Thursday, 27 July 2017

Springfield Duathlon 2017

I wasn't expecting to write another race report, just 6 weeks after Ironman Cairns. But I decided to do the Springfield Duathlon for a number of reasons. In the last few weeks, I have been building up my weekend ride and run distances, towards Ironman WA end of the year. Having a race like this after a training block gives a nice break to the monotony. Plus, I last did this race two years ago and was totally freaked out by the fast descends and sharp corners, so I was keen to see whether I have improved or not.

The event was held on the grounds of University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Central about 40 minutes drive from home. Each year it was one of the coldest days to have this event and this year was no different. A crisp 4 degrees when I got to the car park but thankfully it warmed up to about 6-7 degrees when the race started. There was quite a long queue for race pack pick up and I was a bit worried that I'll miss the transition close time of 6.15am but looks like it wasn't strictly enforced. The race stickers were not very sticky and the one on my helmet actually came off during the bike. I still had some time for a last minute visit to the portaloo and a 5 minute warm up run before my wave start.

The sun could not have come up soon enough!

1st run 10km

The run course has changed from two years ago but maintained the same format. 4 laps of 2+km with a few hundred meters in and out of transition at the start and finish. Slight incline at the turnaround. Pretty straightforward. I actually like this new course, plenty of trees and nicer scenery. My run speed was not what it was two years ago, but I was able to keep a pretty consistent pace and still felt pretty comfortable by the end of it. First km was 3:53 with the excitement at the start but I settled into around 4:10 to 4:15 for the remaining. Timed 40:31 and it was about 500m short when I got to transition but here's how I made up for it!

Fumbled with my frozen fingers to get the helmet on and rushed my bike off the racks, got to the bike mount line and realised I still had my run shoes on! I laughed at myself and the officials were laughing with (or maybe at) me. Brought the bike back to the racks as I wasn't sure if I could just leave the bike at the mount line. Removed my run shoes and got back out again. I felt like a complete muppet, clearly I don't do enough duathlons - this is my 3rd one so far.

Caught in the act with two pairs of shoes on!

Bike 40km

The bike course stayed the same as last time. 6 laps - about 2kms of climbing, 2kms of descending, 2kms of flat, repeat. It was about 3-4kms too short the last time, so organizers extended the final turnaround by a few hundred meters. Clocked 39kms this time, not quite 40kms but close enough. Overall elevation of over 400m, so a pretty hilly course.

I was very nervous on the descends and cornering the last time. While I admit I was better this time round, I still have much to improve. I had a very modest average pace, just over 28kph and I still lost a lot of time on the downhills. My initial target was to beat my Olympic Distance triathlon PB but with a 1:24:42 bike split including transitions, that target went out of the window very quickly.

Transition 2 wasn't without drama either. As the bike racks weren't numbered and we could rack our bikes in any order just as long as they were according to age group, I had a bit of trouble looking for my spot. I made it harder by not bringing a towel to look out for as there was no swim and my run shoes must have got pushed around during the confusion in Transition 1, but I eventually found my spot.

2nd run 5km

The 2nd run goes through the same laps as the first run, just with two laps instead of four. Despite not doing any brick runs since the Ironman, my legs felt pretty good but it was only a 40km ride before anyway. I held between 4:10 to 4:20 pace and was able to pass a few competitors who were ahead of me after the bike. The 2nd run was about 150m longer and I clocked 21:41, giving overall time of 2:26:55. I was 6.5 minutes slower than the last time but so were most people with the bike being short the last time.

Digging deep to improve my position

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how my race went. Kudos to Triathlon Queensland, officials and volunteers for a well organized event. It was great way to dust off the cobwebs and kick off the new season. There were quite a number of Logan Tri Club members who did this race, whom I don't normally meet in the training sessions so it was nice getting to meet them. I'm looking forward to the next race - Sunshine Coast 70.3!

I need to get myself an LTC kit! Thanks Erika for the photo!