2017 Cinco DU Mayo Duathlon RACE REPORT

>> Monday, May 08, 2017

Saturday was a beautiful day for a race: 50 degrees with a slight breeze. Nothing says "Cinco de Mayo" and "pre-race meal" like Chinese food the night before:

Yep, that's my race number and timing chip in the background.

Driving down THEE big hill near Square Lake the morning of the race.
This is mile 9.2 of the 10 mile bike loop.

Pre-race tradition.

Seen inside the porta potty. God is good. And heaven is real.

There were a few people I knew there, but not a ton. Mitchell and I chatted - I met him at this race in 2015, and he won it last year. I talked with Brandon, Brian, Dina, and Carrie who was a first-timer in a duathlon but I had a feeling she'd do great. (Carrie and I warmed up together as we chatted about the course.)

I ended up giving my camera to Mitchell's Dad who got all these photos for me. Thanks Mitchell's Dad!

Me and Mitchell. He said he wasn't in as good of shape this year,
but we were hoping the 2 of us would have a race!

Waiting to start. The long course (5K, 20 mile, 5K) had taken off in front of us,
and we were getting ready to start the short course (2 mile, 10 mile, 2 mile).

I don't know what's happening here. And that's Carrie in the yellow tank to the left.


We were off!

Everyone leaning and hitting their watches.

Heading out of the park at Square Lake.

Close up of the last photo: a Dad in a relay went out fast, and so did this guy in
a Pearl Izumi tri kit. I'm side-by-side with a guy Mitchell pointed out
as a strong cyclist pre-race, and Mitchell is behind us.

I was worried about this guy in the Pearl Izumi kit. But I ended up passing the relay Dad and the Pearl Izumi guy around mile 0.2. Alright, I was in the lead, and needed to be smart. I wanted to run hard, but not TOO hard. I hit the turn-around and saw that there was a nice pack of 3 just behind me: Mitchell, the fast cyclist Mitchell pointed out, and Pearl Izumi guy. Now I was running past long-course runners, but everyone was spread out enough that it was not an issue. Effort wise, my first run was where I wanted it to be. But my splits were a bit slower than I had hoped: 3:01, 2:56, 3:02, and 2:55, for mile splits of 5:57 and 5:57.

The long course speedsters beat us back to T1. Brian Sames was running in 1st with Wade Cruser just behind him. Brian got out transitioned, and started the bike just behind Wade:

Wade and Brain.

Me running in to T1.

2 miles of sweat.


Nothing worth reporting. Pretty standard. Had a bit of flying start on the bike. Nice.


A smile for Mitchell's Dad as I got up to speed.

Headed out of the park. Hey, there's Carrie coming into T2 on the left.

Mitchell running in.

Mitchell out on the ride!

The big question in this race is always "HOW LONG BEFORE I GET PASSED?!?" I've been in the lead off the first run all 4 years I've done this race. The first time I did this race in 2012, I was caught at mile 1 of the bike, and finished 2nd that year overall. In 2013, I was NEVER passed and it was amazing! I held the lead from part way into the run through the finish. And in 2015, I was passed part way into the ride, but then the lead rider made a wrong turn before T2, so I ended up winning. I went out pretty hard on the bike. The big goal for the day was to bike HARD because I only had to "hold on" for a quick 2 mile run after that.

I was holding a nice average in the first few miles, and I wasn't being passed. We turned into a slight breeze around mile 5, but I tried not to let it affect my average (so in other words, I tried to up the effort at that point in order to hold the same pace).

A MOMENT OF TRUTH: leading up to the race, it was looking like it was going to be a nice morning. I had looked up the course record, and believed it was 52:54 from 2012 (when I was beat by 2+ minutes by Erich). I knew I had a SHOT at that on a good day. To be close to that, I needed to shave a lot of time off my bike split. After a not-super-fast first run, my bike split was turning out to be OK, so there was still a chance at hitting this. Not a *GREAT* chance, but still *A* chance.

Overall bike average every 2.5 miles:
- Mile 2.5: 21.8 mph
- Mile 5.0: 22.4 mph
- Mile 7.5: 22.4 mph
- Mile 10: 22.1 mph

Around mile 8, I just felt like I wasn't moving. It felt like I had a flat. I mean, really, I was concerned I had a flat because I was going so slow. I set my Garmin to "1 mile splits" on the bike for only the 3rd time ever, and my 1-mile split through that mile was 3:22, or 17.8 mph. Yikes. (ALL of my other 9 splits were between 2:10 [27.6 mph] and 2:58 [20.2 mph].) After that, I BOMBED down that final hill back to the park at Square Lake.

Heading back as the FIRST athlete to T2!

As I turned into the parking lot, I looked back, and there was a cyclist just 100-200 feet behind me! YIKES! THIS WAS A RACE!

Not a horrible dismount.

OK... this one's a bit more horrible. Running in bike shoes is
never a good idea or flattering. But hey: my sweaty back dried up on the bike!


I tried to move FAST. I had someone right on my tail. I didn't know who it was yet.

It's a good day when you get back to T2 and it looks like this.
(Although there's someone sitting next to her bike back there, and that doesn't look good.)


I went out hard. I was thinking about that person behind me.

Running out of T2.


I was looking at my watch in that photo above. I noted that I was 11:50 from the course record, and I *guessed* I was maybe 10 seconds out of T2. So that meant I'd have to run a flat 12:00 final run (6:00 miles) to be CLOSE to the course record. I didn't think I could do that after a solid ride on legs that have had VERY little running speedwork. And for the moment, I was running scared from the guy behind me.

