2015 Cinco "DU" Mayo Duathlon Race Report

>> Monday, May 04, 2015

Or, "The Weirdest Finish in a Duathlon."

Or, "FINALLY Some Sun at This Race!"

I headed out to the hills around Square Lake on Saturday for the Cinco DU Mayo Duathlon. I did this race in 2012 (finishing 2nd) and again in 2013 (where I got my first win). I knew there was the chance of winning, so I was extra nervous. On the way to the race, I sang along with a song I dedicated to Devon:

And then I really cranked it up and sang along to this (which always makes Henry tell me to stop):

I know about 1/3 of the words, and I just mumble loudly to the rest. It's an art form.

I got to the race site and parked outside of the park because I'd have to be leaving quick post-race: Pharmie had to work, and I had to get back to relieve the neighbor girl who was watching the boys. I got to the transition area and took care of some business:

My traditional shot.

Then I found 2 friends:

I didn't know Lisa was going to be racing this!
(Remember our showdown at the indoor tri nearly 2 months ago?)

And Best Friend Forever For Now Devon. We discussed shaving our shoulders
just after we took this photo. Because it's obvious who does and who doesn't.

Lisa and I had a while to wait before the start of the SHORT course (2 mile, 10 mile, 2 mile). Devon and most of the speedsters were heading off first in the LONG course (5K, 20 mile, 5K). So I got a few more photos as we waited:

Transition. NOTE THE MAN IN THE BLACK ON THE LEFT. His name is Brad, and he'll be
mentioned a lot in the last half of this race report! We chatted a lot. Nice guy.

Former Cinco DU race director Jason and his awesome wife Lisa. No, he's not sitting on her lap.
They're both standing. They've produced 3 children, but the physics confuse me.

I knew this would be a photo of the top 3 in the long course, but I couldn't predict place.
Brian Sames, Devon Palmer, and Bennett Isabella. (With Jerry MacNeil on the mic on the left.)

Race buddy Lisa (not the Lisa married to the tall man) volunteered her Mom to take my camera and take some photos. Thanks Marylynn!! Her first photo was one showing that Lisa and I are equally full of nervous, awkward pre-race energy:

Dear God. (Chatting with tall teen Mitchell.)

Mitchell, Brad, Lisa, and me ready to go. (Oh, and 2 hilarious women over my shoulder
who cheered me on 2 years ago and who love my shorts! Thanks ladies!)

The long course had started exactly 10 minutes before us. So I knew that I'd be coming back to transition in the middle of some of the long course runners. And before we knew it, we were off...

RUN: 2 miles.

Teen giant Mitchell and I chatted in the first few hundred feet. He was hoping for 6s, and I was hoping for a bit faster. We took off and went back-and-forth for about the first quarter-mile.

Mitchell and me leading it out, with Lisa on our butts.

My pre-race goal was to run about 5:45s, and I hit my first 2 half miles in 2:48 and 2:48 (5:36 mile). I had a decent lead and was feeling a little winded, so I let up a bit.

We were getting ready to turn around and meet up with the long course runners. We saw Brian leading the first run back (to be expected), with Devon back in 3rd. But Devon's a SUPER strong biker, so I knew that order would be changing soon. I figured I hit the turn around and jumped in with the long course athletes around 20th place. I passed a number of them in my final mile to be maybe 10th in the long course athletes, so I was in the thick of it getting back to T1.

My final mile was 5:54, and then it was another 0:13 back to transition. I ran down the hill and into transition with nearly a 30 second lead on the next short course runner (who was Brad), but I had no knowledge of this - there were long course athletes all around us, and I couldn't differentiate.

Down the driveway, back into the park. I had taken off my sunglasses because I was getting hot.
(Last time I did this race in 2013, it was 35 degrees and raining!)

Running with my sunglasses (with a bit of hip-drop).


Nothing unusual. Pretty quick for me, actually. Helmet on, grabbed bike, gone.

BIKE: 10 (hilly) miles.

Someone actually cheered for my bike mount. It must have been graceful. Sweet.

Leaving transition with my 5 best friends in the background.

I still haven't found a way to look cool in an aero helmet.
(Or a way to look cool in any other situation either, for that matter.)

There was some weird "rubbing" noises coming from my bike. "Shit." It sounded like it was coming from the front wheel. I opened my brakes. It didn't help. I only heard it when I pedaled, so that would indicate it was something in the back. Here I am riding past Lisa's Mom while trying to figure out my bike:

I figured it out just outside the park... it was my race number rubbing on my legs as I pedaled. So let's review: I don't look cool, and I'm not that bright. Damn it. Well, at least my bike wasn't screwed up!

