So the count down is on and I am just a touch over a week away from the first race of the Subaru season. To say I am cool and relaxed about this year would be a big lie. I am coming off a strong 2009, for my standards, and have been working hard this off-season to improve on my previous results.
I have added the swim to the mix so I will be tackling a totally different group of opponents. Fields of athletes 4 and 5 times deeper than the duathlons of the past. The triathlons in this area are some of the best local events in the world and the top competitors are fast and amazing to race against. Looking at all the factors, 2010 is going to be tough but the challenge is what drives me.
Thankfully, the first race is only a duathlon (the waters around here are still very frigid) but the season opener attracts a very respectable group of triathletes and duathletes looking to knock the rust off the winter legs. Last year, I had a better than expected result finishing in 17th spot (the stats say 18 but one athlete was DQ'd and still remains on the results page in the top ten), even with a 2:00 minute drafting penalty. My goal was to improve year over year and hit top 25 so this position, and the times that got me there, were a welcoming kick off to 2009.
The times I hit in the three phases of the race are lofty standards to aim for this year. The first run and bike times will be very hard to match (especially if the weather is not as perfect as last year). I hope I can shave a little time off those two but I would be happy to match them and then make the major improvement on the final 4k run. Transition times were also very solid in 2009 so I will shoot to be as smooth again this time through.
2009 - 17th place (of 417) - 4k (13:59) / 30k (46:54) / 4k (15:22) = 1:19:17 (2:00 pen included)
2008 - 40th place (of 512) - 4k (14:37) / 25k (43:10) / 4k (16:32) = 1:16:08 (super windy day)
2007 - 71st place (of 487) - 4k (14:57) / 25k (43:54) / 4k (15:31) = 1:16:36 (3rd duathlon ever)
On May 24th, I hope to settle in with the chasers on the first run and then get rolling on the bike right off the hop. Last year, I was a little tired starting on the bike but caught my grove shortly after receiving my drafting penalty when the anger boiled through the blood.
On the final run, I should be aiming for sub 15 minutes if the conditions are decent. I ran really well last year only losing one spot (to speedy Taylor Reid) but I know my running has improved since last May so I should expect more out of this leg of the race.
As you can see, I hope to make a jump up the results page this year. Tough to tell who may show up for the race so it is hard to call an actual place I am targeting but I would love to be top ten. The real goal is based on time and the battle with myself year over year. I am going to be gunning for sub 1:16:00 (last year was 1:17:17 before the penalty) which should be close to the top ten if the weather and course are apples to apples. As you can see they lengthened the bike portion last year from 25k to 30k so the course is not always exactly the same.
Wish me luck!