We turned left out of the park, and then we turned left on the main road of our run. I looked back after that 2nd turn, and noted that it was the fast cyclist that Mitchell had pointed out pre-race. I didn't know how far behind me he was after the first run, so I didn't know how close he could make this final run. I just ran HARD! I was REALLY depressed to see my first half-mile split pop up on my Garmin as 3:14. Yikes. Holding about 13:00 pace for these 2 miles instead of 12:00. "Well, there goes the chance for the course record, so now let's just focus on winning this thing!" #FirstWorldProblems

Meanwhile, Mitchell was rolling back to T2:

Making a more smooth-looking dismount than me.

Back on the run, I hit the turn-around at mile 1 with another half-mile split of 2:55. That was better. And there was a DECENT amount of space between the next runner and me. I did NOT feel like I had this "all sealed up" yet, but I felt a bit better. I pushed the effort back up the hill towards Square Lake. I looked back over my shoulder at mile 1.5 at the top of the hill (after a 3:05 split), and he was still at the base of the hill, so I was pretty sure I had this. I didn't know this at the time, but talking with Rob post-race ("the fast cyclist that Mitchell had pointed out" has a real name, and it was Rob), he basically said he conceded the win at the turn-around and just made sure to hold off 3rd place.

I turned into the park, ran down the hill, and took my 3rd win in 4 tries at Cinco:

Looking good here! (With a nasty heel strike.)

That's more like it. Looking more like I was FEELING here.

You can tell I'm laughing here. A volunteer was super impressed
and sweet regarding my win. Later, she introduced me to her boys.

Chatting and smiling with race director Judi! Waiting for finisher #2.

Then I looked down at my Garmin.

Remember how I said the course record was 52:54?

And how I said that I didn't have a shot at that after a bit into the run?

Well, my Garmin was showing me this:

WHAT?!? How did I get so close?!? Well, my last half-mile split was 2:44.

My official time was 52:57, so I was officially 3 seconds slower than the course record. And it serves me right. I came to the line STRONG, but I wasn't totally sprinting. (Down the hill to the finish, my Garmin hit 2.0 miles, and the final 0.01 miles to the line was clocked in at 4:31 pace.) Had I RACED to the LINE, I maybe COULD have snatched a course record. But I didn't, so I didn't.


Steve Stenzel, #198, St. Paul, 36, Male

- 2 MILE RUN: 11:56
(5:58 pace, 1st overall)
- T1: 0:27
- 10 MILE BIKE: 28:03
(21.4 mph, 2nd overall)
- T2: 0:27
- 2 MILE RUN: 12:04
(6:02 pace, 1st overall)

TOTAL: 52:57

1 out of 90 overall
1 out of 10 in the 30-39 age group

[Unofficial Garmin data: 10.26 mile bike, 22.0 mph average]

Oh, and transition times aren't listed in the official results. My official results have 0:54 missing after adding up run/bike/run, and my Garmin had my transition times within 1/2 a second of each other. So I just split them as an even 0:27 each.


• Let's be REAL clear about this: all the REALLY speedy people do the long course. So my ALMOST course record effort isn't really that special. The top 5 in the long course would have all beat me in the short course for sure.

• But... since we're looking at the course record, I now have the 2nd and 5th fastest times over the last 8 years of this race. Erich is still fastest in 2012, but then my race 2 days ago is 2nd. I noted back in 2015 that 2 other racers were sub-54, and I was 53:58 in 2015 which was 4th back then, now 5th after this last weekend's performance.

• I wanted to shave time off my bike split, and I did! My first 3 years here, I biked 30:57, 30:55, and 29:14. This year, I took another minute+ off to get it down to 28:03.

• My runs were my slowest ever here. But that's not surprising, being I've been letting my run training slide in the name of not getting injured. My first year at this race, I ran 11:31 and 11:36! I couldn't even DREAM of that this year!

• Who was the guy on my tail? It turns out Rob was the 2nd person in from the first run, and he was the only one that out-biked me. I had a 39 second lead after the first run, and then Rob out-biked me by 34 seconds. But then I out-ran him on the final run by 1:10 to finish 1:13 ahead of him. And he was exactly 2 minutes ahead of 3rd place, so we were spaced out decently by the finish.

Mitchell's family and I cheered him into the finish:

YWCA teammate Dina coming to the finish!

Brain Sames (passing a short course runner) finishing 2nd overall in the long course.

The short stretch of road out of the park before running to the left.
(With a guy with sweet pecs coming towards the park and the finish.)


I would highly suggest orally ingesting tacos post-duathlon!

I watched this man grope this women for 5 minutes, and then I asked him to grope me.

Guess what?!? Carrie who I talked with pre-race at her FIRST duathlon ended up WINNING
the race! Here we are with our sombrero full of winning swag and giant bag of chips!
(She had the 3rd fastest and 2nd fastest runs overall, beating female #2 by 10 secs!)

Post race Instagram: "I was the overall winner at the @trifitnesswbl 'Cinco DU
Mayo Duathlon' and won a sombrero full of Americanized Mexican treats,
which is AWESOME! Fun race and great morning!"

My boys liked my new hat.

Now, time to rest the legs a bit. Back with more soon!


Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 1:00 PM, May 08, 2017  

congrats to you, Steve. Very well done! Ole!

Anonymous,  8:45 AM, May 11, 2017  

Congratulations! It looks like so much fun!

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