Competed in my first ever off-road duathlon on Saturday. Learned a couple of things:
1) I suck at mountain biking
2) My mountain bike sucks
3) I did well in the run portion
4) No matter how well you run, the results are all about the bike
5) In order to win, you must drink beer, eat pizza and smoke post-race
When I showed up at the race, I had pretty good expectations. I knew I could put in a decent run, and although this was going to be only my 3rd mountain bike ride of the year, I could probably crank out the 9 miles in a respectable time, then bust my ass on the last run and make up any lost time...I couldn't have been more wrong.
First run went well. I could see the leaders as I was finishing up, and there were quite a few bikes left on the rack. I took off on the bike and passed a few riders early on...that's before the singletrack started. We had ran on part of the bike course, so I knew a little of what to expect. As soon as I hit the singletrack, I began to have shifting problems, couldn't get in a low enough gear and ended up falling over on the first climb because I couldn't clip out of the pedals...that happened again, moments later. I fell twice on the first climb, and eventually ran up the hill with my bike. In the first mile, I was passed by quite a few mountain bikers as I struggled with some of the log jumps. I end up behind a guy for a short while who's having a few more problems than me. We come up on a tricky section...a tunnel under I-95 that is not lit. Before the tunnel, you have to ride up on a platform. Next to the platform is a ditch of stinkwater about 3 feet below. The platform was wet, so the guy slipped, bounced off the concrete platform and fell into the stinkwater. I thought for sure the guy was injured, but he bounced back. I pulled his bike out of the stinkwater, and was thankful that at least I didn't smell like him. Then we rode under I-95, a spooky experience as you could see nothing but a small light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel has about 2 inches of stinkwater running through it, so it was a very pleasant experience.
I took a couple good falls after the stink-tunnel, slipped on a root and really busted my ass...my arm was tingling for the rest of the ride. I really wanted the ride to be over, then I took a flat. Thought about riding it on to the transition area, but had no idea where that was....eventually decided to fix the flat. Watch quite a few people pass me. Once I'm back on the bike, I'm convinced I'm in last place. I bust my ass to catch all those that got in front of me...manage to pass most of them. Got to the transition area, and was being cheered on by those who had already finished the race...not good. Head off on the run, cruising at a pretty decent pace, passing a couple others on the course, but did most of it alone. As I head in for the finish, got a few more "good jobs" from other finishers.
Despite the bad riding and bad luck, it was a lot of fun. Post-race pizza and beer was great. Saw a guy at the keg smoking...come to find out he won the race. WTF?