July 14, 2013

Race Report: 2Xrip Olympic Duathlon (2013)

Returning to the site of my first multisport experience, the 2012 2Xrip Olympic Du, I knew more about the sport and what to expect. Additionally, I was eager to improve my performance from a year prior and step up on the podium. The same course in Maryland, it featured a 2-mile run, 26-mile bike course, and 4-mile run, all over challenging and rolling hills.

The Course

The first run was one lap on a 2-mile loop that started with a nice downhill but had a couple inclines along the course. The second run was two laps of the same 2-mile loop, for a total of 4 miles, but in the opposite direction...so the big downhill became an uphill challenge on both loops.

The bike course was two laps of a 13-mile loop on country roads, and it was described as "moderate to aggressive" hills.

Race Day

It was an early rise, hitting the road around 4:30 in the morning and heading up to Maryland. Just like last year, my transition rack was the furthest from the bike out, meaning a long run with my gear before and after the bike leg. As usual, there were a lot of expensive triathlon and time trial bikes in the corral, but my rack actually had a bunch of road bikes. Maybe my aero-less equipment wouldn't be quite the anchor I thought it would be.

Without a swim, the transition set-up is easy: cycling shoes and helmet ready to go in the first transition area. I ran the first run leg with my cycling sunglasses on and carried my gloves in my back pocket to pull on in the final kick of the run. I had two bottles on the bike, one with water and one with Nuun electrolyte mix. I also had a few half-servings of Shot Bloks and a Honey Stinger gel in the bento box for fuel. I wore a Pearl Izumi triathlon jersey on top and TYR triathlon shorts on the bottom. For the run portions, I wore my Brooks Pure Cadence with Yankz! elastic laces for quicker transitions.

On the first run leg of two miles, I kept a consistent pace and cruised through the opening two miles. It was fairly uneventful, and I crossed into the transition area in 12:48 at a relaxed 6:24/mile pace. My first transition went smooth and even with the long run, I was out in just over a minute. The bike course hills were more expected than last year, and I found myself maintaining a 90 rpm cadence over much of the ride. My road bike was definitely an asset in the climbs and more technical sections of course, but I again found myself being overtaken on the flat or downhill sections by those with aero bikes and aero helmets. I completed the 26-mile course in 1:20:56 or about 19.3 mph, a nice improvement over 2012. Transition #2 was smooth as well, again taking just over a minute. But the biggest improvement in my performance came in the final run. After struggling a bit in the final stretch the prior year, I was strong throughout the final 4-mile run and overtook a lot of runners. Even though my legs took some time to transition from cycling to running, I was pushing myself up the hills and maintaining my strides. I hit the finish line in 31:12, the 7:48/mile being much slower than my usual pace, but still an improvement for this course and situation.

No in-race pictures this year, but I made the fringe of the
award ceremony photo. Haha.

The Results

Run 1 (2 mi) :   12:48  |  6:24/mile
T1 (run to bike) :  1:12  
Bike (26 mi) :   1:20:56  |  19.3 mph
T2 (bike to run) :  1:01
Run 2 (4 mi) :   31:12  |  7:48/mile

Final:   2:07:09  |  Age Group 3rd place

After being pretty close last year, I took the step on the podium this year, finishing 3rd in my age group. I was also around #18 overall in the non-elite class, not a bad outcome considering my road bike disadvantages.

The bounty. Finisher's medal at the top right. And for my age group
podium, a DVD documentary, bronze medal, and Lock Laces.

The Verdict

The volunteers, the course, and the weather all worked to make it a year to remember. The crew at 2Xrip produced another great race and it will continue to be a fixture on my summer racing calendar. The next step is ramping up my final run and really kicking it into gear through the final stretch.

Finisher medals.

Age group awards.

The truth.

My transition set-up.


Watermelon and bananas,
a well-balanced breakfast.