Dual Du Weekend
Let me start with the fact that I now know what Jan Ulrich felt like in the 2006 Tour De France, except I was Ulrich. I was climbing a hill and along come AJ”Lance Armstrong” Morrison. I here someone making noise behind me and as she is passing me, she turns back and gives me THE LOOK, and trucks on pass. Jan…. I feel your pain today.
We were told that the run might be a little long about ½ mile longer, so instead of 6.8, it was going to be around 7.3. Also since that they put us through enough hell on the first run, the send 2.5 will be flat(SO KIND OF THEM). Also mentioned is that the Sport division would be doing the same distance as the experts, and if we didn’t like that…. TOUGH. It was truly an inspiring and motivating brief.
What can I say except this is one of the hardest trail runs I have ever done. Race started at 1pm, and the weather was looking like it was going to get pretty rough. At the sound of the gun, I took a brief second to look and start my watch. When I looked up….. HOLY COW!!! These races were meaning business. I immediately took off and got my rhythm as soon as possible, to not let the mob dictate my race. First mile to mile and a half of the 7.3 miles was pretty flat, except for the 7 sets of stairs we had to go down and then the 7 we had to go up to get to the trail. I was so glad this was the run course and that we didn’t have to ride the bikes and carry them up and down those stairs. Once on trail… Richmond’s renowned trails were true to form. Probably some of the most beautiful trails you can run, but also some of the meanest, which makes me glad I am a 130lbs midget. I was cutting and climbing like a crazy garden gnome. There was no time during this run where you were actually running flat for more than 10 yards. These trails went up, and down with numerous switchbacks, and were all well maintained. We got to jump across little creeks and climb the stairway to heaven. No chance in ever getting your rhythm on this trail you just have to grit down and hold on, which make me understand why Xterra chooses this site for it’s East Championships. As I was getting to the last 2 miles, I came up on this hill overlooking the rapids, and realized as brutal as this trail was, it found ways to motivate you. Well the weather had broken and the heat started coming on, so I decided to shed my short sleeve base layer and just got with my Tri top. Now if any of you have tried to change out you clothes while running, I dare you to try it on trail. I think the cameraman could not stop laughing I did that while maintaining my run. As I came in from the run, I see Glen(Goob) and Michelle Buckley cheering me on. I looked at them as could only utter, “THAT WAS HELL”
58:52 with a 8:37/mile pace.
I get in, and quickly kick out of my shoes, and I laid them neatly with my hat. After which I slipped in bike shoes, while at the same time putting on my camel back. Slipped on the cool guy sunglasses, helmet and grabbed my bike for some fun
Now here is where I wanted to be, and was ready to have some fun. The first part of the bike took us up and over the bridge, and into the trails. Unfortunately this looked all to familiar, and then I realized this was the same direction we did the run. Which only means I was about to eat my previous statement, and no sooner than I realized this…… BOOM!!!!! I was at the 7 flights of stairs that I had to carry my bike down. After finishing the stairs I mounted my bike and got on trial, and rode for about 1 mile and sure enough there was the 2nd set of 7 flights of stairs. I carried my bike up the stairs and got back on with excitement, because I knew the trails were right there. As we got on trail we were immediately diverted right, which was the opposite of the run course, for the first loop. Man this course was AWESOME, when it was time to climb it was time to climb, but what comes up eventually comes down. The TIGHT single track offers a lot of opportunity to fly, but also keeps you on your toes. This section had a lot of rock gardens and roots you have to get around or over, which had me having a blast. The cool section is when you get to a huge, what looks like a drain tunnel and you ride through to get to the other side, where you had to climb your bike up, unless you were a super stud. On the ending of the first loop, it brought me right to where I really didn’t want to be….. THOSE DAMN STAIRS. Again we had to take our bikes down, ride a mile or so, and back up the next set. Amazingly so, everyone seemed a lot slower going up the stairs. This one dude came from behind mean and asked to pass before I descended the 1st set of stair. This guy didn’t even get off his bike, rode down the whole damn thing. Which means I have to bone up on my skills. Second loop for the bike course was the same as the run. Unfortunately, I had made a calculated error in my skills and dished me and my bike pretty bad. I had to sit for about 5 min to recover, upon which I got back up and started riding. My knee and shoulder, which took the brunt of the hit, were feeling a little wobbly but stable…. So I thought. As I was going down a technical section, I was up out of the saddle and my knee gave way, causing me to veer. I realized at this going I was going to crash BAD. When I looked ahead, I saw my saving grace. I slammed my rear brakes and slid my rear tire slowing me down enough to let it hit a small tree. This cause me to go lying and land on a small root on my hip. Well I was able to shake it off and get back on the bike. As I looked, if I had missed that tree, I would have gone down a pretty knarly steep hill. I went back to trying to finish with all my limbs attached, cause that is the way my girlfriend and daughter like me. I got to the next challenge, which was the stairway to heaven, was ale to get up that and head on home to T-2. As I pulled up I saw Michelle and told her I needed some ice. I think it was more for my bruised ego, than my beat up knee, hip and shoulder.
1:30 8.6 mph
This was easier… I rolled in rack my bike, threw everything to the ground. Slapped on my shoes, and hat and took off.
As I was coming out of the shoot, I was hoping to see Michelle, but no joy. The medical tent didn’t have ice or ice packs. She will have to tell the story of how she did finally get some. The second run took us out the opposite direction of the first. And ran us through the park and into the city and back. Everyone was looking a little rougher, but still running. As I crossed the finish line, I could do nothing but put my hands on my knees and hobble out. I could feel my heart beating, but not in my chest, it was in my knee, hip and shoulder. But all and all that course I would do again in a heart beat. It was one of the most challenging courses I have ever raced, and I look forward to Xterra East Championships this year.
Hot shower…. 1600mg motrin. Stretch and using my stick to roll my muscles out. And a whole lot of range of motion exercises cause I had another race the next day.
Great write up, great race and eagerly waiting part Du: the On Road. I've already heard that you were twice a hero on that race so no false modesty.
As for the ice pack, apparently this is the first race in the history of sport where although there was a medical tent and medical personnel, the medical tent didn't have any ice packs. The EMS staff were really nice but explained that they were only there for emergencies so they didn't have anything. While this logic still confuses me, they were nice enough to search, find some ziploc bags and then help me steal ice out of a drink cooler. Mark's transition times being faster than our scavenger hunt, I didn't see him until he came into the finish on the run. His form looked really good - from the waist up. From the waist down, there was a little bit of an issue with one knee not bending but a little thing like that isn't going to stop Mark.
Great job, Mark! You deserve the Do-Du Pint glass.
I'd love to run that course...maybe ride it, too.
Mark, you are a monster! To do both races is truly impressive!
AJ - you are also a monster! Top 10 at your first duathlon. I'm glad I started far enough ahead that you didn't get the chance to bike by me uphill ;-)
I have to agree with Michelle.
AJ- you looked TOO STRONG out there. Congrats on the 8th position. Showing the mad skills we all know you got, and now the Duathlon community knows. World here you come.
Mark - Part 2?