-60 at the TC 10 Mile). The guy next to me in that last photo passed me and was in front of me for the first few blocks. I met Mario, Jenny, and Julie on their way back towards T1 while I was on my way out. Then I made my move and passed that guy. I led my wave the rest of the way in this first run, with him just on my tail.

I hit the turn around (0.75 miles) in 4:06. “Ummm, Steve... this is your body speaking. SLOW. THE. F. DOWN!!” OK body. Can do. Yeah, starting a race at 5:26 / mile pace is a little too much. Maybe. So I eased back a LITTLE. Here I am making the final turn towards transition:

Hi volunteer! Made ya smile! ;)


Nothing strange here. Just did what I needed to and left transition in the middle of some people I had caught from previous waves:


Hmmm... how much have I been biking lately? Well, kind of a lot. But it’s all been EASY rides to spin out my legs the day after hard run workouts. It had literally been 5 weeks since my last hard effort on the bike (at the Waseca Triathlon, in these same hot shorts!). And, my computer had just stopped working, so I had no way of knowing my speed, cadence, distance, or any of that info!! I was riding blind! I just pushed hard and hoped all would be OK.

Here’s a map of the loop we all did:

Miles 5 to 5.5 were pretty rough roads, and that stretch ended with a ball-busting, short, hard climb before making a right turn.

Oh, did anyone else racing smell that MAJORLY dead animal next to the road around mile 2?!? I didn’t see it, but I smelled it on both rides! Nasty!

I passed a few people and a few passed me. Pretty normal. Jenny made it back off the bike, and Pharmie grabbed a shot of her starting her second run:

I was running the numbers in my head as I started the bike, and I told myself a split of just under 24:00 would be OK. Soon, I came rolling in with a 23:24 bike split:


I heard Pharmie shout “You’re 5:22 behind Jenny!” OK. Good. I started 6:00 back, so I’ve made up some ground EVEN after biking! Good. ;) Time to run.


I headed back out:

This one was slower. I was a little upset to see 4:31 at the 0.75 mile turn-around. That’s 1 second under the pace I need to run at the TC 10 Mile. Not happy.

That was a minor turning point in the race. It was the turn that marked the half-way point in this run, bike, run, bike, run. Everything was downhill from here, and I kept telling myself that. I forced myself to pick up the pace and race hard. I made it back a few seconds faster than my way out. Good.

Jenny, Julie, and I were spaced out pretty evenly coming into T3:



Me. I’m not smiling. That’s a grimace.


I know, I know... “What Steve? T3?!?” This was all new territory to me as well. I had told Erik before the race that I NEEDED to have some speedy transitions during this race because there are 4 transitions! He was going to be working the “mount / dismount” line, and he was looking for me to be speedy. Actually, in T1 or T2 (mounting or dismounting), he saw how smooth I was and made a little remark. But he had his back turned and missed this sweet flying start:

What grace!

What skill!

Look at that photo above: both of my feet are off the ground, and there’s air between me and the seat! That’s a FLYING START!! It’s textbook! Jeez, could I BE anymore smooth?!? And Erik, YOU MISSED IT!

Wait, wait... where did THAT photo come from? Is that just after the previous shot? Oh, well, nevermind all that “grace” and “skill” talk. Holy cats, look at my face. It’s like I’m saying “FFFFUUUUUUU....” as I’m about to veer into a cone.


Maybe I won’t try that again.......


This was a little more depressing this time. It felt a little harder. That dead animal at mile 2 was still just as dead as it was on the last ride. The rough road at mile 5 felt worse. The short hard climb was more painful. And the long climb through Long Lake was killer. But 2 GW guys (one was Trent) were cheering at the store, and he saw my shorts coming and said “Alright Steve!” That was a good boost!

I went back-and-forth with 2 other guys over the last 2 miles, and I hit T4 with a split just a few seconds slower than my first ride. I was still behind Jenny...

...and Julie...

...but I was gaining:


Jeez, that’s enough frickin’ transitions! Pharmie shouted that Jenny had a 4:38 lead over me. So that meant I had made up 1:22, and that about sealed the deal. I knew I’d win our little throw-down, but I needed to still bang out a hard run for my TC 10 Mile training.


Jenny was out well in front of me:

I came out after her:

I wanted to NAIL this final run. I said “hi” to Jenny as she was heading in towards the finish while I was still on my way out:

Jenny finishing with Curt from GW filming her from behind.
(Insert your own joke here.)