Lisa only about 60 seconds behind me!

I was ready to bike hard. How fast were Brad and Mitchell on the bike? Would I be passed in the first mile like I was in 2012, or would I be able to hold off all challengers through the entire ride like I was able to do in 2013? I never looked back, and I just rode my own (hard) race.

My average was slow heading out. Yes, it's hilly and NOT a fast course, but when I checked after a few miles, my average was 18.7 mph. Ouch. "There must be a slight headwind. I hope." But I hadn't been passed yet, so that was good news. I started thinking about the guys behind me: "OK, if I can hold them off until just after mile 5 (half way through the race), then I have a shot at winning - I could maybe then catch them on the final run if I'm passed after that."

Well, Brad went zipping past around mile 4.3. "OK, no worries yet. Just don't let him get too far up there." I really hammered to keep him close. He was only about 2 blocks in front of me for a few miles. But then he started opening up more of a gap. "I can NOT let him get too far ahead because there's only a 2 mile run at the end of this. If he gets a half mile in front of me, that's 90 seconds, and I can NOT make that up over 2 miles of running!" I hammered harder. I had a hiccup that brought up a little bile/puke at one point. Nice. My effort showed in my overall average as I checked it every 2.5 miles:

- mile 2.5: 18.7 mph
- mile 5: 19.8 mph
- mile 7.5: 21.0 mph
- mile 10: 21.6 mph (nearing transition)

I'd only ever seen my average go over 20 mph once before in this race, and I never finished with an average over 20 mph. So being over 21 shows I was really pushing it! I had to keep Brad in my sights! (I was now losing sight of him at many points on the curvy roads.)

Riding back past the park entrance to come to T2.

Sweaty pits and boobs. Nice look.

HERE'S WHERE THINGS START TO GET WEIRD, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING WAS GOING ON AT THE TIME! I didn't see Brad as I rolled in, which was a good sign - that meant he was still coming out of transition and wasn't somewhere WAY out on the run course yet. Weird thing #1: Jerry mentioned me over the mic, saying something like "and there's Steve Stenzel who's on his way to his 2nd win here!" I thought "Jeez Jerry, I still need to catch Brad. Don't put the cart before the horse!"


This sucked. I couldn't get my helmet off, and I managed to rack my bike on top of my running shoes. Really. The 4 inches of back tire on the ground after racking my bike were DIRECTLY on top of my shoes. That's a special kind of skill. Damn it.

Heading out of transition.

RUN: 2 miles.

Once I got up the driveway and out of the park, a volunteer shouted to me. Weird thing #2: I thought he said "You've got 100 yards on the next runner." I assumed that meant I was 100 yards back. There was an intersection maybe 150 yards ahead where we have to turn, and I didn't see Brad, so maybe this volunteer was just bad at estimating distance/length. After all, every man is. (This is a penis reference.) I rounded the corner and STILL didn't see Brad. Then, a few hundred feet later, I couldn't see him at the top of the hill. "Well, he's got at least a 0.25 mile lead on me. I think it's over. Run hard just in case, but you're probably looking at 2nd." My legs felt like death, and I was only able to churn out a 3:09 first half mile. I tried to up the pace.

As I rounded over the top of the hill on the run course, I kept looking down the other side to see just how far Brad was in front of me. Weird thing #3: BRAD WASN'T IN FRONT OF ME. No one was in front of me. What happened? I last saw Brad coming down the big hill on his bike about a half mile before transition. He didn't flat or crash, because I would have seen him. Did he throw in the towel in T2? Did he hurt something? Did he get sick? I was confused, but I just kept running hard. My 2nd half mile was a bit better: 2:52 for a 6:01 first mile on the 2nd run.

At the turn-around, I saw that 2nd place behind me was LISA! Awesome! And she wasn't going to catch me, so this (weird) race was mine. I ran hard, but I know it could have been harder if I was gunning for someone. I came into the park right as the other Lisa was leaving T2, so this was 3 seconds before we exchanged a high-five:

Go Lisa!

This guy was jealous of our sweet high-five, so he wanted one too. And he got it!

I was announced as the winner as I hit the line with a personal race PR by 70 seconds. And Jerry announced me as a "DILF" over the mic! Ha! Awesome!


