Had this in draft form... I have a lot of catching up so will have to cut back on the length of these reports as they are just getting out of hand.
Recently, I travelled down the QEW to Welland to compete in my third duathlon of the 2013 season. I knew heading into the race that this was going to be a tough battle with a number of speedy duathletes confirmed to hit the start line.
Thankfully, amazing weather was on our side for the morning races and the only concern was a slight breeze out of the west that would test us on the first half of the bike leg of the run/bike/run. After getting set up in transition and chatting with some of the regulars, I headed down to the start line to finish up my warm up. As I waited with Jesse Bauer for our call to the line, Syd Trefiak (my first coach in the sport) spotted me so we were able to catch up a little before the gun.
Shortly after the first swimmers were sent off, we received our que to run and off we went for our first 5k journey along the Welland Recreational Waterway. I took the lead out to the first corner where we turned left to cross over the flat bridge and then was joined by Mr. Bauer as he started his push to stretch out the field. I knew he would want to test all our legs on this rather level and fast course so I just wanted to stay as close to him as possible and hope uber cyclist, Erik Box, would not be on our heals.
As we rounded the first turn around at the far east end of the course, I could see Jesse had done a decent job setting a quick pace so I just held my position a few metres back as we doubled back to visit the west end of the path. This section travelled along the waters that hosted the swim portion of the triathlon so I just zoned out for a while watching the masses cut through the clear waters south of our running trail.
Eventually, I made my way to the turn around marker on this end where I was still not too far off the lead, comfortably running in second place. We were around 1.5k out from our bikes at this point and I could tell our leader was feeling good as he seemed to put in a surge as we weaved back to transition. I didn't want to give him too much of a lead onto the bikes so I picked up the pace as well and minimized the damage. Finally, we merged with the swimmers coming up from the beach at around 4.5k of our opening run. This was where the first timing mat was located and I posted a time only 23 seconds down from Jesse.
We were then forced to slalom through the groups of triathletes along their run up section until we reached our bike racks. I made a much better switch over in this race as I opted to go with my tri specific cycling shoes already clipped into the pedals. This saved me 20 or so seconds and I was on my way to track down JB.
Out on the first roads of the 30k bike course, the pavement is a touch bumpy so I focused more on my line than the people ahead so when I quickly looked up around three kilomtres and noticed my target, I was surprised to see him as it took 6km last race in Binbrook. This was a huge shot in confidence as I pushed along into the head wind on the smoother roads leading out of town. I knew in time Erik Box would soon be on my tail so I just put my head down and tried to grind away.
I seemed to be hitting a decent pace based on my effort but I was not exactly sure of my speed as my cycling computer decided to die before the race (i had just changed the battery two weeks ago) so I was flying gadget free, trying to replicate the effort in my previous race.
As expected, My Box finally caught me just before the 15k turn around marker. As we hit the turn together, I tried to keep him in sight but he was gradually getting away. To make things worse, Jesse had put in a huge effort to stay close to me so I knew I needed to find some speed on the return trip to transition.
For some reason, my legs were not responding the same as Binbrook and I felt very tired as I pedalled along. I know Coach Kevin and I planned to train through this race and Huronia but wasn't expecting this type of power outage on such a short bike course. Oh well, I just did my best to keep at a respectable speed and get back to transition ahead of Mr Bauer.
After a few slow downs entering Welland, due to traffic, I finally got back into the edge of town and made my short trip along the waterway to the arena. I could not see Erik ahead or Jesse behind so I was not sure how much the gaps were.
As soon as I got out on the run course, though, the picture became a lot more clear. Erik was up the road about 500 metres and Jesse was right on my butt. I was not feeling overly fast during the second run and made it to the first turn around just before Jesse put his pass on me. I made a silly effort to get on his heals but he was flying and determined to catch Erik.
I didn't want to shuffle back to the finish line and tried my best to get into some style of running which actually saw me make up time with Erik who was just now running in second after JB claimed the lead. Along the flat waterfront trail, I could see second place may be a possibility and found a little energy to push my pace. When Erik and I hit the west end pylon to turn back towards home, I was able to pass for second and then used the tailwind to pick up the speed even more.
This effort was good enough to hold the position and I cruised into the finish line about a minute back of Jesse but happy to grab second in a solid field of duathletes.