Headed to the line with the win!!

I passed Julie just before the turn-around as she was ripping off her arm warmers. The final run was feeling WARM! We exchanged pleasantries, and I was off. On the way back, there was no one in front of me, so I didn’t have much of a “push.” But I kept telling myself that I was racing invisible people that started 1 or 2 waves in front of me who had already finished, but whom I could still beat! “Go hard, Steve! GO!!”

I hit the line and I was pooped. Pharmie got an awkward photo of both Jenny and I slowing down after just crossing the finish line. Look, our awkwardness matches:


Official Results:
Steve Stenzel, #124

1.5 mile run:
8:32, 1st overall
8.24 mile bike: 23:24, 31st overall
T2: 0:31
1.5 mile run: 8:58, 1st overall
8.23 mile bike: 23:32, 29th overall
T4: (the timers forgot this column, but I had 0:31 on my watch)
1.5 mile run: 8:32, 1st overall

Total time: 1:15:07
Overall place: 4 out of 84 total
25-29 age group: 2 out of 8 (I think)

• At least I was consistent on the bike: my 2 rides were 31st and 29th overall (including team riders), and they were 8 seconds apart. That surprised me - I didn’t expect to be so consistent ESPECIALLY not having a bike computer!

• For not having biked much lately (well, “not having biked HARD lately), I can’t complain about my 2 rides being 21.10 mph and 20.98 mph. I’ll take it.

• I had the fastest run each time! And these rankings include the teams, so that’s out of nearly 150 people. I just beat the eventual winner by 2 seconds in the first run and by 2 seconds in the second run. I guess that makes me feel better about my TC 10 Mile training.

• Jenny Wilcox finished as the first female (7th overall!) in 1:17:37, so I got her in our little duel. It sure was fun though! Thanks for the race, Jenny!!

As soon as I finished, I was bent over catching my breath. I popped up only to see a camera in my face, and Pharmie took this shot:

...and then she wiped the spit off my chin. Gross. You can see it in that photo. Awesome.

I then immediately took out the used gel wrapper (Rotane for racing) from between my “fancy” shorts and my tri shorts. You can see the nice residue it left:

Jenny found me and gave me a hug:

Jenny and I had both brought cupcakes to pass out in celebration of our little battle. Here’s Jenny, Erik, and Julie ready to kill Jenny’s banana cupcakes:

What a fun, leg-burning race! And as you saw in one of the photos, Curt was out there taking video, so I’ll make sure to post the video race report as soon as I see it.

I posted lots more photos (especially of the “team” race where 2 people would race together and could draft off each other on the bike) in 2 Examiner articles. CLICK HERE for the first one, and CLICK HERE for the second one. Both contain a slideshow of images - MORE images than what are here, and LESS images of me! ;) And the first one also has a little write-up before the slideshow. So check it out!

Thanks everyone! Happy Labor Day!


Anonymous,  12:28 PM, September 06, 2010  

Congrats on the race! It looked like a blast :)

I cannot imagine running, biking, running, biking ... hats off to you!

And the shorts are just epic. So is the porta potty picture.

GoBigGreen 1:10 PM, September 06, 2010  

Great day all of you:) And the banana cupcakes from my sister in law are her very best, only the best for my friends. She is now the official cupcake of the GW du and tri events....
Rest up Steve!

Beth 11:17 PM, September 06, 2010  

Great job, Steve, and a really fun race report. Julie has beautiful legs, by the way. It looks like you all had a blast and I'm happy for you that you did so awesome!

mizuno running shoes 7:28 AM, September 07, 2010  

Very impressive...

Congrats you made it!

Kim 8:44 AM, September 07, 2010  

wow, awesome duel steve! congrats on a speedy (and consistent) race!

Stacie 8:25 PM, September 07, 2010  

Those are the best shorts I've ever seen. Did you raid Rainbow Bright's closet? Great race photos as well! Always a treat reading up on you.

CoachLiz 2:34 PM, September 08, 2010  

48-50 degrees??!!?? That would be winter weather down here in Texas! We were joking we needed our arm warmers this past weekend in Austin when it was windy and 74 degrees with low humidity.

Congratulations on your smack down and Congratulations to Jenny on her 1st place female rank.

Steve,  7:28 AM, September 15, 2010  

Steve...your poor wife...I think she would really appreciate one of these to replace her blanket...:

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