Final Thoughts on the 2021 Oakdale Duathlon

>> Thursday, May 27, 2021

Here are 6 final points that I didn't mention in my race report on Monday:

• ONE: I mentioned I never saw the leader on the final run, but I didn't elaborate on how close the finish was. It wasn't close. Looking at the splits, I left T1 with a 0:24 lead, but I finished the bike BEHIND by 1:41. (And he passed me right near the middle of the bike course, so based on making up 0:24 in the first half and 1:41 in the second half when I was biking HARDER, he must have stalked me for a bit and then really put the hammer down. THAT'S how you pass someone! Good for him!) Sure, I caught him a LITTLE on the final run, but I wasn't making up all of those 101 seconds over 2.5 miles. I finished 0:50 behind him, and I never saw him on that twisting and turning run course through the trees. So I wasn't close to him, and then 3rd place was WELL behind me: he was 3:20 back, or 4:10 behind the leader.

Top finish times.

• TWO: Shockingly, I could have POSSIBLY been in contention for the long course win. I never consider myself a "long course" athlete, but this long course wasn't that long. The winner was a guy named Ed who I talked to pre-race for a bit. The "long course" did the same 2 runs, but the bike was longer: instead of going out and doing the big loop once, they go out, loop it TWICE, and then come back. I looked at my Garmin data to determine the exact distance of "the loop" and figured out the long course was 23.20 miles on the bike.* And guess what? That means Ed's and my bike splits had the same average speed: 21.3 mph. Now sure, he went a lot farther than me on the bike, but the "out" and "back" were my slowest spots, and he only had to do those once. Even if I was a bit slower than 21.3 mph, I still did the 2 runs about 8 minutes faster than Ed (nearly 5 minutes faster on the first run, and nearly 4 minutes faster on the second run). So THAT could have been a fun race with Ed!

*(13.34 miles on my Garmin for the short course - 1.74 miles "out" to the loop - 1.74 miles "back" from the loop = 9.86 mile loop. So the long course was 13.34 miles + 9.86 miles = 23.20 miles.)

• THREE: And speaking of race results, mine CLEARLY are telling me to bike more/harder! There are 5 timed "sections" to a duathlon. I had the fastest 2 runs. I had the fastest T2 time. And my T1 time was just a few seconds off the fastest split (which wasn't posted by the overall winner). All that leaves is the bike, and I still had the 2nd fastest time, but it was 2:05 off the leader, and I couldn't make up that 2:05 in all the other 4 segments. I've ALWAYS felt like triathlons and duathlons favor strong cyclists, but maybe that's because I'm not a strong cyclist.

In the 5 sections of this race, the overall winner was 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 5th, and 3rd, and that lead to first overall. I was 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, and 1st, but that was only good for 2nd overall. Glancing at those numbers, it looks like I should easily have won. Biking is generally the longest segment (in time) of a triathlon, so it pays to be the best there.

In a follow-up post to my last multi-sport race before this one back in 2019(!!), I noted that 1st through 3rd overall had the 1st through 3rd fastest bike splits. Bike splits translate more to overall finishes than run splits do (says this depressed runner).

• FOUR: Everyone got a finisher's medal, but there were no other awards. This was announced ahead of time. It was partially because of COVID to keep people from gathering, and partially because they knew it would be a small race. But everyone got a race medal in their packet:

• FIVE: Midwest Multisport put on a nice low-key race. This was my first Midwest Multisport Race, but I had known Judi when she was with her previous organization. We were happy to see each other on Sunday morning for the first time in a few years! I always say that her and Mark B (of "Final Stretch" who used to do Cannon Falls Du, Liberty Tri, etc) give the BEST pre-race instructions: in-depth, but not drawn out.

Post-race selfie with Judi from my race report.

• SIX: Between all 3 distances, there were just about 60+ athletes. Really small race. Easy to socially distance. And it was fun to know exactly where I was in the race. (As I've gotten "faster," I really appreciate the smaller races partially because it's fun to be near the front, but also very much because it's one wave so you know exactly who you're racing - none of this "but my wave started 3 minutes before another wave, so I need to make sure I finish at least 3 minutes in front of someone who started behind me" crap.)

In case you missed it, here's my race report. The race hasn't posted any photos yet, but I know they are planning to. I'll be back to share those when they come in! (Can't wait to see how gross I was looking late in this hot race...)


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