Steve Stenzel, #213, 34, M, St Paul

• 2 mile run: 11:43.
5:52 pace, 1st overall.
• T1: 0:29.
4th overall.
• 10 mile bike: 29:14.
20.53 mph [10.33 miles Garmin, 21.3 mph], 4th overall.
• T2: 0:32.
9th overall.
• 2 mile run: 12:02.
6:01 pace, 1st overall

53:58 total time
1st out of 96 overall
1st out of 13 in the 30-39 age group

OK, LET'S ADDRESS THE MISSING ATHLETE, BRAD, WHO HAD PRETTY MUCH LOCKED UP THE WIN. After the top-5 or so had finished, Brad appeared back in transition. On his bike. He had started the 2nd loop on the bike (with the long course athletes) instead of heading straight back to transition like us short course athletes were supposed to. Here's the bike map, with the area I'm talking about circled in red (by me):

The 2 volunteers were pointing to have everyone turn, because we were in the mix with the long course athletes. I went straight through instead of turning, knowing that was my route. Everyone in the short course behind me did the correct thing too. There were signs before the turn saying something like "LONG COURSE SECOND LOOP" with an arrow to the right, and "SHORT COURSE STRAIGHT." Everyone talking post-race basically said the same thing: "jeez, that's sucks for him... but you've got to know the course." Especially if there's a long/short course turn-off. Oops.

He was really upset with the race director at first, but then he disappeared for a while and came back much calmer and cooler. We talked for a bit. He was so bummed because (like me 2 years ago), this was setting up to be his first duathlon win. He'll have the chance to legitimately beat me this weekend at Oakdale. :) (The only difference is that neither of use will be gunning for the win at this race that is FULL of speedsters.)


• Some slower runs but a fast bike will lead to a PR. My first run was the slowest of my 3 races here. My final run was just 2 seconds faster than my slowest final run here. (So out of 6 runs here, I ran my 4th and 6th slowest this year.) But my bike was my fastest here by a minute and 40 seconds! That gave me a 70 second race PR overall. All that time on the trainer has paid off!

• This is the first spring race in a long time (maybe EVER) where I didn't have a good brick workout before it. This made me nervous going into the race. But it was what it was, so I just raced. And again, the more time I've spent on the bike has helped a ton. I maybe don't need that brick workout before spring or fall duathlons. (But it might be good mentally.)

• Lisa put up some great splits. She had a bike split that was 30 seconds faster than me and good for the 3rd fastest bike OVERALL. And then her final run was the second fastest, just behind me. Nice work, Lisa!

• In the 6 years of the short course race, there have only been 3 times faster than my 53:58. This is my favorite stat of the day. The winners in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (the year I came in 2nd) were the only other racers to break 54. The course record is held by the 2012 winner that I was chasing (Erich Heneke) who posted a 52:54. Sure, that's just over a minute faster, but there was no place for me to make up 65 seconds, so it feels a world away. AND LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR: ALL THE REAL SPEEDY RACERS DO THE LONG COURSE. So I'm 4th fastest all time at this race among all the slow people. :)

OK, back to the race-in-progress... Lisa came in just 2 minutes behind me for 2nd OVERALL!

Where are the top 2 from? Take THAT Minneapolis (and every other city in the
state/country/world). As a Twin-Citian, I'm bound by local law to mock the "other" city.

We sweatily hugged, thanked Marylynn for the photos, got my camera back, and we jogged out of the park for a little cool-down as we waited to see how the long course race shaped up. Devon was the first out of T2, but only by 30-40 seconds, so he was definitely in danger of being caught by Brian. And, I'm a little sad to say, my BFFFN got caught. Brian was the first we saw making the turn for the park:

He makes it look so gosh-darn easy. He opened with a 16:44 5K and ended with an 18-flat 5K!

Devon for 2nd! He was 1:16 behind Brian.

If you've got a good memory, you remember that Brian and I were the 2 winners back in 2013! Here's a flashback photo from that race report:

Man, we had horrible hair in 2013.

Same winners 2 years later in 2015! Congrats Mr. Sames!

Brian getting his goodie package from the race director Brian.

So I guess getting an awkward photo with a race buddy post-race has become
a new tradition. Love you Devon. XOXO

I Instagrammed a photo of my goodie basket post race, with the caption
"Apparently, winning a Cinco 'Du' Mayo Duathlon earns you a goodie basket with
ingredients to make guac. #Awesome #CincoDu #RacePR"

On the drive home, I remembered the GU gel that I had crammed under my shorts
during the bike. Yuck. (But never accuse me of littering!)

We still haven't made the guacamole, but we will shortly. What a great idea for a winners basket! Race director Brian told me that the woman who put those baskets together was pretty proud of her work, AND SHE SHOULD BE! Thanks goodie-basket-maker-lady! And thanks everyone at Tri-Fitness!

What a race! I love that course. And lots of great race buddies there too. Back soon with thoughts on the Oakdale Duathlon coming up in only 5 days!


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