An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Monday, April 29, 2013

In the lead at the National Championships...

From time to time, I get to use my "other" 2-wheeled vehicle to help out the acoustic type.

For those who don't speak brider-ese: I got to ride my motorcycle to help out a cycling (or in this case, duathlon) event. I often refer to my bicycles as "acoustic" bikes when on a motorcycle forum.

Anyway... It was kind of interesting and a little daunting this time. Not that it was all that new of a task -- I've done this probably 10 times or so, and maybe 4 or 5 on this particular course. But THIS particular running of the Mt Rainier Duathlon was the USAT Long-Course Duathlon Championships for 2013.

Uh, yeah. I was leading out a national championship event. The only time I'll ever be at the very pointy end of that kind of deal.

It was cool and at times rainy, which is overall typical for this time of year in the Cascade foothills of Enumclaw. But in all the times I've run IN the event or helped out, it's never actually rained ON the race. Strange. So to see rain was an oddity. But I was well-dressed for the climate. Same can't be said for the racers. Ride harder to warm up, dude!

Two events are taking place at the same time -- a short-course of 1.8mi run, 14mi bike (one lap), 3.5mi run, and a long-course of 5.3mi run, 28mi bike (two laps), 3.5mi run. The long-course starts first, but the short course gets onto the bike leg first. I lead out the first rider for their lap, then hang out until the first long-course rider comes along and lead them for their second lap.

A little foible for the short-course leaders... I got on course as soon as I saw them enter the transition zone, and made it around the first corner before they got onto the road. And then I watch the first half-dozen riders miss that corner and head off toward the climb, cutting off a good 3 miles of the 14. I almost panicked, but made the decision to turn around and try to chase them down. Okay, with a 650cc V-twin, "chasing them down" wasn't a challenge, but communicating that they weren't on course was impossible. So I just jetted ahead and warned the course volunteers that we had people off course, and lead them out after they got to the climb. And I prayed that the entire race didn't follow these guys.

Fortunately that was the only issue. Watching for that first long-course rider, I waited about 10 minutes before the a rider passed the turn-off into T2 and went on for the second lap. He was FLYING! At every point on the course he was 1-2 mph faster than the short-course leaders.

About half-way up the big climb, it hit me: I'm leading a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Pretty freakin' cool.

Okay, I'm not in the lead. 'Cause, you know, there is no 650cc class here...

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