Falls Duathlon Race Report!

>> Monday, May 01, 2017

My wife and I headed down to Cannon Falls for the Falls Duathlon on Saturday morning. There was some wind, but I deemed it "not TOO breezy" so I put on my race wheels, including my disc:

Pharmie prepping her bike off to the side.

Me and my cutie in transition.

Less cute pre-race tradition.

I hopped on my bike to test out the race wheels. I rode a bit out of town, and the wind wasn't TOO bad. I wasn't being bucked around too much, so I kept them on and decided to race on them for the first time.

Meanwhile, we'd left the boys with a neighbor family who gave us a Christmas present of "let us take your boys for a slumber party some night!" DEAL! Here's a pic we got of our boys asleep in their girl's room:

Back at the race, I gave my camera to brother-in-law Jon. THANKS FOR ALL THE PHOTOS, JON!!

Transition, with a fattie.

My gang (some of my wife's family): Annie, her hubby Matt, Steph, my wife, and me.

With friend Megan added in on the left, and some guy trying not to vomit on the right.

Pharmie, me, and my nipple.

Dani and me just before the start. (From Dani's Mom.)

RUN: 2 miles:

Mark gave us a countdown, and soon we were off!

L to R: Mitch (white backwards hat), me, Dani, Mario (ear band), and Ruth (white hat).

My (focused) wife in the middle.

All lined up and hard to see: Megan, Steph, and Annie.

Empty transition as we were all running 2 miles.

After a minute of jostling around, I found myself in 15th. I passed Mario and someone else to move into 13th. Around a half mile in, I passed Dani and someone else to move into 11th. I cheered Dani on and said "2:46 first half mile!" After a few seconds (of thought), Dani said "I can't do math right now!" I laughed and said "5:32 mile pace - nice!"

Mile 1: 2:46, 2:53 = 5:39.

I passed 1 more guy, and was happy to be in 10th. I realized near the end of the run that I was running based on what was I deemed was an OK time, and not too much by effort. I'm not saying I was going too hard or should have been going harder - I was just OK with my splits on my watch, so I just held it there. MAYBE I was a little too timid with this being my first real multisport race in nearly 2 years.

I passed 2 more guys in the last half mile to move into 8th. Jon saw me coming through the trees back towards transition with those 2 guys on my tail:

Running past my Mother-in-law! Thanks for coming to cheer, Monica!

The first half of mile 2 was a bit slower as we worked up some smaller hills, but then I came back to transition a bit faster:

Mile 2: 3:09, 2:45 = 5:54.


Racing through transition to my bike.

Dani, not far behind me.

One guy out-transitioned me, and he's just in front of me here I as mounted my bike.

BIKE: 14 miles:

The guy right in front of me when I mounted my bike fumbled getting into his shoes, and I passed him right away. I passed someone else within the next 60 seconds to move into 7th overall. It was time to see what some higher bike mileage (for me) and a new bike could do on the race course.

Back in transition, the rest of my gang was heading through:

Matt was easy to spot all day in white.

My wife.

Giving a wave to her Mom.

Matt running past Pharmie in T1 (in front of gorgeous porta-potty row).

Steph running in (with her Mom on the right).

Annie and Megan ran together!

Megan gets the "cutest in transition" award.

Well, out on the bike, there was wind. As wind tends to do, it got slowly worse all morning. (10-12 mph during the race, according to my weather app.) It was mainly a headwind on the way out, but there were times that it would "slap" the side of my bike/disc and throw me around a little. I had admitted to Jon pre-race that I wondered if I could hit 23 mph average on the bike, and with this wind, I knew that would probably be out of the question. (My previous best average here was 21.2 on my Garmin, so I was asking for a lot.) I wanted to have a gel before the turn-around, but I didn't dare take my hands off my handlebars for that long, so I told myself I'd have my gel after turning back with the wind.

If you're used to reading my multi-sport race reports, you know I like to do 2 things: count people who pass me on the bike, and look at my overall average pace every 1/4 of the ride. Well, at the turn-around, I had only been passed by 5 people! And at the turn-around, Dani was the cyclist right behind me. She passed me within the first mile headed back as we were BOMBING IT WITH THE WIND! It was FAST on the way back! Dani would be the only other person to pass me, and I kept her within sight about a block ahead. I out-cornered her on the 3 turns back in town, and actually passed her with 60 seconds left the ride. She said "DAMN IT" as I went past, and afterwards she told me that it wasn't because I was passing her but because she was trying to get out of her gloves and was fumbling around.

So I was only passed by 5 people throughout the ride! In 2013, I was really happy with my riding at this race, and I was passed by 15 people. So even though I wished I was faster, it was by FAR my best bike year here at Cannon Falls. HERE'S WHAT THE WIND DID TO MY OVERALL AVERAGE SPEED:

- 18.2 mph at mile 3.5
- 18.2 mph at mile 7 (turn-around)
- 20.2 mph at mile 10.5
- 21.6 mph near transition

Also, regarding the wind, here were my splits OUT vs BACK on my Garmin:

- 23:09 out, 7.02 miles, 18.19 mph
- 16:06 back, 7.02 miles, 26.16 mph

Here's Kevin O'Connor showing how to gracefully and quickly dismount:

You know there's some strong competition when Kevin finishes 3rd.

Ruth looking (and BEING) fast.

And then there's doofy me: crooked helmet, gaping mouth, and still clipped in.

Un-cropped photo from Jon. He thought this was an important photo
to get of my butt and the porta-potties. Apparently.

Pseudo awkward dismount, but not bad for me.

According to the camera, this photo was 5 seconds after the last photo. So Dani was close!


T2 was a bit slow/bumbling. Even though it was just 40-42 degrees, I got plenty warm on the bike. So I was stripping off stuff to run: helmet, hat, sunglasses, gloves (the slowest), and shoes. Here I am running off while straightening my race number with parts of Dani just visible on the left:

RUN: 3 miles:

I was ready to suffer. I grabbed a drink as I ran out of T2:

Caution: guy in pink shorts at play.

Meanwhile, Jon (with the camera) was waiting for more of our family to come in:

Nicole and a sweet bearded dude.

This guy put his number correctly on the front of his helmet...
but then he managed to put his helmet on backwards. Oops.
Still managed a bike split just a minute slower than me!

Matt came strolling in awkwardly. I approve. #Speed #Fast #Sexy #Balance

Out on the run, I was trying not to die. I saw a guy WAY up there, and I was gunning for him. My first half mile was 3:00 flat, and then we had to climb the one noticeable hill to get up to the Cannon Valley Trail, so that was slower at 3:10.

Mile 1: 3:00, 3:10 = 6:10.

I'd hoped to make that my slowest mile. I was HARDLY closing on the runner in front of me. I noted at the turn-around that I was just under 30 seconds behind him. It also hit me that I was running in 12th place. My previous 4 finishes here were 12th, 12th, 12th, and 11th. I didn't want to be 12th (or 11th) again! Mile 2 was a bit better, but I still was HARDLY closing on the guy in front of me:

Mile 2: 2:58, 3:01 = 5:59.

I was running hard. I was REALLY trying to catch this guy, and he was closing a bit on a guy in front of him. I noted that with about a 1/2 mile left, I was 7 seconds behind the guy in front of me, and about 23 seconds behind the guy in front of him. If I had a good kick, passing them was possible.

Ruth emerging from the trees near the finish, making her 17:20 3-mile look easy.

About 2.7 miles into the 3 mile run, I FINALLY got close to another runner! I ran past a guy to move into 11th. The next guy in front of me was still a ways up there, but I pushed and pushed. I passed this other guy right on the edge of the trees with about 30 seconds left in the race! But in 2011, I passed someone around the same spot, but he came back to pass me before the finish (really, check the photos in that link) and I was NOT going to let that happen again! I was MOVING!! Here's 3 photos from Dani's Mom who was cheering me on as I made the pass:

They guy I had just passed was making me work!

Running HARD!!

Here you can see Dani's Mom in pink in the photos that Jon took:

Thanks Dani's Mom!

Me and children.

Awkwardly flying to the finish. It was FINALLY at this point that I felt safe
that I wasn't going to be passed and I had 10th place locked up!

Jon was taunting me to barf here.

Mile 3: 2:54, 2:40 = 5:34.

Well, I held of that final guy by 5 seconds, and I finally cracked the top-10 at this race. Barely.


Steve Stenzel, 36, male, St. Paul.

- 2 mile run: 11:35
, 5:48 pace, 8th overall, 3rd in AG
- T1: 0:36, 14th overall, 1st in AG
- 14 mile bike: 39:16, 21.4 mph, 15th overall, 3rd in AG
- T2: 0:37, 23rd overall, 2nd in AG
- 3 mile run: 17:47, 5:56 pace, 6th overall, 2nd in AG
TOTAL: 1:09:49

10 out of 207 overall
3 out of 17 in the 35-39 age group

Unofficial Garmin data:
- 2 mile run: 1.97 miles, 5:52 pace
- 14 mile bike: 14.04 miles, 21.5 mph
- 3 mile run: 2.98 miles, 5:58 pace

7 post-race notes:

• I was a few seconds SLOWER on the bike than in 2013 (but with a FASTER average), but that was a perfect year. There was hardly any wind, and I hit the turn-around at 22.0 mph, and finished at 21.2 mph, but was 7 seconds faster on a course that read about 0.2 miles shorter. With this wind, I'll take my bike split and be happy!

• My fumbling around in T2 showed in my results. That was my lowest overall ranking: 23rd.

• Coach Jen said Dani was in great shape and told me that her and I would have a race! She was right! We came off the bike just 5 seconds apart, and had I not passed those 2 guys in the final seconds of the race, she would have finished just behind me. (I ended up 10th overall, and Dani was 13th, just over a minute back.)

• Speaking of passing those 2 guys... LOOK at my closing speed! This is a PR for sure (but it's also an argument that I should have been running harder in the middle of the run):

Run pace. Note uphill at 0.75 miles, turnaround at the middle, and a building kick!

I'm usually happy if I hit sub-5 in my kick. I've NEVER seen 4:34 pace at the end of a race!!!!

• And since we're looking at Garmin data, here's my bike speed, and it shows the wind PRETTY clearly:

18 mph out into the wind, 26 mph average back with the wind.
We climbed a hill at mile 10, and I SLOWED UP to 20 mph. Ha!

• My rankings in each area tell the story of my cycling. I've been biking a lot more lately. And it shows. I don't have my "rankings" for the first year I did this race (2009), but here's how I ranked in run, bike, and run in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2017:

     - 2 mile run: 4, 6, 7, 8
     - 12 mile bike: 31, 24, 30, 15
     - 3 mile run: 5, 7, 4, 6

So my running is getting a BIT slower, but my biking took a big leap in the right direction.

• And regarding my 8 possible goals that I outlined last week, I hit about half of them. I thought I'd hit more at the top of this list and less at the bottom, but here they are:

1. Finish without getting injured. Let's give it another day, but I think I can say: CHECK!

2. PR on the bike. A Garmin PR, but still 6 sec slower than last time. I don't feel too bad placing some blame on the wind here: NOPE!

3. Set a race PR. 53 seconds slower than 2013: NOPE!

4. Place in my age group. For only the 2nd time: CHECK!

5. Crack into the top-10 overall. For the FIRST time: CHECK!

6. Don’t set any “personal worsts” on the runs. Tied for PW in the first run, and had the middle of my 5 times on my second run. I tied my worst, but it's not TECHNICALLY THEE worst time, so: CHECK!

7. Hit 5:45 pace for the first run, and sub-6:00 for the second. NOPE! for the first run (5:48), but CHECK! for the second run (5:56).

8. Set PRs on the run. NOPE!

Back with photos from the rest of the race and with the results of my family members in a day or 2!

UPDATE: here's part 2 of my race report with lots of photos of my family finishing!


Shinianen 2:31 PM, May 01, 2017  

Nice work! I almost puked for you when I read your recap of the last 30 seconds to the finish.

You do realize the photos would be way more glorious if you were puking, though ... right?! :-D Goal #9 for next time.

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments! Have a great day!


Follow steveinaspeedo on Twitter

Facebook Fan Page

All content and original images copyright 2006 - 2024 by Steve Stenzel, AKA "Steve in a Speedo." All Rights Reserved.
Want to use something seen here? Just ask - I don't bite.